Thursday, June 29, 2006

Moved

The Suspect Device Blog lives here now.

Last Blogger post: We're moving! The blog, I mean.

The blog has been successfully ported over to my site, in glorious full color Wordpress, thanks to Greg Galcik, who also provides hosting and even paid for my domain registration when I forgot. Dude, I am so gay for you right now. Please update your links & feeds & stuff. THe seven of you getting these entries from FeedBlitz are going to be out of luck for a while. I've got most of your links up, and should have the rest up in a day or two.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New suspect device comic is up

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gannett: Scum

Gannett brings their protection racket to Acadiana. Got a free publication? You'll have to go through Gannett from now on. Fucking belligerent arrogant illiterate assholes. When will the people of Lafayette stop letting out-of-town businessesmen push them around? First it was BellSouth and Cox calling for special elections and then suing over the results, now it's Gannett trying to strongarm businesses into letting them decide which newspapers get distributed. Stand up for yourselves, for Christ's sake. If I see one of those plastic Gannett bins in a store I frequent, I will take my business elsewhere until the bin is removed. And I will spread the word. I'm sick of being pushed around by a bunch of mudpies. I urge any and all Acadiana businesses to refuse Gannett's offer. I would further encourage you to reconsider handling Gannett's products and maybe even rethink your advertising strategy. In other words, don't carry their crappy free publications and don't avertise in their shitty newspapers. Let them make their money from their protection racket, since they certainly don't show any interest in producing a quality product.

Monday, June 26, 2006

RightBlog by Carl Tritschler

I thought about taking this apart line by line and crushing each sqirming little idiocy with my heel, but I just can't work up a lather. Why would any legitimate newpaper give this retard a column? It's appalling. I thought TOA was dumb -- well, let me rephrase that -- I STILL think TOA is stupid for carrying Michael Reagan, who is just as ignorant but at least has a marquee name and can construct a sentence. There's no excuse for giving Carl column inches that could be taken up with something far more edifying, like the Jumble or maybe a nice bridge column. Are there no grown-up republicans left in the world?

Another day, another step closer to a post-apocalyptic Mad Max world

Sayre on gambling

Louisiana gambling booms, but for how long? I'll try and have some comment on these stories later, but I want to get the links up while I have a chance.

Here we go again

Corps: Strengthening upper Miss. levees not worth the expense:
Beefing up levees along the upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers to protect large tracts of agricultural land from especially rare but severe floods would be an unjustifiable expense of billions of dollars, according to a newly released U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study. The existing flood-protection system along nearly 1,100 river miles north of Cairo, Ill., generally holds its own most of the time, the corps has found. Building up levees to protect against a so-called 500-year flood would cost more than $8 billion, according to the study. Even upgrades to survive less-severe 100-year floods would cost roughly $3.7 billion, according to the corps' 109-page report, completed last month. Richard Astrack, project manager at the corps' St. Louis district office, said none of the levee upgrades considered in the report rated very high on the corps' benefit-to-cost ratio. "When you are looking at the system, there are already levees out there," Astrack said. "If we were starting from scratch and there was nothing there, and the United States said we want to protect tens of thousands of agricultural areas, acres, then maybe it would be a good idea to do this. But there are already substantial levees in places out there."

Tax Revenues Are a Windfall for Louisiana

The New York Times:
State officials assumed that Louisiana's tax base had been battered by last year's hurricanes, but the latest figures show that the opposite occurred: more tax dollars than ever are pouring into the state's coffers as the budget year draws to an end. The state predicted that tax collections would plunge by almost $900 million this year, and it slashed spending to match. Instead, a record $9.2 billion is on track to be collected by the time the budget year ends on June 30, and at least some of that tax flow looks as if it is likely to continue. Part of the upswing has come from gamblers dropping more dollars at casinos and video poker machines. Another part has come from higher oil and gas prices, which not only increase the state's taxes and royalties, but also increase profits in the petrochemical industry, which is a vital part of the Louisiana economy. But the biggest surge by far has been in sales taxes, as hurricane victims have used federal aid, insurance proceeds and their savings to replace items as disparate as socks and S.U.V.'s. Officials forecast that the state will end up with almost $500 million more in sales tax revenue than they expected before the storms hit.

It's -- it's a something ... (mumbles) ... anyway. Next?

Think Progress: "QUESTION: I know you’ve said you are not planning to see Al Gore’s new movie, but do you agree with the premise that global warming is a real and significant threat to the planet? BUSH: I think it’s — I have said consistently that global warming something is a serious problem."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Irony

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I wondeded

1st place, Cartooning, Press Club Of New Orleans Awards. That makes a total of four 1st place cartooning wins and one 1st place Critical Review win at the PCNO awards since 2000. Go me! I rock! [pats self on back] [gives self celebratory handjob] [falls asleep] [damned open bars]

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Of Fundamental Moral Principles, and the Value of a Single Human Life

Once Upon a Time:
"Look how consumed you are by hatred for America and for Bush!" the hawks bleated. "You can't even be happy that this monstrous son of a bitch has been killed!" Zarqawi was certainly a monstrous son of a bitch, and I shed no tears for him personally. But am I happy that he was killed? No, I most certainly am not -- because our very presence in Iraq represents an act of unforgivable immorality. We should never have been there to kill him in the first place. But that is precisely the point that the hawks want all of us to forget, and to never acknowledge under any circumstances. This is what happens what you forget basic moral principles, and when you seek to obliterate the chain of events that brought us to where we are today. Each event is judged in isolation, completely disconnected from every relevant fact. But judgments made in this fashion are completely meaningless and devoid of content: events occur in a complex, specific context, and it is that context that reveals their meaning and their moral import. Discard the context, and judgments are utterly arbitrary. Yet this is essentially the manner in which all our national debates now take place. There is one final point to be made about all this -- and that has to do with the supreme value of a single human life. In our desensitized, dehumanized age, most people have almost no appreciation for what I'm talking about, and our political establishment and media only make this grievous failing worse. Each of us is unique; not one of us can be replaced. Each of us has a family, loved ones, friends and a life that is a web of caring, interdependence, and joy. When even one of us is killed or horribly injured for no justifiable reason, the damage affects countless people in addition to the primary victim. Sometimes, the survivors are irreparably damaged as well. Even the survivors' wounds can last a lifetime. This is of the greatest significance. There is nothing more important or meaningful in the world.

The Amnesty 19

19 republicans voted in favor of granting amnesty to Iraqi insurgents accused of killing American troops.
Wayne Allard of Colorado Kit Bond of Missouri Jim Bunning of Kentucky Conrad Burns of Montana Tom Coburn of Oklahoma Thad Cochran of Mississippi John Cornyn of Texas Jim DeMint of South Carolina Mike Enzi of Wyoming Lindsey Graham of South Carolina Chuck Hagel of Nebraska Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma Jon Kyl (R-AZ) Trent Lott of Mississippi John McCain of Arizona Jeff Sessions of Alabama Ted Stevens of Alaska Craig Thomas of Wyoming John Warner of Virginia
As long as we're making lists, here are the eleven republican congressmen who voted against H.R. 3673, the $51 billion aid package for Katrina victims, in September of last year:
Rep. Joe Barton - TX Jeff Flake - AZ Virginia Foxx - NC Scott Garrett - NJ John Hostettler - IN Steve King - IA Butch Otter - ID Ron Paul - TX James Sensenbrenner - WI Tom Tancredo - CO Lynn Westmoreland - GA
Amnesty for terrorists, but nothing for American's forced out of their homes by incompetence and lies: Today's Republican Party.

Gosh I sure hope today is better than yesterday I just have to put on a smile and greet the dawn!

Oyster's excellent post on NOLA crime. Bayoustjohndavid has an wquakky -- wquakky? EQUALLY Jesus Christ -- interesting post on the subject. Fox News slaps down Santorum. Fox News! That's gotta sting. Details and links at Unclaimed Territory. Sigh. Lafayette School Board gives Easton another positive evaluation despite the appallingly poor performance of the system. I honestly don't know what's wrong with these people, if they're afraid of Easton or don't really care or if they're just honestly really not bright. It's a mystery. In a stunning development, a controversial panel set up to improve communications among emergency workers during hurricanes remains in the organizational stage five months after it was formed. Tired.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rick Santorum: I'm off my meds and feelin' frisky

Billmon sings

Whiskey Bar: The Wages of Sin"
I have to admit, even I didn't think the political pimps in control of our national whorehouse would have the gall to sneak through a pay raise for themselves, then turn around a week later and kill the first increase in the minimum wage in almost ten years. Even I wouldn't have imagined they would think they could get away with it. Not in an election year. I guess it's their way of showing Tom DeLay they don't need him around to act like a pen full of swine with a taste for eating their own feces.
And please note: It's been more than three months since Dubai Ports World agreed to sell its port operations at 22 U.S. ports. But as of today, all 22 of these terminal facilities remained under the control of Dubai Ports and the government of Dubai.

The hits just keep on coming

A Legacy of the Storm: Depression and Suicide - New York Times
New Orleans is experiencing what appears to be a near epidemic of depression and post-traumatic stress disorders, one that mental health experts say is of an intensity rarely seen in this country. It is contributing to a suicide rate that state and local officials describe as close to triple what it was before Hurricane Katrina struck and the levees broke 10 months ago.
Hmm. Lawyer for Saddam assassinated; 85 workers kidnapped Military Charges 8 With Murder of Iraqi One soldier likely beheaded, U.S. military says: Both men's bodies showed signs of brutal treatment Southern lawmakers delay voting rights bill Killing stumps police, friends Armed soldiers roll in to beef up police force 'Triangle of death' claims another life Louisiana's new abortion law is an impotent, reactionary response to 30 years of apolitical obstacles. Lafayette police chief resigns: Hundley faces charges, possible firing Wastech, Inc. Files Injunction Against State of Louisiana, Division of Administration and DRC, Inc., Regarding $28 Million Winning Bid in Gulf Coast Region New Orleans has its own way of doing things and says it doesn't want to be told by outsiders in what size and shape it should be reborn. That is fair enough, but only if local officials are living up to their responsibilities. Right now, the people of the city are being held hostage to whims and foot-dragging, their lives on hold as they wait for their leaders to make decisions — decisions that should have been made months ago. Tragedy again hits family left homeless by Katrina:"'I don't know what to do,' Eddington said. 'I don't even have money to bury her.'" Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Why should I have to wash my hands if I didn't pee on them, you fascist?

We're walking on the edge of damnation

We have your sons: The CIA uses two children, ages 7 and 9, to force al Qaeda bigwig to talk. No doubt Khalid Mohammed is a shitheel. But taking his children, without their mother or any other relative, to another country and using them in a stress interrogation game? I'm surprised God hasn't come down and started punching people in the face.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I didn't think I could get angrier

But I was wrong. The Shadow War, In a Surprising New Light:
The book's opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush's Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president's attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: "All right. You've covered your ass, now." ... One example out of many comes in Ron Suskind's gripping narrative of what the White House has celebrated as one of the war's major victories: the capture of Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in March 2002. Described as al-Qaeda's chief of operations even after U.S. and Pakistani forces kicked down his door in Faisalabad, the Saudi-born jihadist was the first al-Qaeda detainee to be shipped to a secret prison abroad. Suskind shatters the official story line here. Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be. CIA and FBI analysts, poring over a diary he kept for more than a decade, found entries "in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3" -- a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego. All three recorded in numbing detail "what people ate, or wore, or trifling things they said." Dan Coleman, then the FBI's top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, "This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality." Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda's go-to guy for minor logistics -- travel for wives and children and the like. That judgment was "echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President," Suskind writes. And yet somehow, in a speech delivered two weeks later, President Bush portrayed Abu Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States." And over the months to come, under White House and Justice Department direction, the CIA would make him its first test subject for harsh interrogation techniques... ... back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."
And then there's this:
Shortly after 9 a.m., Captain Paul Hellmers, an 18-year veteran of the NOFD, said he saw something he wasn’t expecting: water rising in the back parking lot. “I would say about 10 minutes after we saw it rising, I was pretty certain that the levee had to be breached cause it was rising at such a rate,” Hellmers said. Hellmers grabbed his video camera and went up to a top floor stairwell. While the building swayed, he searched but couldn't see the breach until visibility cleared enough for him to zoom in a half a mile away. That’s when he found the water pouring in. “When I saw that, I'm sure my coworkers had the same reaction.. My heart just dropped, even though I knew the levees were breached before that,” Hellmers said. “Seeing it, and just knowing the fate of the city was sealed.” Captain Joe Fincher described the sight as “surreal.” “You took it in and you wondered how high the water was going to be in the city,” he said. “My first instinct when we saw the levee break was this is bigger than 9-11. I thought the fatalities would be in the thousands, if not the tens of thousands, you know; it was heavy.” “Heavy,” Fincher said, because it was their neighborhood; their homes. Just a couple of days before Katrina, he videotaped his Lakeview house for insurance purposes. But now it was filling up with 10 feet of water. The floodwaters also destroyed the Lakeview home of Captain Case. He didn't see it happen, but he had firefighters on his crew watch from above as the water swallowed their homes. “I guess it would have to be torture to know that you can see the water rising on your house and not being able to do anything about it,” Case said. But as the water kept rising, the firefighters knew what their role would be: rescuers. “Soon as we saw the water come into the parking lot I'm thinking, ‘people are going to be dying soon.’ That was my first thought,” Hellmers said. By early afternoon when the winds calmed enough, the firemen swam out to find a boat, which still sits along in the condo parking lot wall to this day. Capt. Case hotwired it and they made the first of many life saving trips into the neighborhood near the breach. “He was standing on his bathtub with water up to his chin when we got over there, and me and firefighter Pat Ball broke the window out and was able to rescue him,” Case said. “He wasn't saying much. He could barely stand when we got him in I don't think he would have made it much longer; the water was still rising at that point and I think he would have surely drowned in the next few minutes.” The rescues continued for four days; from sun up until it just too dark. “Far too many people needed help” First responders simply did their job. They do not consider themselves heroes. And nearly 10 months after the storm, they don't think about the people they saved; it’s the people they couldn't get to. “I try not to think about it too much; too many people suffering…far too many people needed help,” Hellmers said, pointing out thousands of homes they simply couldn’t get to. The firefighters said there’s a reason you haven't heard their story so many months after the storm. The video they shot of the levee breach was used in the recently completed Congressional investigation. And while they testified, they were told to stay quiet about what they saw until it was over. They said what they saw wasn't what was being reported in those first few months. These firefighters knew the levees didn't overtop, which was initially thought; and they knew the 9:45 a.m. timeframe of the levee breach was also off. “It certainly broke by 9 o’clock in the morning,” Hellmers said.
They were told? By whom? Via 2millionth. Link over yonder.

Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security: Books: Christopher Cooper,Robert Block

Keep an eye out for this one. Chris Cooper interviewed me (regarding the Hurricane Pam exercise) and he asked the right questions. I doubt we'll ever get the final word on Katrina, but this book might just answer some of the questions that Brinkley's unhinged "Great Deluge" could not.

Monday, June 19, 2006

More fair-weather friends

Another state he won't be visiting. You know, the abortion trigger law makes me sick, too. But the fact is, the legislature in this extremely Catholic/conservtive state has been trying to push an abortion ban through since the Roemer administration, at least. That they were finally able to do so shouldn't surprise anyone with more than a sliver of knowledge about this state: it was inevitable. And like all of the unconstitutional provisions that Louisiana lawmakers from school boards on up insist on writing into law, from abortion notification laws to school prayer intitiatives to ID integration in the schools to increased speed limits to ludicrous open container laws, this one will be challenged in the courts and be swept away; that, too, is inevitable. And Atrios (and Kos) are correct in that Louisiana's legislature and Governor have better things to do. I suspect that Blanco signed this ridiculous bill without a peep as a measure of political payoff for some of the surprising gains she was able to push through this session. Still: Lousiana is dying on the table, and these assholes are obsessed with sex and ghost stories, as per usual. What disgusts me more than even the venality of our leadership, though, is how quickly the lefty-liberal rabble (see the comments on both the atrios entry and Kos's) have decided that THIS is the straw that will ensure they willl (sniff) NEVER visit Louisiana! RIGHTEOUS, Bro! Man, your commenters sure have a lot of bile to disgorge:
I've heard way too many horror stories about Louisiana to even consider going there. BlakNo1 | 06.19.06 - 9:54 am | # ____________ Well I saw New Orleans before it got wiped out, so I guess there's no reason to go back now. Silence Iris, Lurker | 06.19.06 - 10:05 am | # ____________ You know, I keep seeing those "Lousiana: Come visit us because we desperately need your tourism dollars" commercials, and I was really starting to think, "Go, NO, you're going to get back up on your feet..." And then they do this. No state that's going to use my tourism dollars to rape (if you'll excuse the expression) women's rights instead of get their citizens back to normal life post-disaster is getting a dime from me. Yes, maybe I am just a bitch. When I have a penis and therefore have no personal stake in the issue, maybe I'll be a little more forgiving. Maybe. ____________ This one sure did let out a lot of steam from the 'let's rally to save NO' feeling I think everyone in the country carried this year... Perhaps they can make up cancelled conventions and hotel rooms with right-to-life evangelical congresses, maybe once or twice a year. I was even considering migrating there - but not on your life will I consider sending a dime, visiting for a day, or moving there with this odious law on the books. My heart aches for all the pain this would cause the unwanted children, the terrified teen mothers-to-be and the victims of rapists. I'm assuming that there will be an injunction or some immediate appeal when this goes into effect? "What's in the name of lord, that I should fear; To bring my grievance to the public ear?" - The Crisis, January 13, 1777 by TPaine on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 01:13:14 PM PDT
As of this writing, one person on the Eschaton thread and a couple on the Kos thread have voiced objections to this new "boycott." You know what I think? I think it's horseshit. I think that our compassionate progressive liberal brethren are tired of hearing our troubles, and by God if this didn't just give them a solid-gold gift-wrapped excuse to wash their hands of us. They WERE all for helping us get that federal help and rebuilding the city and caring very deeply for our poor but NOW -- well, now that we've gone and done something STUPID they can't in good conscience spend any more imaginary money or potential vacation time here. On our own, again. So, I can see that this is an example of the kind of dangerous political theater that Louisiana's elected officials are so fond of -- a sop to the right-thinking folks back home, an election-year move toward values supported by most of their constituents, even though the moves will likely be found unconstitutional and may result in the loss of face, influence, and future business from the rest of the country. That, I expected. But I didn't expect the liberal left to so cynically abandon us so quickly. All it took was one law, a trigger law not yet in force at that, for the facade to snap and waves of righteous relief at no longer having to associate with the needy lowlives come rushing over the atriots like a cool summer rain. Fuck you clowns. Oh, and Duncan? Markos? Don't think for a second that I will even consider donating time or money to any of the candidates for whom you solicit. My money needs to stay here, to make up for the dozens of dollars you no doubt would have spent, and I will continue to remind my circle of readers that however progressive or positive or needy any candidate in another state might be, we do indeed have more important things to attend to here at home. Sinn Fein.

THE THIRD BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS: Abandon Houston

Yeah, fuck 'em. I wonder where all the NOLA doomsayers are? C'mon, fellas! There's a couple more million people to write off, just down the interstate!

WWJD?

Never mind. I'm in a really foul mood.

Friday, June 16, 2006

2500

2500.
Q Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the President on that? MR. SNOW: It's a number, and every time there's one of these 500 benchmarks people want something ... Any President who goes through a time of war feels very deeply the responsibility for sending men and women into harm's way, and feels very deeply the pain that the families feel. And this President is no different. You've seen it many times. You saw it, you saw it when he was in that ballroom, Terry, and you had this crowd of servicemen and women who were cheering loudly for the President, and he got choked up. So it's always a sad benchmark, and one of the things the President has said is that these people will not die in vain ... Q Was he told about the benchmark, the President? MR. SNOW: I don't know. I'm sure he will hear about it.
1916.

News

In the day's biggest story, possible changes to the Catholic Mass are announced. Out: genuflection. In: crunkuflection'! Here's an awesome distinction. Lafayette Police Chief indicted for illegal wiretapping. Savor the rich, delicious small of irony. Psst - Chief: give Arlen Specter a call. Dollar Bill on his way out. Yay.

Humor

The Kos Kids examine humor, much like Lennie examines mice. The original DKos thread is stunning in its absurd misreadings, self-righteous humorlessness and sniffy polical correctness. Jane has more. The blog that started it all is here and it's the funniest thing I've read in months. Why is this important? It's not, really, but it does serve to reinforce stereotypes at a time when the left can ill affford to remain a caricature, and it certainly points out at least some of the reasons why many people resist taking on the title of left-wig or liberal. Self-righteous humorlessness is not going to lure many converts.So, you know, stop being such a bunch of cunts.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

You. Are. Fucking. Kidding me.

Republican leaders support amnesty for Iraqui insurgents and terrorists. Amnesty for illegal immigrants, many of whom have been in this country for years and have worked and raised families and contributed? No way. Guys who plant car bombs and IEDs? Welcome to the family! You know, it ... it just boggles the ... it just boggles. It's the kind of hypocrisy and flip-flopping and craven quisling that leaves me breathless and dizzy. Isn't this treacherous? Isn't this offering aid and comfort to the enemy, encouraging a plan to let terrorists off the hook? Senator Ted Stevens:
If they bore arms against our people, what's the difference between those people that bore arms against the Union in the War between the States?
Hear that, y'all? They're no different than southerners! From today's White House press conference:
Q Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the President on that? MR. SNOW: It’s a number, and every time there’s one of these 500 benchmarks people want something.
Just a number. And hey, if you're one of the folks who killed one of those 2500, we want you to know that it's no biggie. Y'all come over and have some of this pie.

Their own private Idaho

Here we go

SS, DD

We'll start today with the kind of foreboding move that usually happens in the movie right before the volcano erupts / monster comes ashore / things go horribly wrong, etc: 2theadvocate.com | Politics | Disaster communications bill dies:
Boasso’s proposal is Senate Bill 739. It passed the Senate last month 39-0. However, criticism from Blanco’s office and other problems made the issue controversial in the House Judiciary Committee, which voted 10-4 to shelve the measure. Katrina’s water and wind knocked out land telephone lines and electricity to government and commercial communication towers, which ended or limited the use of radio, cell phones and Internet availability during and days after the storm. Boasso said some hurricane victims died because of the communication breakdowns. The bill would set up an office in charge of communication among law-enforcement authorities. The office would be in the state Office of Homeland Security, with a director in charge. The legislation would also set up a committee of state officials, sheriffs, police, fire chiefs, lawmakers and others to manage federal funds that come to the state for improved communications. In January, Blanco named an executive committee to tackle the issue. However, Boasso and others complained that the panel is dominated by state officials, is not making needed progress and is missing out on federal dollars for communication improvements. “Our problem is the state wants to go in one direction,” said Buddy Hodgkins, assistant executive director for the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association. “The locals cannot afford that direction.” “It’s not going anywhere,” Hodgkins said of communication improvement efforts.
Communication within and between agencies during and after Katrina was disastrous; a comprehensive communications infrastructure for responders was discussed during Pam and in subsequent meetings, but no one thought -- stop me if you've heard this one -- that things would fail so badly. And now, the option of setting up an office in the DHS, from where disaster recovery efforts are supposed to be controlled from, has been tabled in favor of another of Blanco's beloved panels. And those panels always do such a kickass job. What I don't get is how the House Judiciary Committee can still roll over for the governor, especially on an issue like this and at this late date. Hunt Downer says "Don't worry" and everyone else says "Phew! That's a relief"? Since when? And why does Boasso have such a hard time getting traction? Is he just facing a vast force field of ignorance and apathy, or is it his breath or something? Governor Let-us-pray did score a victory by pushing through legislation to strip away some of NOLA's bloated political structure, getting rid of six of seven assessors, two of three elected sheriffs, one of two elected clerks of court and merging three distinct court systems into one. Don't even ask how it got that way. Heh well, actually, it's a funny story, see T. Semmes Walmsley was walking by a pet store one day when he saw this dancing cat and ow ow ow shit aneurysm And now for today's natural wonders: T. brings us her comments on David Vitter's breathtakingly stupid and dishonest letter from the 6/11 Times-Pic. I don't even have the words for this right now; it's this kind of philistine ignorance and bigotry that sends me into white phosphorus mode, but I haven't even had my coffee yet. Just read T. and let me add only, to Senator Vitter, that while everyone appreciates, sincerely, your efforts at passing the Hurricane Recovery package, ANY time spent on the MArriage Protection act or any similar anti-gay marriage proposal is a COMPLETE waste of time, energy and resources, and your last four paragraphs are irrelevant BULLSHIT and your continued demonization of Liberals as opposing all that is right and good is tiresome, insulting, inaccurate, and shows me little other than the limitations of your feeble partisan thinking. You're lucky I haven't had my coffee, or I'd go on about how you're becoming a national embarrassment despite your efforts on the recovery package and how maybe you should take your well-known belligerent personality and give it a rest before you get another assault charge. Maybe you could accomplish some of the people's pressing business during that time -- business that does not include such, yes, David, trivial strawman horseshit. Mmmm coffee. And here, the find of the day: two new political "blogs" at the Daily Advertiser. They're not blogs, of course, they're columns, but dictionaries have been banned at the Advertiser as counter-revolutionary. Stephen Handwerk, in the cunningly titled LeftBlog, sets down the standard line against the Bush tax cuts using sure-fire winning strategies like lots of numbers and math and pseudo-Marxist complaints about the distribution of wealth. This is one reason people avoid the democratic party any more, Steve: y'all are boring. Carl Tritschler, writing in the equally cunningly named RightBlog, more than lives up to his reputation as a first-class pinhead with a column filled with nothing but regurgitated extremist talking points, ludicrous assertions of non-facts and outright lies, and delusional wingnut tough talk. Just go read it, and marvel that the Advertiser sees fit to pay for and print this nonsense from someone widely considered the biggest idiot in Louisiana politics.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Actually, Ray, there is no God

Because if there was, surely He in His beneficence would have stuffed a sock in your mouth by now:
"The hurricane, Nagin said, was an 'unimaginable event,' one he implied may have been designated by God. Before Katrina, Nagin said, New Orleans was a city of 'haves and have nots,' with one of the highest rates of poverty, one of the worst public school systems in the nation and a high percentage of young males involved in crime. 'Then, you know, God looked down on that and said, `You know, I need to change that',' Nagin said. 'And then Katrina happened. And in the midst of all that devastation, God is now allowing us to have an opportunity to reset the table, and that was what the election was all about.'"
Via Dan at N.O. Metblog.

What About The Fucking Dog?

How To Fucking Evacuate:
Where to fucking go? Some options: * Call up the woman whose house you clean and ask her if you can come clean up after her wherever she evacuates. * To the Switzerland of your youth! Relive the summers you spent skiing on Mont Blanc. Have a fling with Katje. Feel alive! What To Fucking Pack: Every Proper Hurricane Evacuation Kit Should Include the Following: Insurance Agent's Phone Number. His cell phone number. His agent code. His brother-in-law's and mother's numbers, addresses, and the GPS coordinates to their homes in Atlanta and/or Houston. Enough cash to pay for toiletries, gas, and other incidentals, like bribing your insurance agent to increase your contents coverage after the fact. ATMs may not be working and your bank may no longer exist. If you own your home, a copy of that document which shows that the bank, not you, is the one who really owns your home (also called a "mortgage"). If you rent, a copy of your lease. You'll need it to burn for warmth on those cold Memphis nights. Your flood insurance papers. For ass wiping. Directions to where you're "going."
Via Dangerblond.

Two important posts

John T. Scott

Artist John T. Scott fights for his life: two lung transplants in two weeks and he still wants to come home. Tonglen going out to John T. Scott.

spasticrobot has good news

It's not all gloom and sturm and doom and drang, although most of it is. spasticrobot brings news of a $750 million dollar initiative from the AFL-CIO. From his linked T-P story:
The centerpiece of the group's Gulf Coast Revitalization Program is a plan to invest $250 million in financing for 5,000 to 10,000 affordable housing units, mostly in the New Orleans area, over the next five to seven years. Forty percent of those would be for low-income residents. In addition to residential structures, the plan calls for a hefty investment in commercial development such as hotels. The AFL-CIO also is in talks with manufactured home builders and hopes to finance construction of a manufacturing plant for those homes in the New Orleans area. Such a facility could churn out 2,000 manufactured homes a year. All of the projects will require 100 percent union work.
Strategic Hotels and Resorts annouced a $715 million project of their own, but that's for downtown. More affordable homes are desperately needed. I wish they had expanded their view to Rita victims; Cameron and Vermilion and parts of Calcasieu were obliterated and then almost completely abandoned, except for some state agencies. And Reggie Bush ponies up to save Ted Gormley stadium. Note that last month, Bush and adidas donated $50k to Holy Rosary High, saving the school from closing. Maybe Rickey Williams and Ziplock can get together and donate some baggies so the weed dealers can keep the kids in Kool-Aid for the summer.

News

House approves assessors merger:
The only two New Orleans area legislators who cast "no" votes on final passage were Reps. Arthur Morrell, D-New Orleans, and Ken Odinet, D-Arabi. Reps. Alex Heaton, D-New Orleans, the brother of New Orleans 7th District Assessor Henry Heaton, and Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-Algiers, son of Algiers Assessor Tom Arnold, argued against the measure but both were recorded as absent on the final vote.
Who were the rest of the no voters? One supposes one could look it up, if one were not so god damned tired. This is interesting:
As a constitutional amendment, the Legislature must pass it by a two-thirds vote and the voters of the state and New Orleans must approve by a simple majority. If the measure passes statewide but fails in New Orleans, it is dead.
Another fascinating Louisiana political fact. One assumes that if the measure passes in New Orleans but fails in the state, it is also dead, but one thing I've learned from years of watching Louisiana politics is that oh hey look someone dropped a quarter The Red Cross coming through with satellite phones, among other things. These are the satellite phones that everyone at the Hurricane Pam exercise swore they had on hand and would be using when the big one hit. Nice to see someone is taking some advice. $94 billion spending package. House passed it yesterday; Senate will probably vote today. Riders and lamprey-like amendments were lopped off (!) and David Vitter took time off from fighting the scourge of homosexual marriage to argue for the bill (!!), which includes $3 million for a Corps study on closing the MR-GO, which doesn't have a chance in hell of happening, but still: (!!!). What the fuck is going on up there? Is it sweeps week? An ethics law "adjustment". Yes well. Hrrumph. I can see how allowing school board relations to be hired for school board business in towns with a population under 26,000 would almost be a necessity. Just imagine if the St. Martin parish school board couldn't hire relatives. They'd have to bus workers in from Dry Prong, for Christ's sake. 75mph highways? I got some news for you guys. As long as we're amending rules to conform to what everyone does anyway, just go ahead and make it 85, and as long as I have your ear, an open container isn't really open if it's in a car, which is enclosed, right? Oh, and if chickens aren't animals, what are they? Are they like moss or yeast or something? Tits spotted in Lafayette. Okay, fine. Tits striped in Lafayette.

Heartbreaker

From TBogg. Make sure you follow his link.

Blog Roundup

My kids are watching the latest Netflix delivery: Spider-Man cartoons from 1967. Spidey is currently beating up Mysterio in a bar fight. ~ Tim takes on defeatist engineers. An excellent Moldy City post:
the discussion rapidly reached a level of utter clowning that Bob Somerby couldn't begin to describe. Remember the panel consisted of four of the city's top political reporters, including a journalism professor who considers his task, well: His job, his niche, is asking the reporters why the hard questions are going either unanswered or - even worse - unasked. I suppose the professor is just more interested in underlying philosophical questions than questions about factual details. One of the panelists did explain that Landrieu offered the excuse that he was uninformed about the city's financial condition because Nagin refused to share the necessary information. However, they all chuckled in agreement that Landrieu's excuse was a lame one, because, as Norman Robinson pointed out, if BGR was able to gain access to the city financial figure, so Landrieu should have been able to. That four of the city's top journalist could be that uninformed shouldn't be overly surprisingly, that they should all be too lazy to look at the BGR report shouldn't be surprisingly, that contemporary journalists should reduce a factually resolvable dispute into a he said/she said issue shouldn't be at all surprising. But that all four would reach the same incorrect conclusion from uninformed speculation and decide to laugh at the candidate that the facts actually backed is just, I was going to say inconceivable, unfortunately it's not.
Another excellent post from bayoustjohndavid here on the unglamorous story of the sewage and water board, and a followup on the loathsome Jack Kent, Jr. and Marine Shale. Maitri on theft:
As soon as they were able to get back to New Orleans, D and B painstakingly gathered all of their valuable possessions that survived - silver, decades’ worth of family photographs, paintings, other heirlooms - and placed them all in one of those “safe” storage pods. Once they moved into a small place in MidCity by the Fairgrounds, the pod sat outside on the street while the couple searched for storage space. This past Friday morning, D and B woke up to find that the pod had vanished overnight. All the police had to say about it was, “Sorry, tough luck.” It is a big city.
Ernie points to an interesting New Yorker review of The Big Sleazy. I thought we were all done here. I thought we had at least come to the beginnings of understanding and were agreed that there was a common goal. But I guess not. What a condescending, arrogant, and insulting post. Please realize that you're not the sole occupant of the moral high ground. Quit smearing people with charges of spreading "hatred". You probably should avoid quoting Gandhi and Booker T. Washington on hatred and degradation in a post that is essentially about how someone disagreed with you on the internet. It's "hate mongers", not "mongrels." You want to be positive, be positive. Good for you. You can stop patting yourself on the back now.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP JESUS

What a bunch of whining maggots. The movers and shakers of the new Democratic netroots acting like bunch of junior high school girls. Spare me.

New Suspect Device Comic up

Fur-friendly evacuation plan faces full House

The Louisiana Senate passes pet evacuation bill. Aren't these the same guys who said that chickens aren't really animals?

Scout brings the word to Firedoglake: We Are Not Okay

Introducing your new FEMA Regional Director

Monday, June 12, 2006

Crapulent snurf machine

A Tiny Revolution: Peter Beinart Finally Achieves 100% Gibberish: "For years Peter 'Pe-Nart' Beinart has attempted to speak in complete gibberish. And he's gotten close—70% gibberish, 86% gibberish, 93% gibberish. But it's only in a recent Q & A with Kevin Drum about Beinart's book The Good Fight that he's reached his goal of 100% (reg. req.): Jihadism sits at the center of a series of globalization-related threats, including global warming, pandemics, and financial contagion, which are powered by globalization-related technologies, and all of which threaten the United States more than other countries. This is outstanding work. The only way his point could be improved would be to put it like this: Gerbil narcolepsy sofa-bed detritus squanders Bigfoot. Crapulent snurf machine? Crapulent snurf machine knob knobbler! Groucho lithe koala traipsing noreaster flange mucus. Mithril acne fluffernutter shamus fling-ding-a-ling-doo!"

O-kay ...

WWLTV - Seminary president: Katrina washed Satan out of New Orleans:
Kelly said New Orleans used to be "a seat of Satan" where evangelists felt oppressed by "the spiritual darkness of that place." But he said, "Satan got floated out of the flood," leaving New Orleans open and ready to listen to "the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Whatever do you suppose he could be on about.

what

Nobody move and maybe it'll just pass on by

Saturday, June 10, 2006

City of NOLA to Firefighters: Drop Dead

WWLTV.com: New Orleans Firefighters may lose the trailers they're living in: " The firefighters at Engine House No. 12 on Franklin Avenue have been in living together in a trailer that had been supplied by the city while their living quarters were gutted. But on Thursday, the city contacted Engine House No. 12, along with four other companies living in similar situations, and informed them that their trailers were being repossessed. “They were given orders through their supervisor to pack their personal things up and get ready because the trailers were going to be picked up in about another day or so,” said Fire Chief Norman Woodrige. When Woodrige found out the trailers were being taken because of the city's missed payment to the trailer company, he said he immediately began looking for other options. “…We need to just get our manpower situation together in terms of how we're gonna situate them; where we're going to be at location wise,” he said. Two stations, Engine Houses No. 12 and No. 18, located in Lakeview, would combine with other companies, Woodrige said. But those plans concerned New Orleans Firefighters Association President Nick Felton. “If they have to move to another location, that means they are gonna increase response time. That’s unacceptable,” Felton said. Woodrige said he could not say for certain that the move would have an adverse affect on response time. “I couldn't say that until we actually get out there and make these runs and see how much time it takes us to make these runs,” Woodrige said At three of the station houses that are supposed to lose their trailers, Chief Woodrige said the firemen will be housed inside their respective buildings, but the problem facing Engine House 27 on Elysian Fields is that they don't have air conditioning. Firefighters said they haven’t had air conditioning since the storm. Huge fans blow around the warm muggy air as the firemen eat and work in between calls. Difficult working conditions made worse by the fact that a brand new donated air conditioner has been sitting in the middle of the firehouse for four months waiting to be connected. Felton said the temperature inside the engine house would top 100 degrees, and described the living conditions as being similar to sitting in a car without any air conditioning." (Via Gentilly Girl.)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Kung Fu Monkey

First let me pass on a big buttery fuck you to Blogger for shitting the bed for two straight days;, and although it's old news by now, let me reiterate that David Vitter is the most useless wad of pandering mealy-brained dogflesh east of the brazos for well you know what for. Now. Reader Sean, in the comments, reminds us of a great Kung-Fu Monkey post from a few weeks back (I actually linked to it before, but it's worth reading again. It did remind me that I should point out this brain meltingly-articulate piece of writing that should be nailed at eye level facing every toilet in America. It answers my somewhat pathetic query about what it means to "support the troops" in a way that is clear, concise, and unforgettable.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I guess everything in New Orleans and along the coast and the school system and the charity hospital system and all of that must be all taken care of

because I can see no other reason for not only Vitty-cent's breathakingly stupid statement that gay marriage is the most important issue facing this country, but also this: 2theadvocate.com | Panel edits Ten Commandments. This is what your elected officials spend their time on. This is also what lunatics in the bughouse spend their time on, as they mutter and wail and shuffle around the sunroom waiting for Big Nurse to come around and put a head on their Haldol. Coincidence? Run the fuckers out. Each and every one.

Yes

San Franciscophobia

Garrison Keillor on gay marriage and the republican party:
... one of the basic assumptions of American culture is falling apart: the competence of Republicans. You might not have always liked Republicans, but you could count on them to manage the bank. They might be lousy tippers, act snooty, talk through their noses, wear spats and splash mud on you as they race their Pierce-Arrows through the village, but you knew they could do the math. To see them produce a ninny and then follow him loyally into the swamp for five years is disconcerting, like seeing the Rolling Stones take up lite jazz. So here we are at an uneasy point in our history, mired in a costly war and getting nowhere, a supine Congress granting absolute power to a president who seems to get smaller and dimmer, and the best the Republicans can offer is San Franciscophobia? This is beyond pitiful. This is violently stupid. It is painful to look at your father and realize the old man should not be allowed to manage his own money anymore. This is the discovery the country has made about the party in power. They are inept. The checkbook needs to be taken away. They will rant, they will screech, they will wave their canes at you and call you all sorts of names, but you have to do what you have to do.

Brinkley in TOA

The Times finally comes up with a cover story that they could possibly take a little pride in, and it (or at least the online version; I haven't seen the paper yet) is so full of typos that it's almost unreadable. Speaking of unreadable, Gene Williams keeps most of the focus on Doug Brinkley's words, which is a good thing, since Gene on his own tends to write lines like "Brinkley doesn't look the part of a staid college professor, which he is." I'm surprised (No, that's a lie - I'm not surprised) that Gene doesn't bring up the controversy surrounding Brinkley's vicious treatment of Nagin, and whether it contributed to Nagin's reelection. Maybe Gene just doesn't read the newspapers.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Rita's victims

Claire Taylor at the Advertisier turns in two good pieces on Rita's legacy, here and here. Cameron and Vermilionparishes are still in about the same shape they were in seven months ago; in a way, the damage was worse than Katrina's simply because it was a shorter distance to obliteration for many of the residents, especially in Cameron. Any rebuilding is being done entirely by residents, s, by hand, slowly and painstakingly.
Somehow, the couple did not qualify for a FEMA trailer and their insurance adjuster said they had insufficient damage even though the only thing Rita left them were a few palm trees and holes in the sand where their home and business once stood. So, the Meauxs put a camper on their property, living there until their full-size trailer is ready for occupancy. At 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, theirs became the first full-size mobile home to receive electricity on Holly Beach.
That's 8 months after the storm, by the way. The trailers still aren't ready.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hey look, it's the dude who got the pool cue stuck inside the llama!

Pray that you never fall on Athenae's bad side.

YES!

Tim nails Ivor van Heerden, the glory-loving media whore from the LSU Hurricane center. Faithful readers will remember that I have been pointing out Ivor's shortcomimngs since the storm -- he claimed that he was a major participant and mover/shaker behind the Hurricane Pam exercise, when in fact he was asked to leave after a couple of days -- and Tim takes him down masterfully.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Corps takes blame

... for New Orleans flooding. As Dangle suggests, make sure this gets passed around. The flooding was not the inevitable result of stupid people living in an unsafe place: it was the result of -- at best -- gross incompetence.

Another massacre

11 people. I eagerly await the right-wing pundit response expaining just how they all somehow deserved it, or started it by living where they live, or how you just have to expect this sort of thing and to grow up and move on. Via 2millionth.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fag-Tard alliance promopts awesome display of ignorant hateful right-wingnut religious brainpuke

Homosexual prom king, special needs prom queen shatter norms at Murrieta. Make sure you wade around in the comments. Here's a good one: "Because of homosexuality and mass abortions our nation will not be able to sustain itself and we will need to have mass immigration. Do these students know that the homosexual lifestyle is plagued by death and aids. You cannot procreate by having anal sex. All these stupid kids know is what they see on MTV and how cool it is to be gay." TOTALLY. Sucking cock is the new black! And mental retardation is trés trendy! I can't wait till all you white christians die out and we can open the floodgates for the Mexicans and the negroes and, dare I say it, the gay Mexican negroes (or "Mesqueerlaros")? I like this guy, actually:
considering Christianity wrote on May 31, 2006 1:57 PM:"Hmmm, I was thinking of converting to Christianity, but have decided that I just don't have enough anger in me."
Via Leth.

Michelle Malkin on murdering Iraqi toddlers

It’s Hurricane Season: Know Where Your Levee Is?

Good post from Christy at Firedoglake

Iraqis say Marines went house to house killing Haditha residents. 'I wish I had died with them,' says a child who saw her family slain.

A Town Awoke to Slaughter - Los Angeles Times:
"Waleed Abdul Hameed, a 48-year-old worker in Al Anbar's religious affairs office, was among the first of the family members to be gunned down. His 9-year-old daughter, Eman, said she was still wearing her pajamas when the Marines arrived. Her 7-year-old brother, Abdul Rahman, said he hid his face with a blanket when his father was shot. A few minutes later, the boy saw his mother fall to the ground, dying. 'I saw her while she was crying,' he said. 'She fell down on the floor bleeding.' Speaking days ago in Haditha, months after the attacks, the boy broke into tears, covered his eyes with his hands, and began to mutter to himself. At his side, his elder sister began to speak again. Eman described how the two had waited for help, the bodies of their family members sprawled on the floor. 'We were scared,' she said. 'I tried to hide under the bed.' With shrapnel injuries to her legs, she lay still for two hours."
You know what? Fuck the troops. If this is what it's come down to, fuck 'em all. Pull them out, bring them home, but fuck any more support for killing. The whole war -- the WHOLE war, from presidents to secretaries to generals to troops on the ground -- is an abomination. No more good feeling, no more "support" for the war in any way, shape or form, no more fucking yellow ribbons. Bring the innocent back home and punish the guilty and end it all now. You know, I don't have anything against the people who have chosen to join the military, in general. I really don't. And, unlike the microcephalic right-wing columnists who will tell you that liberals want the US to lose and the terrorists to win ... that's so insulting and twisted that it's impossible to really answer. I want the war in Iraq to end. I'd like to see bin Laden's head on a stake, sure, but the truth is I don't give a fuck who "wins" in Iraq because there can be no winners in a war so entirely baseless and corrupt. The only way for America to "win" in Iraq is to leave before both Iraq and the US are torn apart by more murders, more lies, more fruitless battles. I do not care what Malkin or Limbaugh or O'Reilly or any more local critics might think of this position: it's the right one, and I decline to participate in some jingoist hallucination about supporting or troops and the job they're doing when they aren't doing much except killing and being killed. I really don't want any more US soldiers to die. I want them all home. I don't want any more Iraqis to die, either. I don't want any more children dead or maimed or living with the memory of seeing their fathers and mothers shot down in the street. But as long as we stay, it's all guaranteed. No one will ever win anything in Iraq. Don't call it turning my back on the troops; call it toughlove. Think of it as a concerned parent no longer supplying money and support to a child bent on self-desruction and crime. Just what does liberal "support" for the troops ential, anyway? USO shows with Al Franken? Yellow ribbons? Or just words designed to play into someone else's definition of "moderate"? I can't do it. I can't ignore it. I can't somehow divide my conscience into "war bad, but troops okay." My withdrawl of support -- whatever that is -- has nothing to do with wanting soldiers dead or wanting anyone to "lose" or "win." It has to do with no longer rationalizing pointless deaths. And the only thing "irrelevant" is your opinion, Glenn. There are no options left other than a fast slide into complete degredation and evil. It's all over. It has to be. This right-wing dream of empire and destruction and purity: it's done. You're done. You and your kind have come closer to breaking the soul of America than any revolutionary. Over. All of it.

Michael Homan: My Testimony Against the Insurance Industry

An update on Homan's battle against the insurance industry. Potential good news; my hatred of the home insurance industry is boundless, and the thought that they might finally begin to be forced to live up to their stated obligations makes me all sunny inside.

JD the DJ--Airchecks

Fascinating stuff vie WorldClass and 3rd Battle: Vintage air checks from New Orleans radio.

Nine Months