Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday Pet Blogging

I was visited this morning by a pair of large, burly bruisers wearing sunglasses and carrying baseball bats. They identified themselves as special agents of Blogger. They reminded me that there is a Federal law mandating pet blogging on either Thurday or Friday, and that I have yet to post any pet pictures... and this blog started months ago. As they so eloquently put it, "If y'all don' put up pitchers of yer pets, the terrists have won."

So to keep myself from an all-expense paid trip to Club Gitmo....
The Dreaded Wild Kitty of Borneo

The Great Lakes Pasture Wolf
guarding her kill from other predators

I wouldn't want anyone to think I don't love America.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Brown is out...

I just heard on NBC News that Michael Brown has resigned as head of FEMA. Too bad is took this kind of disaster to make it obvious that Brown -- and the rest of the Bushies -- are completely incompetent.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"We Didn't Know..."

The Feds and the White House keep saying "We didn't know it would be this bad." Need more proof that they're lying sacks of shit?

They obviously don't read National Geographic. Like this article from October, 2004:

The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

Link via Crisis Manager, and Jonathan Bernstein, Bernstein Crisis Management.

This Explains a LOT!

From the Department of Homeland Security web site:

“DHS is truly grateful to the airlines for their immediate and generous contribution to help us to bring hurricane victims to safety,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Jackson.

This really would explain it, wouldn't it?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The World Has ENDED...

Michelle Malkin is making sense!

AND she's making sense here, too!

I don't believe.

I just do not friggin believe it.

Billmon on the Feds

Billmon, in his usual inimitable fashon, has a fascinating piece up on his blog, comparing the Federal response to Katrina with the response to last year's Florida hurricanes. In it, he points out the apparently magical properties of years divisible by two ("and particularly every other year divisible by two").

Another masterful indictment of the current administration.

More on NOLA, Part II

Maureen Dowd's op-ed piece in Saturday's Times is well worth reading, as is Frank Rich's piece today.

There's also an article on how Katrina has affected the NO Police Dept: at least two officers (one an aid to the Superintendent) have committed suicide; others have abandoned their posts and fled. As a former cop, I can't tell you how distressing that piece of information was. To me, it shows that the police in NO have accepted these "facts":
  • They're on their own, and nobody's going to help them
  • The system they have sworn to uphold and defend has abandoned them
  • It was time to put their own safety and the safety of their loved ones ahead of the system that has betrayed them
Now, no one goes into law enforcement for the money... all in all, cops get paid about 10% of their true worth to society (same with firefighters and EMS personnel). Nor do people enter these fields for the snazzy uniforms (generally polyester, which is hot in the summer, cold in the winter and always, but always, looks crappy). No, people go into emergency services because they want to "try to make a difference", they want to make society safer, better, more productive. Try to imagine what these cops must have experienced for them to decide to flee.

The cops in NYC on 9-11 (and also the FDNY and EMS, the Port Authority staff, and hundreds or thousands of others) stood their ground, doing what they had sworn to do. How many died in that effort? 343 firefighters, and hundreds of law enforcement officers (local, state and Federal).

Why didn't they flee?

Easy. They knew help was on the way. Thousands of volunteers -- many trained, most not -- were already heading for New York, even before the towers fell. The next day, there was a measurable Federal presence (aside from Twig with his bullhorn).

In New Orleans, though, it was different.
They were left on their own for five days, days in which Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin were begging for help. Five days in which people were dying, the city was dying... and no one came.

The disaster in NYC covered a few square blocks; in New Orleans, the entire city was under water. NYC was able to call for assistance from New Jersey, Connecticut, and the rest of the Northeast. New Orleans couldn't: the entire deep South had been clobbered (after all, New Orleans is 'the big story' but there are also Biloxi, Gulfport and countless smaller communities). The Twin Towers tragedy affected the whole world, that's true, but -- for the most part -- the emergency workers knew their loved ones were safe somewhere else. The cops and firefighters and EMS workers in New Orleans knew their loved ones were trapped, or missing... or dead.

And they knew no one cared.

Sure, the locals pitched in and helped the best they could. Even the communities virtually destroyed by Katrina tried to help each other. But where were the Feds?

FEMA was gutted under Bush's insane privatization policies, their training and mitigation mandates transferred to other parts of DHS or to the private sector. Millions of dollars in levee improvements were dropped, in favor of paying for Bush's war of choice in Iraq. A third of the National Guard troops from the affected areas -- troops that would have been available for search and rescue, security, fire fighting -- and half their equipment was halfway around the globe, defending Halliburton's right to make obscene profits.

DHS itself was concentrating exclusively on terrorism, to the exclusion of all other disasters in their purview. As security expert Bruce Schneier put it (several times), they were 'preparing for the last attack'. FEMA's own experts considered a breach of the levees to be one of the three most likely disasters facing the US... and the most costly, in terms of lives and dollars.

The Feds don't care.

Evacuation from New Orleans was tough, granted. How in hell do you move 450,000 people quickly and safely? But for the Feds to say, "we're sending 500 buses"?!? Mayor Nagin was right when he said the Feds should nationalize Greyhound and send their entire fleet. And there's a report that refugees from the Hyatt in New Orleans were moved to the head of the evacuation line at one point; yeah, I can understand the comments that 'rich whites are more important than poor blacks'. And I can understand -- and sympathize with -- rapper Kanye West's statement (on the NBC concert) that Bush "doesn't care about black people".

And where does DHS Secretary Chertoff get off claiming he "didn't know" there were 20,000 evacuees in the Superdome and 25,00 at the Convention Center? For Christ's sake, it's his job to know.

The Feds don't care.

Denny Hastert says we should bulldoze New Orleans instead of rebuilding they city.

Bush turns the worst disaster in American history into a comedy sketch: "I can't wait to sit on Trent Lott's porch".

The Feds don't care.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

More on NOLA

In no particular order:

  • I heard Dear Leader's weekly address today. The Federal response to Katrina is "unacceptable". This from the man who was too busy strumming his git-tar with his buddies... whose Secretary of State was laughing at "Spamalot" and blowing wads at Feragamo... whose former head of FEMA , Joe Allbaugh, is now a lobbyist for Halliburton subsidiary KBR. "Unacceptable". Ya think?!?
  • Halliburton has been tasked to repair Naval facilities damaged by Katrina. Big surprise, right? Who'da thunk BushCo would use this disaster to further enrich their corrupt cronies? (Hallibutron Watch, via First Draft)
  • The NBC concert last night was interesting, but for a strange reason. Rapper Kenye West said -- flat out -- that the preznit "doesn't care about black people". When the concert was repeated, NBC did not cut that part. They also included some fairly explicit commentary from Brian Williams, Mayor Nagin, and others. The only comment supportive of Twig was from Twig himself.
  • Preznit was talking to two black women, trying to get them to a Salvation Army center. They kept telling him, "It's gone". Bush, of course, couldn't comprehend that, and wound up looking an even bigger fool than he already is.
  • Skippy's Red Cross donation challenge is going strong. Donate. Add a penny to show you were convinced by bloggers. Volunteer. Give blood. Pray, too.
  • Stupidest Headline EVER Published: "Jobless Rate in Gulf Coast Likely to Surge". Skippy linked to this LA Times headline; I couldn't find the article, so it appears some editor slapped his forehead (then slapped the writer) and fixed it. As the lovely-yet-talented Mrs. 618 said, "Duh! There's noplace to go to work".

Friday, September 02, 2005

Follow Up to Skippy's Challenge

Well, my wife and I contributed 20.01, the best we could do under Bush's "economic miracle". On the other hand, I've been a first aid/cpr instructor and disaster team member for 15 years. The Red Cross, by the way, is always seeking donations and -- more important -- volunteers.

You don't need special skills to volunteer. You can answer phones, help with the mail, etc. If you do have special skills, that's even better. No matter what your skill level, we can find a place for you.

And it doesn't have to be a major disaster, either. The Red Cross responds to hubdreds of emergencies a day across the country. Take a look at the scene of the next 'real' fire in your home towm. Chances are, the Red Cross will show up with food and drink for victims and firefighters, shelter assistance, clothing vouchers, all the things to help the victims get back on their feet.

Call your local chapter to see how you can help.

Back to Skippy's challenge: I would love it if every person who reads this blog (all 3-4 of you) sent a donation to the Red Cross. Remember to add one penny; this is how the RC will know these donations are coming as a result of all the bloggers working together.

And read Skippy's blog; he hit a million visitors a couple of weks ago, and needs to hit a million bucks in Red Cross donations.

Skippy Does It... Again!

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo has a GREAT idea: donate to the Red Cross and add one penny, as an indication that the donation came as a result of bloggers. In the "weird mix of the day", Skippy (very liberal, of course) has been joined in this effort by Glen Reynolds of "InstaPundit" -- yeah, the arch-conservative. He started with a donation of $100.01 and challenged everyone to match him. The first blogger to take the challenge was able to contribute even more!

And as Skippy says, if you can't afford $100.01, any amount over $5.01 will help.

Just remember to add the penny.

Oh, and pass it on.