Thursday, September 29, 2005

What's With All the GOP Dry Drunks?

I heard on NPR an interview with a Tom DeLay biographer and personal friend of the indicted former exterminator.
Seems DeLay was raised by an alcoholic father and abused mother, then turned out to have a pretty severe alcoholism problem himself- until he found Jesus in his 30's.

So, like Bush in the White House, we had another dry drunk (aka: untreated alcoholic) running things in Congress.

Seems like, in order to hold a major spot in Republican politics, one needs to be either a dry drunk, a relapsed drunk or a closeted homosexual.
All three conditions make for a lot of hidden rage, secrecy and control issues.

Everyone has heard of or seen the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous- but here are the 12 steps for a typical dry drunk. See if they remind you of anyone in public office.

1. I decided I could handle any emotional problem if other people would just quit trying to run my life.
2. I firmly believe that there is no greater power than myself and anyone who says differently is insane.
3. I made a decision to remove my will and my life from God, who didn’t understand me anyway.
4. I made a searching and thorough moral inventory of everyone I know, so they couldn’t fool me and take advantage of my good nature.
5. I sought these people out and tried to get them to admit to me, by God, the exact nature of their wrongs.
6. I became willing to help these people to get rid of their defects of character.
7. I was humble enough to ask these people to remove their shortcomings.
8. I kept a list of all the people who had harmed me and waited patiently for a chance to get even with them.
9. I got even with these people whenever possible except when to do so would get me in trouble.
10. I continued to take everyone’s inventory and when they were wrong, which is most of the time, I promptly made them admit it.
11. Sought through the concentration of my will power to get God, who didn’t understand me anyway, to see that my ideas were best and he ought to give me the power to carry them out.
12. Having maintained my emotional problems, as a result of these steps, I recommend them to others who want to lose their hard earned status and wish to be left alone to practice neurosis in everything they do for the rest of their lives.
Survivor TONIGHT

Nakum's Blake or Yaxha's Amy are my picks for the probable boot.
Blake is sickly and Amy is goofy.
Also, please note the new Survivor Castmembers Blog listed to the right. It's got a bunch of former castaways talking smack about Survivor Guatemala.

Your picks?
An Excerpt from the AP- with a surprise ending

"...But by Tuesday, as the grand jury completed its work in Austin, Texas, Blunt forcefully asserted his claim to the job in conversations with the speaker, according to several GOP officials.
At the same time, conservative lawmakers quickly made known their unhappiness with Dreier as a potential stand-in for DeLay.
At a private midday meeting, several conservative lawmakers argued that Dreier's voting record was too moderate. According to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, some participants in the meeting said the Californian had voted in favor of expanded federal funding for stem cell research and against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. There also was grumbling that the Californian favored a less restrictive policy on immigration than many conservatives.
"There was a lot of discussion in that room about will ... he advance the conservative agenda?" said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who attended the meeting and said he personally would have been comfortable with Dreier in the post.
Other officials said a show of hands near the end of the session showed support for a postponement in selecting a temporary majority leader if it were to be Dreier. A delegation was dispatched to inform Hastert, who in the meantime had decided to recommend Blunt instead...."

DUH! The GOP objected to David Dreier because he's ANOTHER CLOSETED GOP FAGGOT!!!
When will the Democrats jump on all this closeted, self-loathing, rampant homosexuality in the GOP?
Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Rebublican National Committee is gay.
Scott Mc Clellan, White House Spokesman is gay.
David Dreier is gay.
Bush's favorite former White House Press Corps 'reporter,' Jeff Gannon Guckert is a gay male escort!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tom Delay Should be Sued for Slander

Disgraced Congressman Tom DeLay's statement after his indictment was so defamatory and whiny regarding Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, Earle should sue him for slander AND libel if anyone publishes his horseshit denial.
DeLay has been chastised by his own colleagues for Congressional impropriety several times already. He's a vengeful bully, a crooked rat and a filthy liar with a bad reputation.
While he was in the Texas legislature, DeLay used every illegal trick in the book to tip the balance toward the GOP. His redistricting master plan created a voting district map so convoluted, it looks like the Monty Python crew created it as a political satire.
DeLay has finally gotten his comeuppance.
Campaign finance laws are clearly stated in Texas.
DeLay facilitated money laundering for the Texas GOP, and the evidence is abundant and clear.
Ronnie Earle is paid to investigate crime and indict criminals when the law is broken.
He's gone after crooks in both parties in Texas. AND he's indicted more DEMOCRATS in Texas than he has Republicans. That's a fact, and that's his job.

Former exterminator DeLay understands how rodents and insects act when they are cornered. He is clearly mimicking their behavior now that he's been cornered. He's a disgraceful person.

And Bush? His closeted gay spokesman, Scotty McClellan, said Bush "still considers DeLay a close friend and an effective leader."

That figures.
Rep. Waxman and Leader Pelosi Introduce Anti-Cronyism Bill

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 -- Rep. Henry A. Waxman and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi introduce the Anti-Cronyism and Public Safety Act, which would prohibit the President from appointing unqualified individuals to critical public safety positions in the government..."

Finally, the Democrats are starting to call for some Bush accountability.
Can you imagine having the need to introduce such a bill?
What an embarrassing time to be an American.
Please, Bush, Stay Out of the Gulf States and Go Back on Vacation
-A Karen Zipdrive Blogatorial

I am so sick of that imbecile Bush wasting Air Force One jet fuel on so many meaningless photo ops and trite, gibberish-filled speeches down in the hurricane ravaged areas of the Gulf.
Some people are so stupid, they think he did a much better job on Hurricane Rita than Katrina- not noticing that Rita was a far less gigantic hurricane, or that when Texas got involved, Bush suddenly seemed more interested.
My friends who live in Louisiana and were impacted by the hurricanes describe the federal response as a massive clusterfuck. They sure as hell aren't blaming the governor or the mayor of New Orleans like the Feds are.
I mean, think about it.
Why would the governor or the mayor not try with all their might to move heaven and earth to do everything they could to save lives and get things moving? Does anyone actually believe Governor Blanco didn't try to get the Feds involved well in advance of the hurricane?

Maybe Bush just didn't care that much about the Democratic mayor and governor of an impoverished, largely African American state's weather problems. All he seemed to know about Louisiana when he finally got there was that N'awlins used to be a great place for him to get drunk off his ass.

When Hurricane Rita threatened Texas, suddenly Bush snaps out of his indifferent stupor and rides in on his white horse and works with GOP Gov. Rick Perry to evacuate the hell out of the Texas Gulf Coast before it even started drizzling or getting breezy.
After Hurricane Rita turned out to be much weaker than Katrina and inflicted less damage once it hit land, Bush's lemmings were lauding his and the Fed's much-improved response.
Tell it to evacuees who spent 15-24 hours on the freeway to escape the hurricane.
With nearly five years of bullshit about national security, you'd think Bush's minions would have thought over some sort of mass evacuation plans in advance.
Now Bush wants to reimburse churches that helped evacuees with taxpayer money.
Churches collect money all the freakin' time to help the needy.
It was time for them to pony up.
Had Bush ever read the constitution, he'd have caught that "separation of church and state" thing.
And don't get me started on Brownie.
As long as Brownie's within 100 miles of FEMA offices, Bush has shown us once again he hasn't got a lick of sense-- and doesn't give a damn what the American taxpayers think.
Think about it- is Brownie worth the $13,300 a month he's still getting paid?

Bush would do us all a favor if he'd take his dumb, lazy ass back to Crawford, have his secret service detail guard the house from the outside, then chop up a few big lines of cocaine to go with his shots of Jack Daniels.
He can get nice and blitzed, then go outside and do what he does best:
Clear brush and ride his little bike until his abysmal term ends 1,210 days from today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Exterminating the Exterminator?
Let's Hope So!

DeLay Probe Winds Down; Charges May Loom
By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A Texas grand jury's recent interest in conspiracy charges could lead to last-minute criminal indictments — possibly against House Majority Leader
Tom DeLay — as it wraps up its investigation Wednesday into DeLay's state political organization, according to lawyers with knowledge of the case.
Conspiracy counts against two DeLay associates this month raised concerns with DeLay's lawyers, who fear the chances are greater that the majority leader could be charged with being part of the conspiracy. Before these counts, the investigation was more narrowly focused on the state election code.
By expanding the charges to include conspiracy, prosecutors made it possible for the Travis County grand jury to bring charges against DeLay. Otherwise, the grand jury would have lacked jurisdiction under state laws.
The Associated Press spoke to several lawyers familiar with the case, all of whom requested anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly. DeLay, R-Texas, said Tuesday that prosecutors have interviewed him. He has insisted he committed no crimes and says Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, is pursuing the case for political reasons.
The disclosure came as congressional officials said top House Republicans were quietly considering how to respond if an indictment were issued.
House GOP rules require any member of the elected leadership to step down temporarily if indicted, and it would be up to the rank and file to select an interim replacement.
Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., could make a recommendation, whether choosing to elevate another member of the leadership or tapping an alternative to reduce the possibility of a struggle if DeLay were cleared and then sought to reclaim his post.
Asked what he had heard of any late developments, DeLay said Tuesday, "Not a word."
He also said he earlier "had an interview" with prosecutors, adding, "everybody knows that."
The 11-term congressman has served as No. 2 in the House GOP leadership for three years, credited with maintaining iron discipline within the party and keeping Republicans in control of the chamber.
He has retained the loyalty of most party members despite running into ethical problems last year. In a rare rebuke of a House leader, the ethics committee admonished DeLay three times for pressuring a fellow congressman, involving the Federal Aviation Administration in a political dispute and discussing energy legislation with lobbyists at a golf outing.
The grand jury's finale coincides with a wide swath of political trouble for the GOP. Ethical questions have been raised about stock sales by the Republican leader of the Senate, Bill Frist, R-Tenn.
And President Bush, an uneasy ally of DeLay, faces the lowest approval ratings of his presidency.
The Texas grand jury has charged that corporate donations given to Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee — formed by DeLay — were used to support state candidates in violation of state law. Texas law prohibits corporate money to be used to advocate the election or defeat of candidates; it is allowed only for administrative expenses.
Once DeLay helped Republicans win control of the state Legislature in 2002, the majority leader engineered a Republican redistricting plan that gave the state's U.S. House delegation a 21-11 majority in the current Congress. The effort helped Republicans increase their House margin by five seats this year.
Three of DeLay's political associates, the PAC itself, several corporate donors and a Texas business organization have been indicted so far — but not DeLay himself.
On Sept. 13, the grand jury re-indicted two of the associates, Jim Ellis and John Colyandro.
The new charges included the criminal conspiracy counts.
The legal sources said that if the case had remained solely under the state election code, DeLay could only be indicted in his home county, Fort Bend.
The grand jury has charged that Texans for a Republican Majority and the Texas Association of Business worked together to circumvent the election code and funnel "massive amounts of secret corporate wealth" into campaigns, said Earle, the Travis County prosecutor.
The conspiracy charges were brought against Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee — Americans for a Republican Majority — and John Colyandro, former executive director of Texans for a Republican Majority. They had previously been indicted on charges of laundering $190,000 in corporate donations.
The conspiracy counts against Ellis and Colyandro could bring a punishment of 180 days to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Makes Me Want to Upchuck:

WE'RE STILL PAYING MIKE BROWN'S SALARY: Mike Brown may have resigned earlier this month as FEMA director amid intense public criticism, but taxpayers are still paying his salary.
Brown remains on the FEMA payroll as a consultant so that the agency can receive a "proper download of his experience."
The Department of Homeland Security is already spinning the story; spokesman Russ Knocke says that "Brown is continuing to work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency at full pay, with his Sept. 12 resignation not taking effect for two more weeks." Whatever happened to Brown's promise on the day he resigned? "It is important that I leave now to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA"

But wait! There's MORE!

HOMELAND SECURITY -- STATESIDE NATIONAL GUARD FACE CRITICAL EQUIPMENT SHORTAGE: The Christian Science Monitor reports that the National Guard's work in the Gulf Coast exposed the shortage of equipment Guard troops face here at home. With much of their military equipment overseas in Iraq, the Monitor reports that the Guard has "only 34 percent of its equipment available in the United States." The war in Iraq has forced Gulf Coast Guard units to look for equipment from other units across the country. "I don't have all the equipment I need for 300,000 soldiers," said Lt. Gen. Steven Blum. "Equipment is my challenge now." Sens. Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have asked the president for $1.3 billion to buy new equipment for the National Guard.

Monday, September 26, 2005

We Knew Bush Couldn't Stand it Much Longer

"AP: WASHINGTON (Sept. 26) - Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.
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.
Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was handcuffed, then led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching." ..."

Who among us thought Cindy Sheehan could continue her peaceful protests without eventually getting arrested? I am only surprised it took Bush's goons this long.
Arresting someone for "sitting on a public sidewalk" seems not to be such a gigantic infraction of the law. Who was she hurting?
People like Sheehan and millions of others of us against the invasion and occupation of Iraq pay for public sidewalks with our tax money. We should have a right to sit, or lie, or dance, or jump up and down on public land if we want. It belongs to the people.
And people like Sheehan and millions of others of us against the invasion and occupation of Iraq have a right to demand accountability from our public servants, whom we pay through our tax dollars.
As with her Crawford protest, Sheehan's arrest has cast the Bush administration in an unfavorable light.
He doesn't get it. His people don't get it.
Most Americans have no faith in him as a leader or as a human being.
But Cindy Sheehan, we like.
And now, Bush and his goons have made us like her even more, and him, even less.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

"We look forward to hearing your vision so we can more better do our job."
--Bush in Gulfport, Miss., Sep. 20, 2005

Friday, September 23, 2005

Tired of Do-Overs

What's the deal with all these do-overs?
I heard 'Dancing With the Stars' had a rematch so J. Peterman could win.
Survivor producers wanted Rupert to win, so they had a do-over, public vote so he could.
California repugnicans didn't like Gov. Gray Davis so they had a do-over election.
Texas GOP legislators didn't like all the Democratic strongholds in voting districts so they remapped the districts so more GOP crooks could be elected.

Do-overs are for children who can't handle the outcome of a game.

No more do-overs, damn it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Survivor Tonight!

Guess who I think will get the boot?
Blake, the kid with the stickers in his shoulder. See, I think the stickers had poison in them, like those damn Texas mesquite tree thorns have.
So, while Bobby Jon has been sapped of most of his strength through dehydration, add dehydration to Blake's poison filled veins and what you have is a legitimate, double weakling.
Your Picks?
Legit News or Libelous Bilge?

The National Enquirer reports that Bush is drinking again.

Some points to ponder:
The National Enquirer also scooped the Monica Lewinsky and Gary Hart/Donna Rice stories.
Tabloid Magazines get sued a lot for libel.
Would the Enquirer be stupid enough to make libelous statements against a sitting president?
I once sold a story to the Globe tabloid. Before they ran it they polygraphed me, saying their lawyer insisted on polygraph exams for all single source stories.
Bush has admitted to past drinking problems- but he never sought rehab or AA.
Alcoholics who try to stop drinking without addressing the root of the problem are called dry drunks, who often relapse under pressure.

Ask yourself: is Bush behaving in a manner consistent with a drinker?
Why all those vacation trips to Crawford, where the drinking is said to have occurred?

Weigh in on the Enquirer's story.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Martha Stewart's Apprentice

How can she go wrong with Annie Lennox singing, 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)' as her opening theme?
I loved the show.
Why? Because there are just enough borderline personalities to make it interesting.
That last guy in the boardroom with the other two people- the one who didn't get fired this time- is one of the most arrogant, hyperactive, adult-ADD, conceited twerp I've ever seen. I can't wait till they boot his ass.
But the guy they booted first was another arrogant control freak. Reminded me of one of those Republican faggots.
I was glad to see him taken down 100 notches and fired first.
And I thought Martha was pretty easygoing, even though it probably took a great effort on her part. And her daughter Alexis...hmm... she certainly is a handsome, highly tailored lass.
Your take?
No Place for a Poet at a Banquet of Shame

Published on Monday, September 20, 2005 by The Nation (October 10, 2005

No Place for a Poet at a Banquet of Shame

by Sharon Olds

For reasons spelled out below, the poet Sharon Olds has declined to
attend the National Book Festival in Washington, which, coincidentally
or not, takes place September 24, the day of an antiwar mobilization in
the capital. Olds, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award and
professor of creative writing at New York University, was invited along
with a number of other writers by First Lady Laura Bush to read from
their works. Three years ago artist Jules Feiffer declined to attend
the festival's White House breakfast as a protest against the Iraq War
("Mr. Feiffer Regrets," November 11, 2002). We suggest that invitees to
this year's event consider following their example.
--The Editors

Laura Bush
First Lady
The White House

Dear Mrs. Bush,

I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind
invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on
September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or
the breakfast at the White House.

In one way, it's a very appealing invitation. The idea of speaking at a
festival attended by 85,000 people is inspiring! The possibility of
finding new readers is exciting for a poet in personal terms, and in
terms of the desire that poetry serve its constituents--all of us who
need the pleasure, and the inner and outer news, it delivers.

And the concept of a community of readers and writers has long been
dear to my heart. As a professor of creative writing in the graduate
school of a major university, I have had the chance to be a part of
some magnificent outreach writing workshops in which our students have
become teachers. Over the years, they have taught in a variety of
settings: a women's prison, several New York City public high schools,
an oncology ward for children. Our initial program, at a 900-bed state
hospital for the severely physically challenged, has been running now
for twenty years, creating along the way lasting friendships between
young MFA candidates and their students--long-term residents at the
hospital who, in their humor, courage and wisdom, become our teachers.

When you have witnessed someone nonspeaking and almost nonmoving spell
out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his
new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and essentialness
of writing. When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a
writer who is completely nonspeaking and nonmoving (except for the
eyes), and pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until
you get to the first letter of the first word of the first line of the
poem she has been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her
eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh
immediacy the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy,
honesty and wit--and the importance of writing, which celebrates the
value of each person's unique story and song.

So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I
thought of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach
program. I thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books
and meet some of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could
try to find a way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my
deep feeling that we should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my
belief that the wish to invade another culture and another
country--with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave
soldiers, and for the noncombatants in their home terrain--did not come
out of our democracy but was instead a decision made "at the top" and
forced on the people by distorted language, and by untruths. I hoped to
express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny
and religious chauvinism--the opposites of the liberty, tolerance and
diversity our nation aspires to.

I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear
witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and
its writing--against this undeclared and devastating war.

But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that
if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were
condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush

What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food
from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that
unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent
of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other
countries where they will be tortured for us.

So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish
and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought
of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of
the candles, and I could not stomach it.


Sharon Olds

(special thanks to my friend, poet Ellen Bass, for sending this to me.)
Quote of the Day

"Brownie is to Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq, what George Tenet is to slam-dunk intelligence, what Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad, what Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy, what Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning, what Tom DeLay is to ethics and what George Bush is to 'Mission Accomplished' and 'Wanted Dead or Alive.'"

—John Kerry, Sept. 19, 2005
By Michelle Malkin ·
September 20, 2005

Another disastrous crony appointment in the making

(Photo) Julie Myers, President Bush's nominee to head the the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security.

Her nomination is a joke. A bad joke: (via WaPo)
The Bush administration is seeking to appoint a lawyer with little immigration or customs experience to head the troubled law enforcement agency that handles those issues, prompting sharp criticism from some employee groups, immigration advocates and homeland security experts.

The push to appoint Julie Myers to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, comes in the midst of intense debate over the qualifications of department political appointees involved in the sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina...

...After working as a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y., for two years, Myers held a variety of jobs over the past four years at the White House and at the departments of Commerce, Justice and Treasury, though none involved managing a large bureaucracy. Myers worked briefly as chief of staff to Michael Chertoff when he led the Justice Department's criminal division before he became Homeland Security secretary.

Myers also was an associate under independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr for about 16 months and has most recently served as a special assistant to President Bush handling personnel issues.

Her uncle is Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She married Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood, on Saturday.

In written answers to questions from Congress, Myers highlighted her year-long job as assistant secretary for export enforcement at Commerce, where she said she supervised 170 employees and a $25 million budget. ICE has more than 20,000 employees and a budget of approximately $4 billion. Its personnel investigate immigrant, drug and weapon smuggling, and illegal exports, among other responsibilities.

Myers was on her honeymoon and was not available to comment yesterday. Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, cited Myers's work with customs agents on money-laundering and drug-smuggling cases. "She's well-known and respected throughout the law enforcement community," Healy said. "She has a proven track record as an effective manager."

Oh, give me a ^*&%$# break and a half! This nomination is a monumental political and policy blunder in the wake of the Michael Brown/FEMA fiasco. And I can tell you that contrary to the Miss Mary Sunshine White House spokeswoman's comments, rank-and-file DHS employees and immigration enforcement officials are absolutely livid about Myers' nomination.

This e-mail I received last week says it all:
As you probably know, this is the largest investigative arm of DHS and the second largest Federal investigative agency after the FBI. ICE’s critical homeland security mission is directed at all Customs and Immigration violations occurring in the interior of the U.S. These are the officers that have to respond to calls of illegal aliens, drug loads with a border nexus and the detention and removal of all illegal aliens place in removal proceedings. ICE accounts for close to 80% of all arrests made within the FBI’s joint terrorism task force. ICE criminally prosecutes more individuals than any other Federal agency.

My point is, ICE is the lead agency to proactively prevent terrorism in the U.S. Ms. Myers, although learned, has barely the legal requirement to be nominated as the AS for ICE. The law requires 5 years of managerial experience and 5 years of law enforcement experience. Ms. Myers is 35 and has worked as the following(estimates): private attorney 2 years; AUSA EDNY 2 years; Deputy Asst Sec Treasury 2 years; Chief of Staff for Michael Chertoff at Main Justice 2 years; Starr Commission 1 year; Director of Commerce’s Export Control agency 2 years; and the White House Personnel 2 years. The most direct law enforcement experience is supervising 250 Commerce Special Agents which pursues similar violations on export control as ICE. Roughly 11 years of experience to lead the 12,000 law enforcement officer ICE agency. You decide if this is sufficient. I can guarantee you that she would never have been nominated to run the FBI, DEA or Secret Service. It’s almost like the old INS days where they just throw out the political favors. Maybe she’s getting the job because she’s tight with Chertoff. Maybe it’s because she’s the niece of General Myers (Chair Joint Chiefs of Staff). Who knows, but I guarantee you this, the next time some illegal aliens commit a terrorist act on U.S. soil, people are going to be scrutinizing her resume.

Sorry to ramble but unfortunately the majority of DHS is being run by hacks, snot nose youngsters who couldn’t find an illegal alien in Tijuana, and other “connected” people with no knowledge, experience, or business being in the Homeland Security sector. I guess it’s a good resume line to have these days.


Everything was supposed to change after 9/11. No more business as usual, blah blah blah. But when it comes to immigration enforcement and border security, Bush keeps installing clueless cronies.

Remember banker Eduardo Aguirre--now head of the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services--who had zero experience in immigration law?

And how about these Bush beneficiaries of the immigration court spoils system?

And check out this DHS chart. An ICE employee noted in an e-mail to me this week:
Look at the deputy Secretary Michael Jackson - came from private sector transportation jobs and Dept of Transportation. BTS chief Randy Beardsworth, in charge of ICE and Border Patrol, comes from the Coast Guard and was a budget planner. Where are the law enforcement backgrounds to head law enforcement agencies? And the CIS ombudsman? A longtime immigration attorney and AILA member.

The WaPo this morning quotes a union official I agree with:
"It appears she's got a tremendous amount of experience in money laundering, in banking and the financial areas," said Charles Showalter, president of the National Homeland Security Council, a union that represents 7,800 ICE agents, officers and support staff. "My question is: Who the hell is going to enforce the immigration laws?"

Bingo. Let's pose that question to the White House--and the members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who held a public hearing on Myers' nomination last week.

Myers cheekily told the committee:
"I realize that I'm not 80 years old," Myers testified. "I have a few gray hairs, more coming, but I will seek to work with those who are knowledgeable in this area, who know more than I do."

Spare us the cutsey rejoinders. Reagan could pull them off. Myers can't. She may be perfectly capable of writing briefs and I'm sure her knowledge of export controls is second to none. But as long as the borders are broken and al Qaeda continues to exploit lax immigration enforcement, I don't want her in charge of ICE. Why hire someone who needs to "seek out" those "who know more than I do" in order to her job? Why wait until the next mass terrorist attack to put those more knowledgeable people in leadership positions now and leave the paper-pushers in their cubicles?

Why the president wants Myers to head ICE at this critical moment in time--and why his supposedly brilliant strategists don't see the stupidity of Myers' nomination--defies comprehension.

White House, meet clue-by-four. Find someone better before this blows up in your faces.


The Myers nomination is all the more pathetic in light of the many experienced, able, and willing immigration enforcement veterans out there who deserve the job. My pick: Pete Nunez, former United States Attorney, Southern District of California (1982-1988), former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement (1990-1993) overseeing all law enforcement components of the Treasury Department including Customs and BATF, lecturer in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego and Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Center for Immigration Studies. He should have been named DHS chief. He'd make a worthy pick now for ICE.

Update: Debbie Schlussel is even tougher on Myers/Chertoff/Bush.

Ankle Biting Pundits weigh in: "Immigration Nominee Latest Sign That Bush And GOP Don't Get It On Border Policy."


On a related note, the liberal website Raw Story has published an interesting immigration memo from Rep. Lamar Smith to Karl Rove that was inadvertently sent to a Democratic congressman. Some conservatives have questioned the authenticity of the document. Well, I just called Rep. Smith's office and confirmed that it is real and unaltered. Rep. Smith's staffer explained the gaffe by saying that "something went on with the fax machine."


Update II: Rod Dreher and Jack Kelly aren't digging this nomination, either..."

Hats off to Clyde (nee Barcodeking) for sending this to me.
Thanks, dude.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

From American Progress Action:

Top Bush Official Arrested in Corruption Probe
David Safavian, who until Friday headed the "obscure but extremely important" federal procurement office in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was arrested yesterday, accused by federal agents of "lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with the federal government." In his position at the OMB, Safavian set purchasing policy for the entire government, and "had recently been working on developing contracting policies for the multibillion-dollar relief effort after Hurricane Katrina." His arrest -- the "first criminal complaint filed against a government official" in the ongoing Abramoff probe -- exposes a thicket of corruption involving Abramoff, leaders of the right-wing movement like Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, and public officials at the very highest levels of government, including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).

LYING ABOUT ETHICS TO SEND KICK-BACKS TO ABRAMOFF: The complaint filed by the FBI accuses Safavian of making "repeated false statements to government officials and investigators" about a golf trip with Abramoff to Scotland in 2002, when Safavian was chief of staff at the Bush administration's General Services Administration. In that position, "ethics rules flatly prohibited the receipt of a gift from any person seeking an official action by the agency," and before the golf trip, Safavian assured GSA ethics officers in writing that Abramoff "has no business before GSA." In truth, Safavian was already actively assisting Abramoff "acquire control of two federally managed properties in the Washington area;" a 40-acre plot that became the campus for a Hebrew school Abramoff founded, and office space that Abramoff was seeking to lease for his Indian tribal clients. Indeed, on the very same day Safavian sent the letter to the GSA ethics office, "he sent an e-mail to Abramoff from his home computer, advising him how to 'lay out a case for this lease.'" The day before he departed to Scotland, Safavian "arranged a meeting for Abramoff's wife and business partner with officials at GSA" to tour of one of the properties -- a tour that Abramoff suggested after being shown a map of the space in Safavian's office. And in an email to a colleague, Abramoff himself explained why he'd invited Safavian on the golfing trip: "Total business angle. He is new (chief of staff) of GSA."

TRAINED BY THE MASTER: "Like Abramoff, Safavian is a veteran Washington player," the Washington Post reports. The two worked closely together at the lobbying firm Preston, Gates & Ellis, where "Abramoff schooled Safavian" and where they "jointly represented a broad swath of gambling interests." The two also held Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure (part of the Shaw Group) as a client, which is now represented by former FEMA chief and 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign manager Joe Allbaugh. (The Securities and Exchange Committee has launched an investigation into the Shaw Group for possible accounting irregularities, Newsweek reported this weekend. Shaw scored a $100 million no-bid Katrina contract "before the flood waters receded.") Safavian moved on to found Janus Merritt, a top-end lobbying firm, with "Abramoff's college roommate and conservative maverick Grover Norquist."

THE BUSH CONNECTION: Some of Jack Abramoff's most heinous work was on behalf of the government of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory between Hawaii and the Philippines. Human "brokers" bring thousands there to work as sex slaves and in cramped sweatshop garment factories where clothes (complete with "Made in USA" tag) are made for several brand names. Working with Safavian, Abramoff lobbied various public officials, particularly Rep. Tom DeLay, to prevent any crack-down on the worker abuse on the island. In January 2001, when President Bush entered office, Abramoff wrote island officials, "Our standing with the new administration promises to be solid as several friends of the [Marianas] will soon be taking high-ranking positions in the Administration." He was right. Two members of Abramoff's lobbying team subsequently received positions in the Bush White House, one as assistant secretary of labor, and another -- David Safavian -- as chief of staff to the General Services Administration. In the first 10 months of Bush's presidency, Abramoff and his lobbying team "logged nearly 200 contacts with the new administration." They pressed for "friendly hires" and lax labor laws with officials as high up as Attorney General John Ashcroft and policy advisers in Vice President Dick Cheney's office, and it apparently worked: the islands "fended off proposals in 2001 to extend the U.S. minimum wage to island workers and gained at least $2 million more in federal aid from the administration." By mid-2003, Abramoff "had raised at least $100,000 for Mr. Bush's re-election campaign, becoming one of Bush's famed 'pioneers.'"

THE MIKE BROWN OF CONTRACT PROCUREMENT: Two weeks after Safavian was confirmed in June 2004, Steven Kelman, the federal procurement administrator under President Clinton, told Government Executive magazine that Safavian "doesn't have a lot of background in procurement, so the hope is that he's a good learner." Allan Burman, another former procurement chief, agreed: "I don't know where David Safavian comes out on [acquisition reform]." Even Angela Styles, who held the top acquisition post in the Bush administration until September 2003, said Safavian had "no apparent philosophy" on procurement issues.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Safavian's arrest also places a spotlight on his wife, Jennifer Safavian, who works for Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA). Davis chairs the House Government Reform Committee, and Jennifer Safavian serves as chief counsel for oversight and investigations (she reportedly "has signed a recusal agreement that will keep her from looking into OMB and procurement matters"). Nevertheless, according to Hill columnist Josh Marshall, Rep. Davis pushed through several "made-to-order crony-empowerment (a.k.a., contracting deregulation and streamlining) provisions" in the Katrina emergency funding bills. When David Safavian was first nominated, the Federal Times warned that if he were confirmed, "it would be difficult to believe - if only because of appearances - that he or his wife's committee is acting independently of the other as each tends to the integrity of the federal procurement process."

Another wheel flies off the Bush corruption wagon!

Monday, September 19, 2005

My Gaydar is Going Off

By now, everyone has heard that Renee Zellweger has asked that her marriage to Kenny Chesney be annulled after only four months.
She cited "fraud" as the cause.
Could it be that a certain little someone who makes his living in the macho country music industry is GAY?
Come on, the guy wrote a song called, "You Had Me at Hello."
That's just too faggy for words.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Another NY Times Columnist Nails Bush

September 18, 2005
Message: I Care About the Black Folks

ONCE Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again. He is forever Professor Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Hurricane Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum's mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush.

The worst storm in our history proved perfect for exposing this president because in one big blast it illuminated all his failings: the rampant cronyism, the empty sloganeering of "compassionate conservatism," the lack of concern for the "underprivileged" his mother condescended to at the Astrodome, the reckless lack of planning for all government operations except tax cuts, the use of spin and photo-ops to camouflage failure and to substitute for action.

In the chaos unleashed by Katrina, these plot strands coalesced into a single tragic epic played out in real time on television. The narrative is just too powerful to be undone now by the administration's desperate recycling of its greatest hits: a return Sunshine Boys tour by the surrogate empathizers Clinton and Bush I, another round of prayers at the Washington National Cathedral, another ludicrously overhyped prime-time address flecked with speechwriters' "poetry" and framed by a picturesque backdrop. Reruns never eclipse a riveting new show.

Nor can the president's acceptance of "responsibility" for the disaster dislodge what came before. Mr. Bush didn't cough up his modified-limited mea culpa until he'd seen his whole administration flash before his eyes. His admission that some of the buck may stop with him (about a dime's worth, in Truman dollars) came two weeks after the levees burst and five years after he promised to usher in a new post-Clinton "culture of responsibility." It came only after the plan to heap all the blame on the indeed blameworthy local Democrats failed to lift Mr. Bush's own record-low poll numbers. It came only after America's highest-rated TV news anchor, Brian Williams, started talking about Katrina the way Walter Cronkite once did about Vietnam.

Taking responsibility, as opposed to paying lip service to doing so, is not in this administration's gene pool. It was particularly shameful that Laura Bush was sent among the storm's dispossessed to try to scapegoat the news media for her husband's ineptitude. When she complained of seeing "a lot of the same footage over and over that isn't necessarily representative of what really happened," the first lady sounded just like Donald Rumsfeld shirking responsibility for the looting of Baghdad. The defense secretary, too, griped about seeing the same picture "over and over" on television (a looter with a vase) to hide the reality that the Pentagon had no plan to secure Iraq, a catastrophic failure being paid for in Iraqi and American blood to this day.

This White House doesn't hate all pictures, of course. It loves those by Karl Rove's Imagineers, from the spectacularly lighted Statue of Liberty backdrop of Mr. Bush's first 9/11 anniversary speech to his "Top Gun" stunt to Thursday's laughably stagy stride across the lawn to his lectern in Jackson Square. (Message: I am a leader, not that vacationing slacker who first surveyed the hurricane damage from my presidential jet.)

The most odious image-mongering, however, has been Mr. Bush's repeated deployment of African-Americans as dress extras to advertise his "compassion." In 2000, the Republican convention filled the stage with break dancers and gospel singers, trying to dispel the memory of Mr. Bush's craven appearance at Bob Jones University when it forbade interracial dating. (The few blacks in the convention hall itself were positioned near celebrities so they'd show up in TV shots.) In 2004, the Bush-Cheney campaign Web site had a page titled "Compassion" devoted mainly to photos of the president with black people, Colin Powell included.

Some of these poses are re-enacted in the "Hurricane Relief" photo gallery currently on display on the White House Web site. But this time the old magic isn't working. The "compassion" photos are outweighed by the cinéma vérité of poor people screaming for their lives. The government effort to keep body recovery efforts in New Orleans as invisible as the coffins from Iraq was abandoned when challenged in court by CNN.

But even now the administration's priority of image over substance is embedded like a cancer in the Katrina relief process. Brazenly enough, Mr. Rove has been officially put in charge of the reconstruction effort. The two top deputies at FEMA remaining after Michael Brown's departure, one of them a former local TV newsman, are not disaster relief specialists but experts in P.R., which they'd practiced as advance men for various Bush campaigns. Thus The Salt Lake Tribune discovered a week after the hurricane that some 1,000 firefighters from Utah and elsewhere were sent not to the Gulf Coast but to Atlanta, to be trained as "community relations officers for FEMA" rather than used as emergency workers to rescue the dying in New Orleans. When 50 of them were finally dispatched to Louisiana, the paper reported, their first assignment was "to stand beside President Bush" as he toured devastated areas.

The cashiering of "Brownie," whom Mr. Bush now purports to know as little as he did "Kenny Boy," changes nothing. The Knight Ridder newspapers found last week that it was the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, not Mr. Brown, who had the greater authority to order federal agencies into service without any request from state or local officials. Mr. Chertoff waited a crucial, unexplained 36 hours before declaring Katrina an "incident of national significance," the trigger needed for federal action. Like Mr. Brown, he was oblivious to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the convention center, confessing his ignorance of conditions there to NPR on the same day that the FEMA chief famously did so to Ted Koppel. Yet Mr. Bush's "culture of responsibility" does not hold Mr. Chertoff accountable. Quite the contrary: on Thursday the president charged Homeland Security with reviewing "emergency plans in every major city in America." Mr. Chertoff will surely do a heck of a job.

WHEN there's money on the line, cronies always come first in this White House, no matter how great the human suffering. After Katrina, the FEMA Web site directing charitable contributions prominently listed Operation Blessing, a Pat Robertson kitty that, according to I.R.S. documents obtained by ABC News, has given more than half of its yearly cash donations to Mr. Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. If FEMA is that cavalier about charitable donations, imagine what it's doing with the $62 billion (so far) of taxpayers' money sent its way for Katrina relief. Actually, you don't have to imagine: we already know some of it was immediately siphoned into no-bid contracts with a major Republican donor, the Fluor Corporation, as well as with a client of the consultant Joe Allbaugh, the Bush 2000 campaign manager who ran FEMA for this White House until Brownie, Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate, was installed in his place.

It was back in 2000 that Mr. Bush, in a debate with Al Gore, bragged about his gubernatorial prowess "on the front line of catastrophic situations," specifically citing a Texas flood, and paid the Clinton administration a rare compliment for putting a professional as effective as James Lee Witt in charge of FEMA. Exactly why Mr. Bush would staff that same agency months later with political hacks is one of many questions that must be answered by the independent investigation he and the Congressional majority are trying every which way to avoid. With or without a 9/11-style commission, the answers will come out. There are too many Americans who are angry and too many reporters who are on the case. (NBC and CNN are both opening full-time bureaus in New Orleans.) You know the world has changed when the widely despised news media have a far higher approval rating (77 percent) than the president (46 percent), as measured last week in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Like his father before him, Mr. Bush has squandered the huge store of political capital he won in a war. His Thursday-night invocation of "armies of compassion" will prove as worthless as the "thousand points of light" that the first President Bush bestowed upon the poor from on high in New Orleans (at the Superdome, during the 1988 G.O.P. convention). It will be up to other Republicans in Washington to cut through the empty words and image-mongering to demand effective action from Mr. Bush on the Gulf Coast and in Iraq, if only because their own political lives are at stake. It's up to Democrats, though they show scant signs of realizing it, to step into the vacuum and propose an alternative to a fiscally disastrous conservatism that prizes pork over compassion. If the era of Great Society big government is over, the era of big government for special interests is proving a fiasco. Especially when it's presided over by a self-styled C.E.O. with a consistent three-decade record of running private and public enterprises alike into a ditch.

What comes next? Having turned the page on Mr. Bush, the country hungers for a vision that is something other than either liberal boilerplate or Rovian stagecraft. At this point, merely plain old competence, integrity and heart might do.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Can't Maureen Dowd be President Instead?

Disney on Parade

Published: September 17, 2005


The president, as he fondly recalled the other day, used to get well lit in New Orleans. Not any more.

On Thursday night, Mr. Bush wanted to appear casually in charge as he waged his own Battle of New Orleans in Jackson Square. Instead, he looked as if he'd been dropped off by his folks in front of a eerie, blue-hued castle at Disney World. (Must be Sleeping Beauty's Castle, given the somnambulant pace of W.'s response to Katrina.)

All Andrew Jackson's horses, and all the Boy King's men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again. His gladiatorial walk across the darkened greensward, past a St. Louis Cathedral bathed in moon glow from White House klieg lights, just seemed to intensify the sense of an isolated, out-of-touch president clinging to hollow symbols as his disastrous disaster agency continues to flail.

In a ruined city - still largely without power, stinking with piles of garbage and still 40 percent submerged; where people are foraging in the miasma and muck for food, corpses and the sentimental detritus of their lives; and where unbearably sad stories continue to spill out about hordes of evacuees who lost their homes and patients who died in hospitals without either electricity or rescuers - isn't it rather tasteless, not to mention a waste of energy, to haul in White House generators just to give the president a burnished skin tone and a prettified background?

The slick White House TV production team was trying to salvage W.'s "High Noon" snap with some snazzy Hollywood-style lighting - the same Reaganesque stagecraft they had provided when W. made a prime-time television address from Ellis Island on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. On that occasion, Scott Sforza, a former ABC producer, and Bob DeServi, a former NBC cameraman and a lighting expert, rented three barges of giant Musco lights, the kind used for "Monday Night Football" and Rolling Stones concerts, floated them across New York Harbor and illuminated the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop for Mr. Bush.

Before the presidential address, Mr. DeServi was surveying his handiwork in Jackson Square, crowing to reporters about his cathedral: "Oh, it's heated up. It's going to print loud."

As Elisabeth Bumiller, the White House reporter for The Times, noted in a pool report, the image wizards had put up a large swath of military camouflage netting, held in place by bags of rocks and strung on poles, to hide the president from the deserted and desolate streets of the French Quarter ghost town.

The president is still looking for a tiny spot of unreality in New Orleans - and in Iraq, where a violent rampage has spiked the three-day death tally to over 200.

The Oedipal loop-de-loop of W. and Poppy grows ever loopier.

With Karl Rove's help, Junior designed his presidency as a reverse of his father's. W. would succeed by studying Dad's failures and doing the opposite. But in a bizarre twist of filial fate, the son has stumbled so badly in areas where he tried to one-up Dad that he has ended up giving Dad a leg up in the history books.

As Mark Twain said: "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

Of course, it's taken Junior only five years to learn how smart his old man was.

His father made the "mistake" of not conquering and occupying Iraq because he had the silly idea that Iraqis would resent it. His father made the "mistake" of raising taxes, not cutting them, and overly obsessing about the federal deficit. And his father made the "mistake" of hewing to the center, making his base mad and losing his bid for re-election.

Bush père did make a real mistake in responding slowly to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but that blunder has been dwarfed by what the slothful son hath wrought. Because of his fatal tardiness, W. now has to literally promise the moon to fix New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, driving up the federal deficit and embarking on the biggest spending bonanza and government public works program since F.D.R.

In his address from the French Quarter, the president sounded like such a spendthrift bleeding heart that he is terrifying the right more than his father ever did.

Read my lips: By the time all this is over, people will be saying that Poppy was the true conservative in the family.

Friday, September 16, 2005

It's a Family Affair

President's nephew arrested on Sixth Street

John Ellis Bush charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest

By Tony Plohetski, Steven Kreytak


Friday, September 16, 2005

The youngest son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was arrested in downtown Austin early today on charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest, officials said.

John Ellis Bush, 21, was taken into custody around 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of Trinity and Sixth streets near the downtown entertainment district. He was released around 10:30 a.m. today on a personal recognizance bond. Bail had been set at $2,500.

An affidavit on the public intoxication charge was not immediately available; according to an affidavit for the resisting arrest charge, Bush continually pushed against an officer for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as the officer attempted to handcuff him.

"Subject further resisted by pushing back with his body as he was restrained at the (Austin Police Department) transport van," the document said.

Bush is the nephew of President George W. Bush.

TABC Capt. David Ferrero said Bush approached a group of TABC and Austin police officers and asked about an earlier arrest of people he knew and was observed to be intoxicated. Agents did not know his identity until after they had arrested him and looked at his driver's license, which was issued from Florida.

He would not be more specific about how Bush was behaving.

Ferrero said while Bush was being arrested, he suffered a cut on his chin and was taken to Brackenridge Hospital, treated and released. He was then taken to the Travis County Jail.

"He was observed to be a danger to himself and others," Ferrero said..."

Jeb must be quite the dad. His daughter is a drug addict and his son is a drunk.
Family values, my ass.
These people are just plain genetically defective.
Survivor Guatemala- the Zipdrive Lowdown

The Yaxha Tribe - Turquoise/Blue Buffs
Who's Who:

Amy 39, police detective from Revere, Mass. Married. Scorpio.
Brian 22, grad student Columbia, NYC. Single. Aquarius. Weird eyes.
Brianna 21, make-up pest at department store, Edmonds, WA. Single. Scorpio.
Gary Hogeboom 46, Ex NFL quarterback. Married, 3 kids, Leo/Virgo cusp. Bossy.
Jamie 39, water ski instructor, North Hollywood, CA. Wannabe actor. Aquarius.
Lydia 42, fishmonger, Lakewood, WA. Divorced, one kid. Capricorn. Slow runner.
Morgan 21, magician's asst. Decatur, IL. Lives with boyfriend. Sagittarius. Sorority blonde.
Rafe 22, student, Brown U. Providence, RI. Mormon. Goofy. Lives with parents. Capricorn.
Steph- delicious woman from Survivor 10- still hot, gorgeous, do-able & stronger than anyone.

Nakum Tribe - Yellow Buffs
Who's Who:

Blake 24, model, real estate, Dallas. NASCAR and hunting fan. Taurus. Can't handle long hikes- gets stickers in his shoulder.
Brandon 22, farmer. Kansas. Aquarius. Good old boy. Dumb but strong, unless he's hiking.
Brooke 26, Pepperdine law degree, from Oregon. Single. Leo. Might be sneaky.
Cindy 31, zookeeper, Naples FL. Single, Cancer, sexy eyes, great shoulders.
Danni 30, sports radio host, Kansas. Sexpot. Cancer. Maneater, sports nut.
x Jim 63, retired fireman, CO. Voted out due to total geezerliness during first hike. Buh bye.
Judd 34, NYC doorman from Jersey. Yo, what da fuck? Wife, kid, Virgo. Big galoot. Pukes a lot.
Margaret 43, nurse practitioner, Ohio. Husband and 2 kids. Gemini. Had to help all the puking men.
BobbyJon. He's back from Survivor 10! Hard worker, unless he's puking with his eyes rolled back in his head. Big dumb butch.

Guatemala is Latin for "Hell on Earth."
Jeff Probst opens the show with blah blah blah Mayan facts about the area. The area is a jungle filled with crocodiles, snakes and animals who kill, maim and eat humans. The heat and humidity make this the most nauseating Survivor locale yet.

The search for the two tribe's camps involved an 11 mile trek through the jungle. The tribes don't make it before nightfall and camp all night in middle of the jungle. I got bug bites just watching the miserable trek.

Day 2. Yaxha finds Nakum on the trail and both tribes break out onto the trail and try to outrace each other. Hard to do with all that dehydration, puking and limping.
Nakum's Bobby Jon cramps up, gets cold and clammy and holds up the group.
Blake hits a sticker tree and it sticks into his left shoulder, causing time consuming agony.
Margaret the nurse rescues all the men who are losing it.

Nakum finds their boat and uses it to go to the finish line.
Jeff gives Nakum the tribe flag and flint and tells them they have earned the better of the two camps. Yaxha shows up almost immediately and Jeff gives the Yaxha tribe a map and tells them to get back into their boat and head to their camp.
Stephanie said the 11-mile trek to the finish line, only to have to get back in their boat and find their camp was the biggest bitch of a challenge, ever.

As Yaxha leaves to find their camp across the lake, they find pots to cook in and decide how to build their shelter. Stephanie is psyched to find herself on a tribe that has heart and determination. They work well together to put up a shelter, considering everyone was already beat to hell by the hike.
Meanwhile, back at the "better camp," Blake, Judd and Bobby Jon are puking like they spent the night in a Tijuana bar. Bobby Jon's eyes are rolling back in his head and he's calling for Jesus.

The tribes come to their first challenge with most of the male members weak as kittens.
The challenge was based on the methods the Mayans used to transport materials to build their pyramids. They had to use logs to roll a big boat onto land and almost everyone got creamed by a log in some way or another.
Nakum lost. This was the first time ever that Stephanie didn't have to attend a tribal council.
The old guy from Nakim, Jim, ripped his biceps muscle grabbing a log. He was booted and nearly taken away on a stretcher, he was so beat up by the hike and the challenge.

Women are ruling this series. Yay, women!

So- who are your early favorites?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bush's Speech (Click)

I tried to listen to Bush's speech last night until he mentioned September 11, then I turned it off.
He simply has to stop wrapping himself in the 9/11 flag, as if he's the hero of a tragedy about which he has done nothing.

I have zero faith in him in any capacity.
And neither do the majority of Americans.

We should launch a campaign- whenever he mentions 9/11, we should stop reading, stop listening and stop watching immediately.
The term '9/11' should be associated with Bush the way 'Niagra Falls' was with the Three Stooges.

Bush needs to stop pimping American tragedies.
Final Thoughts About John Roberts

After watching several hours of hearings, I have concluded that John Roberts is absolutely one of the most intelligent, polished and charismatic men that Bush has ever tried to appoint, hire, nominate or endorse.
Alas, I find his brilliance at sidestepping questions and offering substantive replies that turn out to be non-replies once the transcripts are read make him of man of dubious trustworthiness.
I just don't think he'll be able to separate his extreme right-wing personal views and his Bushian, big business agenda from interpreting laws in an even-handed manner with regard to ordinary citizens and taxpayers.
He seems like a sincere man, and a man of good character.
I just don't think he's the best man to become our next Chief Justice.
At first, I thought he might be wise enough to "appear" to tow the Bush line, then once he took his seat on the bench, he might become his own man and interpret the laws in a fair and just manner.
I just don't trust that he will, after all.
I would love to hire him as my lawyer as a plaintiff, because he's slicker than greased owl shit.
I just don't think we need a Chief Justice whose slickness might serve the unbalanced and greedy nature of the ultra right-wing, religious fundamentalist, xenophobic, pro-big business Bush fascist agenda.
John Roberts was close, but no cigar.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pinning Down the Nominee

Last night I watched Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) talking to Bush SCOTUS nominee John Roberts on C-Span, and he eloquently explained his criteria for the interview process.
Schumer said he wanted answers that would help the Senate decide if Roberts was a mainstream conservative or a Bush conservative.
He said he wanted Roberts's opinions based on past cases, already settled, so Roberts couldn't use the excuse that he doesn't want to comment on case law topics that might one day be pending in the court.
Schumer was brilliant. He left no wiggle room.
Here We Go Again

Bush has hired David Paulison to replace his pal Brownie as FEMA director.
Because Brownie flew the coop so "unexpectedly," how in the hell did Bush manage to find a replacement without taking time for a thorough background investigation?
How do we know Paulison didn't pad his resume like Brownie?
If Bush knew anything about leadership, he would have appointed an interim FEMA director from within the department and taken the time to have this David Paulison person checked out.
Any CEO of any company would know to do this.
How much more incompetence can ths nation take?

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Clue About Where to Point the Finger

Firefighter to Replace Brown As FEMA Chief
AP Political Writer

WASHINGTON — Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown resigned Monday, three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. The White House picked a top FEMA official with three decades of firefighting experience as his replacement..."

For all the chimp fans who still want to lob the blame toward Louisiana politicians- uhh, none of them are quitting or being asked to leave.
Face it, Bush lemmings, your commander n' thief picked the wrong buddy to lead FEMA.
Remember when Bush said last week, "Brownie, you're doin' a helluva job?"
So are you, Bushie.
For a chimp, that is.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Neigh to Cronies

Published: September 10, 2005


I understand that politicians are wont to put cronies and cupcakes on the payroll.

I just wish they'd stop putting them on the Homeland Security payroll.

Can't they stick their pals who failed at business in the Small Business Administration and their tomatoes over at the Oilseeds and Rice Bureau of the Ag Department?

At least Bill Clinton knew not to stash his sweeties in jobs concerned with keeping the nation safe. Gennifer Flowers said that Mr. Clinton got her a $17,500 job in Arkansas in the state unemployment agency, though she was ranked ninth out of 11 applicants tested. And Monica Lewinsky's thong expertise led her to a job as an assistant to the Pentagon press officer.

Gov. James McGreevey of New Jersey had to resign last year after acknowledging that he had elevated his patronage peccadillo, an Israeli poet named Golan Cipel, to be his special assistant on homeland security without even a background check or American citizenship. Mr. Cipel, however, was vastly qualified for his job compared with Michael Brown, who didn't know the difference between a tropical depression and an anxiety attack when President Bush charged him with life-and-death decisions.

W. trusted Brownie simply because he was a friend of a friend. He was a college buddy of Joe Allbaugh, who worked as W.'s chief of staff when he was Texas governor and as his 2000 presidential campaign manager.

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

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

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

Ever since W. was his father's loyalty enforcer, his political decisions have been shaped more by loyalty than substance or competence. Mr. Bush never did warm up to his first secretary of state because Colin Powell rebuffed appeals to help out in the Tallahassee recount of 2000.

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

"Getting truth on the ground in New Orleans was very difficult," a White House aide told The Times's Elisabeth Bumiller. Not if you had a TV.

As Mexican troops arrived in Texas to help with Katrina refugees, Brownie was recalled to Washington, where he said he wanted to get "a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita." Yeah, it was hard to get any good étouffée in New Orleans given the E. coli. The president should find that little bullhorn from ground zero, put it right on Brownie's ear and yell at him to get the heck out of there.

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

While many see the hideous rescue failures as disaster apartheid, Barbara Bush and other Republicans have tried to look on the bright side for the victims. The Wall Street Journal reported that Representative Richard Baker of Baton Rouge was overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

Even those who believe in intelligent design must surely agree that Brownie and Representative Baker weren't part of it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Latest Cartoon

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FEMA: Led by Bush's Good Buddy, Brownie

Just in case you aren't aware that Bush chose his woefully inexperienced college pal Michael Brown to head FEMA, maybe you also need to know that Brown took the job after being fired for ineptitude and "alleged" improprieties while managing a horse breeding farm.
Yes, you read that right.
Brown couldn't oversee horses knocking up other horses. It was just too hard to master.

So get a load of this.

Today, when I went to volunteer at Kelly USA evacuee camp in San Antonio, the moment I walked in I noticed a hushed tone and looks of concern among most of the volunteers with whom I've become acquainted.
So subdued were they, I didn't plunge right in and ask what was up, instead I listened a while to see if I could figure out why these usually jolly souls were so somber.

Seems Bush's buddy Brownie decided to hand out $2,000 debit cards to all the adult evacuees.
The debit cards are basically prepaid charge cards that can be used for:
Buying clothing for job interviews
Renting an apartment
Renting a car for job searches
Feeding a family
Buying needed clothing, medicines or household items for said family
Traveling to destinations to join relatives in safe areas
And other sensible things.

But you see, a good portion of the evacuees are actively withdrawing from drug and alcohol abuse. Some are prostitutes, some are drug dealers, some are addicted to crack prostitutes, some are pimps, many have police records, and many multiple convictions behind them.

Alas, they can use their debit cards at ATM's to obtain cash, with which to purchase:

Gallons of Jim Beam, cases of beer or huge boxes of wine
Fancy pimp outfits
Rented Pimpmobiles
Slim-jims and other car theft tools of the trade

At this point, I'd usually make the transition into creating colorful scenarios that would make it easy to envision the havoc that could be caused by a couple thousand drug addicts, alcoholics and crack addicts let loose on the streets with $2,000 in free money to spend.
But do I need to?

No. Let's all just breathe a collective groan of derision and point out, once again, that Bush is a fucking imbecile with the combination to the taxpayers' safe. Now it seems our brain addled little frat boy has shared the combination with his dimwitted pal Brownie.

All I know is, San Antonio streets just became a lot more dangerous tonight.
Tonight starts the period where we get reciprocation for all the times we Texans traveled to Mardi Gras to act up, get drunk, get high and puke on their streets.
It's payback time.

Thanks, Brownie.
Way to go.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Louisiana Is a RED State
...and other rants

--Well, Bush has proven once and for all, even to the red states, that he's nothing more than a tool of big business and big money and couldn't care less about them penniless Negroes down in N'awlins and them other Negro, Podunk Gulf shore towns.

--His pudgy closet faggot mouthpiece Scotty Mc Clellan said this was not a time to point fingers.
If this ISN'T a time to point fingers, then there must not be one.

--True Christians, you know, the ones who equate Christ with peace and think all people are his children? Yeah, them.
They should sue Bush and his band of phony Jesus freaks for defamation of character and ruining their religion's image by co-opting and using the name of Jesus as a facade for being hate-filled, racist, xenophobic, war mongering, money worshiping, Saudi loving, bought-off, dirty fucking liars.
Now when someone tells me they are Christian and don't immediately add, 'but I can't stand Bush,' I just think they are either oblivious, dumb or just as evil and venomous as Bush and his crowd.
Bush proved he's no Christian this week. His God is money.

--Having volunteered lately with Hurricane Katrina evacuees who are primarily African American, keeping track of their kids is a lot easier when their names are not Azzelle, La Fawnda, Damore, Dionysseus, Shayiqua, Mohiquah, Tonika, Antonellique, Shakamalik and those damn 20 versions of the way they spell Shawniqua.
Holy Christ, at one point I was tasked with signing little kids into the recreation area, and when a 6-year-old is trying to write out his 30-letter first name and cot number in green Crayola, I get antsy as hell after the first five or 10 minutes.
Finally, I just grabbed the Crayola from the three dozen Shawniquas and signed them in with, "SHQA, Cot 912."

--Louisiana is a red state, and black voters were starting to lean toward the right.
Ha! Not anymore. Suck it, Bush!
And your manly mama, too!

--I shared a smoke break outside with one of the few white couples I'd met at the shelter. The man said- in his N'awlins drawl- that even though he was a union man, he had voted for Bush.
Then he took a long puff off his cigarette, exhaled and said, "But I tell you what, that old Bush needs to get his ass whupped for lettin' us standing up there on our roof two days.
"We was on the roof of a $200,000 house that costs about 12 dollahs now, and where was he?"
Then his wife said, "I never did like him and I never voted for him, and now (pointing at her husband) he knows that he was hoodwinked!"

--Several of the evacuees seemed freaked out to discover that many of the 90% white volunteers in San Antonio said they thought Bush was a crooked, lying, racist, too.
They were expecting all those Neo-Con Texas Jesus freaks to be there volunteering.
Ha! As if!
Texas Bush Christians do not work 9 to 5 jobs; they play golf and bark orders at their minions from their homes or cell phones. Their wives attend Al-Anon meetings in between flower arrangement and cooking classes.
They do not wade between acres of green canvas cots and pass out hair pomades, picks and clean jockey shorts to Negroes- that's something their husbands might send their mid-management level staff to do for one afternoon, but they'd better be wearing T-shirts bearing their company logos so the group photo looks good in their monthly newsletter.

--The parking lot for volunteers was not filled with Range Rovers, Benzes, Escalades and shiny new Ford F-350 pickups with V8 engines, but it was filled with 10-year-old Hondas and Corollas, a couple of Prius's, and several well-worn Escorts, Cavaliers, Neons and other middle to lower middle class rides.
Sure, there were a few nice SUV's and minivans parked there, because nurses and doctors volunteered by the dozens. But they weren't part of Bush's base, that's for goddamn sure.

--Everyone has seen Mayor Naglin and Governor Blanco speak out with great passion and forthright candor. Fuck P.C. platitudes! They cussed and they explained in plain language where and how the feds fucked up, got caught, then lied about it.
Who you gonna believe, them or the team who brought you stratospheric gas prices, faux WMD's, war with Iraq, deficits, global warming ignorance, stem cell is baby killing, the jury's still out on evolution, weakened National Guard response and the world's worst bureaucratic clusterfuck, the Department of Homeland Security?

--Hello, Media?
Time to start doing your fucking jobs again. Tell the truth and stop sucking Bush's ass. He's over. Time to feast on his remains, you chickenshits.
And Fox News? There IS NO good news to put a Bush-sunny spin on. The streets along the Gulf Coast are fetid, steaming, filthy streams of diseased, stinking SLIME.
Hundreds of thousands of people who earned less than $8,000 a year are dead, dying, sick or just shit out of luck. Report THAT.

-Hello, Democrats?
The time to stop being mealy-mouthed pussies is here.
Get off your passive asses and start PUBLICLY ripping some new ones with your GOP enemies. They have raped us and you've stood by like scared witnesses who "don't want to get involved" when the cops show up.
We can vote your enabling asses out, too, so start serving your constituents, stop letting the big business lobbyists teabag you, get up and do something!
When one side fights dirty and bribes the refs, either start kneeing their balls back and bribing your own damn refs, or get someone on the team who will.
I have had it with wimpy Democrats.
My vote goes to the man or woman who says, "Enough Bush lies and enough Bullshit. Vote for me and asses will be kicked."

--Some people tell me to calm down when I start getting political, even Democrats.
I tell them, fuck calm- our country is being destroyed and I am not going down without a fight.
I am pointing fingers just like I always have, but if you're a Blogger who's had it with Bush- skip the diplomacy and pleas for passive restraint.
It's ass kicking time in Blogland. Point some damn fingers out there.
The U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six
operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the
ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a
day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last
Monday - without patients.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Rahim Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The Dali Lama Ramma Jamma
(and the other kid in Cot J-26)

Okay, the kid was named Rahim, but when this dignified little 13-year-old man told me he had been planning to play junior high football this season before Katrina ruined his school, I said, "Whoa, man, you're in Spurs country here, let's talk this over."
I asked Rahim, who resembles child actor Emmanuel Lewis if he were normal sized, if he'd like to sit with me and chat.
We sat at a table in Kelly USA's huge recreation room, filled with recently vacated tables the other kids had left to line up for lunch.
I said, "When's your birthday?"
He said, "November 7th."
"No way. That's my brother Billy's birthday. That makes you a Scorpio," I said.
He raised his eyebrows, curious about what that might mean.
I said, "Lemme see, that makes you a naturally curious type, like a spy or a secret agent who loves to solve mysteries."
He smiled and said, "How'd you know that?"
I told him I had a degree in Scorpiology.
"But let's go over this football plan first, okay?" I asked.
"Okay," he said.
I said, "How tall is your daddy?"
"He's 6'4"."
"Okay then, you'll probably grow up to be about 6'6" and stay lean. That means a running back or some fast position in football, but you know The Man only lets the white boys play quarterback, right?"
He laughed and said, "Mmm-hmm."
"Yeah," I said, "In football, those giant tackles and guards go after you lean, fast types. You want three or four giant fat boys jumping on you every day in practice?"
He pondered it a moment, then looked at me and said, "Go on..."
"Now, you are a good lookin' boy, right?
He smiled and looked down, bashfully.
"How are the chicks gonna see your beautyliciousness if you're all trussed into padded spandex and all helmeted with your face covered?
"No sir, when you're on the b-ball court, those hotties will see that face and those long legs and biceps and triceps and they'll say... what?"
"I don't know, what?" he said.
"They'll say, 'Mmm, mmm, mmm, look at that Rahim, he hot.
"Not to mention, NFL players get good pay- but NBA players get Superstar pay. Now with your looks and a Superstar's money...can you say, 'Supermodel, riding to your mansion in your Benz with you?' "
He smiled and said, "You have a point there, Miss."
So I said, "Okay, then it's settled. You'll play junior high and high school b-ball, then you get a full basketball scholarship to pay for your college.
"In fact, you've even got a perfect NBA name, Rahim."
He laughed and said, "You can call me Rahim Kareem Abdul Jabbar, then."
"Okay, Rahim Kareem Abdul Jabbar, now that we have that settled, what will you study in college just in case the NBA doesn't work out?"
He said, "Got any ideas?"
I said, "Lemme see here, you love mysteries, you love to investigate things, how about becoming a detective, or even a federal agent?
"You see, son, a black man in this country drives down the road, minding his business and a cop can pull him over and shake him down just for the heck of it. Right?"
"Oh, yeah," he said.
So I said, "But when Detective Rahim Kareem Abdul Jabbar rolls down the window on his Benz, he looks at the cop and says, 'Sure, you can see my license, officer, I got it right here, under my GOLD SHIELD."
Then I mimed the cop sliding back away from his car, saying, "Oh, sorry Detective, my mistake, sir."
He laughed like hell at the thought of that scene.
After we had bantered like that for a few minutes, I asked, "Would you like to tell me how you came to be here in San Antonio?"
His posture got straighter, his smile faded and he said, "Yes, nobody has asked me that yet."

It seems Rahim was in his grandfather's house that awful day with his grandparents, his mother and his younger brother, a 9-year-old in recent remission from leukemia.
He and his brother had been playing a video game on their TV when the power went off.
His grandfather suggested they play cards, at the table by the window.
Rahim had repositioned his chair, and when he put his feet back down, he felt water slosh up through the carpeting.
He told his grandfather, who looked out the window and saw water rushing down what had been their street.
Quickly, Rahim hoisted himself into the attic, where he had the presence of mind to dislodge the vent fan and squeeze himself up through the opening to get to the roof.
He looked up and down the river that had been his street and saw a boat flowing toward the house.
He cried out for help.
The boat driver said he'd come back around, and to gather up the rest of the family, quick.
Rahim jumped back into the attic and called for his family to get up there. As they climbed the ladder, Rahim took the time to bust out the dormer window in the attic and clear all the sharp glass away before the family reached the attic.
One by one, Rahim and his family jumped off the roof into the river below, then swam to the rescue boat and climbed aboard.
The boat taxied them to the nearest street still above water and dropped them all off.
From there, they walked 12 miles to the Superdome, which by then was already filled to capacity.
So, for two days, Rahim and his family lived on the sidewalk outside the Superdome, without toilet facilities, minimal food and water, and watching people die in the sweltering mugginess of the post hurricane weather. His brother was weak. They worried he might be too weak from chemo and radiation to survive the elements.
While his grandfather was walking around the crowded, squalid sidewalks of the Superdome looking for food, a bus came to take a crowd including Rahim, his grandmother, mother and brother to San Antonio's Kelly USA. It was now or never and they had to leave- without his grandfather.
His eyes misted at that point, but he inhaled deeply and continued his story.
He didn't mention that all his family had on that San Antonio-bound bus were the clothes on their backs. I had to ask.

After hearing that, I remembered the three boxes of clothes and shoes I had gathered the day before to take to the tented collection area my goofy friends had mentioned. Turned out the collection tents were not a collection site, it was a fuckin' Labor Day barbecue cookoff.

Once Rahim had told me his story, I took him out to the vending machine and bought him a Coke. On the floor near the machine were his mother, grandmother and brother, huddled together in stunned silence.

I introduced myself to them, saying what a fine boy Rahim was.
Then I asked if one of them could accompany Rahim and me out to my car to select some new clothes for their family to wear.

Kelly USA had a clothing area but it was disorganized, stuffy, crowded and filled with clothes a hobo would scoff at. I mean, who the hell would donate a tuxedo jacket to hurricane victims in the 100º summer weather of South Texas?

Anyway, at my car, I gave them all the best stuff: the J Crew T-shirts, the Liz Claiborne casual wear, the outgrown Discovery channel's special safari shorts I paid a fortune for- back when I had a personal trainer, a full client roster and could afford such frivolities.
Rahim was so amped up over the Discovery channel, steel gray, vented pocket, hidden zippered compartment, totally cool shorts made of high tech ripstop nylon and other fancy shit, he actually slipped them on between the open front and back doors of my car.
The color matched the banded collar and cuffs of his bright orange T-shirt perfectly.
There's nothing like a hot new outfit to boost the morale of a handsome boy.
My heart was pounding from the joy his broad smile gave me. His grandmother was praising God as she carried away an armload of other stuff.
The kid had just crawled out of Hell, yet this simple exchange made both of us feel like we had formed a lasting bond.
I would have adopted him on the spot had he not had a strong mother and loving grandparents.

As the day wore on, a giant Catholic church service was about to start. I took that as a sign that it was time for me to go. As the Archbishop and his nun groupies were arriving, I was leaving.
Unless they were carrying in a trunk filled with cash, I wasn't interested in hearing any sermons.

On the way out, I paused in the hot sun to watch a group of high school age boys playing a pickup game of hoops. One kid had a long range shot sweeter than Robert Horry's.
I said, "You boys are in Spurs country now- better kick your game up a notch! I wanna see some above the rim play- this ain't the N'awlins Hornets up in here."
So the kid with the sweet 3-point shot got the ball, plowed through three aggressive defenders in the paint and launched a perfect slam dunk...wayyyy above the rim.
I told him he'd just won one of my vintage Spurs championship T-shirts. I got his cot number and wrote myself a reminder to bring it to him when I could.

I could tell many more stories of people I met yesterday, but I haven't got time.
I am heading back out there today to pitch in again.
I'm taking that Spurs T-shirt, neatly folded and wrapped in tissue. The kid in cot J-26 earned it.

To be continued...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Seven-thousand-five Hundred Amazingly Graceful Souls

My life changed today.
Heading to Kelly USA in a caravan of four cars this morning to see how we could help the largest Hurricane Katrina evacuee center in San Antonio, we walked into a building filled with 7,500 homeless, stunned, hungry men, women and children of all ages who have literally lost everything.
I'd say 95 percent of them were African American.
San Antonio is roughly 50 percent Hispanic, 40 percent Anglo and 10 percent African American, Asian and other ethnicities.
But today, San Antonio's Kelly USA was 100 percent American, and ethnicity didn't matter one bit, not to the evacuees and not to the volunteers.
One hundred percent of our welcome guests from New Orleans were polite, expressed lavish gratitude and waited patiently in blocks long lines for meals, tetanus shots, social security advice, insurance information and medical care.
I saw no angry faces, heard no voices raised and saw no aggression of any kind.
All morning, I cuddled with little children between 2 and 6 while their exhausted mothers, fathers and other adult guardians took showers, searched for clothes or otherwise took care of adult, parental and family business.
The children were sweet, affectionate and mannerly. I bonded with maybe eight or 10 of the little ones and kept running into them from room to room, always having them rush up to me for a hug or a little attention.
Around 10 a.m. I met a young man named Rahim, a 13-year-old with the most extraordinary dignity and maturity I have ever seen in a kid that age.
We sat down and he told me his story.
I am too emotionally spent right now to describe the way this kid told me his absolutely traumatizing story and how he managed to keep his composure like the Dali Lama the whole while.
But I will as soon as I can.

To be continued...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Helping Out, Clearing Out, Thinning Out

My mother is an incredibly sweet, loving little old lady of 92.
When I was a kid growing up in my parent's home, Mama had one very serious addiction:
She was a clothes hoarder. She hated to get rid of hers or anyone in the family's clothes. She bought clothes at resale shops and Goodwill and stashed those away, too.
We had a large, four bedroom house with plenty of closet space. Every closet was cram packed with barrels of clothes, double rods of hanging clothes, dressers full of clothes and- well, you get the picture.
Being short on clients this year due to the increasingly fucked-up economy, I've been trying to figure out how I can help with disaster relief without donating money. I just can't afford charitable cash contributions at this time.
It was then I inventoried my own collection of hoarded clothes and shoes and realized...
I have become my mother.
I have been a clothes hoarder for years now.
I don't buy and hoard used clothes like Mama did, but even worse, I am also a shoe whore with closets full of shoes the 90's want back.
So, I decided to go through my closets, dressers and shoe collection and pack up everything I haven't worn in two years or more.
I packed three giant boxes containing at least 50 polo shirts, T-shirts, tanks and shorts, a pile of sweats, sweaters, hoodies, jeans, several pairs of pants and at least 12 pairs of shoes.
Just a few miles away is a shopping mall with tents set up to collect clothing for survivors of the Gulf Coast disaster. I am taking all my boxes there after I post this, and delivering them with a prayer that the people who choose them like them a lot.
Please folks, if you have excess clothing and/or shoes to donate, consider clearing out your closets and donating them directly to the hurricane victims, if your area supports collection points for them.
To you it might be your favorite old Levis you've outgrown, or a genuine Ralph Lauren Polo shirt you paid $40 for back in 1985- but to a survivor crammed into an arena like the Astrodome with nothing but the clothes on his or her back, those old threads might be the best thing that happen to them all month.
And please, share in my comments box other ideas on how we can all help.
Why True Christians Should be Worried About the Loose Cannons in Their Flock

Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, sees God's mercy in the aftermath of Katrina -- but in a different way. Shanks says the hurricane has wiped out much of the rampant sin common to the city.

The pastor explains that for years he has warned people that unless Christians in New Orleans took a strong stand against such things as local abortion clinics, the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, and the annual event known as "Southern Decadence" -- an annual six-day "gay pride" event scheduled to be hosted by the city this week -- God's judgment would be felt.

“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again..."
Once again, Maureen Dowd clears the smoke and mirrors
United States of Shame

Published: September 3, 2005
NY Times

Stuff happens.
And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens.
America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America.

W. drove his budget-cutting Chevy to the levee, and it wasn't dry. Bye, bye, American lives. "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees," he told Diane Sawyer.
Shirt-sleeves rolled up, W. finally landed in Hell yesterday and chuckled about his wild boozing days in "the great city" of N'Awlins. He was clearly moved. "You know, I'm going to fly out of here in a minute," he said on the runway at the New Orleans International Airport, "but I want you to know that I'm not going to forget what I've seen." Out of the cameras' range, and avoided by W., was a convoy of thousands of sick and dying people, some sprawled on the floor or dumped on baggage carousels at a makeshift M*A*S*H unit inside the terminal.
Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.
Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs.
Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.
Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.
In June 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, fretted to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."
Not only was the money depleted by the Bush folly in Iraq; 30 percent of the National Guard and about half its equipment are in Iraq.
Ron Fournier of The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. But President Bush and Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill with 6,000 pet projects, including a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.
Just last year, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials practiced how they would respond to a fake hurricane that caused floods and stranded New Orleans residents. Imagine the feeble FEMA's response to Katrina if they had not prepared.
Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.
Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
It would be one thing if President Bush and his inner circle - Dick Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming; Condi Rice was shoe shopping at Ferragamo's on Fifth Avenue and attended "Spamalot" before bloggers chased her back to Washington; and Andy Card was off in Maine - lacked empathy but could get the job done. But it is a chilling lack of empathy combined with a stunning lack of efficiency that could make this administration implode.
When the president and vice president rashly shook off our allies and our respect for international law to pursue a war built on lies, when they sanctioned torture, they shook the faith of the world in American ideals.
When they were deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the victims in New Orleans - most of them poor and black, like those stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first - they shook the faith of all Americans in American ideals. And made us ashamed.
Who are we if we can't take care of our own?