Friday, September 30, 2005

Well, Paint Me Green & Call Me "Gumby"

This isn't surprising at all: The Civil Rights Movement (marches, lynchings, discrimination) didn't faze Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her youth; no way, no how.

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J.E.B.: "Don't Blame my Bro'"

Florida Governor John Ellis Bush (a.k.a. JEB Bush) sent a letter to the Washington Post that says local governements are better suited to respond to disasters than the Federal Government.
On the surface, it is very compelling and informative. JEB goes to great length to describe how Florida's emergancy response team and their National Guard have reacted to recent storms and the like. The letter certainly seems to share some ideas in one of my recent posts. And it defininitely compliments ex-FEMA Leader/new FEMA consultant Michael Brown's 180 on FEMA's role in disasters.

But, like in most broadstroke arguments, he misses some key points. For starters, he failed to mention the class distinctions that occurred during the Florida evacuations for Hurricane Rita. Then there's the fact when you compare Florida's disaster history to say, Louisiana's, there's a noticable difference in how each state declares an emergency.

As I read JEB's self-congradulatory letter, I started to see how being the brother of the POTUS can have its benefits. FEMA won't red-tape you to death if the POTUS is your brother. In fact, I suppose they'll let you do pretty much whatever you want. In response, JEB gets to use his "independence" to advocate the local government over the federal government (and protect said brother in the process).

But JEB must also rely on local areas for his news too, otherwise he'd be aware of the circumstances other states were facing. He would then know FEMA rejected Blanco's idea to use the buses for Hurricane Katrina. He would understand the impact the Iraq war had on getting the levees up to par. He would know that in some states the National Guard has state and federal obligations.

But the message is clear from JEB: "Don't Blame my Bro'."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Buddy List

Here's the record from my home state, but how does your representatives rank among "Good Friends of Tom Delay?"

Never Forget

In case Tom Delay's indictment ends his tenure as a congressman, remember all the good things the Bush Administration said about him (before they decide to backtrack).

Resistence is Futile

President Bush may not be able to hold off an independent Katrina commission.

FEMA Math: Not for the Educated

FEMA had an idea to put Hurricane Katrina survivors on cruise ships. Problem is, they never bothered to shop for good deals.

"You're Doing a Heck of a Job...at Covering Your Tracks"

I thought FEMA was in charge of rescues during a federal emergency. I thought FEMA was properly staffed before and during Hurricane Katrina. I was wrong.

And this little story explains why I was wrong.

The Patience of Job

You know what, people? Kanye had it right when he said "George Bush doesn't care about black people". Although he probably shouldn't have gone about it like he did, he had it right on the nose. I guess my question to all those who voted to keep this moron (yeah Bush I said it!) in the White House, how does it feel? Still feel confident in George Dubya? You should after all, cuz your votes put him there. Hey, Republicans, "security moms", and all you other pea-brains, did you use your tax cuts (cuz I KNOW you got them, I mean isn't that why you elected him in the first place?) to help out the victims of this nation's most recent tragedies? Did you even TRY to help? I bet I know one person who didn't do anything to help......That's right! Good Ol' George Dubya!

That's right! He's down in Texas again this week to survey the damage first-hand. Wow....just what they needed! A president who didn't lift a finger to help repair damage by this horrible series of tragedies. This guy came to Texas several time in a few days, but it took him 3 days after the fact to even fly over the damage done in Louisiana one time. And after a few days of people complaining that he was taking so long to help New Orleans because he was racist, he went on TV to announce he wasn't racist and taking up almost the entire airing time to do so, he almost never said anything about what he was going to do to help. What made matters worse in my eyes, is when his own mother made a "I don't care about you because I'm rich and you're not" statement that went something like this: "They're underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them". The absolute nerve! Don't come looking for any of us black folk (or "refugees as we're often referred to by the media) to come help you when you "fall and can't get up", or when you suffer a REAL tragedy, going broke, because I very much doubt that people will be trying to help you after the comments you made, unless they have the patience of Job, and I KNOW I don't have that much patience.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Baker's Dozen

Latimes.com says it best: "Group Lists 13 'Most Corrupt' in Congress." Check it out in case you've donated to or voted for one of these guys in the past.

From Across the Pond

The Observer has two stories worth reading.

The first one is about Britain's possible withdrawal from Iraq (in May) and the pressure Prime Minister Tony Blair has be getting.

The second is about how President Bush tried to the American Public (a.k.a a "fundraiser") to help pay for reconstruction of Iraq. The amount collected? $600.

In short: America's most supportive ally in Iraq wants out, and at home Bush can't even get the most ardent of war supporters to muster up enough money to by a laptop for Iraq.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Learning Lessons

When inexperienced and unqualified individuals incorrectly execute bad plans, the results are plain for just about everyone to see. The debacle that was the Hurricane Katrina Aftermath is a prime example: the former FEMA director didn't have a clue, the local and state governments weren't properly informed or resourced, and many people who could have been saved were abandoned or sent to locations that weren't expecting them.

However, even qualified individuals with excellent preperation and well-executed plans can run into snags, as evidenced with the current handling of Rita.

Why?

Because this isn't about the before, it's about the after. How are you going to handle things when "Plan A" falls on its face? What happens if your key contact ends up dead? How long until the backup plan kicks in? What if the routes you wanted to use gets flooded? What if the designated shelter ends up being 10 feet under water?

It's not about the before, it's about the after. It's about having a contingency plan. It's about looking at the big picture.

Or to simplify it: "hope for the best, plan for the worst."

Iraq is a Hard Place (to democratize)

Public opinion on withdrawal form Iraq, and whether we can ultimately win there, is going against the opinion of the White House.

Looking for a Few Good Accountants

If you're having trouble with keeping track of your personal finances, don't feel bad. Apparently the Pentagon has the same problem with their budget (specifically the costs of the War on Terror).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fiscal Responsibility

Compare and contract the conservative approach to offsetting the costs of Katrina ( see here, here and here) to a more progressive approach.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Martha Stewart Maneuver

Bill Frist plays the stock market, but not the way it was intended.

What's Under Your Bed?

I know there's extremism on both sides of the aisle, but do we really need children's books comparing liberals to bedtime monsters? It's funny how this is acceptable, but Fahrenheit 9/11 was seen as a patisan political attack.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dog Eat Dog World

Good news: the surviving animals are being rescued.

Bad news: they are experiencing luxuries the human survivors haven't been able to.

The Coming Storm

News of a new hurricane coming to the Gulf region hasn't stopped the Bush Administration from misinforming the public about the last one.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

So Happy Together...

Iran is becoming a closer friend to Iraq every day. And although Mr. Bush is obviously engaged in the goings on with the UN, I'm hoping our new "Multitasker President" can find the time to focus on this potentially dangerous union.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Art of Multitasking

Multitasking is not easy. You have to be able to deal with many issues simultaneoulsy, but treat each one as if its the most important thing on your plate. Few people in the public spotlight have been able to multitask, and even fewer POTUS.

Which brings me to our own President Bush. Mere minutes after publically acknowledging that he wasn't aware of FEMA Director Mike Brown's retirement, Bush claims that he's on top of things (it's too bad that recent polls don't agree with him).

If there was any one flaw of this President that people of all political beliefs can agree, it's that George W. Bush cannot multitask.

He cannot be a "compassionate conservative," a hardcore conservative, a fiscal conservative and a traditional conservative at the same time.

He cannot pay attention to Hurricane Katrina victims and cleanup and celebrate John McCain's birthday and the same time.

He cannot do photo ops with rescue vehicles and firefighters and actually use these resources to rescue people at the same time.

He cannot cut taxes (that benefit mostly rich people) and fight a war (that's supposed to be protecting the citizens of America) on the cheap at the same time.

He cannot raise his falling approval ratings and protect his braintrust, Karl Rove, at the same time.

He cannot handle fighting two wars (Iraq and Afganistan) at the same time.

He cannot sign a $286 million dollar highway bill and prevent his party members get away with saying that rebuilding New Orleans (as high as $200 billion) is too much money.

He cannot claim that Social Security will not be there for black people and then three days after a hurricane destroys a city (heavily populated with black people) not be there.

He cannot explain why pictures of dead soldier's coffins and dead bodies in New Orleans cannot be shown and justify showing the casket of recently deceased Chief Justice Reinquist.

He cannot claim to be a "uniter" and call for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage.

Lastly, a person who mutlitasks is never, ever heard saying anything like "I've got to get on with my life." And they don't take massive vactations when there's work to be done. That's becuase true multitaskers can have a life and still do their job.

President Bush has not shown the ability to multitask, and hasn't given anyone a reason to think that he can start doing so.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Delayed Response?

This timeline doesn't speak well for FEMA.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Black and White (votes)/Emergency Protocol

According to Slate, it wasn't race that affected the President's response time. It was the fact that it was black voters who never really supported him in the first place.

Speaking of support, WashPost helps to sort the fact from the fiction concerning what exactly the federal government can do in a state of emergency.

Sliding Down the Poll

Pollsters didn't like the Bush Administration's reaction to Katrina.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Is Racism and Classism at work here?

I'm not too sure but personally I feel there's a disproportionate difference in terms of who gets aid when. Kanye West was right. When black families take necessary items for survival it's called "looting" and when white families do the same its called "looking for food". Speaking of Kanye, did you see the way he told it like it was the other night on NBC, CNBC, MSNBC and PAX? For those who didn't, I'll post a link to all hip hop here.

There Ya Have It!

Three dollars plus is what we're now paying for gas....with no end in sight. From what I heard on the radio this morning on my way to schol, gas prices won't be at pre-Katrina levels until the end of September. And before is all said and done it may go up again. Those who voted that mook Bush in the White House, how's that workin' out for ya? I bet you're glad to have him in the White House NOW aren't ya?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Three Quick Questions

Does Katrina show how Homeland Security would react to terrorist attacks?

Did a simulation really give the Bush Administration an idea what Katrina could do?

Are we really hearing the truth about what's going on down there?

I'm hoping to get some answers.

Say "Cheese"

Bush gets a photo op in before tackling the Katrina aftermath.

Hear it Here

Listen to New Orleans Mayor Ray Naggin's take on the Katrina siutation.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina's Aftermath

So much to go over...

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert doesn't think rebuilding New Orleans is a priority, even thought Scott McClellen claims that flood prevention has always been a priority of the Bush Administration (Bush meanwhile, says that levee problems coudnlt' have been prevented. Really?)

There are Democrats that are pissed, and they have their reasons...

No one's really talking about why most of the footage of the escaping survivors and the looters are black, but maybe there's a reason...

Scott also doesn't think this issue should be politicized (read: blame the President for leaving three states without troops to keep the peace, vehicles to rescue survivors and resources to feed and keep people alive) but it doesn't stop FEMA from giving Pat Robertson some positive PR...

And just like another disaster involving winds and water, Bush decides to pass the buck to Bill Clinton and George Sr...

A little money could have gone a long way...