Friday, September 30, 2005
Would you be offended if I subtly suggested giving something to the Christine Cegelis (IL-6) campaign?
You can contribute here.
At the Capital Fax, Rich Miller asks his singularly knowlegable readers what it would take for G-ROD's falling stock to bounce back.
UPDATE: This news should give G-ROD a short-term boost.
From your Chicago Tribune:
Hastert is facing a public relations onslaught from the Democrats, who accuse House Republicans of creating an ethical cloud over the Congress.Take a bow Democrats!
"The Republicans think that they're above the law. They act out of touch with the needs of the American people, and they must be stopped," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, again charging the GOP has created a "culture of corruption" from the House to the White House.
From your Chicago Tribune:
"Even if the Carnival contract were a good one--and it almost certainly is not--it is inexplicable why FEMA would fail to implement the Greek government's offer of free cruise ships," the senators said. "Unfortunately, this is merely the latest example of poor decision-making by FEMA."Greece offered the U.S. free use of two cruise ships on September 4th.
Coburn and Obama have introduced legislation calling for a chief financial officer to oversee how tax dollars are being spent on hurricane recovery efforts. They said the Carnival deal "appears to be a sweetheart government contract."
Myers said the Pentagon is "trying to walk that very fine line between being seen as an occupier and being effective and winning this war, and helping the Iraqis stand up on their feet and take the fight to the enemy."While Cindy Sheehan's point of view may not have been altered by her meeting with Sen. McCain, but McCain's seems to have been altered by meeting with Sheehan and her supporters.
McCain offered a blistering reply on the state of the conflict, suggesting Myers' comments were detached from reality.
"Gen. Myers seems to assume that things have gone well in Iraq," the senator said. "Gen. Myers seems to assume that the American people--the support for our conflict there is not eroding. Gen. Myers seems to assume that everything has gone fine, and our declarations of victory, of which there have been many, have not had an impact on American public opinion."
UPDATE: Or maybe McCain has just been listening to the majority of Americans. From your Chicago Tribune:
As doubts grow about U.S. military involvement in Iraq, a new poll shows a majority of Americans think that using force to promote democracy is a bad idea.emphasis added.
According to a survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and released Thursday, only 35 percent of those polled favored using military force to overthrow dictators while 55 percent opposed the idea. Less than 17 percent supported the idea of threatening countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan with military force if they did not institute democratic reforms. ***
Asked if they thought the goal of overthrowing Iraq's authoritarian government and establishing a democracy was by itself a good enough reason to go to war, 74 percent said no and 19 percent said yes. Among those who said no, 60 percent identified themselves as Republicans and 86 percent said they were Democrats.
"The sense I get from this is that the American public has become far more skeptical about what is happening in Iraq," said Christopher Whitney, director of studies at the council.
"They don't see the benefits," he said. "They don't see the Iraq war as justifiable in terms of democratization." ***
The findings are consistent with other polls in which a majority of Americans now say they think the Iraq war was a mistake.
On his radio program, Bennet said:
I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go downBennett says that his point was that morality alone -- not economics or social science -- should decide the issue of abortion.
But Dems seem to think that Bennett's hypothetical crime-reduction-through-black-genocide plan calls for some kind of apology.
[Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)] said he was "appalled by Mr. Bennett's remarks" and called on him "to issue an immediate apology not only to African Americans but to the nation."Vegas odds-makers say the smart money is on Bennett not issuing an apology.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said in a statement, "At the very time our country yearns for national unity in the wake of hurricane Katrina, these comments reflect a spirit of hate and division."
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) joined in the criticism.
"Not only is his bigotry a disgrace, I am appalled that he is using his radio platform to malign African Americans, which an impressionable listener could mistake for truth," he said in a statement.
The coach had some trouble executing his plays. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) did have a game plan in place to provide for a leadership transition once Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was indicted Wednesday and forced to step down as majority leader.One can only presume that Coach Hastert will focus on fundamentals, take it one game at a time and give it 110%.
It's just that he was blocked by a powerful group of conservative members -- and House Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who told Hastert in a personal appeal he did not want to be eclipsed, even temporarily, by a placeholder who would take DeLay's job.
Hastert apparently did not anticipate that talks from his team with Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) about filling the void created by DeLay's indictment would provoke a backlash. ***
"Yesterday was the toughest day in Denny Hastert's leadership," said Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), "because of what happened to his friend Tom DeLay."
Thursday, September 29, 2005
But Rich Miller of the Capital Fax wonders if "this could be a tough case to make."
I don't think it is at all tough to make the case because there is no question that Peter Roskam's strong ties to Tom DeLay have bookended his entire political career:
- 20 years ago, Peter Roskam's life in politics began in the office of Tom DeLay.
- Just last Thurday, less than a week before Tom Delay was indicted for his part in a criminal conspiracy centered on his campaign fundraising, DeLay hosted a $500 per plate campaign fundraiser for Peter Roskam.
From your Chicago Tribune:
So far 1,500 telephones, 200 cell phones, 25 personal computers, a fire engine and an untold number of desks, filing cabinets and workstation divider walls have been earmarked, said County Board member James D. Healy of Naperville. ***I'm glad that DuPage is helping out.
"A used pickup truck sold at auction here would bring $1,000, but giving to [a county government in Mississippi or Louisiana] would save them the $30,000 cost of buying a new one," Healy said.
Healy said an administrator in Hancock County, Miss., which borders Louisiana, told him staff there have established temporary offices in public buildings but lack essential gear to run the government.
But can someone explain why the taxpayers of DuPage County had to pay for unnecessary telephones, cell phones, personal computers, desks, filing cabinets and fire engines in the first place?
They are all convicted felons that George W. Bush pardoned yesterday, under the media cover of the DeLay indictment.
As a bonus, Bush also pardoned a Texas woman found guilty of "misprision of a felony".
The major political question raised by the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) is not whether Democrats will exploit it, but how effectively they will."Republican culture of cronyism and corruption" -- It's short and has a pretty good ring to it.
By coincidence, House and Senate Democrats, who are trying harder to coordinate their messages, this week decided to focus on what they called the GOP "culture of cronyism and corruption'' without knowing the DeLay indictment would be unveiled.
"Republican culture of cronyism and corruption" -- The phrase sums up the myriad instances of Republican wrong doing.
"Republican culture of cronyism and corruption" -- It applies to everything from Tom Delay's criminal money-laundering/campaign finance schemes to Bill Frist's insider trading...
to Denny-boy Hastert's Turkish connections...
to Haliburton's no-bid contracts...
to Michael "Brownie" Brown's employment at FEMA...
to the Presidential Medals of Freedom awarded to the architects of the Iraq failure...
all the way down to George Ryan's license for bribes trial.
But can the Dems stay on message?
From your Chicago Tribune:
"The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom DeLay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), voicing one of many similar comments by Democrats on Wednesday.Well... so far so good.
Now lets try for a new Democratic record and stay on message for two days in a row.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Obama is breaking out.May I have some more, please...
As the only African-American member of the Senate, Obama has faced some private grumbling for not joining the Congressional Black Caucus in challenging the electoral results in 2004 in Ohio. (Civil rights groups complained that African-American voters there faced long lines and other problems casting their ballots.) But after Hurricane Katrina, Obama toured the devastated areas with Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush and then appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week to blast the federal government’s sluggish response and highlight the racial and economic gaps it exposed. The interviews marked his first appearances on the Sunday morning political shows since taking office. “It was a moment I thought I might add a useful perspective to the debate,” Obama told TIME this week.
Last week, he strongly criticized a proposal, made by a bipartisan commission led by Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, to require photo ID for people to vote. Obama worried that the measure might stop poor people who don’t have driver's licenses from voting. Then, he headed to the Senate floor to declare his opposition to John Roberts’s appointment as chief justice, citing his concerns about how Roberts would vote on civil rights and abortion.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), emerging from a meeting with House GOP leaders, announced that Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the Republican whip, was elected to assume [Rep. Tom DeLay's] role as majority leader on a temporary basis. Hastert also said some duties would be transferred to Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), the Rules Committee chairman, and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the deputy whip.
The indictment was disclosed in Travis County, Tex., on the last day of a grand jury investigating a campaign financing scheme involving allegedly illegal use of corporate funds.
DeLay, 58, attended a meeting in Hastert's office shortly after receiving word of the indictment and said afterward he notified Hastert that he would "temporarily step aside" as majority leader. GOP House rules require that any member of Congress who is indicted must step down from a leadership position. However, there is no requirement that DeLay leave his congressional seat.
From the Washington Post:
A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that could force him to step down as House majority leader.In April, your Chicago Sun-Times asked Pete Roskam if the growing cloud of corruption surrounding DeLay meant he should step down from his post as leader:
DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee. ***
As a sign of loyalty to DeLay after the grand jury returned indictments against three of his associates, House Republicans last November repealed a rule requiring any of their leaders to step aside if indicted. The rule was reinstituted in January after lawmakers returned to Washington from the holidays fearing the repeal might create a backlash from voters.
"Trotting out some of ... these old accusations that are two and three and four years old is a little bit tiresome," Roskam said. "I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt."And Roskam's loyalty to, and ongoing relationship with, his mentor is still paying off.
Just last week, on September 22, Tom DeLay hosted a $500 per plate -- $1,000 for PAC donors -- fundraising lunch in Washington D.C. for Peter Roskam.
In your Chicago Sun-Times, Daley discussed jaywalking:
Run across Lake Shore Drive, Rich?
"I don't know about ticketing them. But, it's a safety issue. When someone . . . tries to run across, like Lake Shore Drive, and they get killed, don't blame the city and don't blame the driver," Daley said.
"Jaywalking is very dangerous. A lot of people get seriously injured or killed."
What would make Mayor Daley think that folks would jaywalk across the ten -- count 'em -- ten lanes of Lake Shore Drive, much less that they would blame the city for getting hurt doing so?
As your Chicago Tribune reported in July, the Mayor's Traffic Management Authority permanently closed the Lake Shore Drive crosswalk linking the Buckingham Fountain to the Queen's Landing lakefront promenade.
Now pedestrians -- who used the crosswalk to get from the fountain to Queen's Landing -- now must hike nearly half-a-mile to the cross-walks at Jackson and Balbo.
In the wake of her inevitable book deal, it turns out that "purpose" wasn't the only thing setting Ms. Smith free.
From your Chicago Sun-Times:
Ashley Smith, the woman who says she persuaded suspected courthouse gunman Brian Nichols to release her by talking about her faith, discloses in a new book that she gave him meth during the hostage ordeal.And if you can't believe a self-described methamphetamine addict when she says she's quitting, who can you believe?
Smith did not share that detail with authorities at the time. ***
Smith, 27, a widowed mother who gained praise for her level-headedness, says the seven-hour hostage ordeal in March led to the realization that she was a drug addict, and she says she hasn't used drugs since.
Monday, September 26, 2005
But today CBS news reports that the timing of his leaving might not have been all that important:
CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate it's response following Hurricane Katrina. ***It seems to me that Brownie's "experience" is just the sort of dangerous and malignant material that I.T. professionals advise users not to "download".
Later this evening, CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger spoke with a spokesman for FEMA, Russ Knocke, who confirmed that Brown remains on the FEMA payroll. He also said that technically Brown remains at FEMA as a "contractor" and he is "transitioning out of his job." The reason he will remain at FEMA about a month after his resignation, said the spokesman, is that the agency wants to get the "proper download of his experience."
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Here's a fact getting far too little attention: The cost this year alone of the Bush tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 comes to $225 billion. In other words, the revenue lost because of tax cuts going through this year without any congressional action would more than pay the costs of Katrina recovery.That lost revenue could also address much of the reconstruction cost in Iraq. But we all know that Bush Inc. isn't going to roll back those tax cuts for the hyper-rich -- so do they plan to finance the Iraqi reconstruction?
From the Observer (UK):
An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600, The Observer has learnt. Yet since the appeal was launched earlier this month, donations to rebuild New Orleans have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars.Maybe Mr. Bush could get some cheerleaders to organize a car-wash to fund the Iraqi reconstruction.
The public's reluctance to contribute much more than the cost of two iPods to the administration's attempt to offer citizens 'a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq' has been seized on by critics as evidence of growing ambivalence over that country. ***
It is understood to be the first time that a US government has made an appeal to taxpayers for foreign aid money.
President Bush decided Wednesday to waive any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Washington's closest Arab ally in the war on terrorism, for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers.From your Sun-Times:
In June, the State Department listed 14 countries as failing to adequately address trafficking problems, subjecting them all to possible sanctions if they did not crack down. ***
In addition to Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Kuwait -- another U.S. ally in the Middle East -- were given a complete pass on any sanctions, [Darla Jordan, a State Department spokesperson] said. Despite periodic differences, oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the United States have a tight alliance built on economic and military cooperation. ***
The White House statement offered no explanation of why countries were regarded differently. Jordan also could not provide one.
As many as 800,000 people are bought and sold across national borders annually or lured to other countries with false promises of work or other benefits, according to the State Department. Most are women and children.
Leader in the war on terror, survivor of al-Qaida assassination attempts, advocate of moderate Islam: Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has emerged as a darling of the West since the Sept. 11 attacks.Another AP story in the Union-Tribune details the inhumanity of Pakistani law:
He has won little praise, however, for his response to another blight facing his country: rape and other violence against women.
Hundreds of attacks -- including gang rapes, "honor killings" of wives accused of having affairs and brides murdered for marrying without family consent -- are reported each year. Most go unpunished. ***
Last week, Musharraf returned from a U.S. visit marred by controversy over his reportedly telling the Washington Post that many Pakistanis see rape allegations as a way for women to make money and get visas to leave the country. He later denied saying that, but the newspaper said the recorded interview proved he was correctly quoted.
During his trip, the military leader also said Pakistan is unfairly censured over rape and denounced activists he claimed profit from making such accusations "to malign Pakistan, the government and me."
Rights workers retort he is more concerned about shielding the nation's reputation overseas than taking action at home.
"Violence against women is a universal problem," said Kamila Hyat, co-director of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. "Many governments have taken serious steps to deal with it. Pakistan hasn't."
She called Musharraf's reported comments "insensitive and rather pointless."
"There are thousands of victims of rape in Pakistan," she said, "and as far as I know, none went abroad" other than a doctor who claimed she was raped by a military officer. The government paid for her to migrate to Canada.
Another rape victim, Mukhtar Mai, barred by Musharraf from traveling to the United States to speak to a rights group earlier this year until Washington protested, said the government's campaign to tackle violence against women "seems limited to talk." ***
Musharraf has condemned violence against women. But he has failed to reform a harsh penal code that makes it extremely difficult to prosecute rape cases and leaves victims vulnerable to adultery charges.
The laws, known as the Hudood Ordinance, make it extremely difficult to prosecute rape cases and leaves victims vulnerable to adultery charges.Rest assured ladies -- once Bush Inc. has secured all the oil in the Middle East, they will get around to protecting your human rights.
The ordinance is "like a sword hanging over the heads of the women of Pakistan," said Shahnaz Bokhari of the Progressive Women's Association, which helps victims of violence. According to the government, about 80 percent of the more than 2,000 women jailed in Pakistan were convicted under the ordinance.
The only sure ways to obtain a rape conviction are with a confession by the accused or the testimony of four adult Muslim men who witnessed the assault. A woman's testimony carries half the weight of a man's.
Human Rights Watch said that when the ordinance was first issued, it was common for the victim to be prosecuted for illicit consensual sex – punishable with a long prison sentence.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
"I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great.I always thought that "passed out from choking on a pretzel" story seemed a little phony.
"I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening."
Oh wait... That quote is from The National Enquirer... Nevermind...
Besides, who ever heard of a drunk falling off the wagon when the going got tough?
I will leave it to Kevin Drum to ponder the substance of the column -- whether the monied elites have really turned against Bush or if they are just letting off steam -- but I was stuck by this Novak remark:
"All discussions are off the record," admonished the conference's printed schedule. Consequently, I will refrain from specifically quoting panelists and audience members.
The Robert Novak who, because Plame's official cover was that she was working for a private company, revealed both Plame's cover and the cover of all of the other covert operatives associated with that company.
The Robert Novak who compromised potentially every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company or with her.
I guess Robert Novak must hold the confidentiality statement on the Aspen conference schedule in higher esteem than either the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (PL97-200, 50 U.S. Code Secs. 421–426) or Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.
Robert Novak, you have once again earned your hard-won title.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
You know the rule: Early and often.
In the next thirty seconds you can send a loud and clear message to Congress that we’re ending business as usual.
We asked for your help last week and you came through, giving Christine enough votes to qualify for the final run-off in Democracy for America’s Grassroots All-Star competition. Thank you.
Now we’re asking you to vote again, to give Christine the support she needs to win the DFA endorsement. That endorsement will bring early resources to Christine’s campaign – resources she needs to get her message out, to make it clear that we’re tired of business as usual.
Business as usual these days means hard-working Americans don’t have good health care, children don’t have access to a good education and parents don’t have stable, good-paying jobs. We’re closing that business down. We’re sending one of our own to Congress. Christine understands the concerns of everyday Americans. Because she is one.
But she needs your support to make her voice heard. She needs you to add your voice to hers by voting for her in the DFA contest.
Last week, people made their voice heard and gave Christine the support she needed to make this final round. To win this round, and the endorsement that comes with it, we need those votes and more before Saturday, the 24th at 4:00 CST. Winning brings Christine the early resources that make it possible to get her message out loud and strong. Your vote could be the one that makes the difference.
Republicans like business as usual. They think they will have an easy time installing Tom DeLay’s protégé into Henry Hyde’s old seat. They have cleared the field for their hand-picked Grover Norquist ally. Send the message that it won’t be so easy. Vote for Christine.
Cast your vote at http://www.democracyforamerica.com/housevote
We know we can count on you.
The fictional word is "esquivalience" which is defined as "the willful avoidance of one's official responsibilities; the shirking of duties."
The word's etymology is traced to the late 19th Century, "perhaps from French esquiver, 'dodge, slink away.'"Many thanks to Ms. Lindberg for creating a single word that captures the myriad ways that Bush administration failed the people of the Gulf Coast.
But while "esquiver" is a real French word, "esquivalience" is an invention. McKean confirmed this for The New Yorker, saying the New Oxford American team set out to make up a word for "working hard," which they were. But one editor, Christine Lindberg, came up with a word that meant just the opposite.
"I wanted the word to suggest character weaknesses," Lindberg writes by e-mail, "and words like 'quivering' and 'vacillating' went through my mind and became the glob of brain putty that eventually got fashioned into 'esquivalience.'" ***
Of course, in the world of lexicography, a made-up word can become real simply by having people discuss it -- and then use it.
Lindberg, the inventor of "esquivalience," says the word is real to her. "It is only this recent bit of attention to my infamous little neologism that has reminded me of its fauxness," she says. "I find myself using the word regularly, and I've grown quite fond of it. I especially like the critical, judgmental tone I can get out of it: 'Those esquivalient little wretches.' Sounds literate and nasty all in one breath. I like that."
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
The name, logo, and colors were released at an event at the Adler Planetarium:
"We wanted the name to have meaning and capture our dreams," CEO and President Margaret Stender told the crowd... We set three important criteria for the name. The name and the logo must be distinctly Chicago, it must be aspirational and encouraging and it must be high energy representing the style and substance that we plan to live by on and off the court.While "Sky" is a fine name, it doesn't seem "distinctly Chicago." And it doesn't seem particularly "aspirational" or "high energy" either.
"And then it dawned on us, there it was, everything Chicago stands for. How it towered, how it inspired, its character, how it stood to face the world. Architects say the Adler Planetarium is the best place in the city to view the spectacular skyline of this city. It is the place to see Chicago reach to the Sky."
But I imagine that calling Chicago's WNBA team the Beef-Futures Traders would lead to some nasty cat-calls.
Monday, September 19, 2005
"Rip your CDs and post them on p2p networks."Celebrate!
"Crack the crypto on your Tivo, burn the shows to DVD and share them with your friends."
"Never pay for software -- it can all be downloaded for free from the internet."
"Videotape films at movie screenings."
"Information wants to be free."
"Fair use, man -- Fair use!"
Today is "International Talk Like A Pirate Day"
Sunday, September 18, 2005
SCHIEFFER: And we turn now to Senator Barack Obama from the state of Illinois. He's in Chicago this morning.The transcript in PDF format.
And, Senator, let me ask you about something, first, I had really not thought about, but I found very disturbing. When the admiral said, 'Look, we're still worried about these levees, and if there's another storm, those levees might give way.' Are we putting--or are the officials putting too much emphasis on getting people back into New Orleans so quickly?
Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois): Well, I think it's understandable, Bob, that people want to see the Crescent City rise as quickly as possible, but I think Admiral Allen was exactly right. We want to make sure that we get it right this time, that people are safe, that the situation there is secure, that we have basic infrastructure in the event that there was another hurricane. We're still towards the tail end of hurricane season. So I think that Admiral Allen's caution is appropriate. I'm glad to see that people who have businesses in New Orleans are able to get in, start making some assessments, start making preparations for the rebuilding process.
SCHIEFFER: Senator, there is no question that this hurricane exposed us to a racial divide very much in the same way that the O.J. trial did. African-American people just saw it one way, and it seems that white people saw it another, especially on the slowness of the federal response. Do you believe that racial discrimination played a part in that? The president tried to confront that the other night, and I guess the question I would ask you: Do you think he made any headway in turning that around, that perception?
Sen. OBAMA: Well, I've said before I think that the incompetence in the federal response was color-blind. And I think that what you had in terms of the immediate aftermath of the hurricane displayed an unwillingness to acknowledge that some people can't load up an SUV, fill it up with a hundred bucks' worth of gas and drive and check in to a hotel. So there seemed to be a lack of awareness with respect to poverty and the isolation that many folks experience in a place like the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
I do think there was a broader racial element. The fact is in this country that issues of poverty and issues of race have always been tied together. The president acknowledged this, I think, for the first time, that I can recall, in his presidency, when he gave his speech from New Orleans. And the question now is whether, in fact, there's been an awakening on his part, and his administration, to that intersection of race and poverty, and whether we're finally going to see the compassion in the compassionate conservatism that he announced when he was first running for president.
SCHIEFFER: What do you think the first thing is he ought to do on that front?
Sen. OBAMA: Well, there are a couple of things that I think are a priority. We've already allocated in Congress $62 billion so far to the reconstruction effort. And one of the heartening things about this tragedy has been the enormous wellspring of donations and support from the American people across the board. They also don't want to see that $62 billion or $200 billion wasted. And so this past week, for example, I worked with a Republican colleague, Tom Coburn, to try to institute a CFO, a chief financial officer, to oversee this $62 billion. Make sure that that money is well-spent.
The second thing I think we have to prioritize are putting people in the region back to work. We should be training them to do the environmental cleanup. We have an opportunity to take folks who didn't have skills before and potentially have them participate in the rebuilding of their own communities. And I think that's going to be absolutely vital. And then I think we have to have a long-term plan to think about how do we create better schools than existed before, how do we create greater economic opportunities than existed before? And, you know, one of the things that I've said is that Democrats should not presume insincerity on the part of the president. I think we should, you know, hold out a hand to him and say, 'We're willing to be partners in this process.' But...
SCHIEFFER: Well, on that front, let me just ask you what I think is a key question here. The president says he can do all of this, and he's promised to do everything that it takes without raising taxes. Do you think that's realistic?
Sen. OBAMA: Well, this is where I think the problem comes in. You can't fight a war in Iraq that's costing upwards of $200 billion and rebuild New Orleans and respond to the aftermath of Katrina and try to deal with all the other domestic needs that we have and then cut taxes for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. I mean, there was talk right immediately after the hurricane that the Republicans in the Senate were still going to push forward with the repeal of the estate tax, which is mind-boggling, I think.
We need some adult supervision of the budget process and we need to take responsibility for this process. That's something that we need from the president as well as our congressional leaders.
SCHIEFFER: Senator, thank you so much.
Sen. OBAMA: Thank you very much, Bob.
UPDATE: Archpundit points out that Crooks&Liars has the video.
Jake "Chris Rhodes" Parillo dropped big coin to see the show but you can watch the whole concert live -- for free -- at www.farmaid.org.
Jake says that Chicago's own Wilco is "scheduled to perform from approximately 5:45 p.m. to 6:20 p.m.". So be sure to tune in and let Jake know that your seat was more comfortable -- and your view was better -- than his.
You need to have Windows Media Player 9 or higher for the webcast to work.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
I know that the story is about women, but I don't see why this commentary would not be of interest to Tribune readers that happen to have male genitals.
African-Americans make up about 68 percent of the population of New Orleans, and it appears from the media coverage that they represent a considerably higher proportion than that of the survivors who were trapped inside the city, perhaps as high as 80 percent.
And yet there is another equally important and starkly apparent social dimension to the hurricane disaster that media coverage has put in front of our eyes but that has yet to be "noticed": This disaster fell hard on one side of the gender line too. Most of the survivors are women. Women with children, women on their own, elderly women in wheelchairs, women everywhere--by a proportion of what looks to be again somewhere around 75 or 80 percent.
Women make up 54 percent of the population of New Orleans, so the gender gap is even more dramatic than the race gap. The two gaps need not compete for our attention; they are linked. The majority of victims trapped in New Orleans appeared to be African-American women with their children, and no doubt the ranks of the dead also will be.
The gender gap is no surprise, or shouldn't be. Disaster is seldom gender neutral. In the 1995 Kobe, Japan, earthquake, 1.5 times more women died than men; in the 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami, death rates for women across the region averaged three to four times that of men.
The gender, class and race dimension of each disaster needs particular explanation. Feminists working in relief agencies and the UN, for example, identified several factors that explain the gender skew in the 2004 tsunami deaths.In some instances, sex differences in physical strength clearly made a difference in the ability of survivors to climb, cling or run to safety. Prevailing ideologies of femininity played a role in this: strength differences reflect the extent to which women are encouraged or allowed to develop physical strength. ***
The "not noticing" of the gendered dimensions of this disaster by the American media and by the experts who interpreted the disaster to the public through the media is alarming and warrants attention.
Feminist theorists have long pointed to the public invisibility of women, especially women of racial minorities, and the New Orleans case study provides a dramatic example of the "unremarkability" of racialized minority women in the gaze of a predominantly male and white media. In the real world of an unfolding disaster, this comes at a price.The lack of curiosity about the rapes in the midst of the New Orleans disaster is just one aspect of this willful ignorance that is particularly disturbing.
Rapes have been mentioned in several news stories, but always in passing and with no follow-through: no interviews with police officials about the magnitude of rape, no curiosity about the nature of masculinity that contemplates rape even in conditions of extreme human suffering, no disaster experts assuring us that rape-support teams are included in the rescue teams, no discussion about the medical and psychological resources that women who have survived unimaginable tragedy and stress and have also been raped will need.
Someone should inform the Brahmins at the Tribune that women play a big role in the lives of men. Most of the males I know have at least one parent who is a female. Many of them are married to women. Some even have children and grandchildren that are females.
Just because a piece is about women and "women's issues", that is no reason to just assume that boys wouldn't be interested and bury the piece in "WomenNews."
The whole column will be available later today here.
Congress and the public have shoveled new powers upon the White House in the last four years, and the deal was that the White House would use them to protect us. The Bush administration is now protesting that its hands were tied in New Orleans by an indecisive mayor and governor, but it had swaggered before the public as a crew that in a time of crisis could do and would do whatever it takes.
New Orleans was a flood in a small city -- and the White House froze. Imagine if it had been a dirty bomb in a bigger city -- let's say Chicago. Can anyone who has watched the White House flail and fumble over New Orleans believe for a second that the Department of Homeland Security has a serious plan to keep order and empty this city if a radioactive bomb goes off in the Loop, or that President Bush has meditated on such a disaster and will immediately take steps that meet the test of leadership?
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
link and link
Unfortunately, there was no photo of the note from Condi reminding the president to flush and wash his hands.
UPDATE: :::Rick Klau wants your captions.
UPDATEII: They're real. From Editor and Publisher:
The photo, which appeared on Reuters' official photo site, was quickly published all over the Web, though dismissed by some as a likely photoshop special. Others suggested that surely someone must have hacked the Reuters site. But a Reuters spokesman on Thursday told E&P the photo was legit.Does anyone else get the feeling that Bush Inc. has lost its handle on the press?
"The photographer and editors on this story were looking for other angles in their coverage of this event, something that went beyond the stock pictures of talking heads that these kind of forums usually offer," explained Reuters' Stephen Naru. "This picture certainly does that."
From the AP:
Laura Bush is reprising her role as her husband's first defender, making several trips to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast as President Bush's approval ratings sink to their lowest level yet. ***Sadly, those unselfish acts of giving were all the acts of private volunteers who were shocked and embarassed by the Bush administration's complete failure to provide timely help to the people of the gulf coast.
Mrs. Bush said Tuesday that much more human good than bad has come from the disaster, despite what people see on TV. She said the evacuees she has met in her three trips to the Gulf Coast are hopeful and thankful that they don't have to start from rock bottom because of the donations and the kindness of strangers.
"That's what I've seen at each of the shelters I've visited," she said. "I've never heard a single word of complaint." ***
"We've seen terrible, terrible things and we've seen unbelievably unselfish acts of giving as well by communities all across the United States and, of course, many more unselfish acts of giving than bad things," she said in a speech Tuesday to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
"Maybe the media hasn't shown us that much, but we've read about it and we do know about it."
"I hope we realize that the people of New Orleans weren't just abandoned during the hurricane," Sen. Barack Obama said last week on the floor of the Senate. "They were abandoned long ago -- to murder and mayhem in the streets, to substandard schools, to dilapidated housing, to inadequate health care, to a pervasive sense of hopelessness." ***
Obama, the only African-American in the U.S. Senate, says "the ineptitude was colorblind." But he argues that while -- contrary to rapper Kanye West's attack on Bush -- there was no "active malice," the federal response to Katrina represented "a continuation of passive indifference" on the part of the government. It reflected an unthinking assumption that every American "has the capacity to load up their family in an SUV, fill it up with $100 worth of gasoline, stick some bottled water in the trunk and use a credit card to check into a hotel on safe ground."
When they did focus on race in the aftermath, many Louisianans let their fears take over. Lines at gun stores in Baton Rouge, La., snaked out the door. Obama stops short of calling this a sign of racism. For some, he says, it's a product of "sober concern" after the violence in the city; for others, it's closer to "racial stereotyping."
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
A Chinese cosmetics company is using skin harvested from the corpses of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe, an investigation by the Guardian has discovered.
Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company's products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from condemned convicts is "traditional" and nothing to "make such a big fuss about". ***
"A lot of the research is still carried out in the traditional manner using skin from the executed prisoner and aborted foetus." This material, [an agent of the company] said, was being bought from "bio tech" companies based in the northern province of Heilongjiang, and was being developed elsewhere in China.
He suggested that the use of skin and other tissues harvested from executed prisoners was not uncommon. "In China it is considered very normal and I was very shocked that western countries can make such a big fuss about this," he said. Speaking from his office in northern China, he added: "The government has put some pressure on all the medical facilities to keep this type of work in low profile."
One would hope that Mr. Bush -- a standard-bearer of the "Culture of Life" -- would raise issues like this when he meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday.
But, because they are financing the massive debt created by Mr. Bush's wars and tax cuts, the Chinese hold all the cards.
UPDATE: Over at his blog, Peoria Pundit, Bill Dennis compares Communist China to Nazi Germany:
[T]his form of government inevitably and invariably produces acts of evil every bit as horrible as those produced by Nazi Germany.And unfortunately, it's like a Nazi Germany that makes all of our stuff.
2. "So while I'm happy to talk about stare decisis and the importance of precedent, I don't think I should get into the application of those principles in a particular area."
3. "I do feel compelled to point out that I should not agree or disagree with particular decisions. And I'm reluctant to do that. That's one of the areas where I think prior nominees have drawn the line when it comes to, Do you agree with this case or do you agree with that case? And that's something that I'm going to have to draw the line in the sand."
4. "Well, I think that gets to the application of the principles in a particular case. And based on my review of the prior transcripts of every nominee sitting on the court today, that's where they've generally declined to answer: when it gets to the application of legal principles to particular cases."
5. "Well, again, I think I should stay away from discussions of particular issues that are likely to come before the court again."
President Bush for the first time took responsibility Tuesday for federal government mistakes in dealing with Hurricane Katrina and suggested the calamity raised broader questions about the government's ability to handle both natural disasters and terror attacks.NOTE: I know the photo is of Jimmy Swaggart, but it was the first photo of an insincere, hypocritical, serial-liar that I could find.
"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at a joint White House news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
"And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong," said Bush.
Monday, September 12, 2005
The Web site chicagocrime.org, an innovative overlay of the city’s reported crimes with Google's online mapping technology, today won the $10,000 Grand Prize in the Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.
The site, created as a free public service by online journalist Adrian Holovaty with design input by Wilson Miner, was credited with “setting a new standard for interactive journalism.” Chicagocrime.org allows users to search by the type of crime, the street and neighborhood, or the date and pinpoint the location on a satellite map. One can even track crimes that occur en route to work.
"It is one journalist's ability to see all the pieces and put them together," the Batten judges said, "but every city should provide this as a public service."
I think we are in fact on our way to getting on top of the whole Katrina exercise. -- Vice President Dick Cheney, 9/10/05
Preparing the body for exercise is important for people at any age and all fitness levels. A warm-up period should begin with slow, rhythmic activities such as walking or jogging in place. -- President's Council on Physical Fitness and SportsWell, I guess that explains the Bush administration's delayed response to Hurricane Katrina -- they were just slowly warming-up before starting their "exercise".
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Barack Obama was a guest on This Week,and he was very candid in his feeling about the differences and perceptions regarding race in America and the response to Katrina.BARACK OBAMA 2008
Video-WMP-low quality (I'll have QT and higher quality for Bittorent later)
Bittorrent WMP high quality
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Officials at the American Red Cross, which is in the midst of its largest and longest-lasting relief operation in its history, said Saturday that they are seeking 40,000 new volunteers from around the country to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
About 36,000 Red Cross volunteers are currently providing food, shelter and other emergency help to about 160,000 people at 675 shelters in 23 states, an agency spokesman said. But many of the volunteers, who typically serve three-week stints in the field, will be going home soon and replacements are needed.
"We're not going away in a few weeks or even a few months," said Red Cross spokesman John Dengan, who described the recruitment drive as the largest ever for the relief agency.
Those who sign up will have to undergo training, which typically takes about six hours but could take longer for those who perform specialized tasks. Dengan said those who are interested should inquire with their local Red Cross chapters for more information.
Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.
One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.
Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., has also been selected by FEMA to provide short-term housing for people displaced by the hurricane. Bush named Bechtel's CEO to his Export Council and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. ***
Halliburton alone has earned more than $9 billion [in Iraq]. Pentagon audits released by Democrats in June showed $1.03 billion in "questioned" costs and $422 million in "unsupported" costs for Halliburton's work in Iraq.
But the web of Bush administration connections is attracting renewed attention from watchdog groups in the post-Katrina reconstruction rush. Congress has already appropriated more than $60 billion in emergency funding as a down payment on recovery efforts projected to cost well over $100 billion. ***
On Friday, Kellogg Brown & Root received $29.8 million in Pentagon contracts to begin rebuilding Navy bases in Louisiana and Mississippi. Norcross said the work was covered under a contract that the company negotiated before Allbaugh was hired.
Halliburton continues to be a source of income for Cheney, who served as its chief executive officer from 1995 until 2000 when he joined the Republican ticket for the White House. According to tax filings released in April, Cheney's income included $194,852 in deferred pay from the company, which has also won billion-dollar government contracts in Iraq.
Friday, September 09, 2005
There have been a lot of failures at a lot of levels -- local, state and federal. ***It's a shame that Powell didn't develop this uncanny ability to detect the painfully obvious before he left the administration.
There was more than enough warning over time about the dangers to New Orleans. Not enough was done. I don't think advantage was taken of the time that was available to us, and I just don't know why. ***
I don't think it's racism, I think it's economic. But poverty disproportionately affects African-Americans in this country. And it happened because they were poor.
Jack Shafer takes a look at Rehnquists chronic drug use in Slate:
[F]or the nine years between 1972 and the end of 1981, William Rehnquist consumed great quantities of the potent sedative-hypnotic Placidyl. So great was Rehnquist's Placidyl habit, dependency, or addiction—depending on how you regard long-term drug use—that by the last quarter of 1981 he began slurring his speech in public, became tongue-tied while pronouncing long words, and sometimes had trouble finishing his thoughts. ***Go read the whole article. It is a powerful illustration of "the ugly double standards that excuse extreme drug use by the powerful, especially if their connection is a prescribing doctor, and condemns to draconian prison terms the guy who purchases his drugs on the street."
[A confidential report on Rehnquist's medical history prepared for the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986] described him as seriously "dependent" on Placidyl from 1977 to 1981. He often consumed three month's worth of the drug in one month before requesting more from Dr. Freeman H. Cary, the attending physician to Congress, who prescribed it. Anonymous sources told the Post that Cary first prescribed Placidyl to Rehnquist in 1971 to help him sleep through his severe back pains, but "Cary reportedly told the FBI that Rehnquist had taken it before." ***
When Rehnquist's drug problem became an issue during the 1986 confirmation hearings, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, defended Rehnquist in a Post story, saying he got into trouble with Placidyl because he was "a very compliant patient" who "followed the advice" of his doctors. Ah, yes, one of the most brilliant jurists of his time was the victim of his rotten doctors for almost a decade! Are we to believe that one of the court's sharpest minds never availed himself of a Physicians' Desk Reference for independent medical information, or in any way tried to educate himself about the drug he was taking in larger and larger quantities? The Senate Judiciary Committee asked Rehnquist no questions about his drug use, and he was, of course, confirmed as chief justice. The debate over whether Rehnquist's drug use might be relevant to his fitness to serve as chief never got started.
Probably not like Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown:
I'm going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife and, maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night's sleep.The report does not indicate whether he gave the people of New Orleans the finger as he left.
Laura Bush described as "disgusting" comments by rapper Kanye West and Democratic chairman Howard Dean blaming her husband for the disproportionate number of black hurricane victims.Sure he cares about people -- just not enough to give up more than two days of his month-long vacation.
"I think all of those remarks are disgusting, to be perfectly frank, because of course President Bush cares about everyone in our country," the first lady said Thursday in an interview with American Urban Radio Networks.
"And I know that. I mean, I'm the person who lives with him," she said. "I know what he's like and I know what he thinks and I know how he cares about people."
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Of course if the flood area over the Lake was added back into the area of the city proper, the flood zone would very likely streach all the way out to Columbus Park and Midway Airport.
It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, but you should have been in that control room where those people were making life and death decisions, people that stayed up and got no sleep and very little food for five to six days straight trying to make the right decisions to save people. What happens when we come up here? They point the finger. You didn't make the right decision here. You didn't take care of my aides there. You didn't do this. You didn't do that. The point is if you look at the big picture, it's a phenomenal accomplishment by everybody involved. It's unbelievable. I am constantly struck by where we are today just a little over a week from the worst catastrophe that this country has seen.Yes, it is unbelievable where we are 10 days after the worst catastrophe this country has ever seen -- and just eight days after the president finally ended the longest vacation in the nation's history.
It's unbelievable that we are fishing Americans' corpses out of New Orleans' flooded streets.
It's unbelievable that we needed to send 25,000 body bags to collect the dead.
It's unbelievable that the United States is trying to figure out how to deal with possible outbreaks of cholera and typhoid.
It is unbelievable that, just days after a U.S. city was destroyed, 11 Republicans voted against emergency funding for those whose lives were upended.
It really is unbelievable.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved $51.8 billion more in emergency aid for Hurricane Katrina, the most costly disaster in U.S. history. The vote was 410-11.And what kind of a jackasses voted against the Katrina emergency aid bill?
Republicans. Each and every vote against funding emergency operations in the gulf coast was Republican.
There is no reason that the vote should have been anything other than unanimous.
And it would have been -- if Denny Hastert and the rest of the House Republican leaders thought that a show of national unity and support for the hurricane survivors was important.
UPDATE: GOP "nay" voters
- ► 2008 (244)
- ► 2007 (349)
- ► 2006 (418)
- YOUR DONATION IN THIS QUARTER WILL MAKE A DIFFEREN...
- HAS THE BUBBLE BURST?
- REPUBLICAN CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: DAY 2
- DARK CARNIVAL
- MAKING AN "ASS" OUT OF "U" AND "ME"
- RAHM: BENNETT'S COMMENTS "REFLECT A SPIRIT OF HATE...
- COACH HASTERT FUMBLES THE BALL, DEMANDS SPORTS MET...
- PAST IS PROLOGUE
- DuPAGE SURPLUS
- PARDON ME?
- THE REPUBLICAN CULTURE OF CRONYISM AND CORRUPTION
- 2008 Dammit!
- DENNY MOVES THE DECK CHAIRS AROUND
- PETER ROSKAM'S MENTOR INDICTED
- DALEY: PEDESTRIANS MUST STOP DOING WHAT I MADE TH...
- "THE METH-DRIVEN LIFE"
- BROWNIE, YOU'RE *STILL* DOING A HECK OF A JOB?!?
- "Every little helps"
- A.P. EXPOSES BUSH'S BEDFELLOWS
- DRINK, DRANK, DRUNK
- THE TIGHT-LIPPED MR. NOVAK?
- VOTE CEGELIS -- TODAY!
- "Those esquivalient little wretches."
- CHICAGO SKY
- 19SEP05: I.T.L.A.P.D.
- OBAMA: GULF RECOVERY NEEDS "SOME ADULT SUPERVISIO...
- *FREE* FARM AID WEBCAST *LIVE*
- DON'T SKIP THE "NEWS FOR GIRLS" SECTION OF THE TRI...
- "Drowing in Incompetence in New Orleans"
- SYNERGY GONE GOOD
- LIBERAL CRAP KURT VONNEGUT NEVER WANTS TO HEAR AGA...
- CAN THESE POSSIBLY BE REAL?
- "I've never heard a single word of complaint."
- "They were abandoned long ago"
- BUY AMERICAN!
- DUCKING, DODGING AND WEAVING
- CONFESSION IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
- chicagocrime.org Wins $10,000 Batten Award
- EXERCISING POOR JUDGMENT
- OBAMA: BUSH NEEDS TO WAKE UP
- YOU AND 39,999 OF YOUR FRIENDS
- THEY FEED ON THE DEAD
- Powell: "A lot of failures at a lot of levels"
- REHNQUIST: HIGH COURT JUSTICE
- LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
- A HECK OF A STATEMENT, BROWNIE!
- LAURA BUSH: HE CARES... NO, REALLY... NO, I'M SERI...
- NEW ORLEANS FLOOD IN CHICAGO
- DeLAY DeLUDED
- REPUBLICAN PRIORITIES
- PROFITEERS AND GOUGERS: GET YOUR EXX ON!
- GET YOUR BLAME ON!
- CINDY SHEEHAN IN DuPAGE COUNTY
- OBAMA: "STILL UNSATISFIED"
- "Was there bureaucratic bungling? The short answer...
- REPUBLICAN HOUSE WON'T BUDGE ON LOUISIANA COSTAL P...
- jux·ta·pose: To place side by side, especially for...
- IT'S ELEMENTARY
- "As tragic as it is for New Orleans, it is a boon ...
- BLACK CNN
- “How come CNN isn’t showing footage of how dry Mic...
- "If you can keep your head when all about you are ...
- "Ooh, that's one ugly snout wound."
- LOMBARD CUTS OFF NOSE TO SPITE FACE
- NO WONDER BUSH DIDN'T ACT SOONER
- WHAT WOULD COWBOY JESUS DO?
- "The smartest man in pop music"
- OFFICERS DOWN
- "Disgraceful response"
- DENNY RETIREMENT DELAYED BY CLINTON?
- CLASS AND RACE
- LET 'EM ROLL
- AWAITING ORDERS
- COMMUNICATION FOR KATRINA VICTIMS
- CNN: BUT IN FACT, CHERTOFF IS A LIAR.
- MAKE JABBOR GIBSON FEMA DIRECTOR
- DOG AND PONY SHOW
- IN WORD:
- DENNIS HASTERT'S TO-DO LIST
- GOP FINALLY IDENTIFIES CAUSE OF KATRINA SUFFERING
- IF HISTORY IS OUR GUIDE...
- THE CHICAGO CONNECTION
- WHITE HOUSE RHETORIC V. AMERICAN REALITY
- CHICAGO'S KANYE WEST CALLS IT LIKE HE SEES IT
- "DIVERGING VIEWS" OR DISINFORMATION?
- MORE GOP CRITICISM OF BUSH RESPONSE
- CHICAGO'S HURRICANE HELP SPURNED
- THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION
- "No food... no water... 90 degree heat"
- BUSH DISASTER PLAN REVEALED
- STEINBERG V. KASS
- KASS: NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR FACING REALITY
- LIKE A CHICKEN WITH ITS HEAD CUT OFF
- LEVEES UNDERCUT BY BUSH ADMINISTRATION
- SNEED v. KASS
- PAY AT PUMP
- ▼ September (96)