American Samizdat

Friday, September 30, 2005. *
A Bush Cabinet officer predicted this week that New Orleans likely will never again be a majority black city, and several black officials are outraged.

Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development, during a visit with hurricane victims in Houston, said New Orleans would not reach its pre-Katrina population of "500,000 people for a long time," and "it's not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again." [more]
posted by Bill at 9:46 AM
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[Undersecretary of State Karen] Hughes's simple, sincere and unadorned language reveals the administration's inner mind. Her ideas on terrorism and its solution are straightforward. "Terrorists," she said, "their policies force young people, other people's daughters and sons, to strap on bombs and blow themselves up." That is: somehow, magically, these evil-doers coerce the young to commit suicide. If only they would understand us, the tensions would dissolve. "Many people around the world do not understand the important role that faith plays in Americans' lives," she said. When an Egyptian opposition leader inquired why Mr Bush mentions God in his speeches, Hughes asked him whether he was aware that "previous American presidents have also cited God, and that our constitution cites 'one nation under God'." "Well, never mind," he said.

With these well-meaning arguments, Hughes has provided the exact proofs for Bin Laden's claims about American motives. "It is stunning to the extent Hughes is helping bin Laden," says Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political scientist who has conducted extensive research into the motives of suicide terrorists and is the author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. "If you set out to help bin Laden," he says, "you could not have done it better than Hughes." Pape's research debunks the view that suicide terrorism is the natural byproduct of Islamic fundamentalism or some "Islamo-fascist" ideological strain, independent of certain highly specific circumstances. "Of the key conditions that lead to suicide terrorism in particular, there first must be the presence of foreign combat forces on the territory that the terrorists prize. The second condition is a religious difference between the combat forces and the local community. The religious difference matters in that it enables terrorist leaders to paint foreign forces as being driven by religious goals.

"If you read Osama's speeches, they begin with descriptions of the US occupation of the Arabian peninsula driven by our religious goals and that it is our religious purpose that must be confronted. That argument is incredibly powerful, not only to religious Muslims but also secular Muslims. Everything Hughes says makes their case."

[I advocate the withering away of religion, including Islam and Christianity, through reason and scorn.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:35 AM
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Does anybody have a running tally, of corruption in one place?

Lets see, spys in the Pentagon, delay, frist, rove, Santorum , oh and Sen. Harry Reid The money that led to the indictment this week of two Las Vegas pastors and the wife of one of them came from federal grants arranged by Sen. Harry Reid in September 2001, a Reid spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Did I leave out any?

Also, does it strike a cord w/anyone else w/regards to Santorum's 'AccuWeather scandal' above in light of hurricanes Rita, and katrina?
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:40 AM
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Thursday, September 29, 2005. *
It's Another Bush Crisis
During the last week, I've read a slew of posts and columns about our newly "de-swaggerfied" (shouldn't that be a word?) President. My latest blog post includes a poem which, I think, sums up Bush (and Rove's) post-Katrina angst:

Here's how it starts:

It's Another Bush Crisis
By Madeleine Begun Kane

"It's another Bush crisis,
And day after day,
Dub's stooges are spinning,
While Bush says, "let's pray."

He is not on vacation.
He's handling affairs.
We know that from photos
That show Dubya cares..."

The entire poem is here. And my podcast audio version is here.
posted by Mad Kane at 3:51 PM
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Rep. David Dreier
House Rules Committee Chair Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) is to be one of the three temporary replacements for House Majority Leader Representative Tom Delay. A review of Rep. Dreier's career and voting record is therefore in order...

* Supported a ban on adoption by gay and lesbian couples in the District of Columbia.
* Supported the Defense of Marriage Act, banning same-sex marriage.
* Supported the ability of federally funded charities to discriminate against gays in employment, even where local laws prohibit such bias.
* Opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have banned discrimination against gay people in hiring.
* Opposed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

... and one more thing: he's gay.
posted by Trevor Blake at 3:50 PM
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NEW YORK - Pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released despite government claims that they could damage America's image, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven they "do not need pretexts for their barbarism."
posted by platts42 at 11:26 AM
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Fishback charges that while at three bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, he and his peers and subordinates witnessed abuse of detainees. He says the abuse included everything from "physical beatings of detainees, to death threats, to harsh exposure to the elements, vigorous physical exertion to the point of fainting."

Is he saying the abuse of detainees was not just a few bad apples at Abu Ghraib prison?

"Yes," says Fishback, "there was a systemic problem, and it was widespread."
posted by platts42 at 11:24 AM
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In yet another horrid aspect of the 9-11 cover-up, according to The New York Sun, a laptop computer containing the personal and medical information of thousands of civil servants that assisted in the clean-up efforts in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks has been stolen, police said yesterday.

In order to "reopen Wall Street" the Bush administration censored crucial EPA and New York City Health Department warnings that the air after 9/11 was highly poisonous. As a result, Children in nearby schools have serious respiratory problems; Half of the site workers have serious respiratory problems; Half of the firefighters can no longer work, & 14 rescue dogs have died.
posted by valis at 11:09 AM
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005. *
From the BBC:
The area covered by sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk for a fourth consecutive year, according to new data released by US scientists.

They say that this month sees the lowest extent of ice cover for more than a century.

The Arctic climate varies naturally, but the researchers conclude that human-induced global warming is at least partially responsible.

They warn the shrinkage could lead to even faster melting in coming years.

...September is the month when the Arctic ice usually reaches a minimum.

The new data shows that on 19 September, the area covered by ice fell to 5.35 million sq km (2.01 million sq miles), the lowest recorded since 1978, when satellite records became available; it is now 20% less than the 1978-2000 average.

The current rate of shrinkage they calculate at 8% per decade; at this rate there may be no ice at all during the summer of 2060.
posted by Bill at 9:28 PM
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A keynote research paper showing that Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians are genetically almost identical has been pulled from a leading journal. Would ideology and belief have something to do w/ it?
posted by Uncle $cam at 7:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2005 — Grisly photos of war dead posted on an Internet pornography site have exposed yet another unanticipated consequence of the proliferation of personal computer technology on the battlefield.

Taking what's called "trophy photos" of war dead is a practice as old as portable cameras. But digital cameras and Internet connections have made it possible for troops to blast such images around the world with the click of a mouse.

One controversial Web site shows photos of bloody body parts and mangled corpses — photos, the site says, sent by U.S. troops in Iraq in exchange for free access to graphic pornography pictures.
posted by platts42 at 1:25 PM
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White House Municipal Park vs. Invisible Sky Monster - Who Will Win?
The city of White House, Tennessee has a Municipal Park. That Municipal Park, as one might imagine from the name, is funded by taxes. No one in White House gets to say 'pass' when it comes to paying taxes; either the people of White House pay their taxes or they go to jail. It is also the case that no on in White House gets to say 'pass' when confronted by an ordinance they don't want to follow; either the people of White House follow the law or they go to jail.

According to, recently White House Alderman Darrel Leftwich drove by Municipal Park on a Sunday morning on his way to services at Temple Baptist Church, when saw that it was full of people at a soccer tournament. Alderman Leftwich believes that an invisible monster that lives in the sky is very, very concerned that people should not play soccer on Sunday mornings. Fair enough, people should be free to believe what they want - if Alderman Leftwich wants to mumble magic spells in a magic house on Sunday mornings while other people play soccer then that is up to him.

But the freedom of choice Alderman Leftwich treasures for himself is not one that he can afford to share with others. Alderman Leftwich has introduced an ordinance to ban the use of White House Municipal Park until afternoon hours. Keep in mind that the people of White House must follow ordinances, and it that the White House Municipal Park is maintained by public funds. Alderman Leftwich has introduced an ordinance that makes his religion into law, funded by taxes, compulsory for all.

Unfortunately for Alderman Leftwich, he must work with Alderman Farris Bibb Junior. Alderman Bibb Jr. also mumbles magic spells in a magic house to an invisible monster that lives in the sky, but the invisible monster told him that Saturday, not Sunday, is the magic no-soccer morning. Clearly, the only way to honor the freedom of religion of both Aldermen is to close Municipal Park all weekend. Maybe the tax money now not spent on Municipal Park can be given to churches or someting nice like that.

Or maybe religion is not a sound foundation for law at all.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:03 AM
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005. *

. . . the story of Galactic Pizza is worthy of its own post. Their restaurant is powered through an energy utility with wind turbines. The same renewable power charges their small fleet of electric delivery bike and cars. They have a pizza called the “CSA”, ‘coz they're a member of the local Community Supported Agriculture farmers network and this pizza includes whatever is in season and delivered that week. Another selection is “the Second Harvest Heartland pizza, where $1 is donated to this hunger relief organization every time the pizza is ordered.” [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:10 PM
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Not quite sharks with friggin' lazer beams, but pretty darn close.
posted by Bill at 2:29 PM
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Why Bother?
In my latest blog post and podcast, I comment on Judge John Roberts and point out why it's necessary to speak out against him, despite the seeming futility of doing so. And of course there's some political poetry too -- two new poems, including this one:

Why Bother?
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Judge John Roberts' confirmation
Is a certainty, it's true.
We're powerless to stop it.
Yes, no matter what we do.

But to those who say it's futile,
Making fun of things I rue,
I say it feels essential,
And that you should do it too.

Both poems and the commentary are here.
The podcast version is here.
posted by Mad Kane at 11:32 AM
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The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, reports: "Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world. In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so."

Gregory Paul, the author of the study and a social scientist, used data from the International Social Survey Programme, Gallup and other research bodies to reach his conclusions. He compared social indicators such as murder rates, abortion, suicide and teenage pregnancy.

The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from "uniquely high" adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:57 AM
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After weeks of prodding by Republican lawmakers and the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said yesterday that it will use taxpayer money to reimburse churches and other religious organizations that have opened their doors to provide shelter, food and supplies to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. [...] For churches, synagogues and mosques that have taken in hurricane survivors, FEMA's decision presents a quandary. Some said they were eager to get the money and had begun tallying their costs, from electric bills to worn carpets.

[Will the government be reimbursing all volunteer efforts, or just religious efforts? Will the government reimburse religious efforts based on tallied costs just this one time, or will they do so on an ongoing basis? Rev. Robert E. Reccord, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board, said it best: "Volunteer labor is just that: volunteer." I am in favor of treating religious groups like all other non-profit groups, and granting them tax exemption to the degree they can prove they serve the public good.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:50 AM
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First Shots in the New War on Porn
It doesn't matter that the models were consenting adults. It doesn't matter that you have to pay and demonstrate you are a consenting adult to view the images. It doesn't matter that viewing images cannot harm you. At the 'request' of the FBI, Suicide Girls is starting to remove content.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:46 AM
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Like something out of Jacob's Ladder .

"It's the morning-after pill for just about anything that produces regret, remorse, pain, or guilt," says Dr. Leon Kass, chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, who emphasizes that he's speaking as an individual and not on behalf of the council.

Barry Romo, a national coordinator for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, is even more blunt. "That's the devil pill," he says. "That's the monster pill, the anti-morality pill. That's the pill that can make men and women do anything and think they can get away with it. Even if it doesn't work, what's scary is that a young soldier could believe it will."

But we all know that Cheneyco are Men of Honor . Right?
posted by Uncle $cam at 12:30 AM
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Monday, September 26, 2005. *
Saudi Prince Buys 5.46% of NewsCorp
Image Hosted by{from Scrutiny Hooligans}

If you thought Fox corporation couldn't get any weirder, wait'll Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal starts grandstanding at the shareholders' meeting:
Arutz Sheva: "Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has purchased 5.46 percent of the Fox corporation, according to Gulf Daily News, raising concern that the conservative Fox News may soften its anti-terror stance due to the views of the new shareholder.

Al-Waleed, the nephew of the late Saudi King Fahd, was in the news when he visited the World Trade Center's remains just after the September 11th attacks and offered then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani a $10 million check for relief efforts. Al-Waleed then released a statement blaming US foreign policy and support for Israel for the attacks.

Giuliani returned the prince's check with a statement that, "There is no moral equivalent for this attack. The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification when they slaughtered . . . innocent people ... Not only are those statements wrong, they're part of the problem."

Capitalism doesn't discriminate between terrorist apologists and American presidential apologists. Fox News viewers aren't particularly fond of terrorist apologists, but they loves them some free market economy. Heads ought to start exploding all over RedAmerica when the BushLovers come to know that their favorite source for barely factual news and opinion is owned in part by a royalist living in a monarchy that nurtured most of the men who attacked America on 9/11. The Prince, of course, is a big fan of Rupert Murdoch, (MediaGuardian) "The prince repeated his support for Mr Murdoch, whose grip on the company through his family's 30% shareholding has been threatened since rival media mogul John Malone built up an 18% stake earlier in the year."

Does this partnership strike anyone else as odd? NewsCorp (not to mention all of the corporate media companies) has steadfastly refrained from reporting negatively on Saudi Arabia, the center of terrorist funding and a consistent perpetrator of human rights abuses. Why? There are lots of possible explanations, including several that don't require tinfoil accoutrements. Just know that the corporate media is not going to tell you what you need to know. They're going to tell you what they want you to know, so their billionaire, terrorist-supporting / Bush supporting shareholders can continue to see their wheels greased.
posted by Gordon Smith at 9:04 PM
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CBS News' Bob Schieffer just announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has rehired ex-FEMA chief Michael Brown-- as a consultant to evaluate the agency's response to the disaster!

I don't understand how I can see to type this as my head has exploded. I'm prepared to yank this article if I'm mistaken, but here in Bizzaro World everything is Status Quo.
posted by platts42 at 5:24 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:51 AM
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Sunday, September 25, 2005. *
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. 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, Jordan said. Despite periodic differences, oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the United States have a tight alliance built on economic and military cooperation. That left Myanmar, Cuba and North Korea as the only nations in the list of 14 barred completely from receiving certain kinds of foreign aid. [...] The White House statement offered no explanation of why countries were regarded differently. [Darla] Jordan [State Department spokeswoman] 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.

[Do you think all the 'pro-family' voters and organizations that support Bush will lift a finger to criticize this decision?]
posted by Trevor Blake at 5:34 PM
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Though Operation USA has conducted disaster relief for more than twenty-five years on five continents, like scores of other secular relief groups currently helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, it was omitted from FEMA's list. In fact, only two non-"faith-based" organizations were included. (One of them, the American Red Cross, is being blocked from entering New Orleans by FEMA's parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security.) FEMA, meanwhile, has reportedly turned away Wal-Mart trucks carrying food and water to the stricken city, teams of firemen from Maryland and Texas, volunteer morticians and a convoy of 1,000 boat owners offering to help rescue stranded flood victims. While relief efforts falter in the face of colossal bureaucratic incompetence, the Bush Administration's promotion of [Robertson's] Operation Blessing has ensured that the floodwaters swallowing New Orleans will be a rising tide lifting Robertson's boat. [...] Far from the media's gaze, Robertson has used the tax-exempt, nonprofit Operation Blessing as a front for his shadowy financial schemes, while exerting his influence within the GOP to cover his tracks. In 1994 he made an emotional plea on The 700 Club for cash donations to Operation Blessing to support airlifts of refugees from the Rwandan civil war to Zaire (now Congo). Reporter Bill Sizemore of The Virginian Pilot later discovered that Operation Blessing's planes were transporting diamond-mining equipment for the African Development Corporation, a Robertson-owned venture initiated with the cooperation of Zaire's then-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. After a lengthy investigation, Virginia's Office of Consumer Affairs determined that Robertson "willfully induced contributions from the public through the use of misleading statements and other implications." Yet when the office called for legal action against Robertson in 1999, Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, a Republican, intervened with his own report, agreeing that Robertson had made deceptive appeals but overruling the recommendation for his prosecution. Two years earlier, while Virginia's investigation was gathering steam, Robertson donated $35,000 to Earley's campaign--Earley's largest contribution. [...]

Robertson's scheming hasn't abated one bit. He is accused of violating his ministry's tax-exempt, nonprofit status by using it to market a diet shake he licensed this August to the health chain General Nutrition Corp. (Robertson continues to advertise the shake on his personal website.) He has withstood criticism from fellow evangelicals for investing $520,000 in a racehorse named Mr. Pat, violating biblical admonitions against gambling. He was even accused of "Jim Crow-style racial discrimination" by black employees who successfully sued his Christian Coalition in 2001 for forcing them enter its offices through a back door and eat in a segregated area (Robertson has since resigned). The Bush Administration has studiously overlooked Robertson's misdeeds. In October 2002, just months after he denounced the White House's faith-based initiative as "a real Pandora's box"--and one month before midterm elections--Robertson pocketed $500,000 in government grants to Operation Blessing. Since then, with the sole exception of his criticism of the US intervention in Liberia, Robertson has served as a willing surrogate for the Administration. His Regent University gave John Ashcroft a cushy professorship to cool his heels after his contentious tenure as US Attorney General. And Robertson's legal foundation, the American Center for Law and Justice, is spearheading the effort to rally right-wing Christian support for Judge John G. Roberts Jr.'s confirmation as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

[How much disaster relief could $500,000 have provided to the citizens of New Orleans?]
posted by Trevor Blake at 2:31 PM
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The tribal council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is making plans to mount a copy of the Ten Commandments in the council house where government meetings are held, and possibly display them throughout other public buildings in Cherokee. The idea was introduced by Councilwoman Angela Kephart last month in the weeks leading up to tribal council elections. [...] "We aren't saying you have to abide by the Ten Commandments," Kephart said. "We are simply displaying God's Ten Commandments. That's what He expects from each and every individual. If you break that, it is between you and God. It is not between you and the tribal council; it is between you and God." [Does any of that make sense to you? And which 'Ten Commandments' are they going to display? - Trevor] The move comes following several controversial federal court cases involving governmental displays of the Ten Commandments. The general precedent set by those cases is that new displays of the Ten Commandments hung by a government body with the sole purpose of endorsing or promoting Christianity over other religions violates the U.S. Constitution. But the Constitution does not apply to Cherokee, nor to any other Native American tribe for that matter, according to Cherokee's Attorney General David Nash. "We are a sovereign nation and we can pretty much post anything we want in our council chambers," said Kephart. "For once the federal government is not going to tell us what to do. We can feel good about it because we are standing up for God. The more it becomes controversial, the more we need to stand firm."

[Should the US fund theocracies?]
posted by Trevor Blake at 2:21 PM
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A Mexican bishop has admitted that the local Catholic church receives donations from drug traffickers, but claimed these are "purified" through good works. Bishop Ramón Godínez said "bad money shouldn't be burned it should be transformed". [...] Government officials have said that receiving illicit money is illegal, but shied away from opening a money laundering investigation into the church.

[Attention, drug dealers: say an invisible monster that lives in the sky told you to launder drug money and you'll get away with it.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 2:18 PM
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Saturday, September 24, 2005. *
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:48 PM
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The invasion of American Democratic institutions by fundamentalist, historically militant (as in crusades, witch hunts, inquisitions, and support of slavery) Christianity has significantly increased the stench coming from the already disturbing dark side of U.S. politics. It’s like a nightmarish replay of the Christian crusades—politics with a militant, convert-the-heathens dark side. Potent, cult-like group dynamics combine with unacknowledged and unseen shadow qualities to easily overwhelm the individual’s sense of right and wrong, often unleashing pure evil en masse.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:00 PM
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This kid needs a bigger spotlight.
posted by Unknown at 3:35 PM
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A 14-year-old student was expelled from a Christian school because her parents are lesbians, the school's superintendent said in a letter. Shay Clark was expelled from Ontario Christian School on Thursday. "Your family does not meet the policies of admission," Superintendent Leonard Stob wrote to Tina Clark, the girl's biological mother. Stob wrote that school policy requires that at least one parent may not engage in practices "immoral or inconsistent with a positive Christian life style, such as cohabitating without marriage or in a homosexual relationship" [...] Clark and her partner have been together 22 years and have two other daughters, ages 9 and 19.

[I support freedom of religion and the separation of church and state: therefore, I support the privately-funded Ontario Christian School's ability to accept or expel any student they see fit. I think their decision is loathsome, but it is theirs to make. I am not, however, convinced that such a school should be accredited.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:18 AM
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Friday, September 23, 2005. *
A Human Rights Watch report contains allegations that members of the 82nd Airborne in Iraq routinely beat and abused prisoners "to help gather intelligence on the insurgency and to amuse themselves", the New York Times reports.
posted by The Continental Op at 8:00 PM
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James Howard Kunstler on what lies after peak oil, in the not-too-distant future:
...we are in for an epochal period of contraction and strife around the world. Industrial economies are likely to wither in the aftermath of peak oil. Scams and rackets that are allowing us to get by now—the extraordinary credit binge of American consumers, the alchemical generation of sub-prime mortgages, and the casino-like operation of hedge funds—will cease to work their magic in a world faced with reality-based hardship and scarcity. The meta-trend in the post-peak-oil world will be the desperate re-localizing and downsizing of all our activities. All things organized at the greatest scale, including global corporations, giant universities, centralized governments, will be weakened, in many cases fatally. Wal-Mart, with its “warehouse on wheels,” will expire quickly.

We will be challenged to rebuild complex local networks of economic interdependency, and it will not be easy. The destruction of local communities already wreaked by the big chains has been so comprehensive that it may take decades even to pick up the pieces. There will be far fewer things to buy, and shopping will fade into the background of life. The airline industry as we know it will cease to exist and cars will be, at the least, a much-diminished presence in our lives. Those who believe that life will continue to be an international blue-light special of perpetual bargain shopping are going to be disappointed. The world is about to become a larger place again. [more]
posted by Bill at 7:12 PM
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Troops Out Now!
Tomorrow, in Washington, DC and in cities around the country, tens of thousands will turn out to demand an end to Bush's war and occupation in Iraq. The Young Angry Liberal has a helpful list of "Do's and Dont's [sic]", among which I would particularly like to highlight these:

Don't have a hippy drum circle:

There are few things more annoying and irrelevant than a bunch of dreadlocked Boulderites banging on drums while dancing around with erect nipples under their hemp shirts.

Don't have a gothic pagan chorus on the stage talking about mermaids:

This actually happened at the last November 3rd movement rally. It has nothing to do with the overall point of the protest. Rather it is just an opportunity for superficial hipsters to whine about "mother earth". They then leave to go get coffee and don't stay for the rally.

Do be serious:

Protesting is not a hobby. It's not about being a humanitarian and it's not about feeling good about your self. Be prepared to die for your cause. Ok, so that's a little extreme. But be prepared to take a stand. Arrests are not unlikely in any protest. If you bring kids or animals, stay on the sidewalk.

Do be creative:

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of doing the same thing over and over again with little to show for it but a frustrated mind. We have to protest in a way that's intriguing, news making. Block the street, do guerilla theater, dose your self in gasoline and go out for ice cream. Whatever. Just don't do the same thing when it doesn't work. Think.

Somehow I suspect that the protest here in San Francisco will feature a hippy drum circle, and worse. Still, I'll be there and I hope you will too.

(Thanks to Fink Tank 3000 for the pointer.)
posted by The Continental Op at 4:00 PM
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Merry Christmas.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 12:47 PM
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Thursday, September 22, 2005. *
The leaders of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, including two former archbishops, actively concealed sexual abuse by priests for decades, but no criminal charges can be brought against the church or its priests because of the constraints of state law, according to grand jury findings released Wednesday. Following the nation’s longest-running grand jury probe into priest abuse, the scathing report documents assaults on minors by more than 60 priests since 1967, and alleges that former archbishops Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and Cardinal John Krol covered up the abuse. [...] State laws, including legal time limits, prevented prosecutors from filing charges, the report said. The grand jury also explored the possibility of charges against the archdiocese, but said the organization could not be prosecuted because it is an unincorporated association rather than a corporation. “Archdiocese leaders have endangered and harmed children in parishes and schools by keeping known abusers in ministry and transferring discovered abusers to assignments where parents and potential victims are unaware of the priests’ sexual predations,” the report said. [emphasis added]

[There you have it. If you want to rape children and get away with it, tell everybody you're a priest. You'll get away with it, just like these monsters did. Don't forget for a second that the reason these creeps were moved to new parishes was on orders of the Pope. It wasn't an isolated horror, and it wasn't a terror spontaneously happening in several places - it was coordinated by the Pope. Say that an invisible monster that lives in the sky told you to rape little boys and you are above the law.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 7:52 PM
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Wait! before the Knee-jerking begins read this:

Let me say this before people start in: the National Enquirer has beaten more libel suits than most major newspapers. Their stuff is vetted by libel lawyers before it hits the stands. In fact, their accuracy is no worse than their MSM peers. Up until the 1970's, they ran alien stories, but then switched to celebrity coverage.

Why do I trust the NE? They pay their sources. So someone close to the WH got a big fat check for this, over $10K. And if they deny this or lie, the NE has a file on them. When dealing with gossip, this is quite effective. Now they may wind up paying the wrong people, but this is what they were told. Come on, if you ran the NE, would you risk a libel suit with your reputation?

Also, first Capital Hill Blue, now the NE, slowly, but surely, this is going to reach the MSM. Gossip is sually tomorrow's news today.
posted by Uncle $cam at 4:11 PM
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"Hurricane Rita ties to Al Qaida alleged. Nukes considered"

[P! News Service; Sept. 22, 2004]

Top FEMA (Fucked-Up eMess Agency) and Homeland Insecurity officials today urged the Pentagon to deploy tactical nuclear weapons against Hurricane Rita, saying it was obvious that the monster storm, as well as its predecessor Katrina, were al Qaida-generated attacks against Gulf Coast oil resources. These unnamed officials also spoke of Katrina as a "Taliban/Shi'ite blow against the right of American women to expose their breasts and eat spicy pork and shrimp at the same meal."

read more . . .
posted by total at 12:43 PM
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"Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground."
The Tempest, 1. 1

Interestingly enough, as many know in the Hindu pantheon this is the age of the 'kali yuga', the dark age of Kali is the ever becoming, ever destroying force of Life. She is both unimaginable horror and abundant bliss.
Kali is the Holy Paradox, like wild fire that destroys and births the forests. Much like, Jared Diamond and René Guénon before him, seasons of time are said to be historically cyclical not linear.

Guénon writes in The Crisis of the Modern World and The Reign of Quantity that the modern world has brought about a crisis, conceived by many in terms of apocalypse and the "end times" (the coming dark age of the Kali Yuga in terms of Hindu cyclical cosmology), which can only be resolved by a return of the West to the traditional outlook.

"So long as western people imagine that there only exists a single type of humanity, that there is only one 'civilization', at different stages of development, no mutual understanding will be possible. The truth is that there are many civilizations, developing along very different lines, and that, among these, that of the modern West is strangely exceptional, as some of its characteristics show. Today not everyone would agree to the concept of the "bankruptcy of this civilization", but the symptoms are there and while trends of this kind go on over a long period, they tend to accelerate towards the end of a cycle. p.10

Interestingly enough, Hurricane katrina her sister 'Rita' may be the 'kali ma' in symbolism, the etymology of the word 'Rita' means "universal order" .

After all the impostor kings have been killed, the residents of the cities and towns will feel the breezes carrying the most sacred fragrance of the sandalwood paste and other decorations of Lord Vasudeva, and their minds will thereby become transcendentally pure.
-The Symptoms
of Kali-yuga

posted by Uncle $cam at 12:06 AM
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005. *
Look to the south.
"'You've got refineries that will start shutting down in anticipation of the hurricane, and then if any of them have permanent damage, we're going to be dependent on imports. Following Katrina, this is really serious."

"'This is headed right into our other major refining center just after all the damage done to facilities in Louisiana. From an energy perspective, it doesn't get any worse than this.'

"Crude oil for November delivery rose $1.90, or 2.9 percent, to $68.10 a barrel at 10:01 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $68.27, the highest since Sept. 2. Oil has declined 3.6 percent since touching a record $70.85 a barrel on Aug. 30. Prices are 45 percent higher than a year ago.

"Gasoline for October delivery surged 14.59 cents, or 7.4 percent, to $2.1225 a gallon. Gasoline futures reached $2.92 a gallon on Aug. 31, the highest since trading began in 1984. Futures are 65 percent higher than a year ago."

"'The Houston area is ground zero of the refining industry,' said Rick Mueller, an analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Tilburg, the Netherlands. 'If it suffers the scope of damage caused to refineries in Louisiana by Katrina, we could see rationing and queues at the gas pump.'

"'We didn't have a surplus of refining before Katrina,' said Larry Goldstein, president of PIRA Energy Group, a New York consultant. 'There is basically no slack left in the system, and you don't have to have a Katrina-type impact to have a devastating impact on the industry right now.'"
posted by mr damon at 10:42 PM
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from the BLF website:

We didn’t do this, but we salute Citizens for the Betterment of Billboards’ Bored of War project who did and will always post any submissions to our site. The CBB criminals artists have bettered a billboard early this morning right above my favorite bar, Zeitgeist at Duboce and Valencia. Sign of the times indeed.

via Easy Bake Coven
posted by nina h.pixie at 9:11 PM
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State Attempting to Seize Private Property to Give it to Church
Sometimes I wonder if I'm too bombastic with my posts about US theocracy. Then I read stories like this and am reminded I'm right on target. The State of New Jersey is attempting to seize the Golden Cicadia, a tavern. The Golden Cicadia is not run down, it is not disreputable, it does not serve as a front for illegal activities. It's only crime is that it sits on property that someone else wants, but they don't want it enough to buy outright. The someone else who wants the property wants the state to seize it and turn it over to them at a fraction of what it is worth. And who is the someone else who wants that property? The Roman Catholic Church, who wants to build an athletic field on the property for St. Peter's Preparatory School. The state is attempting to seize private property to turn it over to the Church.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:21 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 12:06 AM
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Tuesday, September 20, 2005. *
He said U.S. soldiers recently went to Curacao, an island off Venezuela's northwest coast. He described as a "lie" the official U.S. explanation that they visited Curacao for rest and recreation.

"They were doing movements. They were doing maneuvers," Chavez said, speaking through a translator.

He added: "We are coming up with the counter-Balboa plan. That is to say if the government of the United States attempts to commit the foolhardy enterprise of attacking us, it would be embarked on a 100-year war. We are prepared." [more]

The Bush Crime Family calls their plan to take over Venezuela 'Operation Balboa'? Hm, invading a sovereign country (whose government you already tried to overthrow twice, unsuccessfully) in order to topple their democratically-elected President and steal their oil . . . yea, that has a lot to do with Rocky. Imagine "Eye of the Tiger" musically framing the battle as American and Venezuelan kids die so that the Bush Crime Family can get even richer . . . makes you want to work out, or join a boxing gym, huh?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:10 PM
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A remarkable story of how the Roman Catholic Church influenced the Pill and how women have suffered for it ever since.
posted by Trevor Blake at 11:44 AM
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"A collection of quotes from literature published by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society [...] This research and information web site is devoted to collecting and preserving interesting and/or significant quotes from the publications of the Watch Tower Society, without additional commentary or editorial, for the purpose of scholarship and research."

Nothing at all is more damning to any religion than that its followers actually read the texts it claims are holy. The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society (aka Jehovah's Witnesses) have been publishing and freely distributing their magazines for over one hundred years. But although they claim to be publishing the truth and distributing it door to door to anyone they can, they didn't hestitate to initiate a lawsuit against a Web site that quotes them accurately, in context and with full citations. Because it seems that the WTBTS has said some things that they aren't too proud of now. See what they have to say about race, women, germ theory, space travel and blood. Oh my, do they have something to say about blood. Mainly that it is better to let children die than to give them a chance at living if it involves a blood transfusion. Go take a look at what these people advocate, right from the horse's mouth, before this Web page is taken down by the courts. Then tell me again why these people are considered enough of a public good to evade taxation.
posted by Trevor Blake at 11:29 AM
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Stop the Attack on the Endangered Species Act!

image from the absolutely bizarre "Hedonistic Imperative"

The Issue:
"Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA) has stated that this week he will introduce a bill that would greatly rewrite the Endangered Species Act.
Representative Pombo has long carried the message of developers and is Congress' loudest opponent of endangered species protections.
He is also chair of the House Resources Committee.
A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21, and a
committee vote on Thursday, September 22."
Please act now!
posted by Youngfox at 6:59 AM
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Monday, September 19, 2005. *
The National Day of Prayer occurs on the first Thursday of each May. This is a day of prayer for all, as long as 'for all' means only those who subscribe to the Lausanne Convenant of the Judeo-Christian heritage (whatever that means). A day of prayer that does not cross the church/state line, as long as a proclamation from President George W. Bush and similar proclamations from the governors of all 50 states and the support of the House and Congress don't count as crossing the church/state line. A day of prayer that helps people, as long as by 'helping people' one means mumbling magic spells to an invisible monster that lives in the sky instead of delivering potable water, food, medicine and the like to people in need. The National Day of Prayer - your tax dollars at work?
posted by Trevor Blake at 7:55 PM
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Sunday, September 18, 2005. *
The Catholic Diocese of Austin is investigating after a priest called about 15 children to come forward during evening Mass so he could prick them with an unsterilized pin to demonstrate the pain Jesus suffered during crucifixion. [...] No one reacted strongly during the incident at evening Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Corn Hill on Wednesday, said Helen Osman, communications director for the Austin diocese. Osman said that the priest pricked both adults and children. [...] Osman said workers at the Williamson County and Cities Health District will conduct confidential interviews with the Mass attendees to find out whether they have any communicable diseases and whether skin was broken. Officials will then determine whether the children might be at risk for exposure to diseases such as HIV or hepatitis and whether a blood test is needed. [...] "I didn't think it was that big a deal," Michalka said. "I can see the point now. I'll see to it that it doesn't happen again."

[Germ theory saves more lives every day than the lives saved by all religions in all of human history combined. The little germies can't be seen but if you break skin they can get inside your body and make you sick. And if you get one person's blood in contact with another person's blood then the germies can make you sick that way too. But that's all just intellectual mumbo-jumbo science-talk and not that big a deal - not when you've got an invisible monster that lives in the sky telling you what to do. What would happen if an old man stuck pins in children in the name of Star Trek, or the Parent Teacher Association, or for fun? You'd better believe that old man would be in a cage for the rest of his life. But stick pins in children, exposing them to who knows what, to better serve an invisible monster that lives in the sky and even the people watching you do it will not react strongly. Religion is a public mental health crisis and it's time we started treating it that way.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 7:41 PM
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Ex-president drops some finance science
On the US budget, Clinton warned that the federal deficit may be coming untenable, driven by foreign wars, the post-hurricane recovery programme and tax cuts that benefitted just the richest one percent of the US population, himself included.

"What Americans need to understand is that ... every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts," Clinton said.

"We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else."

Clinton added: "We depend on Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don't think it makes any sense."

united states federal budget deficits and surpluses, 1967-2006

united states national debt, 1967-2006
posted by mr damon at 5:27 PM
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"It" is his Hydrogen Generating Module, or H2N-Gen for short.

Smaller than a DVD player - small enough to sit comfortably under the hood of any truck or car - it could be big enough to solve the world's greenhouse gas emission problems, at least for the near future. In fact, it could make the Kyoto protocol obsolete. Basically, the H2N-Gen contains a small reservoir of distilled water and other chemicals such as potassium hydroxide. A current is run from the car battery through the liquid. This process of electrolysis creates hydrogen and oxygen gases which are then fed into the engine's intake manifold where they mix with the gasoline vapours.

It's a scientific fact that adding hydrogen to a combustion chamber will cause a cleaner burn. The challenge has always been to find a way to get the hydrogen gas into the combustion chamber in a safe, reliable and cost-effective way.

Williams claims he has achieved this with his H2N-Gen. His product, he said, produces a more complete burn, greatly increasing efficiency and reducing fuel consumption by 10 to 40 per cent - and pollutants by up to 100 per cent. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:50 PM
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Saturday, September 17, 2005. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:55 PM
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Friday, September 16, 2005. *
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America: To Suspend Subchapter IV of Chapter 31 of Title 40, United States Code, Within a Limited Geographic Area in Response to the National Emergency Caused by Hurricane Katrina.
posted by backspace at 8:12 PM
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Let's not forget, FEMA, DHS, and the Neocon criminals in the White House committed a deliberate* act of war against the American people after Katrina hit.

First Responders Urged Not to Respond

from Inter-activist Info Exchange

Here's an interesting list that paints a very curious overall picture of government ineptitude, or worse...

[click for the nauseating list]

*I don't buy the bureaucracy or the incompetence excuses.
posted by Bruce at 8:38 AM
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005. *

If this is for real, the President will look like an elementary school child. If this is a code, what is it a code for? A.) Sex. B.) Coke.

And, most amusingly, if this is a code for either type of blow break--being as how they can't admit that--they will be forced to admit that yes, the most powerful man in the world needs a hall pass to tinkle.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:54 PM
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Two John Roberts Limericks
I've written two limericks about John Roberts' nomination to be Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Here's one of them:

Though Judge Roberts Is Getting A Hearing
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Though Judge Roberts is getting a hearing,
To measure his outlook and bearing,
He's determined to hide
Views that Dems can't abide.
His convictions he simply ain't sharing.

You can find both of my Roberts limericks here and you can hear my audio version of my Judge Roberts limericks here.
posted by Mad Kane at 1:44 PM
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Tuesday, September 13, 2005. *

President George W. Bush took responsibility on Tuesday for failures in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do it's job right, I take responsibility," Bush said. "I want to know what went right and what went wrong."
posted by Trevor Blake at 11:41 AM
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An op-ed by three prominent law professors in today's L.A. Times raises an important issue about which Senators ought to question John Roberts in his confirmation hearing:
JUST FOUR DAYS before the Bush administration named John G. Roberts Jr. to fill retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court, the District of Columbia federal appeals court decided a case called Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld. In a crucial victory for the administration, the court upheld President Bush's creation of special military tribunals for trials of alleged terrorists and denied them the protection of the Geneva Convention. Roberts was one of the judges who decided that case, but he should have recused himself.

While the case was pending in his court, Roberts was interviewing with high White House officials Â? including Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove Â? for a seat on the Supreme Court. In the words of the federal law on judicial disqualification, this placed the judge in a situation where "his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

The authors of this piece--NYU's Stephen Gillers, Northwestern's Steven Lubet and Georgetown's David Luban--previously raised this issue in August, after Roberts was nominated to replace retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Now that Roberts stands to become Chief Justice, in which capacity he will be in charge of the administration of the federal judicial system, the issue is of even greater significance. Let's see whether anyone on the Senate Judiciary Committee poses this important question, and whether, if asked, Roberts gives a straightforward and persuasive response.
posted by The Continental Op at 9:23 AM
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Monday, September 12, 2005. *
Suicide Girls is owned by a right winger who treats women like shit

It seems that not enough people know the truth about the Suicide Girls and still think it's some sort of hip, progressive, women owned and operated porn company.

Suicide Girls is owned by Sean Suhl. "Missy" is just a figurehead, and Playboy has or had some sort of partnership with Suicide Girls, but they do not own it. Suhl's listed as the only authorized representative for the company. If Missy ever owned a stake in it, she doesn't now.

Suhl's a neoconservative white male. The site's blog used to be filled with right wing rants. Mostly foreign policy stuff like pro-war and violent anti-Palestinian stuff. But perhaps they've realized they were alienating a lot of their readers and models and have now made the blog open for anyone to post, and it now appears to lean towards the left. There's no easy way to browse the archives that I can see, but here's a post by Suhl from April 2004.

Update: the above post has been deleted, it can still be found on here. Here are two other examples of Sean's political posts on SG: Shooting Children in the Back and A Loving Tribute to Some Truly Wonderful People.

The first place I came across him being described as a neoconservative was this Willamette Weekly story quite a while back. I can't find any specific examples of him calling himself neoconservative, but various blog and forum posters indicate that he has described himself as such.

And most importantly: the models get treated badly. Here's a Live Journal community dedicated to SG discussions and here's a thread there about alternatives.

Many of the above links are from the comments on this blog. And here's a good rant about them on Slashdot.

I know a lot of models probably get ripped off by porn sites, and a lot of porn owners probably have politics I don't agree with. I wonder if I'd even be able to continue my alternative porn blog if I knew everything that went on behind the scenes at every porn site I link to. But Suhl made the mistake of pissing off a lot of Internet savvy women, and using his business's site as a political soap box for views that probably don't mesh with his customers'.
posted by Klintron at 9:22 PM
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"In 1966, the Supreme Court held that the poll tax was unconstitutional. Nearly 40 years later, Georgia is still charging people to vote, this time with a new voter ID law that requires many people without driver's licenses - a group that is disproportionately poor, black and elderly - to pay $20 or more for a state ID card. Georgia went ahead with this even though there is not a single place in the entire city of Atlanta where the cards are sold."
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:31 PM
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"Add Rep. Richard Baker to the list of congressional Republicans who have made unfortunate comments about hurricane victims - although he's the first we know of from Louisiana. The Wall Street Journal's 'Washington Wire' reports comments Baker made this week to lobbyists: 'We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did.' Baker explained later that he didn't intend flippancy, but has long wanted to 'improve' low-income housing."
posted by Trevor Blake at 7:35 PM
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Bloggers Speak, Part 1 of 2 -- Audio Mini-Interviews With Lefty Bloggers
On Saturday, Julia of Sisyphus Shrugged held another of her delightful lefty blogger gatherings in Queens, New York. And I'm pleased to report that this time, not only did I bring my digital audio recorder, but I actually remembered to use it. Okay, I did get some prodding and nudging from
Elayne of Pen-Elayne who, by the way, took pictures.

Throughout the evening. I dragged sundry bloggers (and the occasional blogger spouse) to the back of Julia's yard for -- hey, get your mind out of the gutter -- mini-interviews with them. This Mad Kane Notables
post includes 6 MP3 links to my chats with Elayne, Julia, Michael Berube, Barbara of the Mahablog, Jen of The News Blog, and Scott of Lawyers, Guns and Money. (Another batch of mp3 interviews will be posted in the next day or so.)
posted by Mad Kane at 3:35 PM
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"I injected morphine into those patients who were dying and in agony. If the first dose was not enough, I gave a double dose. And at night I prayed to God to have mercy on my soul."

Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

In an extraordinary interview with The Mail on Sunday, one New Orleans doctor told how she 'prayed for God to have mercy on her soul' after she ignored every tenet of medical ethics and ended the lives of patients she had earlier fought to save. [More...]
posted by Sudeaux Lux at 12:20 PM
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Long denied access to the beaches their anscestors strolled on and fished from for centuries, Palestinians dove headfirst into the waters outside the former Jewish settlement of Shirat Hayam

There hasn't been cause for celebraton in this part of the world for a long time.
posted by A.Q. at 10:55 AM
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Worse Case Scenario: A Satire (Part One?)
Cheney was in his bunker again, not on vacation, but deep down in a secret command center somewhere, replete with flowing lava visible through glass columns running throughout. Dear God man, can’t you see? Dick Cheney IS the Sith Lord. Rasping, laughing, and always doing eeeevil. A couple weeks ago then, hunkered down in his bunker, presiding over the destruction of New Orleans.

Bush at his ranch: “When’s Unka Dick gonna call me? I’m not sure what to do with myself . . . this lady outside has set me on edge. I want to take an M16 out there and show her to her son.”

Condi was stretching out on the floor, flexing her Gongorian muscles. “Did you take your pills, George?” Sweetly, now criss-crossing her legs in front of him, panties back by the door where she had taken them off.

“Uh, heh-heh,” says George, coming closer. “Tower Leeza, this is Hot Rod 422, coming in for a landing . . . “

Condi took a quick sip of her drink before setting the glass down on the coffee table next to her. She came away with a blood mustache. “Hot Rod 422, you are cleared for a landing.”

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” Georgie said, excitedly, moving toward her.

Back to the bunker: Cheney is in his hoverchair, flying around before his giant panel of screens.

“’New Orleans dodged a bullet’!” he exclaimed wildly, reading from the headlines. “How dare they!”

His assnt Dodge stood by with the loyal assist: “How dare they, indeed, sir.”

“Initiate Plan 2B: blow flood walls.”

Two frogmen get their orders and tumble down into the water. Snipers stand guard above to make sure nobody sees. Sure, enough, here comes the soft underwater explosion.

Cheney screams at his live cams showing several parts in the city where people can be seeing roaming about the streets: “BETTER PUT YOUR HIGHWATERS ON NIGRAHS! BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT TO GET FUCKING BIBLICAL IN THERE!”

Cheney turns away and mops his forehead with a pair of Trent Lott’s dirty skivvies. “Operation New Halliburton, Cajun-style has begun.”

Dodge bows. When he doesn’t know what to say and the King is facing him, he bows.

Meanwhile, thousands of people along the gulf coast hunker down in their homes and hope it won’t be so bad. They pray. They drink. They worry. They drown.

Some axe through the ceiling to the roof. They are rescued by Coast Guard and set down on a piece of broken highway, where men jump off to their death and old people and babies die. They wait.

Nobody comes.

For days.

In another part of the city, a man begins to wade into the worst of it. He's a Doctor, and he's looking for his dog.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:00 AM
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Sunday, September 11, 2005. *
Today, Sunday, September 11th at 7:06PM E.S.T., ABC News Radio Affiliates on the east coast will air a 1 hour pre-recorded special featuring author and theologian David Ray Griffin, 9/11 survivor and RICO suit plaintiff William Rodgriquez and 9/11 widow Lorie Van Auken, who recently presented at Congresswoman McKinney's Congressional Briefing on July 22. The program will for the first time on a major new news network give voice to the those who have challenged the 9/11 Commission's findings, who have suggested a pervasive cover-up or the involvement of government conspirators.

The program will re-air hourly at 8:06, 9:06, 10:06, etc. this evening. It has already been aired by two affiliates and is now available to over 3000 affiliates nationally.

Please tune in, record the show, and let ABC know that you are interested in similar programs digging deeper into the challenges posed to the official narrative for the events of September 11th.

Please take a moment now to email your friends and colleagues and let them know about this encouraging breakthrough.
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:09 PM
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Saturday, September 10, 2005. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:04 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:01 PM
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N.B. - I realize Bill linked the "Top Ten" Article from the Tucson Weekly below but here are all 25 stories in easy clickable format.


#1 Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government

#2 Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Deathtoll

#3 Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage

#4 Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In

#5 U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia

#6 The Real Oil for Food Scam

#7 Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood

#8 Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates

#9 Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency

#10 Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy

#11 Universal Mental Screening Program Usurps Parental Rights

#12 Military in Iraq Contracts Human Rights Violators

#13 Rich Countries Fail to Live up to Global Pledges

#14 Corporations Win Big on Tort Reform, Justice Suffers

#15 Conservative Plan to Override Academic Freedom in the Classroom

#16 U.S. Plans for Hemispheric Integration Include Canada

#17 U.S. Uses South American Military Bases to Expand Control of the Region

#18 Little Known Stock Fraud Could Weaken U.S. Economy

#19 Child Wards of the State Used in AIDS Experiments

#20 American Indians Sue for Resources; Compensation Provided to Others

#21 New Immigration Plan Favors Business Over People

#22 Nanotechnology Offers Exciting Possibilities But Health Effects Need Scrutiny

#23 Plight of Palestinian Child Detainees Highlights Global Problem

#24 Ethiopian Indigenous Victims of Corporate and Government Resource Aspirations

#25 Homeland Security Was Designed to Fail
posted by Youngfox at 6:39 PM
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Katrina caused by the Yakuza/KGB.
posted by New World at 9:02 AM
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Friday, September 09, 2005. *
"Fate often elevates fools and rogues, if only to see how far they will fall."
"George W. Bush -- who spent a good portion of his first forty years drinking, drilling dry wells as a failed oilman, and escaping his National Guard duties -- has no business being president. Is there any doubt that Bush overreacted on Iraq and under reacted on Katrina? Does anyone who has seen the devastation in New Orleans -- let alone Iraq -- still believe America is safer for having our National Guard troops patrolling Saddam’s slums rather than on call to protect America’s shattered cities?

bush disaster

Once again Bush’s claims in response to a national tragedy ring hollow. As Bush explained to Diane Sawyer, “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breech of the levees.”* Nobody, that is, except the scientists and engineers who’d been warning about just this kind of catastrophe for decades. Even so the Bush administration allocated a mere $40 million for hurricane and flood programs centered around New Orleans, cutting $65 million from the paltry $105 million requested by the Army Corp of Engineers last year.

“'I don’t think anyone could have foreseen terrorists flying into buildings.' 'Iraq will be a cakewalk.' 'I don’t think anyone anticipated the breech of the levees.' It’s the same pattern of obliviousness and evasion repeated ad infinitum by Bush and his sycophants. But this time, the public may be fed up with the administration’s lack of foresight as it appears money earmarked to improve New Orleans' levees was 'moved in the president’s budget,' according to The New Orleans Times-Picayune, 'to pay for homeland security and the war in Iraq...'

bush sympathy

"In one fell swoop, Hurricane Katrina exposed the contradictions that lie at the heart of the Bush Administration: the illusion that society can afford disproportionate tax cuts for the wealthy while skimping on basic infrastructure and public safeguards; the conflation that fighting abroad in Iraq is tantamount to defending the homeland; and the delusion that Bush is a uniter not a divider.

"Katrina has revealed that the Emperor has no clothes and that the social fabric in America is badly frayed. The Bush Doctrine has collapsed, an acknowledgement that the anti-terrorism policy the administration has pursued for the last four years has been a catastrophic failure.

"Equally alarming -- in the wake of Katrina -- the administration’s negligence regarding global warming epitomizes their obtuseness; most climatologists have been warning for years that global warming will increase the frequency and intensity of tropical storms. The administration’s response to scientific evidence that challenges their ideological beliefs, of course, was to have the EPA delete any reference to global warming altogether...

"When the political gods -- or the Supreme Court, if you prefer -- decided to trump the will of the American people (including the majority of Floridians who had cast their votes for Al Gore), I assumed it was because the gods prefer tragedy and farce. With Bush they get both: think "Mission Accomplished," with Inspector Clousseau wearing a flight suit and celebrating his triumph over evil-doers, and you’ll find it’s hard not to laugh and cry at the same time."

* - "In fact, FEMA had run a mock disaster exercise a year ago in which the levees were breached by a fictitious 'Hurricane Pam.'"

main text via Youngfox
posted by mr damon at 10:49 AM
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Planning on taking part in this Sunday's Freedom Walk? Better register today or you will face arrest on sunday. If you'd rather cheer on the march instead be prepared to peer over a four-foot high "snow fence."

Note: Highlighted in the WAPO article the severe restrictions placed on members of the press. From WaPo (linked above):

"One restricted group will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route. Reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall."

Further, note, In general, First Amendment rights can be restricted in "time, place, and manner" if needed to fulfill an "important government purpose," as long as those restraints aren't message-based (i.e., "content neutral"). Some communication channels must remain open, and the restraints must be "narrowly tailored" to the government purpose. Here's some more info.

Finally, I don't know all the case law, but perhaps the press could make the case here that the restraints are not narrowly tailored enough. But of course it's to late.
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:33 AM
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Thursday, September 08, 2005. *
NEW YORK, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Science vs. Religion. Evolution vs. Creation.
It is an age-old battle whose time has come. "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" will gather
together all the experts (or at least those who will talk to them), travel to the places
that matter in the debate (basic cable budget permitting) and ultimately settle
the controversy once and for all.

"Evolution Schmevolution: A Daily Show Special Report" will premiere on
Monday, September 12 and air nightly at 11:00 p.m. through September 15.

For one full week, "The Daily Show" goes in-depth, around, through and
quite possibly under, one of the hottest hot-button issues facing our nation:
evolution. It's the accepted theory on the origin of life by an overwhelming
majority of the world's biologists, but maybe they're all wrong. What's so
great about the scientific method anyway? "Evolution Schmevolution" will

* What other theories are out there?

* Who's on the frontlines of this debate?

* Should your child's curriculum really be decided by experts in their
respective fields?

The Emmy and Peabody Award-winning "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" was
launched in the summer of 1996. The nightly news satire takes a reality-based
look at news, trends, pop culture, current events, politics, sports,
entertainment and the media. In each show, Stewart and a team of
correspondents, including Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry, Ed Helms and Samantha
Bee, comment on the day's stories employing actual news footage, taped field
pieces, in-studio guests and on-the-spot coverage of important news events.

Jon Stewart and Ben Karlin are the executive producers of "The Daily Show
with Jon Stewart" with Stewart Bailey and Kahane Corn serving as the co-
executive producers. The series' head writer is David Javerbaum who is also a
supervising producer. Chuck O'Neill is the director.

COMEDY CENTRAL, the only all-comedy network, currently is seen in more
than 87 million homes nationwide. COMEDY CENTRAL is owned by Comedy Partners,
a wholly-owned division of MTV Networks. COMEDY CENTRAL is a registered
trademark of Comedy Partners. COMEDY CENTRAL's Internet address is

P.S. -- You're next, gravity.

* All times ET/PT.
posted by platts42 at 12:25 PM
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Trio of FEMA Limericks
I've written 3 FEMA limericks. Here's the first one:

The FEMA head Michael D. Brown
Helped cause thousands to suffer and drown.
Now he's dodging the blame.
Who's at fault? Val'rie Plame?
Let's throw Dubya and Brown out of town.

All three of my FEMA limericks are here.

And my podcast version is here.
posted by Mad Kane at 12:23 PM
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For Reference look to this quote from Democracy Now on Wednesday, Sept 7:
"....we began to travel through the shelters so that we could locate. We couldn't get cooperation from the government of where they were taking our people. But we just started going city to city up the highway, and every city, as we went out on 10 West, we traveled all the way to Houston. We started at Baton Rouge. Everything was filled. Churches, gymnasiums, civic centers, dormitories of college campuses where the students had brought the families into their dormitories........But when we would go to the public shelters, they were almost like prisons. You could hardly get in. There was all kind of criteria for how you could get in to see the people that was almost like visiting somebody in prison. The people didn't have access to the world around them for fear, again, because on TV they had been criminalized already. So, though the communities were willing to accept them, they were not willing for these people to walk the streets of their town. They were eating sweets and Cokes, still, to the day - I came to this studio this morning having driven from Houston. Every little town between Baton Rouge and Houston had shelters with our people. And they were all managed by FEMA and Homeland Security and soldiers and National Guards, and the ability to go visit these people was like tremendously hard work........" [more]

From the original report, which contains many pictures:
I just got back from a FEMA Detainment CampI'm extremely depressed to report that things seem to only be getting sadder concerning the people so devastatingly affected by Katrina last week. Two car loads of us headed over to Falls Creek, a youth camp for Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma that agreed to have its facilities used to house Louisiana refugees. I'm afraid the camp is not going to be used as the kind people of the churches who own the cabins believe it was going to be used. Jesse Jackson was right when he said "refugees" was not the appropriate word for the poor souls dislocated due to Katrina. But he was wrong about why it is not appropriate. It's not appropriate because they are detainees, not refugees.

[ . . . ]

From the moment I heard about Falls Creek being scheduled to receive refugees I had two thoughts run through my mind: 1. What a beautiful place to be able to stay while trying to get your life back in order. 2. What a terrible location to be when you're trying to get your life back in order. The first thought is because Falls Creek is nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains of south central Oklahoma. One of the more beautiful regions of the state. It would be a peaceful and beautiful place to try to start mending emotionally, and begin to figure what you're going to do next. The second thought comes because Falls Creek is very secluded and absolutely no where near a population center. The closest route from Falls Creek to a connecting road is three miles on a winding narrow road called "High Road" (It gets that name for two reasons - it's goes over the mountain instead of around it like "Low Road" does, and it's where the teenagers of the area go to party). The road has not a single home on it for over 3 miles. After battling that 3 miles over mountains, you'll find yourself about 5 miles from the nearest town, Davis, Oklahoma, population ca. 2000. This is no place to start a new life. [more]
posted by Sue Rock at 12:14 PM
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...on getting ready to "pull another Fallujah" in Iraq.
posted by Bill at 11:46 AM
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Evacuation sheltersHundreds of thousands of people who lived in the path of Hurricane Katrina have been displaced by the storm and the floods that followed. Many evacuees are staying in hotels or homes of friends and family, but thousands also have sought shelter in centers set up by the Red Cross, government agencies and other organizations. However, as the Denver Post reports:

Evacuees' stories are moving, but fence isn't
By Diane CarmanDenver Post Staff Columnist

If I didn't know better, I'd have thought I was peering through the fence at a concentration camp.
The signs on the buildings say "Community College of Aurora," though for now they're serving as an impromptu Camp Katrina. About 160 hurricane survivors are being housed in the dorms, surrounded by fences, roadblocks, security guards and enough armed police officers to invade Grenada.
There's a credentials unit to process every visitor, an intake unit to provide identification tags and a bag of clothes to every evacuee, several Salvation Army food stations, portable toilets, shuttle buses, a green army-tent chapel with church services three times a day and a communications team to keep reporters as far away from actual news as possible.
It probably was easier for a reporter to get inside Gitmo on Tuesday than to penetrate the force field around Lowry.
But survivors occasionally breached the lockdown and came to the fence to tell their stories, each one astonishing.
At a time when it seems ordinary to deliver food and water and provide sanitation to the space station orbiting 200 miles above the Earth, these people watched bodies float past them for days and wondered if help ever would arrive.
Irvin Walker limped toward reporters.
"I'm real glad to be here," he said.
Walker, a 55-year-old disabled Vietnam vet, was trapped in his home when the floodwaters inundated New Orleans. On Aug. 30, rescuers picked him up in a boat and deposited him on an interstate. From there he rode in a truck to the New Orleans Convention Center, where he watched his friend, a diabetic, die for lack of food, water and insulin.
When he arrived here Sunday, it was the first time he'd ever seen Colorado.
"Everybody treats you real nice," he said, smiling. "There's a lotta love up here."
As he slowly walked away, a car pulled up depositing more evacuees. Organizers said a few were coming from Houston and other cities by car. They have been told to prepare for planeloads of survivors over the next few days.
Verne Stovall, 67, landed in Denver on Monday. She had spent a week along with 23 other people in a flooded house in New Orleans before rescuers ordered them to leave. They survived on canned food and water that National Guard troops dropped from helicopters.
On Sunday, police officers came to the door and gave them no choice. Stovall, who has diabetes, ulcers and vision blurred by glaucoma, reluctantly scrambled up onto the roof.
"I didn't want to go in that helicopter," she said. "I was so scared, I dropped my pocketbook into the water."
She arrived in Denver with her son and daughter-in-law, Edward and Jacquelyn Augustine. Her identification swept away in the flood, all she had was the clothes she was wearing.
But after a shower, some food and desperately needed rest, Stovall put on some donated lipstick, took a look around the campus grounds and liked what she saw.
"I've never been out of New Orleans," she said, "but I've decided I want to move here."
Edward, a janitor, and Jacquelyn, who worked for the housing authority, plan to look for jobs. Stovall is retired.
"We lost everything," Edward said. "Our home, our cars."
Like so many survivors of Hurricane Katrina, their needs are complex and immediate. But help is trickling in.
All day Tuesday, people arrived at the Lowry site. A truck from Mountain Man Nut and Fruit Co. pulled in to deliver supplies. Volunteers came to offer counseling and help finding housing, furniture and clothing for evacuees.
Kathy Arford, who owns a small remodeling company, Kateri Homes, arrived offering two jobs at $10 an hour.
"I need help," she said, "and I can teach people how to do the work."
The only problem was she couldn't get near the survivors.
"I've spent two hours trying to find somebody who'll listen to me," she said.
She wants to give a couple of desperate people a chance at a new life. She just needs to get through the fence.
Diane Carman's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. She can be reached at 303-820-1489 or
posted by Sue Rock at 9:09 AM
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FEMA accused of flying evacuees to wrong Charleston
Tuesday, September 6, 2005; Posted: 11:29 p.m. EDT (03:29 GMT)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
What Is This? (CNN) -- Add geography to the growing list of FEMA fumbles.

A South Carolina health official said his colleagues scrambled Tuesday when FEMA gave only a half-hour notice to prepare for the arrival of a plane carrying as many as 180 evacuees to Charleston.

But the plane, instead, landed in Charleston, West Virginia, 400 miles away.

It was not known whether arrangements have been made to care for the evacuees or transport them to the correct destination.

A call seeking comment from FEMA was not immediately returned.

"We called in all the available resources," said Dr. John Simkovich, director of public health for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

"They responded within 30 minutes, which is phenomenal, to meet the needs of the citizens coming in from Louisiana," he said.

Simkovich said that the agency had described some of the evacuees as needing "some minor treatment ... possibly some major treatment."

"Unfortunately, the plane did not come in," Simkovich said. "There was a mistake in the system, coming out through FEMA, that we did not receive the aircraft this afternoon. It went to Charleston, West Virginia."

A line of buses and ambulances idled behind him at Charleston International Airport as he described what happened.

"This is a 'no event' for today," Simkovich said.
posted by Sue Rock at 9:05 AM
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005. *
"It is not just a failure of execution (William Kristol), or that bad things just happen (Laura Bush). It was not just indifference by the President, or a lack of accountability, or a failure of federal-state communication, or corrupt appointments in FEMA, or the cutting of budgets for fixing levees, or the inexcusable absence of the National Guard off in Iraq. It was all of these and more, but they are the effects, not the cause.

"The cause was political through and through -- a matter of values and principles. The progressive-liberal values are America's values, and we need to go back to them. The heart of progressive-liberal values is simple: empathy (caring about and for people) and responsibility (acting responsibly on that empathy). These values translate into a simple principle: use the common wealth for the common good to better all our lives. In short, promoting the common good is the central role of government.

"The right-wing conservatives now in power have the opposite values and principles. Their main value is: rely on individual discipline and initiative. The central principle: government has no useful role. The only common good is the sum of individual goods. It's the difference between 'We're all in this together' and 'You're on your own, buddy.' It's the difference between 'Every citizen is entitled to protection' and 'You're only entitled to what you can afford.' It's the difference between connection and separation. It is this difference in moral and political philosophy that lies behind the tragedy of Katrina.

"A lack of empathy and responsibility accounts for Bush's indifference and the government's delay in response, as well as the failure to plan for the security of the most vulnerable: the poor, the infirm, the aged, the children.

"Eliminating as much as possible of the role of government accounts for the demotion of FEMA from cabinet rank, for Michael Brown's view that FEMA was a federal entitlement program to be cut, for the budget cuts in levee repair, for placing more responsibility on state and local government than they could handle, for the failure to fully employ the military, and for the lax regulation of toxic waste dumps contributing to a 'toxic stew.'

"This was not just incompetence (though there was plenty of it), not just a natural disaster (though nature played its part), not just Bush (though he is accountable). This is a failure of moral and political philosophy -- a deadly failure. That is the deep truth behind this human tragedy, humanly caused.

"It is a truth that needs to be told, starting now -- over and over. There can be no delay. The Bush administration is busy framing it in its own way: bad things just happen, it's no one's fault; the federal government did the best it could -- the problem was at the state and local level; we'll rebuild and everything will be okay; the people being shipped out will have better lives elsewhere, and jobs in Wal-Mart!

"Unless the real truth is told starting now, the American people will accept it for lack of an alternative. The Democratic response so far is playing right into Bush's framing. By delaying a response for fear it will be called 'partisan,' the Democratic leadership is allowing Bush to frame the tragedy. And once it is framed, it is hard to reframe! It is time to start now."
posted by mr damon at 11:11 PM
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Relocation Suggestion
New Orleans is swamped, but I know of a stretch of Crawford, Texas that just had the brush cleared out.
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:08 PM
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"The officials responded they were going to take care of us. Some of us got a sinking feeling. 'Taking care of us' had an ominous tone to it."
Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky are paramedics frorm California who attended the EMS conference in New Orleans [that preceded Hurricane Katrina]. They wrote about their experiences in trying to leave New Orleans for EMS Network.

"As we entered the center of the city, we finally encountered the National Guard. The guardsmen told us we would not be allowed into the Superdome, as the city's primary shelter had descended into a humanitarian and health hellhole. The guards further told us that the city's only other shelter, the convention center, was also descending into chaos and squalor and that the police were not allowing anyone else in.

"Quite naturally, we asked, 'If we can't go to the only two shelters in the city, what was our alternative?' The guardsmen told us that that was our problem, and no, they did not have extra water to give to us...

"We walked to the police command center at Harrah's on Canal Street and were told the same thing, that we were on our own, and no, they did not have water to give us. We now numbered several hundred. We held a mass meeting to decide a course of action. We agreed to camp outside the police command post...

"The police told us that we could not stay. Regardless, we began to settle in and set up camp. In short order, the police commander came across the street to address our group. He told us he had a solution: we should walk to the Pontchartrain Expressway and cross the Greater New Orleans Bridge, where the police had buses lined up to take us out of the city...

"As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions.

"As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the New Orleans police commander, and of the commander's assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.

"We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the six-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their city. These were code words for 'if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you are not getting out of New Orleans...'

"All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot...

"Our small group retreated back down Highway 90 to seek shelter from the rain under an overpass. We debated our options and, in the end, decided to build an encampment in the middle of the Ponchartrain Expressway on the center divide, between the O'Keefe and Tchoupitoulas exits. We reasoned we would be visible to everyone, we would have some security being on an elevated freeway and we could wait and watch for the arrival of the yet to be seen buses...

"From a woman with a battery-powered radio, we learned that the media was talking about us. Up in full view on the freeway, every relief and news organizations saw us on their way into the city. Officials were being asked what they were going to do about all those families living up on the freeway. The officials responded they were going to take care of us. Some of us got a sinking feeling. 'Taking care of us' had an ominous tone to it.

"Unfortunately, our sinking feeling was correct. Just as dusk set in, a Gretna sheriff showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun at our faces, screaming, "Get off the fucking freeway!" A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water.

Once again, at gunpoint, we were forced off the freeway. All the law enforcement agencies appeared threatened when we congregated or congealed into groups of 20 or more. In every congregation of 'victims,' they saw 'mob' or 'riot.' We felt safety in numbers. Our 'we must stay together' plan was impossible because the agencies would force us into small, atomized groups...

"We arrived at the airport on the day a massive airlift had begun. After being evacuated on a Coast Guard cargo plane, we arrived in San Antonio, Texas. There, the humiliation and dehumanization of the official relief effort continued.

"We were placed on buses and driven to a large field where we were forced to sit for hours and hours. Some of the buses did not have air-conditioners. In the dark, hundreds if us were forced to share two filthy, overflowing porta-potties. Those who managed to make it out with any possessions (often a few belongings in tattered plastic bags) were subjected to two different dog-sniffing searches.

"This official treatment was in sharp contrast to the warm, heart-felt reception given to us by the ordinary Texans. We saw one airline worker give her shoes to someone who was barefoot. Strangers on the street offered us money and toiletries with words of welcome. Throughout, the official relief effort was callous, inept and racist."
posted by mr damon at 7:42 PM
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