Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Left Behind II

Returning to the subject of the people left behind in New Orleans after the Mandatory Evacuation orders...

I understand that there's always going to be a number of people who just won't budge. "I've lived here man and boy for eighty-five years and never ran from no hurricane and don't plan to start now" kinds of machismo. Okay.

And of course there's going to be the partiers who just decide to ride it out on Bourbon Street with quantities of booze. I'm not talking about these people - they picked their fate.

I'm talking about the people who would have loved to have had the wherewithal (transportation, or money for a place to stay or whatever) to evacuate, but didn't have it and therefore were stuck in New Orleans while the wealthy, the middle-class and those with wheels of any kind were able to get out.

If those people came away with the message "if you're poor, you're probably black so it's not terribly important what happens to you", I can't say I blame them.

Because here's this... a quick tour of websites and I discovered that Montgomery County, Maryland, population 875,000 in 2000, had a fleet of almost 1000 school buses. From this, I extrapolate that you could perhaps round up, say, 2000 school buses from New Orleans and surrounding suburbs, population circa 1.5 million.

Why didn't someone round up those vehicles, drop 2000 national guardsmen in to drive them, and get 100,000 or more people who otherwise couldn't leave the hell out of Dodge?

How many municipal buses does New Orleans possess (or did they, now, I guess)? Where are they? Did they leave the city laden with residents? or are they now under water? Greyhound shut down their terminal on, what, Saturday or Sunday? Where were the buses? Every little pissant podunk town in my suburb of DC has some form of public transportation. There's a hell of a lot of buses in most cities, and if there are now empty buses underwater in New Orleans, someone should pay.

That's all I'm saying.

Cheap Gas.

$2.77 at the 7/11-Citgo on Sugarland Run Drive in Sterling. Price only went up seven cents today. (Elsewhere in the area it went up .15 to .79 in a day.)

I understand Citgo is Venuzeulan? Maybe they can afford to be a little more 'socialist' about the supply/demand thingie?

Okay, I'm back.

Done sobbing in sympathy now. (See below.)

Oh, the sacrifice

So the Boy King 'cuts short' his mega-vacation to return to 'oversee relief efforts', the news media reports.

Yeah. He comes home two days early from a 35 day vacation.

Think about the sheer magnitude of the sacrifice he's making. Instead of a five-week vacation, the poor overworked booboo must make do with a mere four weeks, five days.

You'll have to excuse me while I sob in sympathy now...

Alternate Universe

Well, someone in the Mainstream Media actually takes Bush to task, but does it in such a way that it's clear they're checking in from an alternate universe. Check out this editorial from the New Hampshire Union Leader:

AS THE EXTENT of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation became clearer on Tuesday — millions without power, tens of thousands homeless, a death toll unknowable because rescue crews can’t reach some regions — President Bush carried on with his plans to speak in San Diego, as if nothing important had happened the day before.

Katrina already is measured as one of the worst storms in American history. And yet, President Bush decided that his plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day with a speech were more pressing than responding to the carnage.

A better leader [<-------- like, for instance, Bill Clinton]would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease.

The cool, confident, intuitive leadership Bush exhibited in his first term, particularly in the months immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, has vanished. [<---- Um, guys - this leadership only existed in your desperate frightened post-9/11 imaginations... ]In its place is a diffident detachment unsuitable for the leader of a nation facing war, natural disaster and economic uncertainty. [<----- This is the guy that's been there all along.]

Wherever the old George W. Bush went, we sure wish we had him back. [If you clap real hard, he might come back...]

Man... Bush acts detached, clueless and uninvolved and the Union Leader is shocked and saddened??

Shut up about looting

Okay, first go read this Steve Gilliard post about the N.O. 'looters'.

Now, let's talk. Most people are saying that the people 'liberating' food and drinking water are justified to help themselves, but the other people should be ashamed of themselves, yadda yadda. Oh big poop.

I'll be the first to admit that the people stealing 50" plasma TVs are pretty stupid; unless it floats and they can surf out on it, I really don't see the point. But I can't really say I blame the people smashing windows and helping themselves to handfuls of jewelry.

Think about it for a minute, folks. The mayor and governor and whoever orders the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. That said, do they provide any fucking means of transportation for the people that lacked it? Not that I heard anything about.

So all the folks with cars get the hell out and leave behind the folk that don't have access to transportation. As we now know, they were left to literally sink or swim - left behind to die.

If it were me that were told to get out and then left behind to figure out how to do so, I can't say I wouldn't help myself to a handful of someone else's diamonds either. At least you would stand the chance, if you washed ashore somewhere, of being able to negotiate for a place to sleep and maybe something to eat.

So shut up about looters, okay? People who are left by the rest of us to die in the rising water are entitled to be a little bit disgruntled, you ask me.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Cubby Blogging

From the National Zoo's Panda Page:

The cub's eyes were first noted to be open at about 4:15 yesterday afternoon. There has been no apparent change in his behavior since then. However, now that his eyes are open, we think he looks even cuter, smarter, and more engaging than any other panda cub, ever!

Completely objective, scientific observation. Cutest panda cub ever.

Say it, sister

and I mean that in the most literal of ways...

The most important thing I will ever tell you about the Bush administration

Okay, this is just cute

Monks in Louisville Create Tribute to Ali

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - By meticulously tapping sand out of foot-long steel funnels, eight Tibetan monks are creating a sacred artwork to commemorate the friendship of Louisville native Muhammad Ali and the Dalai Lama.

Seated on thin mattresses in the glass-enclosed lobby of a Louisville building, the monks started on the multicolored mandala Monday, and are due to finish it next week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Art blogging

New article on debugging a faulty drawing is now up at my Pastel Painting site.

When will they ever learn?

KANO, Nigeria -- For women, commuting across this ancient Islamic city has long been as easy as hopping into a minibus or climbing on the back of a motorcycle taxi. Both are cheap and readily available. Even if some female passengers found it unsettling to be so near strange men, who might make lewd comments or press their bodies close, such was the price of efficient transport.

But the days of casual travel are ending for the women of Kano, a bustling trading center of about 500,000 in northern Nigeria. Government officials, determined to halt what they see as the decline of public morality, are banning women from all but a handful of Kano's motorcycle taxis and are requiring them to sit in the back of public minibuses.

In whose lexicon is 'the back of the bus' not considered insulting?

My solution - issue tasers to all women who need to use public transportation. Civility ensues.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Interview with Dorothy Morrison

... is finally up on my metaphysics site.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


make sure your sound is turned up.

What do you mean, WE, white man?

Shoot, Atrios beat me to this but I'm going to post on it anyway...

From today's Meet the Press, former Middle East specialist for the CIA, Reuel Marc Gerecht said:

In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy.
Ah, yassss. Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed! Robber Barons! Sweat shops! Why wouldn't we wish such wonders on our new friends the free peoples of Iraq?

I'm always hesitant to point out the obvious, for fear of seeming to insult the intelligence of my readers. But Reuel... dear heart. You know there are people today who would like to see us return to that Golden Age, don't you? Many of them fairly highly placed? In those days, an Inconvenient Woman like Cindy Sheehan could simply be committed to an insane asylum on the word of some male relative and kept there indefinitely. Wouldn't that settle her hash?

Think about it. No income tax. Politicians explicitly for sale. Land and natural resources for the grabbing. Women and non-whites firmly in their place. What's not to like? If, that is, you're rich, white and male.


Warning: High Geek

If you're reading this blog, you're probably like me, feeling a weird sense of disconnect and wondering why. You know what I mean, suddenly you're living in a US where it's legal to torture people and hold prisoners indefinitely without charges. Where it's okay to haul people out of line for their skin tone, and invade and occupy a country because some other country pissed us off and we don't dare mess with them because... they're best friends with the dynasty that's in charge. A weird unfamiliar America where people who question the legality/morality of any of this are called traitors, and America-haters.

The weirdest part of the whole experience of living through the last 2-3 years is that many people around you, possibly as many of half the people around you, think this is perfectly normal, natural and what's wrong with you that you don't?

Is it possible? could it be? I strongly suspect that there's been one of those, you know, rifts in the space-time continuum. Like the Alternate Universe where Spock has a beard.

So those of us who feel displaced... maybe we ARE! And back home in the universe that respects the constitution and human rights, there's a whole bunch of crazed war-mongering liberals and progressives calling the leaders there, who won't declare war on the world, wimps and pussies. Who do you suppose is President in the Sane Universe?

And more importantly, how do we get back there?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Penguin promoted to Colonel

WHAT'S black and white with stripes and lives at Edinburgh Zoo? Nils Olav, of course, the most decorated king penguin around.

Yesterday Nils, the honorary winged member of the Royal Norwegian Guard, was promoted to colonel-in-chief at a ceremony where a statue was unveiled in recognition of his spectacular rise through the ranks.

Story here.

Lest you think Nil's role is a joke, I offer these pics of the Colonel inspecting the troops:
"Looking gooood, corporal."

"I suppose you think those shoes are shined?

I wonder if he'd be interesting in being US SecDef? Can't be worse that the one we've got now...

Baby boy gets bigger and bigger

My favorite panda pic so far:

See how much he's grown here.

Friday, August 19, 2005

News from the Near Future

with apologies to Max Headroom

Reuters, Monday:

The Virgin Mary is reported to have appeared to a group of Carmelite nuns yesterday, informing them that the American President's misadventure in Iraq was 'causing great grief' to her son. Members of the order who were present at the purported miracle were overcome with emotion, but one told this reporter, "Oh, it was really her, she looked just like I always expected."

(Throughout Monday evening, the faxes fly.)
Rush Limbaugh, Tuesday:

"and you'll love this - yesterday a bunch of nuns, apparently hopped up on peyote or something, claim to have seen the Virgin Mary, who basically spit on our glorious troops and insulted our president. Who knew the old girl hated America?..."

ABC, Wednesday:

The Virgin Mary appeared live at an exhibition football game in New Jersey today. Her voice shook with indignation as she defended the sobriety of the Carmelites who reported her appearance yesterday. Let's go to the tape of the Mother of God speaking...

more faxes

Free Republic, late Wednesday night:

Virgin, HAH! It was common back then, you know, to pass off an unexpected pregnancy as 'oh, it was God! I didn't have anything to do with it.' Common slut, is what she was. Who knows whose son that was she passed off as God's?

The Larry King Show, Thursday:

King: I'm here live with Jesus, son of God and the Virgin Mary, who's some kind of put out at the things that are being said about his mother. How 'bout it, Jesus? Can I call you Jesus?
Jesus: That's fine, Larry. Yes, I'm very upset at the nasty things these warmongers are saying about my mother, just because she accurately reported my feelings about what's going on in Iraq and the United States.
King: Accurately reported? So you're not happy with our War on Terror?
Jesus: What war on terror? I don't see any war on terror. I just see a bunch of bumbling idiots getting kids killed for no good reason. And you don't want to hear what Dad has to say about it...

Major sponsors, under pressure by Congress and the White House, pull advertising from CNN. More faxes fly.

Washington Post, Friday:

Major evangelical groups today came out denouncing Jesus Christ's appearance on Larry King last night. "If he's not with us, he's against us," said James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family. "I'm personally switching my deital allegience to Thor, and asking all my followers to do likewise."

Commentator Bill O'Reilly agreed with Dobson on principle, but not deity. "Who wants a hippy-freak commie-lover for a deity, anyway," he asked on his daily broadcast. "I mean, did you get a load of that hair? A Prince of Peace may have been all well and good for two thousand years, but let's face it, 9/11 changed everything. That's why I'm switching to worship Mars, the God of War. That's what it'll take to make sure we put that terrorist-deploying Allah in his place. I mean, who you gonna bet on in a cage match between Jesus and Mars, huh? It's like, no contest."

Reuters, Sunday:

Jesus popularity polls dip. In a recent Gallup poll, favorability ratings for Jesus Christ dipped below 50% today, the first time ever since polling on the question started.... Surging deities include Thor, Ares, Mars, Loki and Kalli, all now well into double digits after languishing in the single digits for centuries...

AP, March, 2007:

The Vatican's attempt to canonize American president George W. Bush hit a snag today as it was pointed out that Bush was still alive. Pope Eric I (formerly Benedict XVI) brushed aside objections, pounding the papal lectern with his hammer of office for emphasis, and ordered the process of beatification to proceed as planned...

... you know it's only a matter of time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Your government in action

Terror babies of the skies:

Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list."

It sounds like a joke, but it's not funny to parents who miss flights while scrambling to have babies' passports and other documents faxed.

Ingrid Sanden's 1-year-old daughter was stopped in Phoenix before boarding a flight home to Washington at Thanksgiving.


Sarah Zapolsky and her husband had a similar experience last month while departing from Dulles International Airport outside Washington. An airline ticket agent told them their 11-month-old son was on the government list.

They were able to board their flight after ticket agents took a half-hour to fax her son's passport and fill out paperwork.

"I understand that security is important," Zapolsky said. "But if they're just guessing, and we have to give up our passport to prove that our 11-month-old is not a terrorist, it's a waste of their time."

Well, all 11-month-olds look alike - it's easy to get innocent babies confused with terrorist babies of the same name. Oh wait - the name on the list isn't a baby? So they're needing proof that the baby wasn't the terrorist, like, put in a time-machine and regressed to babyhood so he/she could be smuggled out of the country? Or what?

Call me naive, but it seems to me that if you're looking for a 48-year-old John Smith, and have before you a one-year-old John Smith, or even a teenage John Smith, common sense should tell you it's not the same John Smith as the one you're looking for.

The mavens of Fatherland Security are keeping us all safe.

From babies.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

It's STILL a boy!

Could anything be any cuter than this?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Wish I'd said that

The Poor Man is one blogger I wish I could channel. For instance (in reference to conservative bloggers justifying Iraq by posting photos of carnage):

...(T)he justification for the Global Vaguely-Defined Endeavor Generally In Opposition To Some Nebulous Foreign Evil (GVDEGIOTSNFE) has finally become entirely pre-verbal... I fear that we may soon devolve to a point where the war cheerleaders simply re-enact the Dawn of Man scenes of 2001, leaping and screeching and waving a tapir’s femur in a morally clear manner. Or maybe we already passed that stage and I missed it.


Watching the overt case for war fall apart was like watching a fat man do a bellyflop into an empty swimming pool - kind of funny, in a perverse way, but mostly just painful to watch. I was prepared for the lack of connections to al Qaeda, so that was no big surprise, although finding a country in the Middle East that has that little to do with the deaths of 3,000 people on 9/11 is kind of an accomplishment. I figured that Iraq didn’t have much in the way of a nuclear program, because that should have been relatively easy to find, but what kind of country doesn’t have any chemical weapons at all? If you had asked me before the war to name a country that had really had literally zero chemical weapons, I would probably have said “I don’t know, like, Andorra, maybe”, and if you asked me today, I would have to say “Iraq, and maybe Andorra”. I still don’t get that. I’d much rather be tasked with making some poison chemicals that making, say, a rifle - pour bleach and hydrochloric acid in your bathtub, and you’ve got chlorine gas, and you can enjoy in the privacy of your own unventilated bathroom the same protracted death as unknown thousands of soldiers in WWI. Now, making it into something that can be delivered on the battlefield is presumably harder, and I’ve got no clue how you do it, but come on. Tweakers with no teeth who haven’t slept since 2002 manage to make high-quality methamphetamine in a rural Kentucky outhouse, and an oil-rich nation of millions can’t even field a few crappy chlorine gas canisters? I’m rambling a bit here, but the drop from impending mushroom clouds to jack fucking shit is a hell of a fall. I’m just saying.


...The case for war seems to have metastasized from a case that could be expressed, although not very convincingly, into something ineffable - that je ne sais quoi that comes to you when you look at pictures of mayhem and horror, some kind of foreign policy jazz where if you have to ask, you’ll never understand. It’s inadequate, it’s evasive, and it’s pathetic.

More, much more, at link.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It's a boy!

Vist at the Panda page.