Sunday, December 11, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
1. Harnessing Hydrogen Hydrogenics: Building markets for fuel-cell tech. A big bonus: byproducts can quench a thirst.
2. Farming New Fuels Seattle Biodiesel: It makes an alternative fuel derived from vegetable oil that burns clean
3. Soaking Up the Sun Miasole: Developing new ways, besides silicon, to capture the sun's rays and create energy
4. Go With the Guts Svenska Biogas: Burning animal innards to fuel a locomotive. Up next: fuel from corn sludge.
5. A Sterling Solution STM Power: A modern twist on the Stirling engine, including a 'Fumes to Fuel' idea for Ford
6. A New Power Paradigm Ion America: Developing solid oxide fuel cells that could put a power plant in your basement
7. A Great Wall of Wind Farsighted Group: Using local technology to build the world's biggest market for wind power
8. A Very Light Touch PowerLight: Making solar systems pay off for homeowners, businesses and governments
9. Flights of Fancy SunPower Corp.: Its solar-panel tech is highly efficient, and its esthetics are better for homes
10. A Jolt of Conservation Comverge, Inc.: Its technology cuts power usage and saves money for utility customers
2005 Newsweek, Inc.
1DuPont --Reduced energy consumption 7% below 1990 levels, saving more than $2 billion -- including at least $10 million a year by using renewable sources
2 BP --Reached its 2010 GHG reduction target in 2001. Increased valuation by $650 million through improvements in operating efficiency and energy management
3 Bayer --Boosting energy efficiency also avoided $850 million in investments that otherwise would have been required, because production grew 22%
4 BT --Low-carbon and renewable sources provide 98% of its electricity in Britain, saving $1.1 billion. Adding 38% reduction in vehicle emissions almost doubles savings
5 Alcoa --Slashed emissions of perfluorocarbon (PFC) gas from aluminum smelters by 80%. Expects annual cost savings to reach $100 million next year
6 IBM --Tonnage cuts are from just higher energy efficiency. The reduction triples if other CO2 and PFC cleaning-solvent emissions are included. Total savings: $791 million
7 Catalyst Paper --Substantially lower CO2 emissions stem from efficiency initiatives that have netted savings of more than $17 million over the past 10 years
8 STMicroelectronics --Since 1994, CO2 emissions have been progressively curtailed with better energy practices. Efficiency savings now exceed $100 million a year
9 3M --By cutting energy consumption, 3M has saved more than $190 million since 1990
10 Iberdrola --Tonnage was avoided with renewable fuels, but total emissions grew in 2004. Biomass investments -- $12.7 billion since 2001 -- will yield 5,500 megawatts in 2008
Friday, December 02, 2005
Last week I heard a podcast on the bird flu which was really quite alarming. Of course, I told my husband about all the horrific details. His latest e-mail shows you just how he helps keep me balanced!
BIRD FLU SYMPTOMS
The Center for Disease Control has released a list of symptoms of the Bird Flu. If you experience any of the following, please seek medical treatment immediately:
1. High fever
5. Aching in the joints
6. An irresistible urge to shit on someone's windshield
Saturday, November 26, 2005
In a nutshell, according to this author, the 60’s was the era of liberal philosophies in public policy run amuck. LBJ’s War on Poverty that was meant to help the needy actually enslaved the poor by making them dependent on government handouts. It took away their incentive to better themselves and encouraged them to become welfare mothers instead which perpetuated their plight to future generations. The mental institutions were emptied out in an effort to liberate those patients who had been institutionalized because their ideas were not the “norm” and bucked societal conventions. Many of these patients could live normal lives if given a counseling and supportive assistance. When the funds were not there to deliver the promise, the mentally ill were abandoned.
According to Myron, many of the problems we see today are the result of misguided liberal policies that had unintended consequences which is where the title of the book, “The Dream and the Nightmare” originates. In this book, Myron argues that the homeless were mentally ill patients that were once institutionalized. Maybe the conditions were harsh, but it was better for them than living under a bridge, he contends.
I think of this book when I see the homeless lady that lives on the bus stops near my home. She no doubt is mentally ill. I wonder, if she is better off living on the street than she would be if she had been locked up in one of those inhumane institutions that closed down years ago? Whose responsibility is she anyway? Is society better served by allowing the mentally ill to go free and live as they please?
There are so many worthy causes that try to get a piece of the public purse. Our national debt, as of Nov. 26 stands at 8.1 trillion dollars. That equals $27,000 per person. The Baby Boomers are starting to retire. This will increase the amount of money that's needed just to pay for Social Security and Medicare. What amazes me is that no one seems to worry about how many IOU’s we are putting into our USA Government Piggy Bank.
I see this homeless woman living on the side of the road, surrounded by the garbage she uses to keep herself warm at night. I’m thankful that I’m not in her shoes and wish there was something I could do for her, but I'm afraid to go near her. The government has overextended itself. The Republican leaders believe that if they give money to wealthy citizens it will trickle down to everyone else because they will start new business opportunities with the revenue and generate jobs. Boutiques and Service professionals that cater to the wealthier population are cropping up all over the place.
Those who have money are doing fine. Those without are trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Others are living on bus stops and under bridges and in homeless shelters across USA. The cars drive by and we seldom even notice her. I wonder which conservative tax cut will trickle down and touch her?
We found a stray kitten a couple of weeks ago. Every morning, when I took my two adopted Labbies out in the morning to do their business; this little kitten would come out of the bushes and meow at me. She wouldn't run from the dogs and would make her way over to me and look up at me with hungry eyes. After a week, I gave in and started to leave some food for her outside. The neighbor had briefly taken her inside and considered adopting her, but had a change of heart and so she was in need of a home.
My cat is a psycho-cat, and if any other cat comes near the house, he will start spraying everything inside, so adopting this stray kitten is out of the question. We called “Pet Rescue by Judy” to see if she would take the kitten. Judy said she had 200 cats that needed a home and we would need to foster the kitten. So we took the kitten to the vet, had her neutered, checked for worms and feline aides and then given her all her shots.
It has been a week now since this stray cat has been in our home and sure enough, our other cat started spraying everything in sight. Stray Kitty has to go. So I made 150 fliers and headed to the mall to see if I could convince somebody to adopt this little kitten. The Oviedo Mall security guard ran me off, so I headed to Target. After 30 minutes of one rejection after rejection, I gave up, went inside, bought and Starbucks Chai-tea and headed home.
I took my flyers and started going door to door, leaving them on the neighbor’s mail boxes or talking to any neighbor that happened to be out. It went something like this, “Hi, we found a stray kitten. Did you happen to lose a kitten? Would you be interested in adopting a kitten? How about a family member? Aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, mom, dad, do you know anybody who might be interested? Thank you anyway. Have a nice day.”
I’m finding it harder to find a home for this kitten than I thought it would be. Has the world has changed or is it just me? It seems to me that we have become a nation of “Let somebody else do it.” There are thousands unwanted animals in shelters that will be killed unless someone adopts them. We know it but we rationalize that someone else will take care of it. Besides, who has the time to care? Hungry children need food? Somebody else will take care of it, someone who has more money than I do. They’ll do it.
The big events like Katrina brings out the benevolence in a lot of people, but the in-between times there are so many needs that go unmet. I wonder if it has always been this way of if we have somehow become less responsive to the needs of others in my lifetime. We know things happen but seem that shouldn’t happen but seem less willing to do anything about it. Torture, yeah, it’s not good, but nothing I can do about it. Someone else will take care of it. The Baby Boomers use to care, we stopped a war, the Vietnam War. We use to demonstrate and stand up for what we believed in… now we care more about standing in line at Wal-Mart to get a $400 laptop computer and will knock people over if they get in our way. A stray kitten, who has time to care about that?
Blogging has been somewhat liberating for me. I have found that putting myself out there in the public arena to be an empowering experience. I've become much more vocal about things that matter to me and more confident about sharing those views with others. It has been a fun experience, even if only a few people are reading my blog! Thank you if you are one of my local neighbors visiting my blog.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
I went to see the Wal-Mart movie. I was very moved by the movie, but had reservations.
Unfortunately, all of our best efforts to try to reform Wal-Mart and make it a better corporate citizen will amount to nothing more than a gnat fly bothering a dragon. Wal-Mart is largest multinational corporation in the world. Boycotts alone will do little. I like to compare Wal-Mart to the dragon, Smaug, in JRR Tolkien's, “The Hobbit.” The army’s arrows bounced off of his shield like rubber toys. The only way they were able to defeat this dragon is they found a weakness in his amour. That is what we need to do with the dragon, Wal-Mart. Find a weakness and exploit it!
Wal-Mart does have a weakness; it’s called a share-holder.
Wal-Mart’s practices are designed to please the share-holders. If we could get 200,000 people to buy one share of stock, we could introduce share-holder’s resolutions that they company would have to vote on. We would be allowed to attend share-holder’s annual meetings, protest practices etc. The first thing we could do it get rid of their CEO, Lee Scott.
Next we would introduce a resolution for affordable health care.
Then we could address the living wage issue etc.
Share-holder resolutions are non-binding and are usually defeated, but the publicity they generate can piece the heart of even the fiercest global multinational.
Wal-Mart has billions of dollars to fight our efforts. They can hire the best of the best in the PR world to spin their critics into oblivion. They however can not do the same if the critics are share-holders.
The next step after that would be to go after the Mutual Funds who are the real power brokers in the world of finance. Find out which companies voted against the resolutions. Find out which pension funds invest in that company and make the membership aware of how that Mutual Fund Company is voting. Now that would cause a real stir!
So my suggestion would be to add to your campaign: “Buy one share of Wal-Mart Stock and become a share-holder.
That would really make headlines!!
Saturday, November 12, 2005
First, I read the book, “The End of Faith”, by Sam Harris. I first learned about this book in the magazine, “The Nation.” He basically says in his book that extreme Islamic fundamentalism, if it is allowed to continue to become the norm, will spell disaster for the west. Their religion, in its extreme form has one objective; kill, destroy, and wipe the evil doers off the face of the earth, period. We are the bad guys; their mission is to annihilate us. We are corrupt; there is not hope, no compromise, and no tolerance. That is what the radicals believe and what the moderates condone with their silence. Perhaps Jordan’s protest over their extremism is a sign of hope. But if this form of religion goes unchecked, a black market that sells every weapon imaginable from the old Soviet stockpile, will leak into the hands of these extreme religious fanatics who will find a way to use these weapons against us. Like it or not, that is the truth. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself how easy it is for you to buy a dirty bomb. With a little technical know-how and some seedy friends, I guarantee you can have your own dirty bomb in less that a year. Why doesn’t 60 Minutes do a story on that?
The second reason that I disagree with Cusack: What if this war is really about oil? What if our real motive for going to war was to create a free market where capitalist can thrive and the Middle East becomes more like Turkey and Jordan?
I believe this war is really about Natural Resources, i.e., oil. The world needs the Middle East’s oil. And that, I believe is the bottom line. Corrupt? Perhaps, but who is ready to go live off the NET and not consume the electricity? Who is ready to live without the good and services that the Oil Cartel provides?
I believe that until we examine the real reasons we went to war the Democrats are going to continue to lose in this debate about the Iraq war. What the Democrats need to be saying is the truth, “We went to war with Iraq because we need a market that is consumer friendly; one that and will keep producing and providing the commodity we all need, oil.” Until that changes, nothing will change. We can dance around the issue, rant about the horrible politicians in Washington, but we are all a part of the story. The only plan the Democrats can propose to get us permanently out of the Middle East is to propose a “Manhattan Project” that will deliver an alternative energy source for the world. That is the only way we can permantley withdraw our troops/our presence from the Middle East.
So I think John is well meaning in his rant about the Democrats being spineless, they probably are, because they will never stand up to the Oil Cartel. The Oil Cartel has the politicians in their back pockets. Oil is the oxygen of the economy. Who will fight that? That’s why we all lose this argument…
Thursday, November 10, 2005
These guys have to be the big guns in the environmental movement.
The National OCS Coalition: quote by Richard Charter
US PIRG: quote Athan Manuel
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
The House Agriculture Committee approved budget cuts Friday that would take food stamps away from an estimated 300,000 people and could cut off school lunches and breakfast for 40,000. (Whole article will be posted in the comment section)
So I say, "Hey that should be blogged" and set off to find an electronic copy to post on this blog. And 30 minutes later, I'm still hunting on the Internet for this article. There wasn't an electronic copy in the Orlando Sentinel. A search on Google News comes up empty. And I'm thinking, isn't the fact that they are taking food stamps away from the poor news worthy?
This week we learned that Wal-Mart is going to try to cut costs by hiring only healthy people. So that means all of the fat poor people can forget about going to work at minimum wage at Wal-Mart. The media says Americans are overweight so now I guess we can say, “Well those poor people need to lose weight anyway. Cutting food stamps and letting then starve a little bit will be good for them..." So we are going to spend money to build a bridge to some remote island in Alaska to residents who don't really want it, but the politician does because the bridge will be named after him. (It is enough money to by Learjet’s for every resident on the island.) At the same time, we are going to cut food stamps to the poor, many who are elderly. We also are going to try to leave No Child Behind but let them sit in class with empty stomachs.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I'm supposed to believe that this man had nothing to do with outing of Valerie Palme? Truthout reported on Rove and Libby's involvement in this outing two years ago. CRAZY RADICALS was the general response. Now two years later, we are seeing these CRAZY RADICALS may have been onto something.
Can someone please tell my why is Bob Novak not being indicted?
And even if he did, Valerie Plame wasn't a spy.
And even if she was, she wasn't undercover.
And even if she was, Wilson told everyone
And even if he didn't, everyone knew who she was anyway.
And even if they didn't, she had not done anything secret on the last 5 years.
And even if she did, outing her wasn't a crime
And even if it was, outing her did not ruin a 20 year CIA operation and
their front company Brewster & Jennings
And even if it did, outing her did not endanger her and her family
And even if it did, outing her did not endanger other CIA agents who worked for her
And even if it did, they deserved it because her CIA group was out to get Bush
And even if they weren't, Wilson lied.
And even if he didn't, it was trap concocted by Wilson's buddy Clinton and his wife Hillary to get at Bush
And even if it wasn't, Wilson was a partisan Democrat.
And even if he wasn't, his report wasn't important to anyone outside the Wilson household.
And even if it was, it was full of mistakes and grammar errors.
And even if it wasn't, everyone leaks intel like that in Congress.
And even if they don't, David Corn outed her first
And even if he didn't Novak never said her name And even if he did he was
never warned by the CIA not to do it
And even if he was Rove never said her name And even if he did there is no proof
And even if there's proof, Rove only was only trying to prevent a mistake
And even if there was no mistake to prevent, Rove heard it from another reporter
And even if he didn't, he didn't know it was his job to prevent the leak
And even if he did, it's not like he signed a document saying he would never do it
And even if he did, it's not like Rove's boss promised to fire anyone involved
And even if he did, it's not like Bush signed a document saying he had to take corrective action
And even if he did, there is no proof someone from the WH blabbed
And even if there is proof, Judy Miller is not going to talk
And even if Judy talks, she was never working on a story about Wilson
And even if she was, there are no notes and the NYT denies it
And even if there are notes, Rove never mentioned any of this to anyone in the WH
And even if he did, no one will ever find the e-mail
And even if they find it, Rove had just forgotten about it
And even if he didn't forget, he lied to Bush and GW is innocent
And even if he isn't Democrats and Clinton are 'out to get Rove and Bush with lies and innuendo
And even if they are telling the truth...
Hey lookover there: See Miers?
Letter from Al Qaeda?
Subway terror Alert?
Valerie who? This is old news...
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Seriously, Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you anymore. There's no more money to spend. You used up all of that. You can't start another war because you also used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people.
Listen to your mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit card's maxed out, and no one is speaking to you: mission accomplished! Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service. And the oil company. And the baseball team, it's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or spaceman?!
Now, I know what you're saying. You're saying that there's so many other things that you, as president, could involve yourself in.
I know, I know, there's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela, and eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote. But, sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man.
Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising water and snakes.
On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky!
I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you, and what he's saying is, "Take a hint."
Friday, September 16, 2005
I can not believe that people are hailing Bush for his speech where he said he was “taking full responsibility for the Federal Government’s poor response!” His media handlers realized that saying, “ no one could have predicted,” wouldn’t cut it so they reworded his response to say, “ no one could have controlled this event." Wrong President Bush, we could have controlled this. We could have spent money to fix the levee, instead of tax cuts for the wealthy. We could have spent money on a real evacuation plan instead of spending billions on infrastructure in other countries.
I heard one person say that Bush’s speech was a “defining moment” in his presidency and that it was up there with Franklin D. Roosevelt. (!!!) We are a nation of idiots if we believe on word Bush says. Bush is a hypocrite! He is the master of “bait and switch.” He has done this so many times. He will say one thing and do the exact opposite.
--The clean sky initiative/roll back pollution laws
-- Boys Club is doing a great job/cut funds
--Healthy Forests/open to logging
So some Republicans are upset about his proposal for the Federal Government to aide in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Don’t worry; he is just doing what he does best, say one thing and do the exact opposite.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Monday, September 12, 2005
In the Cato’s Handbook to Congress, they spell out which “costly agencies” the Congress should cut. Among their suggested list are:
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Department of Agriculture
Department of the Interior
Department of Transportation
Department of Veterans Affairs
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
U.S. Information Agency
Tennessee Valley Authority
Small Business Administration
Corporation for National and Community Service
Legal Services Corporation
Appalachian Regional Commission
We are already starting to hear the talking points for this disaster. The Right-Wing spin has already begun. The bureaucracies failed. Private business and citizens responded better than the government. The government has large budget and are not only negligence, but the are also arrogant.
You just wait, they will use this disaster to spin the argument of accountability in the direction of the Cato Institute’s doctrine, "
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Here is an address from Chevron asking for input on energy issues.
Here's a suggestion: Rebuild New Orleans as example in renewable energy sources, hurricane friendly designed buildings, and sustainable economic growth.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
"The Wall Street Journal reported that Representative Richard Baker of Baton Rouge was overheard telling lobbyists:"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."
And your "god" did all of this just to clean up the public housing in New Orleans?
And this is the "loving god" you serve?
Friday, September 09, 2005
George W. Bush Still Rocks! Stop criticizing! The rich man's CEO president is executing his job requirements perfectly
Everyone is slamming poor Dubya. Everyone is saying, oh my God, he's more inept than we ever imagined, he has no idea what's really going on, he's oblivious and in denial and he pretty much let all those poor black people die in filth and misery, and he basically ignored the massive Katrina disaster for days before finally being pressured into cutting his umpteenth vacation short and actually taking action.
This is what they're saying. Kanye West was right, Bush doesn't care about black people, or the poor, or anything that doesn't directly serve his handlers' agenda or flatter his monochromatic ego or anything that isn't spelled out for him in nice simplistic pie charts and reassuring matronly tones.
And lo, the darts are slinging in from around the world, according to SF Gate's own World Views column: "Maddening incompetence ... reminiscent of a drought-stricken African state," says Britain's Daily Mail. "Can't get it together," says a major paper in Italy. "A plethora of grim tales of disaster," says the Scotsman. "Superpower or Third World?" asks the Spanish daily Noticias de Álava. Why did BushCo fail its first great national-security test since Sept. 11, despite having two days' advance notice of Katrina's wrath? asks Le Monde. And on it goes, the world's powers looking on in one part shock and one part disgust and all parts repugnance for Bush's rampant ineptitude and America's apparent inability to take care of its own.
But it's so unfair, isn't it, to attack poor Dubya like this? Just a little misplaced? After all, Bush has always been the rich white man's president. He is the CEO president, the megacorporate businessman's friend, the thug of the religious right, a big reservoir-tipped condom for all energy magnates, protecting against the nasty STDs of humanitarianism and progress and social responsibility.
He has always been merely an entirely selective figurehead, out of touch and eternally dumbfounded, a hand puppet of the neoconservative machine built and fluffed up and carefully placed for the very specific job of protecting their interests, no matter what. Repeat: No. Matter. What. Flood hurricane disaster war social breakdown economic collapse? Doesn't matter. Corporate interests über alles, baby. Protect the core, reassure the base, screw everyone else unless it begins to affect the poll numbers and then finger-point, deflect, prevaricate. All of a piece, really. Because Bush, he was never actually meant to, you know, lead.
So maybe it's time to stop with the savaging of poor Dubya. He is, after all, doing a simply beautiful job of kowtowing to his wealthiest supporters while slamming the poor and running the nation into a deep hole and creating the largest deficit in American history, all while his cronies in oil and industry and military supply and Big Energy gain immense and staggering wealth and pay less and less tax on it. This is what he was hired to do. This is why he is in office. Hell, the day after Katrina, Bush flew right by Louisiana and headed straight to San Diego to party with his Greatest Generation cronies. Reassure the masters, first and foremost, eh Shrub? Understood.
Is this not what we all expected? Can you reasonably say you thought it would be different? Just look. All major social services are being gutted. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is a joke, second in line only to the ungodly useless Homeland Security Department, which has become about as reassuring and trustworthy and humane an organization as a prison in Guantánamo.
The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans just last year. The White House hacked that down to about $40 million, even as it passed the most bloated and nauseatingly pork-filled $12.3 billion energy bill in recent history, one that guaranteed we'd be sucking at the tit of foreign oil and kneeling before Bush's pals in Big Energy for decades to come, even as more and more teenagers die in Iraq for Bush's inept and failed war. Yay politics.
Why didn't National Guardsmen from Louisiana and Mississippi march into New Orleans immediately after Katrina exited to take charge and keep the peace? Why, because most of them are serving in that same violent and brutally costly war in Iraq, silly. Fully 30 percent of the guard is stuck over there, along with 50 percent of their equipment. Yay Vietnam 2.0.
Why did FEMA chief Michael Brown wait hours after Katrina struck to timidly plead with his parent company, Homeland Security, for some backup, not to actually get their hands dirty but rather to help "convey a positive image" about the government's response to the victims? Why, because he's an incompetent lackey Bush appointee who was fired from his former job as head of something called the International Arabian Horse Association. Yay pathetic nepotism.
Just look. Senate majority leader Sen. Bill Frist, icon of hollow self-righteousness and the energy magnate's friend, has already leveraged the Katrina nightmare to argue for more drilling in Alaska, much in the way BushCo whored Sept. 11 to cram the Patriot Act down the nation's throat and make fear and xenophobia a national pastime. And let's not forget trusty profit-sucking sidekick Halliburton, which has already scored a sweet deal to help repair Katrina damage, thanks to the fact that the former director of FEMA is now a Halliburton lobbyist. Ah, war and death and tragedy. They are just so goddamn profitable, right, Dubya?
And then, the kicker. Then you read that Bush has actually ordered an official probe into the botched Katrina relief efforts, a formal federal investigation into what went wrong, which is a bit like a shark ordering an investigation into what happened to all the fish. Unless this probe starts and ends in the White House, unless it hangs Bush himself up by his monkey ears and dangles him over a river of toxic Louisiana sewage, it's merely useless and insulting and more than a little sad.
Here, then, is the new American motto, as reimagined by BushCo: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, and we'll let them die in a filthy and decrepit storm-ravaged American football stadium while our president languishes on vacation and ponders his oil futures and fondly remembers his good ol' days of getting drunk at Mardi Gras before going AWOL from the military. God bless America.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Here's a great article by none other than Thomas Friedman on the conservative agenda and the consequences of it on our country.
Published in September 7 New York Times
September 7, 2005
Osama and Katrina
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
On the day after 9/11, I was in Jerusalem and was interviewed by Israeli TV. The reporter asked me, "Do you think the Bush administration is up to responding to this attack?" As best I can recall, I answered: "Absolutely. One thing I can assure you about these guys is that they know how to pull the trigger."
It was just a gut reaction that George Bush and Dick Cheney were the right guys to deal with Osama. I was not alone in that feeling, and as a result, Mr. Bush got a mandate, almost a blank check, to rule from 9/11 that he never really earned at the polls. Unfortunately, he used that mandate not simply to confront the terrorists but to take a radically uncompassionate conservative agenda - on taxes, stem cells, the environment and foreign treaties - that was going nowhere before 9/11, and drive it into a post-9/11 world. In that sense, 9/11 distorted our politics and society.
Well, if 9/11 is one bookend of the Bush administration, Katrina may be the other. If 9/11 put the wind at President Bush's back, Katrina's put the wind in his face. If the Bush-Cheney team seemed to be the right guys to deal with Osama, they seem exactly the wrong guys to deal with Katrina - and all the rot and misplaced priorities it's exposed here at home.
These are people so much better at inflicting pain than feeling it, so much better at taking things apart than putting them together, so much better at defending "intelligent design" as a theology than practicing it as a policy.
For instance, it's unavoidably obvious that we need a real policy of energy conservation. But President Bush can barely choke out the word "conservation." And can you imagine Mr. Cheney, who has already denounced conservation as a "personal virtue" irrelevant to national policy, now leading such a campaign or confronting oil companies for price gouging?
And then there are the president's standard lines: "It's not the government's money; it's your money," and, "One of the last things that we need to do to this economy is to take money out of your pocket and fuel government." Maybe Mr. Bush will now also tell us: "It's not the government's hurricane - it's your hurricane."
An administration whose tax policy has been dominated by the toweringly selfish Grover Norquist - who has been quoted as saying: "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub" - doesn't have the instincts for this moment. Mr. Norquist is the only person about whom I would say this: I hope he owns property around the New Orleans levee that was never properly finished because of a lack of tax dollars. I hope his basement got flooded. And I hope that he was busy drowning government in his bathtub when the levee broke and that he had to wait for a U.S. Army helicopter to get out of town.
The Bush team has engaged in a tax giveaway since 9/11 that has had one underlying assumption: There will never be another rainy day. Just spend money. You knew that sooner or later there would be a rainy day, but Karl Rove has assumed it wouldn't happen on Mr. Bush's watch - that someone else would have to clean it up. Well, it did happen on his watch.
Besides ripping away the roofs of New Orleans, Katrina ripped away the argument that we can cut taxes, properly educate our kids, compete with India and China, succeed in Iraq, keep improving the U.S. infrastructure, and take care of a catastrophic emergency - without putting ourselves totally into the debt of Beijing.
So many of the things the Bush team has ignored or distorted under the guise of fighting Osama were exposed by Katrina: its refusal to impose a gasoline tax after 9/11, which would have begun to shift our economy much sooner to more fuel-efficient cars, helped raise money for a rainy day and eased our dependence on the world's worst regimes for energy; its refusal to develop some form of national health care to cover the 40 million uninsured; and its insistence on cutting more taxes, even when that has contributed to incomplete levees and too small an Army to deal with Katrina, Osama and Saddam at the same time.
As my Democratic entrepreneur friend Joel Hyatt once remarked, the Bush Team's philosophy since 9/11 has been: "We're at war. Let's party."
Well, the party is over. If Mr. Bush learns the lessons of Katrina, he has a chance to replace his 9/11 mandate with something new and relevant. If that happens, Katrina will have destroyed New Orleans, but helped to restore America. If Mr. Bush goes back to his politics as usual, he'll be thwarted at every turn. Katrina will have destroyed a city and a presidency.Yellow Dog's Comments: Best op-ed piece yet on Katrina!
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Comments By Martie
Monday, September 05, 2005
By Molly Ivins
Published 2:15 am PDT Thursday, September 1, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas -- Like many of you who love New Orleans, I find myself taking short mental walks there today, turning a familiar corner, glimpsing a favorite scene, square or vista. And worrying about the beloved friends and the city, and how they are now.
To use a fine Southern word, it's tacky to start playing the blame game before the dead are even counted. It is not too soon, however, to make a point that needs to be hammered home again and again, and that is that government policies have real consequences in people's lives.
This is not "just politics" or blaming for political advantage. This is about the real consequences of what governments do and do not do about their responsibilities. And about who winds up paying the price for those policies.
This is a column for everyone in the path of Hurricane Katrina who ever said, "I'm sorry, I'm just not interested in politics," or, "There's nothing I can do about it," or, "Eh, they're all crooks anyway."
Nothing to do with me, nothing to do with my life, nothing I can do about any of it. Look around you this morning. I suppose the NRA would argue, "Government policies don't kill people, hurricanes kill people." Actually, hurricanes plus government policies kill people.
One of the main reasons New Orleans is so vulnerable to hurricanes is the gradual disappearance of the wetlands on the Gulf Coast that once stood as a natural buffer between the city and storms coming in from the water. The disappearance of those wetlands does not have the name of a political party or a particular administration attached to it. No one wants to play, "The Democrats did it," or, "It's all Reagan's fault." Many environmentalists will tell you more than a century's interference with the natural flow of the Mississippi is the root cause of the problem, cutting off the movement of alluvial soil to the river's great delta.
But in addition to long-range consequences of long-term policies like letting the Corps of Engineers try to build a better river than God, there are real short-term consequences, as well. It is a fact that the Clinton administration set some tough policies on wetlands, and it is a fact that the Bush administration repealed those policies -- ordering federal agencies to stop protecting as many as 20 million acres of wetlands.
Last year, four environmental groups cooperated on a joint report showing the Bush administration's policies had allowed developers to drain thousands of acres of wetlands.
Does this mean we should blame Bush for the fact that New Orleans is underwater? No, but it means we can blame Bush when a Class 3 or Class 2 hurricane puts New Orleans under. At this point, it is a matter of making a bad situation worse, of failing to observe the First Rule of Holes (when you're in one, stop digging).
Had a storm the size of Katrina just had the grace to hold off for a while, it's quite likely no one would even remember what the Bush administration did two months ago. The national press corps has the attention span of a gnat, and trying to get anyone in Washington to remember longer than a year ago is like asking them what happened in Iznik, Turkey, in A.D. 325.
Just plain political bad luck that, in June, Bush took his little ax and chopped $71.2 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps of Engineers, a 44 percent reduction. As was reported in New Orleans CityBusiness at the time, that meant "major hurricane and flood projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now."
The commander of the Corps' New Orleans district also immediately instituted a hiring freeze and cancelled the annual Corps picnic.
Our friends at the Center for American Progress note the Office of Technology Assessment used to produce forward-thinking plans such as "Floods: A National Policy Concern" and "A Framework for Flood Hazards Management." Unfortunately, the office was targeted by Newt Gingrich and the Republican right, and gutted years ago.
In fact, there is now a government-wide movement away from basing policy on science, expertise and professionalism, and in favor of choices based on ideology. If you're wondering what the ideological position on flood management might be, look at the pictures of New Orleans -- it seems to consist of gutting the programs that do anything.
Unfortunately, the war in Iraq is directly related to the devastation left by the hurricane. About 35 percent of Louisiana's National Guard is now serving in Iraq, where four out of every 10 soldiers are guardsmen. Recruiting for the Guard is also down significantly because people are afraid of being sent to Iraq if they join, leaving the Guard even more short-handed.
The Louisiana National Guard also notes that dozens of its high-water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators have also been sent abroad. (I hate to be picky, but why do they need high-water vehicles in Iraq?)
This, in turn, goes back to the original policy decision to go into Iraq without enough soldiers and the subsequent failure to admit that mistake and to rectify it by instituting a draft.
The levees of New Orleans, two of which are now broken and flooding the city, were also victims of Iraq war spending. Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, said on June 8, 2004, "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq."
This, friends, is why we need to pay attention to government policies, not political personalities, and to know whereon we vote. It is about our lives
Just for fun, I'm going to keep track of the words used to describe Bush in the next few weeks as this tragedy continues to unfold.
The Washington Post:
"Local officials, some in tears, have angrily accused the administration of callousness and negligence. It seemed clear that the White House had no on-the-ground network within the African American community that could have alerted the president to the deepening crisis in a more timely way."
New York Times:
"Like a boy being prepped for a second crack at a failed exam, Mr. Bush has been meeting with his handlers to see what steps can be taken to minimize the political fallout from this latest demonstration of his ineptitude. But this is not about politics. It's about competence. And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble. "
New York Times:
"White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides."
The Herald Tribune:
Democrats accused him of a sluggish response to the catastrophic flood...
The Guardian Unlimited:
Ray Nagin, the mayor of New Orleans, broke down in tears on Thursday during an interview on local radio, saying that federal officials "don't have a clue what's going on..."
"I'm outraged by the lack of response ..."
"I'm ashamed of our government"...
Bush postures while hurricane death toll skyrockets
President Bush was criticized for verbally "pandering" to public opinion, while little is done about the tragedy...
"The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better."
...we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity..
More will be added...
September 5, 2005
Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.
What caused that paralysis? President Bush certainly failed his test. After 9/11, all the country really needed from him was a speech. This time it needed action - and he didn't deliver.
. . .
For one thing, the undermining of FEMA began as soon as President Bush took office. Instead of choosing a professional with expertise in responses to disaster to head the agency, Mr. Bush appointed Joseph Allbaugh, a close political confidant. Mr. Allbaugh quickly began trying to scale back some of FEMA's preparedness programs.
You might have expected the administration to reconsider its hostility to emergency preparedness after 9/11 - after all, emergency management is as important in the aftermath of a terrorist attack as it is following a natural disaster. As many people have noticed, the failed response to Katrina shows that we are less ready to cope with a terrorist attack today than we were four years ago.
But the downgrading of FEMA continued, with the appointment of Michael Brown as Mr. Allbaugh's successor.
Mr. Brown had no obvious qualifications, other than having been Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate. But Mr. Brown was made deputy director of FEMA; The Boston Herald reports that he was forced out of his previous job, overseeing horse shows. And when Mr. Allbaugh left, Mr. Brown became the agency's director. The raw cronyism of that appointment showed the contempt the administration felt for the agency; one can only imagine the effects on staff morale.
That contempt, as I've said, reflects a general hostility to the role of government as a force for good. And Americans living along the Gulf Coast have now reaped the consequences of that hostility.
. . .
New York Times
September 5, 2005
By BOB HERBERT
"Bush to New Orleans: Drop Dead"
Neither the death of the chief justice nor the frantic efforts of panicked White House political advisers can conceal the magnitude of the president's failure of leadership last week. The catastrophe in New Orleans billowed up like the howling winds of hell and was carried live and in color on television screens across the U.S. and around the world.
The Big Easy had turned into the Big Hurt, and the colossal failure of George W. Bush to intervene powerfully and immediately to rescue tens of thousands of American citizens who were suffering horribly and dying in agony was there for all the world to see.
Hospitals with deathly ill patients were left without power, with ventilators that didn't work, with floodwaters rising on the lower floors and with corpses rotting in the corridors and stairwells. People unable to breathe on their own, or with cancer or heart disease or kidney failure, slipped into comas and sank into their final sleep in front of helpless doctors and relatives. These were Americans in desperate trouble.
The president didn't seem to notice.
Death and the stink of decay were all over the city. Corpses were propped up in wheelchairs and on lawn furniture, or left to decompose on sunbaked sidewalks. Some floated by in water fouled by human feces.
Degenerates roamed the city, shooting at rescue workers, beating and robbing distraught residents and tourists, raping women and girls. The president of the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world didn't seem to notice.
Viewers could watch diabetics go into insulin shock on national television, and you could see babies with the pale, vacant look of hunger that we're more used to seeing in dispatches from the third world. You could see their mothers, dirty and hungry themselves, weeping.
Old, critically ill people were left to soil themselves and in some cases die like stray animals on the floor of an airport triage center. For days the president of the United States didn't seem to notice.
After days of withering criticism from white and black Americans, from conservatives as well as liberals, from Republicans and Democrats, the president finally felt compelled to act, however feebly. (The chorus of criticism from nearly all quarters demanding that the president do something tells me that the nation as a whole is so much better than this administration.)
Mr. Bush flew south on Friday and proved (as if more proof were needed) that he didn't get it. Instead of urgently focusing on the people who were stranded, hungry, sick and dying, he engaged in small talk, reminiscing at one point about the days when he used to party in New Orleans, and mentioning that Trent Lott had lost one of his houses but that it would be replaced with "a fantastic house - and I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."
Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever by a president during a dire national emergency. What we witnessed, as clearly as the overwhelming agony of the city of New Orleans, was the dangerous incompetence and the staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration.
And it is this incompetence and indifference to suffering (yes, the carnage continues to mount in Iraq) that makes it so hard to be optimistic about the prospects for the United States over the next few years. At a time when effective, innovative leadership is desperately needed to cope with matters of war and peace, terrorism and domestic security, the economic imperatives of globalization and the rising competition for oil, the United States is being led by a man who seems oblivious to the reality of his awesome responsibilities.
Like a boy being prepped for a second crack at a failed exam, Mr. Bush has been meeting with his handlers to see what steps can be taken to minimize the political fallout from this latest demonstration of his ineptitude. But this is not about politics. It's about competence. And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble.
Comments By Martie
In an Associated Press article by Jennifer Loven, I quote: "The Bush administration kept its Hurricane Katrina response and public-relations campaign in overdrive Sunday, even as first confirmation came from Washington of a dreaded statistic: that the storm probably killed thousands of people.
Economy Up People Down
Family Budget reveal Hardships
The Truth and Consequences of Offshoring
OK, you can say, it’s not President Bush’s fault.
When George Bush took office, the federal government had a 10 year projected surplus of $5.6 trillion. Now the Public Debt—
As of September 5, 2005 is $7,948,923,361,663.45
This is a bill of $26,000 per citizen.
The debt goes up by $1.68 billion dollars a day. Who do you think will pay this? Tax cuts are for the wealthiest, not the low and middle class!!
Bush is pushing to resend the estate tax which the Republicans have cleverly termed, THE DEATH TAX
Who do you think that will benefit? How many of those people that are impacted by this storm and who are in the lower socio-economic categories are worried about paying estate taxes? How many of those people that are in the lower socio-economic groups are people of color Bush not insensitive to race/class? Condi, what planet do you live on?
Sunday, September 04, 2005
I am appalled at what I saw on “Meet the Press" today. Tim Russert interviewed the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff today, September 4, 2005.
Washington was warmed about the seriousness of the levee system in New Orleans. In 2001 the New Orleans Picayune ran a five day special series describing and predicting almost verbatim the situation that was pending that has now come to pass. The information was confirmed by group after group in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and even as recent as three months ago, the alarms were sounding again. And what did our government do? They talked, and debated and spent lots of money studying the situation. Despite the wide spread warnings, each time the alarm bells were sounded, our government brushed them aside and did little more than talk about it.
And the talk ain't cheap either. We've spent billions of dollars talking about Homeland Security. FEMA, thanks to Bush, is now a part of Homeland Security. Where did the money go? Was it easier to role the dice and bet against the chances of it happening and concentrate instead on short term political gains by waging war on homosexuals and unwed mothers who choose to have abortions? Is that what they were paid to do? Were we wrong to assume they could deal with infrastructure issues and preplanning for natural disasters?
"We didn't have the political will"... “As a nation, we typically have a short attention span"... these are the comments that I've have heard said in the news over the last few days. I'm sure there's plenty of blame to go around. But my biggest fear is that nothing will change. Another problem will be identified and we will talk about it but nothing will be done.
I've already found plenty of Republicans who want to blame the looters and defend the administration's handling of the situation. I don't care if an administration is Republican or Democratic, don't we have a right to expect our government to do a better job? Don’t we have a right to expect results instead of just talk?
I am sick at my stomach over this. I can not believe what I’m seeing on the television. I am so appalled at the political spin of the Bush administration and his cronies. If the terrorists blew up one of our cities, I'll bet you would hear the same excuses, "no one could have known, and aren't we doing a great job."
Yeah, well, there are a lot of things we can't know in advance. We are supposed to have enough intelligence and thoughtfulness thugh to anticipate and prepare for those events and circumstances. PLEASE DON'T GIVE ME THE EXCUSE, NO ONE COULD HAVE KNOWN... This situation reeks with so much incompetence, that it's just so hard to fathom.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Maybe we need to start a new "The Left Behind Series" for the non-religious. We can call it “The Left Behind in New Orleans.” I guess the Religious Right's “Man in the White House’s” economic policies and Home Land Security preplanning that has cost billions and billions of dollars, indivertibly left a few people behind.
Don’t you think?
Excerpts from "United States of Shame" by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, Saturday, September 3, 2005:
... Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.
Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs.
Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.
Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl. ...
Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.
Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." ...