Friday, September 30, 2005

Can William Bennett Be That Dense

Yesterday, thanks to a tip from The Ed Schultz Show. Media Matters for America reported that William Bennett had made the following, blatantly racist comment: "But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down."

So how does Mr. Bennett respond to the uproar? By claiming that his remarks were taken out of context and demanding that others apologize to him!

But the problem with Bennett's response is that his remarks were clearly not taken out of context. It was carefully presented to show the larger context of the conversation that inspired his words.

To listen to Bennett, you would think that the charges of racism were over the fact that folks were saying he was recommending genocide. The problem is not that anyone thinks he is advocating the wholesale slaughter of blacks to reduce the crime rate. The issue is that Bennett is saying that the propensity to commit crime is innate to being black.

If that wasn't the case, Bennett could have referred to the results of aborting the 'poor' baby, the 'unwanted' baby, or the 'disadvantaged' baby. But he said the "black" baby.

The comment was indeed racist and Bennett needs to take responsibility for it.

But, maybe it is easy to slime it up, when you have professional mudslingers like Rush Limbaugh to defend you. Limbaugh, on his show, outright lied and said that Media Matters for America did not produce the quote in its context.

The White House, in wording that, for some reason, was being hailed as disapproving in news reports, called Bennett's comments "not appropriate."

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg had a great response for that. Senator Lautenberg said that "Not appropriate is wearing white shoes after Labor Day. These comments were reprehensible and racist."

But, compared to Limbaugh's lame defense, at least it is something that demonstrates that the GOP is not completely living in some alternate dimension.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tom DeLay & The Politics of Sliming

The GOP sure is good at trying to deflect responsibility via the personal attack route, which is why the following story is not very surprising.

Earlier today, House Majority Leader Tom Delay was indicted on a conspiracy charge, which has to do with a violation of Texas law on the misuse of corporate donations.

So, how does the GOP slime machine respond? By accusing prosecutor Ronnie Earle of staging "partisan vendettas."

Media Matters for America has a good post on their website that sets the record straight. They write:

"While Earle is an elected Democrat, as Media Matters for America has previously noted, a June 17 editorial in the Houston Chronicle commended his work: "During his long tenure, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has prosecuted many more Democratic officials than Republicans. The record does not support allegations that Earle is prone to partisan witch hunts." This assertion supports Earle's own claim about his record; a March 6 article in the El Paso Times reported: "Earle says local prosecution is fundamental and points out that 11 of the 15 politicians he has prosecuted over the years were Democrats."

But when did the truth ever matter when the politics of slime is so much more effective?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Religious Groups Using New Orleans For Own Ends

When wolves smell a kill, the urge to devour is not often accompanied by restraint. In that spirit, check out the wolves from the religious right, who see Katrina as an opportunity.

According to an AP article, found on, church groups are pushing the CARE act, which the article states " would provide tax breaks and other incentives to Americans making charitable donations, and is part of a broader campaign to ease restrictions on federal grants for social service providers with a religious mission."

Additionally, it's reported that "Bishop T.D. Jakes, who gave the sermon Friday at the Washington National Cathedral service marking Bush's day of prayer for victims, has told the president that more money should be channeled directly to religious groups responding to the tragedy."

Hey, I suppose we can at least be thankful that Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing, part of the 'ministry' that has made him a multi-millionaire, is no longer the #2 place to donate to on the FEMA website. It had been directly under the listing for the American Red Cross.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

FEMA: The Ultimate Bureaucrats

Despite the fact that Michael Brown has resigned, it seems increasingly apparent that FEMA has no clue how to handle emergency operations. Everything seems awash in bureaucratic red tape.

Among the stories coming out today, it was reported on the nationally syndicated Ed Schultz show that states that were supposed to receive evacuees were told to no longer expect them.

Today, the AP reports that Governor Kathleen Blanco feels the government is "moving too slowly in recovering the bodies. The dead "deserve more respect than they have received," she said.

At issue is FEMA's not signing the contract with the company that was handling body removal.

Once again, insufferable bureaucracy rears its ugly head.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Blackwater Mercenaries

It has not gotten much press, but the hired mercenaries that are now practicing frontier justice in New Orleans are a matter of concern.

In a story on the TruthOut blog, Jeremy Scahill and Daniella Crespo write the following:

"Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Some of the men now patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently as 2 weeks ago.

"What is most disturbing is the claim of several Blackwater mercenaries we spoke with that they are here under contract from the federal and Louisiana state governments.

"Blackwater is one of the leading private "security" firms servicing the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. It has several US government contracts and has provided security for many senior US diplomats, foreign dignitaries and corporations. The company rose to international prominence after 4 of its men were killed in Fallujah and two of their charred bodies were hung from a bridge in March 2004. Those killings sparked the massive US retaliation against the civilian population of Fallujah that resulted in scores of deaths and tens of thousands of refugees.

"As the threat of forced evictions now looms in New Orleans and the city confiscates even legally registered weapons from civilians, the private mercenaries of Blackwater patrol the streets openly wielding M-16s and other assault weapons. This despite Police Commissioner Eddie Compass' claim that "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons.""

This piece is definitely worth a read, for more startling revelations, such as "in an hour-long conversation with several Blackwater mercenaries, we heard a different story. The men we spoke with said they are indeed on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and the Louisiana governor's office and that some of them are sleeping in camps organized by Homeland Security in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. One of them wore a gold Louisiana state law enforcement badge and said he had been "deputized" by the governor. They told us they not only had authority to make arrests but also to use lethal force."

Get the feeling that things are spinning out of control?

And yet, the MSM has ignored this story. Pretty much all that has been printed mirrors the Washington Post coverage of Blackwater, which explains their presence as a matter of the rich hiring Security Guards to do such things as "protecting facilities that house "priceless art pieces" and special landmarks."

Once again, we need to look to blogs to get at the truth that our press seems to be incapable of reporting on.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

AFA Suggests God Destroyed New Orleans

Maybe I should not be so surprised, but in a commentary linked from the main page of the website of the perversely-named American Family Association, there is a strong suggestion that God destroyed New Orleans, and surrounding Mississippi, because of alleged sin.

In his Op-Ed piece, "God and Katrina," Matt Friedeman, a professor at the Wesley Biblical Seminary writes the following:

"This columnist has talked to many serious Christians about the tragedy of Katrina and the devastation it has wrought on Mississippi and Louisiana. The camps of thought seem two: God doesn't do things like this; and, God may well have done it, given the "sin city" nature of New Orleans and the casino-blighted coastline of Mississippi.

"It is most unpalatable, of course, to suggest divine wrath. But biblically there is such a thing, and to assume that such Godly interference with evil will never happen again in our "enlightened" age is folly. New Orleans, for one, was one formidable "sin city." "

So, apparently many 'serious' Christians have decided to judge the city of New Orleans and the neighboring casino-harboring communities of Mississippi as being acceptable targets for God's wrath.

Friedeman, in his self-righteousness, then adds: "Perhaps it is just coincidence, but "Katrina" comes from the Greek which means "purity." New Orleans could use some of that."

This prophet's remedy is simple....when rebuilding, he warns of the calamity that may result if "we should go back to decadence in New Orleans and casinos in Mississippi?

He closes with, "Here's hoping that we are not that deaf. Or, that stupid."

Actually, maybe the man is a little of both.


For my initial post, a bit of prophecy, courtesy of Michael Brown.

From March testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, as reported at WorldNetDaily:

"Our nation is prepared, as never before, to deal quickly and capably with the consequences of disasters and other domestic incidents."

Well, certainly America has dealt with the Katrina aftermath as it never had responded to a national calamity before.

I also assume that the consequences of the PR disaster, for Bush & Co. will be dealt with quickly and capably.

That roar you hear in the distance is the waves of saliva being generated in Karl Rove's mouth as he sets the 'recovery' in motion.