Monday, December 26, 2005

GOP To New Orleans: Drop Dead

In today's Washington Post, in a story on the future of New Orleans, the GOP's decision to let the city die was on display, though you had to look for it.

It came in the form of the following:

"'I think the country has moved beyond Katrina at this point,' said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), former House GOP campaign head and now chairman of the House investigation of the response."

And that is really all you need to know.

The article indicated that while polls show a clear majority of Democrats and Independents think it more important to rebuild New Orleans before rebuilding Iraq, self-identified Republicans want Iraq to come first by a 46 to 37 percent majority.

These are the people that allegedly have the nation's moral values? You have to be joking.

Elsewhere in the article comes this:

"Republicans look at New Orleans and see Galveston, Tex., which in 1900 was the state's largest city and the Gulf's largest port before 8,000 residents were killed by a hurricane, Brinkley said . That city was supplanted by Houston, and Brinkley believes Republicans consider it less costly to remake New Orleans as a smaller city based on tourism and its port. It could be surpassed by Baton Rouge, which is nearer Houston's petrochemical industry, set on the Mississippi River and easier to protect from future storms, Brinkley said.

"Democrats see such a move as no less than a GOP takeover, one that would effectively gut Democrat-dominated New Orleans and undermine the party's hold on a governorship and Senate seat south of the Mason-Dixon line."

That is exactly what is at play here. now let's see if the Democrats are going to have the balls to make this an issue in '06.

I am not denying that the Governor and Mayor of New Orleans don't have roles to play. But when one hears how the poor are not being given money to rebuild their homes, while the affluent are, as the New York Times recently reported, what is happening is pretty clear. The Federal Government is essentially telling the city of New Orleans to drop dead.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Bush Comment That Will End His Presidency

It is so unbelievably fitting that George Bush will be done in by his own words.

If one heads over to the official White House website, one will be treated to the following Bush remarks:

"So the first thing I want you to think about is, when you hear Patriot Act, is that we changed the law and the bureaucratic mind-set to allow for the sharing of information. It's vital. And others will describe what that means.

"Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

George Bush made those comments in April of 2004, more than 2 years after he had authorized wiretapping without a court order.

This now becomes more than a debate over the limits of presidential power. These remarks from Bush are now proven to be lies.

If a lie over a blowjob can result in an attempt at impeachment, than this should be a slam dunk.

Let's see how GOP hypocrites handle this one. I suspect that, no matter the outcome, his presidency will be hindered by this for the remainder of whatever term he serves.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Why Dan Froomkin Should Be Required Reading

Dan Froomkin writes a column at called "White House Briefing."

Recently, an article published by the Post ombudsman, Deborah Howell stated, "Political reporters at The Post don't like WPNI columnist Dan Froomkin's "White House Briefing," which is highly opinionated and liberal. They're afraid that some readers think that Froomkin is a Post White House reporter."

In her piece, Howell made clear that WashPo national politics editor John Harris had a major issue with Froomkin. Harris apparently did not want anybody to think that Froomkin was one of the White House reporters and wanted the name of his media-watching column changed from "White House Briefing." According to Harris, a website blogger such as Chris Cillizza, is someone Harris is "happy to have."

Well, if one checks out the daily blog by Cillizza, I think there is pretty clearly a right-wing bias and, when one reads the comments to his political bloggings that complaint has often been uttered.

In Dan Froomkin's column yesterday, he astutely pointed out that no president had ever chosen not to attend the White House Conference on Aging. Froomkin also pointed out the most important piece of information, which was that no major media outlets were covering it either, or referring to Bush not showing up. Instead, Froomkin singled out NPR and regional papers which did cover the story.

What I am wondering is how the hell can outlets such as the Washington Post justify not referring to Bush skipping this conference, in fact not even report on the conference, but devote all their space on the subject to a staged Bush press conference?

How can one not conclude that all this paper, and other news outlets, are looking for is access to the administration? Access which they can only get by promoting the Bush agenda.

The lack of coverage in this particular case is demonstrable proof of the lack of responsibility and accountability by the White House press corps.

And THAT is why we need media-watchers like Dan Froomkin.

Who else are we gonna call on to tell us the truth?

Bob Woodward? John Harris? Chris Cillizza?

Yeah, right.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Pity Of New Orleans

An essential editorial today from The New York Times concerns the willful destruction of the city of New Orleans by the Bush administration.

In their lead editorial, the Times begins:

"We are about to lose New Orleans. Whether it is a conscious plan to let the city rot until no one is willing to move back or honest paralysis over difficult questions, the moment is upon us when a major American city will die, leaving nothing but a few shells for tourists to visit like a museum."

Further on:

"There are many unanswered questions that will take years to work out, but one is make-or-break and needs to be dealt with immediately. It all boils down to the levee system. People will clear garbage, live in tents, work their fingers to the bone to reclaim homes and lives, but not if they don't believe they will be protected by more than patches to the same old system that failed during the deadly storm. Homeowners, businesses and insurance companies all need a commitment before they will stake their futures on the city.

"At this moment the reconstruction is a rudderless ship. There is no effective leadership that we can identify. How many people could even name the president's liaison for the reconstruction effort, Donald Powell? Lawmakers need to understand that for New Orleans the words "pending in Congress" are a death warrant requiring no signature.

"The rumbling from Washington that the proposed cost of better levees is too much has grown louder. Pretending we are going to do the necessary work eventually, while stalling until the next hurricane season is upon us, is dishonest and cowardly. Unless some clear, quick commitments are made, the displaced will have no choice but to sink roots in the alien communities where they landed."

And the Times writes this, keeping in context the President's promises to rebuild the city and noticing the complete lack of follow-up efforts.

To be fair, state and city officials are being skewered for not coming up with an acceptable plan for rebuilding, but this is a momumental effort. It is hard to imagine any city, including New York, being able to rebuild their entire infrastructure (not just a neighborhood) without massive outside help. This is not Sim City 2005.

The importance of the editorial is that the state of American media is so pitiful that once bodies stop being found, the press loses interest. It is probably why George Bush made the promises he made. He knows better than anybody how short a memory can be found in the institutions that are supposed to be informing us.

If anything, the Democrats need to highlight the Bush response to the rebuilding of New Orleans. If the GOP-led Congress and White House continue to stall, America needs to know. And we need to be reminded of how many billions are being spent to "allegedly" rebuild Iraq.

Our priorities at this time are so skewed it feels like we have already gone through the looking glass.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Murtha News Conference: Where Is The Coverage?

What if somebody held a News Conference detailing specific reasons why we need to pull out of Iraq and nobody came?

Well, today it seemes that some people were covering U.S. Representative John Murtha's response to the latest blather from George Bush. CNN and MSNBC went live, but Fox seemed a bit too busy covering some Geraldo Rivera fluff to notice.

And yet, here it is late afternoon of the same day and you can't find the story anywhere in the mainstream media, except maybe the Washington Post. Oh, you might find a brief sentence in the multitude of stories on the latest Bush stump speech, but nothing else. Don't believe me, try a Google news search of Murtha and "news conference" and see the silence for yourself. One only hopes coverage eventually happens. Where is the AP wire story on this? Were they too busy watching Fox to attend?

My question, how the hell can we expect a dialogue on this war that doesn't resort to dumbed-down RNC talking points when the media will not allow those who practice reasoned dissent any voice or outlet?

The movie "Network" is becoming reality in 2005. it's time we all started saying that 'we are mad as Hell and are not gonna take it anymore.'

Monday, December 05, 2005

Limbaugh Louisiana Lies

It's not a big news flash that Rush Limbaugh's rhetoric isn't exactly grounded in truth. However, it is nice when he gets called on it.

After suggesting on his show that recovery in New Orleans is proceeding well and impugning the character of state and city officials while defending George Bush, the General Manager of the New Orleans radio station that carries his program has invited him down to broadcast from the devastated city.

The incident was triggered by a caller, referred to as "Ray from New Orleans," who was obviously put on the show to mark Limbaugh's return to the New Orleans affiliate after 3 months of local, emergency programming.

According to the article:

"Ray set the tone by criticizing President Bush's fabulously framed Jackson Square TV speech to the nation.

"'All lies,' the caller said. 'None of the things that he promised are happening.'

"Countering Ray's contention that New Orleans isn't progressing toward normalcy, Limbaugh then mentioned that he has friends here.

"'And I'm not hearing this from them,' he said. 'I know it's bad but . . . I'm under the impression that the main problem that the local officials have is that they don't have enough Democrats coming back who fled or who were evacuated and they're worried about the next elections.'

"Limbaugh added that he'd heard about lots of good-paying recovery jobs going unfilled.

"'There's no place for people to live,' Ray said.

"'The whole city?' Limbaugh countered. 'There's nowhere to live? The French Quarter?'

"You know, the town sector filled with reasonably priced efficiency accommodations. The kind that a laborer's wage, here in the post-Katrina worker's paradise, could easily afford.

"'They're going to do Mardi Gras for crying out loud,' Limbaugh said.

"Eventually, Limbaugh blamed the failure of the federally designed levees on New Orleanians.

"You know, the ones who waded out of their neighborhoods in neck-deep swill."

The article later reports that "Diane Newman, the WWL operations manager and program director who bumped local talk hosts to return Limbaugh to the New Orleans airwaves, listened to the Wednesday segment twice and concluded that 'there was a disconnect,' she said. 'He did sound uninformed. But he's not here.'

"And so Newman vows to formally invite Limbaugh for a visit.

"'I will do my damnedest to get Rush Limbaugh to broadcast from here, to drive through Lakeview, through Gentilly, drive through Mid-City, drive through New Orleans East, drive through St. Bernard, drive through the 9th Ward,' she said."

But the point is that, in his effort to be the George Bush pit bull on all issues, Limbaugh reveals his utter lack of humanity and compassion. And, once again, Limbaugh demonstrates that the facts do not matter in Rushbo's politics of slam and slander.

And someone is finally taking him to task for it.