Friday, July 15, 2005

Enjoy your Bush tax cuts, Louisianans. The state will soon need them. 

(T-P)-- The Bush administration said Thursday that Louisiana taxpayers should absorb 50 percent of the cost to restore the state's coast and wetlands.

The administration's views were presented in a detailed statement of its policy on a water resources bill that passed the House on Thursday 406-14.
...
Rather than pay 35 percent of the bill, as the Army Corps of Engineers says is customary for such projects, the Bush administration said the state should pay the 50 percent share that Florida contributed toward restoring the Everglades ecosystem. That would substantially increase Louisiana's share of the restoration efforts, which are projected to cost $2 billion or more.

Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner, said he views the administration statement as offering both good and bad news. He said the good news is that the administration, in its most direct language to date, "recognizes coastal Louisiana is an environmental resource of national significance."
So, it has come to this: Jindal thinks it's "good news" when a president comprehends basic facts and doesn't dispute environmental reality. I'd recommend throwing a party, but we have an extra $2 billion or more to save.

But Jindal said he "strongly disagrees" with the administration proposal to require Louisiana to pay half the costs of restoration efforts when other projects authorized in the water resources bill have significantly lower cost match requirements.
...
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., expressed confidence that the administration's proposed 50 percent match "won't happen."

"The House and Senate have both spoken on this and both favored a much greater federal match," Vitter said. "And it reflects the huge differences with the Everglades situation in terms of what caused the problems.

"Federal policy is directly involved in causing our problems in terms of gas activity and leveeing the (Mississippi) River."

Reps. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, and Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, said the Bush administration hasn't made a case for requiring a 50 percent share.

"It's nonsensical," Jefferson said. "Louisiana coastal waters are home to major production for the energy needs of our country, for the seafood that is consumed by people all over the world and also as an important commercial gateway for the movement of goods."


Why is Bush so consistently wrong for Louisiana? Why can't our Republican delegation make the case for coastal restoration to this administration? They certainly campaigned on the potential "access" they'd have in a Bush White House, versus their Democratic opponents.

Some good it's done.

We need federal money to fix a national environmental security problem that happens to occur in Louisiana. The Bush administration, which requested $100 million to rebuild swamps in Iraq, wants to drag it's feet and pinch pennies as our state physically dissolves into the Gulf.

How do you feel about that?
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My Personal Friday Survey, courtesy of Ian. 

1) What do the streets of the French Quarter smell like to you? Please be as specific as possible.

Ya know, I've been campaigning for an FQ-flavored Scentstory for some time now.

In the early morning, Bourbon smells like the piss of a drunk, syphilitic whore. Royal Street smells like the disturbing memory of piss from a drunk, syphilitic whore. And Tchoup smells like exhaust-- both mule and automotive.

During one of the heavy tourist weeks, you must remember to multiply these olfactory delights with the odor of a thousand teeming crotches and armpits.

2) If New Orleans wasn't in Louisiana, where would it be?


In the most absurd corner of the Mediterranean or Carribean. I would endeavour to find it, though.

3) Why do you suppose Lee Atwater looks like a cross between Michael Dukakis and Crispin Glover?

Because Evil ain't pretty. ('Course, Lee has been dead for a while so he probably looks even worse now.)

4) What inspired you to name yourself after a live thing you swallow? (I wish I'd thought of that!)

This question arises every year or so. Most assume it's because I like to eat oysters. But the real inspiration was Jethro Tull.

5) Floating ants: pro or con?

I hate floating ants more than wire hangers.
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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Swell 

This will develop and unfold over the next news cycle. To what end, I don't know, but I shudder to think of the grotesque details yet to be unmasked.

After reading so much Plamegate-- and now Khaaan(!)-- I'm reminded of a Lunachicks song called "This is Serious". It popped in my head after I read Avarosis' post on Americablog, so I will dump it on you in order to be free of it. Not that any of y'all have seen the Lunachicks, but I will submit to you that they kicked some ass back in the day.

So, imagine your favorite neo-con singing the following (punk rock tempo):

This is serious.
We can make you delirious.
You should have a healthy fear of us,
Too much of us is dangerous

Gonna take it all on a silver platter
Say all you want cuz it just don't matter
Gonna knock your socks off tonite
Don't try and stop us cuz we'll win the fight



Chicks rule, boys drool
(and neocons somehow do both)
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Mein Gott! 

I must hand it to Mehlman on this one, he pleasantly surprised me here.

It was called "the southern strategy," started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue -- on matters such as desegregation and busing -- to appeal to white southern voters.

Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was "wrong."

"By the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out," Mehlman says in his prepared text. "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."


I'm genuinely impressed.
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Your assignment: eat out in New Orleans 

The tenth annual Dining for Life fundraiser is today, and NO/AIDS sure makes it easy to participate. Just eat at one of these restaurants and they'll donate 25% of their proceeds to support HIV prevention education, testing, counseling and health services.

Bon appetit!
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You deserve a well-titled post 

As you know, I'm a fan of great titles. (In fact, here at YRHT you can pretty much skip everything else, and be no worse for wear.)

Congratulations to Wonkette for outdoing herself, even by her lofty standards.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Judy is a runt 

In case you didn't dislike Judith "Proved F-ckin' Right" Miller enough already, I came by this tremendous post from Grand Moff Texan, detailing how she cut her teeth as a full-scale propagandist in the 1980's. If you go on to read the excellent collection of links (and links' links) from the post, you'll find some damn disturbing details about her multitudinous "special relationships" with "sources" like none other than


Sexy Beast


The thought of Judy and Lee... urm... together... is...*vurp*... in my mind, and... it won't get out!! Oh, gawd, can you imagine if those two had bred!?! I swear, we'd have a Republican Chucky on the loose!!

And then the afterwards when she's writing a story on her back and he's pumping up the Stevie Ray... oh kill me now!

...
I'm really very sorry to everyone for that hideous interlude. Just budget some time and go read Moff's post.

---
OK, to be fair and balanced about the various liasons:


Et tu, Les Aspin?


---
And, for the record, I'm reasonably confident that Prosecutor Fitzgerald has the goods on der Karl. Fitzy took down one mob in Chicago, and now he's on the case in D.C.. The problem for the Right is that he's a fearless adult Republican with integrity. (So sliming him is like sliming Eliot Ness.)

Fitzgerald understands when Mayberry Machiavellians are trying to game him, unlike Judy.

---
Hat tip: Singularity
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Blood-drenched flypaper not so sticky 

These Bush administration quotes found in E.J. Dionne's fine column today really do stupify:

"We're fighting the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan and across the world so we do not have to face them here at home."

That's what President Bush said in his speech yesterday at the FBI Academy in Quantico. After the attacks on Britain, our closest ally in the war on terrorism, it is an astonishing thing to say....

After the London attacks I didn't think Bush could be so senseless as to vomit that bullshit line. But, once again, I apparently misunderestimated him.

E.J. unpacks it a bit, and lays out how misleading and meaningless such arguments are:

What does Bush's statement mean? Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Fran Townsend, the president's homeland security adviser, said that the war in Iraq attracts terrorists "where we have a fighting military and a coalition that can take them on and not have the sort of civilian casualties that you saw in London."

Huh? If British troops fighting in Iraq did not stop the terrorists from striking London, then what is the logic for believing that American troops fighting in Iraq will stop terrorists from striking our country again? Intelligence reports -- and Townsend's own words -- suggest that Iraq has become a terrorist breeding ground since the American invasion. How, exactly, has that made us safer?

It is time for a policy on terrorism that is based on more than ideology and the rote incantations the president has been offering for four years.
...
"America will not retreat in the face of terrorists and murderers," the president declared yesterday. Absolutely. But neither can we retreat behind a haze of rhetoric and ideology that contributes nothing to the fight against terrorism.

Precisely. Repeating empty, soothing slogans regarding terrorist threats insults the intelligence of American citizens and engenders complacency rather than vigilance. It's tantamount to a retreat in this so-called "war" on terror.

Beyond that, Billmon uses Dionne's column to make a massively important point that too often gets lost in all of this 'flypaper' illogic: aren't Iraqi casualties worth considering? Eric at total information awareness eloquently discussed this weeks ago. I'll quote selections from each writer's posts. (Both are well-worth reading in full.)

Whiskey Bar:

This has to set some kind of new low for war hawks peddling their flypaper drivel. What exactly does Ms. Townsend think has been happening to Iraqi civilians over the past two years? Next time she's in Baghdad, she may want to drop by a mortuary. They could clue her in.

But of course, the Iraqis are Arabs -- and thus, as we know from Fox News, not "regular" people, not like those nice Londoners (the Caucasian ones, anyway.) To the point where a senior White House counter-terrorism official feels she can simply write thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths clean out of history, all for the greater glory of upholding the party line.

TIA:

[H]as anyone thought to ask the Iraqi people how they feel about their country becoming the stage upon which we Americans choose to fight our battle with the jihadists?

In the run up to the war, and since the invasion, many on the Right have prefered to characterize the Left as arrogant, elitist and racist based on the charge that the Left doesn't think the Iraqis, or Muslims in general for that matter, are capable of handling "democracy" (why else, after all, would anyone on the Left object to this war?). But many of these same voices feel perfectly comfortable with the notion of turning Iraq into one giant battlefield to test our mettle with the foreign fighters - displaying a glib disregard for the tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of Iraqis who will get caught in the cross fire. How's that for arrogant and elitist? Is it within our right as a nation to designate Country X as an acceptable staging ground for such a conflict - regardless of the enormous toll in human lives such a prolonged engagement will take on the indigenous population? Does this willingness somehow display a profound respect for the denizens of Country X?

President Bush made frequent, and in my opinion non-sequitur, references to 9/11 last night in the context of our operations in Iraq, but consider this: America, tragically, lost almost 3,000 people on 9/11. Iraq has lost well over 100,000. Is it fair to impose this kind of disproportional carnage on another nation - especially one unconnected to the events of 9/11 in the first place? Are Iraqi lives worth less, and this from the crowd that "respects" the Iraqi people? Bush as quoted by Reuters:

"Iraq is where they are making their stand. So we will fight them there, we will fight them across the world, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won," he said on the anniversary of the formal return of sovereignty to Iraqis.

Understandably, such a cavalier willingness to transform Iraq into a perpetual battlefield with aspiring jihadists did not go over so well with many Iraqis. It becomes easier to understand how even those Iraqis pleased with the overthrow of Saddam could come to resent the presence of American troops.

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"No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President" 

...

Umm, could we bet on that Scotty? Wouldn't it be more truthful to say that "No one wants to get to the bottom of it less than the President"?


Seriously.
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Monday, July 11, 2005

Try this on for size 

Read this post over at shari's education (and chocolate) blog.

Ok, here's the punchline: when controlled for socio-economic status, a research study found that public school students consistently scored better than private school students in standardized tests.
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Risky (home-based) bidness 

An astounding 60 million Americans play poker on a regular basis. The No-Limit "Texas Hold'em" variety of the game has become the most popular version in recent years, aided in no small part by ESPN table cameras and online gaming sites.

Many operate under the illusion that they play the game well, too. I suppose these "sliders " enjoy the thrill of moving "all in" and putting their entire chip stack at risk while random cards are revealed and determine their fate....

But don't these folks understand that they've pretty much already done that with their houses?

I would love, just love, to have a Venn diagram showing the overlap of ARM-financed homebuyers who need the additional weekly thrill of a poker game. What will the river hold for them?
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When puppets attack 

Now it's clear why the White House wrote Iraq Prime Minister Allawi's speech last year. It seems, when Allawi is able to freely speak his mind, he gets all "reality-based" and starts actually criticizing our beloved leaders and throws around inconvenient words like "civil war".

From the esteemed Yatpundit, we learn Allawi's current thoughts on the scene over there:

The problem is that the Americans have no vision and no clear policy on how to go about in Iraq.
...
The policy should be of building national unity in Iraq. Without this we will most certainly slip into a civil war. We are practically in stage one of a civil war as we speak.
...
In the interview, Allawi went on to say that Bush stiffed him on $5.7 billion for rebuilding Iraq's military.

Color us shocked... shocked!!
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