Saturday, September 24, 2005

Great moments of the displaced 

I met the dog who starred in the blockbuster hit Double Take (or at least the replacement dog who was in a couple of scenes shot in Florida)'ll be pleased to learn he's refreshingly down to earth!

And I saw an acquaintance for the first time since he went flying off an 80' foot bridge in Daytona Beach, and survived with amazingly few injuries. The account reprinted here is worth reading for several memorable details.
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If you missed it, in Thursday's entry, Somerby agrees that Josh Marshall's "Gulf Coast Wage Cut" is solid politics, and asks why Blanco and Nagin haven't chimed in?

Also, I've been trading comments with the founder of the site below the original post. I've offered to debate him on very generous terms if he agrees to apologize to his viewers for the collection of errors (now removed) which I uncovered on his site.
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

The son LBJ never had 

Update: Bush and his GOP Congress boosted total inflation-adjusted discretionary spending more than Lyndon Johnson.

For over a year I've maintained that Bush's similarities to LBJ are more problematic than the Iraq War's (limited) similarities to Vietnam.

Below is an extended quote from an AP news analysis in USAToday:

Bush officials bristle at the suggestion the war in Iraq might look anything like Vietnam. Yet... President Bush's own words echo those of President Johnson in 1967, a pivotal year for the U.S. in Vietnam.

"America is committed to the defense of South Vietnam until an honorable peace can be negotiated," Johnson told the Tennessee Legislature on March 15, 1967. Despite the obstacles to victory, the president said, "We shall stay the course."

After 14 Marines died in a roadside bombing on Aug. 3, Bush declared: "We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. And the job is this: We'll help the Iraqis develop a democracy."
Johnson's main arguments were much like those Bush has employed: War was justified to protect the U.S. and to encourage freedom everywhere. When faced with mounting losses on the battlefield, both presidents offered the dead as a reason to keep fighting.
Bush has often linked the security and freedom of the United States to the war in Iraq. On Aug. 4 he told reporters: "We're laying the foundation of peace for generations to come. We're defeating the terrorists in a place like Iraq so we don't have to face them here at home. And, as well, we're spreading democracy and freedom to parts of the world that are desperate for democracy and freedom."

A secure and free America was tied to the fight in Southeast Asia, Johnson maintained. "What happens in Vietnam is extremely important to the nation's freedom and it is extremely important to the United States' security," he said from the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 15, 1967.
"Be assured that the death of your son will have meaning," Johnson told the parents of a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor during a Rose Garden ceremony on April 6, 1967. "For I give you also my solemn pledge that our country will persist — and will prevail — in the cause for which your boy died."

Speaking to military families in Idaho on Aug. 24, Bush said: "These brave men and women gave their lives for a cause that is just and necessary for the security of our country, and now we will honor their sacrifice by completing their mission."

Title is a Billmon quote.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Southern conservatives haven't been this exercised about the urban poor riding buses since... 

.... well, let's just say that it has been a while.

Now, for today, consider this filth from noted evacuation expert Newt Gingrich:

The fact is there were more than enough buses to, in a methodical, orderly way, help every poor person in New Orleans leave the city. And the mayor and the city failed to use the buses that existed and failed to help people in an orderly way.

And this guy wants to run for President in '08? I'd sooner take marital advice from Newt than trust his "facts" about evacuation busing in New Orleans.

Thank goodness Michael at 2 Millionth compiled a set of excellent links in response to purported "facts" like the above. It saved me some serious work, since I had promised more on this annoying topic about the "buses". So go over and read the links if you still think this is an issue.

I'll add two more posts that are worthwhile.
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Why did the floodwalls break? 


(ed note: title has been modified)
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On second thought... 

Once again the indefatigable Chad Rogers alerts us to the formation of another Recall Blanco site. Although it is still under construction, there are early indicators that this will be even more of a train wreck than the other one. Whereas used fraudulent quotes and sources, reprints a letter to bolster its viewpoint. Here's an excerpt:

In light of all the findings about what they did, and failed to do, I am calling for the impeachment, or prosecution of Lost-Ray Nagin, Blanko-Blanco and Mystified-Mary Landrieu, for gross incompetence and/or criminal negligence.

Even today, Nagin is on/off/yes/no, in every decision, and a total joke as a leader.

Black Nagin's negligence puts the deaths of all the black people squarely on his back.

What the...? Is that last sentence supposed to be a tongue twister? Black Nagin?!? And why (once we stop laughing) isn't Nagin's back broad enough for the dead white people in his city? What a peculiar thing to say; and yet, it worsens:

Kathleen's total "blankoness" about what to do was so obvious in deed and in mentality, that her continued occupancy of that position is incomprehensible. (This was even stupider than her efforts to sell sugar to Cuba.) The silly little abortionist, from New Orleans, Mystified-Mary, was stunned, baffled, and is totally useless as a leader.

For 24 years I have watched Louisianans consistently elect cute, popular, crazy or amusing drunks, criminal lawyers, dingbats, and witches who haven’t got a clue. I can predict the outcome of most elections because 9 out of 10 times, since they always vote for the less competent and honest person...

"Blankoness"... "abortionist"... wow, that seems so on point! Like I said before, politicians pray for ridiculous opponents like these!

Here's a clue for all those aspiring online "recall activists": stick to the issue. If you're gonna name your site "recall blanco", then try to make a non-fraudulent argument outlining why she should be recalled. Going on to say that Louisiana's Senator is a "silly abortionist", and calling the mayor of New Orleans "Black Nagin" probably isn't the most effective way to make your case. Believe it or not, inventing words and name-calling are not substitutes for analysis and argument. If your goal is ousting Blanco, discuss the specific facts which support your case.

But, then, what do I know about effective politics? Not much other than: if you act like clowns, don't be surprised if others laugh at you.
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Conservative link dump 

1. Bottom's up!

2. "Did you know that Dylan wanted to attend West Point and his favorite politician is Barry Goldwater?"

3. TWO KATRINAS A YEAR: That's how much it will soon cost just to pay the annual interest on the Bush-Republican deficit. [Two a year?-- not so hard to fathom, right now.]

4. NO MORE CRONYISM [How quaint!]

Lefty Lagniappe: "Later, as things [in Iraq] came undone, Bush wasn't one for late-night visits to the Situation Room, like the heart-sick Lyndon Johnson during Vietnam: "Not knowing was part of the strategy for victory"...

[Why let hard truths shake a leader's adamantine will?]
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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"Clearly I was naive." 

The link below notes that "Colonel Tim Collins [delivered a] speech to around 800 men of the battlegroup of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment, part of the 16 Air Assault Brigade given at their Fort Blair Mayne camp in the Kuwaiti desert about 20 miles from the Iraqi border on Wednesday 19 March 2003."

Pres. George Bush was so moved by the inspirational words below, that he supposedly tacked a copy of the speech upon the wall of his Oval Office. Some excerpts that you may recall:

There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.

Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there.
You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis. You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.

Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.

If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day.

Allow them dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves.
You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest for your deeds will follow you down through history. We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation.

As for ourselves, let's bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there. Our business now is north.

Now here's a thought-provoking quote from a WSJ article I flagged a while back:

God help the army that must fight for an idea rather than an objective.... The more that nation building in Iraq is in doubt, the more the mission creeps into a doubling of bets in hope of covering those that are lost. Now the goal is to reforge the politics, and perforce the culture, not merely of Iraq but of the billion-strong Islamic world from Morocco to the South Seas. That-- evangelical democracy writ overwhelmingly large-- is the manic idea for which the army must fight. But no law of nature says a democracy is incapable of supporting terrorism...

--MARK HELPRIN, contributing editor of the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

There has been a big difference in the region. Iraq will transform the Middle East.
-- Karl Rove

Interesting. Now let's see what Tim Collins has to say in 2005:

When I led my men of the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment across the border into Iraq we believed we were going to do some good. Goodwill and optimism abounded; it was to be a liberation, I had told my men, not a conquest.
One cannot help but wonder what it was all about. If it was part of the war on terror then history might notice that the invasion has arguably acted as the best recruiting sergeant for al-Qaeda ever: a sort of large-scale equivalent of the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972, which in its day filled the ranks of the IRA. If it was an attempt to influence the price of oil, then the motorists who queued last week would hardly be convinced. If freedom and a chance to live a dignified, stable life free from terror was the motive, then I can think of more than 170 families in Iraq last week who would have settled for what they had under Saddam. UK military casualties reached 95 last week. I nightly pray the total never reaches 100.
It is time for our leaders to explain what is going on. It was as a battalion commander trying to explain to his men why they would embark on a war that I came to public notice. The irony is that I made certain assumptions that my goodwill and altruistic motivations went to the top. Clearly I was naive. This time it is the role of the leaders of nations to explain where we are going and why. I, for one, demand to know.

Bush and Rove: I demand answers

Big Thanks go to Steve at Yellow Doggerel. YRHT hopes he and his family (after doing so much for Kartrina evacuees in Houston) do not suffer from Hurricane Rita.
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Pols pray for enemies like these 

The farcical site which I exposed the other day has replaced the fraudulent quote on its home page with, among other things, a quote from "anonymous". Now that's a great way to win a debate. (Of course there is no acknowledgement or apology for the gross errors which misled everyone who had read the earlier version of the home page.)

Also, the top banner pic has been replaced (due to copyright infringement?) and now the misnamed site is advocating a recall election rather than impeachment.

To review: someone who unapologetically used fraudulent sourcing and quotes for an online petition drive is questioning the Governor's competence, her "serious lack of judgment", and her obfuscation of "the truth".
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Well, my lesbian neighbors returned to our neighborhood and surveyed the damage. Unfortunately, estimates of 7-8 feet of water in our area of the Broadmoor proved accurate.

According to the girls, everything's brown, dead and it all reeks worse than asparagus piss. After inspecting their flooded house, they went over to peek in ours and said that about 4-5 feet of water got inside. Blecch. Then they told me that I might not want Lovely to accompany me on the first inspection. It's difficult to see all of your stuff ruined and strewn around like that.

As my friend Daniel warned, "Oyster. In a flood, a lot of stuff that you wouldn't expect to float, floats. Furniture, refrigerators... damn near everything. So you're gonna think that your house was flooded and then that looters came in and trashed it, because everything is thrown around in different rooms."

My lesbian neighbors offered to come with me on my first visit back to the house, since they have a gun and could protect me. While I appreciated their offer, they don't understand that I carry a panic whistle and boast exotic, "bivalve style" martial arts skills.

So, Rita permitting, next week I'll have a look at the homestead, and see how much can be salvaged. I think I'll take their advice and go solo, though. Until then, I'll probably just try to get ultra-low interest loans from the SBA and plow them into the Crony Capitalist hedge funds.

See, my wife Lovely is a pessimist. She looks at a flooded home and sees it as half full. I'm an optimist; I look at a flooded home and see it as an opportuity to arbitrage.
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Monday, September 19, 2005

New Orleans spirit.

For a fiver you can get the bracelet. For five hundred you can get the blue dog.

These critters might be useful in the clean-up. (YRHT has yet to use it, though, so no official endorsements.)
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