Wednesday, June 28, 2006

American workers getting screwed...

Photo shows Darwin Cooper, a worker at the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant in Lordstown, Ohio, standing next to the Cobalt assembly line on Wednesday June 21, 2006.

By last Friday's deadline, about 35,000 hourly workers, more than a quarter of GM's blue-collar US workforce, agreed to leave the ailing automaker, in one of the largest buyouts in history.

A few years ago I provided consultation to a company that provided parts to GM and other automobile producers. The jobs are now gone. Some have found low-paying jobs working with Wal-Mart or some other retail outlet. Most are just spending their time thinking about how they have been cheated out of the American dream.

While there is much outrage about illegal immigrants taking the jobs of American workers there seems little concern about all those jobs that are getting shipped oversees. In the meantime, the gap between the very rich and the very poor keeps widening in American society.

(Photo: Mark Stahl / AP)

Another story of FEMA Waste and Fraud...

Photo: Robert King/Polaris

FEMA spends $250,000 a month to store about 10,000 mobile homes at an airfield in Hope, Arkansas.


I've read several stories of the waste and fraud associated with the delivery of FEMA aid after Hurricane Katrina. This story in yesterday's New York Times provides some of the sickening details. It is a story of scams, schemes and bureaucratic bungles costing taxpayers up to $2 billion dollars.

A hotel owner in Sugar Land, Texas has been charged with submitting $232,000 in bills for phantom victims. And roughly 1,100 prison inmates across the Gulf Coast apparently collected more than $10 million in rental and disaster-relief assistance.

The Times story provides a litany of depressing examples of unbelievable waste and fraud.

In my view, the major tragedy is that many of the real victims of Hurricane Katrina were left homeless and received very little aid.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Laura Bush continues to support schools in New Orleans and on Gulf Coast...

Photo shows Laura Bush applauding as 18-year-old Caitlyn Clarke impresses the audience with her speech yesterday to the National Town Hall Meeting on School Libraries at the Ernest Morial Convention Center.

Mrs.Bush was in New Orleans yesterday to speak to the American Library Association and to lend her support to providing libraries to the schools that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. I suspect that people in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast appreciate the support that has been provided by Laura Bush. She has made more than a half a dozen trips to the area and she has also played a lead role in raising money for the refurbishing of libraries that were destroyed.

Now you know that there is one member of the Bush family that has earned my admiration!!!

Photo: Ted Jackson / Times-Picayune. (Courtesy of Times-Picayune)

Hurricane Katrina victims still getting screwed...

A victim of Hurricane Katrina in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, put up a sign last year after phoning the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help four times and being asked each time to leave a message.

Ten months after Hurricane Katrina exposed failures at all levels of government, Congress is focusing in on FEMA. Nobody will be held accountable.

I have friends in New Orleans who tell horror stories about their efforts to get answers from the various agencies who are supposed to be providing relief. People don't deserve this kind of treatment after suffering so much. I'm not sure what is the answer. What do you think?

(Photo: Mark Humphrey / AP)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Democrats dare to dream of capturing the Bush heartland...

It's clear that a major shift is now taking place in the political landscape. I have seen evidence of this even among my own circle of friends. Much of the movement from the hard right to the center has to do with growing anger over the Iraq war.

This lead story in yesterday's Guardian (UK) details the shift that is taking place in such red states as Kansas. It now seems possible that the Democrats might gain control of the House or the Senate as a result of the November elections. This would be a good thing as the Cheney Administration is desperately in need of adult supervision.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Are we about to cut and run?

Billmon has this really interesting analysis of what is happening in Iraq. More informative than anything you will hear from the talking heads on television.

Update and correction:

I should have stated that Billmon provides insight into how the Cheney Administration is manipulating foreign policy for their own short-term political purposes.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

FBI whipping up hysteria about terrorism?

I guess it's about time to get another one of those scary terrorism stories...since we no longer have those color-coded warnings to scare the bejebus out of us.

Anyway, that story about a group of "terrorists" in Miami seems designed to remind us about bad guys coming to destroy us. Turns out these individuals are not Muslims but members of some kind of cult group. (If groups of young blacks who are angry with the system are the "new terrorists" then we have them in every large American city).

I suspect the FBI informant played a lead role in encouraging group members to come up with big plans to blow up buildings. Back in the Sixties we used to refer to this kind of activity as "entrapment."

Anyway, read what Juan Cole has to say and you'll be able to draw your own conclusions.


Yesterday, at a political fundraiser in Illinois, VP Cheney said these young dudes in Miami constituted "a very great treat" to the American people. It's pretty clear the Republicans will try to again use the fear factor in the mid-term elections.

Friday, June 23, 2006

In New Orleans police redeployed to high crime areas...

Light blogging this morning because of other commitments.

Today's Times-Picayune has this story on the redeployment of police as New Orleans attempts to deal with rising crime. Looks like this is a really serious effort.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Their lives are more than just a number...

Ann Lowery, the fifteen-year old girl from Alabama has made another (anti-war) video. It's just two minutes long. Click here to check it out.

The National Guard arrive in New Orleans...

This photo by John McCusker of the Times-Picayune shows Army and Air National Guard troops on stand-by outside the New Orleans Convention Center.

The troops arrived on Wednesday and will be deployed to protect some of the neighborhoods destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. This will make it possible to deploy more policemen to the hot-spot crime areas.

The new crime wave presents a huge challenge for the City of New Orleans. The recent murder of five teens in the Central City area has caused alarm by many people. Will people want to return to a city where crime is out of control? What impact will crime have on the tourist industry?

It is expected that 300 members of the National Guard will be deployed during the summer months.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The best politicians money can buy...

I consider Billmon to be one of the most insightful progressive bloggers around. Yesterday he had something to say about the U.S. House of Representatives.

Billmon pointed out that U.S. House lawmakers recently gave themselves a $3,300 pay increase, raising their salaries to $168,500. Meanwhile, a few days later, a bid to boost the U.S. minimum wage failed as Republicans pushed back an effort by Democrats to force a vote on the issue.

I guess the Republicans were afraid that any increase could be offensive to their Corporate Patrons. Is it any wonder that Billmon refers to the U.S House of Representatives as "our national whorehouse!"


Lou Dobbs of CNN is on the warpath! He has this interesting commentary on the minimum wage.


Kristian Menchaca, 23 (left), and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker were found dead yesterday morning outside the town where they were captured. The two soldiers disappeared Friday night in an ambush southwest of Baghdad, and the military has been searching vigorously in and around Yusufiya. A third soldier, Specialist David J. Babineau, 25, of Springfield, Massachusetts, was killed when insurgents attacked the three at a traffic checkpoint.

Last night I saw "The Dark Side," a PBS Frontline documentary about how the Iraq war was "sold" to be American people. We were told Saddam posed a terrible threat to the world. He was the one responsible for 9/11. We would be greeted as liberators. A pack of lies. As I watched this show I couldn't help but think about these two young men who were so brutally murdered. They and many others are paying a terrible price to satisfy the NeoCon obsession with wanting to bring about regime change in Iraq.

I hope one day the people responsible for this war will be held accountable.

(Photo: AP)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bodies of two captured soldiers recovered...

The bodies of two U.S. soldiers captured last week have been recovered. They were "killed in a barbaric way." May they rest in peace.

Our thoughts go out to the families of these two young men.

The ugly truth about everyday life in Baghdad...

A leaked cable from the US embassy in Iraq to Condoleezza Rice shows the country falling apart and ruled by militias. Here is an edited version of the memo published in todays Independent (UK).

What a dreadful situation...

After more than nine months we still have large sections of New Orleans that are just deserted wastelands. On top of this we have five teens this past weekend brutally murdered in Central City in a manner that seemed to imitate the insanity in Baghdad.

What the hell can be done? Governor Blanco is sending in the National Guard.

I've always loved New Orleans but this news of the killing of these five kids makes me sick. Here at this blog I've been a cheerleader for the Cresent City. Now, I'm wondering if the City has any fuckin' future.

Maybe you have a more optimistic view.

The vanishing Louisiana coastline...

Photo shows on Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, children playing in a shed ruined by a hurricane.

Thirty square miles of southern Louisiana wetlands vanish every year into the Gulf. People here say they lose a football field every 20 minutes. Panic is constant, partly because wetlands and barrier islands act as hurricane buffers for the mainland.

Isle de Jean Charles, home to many members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha tribe, has been left out of a government project designed to stem the wetlands' erosion.

Photo: Nicole Bengiveno / The New York Times (Courtesy of Truthout)

Monday, June 19, 2006

In New Orleans, money is ready but a plan isn't ...

According to this story in yesterday's New York Times, billions of federal dollars are about to start flowing into New Orleans, but officials have yet to come up with a redevelopment plan. A somewhat discouraging story.

My guess is that individuals as they begin receiving cash will take matters in their own hands and start rebuilding...even if no master plan is in place. At this stage many of the Katrina survivors are feeling desperate.


More bad news from New Orleans. The Times-Picayune has this story about the five teens that were brutally murdered in Central City. The details are almost beyond belief. Reads like something from Baghdad.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Time to bring our troops home...

Photo shows Rahim Khudayer attending to his son Abdullah Khudayer, who lies injured in Karkh hospital after a shoe bomber blew himself up during Friday prayers inside the Buratha mosque, one of Baghdad's most important Shiite mosques.

The mosque bombing comes despite a huge new security operation in Baghdad.

There are reports this morning of another American soldier killed and a couple of our soldiers missing. It seems to me that the Iraqi government are operating behind the walls of an American fortress called the Green Zone. I predict that when we leave most of the members of this so-called government will leave with us. Kind of like what happened in Vietnam.

The people with the real power in Iraq are outside the Green Zone...individuals like Sistani and Sadr. I expect they are just waiting for the Americans to leave before they show who is in charge.

Am I too pessimistic about this whole affair?

Photo: Khalid Mohammed / AP (Courtesy of Truthout ).


More of the same from Iraq. This AP story has some gory details of what has been happening for the past couple of days.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Over 2500 fallen heroes and the war continues...

Photo shows a US Army Honor Guard ceremonially draping a flag over the coffin containing the body of US Army Cpl. Sergio Antonio Mercedes Saez during his funeral in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, in February 2006.

The number of US military deaths in the Iraq war has reached 2,500, the Pentagon said Thursday, more than three years into a conflict that finds US and allied foreign forces locked in a struggle with a resilient insurgency.

This week we have had a blitz of "good" news about Iraq...though we are hearing this morning that the suicide bombings continue in Baghdad. Will Bush declare "victory" and start moving the troops home before the mid-term elections in November? There are some clues that he may be moving in that direction. What do you think?

Photo: Ramon Espinosa / AP (Courtesy of Truthout )

Thursday, June 15, 2006

FEMA Katrina funds go to fraudsters...

This story will make you sick when you consider how many survivors of Hurricane Katrina were left homeless with no resources. It almost defies belief.

The money was supposed to go to victims of two of the most devastating storms of recent times. In fact well over $1bn (£540m) of government relief for hurricanes Katrina and Rita went for scams of every hue, paying for anything from luxury holidays and pricey sports tickets to divorce lawyers and a sex -change operation.

The catalogue of fraud was unveiled yesterday by the watchdog Government Accountability Office , in a report that is another damning indictment of Fema, the federal agency that handles disaster relief operations.

Fema's botched initial response to Katrina, which struck the Gulf coast in August 2005, was a low point of the Bush presidency. It forced the resignation of its former director Michael Brown, previously praised by Mr Bush with the now immortal words: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." The new report adds insult to injury.

In one instance, a man was put up for two months, courtesy of Fema, at a $100-a-night hotel in Hawaii, even though he never lived in the home that he claimed was hit by the storm, and was already claiming $2,300 in government rent assistance.

One ingenious fraudster secured an all-inclusive week-long holiday at a plush resort in the Dominican Republic, while another had the government pay for five season tickets to the New Orleans Saints of the NFL.

Among the most enterprising appear to have been prison inmates. More than 1,000 convicts used ­ or rather abused ­ the system to get money from Fema. One even had $20,000 paid into a PO box number. Another secured help by giving his home address as a New Orleans cemetery.
The swindles, the GAO said, arose mostly because the relief agency did not properly check the identity of applicants and the addresses submitted for properties which were said to be damaged. Of the missing $1bn, only $16m has been recovered.

Fema has answered such complaints by saying that its priority after disasters like Katrina was to make sure victims received help as fast as possible, and that under these circumstances some money inevitably would go astray. But the scale of the misspending has stunned everyone.

This is the kind of story that makes taxpayers really cynical about government.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How about a caption for this photo!

Photo shows White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, left, and White House Counselor Dan Barlett, riding in a military helicopter wearing helmets and flak jackets for a trip from Baghdad International Airport to U.S. Embassy in the Greenzone in Baghdad, Iraq. Yesterday Snow and Bartlett traveled with President Bush who made a surprise visit to Baghdad.

It would be interesting to speculate about what they were talking about. Maybe Bartlett is assuring Snow that there is nothing to worry about since al-Zawqawi was taken out last week.

What caption would you come up with for this photo?

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

"An Inconvenient Truth"...

This past weekend I had the opportunity to see Al Gore's documentary on global warming.

Anyone going to see "An Inconvenient Truth" as entertainment will be disappointed. This is a very serious presentation. And despite all that has been written about the "new" Gore, he does come across more as a college professor than as a modern day populist.

The documentary is worth seeing simply for the information it provides. It will do a lot to raise consciousness of a very important planetary issue.

This past weekend Gore's presentation was seen in over one hundred theatres. The theatre where I saw "An Inconvenient Truth" was full to capacity. However, despite the initial buzz I do not expect it to have broad popular appeal. How many people really want to sit through a Powerpoint presentation on a very serious subject? I could be surprised.

I recommend "An Inconvenient Truth" as an educational experience.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Florida braces for Tropical Storm Alberto...

Tropical storm Alberto, the first named storm of the 2006 Hurricane season, continues northeastward with no change in strength.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Gulf Coast of Florida from Longboat Key to the Ochlockonee River. A tropical storm warning along the Atlantic Coast has been extended northward to South Santee River, S.C.

The good news is that the storm is not likely to become a hurricane. I know this will be welcome news for my cousins who live in Longboat Key and Bradenton.

Alberto is moving toward the northeast near 9 mph and is expected to make landfall near midday today.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Guidelines for posting comments...

Up to this time I've resisted suggestions that I develop "rules" for posting comments. What I really like about blogs is that they create the possibility of a constructive conversation with each person entitled to express their own opinion...even if this opinion contradicts the views of the blog publisher.

What I've learned over the past few weeks is that a troll with evil intent can totally undermine the possibility of an intelligent discussion.

I'll formulate several guidelines for posting comments on this blog in the near future. In the meantime, let me say that comments should be published using the real name or the assumed name of the commenter. No comments using the "Anonymous" signature, please.

In the future any comments that contain overtly racist or sexist material will be removed. Likewise, comments containing ad hominum attacks on any member of the Katrina Memo community will be removed.

I hope these general guidelines will make this blog a more welcome place for everyone to express his or her opinions.


Turns out this blog is not the only one experiencing hateful trashy comments. Check out this post from TalkLeft.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

First tropical storm of the 2006 hurricane season...

Tropical storm Alberto moves over the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The storm has a maximum sustained wind of 45 m.p.h. It is expected to drop 5-10 inches of rain on the Florida Peninsula.

Gathering highlights power of the blog...

Over a thousand progressive political bloggers gathered in Las Vegas this past weekend for an event called YearlyKos.

As Adam Nagourney suggests in yesterday's New York Times, the blog is becoming recognized by leading Democratic politicians as a powerful tool for engaging people at the grassroots level .

I've come to believe that all Democratic politicians should be using a blog as a means of engaging supporters at the grassroots level. The potential of this technology has not yet been harnessed by most politicians.

This coming week I'll be talking to a State Senator here in Massachusetts about how I can support him in using a blog as part of his PR effort. During the coming months I'll be offering similar consulting services to other elected officials and Democratic candidates at the state and national levels.

The Dean campaign three years ago demonstrated how the Internet can be used not merely to reach potential voters but also to get them from their keyboards into the streets. It can be a very powerful tool to engage and motivate citizens.

The key to publishing a political blog is to make it an effective two-way communications tool. Ideally, the blog should foster a "conversation" between public official and his/her constituents. This can not be accomplished by a traditional Web site.

Friday, June 09, 2006

One view of al-Zarqawi's death...

Michael Berg, whose son Nicholas was taken hostage and beheaded in Iraq by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2004, is seen in this file photo from June 29, 2004.

Berg, a pacifist and anti-war activist, said yesterday that he doesn't see any good coming from al-Zarqawi's death and feels no sense of relief at the killing of the al Qaeda leader in Iraq blamed for his son's death.

Most of the TV pundits seem to believe that killing al-Zarqawi will be some kind of turning point in the Iraq War. I'm not very hopeful. We've already celebrated several "turning points" that have not resulted in positive change.

Incidentally, Michael Berg is currently running for Delaware's lone US House seat on the Green Party ticket.

(Photo: Kieran Doherty / Reuters)


The Independent (UK) has this insightful article by Patrick Cockburn on al-Zarqawi.

Update #2

The Atlantic Monthly has this article titled, "The Short Violent Life, of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi." Written by Mary Anne Weaver, it provides lots of interesting details on the experiences that shaped al-Zarqawi.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Protecting the border or a photo-op?

Photo shows Utah National Guard troops from the 116th Construction Equipment Support Company - the first National Guard unit on the border - preparing to extend a wall along the border in San Luis, Arizona.

As officials put more patrols and fencing along the US-Mexico border, immigrant advocates fear more deaths among the tens of thousands who attempt the trip, as they risk more perilous routes.

My first response when I saw this photo was to think it was a political photo-op. Maybe that is too cynical a view. Anyway, it looks like three Guardsmen hammering a nail and three serving as supervisors.

Photo: Khampha Bouaphanh / AP (Courtesy of Truthout)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The changing human landscape in New Orleans...

The New York Times article posted below paints a picture of post-Katrina New Orleans as older, whiter and more affluent. It is important to remember that the Census Bureau data on which the article is based is several months old. And the city is constantly changing with former residents returning every day.

How Katrina changed New Orleans...

This article by Rick Lyman in today's New York Times provides some indication of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the human landscape. It is based on a study conducted by the Census Bureau.


After the twin barrages of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year, the City of New Orleans emerged nearly 64 percent smaller, having lost an estimated 278,833 residents, according to the Census Bureau's first study of the area since the storms.

Those who remained in the city were significantly more likely to be white, slightly older and a bit more well-off, the bureau concluded in two reports that were its first effort to measure the social, financial and demographic impact of the hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.

The bureau found that while New Orleans lost about two-thirds of its population, adjacent St. Bernard Parish dropped a full 95 percent, falling to just 3,361 residents by Jan. 1. The surveys do not include the influx in both areas that has occurred this year as more residents begin to rebuild.

While the New Orleans area lost population, the Houston metropolitan area emerged with more than 130,000 new residents, many of them hurricane evacuees. Whites made up a slightly smaller percentage of Houston's population — 62.8 percent of the city in January compared with 64.8 percent last July, a month before Hurricane Katrina hit.

In Harris County, which includes Houston, median household income fell to $43,044 from $44,517, while New Orleans area's actually rose, to $43,447 from $39,793.

The physical impact of the hurricanes is well documented. Now, with these reports, bureau officials said they hoped to begin drawing into sharper focus the human landscape, showing in stark statistics how the storm's impact was felt most keenly by the poor, members of minorities and renters.

"One of the keys for me is that the data we are seeing really supports the anecdotal stories we've been hearing for months," said Lisa Blumerman, deputy chief of the bureau's American Community Survey. "We now have quantitative data that supports the stories from the storm."
One of the reports looked solely at population gains and losses, while the second studied demographic shifts before and after the storm.

The reports' findings had been expected, said William H. Frey, a demographer for the Brookings Institution. Still, he said, there were some small surprises.

It was not only New Orleans but also the entire metropolitan region that became whiter, less poor and more mobile, Mr. Frey said. At the same time, he said, assumptions that the evacuees who went to nearby Baton Rouge, where the population grew by nearly 15,000, were disproportionately poor and black were proven incorrect. A more middle-class group settled there, while the poorer and more vulnerable, who had less choice about where they landed, went to more distant cities.

Demographers in the affected states said yesterday that they were skeptical of some of the methodology in the studies, wary of the results and unsure how helpful the reports would be in measuring the human impact of the storms. Steve Murdock, the state demographer of Texas, said the studies underestimated the number of hurricane evacuees in Houston by limiting their measurements to individual households and failing to count people living in hotels, shelters and other group environments.

"I can tell you that I learned nothing new about Texas," Mr. Murdock said. "These are very limited data. The truth is, nobody knows how good this data really is."

Caroline Leung, an economic researcher at Louisiana Tech University, said she had been trying to reconcile some conflicting data in the two reports and came away confused. The underlying trends may be valid, Ms. Leung said, "but I would not rely too much on those population numbers."

Census officials emphasized that the special reports used a somewhat different methodology than typical bureau studies, saying some of the numbers might be slightly less concrete than normal.

"But we felt the need to do this quickly, because the impact of the hurricanes on the Gulf Coast population is really without precedent," said Enrique Lamas, chief of the bureau's population division.

Of the 117 counties and parishes used in the studies — those identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as eligible for disaster assistance — only 40 lost population in the four months after the storm, and 99 percent of the losses came in the top 10 parishes and counties, comprising New Orleans and Lake Charles in Louisiana and Gulfport and Biloxi in Mississippi.

The black population of the New Orleans metropolitan area fell to 21 percent from 36 percent, the bureau found.

Coming home to the projects in New Orleans...

Terry Pierre and Pamela Mahogany - Hurricane Katrina evacuees who had gone to Houston and Baton Rouge - set up their tents outside St. Bernard, the largest project in New Orleans. The residents promised to gut and rebuild their own units, and they said they planned to be back permanently, with or without the city's permission, as soon as their work was done.

Residents of the projects in New Orleans are running out of patience and are taking matters into their own hands. Some are cleaning out the apartments where they used to live. The needs of residents of low-income projects are generally low on the list of priorities for government officials.

More power to the low-income folks in New Orleans who are moving back to their apartments and demanding decent living conditions.

(Photo: Ozier Muhammad / The New York Times)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What Americans are really concerned about...

Yesterday I noted that the U.S. Senate had set aside several days to discuss the Federal Marriage Amendment...even though most acknowledge that this legislation has zero chances of going anywhere.

So where should our elected representatives in Washington be devoting their energies? We have some data on what citizens are concerned about. Gallup asked Americans towards the end of May the following question: "What one or two issues should be top priorities for the President and Congress to deal with at this time?"

Here are the results for May. (results for April in bracket)

  1. Situation in Iraq 42% (29%)
  2. Fuel/Oil prices 29% (13%)
  3. Immigration/illegal aliens 23% (20%)
  4. Economy in general 14% (14%)
  5. Health care 12% (9%)

All other issues scored 4% or less. Moral issues were towards the bottom when it came to priorities. (Gallup results courtesy of Daily Kos).

These stats speak for themselves. I was particularly interested in the number listing the Iraq war as the top priority. If this trend continues over the next few months it could have major implications for the mid-term elections in November.

What do you think should be the top priority for Congress and the President?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Our Washington politicians at work...

President Bush and congressional Republicans are aiming the political spotlight this week on efforts to ban gay marriage, with events at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue - all for a constitutional amendment with scant chance of passage but wide appeal among social conservatives.

The President will make his speech in the Rose Garden this morning and members of the Senate will spend three or four days debating this issue.

It's pretty obvious why today's Washington politicians are held in low esteem by the voters. There is no limit to what they will do to appeal to the "base."

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Time to bring the troops home...

According to this editorial in this morning's New York Times, the public is entitled to straight answers on what went wrong at Heditha, Iraq, and who will take responsibility for it.

It seems to me we already have a pretty good idea of what went wrong. The Marines just "lost it" because of the killing of one of their beloved comrades. I don't expect that anyone up the chain of command will be held accountable for what happened or for the cover-up.

At this stage the American people might want to ask what are the lessons to be learned from Heditha. Clearly we have put our soldiers in an impossible situation. We are now seen as a army of occupation. And it is just about impossible for our soldiers to distinguish friend and foe.

Providing some in-service training on military ethics is not likely to prevent future "mistakes" like what occurred at Heditha. It's time to bring the troops home.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Update on immigration issue...

The Senate's new bill includes hiring 14 thousand Border Patrol agents, increasing detention centers to hold illegal immigrants, and expanding an already costly fence by 370 miles.
A groundswell of community groups now argue that Congress would do better to pass no bill at all than to adopt a bill that reconciles the just-passed Senate and December-approved House of Representatives bills.
My prediction is that no bill will be passed in this session of Congress.
(Photo: Jeff Topping / Reuters)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Michelle Malkin: one of America's leading hate-mongers...

This image comes to you compliments of an irrevent website called Jesus' General. In this graphic Michele Malkin ( Mary Mangalang) is portrayed in her role as one of America's leading hate-mongers.

Michelle hates immigrants ... even though as a Filipino immigrant she has immigrant roots. Why the fuck does she think she is better than the Latino people who have inhabited this country for hundreds of years before she foot in the USA? Stupid question! She's happy to describe herself as a media prostitute.

Michelle Malkin simply hates people who are "liberal". Like Bill O' Reilly and Sean Hannity and other conservative hate-mongers, Michele has found that peddling hate is a very profitable business.

While I know that Michelle Malkin is a fringe candidate I nominate her for a leadership role and for the coveted title of "Worst Person in America." She's been willing to stand in support of individuals who are bigoted and racist and this should be rewarded.

Okay, I know that some visitors to this site will ask why I give any attention to scumbags like Michele Malkin. Maybe it has something to do with my belief that people like Malkin are a cancer in our society. What do you think?

U.S. Army Corps accepts blame for flooding in New Orleans...

In a sweeping new study of the causes of the disaster in New Orleans last year, the Army Corps of Engineers concludes that the levees it built in the city were an incomplete patchwork of protection, containing flaws in design and construction and not built to handle a storm anywhere near the strength of Hurricane Katrina.

This is an interesting development. There have been a number of independent reports suggesting flaws in the levees. Now the Corps is accepting full responsibility for the flooding of New Orleans. Here is the story in today's New York Times.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Forecaster predicts reduced storm risk for Gulf Coast...

The 2006 hurricane seeason in the Atlantic will be active, but fewer major storms are likely to make landfall than last year, Colorado State University researchers said Wednesday.

The hurricane season officially begins today. Lets hope and pray we don't have another Katrina.

Read the full AP story here.


This morning I was doing some surfing around the blogosphere and I came accross this YouTube video. It is a rather dramatic reminder of what happened in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. Take a look.