Saturday, September 24, 2005

All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe...

Normally when I fly I read WIRED magazine cover to cover, but on my trip to Philly the other night I couldn't put down the new LA Weekly and the article after article on Smog, pollution and LA. Fascinating. Scary. Eye-opening.

Check out this graphic of cancer "hot-spots" in LA. Or this one on what is actually in smog.

Still, all things considered? I can't wait to get back...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Bush Day Keeps Voters Away...

From supporting your 'initiatives'... story at the Daily Kos about how Schwarzenegger wants Bush to delay an October fundraising trip to California because he's afraid it will 'siphon off' $$$ he needs to help his Nov. 8 special election measures.

Well that's at least one positive thing to come out of this silly 'special' election.

(The story is originally from San Francisco Chronicle)

Oh, yeah -- remember the Delay scandal?

Evidently, the hunt for Abramoff continues! While we were all distracted with Katrina and Bush falling off the wagon, the dogs are still gunning for that scumbag.

Here's the link

A Little Movie for You...

Not safe for work, but pretty funny. We might not be able to effect policy, but at least we know the score

"The Badge & Gun Crew"

Now most of the HPI folks know that I used to live in DC and, for a time, was actually a government contractor, so I happen to know (or have known) a lot of folks at on The Hill and throughout the various acronym agencies. NRC GSA CIA FBI DOJ GSA DOD FEMA BLAH BLAH BLAH... I've known folks. Point is a good buddy who works at FEMA called me the other day to discuss the whole Katrina thing, and here is what he said:

  • Most suprisingly: he LIKED Michael Brown. Said he was a good dude who, unlike others, listened and was interested and it was tough to watch him be villified

  • Joe Allbaugh: my buddy's exact words? "A-hole"

  • The biggest problem was putting FEMA in the Department of 'Homeland' Security (DHS): FEMA folks refer to DHS as the 'Badge & Gun Crew"

  • The 'Badge & Gun Crew' Couldn't have cared less about 'Natural Disasters' ONLY Terrorism: took FEMA's resources and then actively ignored natural disasters

  • 6 Weeks ago when FEMA wanted to plan a Government-wide preparedness drill around a Hurricane other agencies said they would NOT participate

  • Knew things were bad when the Daily Show did their 'Meet the F**kers' segment

  • There are goverment folks still MIA in the Gulf Region... goverment just not functioning

  • This was NOT 100% FEMA's fault: yes, 'lukewarm' response from Feds, but they were bound by what local and state governments were doing - they can't just step in and take over

  • Whole disaster proves you CAN NOT 'Privitize' Disaster Response

  • Lots of other goodies to share when next we meet!

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    California Über Alles!

    Think I'll start focusing on a few topics near and dear to our hearts... and Schwarzenegger is first on that list:
    Gov. Schwarzenegger is not the moderate he plays on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno;" rather, he is a pretty front man for a radical agenda at odds with the interests and priorities of most Californians. As the dog and pony show in front of the Brinks trucks in San Diego illustrates, he is perfectly willing to demonize teachers and other state employees and call on Californians to terminate the "special interests." Arnold could care less if his "reform" agenda does nothing to address the budget deficit or that spending tens of millions on his special election is not favored by most Californians (61 percent oppose it).

    The governor is not a populist, but rather a political thug with rich friends. When his party can't win the seats necessary to support his agenda and the polls show his popularity tanking with his job approval at an all time low 40 percent, his gut tells him to impose his will.

    None of this should come as a surprise. As Arnold's hagiographer, Lawrence Leamer, informs us in "Fantastic! The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger," the Terminator "believed that America needed a strong authoritative leader who could bring order and discipline to the near anarchy of democracy." Banking on the fact that governing by ballot initiative will allow his corporate allies to dramatically outspend and vilify his enemies so he doesn't have to negotiate with them, Arnold is hoping to conquer the inconvenient chaos of democracy.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    The Only MSM Commentators I Trust...

    And they're commedians. Why is it that the only commentators on TV that I can stomach are Jon Stewart & Bill Maher? The rest of the 'mainstream media' is just so conservative and seem so useless (especially as Scott McClellan lies to their faces and Bush Co. stages everything).

    That said, this is from Bill Maher's Friday show:
    And finally, New Rule: For Christ's sake, no more devil movies. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" opened huge last week, and it surprised a lot of people, mostly because Owen Wilson wasn't in it. But exorcism, or as the Catholics call it, "elective surgery," is a popular theme nowadays because it reinforces the comforting notion that evil resides outside of us.

    Well, I'm sorry, but it doesn't. And whenever I hear someone blame a bombing in Baghdad or a levee breaking in New Orleans on the forces of evil, it makes me so mad I just want to grab my pitchfork and stick it right through my cloven hoof!

    Now, Americans have always loved devil movies: "The Exorcist," "The Omen," "Rosemary's Baby," "The Devil's Advocate." The list goes on forever because Americans love the devil. Why? Because he's simple and he provides a simple answer. He did it.

    But evil is not a demon with a tail and horns. That's a Jew. And evil - evil isn't some spectral goblin with red eyes and the voice of Anthony Hopkins. That's Anthony Hopkins.

    Is George Bush purely evil? Of course not. And that's what's so evil about him. He doesn't twirl a mustache and smirk and cackle. Well, he doesn't twirl a mustache. He's like the Peanuts character Pigpen. Wherever he goes, he stirs up such a humongous mess it can only be cleaned up by Halliburton. But he is not pure evil.

    Because evil is a chain. Did any one person doom New Orleans? No, it's a chain. People vote for a corrupt leader; a corrupt leader puts unqualified cronies in high places, and when those cronies fuck up, evil gets done. The devil didn't fly up from hell and knock a hole in that levee. The levee just didn't get built because the money for it went to rich people's tax cuts and pork projects and corporate welfare.

    Evil isn't "Salem's Lot." It's Trent Lott. This week, an ailing American bald eagle was found to be dying from mercury poisoning. Republicans immediately tried to blame it on the eagle's lifestyle choices. But it's worth noting that also this week, the White House threatened to veto limits on mercury pollution. Now, pure evil would be if George Bush sat around the White House saying, "Let's poison eagles!" And even I don't believe George Bush would do that.

    Cheney would do that. And even he is not pure evil. Dick Cheney doesn't hate poor children and caribou. They're just in the way.

    Bottom line: some people think Satan is real and some people think global warming is real. If you think stopping gays from doing it is more important than the ice caps melting, the boogeyman is you...
    Amen brother, AMEN.

    Sunday, September 18, 2005

    Jeff Sessions (R-Al): Ghoul

    Again I ask the question: what the f@#k is wrong with these goddamn people???
    Federal troops aren't the only ones looking for bodies on the Gulf Coast. On Sept. 9, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions called his old law professor Harold Apolinsky, co-author of Sessions' legislation repealing the federal estate tax, which was encountering sudden resistance on the Hill. Sessions had an idea to revitalize their cause, which he left on Apolinsky's voice mail: "[Arizona Sen.] Jon Kyl and I were talking about the estate tax. If we knew anybody that owned a business that lost life in the storm, that would be something we could push back with."
    Un-fucking-believable. They're relentless... and ghoulish.

    The Wizard of Oz

    Now I remain unconvinced the W. is down of the count. Yes, New Orleans is a HUGE blot on his administration (one among many but, sadly, only one of a handfull that went down in full sight so it can't be covered up) but... well as Brando and I say: an animal is never more dangerous when cornered. W's presidency will end, but there are players involved who have no intention of flaming out or being branded political pariahs now. No, they're in it for the long haul and this is just the 2nd round (maybe 3rd?).

    Anyways, I might re-think things if folks keep writing aricles like this one from Frank Rich:
    The worst storm in our history proved perfect for exposing this president because in one big blast it illuminated all his failings: the rampant cronyism, the empty sloganeering of "compassionate conservatism," the lack of concern for the "underprivileged" his mother condescended to at the Astrodome, the reckless lack of planning for all government operations except tax cuts, the use of spin and photo-ops to camouflage failure and to substitute for action.


    WHEN there's money on the line, cronies always come first in this White House, no matter how great the human suffering. After Katrina, the FEMA Web site directing charitable contributions prominently listed Operation Blessing, a Pat Robertson kitty that, according to I.R.S. documents obtained by ABC News, has given more than half of its yearly cash donations to Mr. Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. If FEMA is that cavalier about charitable donations, imagine what it's doing with the $62 billion (so far) of taxpayers' money sent its way for Katrina relief. Actually, you don't have to imagine: we already know some of it was immediately siphoned into no-bid contracts with a major Republican donor, the Fluor Corporation, as well as with a client of the consultant Joe Allbaugh, the Bush 2000 campaign manager who ran FEMA for this White House until Brownie, Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate, was installed in his place.


    It's up to Democrats, though they show scant signs of realizing it, to step into the vacuum and propose an alternative to a fiscally disastrous conservatism that prizes pork over compassion. If the era of Great Society big government is over, the era of big government for special interests is proving a fiasco. Especially when it's presided over by a self-styled C.E.O. with a consistent three-decade record of running private and public enterprises alike into a ditch.
    Folks are watching now... but for how long?