<xmp> <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\07511782355\46blogName\75ConnecticutBLOG\46publishMode\75PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\46navbarType\75SILVER\46layoutType\75CLASSIC\46searchRoot\75http://connecticutblog.blogspot.com/search\46blogLocale\75en_US\46v\0752\46homepageUrl\75http://connecticutblog.blogspot.com/\46vt\0752618633873490899171', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script> </xmp>

Friday, September 02, 2005

You know things are bad when Newt criticizes you

From the AP
Even Republicans were criticizing Bush and his administration for the sluggish relief effort. "I think it puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?" said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
I don't think Newt is the only person with this point of view.

Cafferty rips Bush again on CNN

Jack Cafferty and the reporters on CNN are on a roll with their criticism of the administration.

Transcript from The Situation Room (via AMERICABlog)

Jack Cafferty: Do you suppose, Wolf, that the arrival of the relief convoys and the political photo ops on the gulf coast happening at the very same time were a coincidence today?

Wolf Blitzer: Uh, well, we'll, I'm sure our viewers have some thoughts on that as well. These pictures, by the way, Jack, that we're getting in...

Wolf Blitzer:
Jack a final thought before I let you go.

Jack Cafferty: It's embarrassing [followed by dead silence]
I couldn't of said it better myself. How ironic that the relief is FINALLY beginning to arrive to New Orleans once Bush drops by for a visit. I think the American people will see through this scam.

Leadership or photo-ops? You decide, I've seen enough and my mind is already made up.

Death toll could rise to 10,000

Very sombering news but looking at the way things are right now, that figure seems realistic.

From the AP
US Senator David Vitter said that the death toll from Hurricane Katrina could top 10,000 in Louisiana alone.

"My guess is that it will start at 10,000, but that is only a guess," Vitter said, adding that he was not basing his remarks on any official death toll or body count.

Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, also called for the immediate deployment of regular US combat troops in New Orleans, saying the build-up of National Guard troops was too slow to quickly restore order.

Five-thousand National Guard troops are expected to be on the ground in violence-wracked New Orleans by late Friday, military leaders said.

But Vitter said that timeline could be too slow, amid reports that bands of armed men are roaming the streets in the city, which is 80 percent submerged in floods brought in by a storm tide after the hurricane hit on Monday.

Vitter, speaking to reporters at the emergency response center in Baton Rouge, also said he gave the federal government a grade 'F' for its response to the disaster so far.


Hurricane poll doesn't look good for the President

From SurveyUSA:

America Reaction to Katrina as of 9/2/05: 2 of 3 Americans today Friday 9/2/05 say the Federal Government is * not * doing enough to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. This is up from 59% yesterday (Thursday 9/1) and up from 50% on Wednesday (8/31). 49% today say the government's response to the hurricane has been "surprisingly disorganized," up from 34% Thursday and up from 20% on Wednesday. 81% of Americans today say local officials are unprepared to meet the challenges before them, up from 75% on Thursday and up from 61% on Wednesday. 53% of Americans today disapprove of President Bush's handling of the situation, up from 44% Thursday and up from 39% on Wednesday. 1 in 3 adults nationwide say the city of New Orleans should not be rebuilt.

Is the federal government doing too much? Not enough? Or just the right amount to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina?

9/2 9/1 8/31
Not enough 68 59 50
Right amount 26 32 40

Thinking just about the President of the United States ... Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina?

9/2 9/1 8/31
Approve 40 46 48
Disapprove 53 44 39

Mayor of New Orleans to feds: Get off your asses!

Here's the full transcript of Mayor Ray Nagin from today. He's pissed off at the government's response to this disaster and I for one can't blame him

From CNN (with audio)

The following is a transcript of WWL correspondent Garland Robinette's interview with Nagin on Thursday night. Robinette asked the mayor about his conversation with President Bush:

NAGIN: I told him we had an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice. And that I have been all around this city, and I am very frustrated because we are not able to marshal resources and we're outmanned in just about every respect. (Listen to the mayor express his frustration in this video -- 12:09)

You know the reason why the looters got out of control? Because we had most of our resources saving people, thousands of people that were stuck in attics, man, old ladies. ... You pull off the doggone ventilator vent and you look down there and they're standing in there in water up to their freaking necks.

And they don't have a clue what's going on down here. They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn -- excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed.

WWL: Did you say to the president of the United States, "I need the military in here"?

NAGIN: I said, "I need everything."

Now, I will tell you this -- and I give the president some credit on this -- he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is [Lt.] Gen. [Russel] Honore.

And he came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussing and people started moving. And he's getting some stuff done.

They ought to give that guy -- if they don't want to give it to me, give him full authority to get the job done, and we can save some people.

WWL: What do you need right now to get control of this situation?

NAGIN: I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. We ain't talking about -- you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here.

I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."

That's -- they're thinking small, man. And this is a major, major, major deal. And I can't emphasize it enough, man. This is crazy.

I've got 15,000 to 20,000 people over at the convention center. It's bursting at the seams. The poor people in Plaquemines Parish. ... We don't have anything, and we're sharing with our brothers in Plaquemines Parish.

It's awful down here, man.

WWL: Do you believe that the president is seeing this, holding a news conference on it but can't do anything until [Louisiana Gov.] Kathleen Blanco requested him to do it? And do you know whether or not she has made that request?

NAGIN: I have no idea what they're doing. But I will tell you this: You know, God is looking down on all this, and if they are not doing everything in their power to save people, they are going to pay the price. Because every day that we delay, people are dying and they're dying by the hundreds, I'm willing to bet you.

We're getting reports and calls that are breaking my heart, from people saying, "I've been in my attic. I can't take it anymore. The water is up to my neck. I don't think I can hold out." And that's happening as we speak.

You know what really upsets me, Garland? We told everybody the importance of the 17th Street Canal issue. We said, "Please, please take care of this. We don't care what you do. Figure it out."

WWL: Who'd you say that to?

NAGIN: Everybody: the governor, Homeland Security, FEMA. You name it, we said it.

And they allowed that pumping station next to Pumping Station 6 to go under water. Our sewage and water board people ... stayed there and endangered their lives.

And what happened when that pumping station went down, the water started flowing again in the city, and it starting getting to levels that probably killed more people.

In addition to that, we had water flowing through the pipes in the city. That's a power station over there.

So there's no water flowing anywhere on the east bank of Orleans Parish. So our critical water supply was destroyed because of lack of action.

WWL: Why couldn't they drop the 3,000-pound sandbags or the containers that they were talking about earlier? Was it an engineering feat that just couldn't be done?

NAGIN: They said it was some pulleys that they had to manufacture. But, you know, in a state of emergency, man, you are creative, you figure out ways to get stuff done.

Then they told me that they went overnight, and they built 17 concrete structures and they had the pulleys on them and they were going to drop them.

I flew over that thing yesterday, and it's in the same shape that it was after the storm hit. There is nothing happening. And they're feeding the public a line of bull and they're spinning, and people are dying down here.

WWL: If some of the public called and they're right, that there's a law that the president, that the federal government can't do anything without local or state requests, would you request martial law?

NAGIN: I've already called for martial law in the city of New Orleans. We did that a few days ago.

WWL: Did the governor do that, too?

NAGIN: I don't know. I don't think so.

But we called for martial law when we realized that the looting was getting out of control. And we redirected all of our police officers back to patrolling the streets. They were dead-tired from saving people, but they worked all night because we thought this thing was going to blow wide open last night. And so we redirected all of our resources, and we hold it under check.

I'm not sure if we can do that another night with the current resources.

And I am telling you right now: They're showing all these reports of people looting and doing all that weird stuff, and they are doing that, but people are desperate and they're trying to find food and water, the majority of them.

Now you got some knuckleheads out there, and they are taking advantage of this lawless -- this situation where, you know, we can't really control it, and they're doing some awful, awful things. But that's a small majority of the people. Most people are looking to try and survive.

And one of the things people -- nobody's talked about this. Drugs flowed in and out of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan area so freely it was scary to me, and that's why we were having the escalation in murders. People don't want to talk about this, but I'm going to talk about it.

You have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a fix, and that's the reason why they were breaking in hospitals and drugstores. They're looking for something to take the edge off of their jones, if you will.

And right now, they don't have anything to take the edge off. And they've probably found guns. So what you're seeing is drug-starving crazy addicts, drug addicts, that are wrecking havoc. And we don't have the manpower to adequately deal with it. We can only target certain sections of the city and form a perimeter around them and hope to God that we're not overrun.

WWL: Well, you and I must be in the minority. Because apparently there's a section of our citizenry out there that thinks because of a law that says the federal government can't come in unless requested by the proper people, that everything that's going on to this point has been done as good as it can possibly be.

NAGIN: Really?

WWL: I know you don't feel that way.

NAGIN: Well, did the tsunami victims request? Did it go through a formal process to request?

You know, did the Iraqi people request that we go in there? Did they ask us to go in there? What is more important?

And I'll tell you, man, I'm probably going get in a whole bunch of trouble. I'm probably going to get in so much trouble it ain't even funny. You probably won't even want to deal with me after this interview is over.

WWL: You and I will be in the funny place together.

NAGIN: But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickety-quick. After 9/11, we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care of New York and other places.

Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere around the world, everybody's eyes light up -- you mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man.

You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly.

And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now.

WWL: What can we do here?

NAGIN: Keep talking about it.

WWL: We'll do that. What else can we do?

NAGIN: Organize people to write letters and make calls to their congressmen, to the president, to the governor. Flood their doggone offices with requests to do something. This is ridiculous.

I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count.

Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

WWL: I'll say it right now, you're the only politician that's called and called for arms like this. And if -- whatever it takes, the governor, president -- whatever law precedent it takes, whatever it takes, I bet that the people listening to you are on your side.

NAGIN: Well, I hope so, Garland. I am just -- I'm at the point now where it don't matter. People are dying. They don't have homes. They don't have jobs. The city of New Orleans will never be the same in this time.

WWL: We're both pretty speechless here.

NAGIN: Yeah, I don't know what to say. I got to go.

WWL: OK. Keep in touch. Keep in touch.

My GOD! Bush's visit ws nothing more than a PHOTO-OP!

This is just insane!

I have to get the video from Bush's visit today you eveyone can see this. I'll let the reporters from CNN tell the story

CNN transcript (via AMERICABlog):
Daryn Kagen:

I gotta say that was rather an odd thing to be watching. The president finally making it to the gulf coast after five days, and then spending a big chunk of time, when he could be out seeing the devastation, getting a briefing that frankly he could have gotten back at the White House, if not then, then on board Air Force One. A lot of that seemed like a political opportunity for the cameras and for the Republican governors of Mississippi and Alabama.

Bill Schneider:

I'm not sure that's what most Americans and certainly most people in the area wanted to hear, as if the president were being filled in, told what was going on, there was a lot of thanking a lot of congratulations. Look these are frantic desperate people who have lost everything, who are in a very desperate situation, what they want is someone to come there and say the government is in control, we have control of this situation, there's a leader in charge here and we're gonna make it work....

What people want there is leadership, they don't want someone being briefed, they want leadership.

BTW: Dayrn Kagen is Rush Limbaugh's girlfriend.

Did anyone just see Bush praising the FEMA director

This is just a trainwreck. People are dying all over the place and this President was just on CNN praising the FEMA director and shaking hands. HE PRAISED A FEMA DIRECTOR THAT DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THAT PEOPLE WERE SUFFERING AND DYING IN THE CONVENTION CENTER ALTHOUGH AL THE CABLE NEWS CHANNELS REPORTED ON THIS ALL DAY!!!!!

The President actually looked bored (I not kidding). I I can get the video, I'll post it ASAP.

This is just incredible and I just can't believe that four years after 9/11, the government's response to this disaster would be this bad.

This morning I heard the mayor of New Orleans screaming for help and Bush is thanking the director of FEMA? What the hell is going on?

From AMERICABlog
Could he look any more bored? He looks like he'd rather still be on vacation as people are talking about the disaster. It's amazing to see how this guy folds when it's not a scripted event. He keeps looking around, drifting off and generally not often not even looking at people who are talking. Disgraceful.

Bloggers forced Condi to cut her vacation

I guess the bloggers embarrassed Condi so much that had to cut her tennis lesson with Monica Seles and get back to work.

From the New York Times
The White House battled a chorus of criticism throughout the day as bloggers made much of the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, vacationing in New York during the disaster, where she was spotted at a Broadway show and was to attend the U.S. Open. By Thursday evening, Ms. Rice had cut short her vacation and returned to Washington, where she headed to a staff meeting to discuss ways of coordinating offers of foreign assistance from more than 30 countries and organizations.
Now if anyone can tell me where the Vice President is at, I would appreciate it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Where's the leadership?

Wesley Clark has posted an excellent piece at TPMCafe on the hurricane and the failure of leadership form this administration.

Below is the best section from his piece.

I hope you had a chance to read today's editorial in the New York Times, called "Waiting for a Leader." If you haven't read it yet, please take a few minutes to do it. The Times is asking an important question. It's one I've been asking for a long time as well: Where is the leadership in America today?

With respect to Iraq, "stay the course" is only a slogan, not a strategy. What is our strategy for success in Iraq? Where is the leadership?

The president's own Republican party just passed an energy bill which has absolutely no effect on gas prices for now or the forseeable future, and moves us no further along the path to energy independence. Where is the leadership?

Every day American technology and manufacturing skills are sent abroad, along with American jobs. Where is the leadership?

Again, just this past week, there was at least 36 hours notice that a major hurricane was going to hit the Gulf Coast, including likely a devastating blow to New Orleans, which certainly came to pass. The President continued with his regular schedule on Monday and Tuesday in California, Arizona, and Texas to hold some staged Medicare events and enjoy more vacation time, while finally returning to the White House yesterday. The joint task force including National Guard set up by the Pentagon failed to be on the scene in New Orleans in a timely manner to stop the looting and assist in the evacuation. Where is the leadership?

Then just this morning, the President claimed that no one could have anticipated the levee breaches we've seen in New Orleans after Katrina hit. That's not leadership, that's an excuse. In fact, people have predicted this kind of disaster for many years, including President Bush's own FEMA in 2001, when they ranked hurricane flood damage to New Orleans among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing America. Instead, funding was significantly cut back, leaving key engineering projects on hold. Instead, this Administration focused on the war in Iraq, tax cuts, and private sector economic growth without asking the American people to make needed sacrifices for the good of the country. Again I ask you, where is the leadership?

You've got to keep asking that question. What I learned about leadership is that you have to give people challenging goals and work with them and inspire them to reach them. You've got to have the courage to set goals and make a difference.

Leadership for America starts with the leader's vision of where you want the country to be. And that's the problem we have in America today. We need visionary leaders who can see the promise and potential of our country and take us there. We can find those leaders again -- and we must.

Bravo!

Cafferty and Cooper of CNN are fed up.

Watching Jack Cafferty today and Anderson Cooper on CNN the last couple of days was amazing and I'm very impressed with new style of CNN with less spin and more hard news. These guys are not holding any punches when it comes to criticizing the Bush administration's response to this national disaster and they are absolutely right.

From Crooks and Liars (w/ video)

Cafferty:...I'm 62 and I remember the riots in Watts, I remember the earth Quake in San Francisco, I remember a lot of things. I have never, ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans. Where the hell is the water for these people. Why can't sandwiches be dropped to those people that are in that Super Dome down there...This is Thursday...This storm happened five days ago. It's a disgrace and don't think the world isn't watching...

Anderson Cooper (w/ Crooks and Liars commentary)

Anderson Cooper was visibly upset today by the fact that "person after person" came up to him asking why the federal government hasn't shown up to help out yet.

He reiterated over and over again. " Where is the help?"

Hell on earth

New Orleans is out of control and is in total chaos. WHERE IS FEMA? WHERE IS THE DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY? WHERE IS THE HELP? Why isn't the supplies making it to the people who need it most? If a television crew can reach the people, FEMA can reach them also.

This is a disgrace.

Heavily armed state policemen stood watch Thursday as tense, exhausted and angry crowds struggled onto buses that would deliver them from the miserable conditions of the Superdome.

As buses that arrived hours late were being loaded for the trip to the Houston Astrodome, a crowd broke through a line of National Guardsmen and rushed the glass doors into the Hyatt Regency complex that adjoins the Superdome. They were stopped by 19 heavily armed state policemen -- one had an AR15 rifle and another a 12-gauge shotgun -- all in Kevlar vests.

State police officer K.W. Miller told a reporter, "You better move to the back. This is ready to break. We've been here since 6 a.m. and this is getting worse and worse."

Authorities had said Wednesday that some 25,000 people who had been in the Superdome since Sunday, taking shelter from Hurricane Katrina, would be taken to the Astrodome. The crowds at the New Orleans arena suffered in hot, smelly conditions with few supplies and no air conditioning.

The first buses left late Wednesday, and officials in Texas said that 2,000 people had already arrived at the Astrodome in Houston by late morning Thursday. Besides the 25,000 or so hurricane refugees being brought to Houston, Texas officials said another 25,000 would be taken to San Antonio.

But an angry Terry Ebbert, head of New Orleans' emergency operations, watching the slow procession from the Superdome, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency response was inadequate.

"This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control," Ebbert said. "We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans. We have got a mayor who has been pushing and asking but we're not getting supplies."

He said the evacuation was almost entirely a Louisiana operation. "This is not a FEMA operation. I haven't seen a single FEMA guy."

One hundred buses were due to arrive at the Superdome at 6 a.m., but the first buses of the morning didn't get there until more than 3.5 hours later.
What in the hell is going on? Where is the leadership?

Liar

President Bush on Good Morning America today
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did appreciate a serious storm but these levees got breached and as a result much of New Orleans is flooded and now we're having to deal with it and will,"

Excuse me? This is an obvious lie as I just reported yesterday that experts forseen this disaster happening in New Orleans years ago.
In the event of a slow-moving Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane (with winds up to or exceeding 155 miles per hour), it's possible that only those crow's nests would remain above the water level. Such a storm, plowing over the lake, could generate a 20-foot surge that would easily overwhelm the levees of New Orleans, which only protect against a hybrid Category 2 or Category 3 storm (with winds up to about 110 miles per hour and a storm surge up to 12 feet). Soon the geographical "bowl" of the Crescent City would fill up with the waters of the lake, leaving those unable to evacuate with little option but to cluster on rooftops -- terrain they would have to share with hungry rats, fire ants, nutria, snakes, and perhaps alligators. The water itself would become a festering stew of sewage, gasoline, refinery chemicals, and debris.
In case you need more proof that Bush isn't being straight with the American people, one only needs to take a look at the archives of the New Orleans local newspaper.
For the first time in 37 years, federal budget cuts have all but stopped major work on the New Orleans area's east bank hurricane levees, a complex network of concrete walls, metal gates and giant earthen berms that won't be finished for at least another decade.

"I guess people look around and think there's a complete system in place, that we're just out here trying to put icing on the cake," said Mervin Morehiser, who manages the "Lake Pontchartrain and vicinity" levee project for the Army Corps of Engineers. "And we aren't saying that the sky is falling, but people should know that this is a work in progress, and there's more important work yet to do before there is a complete system in place."

[...]

"I can't tell you exactly what that could mean this hurricane season if we get a major storm," Naomi said. "It would depend on the path and speed of the storm, the angle that it hits us.

"But I can tell you that we would be better off if the levees were raised, . . . and I think it's important and only fair that those people who live behind the levee know the status of these projects."

[...]

The Bush administration's proposed fiscal 2005 budget includes only $3.9 million for the east bank hurricane project. Congress likely will increase that amount, although last year it bumped up the administration's $3 million proposal only to $5.5 million.

"I needed $11 million this year, and I got $5.5 million," Naomi said. "I need $22.5 million next year to do everything that needs doing, and the first $4.5 million of that will go to pay four contractors who couldn't get paid this year."

[...]

The challenge now, said emergency management chiefs Walter Maestri in Jefferson Parish and Terry Tullier in New Orleans, is for southeast Louisiana somehow to persuade those who control federal spending that protection from major storms and flooding are matters of homeland security.

"It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay," Maestri said. "Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

[...]

Levee-raising is only part of the flood-related work that has stopped since the federal government began reducing Corps of Engineers appropriations in 2001, as more money was diverted to homeland security, the fight against terrorism and the war in Iraq.

NEWSFLASH: Condi Rice spotted playing tennis and shopping for shoes while people die in the south

How f*cking stupid can one person be! People are dying and she's out playing tennis with Monica Seles and buying shoes? Could you imagine what the conservatives would say if that happened under Clinton's watch?

Oh, please let me be the Republican nominee for President in 2008!

(BTW: This just happened over the last 24 hours)

From DrudgeReport (I can't believe I'm quoting an article from this guy)

Eyewitness: Sec of State Condi Rice laughs it up at 'Spamalot' while Gulf Coast lays in tatters. Theater goers on New York' City's Great White Way were shocked to see the President's former National Security Advisor at the Monty Python farce last night -- as the rest of the cabinet responds to Hurricane Katrina...

From Gawker
According to Drudge, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently enjoyed a little Broadway entertainment. And Page Six reports that she’s also working on her backhand with Monica Seles. So the Gulf Coast has gone all Mad Max, women are being raped in the Superdome, and Rice is enjoying a brief vacation in New York. We wish we were surprised.

What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

Angry Lady, whoever you are, we love you. You are a true American.

Where's Mad Max when you need him

My goodness, all hell has broken loose.
Fights and trash fires broke out at the hot and stinking Superdome and anger and unrest mounted across New Orleans on Thursday, as National Guardsmen in armored vehicles poured in to help restore order across the increasingly lawless and desperate city.

"We are out here like pure animals. We don't have help," the Rev. Issac Clark, 68, said outside the New Orleans Convention Center, where corpses lay in the open and evacuees complained that they were dropped off and given nothing.

[...]

The Superdome, where some 25,000 people were being evacuated by bus to the Houston Astrodome, descended into chaos.

Huge crowds, hoping to finally escape the stifling confines of the stadium, jammed the main concourse outside the dome, spilling out over the ramp to the Hyatt hotel next door — a seething sea of tense, unhappy, people packed shoulder-to-shoulder up to the barricades where heavily armed National Guardsmen stood.

Fights broke out. A fire erupted in a trash chute inside the dome, but a National Guard commander said it did not affect the evacuation.

Outside the Convention Center, the sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement. Thousands of storm refugees had been assembling outside for days, waiting for buses that did not come.

At least seven bodies were scattered outside, and hungry, desperate people who were tired of waiting broke through the steel doors to a food service entrance and began pushing out pallets of water and juice and whatever else they could find.

An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

"I don't treat my dog like that," 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. "I buried my dog." He added: "You can do everything for other countries but you can't do nothing for your own people. You can go overseas with the military but you can't get them down here."

This is simply unbelievable.

Highest gas prices in Connecticut

Prices as of 12:30 p.m. (courtesy of connecticutgasprices.com)

Gas stations running out of gas

This is your wake up call people!

It's being reported that many gas stations and airports are sturggling to keep open due to the lack of gasoline.

From the AP
"Out of Gas" signs and yellow caution tape were draped across pumps that were out of gas in parts of the United States early Thursday after many retailers were overrun by panicked motorists looking to top off their tanks as prices soared past $3 per gallon and reports of shortages spread.

Many gas stations in and around downtown Atlanta had run out of gas by sunrise. The same was reported in elsewhere, including parts of North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Arizona.

"People have kind of panicked and they're waiting in long lines because they're afraid the prices are going to go up," said Jan Vineyard, executive director of the West Virginia Oil Marketers And Grocers Association. "We're going to have some outages."

Price hikes were evident at stations nationwide Wednesday, the result of fuel pipeline shutdowns and delayed deliveries since Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi earlier this week.

Gas prices jumped by more than 50 cents a gallon Wednesday in Ohio, 40 cents in Georgia and 30 cents in Maine. The increases followed price spikes on wholesale and futures markets Tuesday after the hurricane knocked off-line refineries and pipeline links along the Gulf Coast that provide about a third of the country's gasoline supplies.


You've been warned.

Frustration

I've received alot of emails over the last day asking me to tone it down a bit and I have to say that I understand their point of view but when I think of all those people suffering needlessly, I blood begins to boil.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo sums up my feelings perfectly...
I'm sorry. I know we're supposed to be observing an accountability free moment for the president. But there are just too many examples out there of the ways in which his policies have contributed to and accentuated this crisis: systematic cuts in levee and pump construction around New Orleans (second article here), phasing out FEMA and the apparently the whole concept of national coordination of the response to natural disasters. That's a great idea, isn't it? Similar failings are discussed by Bruce W. Jentleson and Juliette Kayyem at TPMCafe. And, of course, example after example of cronies running critical agencies. Anyone want to give a buzz to Joe Allbaugh over at New Bridge Strategies?

The scene of any natural disaster, especially one of such grave magnitude, will invariably be chaotic. Much won't go according to plan. But a lot of people seem to have been caught unprepared in this mess, a lot of preparedness agencies appear to have missed a few beats in getting on top of it.

Yes, let's save everyone and everything we can. People on the scene and in the surrounding region are pulling together in amazing ways. But no more letting this man's failures become his own argument against accountability. It's always been a live-for-today presidency.

I couldn't say it better myself Josh.

National guard troops play basketball while people suffer

I can't make this stuff up even if I'm at a loss for words.

While reporters listen to horror stories in Biloxi Mississippi, the national guard troops were seen playing basketball and excerising nearby.

If you don't believe this, read this editorial from the local paper in Biloxi.
he coastal communities of South Mississippi are desperately in need of an unprecedented relief effort.
We understand that New Orleans also was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but surely this nation has the resources to rescue both that metropolitan and ours.

Whatever plans that were in place to deal with such a natural disaster have proven inadequate. Perhaps destruction on this scale could not have been adequately prepared for.

But now that it has taken place, no effort should be spared to mitigate the hurricane's impact.

The essentials -- ice, gasoline, medicine -- simply are not getting here fast enough.

[...]

While the flow of information is frustratingly difficult, our reporters have yet to find evidence of a coordinated approach to relieve pain and hunger or to secure property and maintain order.

People are hurting and people are being vandalized.

Yet where is the National Guard, why hasn't every able-bodied member of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?

On Wednesday reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics.


Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!

When asked why these young men were not being used to help in the recovery effort, our reporters were told that it would be pointless to send military personnel down to the beach to pick up debris.

Litter is the least of our problems. We need the president to back up his declaration of a disaster with a declaration of every man and woman under his command will do whatever is necessary to deal with that disaster.

Simply incredible!

Waiting on a leader

This is just crazy!

New Orleans is now in chaos with people trying to shoot down helicopters, widespread looting and civil unrest, and with thousands of refgees looking begging for help, one has to ask, where is the leadership from President Bush?

Where now on day 5 of this national disaster and things that should of happened on day one are still not done. While President Bush was accepting a guitar on Tuesday, hundreds of people in the South were probably dying and could of been saved if the government acted in time. Now, the President's actions are too little too late with New Orleans falling into complete chaos.

When the President finally got around to addressing the nation, instead of giving a speech in which he could of shown some feeling for the people suffering (like his speech after 9/11) he simply gives a brief list of things the government is doing for the people in New Orleans, makes a brief remark on how people can help, and smiled for the camera.

Slowly, people are looking back and are now asking where was the President's leadership, why was he on vacation while the storm ripped apart the south, and why is there an apparent lack of coordination happening right now when tens of thousands of people desperately need help. The Presdient and government officals knew that this hurricane was a category 5 storm and was going to strike New Orleans a week ago (in fact, if you go back, you'll see that the forecasters predicted that the damage would be worse).

Newspapers around the world are ripping President Bush on his lack of planning for this emergency and here's todays editorial from the New York Times

George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.

We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass. Right now, hundreds of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care. Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril. Public health threats must be controlled in New Orleans and throughout southern Mississippi. Drivers must be given confidence that gasoline will be available, and profiteering must be brought under control at a moment when television has been showing long lines at some pumps and spot prices approaching $4 a gallon have been reported.

Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.

While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?

It would be some comfort to think that, as Mr. Bush cheerily announced, America "will be a stronger place" for enduring this crisis. Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes. But since this administration won't acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Info on how you can help the hurricane relief effort

The Hartford Courant just posted an article which details how you can help the hurricane victims with donations of bottled water, blankets, tents, etc.

ARMORY DONATIONS

Gov. M. Jodi Rell is asking citizens to donate bottled water, easily opened, non-perishable food and snacks, batteries, blankets, tarps and tents. Six state armory locations will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning Thursday. The locations are:

HARTFORD: 360 Broad St.

NEW HAVEN: 209 Goffe St.

NEW LONDON: 249 Bayonet St.

NORWALK: 290 New Canaan Ave.

PUTNAM: 25 Keech St.

WATERBURY: 64 Field St.

Corporations wishing to donate should contact Lt. Col. Robert Cody with the Connecticut National Guard at (860) 524-4951.

Web site: http://www.ct.gov/governorrell/site/default.asp

AMERICAN RED CROSS

The American Red Cross is seeking citizen volunteers for two-week deployments to help hurricane victims. Volunteers must first attend a two-day training course. Chapters across the state are sponsoring training.

For further information, call:

Charter Oak Chapter: 1-877-287-3327

Waterbury Chapter: 203-755-1137


The Red Cross is also seeking monetary donations. Checks should be made payable to the American Red Cross, with "Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort" in the memo line. The organization also accepts online donations.

Web site: http://www.ctredcross.org/

SALVATION ARMY

To donate money to the Salvation Army, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Checks marked "Hurricane Katrina" can be sent to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 628, Hartford, CT, 06142-0628. Donations can also be made at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores.

The group is also seeking volunteers to join hurricane relief rescue teams. Those interested should visit the organization's Web site, or call (860) 543-8400.

Web site: http://www.salvationarmy-ct-ri.org

AMERICARES

AmeriCares has established a Hurricane Relief Fund. Those wishing to donate should make checks payable to AmeriCares, and note in the memo line that the donation is for Katrina. Checks may be sent to AmeriCares, 88 Hamilton Ave., Stamford, CT, 06092. Donations to the organization can also be made online.

To contact AmeriCares by phone, call 1-800-486-HELP.

Web site: http://www.americares.org

COUNCIL 4 AFSCME

The state's largest AFL-CIO union activated its "Council 4 America" fund, first established after the Sept. 11 attacks. Union members and the general public are being urged to donate.

Checks should be made payable to "Council 4 America" and checks should note "Hurricane Katrina Relief" in the memo line. Checks can be sent to Council 4 America, 444 East Main St., New Britain, CT, 06051.

Web site: http://www.council4.org

CONNECTICUT FOOD BANK

The Connecticut Food Bank is asking for financial donations to help food banks that have been wiped out by the hurricane. Funds will go directly to helping America's Second Harvest network food banks maintain or resume operations during relief efforts.

To donate, call America's Second Harvest at (800) 771-2303. To make a donation directly to the Connecticut Food Bank, call (203) 469-5000, ext. 303.

Web site: http://www.secondharvest.org

Time is of the essence. People in the south desperately need your help so please give what you can.

Before and after

Before (from The Houston Chronicle Dec 1, 2001)
New Orleans is sinking.

And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster.

So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country.

The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.

The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all.

In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city's less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston.

Economically, the toll would be shattering.

Southern Louisiana produces one-third of the country's seafood, one-fifth of its oil and one-quarter of its natural gas. The city's tourism, lifeblood of the French Quarter, would cease to exist. The Big Easy might never recover.

And, given New Orleans' precarious perch, some academics wonder if it should be rebuilt at all.

It's been 36 years since Hurricane Betsy buried New Orleans 8 feet deep. Since then a deteriorating ecosystem and increased development have left the city in an ever more precarious position. Yet the problem went unaddressed for decades by a laissez-faire government, experts said.

"To some extent, I think we've been lulled to sleep," said Marc Levitan, director of Louisiana State University's hurricane center.
...and after (editor and publisher Aug. 30, 2005)

New Orleans had long known it was highly vulnerable to flooding and a direct hit from a hurricane. In fact, the federal government has been working with state and local officials in the region since the late 1960s on major hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.

Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune Web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming. ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

Also that June, with the 2004 hurricane season starting, the Corps' project manager Al Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:

"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don't get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can't stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isn't that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can't raise them."

The panel authorized that money, and on July 1, 2004, it had to pony up another $250,000 when it learned that stretches of the levee in Metairie had sunk by four feet. The agency had to pay for the work with higher property taxes. The levee board noted in October 2004 that the feds were also now not paying for a hoped-for $15 million project to better shore up the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.

The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history. Because of the proposed cuts, the Corps office there imposed a hiring freeze. Officials said that money targeted for the SELA project -- $10.4 million, down from $36.5 million -- was not enough to start any new jobs.

There was, at the same time, a growing recognition that more research was needed to see what New Orleans must do to protect itself from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. But once again, the money was not there. As the Times-Picayune reported last Sept. 22:

"That second study would take about four years to complete and would cost about $4 million, said Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi. About $300,000 in federal money was proposed for the 2005 fiscal-year budget, and the state had agreed to match that amount. But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money, he said."

The Senate was seeking to restore some of the SELA funding cuts for 2006. But now it's too late.

One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer: a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday.

The Newhouse News Service article published Tuesday night observed, "The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. ... In its budget, the Bush administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need."

Local officials are now saying, the article reported, that had Washington heeded their warnings about the dire need for hurricane protection, including building up levees and repairing barrier islands, "the damage might not have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be."

How are RNC.org and Democrats.org dealing with the crisis

This is simply amazing (hat tip to daily.kos).

I went to both the Republican National Committee (http://www.rnc.org) and the Democratic National Committee (http://www.democrats.org/) websites to see how they are dealing with the hurricane crisis and this is what I saw.

First, the Republicans (from today at 4:35 p.m.).


Now the Democrats (from today at 4:40 p.m.).


If you need any more proof that Bush and Co. are out of touch with reality, this should do it.

Excellent editorial on Bush and the hurricane

I guess I'm not the only person upset over our President's lack of leadership skills during this disaster. Now, this editorial is from the Manchester Union Leader, a very conservative newspaper to say the least.
AS THE EXTENT of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation became clearer on Tuesday — millions without power, tens of thousands homeless, a death toll unknowable because rescue crews can’t reach some regions — President Bush carried on with his plans to speak in San Diego, as if nothing important had happened the day before.

Katrina already is measured as one of the worst storms in American history. And yet, President Bush decided that his plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day with a speech were more pressing than responding to the carnage.

A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease.

The cool, confident, intuitive leadership Bush exhibited in his first term, particularly in the months immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, has vanished. In its place is a diffident detachment unsuitable for the leader of a nation facing war, natural disaster and economic uncertainty.

Wherever the old George W. Bush went, we sure wish we had him back.

I only disagreement with this editorial is the comment that Bush showed leadership during 9-11 because if I remember, our President was too busy reading "My Pet Goat" while the two planes slammed into the WTC.

Image of the hurricane damage from space


The picture tells the story.

The top image is New Orleans after the hurricane.

Please donate!

The ongoing John Rowland saga will have to take a back seat for a moment simply because there's more important things going on in our country at this moment.

The situation in the south is getting more dire and the American Cross desperately needs your help. Please go over to The American Red Cross website and give what you can. Any amount of money will be greatly appreciated.

Eighty percent of New Orleans is under water at this moment and the leeves can not withstand the pressure of the water which means things are going to get worse before they get any better. The damage from this hurricane is simply beyond comprehension and people are in dire need of assistance so please, please give what you can.

Thanks.

4 dollars a gallon for gas coming soon

According to the experts, it's just a matter of time until the gas prices will hit 4 dollars a gallon and people in the Northeast will be hit first.

From CNN Money
Consumers can expect retail gas prices to rise to $4 a gallon soon but whether they stay there depends on the long-term damage to oil facilities from Hurricane Katrina, oil and gas analysts said Wednesday.

"There's no question gas will hit $4 a gallon," Ben Brockwell, director of pricing at the Oil Price Information Service, said. "The question is how high will it go and how long will it last?"

OPIS tracks wholesale and retail oil prices and provides pricing information for AAA's daily reports on fuel prices.

Brockwell said with gasoline prices now exceeding $3 a gallon before even reaching the wholesale level, it "doesn't take a genius" to expect retail prices to hit $4 a gallon soon.

"Consumers haven't seen the worst of it yet," Brockwell said.

He expects consumers in the Southeast and Northeast to be pinched first, following the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast region.

Katrina forced operators to close more than a tenth of the country's refining capacity and a quarter of its oil production, which sent gasoline prices surging.

"With this kind of hiccup in refinery capacity, in stretched markets like California, you could see over $4 a gallon in gas," Evan Smith, an analyst at U.S. Global Investors, told CNN/Money.

While it's still too early to fully assess the damage caused by Katrina, efforts to build up inventories of crude oil, natural gas and other products like gasoline will be set back by the storm, according to Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at Global Insight.

In a research note, Behravesh laid out a worst-case scenario that puts average prices for regular unleaded gasoline at about $3.50 a gallon for the next four to six months.

"The impact on consumer spending in such a scenario would be very dramatic, cutting the growth rate by as much as 3 percent and pushing real GDP growth in the fourth quarter closer to zero," he wrote.
Thank goodness I can ride my bicycle to work...

Mayor of New Orleans upset over lack of coordination

As I have been saying since yesterday, I'm at a loss over the lack of leadership our President is showing right now with the growing disaster happening in New Orleans.

Maybe people are not looking at this seriously enough so let me try to simply explain this. The city of New Orleans IS GONE! The city is 20 feet BELOW sea level and the water will continue to rush into the city until the water in the lake and the water in the city levels off. AGAIN, the city is 20 FEET BELOW SEA LEVEL.

It wasn't like people in the government didn't know that this hurricane (which was forcast as a level 5+ days before it hit the area) could cause this type of damage to the region so what happened to the planning? Where are the troops (President Bush placed 30,000 troops when Andrew hit the US in the 90s and the current President only placed 3,000 troops in NEw Orleans so far).

The former and current mayor of New Orleans are very upset and letting their feelings known in the media.

From CNN

A day after Hurricane Katrina dealt a devastating blow to the Big Easy, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Tuesday night blasted what he called a lack of coordination in relief efforts for setting behind the city's recovery.

"There is way too many fricking ... cooks in the kitchen," Nagin said in a phone interview with WAPT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi, fuming over what he said were scuttled plans to plug a 200-yard breach near the 17th Street Canal, allowing Lake Pontchartrain to spill into the central business district. An earlier breach occurred along the Industrial Canal in the city's Lower 9th Ward.

[...]


The Corps has workers assessing damage at the two locations. The National Guard, Coast Guard and state and federal agencies are working with the agency to speed the process, it reported.

"These closures are essential so that water can be removed from the city," a statement from the Corps of Engineers' headquarters in Washington said.

Walter Baumy, the agency's engineering division chief, said the Corps is trying to line up rock, sandbags, barges, helicopters and cranes to patch the damaged levees.

[...]

But Nagin said a repair attempt was supposed to have been made Tuesday.

According to the mayor, Black Hawk helicopters were scheduled to pick up and drop massive 3,000-pound sandbags in the 17th Street Canal breach, but were diverted on rescue missions. Nagin said neglecting to fix the problem has set the city behind by at least a month.

"I had laid out like an eight-week to ten-week timeline where we could get the city back in semblance of order. It's probably been pushed back another four weeks as a result of this," Nagin said.

"That four weeks is going to stop all commerce in the city of New Orleans. It also impacts the nation, because no domestic oil production will happen in southeast Louisiana."


Some people emailed me asking me why am I taling so much abou this issue. Well. I know this site is suppose to concentrate on Connecticut issues but this hurricane will have a direct impact on our state and the nation. If you don't think so, just watch how fast the gas prices rise over the next couple of days. I predict that the price of gas will rise by at least a quarter by the end of the week.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

How out of touch is this man from reality

A picture is worth a thousand words...

From Yahoo News

President Bush plays a guitar presented to him by Country Singer Mark Wills, right, backstage following his visit to Naval Base Coronado, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Bush visited the base to deliver remarks on V-J Commemoration Day. (AP Photo/ABC News, Martha Raddatz)


I'm speechless. On a day which hundreds of people could be dying, our President is at a naval base acting like he can play a guitar! Again, I say, imagine what the conservatives would say if Clinton did something like this...

I can't make this stuff up.

What's wrong with this picture

I'm speechless and stunned at the stupidity of this President during this hurricane crisis.

I tried to not go on a political rampage over this but the more I think about this situation, the more upset I get over the lack of action from our President.

I'll let AMERICABlog's John Aravoris explain the situation

Mr. President,

There is something wrong with this picture.

Hurricane Katrina is now being called one of the worst, if not the worst, disaster in US history. Instead of focusing on this growing tragedy in the southeast, you are at this moment giving a speech in California about World War II and Iraq. Yes, you devoted one minute of that speech to the hurricane, but now it's been 20 minutes and you are still talking about WWII and Iraq.

Mr. President, the entire nation is focused on one issue today, and it is not WWII. We are fixated by the images we're seeing on TV. The images of uncontrollable fires blazing across New Orleans. The images of people stranded on their rooftops waving white t-shirts for help. And as I write this, the water levels are still rising in New Orleans and the situation is getting desperate.

In the face of this tragedy, rather than call off your vacation days ago and head back home to coordinate the relief, but even more importantly, to show the American people that you care and are in charge, you did not fly east to Washington. You flew west to Arizona and to California. While New Orleans and the south was in the process of being destroyed yesterday, you flew west and devoted the day to Medicare. While the death toll for the hurricane increases by the hour, and even FOX News has just now cut away from your live WWII speech in order to return their coverage to New Orleans, you continue to babble on about WWII and Iraq.

Mr. President, you should consider yourself lucky. By ignoring this hurricane and remaining on vacation all weekend, and by continuing to ignore this hurricane and travel out west doing stump speeches instead of focusing on the growing tragedy, you handed the Democrats in Congress a golden opportunity to paint you as out of touch, uncaring, and embattled. The Democrats chose to ignore this opportunity and have remained silent about your complacency in the face of disaster. That is unfortunately what Democrats do; they miss opportunities and sit back quietly while Republicans stumble over themselves with their incompetence.

But we're not your typical Democrats, and we see that you're hiding from the hurricane, and we can't understand why. Canceling your vacation this weekend, canceling your trips to Arizona and California the past two days, were not only the right thing to do, they were the politically smart thing to do. Your approval ratings are at 40% and falling. Mourning mom Cindy Sheehan's ongoing protest at your ranch has made you look a fool. You need whatever you can to get the media and public attention off of the disaster in Iraq. The hurricane was that opportunity. So what did you do when faced with this impending doom? You called off your vacation and went to California to talk about Iraq.

Mr. President, go to Washington TODAY and show the country you're in charge. Go to New Orleans TODAY and show the country that you care. While you ramble on in California about Iraq, FOX News anchor Shepard Smith is flying over New Orleans in a helicopter to survey the damage and report to the nation. Have things gotten that bad in our nation that a reporter for a biased news outlet is acting more presidential than the president himself?

Mr. President, you should have canceled your vacation and your political stump speeches days ago. Blow out the candles, put away the birthday cakes, and come home to Washington today - not tomorrow after you finish all your politicking in California over the next 24 hours, but TODAY.

Politics can wait. Your country needs you.
If Clinton would of done something like this, Republicans would be ripping him to shreads right now. Does Bush have NO shame?

Follow hurricane updates from WWL TV Blog

This horrible disaster is beyond comprehension and it's far from over. Leeves are breaking in New Orleans (pictured above) which is making the situation in New Orleans all the more horrible. To get an idea on how bad trhings are now, marital law has just been declared for New Orleans.

You can follow the updates from WWL TV's blog which includes live video by clicking here and here.

If you can, please help by donating to the American Red Cross. The people down south are in real trouble and the death toll from this disaster could end up in hundreds if not thousands so please give what you can.

Honeymoon between political parties won't last long

The New London Day has a great article about the upcomming campaign season and why the bipartisan bond established between the Democrats and Republicans during the sub base fight will quickly disappear once the campaign season gets into full gear.

From The New London Day

The fact that Democratic Sens. Christopher J. Dodd and Joseph I. Lieberman stood shoulder to shoulder with Republican Congressman Rob Simmons in the fight to save the Naval Submarine Base has no political meaning for the House member's 2006 re-election bid. But the fact that the base was saved has a great deal of potential benefit for Rep. Simmons.

Rep. Simmons' certain opponent is attorney Joseph Courtney, a former state representative who lost to the congressman in 2002. Mr. Courtney took an election-cycle off and built up his personal finances, solidified his political contacts and is busy raising money and criticizing Congressman Simmons already. He started early.

He is the type of liberal Democrat that Sen. Dodd appreciates and it's certain that the senior senator will make appearances for Mr. Courtney when the 2006 campaign develops. Same for Sen. Lieberman, who will also be running that year seeking his fourth full term in the Senate.

So Sen. Dodd's willingness to praise Rep. Simmons' work in helping to keep open the base has no real meaning for 2006 relative to the senators. Sen. Dodd's words no doubt will find their way into a Simmons re-election advertisement, but it will carry residual value only.

The two senators also will appear on behalf of whatever Democrat runs against Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell in 2006. The United States senators understand the bedrock that supports their candidacies. Both Congressman Simmons and Gov. Rell will be fair game.

If the base was closed, Simmons chances for re-election would be toast but on the other hand, the saving of the base is not a guarentee that Simmons will be reelected (the 2nd district is one of the most liberal districts on the state).

In any case, the saving of the base wil mean nothing to short-term memory voters come this time next year and one should expect a very hostile campaign from both Simmons and Courtney.

More legal problems for Rowland

It was only a matter of time until prosecutors would go after ex-Gov. John Rowland for additional charges. It was strange how Rowland was able to get a pretty good paying consulting gig (15,000 per month) so soon after resigning and now it seems that his consulting work is coming back to haunt him.

As I reported before, Rowland knew thas day would come and has already put together a defense team as early as last month to deal with his new legal problems. The question you have to ask yourself (and the question on Rowland lawyer's mind) is can Rowland get a fair trial.

From the Danbury News-Times

Connecticut's chief state's attorney is seeking an arrest warrant for John G. Rowland, the attorney for the former governor said Monday.

[...]

He is a target of state prosecutors because of consulting work he accepted shortly after he resigned from office last year. Investigators are looking at the possibility his work for two companies, for a total of $15,000 per month, violated the state's "revolving door" laws. The laws prohibit a public official from working for a state contractor or participating as a lobbyist on a state issue for one year after leaving office.

R. Bartley Halloran, Rowland's attorney, said he does not know the specific charges, but believes they have to do with Rowland's employment after leaving office. Rowland did consulting work for a building contractor and a science foundation.

"We feel that on the facts of the law that he has committed no crime and our great worry would be whether or not he could get a fair trial," Halloran said.

{...}

Shortly after he resigned, Rowland got consulting jobs with two companies, both state contractors, that paid him a total of $15,000 a month.

A lawyer for Klewin Building Co. told lawmakers that Klewin hired Rowland to set up meetings on bond issues and meet with developers for Indian casinos in New York.

Rowland's contract with the Georgia-based National Science Center Foundation and Connecticut's technical school system was intended to expand a pilot program that used computers to connect math skills to specific trades.

Sen. Andrew Roraback, a Goshen Republican whose district includes Brookfield and New Milford, said Rowland's lobbying work was surprising considering he just resigned from office under threat of impeachment and still faced a federal criminal probe.

"A lot of people were shocked to learn the governor had taken employment in any capacity that would involve interacting with the state of Connecticut," Roraback said. "I thought if that is not illegal it should be illegal. If it was illegal, he'll face the consequences."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane update


I'm taking a small break from CT stuff to keep as everyone is focused on Hurricane Katrina and the damage it's causing right now.

There are plenty of blogs that are keeping people updated on events happening down south so there's no need to watch the cable news to find out what's happening.

Here's a good blog that has a picture of the damage done to the Superdome. I'm working on a list of hurricane-related blogs and I'll post the list later.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Find the cheapest gas station in your area

If you're like me, you hate paying high prices for gasoline.

Here's a great website that will find you the cheapest gas staions in your area.