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It's hard to know what to think.  Tonight in the State Of The Union, Pres. Bush is going to announce that the next annual meeting of North American leaders -- Canada, U.S. and Mexico, will be held in New Orleans.  He says the reason will be to highlight New Orleans' rebuilding.

I'd like to know your thoughts on this.  I have some, but maybe I've become an old cynic.

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Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 01:41 PM PDT

Katrina Proves Help Is On The Way

by Hootenanny

Wherever, whenever there's trouble, your government can offer help.  Oh, it doesn't have to.  But look, up in the air.  We're spending hours in lines, in the airport, on planes, waiting for things to move, but deregulation means nobody's in charge.  So we sit.

We learned from Katrina that the current governing philosophy is, do nothing if at all possible.  Health care, ending the war, racism in the court system, there's a simple solution.  Permanent governmental siesta.

There is one important image I want you to remember....

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The North Carolina Bar Disciplinary Committee ruled on Dist. Atty Nifong today, and, of course, disbarred him.  Why?  Part of their rationale was that the justice system must be trusted to be honest.  When the charges were announced, he was in the middle of an election, and he sensationalized the case to give him a political advantage.  The whole country understands that this is wrong.  If they don't understand the DOJ controversy as well, maybe we're not explaining it as well as we could.

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Back in 1965, singer/songwriter Tom Paxton wrote about LBJ's plan to escalate the American effort in Vietnam, from the point of view of a soldier called up to serve.  And, this will be no surprise for those who have followed Tom's career, he's back with a timely revision....

George W Told The Nation

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Fri Aug 11, 2006 at 02:52 PM PDT

Terror Plot: U.S. Jumped The Gun

by Hootenanny

The details af this investigation are emerging.  Operation Overt was a one-year intelligence effort, British security carefully shadowing the plotters.

Until, according to The Advertiser....

"There ... were suggestions American authorities, tipped off to impending raids in Britain and chasing leads in the U.S., jumped the gun and forced the hand of investigators in the UK."

A couple of months ago Louisiana turned over something like 100,000 documents requested by the Senate committee, most of them mirrored here:

But from the Federal executive agencies, little response.  What's the holdup?  

Today at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Joe Lieberman said the White House has:

opposed efforts to interview their personnel. And they have hindered our ability to obtain information from other federal agencies regarding White House actions in response to Katrina....Indeed, at yesterday's staff interview of former FEMA Director Michael Brown, agency lawyers advised Mr. Brown not to say whether he spoke to the President or the Vice President, or comment on the substance of conversations he had with any other high level White House officials.

Full link follows:

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That's a favorite wingnut complaint against La.'s Governor Blanco during Katrina.  She declared a State of Emergency, and called FEMA and the White House for help, but she failed, they say, to tell the fed honchos how many troops to send.

Fast forward to Rita.  Texas' Gov. Rick Perry has seen all the problems from Katrina, is closer to the White House than ticks on a dog (or some such Dan Ratherism), yet....

Fri., Sept. 23, Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence DiRita complained that Perry had the same problem.

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As you may know, the right has busied themselves swiftboating La.'s Governor Kathleen Blanco.  Some of us felt that was a huge problem the Kerry campaign had, not responding to the allegations.  Well, in La., Blanco has not been jumping out of the gate to meet the Katrina allegations, either, but she points out she's had a lot to do ... like search rescue, feed, etc.  Here is the first semi-in-depth interview with her since the disaster.  How well do you feel she's handling the issues?  My own feeling is that she can't just defend her actions, she also MUST point out the Fed deficiencies over and over in great detail and show how her reliance on the feds led to the public perception of confusion in the state government.
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  Cindy Sheehan's diary at has a report from a Veterans for Peace doctor who was prevented from helping the Red Cross in Covington, St. Tammany Parish.  There are other stories showing red tape keeping aid from getting through, and one in the Baton Rouge newspaper is particularly egregrious.  This time, it's Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter, who has served in other disasters as a volunteer physician.  However, at N.O.'s Louis Armstrong International Airport, while administering chest compressions to a dying woman, a FEMA official told him to stop.  Why?  Paperwork, they said.

"I have been going to Ecuador and Mexico (on medical missions) for 14 years. I was at ground zero. I've seen hundreds of people die. This was different because we knew the hurricane was coming. FEMA showed up late and then rejected help for the sake of organization. They put form before function, and people died."

full story below...

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From the Times-Picayune, Tues., Aug. 23, 2005:

Hurry up, and wait.

In the month after Tropical Storm Cindy blew into southeast Louisiana, state and local governments in five parishes scrambled to document more than $5 million in losses to public agencies -- most of it the cost of handling mountains of tree debris.

The documentation was used to corroborate Gov. Kathleen Blanco's July 27 request for a presidential disaster declaration, which would send disaster recovery money into Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Charles, Plaquemines and Lafourche parishes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But as of Monday, almost one month after Blanco's request, no declaration has been issued, and no one seems to know why, including Arthur Jones, Blanco's liaison with FEMA.

"I've been in this business for many years, and I've never seen a situation quite like this," said Jones, disaster recovery division chief for the state Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

full story:

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Mon Aug 22, 2005 at 03:21 PM PDT

Prairie Chapel Road song

by Hootenanny

Eric Folkerth has a UT journalism background and an SMU graduate degree, and lives in Dallas, where his career has turned, as most always happens in Texas, to music.  He has been over at Camp Casey in Crawford for many days, and was one of the folks who helped put up the little white crosses (plus several Stars of David and one crescent moon) that made the news when a pickup driver vandalized them.  He has written a pretty good song about the incident, "Prairie Chapel Road," with a link on his website, which is, of course  He wrote this week to say about the song...
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The cosy relationship between the Repugs and tobacco has NEVER been exploited well by the Dems.  But,  while FDA approval of drugs that kill is in the headlines, we should be making waves.  For example, past CEO of drug co. G.D. Searle?? Don Rumsfeld.

...from column by Arianna Huffington
  November 24, 2004:

As Democrats continue to search heaven and earth for a moral values issue they can call their own, I have just the prescription: why not start with the immoral behavior of giant drug companies such as Merck that continue to sacrifice the health of the public on the altar of higher and higher profits?


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