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With no apparent shame, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales pleaded the Ken Lay defense — also known by his own prosecutors as the "Aw, shucks" defense or the " deliberate ignorance" defense — in his explanation of the political executions of United States attorneys by his office and the White House.

Gonzales tried to avoid any responsibility in the growing scandal by using the word " responsible" while ducking its consequences. He said, "I accept responsibility for everything that happens here within this department, but when you have 110,000 people working in the department, obviously there are going to be decisions made that I am not aware of in real time."

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The WPost reports new research that half of today's 15 to 19-year olds have had oral sex. Shouldn't the headline continue, "With Other Half"?

Not an academic question. Foes of sex education, condom availability, women's privacy, all like to pretend that teens aren't having sex, that any health care services, including birth control, STD prevention, etc. are likely to lead to more sex, immoral out-of-wedlock sex at that. How many teens know what "wedlock" means, anyway?

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Bush Education Secretary Margaret Spellings will ask Congress to authorize separate school facilities for the estimated 350,000 school-age Louisiana survivors.

Meanwhile, the same story reports that school voucher vultures are circling survivor centers in hopes of kidnapping children to their various private, charter, storefront, back-alley faux schools to show how important they are to education. This is a racist outrage, a return to pre-Brown v. Board of Education.

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In today's NYT, David Brooks gives us the Republican's 2006 Katrina campaign theme: it was government's fault.

So once again, the GOP will run by running against the government they run. As cynical as it is, it will work if we take it for granted that voters will punish leaders for failures of leadership. That's not an automatic.

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Let's juxtapose two damning facts:  In 2003, when Democratic Texas legislators bolted the state to try to block Tom DeLay's unprecedented congressional redistricting plan, the majority leader instantly mobilized the Department of Homeland Security to track down his enemies. Links here, and here, and here.

Second fact: Louisiana state of emergency declared on Friday, Aug. 26. On Monday, FEMA asked Homeland Security if it might be okay to get 1,000 staffers ready to go to La. in a couple of days. See Think Progress timeline.

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(From the diaries. As I noted a few weeks ago, DeLay escapes indictment, for now, because of jurisdictional issues, but just about his entire Texas circle is now under indictment -- kos)

The illegal corporate cash Tom DeLay used to build new protective political levees for the GOP has led to five more indictments from a Travis County, Texas, grand jury this morning. If only Bush/DeLay would have put a similar effort into real levees to save real lives rather than enhance and protect their own lust for power.

Indicted was Tom DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, for the illegal use of corporate money in its campaign to win a majority in the Texas House of Representatives and pull off an unprecedented mid-decade Congressional redistricting plan. A state group, the Texas Association of Business, was also accused in four indictments.Austin American Statesman has details.

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Promoting compassion and responsibility,  the nation's progressive religious community will gather Sunday, 9/11,  to give aid to the victims of Katrina. DriveDemocracy.org is helping out on the event in Lexington, Kentucky, although it is the initiative of local leaders -- including Kentucky Council of Churches director Nancy Jo Kemper and state Treasurer (and synagogue youth leader) Jonathan Miller.

The nationwide event will be held at the Central Baptist Church in Lexington at 3 p.m. Featured speakers include the Rev. Thomas Hoyt Jr., president of the National Council of Churches and Bishop of the Christiean Methodist Episcopal Church, Louisiana-Mississippi Conference.  Rev. Hoyt is pastor to people in those areas most devasted by Katrina.

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Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 09:49 AM PDT

When The Starfish Came

by glennwsmith

The water was up to their waists in their New Orleans home. A baby shark swam in their front yard. Yvonne, 15, wasn't afraid. "Daddy wasn't afraid. So we weren't afraid. He's a good fisherman, you know. He wanted to catch it," she said.

"My sister came home and pushed open the door. Our porch was covered with starfish." Yvonne's eyes widened. "Starfish. We didn't know where they came from." Yvonne told her story to a volunteer at the Austin, Texas, shelter where her family now lives.

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The Bush Administration's deadly Katrina-related failures starkly unmask the inhumanity and cold-hearted selfishness of its fundamental theory of government. That theory holds that there is little need for government to facilitate civic cooperation to provide for the common good or guard against domestic disaster.

We now know that trickle-down can wash away a city. This theory of government must be rejected. Bush will look for a vote of confidence for himself and his world view. The upcoming confirmation vote on John Roberts for chief justice will be just the medicine he seeks. The moment Roberts is confirmed, the larger battle may be lost.

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"White House Shifts Blame" says the WaPost headline over a story that details Bush's efforts to strip the Louisiana governor and New Orleans mayor of authority and absolve himself, FEMA, or any of his loyal lackies of any responsibility.

Thousands dead. Bush fakes photo op; food, construction props removed when cameras leave. Northcomm says it waited days on Bush order to enter New Orleans. Quarter million refugees. Iraq war rages. Now Rehnquist has died. Roberts nomination up. Estate tax repeal up. We must bury this monster in defeat at every turn.

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Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 08:24 AM PDT

Lives Sacrificed to Photo Op

by glennwsmith

The National Guard waits on President Bush's photo tour of New Orleans before rolling into the city Friday as a military backdrop to the president's appearance. Even the New York Times speculates that the Guard entry may have been delayed to help Bush's image.

The Red Cross admits it was ordered to stay out of New Orleans, denying aid to tens of thousands starving, dehydrated refugees. This is beyond ineptitude. This is the intentional sacrifice of human life to enhance the sagging image of a callous and cold president. This is the greatest and most tragic domestic political scandal of my lifetime. It is on a scale with  the turning away of Jewish immigrants during WWII, the internment of Japanese Americans during that war, the genocide of North American indigenous people.

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As we attempt to deal with the devastation of Katrina and the deathly incompetence of Bush and the willfull disregard for the lives and safety of Americans by his administration, we can't avoid noting that he has gotten itself stranded on a rooftop of his own making.

The official positions of the Bush Adm. are that Baghad has been made safe, while New Orleans has yet to be made safe from the ravages of storm, disease, malnutrition, crime, and post-storm chaos.

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