I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Bill Bennett: Pillar of Racism

"I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." -- Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education, author of "The Book of Virtue" and conservative poster boy, in a radio interview.

This all started with one callers suggestion that the "lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years" would be enough to preserve the solvency of Social Security.

"Bennett's remark was apparently inspired by the claim that legalized abortion has reduced crime rates, which was posited in the book Freakonomics (William Morrow, May 2005) by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. But Levitt and Dubner argued that aborted fetuses would have been more likely to grow up poor and in single-parent or teenage-parent households and therefore more likely to commit crimes; they did not put forth Bennett's race-based argument." [Xoff] [MediaMatters] [Yahoo]

Bush stooge Scott McClellan came out and stated that President Bush believes that the comments were not appropriate. Notice he didn't condemn them, as the media is reporting...he just said that maybe they weren't appropriate.

Yes, this is what the GOP really thinks of America and it's citizens.

The Bare Necessities

Sirota: "Despite thousands in Louisiana having lost their homes, jobs, and life's possessions, the Wall Street Journal reports today that HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said that extending health care benefits to hurricane victims is "unnecessary." The public is expected to accept this rationale as an explanation for why, as CBS News reports, the White House is "blocking a bipartisan $9 billion health care package for hundreds of thousands of evacuees" from the hurricanes. Shocked at the Bush administration's indifference? Don't be - over the last few weeks, the Republican Party has made clear what its priorities really are in these very terms."

Necessary for the GOP after Katrina:
New tax cuts for the wealthy
Cutting programs that serve military families
Increasing audits on the working poor
Skewing tax relief for victims to the wealthy
More oil industry tax breaks
Lowering workers' wages

Unnecessary for the GOP after Katrina:
Stopping $336 Billion in new tax cuts for millionaires
Stopping $200 Billion in new tax cuts for millionaires
Cracking down on wealthy & corporate tax cheats
Independent commission to find out what went wrong
Cracking down on oil industry profiteering
Taking FEMA director off the federal payroll

Throw in some indictments on DeLay, investigations on Rove and Frist, and you've got a recipe for GOP disaster.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Drinking Liberally 2

Last night was the second edition of Drinking Liberally - Milwaukee. A great time was had by all (especially when toasting at DeLay's expense!). Got to meet some new faces and some familiar ones.

I still think that we need to get more organized when it comes to blogging and our online presence. The conservatives seem to have their stuff together, and a Badger Blog Alliance. Of course, it helps when they have domination of all forms of media in Milwaukee. What do we have? A loose coalition of liberal bloggers. I think Jason is definitely on the right trail with podcasting.

Let's find a way to work together (and work smarter) and spread the democratic message with a unified front.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


This is the best news that we've gotten in a while!

"House Majority Leader Tom Delay was indicted Wednesday by a Texas grand jury on a charge of conspiring to violate political fundraising laws, making him the highest-ranking member of Congress ever to face criminal indictment and forcing him to temporarily step aside from his GOP post." [Yahoo] [CNN] [RandiRhodes] [Video] [Indictment]

Of course, DeLay says the charges are a "sham." [DallasNews]

""This morning, in an act of blatant political partisanship, a rogue district attorney in Travis County, Texas, named Ronnie Earle charged me with one count of criminal conspiracy, a reckless charge wholly unsupported by the facts." — DeLay." [Statements]

Ronnie Earle has prosecuted 15 politicians in Texas, 11 of the Democrats. I'd hardly call him a "rogue district attorney." It really is about time that the "Hammer" gets what has been coming to him for a long time. If convicted, he faces up to a $10,000 fine and two years in prison. Good riddance. There are good honest people on both sides of the aisle. Let's send a clear message that we the people will not tolerate this kind of corruption from the Republicans that are dominating the government.

Sign this petition to publicly call for DeLay's resignation from Congress. Also visit Dropthehammer.org.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Real Blame Game

Deposed FEMA director Michael "Brownie you're doing a heckuva job" Brown today blamed others for most of the government failure in responding to Hurricane Katrina.

""My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional," two days before the storm hit, Brown said."

"I've overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I'm doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it," he said." [Yahoo] [Video] [CNN] [CNNVideo]

What a tool. Where does this guy get off blaming everyone else but himself?! He's a political appointee in a critical position, with NO experience. He even lied on his resume! I understand fully that it's not completely his fault. Local and State Governments need to shoulder some blame. But look, this guy did nothing. He didn't know that there were people in the Convention Center in New Orleans until nearly 4 days later. Turn on a TV you moron! The best part is, he wasn't even fired! He's still on the payroll as a "senior consultant to FEMA." What a joke. This administration takes no responsibility for it's failures.

Monday, September 26, 2005

War Protest

On Saturday, well over 100,000 people lined up in front of the White House in Washington, DC, to protest the Iraq War. Media outlets are putting the number of protestors at over 100,000, but credible outlets and the DC Police are saying more like 500,000.

Even Cindy Sheehan got arrested today: "Sheehan's arrest came after a massive antiwar demonstration Saturday in Washington which drew more than 100,000 people -- the largest such demonstration since the Iraq war began in spring 2003. A demonstration supporting the war drew roughly 500 people Sunday." [WP] [NYT] [CNN]

Anti-War fervor DC, LA, & SF. [WP]
How do 500,000 people vanish in DC? [DetNews]
Protest Photos [Yahoo]

Funny, on Sunday, the Pro-War sheep only mustered a few hundred. [SunTimes]

A second protest was also held today in front of the White House, where tens of thousands gathered. [Yahoo] Does this tell you something? In a few days time, the war opposition gathered forces in excess of half of a million. The pro-war crowd gathered 500. I utterly reject their argument that opposition to the war gives the enemy hope. Who is this "enemy?" Terrorists in Iraq that we created? Osama Bin Laden that we created, and Bush hasn't mentioned in a speech in over 1,500 days? Regardless, that's not the point. Bush got us into this illegal war, and refuses to get us out. We are now over 1,900 dead US soldiers. I fully realize that this is much less than many "wars" and other conflicts. But how does even one dead soldier make this ok? How do you ask the last person to die for a lie?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

DL Update

The next gathering of the Milwaukee edition of Drinking Liberally is next Wednesday, September 28th, at 7 PM at Club Garibaldi at 2501 S. Superior St. in Bay View. I've posted the informational flyer that has been drawn up.

Come on down and bring a friend! [pdf]

Friday, September 23, 2005

Museums Fight Back

"Lenore Durkee, a retired biology professor, was volunteering as a docent at the Museum of the Earth here when she was confronted by a group of seven or eight people, creationists eager to challenge the museum exhibitions on evolution. They peppered Dr. Durkee with questions about everything from techniques for dating fossils to the second law of thermodynamics, their queries coming so thick and fast that she found it hard to reply."

"Similar efforts are under way or planned around the country as science museums and other institutions struggle to contend with challenges to the theory of evolution that they say are growing common and sometimes aggressive. One company, called B.C. Tours "because we are biblically correct," even offers escorted visits to the Denver Museum of Science and Nature. Participants hear creationists' explanations for the exhibitions." [NYT]

Wonderful. We have traveling packs of creationists in the museums questioning everything and creating more controversy. Now, my opinion is clear: I side with science, and with evolution. It's not always a pleasant thought that my very very distant ancestors may have been flinging their own dung at each other for sport, but I think it's better than some fantasy land that the world was created in 6 days ("he" rested on the seventh, remember), 4,000 years ago. Science has proved that the Earth is much older than the 4,000 years the bible states, and we also have mountains of fossil and evolutionary evidence. I'm always open to new ideas, and call me atheist or whatever, but I don't believe that some higher power created the world in six days, 4,000 years ago. Rubbish. Is there a God? I really don't know. That's between you and your faith.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Random Ramblings

Sorry about the lack of postage...TV premiere week happened at the worst time. The Cubs were playing the Brewers, mass hysteria!

Things I've learned from TV Premiere week:
1. I watch entirely too much TV.
2. I watch entirely too much reality TV.
3. Why can I only watch the Brewers - Cubs series on Fox North? WTF WGN!??
4. I need to start exercising.

What's up with the New York Times anyways? They introduced Times Select on Monday, meaning that we now have to pay to read online articles by such wonderful columnists like Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, and Maureen Dowd. That's spectacular. I really want to pay $49.95 a year to read the articles that last week I could read for free.

I have updated my blogroll to include some of the fine people that I met last Wednesday night at Drinking Liberally (those that I was missing).

Don't miss the sixth installment of the Carnival of the Badger, this week hosted by liberal blogger, Paul Brewer. Good times.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Season Tickets

In 1945, my maternal Grandfather, then 16, walked up to the Green Bay Packers ticket booth on opening day, and bought two season tickets. Total cost: $16.00...for BOTH...for a SEASON. Now, that won't even buy you two brats and a beer.

60 years later, my Grandfather, accompanied by my Mother, Brother, and Sister entered the gates with a sign:

"This is my 60th year with Packers Season Tickets"

Now, I'm not a Packer fan...believe it or not, born in raised in Green Bay, I'm a Bears fan. But words cannot express what that means to me; that my Grandfather has been attending games for over 60 years and has spread his love of the Packers down to successive generations of my family. Like the Packers or not, not a lot of people around anymore can say that they have had season tickets to such a storied franchise like the Packers.

Bush Unmasked

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."

"Nor can the president's acceptance of "responsibility" for the disaster dislodge what came before. Mr. Bush didn't cough up his modified-limited mea culpa until he'd seen his whole administration flash before his eyes. His admission that some of the buck may stop with him (about a dime's worth, in Truman dollars) came two weeks after the levees burst and five years after he promised to usher in a new post-Clinton "culture of responsibility." It came only after the plan to heap all the blame on the indeed blameworthy local Democrats failed to lift Mr. Bush's own record-low poll numbers. It came only after America's highest-rated TV news anchor, Brian Williams, started talking about Katrina the way Walter Cronkite once did about Vietnam."

"The cashiering of "Brownie," whom Mr. Bush now purports to know as little as he did "Kenny Boy," changes nothing. The Knight Ridder newspapers found last week that it was the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, not Mr. Brown, who had the greater authority to order federal agencies into service without any request from state or local officials. Mr. Chertoff waited a crucial, unexplained 36 hours before declaring Katrina an "incident of national significance," the trigger needed for federal action. Like Mr. Brown, he was oblivious to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the convention center, confessing his ignorance of conditions there to NPR on the same day that the FEMA chief famously did so to Ted Koppel. Yet Mr. Bush's "culture of responsibility" does not hold Mr. Chertoff accountable. Quite the contrary: on Thursday the president charged Homeland Security with reviewing "emergency plans in every major city in America." Mr. Chertoff will surely do a heck of a job." [NYT]

Saturday, September 17, 2005

New HP GoF Trailer

Here I go proving my dorkiness again. Sorry, but I LOVE the Harry Potter stories. The new trailer is out...it's AWESOME!

New Trailer

Oedipal Loop-de-Loop

Dowd: "All Andrew Jackson's horses, and all the Boy King's men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again. His gladiatorial walk across the darkened greensward, past a St. Louis Cathedral bathed in moon glow from White House klieg lights, just seemed to intensify the sense of an isolated, out-of-touch president clinging to hollow symbols as his disastrous disaster agency continues to flail."

"In a ruined city - still largely without power, stinking with piles of garbage and still 40 percent submerged; where people are foraging in the miasma and muck for food, corpses and the sentimental detritus of their lives; and where unbearably sad stories continue to spill out about hordes of evacuees who lost their homes and patients who died in hospitals without either electricity or rescuers - isn't it rather tasteless, not to mention a waste of energy, to haul in White House generators just to give the president a burnished skin tone and a prettified background?"

"Bush père did make a real mistake in responding slowly to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but that blunder has been dwarfed by what the slothful son hath wrought. Because of his fatal tardiness, W. now has to literally promise the moon to fix New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, driving up the federal deficit and embarking on the biggest spending bonanza and government public works program since F.D.R." [NYT]

Always out to prove that he's a "bigger man" than his father.

Friday, September 16, 2005

That Bullhorn Moment

Dowd: "You're already vulnerable and alone when suddenly you're beset by nature and betrayed by your government. At St. Rita's, 34 seniors fought to live with what little strength they had as the lights went out and the water rose over their legs, over their shoulders, over their mouths. As Gardiner Harris wrote in The Times, the failed defenses included a table nailed against a window and a couch pushed against a door. Several electric wheelchairs were gathered near the front entrance, maybe by patients who dreamed of evacuating. Their drowned bodies were found swollen and unrecognizable a week later, as Mr. Harris reported, "draped over a wheelchair, wrapped in a shower curtain, lying on a floor in several inches of muck."

"Even though we know W. likes to be in his bubble with his feather pillow, the stories this week are breathtaking about the lengths the White House staff had to go to in order to capture Incurious George's attention."

"W. has said he prefers to get his information straight up from aides, rather than filtered through newspapers or newscasts. But he surrounds himself with weak sisters who don't have the nerve to break bad news to him, or ideologues with agendas that require warping reality or chuckleheaded cronies like Brownie."

"The president should stop haunting New Orleans, looking for that bullhorn moment. It's too late." [NYT]

I'm glad that he's at least giving the public appearance that he is going to take some responsibility for this colossal disaster. But we all know where that will lead. He will open his own investigation of himself, which will lead nowhere. Call me cynical, but this was a case of a red state with a blue governor and mayor. Why should he help the poor? Their much easier to blame.

The Anti-FDR

Krugman: "It's a given that the Bush administration, which tried to turn Iraq into a laboratory for conservative economic policies, will try the same thing on the Gulf Coast. The Heritage Foundation, which has surely been helping Karl Rove develop the administration's recovery plan, has already published a manifesto on post-Katrina policy. It calls for waivers on environmental rules, the elimination of capital gains taxes and the private ownership of public school buildings in the disaster areas. And if any of the people killed by Katrina, most of them poor, had a net worth of more than $1.5 million, Heritage wants to exempt their heirs from the estate tax."

"Is there any way Mr. Bush could ensure an honest recovery program? Yes - he could insulate decisions about reconstruction spending from politics by placing them in the hands of an autonomous agency headed by a political independent, or, if no such person can be found, a Democrat (as a sign of good faith). He didn't do that last night, and probably won't. There's every reason to believe the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, like the failed reconstruction of Iraq, will be deeply marred by cronyism and corruption." [NYT]

Herbert: "It was the stuff of nightmares. Poisonous water moccasins were swimming in the filthy water of the flooded first floor, and snipers, rats and even a 12-foot alligator were roaming the treacherous area just outside the hospital's doors. "To me, it was like being in hell," said Carl Warner, the chief engineer for Methodist Hospital in the hard-hit eastern part of New Orleans. "There were bodies floating in the water outside the building, and our staffers had to swim through that water to get fuel for the generator."

"Significant relief began to reach the hospital on Thursday, and by Friday evening everyone had been removed from the ruined premises. They had endured the agonies of the damned, and for all practical purposes had been abandoned by government at all levels. When you consider that the Methodist Hospital experience was just one small part of the New Orleans catastrophe, you get a sense of the size of the societal failure that we allowed to happen."

Welcome to the United States in 2005. [NYT]

Vang Found Guilty

Wow...so, that was quick:

"A jury today rejected Chai Soua Vang's claim of self-defense and found him guilty of six counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting deaths of six deer hunters after a confrontation in Wisconsin's north woods last fall."

"Killed in the confrontation last Nov. 21 were Dennis Drew, 55; Mark Roidt, 28; Robert Crotteau, 42; his son, Joey, 20; Allan Laski, 43, and Jessica Willers, 27. Wounded in the shootings were Terry Willers, 48, and Lauren Hesebeck, 49."

"Four of the victims were shot in the back, and all but Willers were unarmed." [JSOnline]

This "person" killed six people, and wounded two others. Most were shot in the back as they fled. The jury seems to have gotten this one right.

Delayed Response to Drinking Liberally

I've been just swamped since I met a whole bunch of really great people on Wednesday. I wanted to post this on Wednesday night when I got back from Drinking Liberally, but unfortunately it got put off until tonight.

Special thanks to Stacie, Scott, and Jason for hosting! Along with those extremely fine people, it was VERY nice to meet some of the champs of the Milwaukee blogosphere like Brewtown Politico, Public Brewery, Folkbum, HeraldBlog, CharlesGray, and JennaGray.

We had 22 people show up for our inaugural! Check out the Pictures! Yes, good reader, you guessed it. I'm the stud with the red hair and blue shirt drinking the Guinness.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Drinking Liberally

I'm going to try to make it down to Club Garibaldi for the first Milwaukee edition of Drinking Liberally.

Here is a map.

The festivities start at 7. I'll be the one drinking Guinness (if they have it on tap!).

Monday, September 12, 2005

All the President's Friends

Krugman: "The lethally inept response to Hurricane Katrina revealed to everyone that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which earned universal praise during the Clinton years, is a shell of its former self. The hapless Michael Brown - who is no longer overseeing relief efforts but still heads the agency - has become a symbol of cronyism."

"But what we really should be asking is whether FEMA's decline and fall is unique, or part of a larger pattern. What other government functions have been crippled by politicization, cronyism and/or the departure of experienced professionals? How many FEMA's are there?"

"The point is that Katrina should serve as a wakeup call, not just about FEMA, but about the executive branch as a whole. Everything I know suggests that it's in a sorry state - that an administration which doesn't treat governing seriously has created two, three, many FEMA's." [NYT]

Update: "Three Days After Losing Katrina Duties, FEMA Chief Resigns Post." [NYT]

A Rush of Stories:
Herbert: "The stories - freakish, tragic and sadly true - continue to come out of New Orleans in an awful, unending rush, like blood from a sudden gaping wound. The stunned survivors have scattered to places like Houston, Dallas, Baton Rouge and here - Lafayette - where the Cajundome (yet another sports palace turned homeless shelter) rises like a giant mushroom from the flat, shimmeringly hot parish landscape." [NYT]

Friday, September 09, 2005

Breaking: Brown Relieved of Katrina Duties

" Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown is being removed from his role in managing the Bush administration's Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and is returning to Washington" [Yahoo]

"Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen will replace Michael Brown, the embattled FEMA director, as the on-site head of hurricane relief operations in the Gulf Coast, a senior administration official told CNN." [CNN]

This comes after a published report showing that Michael Brown was MORE unqualified than thought:
"Astoundingly, FEMA Director Michael Brown is even more unqualified for his job than previously believed. The reason: he's been lying on his resume. A 2001 White House press release states that "from 1975 to 1978, Brown worked for the City of Edmond, Oklahoma, overseeing the emergency services divisions." Brown's official government biography says he served "as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight." Time Magazine contacted Claudia Deakins, head of public relations for the city of Edmond and got the real story. Deakins revealed that Brown "was an 'assistant to the city manager' from 1977 to 1980, not a manager himself, and had no authority over other employees. 'The assistant is more like an intern,' she told TIME. 'Department heads did not report to him.'" It's just one of several fabrications Brown has made about his professional experience." [CAP]

Cronyism anyone?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Timelines of Bush Failure

Here are four (4) timelines of what really happened in Louisiana and Mississippi while Bush and his cronies were out on vacation (AGAIN).

Visual Timeline

ThinkProgress Timeline

Wikipedia Timeline

Dkospedia Timeline

Here is what Air America Radio is doing to help.

Donate to the Red Cross

Killed By Contempt

Krugman (9/2): "So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability."

"Maybe administration officials believed that the local National Guard could keep order and deliver relief. But many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment - including high-water vehicles - are in Iraq. "The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," a Louisiana Guard officer told reporters several weeks ago."

"Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk. So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying." [NYT]

Krugman: "Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials. I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized."

"But the federal government's lethal ineptitude wasn't just a consequence of Mr. Bush's personal inadequacy; it was a consequence of ideological hostility to the very idea of using government to serve the public good. For 25 years the right has been denigrating the public sector, telling us that government is always the problem, not the solution. Why should we be surprised that when we needed a government solution, it wasn't forthcoming?"

"The administration has always tried to treat 9/11 purely as a lesson about good versus evil. But disasters must be coped with, even if they aren't caused by evildoers. Now we have another deadly lesson in why we need an effective government, and why dedicated public servants deserve our respect. Will we listen?" [NYT]

United States of Shame

Dowd (9/3): "America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America."

"Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses. Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs. Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports. Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl." [NYT]

Dowd: "Later this week (no point rushing things) W. is dispatching Dick Cheney to the rancid lake that was a romantic city. The vice president has at long last lumbered back from a Wyoming vacation, and, reportedly, from shopping for a $2.9 million waterfront estate in St. Michael's, a retreat in the Chesapeake Bay where Rummy has a weekend home, where "Wedding Crashers" was filmed and where rich lobbyists hunt."

"But when people around the world look at Iraq, they don't see freedom. They see chaos and sectarian hatred. And when they look at New Orleans, they see glaring incompetence and racial injustice, where the rich white people were saved and the poor black people were left to die hideous deaths. They see some conservatives blaming the poor for not saving themselves. So much for W.'s "culture of life." [NYT]

Bush to New Orleans: "Drop Dead"

Herbert: "Neither the death of the chief justice nor the frantic efforts of panicked White House political advisers can conceal the magnitude of the president's failure of leadership last week. The catastrophe in New Orleans billowed up like the howling winds of hell and was carried live and in color on television screens across the U.S. and around the world."

"Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever by a president during a dire national emergency. What we witnessed, as clearly as the overwhelming agony of the city of New Orleans, was the dangerous incompetence and the staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration."

"And it is this incompetence and indifference to suffering (yes, the carnage continues to mount in Iraq) that makes it so hard to be optimistic about the prospects for the United States over the next few years. At a time when effective, innovative leadership is desperately needed to cope with matters of war and peace, terrorism and domestic security, the economic imperatives of globalization and the rising competition for oil, the United States is being led by a man who seems oblivious to the reality of his awesome responsibilities."

"Like a boy being prepped for a second crack at a failed exam, Mr. Bush has been meeting with his handlers to see what steps can be taken to minimize the political fallout from this latest demonstration of his ineptitude. But this is not about politics. It's about competence. And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble." [NYT]

Falluja Floods the Superdome

Rich: "After dispatching Katrina with a few sentences of sanctimonious boilerplate ("our hearts and prayers are with our fellow citizens"), he turned to his more important task. The war in Iraq is World War II. George W. Bush is F.D.R. And anyone who refuses to stay his course is soft on terrorism and guilty of a pre-9/11 "mind-set of isolation and retreat." Yet even as Mr. Bush promised "victory" (a word used nine times in this speech on Tuesday), he was standing at the totemic scene of his failure. It was along this same San Diego coastline that he declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln more than two years ago. For this return engagement, The Washington Post reported, the president's stage managers made sure he was positioned so that another hulking aircraft carrier nearby would stay off-camera, lest anyone be reminded of that premature end of "major combat operations."

"But a president who flew from Crawford to Washington in a heartbeat to intervene in the medical case of a single patient, Terri Schiavo, has no business lecturing anyone about playing politics with tragedy. Eventually we're going to have to examine the administration's behavior before, during and after this storm as closely as its history before, during and after 9/11. We're going to have to ask if troops and matériel of all kinds could have arrived faster without the drain of national resources into a quagmire. We're going to have to ask why it took almost two days of people being without food, shelter and water for Mr. Bush to get back to Washington."

"The answers to what went wrong in Washington and on the Gulf Coast will come later, and, if the history of 9/11 is any guide, all too slowly, after the administration and its apologists erect every possible barrier to keep us from learning the truth. But as Americans dig out from Katrina and slouch toward another anniversary of Al Qaeda's strike, we have to acknowledge the full extent and urgency of our crisis. The world is more perilous than ever, and for now, to paraphrase Mr. Rumsfeld, we have no choice but to fight the war with the president we have." [NYT]