Monday, September 05, 2005

Democracy Now: Hurricane aftermath; Rebecca, Betty, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Anne (Peevish...)

Report: Karl Rove Orchestrating PR Campaign Over Relief Effort
In Washington, the Bush White House has responded to the mounting criticism by trying to shift the blame to local and state officials in Louisiana. According to the New York Times, this is part of a coordinated public relations campaign led by President Bush’s chief advisor Karl Rove. The Times reports that in many ways, the unfolding PR campaign reflects the style Rove has brought to the political campaigns he has run for Bush. Meanwhile the Washington Post has been forced to print a retraction after it published as fact a claim sourced to a "senior Bush official" that the relief effort was delayed in part because Louisiana’s Democratic Governor -- Kathleen Blanco never declared a state of emergency. In fact Blanco did just that -- four days before the hurricane hit.

Top Officials Head to Region; Rice Ends Vacation
Several top officials were sent to the devastated area over the weekend including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. President Bush is returning to the region today. Rice had been on vacationing in New York up until Thursday. The Daily News reported she saw the Monty Python play Spamalot on Broadway, took tennis lessons with Monica Seles and went shoe shopping on Fifth Avenue. The shopping experience didn’t go quite as planned -- a fellow shopper shouted at her "How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!" That shopper was then removed from the store. Vice President Dick Cheney has also ended his vacation. He had stayed in Wyoming all of last week.

Kanye West: "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People"
The White House has also been forced to defend charges that the rescue effort would have been much quicker if New Orleans had not been a predominantly African-American city. On Friday, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus Elijah Cummings said it should not be "that the differences between those who live and those who die are poverty and skin color." That same night one of the biggest names in hip-hop, Kanye West, appeared during a fundraiser on NBC. He broke from the pre-written script and said "George Bush doesn’t care about black people." NBC censored West's comments from the West Coast broadcast of the telethon. On the following day, Condoleeza Rice -- the Bush administration’s highest ranking African-American -- said "I don't believe for a minute anybody allowed people to suffer because they are African-Americans. I just don't believe it for a minute." She added: "Nobody, especially the president, would have left people unintended on the basis of race."

The above three items are from Democracy Now!'s Headlines today and were selected by Gareth, Joan and Micah. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):

Headlines for September 5, 2005
- House-to-House Searches Begin in New Orleans
- Bush Nominates John Roberts as Chief Justice
- Louisiana Senator: 10,000 Might Have Died
- Times-Picayune Calls For FEMA Chief to Resign
- Report: Karl Rove Orchestrating PR Campaign Over Relief Effort
- Nat' Guard Describe New Orleans as "Little Somalia"
- Chertoff: Greatest Environmental Mess in Nation's History
- Halliburton Hired To Rebuild Army & Marine Facilities
- Bush Nominates John Roberts as Chief Justice

Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff Refuses To Resign Over Handling Of Hurricane Katrina Relief
Michael Chertoff appears on Meet the Press and defends the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina. [includes rush transcript]

Louisiana Offical: The Federal Gov't Has Abandoned Us
On Sunday Aaron Broussard, the president of Jefferson Parish appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and accused the federal government of abandoning the people of New Orleans. He broke down crying, as he recalled how the mother of one of his colleagues died after waiting days to be rescued. [includes rush transcript]

Survivors From New Orleans Speak Out About Week of Horror
We go to Louis Armstrong airport in New Orleans where thousands of hurricane survivors are staying. The airport has become a triage center where the oldest, the youngest and the sickest lay desperate for help.

Kanye West: "Bush Doesn't Care About Black People"
On Friday night, Grammy-award winning hip-hop superstar Kanye West delivered a blistering critique of President Bush and the administration's response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. "I hate the way they portray us in the media," West said. "If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food." [includes rush transcipt]

Rev. Al Sharpton: President Bush's Response "Inexcusable"
More public figures have spoken out, lambasting the government's slow response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Reverend Al Sharpton spoke in Houston on Saturday and said that race played a role. [includes rush transcript]

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's Desperate Plea For Help
New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin expresses outrage and frustration during an interview last week by a local New Orleans radio station. Nagin demands greater effort and quicker delivery.

New Orleans Activist Malik Rahim Blasts Mayor Nagin
Malik Rahim, veteran of the Black Panther Party in New Orleans, is interviewed in the Algiers neigherborhood by Democracy Now! producers. Rahim talks about what should have been differently.

DN! Producers Describe the Devastation in New Orleans & The Survivors In Baton Rouge
Democracy Now! producers John Hamilton and Sharif Abdel Kouddous join us from Baton Rouge. On Saturday they made it into New Orleans to witness what's left of the devastated city. [includes rush transcript]

And please note this:

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: An Hour-Long Special on John Roberts, President Bush's Nominee to Be Supreme Court Chief Justice
In this hour-long online special we examine the legal background and history of Judge John Roberts. Earlier today President Bush nominated Roberts to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court replacing the late William Rehnquist, who died at the age of 80 on Saturday.

Remember, those hearings start tomorrow. (And Joan Baez's live CD comes out tomorrow.)

Rebecca is back at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. She has a lengthy entry and we'll note her section of tips:

i'm working my way through all the e-mails so give me time. i will note what i already had here thanks to elaine posting it: the wrong men are wearing speedos. if you got a jelly belly that hangs over, speedos are not the look, guys. if you look as though your testicles have not yet descended, speedos are not the look.
don't they have mirrors in the changing rooms? in the women's stores you can't avoid those mirrors. maybe they make you were your underwear underneath while you're trying them on and some how boxer legs flying out of the speedo leg holes confuses you?
here's my advice, if you don't have a 6 pack or a might impressive package 1, then you're better off choosing another swim suit. here's my other beef: bicycle shorts, though sexy, are not swim wear. but i prefer them to the thing 1 guy was wearing that resmembled the head to foot nonsense so many guys at the summer olympics wore. i'm really not into rubber. some people are. if you're dressing for your partner or mate and she or he likes your outfit (even a speedo you can't carry off) continue to do so. but if you're unattached, you might want to put a little more thought into your outfit.
i was hit on repeatedly and the first guys i eliminated were the 1s who didn't know how to dress on the beach. it's 1 piece of clothing. if you can't figure what 1 piece of clothing you should wear, how are we ever going to go out to eat?
i'm not 1 of those women who has time to take on a man as a project. i don't play mommy and pick your clothes for you. if you're that lost, and don't have the magnetism to pull it off as your own personal style, i don't have the time. so think about that the next time you rush into target or whever on your way to the beach to grab a swim suit.
i'm not saying you can't find something that suits you at target. you probably can. but it's not going to be the 1st thing you pull off the racks. put a little thought into it.
here's another tip. the ocean, though water based, is not a bath tub. it does not take the place of a morning shower. more importantly, since you're not carrying a bar of soap into the ocean with you, it only dampens your smell, it does not remove it. there was 1 guy who was about four years younger than me who hit on me every day for a week. and every day you could tell he showed up at the beach after tumbling out of bed after a hard night of partying. you could tell that by looking at him, you could tell that by the smell wafting from him. he was a good looking guy. (he was from england, not france before someone goes stereotypical and assumes it was a french guy.) booze, b.o. and cigarette smoke wafted from him. not only did he mistake the ocean for a bath tub, he also twice asked me to put suntan lotion on him. suntan lotion on top of his stink. (i passed.)
so that's my next tip. before you go to a pool or the ocean, take a shower. i have tips a plenty actually. when a woman tells you she's reading a book, she's reading a book. you've not interested her enough for her to put the book down. but these two men (americans) both thought that asking me 'what's the book about?' was some how the magic line. (i told them for 50 bucks i'd type them up a report and hand it to them tomorrow.)
here's a tip for the women. don't accept drinks from guys you aren't interested in. there was this woman from ohio who was so angry that a guy would not go away and she'd accepted 3 drinks from him 1 afternoon.
i don't buy into the nonsense of you buy me dinner, i put out. but i do think if you're accepting drinks, you are saying you are open to conversation. if you're not, send the drink back.
here's another tip for women. asking another women you've never met if 'those are real?' doesn't begin a beautiful friendship. 4 different women asked me 4 different times were 'they' real? yes, they are. but just as i expect a guy to look me in the eyes when he's talking to me, i expect a woman to open with hello, possibly throw in some chit-chat, before asking if 'they' are real.
here's another tip for women, that might help them avoid asking that question, if i'm flat on my back and my boobs are still in the same position, they would be fake. that's the thing about implants.

For those who want to write Elaine, they can do so through Rebecca ( or here ( As Rebecca rightly noted, I'm staying neutral on Elaine blogging. She's a friend and she can make her own decision. She's thinking about it and, whatever she decides, I'll support her choice. There may be news on that when Mike does his interview with her so check Mike's Mikey Likes It! Wednesday for more information.

Lori e-mails to highlight Betty's "Every Day is Husband's Day" (Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man):

As we left the store, shorty robe in sack, I asked myself if this was the normal American vacation? A wife spending eight days to help her husband pick out an item that looks hideous on him but you just want to get out and get home?
Mrs. K tells a tale of four hours spent with Nicky at Champs as he attempted to decide between two ball caps (one flattened his hair) so perhaps it is.
If that's the case, I demand a national Wife's Day -- a day when all wives are allowed to go twenty-four hours without having to reassure their husbands that they're not short, that last night was mind blowing, and that a little gut on a man is appealing.
Until that day comes, every day is Husband's Day.

Charlie and Rod both e-mail to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's "Indifference Is a Weapon of Mass Destruction" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):

On Friday, during a special session to provide relief money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Representative Dennis Kucinich delivered a powerful indictment of the Administration's disgraceful priorities and issued a stirring call to rebuild a truly secure America.
"This amount of money is only a fraction of what is needed and everyone here knows it. Let it go forward quickly with heartfelt thanks to those who are helping to save lives with necessary food, water, shelter, medical care and security. Congress must also demand accountability with the appropriations. Because until there are basic changes in the direction of this government, this tragedy will multiply to apocalyptic proportions.
"The Administration yesterday said that no one anticipated the breach of the levees. Did the Administration not see or care about the 2001 FEMA warning about the risk of a devastating hurricane hitting the people of New Orleans? Did it not know or care that civil and army engineers were warning for years about the consequences of failure to strengthen the flood control system? Was it aware or did it care that the very same Administration which decries the plight of the people today, cut from the budget tens of millions needed for Gulf-area flood control projects?

Charlie also noted Katrina vanden Heuvel's "Mark Naison on Race, Class and the Disaster" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):

As Joan Walsh wrote in Salon last week, "The horror in New Orleans exposed the nation's dirty secrets of race and poverty." But as she went on to say, it not only revealed "the desperate poverty of the city's African-American population...but also the poverty of political debate in the US today." While, nearly a third of New Orleanians live below the poverty line, and conditions are even worse for children--fully half of the kids in Lousiana live in poverty----the poor are barely mentioned by our leading politicians. (The only state with a higher child poverty rate is Mississippi, another victim of the hurricane.) As if to underscore the poverty of our politics, the same week the hurricane devastated the poorest regions the Census Bureau released a report that found the number of Americans living in poverty has climbed again--for the fourth straight year under President Bush. It is now clear that any reconstruction effort--amidst the widespread poverty in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast--will require a massive infusion of relief money. Yet, in an obscene display of distorted priorities, the White House and Republican Congress vow that permanent repeal of the estate tax--a windfall for millionaires--remains at the top of the agenda when they return to Washington this week. (Write your congressperson and demand that instead of repealing the estate tax, those funds be used to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.)

Barry e-mails to note Anne's "Let's DO Something" (Peevish . . . I'm Just Saying):

I've been talking with people about Hurricane Katrina and the desperate situations in Louisiana and Mississippi and I've been struck by a common thread in the discussions.
Americans have the reputation of being generous to those in need and certainly the outpouring of assistance to the tsunami victims last year was impressive. As if to put the Bush Administration's initial paltry offering to the blush, individuals and corporations in the United States pledged (and delivered) millions and millions of dollars worth of products and assistance.I'm seeing the same groundswell of support for the hurricane victims in our own South today, but with two notable differences.
#1 - More than sending a check, people want to do something. To volunteer at the Red Cross or one of the other organizations packing supplies to send south. Or answer phones or take donations, or fill their own trucks and drive south to help. Most of them see and comprehend the desperate need and they want to reach out a personal helping hand.
#2 - Underneath the support, there is a vast anger at what's perceived to be the government's intolerably slow response to this emergency. As one person pointed out to me, we bomb the hell out of some Iraqi village and ten minutes later, troops roll in with trucks loaded with water and food for the survivors, but in our own country, we can't even manage to airlift a few gallons of clean water and some field rations to people stuck on isolated rooftops?

Doug e-mails to note Norman Solomon's "It Was About Oil: Bush's Implicit Answer to Cindy Sheehan" (CounterPunch):

On Aug. 30, 2005, less than a minute after declaring that if terrorists "gain control of Iraq" they would "seize oil fields to fund their ambitions," President Bush vowed: "We will stay on the offensive. We will stand with the people of Iraq. And we will prevail."
The next day, the Associated Press reported that "President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason for U.S. troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists." The end of another AP dispatch noted: "A one-time oilman, Bush has rejected charges that the war in Iraq is a struggle to control the nation's vast oil wealth. The president has avoided making links between the war and Iraq's oil reserves, but the soaring cost of gasoline has focused attention on global petroleum sources."
For years, war supporters have pooh-poohed slogans like "No Blood for Oil." But let the record show: In a scripted speech, the president of the United States has cited Iraqi oil as a key reason for the U.S. military to keep killing in Iraq.

Norman Solomon is the author of the new book "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death."

Great book and you can read a discussion on it at "1 Books, 10 Minutes" (The Third Estate Sunday Review).

And speaking of great, Dahr Jamail has a new article entitled "IRAQ: U.S. Influence 'Too Much'" (IPS):

U.S. influence in the process of drafting a constitution for Iraq is excessive and "highly inappropriate", a United Nations official says.
"It is a matter of public record that in the final weeks of the process the newly arrived U.S. ambassador (Zalmay Khalizad) took an extremely hands-on role,"
Justin Alexander, legal affairs officer for the office of constitutional support with the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) told IPS.
"Even going so far as to circulate at least one U.S. draft." Alexander, who oversaw the recent proceedings in Baghdad added: "This involvement was highly inappropriate for a country with 140,000 soldiers in country."
Zaid al-Ali, a legal expert who also oversaw the drafting process in Baghdad, made a similar case at a meeting at the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies in London.
"There are three ways in which the occupation intervened in the context of Iraq's constitution-writing process," he said. "Firstly, the occupation authorities selected and affected the makeup of the commission that was charged with drafting Iraq's transitional law, and its permanent constitution. Second, the occupation determined the limits and parameters within which the constitution was to be drafted. Third, the occupation authorities intervened directly in order to safeguard its interests in the context of the constitutional negotiations."

At Mikey Likes It!, Mike's recapping his Labor Day (and noting other things as well):

We had some cool tunes playing at the bbq today. Dad, Ma, my sister and me all picked out stuff and my oldest brother was whining about that but Dad goes, "You don't live here anymore." I laughed so hard at that. You'd have to know my oldest brother (who is cool in some ways) to get why that's so funny probably. But when he lived there he really wanted to control the TV, the stereo and just about everything else. Maybe cause he was the 1st born he felt it was his right or something.
One thing that we all wanted to do, Ma, Dad, my sister and me, was watch Democracy Now! today. Watch it together. And Ma had a great idea about inviting everyone here to watch with us yesterday. So last night I called Rebecca and passed that on and she said she'd make sure she had the TV on at her party and was stressing how great Democracy Now! was.
Ma goes "Maybe they'll watch or listen after this, maybe they won't but they'll know it is out there." It was a really great episode and I know it usually is but this one today focused on what was going on with the lack of assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and everyone was already interested in that topic so everyone was watching real close. Dad was afraid it would be like when we watch the Super Bowl and people would be "yammering away" (he means my oldest brother lol :D) and not paying attention. He was telling Ma this morning at breakfast that if people started having their own conversations and he couldn't hear the TV he'd ask them to take it somewhere else. But that didn't happen. Everyone was watching and the only talking came during the breaks which kind of made me mad cause there was this one song I really liked and wanted to hear. I'll try to catch it online sometime this week.
But hopefully they will go on to check out Democracy Now! again. They always do a Christmas Day show too and Ma says we'll do that on all the holidays. Thanksgiving too. Maria always urges people to pass it on when she does her stuff at The Common Ills each weekend on Democracy Now! and my family did our part today. If you just count the over 13 people in the room there were 41 viewers of Democracy Now! in our living room.

Mike also note's Kat's latest and we will as well, she's going over what's coming out on CD tomorrow:

[. . .] an item in The New York Times' "Arts, Briefly" by Grant James Varjas, "New CD's This Week."
1) Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang.
2) Sarah McLachlan's Bloom.
3) Joan Baez's Bowery Songs.
4) Greg Dulli Amber Highlights.
5) Alison Moyet's Voice.
6) Idlewind's Warnings/Promises.
7) North Mississippi Allstars' Electric Blue Watermelon.
Of the above, I'm interested in Joan Baez's Bowery Songs, obviously. It's a live CD and I did catch her last tour. I felt she brought to bear her full range of living on each song. The group I went with had lousy seats at the beginning of the concert (we were practically at the entrance) but one of the guys working the concerts knew me and found a place upfront for my group.Even from what was practically the last seat in the house, I was blown away by what she was doing, that little speck on stage that I could barely see, but that voice that reached as though it was sitting next to me. If Bowery Songs documents even a fourth of what Baez provided on Dark Chords tour, it's worth having.
The Times notes that Keith Richards will sing on one of the Rolling Stone songs. That usually means the album's a little less formal (and formalized) and a little more fun so that honestly raises my interest in the album. (Further honesty, I wasn't all that interested before that.)
Sarah Mac. If you love her, and some are obsessed with her, Bloom's probably just your thing. (We discussed her Surfacing at The Third Estate Sunday Review. I'll try to post that up here later this week.) I'm not inclined to like Bloom so don't expect a review. She's not a dance diva and if she'd grasp that and stop trying to tweak the production on her albums (World on Fire, for instance), she'd be so much more powerful. But if you're all about the booty shake, check out Bloom.
Alison Moyet's a great voice but never one I've been into. I can take her after a night of partying. The fact that she's recording, among others, Elvis Costello may raise your interest in this album.
Greg Dulli. If you know music, you know the Afghan Whigs. (His last group is better off forgotten.) This man was a cock. The biggest cock in music. And not afraid to swing it around or even slap you in the face with it. His bravado made the Afghan Whigs what they were, one of the best damn groups of the nineties. If he's back to free ballin' and letting it all hang out, this could be one of the better albums of the year. Most recent go arounds, he's pulled away from his maleness. Here's hoping he's reaching back into his briefs to explore the good, bad and ugly of manhood. I'll be purchasing this album. If you were burned by his previous incarnation, feel free to wait on a review. I'll try to get one together by Tuesday after tomorrow at the latest.
Those are my highlights from the list. Joan Baez a must buy; Sarah Mac for booty shakers still mourning the musical death of Donna Summer, Moyet may expand on her specialized audience, the Stones may actually be having fun and I'll check to see if Greg can still get up.

Have we missed anyone today? Cedric. Cedric's moved Cedric's Big Mix to a new location (the permalinks have been updated).

If you're new to me, let me start by saying I'm like Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills). We both blog when we have something to say. If I don't have anything to say, my Mama always taught me to shut my mouth.
I like music and I like to talk about stuff that's happening. This Mix is supposed to be just that with stuff I find that I want to highlight (mainly from the community). I'm not sure how that will go because everyone's told me that when you copy and paste in this program you have a lot of work to do with spacing and stuff. At the old site, I just copied with the mouse, took it over to the site and pasted it and everything was just like it was from the site I was copying.
So if you want to hang, feel free. If you don't, that's cool. But Vern told me to speak my anger and as I get back to blogging I'm going to do that. There's a lot to be angry about these days and I won't put any lipstick on the pig here.
Check out The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Let's Play Politics" if you're curious about the sort of thing I'm hoping to do here.

The e-mail address for this site is