Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Democracy Now: hurricane aftermath, Michael Radner, Bruce Shapiro; Ruth Conniff, Nat Parry, Christine (Ms. Musing), Kim Gandy ...

Pentagon: USS Bataan Waited Days For Orders to Help Out
Criticism of the federal government's response is also coming from some unlikely sources including the Pentagon. Lt. Commander Sean Kelly, a Pentagon spokesman for Northern Command, revealed on the BBC that NorthCom was prepared to send in search and rescue helicopters from the USS Bataan almost immediately after the hurricane hit. He said, "We had things ready. The only caveat is: we have to wait until the president authorizes us to do so." That authorization didn't happen for days even though the ship was docked just outside New Orleans. On board the ship had doctors, hospital beds, food and the ability to make up to 100,000 gallons of water a day.
P. Diddy Offers Support to Kanye West
A number of musicians and actors have come to the defense of hip-hop star Kanye West. On Friday night West appeared on a live NBC telethon and said that President Bush doesn't care about Black people. He also criticized the media for its portrayal of African-Americans in New Orleans. Fellow hip-hop star P. Diddy told the program Access Hollywood "I think he spoke from his heart. He spoke what a lot of people feel." In New York at least one participant in the West Indian Day Parade was seen carrying a sign that read "Kanye West was Right."
Barbara Bush: Relocation is "Working Very Well For Them"
While the federal government has been widely criticized for its slow response, former First Lady Barbara Bush told the radio show Marketplace that the relocation is "working very well" for some of those forced out of New Orleans since they were "underprivileged anyway." This is Barbara Bush speaking at the Astrodome in Houston. "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this working very well for them," Bush said.
The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Rob, Tomika and ShaneDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for September 6, 2005

- New Orleans Mayor Estimates 10,000 Dead in City
- Water Levels Decrease In New Orleans; Levee Patched
- Pentagon: USS Bataan Waited Days For Orders to Help Out
- U.S. Rejected Cuban Offer of 1,100 Doctors
- P. Diddy Offers Support to Kanye West
- Barbara Bush: Relocation is "Working Very Well For Them"
- Rep. Lewis: Marshall-type Plan Needed For New Orleans
New Orleans Locals Rescue Their Neighbors in Absence of Government Response

Democracy Now! producer John Hamilton spent the past several days in Louisiana. He filed a report from the flooded streets of New Orleans as he rode in a boat with locals searching for survivors in their community.
Bush Nominates Roberts to Replace Rehnquist as Chief Justice

With the eyes of the nation firmly focused on the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, there have been major developments in the battle over the future of the Supreme Court with the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and President Bush's decision to nominate John Roberts to replace him. We speak with Bruce Shapiro of The Nation and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
African American Residents Tell Tales of Survival, Blast Racially-Skewed Government Response

Democracy Now! producers get reports from African-American survivors of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. We hear from a woman at the convention center and a record store owner from the Algiers neighborhood in New Orleans.
Missing in New Orleans: Voices of Those Seeking Loved Ones

We get an update from a few people we previously heard from who are searching for missing loved ones hit by hurricane Katrina. We are also joined in the studio by a war resister seeking discharge from the Texas National Guard who has family missing in New Orleans.
Before we move on to anything else, let's note this again:
This is a one hour special addressing the nomination of Roberts that pulls together from previous discussions.  It's worth watching.
Lloyd e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's "Drowning the Beast" (The Progressive): 

For years now, Republicans and rightwingers have been selling the notion that taxes are bad, and cuts in government services are good.

Now comes the deluge in New Orleans, and the Bush Administration's appalling inability to save thousands of Americans from the horror that has unfolded there. The pictures and news reports are unbelievable--people waiting, starving and dehydrated, fending off the looters, the thugs and rapists who preyed on children in a convention center and a famous football stadium that became death traps.

The elderly slumped on baggage carousels at the airport--some dead, some dying. The contrast between the enormous wealth of our country, with its massive stadiums and transportation infrastructure, and the desperate human suffering, the collapse of civilization and humanity in New Orleans, makes a shocking picture.

Is this the vision of America the anti-government ideologues have in mind? The wealthy buy their way out of trouble when disaster strikes, and the poor, the elderly, the weak are left in the direst of circumstances?

Cindy e-mails to note Nat Parry's "Roberts & the 'Apex of Presidential Power'" (Consortium News):

What's at stake with the Supreme Court confirmation of John Roberts, especially with George W. Bush poised to name a second justice, is not only how the United States deals with abortion and other social issues but whether the President will be granted broad authoritarian powers over the nation's future and the civil liberties of people worldwide.

While much of the focus on Bush's choice of Judge Roberts has centered on his life-long conservative ideology, including his hostility toward women's rights, a sleeper issue has been Roberts's support for giving the Executive nearly unlimited authority, at least when the White House is held by a Republican.

That past support for an Imperial Presidency is even more significant now that Bush has picked Roberts, 50, to replace the late William Rehnquist as Chief Justice, creating the prospect of a Roberts Court that may extend for decades. Bush next plans to fill the vacancy from Sandra Day O’Connor's retirement with another nominee, who is expected to consolidate right-wing control of the high court. 

Roberts's deference to presidential power is a strand that has run through his entire career as special assistant to Ronald Reagan's attorney general, a legal strategist for Reagan's White House counsel, a top deputy to George H.W. Bush's solicitor general Kenneth W. Starr, and a federal appeals court judge accepting George W. Bush’s right to deny due-process rights to anyone deemed an "enemy combatant."

Roberts has sided with executive power on both foreign policy issues and on bureaucratic disputes. For instance, during the Reagan administration in 1983, he said it was time to "reconsider the existence" of independent regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, and to "take action to bring them back within the Executive Branch."

Roberts called these agencies a "constitutional anomaly," which should be rectified by putting them under direct presidential control. That, however, could let an unscrupulous President have a White House-run FTC look the other way when accusations of unfair business practices are lodged against a corporate contributor.

Putting the FCC under tighter White House control would let the President pull the strings of communication policy to reward his media allies and punish anyone using the broadcast media to criticize him, much as Richard Nixon tried to do during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

"Senate to Begin Roberts Hearings Monday" by Jesse J. Holland (Associated Press) will bring you up to date on the latest scheduling change.  (If you check out the article, note the look on Sandra Day O'Connor's face in the photo that accompanies the article.)
At Ms. Musing, Christine's "Opposition Responds to Choice of Roberts for Chief Justice" includes quotes from Kim Gandy (NOW), Eleanor Smeal (Feminist Majority), Marcia D. Greenberger, (National Women's Law Center), Debra L. Ness (National Partnerhsip for Women & Families), Ralph G. Neas (People for the American Way), and the American Association for Affirmative Action.
We'll note Kim Gandy's "Katrina: Now It's Personal" (NOW), e-mailed by Lisa:
I'm from Louisiana, as you may know. I lived and worked for 14 years in New Orleans, and spent all of those years as a NOW activist. The flood pictures that have been, well, flooding my TV and newspapers the past few days are almost more than I can bear. Like many of you, I am flooded with emotions -- worry, hope, grief, and now, anger.

And now they're using government resources to direct cash contributions to Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing, which is one of the top three groups listed for cash donations on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA.gov) website.

How dare he? Or, rather: HOW DARE HE? How dare George W. Bush try to turn this tragedy into political gain, not to mention enriching his right-wing friends like Pat Robertson? He was the one who cut FEMA funding and slashed budgets for our first responders here at home while spending hundreds of billions of dollars waging a pointless, unnecessary, and increasingly bloody war over in Iraq. It was his administration's decision to shift around money and priorities so that the Army Corps of Engineers couldn't complete their work on the levees needed to protect New Orleans.

Seeing tens of thousands of hungry and desperate people jammed into the Superdome days after the hurricane, without even a semblance of an organized federal relief effort made me want to scream. It's just such a classic case of needing nine stitches to make up for the one that wasn't in time.

We'll note Jordan Flaherty's "Don't Let New Orleans Die" (Left Turn):

Its been a day since I evacuated from New Orleans, my home, the city I love. Today I saw Governor Blanco proudly speak of troops coming in with orders to shoot to kill. Is she trying to help New Orleans, or has she declared war?

I feel like the world isn't seeing the truth about the city I love. People outside know about Jazz Fest and Bourbon Street and beads, and now they know about looters and armed gangs and helicopter rescue.

Whats missing is the story of a city and people who have created a culture of liberation and resistance. A city where people have stood up against centuries of racism and white supremacy. This is the city where in 1892 Homer Plessy and the Citizens Committee planned the direct action that brought the first (unsuccessful) legal challenge to the doctrine of "Seperate but Equal."

This is the city where in 1970 the New Orleans Black Panthers held off the police from the desire housing projects, and also formed one of the nations' first Black Panther chapters in prison. Where in 2005 teens at Frederick Douglas High School, one of the most impoverished schools in the US, formed a student activist group called Teens With Attitude to fight for educational justice, and canvassed their community to develop true community ownership of their school.

KeShawn e-mails to note Jack Duggan's "The Louisiana Superdome of shame" (The Chicago Defender):

Can you imagine New Orleans' wealthy elite meekly submitting to such microscopic searches of their persons and property for drugs?

Watching news coverage of the refugees trying to enter the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans for safety from the approaching force-five Hurricane Katrina, I was incredulous how the people attempting to enter the stadium were being treated by the national guard troops and local police. The people were made to stand for hours outside in the awful Louisiana climate while they were admitted one or two adults at a time so they could be searched "for firearms and alcohol."

The frail elderly, many grasping walkers and others in wheelchairs seemed to be near collapse. They, along with hundreds of small children needing water and rest-room relief, were forced to wait as long as four hours to get to safety. It was often repeated during the video reports that the last time the Superdome was used as a hurricane shelter, a few of the temporary occupants removed some furniture. But this time, they had a large security force on hand, so that was NOT going to happen again, no-siree-bob.

Brad e-mails to note Chuck D's "Hell No We Ain't Alright" (CounterPunch):
New Orleans in the morning, afternoon, and night

Hell No We Ain't Alright

Now all these press conferences breaking news alerts

This just in while your government looks for a war to win

Flames from the blame game, names? Where do I begin?

Walls closing in get some help to my kin

Who cares? While the rest of the Bushnation stares

As the drama unfolds as we the people under the stairs

50% of this Son of a Bush nation

Is like hatin' on Haiti

And setting up assassinations

Ask Pat Robertson- quiz him.... smells like terrorism.

Racism in the news

Still one-sided news

Saying whites find food



Ruth asked that a special broadcast of KPFK's Sojourner Truth be noted.  Sojourner Truth, hosted my Margaret Prescod, regularly airs Monday through Friday from seven to eight in the morning, Pacific Time.  There will be a special broadcast from four to five (Pacific time) this afternoon.  Ruth listened this morning and thinks the reporting on New Orleans was "skilled and important and exploring the role of race in the aftermath" and advises members who are interested and able to tune in that they should catch this broadcast. (6-7 p.m. central time, 7-8 pm eastern)  If you're in the Los Angeles area, 90.7 on the FM radio dial, and everyone can listen over the web by going to the KPFK home page.
Further listening alert, Kat's on the phone asking me to remind everyone that Joan Baez's Bowery Songs is released today.  That's a live CD.  Kat has her copy and is listening to it -- from what I can hear over the connection, the sound's amazing.  But we'll leave the reviews to Kat.  Kat says the song playing in the background is "Carrickfergus" (and I'm sure I've mispelled that).  Joan Baez's Bowery Songs, live CD from her 2004 concert, out today on CD.
At some point during Democracy Now! today they play the song that I think is the one Mike was trying to find information on -- it's Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927."  (They played it yesterday as well.)
Norah e-mails to note a post by Riggsveda entitled "Help For Katrina's Victims" (corrente)  -- we're posting in full due to its importance:

Help For Katrina's Victims 

From the new site, Katrina Refugees United:
"If you are a victim of Hurricane Katrina, register with this site to let the world know how to contact you. You can give as much detail as you'd like. Then anyone visiting refugeesunited.org can quickly find out how you are doing.

If you are looking for a victim in the Gulf Coast region, you can search for your loved one's name and location. In the very near future, you will be able to post your questions to this site so that your query will be visible to anyone visiting refugeesunited.org.

This site is designed to be a central collection point for information on anyone impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Tell everyone about refugeesunited.org. We're here to help."
If you have a blog, please post this info and the link to the site. Help get the word out so these folks can find their friends and families. No central record-keeping of names has yet been created, and currently many people are scattered all over the country, some unable to remember their own names, who have been separated from the people who care for them. Spread the word.
The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around