September 30, 2005

One Step Forward...

...Two steps back. In this case two battalions back:

The number of Iraqi army battalions that can fight insurgents without U.S. and coalition help has dropped from three to one, top U.S. generals told Congress yesterday, adding that the security situation in Iraq is too uncertain to predict large-scale American troop withdrawals anytime soon.

We now have less Iraq troops that can fight on thier own now then we did a few months ago. Less, not more. We have 140,000 troops in Iraq. The goal is to replace them with Iraqi troops. A battalion is about 1,000 troops. That's all we have managed to train in two years of occupation. At this rate we will be able to bring the troops home in 280 years!

September 29, 2005

What's Cool

I know you all are wondering to know what's cool and what's not. Luckily I'm here to let you know.

Serenity: Very Cool. I am pretty big booster of this movie. As you may have noticed, I've had a "Can't Stop the Signal" banner ad for this movie up for a while now. It comes from a short lived but very good tv show called FireFly. The best description comes from the Weekly Standard of all places "Think of it as Star Wars, if Han Solo were the main character, and he still shot Greedo first."

Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone: Cool. Yahoo is offering this travel blog/multimedia site Featuring one of those roving reporter types going places you never want to go. Check it out.

Commader-in-Chief: Somewhat Cool. All political shows will get a fair hearing here at the Chant. The problem is that West Wing means that we expect shows about the President to be well good. The Slate review says almost everything about it I would have, if I had more time.

John Roberts: Not Cool. I mean he's really powerful and is going to run SCOTUS for the rest of his life, but at least he's not cool.

September 28, 2005

X-Mas Day

Tom Delay, the Republican Majority leader in the House of Representatives has been charged by a Texas grand jury for conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme. He is out as Majority Leader. Happy Day.

September 27, 2005


Now you may think that rehiring Michael Brown, the incompetent former head of FEMA as a consultant to evaluate the agency's response to the disaster would be a stupid move. But actually its brilliant. This gives the Bush administration a new chance to fire him! When the evaluation of the response to Katrina is labeled a cover-up and a whitewash they can blame Brownie and fire his ass again. Next he can be hired as a DoD consultant and fired over the mess in Iraq. You can put him anywhere. Its not like he needs to be qualified for these jobs. Michael Brown: Scapegoat for hire.

September 26, 2005

Killer Dolphins!

Craigorian Chant in the past has explored the moral and ethical issues connected to making dolphins more intelligence. Thanks to Ezra Klien, we now have some new information on the subject. It appears the military has been experimenting with training dolphins for combat. They are equipped with toxic dart guns. And some of them have escaped in the wake of Katrina. So finally we reap what we sow. Killer dolphins now stalk the oceans of the world. Just think: the last thing you see is the smiling face of a dolphin. And they never stop smiling! Scary isn't it?

You Protest Not Enough

So you may have missed it in all the hurricane coverage and all, but there were dueling pro-war/anti-war demonstrations in DC over the weekend. Now I'm on the record as being rather skeptical as to the effectiveness of protests, but you anti-war types can take comfort in the fact that 100,000 people showed up for the anti-war protest on Saturday and only a pathetic 300 showed up for the pro-war protest on Sunday. Now is this a sign of a growing move against the war, or is it just easier to get the dirty hippie types into the street than the stuffy war supporters? Is it just harder to march for more death and things getting blown up, even if the event is framed as "support the troops." Are establishment pro-war people just not used to being an embattled minority that has to hit the streets to get attention? And will any of this protesting even matter to the direction of the county.

Bush's reckless spending costs you $7,469

George Bush, "the CEO president", has increased the nation's debt from $5.5 trillion to $7.9 trillion. Let me just write that out longhand so that you can see what it looks like: $7,900,000,000,000. If we divide that evenly among every man, woman, and child in America that means we each owe $26,974, $7,469 of which has been added by GWB.

Unforeseen expenses brought on by Katrina, Rita, etc., and criminally underestimated expenses in the form of Iraq and the Medicaid drug benefit plan continue to ratchet up the amount that we owe. Yet George still pushes for tax cuts for his wealthy friends so that they can swim in their giant rooms filled with money.

More from the San Francisco Chronicle.

September 25, 2005

Very Meta

I would just like to point out that one of the bloggers for the Santos for President Campaign on tonight's episode of the West Wing was named Craig. My only hope is that he becomes a recurring character.

September 24, 2005


It appears that the President has lost his Mojo:

A president who roamed across the national and world stages with an unshakable self-assurance that comforted Republicans and confounded critics since 2001 suddenly finds himself struggling to reclaim his swagger. Bush's standing with the public -- and within the Republican Party -- has been battered by a failed Social Security campaign, violence in Iraq, and most recently Hurricane Katrina. His approval ratings, 42 percent in the most recent Washington Post-ABC poll, have never been lower.

A president who normally thrives on tough talk and self-assurance finds himself at what aides privately describe as a low point in office, one that is changing the psychic and political aura of the White House, as well as its distinctive political approach.

In small, sometimes subtle but unmistakable ways, the president and top aides sound less certain, more conciliatory and willing to do something they avoided in the first term: admit mistakes. After bulling through crisis after crisis with a "bring 'em on" brashness, a more solemn Bush now has twice taken responsibility for the much-criticized response to Hurricane Katrina.

I always believed that Bush's self-confidence was a product of his not knowing any better. Of course everything is going to work out, cause Rove told him it would and he would never bother to find out differently. I honestly don't know why his Mojo has left him now. I figured if he could go around calling Iraq a victory there wasn't anything bad he couldn't ignore.

September 23, 2005

Get Out of the Way

Bush was going to fly into Texas for a photo op, but is now staying away. The modern Presidential entourage is a massive, disruptive thing. Bush will just have to get his photo op from Colorado. I'm sure the WH can work their studio magic from there.

We really need to come up with a better way to evacuate people from cities than just tell everyone to get in their car and go. As we all have learned this leaves everyone without a car behind. Now this policy has lead to worst traffic jam in history. We need a better way.

September 22, 2005


So here we go again. Another massive hurricane is storming across the Gulf of Mexico. But look at what's happening:

Along the Gulf Coast, federal, state and local officials heeded the bitter lessons of Katrina: Hundreds of buses were dispatched to evacuate the poor. Hospital and nursing home patients were cleared out. And truckloads of water, ice and ready-made meals, and rescue and medical teams were put on standby.

Well how about that. After getting beaten with a stick in the public mind, the Government is changing the way it responds to a situation. To borrow (steal) from David Brin "Criticism is the only antidote to error." What's made this administration so dangerous is that they are very, very good at avoiding, vilifying, or just ignoring most of the criticism directed their way. Patriotism and partisanship, up till this point, could shield Bush from most criticism. But they couldn't use their old stand-byes to fight the fallout from Katrina. They just have to do a better job. It's their only choice. Now if only criticism of the Iraq war was as effective. There would be fewer deaths for us to argue about.

George Bush now responsible for as many American deaths as Osama bin Laden

Running some numbers today:

  • Total number of innocent Americans killed by Bin Laden's actions on September 11: 2,986
  • Total number of innocent Americans killed by George Bush's actions and inactions in the subsequent four years: 2,945 (and rising)

With 1909 US fatalities in Iraq and rising, and with the Katrina body count now at 1,036 and rising, the number of American deaths that George Bush is responsible for is coming close to surpassing the number caused by Osama bin Laden.

September 21, 2005

This and That

I have a buddy with whom I have a pretty good argument about the Iraq War every time we hang out. The trip to Vegas was no exception. The sad part is, while we argue about whether it was "worth it" the number of dead keeps going up. It's now over 1,900. I'm worried we might be having the same argument at 2,000 or 3,000 or 10,000. And now it looks like the British might be getting into trouble.

In other news those Canadians aren't taking any crap from Wal-Mart. Why do we?

Bono the Statesman.

September 20, 2005


I am thinking the government's priorities are not in order. FEMA has sent shipments of ice to Maine. The FBI is pulling agents off other types of cases to pursue adult pornography. In other news, I've just slapped my forehead so hard I momentarily lost consciences. What the hell is wrong with these people! Adult Porn! We are going to pull FBI agents off things like terrorism, bank robbery and kidnapping to go chase porn for consenting adults. Have we caught all the terrorists? The hard stuff is done so now we have time to worry about porn?

Simon Wiesenthal, RIP

Generally speaking once exspects a superhero look different from a bookish former architech and have cooler digs than a cramped three room office. But Simon Wiesenthal spent his life bringing to justice the worse humanity has every produced:

Mr. Wiesenthal was credited with a crucial role in many other cases. His investigations in São Paulo led to the arrests of Franz Stangl, former commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor death camps in Poland, who was extradited to West Germany in 1967 and died three years later while serving a life sentence, and Gustav Franz Wagner, a former deputy commandant at Sobibor, who died during extradition proceedings in 1980. He was instrumental in the arrest and extradition from Argentina of Josef Schwammberger, an SS officer convicted in the killings of prisoners and slave laborers at camps in Poland and sentenced to life in prison in Germany in 1992.
Mr. Wiesenthal tracked down Karl Silberbauer, at the time a Vienna police officer, who had been the Gestapo aide responsible for arresting Anne Frank and her family in their secret annex in Amsterdam, a feat of sleuthing that buttressed the credibility of Anne's diary in the face of neo-Nazi claims that it was fabricated.

September 19, 2005

Vegas Vacation

So I and part of the Craigorian Chant contributing staff have returned from a weekend in Vegas. By our count we committed six out the seven deadly sins. Can you guess the one we missed? Life seems rather mundane now. Boy, they don’t do anything by half in that town. The Venetian Hotel/Resort/Casino has constructed an actual Venetian-Style cannel network, complete with gondolas and the guys with the straw hats. Anyone who says “We can’t do that, it wouldn’t be practical/cost too much/a stupid thing to do in a desert, was run out of Vegas a long time ago. And boy do people love it. They come from all over to spend their money. Met people from Mexico, Japan and Ohio and that was just on my shuttle to the airport. Build it and they come. And they keep building it. Almost all the old strip casinos are gone and the ones that remain have a real air of desperation about them. This is now the age of the Super-Mega-Ultra resort/hotel/casino. All of which feature the following:

1. About 10,000 hotel rooms
2. A gimmick (Rome, Egypt, Pirates, etc)
3. An ultra hip night club with a one word name (Ra, Rubber, Risqué)
4. Slot machines beyond count.
5. A buffet of varying quality (Billagio Yes! Monty Carlo No!)
6. The sexiest stage show in Vegas.

Yes, they all have the sexiest stage show in Vegas. On my next trip I’ll have to start investigating these claims. They all can’t have the sexiest show. Stay tuned for a Craigorian Chant investigation.

September 16, 2005

The Latest Most Important Speech

Blah, Blah, Blah, Freedom. Blah, Blah, Blah, Rebuild. Blah, Blah, Blah, Hope. So Bush did the speech thing last night, trying to make up for lost ground on Katrina. As always the prepared Bush speech has no relation to what comes out of his mouth when he speaks off-the-cuff. The speech sounded just like the very important speeches that he has given on Iraq. In fact you can just put in "rebuild community" for "build democracy" and its the same speech. We are even going to stay in both places "until the job is done." Of course that means that the Bush administration is going to do the same good job it did rebuilding Iraq on rebuilding the Gulf Coast. So in about two years we can expect the whole region to leave the Union in a second bloody Civil War.

Quote of the Day

As soon as New Orleans gets back to normal, I plan on volunteering to go down there and help drink their economy back on its feet.

Wil Durst, The Progressive Magazine

September 15, 2005

Oh God

Now we get to go back to the whole "under God" thing in the Pledge of Allegiance. Now the sky is falling and the Godless commies are going to overrun us because schoolkids don't say the word "God" in school. I get kind of sick of the righteous chest thumping that this issues brings out. Hey, the Country just got clobbered by worst natural disaster ever, so maybe our efforts to suck up to God aren't working. I say toss God to make the Pledge sound better. The Pledge now reads funny because of the God clause was stuck into it after the fact in the 1950's. "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Some people try and stick extra commas in there, some don't and the whole rhythm of the pledge gets thrown off. "One Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" is much smoother. The whole thing is going to grind away in the courts for years anyway.

September 14, 2005

Get Your Goat

Looks like the wrong guy may have been made a scapegoat for the Katrina response:

As thousands of hurricane victims went without food, water and shelter in the days after Katrina's early morning Aug. 29 landfall, critics assailed Brown for being responsible for delays that might have cost hundreds of lives.

But Chertoff - not Brown - was in charge of managing the national response to a catastrophic disaster, according to the National Response Plan, the federal government's blueprint for how agencies will handle major natural disasters or terrorist incidents. An order issued by President Bush in 2003 also assigned that responsibility to the homeland security director.

But according to a memo obtained by Knight Ridder, Chertoff didn't shift that power to Brown until late afternoon or evening on Aug. 30, about 36 hours after Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi. That same memo suggests that Chertoff may have been confused about his lead role in disaster response and that of his department.

Remember that this is the administration that was making the case that if John Kerry was elected it mean the death of us all. Then a real disaster strikes and these guys take there sweet time about responding. Breaking campaign promise about raising taxes I can understand. Breaking a promise to do all you can to keep the American people safe should haunt this administration for all time.

September 13, 2005

Ready For Some Football

So the NFL season has kicked off this weekend. The Niners looked rather strong coming out of the gate which would buck their recent trend of sucking to no end. I would take this opportunity to plug Tuesday Morning Quarterback. If you only read one thing about the weekend's NFL's games (And I do) make it TMQ. It talks about the game mainly from a stratagy and tactics point of view. The whole thing is done very funny. Easterbrook seems to have watched every game and has such recurring features as Tis Better to Have Rushed and Lost Than Never to Have Rushed At All, Cheerleader of the Week, Stop Me Before I Blitz Again and Obscure College Score of the Week. A sample:

Having reached the Dallas 7, San Diego had four downs, 47 seconds and one time out with which to attempt the winning touchdown. The Bolts threw three consecutive incompletions before Drew Brees forced one in there and got picked off. Why no rush? Considering the time out, they could have run at least once, maybe twice in a four-play span, crossing the Cowboys up. Dallas had a "dime" look on the field -- meaning lots of skinny guys who should be vulnerable to the rush. More, as TMQ endlessly points out, the closer you get to the goal line the less space there is to throw. Regular passes rarely work at the goal line, simply because the defense has so little territory to defend:. Power running, play action and rollouts are what work at the goal line. Yet San Diego coaches called four consecutive regular drop-back passes; they never even used the time out, which, presumably, now can be donated to charity. Ye gods.

Brownie Be Gone

Ok, who had Monday the 12th in the pool for when the head of FEMA would be fired. He lasted a full two after Katrina before the unbearable cries of his time-starved family just became too much for him. Now that I'm in my car a lot more these days, I am able to take a sample of conservative am radio talking points, trying to get the blame off Bush. They go like this:

1. Its all the Mayor's fault.
2. Its all the Govenor's fault.
3. You shouldn't be so reliant on government anyway.
4. FEMA did fine.
5. Brown has been fired so the problem has been addressed.
6. Its just that liberal media.

In other words, its not my dog, it didn't bite you, and you kicked him first. Hearing this crap for a couple hours a day is the reason that 38% of the public still approve of the job Bush is doing.

September 12, 2005

Here Comes the Judge

So I guess if you hold a four-year old child in your arms your judicial philosophy will not be questioned as hard:

The hearing began only after senators greeted 4-year-old Jack Roberts, who had first made the national stage by dancing on national television as President George W. Bush announced his father's nomination, and the rest of his family.

The blonde child posed in his father's arms, his 5-year-old sister Josie and mother nearby, as cameras whirred.

Roberts, a 50-year-old federal appeals judge, hopes to be Chief Justice of the United States when the nation's highest court convenes for its next session on October 3.

Look at the cuteness of my child! Pay no attention to my views on privacy. Or the enviroment. I must be good for my child is so adorable.

September 11, 2005

What Has This Day Become?

I wonder what kind of day September 11 is going to become from now on. Sutter Creek, official hometown of Craigorian Chant, has lined Main Street with flags as is tradition for memorial Day, 4th of July, and so on. But it doesn't have the feel of a real National Day. I don't think that September 11 will ever be a holiday or a day off. But September 11 is being remembered in a way other tragedies are not. I doubt anyone will commemorate August 29 as the day Katrina hit land. September 11 is fading in the national memory as Katrina shows us that an American tragedy is not a unique occurrence and the Iraq debacle has called into question our response to that day. I'm trying to think how the attack on Pearl Harbor would be remembered if we attacked Argentina instead of Japan, and got bogged down in a bloody stalemate. September 11 is going to have a messy history when it all gets written down, and that will never make for a good holiday.

September 10, 2005


The Bush Administration is adapting the hungry bear strategy to crisis management. To get away when being chased by a hungry bear, you don't have to run faster than the bear. You just have to run faster than the guy next to you. Bush, Inc is looking for anyone Mayor, Governor, etc. who can take the fall instead of Bush himself. The first guy to get eaten is Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, who has been relieved of on-site command of the Katrina relief efforts. He's not completely fired, he's going back to Washington where he can get really to screw up the next FEMA effort. I guess he's being feed to the bear in pieces.

Laura is assembling a group to storm the Capitol with pitchforks and torches. She asks that you read this story and this story to get into the right frame of mind. Laura might get some company.

September 9, 2005

Not a Grand Story

Matthew Yglesias has a great post up about the need for a good story in the War on Terror:

Lots of people are, with good reason, somewhat fascinated by tales of the medieval Vikings and the classical Icelandic sagas make for interesting reading. Contemporary Scandinavia -- prosperous, homogenous, peaceful, egalitarian -- is infinitely duller and can only generate heroic tales by importing significant irrealism and transposing the setting to the unremittingly hostile climate of Greenland. There's surely something regrettable about this, but it would be moronic to deliberately re-engineer 11th century social conditions in order to generate better stories.

In a lot of ways, this is the true sub rosa story of the Iraq War. Late 1990s America was aesthetically unsatisfying to a lot of intellectual types, including intellectual types who write about politics. They yearned for a more heroic age, found the disaster of 9/11 exhilarating, and hoped that the rise of al-Qaeda would provide the fodder for its creation. A sober view of the war on terrorism leads, however, to the conclusion that while counterterrorism is an important item on the policy agenda, it's not much of a grand drama. Indeed, it's kind of boring. I think it's interesting, which is why it's one of the things I write about, but I also liked writing about Social Security, possibly the boringest thing ever. Instead of accepting that, though, we got the Iraq War which was well-suited to a big picture narrative about a world-historical clash.

Fighting terrorism is relatively boring compared to all out war. For starters, most of it takes place in total secret, which doesn't make for exciting news copy. Adventure is someone else, either far far away or a long time ago, in deep shit. We shouldn't go looking to create a more heroic age. The life of a hero sucks. Just ask the "Heroes" of WWII or 9/11 or Katrina. My guess is that every single one of them would have preferred a nice, boring, non-heroic life.

September 8, 2005

Run and Hide

So a CBS ponly has only 38% of people approving of the way Bush has handled Katrina, while 58% disapprove. I'm just wondering what it will take for that 38% to start thinking bad things about Bush.

The Bush response is of course to run and hide. From the media that is. Political Animal has a good round-up of efforts to hide the effects of Katrina from the media.

For a more direct and less...refined version of the kind of displeasure being expressed by the public to the administration, check out this video clip. Priceless.

September 7, 2005

Entertainment Report

Rather then dwell on the mind boggling incompetence of Bush's appointed head of FEMA, I will spend time on what you should be watching and reading. At the movies I highly recommend The Constant Gardener. A very smart, well acted thiller. Grand Global conspiracy involving drug companies in Africa. This one will stay with you. I saw it Sunday and it's still in my head which is more than I can say for the movies I've seen this summer.

For you stay at home types I would recommend Layer Cake now out on DVD. British Gang-sta film, funny/violent, not as frantic as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch, but definitely along those lines. Our hero, who is never named but played by the tastefully named actor Daniel Craig, is trying to stay smart, safe and civilized in a drug business that isn't any of that. He's sure he's got the system beat, but the system is about to beat on him.

For those who prefer to read for their entertainment, might I suggest Dies the Fire, which I read a couple of months back but am now taking a fresh look at in the wake of Katrina. The premise is that a mysterious world-wide phenomenon has cause all electric devises to stop working. The book explores the same issues of lose of technology and lose of civility that we have been seeing play out on our TV's in the wake of the hurricane. Makes you wonder about the slender thread that our humanity hangs on.

So there you go three uplifting entertainment picks to brighten your day.

September 6, 2005

Ideology of Despair

Bill O'Reilly said the most remarkable thing on his show yesterday:

First, the huge, bureaucratic government will never be able to protect you. If you rely on government for anything, anything, you're going to be disappointed, no matter who the president is.

For example, engineers knew for decades the levee system in Louisiana could not withstand a Category 5 hurricane, but nobody wanted to pony up the $20 billion to shore it up. That kind of decision happens all day, every day.

Second point, New Orleans is not about race. It's about class. If you're poor, you're powerless, not only in America, but everywhere on earth. If you don't have enough money to protect yourself from danger, danger's going to find you. And all the political gibberish in the world is not going to change that.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina should be taught in every American school. If you don't get educated, if you don't develop a skill, and force yourself to work hard, you're most likely be poor. And sooner or later, you'll be standing on a symbolic rooftop waiting for help.

Chances are that help will not be quick in coming.

What a God-Awfull way to look at the world.

TNR says that Katrina represents a real crisis to conservatism as an ideology. Preaching self-reliance and the uselessness of government is fine, until a problem so big comes along you can no longer pretend that indiviguals can deal with it. We need an efficient, well-funded government to deal with things like Katrina. Better government could have saved lives last week. But O'Reilly can't grasp that. It's just not So his only solution is not be poor. Don't get sick, don't lose your job, don't get old, because in O'Reilly's Darwinian world, you are doomed. Bill is saying to the guy on the roof his house, "sorry but you should have studied harder in school." Bill is preaching an ideology of despair. No help for anybody not as well off as O'Reilly Anybody want to sign up?

Not me. I think it really matters who the President is. That some Presidents are better at the job and have a governing philosophy that government can actually help people as opposed to enriching his friends. I say America can do better than Bill "Let the poor die" O'Reilly.

September 5, 2005

Manoeuvre Sur Les Derrieres

Bush is now nominating Robert for the Chief Justice spot. Basically Bush is now moving Roberts from the O'Connor seat to the Rehnquist. Roberts has proven so boring that Bush figures he can be smoothly confirmed. Trying to elevate Scalia to Chief, for example, would be much harder. Scalia is smart, colorful, extremely conservative, and has a long history of biting judicial opinions. Roberts, on the other hand, seems to have no qualities of any kind, good or bad. What remains to be seen is who Bush now picks for the second seat.

September 4, 2005


The Chief Justice died last night, which now means that Bush gets to fill no less than two SCOTUS seats that lucky duck. Oh, condolences to the Rehnquist family, of course.

This opens still yet another political front for Bush, when he's already in over his head. There is at least one other major confirmation battle, two more if Bush wants to promote a sitting Justice to Chief. SCOTUS confirmation hearings are a political circus. The high wire part of the circus. Even a "safe" nominee like Roberts is amazing tricky. Can Rove pull off three? The Katrina aftermath is hurting him; TPM has a great take on the White House response to the criticism:

Now at least we have the storyline. The Bush administration wasn't caught sleeping on the job while New Orleans went under with a gutted FEMA run by a guy who got fired from his last job policing horse shows. In fact, according to the new White House storyline, the governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans didn't ask for help quickly enough. And the White House was powerless to act until they did. Apparently they couldn't even reschedule the president's vacation until the locals got the right forms signed.

Oh then there's the small matter of the Iraq War. Cindy Sheehan is still out there. She currently on a bus tour and will soon be banging on doors in D.C. Plus the Karl Rove CIA scandal has yet to finish up. So can the Bush team simultaneously smear Cindy Sheehan, local NO and LA officials, and defend Roberts and a Justice to be named later? Sounds a little overwhelming to me.

September 3, 2005

The Death of Politeness

One of the victims of hurricane Katrina is veneer of politeness that governs our political discourse. You simply are not rude in modern politics. No matter what line of crap someone is peddling, they will be heard and asked polite questions that can be easily dodged. No one has taken advantage of this politeness more than the Bush administration. No has every confronted Bush or his administration directly with a line like "You lied about the WMD, you ass." They are always allowed to offer their worthless explanations because we wouldn't want to be rude, would we?

Well Katrina has brought an end to that. Jack Shafer has a piece in slate outlining all the rudeness from the news people when they are confronted with administration BS. It cumulated in CNN showing the difference between administration quotes and their reporter's reality. Rapper Kanye West just tore into Bush during a benefit concert. The Mayor of New Orleans was losing it in buckets in a radio interview.

So what is different about this event? Why was no one rude about Iraq and WMD? Because people are dieing, slowing, right in front of reporters and cameras and there is no "enemy" to invoke. The dirtiest and most effective rhetorical trick of the right has been to criticism bush aids terrorist/Saddam. But Katrina is just weather. It can't be "aided" Screw ups are screw ups and pointing them out isn't going to hearten the flood waters. So three cheers for the death of politeness!

September 2, 2005

Really Really Bad

The situation in New Orleans is just terrible. Worse parts of the bible bad. FEMA, the federal government, and the Bush administration are not looking like angels at the moment. In news interviews yesterday, both the head of FEMA and Homeland security didn't seem to have a clue that there were thousands of people with no food or water at the New Orleans convention center. That the head of FEMA is a boob should not come as a surprise. Craigorian Chant reader Roy makes the point that Convention Center is all on one big dock could have been evacuated with ships. Clearly there has been a massive failure to deal with this. Now Bush has rolled into town to try and address the critism. He's striking a very different tone calling the responce so far "Not acceptable." No kidding.

September 1, 2005

Gas Panic

Katrina impact felt nationwide:

"Out of Gas" signs and yellow caution tape were draped across pumps in parts of the United States early Thursday after many retailers were overrun by panicked motorists looking to top off their tanks as prices soared past $3 per gallon and reports of shortages spread.

Gas stations in and around downtown Atlanta had temporarily run out of gas. The same was reported elsewhere, including parts of North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Arizona. Many retailers who did have gas had no clue when their next shipments would come in.

Some of this is real. The area hit contains something like half of the oil refining capacity of the US. But a lot of this is just panic. If everybody thinks that gas will run out and tries to horde gas, then gas will run out.