Friday, September 16, 2005

well, hellooooooo. is everyone having a grand time in san francisco? no? hmmm. oh, wait. that could be because you're not here and i am. bwahahahahaha!
seriously, i miss you all and---sorry. started laughing again.
anyway, arrived in the City at 1-ish this afternoon after a groovy 180 mile commute that included almost no traffic (other than the idiot in front of us at the bridge tollbooth who spent something like 5 minutes either looking for exact change or chatting up the very cute booth operator). started out the morning with a javalanche from java wava to kickstart the drive. hit modesto and stopped for iced tea, film and batteries. livermore's a & w/kfc mega-greasepit was the official pisspoint (seemed appropriate). then over the hill, into the brisk sea air and a glorious afternoon of wandering around the tenderloin and looking at hookers...i mean, bookstores. um, for the next installment of our adventures, you'll have to go lecram's blog.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Jim Crow Back On The Beat

there's no way this can be true in our enlightened era. right? anyone? bueller?

Half Nekkid Thursday

happy happy joy joy! it's HNT time again! this week i'm pulling an oldie from my college days. back in the year 19mumblemumble i was but a wee lad who thought he had the makings of a sean connery, sean penn, sean young or pauly shore. there i was at the U, making my way up the ranks of the privileged class (those who were given parts without having to really audition). at that time i was about a pfc. most of my work was being done in the "black box", which is where the student-run productions happened 9and where the best shows occured, because they were anarchy at its finest). i had been blacklisted by a professor a semester or so before this picture was taken, because i failed to show up for one of his poetry class readings (or something like that). so, i had been working the non-teacher-controlled plays for a while. when a senior grade actor decided to be Hamlet for his senior project i went to auditions hoping to get a minor supporting role. in fact, the professor/director had suggested i try out for laertes or Hamlet's sissy friend. reading the script for the first time in my life i quickly focused on Claudius (that bastard evil king/stepfather/murderer). something about him just clicked with me. i got the part and this is the one promo photo i was given and able to hang onto. it's not necessarily half-nekkid now, but i felt ALL nekkid when i was on stage. this was my biggest and baddest role to date. and damn i was good looking before the drugs, booze, baby and narcissism took full hold of me.
happy HNT to all and to all a good night/morning/afternoon. go here for the rules (more like guidelines, actually) and go here to see my favorite hottie (if she's out of the hospital and feeling up to blogging). and go here to check out HNT's creator's blog. also, lecram's HNT is up.
go. now. i mean it. quit staring at me. or say something. anything. fuck it. fine, just go. this was the biggest mistake of my life trying to be honest with you. you're just like all the rest. ogle me and on to the next. you'll get yours someday and i'll be there to laugh and laugh and laugh...i'm sending you the bill for my therapy.

Monday, September 12, 2005

so, theraminman (who, evidently, actually started writing on his blog while i wasn't looking), gave me a cd of Jonathon Richman and the Modern lovers. much loved gift. it's jonathon singing live and "ice cream man" is perhaps one of the best live versions of any song i have heard by anyone ever. "egyptian reggae" ain't so damn bad either. that would have been enough to get me to his music gig last saturday (plus the gig was damn fun. i haven't danced like a giraffe in heat for some time; made me reealize that if i'm going to not quit smoking i need to get back in the other habit of getting exercise). but...
BUT he can't give me just one richman cd. no, he has to tease me with a "bonus cd". and when he hands it to me it turns out to be the very album that got me started at the age of 16 on my jonathon odyssey. my older sister had bought a rubinoos album (vinyl, of course). inside, though, was something by someone we didn't know of. sis wanted to return it right away, but i and her older brother convinced her to play it first. the rest is history...she didn't return it. and i have followed his music ever since. how could i go wrong with songs like "here come the martian martians", "abominable snowman in the supermarket", "hey there little insect", "hi dear", unique covers of "back in the u.s.a." and "amazing grace", and "rockin' shoppin' center"? not to mention "lonely financial building".
so, thank you theremainman (sic). you rock just as does jonathon. and your "ticket to ride" gig on saturday was a kick for me. the music was good, the dancing was strokeworthy (not in the kleenex way, mind you) and your shoutouts made me feel like i was having my birthday all over again. and the picture above is my badnewsblonde way of thanking you (she thanks people who buy her stuff by showing parts of her body...which is damn smart. you don't get that. you get what i got. and what i got is me at 15 trying to be cool for the camera. but aces works for the gift. aces to you, beeyatch).
cheers to all and listen to jonathon richman as much as you can. by the way, the cd has at least three more songs on it than the vinyl did, including "roadrunner". SUPER BONUS!!!!!!!!!!

Even I Am Stunned By The Absolutely Incoherent Manner In Which Bush Addresses Katrina

(normally i'd just link to an article, but this is so intense as an indictment of our current leader's incompetence that i chose to go ahead and print it in its entirety. this man has no clue. he can't finish sentences. he loses track of his thoughts. he calls what he did extraordinary. he becomes combative when a question diviates from what he expects to hear. he falls back on repeated words to try and convince people that he has a handle on the situation. switching questions from new orleans to iraq seems to have flummoxed him momentarily. his grasp of the english language is simplistic at best and rote at worst all in the same q and a period. he claims he doesn't lead by poll, but unquestionly accepts on what his handlers tell him [it's in here if you read closely]. he tells the country that a big storm is coming on monday on monday morning? i must have missed that, because i was at work as was everyone else. actually , he was still out at his ranch on vacation. if he had called an emergency television message wouldn't i have at least heard about it? maybe NPR and those other left wing commies censored it. and, wow, he signed a pre-declaration in anticipation of a big storm coming. what the hell does that mean?!? and what did it contain? because nothing other than devastation, death, looting and panic ensued. police from neighboring states cut off routes of escape. doctors were forced to put to death those patients they couldn't justify taking with them. the national guard wouldn't allow food drops. local, state and national agencies had no idea what the other was doing. it took bush almost three days to be called out of vacation to do a fly-over. FEMA had no idea people were being housed in the convention center until 4 days after katrina hit. FEMA's head has resigned "in the interest of the country and in the interest of the president" [somebody tell me what that means, please? did he finally realize that a political appointment should be looked at as a responsibility? or did he get a call from karl rove?]. anyway, here is bush's press conference from today.

President Bush Meets the Press in New Orleans, Admits 'Sense of Relaxation' After Hurricane Hit By E&P Staff Published: September 12, 2005 5:00 PM ET
NEW YORK Appearing in hurricane-scarred New Orleans today, President Bush took a few questions from reporters, a little before Michael D. Brown, embattled director of FEMA, would resign. But here, the president could not identify any shortcomings in the relief effort, denied any racism in responding to the storm, and said there were plenty of troops to fight the war in Iraq and maintain security and relief here at home. He also said that after the hurricane struck, and he believed New Orleans was not ravaged, "there was a sense of relaxation."A transcript:

Q Sir, what do you make of some of the comments that have been made by quite a number of people that there was a racial component to some of the people that were left behind and left without help?
THE PRESIDENT: My attitude is this: The storm didn't discriminate, and neither will the recovery effort. When those Coast Guard choppers, many of whom were first on the scene, were pulling people off roofs, they didn't check the color of a person's skin. They wanted to save lives.I can assure people from the -- and I know from the state and local level, as well, that this recovery is going to be comprehensive. The rescue efforts were comprehensive, and the recovery will be comprehensive.
Q Mr. President, does the federal government need the authority to come in earlier, or even in advance of a storm that threatening?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that's one of the interesting issues that Congress needs to take a look at. And it's really important that as we take a step back and learn lessons, that we are in a position to adequately answer the question, are we prepared for major catastrophes, that the system is such that we're able to work closely together and that --
Q Do you recommend that Congress consider allowing the federal government to act more quickly?
THE PRESIDENT: I think it's very important for Congress to take a good, close look at what went on, what didn't go on, and come up with a series of recommendations. And my attitude is, is that we need to learn everything we possibly can; we need to make sure that this country is knitted up as well as it can be, in order to deal with significant problems and disasters. Meantime, we've got to keep moving forward.And I know there's been a lot of second-guessing. I can assure you I'm not interested in that. What I'm interested in is solving problems. And there will be time to take a step back and to take a sober look at what went right and what didn't go right. There's a lot of information floating around that will be analyzed in an objective way, and that's important. And it's important for the people of this country to understand that all of us want to learn lessons. If there were to be a biological attack of some kind, we've got to make sure we understand the lessons learned to be able to deal with catastrophe.
Q Will what is needed to get this area back on its feet have any impact on the timing of troop withdrawals in Iraq?
Q Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: We've got plenty of troops to do both. Let me just -- let me just talk about that again. I've answered this question before, and you can speak to General Honore if you care to. He's the military man on the ground. It is preposterous to claim that the engagement in Iraq meant there wasn't enough troops here, just pure and simple.Do you care to comment on that?GENERAL HONORE: Well, we have about 90,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard deployed, of a total force of approximately 400,000. So 90,000 are deployed. We've got the capability. We're here, we're demonstrating in deed every day. We're performing the mission with the great support of the National Guard from multiple states. The response is here. The troops are getting the job done under the conditions that you see here today, and they're making America proud that we have that capability.We have capability. We're applying it -- air, land and sea -- our federal forces in support of the Governors of Louisiana and Mississippi under the direction of the Adjutant General. The system is working. We've got the capability, and we're looking forward to get the job done and get the job completed, until the Governors tell us otherwise.
THE PRESIDENT: The troop levels in Iraq will be decided by commanders on the ground. One, we're going to -- our mission is to defeat the terrorists, is to win. Secondly, the strategy is, as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. And so, to answer your question about the decisions made on the ground in Iraq, they will be made based upon the ability of the Iraqis to take the fight. And more and more Iraqi units are getting more and more qualified.There's still a lot of work to be done there. Obviously, we're going to make sure we have a troop presence to help this political process go forward. There's an election -- the ratification of the constitution -- election will be coming up, and, of course, there will be elections this -- later on this year. And we will have the troop levels necessary to make sure those elections go forward. After all, the enemy wants to stop democracy. See, that's what they want to do. They want to kill enough people so that -- in the hopes that democracy won't go forward. They tried that prior to -- more than eight million Iraqis voting. They were unable to stop Iraqis from voting, because people want to be free. Deep in everybody's soul, regardless of your religion or where you live, is a desire to be free. And they can't stop it. And what we're going to do is help -- and they can't stop democracy from moving. And so what we're going to do is help make sure those elections are accessible to the Iraqi people.
Q Mr. President, there is a belief that we've been hearing for two weeks now on the ground that FEMA let the people here on the ground down. And perhaps, in turn, if you look at the evidence of what it's done to your popularity, FEMA let you down. Do you think that your management style of sort of relying on the advice that you got in this particular scenario let you down? And do you think that plays at all --
THE PRESIDENT: Look, there will be plenty of time to play the blame game. That's what you're trying to do.
Q No, I'm trying to --
THE PRESIDENT: You're trying to say somebody is at fault. Look -- and I want to know. I want to know exactly what went on and how it went on. And we'll continually assess inside my administration. I sent Mike Chertoff down here to make an assessment of how best to do the job. He made a decision; I accepted his decision. But we're moving on. We're going to solve these problems. And there will be ample time for people to look back and see the facts.Now, as far as my own personal popularity goes, I don't make decisions based upon polls. I hope the American people appreciate that. You can't make difficult decisions if you have to take a poll. That's been my style ever since I've been the President. And, of course, I rely upon good people. Of course, you got to as the President of the United States. You set the space, you set the strategy, you hold people to account. But yeah, I'm relying upon good people. That's why Admiral Allen is here. He's good man. He can do the job. That's why General Honore is here. And so when I come into a briefing, I don't tell them what to do. They tell me the facts on the ground, and my question to them is, do you have what you need.
Q Did they misinform you when you said that no one anticipated the breach of the levees?
THE PRESIDENT: No, what I was referring to is this. When that storm came by, a lot of people said we dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first, people said, whew. There was a sense of relaxation, and that's what I was referring to. And I, myself, thought we had dodged a bullet. You know why? Because I was listening to people, probably over the airways, say, the bullet has been dodged. And that was what I was referring to.Of course, there were plans in case the levee had been breached. There was a sense of relaxation in the moment, a critical moment. And thank you for giving me a chance to clarify that.
Q Mr. President, where were you when you realized the severity of the storm?
THE PRESIDENT: I was -- I knew that a big storm was coming on Monday, so I spoke to the country on Monday morning about it. I said, there's a big storm coming. I had pre-signed emergency declarations in anticipation of a big storm coming.
Q Mr. President --
THE PRESIDENT: -- which is, by the way, extraordinary. Most emergencies the President signs after the storm has hit. It's a rare occasion for the President to anticipate the severity of a storm and sign the documentation prior to the storm hitting. So, in other words, we anticipated a serious storm coming. But as the man's question said, basically implied, wasn't there a moment where everybody said, well, gosh, we dodged the bullet, and yet the bullet hadn't been dodged.
Q Mr. President --
THE PRESIDENT: Last question.
Q This is two weeks in. You must have developed a clear image at this point of one critical thing that failed, one thing that went wrong in the first five days.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I think there will be plenty of time to analyze, particularly the structure of the relationship between government levels. But, again, there's -- what I think Congress needs to do -- I know Congress needs to do -- and we're doing this internally, as well -- is to take a sober look at the decision-making that went on.And what I want the people of this state and the state of Mississippi to understand is that we're moving forward with relief plans. And we're going to move forward with reconstruction plans, and we're going to do so in a coordinated way. And it's very important for the folks of New Orleans to understand that, at least as far as I'm concerned, this great city has got ample talent and ample genius to set the strategy and set the vision. And our role at the federal government is -- obviously, within the law -- is to help them realize that vision. And that's what I wanted to assure the Mayor.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Somber Note

"Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. "

and this:
"Toxic chemicals in the New Orleans flood waters will make the city unsafe for full human habitation for a decade, a US government official has told The Independent on Sunday. And, he added, the Bush administration is covering up the danger. "

saturday night slights

we seem to have contract security forces in new orleans. not the national guard, not the marines or army or navy. not the police. these guys i've heard of and i've followed their exploits in iraq. they really can kill with impunity. so long as they don't shoot at or shoot back at u.s. military. it's an amazing thing. they are almost all ex-military (which makes sense) and they make somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000-500,000 a year for going to iraq. and their companies all have guaranteed contracts either with our government or with major government contractors. remember the men hung from the bridge in fallujah? that's them. remember the men arrested by us when they fired on a u.s. checkpoint in baghdad? no one does, because that was embarrassing and they may not have fired first. contract security forces...legalized militias?
"As the threat of forced evictions now looms in New Orleans and the city confiscates even legally registered weapons from civilians, the private mercenaries of Blackwater patrol the streets openly wielding M-16s and other assault weapons. This despite Police Commissioner Eddie Compass' claim that "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons." "
and then there's michael brown of FEMA. what a world of hurt this man is in. accepted a political job (he's a big supporter of conservative causes) and runs smack into katrina. not a good way for an unqualified candidate to publicly helm that boat. but to me it seems endemic with this administration.
"Jones was surprised Brown was being considered for job at FEMA but figured it wasn't impossible he could have risen high enough in local and state government to be considered for a job directing FEMA operations in Oklahoma.
"The agents quickly corrected him. This was a national post in Washington, deputy director of FEMA, the arm of the federal government that prepares for and responds to disasters around the United States.
Jones looked at the agents,
"You're surely kidding?" "
and andrew card is looking a bit peaked these days if you haven't noticed or the white house press has forgotten to tell you.
"I knew that if word leaked out, the bureaucracies would defend themselves," "
this one speaks for itself. FEMA is trying "pilot programs" like it's a brand new toy? FEMA used to know how to handle disasters.
"FEMA spokesman Matt Burns in Washington told the Chronicle today its debit card program was a pilot, designed to get money quickly to a large number of people sheltering in one location.
Ed Conley, the FEMA liaison at Reliant Park, stressed today that FEMA is still giving financial assistance, just through different channels -- by checks that will be mailed and by direct deposit to bank accounts.
i was talking to karen about this tonight. she hadn't heard about it. i read it on one of the lousiana papers. now here it is in the new york times. the quote i read (from the swamp news) went something like "we don't want another new orleans with looters and all".
Police agencies to the south of New Orleans were so fearful of the crowds trying to leave the city after Hurricane Katrina that they sealed a crucial bridge over the Mississippi River and turned back hundreds of desperate evacuees, two paramedics who were in the crowd said.
well, here's something for the central valleyites. at least we don't live in stockton.
"This is the fastest-growing region in California, and the bulk of that growth is taking place on the flood plains," said Jeffrey F. Mount, a geology professor and the director of the Watershed Center at the University of California, Davis. "What we are doing is creating our own New Orleans."