Monday, September 26, 2005

Freedom for all Americans: Role of God in Government

This is a picture of Ketchikan, Alaska.

Yesterday, I had a column published that I would like to share with you from the SitNews site from Ketchikan.

Freedom for all Americans: Role of God In Government
By Robert J. Freedland

September 26, 2005

I have read with interest the opinions expressed here on SitNews regarding the role of God in government and in the Pledge of Allegiance.

On the one hand, we have Frances Natkong (SitNews 9/16/05) who "cannot believe it", regarding the Judge who declared the inclusion of "Under God" in the Pledge was unconstitutional. She explains: "The majority of the people in the world believe there is a higher entity so why take the few who don't believe and make choices for us that do believe?"

This view is expanded upon by Marie L. Monyak (SitNews 9/19/05) who writes "Our society is still a Christian majority. There are other religions that believe in a higher power. Why then should we, as Americans, have to change to please an atheist?"

And finally, Richard Cropp (SitNews 9/20/05) explains "The U.S. Constitution from beginning to end is replete with references to God. Not some God of mystery, not some God of ones choosing, not some God "in concept". The God mentioned in the U.S. Constitution is the God of Abraham and Isaac, the god of all mankind, the God who delivered unto us a Savior in His Son Jesus Christ. He is not Allah, not a special tree, not a stone statue." Clearly, Mr. Cropp believes that the Founders intended us to believe that this country was founded by a Christian God alone.

Mr. Cropp writes in some detail about a solution to those who choose not to believe as he does, he explains, "If you do not want God mentioned in any government document, building, or principle, then you also have a choice, you can move to a country that was not founded and based on the belief in God." In other words, Mr. Cropp's suggestion is to "Love it or Leave It!"

Only Ben Rosenfeld (SitNews 9/19/05) responds with: "It is every American's right to believe that there is a god, not a god, or gods, and it is not the responsibility of the state to tell them what to believe." Mr. Rosenfeld believes that everyone in America should choose to have the freedom to believe in God without government entering into that decision.

How are we to reconcile these diverse and opposing views? Is there room in America for devout Christians alongside skeptical atheists?

Sometimes as we look to the Constitution for guidance, it is helpful to read what the founding fathers actually wrote to determine what they intended for the 1st Amendment and all of the parts of this document.

In 1821, Thomas Jefferson wrote in his autobiography about the importance of religious freedom for every individual:

"[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom... was finally passed,... a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion." The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination." --Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821. ME 1:67

Clearly Jefferson did not believe that Virginia, or America, was intended to be a Christian country. He believed that a free America was one that showed the greatest respect and tolerance for the diverse views of all Americans.

It was James Madison who introduced the first draft of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

James Madison wrote about the Separation of Church and State in the 1822 letter to Edward Livingston:

"Notwithstanding the general progress made within the two last centuries in favour of this branch of liberty, & the full establishment of it, in some parts of our Country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Govt. & Religion neither can be duly supported. Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded agst."

Insofar as Cropp's reference to the Constitution, his assertion about the Constitution being "replete with references to God" is far off the mark. In fact, I suspect to Mr. Cropp's credit, he is referring to the Declaration of Independence which does refer to "Nature's God", and "Creator", and "Divine Providence", but certainly doesn't mention the Christian God as he suggested.

Looking directly at the Constitution, we can only find references about protecting religious freedom and not advocating the belief in God. The First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

The other refernce to religion again protects religious freedom in America, by denying government the right to utilize religious tests for holding public office. The Constitution states in Article VI:

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Clearly, the founders of our Constitution, and the very document itself, intended that there would be a religious plurality in America, that every American, regardless of their belief would enjoy all of the "Blessings of Liberty" regardless of their religious view, and whether or not they even believed in God.

In a larger sense, regardless of the words we can argue, the bigger question still remains, "What kind of America do we wish to have for ourselves and our children?" Do we wish to have an America that I envision, that works to provide the greatest degree of freedom for every citizen, or should we advocate an America that protects the civil rights of just the majority views?

I love our country because of the freedom that we all enjoy. While many of us will find it difficult to understand religious views of Americans that are contrary to our own perspective, that failure does not justify intolerance or an assignment of any less value to that perspective. These views are merely minority views, not incorrect ideas.

We cannot have freedom in America unless every American enjoys the greatest liberty that our founding fathers envisioned. While we may struggle to understand why anyone might not believe in God, it is their American right to hold that view and our government should act to protect the civil rights of each and every American. Instead of asking why anyone would want to remove "Under God" from the Pledge, ask yourselves if it was necessary to insert that phrase into the Pledge in 1954. Is it appropriate or even necessary to have the United States government take sides in the belief in God? Isn't it the role of government in America to provide for the freedom of all Americans.

Adding religion to our American government will not add to our freedom in America but it shall threaten the integrity of both Institutions.
Freedom is something none of us can take for granted. In every generation, there are those who feel they know better for us how we should think, how we should believe, and how we should behave in even our private lives.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Getting Sick Over Rove!

This is a picture of Karl Rove.

This is a picture of Roger Williams, Secretary of State of Texas. Williams was a "Pioneer Fundraiser" for the campaign who raised over $100,000 for George W. Bush.

This is a picture of a Texas Ballot.

Texas has a very lenient residency requirement for voting. As explained:
The definition of residence for the purpose of voter registration is wellsettled in Texas. As stated in the seminal case of Mills v. Bartlett, 377S.W.2d 636, 637 (Tex.1964), “[n]either bodily presence alone norintention alone will suffice to create the residence, but when the twocoincide at that moment the residence is fixed and determined. There is nospecific length of time for the bodily presence to continue.”
But Karl Rove lives in Washington D.C.

And votes in Texas.

Elizabeth Reyes used to work for the Secretary of State in Texas as a lawyer. That is until she got interviewed by a reporter for the Washington Post.

And the Washington Post reported:
Down in Texas, when you register to vote in a place where you don't actually live, the county prosecutor can come after you for voter fraud, said Elizabeth Reyes, an attorney with the elections division of the Texas Secretary of State. Rove's rental cottage "doesn't sound like a residence to me, because it's not a fixed place of habitation," she said. "If it's just property that they own, ownership doesn't make that a residence."

Still, under state law, the definition of a Texan is really pretty loose, Reyes said, even for voting purposes. So someone would have to file a complaint.

In the end, she said, "Questions of residency are ultimately for the court to decide."
Well, since the Washington D.C. officials found out about this, Karl Rove had to pay $3,400 in back taxes. As reported:
Presidential adviser Karl Rove may live in Washington. But in his heart -- and for voting purposes -- he remains a Texan. Which means he is not legally entitled to the homestead deduction and property tax cap he's been getting on his Palisades home for the past 3 1/2 years.

This week, the D.C. tax collector was alerted to the problem. And Rove agreed to reimburse the District for an estimated $3,400 in back taxes, city officials said.
I guess you could say Karl Rove was breaking the law when he wasn't paying those taxes.

So Karl Rove got on the phone.

And he called the Secretary of State of Texas, Roger Williams,

And he got that attorney who spoke to the Washington Post fired.

As Roger Williams reported:
"Karl called me. He had read the article and wanted to know if it was our stance" that his voter-registration status in Texas might be in jeopardy, he said. "I told him it wasn't and that the person who gave that opinion was not authorized to do so."
Elizabeth Reyes was surprised. Why should she be fired? She related:
Reyes said she was told she was being terminated for violating an agency policy against talking to the media.
As explained by Scott Haywood, a spokesman for the secretary of state:
Scott Haywood, a spokesman for the secretary of state, said employees may take "routine press calls" but must refer media inquires to the communications director if they involve "controversial matters."
Imagine that! Karl Rove figured somebody should be fired because they spoke to the press about somebody who was breaking the law. But what does Karl Rove think about talking to the press in violation of the law?

This is Robert Novak.

I guess Karl Rove forgot about he helped out a CIA Agent, another criminal act, by discussing her identity with the press. As reported:
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified as a covert agent in a newspaper column two years ago, but Rove's lawyer said yesterday that his client did not identify her by name.
But Karl Rove hasn't lost his job. President Bush likes Karl Rove. As reported July 12, 2005:
WASHINGTON - After two days of questions, the White House said Tuesday that President Bush continues to have confidence in Karl Rove, the presidential adviser at the center of the investigation into the leak identifying a female CIA officer.
In fact Karl Rove is now getting a promotion. Unless of course he gets a felony indictment before he can assume that responsibility. As reported:
Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.
Thank you Mr. Rove. Thank you Mr. President. Karl Rove is a bully in the White House. He violates the law, pays a $3400 fine and then acts to fire an attorney who spoke with the press about it. He violates the law discussing the identity of a CIA agent with the Press and nothing happens. In fact he gets a promotion.

Are you sick yet? Go ahead and vomit. This is an emesis basin.

America is crying for a change in leadership! We have scoundrels in office. Bullies that dole out special projects for their buddies. Pass legislation for Big Oil and Big Pharma and Big Tobacco and then go off and take jobs with these businesses.

I am sick and tired of this garbage. Wake up America!


Sunday, September 18, 2005

George Bush's "Wager"

Blaise Pascal defended the belief in God somewhat like this:
Pascal argues that it is always a better "bet" to believe in God, because the expected value to be gained from believing in God is always greater than the expected value resulting from non-belief.

Portrait of Blaise Pascal

Well President Bush doesn't believe in Global Warming. He is making the "big wager" with all of the world's future. His administration has stated one thing (6/11/01):
There is a natural greenhouse effect that contributes to warming. Greenhouse gases trap heat, and thus warm the earth because they prevent a significant proportion of infrared radiation from escaping into space. Concentration of greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have increased substantially since the beginning of the industrial revolution. And the National Academy of Sciences indicate that the increase is due in large part to human activity.

Yet, the Academy's report tells us that we do not know how much effect natural fluctuations in climate may have had on warming. We do not know how much our climate could, or will change in the future. We do not know how fast change will occur, or even how some of our actions could impact it.
And yet the actions of this Administration has been to interfere with the investigation of Global Warming, to suppress international dissemination of information about Global Warming and to work with Big Oil to suppress science.

In 2002, Exxon-Mobil successfully pressured the White House to undermine support for Dr. Robert Watson, who was then the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 1996.

And it was just a few months ago that it was revealed how Philip Cooney, the former chief of staff to President Bush's Council on Environmental Quality, was let go after it was revealed that he had deleted and watered down references to global warming. Just days later, it was announced he had been hired by Exxon Mobil. You just can't make up this stuff!

More recently, it was reported that the United States exerted pressure to tone down references to global warming in the G-8 statement on climate change. The Christian Science Monitor noted:
The draft statement shows that the Bush administration is engaged in an "extraordinary effort" to "undermine completely the science of climate change and show that the US position has hardened during the G-8 negotiations. They [the leaked documents] also reveal that the White House has withdrawn from a crucial United Nations commitment to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions."
This news story summarizes:
The documents show that Washington officials:

Removed all reference to the fact that climate change is a 'serious threat to human health and to ecosystems';

Deleted any suggestion that global warming has already started;

Expunged any suggestion that human activity was to blame for climate change.

Among the sentences removed was the following: 'Unless urgent action is taken, there will be a growing risk of adverse effects on economic development, human health and the natural environment, and of irreversible long-term changes to our climate and oceans.'
This President and his cronies are acting once again against the public interest. And now we have Katrina, a hurricane that has devastated the Gulf Coast and New Orleans.

Photo from "An Elderly resident is rescued from chest-high floodwaters by two New Orleans police officers."

Graph of Category 4-5 Hurricanes

Dr. Peter J. Webster, Professor, Joint Appointment with School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

And experts are reporting that these violent hurricanes are not a coincidence. As reported in USA Today, about an article published in the magazine "Science":
While studies have not found an overall increase in tropical systems worldwide, the number of storms reaching categories 4 and 5 grew from about 11 per year in the 1970s to 18 per year since 1990, according to a report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

Peter J. Webster of the Georgia Institute of Technology said it's the warm water vapor from the oceans that drives tropical storms, and as the water gets warmer the amount of evaporation increases, providing more fuel for the tempests. Between 1970 and 2004 the average sea surface temperature in the tropics rose nearly 1°F.

Co-author Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research said the researchers can't say rising sea-surface temperatures caused Hurricane Katrina. But their study shows the potential for more Katrina-like events to occur, he said.

Katrina was a category 5 storm at sea and was category 4 when it made landfall. The increase in storms they found is for category 4 and 5. Category 4 storms have wind speeds of 131 mph to 155 mph and Category 5 is for storms with sustained winds of 156 mph and over. (Related graphic: Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.)

Co-author Judith Curry of Georgia Tech said the team is confident that the measured increase in sea surface temperatures is associated with global warming, adding that the increase in category 4 and 5 storms "certainly has an element that global warming is contributing to."
Kerry Emanuel, professor at MIT's Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences thinks there is a link between serious hurricanes and global warming. He published on this subject in "Nature Magazine" last month.

Kerry Emanuel photo

On the "Living on Earth" television show, he stated:
GELLERMAN: When you look at the planet globally and you're looking at hurricanes, what is the effect of man-made warming upon the intensity and duration of the hurricanes we have now, and may have in the future?

EMANUEL: We think we're seeing a signal that the intensity of hurricanes is going up owing to global warming, and their duration is increasing, as well. And this has us worried. In terms of the influence of this on the rest of the world, I think it can't be stressed enough that in the United States we have been enormously successful in reducing the loss of life. As horrible as Katrina has been – and it is horrible, sort of a worst-case scenario – so our problem is economic. That's our big problem.

But in the rest of the world, in the developing world, the problem is loss of life. You know, tropical depression Jean last year – it was just a depression – killed almost 2,000 people in Haiti. Hurricane Mitch in 1999 killed 11,000 people in Central America. And a decade before that, a hurricane in Bangladesh killed 100,000 people. Now, this is really, really terrible, and our suffering ought to be weighed against that.
Emanuel knows that global warming is real and the effect on hurricanes is obvious. He is a scientist who studies this stuff.

And meanwhile the Arctic ice is melting, likely to lead to elevation of the levels of the oceans and further climate change As reported:
A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years.

They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.

The greatest fear is that the Arctic has reached a "tipping point" beyond which nothing can reverse the continual loss of sea ice and with it the massive land glaciers of Greenland, which will raise sea levels dramatically.

Satellites monitoring the Arctic have found that the extent of the sea ice this August has reached its lowest monthly point on record, dipping an unprecedented 18.2 per cent below the long-term average.

Experts believe that such a loss of Arctic sea ice in summer has not occurred in hundreds and possibly thousands of years. It is the fourth year in a row that the sea ice in August has fallen below the monthly downward trend - a clear sign that melting has accelerated.
But in the face of all of the evidence what do the conservatives do? Just deny. Say it isn't so. Stick their head in the sand and tell all the liberals to go away. Anything else would smack of environmental protection, and that might cost business some profits. As the right-wing Charles Krauthammer has just written:
This kind of stupidity merits no attention whatsoever, but I'll give it a paragraph. There is no relationship between global warming and the frequency and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes. Period.
But can we really be surprised?

What about Senator John Kerry? Way back in 1998 he wrote:
We must be clear: The scientific community is overwhelmingly confident of the reality and seriousness of greenhouse gas-induced global warming. Legitimate scientists rely upon peer-reviewed international scientific reports such as the interparliamentary Panel on Climate Change, which cites 150 years of direct measurements of land and ocean temperatures; evidence from tree rings and ice cores extending back for millennia; and on analyses demonstrating that observed changes are the result of human activities and that these activities pose a serious threat to our future.

Self-professed experts financed by fossil-fuel producers, conservative think tanks, and partisan interest groups, unable to dispute these findings, have decided instead to rewrite science. Their findings don't add up - but then again, they were never meant to. Their goal is to confuse the issues, to trade sound bites for substance, and to convince the American people that global climate change is a left-leaning fantasy. They're wrong.
Thank you Senator Kerry! We need that thinking in America today! Global Warming threatens our nation and our world. Deadly hurricanes, flooding of coastal cities, extinction of species, and possible our own destruction is nothing to scoff at. This President just doesn't get it! Science is mocked, and we are asked to pray instead of using our God-given brains! America deserves better!

I am not ready to join President Bush on this "wager". The risk of being wrong is the death of mankind on this planet. Not just risking a soul, but all souls. It is time for new leadership in America!


Friday, September 16, 2005

John Kerry Responds!

Senator Kerry has responded to the President's address to the nation from Jackson Square in New Orleans. Kerry stated:
"Leadership isn't a speech or a toll-free number. Leadership is getting the job done. No American doubts that New Orleans will rise again, they doubt the competence and commitment of this Administration. Weeks after Katrina, Americans want an end to politics-as-usual that leaves them dangerously and unforgivably unprepared. Americans want to know that their government will be there when it counts with leadership that keeps them safe, not speeches in the aftermath to explain away the inexcusable."
Thank you Senator Kerry!

Instead of asking for Americans to bear the burden of paying for this massive Katrina relief, Bush claims he will cut the funds from other programs instead of raising taxes.

America deserves better.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Remembering John Kerry and Dick Cheney's Daughter!

I received a nice note from John Corney, who has a website Ariki Art which has some terrific artwork that I have used on this blog. John writes that he has written about John Kerry on his site and would I be so kind to link to him.

"Gypsy Den Cafe" An Ariki Art Image

The two entries that are worth reading include his comments about the October 13, 2004, Presidential debate in which both John Kerry and George W. Bush are asked about "Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?". John Kerry referred in his answer to Dick Cheney's daughter suggesting that "We're all God's children, and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."

George W. Bush simply didn't know.

Corney writes:
"I don’t want a President who is disingenuous about his opinions about gay people. Such equivocation from our highest political leader does not make me feel safe. No, I congratulate John Kerry, who has endured no end of personal attacks on his own moral character and choices, and also of his wife too, for speaking out positively and strongly for gay people. He demonstrated that he will be a leader who is willing and unashamed to hold up strong and successful gay people as examples of citizens who contribute positively to society and who put a lie to the myths that surround gay people, such as gay people being sick and sinful and in need of cures and salvation."
Corney went on and commented further on this issue here.

I cannot speak for Senator Kerry. I can say that I respect John Corney's perspective. Above all, we need to work for an America that treats every individual with respect. That does not deny any individual any of the "blessings of liberty" that we all expect to enjoy. That we respect the talents and aspirations of every American regardless of their race, sex, nationality, sexual orientation or handicap. That is the America I believe in!

Thank you Mr. Corney for allowing me to share your comments with my readers and for allowing me to use the wonderful artwork that I have used on my blog.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

"The Flood" by Robert Frost

Photo of Robert Frost (1876-1963)

I am a big fan of Robert Frost. Somehow Frost captured a spirit of America that is somehow missing from today. His America abounded with trees and opportunities. Fresh air and roads not taken. Not the cynicism that abounds in our people today.

Thinking of the horror of Katrina, I recalled that Frost once wrote about a flood. Maybe poetry has a place in dealing with all of our pain and frustration.
Blood has been harder to dam back than water.
Just when we think we have it impounded safe
Behind new barrier walls (and let it chafe!),
It breaks away in some new kind of slaughter.
We choose to say it is let loose by the devil;
But power of blood itself releases blood.
It goes by might of being such a flood
Held high at so unnatural a level.
It will have outlet, brave and not so brave.
weapons of war and implements of peace
Are but the points at which it finds release.
And now it is once more the tidal wave
That when it has swept by leaves summits stained.
Oh, blood will out. It cannot be contained.
The Flood, by Robert Frost, written in 1928.

Another flood. Another time. Much more of the same.


Katrina Timeline

Oliver Willis who blogs at "Like Kryptonite to Stupid" has forwarded an impressive timeline that helps us all get a better perspective on the events of the past two weeks:

Friday, August 26


GULF COAST STATES REQUEST TROOP ASSISTANCE FROM PENTAGON: At a 9/1 press conference, Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, commander, Joint Task Force Katrina, said that the Gulf States began the process of requesting additional forces on Friday, 8/26. [DOD]

Saturday, August 27


GOV. BLANCO ASKS BUSH TO DECLARE FEDERAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: "I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster." [Office of the Governor]

FEDERAL EMERGENCY DECLARED, DHS AND FEMA GIVEN FULL AUTHORITY TO RESPOND TO KATRINA: "Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency." [White House]

Sunday, August 28


MORNING — LOUISIANA NEWSPAPER SIGNALS LEVEES MAY GIVE: "Forecasters Fear Levees Won't Hold Katrina": "Forecasters feared Sunday afternoon that storm driven waters will lap over the New Orleans levees when monster Hurricane Katrina pushes past the Crescent City tomorrow." [Lafayette Daily Advertiser]

9:30 AM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES FIRST EVER MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS: "We're facing the storm most of us have feared," said Nagin. "This is going to be an unprecedented event." [ Times-Picayune]

4PM – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES SPECIAL HURRICANE WARNING: In the event of a category 4 or 5 hit, "Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. … At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. … Power outages will last for weeks. … Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards." [National Weather Service]

AFTERNOON — BUSH, BROWN, CHERTOFF WARNED OF LEVEE FAILURE BY NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER DIRECTOR: Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center: "'We were briefing them way before landfall. … It's not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped.'" [Times-Picayune; St. Petersburg Times]

LATE PM – REPORTS OF WATER TOPPLING OVER LEVEE: "Waves crashed atop the exercise path on the Lake Pontchartrain levee in Kenner early Monday as Katrina churned closer." [ Times-Picayune]


Monday, August 29

8AM – MAYOR NAGIN REPORTS THAT WATER IS FLOWING OVER LEVEE: "I've gotten reports this morning that there is already water coming over some of the levee systems. In the lower ninth ward, we've had one of our pumping stations to stop operating, so we will have significant flooding, it is just a matter of how much." [The Star"]

MORNING — BUSH CALLS SECRETARY CHERTOFF TO DISCUSS IMMIGRATION: "I spoke to Mike Chertoff today — he's the head of the Department of Homeland Security. I knew people would want me to discuss this issue [immigration], so we got us an airplane on — a telephone on Air Force One, so I called him. I said, are you working with the governor? He said, you bet we are." [White House]


10AM — BUSH VISITS ARIZONA RESORT TO PROMOTE MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: "This new bill I signed says, if you're a senior and you like the way things are today, you're in good shape, don't change. But, by the way, there's a lot of different options for you. And we're here to talk about what that means to our seniors." [White House]

LATE MORNING – LEVEE BREACHED: "A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new 'hurricane proof' Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina's fiercest winds were well north." [Times-Picayune]

11:30AM — MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY REQUESTS THAT DHS DISPATCH 1,000 EMPLOYEES TO REGION, GIVES THEM TWO DAYS TO ARRIVE: "Brown's memo to Chertoff described Katrina as 'this near catastrophic event' but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, 'Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.'" [AP]

2PM — BUSH TRAVELS TO CALIFORNIA SENIOR CENTER TO DISCUSS MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: "We've got some folks up here who are concerned about their Social Security or Medicare. Joan Geist is with us. … I could tell — she was looking at me when I first walked in the room to meet her, she was wondering whether or not old George W. is going to take away her Social Security check." [White House]

9PM — RUMSFELD ATTENDS SAN DIEGO PADRES BASEBALL GAME: Rumsfeld "joined Padres President John Moores in the owner's box…at Petco Park." [ Editor & Publisher]

Tuesday, August 30

MIDDAY – CHERTOFF FINALLY BECOMES AWARE THAT LEVEE HAS FAILED: "It was on Tuesday that the levee–may have been overnight Monday to Tuesday–that the levee started to break. And it was midday Tuesday that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake was going to start to drain into the city." [Meet the Press, 9/4/05]

PENTAGON CLAIMS THERE ARE ENOUGH NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN REGION: "Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs." [ WWL-TV]

MASS LOOTING REPORTED, SECURITY SHORTAGE CITED: "The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked," Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. "We're using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops." [AP]

U.S.S. BATAAN SITS OFF SHORE, VIRTUALLY UNUSED: "The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore. The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents. But now the Bataan's hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty." [Chicago Tribune]



Wednesday, August 31
TENS OF THOUSANDS TRAPPED IN SUPERDOME; CONDITIONS DETERIORATE: "A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers. 'We pee on the floor. We are like animals,' said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. … By Wednesday, it had degenerated into horror. … At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for. There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming."" [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/05]

PRESIDENT BUSH FINALLY ORGANIZES TASK FORCE TO COORDINATE FEDERAL RESPONSE: Bush says on Tuesday he will "fly to Washington to begin work…with a task force that will coordinate the work of 14 federal agencies involved in the relief effort." [New York Times, 8/31/05]

JEFFERSON PARISH EMERGENCY DIRECTOR SAYS FOOD AND WATER SUPPLY GONE: "Director Walter Maestri: FEMA and national agencies not delivering the help nearly as fast as it is needed." [ Editor & Publisher]

80,000 BELIEVED STRANDED IN NEW ORLEANS: Former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy "estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged President Bush to send more troops." [Reuters]

3,000 STRANDED AT CONVENTION CENTER WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER: "With 3,000 or more evacuees stranded at the convention center — and with no apparent contingency plan or authority to deal with them — collecting a body was no one's priority. … Some had been at the convention center since Tuesday morning but had received no food, water or instructions." [Times-Picayune]

5PM — BUSH GIVES FIRST MAJOR ADDRESS ON KATRINA: "Nothing about the president's demeanor… — which seemed casual to the point of carelessness — suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis." [New York Times]

8:00PM – CONDOLEEZZA RICE TAKES IN A BROADWAY SHOW: "On Wednesday night, Secretary Rice was booed by some audience members at 'Spamalot!, the Monty Python musical at the Shubert, when the lights went up after the performance." [New York Post, 9/2/05]

9PM — FEMA DIRECTOR BROWN CLAIMS SURPRISE OVER SIZE OF STORM: "I must say, this storm is much much bigger than anyone expected." [CNN]

Thursday, September 1
8AM — BUSH CLAIMS NO ONE EXPECTED LEVEES TO BREAK: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." [ Washington Post]

CONDOLEEZZA RICE VISITS U.S. OPEN: "Rice, [in New York] on three days' vacation to shop and see the U.S. Open, hitting some balls with retired champ Monica Seles at the Indoor Tennis Club at Grand Central." [New York Post]

STILL NO COMMAND AND CONTROL ESTABLISHED: Terry Ebbert, New Orleans Homeland Security Director: "This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans." [Fox News]

2PM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES "DESPERATE SOS" TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: "This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention centre and don't anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention centre is unsanitary and unsafe and we're running out of supplies." [Guardian, 9/2/05]

2PM — MICHAEL BROWN CLAIMS NOT TO HAVE HEARD OF REPORTS OF VIOLENCE: "I've had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they're banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I've had no reports of that." [CNN]

NEW ORLEANS "DESCEND[S] INTO ANARCHY": "Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. 'This is a desperate SOS,' the mayor said." [KUTV]

CONDOLEEZZA RICE GOES SHOE SHOPPING: "Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we've confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo's Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice's timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, 'How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!'" [Gawker]

MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY LEARNS OF EVACUEES IN CONVENTION CENTER: "We learned about that (Thursday), so I have directed that we have all available resources to get that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water and medical care that they need." [CNN]

Friday, September 2
ROVE-LED CAMPAIGN TO BLAME LOCAL OFFICIALS BEGINS: "Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan…to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina." President Bush's comments from the Rose Garden Friday morning formed "the start of this campaign." [New York Times, 9/5/05]

9:35AM — BUSH PRAISES MICHAEL BROWN: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." [White House, 9/2/05]

10 AM — PRESIDENT BUSH STAGES PHOTO-OP "BRIEFING": Coast Guard helicopters and crew diverted to act as backdrop for President Bush's photo-op.

BUSH VISIT GROUNDS FOOD AID: "Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush's visit to New Orleans, officials said." [Times-Picayune]

LEVEE REPAIR WORK ORCHESTRATED FOR PRESIDENT'S VISIT: Sen. Mary Landrieu, 9/3: "Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment." [Sen. Mary Landrieu]

BUSH USES 50 FIREFIGHTERS AS PROPS IN DISASTER AREA PHOTO-OP: A group of 1,000 firefighters convened in Atlanta to volunteer with the Katrina relief efforts. Of those, "a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas." [Salt Lake Tribune; Reuters]

3PM — BUSH "SATISFIED WITH THE RESPONSE": "I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with all the results." [AP ]

Saturday, September 3
SENIOR BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL LIES TO WASHINGTON POST, CLAIMS GOV. BLANCO NEVER DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY: The Post reported in their Sunday edition "As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said." They were forced to issue a correction hours later. [Washington Post, 9/4/05]

9AM — BUSH BLAMES STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS: "[T]he magnitude of responding to a crisis over a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need." [White House, 9/3/05]
Enough to make you sick.

America Deserves Better!


More Katrina Censorship: Another Impeachable Offense?

On June 8, 1789, James Madison introduced his first version of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Portrait of James Madison

The original version stated:
''The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.''
Blackstone explained the common law view:
''The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequences of his own temerity. To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser, as was formerly done, both before and since the Revolution, is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion and government."
The final text, and current First Amendment to the United States Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
But this President and his Administration don't appear to care much about this part of the Constitution they were sworn to uphold.

During the invasion of Iraq, as reported:
The Pentagon reissued a directive during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that banned news coverage of "deceased military personnel returning to or departing" from air bases.

The Pentagon claimed it was trying to protect the privacy of military families.

This was "a decision that reversed decades of tradition," said Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive.
Our Administration is public relations driven. War is evaluated for photo-ops. And control of information is deemed essential in maintaining public support. Pictures of too many caskets could undermine enthusiasm for this military adventure.

Since this was so successful, it was only a matter of time that this Administration would try to control the furor of the Katrina debacle.

Now comes this:
Forced to defend what some critics consider its slow response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Tuesday it does not want the news media to take photographs of the dead as they are recovered from New Orleans.

FEMA, which is leading the rescue efforts, rejected requests from journalists to accompany rescue boats as they went out to search for storm victims, Reuters reported.

A FEMA spokeswoman told the wire service that space was needed on the rescue boats and assured Reuters that "the recovery of the victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect."

"We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media," the spokeswoman told Reuters via e-mail.
Dead people are upsetting. And lots of dead people could be devastating. So let's censor the press and just give the public the "good news" they need!

When does this all stop? When does Congress step up to the plate and ask the hard questions about this President? Isn't freedom of the press virtually inviolate? When is it o.k. for the United States Government reeling with criticism over its mismanagement of the Katrina disaster to control access of the public to images, however, distasteful, that show the real effect of those delays in getting help to New Orleans? When is violation of Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms going to be found to be the basis of Impeachment?

America deserves better.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Former FEMA Chief finds Warm Home with Halliburton!

Who cares if 400,000 people end up losing their jobs from the Katrina debacle.

The former FEMA chief, Joe Allbaugh, has found a home with Halliburton.

Photo of Joe Allbaugh

As reported in March, 2005:
KBR hired Joe Allbaugh as a consultant to provide strategy support for our Government and Infrastructure business," the statement read. "Mr. Allbaugh has not been tasked with any lobbying responsibilities."

But Allbaugh's lobbying disclosure form says the company will "educate the congressional and executive branch on defense, disaster relief and homeland security issues."

A spokesperson for the Allbaugh Co. said Allbaugh was traveling on vacation. The spokesperson said the firm was tapped to advise KBR solely on homeland security issues.

Allbaugh's close ties to the White House give him contacts throughout the administration, Congress and the private sector. As director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the first two years of the Bush administration, Allbaugh was charged with overseeing the federal government's disaster preparedness and relief programs.

Prior to joining FEMA, Allbaugh was one of Bush's closest campaign aides. He managed Bush's first run for the Texas governor's mansion in 1994 and later served as Bush's chief of staff in Austin. During the 2000 election, Allbaugh, a former deputy secretary of transportation in Oklahoma and longtime GOP campaign operative, was the national campaign manager for the Bush-Cheney campaign. Allbaugh, along with Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, was part of the triumvirate of Bush's closest advisers.
But good news KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, has started work on a $500 million contract, awarded last July, for removal of debris after natural disasters.

Some people say Mr. Allbaugh wasn't qualified for his FEMA position.

Just read the biography for Mr. Allbaugh from the Allbaugh Co. website:
As the former Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mr. Allbaugh managed 2,500 employees and an annual budget of $3 billion. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, Mr. Allbaugh coordinated the federal government's $8.8 billion response and recovery effort. He was also a founding member of the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Prior to his presidential appointment, Mr. Allbaugh was the National Campaign Manager for Bush-Cheney 2000, Inc. where he successfully organized and managed a $192 million presidential campaign. Before that, Mr. Allbaugh served as Chief of Staff to then-Governor Bush in Texas.
Why what's wrong with that? I mean isn't a National Campaign Manager for the campaign good to run America's emergencies? Isn't an emergency just a big photo-op for our President?

As Senator Mary Landrieu noted:
"But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the president, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast -- black and white, rich and poor, young and old -- deserve far better from their national government."
But the unqualified Allbaugh was replaced by the unqualified Michael D. Brown as noted:
''He's done a hell of a job, because I'm not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm,'' said Kate Hale, former Miami-Dade emergency management chief who oversaw emergency response during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. ``The world that this man operated in and the focus of this work does not in any way translate to this. He does not have the experience.''

Brown ran for Congress in 1988 and won 27 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent Glenn English, and spent the 1990s as judges and stewards commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. His job was to ensure that horse-show judges followed the rules and to investigate allegations against those suspected of cheating.

''I wouldn't have regarded his position in the horse industry as a platform to where he is now,'' said Tom Connelly, a former association president.

Brown's ticket to FEMA was Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's 2000 campaign manager and an old friend of Brown's in Oklahoma.

Brown told several association officials that if Bush were elected, he'd be in line for a good job. When Allbaugh, who managed Bush's campaign, took over FEMA in 2001, he took Brown with him as general counsel.
Well if "Brownie" loses his job, well we can rest assured that there are other poorly-qualified leaders in the wing, who are being paid back for being outstanding political operatives for the Bush-Cheney campaign. The hell with emergency services delivery experience.

As noted, Patrick James Rhode is Chief of Staff for FEMA:
Critics have also cited a lack of experience with FEMA chief of staff Patrick James Rhode, a former advance official for the Bush campaign in 2000, and deputy chief of staff Scott Morris, who worked as a media strategist for the campaign.
But what can we expect from a President who can't think of any mistakes he has made. And now with the Katrina Fiasco with Americans dying of thirst and neglect right within our own borders, he had this to say according to Nancy Pelosi:
Pelosi recounted a conversation with Bush, during which she called for the resignation of Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who has been under fire since the outset.

"He said, 'Why would I do that?' " Pelosi said. "I said, 'Because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said, 'What didn't go right?' "
America deserves better! America deserves a President who places Americans ahead of photo-ops. Who understands that no American need fear that help will not be on the way in our own country, in the face of natural disasters.

We don't need our FEMA staff being political operatives who can stage good photo-ops. We need experienced emergency management leaders! We don't need politicians who slip from the White House to the offices of Halliburton all the while delivering multi-million dollar contracts to the same company.

It is time for new leadership in Washington! America deserves better.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

When Politics Override Public Health in Drug Policy!

This is a picture of the former Assistant FDA Commissioner Susan F. Wood.

This is the "Plan B" medication that is used for emergency contraception:

British Columbia has had the "morning-after pill" available without a doctor's visit since 2000. A recent study by Dr. Judith Soon estimated that the drug "prevented 390 unwanted pregnancies over the two year study."

She stated:
"Perhaps about half of those [women] would have had an abortion. That did not occur because of the emergency contraceptives,"
Isn't that what we all want? To make abortions less common? Can we all at least agree with that?

Those of us who are Pro-Choice, myself included, will work hard to keep abortion rights available for women in a safe and non-threatening environment. But we are also interested in preventing unwanted pregnancies by having contraception, including emergency contraception easily available.

So when the FDA ignored the overwhelming majority of its professional panel to appease the fundamentalists who could not see the ethics of reducing unnecessary abortions, but instead delayed once again to place religious extremists over the health and welfare of women in America, Susan F. Wood had enough.

She resigned.

"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled," she wrote in an e-mail to her staff and FDA colleagues.
She went on to note:
Wood also said other FDA officials who are typically involved in important matters were kept in the dark about the contraceptive, called Plan B, until Crawford announced his decision, which she believed was made at higher levels in the administration. Wood said that when she asked a colleague in the commissioner's office when the decision would be made, the answer was, "We're still awaiting a decision from above; it hasn't come down yet."
Maybe Karl Rove made the decision. Or was it Karen Hughes. Or Dick Cheney? Or did George W. Bush decide on what to do about emergency contraception?

Who knows.

I can tell you this. The American people suffer every single time this good old boys network running our nation makes decisions based on religious fundamentalists instead of listening to our doctors and scientists. This administration is doing an amateur job in reacting to the Katrina disaster and Americans are dying.

The FDA decision means more women will suffer from unwanted pregnancies and shall be considering more, not less, abortions to deal with them.

Simply shameful.

It is time for new leadership in America! Leadership that consults with experts and not religious fundamentalists for decisions on drug approvals. Leadership that responds to national disasters with experts and not with incompetence. America deserves better!


Thursday, September 01, 2005

More on Katrina: Failure to Prevent Catastrophe!

Photo of Canal Street, New Orleans, August 31, 2005

Trying to find out what may have gone wrong in this disaster, I came across this interesting article today with some more information:
The disaster preparedness agency at the center of the relief effort is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which was enveloped by the new Department of Homeland Security with a new mission aimed at responding to the attacks of al-Qaida.

"What you're seeing is revealing weaknesses in the state, local and federal levels," said Eric Tolbert, who until February was FEMA's disaster response chief. "All three levels have been weakened. They've been weakened by diversion into terrorism."

The article continues:
Budget cuts haven't made disaster preparedness any easier.

Last year, FEMA spent $250,000 to conduct an eight-day hurricane drill for a mock killer storm hitting New Orleans. Some 250 emergency officials attended. Many of the scenarios now playing out, including a helicopter evacuation of the Superdome, were discussed in that drill for a fictional storm named Pam.

This year, the group was to design a plan to fix such unresolved problems as evacuating sick and injured people from the Superdome and housing tens of thousands of stranded citizens.

Funding for that planning was cut, said Tolbert, the former FEMA disaster response director.

"A lot of good was done, but it just wasn't finished," said Tolbert, who was the disaster chief for the state of North Carolina. "I don't know if it would have saved more lives. It would have made the response faster. You might say it would have saved lives."

FEMA wasn't alone in cutting hurricane spending in New Orleans and the surrounding area.

Federal flood control spending for southeastern Louisiana has been chopped from $69 million in 2001 to $36.5 million in 2005, according to budget documents. Federal hurricane protection for the Lake Pontchartrain vicinity in the Army Corps of Engineers' budget dropped from $14.25 million in 2002 to $5.7 million this year. Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu requested $27 million this year.

Both the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper and a local business magazine reported that the effects of the budget cuts at the Army Corps of Engineers were severe.

In 2004, the Corps essentially stopped major work on the now-breached levee system that had protected New Orleans from flooding. It was the first such stoppage in 37 years, the Times-Picayune reported.

"It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay," Jefferson Parish emergency management chief Walter Maestri told the newspaper. "Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

The Army Corps' New Orleans office, facing a $71 million cut, also eliminated funds to pay for a study on how to protect the Crescent City from a Category 5 storm, New Orleans City Business reported in June.

Being prepared for a disaster is basic emergency management, disaster experts say.

For example, in the 1990s, in planning for a New Orleans nightmare scenario, the federal government figured it would pre-deploy nearby ships with pumps to remove water from the below-sea-level city and have hospital ships nearby, said James Lee Witt, who was FEMA director under President Clinton.

Federal officials said a hospital ship would leave from Baltimore on Friday.

"These things need to be planned and prepared for; it just doesn't look like it was," said Witt, a former Arkansas disaster chief who won bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill during his tenure.
A mess. Inept leadership. Nothing surprises me anymore.

But maybe President Bush can plant a flag somewhere on the Super Dome. A good photo-op would be nice. He is already connecting this to 9/11.
He said that while the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 were a man-made disaster, the aftermath of Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina were "just as serious in both cases."

"New Orleans is more devastated than New York was," Bush said.
Maybe he can start the neverending war against natural terror? Or maybe he can spend a little more time being President, and a little less time fishing, mountain biking, and taking a nap.

America deserves better!