Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Some Hurried Notes on Hurricane Kat-astrophe-ina

I am well, settin' on my haunches in Cajun country, and fattenin' up for the winter.

The Bobble and I left the Quarter at seven Sunday morning, a couple of hours before the mayor declared a mandatory evacuation. Rather than tackle the contraflow on I-10, we took Highway 90 West. This is an older route that passes through numerous towns on it's way to Texas and points beyond.

It took seven-and-half hours to travel 180 miles or so, but there was never any frustration with the other thousand-or-so drivers travelling with us. Strict patience and courtesy all the way from everyone. Local residents avoided the main route so we evacuees could make our way out.

En route we heard the various announcements from the different Mayors, Parish Presidents, and law-enforcement officials ordering/encouraging everyone to leave.

Aaron Broussard, Jefferson Parish President, was succinct in his advice to residents who insisted on staying (the "diehards" he called them): "Get yourself an axe, a pick, or a hammer. Get the flares out of your car and keep them with you. When the water starts rising in your house and eventually drives you up to your attic, you'll be able to know a hole in your roof so you can climb out, light your flares, and signal for help."

Sheriff Harry Lee said simply - as is his Zen fashion: "It's time to haul ass, people." We did. So many of us who were able to go.

After Katrina had moved out yesterday, and helicopters flew in and were able to reconnoiter the area, we began to see the devastation.

We saw Hyatt Regency Hotel and its shattered windows alongside the roof-ripped Superdome. We saw flooding and fires.

We saw the city of Kenner under water. The mayor says the damage there is 100%.

Chalmette is under water.

Although the rest of New Orleans was not as forunate, the French Quarter seems to have withstood the major brunt of the force.

As bad as it was, it is worse in Gulfport, Biloxi, and Mobile - from what I can piece together from the news reports, so much property has been destroyed and so many lives lost.

We still cannot go home yet. But soon.

There's a lot of work to do.

Thanks to all you guys who caught my last post and expressed your hopes for my safety. Your concerns mean the world to me.

But, hell, no blowhard ever got the best of this ole bear yet. See y'all soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

This Monday...

...I meet Katrina. Posted by Picasa

I'm not scared...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Oops, But He Wasn't

"Misinterpreted," that is. Media Matters has the video clip. And, yup, he said it.

The asshole said the "A" word. It was clear.

He a-r-t-i-c-u-l-a-t-e-d it.

You can't mistake it.

Now, who was it that our Western religious heritage names as the father of lies?

Oh, yes. Beelzebub.

And that name don't spell "Jesus."

Pat Robertson Says He Was Misinterpreted

"I didn't say 'assassination,'" Robertson said Wednesday on his Christian Broadcast Network show "The 700 Club" about remarks reported by The Associated Press and other media outlets.

"I said our special forces should 'take him out.' 'Take him out' could be a number of things including kidnapping."

Any one of which would still be regarded as an international criminal act. But, hey, the real bad guys here work for the Associated Press:
"There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time."
These antichristian, self-appointed, crackpot "leaders" are all so fucking obvious. You know what they're going to do, what they're going to say. Why are there any people left who can't - or won't - see through the transparencies?

And who in the administration took the jerk aside and said, "Hey, Patsy, back it up. We don't want somebody should start gettin' wise to what we been gabbin' about"?

Pat Robertson, a prick only God could love.

But then that's His job...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Our Very Own Ayatollah

Yep. Pat Robertson has stepped up and issued a Fatwa. Hell, as long as God is on our side, we can do it all!

Any pools on how long before he declares he was misquoted?

Salon.com News - Iraq: The unseen war

This is part of what the administration does not want us to see. Nothing I could say would prove any worth beyond the images themselves. Please click on the link.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Bookworm Bush's Holiday Reading

Does anyone believe this crap?

Maybe some enterprising journalist (pardon the oxymoron) should simply ask him what he is reading. See if he knows the titles. If he knows them, ask him what each is about. Then ask him the names of the authors.

I'm sorry, but I'm a reader. Being a reader teaches you (forces you?) to think. It teaches you grammar. It enables you to speak with clarity. It makes you curious, if you weren't before. It helps you see around metaphorical corners and ascertain the potential outcomes of any action.

I do not believe this jerk is reading these books, much less reading, period.

Just how much of this trans fat does this administration expect us to swallow?

Update (08/23/2005):

It appears one of the authors cited in the above article doesn't believe the story either!

Second Update (08/24/05):

Kir Slevin writes the following in Alternet.
The significance remains that the summer reading list is about the most transparent example of the administration using the big lie technique -- that is, playing the public and the media for fools. That the lies haven't been watertight, that holes have quickly appeared, that critics have vented a sea of ink in outrage, doesn't matter. The administration's lies give reason to policy and create enough ambiguity for action. And after action, it's too late for critics and opponents.

Remember what a senior official told Ron Suskind in 2002: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating new realities ... we're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Over and over again, after exposing the big lies of the administration, columnists and pundits have claimed the jig was up (in the war lead-up, and especially before the election). Father Andrew Greeley wrote that Bush's big lie was "coming apart" in September of 2003. The same year, Robert Scheer said, "Bush has pushed the Big Lie approach so far that we are seeing dramatic signs of its cracking." In 2004 Nicholas von Hoffman wrote, "It's not easy to pull off the Big Lie and George Bush has failed."

But the lies live on, not unscathed, but still operative in some quarters. And worse, the lies have permanently changed the course of history. They have induced an alternate reality in which lies and facts occupy the same space.

Thom Hartman, writing last year about the big lies that smeared Kerry's war record, probably had it the most right: "History tells us that, over the short term, the Big Lie usually works. Over the long term, though, the damage it does -- both to those who use it, and to the society on which it is inflicted -- is incalculable."

A Moment of Grace

It doesn't get the kind of attention that ugly actions receive (in fact, it's an editorial). But here in a few short words is goodness in action. Take a few moments to read this:

In an age whose crabbed sense of justice finds expression in dismal phrases like "zero tolerance" and "three strikes and you're out," the events in a Long Island courtroom on Monday came as an undeserved gift, something startling and luminous.

It happened when Ryan Cushing, a 19-year-old charged with assault for tossing a turkey through a car windshield last fall, approached the driver he nearly killed, Victoria Ruvolo. Ms. Ruvolo, 44, suffered severe injuries and needed many hours of surgery to rebuild her shattered facial bones.

When Mr. Cushing left the courtroom after pleading guilty, he came face to face with his victim for the first time. He said he was sorry and begged her to forgive him.

She did. She cradled his head as he sobbed. She stroked his face and patted his back. "It's O.K.; it's O.K.," she said. "I just want you to make your life the best it can be."

Mr. Cushing was one of six teenagers out for a night of joy riding and crime, which often happens when childish aggression and stupidity merge with the ability to drive and steal credit cards. The five others have pleaded guilty to various acts like forgery and larceny, but Mr. Cushing, who threw the turkey, could have faced 25 years in prison. At Ms. Ruvolo's insistence, prosecutors granted him a plea bargain instead: six months in jail and five years' probation.

The prosecutor, Thomas Spota, had been ready to seek harsh punishment for a crime he rightly denounced as heedless and brutal. "This is not an act of mere stupidity," Mr. Spota said. "They're not 9- or 7-year-old children."

That is true. But Ms. Ruvolo's resolute compassion, coming seemingly out of nowhere, disarmed Mr. Spota and led to a far more satisfying result.

Many have assumed that Ms. Ruvolo's motivation is religious. But while we can estimate the size of her heart, we can't peer into it. Her impulse may have been entirely secular.

Court testimony by crime victims is often pitched as a sort of retributive therapy, a way for angry, injured people to force criminals to confront their shame. But while some convicts grovel, others smirk. Many are impassive. It's hard to imagine that those hurt by crime reliably find healing in the courtroom. Given the opportunity for retribution, Ms. Ruvolo gave and got something better: the dissipation of anger and the restoration of hope, in a gesture as cleansing as the tears washing down her damaged face, and the face of the foolish, miserable boy whose life she single-handedly restored.

Call me a sap. I don't care.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rude Pundit Exposed

Rahav Segev for The New York Times Posted by Picasa

Such a nice-looking young man. Why would he talk like he does?

Monday, August 15, 2005

229 New State Laws Go into Effect Today

"Most people won't even notice these laws went into effect," said Jim Brandt, president of the Public Affairs Research Council, a government watchdog agency. "More are tinkering (with existing law) rather than vast changes. Some are terribly obscure. . . . People are not going to wake up Monday morning and say, 'Oh, my God! These new laws are in effect.' "
Well, dammit, I'm wakin' up and saying, "What the hell are they? Enquirin' minds need to know this shit before we walk out on the streets today!"

Luckily our local rag is letting us know about the most important ones. Such as:
House Bill 9 by Rep. William Daniel IV, D-Baton Rouge, making it a crime to bootleg movies by taping them in theaters.
You mean, I could've been doing this? The movie companies, the Copyright Office, and the FBI didn't care? Sheesh.
House Bill 127 by Rep. Mickey Frith, D-Kaplan, creating the crime of theft of crawfish, which has penalties ranging from up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $500 to up to 10 years in jail, a fine of up to $3,000 or both, depending on the amount of crawfish stolen. Other laws against thievery already cover crawfish, but Frith said a new one was needed because theft of crawfish from ponds in southwest Louisiana has gotten so prevalent that greater enforcement was needed.
Now, you gotta admit, this one makes some sense. Don't fuck with my mudbugs.
Lawmakers also said if anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 possesses an alcoholic beverage or someone buys it for the young drinker, each can be made to surrender a driver's license for six months. House Bill 110 by Rep. Henry "Tank" Powell, R-Ponchatoula, allows a judge to let a first-time offender keep the license but stipulates the driver can only use it to go to and from work, school, doctors or church.
This one's confusing. You're under 21 - you're already illegal - now you're more illegal? You have to give up your driver's license, but you can still go to work, school, the doctor's office, or church? Well, where else would you have been going?
Another measure taking effect today is House Bill 242 by Rep. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, requiring a woman who becomes pregnant by rape or incest to request spiritual counseling before having an abortion. It also requires the abortion provider to advise her of alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, but waives the 24-hour waiting period before having the abortion performed. It still requires the waiting period for other pregnant women.
Well, praise Jesus! Luziana treads the righteous path. Let's send us some more losers up the river to fill them joints we already have - and then let's build us some more.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Living the Life - and Paying the Price, Part Two

After mentioning that I would write about the Essence Festival that got underway shortly after I arrived back in town from Baton Rouge, Sperm Magnet frantically reached out to me to plead with me that I not "get into that."

"Tensions are too high. You could be hurt."

"But aside from you, there's only a lovely lady in Houston (soon to be an attorney who has promised me - in writing - to bail me out of any mess I might get myself into), a hippie pawpaw b'ar living up in one of them states around Michigan, and our mutual friend Siobhan (who is a powerful black lesbian woman - part Irish), who read me. Nobody else looks at this thing. How can I get hurt?"

"They have ways..."

Well, I've thought things over, and I've decided to take the Sperm Magnet's fears to heart. I will act like a mainstream journalist (neither of which I am) and not write about the Essence Festival and the racial tensions that led up to this July 4th weekend of black entertainment and empowerment.

I will not use this space to write about the sad and wasteful death of a certain young black man at the hands of the bouncers at a Bourbon Street nightclub.

I won't mention that the citizens of New Orleans mainly responded to this senseless death appropriately and with dignity.

I won't write about the way the local media tried to stir up a pot of hot racial-bias gumbo over this incident nor of how most of us declined to swallow their sample wares.

I certainly won't comment on our mayor's response to this tragedy.

I won't recall the story of his dissemination of a squad of secret shoppers into a smattering of bars within a select stretch of Bourbon Street to determine if bartenders were overcharging drinks ordered by young black males who were dressed in hiphop fashion and who didn't appear to be the kind of clientele who would be leaving tips.

Neither will I bring up the fact that some of those gouging bartenders were themselves black.

Nor will I mention that gouging the prices of drinks (which are already overpriced) is one of the oldest and most familiar cons of the carny atmosphere that pervades this area; a con second only to: "Hey, mister, betcha fi' dollahs I can tell you where you got dem shoes!"

I won't editorialize that this whole secret-shopper act seemed like nothing less than another Bourbon Street con to wrest another political buck out of another senseless killing in the city.

I won't write anything to imply that the visitors to the Essence Festival, like the New Orleanians before them, also declined to partake of this gumbo I mentioned above, preferring to let the city clean up it's own shitty mess.

And I won't write about the incident in which a major hotel tried to force all its guests to wear identifying bracelets in order to re-enter its premises. Nor will I write about how the lodgers revolted and went public with their complaints, thus forcing the hotel management to change the policy.

That story just illustrates a scenario that says that one can still make a difference in today's world by standing up and demanding that wrongs be made right.

I could never write about that. It doesn't stir the pot.

So, I'm sorry, but I won't be writing about all this hoopla. It's just too dangerous.

Maybe next time, I'll just write about my own depression during these past few weeks when I went AWOL.

That should be safe.
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