Monthly Archives: August 2005

Where Is God?

Robert:


God is on a roof in New Orleans, waiting to be plucked off. God is in the streets of New Orleans, trying to keep order as a lone policeman in a mob of looters. God is in the Superdome, hot and sweaty in a fetid atmosphere. And God is the National Guardsman trying to help people there. God is the woman with all her possessions in two plastic bags in Slidell. God is the woman stranded in Mississippi, unable to buy gas from a pump that can’t pump, unable to go forward, unable to go backward. “Lord, when did we see you?,” the people ask at Judgment Day, in Matthew 25. Look around Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama: you’ll see God. What do we do now? We help. We help in any way we can.

A.

Dvorkin: NPR Hearts Goldberg

Has there ever been an ombud so whiny, so defensive, so overwhelmed by the job of reading e-mails from the public, as Jeffrey Dvorkin? Witness his characterization of people who dare to read a blog post (the nerve!) and then send him an e-mail (damn plebes don’t know their place anymore!):


I sensed a spewing of cornflakes across the breakfast tables of America shortly after NPR’s Scott Simon began asking Mr. Goldberg about the week in politics.

But no, it was not a grassroots eruption but, largely, a blog-induced emetic that caused listeners such as Reed Tibbetts to protest:

Heard Goldberg on this morning and it confirmed my worst fears. I complained to my affiliate (and) stopped donating to my NPR stations in protest… today’s appearance of Goldberg just confirmed my suspicions about NPR wimping out to the right wing…

It really is sad.

Well. Sadder still are the e-mails that arrive still with a link to the blog where this “outrage” was first reported. In this case, Mr. Tibbets was inspired by a blog called dailykos.com.

There you have it. If you read a blog, and choose to take action by e-mailing someone and confessing said blog readership (so sinful, these days, reading blogs, completely destroys your ability to think), your criticism doesn’t mean shit to Jeff Dvorkin. He only listens to people who get their outrage the old-fashioned way, like from the toaster oven or, say, space aliens.

Jeffy, pet, I know you work on the Wireless, but do you think you could maybe allow that your attitude that there’s nothing of value on any of these opinionated Internets is just a tad, just a tad mind you, reactionary? As reactionary as, say, a bunch of bloggers directionlessly bashing your station instead of stating specifically what they find valuable and invaluable about it? Because honestly, you’re reminding me of my dad a little bit here, when he starts going on about those kids today with the clothes and the hair and the drug problems.

Oh, and how does he feel about Jonah? He wants his body. Thinks he’s sexy. Wants to love him all night long:


Jonah Goldberg has a track record as a smart, and highly opinionated journalist and his ideas may be worth hearing on NPR. Indeed, Goldberg sounded remarkably restrained on NPR unlike his usual “take-no-prisoners” style on his Web site.

Yeah, Jonah. Take no prisoners. Leave no hurricane victim unmocked. That Jonah.

Still, Dvorkin goes on to say, maybe it would have been better to have replaced Schorr with somebody who wouldn’t have made him work quite so hard:


Schorr’s perspectives are, in my opinion, not particularly ideological because his journalist’s musings have more perspectives from history than from party politics. A more appropriate replacement might have been someone closer to his stature. PBS’ Gwen Ifill or Doyle McManus from the Los Angeles Times come to mind.

They, like Schorr, have no explicit partisan axes to grind, unlike that stalwart conservative woodsman, Jonah Goldberg.

The STUPID. It BURNS US.

Sometimes after reading Dvorkin, I want to sit down and make a list of all the jobs in the world that suck more than his, and send it to him. Just to give him a little perspective, because honestly, he seems to find communciating with the public so damned depressing, and I hate it when he’s sad.

A.

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

In today’s gaggle the press wouldn’t stop needling Little Scottie about Chimpy’s record-breaking five-week vacation.

Q Would you say the President goes back to Washington well rested?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as you all know, this has been, as usual, a fairly busy month. There are a lot of important priorities going on, and we — here in Crawford, we have the Western White House. I mean, the White House just picks up and moves with the President. And he has kept a pretty busy schedule this month, and he has also remained focused on a number of important priorities for the nation.

Q Does he need a vacation?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think those of you who travel with the President recognize that this is not what you would call a vacation. This is the President’s home, he always enjoys coming here. But when you’re President, you’re President 24/7. And he always enjoys returning to Texas, he always enjoys getting out and traveling around the country and hearing from people out in the heartland, and what’s on their minds. [Note: this offer not valid for Cindy Sheehan.]

Later, we learn that the New Orleans fly-over was not the President’s idea. I suppose he would have rather been playing his guitar.

Q Scott, can you say if the President requested this fly-over?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President certainly wanted to do it. I think that it had been discussed among the staff with the President, but the President certainly wanted to do it, as long as we weren’t going to be disruptive of what was going on in the region.

Dast Thee Criticize Dear Leader?

From Holden:

Byron York? That Byron York?!?!

There is a proper time for a president to leave Washington, but five weeks is just too much.

Et tu, Poddy?

BUSH’S VACATION [JPod]

One thing is for sure, Byron: No president, not this one and not any president who follows him, will ever again take a five-week vacation.

Posted at 02:28 PM

Methinks young Poddy dost overestimate Dear Leader.

Hang In There, New Orleans, Amerca’s On It

Even if the preznit fiddled, Americans didn’t.


The Red Cross said it had so far raised $21 million, a figure comparable to the response for tsunami victims following the devastation in Asia earlier this year. Nearly $15 million of that has come from individual donations through its Web site, with the rest representing corporate contributions.

“The outpouring of support has been amazing,” said Kara Bunte, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, which has set up hundreds of shelters for hurricane victims.

“People are now starting to see the images on TV and want to help,” she said.

Catholic Charities USA, based in Alexandria, Va., said it has received hundreds of calls in the last few days from volunteers asking how they can help. The group has raised $15,000 through its Web site, but will be stepping up collection efforts at churches in the coming days.

“The response is right up there with the calls we had after 9-11,” said spokeswoman Shelley Borysiewicz. “The American public is quite generous and they will rise to the occasion.”

You know, I try not to engage in the sort of cheap Hallmark Card pandering to patriotism over here that you often find on Freeper blogs and other places. I don’t slap a graphic with a little waving American flag or a little yellow ribbon on every single post. We don’t end every e-mail with God Bless The United States or I’m Proud To Be An American.

In the face of news like the above, I don’t need to. Because that is the story of the country of which I am a proud citizen. That is the Midnight Ride, that in the face of the worst, we do our best, and that is all that needs to be said about the true meaning of America.

Our kindness to one another is my national anthem.

Our generosity in the face of tragedy is my Stars and Stripes.

I spent part of this morning watching TV, watching boats trawling up and down the flooded streets of New Orleans, looking for survivors.

That is, in its demonstration of America’s power and might, my Fourth of July parade.

A.

Ass with a Capital A

From Holden:

Flailing about desperately to defend his repeated clowning about Hurricane Katrina Jonah Goldberg tries to shift the spotlight to his old nemises Juan Cole:

PERCHANCE [Jonah Goldberg ]

Those carping on my levity the other day might take a moment to notice Juan Cole’s gloating that only those nasty, rural Christian zealots were suffering from Katrina while the fun-loving urbanites of Bourbon street were spared.

Later, realizing that some folks who visit The Corner have attained a reading comprehension level above grade two, the Doughy Pantload adds an update:

Update Rereading his post, my initial reading might be a bit of a stretch. His real aim was to exploit the destruction from Katrina to attack Falwell and Robertson, not explicitly to relish the fact those who befell “death and destruction” outside of Bourbon Street were Christians. But, given Cole’s tone I really don’t think I’m that far off the mark either. The whole point is “Aha! See Robertson’s kind of people were hit while the cosmopolitans were spared. Nyah, nyah.”

Was Professor Cole using Katrina to “attack Falwell and Robertson” while not-so-subtly celebrating the misery of Christians left destitute by the storm?

Let’s read Cole’s post and decide for ourselve.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bourbon Street Unscathed Christian Terrorists Proved Wrong

Bourbon Street in New Orleans is relatively unscathed. Amid so much death and destruction, that New Orleans did not take the full fury of the storm, and so many lives were spared, is one small consolation.

But let us consider what this means in light of the twisted logic of notorious Christian terrorists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell (I once saw Falwell advocate assassinating Muammar Qadhafi). Their shameful attack on the United States and its values is below.

In the terms of their logic, and given today’s news about Bourbon Street being saved from destruction, only three conclusions are possible.

1. God does not exist.

Or:

2. God does not use natural or man-made catastrophes to punish people for moral failings.

Or:

3. God does not actually object to people having a good time occasionally.

Looks to me like Cole was expressing some degree of empathy for the victims of the disaster (something Jonah could not bring himself to do until the “Huffington Post types” shamed him into an appology) while pointing out the obvious about Falwell and Robertson’s hatespeech — they were dead wrong.

And what in the world does Cole’s post have to do with Goldberg’s repeated attempts at sophomoric humor?

Support The Troops Edition

A hero.

Remember this picture whenever Incredi-Boy makes it back to DC or actually goes out to NOLA and suits up in a costume and pretends to give a shit. Remember the people who were actually on the job while the preznit played guitar. They’re the ones who deserve our admiration. They’re the ones who deserve Congress’ standing ovation and the pundits’ slobbering fealty.

A.

Word Count

From Holden:

Number of words devoted to Hurricane Katrina during George Bush’s only public address so far regarding the catastrophe (Aug. 28):

203.

Number of words devoted to the Iraqi constitution in that very same address:

819.

War for Oil

From Holden:

I suppose it’s official now.

President Bush on Tuesday answered growing anti-war protests with a fresh reason for American troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country’s vast oil fields that he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

[snip]

Bush said the Iraqi oil industry, already suffering from sabotage and lost revenues, must not fall under the control of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida forces in Iraq led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

“If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks,” Bush said. “They’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition.”

Another War Crime

From Holden:

US forces in Iraq commit another war crime, violating Article 19 of the Geneva Conventions by bombing a field clinic near the Syrian border.

Doctors for Iraq has received reports from medical staff in Al Qaim hospital, western Iraq that a field clinic in Al Karablaa village situated on the borders of Al Qaim has been bombed.

Two medical staff have been injured in the attack on the field clinic. Hospital staff and eyewitnesses report of many casualties from the military operation on Al Qaim city. Reports are coming in of at least fifty dead including some women and children.

[snip]

Doctors For Iraq is deeply concerned about the medical humanitarian situation in the area. Medical staff in Al Qaim report that the electricity supply to the hospital has been cut. Doctors are unable to move inside the area because of the ongoing military operation. The manager of Al Qaim general hospital has closed the hospital temporarily because of the unsafe conditions in the area. Doctors set up a filed clinic in the village of Al Kararblaa, which has been bombed.

Doctors are finding it difficult to reach the areas under attack. Medical personal have told Doctors for Iraq that they fear many casualties are trapped under debris and rubble in the area.

Eyewitness say that a missile struck a house in Al Qaim reducing the house to rubble and at least three families are buried under the rubble of the destroyed house.

[snip]

This attack is the latest in a number of military operations in the west of Iraq in the last few weeks.

Doctors For Iraq is calling for the immediate end to military attacks and targeting of civilians and medical staff.

Doctors for Iraq urges the military to preserve medical neutrality and protect medial units and staff against military attacks.

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Somebody gets it.

Q This is more — this is more symbolic. Cutting short his vacation is more symbolic because he can do all this from the ranch, right?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think — no, I disagree. Like I said, this is one of the most devastating storms in our nation’s history, and the President, after receiving a further update this morning, made the decision that he wanted to get back to D.C. and oversee the response efforts from there. This is going to — there are many agencies involved in this — in this response effort, and it’s going to require a long and sustained effort on behalf of all the federal agencies working closely with state and local officials to help people recover from the destruction and devastation.

Q What is he unable to — what is he unable to do in Crawford he could do —

MR. McCLELLAN: We’ll talk to you all later. We’ve got to go. Thank you.

More Expensive than Vietnam

From Holden:

The daily cost of Chimpy’s Vanity War has now surpassed the daily cost of the Vietnam War.

The U.S. war in Iraq now costs more per month than the average monthly cost of military operations in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, according to a report issued on Wednesday.

The report, entitled “The Iraq Quagmire” from the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy in Focus, both liberal, anti-war organizations, put the cost of current operations in Iraq at $5.6 billion per month. This breaks down to almost $186 million a day.

“By comparison, the average cost of U.S. operations in Vietnam over the eight-year war was $5.1 billion per month, adjusting for inflation,” it said.

[snip]

“Broken down per person in the United States, the cost so far is $727, making the Iraq War the most expensive military effort in the past 60 years,” wrote authors Phyllis Bennis and Erik Leaver.

Damage estimates along the Gulf Coast have been pegged at $26 billion – equal to the cost of five months of US operations in Iraq.

Steve Chimes In On The Pantload

From Holden:

Steve Gilliard also noticed Jonah’s assinine post and commented on it. Take a second to read what Steve says. I did not make the racist connection, but I may not be as aware of the subtext as Gilliard.

My view is that Goldberg is completely insensitive to the suffering of others, and when you combine that with an inferiority complex that rival’s only his fleshy ass in size what you get are these sophomoric movie references instead of empathy for the unfortunates caught in the teeth of the worst natural disaster in American history.

Not Quite a Pony

From Holden:

Chimpy’s job approval rating in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll dropped three points to 45%, while his dissapproval number added two points to reach 53%.

A Subtle Poke from the Times

From Holden:

Today’s lead editorial in the NYTimes.

As the levees of Lake Pontchartrain gave way, flooding New Orleans, it seemed pretty clear that in this case, government did not live up to the job.

But this seems like the wrong moment to dwell on fault-finding, or even to point out that it took what may become the worst natural disaster in American history to pry President Bush out of his vacation.

Apology My Ass

From Holden:

I was thinking of Jonah Goldberg’s abhorent post making light of the people traped in the New Orleans Superdome and his subsequent appology in which he soulfully stated:

My thoughts and prayers to those affected and my apologies to those offended for my making light of it. It’d be nice if the Huffington Post types could understand that I did not make jokes after the death toll and damage were known, but before — when the media seemed to be making the usual spectacle of itself. [emphasis in the original]

That got to eating at me so I went back to this post, which appeared at 1:24 PM today — well after we all knew that there was massive destruction and widespread fatalities.

NOT THAT I WANT TO OFFEND ANYBODY [Jonah Goldberg]

But it would be pretty cool if Fox played to caricature and repeatedly referred to the hurricane as Katrina vanden Heuvel.

“The destruction from Katrina vanden Heuvel is expected to be massive.”

“…the poor and disabled are particularly likely to suffer from the effects of Katrina vanden Heuvel ….”

“Coming up: how to explain Katrina vanden Heuvel to your children.”

Etc.

Posted at 01:24 PM

Still cracking jokes “after the death toll and damage were known”.

Douchebag. Send him

Kos Diary

has good links for agencies taking donations.

This keeps getting worse by the hour.

A.

It’s a sad day

when Trent Lott has his eye on the ball and the president doesn’t:


6:39 P.M. – JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Senator Trent Lott is urging President Bush to visit Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, telling the president — quote — “the people of Mississippi are flat on their backs. They’re going to need your help.”

Look, for all the bullshitting around that we do, for all the joking about the president and his people and the stunts they pull, there’s a reason we get so damn angry. It’s that we need our leaders to lead. We need people, strong people, to look to in a time of crisis, who will say I am here to help you, I am in this with you, follow me and I’ll take you to safe ground.

It is not naive to want to believe that when the world is burning down and going under around you, the people you elected will rise to the occasion. Even if they never seemed the type before, you want to believe that when the house is on fire, they’ll run inside to save you, they’ll dial 911, they’ll grab the hose, they’ll cover you with a blanket.

I would have forgiven much of George W. Bush if he had caught Osama bin Laden in the two years after 9/11, instead of diverting us off into Iraq. I would have overlooked a great deal and been admiring of him if he had walked down the road in Crawford the first day Cindy Sheehan set up camp, and talked with her, and then talked with all of us, about his mistakes and how he planned to correct them. There have been moments in this country’s history, when a man stands up and overcomes the expectations of others. I had been willing to allow that there may have been a moment like that for this president. Until now.

A city goes under. A pundit makes jokes. A president rides his bike, plays a round of golf.

Until someone finally points out to him that it looks bad, and then he puts away his ball and goes inside. Pretends to study, pretends to know what it all means.

What matters isn’t that he’s back on the job now. What matters is that while the house was smoldering, starting to burn, he was two blocks over, telling everyone they were delusional for smelling smoke.

A.

Jonah Appologizes

From Holden:

Looks like he’s been taking some heat from the “Huffington Post types”.

Still, there’s no excuse for making unfeeling jokes about hurricane victims while the hurricane is actually hitting them. His “I did not make jokes after the death toll and damage were known, but before” excuse is bullshit, since Scientists at LSU were predicting a 50-50 chance that New Orelans would be virtually destroyed a full 12 hours before the storm hit.

It’s just not funny.

Your President Speaks

From Holden:

In San Diego, today:

We mourn the lose of every life.

That’s the official White House transcript you read. Was it a typo?