A billion in waste?

Finally the reports I’ve been waiting to see… In January, investigators will release the first of several audits examining more than $12 billion in Katrina contracts. The charges range from political favoritism to limited opportunities for small and minority-owned firms, which initially got only 1.5 percent of the total work. “Based on their track record, it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw another billion more in waste,” said Clark Kent Ervin, the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general from 2003-2004. “I don’t think sufficient progress has been made.” The IG is right. I suspect the audits will show incredible waste and … Continue reading A billion in waste?

Katrina Christmas

Schroeder at People Get Ready has a post of wonderful pictures of NOLA homes decorated for the holidays like this one… But there’s also a disclaimer… Disclaimer: Don’t get the impression that New Orleans is doing alright because people are decorating their houses for Christmas. Nothing could be farther from the truth… To Read the rest and see the photos CLICK HERE—– Continue reading Katrina Christmas

Frank Luntz…always afraid of the truth

Toady tool Frank Luntz crafting his black magic on a possible Katrina Commission being convened by the new Democratic Congress… Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist, questioned how impartial a new commission could be. “If you listen to the Democrats, the Republicans actually caused the storm, that they created the hurricane, and did all the damage,” Luntz said. He suggested that Democrats in Louisiana, in particular Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, would have a lot to lose if a commission started sniffing out who blundered. “Any kind of commission would explore what happened on the state and … Continue reading Frank Luntz…always afraid of the truth

FEMA to screw up innovative program with same old same old

(Not selected:“Cost-Effective, Dignified and Safe” NOLA Bungalow) Federal law prohibits subsidizing permanent housing in disaster relief. Thus the infamous and expensive FEMA trailer. So Congress appropriated $400 million for a pilot project to look at alternatives on the Gulf Coast. Five states submitted 29 proposals with Louisiana submitting 6. The Times Picayune reports one one Louisiana project has been selected even though the state suffered the greatest loss in housing stock from 2005 hurricanes. Further the one selected would be awarded to the Shaw Group and ICF… While Louisiana is expected to get $74.5 million for a single project, Mississippi … Continue reading FEMA to screw up innovative program with same old same old

Bush’s Merry Kafkaesque Christmas

Remember that nice thing you thought happened for Katrina exiles?Forget about it… WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court told the Bush administration Friday that it does not need to immediately restart a housing program for thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims. The ruling suspends an order by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who said last month that the Federal Emergency Management Agency violated the Constitution when it eliminated short-term housing assistance. Leon said the agency didn’t explain its reasoning and provided victims only confusing computer-generated codes to explain its decision. Under Leon’s order, FEMA appeared on track to restore housing … Continue reading Bush’s Merry Kafkaesque Christmas

Keep This Story In Mind

Link: WASHINGTON – The Pentagon wants the White House to seek an additional $99.7 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to information provided to The Associated Press. The military’s request, if embraced by President Bush and approved by Congress, would boost this year’s budget for those wars to about $170 billion. Military planners assembled the proposal at a time when Bush is developing new strategies for Iraq, such as sending thousands of more U.S. troops there, although it was put together before the president said the troop surge was under consideration. Overall, the war in Iraq … Continue reading Keep This Story In Mind

It’s Recess! Yea!

Chimpy, yesterday: I thought the election said they want to see more bipartisan cooperation; they want to see us working together to achieve common objectives. And I’m going to continue to reach out to Democrats to do just that. Here’s Chimpy on the very same day demonstrating his understanding of “bipartisan cooperation”. The President has recess appointed Warren Bell, of California, to be a Member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The President has recess appointed Wayne Cartwright Beyer, of New Hampshire, to be a Member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority. The President has recess appointed Mark McKinnon, of … Continue reading It’s Recess! Yea!

Marine Charged in Haditha Killings

From Reuters: WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Marine sergeant has been charged with 13 counts of murder in the killings of unarmed civilians in Haditha, Iraq, one of his defense lawyers said on Thursday. Mark Zaid, an attorney for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, said the charges served against his client do not allege premeditated murder and carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. Zaid other Marines investigated in the case had yet to receive word from the military on any possible charges. —– Continue reading Marine Charged in Haditha Killings

Go Shopping!

I encourage you all to go shopping more. Prior to yesterday’s presser, someone must have warned Chimpy about the poor state of the economy. Economic growth slowed to a 2 percent pace in the late summer, more sluggish than previously thought, as the real-estate bust weighed on overall business activity. The new reading on gross domestic product for the July-to-September quarter marked a slight downgrade from the 2.2 percent annual rate estimated a month ago, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The economy has been losing momentum all this year. [snip] Economists were expecting the government’s old GDP estimate of 2.2 … Continue reading Go Shopping!

A Family of Pariahs

Chimpy made it clear in yesterday’s presser that he has no concern whatsoever regarding how the public views his policies and actions during his lifetime. He’s only concerned about what will be written about his presidency 200 years after his death. I don’t think the man realizes that he will never be able to appear in any public setting in which the other people present have not been carefully screened for anti-Bush bumper stickers and t-shirts. Were he to do so he would be heckled mercilessly, at the very least. He has not been among the general public for six … Continue reading A Family of Pariahs

On A Regular Basis

From yesterday’s presser.

The most painful aspect of my presidency has been knowing that good men and women have died in combat. I read about it every night. My heart breaks for a mother or father, or husband or wife, or son and daughter; it just does. And so when you ask about pain, that’s pain.


But I — look, my heart breaks for them, it just does, on a regular basis.

Let’s take a look at how regularly this poor, totured president’s heart has been broken during the first two weeks of December, shall we?


Staff Sergeant Robert L. Love Jr., died inRamadi – Anbar due to Hostile – hostile fire – IED attack


Lance Corporal Jesse D. Tillery, died in Al Anbar Province due to Hostile – hostile fire

Specialist Corey J. Rystad, died in Fallujah – Anbar due to Hostile – hostile fire – IED attack

Specialist Bryan T. McDonough, died in Fallujah – Anbar due to Hostile – hostile fire – IED attack

Sergeant Keith E. Fiscus, died in Taji (near) – Baghdad due to Hostile – hostile fire – IED attack


Captain Shawn L. English, died in Baghdad due to Hostile – hostile fire – IED attack

Corporal Joshua C. Sticklen, died in Haditha – Anbar due to Non-hostile – helicopter crash

Major Joseph Trane McCloud, died in Haditha – Anbar due to Non-hostile – helicopter crash

Captain Kermit O. Evans, died in Haditha – Anbar due to Non-hostile – helicopter crash

Private Troy D. Cooper, died in Balad – Salah ad Din due to Hostile – hostile fire – IED attack

Specialist Kenneth W. Haines, died in Abu Hishma (Balad) – Salah ad Din due to Hostile – hostile fire – IED attack

Corporal Billy B. Farris, died in Taji – Baghdad due to Hostile – hostile fire – IED attack


Private 1st Class Roger A. Suarez-Gonzalez, died in Ramadi – Anbar due to Hostile – hostile fire – small arms fire

Private 1st Class Albert M. Nelson, died in Ramadi – Anbar due to Hostile – hostile fire – small arms fire

Lance Corporal Thomas P. Echols, died in Ramadi – Anbar due to Hostile – hostile fire

Hospitalman Christopher A. Anderson, died in Ramadi – Anbar due to Hostile – hostile fire

Sergeant Jay R. Gauthreaux, died in Ba’qubah (Balad) – Diyala due to Hostile – hostile fire – IED attack

Specialist Nicholas D. Turcotte, died in An Nasiriyah – Dhi Qar due to Non-hostile – vehicle accident

Private Ross A. McGinnis, died in Baghdad due to Hostile – hostile fire – grenade

Specialist Dustin M. Adkins, died in Haditha – Anbar due to Non-hostile – helicopter crash

That’s just too much presidential heartache for one page, click Comments to continue.

Continue reading “On A Regular Basis”


I guess everywhere you go Rabbits are not the Bunniest (* ) (Ali Abu Shish/Reuters) NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraqi soldiers bit the heads off frogs and ate the heart of a rabbit as signs of courage on Wednesday at a ceremony to transfer Najaf province, home to one of Shi’ite Islam’s holiest shrines, from U.S. to Iraqi control. SNIPPoliticians, tribal and religious leaders and soldiers watched displays of military prowess and one demonstration, hailed as a display of courage, in which five soldiers stopped before the grandstand to bite the heads off frogs. A sixth holding a live rabbit … Continue reading Symbolic

Road Home changes announced…and a FYI for George Will and WSJ

This weekend Iposted about problems with the Road Home Program. It appears some changes are to be made in the program following the outrage from NOLA residents about the program’s lack of progress and the revolt in the state House which voted 97-1 to fire ICF, the contractor administering the residential rebuilding grants program. On Monday, state Rep. Charmaine Marchand, D-New Orleans, even pitched a tent on LA Capitol grounds vowing to stay until ICF made progress or was fired. ( AP photo at thetowntalk.com) As a result Gov. Blanco convened a meeting Tuesday evening “with her top advisers, ICF … Continue reading Road Home changes announced…and a FYI for George Will and WSJ


Column this week’s about a local charity drive: Several years ago I wrote a story about families in Southland homeless shelters. Entire families, mom and dad and kids, who maybe had a place but got sick or lost their jobs or their landlord kicked them out, so they slept on mattresses shoved close together and ate a meal of pasta together knowing they’d have to go back out into the cold the next day. I’ll never forget the phone call I got from a reader the day that story ran. It was a woman, young from the sound of her … Continue reading Charity

Who is being served?

Oyster asked why the state of Louisiana is helping ICF “sell itself with official praise” regarding news that ICF received support in a press release from the state at a time the company has begun offering its stock for public sale. I would add it appears the state assisted ICF in stopping the hemorrhaging of it’s falling stock. Here is the case. ICF International is the company that is administering the Road Home program. They have done such a poor job with less than 100 people having received any money, that on Friday December 15th the Louisiana state House “sent … Continue reading Who is being served?

Christmas Gift Rage

Like Erin, I’m about done with this crap: Matt introduced the segment by saying something about how hard it is to shop for the men in your life because the things they want are so complicated and high-tech and what’s a girl to do when she goes to one of those big, scary electronics stores where everything is blinking and shiny but none of it’s a diamond tennis bracelet? I shit you not, the tone of the segment was like WOMEN DON’T KNOW JACK ABOUT ELECTRONICS SO DON’T FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY LET THEM GO TO … Continue reading Christmas Gift Rage

Demanding Articles

Oh my God: During just the first three days of this week, seven long stories from various series appeared on the front page of the paper, my assistant Joseph Plambeck has found. Readers who move along at 250 words a minute would need to spend an average of 20 minutes each morning just to get through the approximately 15,000 words from those articles in the past three days. Why this deluge of fine journalism just when many readers are already busy with holiday activities? I’m fairly certain it’s because Dec. 31 is a deadline for the most significant journalism contests. … Continue reading Demanding Articles

Your President Speaks, Again!

From this moring’s presser. Comments Didn’t Count When He Said Them At The Time My comments yesterday reflected the fact that we’re not succeeding nearly as fast as I wanted when I said it at the time, and that conditions are tough in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad. If Elections Could Speak I thought the election said they want to see more bipartisan cooperation; they want to see us working together to achieve common objectives. More Opening Up Markets, Dammit And it’s in our interest that administrations continue to promote more opening up markets. Have You Read The Foreign Minister Today? … Continue reading Your President Speaks, Again!

Your President Speaks!

To the WaPo, yesterday. The Capability To Be Able Should Not Be Underestimated</p The reason why is, it is an accurate reflection that this ideological war we’re in is going to last for a while, and that we’re going to need a military that’s capable of being able to sustain our efforts and to help us achieve peace. Positively Awful</p There’s been some very positive developments. And you take a step back and look at progress in Iraq, you say, well, it’s amazing — constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East, which is a remarkable development in itself. … Continue reading Your President Speaks!

Chastity crusaders face a Sisyphean task…

…or what we would refer to as Reality NEW YORK — More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a new study. The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past. “This is reality-check research,” said the study’s author, Lawrence Finer. “Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades.” SNIP“The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question … Continue reading Chastity crusaders face a Sisyphean task…

A First: Bush admits we’re not winning

On the other hand he said we’re not losing… “We’re not winning, we’re not losing,” Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. The assessment was a striking reversal for a president who, days before the November elections, declared, “Absolutely, we’re winning.” Bush also disclosed he has ordered DoD Secretary Gates to “develop a plan to increase the troop strength of the Army and Marine Corps” and “he confirmed that he is considering a short-term surge in troops in Iraq.” Bush explained his We’re Winning remarks prior to the election… Asked yesterday about his “absolutely, we’re winning” comment at … Continue reading A First: Bush admits we’re not winning