Louisiana National Guard lacks enough equipment for major event

The Times Picayune reports that “the Louisiana National Guard has all the troops it needs for hurricane season, but many of its high-water trucks remain in Iraq” Twenty months after its depleted ranks of soldiers and airmen were pressed into service for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Louisiana National Guard still lacks hundreds of military troop trucks that can handle high water as it faces a new storm season that begins Friday. “We’re below 50 percent for authorized equipment, and that includes everything,” said Lt. Col. Pete Schneider, Louisiana Guard spokesman. “And we continue to receive new equipment that comes … Continue reading Louisiana National Guard lacks enough equipment for major event

Protectin’ Thu Homeland

Jesus EffingChrist On A Bun The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease. The Agriculture Department tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows. Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too. A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. … Continue reading Protectin’ Thu Homeland

Imperceptibly More Peaceful Than Iran

Shocking. The United States and Iran finished in a virtual dead heat, and way down the list, in a magazine’s assessment of the peacefulness of 121 countries. The United States placed 96th and Iran came in 97th on the global index released Wednesday by researchers at the Economist magazine. [snip] Norway was rated at the country most at peace, followed by New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland and Japan. Iraq was in last place, with Sudan and Israel just above. About 24 indicators were used, including wars fought in the last five years, arms sales, prison populations and incidence of crime. Continue reading Imperceptibly More Peaceful Than Iran

The No-Growth Economy

Chimpy has us slouching towards recession. The economy nearly stalled in the first quarter with growth slowing to a pace of just 0.6 percent. That was the worst three-month showing in over four years. The new reading on the gross domestic product, released by the Commerce Department Thursday, showed that economic growth in the January-through-March quarter was much weaker. Government statisticians slashed by more than half their first estimate of a 1.3 percent growth rate for the quarter. [snip] The economy’s 0.6 percent growth rate in the opening quarter of this year marked a big loss of momentum from the … Continue reading The No-Growth Economy

Columnwhoring: Bully Edition

First, a short memo. To: The Idiots Who Send Me Hate Mail Re: Your Last Message For the love of the God in whom your message claims you believe, if you want to speculate about the dates and times of the deaths of Supreme Court justices, don’t put your actual return address on the letter. However, I do have to thank you for scrawling your communiqué onto an actual hard copy of my column. I was wondering how the photo turned out. Now to this week’s installment: Bullies don’t bully to make sure you act a certain way. They don’t … Continue reading Columnwhoring: Bully Edition

Marry Me, Journalism Edition

Because, dude, seriously: Newspapers started out with enormous advantages going into the digital age (remember “content is King”?) and have squandered it while others innovated. To take even one small example: there isn’t a single newspaper that has figured out a really usable way online to find out what’s going on tonight without lots of clicks and searching. So dozens of upstart online companies are finding a big audience. What a missed opportunity. How many newspapers have reconfigured their staffing to reflect the new hybrid print/online reality? Why are high-paid editors and reporters uploading jpegs and podcasts when digital assistants … Continue reading Marry Me, Journalism Edition

Your President Speaks!

Today, in Glynco, Georgia, on immigration reform. Oops! Please be seated — unless, of course, you don’t have a chair. The Joke That Died I don’t know whether you realize this, or not, but the government originally planned to open this center inside the Capital Beltway. No one looks very sad that they didn’t open it inside the Capital Beltway. The Front Lines Of Protecting A lot of our fellow citizens probably don’t know what goes on here, but this is a center full of smart, capable instructors who are helping to train men and women who’ve volunteered to serve … Continue reading Your President Speaks!

Another Disappointing Month

Looks like we’re headed for another disappointing new jobs report on Friday. Remember, kiddies, we need to create 150,000 new jobs each month to keep up with growth in the workforce. The consensus forecast is that 145,000 were created in May and Automatic Data Processing Inc. is sayingthat only 97,000 non-governmental jobs were created. An employment indicator published by payrolls giant Automatic Data Processing Inc. and consultancy Macroeconomic Advisers reported an increase of 97,000 in private jobs in May. That compares with the expected 145,000 increase in total jobs that economists called for in a Dow Jones Newswires survey earlier … Continue reading Another Disappointing Month

Support Them Troops!

Morale in Iraq is hideous. A recently released Pentagon mental health study of troops in Iraq found 45 percent of junior enlisted Army soldiers rated their unit’s morale as low or very low. Twenty percent of soldiers and 15 percent of Marines were found to have a mental health problem, defined as anxiety, depression or acute stress. [snip] Events that made them feel “intense fear, helplessness or horror,” were described by nearly 40 percent. Reported anonymously in the publicly released version of the study, the events included: “My sergeant’s leg getting blown off.” “A huge … bomb blew my friend’s … Continue reading Support Them Troops!

Today on Athenae’s Obsession with the Freepi

It’s an immigration meltdown: bush has decided that we (the base) no longer matter. I called the White House and told the message taker that I was deeply insulted that the President felt that I, a person who voted for him twice, didn’t want to do what’s right for America. I told them he was the one that wasn’t doing the right thing for America by not repelling this invasion and giving amnesty to 20 million people who shouldn’t be here. I never thought I’d say this about a speech by the CIC; but where’s the BARF alert. Amnesty for … Continue reading Today on Athenae’s Obsession with the Freepi

Hot DeLay on Newt Action!

Personally, I find it hard to believe that anyone would willingly commit adultery with either of these two men. Earlier this year, [Tom DeLay] published a memoir called “No Retreat, No Surrender” (his spokeswoman says that he was not stealing from Bruce Springsteen, and that the phrase has been used many times throughout history, including by the Spartans and as the title of a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie), in which he claimed that as a young congressman he would on occasion drink ten to twelve Martinis at a time. In this period, he earned the nickname Hot Tub Tom. Then … Continue reading Hot DeLay on Newt Action!

Scout’s Obsession with the GAO: New Orleans Pump Contract Edition

The GAO has released its report on the NOLA pump contract. They concluded the Army Corps of Engineers “utilized several tools to expedite and streamline the acquisition process” and “had a valid reason for each of the iterative decisions it made at each stage of the procurement process.” The cumulative effect of these decisions resulted in one supplier—Moving Water Industries Corporation—being in the strongest competitive position to receive the contract for the pumping systems. In other words they conclude no rigging. However there were troubling conclusions in the report. The GAO looked at the issue of testing of the pumps … Continue reading Scout’s Obsession with the GAO: New Orleans Pump Contract Edition

Hated Around The World

Heckuva job, Chimpy! [Miss Universe Contestant] Miss USA Rachel Smith, who slipped and fell to the floor during the evening gown competition and was jeered by the Mexican audience during the interview phase, was the contest’s fourth runner-up. [snip] Smith was booed during her interview and several audience members chanted “Mexico! Mexico!” until she spoke in Spanish, saying “Buenas noches Mexico. Muchas gracias!” which earned her applause. Continue reading Hated Around The World


Scout sent me this over the weekend: “He’s looking at this stuff, and he says, ‘I’ve heard of you. I heard of you.’ “He says, ‘Is it really true that you really know the Arabs this well, and that you speak Arabic this well? Is that really true? Is that really true?’ “And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s really true.’ “That’s too bad,” Feith said. The problem a lot of people have with describing the Bush administration’s flunkies as incompetent is that it implies letting them off the hook, like mentally impaired children. As if we’re saying, poor dears, they were … Continue reading Incompetence

For ‘Em Before He Was Ag’in’ ‘Em

In regards to today’s attrocious Supreme Court decision regarding employment discrimination Scott Lemieux writes: The effect of Sandra Day O’Connor being replaced by Alito is particularly stark in this case. O’Connor–who was offered only secretarial jobs after graduating third from her Stanford Law class–had a good record on gender discrimination, while Altio’s record on both gender issues and civil rights claims more broadly is atrocious. May I point out it was not the Sainted Sandra Day O’Connor (or her seat) who flip-flopped on this issue, but rather it was renowned 1970s pornography aficianado Clarence Thomas. Justice Clarence Thomas, who once … Continue reading For ‘Em Before He Was Ag’in’ ‘Em

Once And For All — Suck It, Wingers

Something that anyone with a passing relationship to logic knew years ago. An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame’s employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was “covert” when her name became public in July 2003. The summary is part of an attachment to Fitzgerald’s memorandum to the court supporting his recommendation that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s former top aide, spend 2-1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the CIA leak investigation. [snip] The unclassified summary of … Continue reading Once And For All — Suck It, Wingers

Today On Holden’s Obsession With [Friday’s] Gaggle

OK, I know I’m late with this, but I don’t get paid to blog on holidays. Apparently, Pony Blow, Dana Peroxide and Tony Farto all had better things to do Friday so we were stuck with Snott Stanzel. Snott Gets Helenized Q Since no Justice Department official has been forthcoming, who drew up the list of the attorneys — the prosecutors to be fired? MR. STANZEL: Well, I think, Helen, that’s a subject that’s been covered exhaustively on hearings on the Hill — Q Okay. Tell me, I’m sorry, I have not read who — MR. STANZEL: I will allow … Continue reading Today On Holden’s Obsession With [Friday’s] Gaggle

Nagin…Rock Star to Mayors?

Dahleen Glanton of the Chicago Tribune recently covered a meeting of the National Conference of Black Mayors and wrote this… New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, wrapped up in Hurricane Katrina controversy, received rock star treatment recently when he attended the group’s annual convention in Baton Rouge. Entering late to a luncheon where New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democratic presidential candidate, was supposed to be the star attraction, mayors jumped from their seats, cameras in hand, to greet Nagin as he made his way through the room. OK a Rock Star. Perhaps it is due to Nagin having told … Continue reading Nagin…Rock Star to Mayors?

Like A Library Burning

The Great War: The life of Frank Buckles in some ways tracks a timeline for the rise of America as a superpower. He has been witness to it all, and he is one of very few living to tell about it. At age 106, Buckles is one of only three known living American veterans of World War I, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. “For many years, I would read the figures in The Torch [a veterans magazine] in two columns — one was the number of 4.7 million-something veterans who served, and the other, which kept going down, … Continue reading Like A Library Burning

Memorial Day 2007

I made this slideshow in December 2005. It could have been made yesterday. At the time I was thinking of what IS for the soldiers in Iraq (and the Iraqi people) and what their lives WOULD be about if it were not for this war…weddings, BBQ’s, soccer games, holidays, birthdays, your child’s first steps.  Now 3455 Americans will never experience any of it. For their families life will never be the same.  And on it goes… Added: From Think Progress…At least 3,813 U.S. soldiers have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Continue reading Memorial Day 2007

Bush Needs to Stop Playing Politics with the Gulf Coast Recovery and Waive the 10% Requirement

An extremely pressing issue here in Louisiana is Bush’s refusal to waive the 10% requirement of state matching funds in order to receive federal disaster assistance under the Stafford Act. The Democrats saw fit to take care of this in the Iraq supplemental bill but we know Bush will veto this. However he would veto it regardless of the bill it were in. The White House has made it clear that it opposes such a waiver… The Administration opposes a waiver of the State match requirement. OK it doesn’t get any clearer than that. The New Orleans City Business recently … Continue reading Bush Needs to Stop Playing Politics with the Gulf Coast Recovery and Waive the 10% Requirement

Friday Ferretblogging: Holiday Weekend Nap Edition

They’re sleeping in. Fox continues to improve. Stripe might need his meds adjusted or different meds, because in the past few days he’s really started to slow down and his insulinoma’s been bothering him more and more. It’s hard to remember, because he’s so fat and fluffy and generally a pretty happy guy, that he’s the sicker one. Still, they’re both six, they’re starting to get up there. Grumpy Old Men, both of them. After I took this picture Fox lifted his head and glared at me, like, “Lady. Can you not see we’re trying to get some shut-eye here?” … Continue reading Friday Ferretblogging: Holiday Weekend Nap Edition