Monthly Archives: October 2007

What Chris Did

Baby, baby, baby, talk hard.

(I may have a problem with this one. No, really. This is exactly what happened to me with Howard and with Big John, this is all it took, which is in and of itself a problem. You know that sort of “oh, no, no, no” feeling you get in your gut when you’re falling for somebody you just can’t fall for, somebody who’s a coke-addict poet who hates people and thinks punctuality is for losers and has two nipple rings and on top of that is, like, married and your boss? You know that feeling, of, “This is just going to be atotal disaster” but at the same time you can’t stop smiling and you kind of want to dance with everyone you see? I’ve got that feeling about Chris Dodd right now.Damn it. But there’s aDodd Squad. I mean, come on. What else am I supposed to do with that?)

At thiscollege talk I’m giving next week I’m going to be talking about leadership, about the moments we recognize in our own lives that force us to stand up. About how there’s no magic to it, about how it’s all just about listening to whatever gods you pray to when they start praying back, about how it’s just, as Jacob says, all your wrong turns wrenching straight. (Yes, I will probably cite fucking Battlestar Galactica in my college campus speech, and shut up, it tracks, really it does.) How great you are in that moment, how at home you are in your skin, how solid you are on the ground you stand on. How sure you are, and how glorious and scary that is.

We kid ourselves a lot, you know. We tell ourselves that what we know is our moment really isn’t, that somebody else should do it, that it’s somebody else’s job, but come on. You know. You know what you have to do and how you have to do it, and all you really have to do about it is listen to yourself, listen to yourself, and avoid the story in the future being about how you should have done something but didn’t.

Dodd could have sat back, waited for Hillary or Obama to speak up, or Joe “National Security Is My Penis” Biden, or Richardson, or Edwards. Waited for a lead to follow, waited for somebody else to take care of it. But man, sometimes the only answer to the sickness inside you is to open your damn mouth and get up out of your chair, and yell as loud as you can with whatever voice you possess, and the hell with who hears you because it’s not about being heard, it’s about speaking.

It’s about speaking. If there’s one lesson I hope the other presidential contenders take from all this, it’s that their jobs aren’t about other people hearing them. Hearing is somebody else’s responsibility.

Speaking is yours, so fucking speak.


Saturday Blogwhoring Thread

Since my contributions to blogworld lately have pretty much been “Here’s a LOLcat,” and “Boy, Chris Dodd is hot all of a sudden, did he change his hair?” I’m anxious to read what you all are writing about.


The all FEMA press conference

I’m always amazed when I see something likethis that there wasn’t at least one person, somewhere, beforehand, who raised their hand to say…Maybe this isn’t such a good idea…and everyone realized how freaking stupid they were being to consider doing something so freaking stupid.

UPDATE: FEMA admitsTheir bad.


FEMA’s goal is
to get information out as soon as possible, and in trying to do so we
made an error in judgment. Our intent was to provide useful information
and be responsive to the many questions we have received. We are
reviewing our press procedures and will make the changes necessary to
ensure that all of our communications are straight forward and


We can and must do better, and apologize for this error in judgment.


Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

FEMA MakesDana Peroxide SIC

Q Dana, on Tuesday, FEMA’s deputy administrator held what was called a news briefing to talk about the California wildfires. And from what we understand, the questions were posed not by reporters, but by staffers, and that distinction was not made known. Is that appropriate?

MS. PERINO: It is not. It is not a practice that we would employ here at the White House or that we — we certainly don’t condone it. We didn’t know about it beforehand. FEMA has issued an apology, saying that they had an error in judgment when they were attempting to try to get out a lot of information to reporters, who were asking for answers to a variety of questions in regards to the wildfires in California. It’s not something I would have condoned, and they, I’m sure, will not do it again.

Q Who is responsible?

MS. PERINO: FEMA is responsible, and they have taken that — they have accepted that responsibility, and they issued an apology today.

Q But isn’t — a follow-up on that. Isn’t there a normal morning call with all the press secretaries of all the agencies here, and whether somebody is having a press briefing or not is discussed?

MS. PERINIO: We have a variety of ways that we talk to the — communicate to the communicators in the agency. FEMA is not on that daily call, no, and I don’t know if the DHS — the head of DHS communications knew about it either. But FEMA has apologized for the error in judgment.

Q Dana, why didn’t this raise alarm bells, in terms of credibility, with anyone there?

MS. PERINO: You’ll have to ask them. They have admitted that they had an error in judgment. I would agree with that. They’ve issued an apology. You’ll have to ask them about why they decided to do that.

Q But isn’t the President concerned, at a time when he is traveling to the area to talk about a very significant natural disaster — there have been issues about FEMA in the past, trying to make a distinction about progress made, and for them to effectively pretend to hold a news conference, doesn’t the President have concerns about that?

MS. PERINO: I just said that the White House did not know about it before hand, andthe White House condones* [sic] it. And they have apologized for it. They had an error in judgment, they’ve admitted that. And I think that what they were — I don’t think that there was any mal-intent. I think that they were trying to provide information to the public through the press, because there were so many questions pouring in. It was just a bad way to handle it, and they know that.

Q Will anybody be reprimanded?

MS. PERINO: You’ll have to ask FEMA.

Follow The Asterisk, Dana

*The White House does not condone the way the FEMA press conference was handled.

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Friday Ferretblogging: New Parents Edition

The only time he is ever still:

So I think this is why people have more than one kid. I forgot how much freaking fun it is to have a baby around the house. He’s impossible to bore, impossible to tire, impossible to over-snuggle or over-spoil. Riot squirrels himself into a frenzy over a bubble envelope. He divebombs Puck from the top of the couch. He tries to crawl into my shoeswhile I’m still wearing them and he shreds newspapers for amusement. Did I mention he does it before we’re done reading? He’s always ready to play, to bat at jingle balls with his fat little wee feet, to go on a new adventure, usually inside someplace we don’t want him to be, like the kitchen, or the closets, or my briefcase, or a plant.

This week’s big news was that he met this weird little robot-ferret thing my sister gave us for Christmas a few years back. None of our furballs have ever paid the thing much mind, but Riot was mightily offended by it: What is this artificial robo-weasel? What is this horrible noise it makes? Why is it refusing to go where I tell it to go? I was laughing too hard to hold the camera straight, and I apologize for any Blair Witch effects you may suffer:

Puck continues to do well with his new bro, even permitting (grudgingly) Riot to cuddle him in his sleep.


What We Owe Each Other

There are days I just feel like I’m pushing the rock downhill instead of up and instead of being easier, it’s harder, and I read Robert and he clarifies it perfectly.


Check it out

Thanks to reader GD for this link to the Steve Lopez column titled“Katrina comparisons are a different class of wrong” in the LA Times.

Oh my

I don’t usually write much of local NOLA politics (I’m smart enough to know it’s freaking complicated). But I do follow it. And man it has been a week of shall we sayInteresting.

Monday: An FBI agent testifies in court that state Sen. Derrick Shepherd has been laundering money for some felon and a cut of course. (Do read Oyster on this to fully appreciate)

Wednesday: Sen. Shepherd denies any wrongdoing and implies it is all an FBI plot to get back at him for not providing the FBI with any dirt in what appears to be an FBI investigation of Ray Nagin…at least so says Shepherd.

Wednesday: Nagin’s spokesperson denies Nagin is a target of a federal investigation. (I guesswe’ll see)

And all week long District Attorney Eddie Jordan has been in the news. He owes $3.7 million which he can’t pay. It’s due to a judgment against his office for racial discrimination in the firing of white employees. (more on Eddie fromAdratos)

That’s just the beginning of Eddie’s week.Wednesday night it is reported, in what is probably the strangest story, that police had been seeking a suspect for robbery, home invasion and possibly shooting a cop and the cop’s wife. Turns out said suspect had fled to District Attorney Eddie Jordan’s home and was hanging out with Jordan’s girlfriend.

Ok I thought ya can’t out do that. I was wrong.

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And where were you?


Yesterday Bush took ashot at Gov. Blanco. Blancoresponds:

In a statement forwarded by her press office, Blanco noted that it
took federal forces nearly a week to arrive in Louisiana after the
storm. “I was the only game in town, leading for nearly a week without
the president’s help,” Blanco said.

“Of all the lessons learned from Katrina now being put into place in
California, I would hope the one he would remember is that politics has
no place in any disaster,” she added, before taking a shot at the slow
manner in which promised federal aid has been delivered.

“While the promise of help from Washington is being extended, Gov.
Schwarzenegger will have to work hard to make it a reality. In the
meantime, Louisiana stands by ready to help with anything they may
need,” she said.

(h/tPeople Get Ready)

Your President Speaks!

Yesterday, inEscondido, California.

What Our National Guard Personnel Is Providing

And our National Guard personnel is providing very important assistance.

No, You’re Not

I’m proud to be here with General Tuck*, who runs the entire National Guard bureau.
*General Blum

There Is All Kinds Of People

And that’s why there’s all kinds of people from all different departments at the federal level, to assess the needs, to listen to the concerns, and to respond.

What The Military Has Got

The military has got assets that we can help you with.

Yesterday, again inEscondido, California.

Dood Is A Freak

You know, one of the things I like to do is look in the eyes — make sure you’re getting rest, and I know you’re not.

Count On You For You

I hope there’s enough reinforcements coming to make sure that you get you’re shifts so you can get some sleep, because a citizen is going to count on you for you a while.

What Firefighters Got

I know you’re working incredible hours and you got family members who wonder about you, and so one of the things that we can do is also hope you pass on our best regards to your family members.

Yesterday, InSan Diego.

Listening To The Job

And my job is to make sure that FEMA and the Defense Department and the Interior Department and Ag Department respond in a way that helps people get the job done. And that’s what I’m here to listen to.

There Was 33,000 People

And same in the Katrina area. I mean, I know there was a lot of criticism of effort, but remember, there was 33,000 people pulled off roofs by brave Coast Guard men and women flying those choppers.

What’s He Doing In Arnold’s House?

All I can tell you is when the Governor calls, I answer his phone.

When The Governor Says

When the Governor says we need this help, think about sending these troops here, I got on the phone, I called the appropriate people.

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

In Today’sGaggle Dana Blames The Katrina Victims — Because They Were Warned

Q Dana, the fact that the President will be on the ground tomorrow in southern California, how much is that a reflection of lessons learned by the White House that — from Katrina that even though the President may be engaged behind the scenes, there’s a need — the public wants to see him more involved?

MS. PERINO: Remember — we’ve gone — these fires are not the same disaster that we had in Katrina. There’s so many differences. Katrina wiped out 90,000 square miles of the United States, and there was no electricity, there was no sewer system. And they knew for days that the storm was coming. This is just a very different situation.

Dana Says It’s Irresponsible To Make Any Predictions About The Cost Of Chimpy’s Vanity War

Q Dana, I wanted to ask you about the CBO estimate for the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan. Why is that $2.4 trillion figure wrong?

MS. PERINO: Well, part of it is that when you start having all — just a ton of speculation. It’s a hypothetical that was created based on questions that Democrats in Congress who don’t want us to be in the war asked the Congressional Budget Office to provide. Our force structure in Iraq and Afghanistan has fluctuated. Already this year, the President said that 5,700 troops would come home by December. We don’t know what the costs are going to be over the years, and so because that fluctuates, it’s just wildly premature to put out a number like that.

Q Okay, so what might be a more reasonable estimate? I’m sure folks at OMB have their own counter.

MS. PERINO: Look, spending to fight the global war on terror is an investment in our security and it is something that the President is committed to prioritizing in the budget. We hope that Congress would agree. We don’t know how much the war is going to cost in the future.


Q If you can say it’s inaccurate and others can say it’s wildly inaccurate, surely there must be some kind of quantifiable sense as to what this —

MS. PERINO: I think what they looked at 10 years ago — the answer is we just don’t operate that way in terms of providing a federal budget.

“We Just Don’t Operate That Way In Terms Of Providing A Federal Budget”? Oh Yes You Do!

Q Can you just explain why the administration takes issue with the CBO’s projections of the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it’s perfectly reasonable to put out — OMB puts out a five-, 10-year budget deficit projections?

MS. PERINO: Well, remember the budget deficit projections include our war costs, and so we look at those, that’s a — we do projections for the budget and the deficit every year. That’s a pretty good economic — they have it down to a science over at OMB. We’re not always a nation at war and that is different and there are changing circumstances on the ground, and when you don’t know what the generals are going to need, then you have to wait and see. That’s why we think it’s too speculative to put out a number like CBO did.

Q So how can OMB then put out that five-, 10-year budget projection if they don’t know, for instance, how long the war will go five or 10 years out?

MS. PERINO: As I said, we try to take as many — we take into account the projections that we can. In the budget deficit projections that we have we have included those war costs in the past — I can’t remember — the past, I think five years — I’m sorry, four years, but Sean Kavelighan at OMB can give you more information about it. He was here talking to me about it earlier. We just don’t think that it’s appropriate to wildly speculate and throw out a number like $2.4 trillion that is based on just hypotheticals. It’s just — it’s not a smart way to run a railroad.

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What can be learned?


(Bush arrives today in Southern California. Photo: (AP Photo/Chris Park)

Let me preface this with saying that comparing disasters candevolve into something which is not helpful and can be hurtful to all involved. Whether one loses their home to flood or fire, whether thousands of neighbors lose their homes or be it hundred of thousands, the hard terrible painful fact remains your home is gone. At that level, a disaster is a disaster is a disaster. But as Bush lands in California to, as theWaPo reports, “showcase his administration’s ability to respond better to natural disasters than it did after Hurricane Katrina two years ago” comparisons need to be made to determine if that conclusion is warranted. Fortunately, that WaPo article does a good job of doing just that.

First as WaPo reports this has not been much of a test for FEMA as their “responsibilities for battling wildfires are far more limited than its role in dealing with hurricane damage.” The former undersecretary of preparedness for DHS is quoted as saying
“FEMA is not getting a real test in putting direct federal assets on the ground.”

Second and if only cable/network news would have done thisas well…the article does an excellent job of comparing the difference in scope between the 2 disasters:

Still, the relatively smooth response to this season’s devastating
wildfires says more about California’s efforts over the years than the
federal government’s, several veteran federal, state and local
emergency managers said.

While Katrina’s vast floods and winds covered an area the size ofBritain
at 90,000 square miles, fires in seven California counties blackened
about 700 square miles as of yesterday — a footprint one-third smaller
than wildfires burned there four years ago. The number of homes
destroyed was about 1 percent of the 300,000 made uninhabitable by
Katrina, and financial losses were less than 2 percent, based on
initial estimates, comparable to the damage caused by wildfires inOakland in 1991 and in Southern California in 2003.

Local officials have choreographed the largest evacuation in Golden
State history, with estimates of the people instructed to leave their
homes at 351,000. But many began returning yesterday. Katrina prompted
the evacuation of 1.1 million people, and 500,000 were still displaced
after four months.

The article notes that some, including Democrats, have given Bush credit for his quick response by doing this…

Yes, some say its just a part of it: Weve got to fulfil de book


Mr. Bush dismissed comparisons between the federal response to
Hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires Thursday, saying that
getting help to people who are hurting is the most important thing.

“There’s all kinds of time for historians to compare this response to that response,” he said. 

But later during apresser with Gov. Schwarzenegger he took a big backhanded swipe at Governor Blanco:

It makes a significant difference
when you have somebody in the statehouse willing to take the lead.

What a classy guy


(My bush thought bubble: Oh it’s not so bad…now…I’ll always have her to blame)

Today on Athenae’s Obsession with the Freepi: The Left Made Dumbledore Gay

Guys? Did anybody out there loft a homosexual recently?

She did not REVEAL her character was gay. It is a character. IT DOES NOT HAVE ANY KIND OF SEX. She is pretending it is gay.

The gratuitous news that Dumbeldore was homosexual, and Rowling’s little dig that this will give Christians one more reason to criticize the work, really irks me.

I found the books to be generally well plotted, with good characterization. As works of literature, I think they stand on good ground. But Rowling has definitely gone down a bit in my estimation. Foolish, unnecessary, anti-Christian thing to do. She’s an ass.

Look, I’m not here to condemn homosexuals. I am here to lament the idea of lofting them at every opportunity.

The witchcraft stuff was enough. Now she’s seducing kids into believing that being “GAY” as a wizzard or a HEADmaster is okay too!


You’ve been duped by the LEFT AGAIN!

“Gay” is a contemporary political term for someone who is an active homosexual, and advocates for homosexual activity. Since, in the books, Dumbledore is neither of those, he is not ‘gay’, in the stict sense of the word, so it doesn’t change my enjoyment of the books in the least.

Yep…but also the author wants there to be a deeper message about good and evil…she is saying there was and is a fight between the two and she has 2 characters that personify those attributes.I suppose she could insist that good and evil always hate each other but to raise the level of complexity it certainly makes sense that at times good can be enamored of evil.

It helps explain how Osama bin Laden can believe that killing innocent people is “good” While the author doesnt intend it the effect of her cosmology is that Osama is now out of the closet.

Wait … what?


The Return Of The Juggernaut


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — If Republicans don’t think their presidential candidates are conservative enough on important issues, Democrats are recommending, tongue in cheek, another choice: Katherine Harris.

The Florida Democratic Party has launched aparody Web site that features videos of Republican presidential candidates’ statements on issues like immigration, foreign policy, gays, taxes and others.

The idea is if they want someone on the far right on any of those topics, Harris is their candidate.

She has been a symbolic punching bag for Democrats since the 2000 presidential recount, which she oversaw as Florida’s secretary of state. Problems with her unsuccessful campaign for the Senate last year were well publicized and often ridiculed.

Draft Katherine Harris!

Huh…? regarding Brian Williams and facts

I just don’t understand this. Twice now I have heard MSNBC, first Brian Williams on Countdown and then Dan Abrams, claim the evacuation of 950,000 in SoCal is greater than that of Hurricane Katrina.

At this point that just is not true. From theUS Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration:

For example, more than 1.2 million people in Louisiana were evacuated
before Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, and still more than 100,000 people
were evacuated from New Orleans in the week following the storm. 

Perhaps in the end what MSNBC now claims as fact will become true but it is not at this point.

UPDATE: FromMediabistro:

“The Largest Peacetime Movement of Americans Since The Civil War”

Walking between two burned-out houses, which were standing just yesterday, Brian Williams began NBC Nightly News with the sobering statistics of the California wildfires.

But from a September, 2005NYT’s article on the evacuation of as many as 2.5 million due to Hurricane Rita:

HOUSTON, Sept. 22 – Heeding days of dire warnings about Hurricane Rita,
as many as 2.5 million people jammed evacuation routes on Thursday,
creating colossal 100-mile-long traffic jams that left many people
stranded and out of gas as the huge storm bore down on theTexas coast.

(added) And regarding Hurricane Rita evacuation fromUS.INFO.STATE.GOV:

Nevertheless, authorities pointed out that they successfully conducted
one of the largest urban evacuations in U.S. history, moving between
2.5 and 3 million people out of the hurricane’s path in roughly 48

Am I missing something here???

UPDATE: Video and transcript atHuffPo of Williams on Countdown claiming a “Super Katrina.” From the transcript:

WILLIAMS: You know, the figure I’m using on “Nightly News” tonight –
the Associated Press, just before our first feed of the broadcast got
off the air issued that new figure – 950, 960 thousand evacuee”s. That
puts this in a “SuperKatrina” category well beyond Katrina – it also
makes this the largest single peacetime movement of Americans since the
civil war.


Your President Speaks!

Today, at theWhite House.

The Efforts Are, He’s Not

I’ve been meeting with my Cabinet secretaries that are responsible for helping the state and local authorities fight these fires. I will report to you that I am — I believe the effort is well coordinated.

Department of Redundancy Department

I initially declared an emergency declaration, which will enable us to send federal equipment and manpower into the scene, including Department of Defense help.