Friday, September 30, 2005

Forgotten?...But Not Gone.

I'm back from an unannounced blogging hiatus and multiple business trips so without further ado...

The Bill Bennett bruhaha is a distant second place shame to Scooter Libby leaving Miller out to dry for nearly three months. Yeah, yeah he signed the blanket waiver long ago. It has also long been known the journalists involved were citing possible coercion as motive for signing these waivers as grounds to suspect them.

I'm sure it's pure coincidence this story broke on the day the news was dominated by the Roberts confirmation (free registration). I'm sure.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bush Has Admitted Nothing

I'm tired, already, of seeing and hearing everywhere that George Bush has taken blame or admitted fault. Headlines like this are flat out lying.

Bush has said he is "responsible" for the actions of the federal government. He is finally confessing that he has a clue about his job description. He has not been held to account or said he did anything wrong. Maybe Thursday night, just maybe, he will be honest. I'm not optimistic.

Come on people! The constitution tells us that the President is responsible for the operation of the Excecutive Branch.

Move along. There's no news here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Farewell to a Thoughtful Moderate Blogger

Drop in to The Yellow Line and say goodbye to an insightful writer with three first names. Alan Stewart Carl is leaving this calling to heed a call to action. We might all consider how we balance the two - talk v. action that is.

I will miss you Alan.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Brown Resigns

It's breaking news here, and elsewhere, that it finally dawned on Mike Brown when a political appointee loses the confidence of his patron he's supposed to resign.

My guess is that'll be that as far as accountability from the administration. For this bunch, a resignation in the same calendar quarter as a culpable action equates to a Saturday night massacre.

Brown did the right thing, finally, but the man at the top of the heap was the one really on snooze control in the early hours/days of the disaster.

Katrina Timelines for Information and Perspective

I read a couple of interesting timelines today that really helped crystallize my frustration with government response to the Katrina disaster.

The first is a living document being edited under the direction of Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo. It comes close to presenting just the facts, and has been updated pretty regularly. I do realize that something of a point of view can come through by just which facts are chosen for presenting, but there is a lot of good data to be gleaned from this effort.

The second is chock full of Evan Thomas perspective, but Newsweek lays out a pretty plausible, to me, sequence of how things went down from the administration's vantage point. Yeah, I know this is actually an article, but the timeline is embedded.
A NEWSWEEK reconstruction of the government's response to the storm shows how Bush's leadership style and the bureaucratic culture combined to produce a disaster within a disaster.
Check'em out.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Majority rules! Majority rules, na-ne na-ne na-na!

I remember in grade school when a class would win a free party for foisting the most overpriced chocolate bars on friends, neighbors, and relatives. The group would get a choice of say an ice cream party or a pizza party, and it would have to vote to decide between them.

Invariably losers of the vote would complain and winners would taunt them by chanting, "majority rules; majority rules!", over and over again. You would think most folks would outgrow such childish gloating. Apparently the majority party in Congress has not.

We should not have, nor should we allow, rulers in our democracy. The "tyranny of the majority" was something the founding Fathers were careful to guard against, and it is something to guard against today. Leaders we need. Leaders, even by the military definition, are those that can influence people in such a way that they willingly follow. Rulers say "The election's over willingness be damned."

Sadly, leaders are in short supply.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina's Aftermath Exposes Priorities

I noticed a couple of things when I had more time yesterday to watch the talking pundit shows and continuting news coverage. I wanted to express my frustration about them but found that Lance Mannion had said it earlier and better than I could.

One thing I noticed was how blatantly the responsible authorities were shifting blame and avoiding accountibility, big surprise there, right.
Anyone saying that now is not the time to play politics, now is not the time to look for people to blame is either consciously or unconciously helping to shield politicians from responsibility for their failures. You can’t criticize a political leader without it being a political act. Tell me that no political leaders here deserve criticism.
The second point Larry made eloquently, just for me I'm sure, was:
The raving calls from Right Wing bloggers for shooting the looters on sight and worrying more about stolen television sets than about the people in the Superdown wading through their own shit to stand in line to get MREs for their hungry children—well, I don’t know how you can begin to qualify the moral failures of people who have no other morality but loyalty to George W. Bush.
Check out the rest of this insightful piece over at American Street.
The Emperor and his toadies have been without clothes from the beginning folks. Please, let's all keep our eyes open despite the reflex to cringe.

Friday, September 02, 2005

We Knew and He Failed Us

Arianna has the scoop. It may be stinkin' thinkin' to talk about what might have been, but I don't think it's too early to start learning the lessons we don't want to repeat. Many people in the Gulf region saw this coming and tried to say so.
In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness. On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."
- Editor and Publisher

There's specifics on the numbers too. It could have been worse if Bush had gotten his way completely.

Bush Quotes Before Leaving for Gulf Coast

He really does speak in clipped phrases that sound like platitudes to me.

"There's a lotta aid surging towards those that are effected." - Why haven't we been shuttling supplies in and people out by squadrons of Black Hawk and Sea Stallion helicopters for days?

"Tryin' to get food and water to the convention center." - Why not yesterday?

"Lotta people workin' hard." - Effectively?

"The results are not acceptable." - Duh, doh...really?

"We'll get on top of the situtation." - It's been days why aren't we already on top of the situation?

"We're going to help people that need help." - You mean the ones that are still alive, obviously.