Friday, September 30, 2005

Rusty's right...

It's time to get off my ass and get going, as there is LOTS to talk about.

God's Own Party, yes, those wonderful people who never hesitate to let you know of their moral superiority, seem to be in a world of ethical trouble, as this Ari Berman piece in THE NATION informs us.

Regarding DeLay's indictment:

The indictment sent a shock wave through the GOP establishment, which is already reeling from a mass of criminal and ethics investigations. Three individuals, eight corporations and two political action committees connected to DeLay have been indicted as a result of the probe. In addition, the government's top procurement official, David Safavian, was arrested in September for obstructing a criminal investigation of über-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a close DeLay ally. Abramoff himself is under criminal investigation for defrauding Indian tribes and was indicted for wire fraud in Florida in a separate case. Top White House aides, including Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, have been targeted by a special prosecutor investigating the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham announced he would not run for re-election after overselling his house by $700,000 to a military industry lobbyist. FDA chief Lester Crawford resigned unexpectedly after just two months on the job, possibly because of failure to report his wife's sizable pharmaceutical-industry holdings. And DeLay's Senate counterpart, Bill Frist, is battling possible insider-trading charges for dumping millions in HCA stock, a company founded by his father and run by his brother, weeks before it plunged in value. The US Attorney in Manhattan and the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into Frist and HCA in September.

Gee, I wonder if any of them asked themselves before doing these things, what would Jesus do?

One nice outcome of this is that it might finish the political career of Tennessee's most famous kitty-killer, Bill Frist. He had already planned not to seek re-election to focus on a possible presidential run, but after this, he may have to return to upper-management position at HCA. Poor bastard.

Also, with Judy Miller being given the all-clear to testify by her source, Scooter Libby, one has to wonder what will come out next?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Follow up on Fields

Richard Fields has a conflict of interest in the District 29 issue, and this happens with attorneys from time to time.

As an attorney, if he truly believes that Terry Roland was wronged by the Shelby County Election Commission, he has the right to take the case IF he removes the conflict of interest, which is that he sits on the board of directors, or Executive Committee, of the Shelby County Democratic Party.

As I noted below, the only ways to remove the conflict of interest that he faces are either to drop the case or resign his seat on the Committee. It would be appreciated if this were to happen with all deliberate speed.

On the matter of Richard Fields

For those of you who don't know, Richard Fields, attorney AND sitting member of the SCDP Executive Committee, has chosen to provide pro bono assistance to defeated Republican Senate candidate, Terry Roland. Roland has challenged the District 29 election, won by the large number of 13 votes by Ophelia Ford.

Rightly so, this has triggered an ouster motion by committeeman Del Gill (D-85). A procedure for due process has been recommended to SCDP Chair Matt Kuhn, who will then consider whether to use it.

Let us remember that the issue is THIS: Richard Fields took an oath of loyalty to the Democratic Party essentially stating that whatever he has done in the past, in the future, he will agree to support our party's nominees REGARDLESS of circumstance. He is held to an even higher standard as a member of that Party's Board of Directors, the ExecCom, in accordance with the Bylaws.

In the final analysis, I suspect he will be given three options: 1) stop assisting Terry Roland, 2) if he refuses, he will be asked to resign his seat, 3) if he refuses that as well, a vote will be held by the ExecCom to determine whether he will be stripped of his seat, which they have every right to do.

What Mr. Fields does as a private citizen is one thing; however, he cannot take action against a nominee of the Party on whose board of directors he currently sits.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Cracker is back!

However, it's late, so tomorrow we'll have pictures and a travelogue of Pennsylvania, including my laughter at the fact that Virginia's Civil War Memorial, a statue of Robert E. Lee on his beloved Traveller, along with smaller statues of people who fought for Virginia (all of them white, who knew?) overlooks.....

The site of Pickett's Charge.


As the descendent of Union veterans, I rather enjoyed that.

More tomorrow!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Gone touring!

The Cracker will be on tour in Pennsylvania for the next 9 days as Gatlin mans the fort at home, and I won't likely have access to a computer.

I will be going to Gettysburg to see Little Round Top and celebrate the glorious Union victory (there WILL be pictures), then through the Amish country as we wind our way to Philly for a few days, with a wonderful windup at the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, PA!

Please keep the GOP from stealing the landslide victory of Ophelia while I'm gone.....

Friday, September 16, 2005

Landslide Ophelia

12 votes??? It had to go to the LAST PRECINCT to decide the Senate District 29 election, which has been held by Democrats as long as anyone can remember, and for the last 30 years by John Ford.

However, the affection for the Ford family is apparently not what it once was. Granted, one always expects a lower turnout for a special election. Even so, Kathryn Bowers (pre-indictment) didn't have this much trouble with Mary Ann McNeil when she took the District 33 seat of Roscoe Dixon back in May.

It apparently took robo-calls and last-minute canvassing for Ford to overcome the 424-vote lead that Terry Roland had built up during the Early Voting period. Also undoubtedly breathing a deep sigh of relief was Lt. Governor John Wilder. While Wilder would not have faced another speaker election (my mistake from an earlier post), it would have been tougher for him to maintain control of the Senate with an 18-15 deficit.

No doubt that the GOP, who threatened to bring in a "shitload of lawyers" to contest the result, will spin this as the end of Ford dominance in Big Shelby. Also, no doubt that those on my side of the aisle will spin this as close, but a sign that the name still means something. It must, because it's really all she had until everyone rushed to her aid this week.

What does this portend for Harold the Younger, who needs to wonder why it was this difficult to elect his aunt to a seat that has belonged to his family for 30 years? If that's the case, what must it be like outside the friendly confines of Big Shelby? I suspect that they believe that a Ford is a Ford is a Ford, no matter how young Harold tries to spin things.

That, more than anything else, could seal his doom for 2006.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Oh, mama, can this REALLY be the end?

While people are desperately knocking on doors and dragging every registered body to the polls in District in the hopes of saving Ophelia Ford, my boy Memphis Blue says it's not going to work and that the continued deterioration of the once-powerful Ford family continues.

he comments:

We saw the beginnings of this in 99 when Senior decided to run his brother and not himself for mayor. We've seen it with the prayerful grooming of Junior for a run at a Senate seat, waiting out first Thompson and Frist. We've seen it with John self destructing like an out of control rock star. And now Ophelia is going to lose a seat she should not have been defending in the first place.

Optimistic, eh? Stand by and we'll see what happens tonight.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Well, it's like this...

Like many of you, I wasn't thrilled that Ophelia Ford won the Senate 29 Democratic Primary; I was hoping for Steve Haley or John Deberry or Barbara Cooper. I am not of the view that these seats are heirlooms to be passed on from generation to generation (or from brother to sister, in this instance).

However, here's the deal: we need to help her win this race. WHY?

Let me tell you this: if Terry Roland wins on September 15, it will go from 17-16 GOP to 18-15. If that happens, they can call for a new speaker election, and there's no way in hell that Wilder will be able to hold off Ron Ramsey then; the pressure on Mike Williams and Randy McNally will be too much to bear.

If Ramsey wins, there goes our chairmanships in the Senate. Not only that, if Wilder loses his speakership, then I suspect he will resign his Senate seat, and I am not confident that we would keep it.

THAT would make it 19-14 GOP.

If you think BREDESEN screwed up TennCare (as I do), wait until a Republican Senate gets a hold of it. They will be able to block anything our Democratic House could pass, and we would have virtual gridlock that brings the state to a standstill.

That's what at stake, and that's why we need to help Ophelia, it's a lot bigger than her.

So, here's the latest:

Saturday, September 10, 2005, 10:30 a.m. - ALL HANDS ON DECK! Press Conference and Breakfast at the Ophelia Ford for State Senate campaign headquarters, Southgate Shopping Center, 1897 South Third Street. Come and volunteer for a door-to-door Get-Out-The-Vote on election day, Thursday, September 15. We want as many party and community leaders as possible at this event to promote the last day of early voting and discuss plans for the final week of this important election. Deputy Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Jerry Maynard from Nashville will be our special guest along with other elected officials and party members. For more information call 774-8400 or 323-3290.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bye Bye Brownie, at least you keep your salary!

Michael Brown is being removed from oversight of Hurricane Katrina efforts, but they're not firing the SOB. Doesn't that tell you this was a patronage hire?

In the meantime, is reporting that Senator Clinton is sponsoring a bill to restore FEMA to Cabinet-level and restore its' primary function. I am certain that will go over with the GOP leadership like the proverbial turd in the punchbowl.

Never EVER forget that the mission of this Administration is to prove that government is incompetent and we should privatize all of these functions. Senator Clinton's attempt to restore professionalism to government is in keeping with her husband's Administration, the most competent ever.

It's a tragedy how far we've come.

The most inept administration in our history

Ernest Dumas at the Arkansas Times wonders if this was willful ineptitude:

There may indeed be method in Bush’s madness. The time-tested way to get rid of an unwanted program is to put an incompetent in charge of it. Bush had downgraded FEMA. Disaster relief is a job for state and local governments, not the federal government, he said. Never mind that a state or a city, in a disaster as cataclysmic as Katrina, cannot requisition the forces to do the job like FEMA is empowered to do, especially if a third of the state’s militia, including those trained for such duty, is fighting in Iraq. Over the weekend, he was blaming state and local governments for the failings that fed and compounded the suffering.

Dumas also points out this lovely tidbit:

The bungling had been so bad after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 that Floridians voted in Bill Clinton. Recalling that, the younger Bush had FEMA take extra precautions to prevent its recurrence during the hurricane and election season of 2004. The agency flung billions of dollars around Florida after Hurricane Frances and other storms. The Florida Sun-Sentinel reported this spring that FEMA had paid for the funerals of 319 people in Florida in the fall, although only a few of the deaths had anything even remotely to do with the hurricanes. One was for the funeral of a millionaire supporter of Bush at Palm Beach Gardens, who died of complications from heart surgery two days before Hurricane Frances. Another died of cirrhosis five months after Hurricane Charley. Thanks to George Bush, you picked up the funeral tabs.

Defend THAT.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Just in case a rightwinger tries to bullshit you

Here is the timeline of Hurricane Katrina, courtesy of Matilda and Think Progress:

Comment on the timeline

Friday, August 26
GULF COAST STATES REQUEST TROOP ASSISTANCE FROM PENTAGON: At a 9/1 press conference, Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, commander, Joint Task Force Katrina, said that the Gulf States began the process of requesting additional forces on Friday, 8/26. [

Saturday, August 27
GOV. BLANCO ASKS BUSH TO DECLARE FEDERAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: “I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster.” [
Office of the Governor]
FEDERAL EMERGENCY DECLARED, DHS AND FEMA GIVEN FULL AUTHORITY TO RESPOND TO KATRINA: “Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.” [
White House]

Sunday, August 28
MORNING — LOUISIANA NEWSPAPER SIGNALS LEVEES MAY GIVE: “Forecasters Fear Levees Won’t Hold Katrina”: “Forecasters feared Sunday afternoon that storm driven waters will lap over the New Orleans levees when monster Hurricane Katrina pushes past the Crescent City tomorrow.” [
Lafayette Daily Advertiser]
9:30 AM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES FIRST EVER MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS: “We’re facing the storm most of us have feared,” said Nagin. “This is going to be an unprecedented event.” [
4PM – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES SPECIAL HURRICANE WARNING: In the event of a category 4 or 5 hit, “Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. … At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. … Power outages will last for weeks. … Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.” [
National Weather Service]
AFTERNOON — BUSH, BROWN, CHERTOFF WARNED OF LEVEE FAILURE BY NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER DIRECTOR: Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center: “‘We were briefing them way before landfall. … It’s not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped.’” [
Times-Picayune; St. Petersburg Times]
LATE PM – REPORTS OF WATER TOPPLING OVER LEVEE: “Waves crashed atop the exercise path on the Lake Pontchartrain levee in Kenner early Monday as Katrina churned closer.” [

Monday, August 29
8AM – MAYOR NAGIN REPORTS THAT WATER IS FLOWING OVER LEVEE: “I’ve gotten reports this morning that there is already water coming over some of the levee systems. In the lower ninth ward, we’ve had one of our pumping stations to stop operating, so we will have significant flooding, it is just a matter of how much.” [NBC’s “Today Show”]
MORNING — BUSH CALLS SECRETARY CHERTOFF TO DISCUSS IMMIGRATION: “I spoke to Mike Chertoff today — he’s the head of the Department of Homeland Security. I knew people would want me to discuss this issue [immigration], so we got us an airplane on — a telephone on Air Force One, so I called him. I said, are you working with the governor? He said, you bet we are.” [
White House]
White House]
11AM — BUSH VISITS ARIZONA RESORT TO PROMOTE MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “This new bill I signed says, if you’re a senior and you like the way things are today, you’re in good shape, don’t change. But, by the way, there’s a lot of different options for you. And we’re here to talk about what that means to our seniors.” [
White House]
LATE MORNING – LEVEE BREACHED: “A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new ‘hurricane proof’ Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina’s fiercest winds were well north.” [
11:30AM — MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY REQUESTS THAT DHS DISPATCH 1,000 EMPLOYEES TO REGION, GIVES THEM TWO DAYS TO ARRIVE: “Brown’s memo to Chertoff described Katrina as ‘this near catastrophic event’ but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, ‘Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.’” [
2PM — BUSH TRAVELS TO CALIFORNIA SENIOR CENTER TO DISCUSS MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “We’ve got some folks up here who are concerned about their Social Security or Medicare. Joan Geist is with us. … I could tell — she was looking at me when I first walked in the room to meet her, she was wondering whether or not old George W. is going to take away her Social Security check.” [
White House]
9PM — RUMSFELD ATTENDS SAN DIEGO PADRES BASEBALL GAME: Rumsfeld “joined Padres President John Moores in the owner’s box…at Petco Park.” [
Editor & Publisher]

Tuesday, August 30
MIDDAY – CHERTOFF FINALLY BECOMES AWARE THAT LEVEE HAS FAILED: “It was on Tuesday that the levee–may have been overnight Monday to Tuesday–that the levee started to break. And it was midday Tuesday that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake was going to start to drain into the city.” [
Meet the Press, 9/4/05]
PENTAGON CLAIMS THERE ARE ENOUGH NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN REGION: “Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs.” [
MASS LOOTING REPORTED, SECURITY SHORTAGE CITED: “The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked,” Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. “We’re using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops.” [
U.S.S. BATAAN SITS OFF SHORE, VIRTUALLY UNUSED: “The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore. The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents. But now the Bataan’s hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty.” [
Chicago Tribune]

Wednesday, August 31
TENS OF THOUSANDS TRAPPED IN SUPERDOME; CONDITIONS DETERIORATE: “A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers. ‘We pee on the floor. We are like animals,’ said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. … By Wednesday, it had degenerated into horror. … At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for. There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming.”" [
Los Angeles Times, 9/1/05]
PRESIDENT BUSH FINALLY ORGANIZES TASK FORCE TO COORDINATE FEDERAL RESPONSE: Bush says on Tuesday he will “fly to Washington to begin work…with a task force that will coordinate the work of 14 federal agencies involved in the relief effort.” [
80,000 BELIEVED STRANDED IN NEW ORLEANS: Former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy “estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged President Bush to send more troops.” [
3,000 STRANDED AT CONVENTION CENTER WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER: “With 3,000 or more evacuees stranded at the convention center — and with no apparent contingency plan or authority to deal with them — collecting a body was no one’s priority. … Some had been at the convention center since Tuesday morning but had received no food, water or instructions.” [
5PM — BUSH GIVES FIRST MAJOR ADDRESS ON KATRINA: “Nothing about the president’s demeanor… — which seemed casual to the point of carelessness — suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.” [
New York Times]
8:00PM – CONDOLEEZZA RICE TAKES IN A BROADWAY SHOW: “On Wednesday night, Secretary Rice was booed by some audience members at ‘Spamalot!, the Monty Python musical at the Shubert, when the lights went up after the performance.” [
New York Post, 9/2/05]
9PM — FEMA DIRECTOR BROWN CLAIMS SURPRISE OVER SIZE OF STORM: “I must say, this storm is much much bigger than anyone expected.” [CNN]

Thursday, September 1
8AM — BUSH CLAIMS NO ONE EXPECTED LEVEES TO BREAK: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” [Washington Post]
CONDOLEEZZA RICE VISITS U.S. OPEN: “Rice, [in New York] on three days’ vacation to shop and see the U.S. Open, hitting some balls with retired champ Monica Seles at the Indoor Tennis Club at Grand Central.” [
New York Post]
STILL NO COMMAND AND CONTROL ESTABLISHED: Terry Ebbert, New Orleans Homeland Security Director: “This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can’t bail out the city of New Orleans.” [
Fox News]
2PM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES “DESPERATE SOS” TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: “This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention centre and don’t anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention centre is unsanitary and unsafe and we’re running out of supplies.” [Guardian,
2PM — MICHAEL BROWN CLAIMS NOT TO HAVE HEARD OF REPORTS OF VIOLENCE: “I’ve had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they’re banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I’ve had no reports of that.” [
NEW ORLEANS “DESCEND[S] INTO ANARCHY”: “Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. ‘This is a desperate SOS,’ the mayor said.” [
CONDOLEEZZA RICE GOES SHOE SHOPPING: “Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, ‘How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!’” [
MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY LEARNS OF EVACUEES IN CONVENTION CENTER: “We learned about that (Thursday), so I have directed that we have all available resources to get that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water and medical care that they need.” [

Friday, September 2
ROVE-LED CAMPAIGN TO BLAME LOCAL OFFICIALS BEGINS: “Under the command of President Bush’s two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan…to contain the political damage from the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina.” President Bush’s comments from the Rose Garden Friday morning formed “the start of this campaign.” [New York Times, 9/5/05]
9:35AM — BUSH PRAISES MICHAEL BROWN: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” [White House,
10 AM — PRESIDENT BUSH STAGES PHOTO-OP “BRIEFING”: Coast Guard helicopters and crew diverted to act as backdrop for President Bush’s photo-op.
BUSH VISIT GROUNDS FOOD AID: “Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.” [
LEVEE REPAIR WORK ORCHESTRATED FOR PRESIDENT’S VISIT: Sen. Mary Landrieu, 9/3: “Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.” [
Sen. Mary Landrieu]
BUSH USES 50 FIREFIGHTERS AS PROPS IN DISASTER AREA PHOTO-OP: A group of 1,000 firefighters convened in Atlanta to volunteer with the Katrina relief efforts. Of those, “a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew’s first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.” [
Salt Lake Tribune; Reuters]
3PM — BUSH “SATISFIED WITH THE RESPONSE”: “I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with all the results.” [

Saturday, September 3
SENIOR BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL LIES TO WASHINGTON POST, CLAIMS GOV. BLANCO NEVER DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY: The Post reported in their Sunday edition “As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.” They were forced to issue a correction hours later. [Washington Post, 9/4/05]
9AM — BUSH BLAMES STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS: “[T]he magnitude of responding to a crisis over a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need.” [White House,

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Rude One rocks

As usual, the Rude Pundit nails it on the head, so to speak.

Go enjoy....

The CITY of Louisiana

Thanks to PESKYFLY for having this at his site. Stop what you're doing and go read this Olbermann piece now, it's classic.

Vicious murdering poor folks with guns! RUN!


As US media actually remembered this week that they were reporters, and not just shills for the Bu$h Administration, they didn't completely get it right.

It seems that the reports of multiple rapes and murders supposedly occuring in various parts of New Orleans were simply made-up rumors and urban myths, according to the report in the Guardian, which, sadly, seems to do a better job of covering the US than the American press.

Here's an excerpt:

By the end of last week the media in Baton Rouge reported that evacuees from New Orleans were carjacking and that guns and knives were being seized in local shelters where riots were erupting.

The local mayor responded accordingly.

"We do not want to inherit the looting and all the other foolishness that went on in New Orleans," Kip Holden was told the Baton Rouge Advocate.

"We do not want to inherit that breed that seeks to prey on other people."

The trouble, wrote Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune is that "scarcely any of it was true - the police confiscated a single knife from a refugee in one Baton Rouge shelter".

"There were no riots in Baton Rouge. There were no armed hordes."

Oh well, at least they're criticizing the White House and FEMA for its' non-response, something that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. I suppose that counts for something.

Not only don't they get it, they don't WANT to get it

It's not difficult to figure out what went wrong with the federal government's ineffective response to Hurricane Katrina.

In order to have an effective government that responds swiftly to disasters (and plans for them in ADVANCE), you have to have people in charge of that government who believe in governing, not just doing an endless series of PR moves.

Instead, the governing philosophy of the Republican Party has shifted over the last 30 years from small, but WELL-MANAGED government, to taking power and destroying the government itself through incompetence, so as to create the impression that the market always serves people better than government.

That, of course, reminds me of the legendary TWILIGHT ZONE episode where aliens visit Earth, stating that their favorite book is called TO SERVE MAN, only for Earthlings to discover in the end that it's a cookbook.

When Grover Norquist stated that he wanted to reduce the size of government to the point that he wanted to drown in a bathtub, he had no way of knowing that he would get his wish. As the link above indicates that Bush is still protected from ANY disturbing images that might shatter the warped idea he has of this country, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast suffer due to his incompetence, and that of others with whom he has surrounded himself.

If the Democratic Party fails to seize on this incompetence in the 2006 elections, then it deserves to die and be cast out to sea. The very future of this republic depends on whether the Democrats can convince people that we can govern, and BE governed.

Friday, September 02, 2005

You need a break, and so do I

This weekend, the Cracker can recommend one of the city's finest annual moments, the Center for Southern Folklore's Memphis Music & Heritage Festival.

It takes place this Saturday & Sunday from 11 AM-Midnight on South Main between Gayoso and Peabody Place, with four stages, food demonstrations, dance, area craftspeople and storytellers, and great food.

The cost for the music, dance, food demonstrations, stories?


Parking can be had at PARKING CAN BE FUN on Union (only $2 for the WHOLE DAY), the TOWER GARAGEon Peabody Place (slightly higher).

You can find the Cracker at the corner of Main and Peabody Place, where I will be managing the Verizon Stage. Look for the fat guy at the side of the stage!

I believe that the Beale Street Music Festival is for the tourists, but this festival is for US. If you are having visitors for the next few months, this might be a nice relief for them (and you). Please come on down and have a good time. Here is the schedule:

Center for Southern Folklore’s
September 3rd & 4th 2005

Saturday, September 3rd

Verizon Wireless Stage @ Main & Peabody Place
12:30 Freeworld featuring. Herman Green
1:30 Don McMinn Blues Trio
2:30 Kula Celtic
3:30 Jumpin’ ChiChi’s Jazz
4:30 New Travelling Harmonizers Gospel
5:30 Billy Gibson/David Bowen Blues Band
6:30 MouseRocket Rock
7:30 Kattawar Bros. Boogie Woogie
8:30 Iron Mic Coalition Rap
9:30 Kavious Rap
10:30 Exodus Reggae

Folklore Store @The Peabody Place Trolley Stop
12:15 Poet IQ & Sfumato. Spoken Word
1:15 Jake Fussell Folk Blues
2:15 Nancy Apple Country
3:15 Roy Harper Country
4:15 William Lee Ellis Blues
5:15 Goin’ Home Bluegrass
6:15 The Wright Brothers Gospel
7:15 Smooch & Hooch Rockabilly
8:15 Super Chickan Blues
9:15 John Kilzer Rock

Folklore Hall SunTrust Stage (Inside the Center @119 S. Main)
12:45 Greg Hisky and his Dixie Whisky Flyers Country
1:45 Michaelyn Oby and OBI Jazz
2:45 Chinese Dance/ Vocals
3:45 Jackie Johnson Soul/R&B
4:45 Eddie Bond Country Show
5:45 South Soul Rhythm Section
6:45 Kelly Hurt with Chris Parker Jazz
7:45 Sensational Six Gospel
8:45 Joyce Cobb Trio featuring Roy Brewer
10:00 Daddy Mack Blues Band

Trolley Stop Stage @ Peabody Place Trolley Stop
12:00 Randall Morton Bluegrass bango
1:00 Joe Scott/ Negro League Baseball Tales
2:00 Breeding Ground Modern Dance
3:00 West Tennessee Choctaw Dancers
4:00 Jimmy Crosthwait’s Puppet Show
5:00 Wind Dance Irish Dance
6:00 Memphis Area Square & Western Dancers
7:00 Millineum Madness Drill Team
8:00 Salsa Dancing
9:00 Domingo Montez & Los Cantodores
10:00 Bluff City Backsliders Jug Band

Viking Culinary Arts Center @Main and Peabody Place (FOOD DEMOS)
11:15 Zanzibar World Food
12:15 Hephzibah Greaseless Soul Food
1:15 Chris Kourvales Greek Food
2:15 Changzhi & Guo Yu Tofu Treats
3:15 Ella Kizzie - Greens & Cornbread (OMG -Do NOT miss this!)
4:15 Hongbing Wang & Mrs. Dng Chinese
5:15 Wild Oats - Macrobiotic Cooking
6:15 Claudia Thompson – Choctaw Fry Bread

Sunday, September 4th

Verizon Wireless Stage @ Peabody Place and Main
12:30 Memphis Snake Doctors Blues
1:30 The Aims Gang Rock
2:30 Ron Franklin & the Natural Kicks Rock
3:30 Dan Montgomery & PBA Rock
4:30 Brown Sugar Blues Band5:30 The Golden Keys Gospel
6:30 Sonny Burgess & The Pacers Rockabilly
7:30 Sir Charles & The Memphis Soul Express
8:30 Jason D. Williams Boogie/Rockabilly
9:45 Darrell Petties with SIP Gospel
10:45 Will Graves & Soul featuring Men-Nefer Neo-Soul

Folklore Store @The Peabody Place Trolley Stop
12:15 Kevin Gordon Folk
1:15 David Evans Blues
2:15 Barbara Blue with Nat Kerr Blues
3:15 Roy Harper Country
4:15 Ed Finney & Neptune's Army Jazz
5:15 Bella Sun Folk
6:15 Kpe Abioto African Drumming
7:15 Willie Firecracker Rap
8:15 Brad Webb w/ Blind Mississippi Morris , Phillip Dale Durham Blues
9:30 Cory Branan Rock

Folklore Hall SunTrust Stage (Inside the Center @119 S. Main)
1:45 Mid-South Navy Little Big Band
2:45 Plough Towers Choir Russian/Yiddish
3:45 Moments of Joy Gospel
4:45 Authentic Lyfe w/ Both Hands Neo-Soul
5:45 Memphis Klezmer Orchestra
6:45 Spirit of Memphis Gospel
7:45 Orange Mound Jazz Messengers
8:45 Susan Marshall Rock
9:45 Billy Lee Riley with J. M. Van Eaton Rockabilly/Blues

Trolley Stop Stage @The Peabody Place Trolley Stop
12:00 Randall Morton, Bluegrass Banjo
1:00 Lil Buckewicz, Annie McDaniel, & Jim Young River Tales & Net Making
2:00 Jimmy Crosswait’s Puppet Show
3:00 Hattie Childress Quilting
4:00 Desert Rose Middle Eastern Dancing
5:00 Claire Lee Korean Dancing & Korean Food Samples
6:00 Choctaw Pow Wow Dancers Dancing and Drumming
7:00 Mighty Kings of Harmony Gospel
8:00 Felix Hernandez & Symbiosis Latin Jazz
9:00 Elmo & the Shades R&B

Viking Culinary Arts Center @ Main and Peabody Place (FOOD DEMOS)
1:15 Megan Johns Choctaw Fry Bread
2:15 Café Samovar Russian/American
3:15 Felix Hernandez- Puerto Rican Cooking
4:15 Emily Steinberg –Making Challah (Bread)
5:15 Deborah Pan Chinese
6:15 Ella Kizzie - Peach Cobbler

Heritage Hallway (Both Days)
Baseball—Joe Scott
Riverlife—Lil Buckewicz, Annie McDaniel
Netmaking- Jim Young
Quilting—Hattie Childress
Choctaw Crafts—Minnie Bell, Jessie & Claudia Thompson
Painting trains and stuff—Roy Harper
Chinese Caligraphy- Changzhi YuGreater United Memphis Chinese Association

Peabody Place Museum
119 S. Main, Lower Concorse Special Childrens’ Crafts all day long.11:00 to 5:00 each day, 3.00 Admission.Children 6 and under free with paying adult.

Folk Artists, Craftpeople and More
Lizi Beard, Mara Califf, Angi Cooper, Charbroil Grills, Dr. Bob, Nick Davis, Jessica Crowover, James Richardson, Bob Gray, Yusef Etudaiye, Gloria Fulton-Singleton, Stephen Hudson, Lisa Hudson, Margie Kerstine, Jean Lavender, Eben and Robin Marsh, Mary Matthews, Liz Meyer, Pettus Mitchell, Rene Nickel, Lisa Lane, Judy Levin, Linda Wilson, Lenny Rodriguez, and Jacqueline Townsel, Currie Williams , and more.

Festival Foods:
Corky’s Barbecue: BBQ Nachos, Rib Dinners, Pork Shoulder Sandwiches, and all the fixins!
Center for Southern Folklore: Ella Kizzie’s Chicken Dinners with Greens & Hot Water Cornbread, and Peach Cobbler.
Ronny Maxwell: Lemonade, corn dogs and lots of festival foods!

Thanks to our sponsors: Verizon Wireless, SunTrust, Tennessee Arts Commission, Peabody Place Retail & Entertainment Center, Center City Commission, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Eddie Tucker Design, Viking Culinary Arts Center, Shelton Clothiers, Swig, Hicks Convention Services, The Peabody, Railcom, Newman Decoster & Co.,
The Memphis Flyer, Soul Classics 103.5, The Downtowner

**Schedule subject to change**MATA has extended the Main Street Trolley until 11pm on Sunday night.

This is powerful..

Thanks to TJ at for providing this link, which contains a stunning interview of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin by WWL-AM's Garland Robinette.

Listen to this, it takes a few minutes. You hear the frustration in his voice due to an incompetent and ineffectual response from the federal government. They KNEW it would hit New Orleans, and they did NOTHING. People who stayed stayed because they COULDN'T get out, not because they wanted to.

Now, how do you think Bill Clinton would have responded?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Want to know what the GOP REALLY thinks of Katrina victims?

This was just seen on the New Orleans Times-Picayune blog:

Thursday, September 01, 2005

House Speaker: Rebuilding N.O. doesn't make sense
Thursday, 2:55 p.m.

By Bill Walsh
Washington bureau

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Dennis Hastert dropped a bombshell on flood-ravaged New Orleans on Thursday by suggesting that it isn’t sensible to rebuild the city."It doesn't make sense to me," Hastert told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago in editions published today. "And it's a question that certainly we should ask."Hastert's comments came as Congress cut short its summer recess and raced back to Washington to take up an emergency aid package expected to be $10 billion or more. Details of the legislation are still emerging, but it is expected to target critical items such as buses to evacuate the city, reinforcing existing flood protection and providing food and shelter for a growing population of refugees.The Illinois Republican’s comments drew an immediate rebuke from Louisiana officials.“That’s like saying we should shut down Los Angeles because it’s built in an earthquake zone,” former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., said. “Or like saying that after the Great Chicago fire of 1871, the U.S. government should have just abandoned the city.” Hastert said that he supports an emergency bailout, but raised questions about a long-term rebuilding effort. As the most powerful voice in the Republican-controlled House, Hastert is in a position to block any legislation that he opposes."We help replace, we help relieve disaster," Hastert said. "But I think federal insurance and everything that goes along with it... we ought to take a second look at that."The speaker’s comments were in stark contrast to those delivered by President Bush during an appearance this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”“I want the people of New Orleans to know that after rescuing them and stabilizing the situation, there will be plans in place to help this great city get back on its feet,” Bush said. “There is no doubt in my mind that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city.”Insurance industry executives estimated that claims from the storm could range up to $19 billion. Rebuilding the city, which is more than 80 percent submerged, could cost tens of billions of dollars more, experts projected.Hastert questioned the wisdom of rebuilding a city below sea level that will continue to be in the path of powerful hurricanes."You know we build Los Angeles and San Francisco on top of earthquake issures and they rebuild, too. Stubbornness," he said.Hastert wasn't the only one questioning the rebuilding of New Orleans. The Waterbury, Conn., Republican-American newspaper wrote an editorial Wednesday entitled, "Is New Orleans worth reclaiming?""Americans' hearts go out to the people in Katrina's path," it said. "But if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property."

Well, now, how's THAT for pouring gasoline on a fire? If this was in an area where there were tons of Republicans, rather than the poor and minorities, do you think they would say this?

This dumb ex-wrestling coach from Yorkville, IL is the Speaker of the House? We are in doomed times, people.

DemoBitch is right: open up the Pyramid...

She posted below that we need to open up the Big Pointy Building for refugees from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and I agree.

I am fully aware that Craig Brewer is shooting Black Snake Moan there, and that the Wonders exhibit, Art of the Motorcycle, is winding down on the north side of the building.

However, there are things more important than a movie shoot, and I suspect that Craig would understand completely. If the movie company doesn't, fuck 'em.

In the event the city can't force them out of the contract, then we need to make sure that this information gets out to EVERY media outlet in the country so that the movie will lose millions.

Mayor Herenton, we're looking at you, handle this business so we can take our share of our brothers and sisters who are homeless. They would do the same for us; someday, they may HAVE to.