The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, September 10, 2005

From John Scalzi: Being Poor

Read all the way to the end.

Via Jeanne D'Arc, who adds to the list.

Friday, September 09, 2005


You da' man:
Former Vice President Al Gore urged Americans on Friday to hold the Bush administration accountable for failing to adequately prepare for and respond to Hurricane Katrina.

"When the corpses of American citizens are floating in toxic flood waters five days after a hurricane struck, it is time not only to respond directly to the victims of the catastrophe, but to hold ... the leaders of our nation accountable," Gore told environmentalists at the Sierra Club's national convention.
But check this out:
In his Sierra Club speech, the former senator from Tennessee didn't mention an act of mercy that he was personally involved in - his help airlifting some 270 Katrina evacuees on two private charters from New Orleans to Tennessee on Sept. 3 and 4. He did that at the urging of a doctor who saved the life of his son years earlier.

Dr. Anderson Spickard, who is Gore's personal physician and accompanied him on the flights, told The Associated Press that "Gore told me he wanted to do this because like all of us he wanted to seize the opportunity to do what one guy can do, given the assets that he has."
Read about Gore's relief efforts here.

Including, but not limited to the tens of thousands of you who were improperly disenfranchised during the 2000 election.

Once Tropical Storm and now Hurricane Ophelia has been hovering near the east coast of Florida for a few days now.

If Ophelia should strengthen and impact your area, do you want Michael 'Drownie' Brown in charge of the relief effort?

Rush Limbaugh intentionally mispronounces the New Orleans mayor's name.

FEMA Director Michael Brown fired kicked behind a desk:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown is being removed from his role managing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, The Associated Press has learned.

Brown is being sent back to Washington from Baton Rouge, where he was the primary official overseeing the federal government's response to the disaster, according to two federal officials who declined to be identified before the announcement.
Well, it is Friday, also known as "Stealth Bad News Day" to the administration.

At this point, we finally have an answer to the question, "what will it take for George W Bush to outright fire someone for incompetence?" The answer appears to be "more than what Michael Brown did." Even though, for instance, his law degree appears to have been not as legitimate as he would like us to believe. Even after the preposterous 5-hour delay to deploy FEMA's resources after Katrina hit. Even after claiming to have been completely unaware of the horrific conditions in the convention center for days. Even after keeping the Red Cross out of the city, at a time when an influx of food, water and supplies, no matter who was sending them, could have stifled some of the mayhem and lawlessness that took place there.

Remember when the Rove revelations regarding the Plame leak broke, Bush told us that any staff member who commits a crime would be out of a job. Yeah, that's not what he said in fall 2003 (anyone "involved" in the leak), nor what he said to his staff in early 2001 (avoid even "the appearance of corruption"), but no matter. Well, by padding his resume, it would seem that Michael Brown committed a felony, should anyone choose to prosecute it.

Fired? Nope, just booted from New Orleans. Bush likes Brownie, wants us to keep paying his salary.

Bush only fires people for one reason: DISLOYALTY. Just ask Paul O'Neill.

But Brown remains the head of FEMA. Is there any way to justify this?

RELATED: Brad Friedman writes a tune

UPDATE: A couple of rich lines from the White House.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Here's a first-person account of a hotel evacuee, via Bitch, Phd.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

John Stewart tonight: "Just a quick observation: When people do not want to play the 'blame game' . . . they're to blame."

From today's Olbermann, required watching.

Josh Marshall on FEMA's censoring of the media:
Take a moment to note what's happening here: these are the marks of repressive government, which mixes inefficiency with authoritarianism. The crew that couldn't get key aid on the scene in time last week is coming in in force now. And one of the key missions appears to be cutting off public information about what's happening in the city.

This is a domestic, natural disaster. Absent specific cases where members of the press would interfere or get in the way of some particular clean up operation, or perhaps demolition work, there is simply no reason why credentialed members of the press should not be able to cover everything that is happening in that city.

Think about it.
Bush and his political crony appointee friends at FEMA are going to find this new policy of theirs a rather uncomfortable one, as they don't have the option of smearing those who criticize it as "unpatriotic".

Above all else, the American media operates on access. They simply will not stand for this policy, especially since, as Josh mentions, it pertains to a natural disaster. They're hinting at their anger at this point, but it will boil over soon. What the situation reveals is an administration desperate to serve the only cause they competently fight for: the political status of its head.

If you play a G chord on the 4th fret, it sounds absolutely terrible.

FEMA blocking photos of Katrina victims:
Forced to defend what some critics consider its slow and botched response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Tuesday it does not want the news media to take photographs of the dead as they are recovered from New Orleans.

FEMA, which is leading the rescue efforts, rejected requests from journalists to accompany rescue boats as they went out to search for storm victims, Reuters reported.

A FEMA spokeswoman told the wire service that space was need on the rescue boats and assured Reuters that "the recovery of the victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect."

"We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media," the spokeswoman told Reuters via e-mail.

The Bush administration's decision to continue a policy of preventing the news media from photographing flag-draped coffins of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq has fueled criticism that the government is trying to avoid images that put the war in a bad light.
Wouldn't want Barbara Bush to look a fool, would we? Wouldn't want the Goldbergs and Malkins and OReillys of the world to have that tinge of conscience when they insinuate that the poor people who couldn't get out of NOLA in time had it coming. Wouldn't want to undermine support for our efforts to democratize New Orleans.

Look, what happened in New Orleans was real, and accountability for the embarassing failure to respond to the disaster must occur. For accountability to occur, we can't have our government pretending that the disaster was nothing more than NOLA being turned into a giant bathtub. If the mistakes of our government contributed to the deaths of thousands, we can't have that toll hidden from us. America needs to know.

On the other hand, what DO they want us to see? (pic here)
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the barrage of information coming across the wires about Hurricane Katrina and the feeble, slow federal response to the disaster, and you want a primer on just how bad it's been, here is a semi-first person account from the area.

(via jeana)

The shorter version:

If you had trouble defending...

...then you'll have real trouble defending...

UPDATE: Timeline from ThinkProgress

Monday, September 05, 2005


How much is it to ask to keep Karl Rove out of this?