Thursday, September 15, 2005

Recalling a Visit to New Orleans

I was there last November, three days, two nights, to speak at a conference. Traveling alone, I gave my little presentation on the first day, and managed to party, meet and hang with some fun folks, and have myself a debauched little old time of it.

Perhaps I will share the details here one day - at least the details I can remember.

In the meantime, this great little column by Vincent Williams in the latest Baltimore City Paper captures it all quite eloquently.

Cleveland Indians Get Noticed....


That nationally-televised thumping of Minnesota on ESPN2 Sunday night, followed by this week's tight and heavy-with meaning series against Oakland have put the Tibe all over the national media with glowing press.

CBS Sportline has them at #3 in the bigs - ahead of the Yanks, BoSox, and ChiSox (1 and out in the playoffs, mark my words).

And SI's Albert Chen glowing covers Mark Shapiro's successful rebuilding project. Just thank the Gods of Baseball that they decided not to run this on the cover this week:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Umm, Excuse Me, Mr Annan, But I Think I Did a Doodie In My Pants.

Photo captured by a Reuters photog during today's UN meeting in NYC.

Yes - that is our esteemed President Bush writing that note.

No - you cannot make this shit up.

Hey, everyone's gotta take a dump, right?

The Simpsons Season Premiere

Finally got around to watching it obn TiVO last night, and, sadly, all I can say is, *yawn*.

Hate to say that I was forcing some chuckles. My only real, laugh-out-load moment came at the end.

A manatee was dressed in work clothes and sitting at Homer's work station at the power plant. Br. Burns strolls by with Smithers and asks, "Say! Who's that go-getter with the strapping chest?"

And the manatee whirls around on the stool to face burns. Its flipper-tail is hanging out of one of the pants legs. Just a great, classic Simpson's visual gag.

And that was it. Too bad. Kinda hope they call it quits before it gets totally predictable - which they had managed to mostly avoid to this point.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Top of the Ninth at the Jake

Yee-ha! Nice double play, boys.

Keep on rolling, keep on rolling.

Tribe Up in the 8th

Holy Cow - Ben Broussard just jacked a 3 run shot way out into right field.

Damn. Thank God for the delay.

Tribe up, 5 to 2, heading into the ninth.

Come on, Wicky.

My Evil Preppy Twin

When I was younger (early college), I was told I looked like:

Maybe I did, a little. I was skinny, preppy, cute ;-).

So there I was in Dublin, Ireland, last my junior year in college, a year spent studying abroad. It was late, and we were in this jammed smoke college bar. I only had about 9 Guinness in me by that time.

We had been making our way through the Temple Bar district. That afternoon, we stumbled through a cool little vintage clothing store. For only 15 pounds, I found myself a perfect fitting English tweed coat. It looked suitable shabby-prep with worn jeans and a dark purple shirt with a faint paisley pattern. Dude - I was stylin.

I cute Irish lass approached me, shyly. "Excuse me," she said above the din. "But, aren't you Andrew McCarthy."

In spite of a gullet full of stout, my mind worked quickly. "No, I'm sorry," I answered. "I'm his brother."


Got laid that night in Dublin.

An Update on My Mom

Mom: "Well, there is no way I can donate any money to those people down in New Orleans. Most of them think Bush hates black people. They don't deserve any charity."

Big heart, my Mom.

So, instead, she is donating to help rescue the orphaned pets. Which isn't a bad thing. I guess the dogs down there all vote Republican.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Go Tribe

Good lord, but this is fun.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

An Email that About Says It All

When I first read this on Sully's Daily Dish, it just clicked with me - it totally mirrored how I felt, the anger and rage and disappointment. It's worth sharing here, I think:

"I've considered myself a socially libertarian, fiscally
conservative Republican for a very long time. I got along with the idea that I
wasn't going to get a whole lot of help. College wouldn't be free. Job training
would cost money and time. And I'm probably a decent example of

But after watching what's happening in New
Orleans-an American city that I've loved, visited and have always wanted to
return to - I can't ever vote for these people again.

Being a
Republican means that you expect the government to do just a couple things for
you and nothing else. Build a road. Defend us from enemies, foreign and
domestic. Stuff that would be a lot less organized if we all had to do it
ourselves. Everything else is just gravy.

And as we poured money
into Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, I thought, "Right on," because some of that money's bound to fall on my

Well, something else would fall on my head

I work for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. And
that means that if something really catastrophic happens in MY city, and they
ask me to stick around, that's the job. We have A and B teams and I'm a disaster
recovery specialist on Team A. I've drawn up plans with names like Drawbridge
and Smoldering Crater.

Here's what these people would do for

They would leave me there to die.

Look at the
facts. There's no coordination on the ground right now. The city has no fresh
water, no electricity, no services. The floodwater has so much oil and toxins in
it that it's flammable.

In psychology they have what is called a
fight-or-flight response. When faced with danger, do you subdue it or do you
flee? Some of it has to do with risk assessment, but in this case, there is no
flight. There is nowhere to run. So flight means die. If my choice was to pull a
pistol on a truck driver or Nat, Jarren, Jayson, or any of you dies, that's no
choice at all.

I'm not talking about the looters grabbing
big-screen televisions and basketball hoops. I'm talking about the ones that are
chest-deep in water carrying bottled water and diapers. You can't tell me for
three days to be patient, the bus is coming, and they're piling up bodies in the
street median.

We have known that this sort of disaster could occur
for a century. Hell, the tour bus driver told me about it on the plantation
tour. This means that we have been able to envision the stark reality of this
occurring for a week-the newspapers all said the storm would hit New Orleans
last Thursday.

A week to get buses? A week to get fishing boats?
Trucks? This is the United States! I read someone who said, "All the people who
weren't bedridden, or had money, or had cars left. The people that are left had
none of those things."

There are people tonight who are going to
sleep on overpasses for the fourth straight night. There are prisoners who will
do the same. There are people dying at a convention center because no one will
tell them that no one is coming for them, and the National Guard is protecting
the kitchens. There are police officers who are turning in their badges because
they've lost everything, have no guidance, and don't want to be shot by a

There are people tonight inside a concrete domed stadium
with holes in the roof and no air conditioning who were told the buses are
coming today, and they might, or they might not. There is no food. There is no
water. There are bodies floating through the neighborhoods.

In the

Some people say that you can't hold the President
responsible for this. Oh, yes you can. Because when he looked over at John
Ashcroft after the jets hit the towers and said, "I want you to make sure this
never happens again," it was not meant to be specific to "no more planes hitting
large buildings on the East Coast, right, boss." It was meant that no American
should have to run for his life through an American city. While Americans may
perish in a senseless, unforeseen disaster, we'd save the ones we

And the Cabinet appointees were mushwits and he could barely
speak a complete sentence and we're sending people overseas for God knows how
long to help people who are indifferent at worst and hostile at best, but they
were going to protect us. In 2004, that's all a lot of us needed. Well right
now, it's obvious that they can't.

Ask yourself this: What if
Al-Qaeda blew up the levees instead of the hurricane? Would the response have
been any different?

No. It wouldn't. That city flooded in a day.
And if it were Las Vegas, I would have been in some operations center watching
people try to decide who gets to starve to death and who gets to get on a bus to
Los Angeles or Phoenix. And there would be no certainty that I'd be on that bus
in time to protect my wife and kids.

But one thing sure would have
been different.

They wouldn't have had a whole week to sort it out
and know what's coming. They were supposed to KNOW this already. It will have
been FOUR YEARS next weekend since someone probably said, "Hey, what

And for that, the whole stack of them should be

I've had it. I'm done. And if the other bunch of assholes
can't figure out that what's important is that babies don't starve to death here
(and I'm not talking some metaphorical goo-goo thing with school lunches and
welfare, but real, actual starving) and we get people out of harm's way, we'll
get rid of them too. And so on.

Because this is about leadership,
not about bitching on CNN how no one's in charge, or listening to Peggy Noonan
furrow her brow at the Governor's performance, or bragging that we've sent in
one National Guardsman for every 200 people, or actually having the audacity to
say that "we had no idea the levees would break."

Today, I saw my
country favorably compared to Indonesia and Thailand, (always our traditional
benchmarks of infrastructural success) while the elderly die of thirst in the
street. We sneered at France when this happened during a heat

No more."

A Katrina Summation

I am sick and tired of this blame game. My sense is that the Dems are starting to overreach and appear opportunistic. The GOP has been clearly, immorally, spinning blame to the locals (who sure as hell aren't blameless in all this).

But I'm tired of it. So, to help us all move on, allow me to summarize the most important points in this, and then be done with it. I promise it's the last I'll post on the topic of who's most at fault for the post-disaster disaster.

1. The Mayor and Governor - knowing a storm of historical proportions was approaching - should've/could've done more to get the remaining 100k poor souls outta dodge. That is no one's fault but their own.

2. Once the Governor declared a State of Emergency (Aug 27, the Saturday before the storm hit - 2 days before the storm hit), the Federal Gov't - by the President's signature - assumed primary responsibility over disaster recovery. It's that simple. The Feds were numero uno.

Within the test, the Governor states:
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.

How can anyone argue that the Feds weren't in charge - even before Katrina hit?

3. Even without the State of Emergency, FEMA's central charter is in leading disaster recovery. Think they did a "helluva job"? Why not simply hold them to the standard set forth in their own mission statement.

4. Finally, expectations. We re-elected W last year because we trusted our security to him (at least more that the other guy). That was the primary reason he won - his commitment to national security and to effectively leading a response to any post-9/11 calamities. This was the first real test of that promise, of his government's competence, capacity, and capabilty to respond to just such a crisis. And they failed miserably.

I'll close by quoting Andrew Sullivan - because it is so simple, obvious, and accurate:

But the bottom line is that four years after 9/11, the feds aren't
ready for a major disaster.

Looking for Advice

So get this - my mother is a staunch, unwavering, Rush Limbaugh Rightest. It's not enough to call her a Republican - she is a RIGHTIST.

And she makes sure everyone knows. She watches only Fox, reads only the WSJ, and listens only to AM talk radio down in her cozy Floriday country club community.

She's always passes along emails spouting off the latest RIGHTIST diatribe, throwing in her 2 cents worth. I always grit my teeth and ignore.

But today, she sent along this character assassination of Cindy Sheehan. I checked it on Snopes, as I usually do, and found out is was, of course, untrue.

So, dear friends, what should I do here?

1. Do what I usually do - swallow my anger and ignore the email

2. Reply with a polite, "Interesting - but unfortunately it's untrue", attaching the Snopes link

3. Reply as above, but include some editorial thoughts: "While I may not agree with what she (Cindy) is saying or doing (actually, I do!), I totally suppport her right to do so. Clearly, she is acting our of anger and grief over losing her child - who among us could predict how we would act in these circumstances? I find it reprehensible that someone would knowingly create these lies out of whole cloth and attempt to destroy this woman's reputation simply because they disagree with her opinions and how she is acting upon them"

Oh, yeah - and should I just "reply", or should I "reply all" (a bunch of her fellow righties were copied.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how I should handle it.

The Animals

I know it pales compared to the human suffering, but for all pet and animal lovers, there is heartbreak among the postings at

22354. STARVING HORSES by RescueRanch, 9/8/05 14:23 ET

Some residents with livestock are being denied entry. I asked a friend of a friend to look in on my 26 yr old horse that survived out in a small field with 4 other horses and he is emaciated and starving. I need to get him out and I can't even get in.

And there is inspiration in the generosity of the responses:

22354.1. re: 22354 by vickielynne, 9/8/05 14:29 ET
Re: STARVING HORSES by RescueRanch, 9/8/05
What is your e-mail? I will start contacting every animal rescue site I know!I am at
stickypin@aol.comMy name is Vickie

You go, Vickie! You go!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Discuss Amongst Yourselves

With Friends Like This....

You know it's ugly when C. Hitchens starts spouting off like this.....

"...For example, a few piles of bottled water wouldn't have come amiss if there's going to be suddenly too much water but none of it drinkable. Elementary things like that. He didn't do that. Then he did a fly-by from his holiday retreat, and then he got there too late and then he said something completely idiotic. So I really can't see there is any forgiveness for that. And remember also, that he did interrupt his holiday not very long ago to pay attention to something that was none of his business at all as President. Namely, the alleged living condition of an actually dead woman named Terri Schiavo...."

So THAT'S His Strategy

From the Daily Show:

Ed Helms: "Through the President's leadership, we'll end up building a billion dollar dam in Arkansas."

Jon Stewart: "Why would he build a damn in Arkansas?"

Helms: "His plan will be to fight the water over there, so we don't have to fight it over here."

What the hell - we bought it for Iraq.

If Anyone from FEMA Happens to Read My Blog...

...consider yourselves warned.

Politics vs. Saving Lives

This morning on Howard Stern (yes, I rely upon a diversity of inputs to develop my opinions), Rep. Jose Serrano phoned in to describe his frustrating conversations with the State Dept over the last 48 hours.

Turns out that Cuba has offered 1,100 (that's ELEVEN HUNDRED) field doctors (i.e. those trained and experienced in delivering medical services IN THE FIELD, post-Hurricane - Cuba gets a few of those, y'know).

Not widely known throughout the US is how strong Cuba's medical establishment is, and what a great reputation their physicians have throughout the world - especially in times of crisis. Cuba even offered to take care of all transit and living expenses for the docs.

The State Dept. is apparently dragging their feet on issuing the visas that would allow such a trip.

Apparently, the votes of Cuban ex-pats in Miami > the votes of injured and dying black folks in New Orleans.

Funny, but I thought Louisiana was even more of a Red State than Florida. Shows you how much I know.

I Prefer Non-Knee Jerk Theological Reactions

"It is too convenient to say, in the wake of a catastrophe like Katrina, that here is one of the bowls of wrath John speaks of in the Revelation; that God is pouring it out our nation as punishment for our collective sins. Yes, the end of world is probably coming soon, but I’ll be damned (pardon the pun) if I’m going to let it wash over me like gently rolling surf. No, the suffering of the thousands of victims must strike me with gale-force winds. I have no time for theological quibbles, for debating whether or not a loving God could or would have let such a disaster strike. But it’s clear that God is sending us a message through Katrina."

- Andrew Zimmerman

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Scientists Discover Inappropriate Comment Gene

“What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle)--this is working very well for them.”
- Mama Babs Bush

Sunday, September 04, 2005

From Our Man at the DHS

I have a good friend who runs a business that supplies product to the Dept of Homeland Security. It's all emergency, first-responder-type stuff, in the case of a terrorist attack, calamity, natural disaster.

Ah, yes. Natural disaster.

So, he was late to our annual end-of-summer crab feast. Turns out his company had been called on to move its supply of gear to the hurricane zone. At 3pm. Today. Sunday.

The storm hit Monday morning, no?

This is first responder gear, meant for the FIRST on the scene (hence the name, numbskulls).

His client is the Dept of Homeland Security, of which FEMA is part.

And they were called today - Sunday. At 3pm.

Sorry if I'm being redundant here.


So my friend arrived at the party late, after making sure the trucks and supplies were on their way. He described all the great work they were doing.

And I had to ask - wouldn't you? - why the FUCK the trucks weren't on their way on Tuesday?

He shrugged his shoulders. "They never called. We called them and asked where we should go. In fact, we called them LAST WEEKEND and asked if we should pre-position this stuff. They told us not to worry - it was only a hurricane, not like some terrorist or anything serious. Then they finally called back today."

Sunday. Six days after it hit. Eight (or more) days before they should have called to be fully prepared.

"How could this happen?" I asked my friend. His direct client is a high-level person at the DHS.

"I talked to my client this afternoon." he answered, "and he said that they all have their heads up their asses and have no idea what they're doing."

Bastards. This is criminal, no? How many people have died for lack of water, food, basic meds? A simple food drop? In Banda Aceh they did it in less than 24 hours. And it took 5 days here?

What's wrong with this picture?

It's this simple - Mr. Bush is incompetent. His administration is incompetent.

The Congress is incompetent. It took them longer to return to vote on hurricane relief than it did to vote on intervening for Terry Schaivo in Florida. They, too, are incompetent and morally adrift.

Fire them. Fire them all. Work as hard as you can to boot their lazy, incompetent, special interest-endowed asses.

And make sure they know how repugnant they are.

Because, today, this nation's leadership disgusts and embarasses me. And they need to pay the price.

Who Do We Fire First?

Good Lord - where to start?

Do you start with the idiocy of Mr Brown's first remarks? The President's adulatory nonsense (Brownie, good, job!) ? Chertoff's beauracratese defensiveness and explanations/excuses?

All I know is, someone - many, actually - need to be fired.

Brown, long gone from his arranging horse shows, is clearly over his head.


Mr. Chertoff is so well spoken, so charmingly erudite. He dismisses reality so well, though unconvincingly, seems so unaware that his organizantion's inaction has led to countless unnecessary deaths.


And Mr. President. I voted for you - can you believe that? I can't. I am ashamed of myself. Here's what I've realized - you and your administration have a true contempt of government and of the good it can do. Either that, or you have been so incompetent as to emasculate one of the few federal agencies that had done well.

Your pick.

Either way, I only wish we had another chance to tell you:


But the time will come. The time will come when the shortchanging for flood control comes due, when the environmental price for beach erosion is paid, when we finally, inevitably tire of this endless war of insurrection and decide it is indeed time to change out the generals.

The time will come.

Cheney Returns from Jackson, Wyoming

Hey, DICK -

How was your vacation?


New Orleans
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