Breaking: 700 dead in Baghdad
Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 15:12:10 CDT
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Trampled, crushed against barricades or plunging into the Tigris River, more than 700 Shiite pilgrims died Wednesday when a procession across a Baghdad bridge was engulfed in panic over rumors that a suicide bomber was at large.
Most of the dead were women and children, Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman said. It was the single biggest confirmed loss of life in
Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. Dr. Swadi Karim of the Health Ministry operations section said 769 were killed and 307 injured.
Tensions already had risen among the Shiite marchers because of a mortar attack two hours earlier near the shrine where they were heading. Then the crowd was slowed by barriers about a quarter of the way across the Two Imams Bridge, Interior Minister Bayn Jabr said on state-run TV.
769 Dead, 307 Hurt in Iraq Bridge Stampede - Yahoo! News
* lawnorder's diary :: ::
Just a heads up
Not Really "Breaking" (4.00 / 2)
It's already on the front page.
by DHinMI on Wed Aug 31st, 2005 a
Update (none / 0)
more than 1,000 people killed and injured hundreds.
by hiley on Wed Aug 31st, 2005
At least (none / 0)
we know the National Guard is being put to good use out there. Everything seems to be going just great. Let's get that Condi-tution up and running, and tap that oil.
The grotesqueries never end.
by mrblifil on Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 15:12:03 CDT
More than 1,000 people killed, hundreds injured (none / 0)
Witnesses describe stampede horror
People who witnessed a stampede on a bridge in Baghdad that killed more than 1,000 people and injured hundreds of others have been speaking of scenes of mayhem.
Several survivors said the panic began quickly spreading among hundreds of thousands of Shia pilgrims after someone said a suicide bomber was in the crowd.
"We were on the bridge. It was so crowded. Thousands of people were surrounding me," Fadhel Ali, 28, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.
Most of them seem to have suffocated, many of the bodies had injuries caused from being pushed and shoved to the ground, where people would then tread on them
In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners. Albert Camus
by hiley on Wed Aug 31st, 2005
Jesus prayed for Mohammad (none / 0)
I almost diaried this earlier, so will add my thoughts to yours now.
The Iraqis who died in the stampede were celebrating the Night Journey and Ascension of Mohammad. The festival is important because it marks the formalisation of Islam as one religion for all men and also recognises the weakness of faith.
According to the Koran, Mohammad was collected by Gabriel and travelled with him from Mecca to Jerusalem at night (a journey that took over a moonth in those times). On arriving in Jerusalem, they ascended from the Dome of the Rock to heaven.
While in heaven Mohammad met Adam (who sorted his descendents according to whether their souls were good or bad) and then went on to meet Jesus, John, Joseph, Enoch, Moses and Abraham, who all prayed for Mohammad. Rising further through heaven, Mohammad came at last to God who gave him 50 prayers which would be required of the faithful. Moses advised Mohammad that his people would not bear such a burden, and sent Mohammad back to seek a reduction. After some haggling God finally sends Mohammad back down with 5 prayers - the same 5 prayers all Muslims say daily today.
Mohammad returned to Mecca by morning and told his followers of his journey the next day. Many derided him and persecuted him, and he was forced to leave Mecca.
The Night Journey and the Ascension test faith in the unseen. It also documents the oneness of all men before God, and the oneness of all faiths in Islam.
It is tragic that Iraqis seeking to celebrate their faith and their oneness with all men before God have been killed through violence, panic and dissention.
"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill
by LondonYank on Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 15:57:23 CDT
Daily Kos: Breaking: 700 dead in Baghdad
When everything seems like the movies
Yeah you BLOG bleed just to know you'r alive
Breaking: 700 dead in Baghdad
Somebody Wake The Dead [Updated w/ Speech]
by georgia10 [Unsubscribe]
Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 14:32:43 CDT
There is something about watching a drenched woman guide her husband's corpse downriver that makes you realize that what's going on in your life, well, it really pales in comparison.
I come back briefly because, like all of you, my eyes still can't believe the videos I see, and my ears still can't believe what I've been hearing. Specifically, I can't stomach the actions of this President. I've read RenaRF's diary, and she says it so eloquently. I'll be more blunt. The President fucked up. This is My Pet Goat II.
Over the next few weeks, we will see a devastation none of us has ever witnessed in our lifetime. The devastation will look like a thousand Ground Zeroes. When the waters recede, bodies and broken lives will litter the streets. Thousands will be found dead, either crouched in attics or parched dry in the debris. And thousands more will be affected by disease, hunger, poverty.
* georgia10's diary :: ::
As one official said, this is our tsunami. I would add it is our Darfur like our response to Darfur (edited to reflect comments below). It is another instance of acting too late, of not appreciating the gravity of the situation. While the President continued with his schedule these past couple days, declaring that he and Laura were having a "fabulous" time, Americans gasped for their last breaths as the water overtook them. They clung to trees. They grasped at debris. They swam with alligators in their streets. They watched as the water inched up their necks and listened as it filled their ears. Fabulous, indeed.
What damned philosophy of federalism would prompt him or anyone to believe that immediate and comprehensive federal intervention was not necessary or appropriate? What reliance did he place on the local officials and resources during those precious initial hours and days when hundreds, if not thousands, of lives were lost?
Tomorrow is the beginning of National Preparedness Month. And today, we should reflect on how criminally unprepared our government was for this disaster.
Perhaps it is just me, but watching the footage, of people waiting to be rescued, I kept asking myself, where was the military? Why hadn't they descended upon that ill-fated area with the whole entire force and weight of the United States Army to help them? Where were the amphibious vehicles? Where were the portable bridges? Where were the boats and the Navy?
It's remarkable, isn't it? That we made such a swift race to Baghdad, but our military is being deployed to New Orleans like dough through a sieve. It's funny, isn't it, that President Bush took to the airwaves to reassure us during his "Shock & Awe" campaign, but now, when it is US who are shocked and awed as our nation crumbles around us, he has remained silent. Silent, cowardly, afraid to make a move. Just petting the goat all along.
He'll get down there, eventually. And he'll stand upon a pile of driftwood and rubble (I'm sure they'll check to make sure there aren't any bodies underneath) and he'll make a speech about rebuilding and resolve. I'll even bet a tear will glisten in his eye.
But those who are victims of this distaster will know one thing. That, as Commander-in-Chief, he has failed them. That, as the Homeland Security President, he abandoned their homeland when it was the least secure, when they were most in need of immediate assistance. That, at a time when their lives were threatened by real terror, the President acted liked he didn't know the meaning of the word.
So somebody wake the dead. Someone whisper into their water-clogged ears that we are a nation defenseless, unprepared. Someone make sure their eyes are closed so they don't have to see the bumbling, clueless officials act like they know what they're doing. Someone tell them that Mother Nature took their lives, but this administration didn't put up a fight. Because there are more important things in life than mobilizing your military to defend the defenseless. There are more important things then making sure every helicopter is in flight, that every boat is in the water, that every hand reaching up for help will not clasp empty air. There are more important things to be done during those critical 72 hours. Like playing guitar, or laughing it up, and pretending to be President.
Update [2005-8-31 17:33:26 by georgia10]: He speaks. He directed "the folks in his cabinet to work with local folks." Those who watched his speech I think can attest that this man provides no leadership, no guidance, no plan. He uses the stock flash cards of "difficult road ahead", "challenges," "resolve" and "stronger America."
Meanwhile, click here to see how critical an immediate response is, and how every hour delayed hastens death:
4:03 P.M. - (AP) Michael Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services, announced he had declared a public health emergency in the area stretching from Louisiana to Florida. "We are gravely concerned about the potential for cholera, typhoid and dehydrating diseases that could come as a result of the stagnant water and the conditions," he said.
3:54 P.M. - Wilson: People were passing out in the heat in front of me.
We had to do something. There's no help.
3:48 P.M. - WASHINGTON (AP) -- From Navy ships and Army helicopters to the USNS Comfort hospital ship, the Pentagon is mobilizing possibly an unprecedented U.S. rescue-and-relief mission for areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. (nearly 72 hours after landfall, well over a week since the area was on hurricane watch)
3:46 P.M. - Tugboat captain: We have so little help. Send us some food and water immediately!
Daily Kos: Somebody Wake The Dead [Updated w/ Speech]
ational Unleaded Average
Regular Mid Premium Diesel
Current Avg. $2.619 $2.780 $2.882 $2.657
Yesterday Avg. $2.604 $2.764 $2.865 $2.649
Month Ago Avg. $2.284 $2.425 $2.513 $2.421
Year Ago Avg. $1.860 $1.974 $2.047 $1.904
*Prices are in US dollars per gallon
Highest Recorded Price:
Regular Unl. $2.619 8/31/2005
DSL. $2.657 8/31/2005
Doesn't it sound like he recicled his "War on Terror" speech ? Years to complete the mision... I have no doubt we will succeed... Stay the course.. 9/11 .. oops! Copied too much, nevermind! -- law
Recovery from hurricane will take years: Bush
Thursday, September 1, 2005. 8:23am
US President George W Bush says it will take "years" to recover from Hurricane Katrina, which he called one of the worst national disasters in US history.
Mr Bush made his remarks after cutting short his Texas holiday and returning to Washington to direct recovery efforts after Katrina [liars! ABC knows full well the disaster hit 9/29 and Bush only acknowledged it today -- law] pounded the Gulf Coast, with hundreds feared dead.
"We're dealing with one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's history," he said.
"This recovery will take a long time. This recovery will take years."
The President laid down three priorities - saving lives and evacuating endangered survivors, providing adequate food, water and shelter for dislocated people and launching a comprehensive recovery effort.
"We're focused on restoring power and lines of communication that have been knocked out during the storm. We will be repairing major roads and bridges and other essential means of transportation as quickly as possible," Mr Bush said.
Mr Bush, who flew over the stricken areas in Air Force One, said he had called for a cabinet-level task force chaired by Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff to coordinate assistance from Washington.
He said Michael Brown, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, would direct all federal response and recovery efforts in the field. Both would work closely with state and local officials.
"The challenges that we face on the ground are unprecedented, but there's no doubt in my mind we're going to succeed," Mr Bush said.
Recovery from hurricane will take years: Bush. 01/09/2005. ABC News Online
Nuttall, Sarah "Girl Bodies"
Social Text - 78 (Volume 22, Number 1), Spring 2004, pp. 17-33
Duke University Press
It is a hot day in Johannesburg, the last day of work before the summer vacation. December 2001. From the central foyer of the offices where I work, I can see into the inner city, shards of light on the glass building shaped like a diamond, the new taxi rank, one of four going up in the city for the 800,000 commuters passing through every day, the Market Theatre, and the Mandela Bridge starting to take shape. I am reading the Sowetan, South Africa's largest-selling daily newspaper. On the front page, a full-color, full-page photograph of Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, ready to spar for the soccer cup on the weekend. On page 2, the "In Brief" column offers snippets:
R21,000 for Baby Tshepang
A non-governmental organization, the Coalition for Children's Rights (CCR), yesterday handed over R21,000 collected from the public for nine-month-old baby Tshepang, who was raped and sodomized by six men in October.
"Fire" Held over Child Support
Sundowns star midfielder Joel "Fire" Masilela is expected to appear in the Mamelodi Magistrate's Court today after he was arrested for alleged failure to pay maintenance.
The first snippet refers to a baby rape, the rape of the youngest baby yet, one of many since the start of the year, and the one that has most upset the public. The second snippet, detailing the arrest of a well-known soccer player for failure to pay maintenance to his ex-wife, reveals the law in action, protecting the rights of women, bringing to book men who try to get away without paying child support. Two snippets, mini states of the art unfolding along two South African trajectories: violent histories of the body, and rights that have come, if intermittently and in important redemptive pockets, to be protected by the most liberal constitution in the world. ..
KLEINMOND, South Africa, Aug 31 (Reuters) - A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker's penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.
"Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time," Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex", a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.
Police statistics show more than 50,000 rapes are reported every year, while experts say the real figure could be four times that as they say most rapes of acquaintances or children are never reported.
Ehlers said the "rapex" hooks onto the rapist's skin, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators.
"He will obviously be too pre-occupied at this stage," she told reporters in Kleinmond, a small holiday village about 100km (60 miles) east of Cape Town. "I promise you he is going to be too sore. He will go straight to hospital."
The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said.
It also reduces the chances of a woman falling pregnant or contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from the attacker by acting in the same way as a female condom.
South Africa has more people with HIV/AIDS than any other country, with one in nine of its 45 million population infected.
Ehlers, who showed off a prototype on Wednesday, said women had tried it for comfort and it had been tested on a plastic male model but not yet on a live man. Production was planned to start next year.
But the "rapex" has raised fears amongst anti-rape activists that it could escalate violence against women.
"If a victim is wearing such a device it may enrage the attacker further and possibly result in more harm being caused," said Sam Waterhouse, advocacy coordinator for Rape Crisis.
Other critics say the condom is medieval and barbaric -- an accusation Ehlers says should be directed rather at the act of rape.
"This is not about vengeance ... but the deed, that is what I hate," she said.
Reuters AlertNet - South Africa anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks
Compassionate something or other in action
Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 15:14:47 CDT
The devastation on the gulf coast offers the GOP nothing to advance its cause. Therefore, they officially ignore it.
It's amazing that at the GOP website, despite updated news from the past three days, not a single one mentions Katrina.
Quick, someone tell Bush that there are national guardsmen down in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama which he can use for his precious photo ops.
Update: As mentioned in the comments, the RNC website has a button to the Red Cross in the upper-right-hand corner of their site. I view my browser window at 800x600, and so missed it (it's outside the normal viewable area unless you make the browser full-screen, which I don't). Still, the contrasts between the two party sites remains glaring.
Daily Kos: Compassionate something or other in action
And Finally, Harsh Reality Sinks In - For Everyone
by ColdFusion04 [Subscribe]
Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 00:13:54 CDT
My strongest memory of September 11th was, of course, the moment I first learned of the second plane hitting the tower. I was in a meeting, and one of the participants walked into the room and mumbled something about a terrorist attack. The meeting organizer feigned a look of shock, shook her head, and said, "OK, should we get started?"
My mouth hung open. I immediately got up and called my wife, and got as much detail as I could. Then I returned to the meeting, interrupted them, and said, "Everything is not ok. More planes are unaccounted for. This is not over." There was uncomfortable silence. Predictably, the meeting organizer let out another feigned gasp, then: "OK, shall we continue?"
Sunday and Monday consisted of overwhelming deja vu for me.
* ColdFusion04's diary :: ::
Sunday, the community debated whether funding cuts posed a very real threat to the levees around New Orleans. Understandably, there was some "wait and see" and some more "don't blame Bush yet". Early Monday, the storm hit, and there was a false sense of relief, that Katrina was a "near miss". Then, last night, I struggled with local wingnut bloggers to try to penetrate their outer shells of denial, to absolutely no avail. My own wife told me, in retrospect, that I was "nuts" over the hurricane. "It doesn't sound as bad as you say it is," she said. People at work used phrases such as "just like every other hurricane", and they spoke of how the media blows things out of proportion.
And really, there are only two gears in the media when it comes to disasters: ON or OFF. And this one was full ON. But so was every other major hurricane in the past 10 years. The media, you see, has cried wolf a few too many times to keep people's attention when it is desperately needed.
Then it hit me. This is what PTSD is like, in real time. It's evident in the media, watching the shift from "routine hurricane" coverage to the emotional CNN reports from late Monday night. It's evident in the throes of blind defensiveness in the wingers, as they bounce fact after fact, even trying to argue that there are plenty of guardsmen oozing out of humvees and amphibious vehicles all over the damage zone. And yes, it was even evident here - maybe even moreso than anywhere else. Why? Because we are a caring bunch, and we are personally impacted deeply and emotionally when others are in pain. How many times have you read a diary comment that starts out "I can hardly type through the tears..." How many times have you seen that in Freeperland?
My God, This community stands in sharp wonderful contrast to the suburbanites I heard on the radio this afternoon, calling the poor in New Orleans (most of whom could not evacuate to anywhere other than the Superdome or a handful of other moderately adequate sites) "Stupid" and "Idiots", and talking about how they deserved to be left to rot by the rescue crews, so they could focus on "protecting businesses and homes".
I've had an interesting experience throughout these last days - an experience which has strongly influenced my opinions on the media and our participation in it. You see, I'm in the process of switching TV providers, and I am in day 3 of a TV blackout between cutoff of the old and startup of the new. Therefore, I missed Fox and CNN and MSNBC and the others - I inadvertently learned of events ONLY through your eyes. And what I saw was fascinating.
Sunday, there was great concern for the Gulf coast, especially New Orleans. By Monday afternoon, there was equally great relief for NO, as we were brought around to believe that Katrina was, indeed, "a near miss". Focus turned appropriately to the rest of the Gulf.
We believed the MSM around these parts, as well. And why not? Wall Street believed the "near miss" theory too, as stocks rallied strongly out of joy from the averted "doomsday scenario". The nation breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Yet at the same time, in New Orleans, people were climbing in attics to escape rising waters, and nearby levees were crumbling under the increasing water pressure. The calls for help were heard by some reporters, but were they heard by the nation?
Tuesday, when the levees broke and the harsh realities finally settled in for all of us, my faith in this community was restored. Tuesday, we began to rise above the mundane repetitiveness and content-free zones of the traditional media, and transformed into the true "new media" that everyone is always referring to. Sure, there were a few unfounded rumors that needed to be researched. But today, I have seen this community transform from shambles, struggling to understand conflicting media reports, sorting fact from fiction, all while gathering steam for fundraising efforts and lodging for the refugees.
In 24 hours, this community has responded. Emotionally, financially, informatively, logistically... It's only the beginning, but it's a damn fine beginning.
Let the rest of the country joke about "Idiots" and "Morons" and people who would build in a flood plain and the folly of the original settlers. Let the wingnuts argue endlessly over the proper role of the national guard and tax dollars, while they struggle with their PTSD-based denial of reality and the true scale of the damage.
A local wingnut radio host spoke for an hour during drive time today about kids who placed beer cans at the scene of a drunk driving accident... This during the exact time that New Orleans is leaving us, possibly for good. Sunday night my local news ran a three minute feature story on adopting puppies - right after five minutes of ho-hum hurricane coverage. Complete denial now has a dictionary picture, and its face is the traditional American media.
In the meantime, keep doing what you are doing. I couldn't be prouder to be a part of it. If this is the worst disaster in our nation's history, in terms of cost, human lives, tragedy... Let's lead, not cower.
In the notable absence of media leadership, let's continue to fill the information void as well.
Daily Kos: And Finally, Harsh Reality Sinks In - For Everyone
Here's how it works, and what may well happen to New Orleans:
Water always moves. When it comes up against an earthen barrier its movement shifts from straight on or alongside the levee and is transformed into a swirling motion. Any variation in the levee -- a dip, a swerve, a slight indentation -- catches the swirling currents far below the top of the levee itself. The water swirls down there like a giant very efficient drill, weakening the levee from within. When it goes, it can do so quite suddenly; it "blows" a hole in itself and thus the name "blew holes," sometimes called "scour holes." These weaknesses are dastardly hard to identify before the water finds them first and by then it's way too late to do much about it.
Once the water on the high side starts rushing into the low side, there isn't anything any people, machines, or technology can do about it at the point of the breach until the two sides reach equilibrium.
I know nothing of the particulars of Lake Ponchartrain, nor can I guess when the breaches there will reach equilibrium. Unless they can break a hole that would drain more water in a different direction, water will continue to pour through that levee break into the city no matter if the pumps are working or not and regardless of how many 14,000 pound sandbags they can drop on top of it.
I can't speak to the political or economic machinations that caused New Orleans to cease its levee strengthening programs before they were completed. But 12 years ago I learned firsthand how levees work and how they fail, and I suspect that huge break near New Orleans happened similarly to what I described above. If Bush is responsible for redirecting money to his so-called war on terror that could have saved that levee, then he is responsible for the months and years of pain and misery wrought on Louisiana in this immediate aftermath of this most terrible storm, too.
When the water finally does quit flowing in, and after they are able to repair the breach and pump it all back out, and after they clear the millions of tons of mud, silt, and debris, they will find many of the wooden structures there thoroughly compromised and fit only for demolition.
Worst will be many of the oldest buildings built on old and crumbly stone or brick and mortar foundations. The old mortar will be saturated and mealy and in some instances washed out completely, leaving the foundations weakened beyond repair in many cases. That's what happened here. The flooded old buildings that were restorable after the flood were the oldest of the old, many barns and a few homes, that were built entirely of wood and set on stone pillars. Some of those "floated" a bit and could be jacked or moved back into place, but they survived. Most of the "newer" mortared brick and stone foundation buildings, save for some of the double walled cinder block commercial buildings, didn't make it.
Lots of things were different about our great flood. Except for a few catastrophic levee breaks that washed away whole buildings in a few seconds, most of us watched the water rise over many days and weeks. Some days it would creep up only a few inches, some days it would even drop a little, and other days it would rise a foot or two, just fast enough to watch it creep up the blacktop on the road where we banked our canoe each morning. But it took a long time; time enough for those whose homes and business were in harm's way to move their stuff to higher ground and watch in slow motion horror as their homes and farms were inundated and their lives were changed forever.
It's different in New Orleans. People are watching the water rise by several feet per day. And the mucky, smelly backwater that flooded us here in the heartland was nothing compared to what will flush itself into the poisonous soup filling a major city like New Orleans.
Life here returned to mostly normal a few years after the great floods of '93 and the nearly as great flood of '95. Bottomland farmers hired huge Cat tractors with 7 foot plowshares to turn under the six to 12 feet of sand that topped and nearly ruined the millions of acres of the world's most fertile soil. Today, the corn and beans and wheat are back where they were before in most places. I don't mean to underestimate the toil and expense and hardship we endured, but it will pale in comparison to rebuilding a major metropolitan area.
I love New Orleans. I've been there quite a few times and know people who grew up there and few who still lived there until this week. I fear it will never be the same again. Ever.
And that's just New Orleans. We are just now beginning to grasp the scope of the devastation in Mississippi. All this while our president golfs and plays guitar and pats himself on the back for the great strides for what he calls democracy, but smells like civil war, is making in Iraq. We must remember this and remind our friends and neighbors of it when he finally stands on some muddy rubble and tries to take credit for calling us together as a nation to mourn the loss of our Big Easy.
Daily Kos: Blew Holes: Why Levees Break
Proof the funds were diverted specifically for the war; and that they would have averted the present disaster
Trevino&co: lickspittle sycophants defend Bush against the reality of the Katrina Disaster
Tue Aug 30th, 2005 at 21:50:58 CDT
In a recent spate of diaries on RedState, Bush is defended against any and all charges of failed leadership, incompetence and stupidity with respect to the preparations, planning, and disaster relief.
The absence of large portions of the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama National Guards is dismissed as unimportant, because after all, 3,500 guards are available in LA, 1600 in MS, and 750 in AL...those numbers are perfectly sufficient! Or maybe not. Oh, and what about their equipment, trucks, helicopters, halftracks, and etc?
But even more, Trevino states "Show me, please, that the funds were diverted specifically for the war; and that they would have averted the present disaster."
Read exactly that information after the break.
* RedDan's diary :: ::
So, Trevino, Cole, Erick, and the rest of you shameless, heartless, blind idiots, here's the data:
At Attytood we see a comprehensive rundown of exactly how funds, projects, manpower, and equipment slated for New Orleans reconstruction and shoring up of various levees, causeways, canals, bridges, and etc were diverted to the Iraq war.
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.
-- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.
Get it? The levees were not finished. The levees failed, even though the hurricane veered and weakened. Which levees failed?
The $750 million Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection project is another major Corps project, which remains about 20% incomplete due to lack of funds, said Al Naomi, project manager. That project consists of building up levees and protection for pumping stations on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Jefferson parishes.
The Lake Pontchartrain project is slated to receive $3.9 million in the president's 2005 budget. Naomi said about $20 million is needed.
"The longer we wait without funding, the more we sink," he said. "I've got at least six levee construction contracts that need to be done to raise the levee protection back to where it should be (because of settling). Right now I owe my contractors about $5 million. And we're going to have to pay them interest."
Some of those areas, specifically St. Bernard, are now completely under water because those levee projects were not completed.
The district has identified $35 million in projects to build and improve levees, floodwalls and pumping stations in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Those projects are included in a Corps line item called Lake Pontchartrain, where funding is scheduled to be cut from $5.7 million this year to $2.9 million in 2006. Naomi said it's enough to pay salaries but little else.
"We'll do some design work. We'll design the contracts and get them ready to go if we get the money. But we don't have the money to put the work in the field, and that's the problem," Naomi said.
No money to put the work in the field, to get the job done.
That second study would take about four years to complete and would cost about $4 million, said Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi. About $300,000 in federal money was proposed for the 2005 fiscal-year budget, and the state had agreed to match that amount.
But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money, he said.
No money to undertake studies and modeling and measurement efforts to understand current and future problems...because of the Iraq war.
The largest cuts in hurricane preparedness and disaster prevention construction funding....occurred between 2001 and 2005:
In general, funding for construction has been on a downward trend for the past several years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the New Orleans Corps' programs management branch.
In 2001, the New Orleans district spent $147 million on construction projects. When fiscal year 2005 wraps up Sept. 30, the Corps expects to have spent $82 million, a 44.2 percent reduction from 2001 expenditures.
Massive cuts in construction led to:
Unfunded projects include widening drainage canals, flood- proofing bridges and building pumping stations in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The Corps also wants to build levees in unprotected areas on the West Bank.
They want to, but they cannot...because they have no money...
America Blog is on the beat...
Experts knew this was coming, and all the preparations ground to a halt because Bush stole New Orleans' disaster preparation money so he could use it for his Iraq debacle
What is being referenced?
This article from Editor and Publisher that recounts the debacle this way:
Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.
Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.
Lack of preparedness in the face of known, predictable, and long-standing threats due directly to shortsighted, stupid, bloody political games with taxes, with the Iraq war, and with hostility to government programs that were being eyed for profit-taking by private contractors and corporations that wanted that cash...
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.
Less than 20% of what was needed.
One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer: a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday.
read it again.
One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer: a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday.
The lack of money for these projects is a DIRECT cause of the faiure of the levee that was breached - that levee was slated for work and identified as a threat LONG AGO...but there was no money to fix it...and it broke.
The cost of Iraq:
* Lost lives by the tens or hundreds of thousands in Iraq
* Lost respect in the world, and massive hatred directed at the US from many, many quarters
* The destruction of the infrastructure of an entire nation, and the inflaming of massive numbers of the population of that nation and its neighbors agains the US
* The rise and growth of a theocratic, medieval fundamentalist government in that nation, allied with Iran
* Hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, stolen, disappeared, defrauded, unaccounted for...
* Underfunding and defunding of critical infrastructure, preventive measures, and protective construction in danger spots at home
* Lack of trained and equipped emergency relief troops to deal with preparation, mitigation, rescue, and recovery operations in the event of a disaster.
So, Trevino, Cole, Erick, and other lickspittle, lapdog, sycophantic propagandists...them's the facts.
A city is destroyed, and in large part this disaster was eminently preventable...but the money, planning, coordination, and people necessary to accomplish that prevention and mitigation were diverted from already identified urgent needs and projects and sunk into the bloody sands of the Iraqi desert and siphoned into the bulging pockets of your campaign contributors and rich beneficiaries of your stupid tax cuts.
Update [2005-8-31 4:58:29 by RedDan]: Updated to include several informative links from commenters: fugue, Limelite, and pb...
Limelite reports the the Coast Guard's funding is currently being underfunded and that Critical rescue equipment needs are not being met
Feds' Disaster Planning Shifts Away From Preparedness
For years before Hurricane Katrina roared ashore Monday morning, devastating the Gulf Coast, officials from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have been warning about their vulnerability to the storms that swirl menacingly in the Gulf of Mexico every hurricane season. Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation. On Tuesday, looters could be seen carrying away whole shelves of merchandise from stores in New Orleans with no police in sight. A shortage of boats left people stranded on their roofs a day after the storm passed. State, local and federal rescue workers, all supplied with different radio equipment, were having trouble communicating with one another. Meanwhile, local officials said that had Washington heeded their warnings about the dire need for hurricane protection - including fortifying homes, building up levees and repairing barrier islands - the damage might not have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be.
So the feds did not heed warnings, critical equipment and personnel were not available, and the damage was worse than it needed to be...
Louisiana should have been high on the list for FEMA's biggest disaster mitigation grant program -- so why did the state get nothing?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency shook up its way of distributing disaster preparedness money when it introduced its Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant program in 2002. Given the program's criteria, Louisiana appeared to have been a shoo-in for federal dollars for 2003, the first year the program began awarding money. Instead, Louisiana got nothing. Tom Rodrigue, flood zone manager for the Jefferson Parish Office of Emergency Management, says that office had submitted three grant applications and expected to receive some money. "One of the number one priorities for that PDM grant program is repetitive loss structures; Jefferson Parish, unfortunately, has more repetitive loss structures than any parish [or county] in the country," he says. "We felt sure we would get some funding out of that grant program, and we didn't."
What? Are you telling me that the most at-risk section of the most at-risk city got NO funding for planning and mitigation efforts from a newly-reorganized (and gutted, and subsumed into the politicized, Bush-run, cabinet-level DHS) FEMA?
What ever happened to "A stitch in time saves nine"??
In the days to come, as the nation and the people along the Gulf Coast work to cope with the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we will be reminded anew, how important it is to have a federal agency capable of dealing with natural catastrophes of this sort. This is an immense human tragedy, one that will work hardship on millions of people. It is beyond the capabilities of state and local government to deal with. It requires a national response. Which makes it all the more difficult to understand why, at this moment, the country's premier agency for dealing with such events -- FEMA -- is being, in effect, systematically downgraded and all but dismantled by the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently homeland security now consists almost entirely of protection against terrorist acts. How else to explain why the Federal Emergency Management Agency will no longer be responsible for disaster preparedness? Given our country's long record of natural disasters, how much sense does this make?
So the DHS bureaucracy is responsible for large-scale dismantling of one of the most effective and useful disaster prevention, management and mitigation agencies in our nation's history?
And DHS is cabinet level, right?
And Bush runs the cabinet, right?
LA National Guard Wants Equipment to Come Back From Iraq
JACKSON BARRACKS -- When members of the Louisiana National Guard left for Iraq in October, they took a lot equipment with them. Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem. "The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," said Lt. Colonel Pete Schneider with the LA National Guard.
It's not just that large portions of the NG are in Iraq, it's not just that only 5000 troops are available to cover and help in a three state region...it's that all their heavy equipment, generators, pumps, trucks, boats, helicopters and etc...are also in Iraq.
Note the dateline on that article, by the way - August 1st....
Got that? The people in charge of the National Guard in the region were worried and wanting to prepare for Hurricane season...but, sorry, too late.
pb comments and links to LSU's Hurricane Center, highlighting links that indicate lack of funding for research, modeling and planning has been and continues to be a long-term problem...
In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.
One of the hardest-hit areas of the New Orleans district's budget is the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, which was created after the May 1995 flood to improve drainage in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes. SELA's budget is being drained from $36.5 million awarded in 2005 to $10.4 million suggested for 2006 by the House of Representatives and the president. The project manager said there would be no contracts awarded with this $10.4 million, Demma said. The construction portion of the Corps' budget would suffer if Congress doesn't add money. In 2005, the district received $94.3 million in federal dollars dedicated to construction. In 2006, the proposal is for $56 million. It would be critical to this city if we had a $50 million construction budget compared with the past years, Demma said. It would be horrible for the city, it would be horrible for contractors and for flood protection if this were the final number compared to recent years and what the city needs. Construction generally has been on the decline for several years and focus has been on other projects in the Corps. The district has identified $35 million in projects to build and improve levees, floodwalls and pumping stations in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Those projects are included in a Corps line item called Lake Pontchartrain, where funding is scheduled to be cut from $5.7 million this year to $2.9 million in 2006. Naomi said it's enough to pay salaries but little else.
More cuts this year, piled on previous cuts over the last 3 years...shortages of manpower and materiel and machines...equals preventable disaster.
Daily Kos: Trevino&co: lickspittle sycophants defend Bush against the reality of the Katrina Disaster
Dear Mr. President - an actual letter I sent to POTUS today.
by RenaRF [Subscribe]
Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 10:41:59 CDT
(Cross-posted at On The Left Tip and Booman Tribune)
Dear Mr. President,
Like most Americans, I am watching the horror unfold in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Also like many Americans, I have felt a deep and strong pull to respond in any small way that I can. For me, it has been through fundraising and through getting the word out as to how people, good American people, can respond and lend even a small hand in helping deal with such a great tragedy.
The tragedy itself, though, says a great deal not only about the generous spirit of Americans but about you on two critical levels. The first would be on a leadership level, and the second would be on a human level.
(continued after the fold)
* RenaRF's diary :: ::
They say that the measure of a great leader is gauged not by how he handles the 90% of events that are anticipated and expected, but by how he responds to the 10% that is utterly unforeseeable. Hurricane Katrina would fall into that rare, unforeseeable category and your actions before, during and now after this event are very telling of your leadership.
The devastation that continues to unfold and worsen in the hurricane's aftermath put me in mind of other disasters, man-made and otherwise. Most specifically, the specter of 9/11 came before me very clearly. The relief that poured in to New York City and Northern Virginia following that tragic day were unprecedented. Events seemed to overwhelm reality and relief was poured into the areas affected. People knew where they could go for help. The infrastructure was in place to accommodate even the unforeseen. Frankly, I consider it nothing short of a miracle that things worked the way they did on 9/11. We were very lucky in that regard.
The relief coordination around Katrina has been abysmal. People don't know where to go. They don't know what to do. They have no information. No one can seem to agree on how to handle staunching the flow of water into New Orleans. The military is scrambling to assemble its assets effectively to provide the most basic of medical and sustenance needs. Don't mistake my tone - I have the greatest respect for the individuals who are risking their lives and safety to save the lives and secure the well being of survivors - but they are fighting an uphill battle because the coordination is simply criminal. The lives that will be saved in the coming days will be saved through the sheer power of human compassion carried by the individuals on the scene. The lives that could have been saved yet will be lost will be the price of terrible coordination. I lay that responsibility squarely at your feet.
Let me extrapolate somewhat and tell you that Katrina could have been any domestic disaster. The levees of New Orleans could have been compromised by a terrorist attack. A coordinated terrorist attack could have gone off in the Gulf region yielding devastation on par with what Katrina wrought. Refineries and chemical plants in the region could have been attacked through terrorist methods. The list of possibilities is endless.
So I ask you - how is it that, in post-9/11 America, we are failing so completely to render aid and comfort? How is it that today, this last day of August 2005, nearly four years after 9/11, we have no cohesive plan to deal with the region's refugees, the potentially one million American citizens without work or a home or basic care? That speaks directly to your leadership, sir, and it doesn't speak well for it at all.
The decisions that you have made in your capacity as President and leader of the United States of America have real human costs and implications. The decision to go to war in Iraq has directly affected the response to this disaster in overt and subtle ways. The deployment of Guardsmen in Iraq has left the affected states with fewer resources at a time when they need them the most. The decision to go to war in Iraq and the lack of planning to deal with the aftermath of the war has directly affected the stability of oil prices, which in turn affects every American. A disaster such as Katrina further strains a system that, through bad policy, is already too volatile to accommodate additional trauma. The decision to institute tax cuts at a time when we, as a Nation, should be planning for the worst-case scenarios of unexpected events has left cities and states and regions without the resources they need to effectively plan for and respond to disasters of any variety.
A certain component of the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina was unavoidable. But there is also a component that better leadership and some degree of forward-thinking would have prevented. Those deaths and tragedies should be laid at the foot of your short-sightedness and bad leadership. You should have to look at it. Perhaps it will be a reminder and you will act to prevent such things in the future.
I told you that I thought that this disaster said something about you on two levels and the second one is on a personal level. Your voice has been remarkably absent as the horror in the Gulf region has unfolded. Press clippings have shown you going about your planned events. You have given lip service to the devastation at certain points, but your actions speak louder than any words you can utter. A human response to this would have been to curtail matters of personal policy (stumping for support for the war in Iraq; the ghastly comparison of World War II with the war in Iraq; your baffling decision to do a photo opportunity with the Presidential guitar) and show an appropriate amount of respect for the lives being lost even as you plucked the strings.
Average Americans like me - who work for a living every day in this country - who don't have the luxury of a month-long vacation - took what little free time and disposable income we have and sprung into action. We raised money. We spread the word. We assembled information on what was needed and by whom and the best way to get it there. We felt - we watched our televisions and we cried at the tragedy we saw before us. Our response was so quintessentially human that your lack of it makes me wonder if we belong to the same human race.
So I'll leave you with this. A word image. You're in the dark, Mr. President. You can feel something pressing against the crown of your head - it's the roof of your attic. You're in water up to your neck. The water is filthy - you're surrounded by it - it's stiflingly hot in the little airspace you occupy. You're hungry and have nothing to eat. You're thirsty, dangerously dehydrated but you can't drink the very thing which may claim your life. Below you is everything you had. All your possessions - underwater. You don't know where your wife and children are and if they survived. You pray, Mr. President. Every time you hear what sounds like a boat or a helicopter you pray that someone will sense that you are under that roof needing help. You're too weak and too constrained by the space you occupy to signal for help. You have to wait, and as you wait, the water rises. If you're lucky, someone will find you. If you aren't, you'll die that slow, horrifying and frightening death. Alone.
Feel like playing us a tune now?
Daily Kos: Dear Mr. President - an actual letter I sent to POTUS today.
It Was the Oil Stupid
by CindySheehan [Subscribe]
Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 13:22:48 CDT
It Was the Oil, Stupid
The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford - Day 25
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Cindy Sheehan
"If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. "They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition." (George Bush, August 30, 2005 in San Diego.)
* CindySheehan's diary :: ::
So it is official, Casey had his blood shed in Iraq for OIL. He died so we could pay over 3.00/gallon for gas. Like I suspected all along, my dear, sweet son: almost 1900 others; and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis died so the oil fields wouldn't "fall into the hands of terrorists" and so George and his immoral band of greedy robber barons could become wealthier. Like I have said all along: how can these people sleep at night and how can they choke down their food knowing it is purchased off of the flesh and blood of others? We have found our "Noble Cause." And it is OIL. This man and his handlers need to be stopped.
Well, George and I are leaving Crawford today. George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego, so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused. Recovery would be easier and much quicker if almost ½ of the three states involved National Guard were not in Iraq. All of the National Guard's equipment is in Iraq also. Plus, with the 2 billion dollars a week that the private contractors are siphoning from our treasury, how are we going to pay for helping our own citizens in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama? And, should I dare say "global warming?" and be branded as a "conspiracy theorist" on top of everything else the reich-wingers say about me.
We are now packing up Camp Casey and leaving Crawford and heading to George's place of employment. He wouldn't talk to us, his employers, while we were here to give him his "job evaluation," so we must go to him to have our little chat.
I just want to thank a few people and groups for their support, help, and love while we have been here in Crawford. So many people made the Camp Casey experience possible and so successful. If I miss someone, I am so sorry: that is the difficult thing about thanking people. I love you all, even if I don't remember to thank you!!
My sister: Dede Miller: My kids' second mom who is always by my side and supports me 100% in whatever I do. My cause is her cause, and I couldn't do what I do without her.
Carly, Andy, and Janey: Who would love to see more of their mom, but who understand that we are trying to save their future by what we do. I love you guys, and I will see you very, very soon (yea!!) I couldn't do what I do without their love and support.
The Crawford Peace House: I got an email from Hadi Jawad the day that I decided to come and camp in Crawford and he pledged the help and support of the Peace House. At that time, they only had a few bucks in their checking account and the phone was turned off. Now, thanks to America, they have been able to keep Camp Casey going and they will be able to continue their good works indefinitely. Thanks to John Wolf who had the vision for peace in Crawford and I think that Camp Casey was a fulfillment of his vision. They are going to make a garden and call it "The Casey Sheehan Memorial Peace Garden." What a tribute to my son.
Code Pink: Jodie Evans and Tiffany and Alicia were the first ones here on Monday 08/08 to jump in and save me from going crazy and hopping on one of the trains that runs past the Peace House and pulling an "Agatha Christie." Code Pink also worked tirelessly (and I mean tirelessly) outside of Camp Casey.
MoveOn: For organizing the highly successful candlelight vigils.
Lisa Fithian: For all the organizing work she did behind the scenes.
GSFP, IVAW, MFSO, AND VFP: Our organizations with "skin in the game" for all of their support, presence, love, and help.
Bill Mitchell: Bill's son Mike, was KIA in the same battle as Casey and he was the first GSFP member to come to Camp Casey and take some of the heat off of me. He found a new love at Camp Casey (one of our miracles) and I am sooo happy about that. Plus, Bill is one of my most ardent supporters and he just gets in the middle of things, digs in, and helps wherever. I love him and he and his family will be parts of our family forever.
Fred Mattlage: For donating the amazing piece of land for our use that allowed Camp Casey to expand to include thousands.
Air America: The Morning Sedition, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy, and Laura Flanders. Thank you for your support . Ed Schultz belongs there, too, although he is not affiliated with Air America Radio. Amy Goodman was here, too!
The bloggers on The Daily Kos (and most bloggers in general): I would read their comments everyday after I posted my diary and I was always heartened and encouraged by their remarks. After all of the negativity, their positivity gave me strength to go on. In addition, the first night we were in Crawford, and being harassed by the SS, they were posting things and getting the word out that we were there alone and defenseless, which may have saved our lives, or saved us from being injured, or harassed out of there.
So many other people: The Camp Casey volunteers...literally hundreds. The more than 10,000 people who came through CC. Ann Wright who kept CC going. Arianna Huffington for her advice and support. Joan Baez who kept CC's spirits alive while I was in California attending to my sick mother. George Bush for not meeting with me on August 6th. Martin Sheen for his support and presence. A.I.M for Dennis Banks and Russell Means. Gary Hart, John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Jan Schakowsky, Dennis Kucinich, Frank Pallone, Lynn Woolsey, Chuck Hagel, Ralph Nader, Jim McDermott, Walter Jones, Charlie Rangel and the other politicos who either came to CC, or called me to offer their support and love. I know I am forgetting some, but thanks to you all. Joe Wilson and his family for paving the way for me to be able to ignore and dismiss the reich-wing smear machine who always tried to marginalize and discredit me by exaggerating or twisting my words and lying about me. The clergy who were there with their love and support: Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbi Dennis Shulman; Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Bob Edgars, Rev. Jesse Jackson (who prayed bed time prayers with me), Rita Brock, etc.
There were so many good people who donated money, goods, or services who want to be kept anonymous.
But especially to Americans who resonated with Camp Casey and gave us prayers, support, money, love and most of all hope for the future.
We will take our country back. And it will be a country that we want back.
God Bless America!!!!
Daily Kos: It Was the Oil Stupid
In My LIfe, I Love You More
by CindySheehan [Subscribe]
Mon Aug 29th, 2005 at 22:42:58 CDT
In My Life I Loved You More
The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford
Since I began my vigil in Crawford, an average of 2.69 per day of our nation's brave and noble troops died in Iraq for George's cowardly and ignoble war. 2.69 families per day have been devastated for no reason except that: we have to continue killing American soldiers because so many have been killed already. My heart and soul go out to these families who had a loved one killed so needlessly and avoidably.
* CindySheehan's diary :: ::
How many more are we as Americans going to tolerate before we force the reckless commander in chief to bring our kids home? How much more blood are we going to allow congress to wash their hands in before we force them to force George to bring our children home?
We are doing everything at Camp Casey to build awareness of this illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq. Now we need your help. We are taking Camp Casey to Congress. We plan to hold rallies and meetings in key Congressional districts (Democrats and Republican alike), where the incumbent is weak on the war. Here is the letter I am sending to all of our Congressional representatives:
My son Casey, just 24, was killed in Baghdad on April 4, 2004. It is devastating to me knowing that Casey died needlessly, that so many other families face this same grief, and that new families are added daily. I have been sitting outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford since August 6th in a roadside ditch we named Camp Casey, seeking a meeting and a dialogue about an illegal and immoral war. I have been joined there by other mothers and families, many of whom have lost children in the war, some who have children now serving in the military, and still others who in one way or another have been touched by the war.
The President has not been willing to meet with me, but he must meet and listen to you. President Bush sent our sons and daughters to war in Iraq. Congress gave him the authority to do so. That's why we are now turning to you, the elected officials who have the power to declare wars -- and end wars. We come to you with grieving hearts to request that you meet with us to answer our simple questions:
President Bush has said that brave Americans like my son Casey have died for a "noble cause." What is that "noble cause"?
How many more lives are we as a country willing to sacrifice in Iraq? How many are you personally willing to sacrifice?
What are you specifically doing to bring our sons and daughters home from this needless war?
Mothers from your district - all who share my conviction that this war must come to an end - are eager to meet with you, and pose to you the questions that the President has refused to answer for me. They will be coming to meet you with a symbol from our vigil in Crawford and will seek honest, straightforward responses to our simple questions. They are your constituents, and they will be asking you my questions, their questions, and the nation's questions. They are going to ask you, your colleagues, and the President to answer us.
As a member of Congress you have the enormous responsibility to end this tragedy and bring our sons and daughters home now. Meet with us, answer us, and show us that there need not be a Camp Casey in your district. Show us that the Crawford Camp Casey, brought on by a stonewalling leader, was all we need. Show us your compassion and leadership.
Mother of Casey Sheehan
Please keep watching www.MeetWithCindy.org for the schedule of our bus tour and our Congressional visiting schedule. We need your support at these events.
Daily Kos: In My LIfe, I Love You More
Good By to Crawford
by CindySheehan [Subscribe]
Tue Aug 30th, 2005 at 08:28:59 CDT
Good By to Crawford
But Not to Camp Casey
The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford
While George golfed yesterday, the worst hurricane ever struck New Orleans; oil went up to over 68.00/barrel; and an American soldier was killed in the charade and cataclysmic occupation of Iraq. The soldier's family doesn't even know what's going to hit them yet. The death is "Pending Notification." I continually ask myself: "How do George Bush and other death-mongers live with themselves?" While George vacations and bikes and golfs his way to the lowest poll numbers since Richard Nixon, other "patriots" are wrapping themselves in the Stars and Stripes and going along with the farce that the mission from hell: Killing more people in Iraq, because so many have already been killed" is somehow a good thing ordained by God. I can live with myself, but trust me, sleep does not come easily to me these days.
* CindySheehan's diary :: ::
Yesterday at Camp Casey was, again naturally, an amazing day. Dennis Means from the A.I.M. came with a group of Native American musicians and they made a presentation to me. He gave me a shawl in the tradition of Tecumseh and he pinned a brooch of 5 stars on it from "One chief to another." He also said we should all change our last names to Sheehan and he will be known as: Dennis Means Sheehan! Sheehan is Gaelic for "Peace" which I think is such a cool thing, and not a coincidence. Casey Sheehan's sacrifice will stand for peace forever.
I missed the candlelight vigil at Camp Casey I last night, but I heard that the counter-protestors came over and held vigil with us for our killed heroes. I heard it was beautiful and life-affirming. This is what Camp Casey does for us: it transforms bitter anger into righteous, productive anger. It turns hate into love. It brings people together in new love and cements mature relationships. It brings other people together who would normally not ever meet and makes them lifelong soul-friends. It heals broken hearts and mends broken souls. I know Camp Casey has healed my broken soul and heart. A veteran from the Iraq tragedy told me that he is now cured of any bad feelings he had.
Just another day at Camp Casey.
I must admit when I sat down in the ditch on August 6th, I thought to myself: "Self, what the hell did you do? Texas in August? A ditch filled with fire ants, rattle snakes, and chiggers? Pooping in a bucket? Dodging lightening bolts and heat exhaustion? But I knew I would have to suffer it through to the end. I knew that the people of Iraq and our soldiers have it far worse than we did. I thought as long as I could have plenty of water and an occasional shower at the Peace House, that I would survive.
What I never thought, however, was that I would grow to love it here: That I would be so overwhelmed by the magnitude of love and support I receive that I would be depressed to leave Camp Casey. I don't want to leave, but I know that for the Camp Casey movement to keep growing, we have to leave Crawford and take Camp Casey to the people.
Tonight I will write to look back on the good times, less than good times and the miracles that occurred here in Crawford. But I want to thank one person for the best "vacation" and most amazing experience I have ever had: George Bush: Thank you George for not meeting with me on August 6th and thank you for being the motivation for Camp Casey. I know you don't want Camp Casey to come to the place you reside between vacations, so I would suggest you bring our troops home immediately.
But most of all: thank you my son. Thank you for living the kind of life that inspires people to work for peace and justice. Thank you for choosing me to be your mom. Thank you for being the embodiment of love and thank you for being the inspiration for the Camp Casey movement. I promise you it won't end until all of your buddies are brought home. And I promise I will fight for your unborn nieces and nephews and the rest of the children of the world, so they won't be misused and abused by corrupt leadership like you and your buddies were.
I love you Casey.
Daily Kos: Good By to Crawford
3rd Fatima miracle ?
Diogenes Hits Paydirt: A Principled Bush Administration Official
Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 12:54:47 CDT
FDA Official Resigns Over Politicization of "Morning After" Pill by BushCo:
A high-ranking Food and Drug Administration official resigned Wednesday in protest over the agency's refusal to allow over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception. Susan Wood, director of FDA's Office of Women's Health, announced her resignation in an e-mail to colleagues at the agency. The e-mail was released by contraception advocates.
"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled . . . The recent decision announced by the Commissioner about emergency contraception, which continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions, is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health."
My admiration for Ms. Wood's integrity is high.
Daily Kos: Diogenes Hits Paydirt: A Principled Bush Administration Official
Starve the beast (4.00 / 3)
The pulling of funding for NASA earth-observing satellites must be a piece on the gameboard of the attempt to "privatize" the weather forecasting capabilities. Santorum is at the spearhead of this effort to force citizens to pay for weather coverage.
I think they'll be rethinking that legislation. In the end, who cares if we have satellites or not if the nations leaders aren't going to sound the alert when they get timely information. The fact that the evacuation took place on Sunday instead of Saturday is what gets me, that and the clogged traffic lanes outbound on the New Orleans highways. A NY Times letter writer (bottom of the page) writes that there was a plan in place that used all highway lanes..
by mrblifil on Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 11:37:31 CDT
Daily Kos :: Comments Glad the president is finally on it
Published on Friday, April 29, 2005 by Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, New York)
Santorum Wants to Privatize Weather Forecast
by David Rossie
A reader who chose to remain anonymous sent along a copy of a story that ran last week in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, about the ongoing adventures of Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania's junior Republican U.S. Senator.
What with being a leading proponent of the Cheney/Bush administration's scheme to divert Social Security funds to Wall Street, overturning Roe v Wade, and preventing homosexuals from undermining the very foundations of this great land, you'd think Ricky would have enough on his plate.
But no. Now he has, in a way, taken up Charles Dudley Warner's 108-year-old challenge: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." Ricky doesn't propose to actually do anything about the weather, but he is determined to make sure that only certain people talk about it.
As things now stand, weather information -- current and coming soon to your neighborhood -- is available from the National Weather Service, via its Web site, or over one of those little battery-operated gizmos, like the one I keep in my kitchen, that broadcasts up-to-the-minute information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA).
According to the Tribune-Review, The National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005, introduced by Ricky on April 14, would, if passed, "bar the National Weather Service from providing any service that competes with the private sector."
In other words, American taxpayers, whose dollars support the NWS, would not, if this wacky legislation were to become law, be able to obtain weather information from that source, because the same or similar service is provided by private weather forecasting companies such as AccuWeather, and the Weather Channel.
And here the plot thickens. The Tribune-Review notes that Joel and Barry Myers, founders and executives of AccuWeather, which has its headquarters at State College, Pa., have donated to Ricky's election campaigns.
Not being able to access the National Weather Service Web site would not be a great hardship for me, because as a borderline computer illiterate I can't access much of anything on a computer. But I hate to think that our wonderful Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, might send some of his agents to seize my little weather radio.
As for Ricky, his Senate career may be as short-lived as his Weather Services Duties Act is outrageous. He's up for re-election next year, and early surveys show him trailing his probable challenger, Robert Casey, Jr., by a substantial margin, thanks in no small part to Ricky's enthusiasm for Social Security privatization, and his supporting role in the Theresa Schiavo morality play staged by the Bush, DeLay and Frist little theater group, which wound up getting mostly dreadful reviews.
Santorum Wants to Privatize Weather Forecast
Glad the president is finally on it
Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 11:11:56 CDT
He's finally decided to show up to work.
President Bush announced Tuesday that he would cut short his extended summer vacation and fly to Washington to begin work on Wednesday with a task force that will coordinate the work of 14 federal agencies involved in the relief effort.
It only took him what, four days? Well, in all fairness, he was busy playing guitar and trying to kill social security. You know, things that are important to Bush. And since Al Qaida and Saddam had nothing to do with the disaster on the gulf coast...
As for those who still claim Louisiana and Mississippi have enough national guard troops:
Pentagon officials asserted that deployment of thousands of National Guard members from the gulf states to Iraq and Afghanistan had not affected relief efforts. But on Tuesday the two hardest-hit states, Louisiana and Mississippi, which each have more than 3,000 National Guard troops in Iraq, requested military specialists and equipment from other states, ranging from military police and engineers to helicopters and five-ton, high-wheeled trucks that can traverse the flood waters.
I honestly don't think Bush and his cronies (and their apologists) understand the magnitude of the disaster. Otherwise, they'd be acting far different. Perhaps with some much needed urgency.
Delusions and castles in the sand (4.00 / 5)
Daily Kos: Money for Hurricane monitoring, early warning gone to MARS
It was indeed, an accident waiting to happen. After 5 years diverting all federal funds to Bush's delusions of grandeur it was bound to happen. And it is very ironic that two sandy, arid deserts - Mars & Iraq - are now found to be the recipients of the resources we needed for New Orleans. Perhaps God has a sense of humor after all.
B and B: NASA's Earth-observing satellite system "at risk of collapse"
..President Bush announced that he wanted NASA to focus on returning humans to the Moon and on putting humans on Mars. Of course, Bush never followed up those words with the money it would take to implement them. Now, NASA is predictably cannibalizing its science programs.. According to a National Research Council (NRC) report released last week, among the possible victims is NASA's system of Earth-observing satellites. Since natural disasters and impending global climate change threaten the future livelihood of a large fraction of the world's population, this appears to be a very foolhardy decision.
by lawnorder on Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 11:13:12 CDT
Daily Kos: Glad the president is finally on it
BushCo Releases Oil from the Strategic Reserve
Wed Aug 31st, 2005 at 12:35:22 CDT
Not that I have thought this through, but this seems a good move:
The Energy Department said this morning that it would release oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep refineries supplied, prompting a drop in crude oil prices, the first decrease since Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore on Monday and severely disrupted the energy infrastructure along the gulf. Energy secretary, Samuel Bodman, said the decision to release the crude oil was made Tuesday night after an oil refiner asked to borrow from the 700-million barrel reserve. The government did not disclose the name of the company that made the request or say how much oil it would release.
The price for crude oil for October delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down 41 cents a barrel, to $69.40. "The department continues to review other requests as they come in," Mr. Bodman said in a statement. "This administration has been clear that SPR is a national asset that can be used in times of supply disruption, like a natural disaster."
Update [2005-8-31 13:41:47 by Armando]: I note that the release from the Strategic Reserve came after a request from a refiner. If, however, the short term problem is refinery capacity, then this seems to do little to ease the problem.
Daily Kos: BushCo Releases Oil from the Strategic Reserve
Helen Thomas Joins Those Searching for Dem Spine
by Meteor Blades [Unsubscribe]
Tue Aug 30th, 2005 at 02:09:26 CDT
I can't really say I know Helen Thomas. However, twice about ten years ago, I had dinner with her and enjoyed myself immensely. We talked about Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton, and if I were to transcribe and post her remarks I'd have to find a sheet of asbestos to type them on. She was not tepid.
Thomas's writing doesn't have the sparkle of a James Wolcott or the needling ability of Molly Ivins, but her firsthand grasp of the presidency makes up for any lack of style. Today, she's joined a still small but growing chorus calling on the Democrats to move in a direction that seems like poison at the moment. My guess is it will seem like divine wisdom nine months from now. It's not that she's the first to say what's in her column, just that she's the one saying it. Some excerpts:
Democrats still backing senseless war
By HELEN THOMAS
WASHINGTON -- It's time for the Democratic Party to take a courageous stand and call for the withdrawal of troops from the senseless war in Iraq.
Its human cost and the billion-dollars-a-week tab in Iraq should give all Americans pause.
Would the Republicans have hesitated to challenge the Democrats if the shoe were on the other foot? Did the opposition party give President Clinton any slack while he was in office?
What is the logic of Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Joseph Biden, D-Del., and other so-called moderate Democrats still backing the unprovoked war in Iraq when they know they were sold a bill of goods?
Furthermore, they are urging that more troops be sent to Iraq. And they are doing so at a time when the generals in Iraq are giving mixed signals. Some are talking about a draw-down of troops in a year, others in four years. ...
White House reporters have noted that in addressing military families, Bush is citing statistics on Americans killed in Iraq -- a figure now approaching the 2,000 mark. But the candid test will be when he notes the numbers of Iraqis who have been killed since the United States invaded their country.
Democrats have gone about their lives after giving the president a blank check to do anything he thought was necessary. They think they have absolved themselves of responsibility. It's somebody else's war.
But they might find that if they don't get some backbone and take a stand soon, the voters might not be that forgiving.
Daily Kos: Helen Thomas Joins Those Searching for Dem Spine
Wholesale prices on the Gulf Coast break through psychological barrier
Gas prices at an Amoco gas station in New York climb toward $3 per gallon. Wholesale prices on the Gulf Coast broke through the psychological $3 barrier, a move that could be felt across many regions of the country.
NEW YORK - American drivers have been shelling out more and more cash to fuel up their vehicles, but things could be on the verge of getting a whole lot worse.
Wholesale gasoline prices on the Gulf Coast broke $3 a gallon on Tuesday — far higher than prices at most U.S. pumps — as major refineries remained shut after Hurricane Katrina, trading sources said.
This could spell a huge spike in retail prices for drivers throughout the United States in the coming days and in particular those in the Southeast, where prices are typically the lowest in the country.
Story continues below ↓ advertisement
“This in many ways is the worst-case scenario that the oil industry has been fearing,” said Geoff Sundstrom, spokesman for the AAA motorist group. “Production, distribution, and refining has slowed to a crawl through the whole area and that will mean higher gasoline prices throughout the entire United States.”
“We would hope that the high wholesale prices we’re seeing today are a momentary overreaction to the current situation. It’s hard to say whether retail prices will move up by a like amount, but if they do, U.S. drivers will be paying $3 a gallon,” he said.
The spike in wholesale prices from below $2 last Friday came after Hurricane Katrina plowed through the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall near New Orleans, forcing shut at least eight refineries in Louisiana and Mississippi and slowing production from two others.
The shut refineries and plants with reduced production account for about 15 percent of U.S. refinery production.
On Tuesday, a gallon of gasoline traded in the Houston-based Gulf Coast physical marketing hub cost about $3.15 a gallon — sharply higher than the national average retail price of about $2.60 a gallon.
Traders were reluctant to guess how high the wholesale spike will make prices at the pump but some say it’s safe to bet that the price of a gallon of regular self-service gasoline in the United States will top $3 per gallon by next week.
‘$3 is a floor’
“Retail prices are going to vary among regions but for all practical purposes $3 is a floor,” said private oil analyst Jim Ritterbusch.
The spike could spread across other regions of the United States due to the shutdown of two fuel pipelines from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, including the massive Colonial Pipeline.
“This tightness of supply in the Gulf Coast is going to spread,” said Ritterbusch, of Galena, Illinois. He said the shutdown of a major fuel pipeline from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast could push prices up in other regions.
“This thing has tentacles that are going to stretch all over the place,” Ritterbusch said.
The Colonial Pipeline carries about 1.3 million barrels per day of gasoline and distillates from the refining hub of Houston along the Gulf Coast through Atlanta, Greensboro, North Carolina, the Washington, D.C., area and terminates at the New York Harbor.
In addition to the refinery shutdowns, about 92 percent of Gulf of Mexico crude oil production was shut on Monday as a result of Katrina, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said, triggering worries that refiners may not have adequate feedstock when they restart.
Citgo Petroleum, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s PDVSA, said on Monday it formally requested oil from the U.S. emergency stockpile to keep its refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, operating.
A switch to easier-to-produce autumn grade gasoline later this week is expected to bring prices lower, some dealers said.
$3 gasoline may soon be a nationwide reality - Automotive - MSNBC.com
Aug. 30, 2005 — George W. Bush's job approval rating slipped to a career low 45 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, damaged both by discontent with the war in Iraq and broad unhappiness with the price of gasoline at home.
Views on Iraq, while stable, are not good: Fifty-three percent of Americans say the war was not worth fighting, 57 percent disapprove of the way Bush is handling it and 68 percent call the level of U.S. casualties unacceptable. The public only divides, 49-49 percent, on whether the war has improved long-term U.S. security, its basic rationale.
At home, opinions on gasoline prices are even more dire. Just 22 percent approve of Bush's work on the problem, while a whopping 73 percent disapprove. Two-thirds say gas prices are causing them financial hardship — back up after a dip last week — and six in 10 think the Bush administration could take measures to cut the price of gas.
That view seems to run contrary to Bush's comment Monday: "I wish I could snap my fingers and lower the price of gasoline for you. The markets don't work that way. I'd be snappin' if I could do it."
Views on Iraq, while negative, have been at least as sour in the past as they are now. Disapproval of Bush's handling of the war has been essentially steady since December, and a majority hasn't approved since January 2004. Similarly, consistent majorities since December 2004 have said the war was not worth fighting, and since July 2003 have called the level of casualties unacceptable.
In another bottom-line view, a bare majority, 51 percent, says the United States is winning the war in Iraq — hardly an expression of broad confidence, albeit more than the 38 percent who say the United States is losing the war. Eight percent call it a draw.
Separately, in a result that could embolden Bush's critics, a majority of Americans — including more than three-quarters of Democrats and nearly six in 10 independents — say the Democrats in Congress have not gone far enough in opposing the war, or, for that matter, in opposing Bush's policies more generally.
ABC News: Poll: Bush Approval at a Career Low
New ABC NEWS/WaPo Poll 75% Say Dems Should Speak Out
by Rock Strongo
Tue Aug 30th, 2005 at 16:31:50 CDT
A new ABC News/Washington Post Poll has just been posted, with universally bad news for Bush. One of the more interesting findings seems to echo much of the sentiment here:
Separately, in a result that could embolden Bush's critics, a majority of Americans -- including more than three-quarters of Democrats and nearly six in 10 independents -- say the Democrats in Congress have not gone far enough in opposing the war, or, for that matter, in opposing Bush's policies more generally.
We all know Bush claims that he doesn't pay attention to polls. (Which on its face is ridiculous.) But with these reults, I wonder if the Democratic leadership will be paying attention.
Daily Kos: New ABC NEWS/WaPo Poll 75% Say Dems Should Speak Out
How the GOP Works in Florida Affects Us All
by DarkSyde [Subscribe]
Tue Aug 30th, 2005 at 08:17:27 CDT
Update [2005-8-30 9:40:24 by Armando]: From the diaries by Armando.
Just in case the Democratic Orthodoxy hasn't figured it out yet, Florida is a key political battleground and one they're losing. And, as if I didn't have to live under enough shame and misery already as a resident in the state that twice put the Bothers Shrub in the Oval Office and the Governor's Mansion:
[Link]: August 29, 2005--Education Commissioner John L. Winn today appointed Cheri Yecke, Ph.D., as the new Florida K- 12 Chancellor. Yecke replaces former Chancellor James Warford, who stepped down last month. She will assume the role of Chancellor the first week in October.
Dr. Yecke is the recently dismissed Minnesotan Education Commissioner who stirred up a hornets nest of controversy with her policies and statements on science and social studies standards for K-12 curricula in that state. Prior to being named Minnesota's Education Commissioner, she was instrumental in crafting and implementing the No Child Left Behind Act. They also forgot to mention in that glowing press release that last year Cheri Yecke professionally opined:
1. Local school boards should have the latitude to introduce alternative theories, such as "Intelligent Design", and
2. the Santorum amendment provides legal justification for that action.
Join me below the jump ...
* DarkSyde's diary :: ::
Why in the world would this failure of an Education Czar from Minnesota be promoted and allowed to repeat her miserable performance in Florida?
[Link]: August 29, 2005--Cheri Pierson Yecke today announced that Florida Governor Jeb Bush has invited her to play a lead role on his education team. Yecke will end her Sixth Congressional District bid to help implement Governor Bush's reform agenda.
"I am honored to have been asked by Governor Jeb Bush to be such a significant part of his education team," said Yecke. "It is therefore with deep regret that I announce that I will no longer be a candidate for Minnesota's sixth district Congressional seat."
Let's run that through the Reality Community Translator: Yecke was unpopular with Minnesotans. She succeeded in dividing and pissing off the educational/science communities in particular with her loony take on everything from religion in the classroom, to sex Ed, to science & evolutionary biology. Her fringe ideas finally elicited statewide disgust and votes to send her packing. So she decided to run for the Sixth Congressional District Seat in 2006. The prospect of winning began to look worse and worse as support for the GOP in Minnesota went south along with Bush's numbers.
Behind the scenes, devious designs were drawn up resulting in Brother Jeb handing this Neo-con minion control over one of the largest educational budgets of any state in the Union. Coincidentally, just before the '06 elections, Florida undergoes a massive review of text book standards and contracts with publishers. New education policies are rumored to be in the works from the Governor's Office; which I have to guess will gut the hell out of everything from school lunches to the K-12 tax revenue base.
And since this decision to appoint Yecke was so laudable, and she has such a solid rep among the educational and scientific communities, it was announced with no fanfare the same day Hurricane Katrina dominated national and regional news.
Here's my take on what will follow: In a few months the evolution Vs Intelligent Design/Creationism issue is going to become a big media item in a state where it has received little attention from either educators or lawmakers. Ghost written 'local' editorials will start popping up about it in Florida newspapers. Discovery Institute PR hacks will trotted out and presented as reputable scientists questioning "Darwinism".
Under that cover, textbook content covering sex education, social studies, and global warming, will be attacked and mangled by the ultra-conservative wing of the GOP into a state of unrecognizable mush. All to enlist blind support for the real agenda: Protecting corporate interests and awarding big fat state contracts to publishers (And campaign contributions checked). And the Republicans now have a sworn soldier in the highest K-12 office in the state: Tricksy Republicans!
We're going to need credentialed biologists and science educators to address the upcoming Intelligent Design Creationism threat and the reproductive/education issues threat. More importantly, we will need political strategists to keep an eye out for opportunities to capitalize on the underlying agenda of meddling in the finances and business of K-12 education in Florida. If I'm right, the end result of the GOP plan will be to to boost support for both themselves and any policy they can cook up, all on the backs of the working-class in the Sunshine State from first-grade to retired homeowner.
I can't contribute much to the broad strategic angle other than to warn those in that line of work. But if you know folks who are Biology/Science Professors in Florida and you think they might be sympathetic to the idea of preventing their field of study from being torpedoed and transformed into a political football by political shills hiding under religion and 'fairness', I'm a good contact for them. I have the personal relationships with folks across the nation who have successfully thwarted this nonsense before and a wealth of insight into creationist tactics. And remember, what the GOP does in Florida, their success or failure, affects us all.
Update: Wesley Elsberry from the National Center for Science Education is forming a Florida Citizens for Science group to organize efforts to take this on. DR Elsberry has been instrumental in defeating Intelligent Design/Creationists all over the country.
Daily Kos: How the GOP Works in Florida Affects Us All
Bunnatine Greenhouse makes Waxman's list and hits the MSM
Mon Aug 29th, 2005 at 19:06:25 CDT
By now I'm sure we've all read about how Bunnatine Greenhouse was demoted from her position in the Army Corps of Engineers because of her opposition to no-bid reconstruction contracts for Halliburton.
Well, we can rejoice: the story has hit the L.A. Times (what page, I don't know--I just read it online), with Waxman calling for a congressional inquiry into the demotion.
Article snippets commentary below.
* hekebolos's diary :: ::
Greenhouse had repeatedly challenged the Army Corps' commanding officers on their decision in 2003 to give a contract worth up to $7 billion to repair oil infrastructure to Halliburton, the Houston-based oil services company once run by Vice President Dick Cheney.
""They went after her to destroy her," said Michael Kohn, her attorney, who added that the demotion was "absolutely" retaliation for her complaints about the Halliburton contract.
Democrats, who had invited Greenhouse to testify about her concerns at a June hearing, asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in a letter today to reinstate her pending an investigation.
Congressman Waxman, in a letter co-signed by Sens. Dorgan and Lautenberg, lays the smackdown in a letter to Rumsfeld:
Retaliation against employees for providing information to Congress is illegal and entirely unacceptable," said the letter, which was signed by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and Sens. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). "Ms. Greenhouse has given Congress important information essential to our oversight of waste, fraud and abuse."
So that's the stuff that we know about, along with an appropriate Democratic response thereto. But perhaps more interesting is the stuff that hasn't been widely reported--namely, that she apparently upset the insurance industry with a plan to save money to taxpayers by offering cheaper worker's comp:
Greenhouse had also angered major insurance companies with a proposal to save hundreds of millions of dollars by offering cheaper workers' compensation-style insurance to federal contractors. Her initiative drew sharp resistance from some of the country's most powerful insurance companies, which could have lost business under the proposal.
The Army Corps was scheduled to make an announcement on the cost-savings program as early as September. It was unclear whether Greenhouse's demotion would affect the program, which would have awarded the insurance to a single carrier through competitive bidding.
"This was her baby. She's the one who fought for this thing. And she made some people upset," said one insurance industry official who has monitored the program.
So tie two and two together: for these people, increasing the record profits of enormous corporations is good; trying to cut government waste and save taxpayers some money is bad. Anyone who goes out of their way to create efficiency and save money at the expense of the big corporations will be punished.
I'm really glad that the LA Times and Henry Waxman have picked up on this. Hopefully this will gain traction in the talk shows and everything. In the meantime, let's all do our typical LTE campaign using this new information--because now we know it's not just about Halliburton; it's about the insurance industry too, and I don't think anybody really likes those guys too much either.
Daily Kos: Bunnatine Greenhouse makes Waxman's list and hits the MSM