Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rachel Maddow, over on Air America Radio, has been doing a nice job of bringing to light articles from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. This paper (which I doubt is part of the Liberal Media cabal) has been publishing a number of articles over the past few years on how the federal government has been cutting the budget of the Army Corps of Engineers. These are the funds which would have been used to plan and build improvements in the levee system in New Orleans. Maddow and others have also brought up a study from early 2001 (prior to 9/11) which said that a major hurricane and flooding such as we are now seeing would be one of the top three economic catastrophes which would effect the United States. (The other two would be a 'terrorist attack on New York City' *ahem* and a major earthquake in San Francisco.)

This Friday, His Smugness will come down from on high (or 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, if you prefer) and walk among the common folk bestowing his platitudes. He shall appear before them dressed in jeans and denim shirt, with his sleeves rolled up so that he may truly be seen as ‘one of them.’ He shall ask them to pause with him in prayer, and as he bows his head will probably wonder which one of his aides will be assigned to get all this “damn mud & sh*t’ off my boots.” Then he will pass among them (well protected by armed men) and hand out some water or other necessities which he, of course, has never done without.

As progressive folks have been saying over the past couple of days, while you can’t blame G.W. or his administration for the disaster, you can certainly hold them accountable for cutting the funding which might have prevented some of the destruction. You can also blame them for putting the majority of the National Guard & Reserve of the three states, who would normally be mobilized at this time, over in Iraq to fight in a war we can not win and which will suck the money needed for the reconstruction of three states.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

This is from the AP wire: "President Bush will cut short his vacation to return to Washington on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned, to help monitor federal efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina, the White House said Tuesday."

Whoa! This must be one of those sacrifices he spoke about the other week.

If I was President I don't know if I would consider the disruption of the lives of millions of Americans worth 48 hours of down time. It must suck to be him, huh?
While the devastation in New Orleans was not as bad as some predicted, still way too many folks were killed, hurt or left homeless. This thanks in part to the state and federal government ignoring scientific evidence that the levis around the city should have been built up. Also, as was the case in Florida, business folks will build anywhere safe or not and then leave the people in those structures to fend for themselves. We can but hope that some of the profiteering and outright theft which was reported in Florida after Hurricane Andrew will not be repeated.

Mississippi seems to have been the most severely hit, with a report earlier today saying that at least eighty people may have been killed in one small town. The count will sadly be going higher as we learn more and relief workers are able to get into rural areas.

My cousin, Maryrose was scheduled to attend a convention in New Orleans in a few weeks. She believes that it will be cancelled, unless the organizers can find another location. The whole family is happy that it wasn't scheduled for this past week.

Again, my hopes and wishes for a safe outcome for all those affected.

Monday, August 29, 2005

My sympathies and sincere hopes for a safe outcome for all those folks in the path of Hurricane Katrina. While not quite as powerful as at first feared, there is nothing predictable about a Category Four storm.

My family suffered damage to their home during several floods when I was a child, back in Norwich, Connecticut. Twice most of our furniture was a total loss. We were only a few hundred feet from the Shetucket River which had a tendency to flood every few years, especially where we were since it joined with the Quinnipiac River to become the Thames a few miles further south.

While serving in the U.S. Navy I had the opportunity to be stationed in several southern cities. I spent about half a year in Mobile, AL in 1985 –’86 and found the city was to be lovely and the people, for the most part, couldn’t have been nicer to this Yankee boy. The images I’ve seen of the storm so far have me hoping for the best.

I also spent a couple of months in Meridian, MS, so I’m also keeping my fingers crossed for those folks, as well as all those in New Orleans and the surrounding area. I had the chance to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras and had hoped to return one day. Let’s hope that the damage I’ve heard of isn’t as bad as the TV talking heads would have us believe.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I know this is going to get me labeled a sexist or something, but hasn't the day of the belly shirt come and gone? I thought I read somewhere where that this fashion had begun to be phased out, along with the low-riding jeans. I'm still seeing an awful lot of belly buttons and backside tattoos on the subway each day.

While we're on the subject, are these tummy revealing shirts also known as 'wife beaters?' I keep reading and hearing that term and find I'm a tad confused. Enquiring minds and all that.

Yeah, chalk it up to dirty old man syndrome, if you will.
I'm going to take a wild guess here, but I'm getting the feeling that the 'sacrifices' that G.W. is calling for Americans to make don't include corporations making money in Iraq or anyone in his administration. I am also going to go out on a limb and guess that one of those sacrifices is NOT cutting a month long vacation short. Am I off the mark here?

With the death toll of American forces approaching the two thousand mark (probably well before Thanksgiving, sadly) is it any wonder that Bush's approval ratings are starting to resemble Nixon's in his last days? Not that the spineless in Congress (and this includes those disguised as Democrats) will do anything about it.

Have a good weekend. G.W. will!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Let's see if I have this straight.

The Prez is on a 'working vacation' but takes time away from the ranch to vacation elsewhere. Meanwhile, dozens of U.S. service men & women are billing killed and wounded in Iraq. We may be secretly pulling some troops from that country in the spring, but will be sending around 1,500 more to help with possible elections there (just in case there is a constitution to vote on & under) in October. Plus, if the election is held the Shiites may boycott them.

Oh, and Pat Robinson really didn't say what they think he said, but was misinterpreted. Wait...he did say it, but really didn't mean it and wants to apologize if somebody (like the man whose assassination he called for) took offense. He was just carried away, you see! Ha, ha..pretty funny or at least the good Rev seems to find it so.

Meanwhile, that confused woman who lost her son is just making it difficult for us and would she please go away? We're trying to win a war against terrorists like those in Iraq who really were involved and planned 9/11; besides they were stockpiling Weapons of Mass Destruction, which we are going to find one of these days and then won't you be surprised and sorry!!

Does that just about cover it, or am I missing something?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

As I’ve mentioned before I’m a big fan of Court TV and will generally watch it when I have the morning off. One of the cases currently being televised is Montana vs. Beiber, in which a day care center employee is accused of causing the death of a child by giving him an over-the-counter cold medication. Apparently, at least according to the Prosecutor this was S.O.P. for this place in order to get the children to take naps if they weren’t inclined to do so on their own.

Anyway, the Defense has learned that someone involved in the case (possibly as a witness) may be blogging about the case. There has been a discussion by the various segment hosts and their guests on whether or not this borders on the illegal, coming under any type of ‘gag order’ the judge may have imposed. Generally, as I understand it (and Bob Ingersoll isn’t around to say different) a gag order would only cover the principles in the case anyway. I always find it interesting when the blogoverse comes under discussion out beyond our little world, which we seem to more and more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Boy, just when you think that the folks over at the 700 Club have gotten the good reverend back on medication he gets in front of the camera again. Pat Robertson's call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, probably goes up there with the other stupid things he's said although it crosses a new line.

According to reports I've heard & read the Venezuelan Vice President Vicente Rangel has called Robertson's comments 'criminal.' If nothing else it might make already strained U.S. Venezuelan relations a bit more so, since Robertson's known ties to the GOP and the administration are well known.

I know it's about Free speech and all, but can you imagine if someone like Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton called for the U.S. to assassinate a right-wing dictator? Whew! Fox News and the White House would be all over their ass!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Whoa! How could I have missed the news last Friday that they may have clue to the disappearance of Judge Crater? He might have been buried under the boardwalk at Coney Island and actually was dug up years ago. Seems that when they were building the Aquarium human bones were found but not identified. Now a woman has come forward to say her late husband, a police officer at the time of the Judge's disappearance may have done away with him in some kind of political murder. How cool is that?

Sad that nothing else has really caught my attention this weekend. There were somethings which came up which I can't talk about, but we'll deal with things as they arise.

On the political front, it looks as if even members of the GOP (those looking forward to 2006 and further down the line) may be trying to distance themselves from G.W.'s increasingly unpopular Iraq policy. Too little, too late in my book! Still it should make things interesting as the wagons have to be drawn in tighter at the White House.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Several years ago, back when I was working for the University of New Haven, I twice took part in a research project. Sadly, no super-powers developed and my hair still hasn’t grown back.

Seriously, the research had to do with memory or rather what triggered memories. Each of the volunteers was given a journal and for one month we would record those moments when we had memories of either the recent or distant the past. In the journals, using a series of shorthand notations, we would try to note what might have triggered the event (taste, sound, something we had read or seen, etc.). I have to admit that it was pretty fascinating and personally brought back even more memories as the journal writing itself would trigger further events.

Even though I no longer keep a journal, I do find that when certain memories spring to mind I try to decipher exactly what it was that led to that moment. Today on the subway, for instance, I was reading a review (a graphic novel in which trolls appear) which reminded me of an e-mail exchange I once had with Neil Gaiman (of all people) involving childhood fears (ask Elayne about “Three Billy Goats Gruff”). This in turn brought back a frightening reminder of a reoccurring nightmare I had for years as a teenager, involving an abandoned well, a girl living there and decay. Brrrr!!!

I realize this has nothing to do with Iraq, Israel or anything political which is triggering posts in the Blogoverse, but I just wanted to get that out there while it was fresh in my mind.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Well the heat here in New York has apparently broken, at least for the time being. It's still a tad too humid for my taste, but I can live with it. The hotter than normal days have been replaced with a forecast calling for showers & thunder showers for the rest of the week, with more 'seasonable' temps. Fingers crossed!

Donna and I didn't accomplish a whole heck of a lot this weekend, but did spend some time with friends. Visited our friend Bella in the hospital and then went out to dinner with Donna's best friend, Frances. Actually got out last evening, when the temps fell a bit, and threw some hotdogs on the barbecue. I think I'm really getting the hang of not burning everything.

It continues to amaze me how upset the right-wing is over the anger and grief of a mother who lost her son in Iraq. Heard that somebody actually fired off a shotgun and then laughed it off when confronted. "That's the way we are in Texas." or some such thing like that was his response. Just a good ol' boy, like G.W. down the road!

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's rather sad when you discover that Library Administration has lost track of where you are currently assigned. I received an e-mail earlier this morning requesting me to do something at a branch I haven't been at for close to six months. I suppose I should be happy that my check is automatically deposited and I'm not waiting for it here every other week.

Oh, and before I forget...."It's not the heat, it's the humidity!"
Good to hear that "Mr. Compassion" (aka President Bush) sympathized with Cindy Sheehan. I'm certain that that will make her and the thousands of other mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and children feel a whole lot better about the deaths of their loved ones. According to what I've heard (second & third hand of course, since I don't listen or watch Fox News nor various radio right-wing hosts) Mrs. Sheehan is doing little but disgracing her son Casey's actions in Iraq. How can she sleep at night?

Seriously, I don't think any of us should be surprised either at the callousness of the talking-heads or of El Presidente. For them to do anything otherwise they would have to admit mistakes, which of course they could never do.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Spent most of yesterday trying to get myself on a Jury here in Brooklyn. I'm guessing that I don't qualify to sit in judgement of the accused. Actually, I think it was because I was a victim of a crime years ago and had to identify the two men responsible. Seems that the 'accused' in this particular trial was also picked out in a lineup, so his Defense attorney probably didn't want someone who thought that type of thing works.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The fine folks over at Air America Radio (link over on the Left) would invited one & all to sign their petition to have Karl Rove fired. While it might be fun pretending that the White House cares about what citizens think I'm past the point of kidding myself.

I've been the kind of progressive who has been signing petitions, writing letters to the editor, donating time & money to various causes and groups since the late 1960s. After all this time I have come to the realization that I am way out of touch with my fellow Americans and am pretty much fed up with all of them. You do in fact get the type of government you deserve and we're living it now. We are not going to change it and it is going to get progressively (I can't help but smile when I use that expression in this case) worse.

Live the best life you can under the circumstances, but don't expect things to get any better.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Granted, it may have had something to do with the Rum & Cokes I'd been drinking for the past few hours, or the beers i just had. However, I'd like to think that it had more to do with being surrounded with my family.

Saturday night found Donna and I attending a surprise 50th b-day bash for my brother-in-law Teddy back in Connecticut. I was up on the dance floor with three of my female cousins, a floor we shared a trio of ladies who were apparently sent over from Central Casting to appear as Dykes on Bikes in a drive-in flick. The club, which my sister rented for the night, certainly had its share of characters in the adjoining bar/pool hall. Around midnight some of those folks drifted in to the party and joined the festivities. I was having a great time!

The flash came when I realized how different my life might have been had I not joined the Navy after high school, or even if I had stayed in my hometown after my enlistment was up. I would probably have married one of the girls I dated back then (wherever Diane or Martha may be?) and could have easily ended up a member of something like the American-Polish Club or something along those lines.

Family is a wonderful thing and I really do believe that you can go home again. At least for a weekend and a few drinks.

Here's a toast (another Barcadi & coke over here, please) to my sisters Pam & Sue, both Teddys, Charlie, Sandy and the rest of the Papineau(my mom's relatives) side of the Chaput family!

Hey! Was there any woman there that Bob didn't put the moves on?