Friday, September 30, 2005

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

"Meanwhile" begins as our young hero in dire need of a
bathroom, knocks on the door of a mysterious recluse. His mansion is in fact a
wonderous laboratory filled with amazing inventions: A mind reading helmet, a
doomsday device and a time travel machine (although it can only go back ten

Which invention will young Jimmy play with? YOU, the reader get to
decide in my branchiest and most complex interactive comic to date. "Meanwhile"
works via a network of tubes connecting each panel to the next. Sometimes these
tubes split in two giving the readers a choice of which path they would like to
follow. Sometimes these tubes even lead off the page and onto tabs sticking out
from other parts of the book.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Minor Threat

Week three has come and gone... time flies, doesn't it kids?

So, in our NFL.COM league... well, I lost. Sorry. I let you all down, I know. Truth be told, really, I couldn't have done any better... my benched players did worse than the ones I started (for a pleasant change)... but a loss is a loss. What I'm doing? I'm learning from it, and moving on! Oh, and drafting a buncha' obscure players who seem to be performing better than star starters... and I'm sending the NFL a check for $50, in the hope that this donation might lead to a little help in the ol' fantasy football league... it never hurts, right TOM DeLAY?

The standings:

West Division
scurvy dawgs 2-1-0
Jimbo 2-1-0

Central Division
San Jose Synecdoche 2-1-0
blueflames 2-1-0
marauders 1-2-0
Eau Claire Charlatans 1-2-0

East Division
jump 3-0-0
AntiBushTexans 1-2-0
Metropolis Meteors 1-2-0
Crawford Vaqueros 1-2-0

Yeah, I'm third now... but with a bullet! It should be noted that Nancy has taken the lead back in her division, and is 2nd in overall points. She plays Tony this week in a veritable clash of the titans. Well, a clash of a titan and a girl, anyway. We'll just see how Tony's 1-2 team matches up with Nancy's 2-1 juggernaut... my money's on the girl who's kickin' everybody's asses! And when it's all over, I guess we'll see -as Connie Francis sang- who's clashin' now....

The office Yahoo league... that's a whole 'nother Oprah show. I squeaked out a win, based soley on one guy (Ladanian Tomlinson, for those scoring at home). By rights, I shoulda' lost in the Yahoo league, and won in the other... but, conversely, a win's a win, so I'm not complaining. Plus this third week really shook up the standings... I'm in seventh! Just like dad always said! "Son," dad said, "always shoot for seventh." I'm there dad! Seventh! Love me! Please? I... I have Red Vines!

The standings:

1. Kirk's nightmare 3-0-0
2. San Diego Zoo 3-0-0
3. Budwipers 3-0-0
4. Last & Least Too 2-1-0
5. Wade Reeves QB 2-1-0
6. AggieDucks 2-1-0
7. Gotham Knights 2-1-0
8. Arsenal 1-2-0
9. Turd Burglars 1-2-0
10. The Nation 1-2-0
11. kimpossible 1-2-0
12. Super Chargers 0-3-0
13. Las Vegas Hea t0-3-0
14. Cyanide 0-3-0

So there you go. Now get some rest... this weekend could really tear things up in the ol' fantasy football leagues... plus, you look sleepy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Big Star

"Comedian" Kathy Griffin, co-host of Star Jones in all E! red carpet events and former co-star with Brooke Shields in Suddenly Susan, has filed for divorce after four and a half years of marriage to D-List computer technician Matt Moline.

I can't help but think that Star Jones has a hand in this and the other stuck in one of those bulk jelly bean dispensers (honestly Star, just pay the 75 cents). We've all seen The Little Mermaid. We've seen what Star did to Ariel, trying to steal her man and get all up in her grill and kill her. And if you think about it, Kathy Griffin would look a lot like Ariel if she was half fish, or if Ariel was half foul-mouthed crazy tramp. Or all foul-mouthed crazy tramp. Or all foul-mouthed crazy hilarious.

Anyway, the point is: Star Jones tried to kill every little girl's animated hero, and Kathy Griffin is not Star Jones. Therefore, Star Jones must pay for breaking up Kathy Griffin's marriage. And admit it, even though there is literally no sense to my argument, you somehow still agree with me, don't you?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Let's Active

What is it with Dubya's administration and promoting unqualified people to posts they don't deserve, and then setting them up as scapegoats? Michael -"Death Sqaud for Creepy"- Chertoff was the official in charge of Katrina crisis since August 27th or 2 days before the hurricane hit, yet the equally-incompetent Michael Brown was ultimately the scapegoat. Yeah, I'm glad Brownie's gone, but there's still sunken-eyed boyle on the ass that is our Homeland Security Department... and it's name is Chertoff.

A few facts show Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff was in charge of the Katrina crisis since at least August 27th, or 2 days before the hurricane hit land, and had the duty to provide immediate relief to New Orleans, but did not.

(1) August 27th: The 3 state governors requested and Dubya issued emergency disaster declarations.

(2) August 27th: Dubyaco knew since August 27th, or 2 days before the hurricane hit, that state and local officials did not have the capacity to manage the pending hurricane. Yet, they did not assist with the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans.

First of all, face it, state and local governments are not equipped for protecting citizens from national disasters or terrorists attacks. This fact is recognized by Dubya‘s National Response Plan (NRP), which allocates this duty to the federal government.

“Localities have plenty of duties that are uniquely their own, and if a building catches on fire or a sewer pipe breaks, no one blames the president if the response isn't adequate. But no one community, or even any one state, can protect against hurricanes or vast flooding, any more than a city or state can protect itself against international terrorism.”

Second, a Governor may not request an emergency disaster declaration from the President, and he (don't call me sexist, dammit, for the forseeable future that office is Y-chromosome dominated, alright? Not my fault) should not grant, unless the legally requisite finding is first made that “the event is beyond the combined response capabilities of the State and affected local governments.” (p. 7)

(3) August 27th : When Dubya granted the states the requested emergency disaster declarations, those declarations automatically, by operation of law, constituted a declaration also of an “Incident of National Significance,” which triggers federal duties to manage the Katrina crisis.

What's an “Incident of National Significance” you ask? Why, an “Incident of National Significance” is a national emergency, such as terrorism, major natural disasters and other major emergencies. There's more than one method or process whereby such a national emergency can be designated an “Incident of National Significance,” which then triggers federal duties. For example, the FBI may evaluate a credible threat and send this information up the chain of command for an ultimate determination by Chertoff, who can then issue an Incident of National Significance declaration. (p. 49)

However, a different process is used when the president signs a declaration of disaster. “All Presidentially declared disasters and emergencies under the Stafford Act are considered Incidents of National Significance.” (p. 7)

To wit (God I love saying that... I so rarely get to do so): by operation of law, the emergency disaster declarations signed by Bush also constituted a declaration of an “Incident of National Significance.”

(4) Since August 27th, it was the federal government’s duty to manage the response and recovery relief to the Katrina disaster.

As soon as Dubya granted these declarations on the 27th, the responsibility for disaster response and recovery automatically vested in Chertoff. So THERE.

The NRP “plainly outlines the chain of command for local, state and federal agencies when dealing with a large disaster. In cases in which "resources of State and local authorities are overwhelmed and federal assistance has been requested," the plan designates the DHS secretary as the "principal Federal official" for "domestic incident management."

(5) August 29th: Chertoff and White House were advised that urgent aid was needed in New Orleans by Brown.

On August 29th, just hours after Katrina hit New Orleans, Brown recognized the “scale of the catastrophe” and placed calls to Chertoff and White House chief of staff Card. Brown continued to place calls all week that “state and local authorities were overwhelmed and that the overall response was going badly,” but neither the White House nor Chertoff took any action until Bush visited the area on Friday September 2nd. A senior administration official admits that Brown made these calls, but does not recall “urgency or desperation” on the part of Brown. The source didn't mention if he recalled "utter panic" or "wailing of biblical proportions."

Chertoff’s response to these frantic calls for help was to proceed with his regular schedule and to fly to Atlanta for a briefing on avian flu while New Orleans’ residents fought for their lives against rising floodwaters. USA! USA!

(6) Does Chertoff not understand the NRP or was he trying to set up Brown as the scapegoat?

The NRP placed Chertoff in charge of coordinating aid and relief to New Orleans and the rest of the Katrina disaster zone. Chertoff either did not understand the NRP process or was seeking to set up Brown as the scapegoat for the Bush administration’s failure to act. Gee, in hindsight... maybe it was that second thing, huh?

In a memo, Chertoff declared Katrina an “Incident of National Significance” on Tuesday, August 30th, 2 days after the hurricane hit. If Katrina was declared an “Incident of National Significance” on August 27th, why would Chertoff duplicate a declaration that Bush had issued 3 days earlier? What's that all about?

In this same August 30th memo, Chertoff designated Brown as the “principal federal official” to coordinate the federal government’s relief operations for Katrina. However, it's not clear that Chertoff had legal authority to delegate his disaster response management duties to Brown:

“By order of the president, that responsibility falls on the DHS secretary. According to an analysis by The New Standard, nothing in the Plan or in the presidential directive that the Plan stems from indicates that Chertoff had the authority to pass that responsibility off to Brown, or any other official. By doing so, Chertoff put Brown, who already was managing FEMA, in charge of coordinating the efforts of the Departments of Defense, Transportation, Health, and Commerce, among others.”

This is the best part: as more information is revealed about the relevant law and the duties of administration officials under the NRP, new versions of what Chertoff was doing in the days before the hurricane hit and the following week are disclosed to the media:

“With the spotlight now on Chertoff, officials at the Department of Homeland Security this week have begun issuing new versions of events surrounding his role in the botched federal response to Katrina. What they are saying this week contradicts many of their previous statements and actions.”

So Brownie is gone, but the problem remains. As long as our elected officials pay more attention to politicking than governing... as long as croneyism is the rule of the land... as long as the majority can be painted as a crazy "fringe element..." well, honestly, we can't afford to wait much longer for others to affect real change, can we?

I'm ranting, I know. It just drives me crazy, the arrogance of this administration. No, worse than that... it scares the crap out of me. We're sinkin' fast, my friends... yes, literally and metaphorically.

These jackasses work for us. We have just over a year to get organized, and send them home in -06, and to lay the groundwork for '08. This isn't "partisan bickering," or the "blame game."

This is patriotism.

Get involved.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I Ain't Got Time to Bleed

Week two fantasy football update!

Sorry to keep you waiting... I hope you were able to get some sleep, anyway... y'know... while you waited for the update and all....

So, I climbed to 9th in our office Yahoo league... well hell, see for yourself:

Kirk's nightmare 2-0-0
San Diego Zoo 2-0-0
Budwipers 2-0-0
Last & Least Too 2-0-0
AggieDucks 2-0-0
The Nation 1-1-0
Wade Reeves QB 1-1-0
kimpossible 1-1-0
Gotham Knights 1-1-0
Arsenal 0-2-0
Super Chargers 0-2-0
Turd Burglars 0-2-0
Las Vegas Heat 0-2-0
Cyanide 0-2-0

It was an ugly win, but a win all the same. I managed to start most of the wrong people, and barely scraped out the victory during the second half of the second game Monday night. Phew! By the way, I didn't start Brett -you know, to teach him a lesson for letting me down the week before- and he threw for three touchdowns... mostly out of spite. He looks nice, but I'm tellin' you: he's spiteful. Keep an eye on him.

Meanwhile, in our NFL.COM league:

East Division
jump 2-0-0
AntiBushTexans 1-1-0
Metropolis Meteors 1-1-0
Crawford Vaqueros 0-2-0

Central Division
blueflames 2-0-0
San Jose Synecdoche 1-1-0
Eau Claire Charlatans 1-1-0
marauders 0-2-0

West Division
scurvy dawgs 2-0-0
Jimbo 1-1-0

Yeah, I lost in this league. I've never gone 2-0, so history was against me, I'm afraid. That, and the fact that all of my guys played for shit... that probably had a little to do with it too, I guess.
Nancy was unseated as overall point leader by "jump,"who's, of course, in my division. Shit. The good news is Nancy looks good to win this week... I'm about 50/50... so I'm typing this with fingers crossed. Neat trick, huh?

So there you go! After two weeks, I'm 1-1 in both leagues. Sure, I've lost a couple players, and I've lost a couple games, and I start the wrong guys and... wh-where was I going with this?

The playoffs, baby! The playoffs!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Something About Mary

"One of the candidates, adult film actress Mary Carey said if she doesn't win the recall vote she will go back to making porno films. Even more disturbing, Gary Coleman said the same thing." ~Conan O'Brien

Infamous porn star Mary Carey says she's now a fully converted Republican after hobnobbing with GOP bigwigs at a fundraiser hosted by Dubya. The former California gubernatorial candidate and star of such classic films as Dual Airbags and Some Like 'em Big was disappointed, however, that she didn't get an opportunity to press the flesh with President Shitstick. "I was told that they had people ready to tackle me if I tried to, you know, get up close to him," she told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. "And they were worried about me maybe flashing or streaking through the dinner. And I mean, I can't believe they'd think I would do that. I'm a serious politician."

Here's an excerpt from the intrepid Keith Olbermann's amusing interview with Mary Carey:

CAREY: "I really wanted to meet President Bush, though, like, you know, up close and personal. I was kind of disappointed.
OLBERMANN: And that never—that was never even close, that.
CAREY: No, they actually—I was told that they had people ready to tackle me if I tried to, you know, get up close to him. And they were worried about me maybe flashing or streaking through the dinner. And I mean, I can‘t believe they‘d think I would do that. I‘m a serious politician. I would never want to, you know, jeopardize my, you know, future career like that.
OLBERMANN: Well, despite the fact that you didn‘t get to meet the president and there were other limitations to the evening, was it fun anyway?
CAREY: I had a great time. You know, Republicans can party almost as much as porn stars.(LAUGHTER)
CAREY: I think they can drink just as much. There were some really drunk guys by the end of the night. I was getting propositions to have threesomes with wives or mistresses. I was offered money from oil tycoons! I mean, it‘s pretty exciting. I didn‘t take any money and I didn‘t do any threesomes, but it was pretty—I was just surprised. I thought everyone would be stuck up and no one was going to like me. And everyone loved me and got drunk and took pictures with me. So I want to keep going to Republican events. I‘m a fully converted Republican now."

Good Lord.

Watch this.

The blessed bulgin' Mary also sat down for an interview with The Daily Show's Stephen Colbert:

COLBERT: What appeals to you about the Republican party?
CAREY: I just think Republicans are very, very wealthy people. And, um, if I want to be wealthy and powerful I should hang out with them. If you play with cripples you start to limp. So I don't want to play with cripples anymore. I want to be up with the NBA players, y'know, which is Republicans.
COLBERT: Okay. In your analogy Democrats are handicapped and Republicans are tall athletic black men.
CAREY: Exactly. That's exactly what it is.
COLBERT(narration): But today's GOP is not just for pornographers. It also embraces compulsive gamblers [photo of Bill Bennett], drug addicts [photo of Rush Limbaugh], and convicted killers [photo of Don King].

Now watch the video clip here.

Now go outside, for God's sake.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

Thursday, September 15, 2005

You Don't Have to Win it, Just Don't Lose it.*

Week 1 of the football season is but a fond memory... unless you drafted Javon Walker like I did, dammit! Then it's just a bitter, stinging reminder that it can be one long trek to the Super Bowl, and like as not the Seahawks will be watchin' it on the big screens in the audio/video department at Fred Meyer. Don't get me wrong though, I feel bad for Javon... missing the season due to shredding an ACL in the first half of the season opener... sucks, I know. Sure, his family won't be on food stamps any time soon, but it's a drag, nonetheless. But still, one wonders: did he stop for a moment to think about me, and my season as he was carted off the field? No, I don't think he did. And that's why you can never trust a football player, my friends. Or a shopping mall Easter Bunny... but that's another story.

And don't even get me started on my other Yahoo league superstar, the legendary QB Brett Favre! No touchdowns? I'm pretty sure that hasn't happened to him since Rue McClanahan's first menstrual cycle. What the hell was that all about? Tony tells me that Brett was probably distracted... he has a home, and family, in Mississippi y'understand. But it's like I used to tell that little league team I coached back in Fremont -the Asthmatic, Blind-in-One-Eye, One-Legged Palsy Mustangs- "You play your way through that shit! And quit drooling on those jerseys! They're rented!"

Anyway, it was a bittersweet week for me, football fans. First of all, I lost in spectacular fashion in the office Yahoo league (thanks a bunch, Brett!). I'm learning from it, though, and moving on... only way to go is up... well, almost: I'm second to last, but as long as the last place team continues to ignore their weekly rosters I'm pretty sure I can kick his ass all season! Yeah, baby! Bring it!

Take a look at the majesty that is your Gotham Knights:

YAHOO.COM ~ Al Bundy Football League

1. Kirk's nightmare 1-0-0
2. Budwipers 1-0-0
3. San Diego Zoo 1-0-0
4. The Nation 1-0-0
5. AggieDucks 1-0-0
6. Last & Least Too 1-0-0
7. kimpossible 1-0-0
8. Arsenal 0-1-0
9. Wade Reeves QB 0-1-0
10.Turd Burglars 0-1-0
11.Super Chargers 0-1-0
12.Las Vegas Heat 0-1-0
13.Gotham Knights 0-1-0
14.Cyanide 0-1-0

Yeah, not the outcome I was hoping for... sigh.... It's like my lacrosse coach used to say to me: "Quit bawling and get me a Mojito, Rick!"

I fared better in the NFL.COM league though! First in my division for the first time ever! I've highlighted my team (your Metropolis Meteors, of course), and Nancy's and Joe's and Tony's for your score-perusing enjoyment. Look here for their team names, and wussy little rosters.

I'm proud to announce that Nancy is kicking fantasy football ass in our league! She not only rules her division, but the entire league with an impressive point total. Still, I know she lives in fear as she waits anxiously to face the indomitable force that is the Metropolis Meteors... I almost pity her... almost.


NFL.COM ~ Anti-Bush Texans League

Metropolis Meteors 1-0-0
jump 1-0-0
AntiBush Texans 0-1-0
Crawford Vaqueros 0-1-0

SanJoseSynechode 1-0-0
blueflamers 1-0-0
EauClaire Charlatans 0-1-0
marauders 0-1-0

scurvydawgs 1-0-0
Jimbo 0-1-0

Obviously, the "George Costanza Rule" held true for week one. Remember how I was even more stoked about my Yahoo league roster than my NFL.COM league roster? Yeah, we see how that turned out. Maybe Nancy's right, and I should consult my gut each week... and then do the exact opposite. Lessee... my gut tells me I should do that... but now it says it always lies... wait... now it says it's telling the truth about this: I should always do what it says... but it said to do the opposite... but it lies... but the truth... lies... opposite....

I was right about one thing: it's a looooooooooooong season....

*The inimitable Ray Lewis

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pictures of Matchstick Men

When I was a kid
I finished what I did
And I went upstairs in my dressing gown

So I was a kid everyone is that
I went up and I made damn sure
I never came down

Ain't it strange how people get older
They wear you on their head
And they print you on their shoulder
And never believe
I'll be more than free
At least evolve for me

When I was a kid
I wore a broad brim
And sat on him
His toothpaste major is no one oak level
People who traced your new ply devil and aging bee

I swear I could murder that guy
Though I always smile at him when he comes by
He turned me into a businessman
He turned me into a businessman
He turned me into a businessman
He turned me

When I was a kid
I drew blank mushrooms
Sat in ballrooms
Took it on

Then I knew I did
Have the lot when I'd got what I was given
I just took it and
I just couldn't form

Some people get bigger
Some just get dead
When their figures are bled
'Cause their heads are
Stoven right in by the waste of the time
They've been living in their hats so blindly

~Robyn Hitchcock

Prince among men.

"Halt! Or we shall pummel you into a state of unconsciousness!"

Super soldier!

Not to be toyed with.

Living in a box.

Monday, September 12, 2005

He's Got the Whole World in His Pants

Human agency is the capacity for human beings to make choices and to impose those choices on the world on a collective basis, usually through democratic means. It is normally deployed in contrast to natural forces, which are causes involving only unthinking deterministic processes, but in religion or theology it operates on the basis God helps those who help themselves, in other words the will of God is determined through collective consensus of human beings.

In this it is subtly distinct from the concept of free will, the philosophical doctrine that our choices are not the product of causal chains, but are significantly free or undetermined. Human agency entails the uncontroversial, lower claim that humans do in fact make decisions and enact them on the world. How humans come to make decisions, by free choice or other processes, is not at issue.

Human agency invests a moral component into a given situation. If a situation is the consequence of human decision making, persons may be under a duty to apply value judgements to the consequences of their decisions, and held to be responsible for those decisions. Human agency entitles the observer to ask should this have occurred? in a way that would be nonsensical in circumstances lacking human decisions-makers, for example, the impact of Shoemaker-Levy into Jupiter.

In certain philosophical traditions (particularly those established by Hegel and Marx), human agency is a collective, historical dynamic, more than a function arising out of individuals. Hegel's Geist and Marx's universal class are idealist and materialist expressions of this idea of humans treated as social beings, organized to act in concert.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Sheer, Maddening Incompetence"

What foreign observers have witnessed from afar, with a combination of shock and awe: "sheer, maddening incompetence, from both the (notoriously corrupt) state authorities [in Louisiana and neighboring states] and from Washington." (Daily Mail)

In Italy, Corriere della Sera scolded the "world's greatest country," calling the United States "a land that can no longer get it together to work together."

"Superpower or Third World?" a headline in the Spanish daily Noticias de Álava declared, in response to Bush and his highest-level emergency-relief officials' inefficiency and seeming indifference to the plight of the tens of thousands who were left homeless or injured by Katrina.

"The scenes are reminiscent of a drought-stricken African state where starving refugees piteously cry for help," the British tabloid the Daily Mail stated, "yet this is a great city in the richest and most powerful nation on earth" in which "[b]odies lie where they drop ... marauding, armed gangs loot, rape and kill ... relief workers are shot at [and] people die for want of drinking water."

"The worst of the Third World," The Guardian echoed, had "come to the Big Easy."

Reporting for The Scotsman from New Orleans, Jacqui Goddard described a "plethora of grim tales of disaster," including one female hospital manager's decision to euthanize a 380-pound man who was stranded on an upper floor of her flooded building.

Katrina has put "America to the test," Le Figaro commentator Pierre Rousselin observed. He added, more matter-of-factly than optimistically, "Of course, America will bounce back."

"The devastation of New Orleans was perfectly predictable," columnist Margaret Wente wrote in Canada's Globe and Mail.

Why did federal authorities under Bush's command "seem to be so little prepared in the face of a hurricane, the strength of which was known 48 hours in advance?" Le Monde asked. "Why did the [Bush] administration fail its first great [national-]security test since the September 11, 2001, attacks?"

The answer, foreign news media did not hesitate to point out, even if Bush and his handlers would never allow a member of his government to admit it, is that, with "4,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard and no fewer than 12,000 guardsmen from neighboring Mississippi serving in Iraq" (The Scotsman), the Republican president's "ill-fated excursion into the Iraq debacle left his own country exposed." (Daily Mail)

With the National Guard's absence from the hurricane-prone region it is meant to serve, "[t]he words 'homeland security' now have a terribly hollow ring in the anarchic [disaster zone]." (The Guardian)

"Is it well-advised to spend hundreds of millions" -- make that billions -- "of dollars to make war in Iraq when America is incapable of protecting its own citizens?" a Le Monde editorial asked.

The Scotsman noted that even former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican ideologue Newt Gingrich, criticized Bush's response to Katrina. Gingrich "says the disaster 'puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years,'" the paper reported.

Now, after the hurricane, "it's a political storm that threatens to sweep over the United States," Le Figaro's Pierre Rousselin predicted. This new round of stormy weather will "test" George W. Bush and his ability to "mobilize all that's best about America," he added, noting that, this time, unlike after the 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush "doesn't have an enemy" to fall back on.

So far, dutifully following his public-relations handlers' lead, Bush has shown up twice in the storm-stricken zone for all-too-obvious "photo opportunities" and a "show of sympathy" designed to demonstrate that he cares about the region's injured and newly homeless. (Deccan Herald)

The Scotsman noted that even former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, "an influential conservative columnist" in the United States, had questioned Bush's post-Katrina behavior. "Does he know in his gut that the existence of looting, chaos and disease in a great American city, or cities, is a terrible blow that may have deep implications?" asked Noonan, a tireless apologist in the pages of the Wall Street Journal for the Republican administration's policies at home and abroad.

"Each catastrophe ... instantly expose[s] the society that it strikes, and Katrina is no exception to this rule," an editorial in France's Libération observed. "Nice and dry in his mountain range," the paper added, "[Osama bin] Laden must be dying of laughter [as] the American civil-security helicopters make like ducks along the Mississippi."

In an online readers' forum sponsored by Germany's Die Welt, some contributors opined that it was "anti-American" to suggest that New Orleans got what was coming to it with Katrina because the United States, under Bush, had stubbornly ignored global-warming trends (which have helped make some storms more severe) and had failed to properly prepare the low-lying coastal city for such a blow.

To criticize the United States when it's down "isn't anti-Americanism, it's reality," a Greenville, South Carolina-based German contributor named "fretwurst" wrote. "Many people [will] always believe the U.S. is a super-developed country. That's true for some small fields of research, but in everyday life, there are many here who are living in a dream world" -- the kind of out-of-touch-with-reality people, "fretwurst" hinted, who would unquestioningly support a president who appeared not to have made their safety a top priority.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fisher of Men

Sean Penn planned a personal rescue of Katrina victims over the weekend, but in his haste he forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of his boat. The vessel began to take on water within seconds of its launch, forcing Penn to frantically bail water out with a red plastic cup. Additionally, the boat's motor failed to start and those aboard were forced to use paddles.

With the boat loaded with members of Penn's entourage, including a personal
photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: "How are you going to get any
people in that thing?"

I wish I was making this shit up, but horrible tragedies have a way of bringing out the ridiculous in celebrities. When you literally have hundreds of millions of dollars at your disposal, setting out on a leaky paddle boat with your personal photographer, a red cup and the truth probably isn't the best way you can help.

Kanye Dig It?