Concerto for blunt instrument

An irregular heartbeat from d.o. to you. Not like a daily kos, more like a sometime sloth. Fast relief from the symptoms of blogarrhea and predicated on the understanding that the world is not a stage for our actions, rather it is a living organism upon which we depend for our existence.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Blue Roof blues

This FEMA/Army Corp of Engineers "Blue Roof Program" gives this roofer the blues. I live very much hand-to-mouth and work is slow at the moment, BUT i'll be damned if i'd take advantage of hurricane victims in their time of need. Additionally, who in their right mind wants to be associated IN ANY WAY with FEMA??

I'm trying to get sponsors locally here in western Massachusetts to pay my way down (food, housing, etc) and hopefully cover some of the lost income while i'm away (the bank still wants their payments, right?) so i can hook-up w/grassroots groups in N.O. like the folks at Camp Casey in Covington (and elsewhere in the Gulf area) that are doing roof repairs for people who don't have a pot to piss in. The thought of getting paid THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to help out people in need is obnoxious. So how about Roof Program? If i can get local supply houses up here in WMass to donate green tarps and strapping, then i'll hook-up w/Greens and others down there and GET TO WORK!! Calling all roofers w/a conscience


Rebuild Green

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Moving toward the exit

Remember when watching the horror of 9/11 unfold it seemed like a film? Did you get the same feeling as you watched the aftermath of Katrina and the utter failure of the government to deal with it? Did you get the same feeling yet again as you marched in DC against the Bush regime? Do you get the same feeling every time you sitdown in front of that monitor? everyday to wake-up and turn on the news? Have our minds been abducted by some Orwellian paradigm and fed into some kind of soul-rending matrix? GET ME OUTTA' HERE!!

Moving toward the exit

The curtain has fallen away
the Big Screen, it seems
dissolves into the audience
sitting among the props, rising
to the credits, the score
walking in the darkness toward
the door, eyes adjusting to lights
to extras all around us and
rumors of some divine director.
This treatment is in trouble, it's
like the Day After Tomorrow meets
your web cam, it's like, a disaster.
You know what i mean?

You are, however, real. I notice
that when i touch you and you...
hesitate, but these others?
I don't know. I just don't know.
How about this: after the show, you
take my hand and walk me to the exit
away from the drowned cities and
flaming towers, and endless pain,
and bad actors in suits smirking and
posing for every lens in sight,
beyond this point an entry, a
love scene, reality.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Whim & a Prayer - Rightwing War against Nature creates another quagmire

As if the quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq were not bad enough; as if Republican lies and deceit leading this nation into a needless war and occupation, one that creates more terrorists by the day and drains our national guard, were not bad enough; as if the White House outing of an undercover CIA operative and its manufacturing of phony news were not bad enough; now the ongoing extreme rightwing War against Nature has created another quagmire as well. You've probably read the litany of ecological blunders the present occupants in the White House and their enablers in congress have exposed our nation to; the list is long and painful. But the epic tragedy they have engineered on the Gulf coast here in the U.S. may well be the height of their folly.

The neglect of the levees, the disregard for wetlands, the over-development of the coastline, the cuts in funding for environmental enforcement and the neo-con hostility toward science combined in New Orleans to set the stage for overwhelming disaster. In his recent damage-repair speech before the statue of Andrew Jackson, another occupant of the White House noted for a less than stellar record in race relations and honesty, George W. Bush spoke of the "whims of nature" as if humanity had no effect upon the planet. Hurricane Katrina was not, I repeat NOT a "natural disaster".

Regardless of what some reactionary flat-earth extremists may claim, the jury is no longer out on this: human activity effects the planet's climate, period. George Bush, the man from Big Oil, and his corporate cronies only make matters worse in their denial of science. The sooner these industrial addicts move on to acceptance the sooner we'll be able to soften the ecological blow to our grandchildren. But acceptance of the realities of the natural world were not in Bush's lexicon that steamy night in the Big Easy. Instead he waxed poetic about hope and faith, as if prayer might change the laws of nature, as if prayer might allow us to continue consuming vast amounts of oil and spewing countless quantities of waste into the environment forever unto the end of time.

The fact that George W. Bush, perhaps for the first time in his political career, actually took a degree of responsibility for a failure, in this case failures in the federal response to the disaster in New Orleans, proves just how vulnerable this administration has become. During that speech Bush proposed big government aid programs and the need to address issues of race and poverty. To some his words may have sounded as reasonable as those old refrains about "compassionate conservatism" that vanished so many years gone past. It's too late. The Bush regime has lied to us so many times about so many issues that their credibility has gone the way of the fetid floodwater being pumped out of the Big Easy. It's time for the rightwing to fold up its tent and get out of town. Like the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mess in New Orleans and the Gulf will have to be cleaned up by others. We can't depend on the Bush regime to do the job. We'll have to do it ourselves.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Next up: The bush regime charm offensive

On Thursday night, King George will go before the nation with some major damage control in mind. He's already "taken responsibility" for some degree of the federal mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. That in itself is unprecedented for George W. Bush, a man who up until now has admitted no mistakes. It shows just how much trouble his administration is in. Presumably, tomorrow night he will dance around the issue as deftly as Karl Rove can train him to. Regardless, the Bush regime is guilty as charged, not only for their failure to act in the wake of this immense disaster, but for their historic and ongoing contempt for established science on critical environmental issues such as human-caused global climate disruption. O, did i fail to mention the diversion of critical southern National Guard troops to Iraq? Did i forget to mention years of neglect of the levees? The redirection of FEMA away from disaster management? The placement of useless political cronies into key positions in federal agencies? [add your Bush failure here].

The point here is: THEY MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO SQUIRM OUT OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITY. No amount of spin or deception can excuse them from what they have allowed to happen down in the southern states. Checkout this intriguing index from the publication "Facing South":

September 9, 2005 - Issue #114

Facing South is published by the Institute for Southern Studies and Southern Exposure magazine. For more information visit

INSTITUTE INDEX - A Tale of Two Hurricane Seasons

Amount of aid President Bush immediately requested after hurricanes hit Florida in September 2004: $12 billion
Number of hours after Hurricane Charley made landfall in Florida that Bush authorized federal assistance: 1
Date in September that a FEMA consultant wrote a memo suggesting steps to ensure the Florida hurricanes not become a "liability" for the president's re-election: 2
Days after the memo that FEMA announced the pre-storm deployment of "a powerful list of disaster response personnel, equipment and supplies" in Florida for Hurricane Frances, including 100 truckloads of ice and water: 2
Amount of Florida hurricane aid that government investigators later concluded was "questionable," including housing disbursements to families that had not asked for it: $31 million
Number of hours after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast that FEMA authorized dispatching employees to the region: 5
Number of days they were allowed to take before arriving there: 2
Number of days after Hurricane Katrina struck that administration was "still assessing" amount of aid to request: 4
Amount that the administration requested for Hurricane Katrina, the worst in history, after four days: $10 billion

All sources on file at the Institute. <<

(I've also posted their help links below) Soooo, why the disparity? Could it have anything to do with race? Again, the White House will be falling all over itself to try and disprove its racist and classist underpinnigs. Don't let your neighbors and relatives be fooled. The Bush regime charm offensive must be countered with our own defense of the voiceless: the poor and the planet. We are obliged to rachet up the pressure on those who will try to lie their way out of yet another failure, yet another outrage.


HOW YOU CAN HELP - Supporting Local Groups in the Gulf

Here at the Institute, we've received many emails and calls from people wanting to know what groups are doing good work at the grassroots level to support those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

We asked some of our friends and allies for suggestions, and they gave us some great ideas. Here are some resources for contributing to community/labor/progressive groups that have close ties to the region and are making a real difference. We'll expand on the list in future issues. Please be as generous as you can -- they need all the help they can get!

Local Organizations/Funds

Baton Rouge Area Foundation

Louisiana Environmental Action Network

Moore Community House (Biloxi, MS)
c/o Children's Defense Fund
P. O. Box 11437
Jackson, MS 39236-1437

People's Hurricane Fund/Community Labor United (Louisiana/Mississippi)

Lists of Other Local/Community-Based Groups

National Organizers Alliance

Southern Empowerment Project

Sparkplug Foundation

Investigative Reporting Fund

As reports grow of a media blackout in New Orleans and other areas affected by Katrina, the Institute/Southern Exposure will be sponsoring investigative reporters in Louisiana and Mississippi that can bring to light the stories of those affected by Katrina, and the political and economic decisions being made in the wake of the disaster. If you'd like to support the ISS/SE Investigative Action Fund to sponsor these in-depth reports, please visit

[Also: Food Not Bombs ]

Monday, September 12, 2005

Blame game is a lame claim

Far-right Republicans are falling all over themselves in the rush to put a good face on their failed response to Hurricane Katrina. The hot-button phrase rolled out by bullshit artists like Karl Rove is that Dems and others are playing the "blame game" instead of concentrating on aiding victims of this immense disaster. Of course, "blame game" is a lame claim coming as it does from the people who ignored pleas to upgrade the levees around New Orleans, and who for years have denied the science behind climate disruption that fuels mega-storms. Equally hypocritical is that even as they cry "blame game" they point their own finger of blame at state and local officials for their inability to adequately respond. This, in spite of the fact that the requirements for a federal response were already in place but never acted upon. But you know this, right?

To put it bluntly, the Republican noise machine is full of shit and is churning it out at an hourly rate comparable to the pumps by the 17th Street levee. Those shameless spin doctors are comfortable doing this from their climate controlled suites in Washington, having little or no understanding, much less sympathy for the kind of gritty suffering experienced on the ground down in the Bayou.

Talk about class war! Republican elites in $3,000 shoes, forever on vacation, ferried from point-to-point in limos and choppers, blaming dirt-poor hurricane victims without transportation, or any other options, for not evacuating or for "lack of personal responsibility" is the height of arrogance. It buries the needle on the evil gauge. It's class war at its worse. It's also a whole other layer of two-faced bullshit pumped out by people who use far more precious resources than the people they trash; the people who clean their trophy homes, maintain their pools and country clubs, or pump gas into their disgusting SUVs. The real lack of personal responsibility lies right in the lap of the wealthy.

Regardless of what some say, history DOES repeat itself. Marie Antoinette, in her ignorance and disdain, may have said of 18th century French poor: "let them eat cake", but we know for a fact that Tom Delay, in his imperial meanness and corruption, was overheard saying to 21st century hurricane victims, "Tell me the truth boys,is this kind of fun?". Since we're into quotes here, let's try this one from only a few decades ago: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows". Will someone direct us to the Bastille?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina hits DC - republicans seek shelter

The aftermath of hurricane Katrina has finally reached all the way to Washington. Republican operatives were seen seeking cover in a parallel universe, while some found temporary shelter in the old rightwing structure of blaming the victims. The nominal heads of federal agencies that would, under competent leadership, spearhead relief efforts for major disasters such as the one that has devastated the Gulf states, are utterly oblivious to the realities in the water and on the ground in New Orleans and the surrounding area. Michael Brown, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security Director, Michael Chertoff both made statements in the corporate media praising federal agencies relief efforts while bodies of New Orleans resident are being chewed on by rats and babies are dying. Meanwhile, the present occupant in the White House, at last able to find time to focus on the tragedy rather than continue enjoying his endless vacation, is talking tough on crime and doing photo-ops. His usual posing will do him little good this time around. Under his watch the federal government has failed miserably. There's no where to hide for George W. Bush. Not behind Karl Rove, not back at the ranch, nowhere.

The Bush regime is now totally exposed to the elements, just as those poor souls down in the bayou are exposed to the rain and heat. Years of Republican cutbacks and under-funding of critical infrastructure projects, such as the levees around New Orleans, as well as the National Guard manpower and the overall economic drain of the Afghanistan and Iraqi quagmires, have coupled with the neo-con denial of science on human-cuased climate disruption, and the inherent heartlessness of extreme rightwing ideologies, to form a perfect storm of disaster for the Bush regime and its cronies in the nation's capitol. As the horrendous stories of failed governmental relief efforts for the hurricane's victims grow, it becomes more and more apparent how unprepared and out-of-touch federal officials in the richest nation on the planet are to assist the population.

Thankfully, citizens in the U.S. are not so unprepared and disconnected. Grassroots responses to the greatest flood disaster in the nation's history are coming in from all over the country. Private organizations like the Red Cross are picking up the massive slack. When all the bodies are counted and laid to rest, when all the sick and distraught are cared for, heads will roll in DC, right up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue where, recent history to the contrary, the buck really does stop. But for now, let us concentrate on our neighbors to the south. Real help is what is needed, not posturing and spin, and real help from the people is on its way.

Contact your local Red Cross here.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pat Robertson's prayers answered - New Orleans destroyed

Prior to the destruction of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, far-right extremist Pat Robertson was, you may recall, taking a beating on the editorial pages for his over-the-top remarks about taking out Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. I've read that in the past, the fundy Christian televangelist has claimed to have saved his ministry in Virginia from destruction by asking his Old testament God to change the course of on-coming hurricanes. If Robertson's claims of a direct line to the Creator are actually true, perhaps that vengeful god heard Robertson's prayers for some kind of distraction from his present troubles and set his wrath upon the "sin city" of New Orleans. It's not like Robertson hasn't ever prayed for ugly things. I've also read he had asked his 700 Club drones to pray for "an opening" in the Supreme Court, which would then be filled by some rightwing demi-god. Such openings usually come with the death of one of the justices.

In any case, the operative word here is "perhaps". I'm toying with Robertson just as he toys with his followers and the public at-large. New Orleans' pain is very real and I'd like to take the opportunity here to not only send my useless condolences down to those folks, but to also recommend that folks contact their local Red Cross office to ask what they can do to help out. I did that last night and hope to head down to The Big Easy when needed. But I referenced this tragedy as a symbol to point out the sort of heartless claptrap that so often emanates from the far-right.

If ever there was an ideological conglomeration in need of a heart transplant it's the rightwing noise machine here in the U.S. Robertson's ugly calls for assassination and death are the logical extension of rightwing talk-radio's trashing of hurricane victims for not evacuating or for continuing their shrill flat-Earth tirades against established scientists who point out man-made contributions to global climate disruption. Blaming the victim or denying the obvious are classic rightwing ploys. Praying for an ill wind? Well, that goes way back to biblical times, part of a not-so-intelligent design.