Monday, September 05, 2005

Democracy Now!, Labor Day Party and other stuff

Good evening and happy Labor Day. Let's get this party started with Democracy Now!

Louisiana Official: Federal Gov’t Abandoned New Orleans
On Sunday Aaron Broussard, the president of Jefferson Parish appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and accused the federal government of abandoning the people of New Orleans. He broke down crying, as he recalled how the mother of one of his colleagues died after waiting days to be rescued. He also said that FEMA turned away trucks from Wal-Mart loaded with water and that FEMA prevented the Coast Guard from delivering 1000 gallons of fuel.

If you watch the show or listen, you'll get a clip from that later in the broadcast - you can watch online. It'll rip your heart completely.

Nothing was done. It's sick.

Report: Karl Rove Orchestrating PR Campaign Over Relief Effort
In Washington, the Bush White House has responded to the mounting criticism by trying to shift the blame to local and state officials in Louisiana. According to the New York Times, this is part of a coordinated public relations campaign led by President Bush’s chief advisor Karl Rove. The Times reports that in many ways, the unfolding PR campaign reflects the style Rove has brought to the political campaigns he has run for Bush. Meanwhile the Washington Post has been forced to print a retraction after it published as fact a claim sourced to a "senior Bush official" that the relief effort was delayed in part because Louisiana’s Democratic Governor -- Kathleen Blanco never declared a state of emergency. In fact Blanco did just that – four days before the hurricane hit.

Bully Boy and his ball scratcher Rove just got to try to smear the blame around but the stink keeps coming back to them, don't it? It always will. Reason for that is that the Bully Boy failed.

How was your Labor Day? I hope you had a blast. We cooked out in the backyard and all Ma's relatives were over because they live in the area but Dad's relatives really weren't because they don't. All my siblings came by so it was more than just my sister and me the way it usually is. Everybody got to meet my girfriend Nina and they all think she's cool. Tomorrow I'll be blogging later than usual because I got to have dinner with her parents. I'm a little nervous about that.

I even tried to weasel out of it today but she pointed out that she was meeting almost my entire family (all but Dad's relatives) so the least I could do was meet her folks.

Tomorrow, Joan Baez's CD comes out and I hope you're thinking about getting The Bowrey Songs. I read this at Kat's site and I want to include it here:

C.I. also put me wise to an item in The New York Times' "Arts, Briefly" by Grant James Varjas, "New CD's This Week."
1) Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang.
2) Sarah McLachlan's Bloom.
3) Joan Baez's Bowery Songs.
4) Greg Dulli Amber Highlights.
5) Alison Moyet's Voice.
6) Idlewind's Warnings/Promises.
7) North Mississippi Allstars' Electric Blue Watermelon.
Of the above, I'm interested in Joan Baez's Bowery Songs, obviously. It's a live CD and I did catch her last tour. I felt she brought to bear her full range of living on each song. The group I went with had lousy seats at the beginning of the concert (we were practically at the entrance) but one of the guys working the concerts knew me and found a place upfront for my group.Even from what was practically the last seat in the house, I was blown away by what she was doing, that little speck on stage that I could barely see, but that voice that reached as though it was sitting next to me. If Bowery Songs documents even a fourth of what Baez provided on Dark Chords tour, it's worth having.
The Times notes that Keith Richards will sing on one of the Rolling Stone songs. That usually means the album's a little less formal (and formalized) and a little more fun so that honestly raises my interest in the album. (Further honesty, I wasn't all that interested before that.)
Sarah Mac. If you love her, and some are obsessed with her, Bloom's probably just your thing. (We discussed her Surfacing at The Third Estate Sunday Review. I'll try to post that up here later this week.) I'm not inclined to like Bloom so don't expect a review. She's not a dance diva and if she'd grasp that and stop trying to tweak the production on her albums (World on Fire, for instance), she'd be so much more powerful. But if you're all about the booty shake, check out Bloom.
Alison Moyet's a great voice but never one I've been into. I can take her after a night of partying. The fact that she's recording, among others, Elvis Costello may raise your interest in this album.
Greg Dulli. If you know music, you know the Afghan Whigs. (His last group is better off forgotten.) This man was a cock. The biggest cock in music. And not afraid to swing it around or even slap you in the face with it. His bravado made the Afghan Whigs what they were, one of the best damn groups of the nineties. If he's back to free ballin' and letting it all hang out, this could be one of the better albums of the year. Most recent go arounds, he's pulled away from his maleness. Here's hoping he's reaching back into his briefs to explore the good, bad and ugly of manhood. I'll be purchasing this album. If you were burned by his previous incarnation, feel free to wait on a review. I'll try to get one together by Tuesday after tomorrow at the latest.
Those are my highlights from the list. Joan Baez a must buy; Sarah Mac for booty shakers still mourning the musical death of Donna Summer, Moyet may expand on her specialized audience, the Stones may actually be having fun and I'll check to see if Greg can still get up.

We had some cool tunes playing at the bbq today. Dad, Ma, my sister and me all picked out stuff and my oldest brother was whining about that but Dad goes, "You don't live here anymore." I laughed so hard at that. You'd have to know my oldest brother (who is cool in some ways) to get why that's so funny probably. But when he lived there he really wanted to control the TV, the stereo and just about everything else. Maybe cause he was the 1st born he felt it was his right or something.

One thing that we all wanted to do, Ma, Dad, my sister and me, was watch Democracy Now! today. Watch it together. And Ma had a great idea about inviting everyone here to watch with us yesterday. So last night I called Rebecca and passed that on and she said she'd make sure she had the TV on at her party and was stressing how great Democracy Now! was.

Ma goes "Maybe they'll watch or listen after this, maybe they won't but they'll know it is out there." It was a really great episode and I know it usually is but this one today focused on what was going on with the lack of assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and everyone was already interested in that topic so everyone was watching real close. Dad was afraid it would be like when we watch the Super Bowl and people would be "yammering away" (he means my oldest brother lol :D) and not paying attention. He was telling Ma this morning at breakfast that if people started having their own conversations and he couldn't hear the TV he'd ask them to take it somewhere else. But that didn't happen. Everyone was watching and the only talking came during the breaks which kind of made me mad cause there was this one song I really liked and wanted to hear. I'll try to catch it online sometime this week.

But hopefully they will go on to check out Democracy Now! again. They always do a Christmas Day show too and Ma says we'll do that on all the holidays. Thanksgiving too. Maria always urges people to pass it on when she does her stuff at The Common Ills each weekend on Democracy Now! and my family did our part today. If you just count the over 13 people in the room there were 41 viewers of Democracy Now! in our living room.

We had some great conversations at the house today and I'll try to share them as the week goes on. Tomorrow you better not expect much cause unless Nina's parents are like hugging me I will probably still be freaked out. That's your warning.

I was on the phone with C.I. today and teasing about a mistake at the site. C.I. said that the cross postings weren't done on Sunday but they were. C.I. works too hard and forgot that some cross postings had been done over at the mirror site.

My cousin Patrik (that's spelled right, by the way) comes up to me and goes, "I been reading that stuff you been sending and your site and I think it's pretty cool." That was like the best pat on the back I could have. I am so stoked to be a member of The Common Ills community. and Patrik goes that Elaine was really incredible at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude as she filled in for Rebecca and I was all "Did you write her? Did you let her know?"

He hadn't so we got online and he did. I'm not giving up on getting her to start a site and I'll be pushing that when I interview her. (That'll go up here on Wednesday.) Then we checked out C.I. and Patrik and me were laughing as C.I. critiqued Todd Purdum. That was so funny.
"NYT: What can the Times do about Todd S. Purdum's smelly jock strap?" You got to read it it so if you haven't make time.

I had a lot of fun working with The Third Estate Sunday Review Saturday/Sunday. It's always cool and I learn stuff too. I'll note some stuff later in the week, or plan to, but I want to note the editorial and then I'm off to help Dad hose down the backyard and pick up the trash.

"Editorial: Let's play politics"
Like a really bad road company Rizzo, forgetting her blocking and stumbling around stage, Bully Boy spent most of last week singing "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" repeatedly and hitting the same three sour notes constantly.
As Lucy Bannerman notes in The Scotland Herald, "Bush pleads 'don't play politics' as blame lands at Washington." Bully Boy pleads it and a whiner calling into C-Span's Washington Journal all but spat at The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel of "being 90% negative." Ironically, vanden Heuvel had taken the high road (and remained on it).We won't high road it here. It is playing politics? Is the truth political?
The truth is very political in any period but especially in a time when "up" is called "down," when fiction is passed off as reality.
How do you play the truth game in these distorted times? We'll do it by spitting out the obvious, Bully Boy is no leader. He can marshall the usual subjects to chant "we have to pull together!!!"
Those who seem him as King George are more than happy to be loyal subjects.
Us, we've never forgotten that he's supposed to be working for us. And we'll pull together -- behind the truth. We won't, however, (to paraphrase Susan Sontag) all be stupid together.
What we saw last week was a national disaster hit New Orleans. And, just like on 9/11, the nation was left to await the Bully Boy's actions. And wait and wait. No one expected that he'd grab a shovel and dig in, please that family doesn't work (well, dirty work . . .) But we did expect that the former cheerleader would grab the pom-poms in some attempt to comfort the nation.
Didn't happen. We waited. We waited. And saw the dull witted Bully Boy respond in slow mo yet again. Which, by the way, is why we were never surprised to learn about the years of planning that went into the invasion of Iraq.
So truth telling involves stating the obvious, while the nation was in shock, while Americans were in disbelief that their own citizens could be referred to as "refugees." The nation's jaw dropped further as footage from New Orleans dominated the news cycles.
Truth telling involves faulting him for his lack of response to the nation and to the areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Unlike Bill Clinton, he does not feel your pain, nor is he concerned with it.
Also slow in response was our national agencies. FEMA was rightly noted for its disgraceful behavior by Terry Ebbert, head of emergency operations in New Orleans, and for its late to dinner appearance in Mississippi. FEMA's response was a disgrace. Homeland Security, the much ballyhooed agency created under the Bully Boy's watch wasn't any better. So who's responsible?
We realize that basic question is a "political" one. It always is. But especially when you're dealing with an administration that's refused accountability regardless of the situation. Lies that took us into war? "Didn't happen." Smears against those who told the truth (and in the case of Valerie Plame, the spouse of someone who told the truth)? "It wasn't us." And when it turns out that, yes, indeed it was them? "We can't comment due to the ongoing investigation." 9/11?"
No one could have guessed . . ." Condi's statement is the fallback for everything apparently.
"No one could have guessed."
And here's where it gets especially ugly, this truth telling, because in the case of the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina, it could have been guessed, in fact it was predicted.
Bully Boy's not responsible for the hurricane hitting the United States. He is responsible for the lack of preperation, for the slow response and for ignoring the needs of the areas hit throughout his previous term.
Playing "politics?" Isn't that what got us into our current crisis?
Politics, not the hurricane is at the root of the current crisis. Politics determined who headed the agencies that should have been responding immediately. Politics determined which monies went where and which priorities were recognized and which weren't. Politics determined that the Bully Boy yet again pushing his privatization of Social Security in a state not hit by the hurricane was more important than his demonstrating to the public that he was actually on the job.
A natural disaster (the hurricane) hit the United States. That's about the only issue in this tragedy that's nonpolitical. The ignoring of preparation, the misguided budget policies, the lack of leadership and the lack of response are all political issues.
The Bully Boy's not beyond playing politics (he excells especially in dirty politics) but watch the goon squad come out and try to hush the questions and try to distort the truth. Why? Because the emperor has no clothes. After 9/11, they were able to silence important questions. They can't do it this time. The nation has grown weary of the politics coming out of the White House and we're not in the mood to play follow the faltering leader.It's time for some accountability and that's the ugly truth.
[This editorial was written by the following:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Dona, Jim and Ava, C.I. of The Common Ills, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner, Elaine substituting for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and Mike of Mikey Likes It!]