Friday, October 21, 2005

Michael Brown, Green Zoning it Dexter Filkins

Good evening. It's Friday and hopefully everyone will be able to chill a bit this weekend. Elaine's blogging tonight so be sure to check her out at Like Maria Said Paz. Here are two things from Democracy Now!

FEMA Scandal Widens as Internal E-mails Are Made Public
More details have emerged depicting the extent of the neglect and irresponsibility of former FEMA Director Michael Brown in his roll in the scandal of the government's handling of Hurricane Katrina. On Thursday, FEMA official Marty Bahamonde testified in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. He was the first official from the agency to arrive in New Orleans ahead of Katrina. In the midst of the chaos and horror of the hurricane's aftermath, Bahamonde sent a dire e-mail to Michael Brown saying victims had no food and were dying. No response came from Brown. Instead, less than three hours later, an aide to Brown sent an e-mail saying her boss wanted to go on a television program that night. But first, the aide said, Brown needed at least an hour to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge restaurant, writing, "He needs much more than 20 or 30 minutes." Some 19 pages of internal FEMA e-mails revealed Thursday show Bahamonde gave regular updates to people in contact with Brown as early as August 28, the day before Katrina hit. They appear to contradict Brown, who has said he was not fully aware of the conditions until days after the storm hit. Bahamonde arrived on Aug. 27 and was the only FEMA official at the scene until August 30. Subsequent e-mails told of an increasingly desperate situation at the New Orleans Superdome, where tens of thousands of evacuees were piled in. Bahamonde spent two nights there with the evacuees. On August 31, he e-mailed Brown saying, "estimates are many will die within hours." He described the situation as "past critical." It was just moments after that email that Michael Brown's press secretary, Sharon Worthy, wrote colleagues to complain that the FEMA director needed more time to eat dinner. Worthy wrote, "Restaurants are getting busy...We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you."

I asked Elaine if she could remember if Bob Somerby of The Daily Whine had covered Brownie. She thinks he defended Brownie. That Daily Whiner. He really is useless.

But from the e-mails, we now know that Brownie was kept in the loop and made other choices, like having dinner, instead of doing his job. He was hungry? He never heard of drive through?
Or maybe he didn't realize that being the FEMA director meant you worked long hours during a disaster?

U.S. Marshals Interrogate Reporters at Saddam Trial
A Fox News reporter has revealed that US Marshals are overseeing security at Saddam's trial in Baghdad and have conducted interrogations of journalists, asking them a bizarre series of questions. Among the questions correspondent Dana Lewis says he was asked: "Am I friends with insurgents?" "Have I ever experimented with drugs?" "What is my religion?" "Are my teeth real?" At the end of the interview, Lewis says the Marshals asked him if he would be willing to take a polygraph. He was then led to a room for an iris scan and fingerprints, which will be used as a physical identity check entering the courtroom for the trial.

Elaine and I both hollered "Filkins!" when we were discussing which items to do tonight. This is what you get from Filkins. Thank Dexter Filkins for the fact that reporters are now having to pass a loyalty test to cover an event. Dexter Filkins sets the standard for loyalty oaths. Hell, with his Falluja non-reporting, he probably wrote the loyalty oath! All the links in this paragraph go to an important thing on Filkins and the others at the New York Times and their reporting "style" in Iraq that C.I. wrote.

Cynthia e-mails me to ask why every guy she dates wants to grab her breasts?

Well we're a breast obsessed society. Guys, straight ones, are encouraged to focus on breasts, the bigger the better. And cause of these societal encouragements, guys can assume women are obsessed with breasts as guys are.

A lot of guys think every woman is turned on if you stroke her breasts. And cause of the encouragements, guys also think that if they don't go straight for the breasts, then the woman's going to think there is something wrong with them.

Or that's what we talked about in a class I'm taking on human sexuality.

We had to do this quiz and one of the biggest myths exploded about breasts after the quiz was that every woman wasn't turned on by having her breasts touched.

This part is just my opinion. But I think guys, straight ones, tend to think breasts are like penises. We love to be touched there. And we just assume that this is the part of the body on women that's going to get the same response. Maybe because they both stick out from the body?

Or maybe because we act like vagina's a dirty word and something not to be talked about but hidden?

But there are different areas for different women. Some women do like having their breasts touched. I should have said upfront that we're talking about guys that Cynthia has dated and was interested in.

Anyway, in the class, the prof talked about how for some women it might be their neck or their shoulders or their knees or some other body part that was visible. But she said the smartest thing a guy could do was not become obsessed with what was on the outside.

She said that women have a pretty good working knowledge of men's sex organs but that the converse is rarely true.

If you're a guy and you're reading this and you're involved with a woman, you might want to talk to her about it. If you're a woman involved with a man, you might want to do the same.

Cynthia asked if I'm obsessed with breasts like every guy she's dated? I think I said this before but in case I didn't I'm really more of a leg man.

Cynthia asked for a suggestion and I'm going to give her one. Since it doesn't turn you on, next guy you're dating that does it, just stop him and ask him if he's trying to turn you on? Explain that you're not really into it and that you feel like you're being mauled. Set him straight upfront.
If you're worried about hurting his feelings, don't be. Just set him straight from the start.

Hope that helps and if anyone's got another take on it, feel free to write it down and e-mail it and we'll note it.