Pro-war demonstrators: 400 (Anti-war protestors: 100,000+ )
Amount raised by Bush appeal to reconstruct Iraq
: $600 (Amount raised for hurricane victim relief: hundreds of millions)
Bush approval rating: 38% (and 75% of Americans think we are not prepared for a nuclear, biological or chemical attack)
Keeping Us Safe
I skimmed through a speech John Edwards gave over the weekend about the Working Society or whatever he calls it. Its a great idea and a great counter to Bush's ridiculous ownership society (as in owe).
But it seems to be that the real issue for those dumbass Americans who voted for Bush that has been revealed by the New Orleans disaster is not that we have poor people (Kanye West was slightly wrong -- Bush doesn't care about anyone but the wealthy) because those dumbasses don't care about the poor.
What Democrats ought to be harping on is that Bush can't keep us safe and secure, and if things go wrong, he can't fix 'em. Personally, this doesn't resonate for me, but security has never been my issue. It is, however, a major issue for a lot of Americans. Its why they chose Bush over Kerry -- because they had been convinced that Bush would keep them safer. What New Orleans has revealed is that he actually can't.
The issue is not that it was a natural disaster, so who could protect against it? The issue is the horrible lack of response afterward. What Democrats need to do is make sure every American fears that the same incompetent response would happen to them should they be affected by either terrorism or a natural disaster.
Randy Newman Concert
I saw Randy Newman with the local symphony on Friday night. He was very good, of course, and very funny. Highlights: he said of his children (4 boys and 1 girl, in that order) that if he'd had the girl first, he'd have thought the boys were retarded. While doing his song about US foreign policy "Political Science," he noted that the first line -- "No one likes us, I don't know why" -- was less relevant these days (we know why they hate us). He referred to "Avalon," for which he wrote the score, as the movie no Gentile has yet seen. He did a hilarious song about rockers who go on way past their prime (a pet peeve of mine) and had the audience sing a chorus of "He's dead! He's dead! He's dead! But he don't know it." Lots of funny moments and of course great music. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
I was also surprised and impressed by the local symphony. Much better than I expected, given that I live in a what could not under any circumstances be described as a metropolitan community.
More on Americans as Know Nothings
An anthropology professor becomes a student
to find out why her students are so disinterested and disrespectful. She writes that they rarely talk about school subjects, "that more frequent topics are "bodies, bodily functions, and body image," relationships, personal history, pop culture, alcohol and drug experiences. When they did talk about class, it was to complain about the amount of work, compare grades and test answers, and assess their professors attractiveness or likability." She says there is almost no intellectual discussion -- to do so is considered way too dorky.
I see these kinds of kids all the time at my bookstore job. They are dumb as freaking doors with absolutely no intellectual curiosity. They're going to college because daddy has enough money to pay for it, but they are not really interested in school. They do just what they need to to get by. And the worst thing is they are freaking arrogant jerks. The youth of America -- not very impressive.
This lack of intellectualism is a huge problem in America. We've become well trained to be massive consumers and not think too hard. We talk about celebrities as if we knew them (obsessively, really). And most bothersome to me is that adults -- grown-ups -- still act like they were in junior high in terms of relationships, emotional reactions, etc.
This pattern of immaturity is a major factor in why bozos like Bush can get elected. Just when we need people to be educated, informed and involved, they are content to be led, cow-like, fat and happy, as long as they can fill their homes with cheap crap at Wal-mart and fill their ample bellies with cheap crappy fast food. No wonder the country is going to hell in a hand basket.
America as the New South
Fascinating article here: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=72&ItemID=8728
The opening few graphs:
Since the 1970s the United States has become increasingly captive to consumeristic frenzy and religious zeal at home and to an arrogant and bloody militarism abroad. As we do so, has not the following description come to fit us as a people?
Violence, intolerance, aversion and suspicion toward new ideas, an incapacity for analysis, an inclination to act from feeling rather than from thought, an exaggerated individualism and a too narrow concept of social responsibiity, attachment to fictions and false values..., too great an attachment to racial values and a tendency to justify cruelty and injustice in the name of those values, sentimentality and a lack of realism... .
Not all of us, just yet; but those words were written to describe the people of the eleven states of the "New South" that evolved after 1877. The quotation is from The Mind of the South (1940); its author was the Carolinian journalist W.J. Cash.
Definitely seems to be developing as a truth about America. The author also lists these 8 threats we face -- note how many are internal:
Here a summary listing of the main elements at home and abroad threatening turbulence and disorder; and it needs noting that each feeds upon, is fed by, and aggravates the others in destructive interactions:
1) in the United States especially, an increasing concentration of already excessive economic and political power and pervasive corruption, guided by a White House whose arrogance, heedlessness, ignorance and seeming indifference to realities at home and abroad go well beyond anything earlier;
2) a global economy critically dependent upon the already mountainous household, corporate, national, and foreign debts of the United States, which must keep rising or collapse;
3) a dangerously fragile U.S. economy, whose once matchless but now weakening manufacturing sector (measured by millions of lost good jobs) now takes second place to its financial sector which, in turn is dominated by speculation -- most menacingly in housing, most disgustingly in pension funds;
4) a set of rising and combined economic and political challenges to U.S.-guided globalization, whether in the already substantial and growing dissent from Latin America, the spreading weakness of European economies, and the spectacular rise in the strengths of both China and India;
5) a notable arousal of U.S. militarism, accompanied and supported by intensifying racism and fundamentalist religion and the rising conflicts between "Jihad and McWorld" (Barber)
6) increasing tensions and possibilities of conflict between the U.S. and China regarding Taiwan and, as well, North Korea and Iran, as the "quagmire" in Iraq deepens and, at the same time, tensions both in Israel/Palestine and Saudi Arabia rise, as they do between India and Pakistan;
7) the weakening of already inadequate educational, health care, and housing policies in the U.S., now also eroding the once substantial policies of Western Europe and Japan, with resulting social unrest, uncertainties, and paralysis;
8) the ways in which consumeristic borrowing and buying serve to detract attention and energy from reasoned political activity in the U.S. and, increasingly, in other countries -- all of that and more fed by a "consciousness industry" (Shor; Ensenzberger) that sells attitudes and ideas as easily as goods and services, and in doing "teaches us to want what we don't need and not want what we do" (Baran); just what those in power wish, just when the general public needs to become better informed and politically involved.
Definitely a good read.
My employer seems to have cracked down on internet usage -- starting Monday I could not log into my personal email accounts and I noticed a new program that is most likely monitoring what we do at work. My co-worker could no longer listen to music on Launch; I even got stopped trying to do a Google search on Chris Rock. So I have not logged in to Blogger from work and I haven't had time to do so from home until tonight. I love corporate Amerika.
Funniest Telethon Moment
I watched both of the Katrina telethons
Friday night. Loved that Randy Newman opened the one that was on several networks with his song "Louisiana 1927." I'm going to see him live in my hometown this Friday and I hope he does that song.
I wondered why the heck John Fogerty wasn't there, since two of his songs were done by other performers.
I also watched a good chunk of the BET telethon which was much earthier, of course. Clinton called in which was a hoot. And Queen Latifah was a riot as the co-host (with Steve Harvey).
But, my absolute favorite moment was when Chris Rock introduced the rapper The Game by saying "We've been doing this for the victims of Katrina. Now here's one for the looters." I laughed out loud for a long time about that one.
A Must Read
on the post-Katrina America:
The Katrina tragedy should become a watershed in American politics. This was when the usually invisible people suddenly appeared in all the anguish of their lives -- the impoverished, the old, the infirm, the kids and the low-wage workers with no cars, TVs or credit cards. They showed up on America's doorsteps, entered the living rooms and stayed. Katrina will not go away soon, and she has the power to change America.
This was not just incompetence (though there was plenty of it), not just a natural disaster (though nature played its part), not just Bush (though he is accountable). This is a failure of moral and political philosophy -- a deadly failure. That is the deep truth behind this human tragedy, humanly caused.
Hurricane Katrina should also form the context in which to judge whether John Roberts is fit to be chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. The reason is simple: The Katrina Tragedy raises the most central issues of moral and political principles that will govern the future of this country. Katrina stands to be even more traumatic to America than 9/11. The failure of conservative principles in the Katrina Tragedy should, in the post-Katrina era, invalidate those principles -- and it should invalidate the right of George Bush to foist them on the country for the next 30 years.
Read the whole thing.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist set back liberty, equality, and human rights perhaps more than any American judge of this generation. His rise to power speaks volumes about the current state of American values.
Rehnquist’s judicial philosophy was result-oriented, activist, and authoritarian. He sometimes moderated his views for prudential or pragmatic reasons, but his vote could almost always be predicted based on who the parties were, not what the legal issues happened to be. He generally opposed the rights of gays, women, blacks, aliens, and religious minorities. He was a friend of corporations, polluters, right wing Republicans, religious fundamentalists, homophobes, and other bigots.
The War on Brown People
Well at least they're consistent
It is horrible to say, but the Bush Administration’s slow, inadequate, insensitive response to the tragedy in New Orleans makes what Mr. Bolton is doing in New York very clear: These people don’t care about poor, non-white, sick, helpless people anywhere, not even in the United States ...
Gotta love The Onion
In an emergency White House address Sunday, President Bush urged all people dying from several days without food and water in New Orleans to "tap into the American entrepreneurial spirit" and gnaw on their own bootstraps for sustenance. "Government handouts are not the answer," Bush said. "I believe in smaller government, which is why I have drastically cut welfare and levee upkeep. I encourage you poor folks to fill yourself up on your own bootstraps.
When "News" Orgs Spin
This is just despicable
and one of the main reasons why our country is falling apart: a media that doesn't know how to get to the truth.
While watching the MSNBC program, CONNECTED, COAST TO COAST with Ron Reagan, a man from the Evergreen Foundation was on air spinning the myth that the President had to "beg" the Governor of Louisiana to take action. Having been on this show several times I called one of the bookers, Susan Durrwatcher, to alert her to the fact that this man was misrepresenting what happened. I offered Susan the following objective, documented facts (see timeline below). Susan thanked me for my "opinion" and said "we just have a different perspective". Stunned, I asked her by what standard of journalism that an objective fact was mere opinion? I asked her to simply look at the documents and correct the record. She declined.
Let Them Eat Cake
“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this [she chuckles slightly] is working very well for them."
I hate these fuckers.
Health Care and the New Orleans Left Behind
One thing that's struck me about the people who were left behind in New Orleans and are now struggling for their lives is how unhealthy a lot of them appear to have been even before struck by this tragedy. Another consequences of America's f*cked up health care system.
Conservatism in Real Life
...we're seeing the awful real world consequences of conservatism play out on our television screens. This is why we're liberals. We don't yell about poverty and racial disparities for kicks. An evacuation plan that consists of telling people to get out on their own is not an evacuation plan.
And what does Frat-Boy-In-Charge-What-Me-Worry have to say (while in New Orleans for a photo op that used much-needed Coast Guard personnel and choppers as a backdrop):
Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)
By the way, keep in mind that we had a ship in Indonesia helping tsunami victims less than 4 days after that tragedy began.
Incompetence Beyond Belief
The only good thing that might come out of Katrina is that the press seems to be waking up to the utter incompentence of this administration.
But what worries me is imagine how incompetently they’d respond to a major terrorist strike if they can’t even respond to something they knew for days beforehand was coming!
Definitely read Krugman
Two blogger posts you should read:Atrios: too dumb to run a lemonade standKevin Drum: clueless