Government Forces Evacuees to Abandon Pets

If you have a family member who happens not to be human, you will be horrified to know that RIGHT NOW in New Orleans, the government is forcing people who are rescued with their dogs, cats and other pets to abandon these family members forever when they board the buses to leave town.

This video from Oprah has a happy ending.

My feline-Americans dependents are my children. I’d rather cut off my arm – or take a bullet from a FEMA agent – than leave them behind.

This policy must be changed for future crises.

Meanwhile, volunteer groups are moving in to collect the animals left behind and take them to shelters where they can be fed and cared for and hopefully reunited with their families.

Here is a partial list of these groups who need our support immdiately:

Bush Visit to San Diego During Hurricane Forced Cancer Patients to Miss Chemo Treatments

Remember when the Librul Media got all up in Bill Clinton’s face over a false story that he held up air traffic at LAX while Christophe gave him a haircut on Air Force One?

You can bet your last T-Cell that the Librul Media will give George Bush a free pass over this story:

The Naval Medical Center in San Diego’s Balboa Park was shut down to accommodate a visit by President George W. Bush Aug. 30 … forcing patients to cancel chemotherapy treatments and hundreds of scheduled patient visits.

“The pharmacy is closed. The emergency room is closed. Even chemotherapy patients will not be allowed on base,” the daughter of one patient told RAW STORY shortly before the President’s arrival. “My mother is a patient…She was contacted and told that her appointment had been canceled and would be rescheduled later…All civilian personnel and patients will not be allowed on base.”

Timeline: Facts Don’t Support Bush’s Blame Game is mounting a petition to expose and stop the Bush administration’s attempts to lay the Katrina disaster at the feet of Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco. Here’s a true timeline of events:

Friday, Aug. 26: Gov. Kathleen Blanco declares a state of emergency in Louisiana and requests troop assistance.

Saturday, Aug. 27: Gov. Blanco asks for federal state of emergency. A federal emergency is declared giving federal officials the authority to get involved.

Sunday, Aug. 28: Mayor Ray Nagin orders mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. President Bush warned of levee failure by National Hurricane Center. National Weather Service predicts area will be “uninhabitable” after hurricane arrives. First reports of water toppling over the levee appear in local paper.

Monday, Aug. 29: Levee breaches and New Orleans begins to fill with water, Bush travels to Arizona and California to discuss Medicare. FEMA chief finally responds to federal emergency, dispatching employees, but giving them two days to arrive on site.

Tuesday, Aug. 30: Mass looting reported, security shortage cited in New Orleans. Pentagon says that local authorities have adequate National Guard units to handle hurricane needs despite governor’s earlier request. Bush returns to Crawford for final day of vacation. TV coverage is around-the-clock hurricane news.

Wednesday, Aug. 31: Tens of thousands trapped in New Orleans at convention center and Superdome in “medieval” conditions. President Bush finally returns to Washington to establish a task force to coordinate federal response. Local authorities run out of food and water supplies.

Thursday, Sept. 1: New Orleans descends into anarchy. New Orleans mayor issues a “Desperate SOS” to federal government. Bush claims nobody predicted the breach of the levees despite multiple warnings and his earlier briefing.

Friday, Sept. 2: Karl Rove begins Bush administration campaign to blame state and local officials — despite their repeated requests for help. Bush stages a photo-op — diverting Coast Guard helicopters and crew to act as backdrop for cameras. Levee repair work orchestrated for president’s visit and White House press corps.

Saturday, Sept. 3: Bush blames state and local officials. Senior administration official (possibly Rove) caught in a lie claiming Gov. Blanco had not declared a state of emergency or asked for help.

Monday, Sept. 5: New Orleans officials begin to collect their dead.

(Adapted from: Katrina Timeline, )

Somebody Play the Blame Game Quick

Here’s why the blame game needs to be played, and played quick: because there’s a tropical storm out there and it’s headed for me. Maybe as a hurricane.

I want to know what went wrong on the Gulf Coast, and I want to know now. FEMA is going to be needed this weekend, right here where I live.

Whether Ophelia is headed for me or not, the fact is we need to know what mistakes were made and we need to know who made them. We don’t have the luxury of convening inquiries in a few weeks or months, we need to have this information right now.

Already officials in my area are announcing where the evacuation shelters will be. I, like many others, am picturing the horror that occurred in shelters in New Orleans. The thought of evacuating fills me with dread. Even worse than riding out the storm for a day in a shelter is the idea that things wouldn’t start functioning again quickly, and that I would have to stay in a shelter for days or even weeks. I want FEMA working, and it’s not now.

The news here is full of stories like this. WJXT-4:

A medical mercy mission to a Mississippi city ravaged by hurricane Katrina almost didn’t happen.

Doctors and nurses with HealthSouth St. Augustine Surgery Center said Federal Emergency Management Agency officials refused to let their group carrying staff and a trailer of medical supplies into the restricted area.

“‘Go home, we don’t need you,'” Kathleen Floyan of HealthSouth said they were told. “If it wasn’t for our state of Florida Highway Patrolmen … (who) told us. ‘Follow us, we’ll put you in this location.’ They put us across from the Waveland, Miss., Police Department.”

The city, right on the water southwest of Biloxi, was almost leveled by Hurricane Katrina. Residents there said they felt forgotten, abandoned and neglected.

The story went on to describe how desperately people did need medical treatment. Some of the injured were brought to the emergency crew – the only medical personnel there since the storm – in shopping carts. Hopefully they weren’t arrested for looting them.

Wherever you live, if there was a tornado, raging forest fire, earthquake, or any other natural disaster, you’d want to know FEMA could handle it.

I want answers. I want to assign blame. As our president might put it: Blame game? Bring it on!

Poll: Schwarzenegger More Unpopular Than Bush in CA

Un-Fantastic: Our hyper-competitive Gov. Schwarzenegger has bested top Gop President Bush in the competition to see who Californians loathe the most. The governor’s 36 percent approval makes him even more unpopular than President Bush, who has a 38 percent approval in the state.

Congratulations, Governor:

Barely more than one in three Californian voters would re-elect Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger if he decides to run for a second term — and contests between him and his Democratic challengers, Treasurer Phil Angelides and Controller Steve Westly, would be too close to call if they were held now, a Field Poll released today shows.

The poll illustrates how the Republican governor’s once-diverse base of support — independents, Democrats and Republicans who gave him a victory in the unprecedented 2003 recall election — has now shrunk almost exclusively to his GOP base.

“Clearly, he’s in a vulnerable category,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. “His core is sticking with him — and just about everyone else isn’t.”

In the 1994, former Gov. Pete Wilson came back very low numbers to win re-election over Kathleen Brown, the popular state Treasurer – and the sister and daughter of two of California’s most popular governors, Jerry and pat, respectively. But Brown proved to be a weak candidate – especially when Wilson used the cudgel of the anti-illegal immigrant Proposition 187 to change the topic from education and the economy. While Wilson won the State House with Prop 187, the Republicans ultimately lost California. The harsh, anti-Hispanic rhetoric from the Right during the campaign drove millions of Latinos to register as Democrats.

Wilson was pro-choice but his rightwing bona fides were in good order. Schwarzenegger is as liberal as Republicans come, so his first big threat will be from his right. It’s a dead cinch that a true believer like state Sen. Tom McClintock will go after him in the primaries, where hard right voters dominate. These voters will very likely vote for a real conservative over the Hollywood liberal, and could take the once mighty Terminator out in the first found.

Washington Slow to Accept International Aid

Thanks Ever So Much: Following Hurricane Katrina, more than 90 countries from around the world have contacted the U.S. government with offers of aid in materials and money, but many are still waiting for a call-back from Washington to accept it. Even countries that can hardly afford to have donated money.

Sri Lanka, among the hardest hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami last December, donated $25,000 to the Red Cross. Afghanistan pledged $100,000 while Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries, offered $1 million.

And while those offers should perhaps be respectfully declined, there’s no good reason why rich countries like India, South Korea, Japan and Germany are still waiting to hear back from the administration about what to send and where to send it.

According to the Associated Press, here’s who’s giving what:

  • India said it would give a $5 million check to the American Red Cross Thursday in Washington, as well as offered to send military medics and water purification equipment.
  • South Korea pledged $30 million and said it would send about 40 rescue workers and 100 tons of goods such as blankets, diapers, crutches, bunk beds and wheelchairs, to the United States by this weekend. If Washington tells where to send it.
  • Japan is in the process of transferring $200,000 to the Red Cross and offered up to $300,000 in supplies such as tents, blankets, generators and portable water tanks, which are stored in Florida, of only Washington would say where to send it.
  • German officials say they have offered a wide range of aid, including search dogs, medical teams and even a military hospital ship, and say much of it has been on standby for delivery since Monday, waiting fro word from Washington.
  • Russia will send an estimated $760,000 worth of humanitarian aid in three planes scheduled to begin leaving Moscow as early as Wednesday for Arkansas, said Sergei Vlasov, spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry. That aid includes 121 tents, 4,000 blankets and 10,000 food packages, he said.
  • China delivered a $5 million donation, and a plane carrying 100 tons of tents, bedding and generators for hurricane victims took off Wednesday bound for Little Rock, Ark.

The American Red Cross said on its Web site that, as of Sept. 6, it has received $409.2 million in gifts and pledges for the hurricane relief effort. The organization did not say how much of that came from overseas.

Barbara Bush: Marie Antoinette for Our Time

“I feel so much better. I read… that Barbara Bush has toured the site where poor people have been relocated to Houston. She told a radio interviewer on Marketplace Monday, ‘Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them. They are faring far better than before Katrina.

“Well, shut my mouth, Barbara Bush is so kind to the under privileged. I mean after all, poor folks don’t really care about their home or their jobs or where they live or the lives of their children.

“Poor folks aren’t like rich folks according to this lady. But if you recall, this is the woman who said a couple of year ago that she did not watch body bags being transported home from the war because it wasn’t a pretty site. I guess it didn’t involve her family. Let’s call Barbara Bush Marie Antoinette.”

— Judy Rozzelle

Dershowitz, Corn: Rehnquist Was a Racist

In a pair of unrelated but startlingly parallel o-bitch-uaries by Harvard prof Alan Dershowitz and The Nation editor David Corn, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist is remembered as a racist regressive who history will always associate with the shameful Bush v. Gore case.

Corn sums up Rehnquist’s career:

He rose to prominence as a right-wing attorney who decried the Earl Warren court for being a hotbed of judicial activism (left-wing judicial activism, as he saw it). He then became, as a Supreme Court justice, a judicial activist of the right-wing sort, overturning laws made by Congress (that protected women against domestic violence, banned guns near school property, and prohibited discrimination against disabled workers) and steering the justices into Florida’s vote-counting mess in 2000 (an act that only coincidentally–right?–led to George W. Bush’s presidency)

This from Dershowitz:

My mother always told me that when a person dies, one should not say anything bad about him. My mother was wrong. History requires truth, not puffery or silence, especially about powerful governmental figures. And obituaries are a first draft of history. So here’s the truth about Chief Justice Rehnquist you won’t hear on Fox News or from politicians. 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.

Rehnquist served on the Supreme Court for thirty-three years and as chief justice for nineteen. Yet no opinion comes to mind which will be remembered as brilliant, innovative, or memorable. He will be remembered not for the quality of his opinions but rather for the outcomes decided by his votes, especially Bush v. Gore, in which he accepted an Equal Protection claim that was totally inconsistent with his prior views on that clause. He will also be remembered as a Chief Justice who fought for the independence and authority of the judiciary. This is his only positive contribution to an otherwise regressive career.

Corn sums up this way:

“He Lived for The Law”–that’s how AOL headlined the story on Rehnquist’s death. But it’s not that Rehnquist had a blind spot on race. He was an active proponent of discrimination. Yet this fellow–without truly making amends–became chief justice of the highest court of the land. Only in America.

As Rehnquist’s impact on America is considered, it ought not be forgotten–particularly at a time when we see how the poor of New Orleans have been neglected–that Rehnquist was at times all too willing to forget about the rights of those less fortunate than he.

As we are subjected to all the rining graveside orations and remembrances of Rehnquist, let’s try to remember him for who he was, not how the Bush administration will spin him.

Disaster Aftermath Shocker: DeLay Cancels Hearings into Federal Response

No sense of shame: There is no bottom to the depth of the corruption of the conservatives who have seized control of the United States:

The House majority leader late Tuesday tried to deflect criticism of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina by saying “the emergency response system was set up to work from the bottom up,” then announced a short time later that House hearings examining that response had been canceled.

Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said House Republican leaders instead want a joint House-Senate panel set up to conduct a “congressional review” of the issue.

Tempers flared Tuesday during a contentious closed-door meeting between House members and Cabinet secretaries in charge of directing Katrina relief efforts. A Republican representative stood up and said, “All of you deserve failing grades. The response was a disaster,” CNN was told by lawmakers emerging from the meeting.

But DeLay countered that assessment later in a news conference by saying that the onus for responding to emergencies fell to local officials.

“It’s the local officials trying to handle the problem. When they can’t handle the problem, they go to the state, and the state does what they can to, and if they need assistance from FEMA and the federal government they ask for it and it’s delivered,” DeLay said.