Pelosi Steps Up

In the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has stepped up to the plate. First she revealed tht President Bush had indicated to her personally that he was clueless (or lying to her face) about the ineptitude of his unqualified FEMA Director Michael Brown.

Today in an interview on CNN, she went toe to toe with newsreader Kyra Phillips who seemed to be sitting in for White House political director:

PHILLIPS: I think it’s unfair that FEMA is just singled out. There are so many people responsible for what has happened in the state of Louisiana.

PELOSI: Well, that’s true. That is true. And I’m sorry that you think it’s unfair. But I don’t. I think it’s unfair to the people who lost their family members, their lives, their livelihoods, their homes, their opportunity.

And FEMA has done a poor job. It had no chance. It was (INAUDIBLE)…

PHILLIPS: But what about all those warnings…

PELOSI: … may I please respond?

PHILLIPS: What about all the warnings from the Army Corps of Engineers…

PELOSI: But the Army Corps of Engineers…

PHILLIPS: … years ago, saying there’s a problem with these levees, there’s a problem with this city…

PELOSI: … if you want to make a case for the White House, you should go on their payroll.

Crooks & Lias has the video.

UPS Sends Two Liaisons; FEMA, Governors Still Not Speaking

FEMA still hasn’t figured out to make nice with the folks it’s supposedly trying to help. As UPS, the shipping giant, tries to aid in Gulf Coast relief, it sounds as if FEMA still isn’t talking to the governors. UPS:

UPS today announced it had begun working directly with the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to support the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

In Louisiana, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has organized a team to help direct the state’s emergency relief effort. UPS is supporting the distribution and logistics efforts of that team.

In consultation with Gov. Blanco and also with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, UPS has placed individual liaison officers at the command of the state governments. Two hurricane relief officers have been assigned to each of the two states, one to the governor and a second to the top Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official in the state. These UPS managers will remain accessible at all time to ensure that any emergency movement of food or supplies is handled as promptly as possible.

Can you say, “duplication?” Very good! Now can you say, “FEMA incompetence?” I thought you could!

As the federal government struggles to accomplish anything beyond roughing people up and justifying its poor performance, at least UPS is “gittin’ ‘er done.”

Over the past 10 days, UPS has transported more than 4 million pounds of relief supplies for federal, state and private relief organizations responding to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The effort, with starting points ranging from California to Vermont, has involved both air and ground movements and focused primarily on the transportation of water, medicine, baby formula, non-perishable food items, emergency supplies and paper goods.

Beyond those items, UPS also has moved a mobile kitchen for the U.S. Park Police; a mobile hospital from Reno, Nev., to New Orleans, and child-sized cots from California to Dallas. The company now is arranging the move of a mobile water treatment system from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Gulfport, Miss.

Bushes Gone Fishin’

George I and George II - Gone Fishin'

(1) Talk about stumblin’ onto somethin’ special. This is the best stripe fishin’ anywhere in the Gulf. Who knew?!! (Cousin Jim)

(2) And a chicken shit in every pot! (Cousin Becky)

(3) “Kinda fishy how we handled Katrina, eh?” (Glennbo)

(4) The President (right) and his father, former President George H.W, Bush, photographed near the French Quarter. “Another sleasy photo op?” asked George Bush Senior, who is in the region with former President Bill Clinton to offer humanitarian aid. “Hell no! I swear to God that I thought W’s memo said we were going down to the French Quarter to fish for some STRIPPERS. I thought we’d be doing good. Damn kid never could spell .…” (Jana Jones)

Caption contest: Can you do better than the above captions? Sure you can. Leave your entry in the Comments section and we’ll promote the best of the best up to the main page.

DeLay’s Cronies Indicted in Texas

Associated Press:

A grand jury has indicted a political action committee formed by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and a Texas business group in connection with 2002 legislative campaign contributions.

The five felony indictments against the two groups were made public Thursday…

The charge against Texans for a Republican Majority alleged the committee illegally accepted a political contribution of $100,000 from the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care.

Four indictments against the Texas Association of Business include charges of unlawful political advertising, unlawful contributions to a political committee and unlawful expenditures such as those to a graphics company and political candidates.

Admitted Serial Pilanderer Will Veto Marriage Law

Dept. of Irony: In a move that can only be meant to pander to extreme rightwing voters – who represent the only base of support he has left in California – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he will veto the nation’s first legislation that grants full marriage rights to same sex couples.

Ironically, the governor is an admitted philanderer, who has had at least one long-term relationship outside his marriage to Maria Shriver. (According to the woman, the affair allegedly started when she was under age.) He has also been accused by no fewer than 15 women of making unwanted sexual advances.

In high places within the film industry, it is rumored (at the very least) that Schwarzenegger has indulged in sex practices that would shock and appall the very ultra-rightwing voters he is pandering to.

Ms. Shriver is, of course, a member of the Kennedy family, which – until now – has been a bulwark in the move toward civil rights in the United States. Her tacit connection to this denial of the civil rights of roughly 10 percent of California citizens – 3 million of us – besmirches her family name.

This is a dark day in Calfornia, a bitter pill for gay people and a very low point for the Kennedy family.

Conversely, it is a time for rejoicing for the cadre of professional homophobes in this country – thanks to a hollow man playing at politics.

On Live TV News, VP Told ‘Go ‘F*** Yourself, Mr. Cheney’

Someone in Mississippi spoke for the entire nation:

Vice President Dick Cheney, in Gulfport, Mississippi on a tour of the Katrina hurricane zone, was told to “go fuck yourself” twice on live television, RAW STORY has learned.

During a discussion on hurricane relief efforts, an off camera protester shouts, “Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney. Go fuck yourself.”

The camera remains on Cheney while we hear scuffling in the background. Cheney continues speaking.

CNN’s reporter asks Cheney, “Are you getting a lot of that Mr. Vice President?”

Cheney replies, “First time I’ve heard it., Must be a friend of John…, er, ah – never mind.”

Laughter ensues from the VP and reporters. Directly aftward, Cheney continues an ongoing monologue on what to do about hurricane debris: “But it’s a question about what you do with the debris in terms of your toxic waste problem you’ve got to worry about in terms of where you’re going to put it…”

The exchange was carried live on CNN and MSNBC.

Crooks & Liars has the video. You definitely want to see this.

Mississippi Governor Blameless…and Republican

I would have missed this great editorial in the Palm Beach Post today, were it not for Florida Politics.

President Bush, who didn’t respond soon enough after Hurricane Katrina, wants to investigate why President Bush didn’t respond soon enough after Hurricane Katrina…

The president says he doesn’t want to point fingers. That’s because so many fingers are pointing at him. Those who work for the president who says it isn’t the time to play politics are playing politics by blaming the conveniently Democratic governor of Louisiana and mayor of New Orleans, while not blaming the inconveniently Republican governor of Mississippi for failing to evacuate all coastal residents of his state.

Doctors should not practice on themselves, lawyers should not represent themselves and, as history shows, presidents should not investigate themselves…

The White House fought creation of the 9/11 commission and offered only grudging cooperation. Then it blocked out portions of the congressional 9/11 report. The Bush administration is quick to place blame. As usual, it’s now moving quickly to escape it.

Pew Poll: Huge Racial Divide Over Disaster Response

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Sept. 6-7 among 1,000 Americans, found a huge racial divide in perceptions of the disaster and lessons to be learned from Katrina’s aftermath.

For example, 71% of blacks say the disaster shows that racial inequality remains a major problem in the country; a majority of whites (56%) feel this was not a particularly important lesson of the disaster. And while 66% of blacks think that the government’s response to the crisis would have been faster if most of the storm’s victims had been white, an even larger percentage of whites (77%) disagree.

The American public is highly critical of President Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Two-in-three Americans (67%) believe he could have done more to speed up relief efforts, while just 28% think he did all he could to get them going quickly. At the same time, Bush’s overall job approval rating has slipped to 40% and his disapproval rating has climbed to 52%, among the highest for his presidency. Uncharacteristically, the president’s ratings have slipped most among his core constituents – Republicans and conservatives.

The disaster has triggered a major shift in public priorities. For the first time since the 9/11 terror attacks, a majority of American say it is more important for the president to focus on domestic policy than the war on terrorism. And the poll finds that Katrina has had a profound psychological impact on the public. Americans are depressed, angry and very worried about the economic consequences of the disaster. Fully 58% of respondents say they have felt depressed because of what’s happened in areas affected by the storm. In recent years, this percentage is only surpassed by the 71% that reported feeling depressed in a survey taken just days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The survey finds that while the hurricane has drawn broad public attention, spiraling gas prices have attracted as much interest as reports on the storm’s impact. Roughly seven-in-ten are paying close attention to each story (71% gas prices, 70% hurricane’s impact). That represents the highest level of interest in gas prices in the two decades of Pew’s News Interest Index.

Rove Cheats at Voting in Order to Cheat on Taxes

Wanted: a registered voter in Kerr County, Texas who hates Karl Rove as much as we do. AP:

The Texas Secretary of State’s office doesn’t have jurisdiction to investigate a watchdog group’s complaint that presidential adviser Karl Rove may be illegally voting in Texas, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Rove has been receiving for 3 1/2 years a homestead tax break and cap on his property tax for his Washington, D.C., home, valued at more than $1.1 million. He also was getting a homestead exemption in Texas for his Austin home he sold in 2003.

Spokesman Scott Haywood said complaints about a voter’s residency must be investigated by county officials. He also said the group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, did not have standing to file the complaint against Rove. Such complaints would have to be filed by another registered voter in Kerr County, the county where Rove is registered…

CREW sent the complaint Tuesday after the Washington Post reported that local residents, including the Democratic Party chairman, said they never have seen Rove or his wife in the two rental cottages that they claim as their residence for voting purposes…

Elizabeth Reyes, an elections attorney in the Secretary of State’s election division, told the Post that property ownership “doesn’t make that a residence.”

…All this arose because Rove has been receiving for 3 1/2 years a homestead tax break and cap on his property tax for his Washington, D.C., home, valued at more than $1.1 million. He also was getting a homestead exemption in Texas for his Austin home he sold in 2003.

Washington officials changed the district’s homestead exemption law in 2002, making the tax break available only to Washington property owners who don’t vote elsewhere. The White House took the blame for Rove’s error in claiming the Washington exemption.

“The White House took the blame?” I guess Bush has run out of people to blame for his bad judgement and corrupt cronies, so now he’s blaming buildings.

Come on, there must be a Kerr County voter who would like to see Rove not be held above the law, just once. Anybody?

Poll: Majority Disapproves of How Bush Is Doing His Job, How Government Handled Hurricane

Downward Trends: A new CBS News poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday found that 52% of respondents disapproved of George Bush’s overall job performance as president. Of course, 81% of Repugs approved while 80% of Dems didn’t, but most telling was that 55% of independents thought Bush’s handling of the most powerful office in the world was sub-par.

To the question of how much confidence they have in Bush’s ability to handle a crisis, 32% said “a lot,” versus 66% for Repugs, while 39% of Dems and 24% of indies had “none at all.”

When asked how much confidence they have in the U.S. government to protect citizens from terrorist attacks, 30% of all respondents said “not very much,” only a third of Republicans expressed “a great deal” of confidence; 39% of Democrats and 31% of independents said “not very much.”

Asked the same confidence question about the government’s ability to respond effectively to natural disasters, just over a third of respondents said “not very much,” only a third of Repugs expressed “a great deal” of confidence, 24% of Dems and 17% of indies said “none at all.”

On whether they approve or disapprove of the way Bush handled Hurricane Katrina, 58% of all respondents and 57% of independents expressed disapproval. Just over two-thirds of Repugs approved, while 86% of Dems disapproved.

Regarding Katrina, 69%of respondents said federal officials did a poor job of preparing before the storm and 70% said state and local officials didn’t prepare well, either. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said the feds could have done “much better” in the days following the storm and 80% said the government could have moved faster. Both Louisiana state and local officials and FEMA could have moved faster in the wake of the storm, according to 70% of respondents.

Nearly half of respondents thought reductions in goverment spending were a “major factor” in the severity of flooding in New Orleans. Regarding whether the speed of the government’s response was affected by the fact that most people left behind in New Orleans after the storm were black and poor, less than a third said it was a “major factor” and half said it wasn’t a factor at all.

When asked about the alacrity of Bush’s response to the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, 1% (all Republicans) said he responded too quickly, two-thirds said “too slow” and less than a third said his speed was “about right.”