Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Obama’s Katrina

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This article makes little to no sense. The facile side-by-side comparison of the reaction to the Gulf crisis and the response for Hurricane Katrina fails because the nature of the two disasters and their respective government responsibilities are much different. That said, the lead-up to those respective disasters could be compared.

Katrina was a disaster due to two very important factors:
* The gutting of the Army Corp of Engineers (through a spending freeze authorized by Bush)
* The gutting of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (with incompetent leadership appointed by Bush)

The Gulf Oil Disaster was a failure for one reason:
* The gutting of the Minerals Management Service (with a revolving door of Oil industry appointees by Bush)

Bush’s policies were a systemic rot on the whole that reached well into Obama’s first term. Obama may have been unprepared for this sort of disaster to happen, but it was not his actions that created that unpreparedness.

Of course, the nature of the disasters are themselves different: Katrina was a record large hurricane but hurricane season is well known to the region and can and should have been prepared for. Both the preparation for and the aftermath to the hurricane are solely the domain of the US government.

The Oil disaster was a man-made disaster almost entirely created by the corruption of BP and the MMS – the company and the government agency tasked with regulating it. Responsibility for clean-up is therefore different, and such is exactly what’s happening: BP must clean up the oil and the US government is charged with cleaning the environment.

Ironic, then, that “Obama’s Katrina” is predicated upon government cronyism with corporations, when Obama is simultaneously being lambasted for being a “socialist” whose goal is to “nationalize industry.” Never mind, of course, the implicit admission of Bush’s culpability in massive policy disasters in the attempt to find parallels between the two administrations. Never mind the ignorance of more salient criticisms on Obama’s dealings with corporate interests, like the number of ex-Goldman Sachs executives working as White House advisors or Obama’s statement on off-shore drilling 20 days before the disaster – let’s get Obama on something that doesn’t even befit his character and absolutely screams Bush.

This isn’t Obama vs Bush on twin disasters. This isn’t “Obama’s Katrina.” This is Bush’s second Katrina.

Free Floating Anger

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The trial’s begun over a cop knocking a Critical Mass participant off his bike two years ago and it looks like the biker might win this one.

Now, I’m by no means a fan of Critical Mass, but herein lies the dangers of indicting a whole movement in a legal trial that demands the specificity of one single actor: Sure, on the whole they’re counter-productive to their cause and incendiary, but policemen must always be consummate professionals else they look like dicks, and in this case officer Pat Pogan looks like a dick. Mainly because he is one.

While I’m calling people dicks, I’d like to get something else off my chest after n+1 arguments about this, where n is too many: Yes, people protested George W Bush, myself among them. Yes, a number of them did things slightly less than savory, tho specific instances outside of shouting matches with parade police elude me at this moment. (They certainly didn’t brandish loaded firearms in Town Hall meetings.)

But there’s where the similarities end. The anti-war and anti-globalization protests were attacking Bush’s policies. The anti-tax protests today are attacking Obama.

Never mind the hypocrisy of claiming the illegitimacy of Obama’s status as a citizen as he won a mandate majority of the vote, when the previous president actually got fewer votes than his competitor and was handed the election in an unprecedented decision by a state governed by his brother. Never mind the Tea Partiers claiming taxation without representation after they voted (and lost). Never mind the hypocrisy of Medicare recipients protesting against government health care, unemployment and welfare recipients protesting against government spending, and anti-tax zealots protesting tax cuts. Never mind the deficit hawks who voted for two wars right after a massive upper class tax cut.

Because they’re not attacking Obama on his policies. That’s the difference. They’re attacking Obama. When liberal protesters had placards comparing Bush with a monkey, they were criticizing his judgment, not his heritage. Just like Clinton, where a year’s worth of policies were held up not because of any legitimate reason of governance but because of the political ramifications when he tripped and fell into an intern. Except this time Clinton’s not just “Black” but Black. Which apparently makes all the difference in the world with some people. Or to quote Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles:

You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.

How the World Turns

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The NYTimes reported that the numbers are in and NYC is now experiencing a 16-year high in unemployment at 10.3%.

A 16-year high, eh? What was 16 years ago?

Oh, right: Clinton’s first year in office, dealing with the recession the elder Bush left him.

Funny how that works.

Good news, though: The state bailed out the city of Philadelphia – the libraries stay open.*

Just minutes ago, the Pennsylvania State senate passed bill 1828 by a vote of 32 to 17. For all of you who have been following the saga over the city’s budget crisis, this is indeed the legislation that was needed for the City of Philadelphia to avoid the “Doomsday” Plan C budget scenario, which would have resulted in the layoff of 3,000 city employees and forced┬áthe closing of all libraries.

Posted yesterday at 4:26pm. Truly 11th hour saviors.

*And to hammer the point home of the importance of literacy, this is the first comment: “Good luck to you and your library’s..”


Obama’s Speech on Education Censored by Certain School Districts

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I weep now.

Speaking of education, Reading Rainbow’s going off the air after 26 years. Why? Because the policies set under the Bush administration emphasized how to read rather than why one should read.

Even now Bush is destroying my childhood. I weep now.


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Nathan Thrall is grasping at straws. For starters, Albania is a Muslim country like China is a Christian country.

For seconds, if they happen to like us not because they’re necessarily paragons of democracy but because those we bombed happened to be their enemies, then what do we gain as a country from their friendship?

Bush liked to go there because it was a rather innocuous, isolated country that was practically the only one whose populace wasn’t actively protesting his presence. If North Korea treated Bush that way, he’d have gone on state visits to North Korea more often.

It seems the article has very little to do with promoting world peace efforts or democracy and more to do with alliances of convenience, a smarmy CIA-like cynicism towards foreign affairs that should send chills down the spines of those who wish a more stable world to live in.

God Dayamn.

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Even with the stimulus, Obama hasn’t managed to outspend Bush for the timeframe.

And I really ought to backdate these posts. This is getting ridiculous.

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