Archive for August 31, 2005
What is the next big thing that Bush and/or his administration is going to fail to see coming?
He failed to prepare for 9/11. He failed to prepare for the Iraq insurgency. He failed to prepare for Hurricane Katrina. He failed to prepare for gas prices going up, unemployment staying high, the recession and slow recovery of the last few years, and global warming. He certainly didn’t expect Cindy Sheehan, and he certainly didn’t prepare for what to do if his poll numbers tanked as badly as they did. Heck, this is the guy famous for trading away Sammy Sosa.
So what’s next?
Avian flu? Indictments from Plamegate hitting unexpected people and places? Oil cutoff from Venezuela? Dollar cratering? Mad cow disease in Montana? Housing bubble popping? Somebody involved in the 2004 election turning state’s evidence? Sabotage of US refineries? Earthquake in California?
What’s the next thing Bush skipped over so he could clear brush and strum guitar that will come back to bite him on the ass?
Leave your ideas in comments. First one to happen gets– well, I’ll come up with something.
With all the prattle on Intelligent Design, Creationism and the like, if you’re just getting more and more depressed from reading the stuff coming from PZ Myers and Daniel Dennett and thinking that maybe Darwin got it wrong, at least in the case of the proponents of these cock and bull fables, it seems time for a bit of Fry and Laurie:
Stephen, a headmaster, is sitting behind a desk. Hugh enters with Michael, a small boy.
Stephen: Ah good morning Michael, good morning
Hugh: Yes, we’ll dispense with the good mornings if you
don’t mind. I haven’t got time for good mornings.
Stephen: As you wish. You wanted to discuss something, I
Hugh: I think you know why I’m here.
Stephen: I don’t think I do.
Hugh: (To Michael) Tell him.
Michael looks embarrassed.
Stephen: Tell me what?
Hugh: Tell him what you told your mother last night.
Michael: Sexual intercourse can often bring about
pregnancy in the adult female.
Hugh: You heard that, did you?
Hugh: Well I’d like an explanation, if it’s not too much
Stephen: An explanation of what?
Hugh: An explanation of how my son came to be using
language like that in front of his mother.
Stephen: Well I imagine that this is something that Michael
learnt in his biology class, isn’t that right?
Michael: Yes, sir.
Stephen: Yes I thought so. With Mr Hent. Glad to see
some of it’s sinking in, Michael.
Michael: Thank you sir.
Hugh: Well I must say this is a turn-up and no mistake.
Stephen: What is?
Hugh: I didn’t imagine that you’d be quite so barefaced
Stephen: About what?
Hugh: I came here today to make a complaint about
my son being exposed to gutter language in the
playground. I am frankly staggered to find that this
is something that he’s actually been taught in a
classroom. I mean what is going on here?
Stephen: We’re trying to teach your son …
Hugh: Oh are you? Are you indeed?
Hugh: What? How to embarrass his parents? How to
smack himself with heroin?
Stephen: I assure you Mr Smear, we have no intention …
Hugh: Call yourself a school?
Stephen: I don’t actually call myself a school, no.
Hugh: You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Filling a
young lad’s head with filth like that. Well let me
tell you something. About the real world. You’re
here to provide a service.
Stephen: Quite right.
Hugh: Quite right, yes, well I’m not happy with it. I’m
not happy with the service you’re providing.
Stephen: Would you rather that Michael didn’t attend the
Hugh: Certainly I would, if those are the kind of lies I
can expect to hear repeated at the dinner table.
Stephen: They’re not lies, Mr Smear.
Hugh: Oh aren’t they? Pregnancy is brought about by
Hugh: Oh Lord save us. So you agree with that?
Stephen: Of course. It’s true.
Hugh: True my arse. It’s nothing more than a disgusting
rumour put about by trendy young people in
Stephen: Trendy young people in their sixties?
Hugh: The sixties. In the sixties. That’s when it all started.
People like you.
Stephen: Mr Smear, sexual reproduction has been part of
the biology syllabus for many years.
Hugh: I don’t care about your blasted syllabus. What
good is a blasted syllabus out there?
Stephen: Out where?
Stephen: The Arkwright Road?
Hugh: Arkwright Jungle, I call it.
Stephen: Well, what would you rather we taught your son,
Hugh: I would rather … I would rather you taught him
values, Mr …
Hugh: Casilingua. Values. Respect. Standards. That’s
what you’re here for. You’re not here to poison my
son with a lot of randy sextalk.
Stephen: So Michael is definitely your son, is he, Mr
Hugh: Certainly he’s my son.
Stephen: Then it’s safe to assume that at some stage you
and your wife have had sexual intercourse?
Hugh: (Pause) Right. (Hugh starts to take off his jacket)
That’s it. I’m going to knock some sense into
Stephen: You’re going to fight me now, are you?
Hugh: Yes I bloody well am. I’m not going to stand
Stephen: Do you mind if I do? (Rises to his feet)
Hugh: Talking like that in front of the boy. You’re a
Stephen: Mr Smear, let me ask you this. How could
Michael be your son, if you haven’t had sexual
Hugh: Michael …
Hugh: Michael is my son in the normal way.
Stephen: In the normal way?
Stephen: And what is the normal way to have a son, in your
Hugh: If you’re trying to trick me into sexy talk …
Stephen: I’m not.
Hugh: The normal way to have a son is … to get
Hugh: Buy a house and get properly settled in.
Hugh: Furniture and so on, and then … wait for a bit.
Hugh: Make sure you eat properly. Three hot meals a
Stephen: So Michael just sort of turned up, did he?
Hugh: Er … well of course it’s a few years ago now, but
yes I think one day he was just there.
Stephen: And you and your wife have never enjoyed sexual
intimacy of any kind?
Hugh: Yes, it’s very hard for you to believe isn’t it, that
there are still some people left who can bring a
son into this world without recourse to cannabis
and government handouts?
Stephen: Well, I really don’t know what to say.
Hugh: I bet you don’t: It’s not every day a consumer
stands up to you and makes demands is it?
Stephen: Not of this nature, no.
Hugh: Yes, well. Welcome to the harsh realities of the
market-place, Mr Casilingua.
Stephen: OK. Well, what would you like me to do?
Hugh: It’s obvious isn’t it? If I go into Littlewoods and
tell them I’m not satisfied with a cardigan, say,
they’ll change it for me. And gladly.
Stephen: You want another son?
Hugh: Certainly I do. Mine is soiled now.
Stephen: Well I’m afraid we haven’t got any spare sons
here, just at the moment.
Hugh: Well what have you got of equal value?
Stephen: Um – there are some locusts in the biology lab.
Hugh: Locusts, hmm. Do I have your assurance that one
of these locusts will not embarrass Mrs Smear at
table with foul language?
Stephen: I think I can go that far.
Hugh: Well that’s something. How many of them
Stephen: Two … at the moment.
Hugh: What d’you mean, “at the moment”?
Stephen: Well, it’s just that these locusts are married,
they’ve bought the cage, and some furniture, and
they’re having three meals a day.
Hugh: Hot meals?
Hugh: So Mrs Smear might be a grandmother one day?
Stephen: Very possibly.
Hugh: (Pleased) She’d like that.
PZ’s right, by the way. If we start throwing sex education into the coverage mix, we’ll really have the anti-science people pissed off. Sounds good to me.
President Bush plays a guitar presented to him by Country Singer Mark Wills, right, backstage following his visit to Naval Base Coronado, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Bush visited the base to deliver remarks on V-J Commemoration Day. (AP Photo/ABC News, Martha Raddatz)
Nero fiddled while Rome burned. George strummed while New Orleans drowned.
Five weeks of vacation, and he doesn’t interrupt it until three days after the storm hits. And it’s not like there wasn’t warning in advance to get things set up.
But hey– save $20 million in not funding preparations, pay $20 BILLION in repairs after the fact. Who could have foreseen it? Planning for things going wrong is just so uncool. Now watch me play this lick.
…that some yo-yo is going to claim that George W. Bush couldn’t come back to Washington immediately to deal with the mess of Katrina because Cindy Sheehan kept him cornered inside his ranch?
(Yes, another nutcase who thinks he’s Jesus with a bunch of people inside with automatic weapons pinned down in a compound outside Waco, feeling persecuted by the Clinton administration. Really, what are the odds? Must be something in the educational system in Texas or something.)
By Jeremy Pelofsky Mon Aug 29,10:18 PM ET
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, California (Reuters) -
President George W. Bush was greeted by Iraq war supporters and protesters on Monday as he interrupted his Texas vacation to promote a new Medicare prescription drug program.
Hundreds of demonstrators for and against the Iraq war staged protests near Rancho Cucamonga, California, where Bush wove comments on Iraq into a Medicare speech to a group of senior citizens.
Okay. Worst storm to hit America in a decade, possibly a generation. Huge loss of life. Economic impact in the billions. A major city that could be underwater by the end of the day. And Bush decides to take time out and talk about Medicare?
Parts of New Orleans are beginning to lose power, as you can see on this webcam. Street lights went out around 4 AM their time. You can follow minute by minute and see for yourself.
…because you knew that somehow, I was going to blame some of this on the pinhead:
In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.
It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said.
“I’ve been here over 30 years and I’ve never seen this level of reduction,” said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. “I think part of the problem is it’s not so much the reduction, it’s the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It’s the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.
“There is an economic ripple effect, too. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now.”
Money is so tight the New Orleans district, which employs 1,300 people, instituted a hiring freeze last month on all positions. The freeze is the first of its kind in about 10 years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the Corps’ Programs Management Branch.
About the only thing missing is a memo entitled “Hurricane Determined To Strike In U.S.”. (“But he gets those kinds of memos all the time! How could he know to take it seriously?”)
(Via Suburban Guerrilla.)
So I’m sitting here watching the webcams of New Orleans, wondering how many of these lights are shining for the last time.
A couple of months ago, Rick Santorum wanted to bar the National Weather Service from sharing some of it’s data with the public.
Let’s see: talking points for tommorrow.
1) Will Bush give up his vacation as a major American city is wiped off the map? We hope that this isn’t the case, but if it is, will Bush finally act like a leader or hide again.
2) Why is the Lousiana National Guard as well as their first responders in the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force reserve not home to help save their city?
3) Why did the Bush administration repeatedly cut funding for the Corps of Engineers district since 2001, despite being warned that this was one of the most likely disaster to hit the US, after a terrorist attack in New York.
The nasty thoughts that occur to me:
* The US economy is about to tank. Hard. (Again.) We’re about to lose 30% of the nation’s oil refining capacity for weeks at least, possibly months. I expect gasoline to hit $4 a gallon easily, $5 is not impossible. We haven’t even gotten into the impact of the loss of businesses, inventory, livestock, and of course people– not to mention how badly messed up anything that travels along the Mississippi River may be, which is the shipping lane for the central half of the country.
* The housing bubble has just popped, because we’ve just had tens of thousands of mortgages literally go underwater. And if you held stock in insurance companies, kiss your dividends goodbye.
* The federal government is about to pay off on a LOT of flood insurance, increasing an already huge deficit. And that’s before we find out if the southern tip of Louisiana is going to become the nation’s largest Superfund site.
* We are about to have a massive exodus from the southern states, one that will redraw demographic maps for years. We’re also about to have about half a million homeless people, easy.
* Bush may actually have an excuse to pull troops out of Iraq now; they’re needed back home. Of course, knowing him he’ll recommend fighting this with tax cuts.
What you can do:
* Donate cash to the Red Cross. Not supplies, cash.
* Conserve power. NOW. Oil, gas, and natural gas. See if you can convince your boss to let you telecommute, or take mass transit.
* Be prepared for houseguests. They won’t have much with them, and they may be with you for a long while.
As I was watching how bad Hurricane Katrina was looking and worrying about the people down there, I realized that a large hunk of our nation’s oil capacity was about to be submerged. And lo and behold, I was unfortunately right:
Crude-oil and natural-gas prices may soar after Hurricane Katrina moved into production regions of the Gulf of Mexico, forcing companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. to close operations.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it shut 420,000 barrels of daily oil production in the Gulf. The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which handles about 11 percent of U.S. imports, closed yesterday. Katrina is one of the most powerful storms ever to enter the Gulf, source of about 30 percent of U.S. oil production and 24 percent of the country’s natural gas.
“Forecasters are saying Katrina could do more energy damage than any storm in recent years,” said Jason Schenker an economist with Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte. “It’s not just that there’s going to be outages for the next couple of days. With shutdowns and damage at platforms and refineries, the bullish impact could be felt for the rest of the year.”
$3 a gallon for gas? Brother, we’re going to be lucky if we can keep it to $5. All bets are now off.
Here’s a picture: