The Long Highway

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

From Horror to Beauty in a few short miles

That is the terrible dialectic which defines this wonderful city these days. Today was a lovely and fascinating day filled with a few notable surprises and high points. I finished my one-on-one conferences with students at UNO around 4:30. The students seemed to genuinely apppreciate what I had to offer them and my efforts to fill them with enthusiasm for their own work and creative potential seemed to be as successful as I had hoped. I met so many wonderful and dedicated people -- working through such tough circumstances -- I can hardly express my gratitude for having had the opportunity. Most of the folks went out of their way to thank me profusely, and all I could do was thank them right back.

Desperately needing a respite from the sound of my own voice and the company of others, having spent the previous 48 hours flapping my jaws non-stop, I changed clothes back at my hosts' apartment and walked down to the Quarter for a nice, restful private meal at NOLA, one of Emeril Lagasse's New Orleans restaurants. Walked along the Mississippi for a while and took a few snapshots. On my way into the Quarter I turned a corner and ran straight into a Krewe's parade, a small, non-float Mardi Gras Krewe called the Druids, dressed in flowing red robes and wizard caps, led by a small brass band escorting their King Druid and his Queen on a horse-drawn coach. I was delighted to have been able to see even this small slice of Mardi Gras tradition and followed the Krewe into Bourbon Street and a bar, where the band took the stage and the king and his court drank heartily.

Found my way to NOLA after that and had an absolutely wonderful dinner of rich, roux-based seafood gumbo, cornbread, and shrimp sauteed in a barbecue-sauce-spiked buttter sauce, plated on a bed of smoked cheddar stoneground grits, green onions and chunks of applewood-smoked bacon. Absolutely delicious, and affordable to boot. Thus fortified, I contacted a documentary filmmaker whom AFI has made some efforts to assist in his attempt to complete a compelling and important documentary on the Mardi Gras Indians. We met for coffee and King Cake at a small and lovely coffee shop and talked about his efforts to get his film funded. I'll report more fully on his efforts in a later posting.

Then it was back here -- to post this message, and pack. I have the morning free tomorrow, which I intend to fill with early coffee, beignets and reading, followed by a hearty brunch, the acquisiton of a muffuletta sanwich for the flight home, and then it's a visit to tour a new, high end UNO-funded production facility designed to lure more film production to the area. Then it will be goodbye for now to beautiful, tragic, wonderful New Orleans until who knows when. Once I'm home I will reflect a little more fully on my trip. It has left an indelible impression on me and has been unforettable in many ways.
Last night's festivities involved Mike (below left) and Jeff (below right, my guide), both grad students at UNO, and a few hurricanes at Pat O'Briens, home of that noble cocktail and the flaming coutyard fountain above.On my way up Decatur I noticed the St. Louis Cathedral was shrouded in this eerie, glowing mist. About 15 minutes of diddling around with exposure and timing settings on the digital camera produced excellent results; these low-res versions do not do justice to the full-res photos.

The 9th Ward

The following are pictures I took yesterday while walking through the 9th Ward, the hardest-hit area of New Orleans proper but by no means the only site of devastation. It seems like everywhere for miles around is abandoned, half destroyed; you'll drive down a street and think, well, these places are still standing, I can see the water mark came up almost to the top of the first floor but maybe it's salvageable, then turn a corner and see a block virtually demolished. The grad student, Jeff, was driving me down a road like this explaining that it was under 9 feet of water. Surreal and horrifying to be driving down it now.

No matter what people say this is not a city that is quite on its feet again. It is functional. The people are amazing in their perseverance and good humor in the face of an utterly incompetent and uncaring Federal Government, bankrupt state and local governments and utilities. The fact that people outside New Orleans think life is anywhere back to "normal" here are fooling themselves. These are brave and hardy people with the greatest sense of civic pride and sense of belonging to somewhere they call home that I have ever encountered in this utterly unique melting pot of cultures and races.

My overwhelming impression when I was in the 9th Ward is that no lens, no camera could possibly communicate the immense and horrifying scale of the utter devastation. It is apocalyptic, literally like a horrible war was fought and lost here -- which in a sense, it was. The fact that there is no military presence here to battle this enormous and tragic loss and give the people who once lived here hope that the city they call home might one day welcome them is the greatest and most shameful sin I have ever seen visited on the American people. The police patrol the area and a few brave people make stand and stake their claim in the face of negligent government, implacable bureaucracy . . . some say there may still be bodies as yet undiscovered. Were we not, a few years ago, digging canals through the wetlands that might have absorbed most of the storm swell in the interest of oil companies, had the government -- federal, local -- stood up for the people they are sworn to protect and spent one thousandth of what we have spent in Iraq to shore up levees and improve pumping systems, had we not foolishly committed our young men and women to die in an unwinnable and unnecessary war of choice, so much of this may have been avoided. And the fact that to this day, months and months down the line, there is no power within miles of the affected areas, ghastly rubble remains essentially untouched, thousands of people have nowhere to call home, fills me with such rage I don't know what to do with myself. The main reason I'm down here is because many of the faculty and grad students were displaced, and we're helping to pump up their film program; my guide for this week fled the city, had his apartment flooded and lost everything. He is rooming with a professor until, like the other students, his FEMA trailer is ready for him . . . and the three students he will be sharing it with. His story is typical, and in fact he is one of the fortunate ones.

So much loss. So much negligence. So much completely, totally and utterly senseless and unnecessary destruction. A hurricane is a force of nature. But there is no question at all that better preparation, which all the concerned governmental bodies were well aware of the necessity of, could have minimized the worst of it. And don't get me started on the media, the Geraldos and the Anderson Coopers, or the Spike Lees and Jonathan Demmes carpetbagging their way down here to shoot their little documentaries, scoot back to their air conditioned suites at the Westin and jet back to LA the minute they have their footage. Or the lying, stinking swine who promulgated so many bullshit stories and ignored so many acts of heroism. One faculty member was in the hospital watching nurses heroically, manually keeping patients alive and dragging them bodily to the rooftop to be medivacced out for three solid days. A story that went unreported -- but the completely fabricated and unsubstantiated story that those same nurses in that same hospital were euthanizing patients got national press. I just can't believe the media anymore. If you want the facts about what went down here, go to Ignore everything else.

Anyway. These pictures are from yesterday's visit to the 9th. When you see little childrens' shoes and toys, places where families, poor as they might have been, gathered to share their supper or go to church or do the simple little things we all take for granted, when you see all this wiped away it is hard not to get choked up. These photos do not do this disaster justice. It stretches as far and wide as the eye can see. Literally, to the horizon, just as if a giant hand came and wiped everything away. I saw the 9/11 site while they were still tearing down the iron and it was horrific. Imagine 20, 30, 50 times that devastation. And in a way, this is worse. 9/11 was the product of diseased, hateful minds but at least they believed in something, ignorant and mad as they might have been. There was a reason behind their actions, brutal and stupid thought it was. This disaster reached these epic and unspeakable proportions because people in power stretching back many years and spanning the whole political system believe in nothing but lining their pockets and making their rich friends richer. And I don't know what we can do about that, except remember that this is the ultimate cost we pay.

This enormous barge floated right over the breached levee and crushed several houses. Just to the left of where this barge lies pile drivers clang away, shoring up the levee.

Late Night

Just back from a long day. Started with some breakfast po-boys in the Quarter with a few grad students. Then we drove over to the lower 9th -- the hardest hit area of New Orleans. there are simply no words to describe the hideous devastation. It is something I hope I never see again, and yet I am glad to have seen it with my own eyes as no camera and no amount of Anderson Cooper mincing around can possibly communicate the massive and almost incomprehensible scale of the devastation to be found there. I took some photos which hopefully will wpeak about this more eloquently than I, but it is 2 am here in New Orleans and I need to sleep.

After the trip I visited the campus and then a grad student and I went for coffee and beignets; then it was back to my hosts and off to dinner with some faculty. My class session followed and it went quite well; several of the students really seemed to engage in the ideas presented and my cycle project from last year went over very well. The faculty were appreciative and tomorrow I will spend the day in conference with students discussing their work.

After class a couple of students and I hit Pat O'Brien's in the Quarter for a few Hurrricances, then across the street for late night cheeseburgers which for some mysterious reason did not materialize for nearly an hour. (Hence the lateness of my arrival back here.) So it is too late for a full update but tomorrow will be mellow and I will have plenty of pictures for you then.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A walk around the quarter

So I am back at my lovely hosts' home after a walk on a cool, ever-so-slightly drizzly night through the French Quarter. My hosts, the Benoits, live just a few blocks from the Quarter. Mardi Gras week is underway, though I won't be able to see any parades while I am here -- just missing a few. I enjoyed some delicious homemade gumbo and decided to stretch my legs for a while and look for a sweatshirt to ward off the chill (and give the Benoits some privacy). Couldn't find a sweatshirt that wasn't either in hideously bad taste (although the t-shirts depicting Mayor Nagin as Count Chocula were tempting) or didn't shriek, "I'm a dumb tourist" at top volume, so I decided on a brisk walk and sure enough I warmed up soon enough. Bourbon Street was hopping although one wonders how much crazier it was pre-Katrina. I had a beer or two but mostly just watched the hordes of happy drunks begging for or dispensing beads to young ladies. A nice walk back through more peaceful parts of the Quarter and I'm turning in early; some of the students are gonna take me on a tour of the city and some of the devastated areas tomorrow morning, and I still want to review my notes for tomorrow'c lcass. Meanwhile, a few quick photos I snapped on my walk tonight.

New Orleans

Hello, I'm back. Most of my updates these days are limited to Jack's blog (see link at right), mostly because I just haven't had the dang time to post anything else, or do much else besides school and daddy-ing. Work on my first thesis film continues apace, with a second cut of the film well underway. But I am posting now because I find myself in New Orleans for the next few days, as a guest lecturer at the University of New Orleans. It's part of a post-Katrina outreach effort by AFI that I volunteered to participate in. While it is odd to be away from my wife and baby for the first time since he came on the scene, it is a worthy effort indeed and a great city. Those who have visited my blog before know my views on the horrid bungling of the feebs in power in handling the woes of these folks. It feels good to be doing something concrete to help a film program that is working hard to bounce back. Tomorrow I will have a tour of the city and some of the affected areas, and tomorrow night I teach a film class. Tuesday is devoted to individual conferences with grad students, helping them with their work. So I will be posting some pictures and updates in the next few days.

Some time soon, I will be repurposing this blog to focus more on films and filmmaking -- or maybe starting another one and save my political rantings for this blog when I need to blow a fuse. So keep checking in.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hello again.

Well as you have noticed I have not been posting much of late. Between a crazy school schedule and Jack's being sick and both Genevieve and I just being so worn down by our mutual schedules and handling the sick Jack-Jack, just haven't had the time. So, just a quick hello. When I do have time to blog I usually spend it all on Jack's page because it is time consuming to convert all the pictures so they don't use up my picture quota, get them all posted and then add what commentary I can.

Anyway. Though my rage over the Katrina debacle has subsided some, I am still in a state in which I just cannot believe what a bunch of complete bastards we have running this country. If Brownie is any indication, they are all either seriously deluded dopes or just unspeakably evil, pathological liars. Take this excerpt from Brown's testimony:

BUYER: I would like to ask some questions about the pre- landfall. So I'd like to know why did the president's federal emergency assistance declaration of August 27th not include the parishes of Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines?

BROWN: Under the law, the governor makes the request for the declaration and the governors of the states specify what areas, what counties they want included in that declaration.
And, based upon the governor's request, that's the recommendation that we make to the president. So if a governor does not request a particular county or a particular parish, that's not included in the request.

BUYER: All right. Orleans Parish is New Orleans. I was listening to my colleague, Mr. Jefferson's, questions about when they talked about, you know, they asked for this assistance for three days and then president responded the very next day, not the day that it was made -- the request -- but the governor of Louisiana actually excluded New Orleans from the president's federal emergency assistance declaration?

BROWN: Again, Congressman, we looked at the request. The governors make the request by...

BUYER: Let me ask this. Since you went through the exercise in Pam, was that not shocking to you that the governor would excluded New Orleans from the declaration?


BUYER: When that request came in excluding these three parishes, did you question it?

BROWN: We questioned it. But I made the decision that we were going to go ahead and move assets in regardless because we have the ability to add those parishes...

Just one problem. That whole thing is a lie. The request did not exclude any of those parishes, least of all New Orleans. It was, in fact, specifically singled out in Blanco's request. Enjoy this little tidbit from the Governor's actual formal request to the Feds:

Dear Mr. President: Under the provisions of Section 501 (a) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5206 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR § 206.35, I request that you declare an emergency for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina for the time period beginning August 26, 2005, and continuing. The affected areas are all the southeastern parishes including the New Orleans Metropolitan area and the mid state Interstate I-49 corridor and northern parishes along the I-20 corridor that are accepting the thousands of citizens evacuating from the areas expecting to be flooded as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

I single this out because it is a fine example of the absolutely shocking spew of lies and half truths and self-pitying bullshit this imbecilic failure of a man spewed during his hearing. It just doesn't get any more bald-faced than this, and I'm rather disappointed the actual request from the Governor was not thrown in his face with a request he personally read it into the record. He is either a perjurer or an idiot, or possibly both -- a failure at just about everything he has ever done, including lying. I really need to point this particular example out to people I meet who are right-wing dittoheads who just parrot out whatever they hear from Rush or that fat pathetic windbag Mike Gallagher or the twin douchebags of doom, Hannity and Colmes. I've actually heard people spout Brown's line of shit to my face. And when you quote the truth to them chapter and verse, they simply say, "well, that's just not true." And the conversation ends there. I mean, what? WHAT!?

I keep coming back to the only optimistic interpretation that I can: that people simply cannot believe that our country is under the thrall of the worst bunch of avaricious, venal, criminally negligent, worthless scumsucking bastards since the Gang of Four; it's just too horrifying for them. So in desperation, they turn a blind eye to the facts, to the evidence. Willful self-denial, because the truth is too much to bear.

When, Lord, when will it end?

Speaking of something being too much to bear, the impending release of far more detailed and lurid and vicious photographic evidence of the bruatlity at Abu Ghraib is, sad to say, welcome news. Not because I have any desire to have these images burned into anyone's mind, least of all my own; but because this not only is hard evidence of a foreign policy run completely amok, it is also evidence of how little respect George "Support Our Troops" Bush actually has for these poor fuckers stuck in the desert dying to establish what will, as it happens, be an Islamic republic. These poor guys and gals are risking life and limb and while I don't for a second think that anyone involved in the horrific scenes depicted should be cut any slack at all, I also believe they should never have been in that position in the first place. These people are not interrogators, not trained to be guarding hostile (or allegedly hostile) enemy prisoners of war. Why in the living hell would you put soliders on active duty in a war zone in charge of guarding the people who are trying to kill them?

But let's not be stupid, folks: either these soldiers all took the same Kool-Aid, or are all, by coincidence, depraved sociopaths, or they were all given the same orders: to treat these Iraqi men, women and even children in the most degrading and often deadly fashion, to assult them physically, mentally, sexually in a way that would make the most Saddam himself, no stranger to this behavior, blanch.

So I'd like to ask you, where do these orders come from?

Who is responsible for appointing the incompetent, heartless, selfish, whining boobs in charge of managing recovery from a national disaster?

At whose door do we lay the lies about weapons of mass destruction that led us into a brutal and costly desert war, where more and more American blood seeps into the sand daily, where now thousands of American kids have perished, all in the name of our "freedom," but ultimately for a cause none of them would volunteer for: replacing a secualr Middle Eastern dictatorship with an Islamic theocracy?

A dumpy, dimwitted little fucker by the name of George W. Bush gets the bill, folks. And when the Great Scorer comes to write against his name, what will be written will be in blood. I can honestly say I have never had less respect for any human being in my life. He is a worthless scag and those who fall in with him, from his hideous she-mantis of a wife to those who run his little crypto-fascist puppet show of a government are beyond saving. If you lie down with the pigs, you can't complain when your neighbors call you a swine.

I have friends who are conservatives. George W. Bush is no conservative. He is a filthy, pathetic little bag of ape-bones in a suit, who like his pal Brownie has literally been a failure at everything he has ever done in his life. Look it up. His wartime "service". . . his oil career . . . his governorship . . . the Texas Rangers . . . and now this revolting embarassment, this dark blotch of blood and shit on the American flag called the Bush presidency.

Ah . . . we seem to have gotten a little off-track here. I can't help myself once I get started. One more reason I don't post as much these days.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Potty time

Yahoo! News Photo

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Thank God for The Onion

God Outdoes Terrorists Yet Again

A storm surge of nausea -- This post rated R!

I had a stomachache all week. A nasty one, a feeling like the walls of my gut were sluicing off. Maybe it was that tamale. Or maybe it was a reaction to the swill pouring out of the mouths of filthy pigfuckers like this fat, neckless small-time radio stooge in an ill-fitting suit:

I only mention this penny-ante Rush Limbaugh wannabe because he exemplifies, to me, everything that is wrong with the Bush amen chorus in this country. Witness this unbelievable passage (don't bother reading the whole article, it's from, a cheesy, pop-up laden "news site" that features cheap ads as "editor's notes" but which this guy is proud to say "runs his column"):

"And to suggest that FEMA, or the Bush administration, or the state of Louisiana, or every other governmental agency isn't doing everything it can to save as many people as possible is pure insanity." -- Mike Gallagher, "The Katrina Blame Game,"

Now I only bring up this pathetic, pompous windbag to draw attention to the use of the term "Blame Game." Here are the Karl-Rove approved buzzwords used by virtually every right-wing radio shithead, spewed by every shameful asshole on Fox, and babbled by the hapless members of this criminal Presidential administration: "blame game," "finger-pointing" and "Monday morning quarterbacking."

The first two are prevalent and are literally drilled home in the actual RNC talking points memo on the Katrina disaster. And as a result they are parroted again and again and again by all Karl Rove's evil little minions. In essence, it's a straw man strategy. Twist the response by not only the left, but any concerned human being, let alone American, who has eyes to see and a brain to think who has watched the abominable unfolding of this American tragedy -- twist it into a puerile "game" of "finger-pointing." Be sure to make it seem even more juvenile by using the term "whine" a lot. Then attack the "whiners" on the basis that they're being silly and juvenile, when they are anything but.

Witness this heartening exchange, in case you missed it, between that dimwitted android Scott McLellan -- the President's mouthpiece -- and (I believe) David Gregory of NBC:

Q Scott, does the President retain confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security?

MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, see, this is where some people want to look at the blame game issue, and finger-point. We're focused on solving problems, and we're doing everything we can --

Q What about the question?

MR. McCLELLAN: We're doing everything we can in support --

Q We know all that.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.

Q Does he retain complete confidence --

MR. McCLELLAN: We're going to continue. We appreciate the great effort that all of those at FEMA, including the head of FEMA, are doing to help the people in the region. And I'm just not going to engage in the blame game or finger-pointing that you're trying to get me to engage.

Q Okay, but that's not at all what I was asking.

MR. McCLELLAN: Sure it is. It's exactly what you're trying to play.

Q You have your same point you want to make about the blame game, which you've said enough now. I'm asking you a direct question, which you're dodging.


Q Does the President retain complete confidence in his Director of FEMA and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?

MR. McCLELLAN: I just answered the question.

Q Is the answer "yes" on both?

MR. McCLELLAN: And what you're doing is trying to engage in a game of finger-pointing.

Q There's a lot of criticism. I'm just wondering if he still has confidence.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and blame-gaming. What we're trying to do is solve problems, David. And that's where we're going to keep our focus.

Q So you're not -- you won't answer that question directly?

MR. McCLELLAN: I did. I just did.

Q No, you didn't. Yes or no? Does he have complete confidence or doesn't he?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, if you want to continue to engage in finger-pointing and blame-gaming, that's fine --

Q Scott, that's ridiculous. I'm not engaging in any of that.

MR. McCLELLAN: It's not ridiculous.

Q Don't try to accuse me of that. I'm asking you a direct question and you should answer it. Does he retain complete confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said -- that's exactly what you're engaging in.

Q I'm not engaging in anything. I'm asking you a question about what the President's views are --

MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely -- absolutely --

Q -- under pretty substantial criticism of members of his administration. Okay? And you know that, and everybody watching knows that, as well.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, everybody watching this knows, David, that you're trying to engage in a blame game.

Q I'm trying to engage?


Q I am trying to engage?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's correct.

Q That's a dodge. I have a follow-up question since you dodged that one. Does the White House feel like it missed opportunities to alleviate or head off some of the damage in the New Orleans area, flood damage? Did it miss an opportunity to head any of that off?

MR. McCLELLAN: In what way?

I say this is heartening because the strategy of this administration has been simply to repeat a lie often enough until it gets accepted as the truth, and the press has bent right over and spread its cheeks for Der Fuhrer Rove and his cronies to an appalling extent. In these increasingly testy post-Katrina exchanges, fueled by reporters' experiences of seeing this horror documented by their colleagues, it seems, it finally seems like a little light might break and journalists might force these swine to be accountable.

And thank God. Because it IS the time for finger pointing and assessing blame, for ACCOUNTABILITY, when it is SO GODDAMNED EASY to see where the fault lies.

Please note as well, that the same people parroting "blame game" and "finger-pointing" are the first to turn right around and blame Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco. Fucking animals. Fucking hypocrtical, filthy animals. Look, Nagin and Blanco and local authorities no doubt share some culpability. But this is a national disaster far beyond the capability of any locality to handle, and required a national response. Isn't this obvious?

Thank goodness for Air America Radio, although I should probably not listen to it every day like I do because each and every day some new, appalling outrage comes to light and blows my blood pressure off the map. Karl Rove, no doubt, is delighted at the whole Katrina affair -- between that and John Roberts, it's pushed his fat, guilty ass off the front burner's flame for the time being.

Here in LA we at the AFI are trying to organize a fundraiser; there's so much loss of life and livelihood; perhaps the nation hasn't seen anything on this scale since the Depression, or the Civil War, a whole vast region of people homeless, with no options. Thank goodness for the underlying decency of most Americans.

This is the thing that people like Mike Gallagher will never get. He and his ilk love to spread the lie that anyone who is angry and fed up with this stinking crime syndicate we have running this country "hates America." Cindy Sheehan "hates America," people who criticize the FEMA response "hate America." Well, you fat, ugly pig-fucker, let me tell you what I hate.

It's not America. It's the people who would pervert it. The people who would dress it in cheap lingerie, spray it with cheap perfume and pimp it out to the highest bidder if it would line their pockets. Jack her up on booze, pills and smack, treat her like a three-dollar strumpet, and when she croaked, well, shucks, it was a good ride, wasn't it Karl? We really wrung the old gal out for all she was worth. And by the way, Brownie, you're doin' a heck of a job.

That's all the Bush administration is to me. A vicious, worthless, lying pack of dirty animals -- pimps, thugs and fixers, humping Lady Liberty for all she is worth.

America deserves better, much better than this shameful treatment. Finally, possibly, the world and, especially, the idiots who think criticizing the government equates with "hating America" have seen with their own eyes the callous disregard for human life and the criminal neglect and negligence.

Don't start telling me about Bill Clinton's failings, as a dear friend did. His foreign policy was a shambles and he couldn't keep it in his pants, it's true. He did, however, build FEMA into a fast-responding powerhouse, after George the First had decimated it in almost exactly the manner his son would years later.

Here, as long as we're on the subject, are some things Clinton didn't manage to do:

Lie to the world to drag our young soldiers into an unnecessary, ill-planned, unspeakably costly and tragically deadly war;

completely destabilize the Middle East;

As a result, essentially send 2,000 young Americans and counting to their deaths to establish an Islamic republic where law is based on the Koran, granting Osama bin Laden's fondest wish;

Eradicate our budget surplus and plunge the nation into the deepest, darkest debt it's ever known;

Play golf, play guitar, eat birthday cake and make merry with donors at a fundraiser while one of America's greatest cities was disappearing under a wall of water;

Cut funding in HALF two years running intended to prevent such a tragedy from occurring;

Appoint a guy who couldn't even keep a job managing the stewards of the Arabian Horse Society and who lied on his resume to head the most important Federal office there is in the event of a disaster -- a man with ZERO experience;

Allow this same jackass to surround himself with a command structure that also features a majority of individuals with zero disaster mitigation experience;

Refuse EVER to admit a mistake . . .

. . . the list goes on and on.

I mean, sure, Bill Clinton fucked an intern, but it's better than George W. Bush fuckin' the whole country for 8 years.

How anyone could watch this Katrina devastation unfold and not instantly comprehend that the people running this country are completely fucking incompetent is beyond me.

Wanna know what really scares me? I can walk down my street with my little baby son and watch dozens of container ships stacked up like flights over O'Hare, parked out there beyond the breakwater in Long Beach, loaded top to bottom with containers of every description, from blue jeans to Hondas, waiting their turn to pull into one of the busiest ports in the world. Every ship holds hundreds of containers, and hundreds of ships pass through every week. Thousands and thousands of these containers pass within a stone's throw every week.

If there is a weak spot in our national armor, this is it. There is virtually no way to inspect these vessels thoroughly. Not only that, they are not even bothering to try. One of our biggest possible points of entry for a catastrophic terrorist attack is something smuggled in one of these containers.

This rotten administration, which ran in 2004 on a platform of keeping America safe, still, 4 years to the day after 9/11, has no coherent plan to secure our ports and I live about 2 miles from the biggest one in the country.

The fact that a fault line runs more or less under my feet doesn't make me very happy either.

But that's not what I find really, really scary.

Picture the horrors of last week's disaster for a moment. Picture a completely idiotic administration; shouldn't be too hard. Now imagine the next time something like this happens.

Now picture some terrorist bastard, probably trained in Iraq, choosing that exact time, with our armed forces committed abroad, our National Guard strained to the breaking point and all our search and rescue resources engaged in saving people from a natural catastrophe, choosing just that time to strike LA, Chicago, New York with a chemical or nuclear device.

A lot of people have been saying how worried they are that if this had been a terrorist strike, this is the best we could have done. I worry about our grotesque inability, stretched thin as we are, to cope with one disaster -- and how this leaves us wide open to another.

Oh, Jeez. 90 minutes in and we haven't even gotten to so many other things -- like excuses; Michael Cherthoff saying the reason he didn't move on New Orleans was because he picked up the paper on Tuesday and saw the headlines that "New Orleans Dodged the Bullet." From the Al Franken Show's webpage (click to enlarge):

I dunno, you tell me.

So much more to discuss and so many other millions of people discussing it. So many other thoughts swirling around in my head. I am still so angry and so upset.

I am sick of the fact that every day there is something in the paper that makes my wife cry because these rotten fucks didn't do their jobs.

I am sick of old bug-eyed farts like Barbara Bush daring, DARING to suggest that these people who have lost everything are better off sleeping in the Astrodome. I mean, how dare you! You filthy moustachioed nouveau-riche old PIG! You should be chopped up with an axe and fed to the dogs.

And to all those who poo-poo Brown's appointment and say, well, every politician appoints a few cronies, well, yeah, maybe they do, but usually it is not in a position where their complete freakin' incompetence will result in thousands of deaths. Like, appointing Uncle Lou ambassador to Togo is not liable to do much damage even if all he has ever done in life is sit quietly in a corner, staring off into space. Appointing him to head the FBI, for example, might be a problem.

And one last thing about our ludicrously stupid monkey-boy of a president. I don't think I can take it if I have to watch him try to get all pedantic with his explanations every time he is pressed on something stupid he did. Have you noticed this shit? When he is answering a question like, "Do you think the federal response is adequate?" he starts spitting out whatever his masters have told him to say as if you've just asked the stupidest question he's ever heard in his life, this answer right here that I'm givin' you is so obvious, jackass! God, it infuriates me, being talked down to by a complete nimrod.

OK. Have to end this somewhere, I mean I could go on all night. There is so much wrong with the world I have to go in and look at my baby son for a while.

It's September 11th. Go hug your baby, or wife, or friend, or yourself, or somebody less fortunate. Take care of yourself and the ones you love, because if you're expecting your government to help you, you're in for the disappointment of a lifetime.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hey all . . .

Just a quick update. This blog has turned into almost an afterthought and a quick spot for me to throw a bucnh of links to things I am currrently enraged or happy about, like Intelligent Design or Scientology or Steve Coogan ("Knowing Me, Knowing You" is just out on DVD, I believe, and BBC America are re-running "I'm Alan Partridge" from the beginning this week).

Now it's back to school this week, which means less time to spend blogging. Truth be told, I spend most of my blogging time on Jack's blog, which takes quite some time, converting picture files to smaller sizes, resaving them, etc. I might try using my iBook with Tiger and see if I can use the new Automator functions to make it a no-brainer to batch the photos as I load them.

Been riding the train into LA. It's OK except it means I have to leave the house two hours before class, which for a 9:00 am class is very rough indeed. But I can sip my coffee, read a book (or assignment) and get my daily exercise in to boot, as in toto I walk about half an hour all said, and a lot of that up a very, very steep hill. We editors start school a week early so we can learn about cutting film dailies on actual, well, film, synching sound, all cool stuff that I only know about from reading books. Kind of rapidly antiquating technology but it is really great foundational material to know.

Tomorrow is my turn to drop Jack off at daycare, about which more will be written here. In the meantime, I am going to watch a movie.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monster is gaining ground

"Henderson did not return a telephone call for comment. He says in his letter that it is disrespectful to teach about the FSM without wearing '“full pirate regalia.'”
Evolution debate creates monster |

Monday, August 22, 2005

Alan Partridge

Just about the funniest thing I have seen in years, seen in the US on BBC America. "Knowing Me, Knowing You," Alan's talks show (before it bombed and we pick him up years later as a rural radio host, is currently airing, then BBC Ameica is picking up with the first season of "I'm Alan Partridge" in a few weeks.

BBC - Comedy - Alan Partridge

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Thompson goes out with a bang

The Globe and Mail: Thompson goes out with a bang

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Onion | What Has Our Society Come To When March Of The Penguins Is The Blockbuster Hit Of The Summer?

The Onion | What Has Our Society Come To When March Of The Penguins Is The Blockbuster Hit Of The Summer?

I Have Converted

Read this Open Letter to find out what I have converted to.

This week's animal scrotum report

Coming Soon! DVD Reviews: "Because Pom Poko is bizarre, generally slow, and features a baffling number of raccoon scrotums, I can’t recommend it to general audiences or kids. This one is for animation fans only."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Someone Tell the President the War Is Over - New York Times

Someone Tell the President the War Is Over - New York Times | For a Resolution of Inquiry | For a Resolution of Inquiry

Friday, August 12, 2005

Cash for Rapture Victims

Cash for Rapture Victims

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bud Selig's Fault

Here's a poem I wrote a couple of years ago. Was clearing out some hard drive folders and found some old writing. This is actually pretty good, I think. I added a verse. Guess which one.

Bud Selig's Fault
(c) 2005 by Michael Sheehan

When my kids ask me why
Only big-market teams
Ever reach the postseason
And win by default?
I'll patiently sigh
With a tear in my eye
And explain, "It is Bud Selig's fault."

When games run past midnight
In World Series play
And a tied All-Star game
Is brought to a halt
While the cashboxes jingle
With billions to spare
I know that it's Bud Selig's fault.

With liver spots glowing,
Like a nuclear toad
He sits on his throne,
The despotic old dolt
And bleeds our old pastime
Of much of its joy.
Oh yes, it is Bud Selig's fault.

And now they've computers
Outguessing the umps
Can we take too much more
Before open revolt?
If we vote with our purses
And just stay away
It's no one but Bud Selig's fault.

The needles, the steroids
Earn slaps on the wrist
Don't tell me this all
Can't be brought to a halt
They've done it in football,
But baseball? No way!
I swear, it is Bud Selig's fault.

I'd rather have Costas,
Giuliani, or Faye
Or some kind of committee
That rules by gestalt
'Cause the state of the game
Is a damned crying shame
And folks, it's all Bud Selig's fault.

The Misunderestimated Man - How Bush chose stupidity

The Misunderestimated Man - How Bush chose stupidity. By Jacob Weisberg

The Complete Bushisms - Updated frequently

The Complete Bushisms - Updated frequently. By Jacob Weisberg

President moron

Well this is getting some ink in the international press, too. Incredible that the country the world has long looked to for scientific innovation is staring into the abyss like this.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Bush weighs into evolution debate

Thursday, August 04, 2005


A day which started out very sleepy and woozy then got better as Jack and I had a lot of cuddle time. Then, it suddenly turned into a very very crappy and upsetting day, but thank God for Jack, he really brought so many smiles to a not-very-smiley face today.