FEMA: may they have management and not money!

Brownie did a heck of a job lying under oath today at a Congressional hearing. Tomorrow, the front page of the Washington Post will feature a story that slipped to everyone’s unconsiousness and SHOULD have been mentioned at the hearing.

Gulf CoastBrown seemed to be the only person convinced that FEMA was completely prepared for this, and it was only because of the lack of communication on the state and local levels that the rescue mission didn’t go smoothly.

Remember the Carnival cruise ships? Yes, thats right, in a panic on September 1, with the over 10,000 needing a destination upon the mandatory evacuation of the Superdome, FEMA demanded 10,000 berths on a full service cruise line.

From what kind of appendix could this sort of emergency plan have emerged…. Brownie??? The ships are now on 6-month lease to FEMA, who should just be voted off the island for incompetence and insulting waste of public, not to mention EMERGENCY funds.

The cruise ships are less than half full, but according to Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) aides, if they were at capacity for the entire six months, the price per evacuee would total $1,275 a week based on the frantic 11th hour $236 million deal made between FEMA and Carnival Cruise Lines.

In freeing up cash for Katrina, the government has also slipped in additional measures to allow them to freely spend government money on their own interests, in the name of national security (46 states continue operating in a FEMA-designated state of emergency; perhaps this is where Brown comes up with his “150 disasters overseen”).

Sens. Coburn and Barack Obama (D-IL) are calling for a chief financial officer to oversee the spending of the Katrina funds…. Does there plea sound necessary enough to be answered?:

“When the federal government would actually save millions of dollars by forgoing the status quo and actually sending evacuees on a luxurious six-month cruise it is time to rethink how we are conducting oversight….”

Oh yeah, and please have mercy in these times of great tragedy and disaster, and lets all turn our heads to the $475 million Carnival already owes in delinquent back taxes…(thanks Perry Goldstein for your letter to the So. Florida Sun-Sentinel…. there will be time for FEMA to conduct its own investigation later. I’m sure they’ll find that they did a darn good heck of a job.

God and STDs

London Times religion correspondent Ruth Gledhilll writes today that studies have shown that more secular countries are better off than those inclined to believe in Creationism.

?In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.
?The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.?

Which leads me to wonder exactly to whom Tony Blair was referring this morning when he justified keeping British troops in Iraq as necessary means to avoid turning the country over to “the mercy of religious fanatics.””

Fallout from Basra

“What our police found in their car was very disturbing – weapons, explosives, and a remote control detonator. These are the weapons of terrorists. We believe these soldiers were planning an attack on a market or other civilian targets,” Sheik Hassan al-Zarqani, spokesman for the Mehdi Army said.

It was widely reported that British troops stormed a prison in Basra (ramming an armored vehicle into a police station, according to the Washington Post) to release two of their men who were detained by the Iraqis. It is still unclear whether the soldiers were detained for plans to execute what amounts to an act of terror – by any definition. A crucial line that was originally printed in a September 20 Washington Post report was eventually omitted, although questionable implications remain untouched:

“Monday’s clashes stemmed from the arrest by Iraqi police on Sunday of two Britons, [omitted]whom Iraqi police accused of planting bombs. ”

Censorship just doesn’t go these days. The omitted text is based on arbitrary speculation, still, The Post quickly retitled the article, and dropped the Iraqi co-author to the status of italicized contributor in the endnote. While it led the original Post report, it is tucked away in the back of the edited article that appears in in subsequent printings:
Washington Post
Iraq Mirror
Free Republic
Liberty Post

China Dailyrelayed a statement that ”
“Two persons wearing Arab uniforms opened fire at a police station in Basra. A police patrol followed the attackers and captured them to discover they were two British soldiers,” Washington Post reported last Wednesday that:


“about 500 civilians and policemen held a protest in downtown Basra denouncing ‘British aggression.’ The demonstrators, waving pistols and AK-47s, shouted “No to occupation!” and carried banners condemning “British aggression” and demanding the freed soldiers be tried in an Iraqi court as “terrorists.”

Today, al-Jazeera proclaims that fact must be separated from fiction the true intentions (if any) of the British should be known.


Christopher Hitchens: Contrarian bent over backwards

Christopher Hitchens lampooned Michael Janofsky’s coverage of this past weekends “protest” in of the New York Times. In an essay on Slate, Hitchens writes if readers should feel cheated by the Times’ failure to expand their report of the “wide range of progressive political objectives” of International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice, the two most prominent sponsors of the rally. Hitchens would continue to point out – as if he’s the only one in the world who knows – several of the disturbing and controversial agendas that these organizations have been involved with.

Hitchens’ retort, like many of his musings in the past month, have an underlying tone of angst and frustration that obscure his astute insight. Instead of informing his audience, he degradingly paints them as clueless, uninformed poseurs. Shame on these people for getting out on a Saturday and indiscriminately marching to express their personal if not selfish motives. And shame on The New York Times for failing to divulge the alarming and disturbing details that would have brought a lifetime of nightmares to some readers, while others would have concluded that NYT was participating in some leftist conspiracy theory.

It is extremely to blame Janofsky for being shallow in his vague description of ANSWER et al?s political objectives. Hitchens should be thanking Janofsky for providing the grounds on which to take the Times to task. His informed disclosure of the crooked objectives of Int?l ANSWER and United for Peace in the Slate essay are chilling and appreciated. Hitchens should NEVER take for granted how lucky he is that he?ll never have to write light and fluffy filler for a daily newspaper!

Write an editorial on it instead Hitch, just don?t shit on the readers!

Truth is, while Hitchens couldn’t contain his response to the New York Times omission of these details, he was far from the first person to note the conspicuous coincidence of Answer International and United for Peace?s sponsorship of the “anti-war protest.” In fact its been long debated by numerous blogs including those of Hitchens’ peers, leftist moms, and even High-school conservatives. Instapundit chimes in and alludes to ProteinWisdom, who extends the argument question Hitchen’s basis for arguing.

Christopher Hitchens may be losing himself inside voice. Now in his mid-50s, Hitch is looking worse for the wear and has adopted a mid-day Manchester (UK) pub-fight-seeking demeanor. His series of articles in The Nation after 9/11 were brilliantly inspired, and documented the beginning of his conversion to take-no-prisoners contrarian advocacy. After all, Hitchens was the brains behind “The Minority Report” in The Nation for twenty years.

While Hitchens presents himself as the absolute antithesis of lip-flapping liberals suchGeorge Galloway andMichael Moore, ironically, it seems he’s becoming that which he despises – putting himself on a pedestal beyond even his own consciousness. Hitch far too brilliant and knowledgeable to permit his voice to crash down on the under-informed masses as indictments of naivete criticism of free thinking. Forget the red/blue dichotomy and say it straight!

Hitchens lives and breathes ?history? to the point that he seems to have displaced himself from the present. Whenever he is challenged about G.W. Bush?s inability to caputer bin-Laden, he counters that G.H.W. Bush and Clinton both could have done away with Osama bin-Laden. A more convincing answer would allow that the current administration STILL has three years to get him. If Hitchens? contrarianism banks on the War on Terror he can?t be disqualifying the war?s still infantile progression with a shrug.

The War on Terror was originally announced by President Bush following the 9/11 attacks. Terror itself has been around forever, and it is now apparent that the war against it will perpetuate long past the tenure of George W. Bush. To preserve the credibility of their pro-war message, Hitchens and his ilk should take a big shot of reality and quit defending George W. Bush as the messenger.

Keep your head, Hitch ? maybe just step back and write another book, bring on the book reviews and come back in a bit. I trust that next time you?ll leave that goon Galloway muttering contradictory sweet nothings to himself on the streets of London.