Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bush's Lost Gamble

Few have mentioned that the Bush administration cut the Army Corps of Engeneers budget by a 20th of what was requested for the levees in New Orleans. Now we see what happens when money is taken from vital inferstructer in order to pay for Iraq.
Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars. Read More...
See article on Daily Kos .

Related Article:
Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen?

New Landsat of New Orleans Flooding

New orleans
Photo Credit: USGS

The USGS has released a new Landsat image of the damage done to New Orleans. It's interesting to compare it with Goolge maps Satellite image of New Orleans, you begin to see just how much is under water in the area.

Flooding in New Orleans
Photo Credit: NASA

Also here are some before and after pics from NASA.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The President and his Misuse of the Bully Pulpit

It appears that even Republicans are having problems with the Presidents disconnect with reality. David Frum at the National Review and a former Bush speech writer is not liking how Bush and his handlers are using the bully pulpit.
By now it should be clear that President Bush's words on the subject of Iraq have ceased connecting with the American public. His speech yesterday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars is the latest - and one of the most serious to date - manifestations of the problem...A substantial majority (56%) now say that the war is going either "very badly" or "moderately badly." More than 50% now regard the war as a mistake. One-third want an immediate and total withdrawal. Maybe most fatefully: a plurality now say that they believe that the president deliberately misled the country into war.

...Again and again during the Bush presidency - and yesterday most recently - the president will agree to give what is advertised in advance as a major speech. An important venue will be chosen. A crowd of thousands will be gathered. The networks will all be invited. And after these elaborate preparations, the president says ... nothing that he has not said a hundred times before.

If a president continues to do that, he is himself teaching the public and the media to ignore him - especially when the words seem (as his speech yesterday to the VFW seemed) utterly to ignore the past three months of real-world events. Read More...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

World Monuments Fund

World Monuments Fund
Photo Credit: World Monuments Fund

On tonights NewsHour on PBS they had an interview with the president of the World Monuments Fund, about the organization's effort to save the world's architectural wonders. And I found some of the sites that they have named as endangered quite surprising and well worth efforts to try and preserve. While it is unrealistic to think that all of these will be saved for the future it is well worth the effort to save our collective history for future generation. Already we have lost many architectural pieces to natural disasters, peoples indifference, pollution, war and time.

Recuiting Problems

Old $oldier
Credit: cherrycoke
Today in the Washington Post they had a article talking about the problems that the Military is having with recruiting. In particularthat parents are the biggest obstacle to recruitment Further more, that social class is the other big obstacle that recruiters face. Namely that wealthy, meaning more likely Republican supporters of the war, are not wanting their children to be in the military.

No big surprise here, I've commented on this in previous blogs. Now the president and planners are faced with sever manpower shortages next year, how do you think that they are going to meet plans for the current force strength in Iraq for the reported 4 years of a worst case scenario that the pentagon is planning for. Granted the Generals on the ground had said that if things went well they could begin to reduce levels next year.

But the hard truth is that the pentagon has abused the Inactive Ready Reserve not to mention the Reserve and National Guardsmen who reach their limits by law of a 2 year call-ups per theater beginning in September. The Generals on the ground in Iraq know this, they also know that they are unlikely to get the force strength that the need to get the job done. What are they going to do to fill those corps with bodies? Change the law to extend their service and destroy morale? Republicans are trying to find any way they can to avoid a draft. But it won't work if they truly believe that we should be there, then our country should as a whole man the line to be there.

This inherent problem of honesty is at the root of the poll numbers for the president resently. And any alternative to the President and the Republicans has to be honest. The cost for not being honest is payed for in lives. And to me that is just to high a price to pay.

Related Articles:
Military's Recruiting Troubles Extend to Affluent War Supporters
Parent-trap snares recruiters
Military's Recruiting Troubles

Monday, August 22, 2005

Spin Machine

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

CBS is reporting that Bush is now taking some breaks from his vacation to give speeches aimed at boosting support for our presence in Iraq. To little to late, this is just more of the same. And the public is seeing it for what it is. He is still surrounded by the same people who got us into this mess with no real plan once we got there other than some vague idea based on ideology rather than facts on that part of the world. Now we have a country on the verge of civil war, a breeding ground for terrorist both for recruitment and training, and with a new outline for a constitutions that places Islam at it's center.

It sure looks as if on almost every point that this administration has stated for our presence there, we are either struggling or outright failing. In the end we have a mess that will not be solved until the Bush makes radical changes in his Administration and is honest with the country as to the true costs and requirements of being there.

Related Update 11:00 PM PST:
MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews - 08-22-2005 Opening comments. 4 min. podcast from MSNBC

Bush's low Polling Numbers

While the President spends, what is the longest vacation of any President in US history, his approval polls are going below 40%
... new ARG poll has Bush below the 40 percent mark.

American Research Group. 8/18-21. MoE 3% (July results)
Bush approval ratings

Approve 36 (42)
Disapprove 58 (52)
Read more from Daily Kos

This is as many have already show a result of the failing policies in Iraq and conflicting reports from the Administration saying that were going to stay the course. While Generals in Iraq as saying that we could begin troop withdrawals by next year. Contradicted by the Pentagon saying that they are planning for these troop levels in Iraq for the next Four years! Never mind that we have broken the National Guard and Reserves and do not have the troops to meet these plans.

These numbers are a result of people realizing that this administration hasn't a clue as to what their doing other than making it possible for their buddies to profit from this involvement in Iraq.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The 21 adminsitration officials involved in the Plame Case

Think Progress has the list of 21 adminsitration officials implicated in the Plame outing.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Americans feel more vulnerable

Photo Credit: zazu189
It finally looks as if reality is seeping into the American consciousness. A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows that 57% say the war with Iraq has made the USA more vulnerable to terrorism.

The period of living in a dream world is beginning to end. I'll be truly glad when we don't have Republican Pundits saying that we can stay in Iraq at the present levels of man power for as long as needed. That lie is one that I have heard on TV in the last few weeks. The pundit that stated this is divorced from the reality of the status of the Military and why generals are desperately trying to find a way to reduce manpower in Iraq by next year. But this poll and others in resent weeks show that this form of lying is failing and change will hopefully be coming for the country. I hope that Congress will wake to this and do their job of oversight and leading instead of following an administration that is making similar mistakes made by Administrations during the Vietnam war. (That being: lying to itself and refusing to see things as they really are. To this day Rumsfeld and the administration have admitted no problems or misjudgments with their handling of the post invasion of Iraq.)

Memeoradum: Poll shows most Americans feel more vulnerable

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ohio Special Election

I am truly sorry that Dem. Paul Hackett appears to have lost in Ohio. But on the positive side of things he made it a very close race, losing by only 4,000 votes. And hopefully will be a bell weather for good things to come for the Democrats across the country.

Daily Kos: OH-02: Results Open Thread (Part 5)
Blogcritics: Schmidt beats Hackett in Ohio special congressional election

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The "Not Insane" To-Do List

Here is a easy way to pair down all you other to do lists:
"There is no multi-tasking. There is only the monkey mind jabbering so fast it seems like multi-tasking." *

LET'S FACE IT, we all have far too much to do. But the only reason this is so is because of the proliferation of productivity tools that respond to our insane lust to be "productive." Driving this insanity is the To-Do list which is, being limitless, is unlimited in its ability to drive us insane. It's time to stop the To-List insanity. Toss all you've previous To-Do Listing Systems you've got out -- paper and/or electronic -- and convert to this new, improved certifiably not-insane system.

The "Not Insane" To-Do List

Monday, August 01, 2005


I came across this on Blogdex: Leak-Gate

Our Eviction out of Uzbekistan

I've been thinking about the eviction of the US Military out of the Uzbekian bases and what they mean for the US and are operations in Afghanistan (our forgotten war against the people truly responsible for 9/11). Is it as Captain Ed at the the Captain's Quarters blog, believes and this is evidence that the Administration is following through on their pledge to bring democracy around the world.

No. I don't think it is. While the administration may have done some very superficial things in that respect, history shows that the US does what is best for us not what is best for those in another country, at least politically speaking. While Captain Ed has some valid facts in regard to Islam Karimov the Current President of Uzbekistan, I feel that it has more to do with pressures coming from Russia and their revulsion at having us on bases that are on their former lands. They do not like us in their backyard. They have been trying to pressure the former republics to get us out in a timely, form their prospective period.

What this means is that the troops in Afghanistan will now have even less real time support for their operations. Not having good access to remote sections of the northern part of the Country.

Not a good situation to have. But unfortunately this just adds to the woes of the Military who are stretched to thin as it is with Iraq.

Related Maps
Central Asia