Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday ME pop star blogging: Demet Sener

demet sener-amica coverdemet-sener-1

or, all hail the little black dress...who knew the barbed wire arm tatoo fad had made it all the way to Turkey?

images courtesy gayesokmen.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

some versen photos

Mexico 1990


graceland tourist shop

Like Hoyt Axton I've never been to Spain, but I've been to Oklahoma. Tennessee too. In October of 2000 I drove up to visit my paternal grandmother in Connecticut, and on the way back I stopped in Memphis. When I left my grandmother's house 2 days earlier I think we both knew it would probably be the last we'd see each other. She died in March of 2004, and my mother died the next month. I'm glad I went to see her, and paradoxical as it may sound, the fact that I drove there and back makes it a more vivd and valued memory, as there was a sense of a fondly remembered adventure associated with seeing her for the last time.

When I was in Memphis I stopped at Graceland, although I didn't actually go in, as I was beginning to run out of money and didn't think the student ticket would've been a wise purchase.

It's about 7 hours from Memphis to Denton. I wanted to go see the National Civil Rights Museum too but it was clear on the other side of town and I was running out of time and needed to be at work the next day. I still want to make a road trip to Memphis someday, to see the Museum and actually see the inside of Graceland this time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Moral agency for beginners me! I've been wrestling with the answer to Norv and Harry, and the usually dormant wise-cracking side of me keeps rearing its head. Embarassment and a sense of awkwardness, combined with feeling drawn to the headiness of the task. I wanted to give you lofty quotes from Camus and Sartre and Hannah Arendt, and maybe throw in some Kant and Tolstoi for good measure, but then it started to rain like crazy here in Denton, and the dsl was out for several hours. No biggie, that. I was more frustrated with the interminable voice menu that verizon provides than the temporary loss of service, and once I finally got through to a human being she was very helpful, switching me to another human being(in less than 10 seconds!), and the second human being was also helpful, and I was up and running. Both ladies sounded like they came from the middle-atlantic states.

Now I'm beat. I'll chew on this more later. In the meantime, I note that I was first introduced to Polonius's famous dictum to his son not by Shakespeare, but Gilligan.. In the episode of Gilligan's Island where Harold Hecuba visits the island and they put a show on for him. Alan Hale,Jr, as the Skipper, pretending to be Polonius, singing to Dawn Wells, as Mary Anne, pretending to be his son, §!???

Skipper Polonius: Heed my words, Laertes, and you'll be safe.

Mary Ann Laertes:(aside) Unless I listen, I won’t get my spending money. So I’ll listen, I’ll listen.

Skipper: (Sings) Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
Do not forget:
Stay out of debt;
Think twice, and take this good advice from me,
Guard that old solvency. There’s just
one other thing you ought to do:

To thine own self be true.

And let's be honest: there are millions of us out there, people of my generation who watched the repeats in the seventies, and an earlier generation who watched the original run, who first heard of Hamlet from Sherwood Schwartz. I also learned about morality from the Tintin books my mother bought me. Ultimately I'm not making fun. I just wonder sometimes if we grow up and dress the early lessons with an intellectual patina, because we know we should.

Will pic courtesy Brooklyn College, and
Gilligan cast photo courtesy
Russell Johnson.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

New Road, 1939

from the University of Virginia.

"In making these paintings, as you may have guessed, I had in mind something which I hope to convey to a fairly wide audience in America -- the picture of a country rich in the arts of peace; a homely lovable nation, infinitely worth any sacrifice necessary to its preservation."

- Grant Wood , in a statement he offered with his final painting.


and no, in case you are wondering, I'm not communicating, obliquely or otherwise, that IraqDoc 2007 is off, or that my sense of the direction it will take has changed.* I will launch it 10 October 2005. Initially I was planning to launch it on September 1st, but the horror of Katrina(and her apparently magnified horror in confluence with BushCo), in addition to sundry personal matters that came up made me decide to delay it. Norv, Harry, I'll wrestle with good and evil on Wednesday. I promise.

*Although to be honest, a lot of that direction will inevitably make itself known to me when I get there. As I said on August 1st, I have no intention of creating a polemic. Who knows, maybe to do my job right I'll have to tick off the right and the left.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Middle Eastern pop star blogging, cont'd

Nawal al-Zoughbi, courtesy Arabic Celebrities.Com

people rarely send me blog-related email* to my publicly posted yahoo address, but this week I got 2 messages. One was from a guy called Syed who suggested Nawal al-Zoughbi(above) for Friday ME pop star blogging, so here she is. The second missive was from a "Norv", who wrote:

"because sometimes life is funny: you get a glimpse of how the pieces fit just for a little while. And you realize. Dear God: to protect the innocent sometimes you have to protect the guilty too! How can you do this, not just going through motions, and still do good?"

I don't know what to make of this. I'm guessing it's kind of related to my Wizard of Oz themed post from earlier this month, but who knows? For what it's worth, I sympathize with Norv's dilemma, as I imagine many do. The first thing I thought of was the "dollar-book Freud"(as Orson Welles would've called it) of David Mamet's House of Games, and the scene where Lindsay Crouse's mentor interprets a dream of one of Crouse's patients. Or maybe they're lyrics from a Tom Waits song(?) Actually, I like House of Games, although Mamet's syncopated dialogue drives me up the wall sometimes.

*Of course I get lots of email at my yahoo address from machines. Machines presumably run by people, people who want me to refinance my mortgage, help me become more manly by buying stuff, or get a me a really cheap Rohhhlex, whatever that is.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

blogger search: decidedly beta for now

Jonathan Versen:
self-portrait, 2002.

You may have noticed the blue bar above has some new features. One of them is the blog search, which you can also access directly without going to my blog(or anyone else's), by inputting

They may well improve it, but at this point it leaves a lot to be desired. I did an HZ only search for "Iraq" with the bar, and came up with 3 entries. I am an Iraqi-American blogger, and I started Hugo Zoom in January of 2003. Three entries? Come on now. While I haven't been super-prolific, I've posted over 450 times since 1/2003. I then tried a regular google-based in-site search and got 99 entries for "Iraq" at HZ, which is more like it. Do you know how to do a site-specific search? Enter the search terms, then a space, then "site:", then the URL you want to look within.

some examples: "Iraq"

"savage robots run amuck"

or(one of my favorite searches):
"fecklessness"(don't ask.)

and if you want to find out if somebody, anybody, is posting about something U R curious about,you can bypass the imperfect technorati(which insists that I haven't posted anything in five months) and, well, just punt with livejournal or blogspot or typepad.


"fradulent election" if you're curious what comes up

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Dark stuff: a new (well, new to me) blog

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Simon Wiesenthal


from the Scotsman:

....the tireless Nazi hunter who tracked down Adolf Eichmann and the policeman who arrested Anne Frank, as well as about 1,100 other war criminals, has died at the age of 96.

Mr Wiesenthal, who himself survived five death camps and lost 89 members of his family in the genocide, dedicated his life not to revenge, but to the pursuit of justice. "When history looks back I want people to know the Nazis weren't able to kill millions of people and get away with it," he once said....
[he] was given armed protection by the Austrian government after an attempt on his life by neo-nazis in 1982...was once asked why he had dedicated his life to pursuing the crimes of the past. He replied: "When we come to the other world and meet the millions of Jews who died in the camps and they ask 'What have you done?' then I will say, 'I did not forget you'."

I'm not a Wiesenthal expert, but to the best of my knowledge he never gave a speech in front of a banner saying "Mission Accomplished."

A man who could have.

An addendum, 25 Sep 05: A short while ago I read Howard Davis's post about Wiesenthal. An excerpt:

"Simon Wiesenthal... spent the last 50 years hunting the remaining Nazis all over the world... Honor his memory by donating money to the Simon Wiesenthal Center so they can continue to battle racism, antisemitism, terrorism, and genocide around the world."

I'm not deleting the sentence "a man who could have", above-- however: Howard's post reminds me that sometimes clarification is needed, that when you write in a cyber vacuum you occasionally need such reminders that people can't read your mind. As a general rule I prefer understatement, and strive to use the fewest words possible. Nevertheless in this post, in its previous, sans addendum form, one might well infer that I meant that the type of work Wiesenthal did is no longer needed, that all racism and genocides, and all other assorted forms of man's malevolence to his fellows has been addressed, once and for all. These things are obviously still very much with us. What I meant is that if a man has a calling to do good, as I think all men and women feel called, whether they censor that voice within or not, then when any one person says:

"but what can I do? I'm just one person, and evil is so vast."

Wiesenthal serves as a shining example of one man, who listened to that voice within and answered the call, accomplishing the mission of his life.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A voyage to the moon

from a voyage to the moon,1902, by Georges Méliès

1."What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality... And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

--the 1st Mother, from a radio interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace", 5 Sep 2005.

1b. People have concentrated on the 2nd part of this quote. Part 1 is notable too. Why is their wanting to stay in Texas scary to Bar?

2. Katrina may cost 150 billion or more, and is presently costing about 2 billion bucks a day.

3. the iraq war is costing...oh, I don't know. A bucket of money. Other things, too-- this and that*.
[*warning: some very graphic images]

4. NASA want to go back to the moon. And just in time,too. What if the Europeans built their own rocket, and maybe took a picture of a couple of French astronauts making fun of the by now no doubt weather beaten flag Neil Armstrong left? A hundred billion bucks will prevent that, and they get to show the public something shiny to distract them. Whew.

5. Bush say no new taxes. It'll "cost whatever it costs." And you thought he didn't mean it when he said he'll take responsibility.

6. And...I almos' plumb forgot! Some of our terabytes are missing! **

7. At least our overlords will be nice to us when the balance is due. I mean, they have to, right?

some additional links:

1. "body count redux"

2. from the reverend Mykeru: "Iraq body count: a visual aid"

3. Tommy Franks: "we don't do body counts"

3b. (re:Tommy Franks, 2003:"We don't do body counts". I've speculated before on this matter, here:
HZ 24 Feb 2005: "the Iraqi Museum, and the casualty count")

**my understanding is that 1 terabye of data is the approximate equivelant of ten 100GB hardrives so full of data they won't let you add so much as one download of a Jesus Jones mp3.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Copernicus n' Galileo

COPERNICO e GALILEO-from-meridiane-dot-biz-slash-agnelli
image courtesy Meridiane, by Agnelli.

Of course, if global warming and the rapture turn out to be the same thing, maybe only the cumulus clouds will be transported away...

Friday, September 16, 2005

the return of Friday middle eastern pop star blogging...

Samira Saeed, courtesy (they have sound clips too, FYI.)

the devil's dictionary revisited

I watched less than 15 minutes of CNN just now. Apparently Dubya gave a speech last night, and they were fawning over him. Instead of an instapoll,

they had 3 mississippians, 1 white male, 1 white lady, and a black feller. The white guy said (about George W):

"What's important is he showed he cares. I don't have all the answers, neither does he, but I know that if we work together we can accomplish a lot."

WTF??????????????............ I couldn't help thinking about how the NY Times thought it was "inappropriate" to run the story about whether or not Bush was wired for the 1st debate last year, what with an election looming and all. Especially since I could only see one side of bubba's face...I imagine he has another ear. Anything in there besides a cricket?

they cut back to the studio:

"you have quite a positive group there, Ericka."
"we sure do. Back to you, Chuck."

egalitarianism: n. if our leaders are just as clueless as the rest of us, it's ok because that way we know they care.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Louis Reile

courtesy the marianist.

Louis Reile(1925-2003) was my teacher at St Mary's in the fall of '83 for freshman comp. I was reminded of him when I heard that Robert Wise died, because Reile was a big fan of Wise. He had us watch The Sand Pebbles, as he hoped it would facilitate a discussion about war and violence, and the social responsibilities of writers and artists in general. The collective take of the class was that they had a hard time relating to the movie because they hadn't heard of anybody who was in it-- I still remember how he seemed a bit frustrated by this-- not because he was amazed that none of them had heard of Steve McQueen, but that they couldn't seem to get past their supposed need to see familiar faces.

A student: Why don't they remake it with Richard Gere?
LR: I think you're missing the point.

I hadn't thought of Louis Reile in the longest time. It makes you feel like you're really getting old when you hear about a famous person's obit and that reminds you of someone else, and you look them up and sure enough, they died too. (He never mentioned to the class that he was a novelist; I didn't know that until I saw the linked obit above. Now I'm thinking I want to see if I can find a copy of one of his works.)

Reile also had an occasional column reviewing movies in the school paper. The title was some kind of pun on his name, I can't remember exactly what. Reiling? I remember him telling us that he was an extra on State Fair(1945). I'm guessing that was after his stint in the Navy(he never talked about his service either) and before he became a priest in 1950. He was a good guy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Frances Newton, the last entry.

Frances Newton was executed this evening in Huntsville. Previously I discussed her here, just below, and here, in 2004.

wikipedia notes that:

Huntsville is the headquarters of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (the only state agency with headquarters outside of Austin). As such, it houses the execution chamber of the state of Texas. (Death-row inmates are no longer housed in Huntsville, due to the escape of several death-row inmates from Huntsville's Ellis Unit prison, where male death-row inmates were housed from 1965 to 1999. Male death-row inmates are now housed in Texas' Polunsky Unit in Livingston, and female death-row inmates are housed in Texas' Mountain View Unit in Gatesville. Texas death-row inmates are only brought to Huntsville shortly before their scheduled execution.)
Huntsville was the home of Sam Houston, the first President of the Republic of Texas, and later Governor of the state. Located in town are two of Houston's homes, a museum, a 66 ft statue, the Sam Houston State University, and Houston's grave. The statue (which is the world's largest statue of an American hero) is the title and subject of a... song by Merle Haggard...

the per capita income for the city is $13,576. 23.9% of the population and 13.1% of families are below the poverty line.

Additionally, Color of Money.Org notes that:

in Huntsville's main zip code, 77320, in the 2004 election cycle, 6.6% of campaign contributions were made to democrats, 93.4% to republicans. They say 17.6% of householdswere at or below the poverty level and only 5.1% of Huntsville households had incomes over 100 grand. Finally, CNN notes that Bush carried Walker County by 66 per cent to Kerry's 34%.

Frances Newton revisited

Frances Newton,the only black woman on Texas' death row, received a reprieve late last year . She has maintained her innocence all these years since the 1987 slayings of her husband and her 2 children. Since Governor Perry issued her that reprieve in December 2004, the gun the Houston PD said they found in her napsack was retested, and was found to be the murder weapon.

fromthe Dallas Morning News:

Her attorneys are waiting for word from the U.S. Supreme Court, where they filed an appeal Monday after Texas courts, lower federal courts and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected their arguments that she was innocent.

[Her attorneys say]... that evidence used at her trial was improperly destroyed and that the gun linked to the slayings was not the only weapon recovered by police.

Three weeks before the slayings, Newton took out $50,000 life insurance policies on herself, her husband and her daughter. She named herself as the beneficiary and signed her husband's name to prevent him from discovering she had set aside money to pay for the premiums.

Prosecutors said the insurance payoff was the motive for the slayings. Newton believes the real killer is or may be related to a drug dealer she knew only as ``Charlie,'' who she said was upset with her husband for not repaying a $500 debt.
Her attorneys claim that evidence used at her trial was improperly destroyed and that the gun linked to the slayings was not the only weapon recovered by police.

N.B. Frances’ court-appointed trial attorney, Ron Mock, did nothing to prepare for trial. He interviewed no one & investigated nothing. He is the same attorney that represented an innocent, Shaka Sankofa, a.k.a. Gary Graham, who was executed. The State Bar of Texas has sanctioned Mock several times.

[some of the above re Ron Mock is from a now dead link from the Houston Chronicle: ]


she would have had, at most, 20 minutes to shoot her husband and children, clean herself up, compose herself, and leave the apartment to go to her cousin's home. There was no blood found on Frances Newton's clothing, hands, or car, despite the fact that the victims had been shot at close range. No gunpowder residue was found on her hands or sweater. There was also no evidence that someone had undertaken a cleanup at the apartment.

Frances Newton was prosecuted in Harris County, in Houston. In March 2003, an independent audit of the Houston Police Department (HPD) crime laboratory revealed serious defects in the lab's DNA analysis section, including poorly trained staff relying on outdated scientific techniques. Several cases suggest that the lab's problems extended beyond its DNA section, for example into its ballistics expertise.

The ballistics evidence central to the Newton case was processed at the HPD. On 21 October 2004, a judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said that there should be ''a moratorium on all executions in cases where convictions were based on evidence from the HPD crime lab until the reliability of the evidence has been verified''.

The Houston Chronicle has a brief history of the HPD's crime lab's screwups, including some useful links, here. Did they switch the guns, inadvertently or otherwise? The Supreme Court may well regard that as an outlandish theory offered in desperation.The exculpatory other circumstances don't stand much of a chance when you're talking about a death row inmate. Things look a lot worse for her than they did in 11/2004--

she is scheduled to be executed today.

see also: Guardian(UK) story about Newton, here.

from the TCJC: Texas Offenders on Death Row.


Contact Njeri Shakur at 713-222-0749 or at SHAPE Center – 713-521-0749


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

some recent posts

1. after a long silence, "river" is blogging again:

I remember almost immediately, Western media began conjecturing on which Islamic group it could have been. I remember hoping it wasn’t Muslims or Arabs. I remember feeling that way not just because of the thousands of victims, but because I sensed that we’d suffer in Iraq. We’d be made to suffer for something we weren’t responsible for.

E. looked at me wide-eyed that day and asked the inevitable question, “How long do you think before they bomb us?”

“But it wasn’t us. It can’t be us…” I rationalized.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s all they need.”


2. Jonathan Schwarz forgets to be funny about 9.11-- he takes note of 2 quotes:

...if the collapse of the Soviet Union and 9/11 bookend a major shift in international politics, then this is a period not just of grave danger, but of enormous opportunity. Before the clay is dry again, America and our friends and our allies must move decisively to take advantage of these new opportunities.

—Condoleezza Rice, April 29, 2002

Targeting America in Iraq in terms of economy and losses in life is a golden and unique opportunity. Do not waste it only to regret it later.

—Osama bin Laden, December, 2004

and unpacks the freight they carry. I know: you're going to say I'm saying this because Jon has said nice things about HZ before, but the results are worthy of Günther Grass. Go see for yourself if you don't believe me:
" ...The Fourth Anniversary Of An Enormous Opportunity"

3. Haroon Moghul has a useful roundup from the blogosphere on BushCo's hurricane response-- "the bane of the hurricane"

4. And Bob Harris maps it out for us in "Upsidedownland." (hat-tip from Arvin Hill.)

Gloria Trevi wants you to be safe


and she's quite a character. ¡Sí! ¡Es hora para diversión! The link above has an autobiographical sketch, as does Wikipedia.* The picture below was taken when she was reunited with her child after being released from a Brazilian jail. I don't remember if the little feller was conceived before or during her prison stay. She's really, really, really big in Latin America. There's a famous photo of her, posed just like Botticelli's Birth of Venus, but I figure I'll let you look for it.

courtesy Univision

*They've got a fundraiser going on. Since I utilize their dandy service so much, telling you about it is the least I could do. (And they have "Wiki gear" too.)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Eye on Gaza

Mr Sharon: You done some bad things, and I still don't trust you-- but thank you for leaving Gaza.

images: Ariel Sharon courtesy PBS, Palestinian girl with flag courtesy Hanini.Org.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

10 Sep 2001; 28 Aug 2005

photos courtesy Susan Polgar and the University of Iowa.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

every once in a while

the curtain drops, and we see what's behind it. In real life neither a little dog from Kansas nor an impertinent boy watching the parade is sufficient. But don't get cocky: they can pull the curtain right back to where it was when the uncomfortable moment has passed, because we're talking about adults, not little dogs and children. Adults are easier to train.

2 short quicktime movies-- watch the ad and don't gripe about it.
Do what you're told. Go on now.
1. "blame game"
2. "reporters gone wild"

"Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain!"

The original Wizard of Oz illustrations were by W. W. Denslow, and methinks they're still the best. (Denslow was an interesting character. He became rich and somewhat imbalanced late in life, bought his own island and declared himself king. O'Neill's Emperor Jones may have been loosely based on him.)

As you know, some literary critics feel that the most popular and enduring children's stories have a capacity to tap deep into our collective psyche and obliquely tell children subversive truths better left undeciphered

Were Frank Baum and Denslow saying the wizard would be charming and congenial upon discovery only with a large lion breathing down his neck? What about the glasses? Perhaps ferocity without clarity of vision isn't enough? Of course Denslow was crazy, so don't listen to me...

I believe the Denslow illustrations are public domain, but I got them from
Mark Howells's interesting site, just so you know.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Are you funny? No,really...

actually, it doesn't measure that. But here's the 3 dimensional humor quiz anyway.
thanks to Trixie. It's nice to know I'm only 26 % vulgar...

"the Prankster"
(23% dark, 26% spontaneous, 26% vulgar)
your humor style:

Nancy Pelosi dukes it out with Kyra Phillips

September 8th, 2005:

PHILLIPS: But what about all those warnings...

PELOSI: ... may I please respond

PHILLIPS: What about all the
warnings from the Army Corps of Engineers...

PELOSI: But the Army Corps
of Engineers...

PHILLIPS: ... years ago, saying there's a problem with
these levees, there's a problem with this city.

PELOSI: Myra, Myra,

PHILLIPS: It's Kyra. It's Kyra.

PELOSI: ... if you want to make a case for the White House, you
should go on their payroll.
But the (INAUDIBLE)...

PHILLIPS: I'm not making a case for the White House, by all means,
believe me.

PELOSI: ... that the White House has cut this year 72
percent of the request from Louisiana for flooding money. The White House has
cut the Army Corps of Engineers by a large percentage in this last fiscal

the rest of the transcript is at Arianna's, here.

When I read this at the Huffington Post, I was reminded of something Jeanne at Body and Soul wrote about Kyra Phillips in 2003. Actually a couple of items, both worth recalling:

1.December 11th, 2003:

from "The doctrine of American infallibility":

"CNN has not given up its quest for an answer to the Kyra Phillips question: Do our victims understand why we need to maim and kill them? The Kyra Phillips moral dilemma reflects a theology I'm unfamiliar with:
Redemption through the understanding of the victim, with no obligation to stop
victimizing. From the Church of America, perhaps*.

And it's not just the
headline.The CNN story reports bizarre interpretations by the military as if they made perfect sense. The children were discovered crushed beneath a collapsed wall, but the lieutenant colonel CNN quotes isn't sure the wall collapsed because we were dropping bombs on the village a short while before."

and Kyra exhibit No. 2, April 17th, 2003: "Sally Field imperialism"

*I think I do understand this "theology," and may discuss it later this weekend. The evolution in Jeanne's tone from April to December of 2003 is interesting too. - JV

CNN screenshot via crooks and

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina cont'd: Eric Boehlert and Celine Dion weigh in

Boehlert, from "Katrina Jolts the Press":

It's hard to decide which is more troubling: that it took the national press corps five years to summon up enough courage to report, without apology, that what the Bush administration says and does are often two different things, or that it took the sight of bodies floating facedown in the streets of New Orleans to trigger a change in the press's behavior.

Think about it. It took the worst U.S. natural disaster in a century -- with a Civil War-like refugee crisis and undiluted chaos throughout New Orleans -- for the mainstream press to conquer, at least temporarily, its collective fear of offending Republicans and the White House and its trepidation toward the angry army of press haters complaining about liberal bias and report what it believed was the truth.

The consensus among observers of this press phenomenon is that
reporters in the besieged city experienced such a huge disconnect between what they were seeing up close and what they were hearing from relief officials (e.g., Brown's early assertion that the federal relief effort was "going relatively well") that they couldn't help boiling over on the air. No doubt that's true. But for how many months (years?) have reporters in Iraq been witnessing the disconnect... about Iraq appeared on TV screens? One answer: There's a powerful conservative push-back against the press when it hits hard on Iraq -- which so far has not occurred regarding Katrina.

What's more, as observers have noted, the flashes of media anger over Katrina began to flare up only late last week, several days after the storm hit. Indeed, the media was initially in its patented hands-off crouch when faced with the possibility of criticizing the Bush administration. If the New Orleans levees had held and Katrina had killed only a dozen or two poor people and made a mess of the Southern city, and the administration had responded with the same type of lackluster relief, odds are the press would have issued the White House yet another free pass.

Celine Dion, from Imdb:

the Canadian singer ..." launched a scathing attack on US President George W. Bush's Iraq policy, while criticizing his country's slow response to the southern states devastated by last week's Hurricane Katrina. Dion, who has donated $1 million to victims of the storm, grew visibly emotional as she told of her frustration watching tens of thousands of survivors wait days for aid on CNN's Larry King Live show on Saturday. The hitmaker fumed, "I open (sic) the television, there's people still there, waiting to be rescued, and for me it's not acceptable. I know there's reasons for it, I'm sorry to say, I'm being rude, but I don't want to hear those reasons." Dion criticized authorities for arresting looters in New Orleans, Louisiana, saying they should make rescuing the stranded victims a priority. She said, "Oh, they're stealing 20 pair of jeans or they're stealing television sets. Who cares? They're not going to go too far with it. Maybe those people are so poor, some of the people who do that they're so poor they've never touched anything in their lives. Let them touch those things for once." Dion referred to Bush's controversial war in Iraq, saying, "How come it's so easy to send planes in another country to kill everyone in a second, to destroy lives? We need to be there right now to rescue the rest of the people."

When Boehlert writes: "One answer: There's a powerful conservative push-back against the press when it hits hard on Iraq -- which so far has not occurred regarding Katrina." he forgets the other answer-- in the same way that the events at the Khadmyia bridge have been forgotten, which is understandable to a degree, in light of what happened when Katrina hit, but surely they were no less important than Rehnquist passing away? That got covered, and everyone knew he was dying.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Arvin: re Katrina

I'm quoting from an email that Arvin sent me cause it's been several days and he hasn't posted it(that, and he said I could):

"When people get mad enough to start fucking shit up, that's when the country will begin to awaken, if it is to awaken at all, and not one moment before. Until then, we're all just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. I have finally reached the point at which my contempt for the Democratic Party is as boundless as the GOP. It's the Elites vs. Everyone Else (Bill Clinton's backflips as an apologist for Bush is just too much to take), and that isn't going to be changing anytime soon no matter who is in - or out of - elected office...

The spectacle of post-Katrina death and mayhem is overwhelming, a glimpse of America's future. There will be other disasters, natural and otherwise, and perhaps we will finally learn what we have created - and what we value above all else: A society in which every citizen is quite literally on his or her own. Apparently, we like it this way."

(I suddenly imagine an AH graphic saying save a "libertarian, shoot a looter", perhaps with starving black guy crossed out and "looter" scrawled over it. Sorry, but my own photoshopping skills still aren't that well developed.-JV)

I wrote back to Arvin about a comment I posted at Seeing the Forest a while back that I felt that if we didn't have our 2nd FDR some time in the next 15 years or so, we'd probably have our 1st Robespierre in 25 or 30. Arvin responded that my timeframe was too optimistic.

(don't get me wrong: neither of us want to see what's behind door no. 2)

comments closed Jan 2006 JV

Friday, September 02, 2005

Phishing the flood

from Frank Barnako's Internet Daily: "Katrina phishers go trolling"

By Frank Barnako, MarketWatch
Last Update: 12:40 PM ET Sep 1, 2005

WASHINGON (MarketWatch) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into reports of fraudulent online solicitations of funds for hurricane relief.

A spokesman for the FBI warned of e-mails making bogus appeals for support, a practice known as phishing. (see Wikipedia entry, here).

"The important point is that [people] initiate contact on their own," the FBI's Paul Bresson told the Washington Post.

Web sites with names such as and have been created. They
refer visitors to another Web site that purports to solicit funds. There is no way, however, to know who is getting the money. A survey by MasterCard International found that after last year's tsunami in South Asia, 170 scam sites appeared soliciting money for supposed relief efforts.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Something came up

and posting will be light to non-existent until Monday. (Iraqdoc 2007 is still going ahead.)