Monthly Archives: May 2008

2 1/2 Years Later: Some Katrina Survivors Still Living Off Government

I can understand the government providing assistance for maybe six months. I don’t understand waiting around for a miracle.

Yes, Katrina was awful. The government response before, during and after was a fucking nightmare. You have no right to live where you used to live. I know that sounds heartless but it is true. Displacement sucks. Gentrification sucks. But in a capitalist economy that places more value on disaster real estate bargains, people will fall by the wayside:

[H]e sat outside his trailer this week, chain-smoking as workmen hauled another empty trailer away. He had already loaded all of his belongings — a television and some dishes and clothes — into his white Jeep Cherokee. But he was not sure how far the old Jeep would make it. With the motor mounts broken, he had rigged the engine on wooden sticks. In any case, he was not sure where to go. He had barely a day to meet the deadline to vacate the Renaissance Village trailer park, and he didn’t know whether he could pay $400 a month for an apartment in nearby Baton Rouge. So he just sat there, waiting.

What do these people expect? That we’re going to pay for them to sit in a trailer doing nothing for the rest of their lives?

Maybe I’m blanket-statementing here. I’m sure most of those affected by the hurricane and it’s aftermath are either back to work or have moved to an area with better opportunities.

Yet critics accuse the agency of pressing residents to leave before they have found permanent housing. With affordable apartments in short supply, some are relocating to motels — they can stay there for up to 30 days while they hunt for a new residence. Even those who have found rental apartments and houses do not necessarily have a plan for paying the rent when the government’s emergency subsidies run out.

Again: If you can’t find a residence where you used to live, shouldn’t you maybe look outside the area?

“They just want you to get out of here, but they don’t care where you move… I just pray to God and hope he brings me the answer,” he said as he dipped a saltine cracker into a can of tuna.

Why do people wait on God to save them like this? That drives me nuts. If God was going to save you why would he wait two-and-a-half years to do it? You’re not Job. This isn’t a test. Move to a better city.

This brings out my inner Republican. Make no mistake: The Katrina response was an absolute clusterfuck and it is a national embarrassment that we still have third-world conditions inside this country (not to mention the centuries hellholes in Appalachia). I’d use a sentence with the phrase ‘richest country in the world’ but I don’t think that is really true anymore.

Hell, move them to Phuket: they rebuilt that place in months after the tsunami.

What do you think? Should we continue to offer this kind of extensive assistance to those affected by Katrina – a whole 2 1/2 years later? What would you have done?

Michelle Malkin Bullies Dunkin’ Donuts Over Rachel Ray Scarf

Rachael_ray_keffiyeh

Michelle Malkin is really crazy. Like really crazy. From Epicurious:

Right-wing nutcase Michelle Malkin has won a victory over baby-talking Food Network personality Rachael Ray, who was hawking obesity-causing products for fast-food company Dunkin’ Donuts while wearing what appeared to be a kaffiyeh, the cotton scarf that most Americans associate with Palestinian nationalists, especially the much reviled late Yasser Arafat. Malkin called out Ray and Dunkin’ Donuts on the faux kaffiyeh being visible in the online ads and got the conservative blogosphere buzzing about a potential boycott of the donut chain. And guess what: Dunkin’ Donuts caved and yanked the ads.

I can’t believe the Donut-mongers gave in. I would have said:

Dear Ms. Malkin,

Fuck off.

Hugs,

Dunkin

Topless Tapas

I got to bed super early last night and so I’m now awake at 3:33 in the morning. Half of the support team is onsite this week so we all went out to dinner last night to a tapas bar.

RON (in Orange County): What did you have for dinner tonight?

ANDY: I went out with the support team. We went to a tapas restaurant.

RON: Topless?

ANDY: Tapas.

RON: A topless restaurant?

ANDY: Tapas. You know. Small things on lots of plates.

RON: Oh. TAH-PAHS.

ANDY: Right.

I was skeptical that I’d leave full. I always see tapas as an excuse to convince people they are eating a lot while exchanging plates in front of them several times. Usually you are living a lie but in this case we had a pretty good stream of goodies including buckets of fried potatoes.

Came home to catch the last half of the first night of the final Idol finale. I think Archuleta has it. Though it doesn’t really matter. ‘There can only be one American Idol.’ I always silently add ‘This year.’ when I see that. Or ‘It doesn’t matter, they’ll both still have huge careers.’ It doesn’t really matter. Archuleta is completely harmless so is a perfect canvas on which to graft the American Idol marketing machine. David Cook is a good singer but he just does not seem at all distinctive. And where oh where is Taylor Hicks?

The more I think about moving to a more neighborhood-y area the more I am convinced that will be what happens in November. Now that I’ve had some changes to walk around Castro (I hate calling it THE Castro just like I hate calling the avenue along the Bay THE Embarcadero – plus I still think of Fidel – with Castro not Embarcadero). The neighborhood is calmer than I thought it would be. I was advised during dinner to begin looking now for a place to move in for November.

The cats are running around in the living room doing their morning laps. I’ve already cleaned the cat box today – that is how awake I am at 3:43. They are reaching the end of this batch of litter and I absolutely hate that our Walgreens is so far away and I have to drag a box of kitty-gravel several blocks for these furballs. But I love ’em.

I have been re-visiting some of my book ideas in my head and there’s one that has kind of been orbiting my brain for years now. It is a bit nutty but I feel like I have to try it out. I have a wonderful sub-title picked out.

Malls Track Shoppers by Cellphone Signal

Slouching towards that mall in Minority Report:

Customers in shopping centres are having their every move tracked by a new type of surveillance that listens in on the whisperings of their mobile phones. The technology can tell when people enter a shopping centre, what stores they visit, how long they remain there, and what route they take as they walked around. The device cannot access personal details about a person’s identity or contacts, but privacy campaigners expressed concern about potential intrusion should the data fall into the wrong hands.

Well they can’t track you until you make a purchase, then if you are able to sync that up with purchase history from a credit card database then whenever you enter the mall they know exactly who you are. Or if you can access the credit cards records, figure out their cellphone provider and then somehow convince/pay-off the provider to give the cellphone number, then you don’t even have to worry about the first part. And if the company doing this links all the systems in all the malls doing this together then they can track you from on location to the next. But of course, this invasion of privacy being done for the sake of commerce and inside a private enterprise could never ever be shoehorned into a tracking database used by the CIA or DHS.

Madonna’s Racist Adoptions

Analysis on the Vanity Fair article about Madonna from Spiked editor Brendon O’Neill:

Madonna is gushing about her adopted son and everything that he ‘represents”. And what is that, exactly? Cohen explains: baby David is a ‘living totem of life as it was lived before machines”. In other words, he’s a simple, wide–eyed, primitive being who helps to remind Madonna about what is really important in life as she jets from one photo–shoot and session recording to another.

Are YOU an African country ravaged by Aids and parched by drought? Fear not! Simply call Madonna! This fabulously wealthy white women from the West will solve all of your problems with a few fleeting visits, some looks of pained concern for the paparazzi, and a couple of million quid in donations

He goes on to highlight the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s takeover of Namibia so their child could be born in the cradle of civilization.

In cahoots with the Namibian authorities, Brad and Angelina -– or ‘Brangelina”, to use celeb–speak -– had a no–fly zone enforced over part of the country. Non–Namibian journalists had to seek permission to enter Namibia from both Brangelina and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

(Quoting Mahmood Mamdani) "in treating Darfur as ‘a place without history and without politics”, celebrities and others clearly give ‘the implication that the motivation of the perpetrators lies in biology (‘race’) and, if not that, certainly in ‘culture’”."

Bush Family’s Nazi Past

The best part about Bush making remarks about appeasement is the context of his grandfather Prescott:

His business dealings, which continued until his company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.

While there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause, the documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade.

Everyone forgets that while democracies may abhor dicatorships, capitalists love them for their tightly controlled economies, compliant workforce and short-sighted policies.

Facetiousist

Last night before slumber I made some sarcastic remark and Ron came up with a new malaprop:

Are you being physicist?

Our current favorite is from reality show skank talking about how alcohol helps her lower her prohibitions.

Nowhere

Last night Ron and I kinda admitted to eachother how isolated we feel. I think it is our lack of neighborhood. No, this is not a surprise at all. We live south of the financial district with no color and no culture – just tall concrete buildings. Maybe we can find some place close to the airport-bound train and near a bus that goes to work for me. Our lease is until November – we’ll be fine I know. It is just odd to feel so disconnected. Like I told Ron, ‘There’s nobody that’s glad to see us.’

Chris Matthews Nails Kevin James to the Wall

Sometime Tweety gets it right. This is a perfect example of a media-whore parking on a buzzword and parroting it with no context.

Matthews pressed James at least 19 times over five minutes to simply explain what Chamberlain had done in 1938 and 1939 to make him an “appeaser.” James could only shout his talking point over and over, prompting Matthews to threaten to end the interview:

MATTHEWS: You don’t know what you’re talking about, Kevin. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Tell me what Chamberlain did wrong.

JAMES: Neville Chamberlain was an appeaser, Chris. Neville Chamberlain was an appeaser, all right? […]

MATTHEWS: I’ve been sitting here five minutes asking you to say what the president was referring to in 1938 at Munich.

JAMES: I don’t know.

MATTHEWS: You don’t know, thank you.

Please note I didn’t say whether or not I think Kevin James is a hot-air right-wing twunt-lord. This is a perfect example of a brain-dead media that allows these kind of idiots on the air. And leave it to our favorite sexist pig Chris Matthews to add some context.

CA Supreme Court Overturns Same-Sex Marriage Ban

"The California Supreme Court has overturned a gay marriage ban in a ruling that would make the nation’s largest state the second one to allow gay and lesbian weddings. The justices’ 4-3 decision Thursday says domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage. Chief Justice Ron George wrote the opinion." (PDF of the opinion)

 

Relevant text:

"Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples."