Democracy Has Prevailed.

September 29, 2005

Meet the Santorums: Just Your Average All American Family

The City Paper -- Philadelphia's, not Pittsburgh's -- has all the heartwarming details on America's Favorite Dysfunctional Family.

A sample:

When she met Rick, Karen was living with Tom Allen, an OBGYN who in the early-1970s cofounded Pittsburgh's first abortion clinic. It was a somewhat unusual pairing. Allen was the doctor who delivered Karen. She began living with him while an undergraduate nursing student at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University. She was in her early 20s, he was in his 60s.

"When she moved out to go be with Rick, she told me I'd like him, that he was pro-choice and a humanist," said Allen, an elderly but vibrant man, during a brief conversation on the porch of his Pittsburgh row home. "But I don't think there's a humanist bone in that man's body."


Gabriel Michael Santorum lived for only two hours. The Santorums spent the night in the hospital bed with their lifeless baby lying between them. The next morning they brought the palm-sized corpse to Karen's parent's house. They had their other children pose for pictures and cuddle with Gabriel. They sang lullabies and held a private mass.


Here at the Carlisle courthouse, the College Republican rally draws to a close. The Santorum campaign is filming the event for a campaign commercial to be aired sometime next spring as the election heats up. Little 4-year-old Patrick becomes overwhelmed by the crowd and the cameras and begins to cry. Santorum takes his son in his arms and seeks out a quiet spot on the edge of the crowd, just a few feet from where I'm standing.

"You did wonderful," he says, hugging and comforting the child. "You're such a brave boy."

The cameramen pick up on the touching moment and rush over to film it. Karen follows and notices that Patrick's tear-streaked face is turned away from the camera. Karen tells her husband to turn around so their son can be filmed.

The senator obliges.



Whether they're pulling a Martha Stewart, or conspiring to subvert election laws, or ripping off their kids' school board, or outing a CIA agent, or practicing cronyism turned deadly, or hiring a bagman who in turn hires Mafia hit men, or lying to get us into an unjust war that kills tens of thousands, these guys are:

(Click on graphic for larger image)

ABSOLUT vodka did not create or contribute to this material,
and has not authorized or approved it.

Crossposted (and a Recommended Diary) at Daily KOS.

UPDATE: I promise that I'll eventually get around to putting up posters, T-shirts, etc., of this image at my store: New Retro T's! -- maybe this weekend (10/22 - 10/23). And, I'll change the seal for all those who requested that.

UPDATE 2: Absolut Corruption political cartoon appears in the News Section of LA Weekly:

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Two Opportunities to Meet Chuck Today!

Chuck Pennacchio will be in Pittburgh Today, September 29 for two events.

Please come out and show your support or just to find out more about a progressive alternative to Casey.

WHEN: Thu Sep 29: 4:30 PM
WHERE: McKenna Room, on the 2nd Floor of the CMU University Center
(not yet confirmed)

WHEN: Thu Sep 29: 6PM-8PM
WHERE: Harris Grill
IT'LL COST YOU: $cost of beverages
More info:
All are welcome to attend - please forward this invitation to anyone
who may be interested

September 28, 2005


Now that my colleague has already posted the Delay indictment, it leaves me free to comment on some of the other news of the day.

Notably, I am wondering how long it will take the right side of the punditocracy to distance itself from Ashley Smith. For those of you who don't know it, she was the woman...well let me let the Coulter, the leather-clad blonde bombshell describe it herself. She wrote in April of this year:
At 2 a.m. one Saturday night, Ashley Smith went out for cigarettes while unpacking her new apartment, yet another victory for tobacco pleasure. Returning from the store, Smith was grabbed by a man at her front door, who put a gun in her side and told her not to scream. He asked if she knew who he was. When he removed his baseball cap, she saw it was Nichols, the dangerous fugitive all over television who had escaped custody during his rape trial and had killed four people in the previous 48 hours. (Although he also looked a lot like of one the guys on "American Idol.")

In Smith's apartment, Nichols bound Smith's feet and hands and put her in the bathtub. Later, at Smith's request, Nichols allowed her to hop from the bathroom into the bedroom, where she began talking to him.

In short order, Smith was reading aloud to Nichols from the Christian book "The Purpose Driven Life" – in direct violation of his constitutional right to never hear any reference to God, in public or private, for any purpose, ever, ever, ever! For more on this right, go to the "People for the American Way" website.

After reading the first paragraph of Chapter 33 aloud, about serving God by serving others, Nichols – the man pundits were calling an "animal" – asked her to read it again.

Nichols listened to the passage again and responded by telling Smith he was already dead, saying, "Look at my eyes." But Smith looked and told him God had a purpose for him, perhaps to minister to other lost souls in prison. Smith read to Nichols some more, both from the "Purpose" book and from another popular book that's been dropped from all news accounts of this incident: the New Testament. (In the Hollywood version, Smith will be reading from the Quran.)

Smith knew all about Nichols' violent depredations from television. Yet she saw him not as a monster, but as one of God's creatures. Most Christians – most people – have trouble seeing the humanity of people who take our parking spots. Smith could see God's hand in a multiple murderer holding her hostage. By showing him genuine Christian love, Smith turned Nichols from a beast to a brother in Christ. This phenomenon, utterly unknown to liberals, is what's known as a "miracle." Top that, Paul Krugman!

Nichols told Smith she was "an angel sent from God," calling her "his sister" and himself her "brother in Christ." Nichols said he had come to Smith's home for a reason, in Smith's words, that "he was lost and God led him right to me to tell him that he had hurt a lot of people."

This trampling of our Constitution – I mean this conversation – lasted long into the
night. They watched Nichols' shooting people on television. Nichols said he couldn't believe he was that man. In the morning, Smith made Nichols eggs and pancakes for breakfast. Then she walked out of the apartment to pick up her daughter and to call 911. The last thing Nichols said as Smith was leaving was to say hello to her daughter for him. When the police arrived, Nichols surrendered without incident, an utterly transformed human being.
I can't fault Saint Ann of the Laryngeal Prominence nor not knowing the rest of the story when she wrote what she wrote. So here it is:
Ashley Smith, who was held hostage in her apartment in March by the man now charged with murder in the Atlanta courthouse shootings, was hailed as a hero after she disclosed how she had persuaded her captor to surrender, partly by reading to him from the spiritual best seller "The Purpose-Driven Life."

But in a memoir released yesterday, Ms. Smith also recounts that she gave the kidnapper some of her supply of crystal methamphetamine during her captivity and that she did not tell the police for some time afterward.

In the memoir, "Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero," Ms. Smith recalls that Brian Nichols, who has been charged in the death of three people shot at the Fulton County Courthouse and a fourth killed elsewhere in Atlanta soon before her kidnapping, asked her if she had any marijuana. She answered no but said she did have some "ice," or crystal meth.

Ms. Smith says that at the time, she was fighting an addiction to crystal methamphetamine that had previously led her to spend time in a psychiatric hospital and to lose custody of her 5-year-old daughter.

She says she last used crystal meth about 36 hours before being taken hostage. Though Mr. Nichols used it and invited her to do so, she refused, she writes, and has not taken drugs since the episode.
First off, it's nothing but good news that Ms Smith was able to kick her addiction. It must've have been an extremely difficult thing to do. And if she was able to do it via a deeper spirituality, mazel tov. But let's not get carried away here. Reading Coulter's telling of the story, you'd think some sort of miracle stopped this guy from killing her. She even wrote how Smith's "Christian love" turned this beast into a "brother in Christ."

Do I need to ask it? Perhaps it was THE CRYSTAL METH?

Let's take a look at the effects of crystal meth on the user. Here's what the DEA says:
As a powerful stimulant, methamphetamine, even in small doses, can increase wakefulness and physical activity and decrease appetite. A brief, intense sensation, or rush, is reported by those who smoke or inject methamphetamine. Oral ingestion or snorting produces a long-lasting high instead of a rush, which reportedly can continue for as long as half a day. Both the rush and the high are believed to result from the release of very high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine into areas of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure.
Coulter wrote later in the column:
Smith saved the soul of a man on a killing spree by talking to him about Christianity. But liberals think this won't work with the Muslims? We ought to fly this Ashley Smith to Saudi Arabia. We could just make her a box lunch every day and send her on her way.
Ok, Ann. If we do send Ms Smith over there to Saudi Arabia, how much crystal meth do you think it would take to convert them all?

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Just Desserts

As Talking Points Memo notes:


House Majority Leader Indicted for Criminal Conspiracy.

Senate Majority Leader the target of an increasingly serious probe of potential insider trading.

Rumors of October Rove indictment in the Plame case.

Is this a problem yet?

-- Josh Marshall

The air is thick with scheudenfraude...Well, here it is anyway. Yep, the very perfume...

Party! Delay Indicted and is Stepping Aside as House Majority Leader

From CNN:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post.


The charge carries a potential two-year sentence, which forces DeLay to step down under House Republican rules.


The indictment accused DeLay of a conspiracy to "knowingly make a political contribution" in violation of Texas law outlawing corporate contributions. It alleged that DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee accepted $155,000 from companies, including Sears Roebuck, and placed the money in an account.


DeLay, 58, also is the center of an ethics swirl in Washington. The 11-term congressman was admonished last year by the House ethics committee on three separate issues and is the center of a political storm this year over lobbyists paying his and other lawmakers' tabs for expensive travel abroad.

Wednesday's indictment stems from a plan DeLay helped set in motion in 2001 to help Republicans win control of the Texas House in the 2002 elections for the first time since Reconstruction.

A state political action committee he created, Texans for a Republican Majority, was indicted earlier this month on charges of accepting corporate contributions for use in state legislative races. Texas law prohibits corporate money from being used to advocate the election or defeat of candidates; it is allowed only for administrative expenses.

With GOP control of the Texas legislature, DeLay then engineered a redistricting plan that enabled the GOP take six Texas seats in the U.S. House away from Democrats -- including one lawmaker switching parties -- in 2004 and build its majority in Congress.

Guess I'll need to change his Holy Card to a Martyr Card now:

September 27, 2005

Pictures from the March in DC

As promised in this post, here are pictures from the September 24, 2005 March Against the Iraq War in DC.

Many thanks to the Hodge Family (Lindel, Janice, Limiel and Zuri) for providing me with them.

Limiel out front.

Can't quite make out what the blue signs say, other than "Bush Lies."

The red and white signs say: "Money for Education, Not War"

Peace Balloon!

Near the stage.



More Zuri -- notice the pig in the center.

Oh, Pennocchio! Will you ever grow up to be a real boy?

Best billboard ever!

Bashing Hillary Clinton

What's the deal with all the anti-Hillary jokes on ABC's Commander In Chief?

Anybody else watch this?

Bush Joke

Very hectic day today, so I'll just post a quick joke for now:

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the President his daily briefing. He concludes by saying, "Yesterday, three Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

I'm sure they must have left out the line where Bush adds, "But we must stay the course."

September 26, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Arrested Outside the White House

From CNN:

Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.

Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests.
Images of arrest here.

This would seem to be an intentional act of civil disobedience -- more power to her.

Oh, so satisfying!

Click here.

Use your mouse to control the action.

(Via Crooks and Liars.)

Pat Tillman, American Hero

I found this via dailykos and Cunning Realist. The original text is here at the San Francisco Chronicle.

The gist of the article is that the Tillman Family is looking for some straight answers from the Pentagon about the death of the former NFL star, Pat Tillman.

First off, the Pentagon lied when they first described how he died, then they covered up that it was friendly fire, etc etc etc.

We've read that before. The NEW stuff is absolutely fascinating. Check this out:
Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known — a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author.
Noam Chomsky?

Then, much later in the piece there's this:
Yet other Tillman family members are less reluctant to show Tillman’s unique character, which was more complex than the public image of a gung-ho patriotic warrior. He started keeping a journal at 16 and continued the practice on the battlefield, writing in it regularly. (His journal was lost immediately after his death.) Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat’s even arranged a private meeting with Chomsky, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan — a meeting prevented by his death. She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the Sept. 11 attacks, “Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war.”
And this:
[Spc. Russell] Baer, who served with Tillman for more than a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, told one anecdote that took place during the March 2003 invasion as the Rangers moved up through southern Iraq.

“I can see it like a movie screen,” Baer said. “We were outside of (a city in southern Iraq) watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren’t in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f— illegal.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was. He totally was against Bush.”

Another soldier in the platoon, who asked not to be identified, said Pat urged him to vote for Bush’s Democratic opponent in the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry.
Wow. That is new.

How long do you think it will take for Ann Coulter (or Sean Hannity or Michelle Malkin or Rush Limbaugh) to wonder aloud whether the Chomskyite Tillman may have actually snapped and started all that "friendly fire" in a fit of crazed liberal protest? If he did, then the return fire was all in self-defense. And if that's true, then he would be completely responsible for his own death.

How long before the rabid right starts a posthumous court martial to strip him of his Silver Star?

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Fixing Pittsburgh's Housing Court
(Bill No. 2005-1676)

According to an August 28th Post-Gazette article:

On March 1, the city turned Housing Court over to the state-run Court of Common Pleas and to district judges who'd long craved its case load in hopes of preserving their jobs. Six months later, a court that was never perfectly sturdy seems downright rickety.

  • Since the county took over the city's courts in January 2004, some 20,000 summons for housing, traffic and minor criminal violations have gone unprosecuted.

  • In the same period, 5,000 fines for the same kinds of violations have gone unpaid or enforced. (The court could not break out the number that were housing-related.)

  • A system in which district justices rotate into and out of Housing Court allows some property owners to string cases along from season to season.
  • Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto has proposed Housing Court Reform Bill No. 2005-1676 ( pdf here, html version here) to fix the problem. The bill is cosponsored by Councilmen Douglas Shields and Sala Udin.

    The Bill notes that:

    "...centralized independent housing court allows for more efficient Bureau of Building Inspection involvement in cases, and further allows for one magistrate to hear all Housing Court cases which will ensure that repeat offenders that cross magisterial districts are more easily tracked and identified."
    It calls for the following actions:

  • The Council of the City of Pittsburgh requests that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court change the Criminal Rules of Summary Procedure to allow for the scheduling of hearings in housing court, if a defendant does not enter a plea.

  • Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas immediately begins to use the enforcement power of constables to serve warrants on those defendants that do not respond to Housing Court by entering a plea, and/or attend schedule Housing Court hearings, and/or pay fines ordered by the Court.

  • Supports the Bureau of Building Inspection's proposed implementation of an automated code enforcement system and “real time” inspection results through the use of wirelesstechnology and calls on the Mayor to provide for full implementation of the plan through the City's operating and capital budget over the next five years.
  • The bill is supported by such community groups as Community Technical Assistance Center (which aids neighborhood groups) and the Lawrenceville Stakeholders.

    A televised (CITY Channel - PCTV) Post Agenda Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 27th at 1:30 PM (usually rebroadcast in the evening).

    If you believe that the bill is a good idea: contact your council member via the city website.
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    September 25, 2005

    Pennacchio Live on Air America Tonight!

    Chuck Pennacchio will be a guest on The Laura Flanders Show tonight (Sunday) on Air America Radio. The show airs from 7-10 EST and will be broadcast live from Washington, DC.

    Chuck will join Laura and Progressive Democrats of America's Tim Carpenter during the 8PM hour to talk about the campaign and what's next for progressives.

    You can call in to the show live at 1- 866-303-2270 with a question or comment.

    Unfortuantely for most of us here in PA, there is no radio station broadcasting Air America, BUT you can livestream it at Air America Radio.

    September 24, 2005

    (Sorta) Live Blogging (Kinda) from the March Against the Iraq War in DC

    For a variety of reasons -- OK, one reason which is I have to work through the weekend -- I couldn't go to DC today. But if you, like me, couldn't attend, you can still see people marching live here (click on the green dot at 14th & Pennsylvania Ave) as of 4:30pm ET as I'm writing this.

    C-SPAN covered some of the speeches today. Unfortunately, they were not covering the massive amount of people on the street. While it was nice that they broadcast the speeches, that was not where the bulk of people were and it made the event look deceptively small.

    My friend, Janice, attended the rally/march with her family and they've promised to bring me back some photos.

    She's called me twice from the march. This is not the first march that she's gone to in DC, but she says it's by far the largest.

    DC Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, noting that organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, "I think they probably hit that." However, I heard that the rally organizers on C-SPAN estimate that it was closer to 300,000 and Janice was estimating 500,000.

    Around 3:00pm, Janice was at the 900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. She reported that there was a counter-demonstration there of approximately 500 people.

    You can see video of some of the speeches at The Brad Blog.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch (err, well not exactly), Bush had a change in his travel plans today. He was scheduled to go to San Antonio to look all presidential -- like he was doing something in regard to Hurricane Rita, but apparently the weather would not cooperate.

    Too stormy, you ask?


    Too sunny!

    That is, too sunny to look like it had anything to do with a hurricane (no good visuals). So Preznit Chimpy McFlightsuit had to scrap the hurricane bullhorn moment that he just can't seem to grasp and go straight to Colorado Springs.


    September 22, 2005

    Blood in the Water

    Even if you've never actually bought a copy of the National Enquirer (or the Star or Weekly World News, etc.) just glancing at the covers in the checkout line will tell you that these tabloids are more-inclined towards flag-waving and Clinton-bashing than the story featured on the cover here:

    This is the tipping point. Forget Gallup, Zogby and all the rest. This is the real deal in where Bush stands with the public.

    He can't have another bullhorn moment now if he tries. He's just one more fallen celebrity tucked in the pages between Marie Osmond's bad eye lift and Batboy.

    Game Over.

    September 21, 2005


    Well, of course we're all going to die, but personally, I didn't think I'd go due to climate change or our fine feathered friends:

    Global warming 'past the point of no return'
    By Steve Connor, Science Editor
    Published: 16 September 2005

    A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years.

    They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.

    And, just in case you're one of those who believe that global warming is all bunk, you can always go with the 21st Century version of Hitchcock's "The Birds:"

    Avian Flu: Is the Government Ready for an Epidemic?
    Virus Poses Risk of Massive Casualties Around the World

    Sept. 15, 2005 — It could kill a billion people worldwide, make ghost towns out of parts of major cities, and there is not enough medicine to fight it. It is called the avian flu.

    This week, the U.S. government agreed to stockpile $100 million worth of a still-experimental vaccine, while at the United Nations Summit in New York, both the head of the U.N. World Health Organization and President Bush warned of the virus' deadly potential.

    And, if not the birds, then certainly the cyborgs:

    And, if not the cyborgs, then definitely the kittens:

    (So, OK, I'm having a hellish time at work with more projects than I can possibly hope to finish...and that kitten has fleas.)

    UPDATE: i think i need a nap

    September 20, 2005

    Will Bush Take Responsibility For This?

    Via atrios, I found this article at the Daily Mirror.

    Here's opening:
    Hundreds of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned.

    US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.

    Instead tons of the badly needed Nato ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption.

    Turns out that the British Government sent over 400,000 ration packs but the FDA at some point declared them unfit because of concerns over Mad Cow disease.

    But had these rations not ended up in a warehouse in Arkansas, they'd be eaten by British Soldiers.

    Can the Bush Administration screw things up any further?

    More quotations from the article:
    "Everyone is revolted by the chaotic shambles the US is making of this crisis. Guys from Unicef are walking around spitting blood.

    "This is utter madness. People have worked their socks off to get food into the region.

    "It is perfectly good Nato approved food of the type British servicemen have. Yet the FDA are saying that because there is a meat content and it has come from Britain it must be destroyed.

    "If they are trying to argue there is a BSE reason then that is ludicrously out of date. There is more BSE in the States than there ever was in Britain and UK meat has been safe for years."
    Can it get any worse?

    Yet More Fraudalent Election News

    Three Rivers Online still refuses to "get over it." Check out the latest on election fraud at TRO's Mirror Universe.

    Loads of Events for People Who Care!

    TUESDAY, Sept. 20, 7:30pm
    "Iron Jawed Angels" Free Screening

    Gemini Theater Company
    7501 Penn Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15208

    Ladies Involved For Equality will present a free showing of the HBO Film Iron Jawed Angels, at the Gemini Theater, Tuesday, September 20 at 7:30 P.M. Iron Jawed Angels tells the story of Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Inez Millholland, and many of the brave women who fought for the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing votes for women. The film features notable performances from Hillary Swank, Angelica Huston, Frances O'Connor, Molly Parker, and Julia Ormand. The goal of the screening is to register women voters and convince those who vote only occasionally to make casting a ballot in every election a priority.

    UPDATE: This event has been cancelled due to equipment issues. It may be rescheduled.

    WEDNESDAY, Sept. 21, 7:30pm
    "Beyond the PATRIOT Act" Screening

    Frick Fine Arts Auditorium in Oakland

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- September 12, 2005 -- The Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the University of Pittsburgh student ACLU will host a screening of the first episode of the new television series The ACLU Freedom Files on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:30 pm in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium in Oakland. This special screening will highlight the Pittsburghers featured in the first episode, a number of whom will be present to speak and answer questions.

    Future episodes of The ACLU Freedom Files-covering topics from gay and lesbian rights to drug policy, women's rights and racial profiling-will air monthly on the second Thursday of each month. They can also be viewed via the internet or by ordering a DVD at

    The screening on September 21 is free and open to the public. Screenings for future episodes are also being planned.

    THURSDAY, Sept 22, 7:00pm
    Drinking Liberally

    Finnegan's Wake, 20 E General Robinson St (on the North Shore, across from PNC Park and the Warhol Museum)
    When the Pirates are in town, we will meet instead at The Church Brew Works, 3525 Liberty Avenue in Lawrenceville. Join the mailing list to receive updates on each week's location.

    Hosted by John Tadler, pittsburgh (at)

    FRIDAY, September 23, 2005 at 7:00 pm
    Pennsylvania Young Democrats Quarterly Meeting

    Omni William Penn
    530 William Penn Plaza
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
    (in coordination with the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee Meeting)
    Followed by a Free Party Hosted by:

    Governor Ed Rendell, Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll, U.S. Senate Candidate Bob Casey at Finnegan's Wake at 8:00 pm
    Free shuttle service to and from the Omni William Penn.
    And Another Free Party Hosted by: AYD/Stonewall Democrats Party at the Omni William Penn from 10:00 until ?

    SATURDAY, Sept. 24, 10 am
    Wake up, get out of bed and get geared up for 2006 at:

    "I'm Young, I'm a Democrat, I'm Voting"
    Saturday, September 24, 10:00 am
    Omni William Penn
    A training session on tapping the potential of young voters and organizers featuring: Renee Gillinger, PA Director of the National Stonewall Democrats/Liberty PA, former Director for the Young Voter Alliance in 2004; and Pat Clark, of the Ground Zero Action Network and Jackson/Clark Partners.

    This weekend provides an incredible opportunity to interact with YDs throughout Pennsylvania, learn from each other and from leaders in the world of Democratic politics and government as we gear up to defeat Santorum, re-elect Governor Ed Rendell and take back the State Legislature next year. The Board has a number of exciting initiatives to present, including the introduction of DEMopolis, provided by Young Democrats of America, a free service through which County chapters can create free websites and communicate more easily with their membership.

    SATURDAY, Sept. 24
    Three Days of Action in Washington, D.C.

    sponsored by United for Peace and Justice

    Sat., 9/24 - Massive March, Rally & Festival
    Sun., 9/25 - Interfaith Service, Grassroots Training
    Mon., 9/26 - Lobby Day, Mass Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Disobedience

    From September 24-26, Washington, DC will be the setting for the largest mobilization since the RNC protests: tens of thousands are expected to converge on the Nation's capitol for three days of mass action to demand an end to the war in Iraq. As the IMF and World Bank's meeting will also be taking place that weekend, the mobilization presents a rare opportunity to bring together anti-war and global justice activists to strike back against the Empire.

    Summary of events:

  • On Saturday, 9/24, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) will hold a permitted march that begins at 11:30 am at the Elipse. This will be the largest of all the events.
  • On Saturday night, a concert featuring, Jello Biafra and others called "Operation Cease Fire" will take place at the Washington Monument.
  • UFPJ will have an "AntiWar Fair" on Saturday and Sunday.
  • UFPJ is also organizing an "interfaith service" for Sunday featuring Danny Glover.
  • Mobilization for Global Justice (MGJ) is organizing various events and has called for nonviolent direct action relating to the IMF/WB for Friday - Sunday
  • On Monday, a number of groups working through UFPJ are planning a mass nonviolent direct action at the White House for monday. The War Resistors League and Direct Action Tendency may call for nonviolent direct action at the Pentagon.
  • Monday will also be a "grassroots lobby day" on Monday, called by UFPJ.

    Bus registration has been reopened - reserve your seats until Thursday, September 22!
    Go to Thomas Merton Center to reserve seats.

    MONDAY Sept. 26, 6-9pm
    Dan Onorato's End of Summer Spectacular

    (A Young Professional Event) with Chris Heinz
    And Musical Guests Kelsey and the Rest of the Week Band

    WHERE :
    The Boardwalk
    In the Strip District

    $25.00 PER PERSON
    R.S.V.P at
    Please include number of admissions, name, home address, business address and email.
    Please make checks payable to: Friends of Dan Onorato (No Corporate Donations Please)

    THURSDAY, Sept 29, 7:00pm
    Drinking Liberally

    Finnegan's Wake, 20 E General Robinson St (on the North Shore, across from PNC Park and the Warhol Museum)
    When the Pirates are in town, we will meet instead at The Church Brew Works, 3525 Liberty Avenue in Lawrenceville. Join the mailing list to receive updates on each week's location.

    Hosted by John Tadler, pittsburgh (at)

    SUNDAY Oct. 2, Noon-4pm
    2nd Annual Dan Onorato Family Picnic
    with Special Guests TBA
    South Park Fair Grounds; The Museum Building Directly across from the South Park Administrative Building
    100 Buffalo Drive, South Park
    Sunday, October 2 12:00 PM 4:00 PM
    (Don't worry Steelers' fans. The picnic is scheduled for the Black and Gold's bye week.)
    From Pittsburgh take Route 51 to Route 88 South. Follow Route 88 for 5 miles. Bear left onto Corrigan Road and enter the Park. Stay on Corrigan for 3 miles and at the stop sign turn right onto Brownsville Road and then enter the Fairground's lot.

    WEDNESDAY Oct. 5, 7:00pm
    Democracy for Pittsburgh October Meeting

    Event Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2005
    Event Time: 7:00 PM
    Venue Name: Ryan's Pub
    Address: 607 S Braddock Ave
    City: Pittsburgh
    State: PA
    Zip Code: 15221

    R.S.V.P. here

    September 19, 2005

    Cindy Sheehan Speech Stopped in NYC?

    I just read about it at kos. The time stamp shows 12:42 PDT. So that's 3:42 on the east coast, right? So that's about 2 1/2 hours ago as I write this. I think.

    The kos posting linked to a couple of other sites. Here and here.

    Although is reporting:
    The New York City Police Department forcibly broke up this afternoon's rally for Cindy Sheehan, moving in as Cindy was speaking at about 3 p.m. in Union Square. The rally had been underway for about an hour, and was about to conclude as Cindy spoke following several other speakers, including a few who are traveling with her on her caravan.

    As Cindy was speaking, a large platoon of police massed behind from the interior of the park, then formed a circle behind her, the speakers' area and a few dozen people who were deployed in an arc behind her. Overall, about 200 people were in attendance, with the crowd steadily increasing in size as the rally progressed. As the police formed their arc just behind, the men and women immediately behind Cindy linked arms. A captain made a cutting motion at his throat, signalling he wanted no more free speech. He waited about 30 seconds, then the police moved in. They didn't dare arrest Cindy, but they immediately moved in and grabbed zool, the event's organizer and one of the main organizers of Camp Casey-NYC, pulling him away and arresting him. I do not believe anyone else was arrested; at least I didn't see any other arrests. I was nearby, and there was no hesitation on the part of the police in specifically targetting zool.
    The blog Booman Tribune writes:
    Just back from Camp Casey, New York which is at Union Square. Took an extended lunch break, as I had seen that Cindy Sheehan would make a speech there this afternoon at 2pm. A nice little crowd, Cindy was delayed - but there were plenty of people with issues on their minds in the mean time.

    Then comes Cindy and within two minutes the police interrupts. They had been in the background all along, but made their move only after Cindy started her speech. It was difficult to see all the details of what went on. Here is my summary based on what I saw and also discussed with others - including organizers - immediately after.

    The police unplugged the PA-system. The organizers of CC, New York (mainly Green Party folks, as far as I could see) replugged it and made a small human chain (3-4 people) to prevent police from reaching the PA again. They were immediately detained and the crown started to boo and shout. Not so much in anger, initially - I think most of us were in total disbelief. As reality sunk in, the crowd became more vocal.

    I did not see what happened to Cindy, but heard that she was escorted away from the microphone by the police, but not arrested.
    I haven't been able to confirm this at CNN or google news. I'll try to follow up as soon as I can.

    Technorati Tags:

    UPDATE (6:32pm) I found something at the Villiage Voice. Here's the lede:
    Cindy Sheehan may be the Rosa Parks of the antiwar movement. But that didn't stop members of the New York Police Department from marching into the crowd of about 150 people gathered in Union Square Monday to hear her speak and yanking away the microphone.

    Women are Animals

    (So is that cow, sow, or bitch?)

    Was Brownie the ONLY person unqualified to do his job in the Bush Administration? Well, unless you like to think of all women as BITCHES, please explain to this bitch why the FDA has appointed a VETERINARIAN as the head of women's health?

    FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford has appointed a man who has spent the majority of his career in the office of veterinary medicine to the position of acting director of the Office of Women's Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Norris Alderson will replace Dr. Susan Wood, a key women's health expert, who resigned on August 31 in protest of the FDA's handling of the application to make Plan B emergency contraception (EC) available over the counter.


    Norris Alderson, Associate Commissioner for Science, FDA
    Norris Alderson received a B.S. in Animal Husbandry from the University of Tennessee and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. He joined the FDA in 1971 as a reviewer in the Bureau of Veterinary Medicine (BVM). Beginning in 1980, he held a number of management positions in the BVM research organization culminating in the position of Director, Office of Research, Center for Veterinary Medicine, a position he held from 1988 to 2001.

    Full story here.

    Lesson Learned: If you women get all uppity and bitch too much about the politicization of emergency contraception, then we'll treat you like the bitches you are.

    September 17, 2005

    Santorum not worried about bad poll numbers

    This from the AP:
    Sen. Rick Santorum said Friday he is not discouraged by poll numbers that show him trailing state Treasurer Robert Casey Jr. in his 2006 Senate bid, and he expects to remain behind until early next year.
    The article also says:
    A Keystone Poll released Friday showed Casey with 50 percent - a gain of 6 percentage points since a similar poll in June - and Santorum unchanged at 37 percent. The survey had a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
    These are the numbers that Santorum isn't discourgaged about.

    But here's an interesting quotation from the piece:
    "If `outrageous' means I say what I believe, and I try to be accountable to the people of Pennsylvania, guilty," Santorum said. "I think it's a sad commentary that being accountable, forthright and honest with your constituents is considered controversial."
    Accountable? Forthright? Honest? Do we need to start writing about his Homestead Exemption again? Terri Schiavo?

    Technorati Tags: ,

    Fiscal Conservatives?

    Via kos, I found this article at the New York Times. Former Congressman (and challenger to Arlen Specter) Pat Toomey is quoted as saying this:
    There has never been a time where there is more total spending and more wasteful spending in Washington than we have today...
    Toomey is the head of the Club for Growth.

    Tell me again, who's running the show in Congress these days?

    My guess is that Pat got a phone call from Karl Rove and should be issuing a statement about how his words were taken out of context. Only a guess...

    Technorati Tags: ,

    September 16, 2005

    Some new-ish Casey/Santorum poll numbers

    From the Trib (of all places):
    Democratic state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. has increased his lead over Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in his likely 2006 showdown for Santorum's seat, according to a new Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/WTAE-Channel 4 Keystone poll.
    And some data:
    In the Senate race, the telephone survey of 518 registered voters showed Casey beating Santorum, of Penn Hills, by a 50 percent to 37 percent in a hypothetical election, with 13 percent undecided. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.
    And here's something else to ponder. The Hill is reporting that:
    Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is losing ground to his Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Bob Casey, a GOP poll to be released today shows.

    The Strategic Vision survey, conducted Saturday through Monday, gives Casey a 14-point lead over the second-term senator, with the Democrat at 52 percent and the Republican at 38 percent. Seven percent of the 1,200 likely voters interviewed were undecided.
    Double digit leads both places.

    Something to ponder.

    September 15, 2005

    Just for fun: What Kind of Rocker Are You?

    Because I know that Chimpy's speech tonight will make me sick and I need a little fun:

    You Are a Punk Rocker!

    When it comes to rock, you don't follow any rules
    You know that rocking out is all about taking down the man
    You've got an incredible stage presence and rock persona
    You scare moms, make bad girls (or boys) swoon, and live life on the edge!

    Rice Unveils “The Latte Defense”

  • Smoking gun turning into a mushroom cloud

  • Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • 9/11

  • Iraq supports terrorists

  • Fight them there so we won't have to fight them here

  • Create a Secular Democracy

  • Prevent oil fields from falling into the hands of terrorists

  • Lattes!

  • From Think Progress:
    O’Reilly: The truth of the matter is our correspondents at Fox News can’t go out for a cup of coffee in Baghdad.

    Rice: Bill, that’s tough. It’s tough. But what — would they have wanted to have gone out for a cup of coffee when Saddam Hussein was in power?

    Of Rats and Slots (and Stun Guns)


    I just cannot watch any more of that cyborg's Supreme Court confirmation hearing and since Kathy Griffin's "My Life on the D-list" is not yet broadcast 24 hours a day on Bravo, that's led me to spending a few hours with Pittsburgh's City Council (via the CITY channel).

    While 2 Political Junkies is a political blog (duh!) actually watching the broadcast of the city council meetings really is going above and beyond the call of most political junkies if only because you might stumble across one of those perennial losers candidate's umpteenth 3 minute speech as to why you should vote for them during the public comments portion of the meetings. There should be a warning flashed across the screen that viewing may cause bleeding from the eyes and ears.

    And the rest is often pretty dry stuff.

    But yesterday's meeting did produce a few fireworks.

    Pittsburgh has a rat problem. As a recent editorial in the Post-Gazette editorial noted:

    In 2003, the city had budgeted for six rodent control officers, but those positions were eliminated when the crunch came.

    Since then, stop-gap measures have been a notable failure. The Allegheny County Health Department recently gave free training in rodent control to six city workers, but only one ended up being certified by the state Department of Agriculture. As it stands, the city now makes no effort to control rodents in public spaces and the buildings and lots it owns.

    What to do? Well, Councilman Doug Shields proposed shifting $30,000 worth of unused funds in the Office of Municipal Investigations budget to hire a private company to handle the rodent problem.

    Sounds good, right?

    The problem came in when Councilman James Motznik argued that the matter should be considered next week. As the P-G put it Shields and Motznik then "bared their teeth in a minutes-long shouting match."

    What was highly amusing was when Shields proceeded to read the transcripts from moments earlier in the meeting to use Motznik's own words against him. That same day Motznik had chewed out two city workers claiming that they were failing to serve the public and putting up roadblocks instead of helping them.

    That's when Motznik really went ballistic, repeatedly yelling, "What bill are we on now!" as his own criticisms were used against him. Shields and Motznik then each claimed the other was playing games.

    When Shields and Motznik weren't enraged engaged, Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle said that she gets 50 calls a week complaining about rats and Councilman Bill Peduto said that waiting any longer on the rodent problem would be "ludicrous" and "ridiculous."

    So why all the fireworks over shifting money now rather than in a week? The P-G claims it's because there's a "flurry of behind-the-scenes finger pointing regarding its spending," that 'Motznik later said Shields "wants to grab his money for rodent control so he can vote 'no' next week" on other budget transfers' and that:

    The hallway outside council chamber is abuzz with talk of which members are over budget. An itemization of spending by each was not immediately available.

    Council members are sensitive to charges of overspending, since most are considered candidates to succeed Eugene Ricciardi as council president.

    Shields, Carlisle and Peduto all voted in favor of the shift, with Motznik voting 'no' and two members out of the room and one absent.


    When they weren't busy discussing our furry fanged friends, they also discussed such mundane matters as whether the city should OWN casinos (covered nicely at Pittsblog's "The Horror, The Horror" post) and when the police should be authorized with tasering citizens.


    The stun gun topic came up in the "Post Agenda." While the questioning of Chief Robert W. McNeilly Jr. about when and how much force should be used during group protests was somewhat monotonous, it might not have been so much so if McNeilly hadn't "declined to release those policies, saying sophisticated anarchist groups might use them against police."

    Let's just say that apparently the greatest threat to the police seems to be "the Internet." McNeilly repeatedly claimed that Internet communication led to a level of organization among protesters that is dangerous.

    Peduto brought in David Meieran, a civil liberties activist, and Elizabeth Pittinger, executive director of the Citizens Police Review Board, for some much needed balance to the presentation.

    Pittinger noted that, "police departments in some other cities post use-of-force policies on the Internet" and said, "Tell us what the rules are. That's just fair play."

    Meieran who was presented as having some expertise on tasers said, "It's only a matter of time before someone is killed by a taser." He further went on to comment that the larger problem was the "criminalization of dissent" in this country.

    September 14, 2005

    Does she shake it for him too?

    OK, yes, he's a miserable failure and comes off like a friggin' idiot half the time but I at least thought that Preznit Chimpy McFlightsuit would know if he had to go or not...

    If you can't make it out, the note that Bush wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14 says:

    "I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break? Is this possible"

    Hmm...I don't know George, but most of the country thinks you couldn't find your ass with both hands.

    You think she keeps these notes? (I bet she does.)

    This is not retouched -- no Photoshop. It can be found at Reuters and Yahoo News.

    September 13, 2005

    More Sheehan in Pgh Pics at Progress Pittsburgh

    Progress Pittsburgh Blog has more pictures from Cindy Sheehan's visit to Pittsburgh here.

    Seen any good movies lately?


    Ladies Involved for Equality Sponsor Free Showing of "Iron Jawed Angels"

    Tuesday, September 20 at 7:30 P.M.
    Gemini Theater Company
    7501 Penn Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15208

    Ladies Involved For Equality will present a free showing of the HBO Film Iron Jawed Angels, at the Gemini Theater, Tuesday, September 20 at 7:30 P.M.

    Iron Jawed Angels tells the story of Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Inez Millholland, and many of the brave women who fought for the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing votes for women. The film features notable performances from Hillary Swank, Angelica Huston, Frances O'Connor, Molly Parker, and Julia Ormand.

    Ladies Involved For Equality (LIFE) made the decision to offer the free screening in an effort to bring more women to the polls for Pittsburgh's upcoming election and all subsequent elections. " In the context of history American women have had the right to vote for only a short time – less than 100 years," said Megan Kelly, founding member of LIFE. " Iron Jawed Angels is a film which puts in to perspective the struggle and sacrifices our foremothers made to win the right to vote for themselves, for the American women of today, for our daughters and for future generations."

    The goal of the screening is to register women voters and convince those who vote only occasionally to make casting a ballot in every election a priority. "It is our hope and our goal to see all women of all races exercise their right to a voice in our democracy by casting a ballot in every election,” said Kelly.

    Ladies Involved For Equality exists to promote the civic engagement of all women toward creating and realizing equality.

    I saw this film when it was originally broadcast on HBO and it's certianly worth a look.



    Pittsburgh (Various Locations)
    September 9-17, 2005

    Full schedule here.

    (Hat tip to Pittsblog)

    Bill Maher to Dubya: "Take a Hint"

    From his "New Rules" segment at the end of his "Real Time with Bill Maher" HBO show:
    On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans...Maybe you're just not lucky!

    I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you, and what he's saying is, "Take a hint."
    Read the entire piece here or watch it at C&L (sorry -- no link, but I'm having difficulties getting to their site this morning).

    September 11, 2005

    Join Cindy Sheehan in Pittsburgh Today!

    On Wednesday, August 30, 2005, the last day of the anti-war encampment started by Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, Texas, the Bring Them Home Now Tour launched three buses of military and Gold Star families, veterans of the Iraq War, and veterans of previous wars. These buses will travel different routes across the country, including a stop in Pittsburgh on September 11th-13th, before converging in Washington, DC for the United for Peace and Justice March on September 24th.

    Pittsburgh's main event is Camp Neil : A Picnic/Speak-Out followed by a Candlelight March on Sunday, Sept. 11

    CAMP NEIL: Picnic/Speak Out followed by Candlelight March
    Date: Sunday, September 11, 2005
    Time: Picnic/Speak-Out from 4:30 pm, Candlelight March begins at 7 pm
    Location:Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park, Oakland. Click for map
    March Route: Flagstaff Hill to Soldiers & Sailors Hall – about 5 blocks.
    Parking: Free parking at CMU’s Morewood Lot.

    At Flagstaff, there will be a re-creation of Camp Casey, named Camp Neil, in honor of 1st. Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello, Jr., of Pittsburgh, who died in Iraq at age 24. Lt. Santoriello’s mother, Diane Davis Santoriello, will be present along with other members of Goldstar Families for Peace, as well as Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Veterans for Peace. You are invited to join us to Speak Out about the horrors of the Iraqi war, and to have a pot-luck picnic dinner before the march. There will be live music and other entertainment as well.

    Please join the encampment by bringing food for the potluck-style picnic, candles for the vigil & march, or even join the tour as part of a caravan to D.C!

    Bring Them Home Now Tour/September DC Mobilization Schedule of Public Events:

    Sunday, September 11, 4:30pm
    CAMP NEIL Speak Out/Pot-Luck Picnic with Musical Perfomances
    Flagstaff Hill (Schenely Park, Oakland)

    Sunday, September 11, 7:00pm
    Candlelight MARCH
    From Flagstaff Hill (Schenely Park, Oakland)
    to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial

    Monday, September 12, 11:45pm
    Truth in Recruiting Press Conference/Protest
    Oakland Military Recruiting Station (3712 Forbes Ave., Oakland)

    Monday, September 12, 7:30pm
    PUBLIC GATHERING to discuss Conscientious Objection and Counter Recruitment
    Friends Meeting House (4836 Ellsworth Ave, Oakland)

    Tuesday, September 13, 12 noon
    United Steelworkers of America headquarters (60 Blvd.of the Allies, Downtown)

    Tuesday, September 13, 6:30pm
    SEND OFF PARTY Pot-Luck for the Bring Them Home Now Tour
    Shadow Lounge (5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty)

    What you can do to help with the Tour:

  • Volunteer to help set up/dismantle Camp Neil -- email or call 412-361-3022 - or come to Flagstaff Hill any time after 9am on Sunday.
  • Donate food for our guests -- email or call 412-361-3022.
  • Donate funds to help with costs of the events and of hosting the tour -- click here for details.
  • Help field inquires about the September 24th buses and sign up people on Sunday - email or call Colby at the Thomas Merton Center at 412-361-3022.
  • Become a bus captain for the September 24th buses - email
  • Donate a seat on the September 24th bus or to help the Tour - visit or call Jim or Colby at the Thomas Merton Center, 412-361-3022.

  • September 9, 2005

    Fan mail from some flounder: Honsberger gets pinned

    What is Fred Honsberger (local Pittsburgh Rush Wannabe whose little cable TV show often gets on-air calls from me) doing on this blog? Looks like he's reading some fan mail.

    The mail contains a present for Fred:

    Appears to be a pin (badge).

    Here's a close-up:

    Yes, they mean this "MARIA."

    And, yes, it's pretty damn funny.

    Honsberger DID say that he wouldn't wear the pin, and that he doesn't want me to stop calling the show, and that he's met me in person...yadda, yadda, yadda...but he of course wouldn't say he'd stop SHOUTING OVER TOP OF ME WHEN I CALL IN WITH REALITY CHECKS.

    Still, I want one of those buttons. LOL


    FEMA director Brown recalled to Washington

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen will replace Michael Brown, the embattled FEMA director, as the on-site head of hurricane relief operations in the Gulf Coast, a senior administration official told CNN.

    Brown will head back to Washington from Louisiana to oversee the big picture, the official said.

    The "big picture"?!? Yeah, right...

    (Thanks to Gloria for the heads up on this -- am working and so had the sound muted on my TV.)

    Katrina Timeline

    Think Progress and Talking Points Memo both have wonderful Katrina timelines. I've mashed them here:


    Thursday, August 25
    5 PM: The National Hurricane Center makes its first official reference to "Hurricane Katrina," thus upgrading it from tropical storm status.

    7 PM: Katrina makes landfall in Florida.

    Friday, August 26
    11:30 AM: Katrina isupgradedto a Category 2 hurricane.

    5 PM: the National Hurricane Center issues an advisory forecasting that Katrina would soon be a Category 3 hurricane.

    GULF COAST STATES REQUEST TROOP ASSISTANCE FROM PENTAGON: At a 9/1 press conference, Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, commander, Joint Task Force Katrina, said that the Gulf States began the process of requesting additional forces on Friday, 8/26. [DOD]

    Saturday, August 27

    The President's weekly radio address focuses on Gaza withdrawal and the Iraqi constitution. No mention of the Hurricane is made.

    GOV. BLANCO ASKS BUSH TO DECLARE FEDERAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN LOUISIANA: “I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster.” [Office of the Governor]

    That day, President Bush officially declares that a "state of emergency" exists in Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to the affected areas to complement state and local relief efforts.

    Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour declares a state of emergency. (see public document)

    FEDERAL EMERGENCY DECLARED, DHS AND FEMA GIVEN FULL AUTHORITY TO RESPOND TO KATRINA: “Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.” [White House]

    5pm: Mayor Nagin declares a State of Emergency and issues a voluntary evacuation order, saying he is having his legal team determine if he can order a mandatory evacuation without exposing the city to legal liability for the closure of hotels and other businesses.

    11 PM: the National Hurricane Center issues a warning suggesting that Katrina is moving in a western direction in an area that includes New Orleans.

    Sunday, August 28


    MORNING — LOUISIANA NEWSPAPER SIGNALS LEVEES MAY GIVE: “Forecasters Fear Levees Won’t Hold Katrina”: “Forecasters feared Sunday afternoon that storm driven waters will lap over the New Orleans levees when monster Hurricane Katrina pushes past the Crescent City tomorrow.” [Lafayette Daily Advertiser]

    9:30 AM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES FIRST EVER MANDATORY EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS: “We’re facing the storm most of us have feared,” said Nagin. “This is going to be an unprecedented event.” [Times-Picayune]

    Later that morning, President Bush declares a state of emergency from both Mississippi and Alabama, and declared Florida a federal disaster area in light of damage done by Hurricane Katrina.

    4PM – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES SPECIAL HURRICANE WARNING: In the event of a category 4 or 5 hit, “Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. … At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. … Power outages will last for weeks. … Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.” [National Weather Service]

    AFTERNOON — BUSH, BROWN, CHERTOFF WARNED OF LEVEE FAILURE BY NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER DIRECTOR: Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center: “‘We were briefing them way before landfall. … It’s not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped.’” [Times-Picayune; St. Petersburg Times]

    LATE PM – REPORTS OF WATER TOPPLING OVER LEVEE: “Waves crashed atop the exercise path on the Lake Pontchartrain levee in Kenner early Monday as Katrina churned closer.” [Times-Picayune]


    Monday, August 29

    8AM – MAYOR NAGIN REPORTS THAT WATER IS FLOWING OVER LEVEE: “I’ve gotten reports this morning that there is already water coming over some of the levee systems. In the lower ninth ward, we’ve had one of our pumping stations to stop operating, so we will have significant flooding, it is just a matter of how much.” [NBC’s “Today Show”]

    8:14am (Central): The National Weather Service New Orleans office issues a flash flood warning stating there had been a breach in the Industrial Canal levee with 3 to 8 feet of water expected in the 9th ward and Arubi.

    MORNING — BUSH CALLS SECRETARY CHERTOFF TO DISCUSS IMMIGRATION: “I spoke to Mike Chertoff today — he’s the head of the Department of Homeland Security. I knew people would want me to discuss this issue [immigration], so we got us an airplane on — a telephone on Air Force One, so I called him. I said, are you working with the governor? He said, you bet we are.” [White House]


    10AM — BUSH VISITS ARIZONA RESORT TO PROMOTE MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “This new bill I signed says, if you’re a senior and you like the way things are today, you’re in good shape, don’t change. But, by the way, there’s a lot of different options for you. And we’re here to talk about what that means to our seniors.” [White House]

    LATE MORNING – LEVEE BREACHED: “A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new ‘hurricane proof’ Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina’s fiercest winds were well north.” [Times-Picayune]

    11:30AM — MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY REQUESTS THAT DHS DISPATCH 1,000 EMPLOYEES TO REGION, GIVES THEM TWO DAYS TO ARRIVE: “Brown’s memo to Chertoff described Katrina as ‘this near catastrophic event’ but otherwise lacked any urgent language. The memo politely ended, ‘Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities.’” [AP]

    President Bush makes emergency disaster declarations for Louisiana , Mississippi, and Alabama, freeing up federal funds.

    Katrina rips two holes in the Superdome's roof. Some 10,000 storm refugees are inside.

    At least eight Gulf Coast refineries shut down or reduce operations.

    FEMA Head Michael Brown urges emergency service personnel "not to respond to hurricane impact areas unless dispatched by state, local authorities."

    The American Red Cross announces that it is "launching the largest mobilization of resources in its history" to assist Katrina victims. FEMA encourages the public to donate to this and other private organizations involved in relief work.

    2PM — BUSH TRAVELS TO CALIFORNIA SENIOR CENTER TO DISCUSS MEDICARE DRUG BENEFIT: “We’ve got some folks up here who are concerned about their Social Security or Medicare. Joan Geist is with us. … I could tell — she was looking at me when I first walked in the room to meet her, she was wondering whether or not old George W. is going to take away her Social Security check.” [White House]

    9PM — RUMSFELD ATTENDS SAN DIEGO PADRES BASEBALL GAME: Rumsfeld “joined Padres President John Moores in the owner’s box…at Petco Park.” [Editor & Publisher]

    Tuesday, August 30
    [White House]

    9:50 AM: The AP reports that Bush will cut short his vacation to focus on the storm damage.

    Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco says everyone still in New Orleans an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people must be evacuated. Crowds swell at the Superdome and the New Orleans convention center

    MIDDAY – CHERTOFF FINALLY BECOMES AWARE THAT LEVEE HAS FAILED: “It was on Tuesday that the levee–may have been overnight Monday to Tuesday–that the levee started to break. And it was midday Tuesday that I became aware of the fact that there was no possibility of plugging the gap and that essentially the lake was going to start to drain into the city.” [Meet the Press, 9/4/05]

    PENTAGON CLAIMS THERE ARE ENOUGH NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS IN REGION: “Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs.” [WWL-TV]

    MASS LOOTING REPORTED, SECURITY SHORTAGE CITED: “The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked,” Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson said. “We’re using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops.” [AP]

    U.S.S. BATAAN SITS OFF SHORE, VIRTUALLY UNUSED: “The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore. The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents. But now the Bataan’s hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty.” [Chicago Tribune]



    10 PM CDT: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin announces that the planned sandbagging of the 17th Street levee breach has failed.

    Wednesday, August 31
    TENS OF THOUSANDS TRAPPED IN SUPERDOME; CONDITIONS DETERIORATE: “A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers. ‘We pee on the floor. We are like animals,’ said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. … By Wednesday, it had degenerated into horror. … At least two people, including a child, have been raped. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for. There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming.”" [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/05]

    President Bush heads back to Washington from vacationing in Crawford, TX. Though he does not stop in Louisiana, Air Force One flies over the Gulf Coast so that he can view the devastation.

    Federal officials declare the Gulf Coast a Public Health Emergency.

    PRESIDENT BUSH FINALLY ORGANIZES TASK FORCE TO COORDINATE FEDERAL RESPONSE: Bush says on Tuesday he will “fly to Washington to begin work…with a task force that will coordinate the work of 14 federal agencies involved in the relief effort.” [New York Times, 8/31/05]

    JEFFERSON PARISH EMERGENCY DIRECTOR SAYS FOOD AND WATER SUPPLY GONE: “Director Walter Maestri: FEMA and national agencies not delivering the help nearly as fast as it is needed.” [WWL-TV]

    80,000 BELIEVED STRANDED IN NEW ORLEANS: Former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy “estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged President Bush to send more troops.” [Reuters]

    3,000 STRANDED AT CONVENTION CENTER WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER: “With 3,000 or more evacuees stranded at the convention center — and with no apparent contingency plan or authority to deal with them — collecting a body was no one’s priority. … Some had been at the convention center since Tuesday morning but had received no food, water or instructions.” [Times-Picayune]

    5PM — BUSH GIVES FIRST MAJOR ADDRESS ON KATRINA: “Nothing about the president’s demeanor… — which seemed casual to the point of carelessness — suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.” [New York Times]

    Reported at 5:55 PM: DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff declares Katrina an 'Incident of National Significance', "triggering for the first time a coordinated federal response to states and localities overwhelmed by disaster." Declaration is first use of DHS National Response Plan.

    Governor Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana orders that all of New Orleans, including the Superdome, be evacuated. An exodus from the Superdome begins, with the first buses leaving for Houston's Astrodome, 350 miles away.

    New Orleans 's 1,500 member police force is ordered to abandon search and rescue missions and turn their attention toward controlling the widespread looting and a curfew is placed in effect. Mayor Ray Nagin calls for increased federal assistance.

    8:00PM – CONDOLEEZZA RICE TAKES IN A BROADWAY SHOW: “On Wednesday night, Secretary Rice was booed by some audience members at ‘Spamalot!, the Monty Python musical at the Shubert, when the lights went up after the performance.” [New York Post, 9/2/05]

    9PM — FEMA DIRECTOR BROWN CLAIMS SURPRISE OVER SIZE OF STORM: “I must say, this storm is much much bigger than anyone expected.” [CNN]

    Thursday, September 1
    2:00 AM: The first evacuees arrive at the Astrodome in Houston

    The Daily Herald reports that House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert says rebuilding New Orleans "doesn't make sense to me."

    8AM — BUSH CLAIMS NO ONE EXPECTED LEVEES TO BREAK: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” [Washington Post]

    At around the same time, evacuees from the New Orleans area and the Louisiana Superdome begin arriving at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.

    FEMA announces guidelines to contractors interested in "doing business with FEMA during the Hurricane Katrina recovery."

    CONDOLEEZZA RICE VISITS U.S. OPEN: “Rice, [in New York] on three days’ vacation to shop and see the U.S. Open, hitting some balls with retired champ Monica Seles at the Indoor Tennis Club at Grand Central.” [New York Post]

    STILL NO COMMAND AND CONTROL ESTABLISHED: Terry Ebbert, New Orleans Homeland Security Director: “This is a national emergency. This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can’t bail out the city of New Orleans.” [Fox News]

    2PM — MAYOR NAGIN ISSUES “DESPERATE SOS” TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: “This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention centre and don’t anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention centre is unsanitary and unsafe and we’re running out of supplies.” [Guardian, 9/2/05]

    2PM — MICHAEL BROWN CLAIMS NOT TO HAVE HEARD OF REPORTS OF VIOLENCE: “I’ve had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word unrest means that people are beginning to riot, or you know, they’re banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I’ve had no reports of that.” [CNN]

    NEW ORLEANS “DESCEND[S] INTO ANARCHY”: “Storm victims were raped and beaten, fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flooded-out New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. ‘This is a desperate SOS,’ the mayor said.” [AP]

    CONDOLEEZZA RICE GOES SHOE SHOPPING: “Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, ‘How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!’” [Gawker]

    Bush asks his father and former President Clinton to lead a fund-raising campaign for hurricane victims.

    On NPR’s All Things Considered, Chertoff claims, "I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don't have food and water."

    MICHAEL BROWN FINALLY LEARNS OF EVACUEES IN CONVENTION CENTER: “We learned about that (Thursday), so I have directed that we have all available resources to get that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water and medical care that they need.” [CNN]

    Friday, September 2
    The Reliant Center in Houston is opened to evacuees when the Fire Marshal declares the Astrodome to be at capacity.

    A chemical plant explosion rocksNew Orleans in the early hours of the morning. Rumors that the chemical cloud produced by the explosion was toxic were later determined not to be credible.

    ROVE-LED CAMPAIGN TO BLAME LOCAL OFFICIALS BEGINS: “Under the command of President Bush’s two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan…to contain the political damage from the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina.” President Bush’s comments from the Rose Garden Friday morning formed “the start of this campaign.” [New York Times, 9/5/05]

    9:35AM — BUSH PRAISES MICHAEL BROWN: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” [White House, 9/2/05]

    10 AM — PRESIDENT BUSH STAGES PHOTO-OP “BRIEFING”: Coast Guard helicopters and crew diverted to act as backdrop for President Bush’s photo-op.

    BUSH VISIT GROUNDS FOOD AID: “Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.” [Times-Picayune]

    LEVEE REPAIR WORK ORCHESTRATED FOR PRESIDENT’S VISIT: Sen. Mary Landrieu, 9/3: “Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.” [Sen. Mary Landrieu]

    BUSH USES 50 FIREFIGHTERS AS PROPS IN DISASTER AREA PHOTO-OP: A group of 1,000 firefighters convened in Atlanta to volunteer with the Katrina relief efforts. Of those, “a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew’s first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.” [Salt Lake Tribune; Reuters]

    3PM — BUSH “SATISFIED WITH THE RESPONSE”: “I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with all the results.” [AP]

    National Guard arrives in New Orleans.

    FEMA releases a statement: "patience in the wake of Hurricane Katrina."

    Congress approves and President Bush signs an initial $10.5 billion aid package for immediate rescue and relief efforts.

    The Congressional Black Caucus, along with the NAACP, Black Leadership Forum, and the National Urban League express dismay over the sluggish relief efforts in New Orleans, citing the poverty of the victims as a primary reason for the delay.

    The Bush administration asks Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) to request a federal takeover of relief efforts. The move would have given the federal government control over Louisiana's National Guard and local police. The state eventually rejected the proposal.

    Saturday, September 3
    The Post reported in their Sunday edition “As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.” They were forced to issue a correction hours later. [Washington Post, 9/4/05]

    9AM — BUSH BLAMES STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS: “[T]he magnitude of responding to a crisis over a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need.” [White House, 9/3/05]

    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff declares that Katrina constituted "a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight." CNN reports that "government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years."

    Chertoff also asserts that "our constitutional system really places the primary authority in each state with the governor," in response to a question about the federal government's response to the catastrophe.

    Governor Kathleen Blanco (D-La) hires James Lee Witt, FEMA director under President Clinton, to advise her during the relief effort.

    4 PM: the Department of Homeland Security releases a document of "Highlights of the United States Government Response to the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."

    Sunday, September 4
    FEMA establishes a hotline to collect donations for assisting victims.

    Jefferson Parrish president Aaron Broussard claims on Meet the Press that aid to his parrish was blocked by FEMA.

    Monday, September 5:
    returns for second visit to the Gulf Coast region.

    The AP reports that Kellogg Brown & Root, the subsidiary of Halliburton Co that has been criticized for its reconstruction work in Iraq, has begun work on a $500 million U.S. Navy contract for emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and marine facilities that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina

    While touring the Astrodome, Former First Lady Barbara Bush, tells American Public Media's "Marketplace" program:"Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them.”

    Tuesday, September 6
    announces an investigation into what went wrong in hurricane relief efforts.

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