A good comment on Sensebrenner...

This was emailed to me by a fellow Dem - great message:

A half-dozen constituents of Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, in the 5th Congressional District from Milwaukee County, Waukesha County and Ozaukee County, visited Congressman Sensenbrenner's office at 120 Bishops Way, Room 154 in Brookfield, WI 53005 to personally deliver a message to him.

With cameras from Fox 6 and WISN 12 rolling, we walked in to Congressman Sensenbrenner's office to tell him how appalled we were that he would choose this time to claim to be fiscally responsible. He didn't do it during the Bush tax cuts, and he didn't do it when he voted for Bush's Energy Bill with its over 6,000 cases of "pork" projects, but he did stand against providing immediate and significant help to hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast Survivors who've already suffered because of the Federal Government's incompetence.

This was our statement to him:

In the light of the poor Federal response in assisting the Gulf Coast Survivors, which has clearly delayed medical assistance and vitally needed food and water, causing additional unnecessary deaths, Congress stepped in to legislate assistance where Bush, Homeland Security and FEMA utterly failed.

The Katrina Relief Bill passed in the Senate 97-0, and in the House 410-11. You, Congressman Sensenbrenner were one of the 11 who voted against the bill.

You have been cited as claiming that the reason for your opposition was because there wasn't enough oversight of the money being spent. While that, on the surface, may be a concern, considering FEMA has been so incompetent in its handling of this National Emergency so far, and is being given the responsibility for the distribution of these funds, isn't it the responsibility of Congress to oversee the distribution of these funds? Why is it that you would block this aid to the survivors, and turn your back on them at this critical time when this funding is so desperately needed? This is unconscionable.

We are constituents of the 5th Congressional District, which you are supposed to represent, and we are appalled and ashamed that you would vote in our name, to hold back such critical funding to Americans, who are survivors of a government failure, in their time of need, when hundreds are dying and many more may very well end up with chronic diseases or death because of the widespread exposure to biological toxins on American soil. This is a National Disgrace of a Federal Responsibility, and Americans shouldn't have to hold out a tin-cup and beg to Congressional Representatives that are supposed to represent them.

While the cameras taped the exchange, neither Channel 6 (FOX), nor WISN Channel 12 ran the footage during their 6:00 evening news.

If you believe that Congressman Sensenbrenner should be more representative of his constituents in making sure that PEOPLE come ahead of "Pork" projects, please take this around to anyone in your community and get them to sign it and send it on to Congressman Sensenbrenner. Please send us a copy so that we can keep track of who you are, where you are and how many of you don't care for Sensenbrenner's priorities.

Update - FEMA leaders lack disaster experience

FEMA leaders lack disaster experience
Agency has suffered ‘brain drain’ since 2001

Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

FEMA's top three leaders -- Director Michael D. Brown, Chief of Staff Patrick J. Rhode and Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks D. Altshuler -- arrived with ties to President Bush's 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to the agency. Two other senior operational jobs are filled by a former Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who was once a political operative.

"FEMA requires strong leadership and experience because state and local governments rely on them," said Trina Sheets, executive director of the National Emergency Management Association. "When you don't have trained, qualified people in those positions, the program suffers as a whole."

But scorching criticism has been aimed at FEMA, and it starts at the top with Brown, who has admitted to errors in responding to Hurricane Katrina and the flooding in New Orleans. The Oklahoma native, 50, was hired to the agency after a rocky tenure as commissioner of a horse sporting group by former FEMA director Joe M. Allbaugh, the 2000 Bush campaign manager and a college friend of Brown's.

Rhode, Brown's chief of staff, is a former television reporter who came to Washington as advance deputy director for Bush's Austin-based 2000 campaign and then the White House. He joined FEMA in April 2003 after stints at the Commerce Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Altshuler is a former presidential advance man. His predecessor, Scott Morris, was a media strategist for Bush with the Austin firm Maverick Media.

David I. Maurstad, who stepped down as Nebraska lieutenant governor in 2001 to join FEMA, has served as acting director for risk reduction and federal insurance administrator since June 2004. Daniel Craig, a one-time political fundraiser and campaign advisor, came to FEMA in 2001 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he directed the eastern regional office, after working as a lobbyist for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.


Funny how everyone with experience left after 2001 - what happened then?

Gimme a Break...

First off, they lie in "Brownie's" biography saying he has experience:

Brown's biography on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site says he had once served as an "assistant city manager with emergency services oversight," and a White House news release in 2001 said Brown had worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., in the 1970s "overseeing the emergency-services division."

"The assistant is more like an intern," Claudia Deakins (city spokeswoman) told the magazine. "Department heads did not report to him." Time posted the article on its Web site late on Thursday.


Then they say this:

Brown "remains focused on helping Americans through the worst natural disaster in history," FEMA said.

Don't get me wrong - Katrina is bad, real bad. But we do not yet know the scope of the devastation (much do to the incompetence of the reaction by FEMA & the Bush Administration).
But, let's compare:

Pompeii - 20,000 dead - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pompeii
Galveston Hurricane - 8,000 dead - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galveston_Hurricane
Indian Ocean Tsunami - 150,000 dead - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_tsunami
Krakatoa - 36,000 dead - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krakatoa
San Francisco Earthquake - 6,000 dead - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_San_Francisco_earthquake
Mexico City Earthquake - 5-20,000 dead - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1985_Mexico_City_earthquake

Or, here's a big list of a lot of them:

The point is, before we inflate a bad situation by engaging in hyperbole to save someone's butt, let's rationally look at the situation.

If we let politics drive response instead of common sense, well, I guess we already see what happens. Let's stop it now.

But, hey:

Bush last week gave Brown a word of support, saying "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."


The Onion, as always, has it perfect...

White Foragers Report Threat Of Black Looters
NEW ORLEANS—Throughout the Gulf Coast, Caucasian suburbanites attempting to gather food and drink in the shattered wreckage of shopping districts have reported seeing African­Americans "looting snacks and beer from damaged businesses." "I was in the abandoned Wal-Mart gathering an air mattress so I could float out the potato chips, beef jerky, and Budweiser I'd managed to find," said white survivor Lars Wrightson, who had carefully selected foodstuffs whose salt and alcohol content provide protection against contamination. "Then I look up, and I see a whole family of [African-Americans] going straight for the booze. Hell, you could see they had already looted a fortune in diapers." Radio stations still in operation are advising store owners and white people in the affected areas to locate firearms in sporting-goods stores in order to protect themselves against marauding blacks looting gun shops.


Barbara Bush's Compasionate Conservatism...

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," she said during a radio interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace."

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."


Who knew I was so right when I said that the Bush administration (and family, it seems) feels the poor are no better than animals?

FEMA Failures (From the Center for American Progress)

FEMA's Failures

The more you know about the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, the worse it gets. Last night, the Associated Press reported that FEMA Director Michael Brown "waited hours after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast before he proposed to his boss sending at least 1,000 Homeland Security workers into the region to support rescuers." According to internal documents obtained by the AP, Brown specified that part of the workers mission would be to "'convey a positive image' about the government's response for victims" to the public. While it was sent five hours after the storm hit, Brown's letter lacked any sense of urgency -- he requested the workers arrive within two days. The letter politely ended, "Thank you for your consideration in helping us to meet our responsibilities." Last week, President Bush praised Brown's efforts, telling him "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job."

TOP FEMA DEPUTIES MAKE BROWN LOOK QUALIFIED: Before joining FEMA, Brown "spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders' and horse-show organization based in Colorado." (Brown was forced out "after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.") Brown's top deputies, however, make him look qualified. The number two at FEMA, Chief of Staff Patrick Rhode, was an event planner ("advance man") for Bush's presidential campaign. He had absolutely no emergency management experience before joining FEMA. The number three at FEMA, Deputy Chief of Staff Scott Morris, was a press flak at the Bush campaign. He previously worked for Maverick Media, the firm that produced TV spots for Bush's campaigns. Morris also has no emergency management experience. In contrast, the top deputies of Clinton-era FEMA Director James Lee Witt ran regional FEMA offices for at least three years before assuming senior positions in Washington."

FEMA DIVERTS VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS TO SERVE AS BACKDROP FOR BUSH: Responding to an urgent plea from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, more than a thousand firefighters volunteered to travel to Louisiana to help out. The firefighters thought they were "going to be deployed as emergency workers," but FEMA decided to use them as "community-relations officers." Many of them spent their time passing out fliers with the FEMA phone number. (Shelly Miller, a Mississippi resident whose trailer was severely damaged in the storm, said, "We tried calling FEMA. You can’t get through on the phone lines.") For 50 of the firefighters, their first assignment was "to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas." Many firefighters expressed their disappointment with their role. FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak said any firefighter that criticized the agency should "revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country."

FEMA COVERS ITS TRACKS: FEMA's slow and incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina put thousands of people in danger. The agency doesn't want the public to see the human devastation. An agency spokeswoman said, "We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media." FEMA also rejected "journalists' requests to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims."

Friedman: (Bush/Cheney) are people so much better at inflicting pain than feeling it, so much better at taking things apart than putting them together

And then there are the president's standard lines: "It's not the government's money; it's your money," and, "One of the last things that we need to do to this economy is to take money out of your pocket and fuel government." Maybe Mr. Bush will now also tell us: "It's not the government's hurricane - it's your hurricane."

Besides ripping away the roofs of New Orleans, Katrina ripped away the argument that we can cut taxes, properly educate our kids, compete with India and China, succeed in Iraq, keep improving the U.S. infrastructure, and take care of a catastrophic emergency - without putting ourselves totally into the debt of Beijing.

So many of the things the Bush team has ignored or distorted under the guise of fighting Osama were exposed by Katrina: its refusal to impose a gasoline tax after 9/11, which would have begun to shift our economy much sooner to more fuel-efficient cars, helped raise money for a rainy day and eased our dependence on the world's worst regimes for energy; its refusal to develop some form of national health care to cover the 40 million uninsured; and its insistence on cutting more taxes, even when that has contributed to incomplete levees and too small an Army to deal with Katrina, Osama and Saddam at the same time.


Dowd: "And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens."

Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.

Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs.

Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.

Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.

In June 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, fretted to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

Not only was the money depleted by the Bush folly in Iraq; 30 percent of the National Guard and about half its equipment are in Iraq.

Ron Fournier of The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. But President Bush and Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill with 6,000 pet projects, including a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.

Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.

Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

When they were deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the victims in New Orleans - most of them poor and black, like those stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first - they shook the faith of all Americans in American ideals. And made us ashamed.



Go Sen. Hansen! - Employee Free Choice Act

Sen. Hansen: Announces Introduction of Employee Free Choice Act


Contact: Sen. Hansen

(Green Bay)—Today Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) announced the introduction of the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that will allow certain employees not covered by the National Labor Relations Act to choose to join a union if a majority of their workforce signs authorization cards. Similar legislation already exists in California, New York, Illinois and New Jersey.

“As a former union member, I know firsthand the impact that unions have had on improving the standard of living for working families and retirees,” said Hansen. “I am introducing this legislation, because unions are good for families and good for our economy, and I believe more Wisconsin workers should be given the opportunity to join them if they want to.”

According to recent research, over 57 million Americans would like to join a union and would do so if given the opportunity. Research has also shown the benefits of union membership to be substantial in terms of the better wages, health insurance, pensions and vacation offered to union members. Organized labor is responsible for among other things the forty-hour work week, child labor laws and improving wages and the health and safety of all workers.

“This past weekend, many of us took some time to celebrate the achievements of organized labor,” said Hansen. “I am hopeful that this legislation will help strengthen the voice of Wisconsin’s workers. There are many future battles to fight for working people, and I believe this bill will help to ensure that organized labor will continue to play the leading role in this fight.”


Halliburton all tangled up in it again...

Halliburton's KBR to do Katrina cleanup
11:06 AM on September 3, 2005.

And you won't believe who's lobbying for them.

Thanks, Halliburton!For its ineptitude and dishonest business practices, Halliburton's contracts ought to have been cancelled not extended, as they were in 2004. And although it falls under a contract already in place, it's nonetheless disturbing that administration cronies will profit from this catastrophe in any way -- direct or indirect. On your dime no less.

"The US Navy asked Halliburton to repair naval facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the Houston Chronicle reported today. The work was assigned to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary under the Navy's $500 million CONCAP contract awarded to KBR in 2001 and renewed in 2004. The repairs will take place in Louisiana and Mississippi."

Here's the kicker:
"In March, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is tasked with responding to hurricane disasters, became a lobbyist for KBR. Joe Allbaugh was director of FEMA during the first two years of the Bush administration."

Allbaugh also happens to be a former Bush campaign manager and chief of staff.



We are making an impact in Winnebago County...

Fron the July Winnebago GOP Newsletter:

The democrats had their state convention in Oshkosh last month just to make their point known. They want the 54th Assembly district, and they want Winnebago County. Our area is not the bastion of Republican voters it once was. President Bush won our county with 52% of the vote, those are not strong numbers. We must do more to make our presence known in the community, work, churches, schools, and everywhere.



I don't think we can imagine what they are going through in New Orleans...

In addition to civilian deaths, New Orleans’ police department has had to deal with suicides in its ranks. Two officers took their lives, including the department spokesman, Paul Accardo, who died Saturday, according to Riley. Both shot themselves in the head, he said.


Click here for the MSNBC video Meet the Press with Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish

javascript:oMvsLink('00','31261c04-42a8-47fe-980b-40ec861b85bb','','','','','',false,false,'Source_Meet the Press')

Why do people forget that we are a community?

This is a good example of what i was talking about - compassion ending at the end of your driveway:

Richard Gibbs was disgusted by reports of looting in New Orleans and upset at the lack of attention hurricane victims in his state were getting.

“I say burn the bridges and let ’em all rot there,” he said. “We’re suffering over here too, but we’re not killing each other. We’ve got to help each other. We need gas and food and water and medical supplies.”

Gibbs and his wife, Holly, have been stuck at their flooded home in Gulfport just off the Biloxi River. Water comes up to the second floor, they are out of gasoline, and food supplies are running perilously low.

Until recently, they also had Holly’s 75-year-old father, who has a pacemaker and severe diabetes, with them. Finally they got an ambulance to take him to the airport so he could be airlifted to Lafayette, La., for medical help.


So, he says that because he needs something, they should let everyone in Louisianna rot? Yet, louisianna is caring for his father!

This is crazy. We should not let arbitrary political borders interfere with out goodwill.

What are we coming to?

Watch the re-broadacst of Meet the Press

Tonight at 9:00 pm on MSNBC - channel 46 in the Oshkosh area on Time-Warner cable.

"We have been abandoned by our own country."

Here is a link to the Meet the Press transcipt:


MR. BROUSSARD: I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees...
MR. RUSSERT: All right.
MR. BROUSSARD: ...that have worked 24/7. They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. President...
MR. BROUSSARD: Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

After this moment of true feeling, Gov Barbour followed with this:

GOV. HALEY BARBOUR, (R-MS): But my experience is very different from Louisiana, apparently. I don't know anything about Louisiana. Over here, we had the Coast Guard in Monday night. They took 1,700 people off the roofs of houses with guys hanging off of helicopters to get them. They sent us a million meals last night because we'd eaten everything through. Everything hasn't been perfect here, by any stretch of the imagination, Tim. But the federal government has been good partners to us. They've tried hard. Our people have tried hard. Firemen and policemen and emergency medical people, National Guard, highway patrolmen working virtually around the clock, sleeping in their cars when they could sleep. And we've made progress every day.

They then went into a discussion of how the casino boats would be rebuilt.


I imagine they will have the video online tomorrow - I will link to it.

I just had my heart broken by Meet the Press...

The president of Jefferson Parish was being interviewed by Russert. After he answered the questions, he said that he had one more thing to say. He then told the story of a colleague who's mother was in a nursing home in the disaster area.

As he began crying, he said that the mother would call every day and ask when she was going the be evacuated. He told her that she would be out Tuesday, he told there she would be out Wednesday, he told her they would have her out Thursday, he told her that they would have her out Friday.

She drowned in her nursing home on Friday.

This is what those that want to cut government to the bone do not understand. One of government's major responsibility is to protect the people when they cannot protect themselves.
When government is cut in the way we have seen in the past years, we are unable to protect our citizens. As we have seen, when we cannot protect and support our citizens, people die.

But who dies? Is it the comfortable few who call for these tax cuts? Are the confortable the stranded, the miserable or the dead? No, those greed filled Americans with an inability to extend compassion past their own driveway were safe and evacuated. They loaded up their cars and left the poor the infirm and the indigent behind.

Those with out resources and transportation were herded into inadequate shelter and treated like the animals those in the upper class think they are. Where is the compassionate conservatism now?

If you are not now angry, you are truly part of the problem, not part of the solution.

This was apparent within 10 seconds of the gentleman finishing his statements. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour started statements to the effect of "Hey, we are just fine here in Mississippi."

Barbour said that he could only control Mississippi, and they were getting enough food, the Coast Guard was saving people, and in essence they were just fine.

It made me sick. The whole "me and mine are fine, that's all I care about" it exactly what is wrong with America now. I hope Americans are watching, and learning from this. We are a society, and until we recognize all of our rights to be members of this society, we are lost as a society.

As quoted by Theodore Roosevelt: "This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in."

I will link to the MSNBC video of the Meet the Press episode when it is available online.

Kanye West Censored on the West Coast...

Appearing two-thirds through the program, he claimed "George Bush doesn't care about black people" and said America is set up "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible."

The show, simulcast from New York on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and Pax, was aired live to the East Coast, enabling the Grammy-winning rapper's outburst to go out uncensored.
There was a several-second tape delay, but the person in charge "was instructed to listen for a curse word, and didn't realize (West) had gone off-script," said NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks.

West's comment about the president was cut from NBC's West Coast airing, which showed three hours later on tape.