Thursday, September 15, 2005

Howard Dean on John Roberts

This came to me in an email from the Democratic Party - Zennie:

Governor Dean wrote the following op-ed for national distribution:

John Roberts is a decent family man and a bright, articulate, thoughtful judge. He has a quality absent in previous right wing candidates like Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork, namely a judicial temperament that makes litigants feel that they have been respectfully heard whether they are on the winning or losing side of a verdict.

But John Roberts is the wrong man for the job. Despite the fact that the White House has withheld key documents either out of incompetence or a fear that those documents might prove embarrassing, we have learned enough from the files on Roberts at the Reagan Library to make it clear that he should be rejected.

This conclusion has only been solidified by Roberts' testimony during this week's hearings. He has been a polished performer, but in failing to present clear answers to straightforward questions, Roberts missed a crucial opportunity to answer legitimate concerns about his record and show compassion for those who have been excluded from the American Dream. The consistent mark of Roberts' career is a lack of commitment to making the Constitution's promise of equal protection a reality for all Americans, particularly the most vulnerable in our society.

He has opposed laws protecting the rights of girls and young women to have the same opportunities in sports as boys and young men. He has argued that politicians, not individual women themselves, ought to control women's reproductive health care. He has opposed various remedies for the racial injustices which have occurred in America since slavery and which persist today. He has consistently joined the radical right in seeking to weaken voting rights protections, in essence attacking the rights of black and Hispanic voters to cast their ballot without paying poll taxes or being subjected to intimidation or gerrymandering. He fought against protecting all Americans from workplace discrimination. Most worrisome, he refused to answer questions on his limited view of the right to personal privacy that most Americans take for granted.

Over the last half century, we have made great progress in promoting equal opportunity for all Americans, but there is still much work to be done. Hurricane Katrina was more than the most catastrophic natural disaster in American history. Those who have in so many ways been denied the opportunity for full participation in our society once again suffered disproportionately in this tragedy -- seniors, African-Americans and those burdened by poverty.

Now is not the time for a Chief Justice who is bent on turning back the progress we have made in moving America forward.

Judge Roberts is said to love the law, but loving the law without loving the American people enough to protect their individual rights and freedoms will make our American community weaker. And the exercise of the law without compassion -- something that Judge Roberts and so many on the far right have consistently been guilty of -- undermines the grace and wisdom of the founders whose sense of balance and fairness made this country great.

In the past few weeks we have seen what happens when politics and indifference supercede compassion and organization. The enduring lesson of Hurricane Katrina is that there still are too many Americans who are disproportionately vulnerable. Despite the fact that they worked hard and played by the rules, their luck ran out. Americans are a compassionate, fair-minded people. Our nation is great and strong because of that compassion, not just because we have a strong military. We also have strong moral values which include an innate sense of justice often absent in many other parts of the world.

Our Government today shrinks from compassion. In doing so they have first diminished America in the eyes of the rest of the world, and now they have diminished America in the eyes of our own people. This is a time for justice tempered with mercy and understanding. There is no evidence of either in Judge Roberts's career. The President should be denied this confirmation.

Friday, September 09, 2005

FEMA Director Ousted From Post - Recalled To Washington

As CNN reported if you click on the title post, FEMA Director Mike Brown was recalled to Washington because of his lack of experience in handling disater relief scenarios. My question is this: why in the heck would President Bush hire someone who didn't have that kind of experience? What? He lied on his resume?

Well, this is what the Detroit Free Press reported:

RESPONSE TO KATRINA: FEMA chiefs new to disaster relief

Leaders have little experience for jobs

September 9, 2005


Top officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency have political connections to President George W. Bush, but they also share at least one other trait: They had little or no experience in disaster management before landing in top FEMA posts.

Michael Brown, who heads FEMA, has endured criticism for comments he made last week that seemed to suggest he didn't understand that thousands of hurricane victims had taken refuge at the New Orleans convention center.

Before joining FEMA in 2001, Brown, a protege of longtime Bush aide Joseph Allbaugh, was commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association and had virtually no experience in disaster management.

An official biography of Brown's top aide, acting Deputy Director Patrick Rhode, doesn't list disaster relief experience.

The department's No. 3 official, acting Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks Altshuler, also doesn't have emergency management experience, according to FEMA spokeswoman Natalie Rule.

Rule said the lack of experience managing emergencies is irrelevant because top managers need "the ability to keep the organization running."

But Eric Holdeman, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management in Seattle, said that familiarity with the specifics of disaster management is essential. "Experience is not just general managerial experience, it's experience in the field," he said.


FEMA Officials should have disaster experience. That should be a given. This realization is a disaster in itself.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Red Cross warns against fake Katrina websites

The New Zealand Red Cross (NZRC) is alerting the public to the presence of fake websites which siphon off donations to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Acting director general Graham Wrigley said fraudsters were sending emails that linked to bogus American Red Cross websites.

The emails strongly resemble the American Red Cross website donation page, but donation information is sent to a completely unrelated third party.


This is a terrible development. It's one reason why I thought of, then rejected, the idea of an online auction. There's too many online criminals out there that would destroy the credibility of any really true and good effort. Be careful.

New Orleans Water Problem - Word of Warning to Others in The South and Southwest

If you live in Central or East Texas, Mississippi, or Georgia you should be concerned that the dangerous water problem that exists in New Orleans not impact the quality of your water supply.

In my training as an urban planner, we were instructed how to be concerned with and measure environmental impacts of development projects.

What's not discussed at all -- by FEMA or the media -- is the spread of the "bad" water and which states will be effected. Given the run of the water system, it's a safe bet to assume that Texas (which is next to Louisiana), Missippi, and Georgia will be impacted more than other states.

Pass this on to your friends and any local politicians -- before another environmental disaster unfolds. Ask for answers to this question: What is being done about this?

House begins look at eminent domain legislation - Impact on New Orleans?

This is From Lexis Nexis:
"Copyright 2005 Environment and Energy Publishing, LLC

Environment and Energy Daily
September 6, 2005 Tuesday
SPOTLIGHT Vol. 10 No. 9
693 words
DEVELOPMENT: House begins look at eminent domain legislation
Dan Berman, E&E Daily reporter The House Agriculture Committee tomorrow will hold the first congressional hearing into the controversial Supreme Court decision on eminent domain and examine legislation designed to address the ruling. The June Kelo v. City of New London decision has galvanized private property advocates opposed to the ruling. In response, Congress and various state legislatures may move to curb the use of eminent domain. "I don't see this issue going away," said Cody Stewart, executive director of the House Western Caucus. "It definitely struck a nerve." The ruling reaffirmed the use of eminent domain by cities and the taking of private property for just compensation as long as the land in question is for public use, including private development. The ruling may expand the use of eminent domain for private development projects such as building a shopping center or a stadium, critics say. The Supreme Court last month declined a request to revisit the ruling. Several bills on the use of eminent domain were introduced in Congress over the summer, including H.R. 3405, which would cut off federal funds for city and state economic development projects that take private property for the benefit of private developers. Tomorrow's hearing will focus on that bill, sponsored by Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), among others. The hearing will focus on H.R. 3405 because it was referred to the Agriculture Committee, a committee spokeswoman said, but private property advocates have not said if they have a favorite among the competing eminent domain bills."


My question is this: will this legislation impact the redevelopment of New Orleans? Can homeowners who suffered damage and loss expect to have their physical recovery efforts curtailed by a "pro-private" development plan?

Are there safeguards to prevent this occurence?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

NBC Edit's Kanye West's Anti-Bush Comments - That's Not Right

Call me late to the party, but I just learned of Kanye West's "George Bush hates black people" comment while watching "The Big Idea with Donny Deutch." It was Deutch, who's a good friend of Russell Simmons, who revealed that NBC actually cut the West Coast feed from the show where West -- standing with Mike Myers of "Austin Powers" fame -- launched his tirade.

I wondered just what he said, so I cyberscrounged for some text. I found it in this account by Yahoo! News:

NEW YORK - A celebrity telethon for Hurricane Katrina survivors took an unexpected turn when outspoken rapper Kanye West went off script during the live broadcast, declaring America is set up "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible."


"A Concert for Hurricane Relief," which aired on NBC and other networks Friday night, began, fittingly enough, with jazz from New Orleans natives Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis.

The host was NBC News' Matt Lauer, who invited viewers to contribute to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by phone or on the Web. Some 18 presenters performed musical numbers or gave information on the tragedy's huge scope.

Since the hurricane, people have displayed a massive outpouring of charity. Total donations passed the $200 million mark by Friday, four days after the storm slammed into the Gulf Coast. The bulk of those funds were collected by the Red Cross, which said it has raised $196.9 million from individuals and corporations.

Appearing two-thirds through the program, West took the government to task, claiming " George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Comedian Mike Myers was paired with West for a 90-second segment that began with Myers speaking of Katrina's devastation. Then, to Myers' evident surprise, West began a rant by saying, "I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food."

While allowing that "the Red Cross is doing everything they can," West — who delivered an emotional outburst at the American Music Awards after he was snubbed for an award — declared that government authorities are intentionally dragging their feet on aid to the Gulf Coast. Without getting specific, he added, "They've given them permission to go down and shoot us."

After he stated, "George Bush doesn't care about black people," the camera cut away to comedian Chris Tucker.

Concluding the hour a few minutes later, Lauer noted that "emotions in this country right now are running very high. Sometimes that emotion is translated into inspiration, sometimes into criticism. We've heard some of that tonight. But it's still part of the American way of life."

In a statement, NBC said, "Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him, and his opinions in no way represent the views of the networks.

"It would be most unfortunate," the statement continued, "if the efforts of the artists who participated tonight and the generosity of millions of Americans who are helping those in need are overshadowed by one person's opinion."

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

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," NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks added.


Is West correct? Well, it's certainly true that Bush has thumbed his nose at the NAACP -- the recognized civil rights organization for African Americans -- more than once by not attending their convention. I could go on and add that Bush essentially tried to set up Secretary of State Colin Powell to fail, thereby taking down the most powerful African American in the Republican Party (or trying to). But instead, I'm going to simply observe that West's ability to be a position to make such a statement is in itself light-years beyond where African Americans were when I was a little boy in the 60s.

Thus, we're moving into a fascinating and confusing time in American Culture. Now, there are several center of power and divided by age, race, and sex. Moreover, the group that West addresses -- young blacks like me -- are increasingly part of an interracial power structure that's growing. It's enemy is the older intra-racial power structure that's almost enterely white.

George Bush is widely viewed as part of the "old guard" structure, so from that narrow point of view, West may have a very good point.

But I'd like to know that NBC's not going to do that again. That was -- or should be -- illegal to do.

Only 39 Percent Polled Gave Aid to Katrina Victims

Click on the title of this post to see the poll. This is an outrage. I'm not surprised over the anger with the government, but the government is us. If only 39 percent of us gave -- I did -- it's no wonder we have a system that can't help people. We can't ask our government to do it, if we're not going to ourselves. Come on America -- dig deep and donate! Let's get this number up to 70 percent!

I need a Vector Animation Specialist

If you understand how to make animated representations of characters and buildings (like stadiums) on the web for online games, please contact me ASAP. If you have a website, share the address with me. I can't go into detail here!

The Progress of My Friend Jody

I have to share this with you all, as my friend Jody May gets ready for her participation in the "Nationals" in Atlanta later this year. She's a terrifically lovely woman with a kind heart. I wish the best for her. More on that later, but here's what she looks like, now:

My friends ask me why I like this kind of look, and I can't explain it except to say that it's been with me since I was old enough to realize I was attracted to this kind of woman. (Which was when I was nine years old and had the "hots" for a girl named Debbie who lived in the same townhouse we did in Chicago.) I also have always had an affinity for the way Robert Crumb -- "R. Crumb" -- draws women in his comics and cartoons. They have muscle and shape -- not skinny mini at all. (Oh, geez, nothing against the "thin" practiced by some of my women friends. You look terrific! Besides, it's not just the outside, it's the inside.)

But Jody's my friend and that's because she's just a good person. For me, it doesn't matter how great the woman looks, if she's not warm of heart, her outer beauty is diminished.

All of that aside, Jody -- in my view as a friend -- is at a major juncture in her life. I think bodybuiilding -- given its nature -- should be considered a stepping stone to something else. In Jody's case, I think she can be a terrific spokesperson for products and services. NO -- not one of those models than stands next to a car. I'm thinking more along the lines of commercials and ads. I think she's got a healthy and tight look that -- in a body-concious America -- can really sell. She can apply this to the medical industry to start, as that's her occupational home.

Beyond that, I think she can make a hellofa politician. She should run for some kind of office in Odessa to start.

My personal concern is that she listen to advice and get help from people who really are in her corner. I guess a large part of me sees her as kind of -- well, so "well-meaning" and trusting, that she can open herself to the wrong people. In that way, she's a lot like me! (LOL) I think that's why I kind of worry about her, and I shouldn't do that. But it's the way I am.

I'd like to see her develop a huge national network of successful friends -- women and men, but mostly women because it's good to have a connection with other successful women -- who really share their contacts wiithout some inner desire to "take" from Jody. There are a lot of people out there. I have such a small group of people I know, like my buddy Beth Schnitzer (an awesome person who will also make a great elected official). It takes time and determination and focus -- on building these relationships.

Bob Denver - Another Signpost in The Zeitgeist Passes On

I know I'm getting to the point of middle age, when this happens: Bob Denver, star of Gilligan's Island, passed away last week. I grew up watching the syndicated re-runs of Gilligan's Island, and fell totally in love with Dawn Wells (who played Mary Ann and marked the first time I realized I prefered brunettes to blondes!) and those terrific legs of hers.

But I always felt sorry for Denver's character. I always rooted for him. In retrospect, it was because even though he made mistakes, he had a good heart. Denver communicated that aspect of Gilligan very well.

I have to admit, that there's a weird feeling with all of these signposts passing. I think I need to create a kind of "rolling list" of people who "mark" our culture at a moment in time.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

More on Dating From Sam and Gabe

We were returning from a rousing game of Laser Tag, and got onto the subject of women and dating again. John and I were talking about one of his women friends with John's twins, Sam and Gabe. (Both six years old at the time.)

I said "She's hot." So, Sam said "Dad, is she hot..or is she "hot." Gabe then said "Yeah, what is she?"

John said "Well, she's a friend. You know." And I said "She's hot. A good looking woman that you hang with but want to know...but don't. That kind is just hot -- not 'Hot.'

John said "Yeah, she's just hot."

So, Gabe said "Dad, if she's just hot, are you telling us the truth?"

Monday, September 05, 2005

Perls of Wisdom From My Friend's 7-Year Old Son

What I love about kids is their simple and to the point statements of observation about all aspects of life. But this takes the cake. My friend John's twin seven year old boys Sam and Gabe are a never-ending source of joy for me. They're always smiling and nice -- and smart as heck.

On the way back from our Sunday golf game -- they beat me at "nine-hole," we were talking about women and dating (as John's recently divorced and I'm single). Gabe said this: "Women like guys with money. If you want to tell if a woman likes you, this is what she does -- she laughs all silly, and plays with and tosses her hair back when she's talking to you. If women do that to you, then a lot of women like you."

If I am ever dismayed by the complexity of life, I'll always remember never to forget how to look at matters so simply and basically as when I was seven years old myself.

To My Friend Mike Silver on His New Orleans Super Bowl Home Idea

Hey Sil,

In general, I liked your idea of a permanent home for the NFL's Super Bowl Game in New Orleans, as expressed in your Sports Illustrated Online column (for those reading this, read "Open Mike" by Mike Silver by clicking on the title of this post). If I may provide some detail to shape your proposal, I do so here.

The NFL can certainly add to its $1 million donation (considering the estimated revenue of the league is somewhere north of $5 billion), by pledging $350 million toward the redevelopment of New Orleans "Sports Events Infrastructure" and specifically the establishment of not just a new stadium but four 1,000 room hotels and a new building specifically designed to host the NFL Experience and on a permanent basis.

The NFL has a unique opportunity to be involved in the economic planning of a new New Orleans, one that eventually could have the population large enough and well-moneyed enough to support teams representing all of the major sport leagues. Commissioner Tagliabue should immediately convene a meeting of the "big four" sports commissioners (all in New York, so it's easy to do) and craft a coordinated plan of action.

The disaster is done. What it demonstrates is just how much we as a country have allowed our governments resource base -- it's revenues adjusted for inflation -- to deteriorate. We've forgotten how our government once was able to provide money to sustain and improve the quality of life in America. But, after decades of disinvestment in all manor of social and science programs, we've seen the results: declining school performance, The Challenger and Columbia disasters, and now this. The NFL can be part of a major and much needed turn around in America.


Zennie Abraham
Chairman and CEO
Sports Business Simulations
Head of the Super Bowl - Oakland XXXIX Bidding Committee

Friday, September 02, 2005

New Orleans Levy Problem - "No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

"No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"
Spiegel Online
By Sidney Blumenthal

In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the
three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut
New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.

Biblical in its uncontrolled rage and scope, Hurricane Katrina has left
millions of Americans to scavenge for food and shelter and hundreds to
thousands reportedly dead. With its main levee broken, the evacuated city
of New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico. But the damage
wrought by the hurricane may not entirely be the result of an act of

A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New
Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush
administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood
killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban
Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and
renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal
Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane
striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the
U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the
federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it
was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut
funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than
80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total
reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans
district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated
adding funds for fixing New Orleans' levees, but it was too late.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a
series on the federal funding problem, and whose presses are now
underwater, reported online: "No one can say they didn't see it coming ...
Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are
being asked about the lack of preparation."

The Bush administration's policy of turning over wetlands to developers
almost certainly also contributed to the heightened level of the storm
surge. In 1990, a federal task force began restoring lost wetlands
surrounding New Orleans. Every two miles of wetland between the Crescent
City and the Gulf reduces a surge by half a foot. Bush had promised "no
net loss" of wetlands, a policy launched by his father's administration
and bolstered by President Clinton. But he reversed his approach in 2003,
unleashing the developers. The Army Corps of Engineers and the
Environmental Protection Agency then announced they could no longer
protect wetlands unless they were somehow related to interstate commerce.

In response to this potential crisis, four leading environmental groups
conducted a joint expert study, concluding in 2004 that without wetlands
protection New Orleans could be devastated by an ordinary, much less a
Category 4 or 5, hurricane. "There's no way to describe how mindless a
policy that is when it comes to wetlands protection," said one of the
report's authors. The chairman of the White House's Council on
Environmental Quality dismissed the study as "highly questionable," and
boasted, "Everybody loves what we're doing."

"My administration's climate change policy will be science based,"
President Bush declared in June 2001. But in 2002, when the Environmental
Protection Agency submitted a study on global warming to the United
Nations reflecting its expert research, Bush derided it as "a report put
out by a bureaucracy," and excised the climate change assessment from the
agency's annual report. The next year, when the EPA issued its first
comprehensive "Report on the Environment," stating, "Climate change has
global consequences for human health and the environment," the White House
simply demanded removal of the line and all similar conclusions. At the
G-8 meeting in Scotland this year, Bush successfully stymied any common
action on global warming. Scientists, meanwhile, have continued to
accumulate impressive data on the rising temperature of the oceans, which
has produced more severe hurricanes.

In February 2004, 60 of the nation's leading scientists, including 20
Nobel laureates, warned in a statement, "Restoring Scientific Integrity in
Policymaking": "Successful application of science has played a large part
in the policies that have made the United States of America the world's
most powerful nation and its citizens increasingly prosperous and healthy
...Indeed, this principle has long been adhered to by presidents and
administrations of both parties in forming and implementing policies. The
administration of George W. Bush has, however, disregarded this principle
... The distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends
must cease." Bush completely ignored this statement.

In the two weeks preceding the storm in the Gulf, the trumping of science
by ideology and expertise by special interests accelerated. The Federal
Drug Administration announced that it was postponing sale of the
morning-after contraceptive pill, despite overwhelming scientific evidence
of its safety and its approval by the FDA's scientific advisory board. The
United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa accused the Bush
administration of responsibility for a condom shortage in Uganda -- the
result of the administration's evangelical Christian agenda of
"abstinence." When the chief of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the
Justice Department was ordered by the White House to delete its study that
African-Americans and other minorities are subject to racial profiling in
police traffic stops and he refused to buckle under, he was forced out of
his job. When the Army Corps of Engineers' chief contracting oversight
analyst objected to a $7 billion no-bid contract awarded for work in Iraq
to Halliburton (the firm at which Vice President Cheney was formerly CEO),
she was demoted despite her superior professional ratings. At the National
Park Service, a former Cheney aide, a political appointee lacking
professional background, drew up a plan to overturn past environmental
practices and prohibit any mention of evolution while allowing sale of
religious materials through the Park Service.

On the day the levees burst in New Orleans, Bush delivered a speech in
Colorado comparing the Iraq war to World War II and himself to Franklin D.
Roosevelt: "And he knew that the best way to bring peace and stability to
the region was by bringing freedom to Japan." Bush had boarded his very
own "Streetcar Named Desire."

Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President
Clinton and the author of "The Clinton Wars," is writing a column for
Salon and the Guardian of London

Thursday, September 01, 2005

President Bush Needs to Set Oil Price Controls

According to the Washington Post, Gas prices are going to only rise. CNN reports $6 a gallon already at one point today. President Bush can stem this with price controls and then inact a program to restore oil supplies while these controls are in place. Otherwise, these prices can cause double-digit inflation.

Hurricane Katrina - 90,000 Square Miles of Damage

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is the most terrible disaster I've ever witnessed on TV in my life. I was in the 1989 Loma Piereta Earthquake here in Oakland and the SF Bay Area, and that was not bad by comparson, because the damage was in certain areas, like the Marina District of SF, or the Cypress Freeway (which collapsed), again here in Oakland. I also helped my high school friend Val and her parents move out of the sudden war zone that was their neighborhood during the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. That was a local trajedy.

But, according to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan ( , the destruction of Hurricane Katrina incompasses a 90,000 square mile area.

Now, to comprehend how big that is, it's the size of three states. There are over 1 million people homeless. One of those people is my friend Melissa Detwiller, who lost her home and possibly her three cats. She and her husband Danny lived in New Orleans, and are now in Houston. She's a competitive bodybuilder and has a website. Help her by becoming a sponsor. Just click: ( -- that takes you right to her sponsor page.

A Big Republican Mess

Hurricane Katrina is also a test for the Bush Adminstration. It's going to have to -- geez, all these folks screaming and chanting for help in New Orleans on CNN is terrible -- pull some troops from Iraq and other areas of the World. Why? Just watch CNN and listen to the reports of people crying for help, of the total lack of any one of authority around to even give a reassuring pat on the back. And of course, there's the looting. Yes, there are people and resources coming from around the country. But they tax the need for those same resources in their home areas.

Plus, once they get down there, they're in an area almost totally covered by water and with no power or communications, from what I've learned. Cell phones -- which work with towers nearby -- don't work. If you've got a satelite phone, you're in good shape. But how many people do?

If the Administration -- if the President -- doesn't show the resolve to change his course to focus on this matter, the Republican Party will not soon recover.