Friday :: Sep 2, 2005

Katrina: A Whale Of A Hurricane

by pessimist

I'm going to take a slight detour from my topic to point out something interesting - a whale demonstrates thoughtful planning:

Clever Killer Whale Uses Fish As Bait to Catch Seagulls

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario Sep 1, 2005 — An enterprising young killer whale at Marineland has figured out how to use fish as bait to catch seagulls and shared his strategy with his fellow whales. First, the young whale spit regurgitated fish onto the surface of the water, then sank below the water and waited. If a hungry gull landed on the water, the whale would surge up to the surface, sometimes catching a free meal of his own. Within a few months, the whale's younger half-brother adopted the practice. Eventually the behavior spread, and now five Marineland whales supplement their diet with fresh fowl, said Michael Noonan, a professor of animal behavior at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y.

The capacity to come up with the gull-baiting strategy and then share the technique with others known as cultural learning in the scientific world was once believed to be one of those abilities that separated humans from other animals. But biologists have since proven certain animals, including dolphins and chimps, do this.

The questions is, are George learnin'?

As my better half, Mrs. P, says, "At least the whale knows how to plan ahead!"

That's demonstrably more than George W. Bu$h and the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse know how to do.

Kevin Drum asks: ....Could the people in charge of managing the catastrophe in New Orleans possibly be more clueless?


"Flood control has been a priority of this administration from Day One," McClellan said.

Tell it to the Big Easy, Scotty. But be warned: Red Staters are not a sure-fire friendly audience anymore:

Southerners, Devastated by Super-Hurricanes like Katrina, Doubt Bush's Ability to Confront Global Warming
by Dr. Teresa Whitehurst

As a southerner with oodles of Republican relatives in the Deep South, I've heard things this week that I never dreamed possible: Bush supporters are beginning to doubt their leader.
Relative A: "These huge hurricanes are because of global warming. Bush should have signed that Kyoto thing."

Relative B: "I don't care what anybody says, something weird is going on. Somebody's covering up what's really happening."

Relative C: "I wonder if some parts of the South are gonna soon be uninhabitable?"

Deaths, damage to priceless photos and beloved homes, flooded streets and tear-stained faces: Southerners are paying the price for Bush's childish belief that global warming is somebody else's problem. Because, as we've learned the hard way, that somebody is us.

Welcome to Reality, George. There's more - much more.

The rest of the world can see what Red State Americans have avoided seeing for too long:

George W. Bush abandons Americans
Shocking delay in aid contrasts with $200 billion wasted in Iraq

How is it possible, that in a country which is always blowing its horn about how advanced it is, that people are starving to death? Is this Somalia? No, it is George Bush's United States of America.

How is it possible that young children are dying of thirst. Is this Mali? No, it is George Bush's United States of America.

How is it possible that people are having to scavenge for food. Is this Burkina Faso? No, it is George Bush's United States of America.

Welcome to George Bush's United States of America. It appears the man is as inept at governing his own country as he is at conducting foreign policy. George W. Bush will go down in the annals of history as the worst president this country has ever had and the worst leader the international community is unfortunate enough to have been forced to rub shoulders with.

President George W. Bush pays back the good Christian Americans who elected him ... by sitting in his Texas ranch for two days after the most horrific suffering was visited on the area around New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. ... the best he can do is a brief flyover of the region and a belated visit, hurriedly put together only because of the protests. And the protests are many, and venomous and rightly so.

So, this is how President George Bush treats the people who put their trust in him. After siphoning off 200 billion USD of their hard-earned cash to finance his illegal act of butchery overseas, he turns his back on them, leaves them to wallow in the sewage, to lie rotting in the streets and to starve to death.

Some Americans can see what's wrong with our nation, and are calling out to those who need to make this discovery:

George W. Bush’s America

In the Republican utopia there is only buying and selling, there isn’t any common good or any sort of social fabric to our world. At it’s core it’s a selfish society, at it’s heart it’s fundamentally un-American.

Every American should understand that all the lip service in the world from the Bush administration and their apologists won’t change the basic facts at hand. They dawdled, they fumbled, and because of their lack of a real American response, people died. A government that cannot provide basic protection and support to its people, let alone a government in the most powerful nation ever with the most money ever that lets this happen is a government that is beyond corruption.

And for those who say I’m being too harsh, let me remind you — the so-called “ownership society” pushed by President Bush, you know - the one where they privatize social security, is the society where you’re on your own.

We can see from the hourly news reports out of New Orleans how well this sort of a society takes care of the people.

Please donate to Red Cross to help these people, because your president has not.

You can also help by clicking on the new link in the upper right corner of the main Left Coaster page.

To be fair to King George, he is looking out for someone. Now that he's surrounded by genuine tough guys - with guns - George can now issue his challenge:

Bush warns against looting

US President George W. Bush said today looters plundering stores in New Orleans and elsewhere in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina should be treated with "zero tolerance" and warned petrol sellers against charging artificially high prices. Around the country, petrol sellers have been fast to raise prices, to more than than $US3 ($3.98 Australian) a gallon and in some places far higher, because of a sudden drop in supplies.

Are gasoline suppliers trembling in their boots over Sheriff George's warning yet? No. This says it all:

Asked if US oil companies should forfeit profits during the crisis, Mr Bush said instead American corporations should contribute cash to hurricane relief funds. He also defended his own decision to wait until yesterday to return to Washington and cut short by a couple of days a four-week working holiday at his Texas ranch.

They aren't worried in the slightest! George isn't going to do anything that will affect those who benefitted most from his 'tax relief'. Look at the order of his priorities:

The president was to get an update from his economic advisers on the US economic impact of Katrina. He will travel to the coastal area tomorrow for an aerial tour of the disaster and make a couple of stops on the ground, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

That's really going to show us your concern, won't it, George?

For an oil man, either George doesn't understand something very basic to fuel production - or he's hoping that we don't:

Eight oil refineries are down in the Gulf and it will take a while to get them going again, Mr Bush said. He said he expected Saudi Arabia to do 'everything they can' to provide more oil, although he noted that the Saudis had 'limited capacity' to pump more oil.

What does an increased supply of crude have to do with easing high gasoline prices? Nothing! Back in May, the Saudi Oil Minister gave us the answer to this question:

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali Naimi said, “I stand here to tell you that Saudi Arabian reserves are plentiful, and we stand ready to raise output as the market dictates.” But Naimi said the challenge for the global energy market is greater than just increasing crude oil capacity. He said the industry must remove refining bottlenecks, ...

Refining capacity is going to remain fairly constant no matter how much crude oil quickly floods our streets. I know this, I hope you now know this, and I hope the rest of us soon know this.

Meanwhile, however, George continues to demonstrate just how out-of-touch with reality he is:

He said the United States could take care of itself and did not expect to tap contributions from foreign countries.


Even in the midst of a genuine disaster, George W. Bu$h can't keep from lying!!!

He's running to the EU to get help in the form of oil for his Oil Company contributors:

U.S. Said to Seek Release of Oil Reserves

Gerhard Schroeder said Friday the United States has asked for the release of international oil reserves to help deal with the supply shortage in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and that he supports the call for help.

The International Energy Agency, a Paris-based oil market watchdog under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is in consultations with its members on the release of some of their oil products inventories after Katrina shut down some 90 percent of production facilities on the U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico. "What we hear about the discussions is they are talking about 2 million barrels per day for 30 days," Schroeder said, emphasizing that the talks were still ongoing and the numbers could change.

Speaking on Britain's Sky News network, EU security affairs chief Javier Solana said the U.S. administration has approached several EU member states individually for help. "Whatever they ask for, it will be given from the reserves of oil that the different (EU) countries are providing," he said. EU officials said 16 of the 25 EU countries maintain a 90-day strategic oil reserve to deal with any sudden shortfalls in supply. They are Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Austria, Greece, Ireland and Hungary.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it had received a call from the IEA exploring the option of releasing some oil reserves. Japan has one of the largest petroleum reserves in the world, with 321 million barrels as of June 30.

There is only one group to blame for this poor excuse for a national leader, and they are - FINALLY - beginning to really look closely at the disaster they unleashed upon their country - and themselves:

Southerners, Devastated by Super-Hurricanes like Katrina, Doubt Bush's Ability to Confront Global Warming

George W. Bush was supposed to be the ultimate southern leader, despite the fact that he was born a Yankee with a silver spoon in his mouth. With his strategically purchased "ranch" in Crawford Texas and his well-rehearsed Good Ol' Boy drawl and facial mannerisms, he put everybody south of the Mason-Dixon line at ease. (Well, almost everybody.)

Bush has managed to keep the support of poor and middle-class southerners even when he makes decisions that are bad for them personally because he speaks their language, sounding more like the preacher at the pulpit than the man in the Oval Office. He promises them protection and affluence, preaching like a presidential Billy Graham.

George Bush has become the rather dull but reliable father figure who doesn't raise scary questions or admit uncertainty—the protective leader who always "means well" even if he doesn't do well. He will keep his loyal followers safe. He won't rock the boat or do anything that puts them at risk. He'll send his Great Nation to war with many armies to kill all the enemies that threaten them across the globe. He tells them to pray for him, to not believe in evolution, and to never worry about that silly environment stuff: He and God are in control.

Reality's another matter. Word on the southern street is that Bush's role as protective father figure is crumbling. They're wondering if something's amiss between Mr. B. and the Guy Upstairs, because the protection part isn't happening.

Southern Republicans, even those who despise the Iraq war and are fed up with watching blood and guts from Iraq on TV 24/7, are hesitant to express the disquieting feelings they've been having about their God-given leader lately. Some are even wondering aloud is Mr. Bush might is actually hearing God correctly when he prays before making his presidential decisions these days.

They're remembering how people like Rush Limbaugh and George Bush dismissed the dangers of global warming, assuring them that scientists' warnings regarding unpredictable weather patterns were just "junk science" that could safely be ignored. They believed W when he assured him that worrying about pollution is unChristian and unAmerican, and that the Kyoto Protocol wasn't necessary. Many of them dismissed the exaggerated timing of The Day After Tomorrow, and understandably so; that film did more to create global-warming cynics than anything else.

But ... a new, unexpected form of Armageddon has shown up at our front doors. The South is getting hammered, in ways even the old folks have never experienced, by a new breed of super-hurricane that scares even the meteorologists. They're feeling queasy as they listen to the new reports that suggest global warming just might be real after all -- and not just real but scary real, triggering these new super-hurricanes.

Hurricanes like Katrina and all the others this summer and last are sparking a major rethink among southern Republicans because they're unstoppable by Bush or Rumsfeld or Homeland Security, unmoved by smart bombs or sniper fire. Superhurricanes like Katrina are coming so fast that we can barely recover from one before the next one strikes. Oh — and they're killing Bush supporters by the score, devastating our favorite cities, ruining our economies, destroying family values like safety, security, and hope.

Unpredictability is something that Americans aren't accustomed to. We've never seen our neighbors' houses incinerated with 500 pound bombs because a terrorist might be holed up there, along with all the women and children who burn up in the flames. We've never had to hope and pray that we can make it through a checkpoint without getting gunned down by scared or trigger-happy young men. We've never had to wonder where we can buy bread, clean water, or gasoline.

No matter how grand his words of assurance to Katrina victims, nor how generous his after-the-fact promises of money and National Guard rescues, an exceedingly grim future awaits thousands of people in Louisiana and Mississippi — and that's not even counting their relatives who are, like my own, scattered all over the South.

That means, Georgie, that millions of formerly loyal Republican Christians are going to be looking around for someone to point their fingers at and shout J'accuse! [French dialects are still spoken around New Orleans]

Translated into 'Mer'kin, they might sound like this:

Conservatives Helped This Happen

Hurricane Katrina may have been an act of God. But the level of death and destruction it caused was not. That was an act of conservatism.

It is conservative policies that made this natural disaster unnaturally catastrophic. I say to conservatives, you have blood on your hands today. I point the finger in your face and say, "You helped this happen."

Conservative policies have led to an increase in poverty across the nation, especially in New Orleans, one of the poorest major cities in America. About 150,000 people in New Orleans lived below the poverty line before Katrina, 100,000 of them in abject poverty, making less than $8,000 a year. Their poverty left them with nowhere to go, and no means of escape, as the hurricane bore down on their homes.

Conservative policies have led to more global warming, which scientists agree has already begun producing more intense hurricanes and storms. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a former Republican Party Chairman and longtime GOP operative, has seen his own state ravaged by Katrina. But he was vital in helping to convince the Bush administration to squash the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, and pushed Bush to go back on his campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide. Governor Barbour would dare express grief over the deaths that he himself enabled.

Conservative policies have led to a war in Iraq based on lies, and tax cuts for the rich, both of which, we know for a fact, took money directly away from vital hurricane preparedness work in New Orleans. On nine occasions in 2004 and 2005, The New Orleans Times-Picayune specifically cited the cost of the Iraq War as a reason for the shortfall in hurricane- and flood-control funds. The levees that gave way under Katrina's pressure were supposed to be upgraded with money that ended up in Halliburton’s coffers.

Conservative policies have also led to the National Guard's misuse and abuse, leaving the Gulf Coast without the personnel and equipment vital to a recovery effort of this magnitude. More people will die on the Gulf Coast as they await their would-be saviors, who are in Iraq, victims themselves of conservative policies.

There can be no doubt that while Hurricane Katrina was not preventable, much of the death and destruction left in its wake was. I say to conservatives, you have blood on your hands today. I point the finger in your face and say, "You helped this happen."

A couple of our own commenters made such telling observations on another comment thread that I have to acknowledge them in my post:

Cheney is supposedly still on vacation, Condi had to be shamed into coming back... Bush doesn't bother coming back until late Wed. and immediately goes on tv to spew platitudes, so when did he really get to work on this?

How am I supposed to believe this was not a deliberate attempt to kill off as many poor people as they could before they were forced to do something. They knew the levee was breached Monday. They didn't announce it until the following afternoon.

This is criminal, it's a crime against humanity. And the defenders of a government that allows babies and old people die on camera are no better than the murderers in the white house. Americans dying before your eyes, [names of our wrong-winger regulars], and you defend it because you think it's just a game. Inhuman monsters, the lot of you.

This inaction from the government is a crime against humanity, and anyone who thinks it's okay has no soul.

Posted by iamcoyote at September 2, 2005 06:06 AM

Is the "loss of profit" more of an issue than human life and the security of our nation? Why can't our government step in and say, "PROFITS STOP HERE" in the need of national interests, security and humanitarian necessity, and commandier whatever is necessary to get the job done? I ask, is private corporations "rights" to profit and remain idle in the time of crisis more important than relief of this magnitude?

Who cares if the grocery store owner loses a few bucks in profits due to looting. Is his profit more important than the hunger of the dying? A shoot to kill order was ordered this morning by the Governor of Louisiana. Kill those "stealing" food. Now that's America. "Food is on the way, leave that store owner's property alone and starve until it arrives.

"If you die, too bad. You were weak and unwanted anyway."
Posted by WolfmanSpike at September 2, 2005 05:20 AM

If a killer whale can learn to catch birds, and other whales can learn from his experience, then just maybe America can learn something from the suffering in New Orleans even if George can't - or won't. Maybe Americans can once again demonstrate that they are smarter than killer whales.

Maybe America has finally reached the turning point where the Republican stranglehold on people's thinking has been broken. Maybe because Katrina harmfully touched so much of George's power base, and his response has been less than adequate in their rescue, maybe they aren't going to be so protective on his behalf anymore. Maybe then other things that need exposure - the 2000 Selection, Florida, 9/11, Iraq, the 2004 Selection, Ohio, ... - can now reach the light of day where they can be clearly seen, and those who commited crimes in that service can be brought to justice.

Maybe then America can once again be the country it should have been all along: one nation with liberty and justice for all.

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