Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Personal tragedy

Sorry I haven't written a post the past 2 days. My father unexpectedly died on Monday and I am dealing with this and nothing else now. Come back in a week or two.

Love to all my readers and supporters.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bush speech- Was it enough?

President Bush this evening addressed the American people with his plan to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. Several good ideas included an inducement for business to go to the region and an offer to use the military to do more.

What was missing in the speech was the price tag for this, as well as what on his agenda is he willing to give up to help ease the pain and pay for this. Some suggestions which would have shown some courage would have been to keep the estate tax, not make the tax cuts permanent, appointing a 9/11 type commission, rather than Congress, to investigate what went wrong at the Federal, State and Local level of government. He did take accountability again. Overall the question reporters are asking is was this good enough to save his dropping poll numbers. It didn't yet for me but time will tell. I would rather focus on results, not speeches.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Call for a National Gasoline Boycott Sept. 22 and 23rd

On a previous posting on Sept. 6th, I called for a National Gasoline Boycott on Sept. 22nd and 23rd to increase gasoline inventories, hopefully drive prices down and to send a message to companies like Chevron and Exxon that we are getting tired of their price gouging. Again I call for this boycott.

In a related post on Sept. 6th, I compared the Oil companies contributions to Katrina relief to that of average citizens. For example if a worker making $100,000/year were to make a contribution of similar size relative to their earnings, they would contribute only $1.94 to relief efforts. Their contributions in light of the tax breaks alone given to them in the much heralded Transportation Bill is pathetic and an insult to all of us who care. Chevron contributing only $5 million dollars ands Exxon contributing 7 Million is a disgrace to their employees, and the nation. Get with the program or all these tax breaks will be reversed.

Again, a National Gasoline boycott on Sept. 22nd and 23rd is most needed. Please promote the call to your friends and neighbors. I am giving up my driving for those 2 days.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Louisiana needs a new Governor

I have heard enough now to conclude that Governor Blanco of LA, a Democrat, has managed this crisis incompetently. No sense piling on with all the details but she needs to be replaced and held accountable.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Putting Oil company contributions to Katrina in perspective

I saw today that Chevron has contributed $3 million and plans to add $2 million more and Exxon has contributed $7 million to Katrina relief. To put this in perspective I have projected what this would equal if we Americans contributed at the same level of giving as compared to our incomes as these Oil Companies have. Here's what it works out to:

Taxable Income $35,000
After Fed Tax: $29,506
Amount of income per quarter: $7376
Assume 10% left after household expenses paid: $738
Contribution to Katrina comparable to Chevron (0.1% of net profits): $0.74

For those making $60,000 per year your contribution would be $1.21. That's right One Dollar and twenty one cents. Oh, and none of these figures consider state taxes you pay which would reduce your contribution!

For those making $100,000 per year your contribution would be $1.94

You see Chevron made $48.3 Billion in Revenue in the second Quarter and had a net profit of $3.7 Billion which is a little under 10% after paying for their expenses. Exxon is similar except they made $7.6 Billion for the second Quarter, which was about 10% profit of total revenue. Seems to me Chevron should be giving somewhere around $30 to $40 Million to carry their fair share and Exxon should contribute $70-80 Million to carry their fair share. But as usual, even with the huge tax breaks they are receiving this year from the Transportation Bill which was approved by President Bush a week ago, the American people will be shouldering the load.

Promote a National Gasoline Boycott Sept. 22 & 23rd

The news is starting to shift to things other than Katrina, namely gasoline prices. That usually means the crisis has turned the corner. But I want to stay on the gasoline story for a moment.

On Lou Dobbs program on CNN this hour, Lou showed the investigation into why prices are so high as Senators came to some conclusions that the companies are gouging us. Lou said he had some ideas, which he didn't share, to reduce prices. I was thinking of this and came up with the idea of having a 2 day boycott of using any gasoline to drive cars, mow lawns etc., by the areas not affected by the tragedy directly. We can walk, ride a bike or do without for just 2 days and inventories will climb while prices should drop.

I suggest we use Sept. 22 and 23rd for a nationwide boycott. I hope other Bloggers will pick this up and start promoting this. This will allow the needed gasoline for the continued relief efforts to be available, as well as show the oil companies what we can do if we choose to as a nation. Come join me, as I will observe this boycott.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

FEMA director Brown fired from previous job over alleged supervisor failures!

This is a reprint from the Boston Herald today.

"Brown pushed from last job: Horse group: FEMA chief had to be `asked to resign'
By Brett Arends
Saturday, September 3, 2005 - Updated: 02:01 PM EST

The federal official in charge of the bungled New Orleans rescue was fired from his last private-sector job overseeing horse shows.
And before joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a deputy director in 2001, GOP activist Mike Brown had no significant experience that would have qualified him for the position.
The Oklahoman got the job through an old college friend who at the time was heading up FEMA.
The agency, run by Brown since 2003, is now at the center of a growing fury over the handling of the New Orleans disaster.
``I look at FEMA and I shake my head,'' said a furious Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday, calling the response ``an embarrassment.''
President Bush, after touring the Big Easy, said he was ``not satisfied'' with the emergency response to Hurricane Katrina's devastation.
And U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch predicted there would be hearings on Capitol Hill over the mishandled operation.
Brown - formerly an estates and family lawyer - this week has has made several shocking public admissions, including interviews where he suggested FEMA was unaware of the misery and desperation of refugees stranded at the New Orleans convention center.
Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, 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.
``We do disciplinary actions, certification of (show trial) judges. We hold classes to train people to become judges and stewards. And we keep records,'' explained a spokeswoman for the IAHA commissioner's office. ``This was his full-time job . . . for 11 years,'' she added.
Brown was forced out of the position after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.
``He was asked to resign,'' Bill Pennington, president of the IAHA at the time, confirmed last night.
Soon after, Brown was invited to join the administration by his old Oklahoma college roommate Joseph Allbaugh, the previous head of FEMA until he quit in 2003 to work for the president's re-election campaign.
The White House last night defended Brown's appointment. A spokesman noted Brown served as FEMA deputy director and general counsel before taking the top job, and that he has now overseen the response to ``more than 164 declared disasters and emergencies,'' including last year's record-setting hurricane season."

Politics and show versus results

The focus is still on the wrong thing. As President Bush scrambles to change his schedule for September his focus seems to be on avoiding more political fallout rather than worrying about relief for the victims of Katrina. Most Republicans have the focus on the wrong place. For example, Newt Gingrich is quoted by the NY Times yesterday as saying "he urged Bush to quickly propose a rebuilding plan for New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf, arguing that an ambitious gesture could restore his power in Congress." Another example quoted was Tom Rath, a New Hampshire Republican with ties to the White House, saying, "This is very much going to divert the agenda. Some of this is momentary. I think Bush capital will be rapidly replenished if they begin to respond here."

Republicans, you have got to be kidding. It is what I have feared for years with this Administration and hoped it wasn't true. The current brand of the Republican party seems more interested in political show than true compassion and doing what's right in a crisis of this magnitude. Reagan is turning in his grave watching this right now. And anyone of conscience and compassion is seeing red. As Broder has suggested in his NY Times piece, this will create a sea change but not the type he describes, where we look for another Republican like Giuliani to solve our problems, but instead WeThe People will turn to a social Democrat or Independent with heart, to get this country back from the one liners meant for affect rather than for results. Mark me down for looking for that emerging new leader too. I have tried to be supportive of this President, but he doesn't deserve it any longer, nor does this Awol VP Cheney. By the way, I saw VP Cheney yesterday standing on the sidelines, in the Rose Garden, while the President spoke. He has been useless in the crisis.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Pat Buchanan calls for President's impeachment

While all the focus is on Katrina and the relief efforts, this past Monday, Pat Buchanan wrote a piece that has received little notice. In the piece he calls for the following, and I quote, " Some courageous Republican, to get the attention of this White House, should drop into the hopper a bill of impeachment, charging George W. Bush with a conscious refusal to uphold his oath and defend the states of the Union against 'invasion.'

It may be the only way left to get his attention, before the border vanishes and our beloved country dissolves into MexAmerica,....."

To read the entire article read this.

The piece is on our Broken Borders with Mexico, but the point of impeachment for negligence of duty is definitely appropriate for consideration. Incompetence: when you find it at the top of an organization you usually find it throughout.

A critique of the President's radio address today

President Bush said in his Saturday radio address the following, "We do not abandon Americans in their hour of need." Well, Mr. President, you and your Administration have abandoned Americans for 4 days in New Orleans. No amount of assistance now can change that fact. There can be no claim of success or victory at some later date. We will not forget. You and your team had your chance and you blew it big time! On a positive note, the media has finally regained its tarnished image of the past 4 years, by showing the world what has been a tragic incompetent response to this emergency.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Has anybody seen VP Cheney?

The President should charge VP Cheney with overview of this catastrophe until progress has been made. Has anyone seen VP Cheney out there? His silence in this tragedy is deafening and speaks volumes.

I guess we must solve these crisis with the President and VP we've got, not with the President and VP we want.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Americans are helping- Administration Officials scrambling for a Plan

Well, as I had hoped for, the American people are helping in so many ways. They aren't waiting for the government to do its part, because it has been tragically too slow in responding. Some Americans have even offered their homes to accept people from the devastated areas. People here in the San Francisco Bay area have been volunteering to go there and help. The Red Cross has provided for 2 days of training for these volunteers and the first 100 leave tomorrow for New Orleans. There are 400 more waiting for classes, which start tomorrow, to begin and plan to go there and help from anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months.

Not all Americans are on board yet and getting with the program of help, but in comparison to Federal assistance, we are showing what Americans do best: helping each other when we are let down by our elected officials. Many have said the President has not shown the leadership he did after 9/11. But this was when he had an agenda he wanted to fulfill, namely invading Iraq. He appeared troubled on TV today, standing next to Bill Clinton and the President's father, as he doesn't really know what to do, except delegate to Chertoff, Director of Homeland Security. The head of FEMA wants us to believe things aren't as bad as being reported by the media. The media is doing a much better job here than they have in the past on calling on this Administration to answer tough questions as to why they haven't responded faster given they knew a Category 5 Hurricane was to hit New Orleans that had levees built capable of only sustaining a Category 3 Hurricane. The media needs to keep up the pressure as it is the only resource to get Americans mobilized. This event will ultimately affect every man woman and child in this country. Banks that were waiting for mortgage payments will not be getting them anytime soon and therefore banks will take big losses. Insurance companies will take big losses. Small and large businesses in the area will suffer. And this area is the distribution center for almost 1/2 of the eastern seaboard.

So where's the Plan? Does this sound familiar from this Administration? It doesn't know how to plan! Senior military officials said on CNN today that they never imagined the worse case scenario would happen, so were unprepared (just like Iraq). Speaking of Iraq, think of all the soldiers that are serving there now from these 3 states and have no idea of their family situation back home. I'm sure many want to come home if they could and help.

We will remember this for many months and years ahead of us. We need to do a self examination to see if we can look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves the question, Did we do what we could do individually to help? I hope we all can say yes.

Update: Gov. Schwarzenegger has mobilized our National Guard to help in New Orleans and other devastated areas. Thanks Governor!


Suggestions to the President- Send Federal Troops to shore up National Guard and help with relief efforts. Rumsfeld always spoke of being able to fight 2 wars at the same time. It's time to consider this the second war.
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