Two Years of Rude Punditry:
Officially, yesterday marked two years that the Rude Pundit has delved into the dark psyches of the perverted, debauched American right wing, and, like every serial killer profiler, it takes inhuman amounts of vodka and scrips to tamp down the desire to stand on a rooftop in the rain and scream at an absent God that it's all fucked up and why doesn't he come down here and fight like a man.

But this post won't be about navel-gazing and cock-wanking. No, if you wanna make a happy trip down memory lane, you can see the Archives over there on the right and click away.

Instead, let's look ahead. There's gonna be some changes in the next week on this page. The Russian mafia has finally caught up with the Rude Pundit for that unfortunate poker game in Vladivostok a few years ago, and, since he can only lose so many fingers before typing is impossible, the Rude Pundit is going to start having advertising through BlogAds. Also, as you may or may not have noticed, he's placed that little ol' donation button in a prominent place on the page. Click that fucker.

And let's have a little party, since two years in Blogsylvania is like ten dog years. The Rude Pundit will entertain questions political, personal, blog-related, rude or polite, for the weekend, answering them on Monday (barring another indictment of a major Republican figure or John Roberts celebrating his confirmation as Chief Justice by fucking the Dominican pool boy). Send your questions to rudepundit@yahoo.com

Also looking ahead, the Rude Pundit is definitely recording a CD of material from the live show, as well as original tracks. That'll be out in time for your Christmas stockings to be stuffed. And he's looking to schedule more performances of "The Year of Living Rudely."

Yeah, it's another busy day in America, as we stand on the precipice of some kind of tragic fall for the Bush administration the likes of which would make Oedipus blink his bloody eyeholes and say, "Goddamn, that's gotta hurt." With DeLay indicted, Frist investigated, Miller testifying (which has gotta make Rove's sphincter hurt in anticipation), Bush drinkin', and Cheney's health sinking faster than a rowboat that's been swamped by a barge, there's a feeling out there that something's gotta give. You can see it in the whirling eyes of Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, and Bob Novak, so desperate and out of control that they seem like they're trying to eat their own shit. The question remains, of course, will any of it bring the soldiers home? Change environmental policy? Tax policy? Will any of it do anything more than get rid of a symptom while the disease decays us from the inside?

We'll see where we stand a year from now.


Tom DeLay Amid the Roaches:
The female cockroach emits a perfume that is a siren song to male cockroaches. When she's ready to mate, in one of the most erotic acts of the insect kingdom, the female cockroach will climb to a high point - say, the top of a steaming mountain of horseshit - and tenderly open her wings wide and, in an act of exposure and desire, release the pheremone that will bring her a bounty of males who would mate with her. The female cockroach likes her sex gentle, loving; however, the males are not so kind. Driven mad by the scent of cockroach pussy juice, they wildly, roughly fuck the female. Indeed, roach sex is one of the most crazed, if brief, bouts of fucking in the entire animal kingdom.

Scientists have finally isolated that scent, and now the ripe smell of cockroach fecundity can be used against the males. Traps can be laced with the perfume, drawing out the enlarged and throbbing males. The traps don't work to eliminate all the roaches in an area, but, as with so many things, if one roach is drawn out, in a hotel, a church, a capital building, then surely there are thousands of more cockroaches to be found and killed.

Former exterminator Tom DeLay surely knows the potency and danger of being drawn in by the promise of a scent. He got into politics because he thought environmental regulation was hindering his business. And since that time, for DeLay, the political process has been about a grand pyramid scheme of money and power with the Hammer at the top, a Mafia-like operation where if one didn't obey, one could expect to be crushed like a stoolie in a car compactor. As long as those under him kept the cash flowing upward, DeLay was happy to offer them protection, legislation passage, campaign cash, and, really, baskets of cookies.

All over the Internet, there's a blogasm going on over the indictment of DeLay on a single charge of criminal conspiracy to funnel funds from his PAC to the effort to elect legislators in Texas who would them re-draw the districts of the state to favor Republicans and, thus, enlarge DeLay's coffers in the long run. The good of this right now is the exposure of DeLay's kingdom and, indeed, the Republican Party as the safehouse for greed, corruption, and ill will towards democracy in general. The long-term good may be the defeat of DeLayism, which, unlike Gingrichism, is not an ideology - just a desire for cash and power so you can make more cash to get more power.

While we may not get a conviction, let us relish yesterday's delicious sight of DeLay looking like a man who had just swallowed a poison-coated termite, desperately trying to disengorge himself of the bug, attempting to destroy Ronnie Earle, a man who, if he could touch, DeLay would have had buried alive years ago. If one actually does have the "categorial and absolute" facts on one's side, one does not need to attack the opposition with the viciousness that DeLay attacked Earle yesterday. Roy Blunt, the new House Majority Leader, is just a DeLay lackey, but let us pause and believe for a moment that the evil are punished.

Yes, Tom DeLay has smelled that roach aroma, luring him into more and more blatant acts of political depravity, and now he must pay at least some moral price for his failings, for entering the trap. If you looked deep enough into DeLay's eyes yesterday, you understood his fantasy life, of flying onto that pile of horseshit, of sniffing all over the thorax of the female roach, who delicately closed her wings, closing off her pheremones to any other males, of rubbing her pronotum with one of his six legs before fondling her cerci, of roughly entering her roach pussy after unfolding his roach cock, of fucking away while staring at the other male roaches who answered her call but now slink away, back into the dark, dank, dirty corners.


Michael Brown Is a Little Bitch:
On Sunday, August 28, Michael Brown, then the Chief of FEMA, told CNN about the impending landfall of Hurricane Katrina, "[W]e actually started preparing for this about two years ago. We had decided to start doing catastrophic disaster planning and the first place we picked to do that kind of planning was New Orleans because we knew from experience, based back in the '40s and even in the late 1800s, if a category five or five hurricane were to strike New Orleans just right, the flooding would be devastating. It could be catastrophic. So we did this planning two years ago. And actually there's a tabletop exercise with the Louisiana officials about a year ago. So the planning's been in place now. We're ready for the storm...

"We are ready, we're going to respond, and we're going to do exactly what we did in Florida and Alabama and the other places. We're going to do whatever it takes to help victims. That's why we've already declared an emergency. President Bush had no reservations about doing that. We're going to lean forward as possible and do everything we can to help those folks in Louisiana or Alabama or Mississippi." And then he advised everyone to get the hell out of there. Goddamn, it's good to know they were ready, workin' on it for two whole years. Imagine what would have happened if Brown and FEMA had been unprepared. The federal government might have just shot every survivor of the storm and blown up the Superdome and Convention Center, dancing while the French Quarter burned.

When Brown appeared before the Republican House panel "investigating" the clusterfuck that was the response to Katrina, he decided the best tactic was to be a little bitch, a tiny cocksucker, a bureaucrat who did his "job." Well, shit, maybe Brownie's right. Maybe it's not that the man wasn't up to the job. Maybe it was that the job had been reduced to the size of the man, and that man is, to be sure, a little bitch.

Michael Brown is a little bitch because he said that the two things he wished he had done better were to hold more press conferences and to "persuade Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down, get over their differences and work together." It's the government equivalent of "I just care too much." Michael Brown is a little bitch because he refused almost all blame - indeed, except for a brief mention of the raping of FEMA in folding it into the Department of Homeland Security, he believes that he "did a darn good job." And yet Brown bragged about FEMA being ready on CNN despite the fact that he knew, as he said in the hearing, "we did the catastrophic planning a year ago and had no money, since then, to do anything."

Michael Brown is a little bitch because he expressed no sorrow about the deaths of hundreds of people, whose corpses are still being found or have been eaten or swept into the lake or river, even when he was reminded of them during the hearing. He's a little bitch because he did such a good job covering for his masters in the Bush administration, especially after Karl Rove probably put a dozen Arabian horse heads in his bed after Brown allegedly went to the National Enquirer with the story that the President's been suckin' back whiskey like the chief chowder eater at a blow job convention. Except for one moment, when Brown said, "[P]erhaps I'm not as brave as some people say I am because I probably should have just resigned my post earlier and gone public with some of these things," or, in other words, "I am a little bitch."

Oh, Rude Pundit, you may ask, what do you mean by "little bitch"? Why, the Rude Pundit would answer, a little bitch is a small dog, the kind that shits on your floor, rips up your sneakers, and pisses all over your books and then looks at you all little and bitch-like as if to say, "C'mon, look at me. I'm a little bitch. It's my job to fuck shit up. What else would you expect from a little bitch like me?" And, in fact, the little bitch has a point. But if you feed it, most of the time that little bitch'll do what you say, until the next time the little bitch tears your apartment to shreds.

And as for the Republicans on the panel (which was boycotted by the Democractic leadership of the House) who berated Michael Brown? Well, who's more pathetic? The little bitch or the person who beats the little bitch? Shit, that's a fuckin' toss-up, innit? Sure, sure, Christopher Shays attempted to look beyond Brownie, saying, "I have come to the conclusion that this administration values loyalty more than anything else, more than competence or, frankly, more than the truth." But, being Republicans and fearing a visit by Karl Rove's Sodomizin' Storm Troopers, any real attack on the Bush administration was, at best, postponed; at worst, shit-canned.

In the end, Michael Brown is a little bitch because he's behaved like the President, Donald Rumsfeld, and all the other little bitches that populate the White House: he decided it was all about him and saving his ass at the expense of whatever asses got in his way. Whether defending his fuckin' resume', railing at the media bein' mean meanies to him, or taking a shit on local authorities, Brownie was aces, as far as he was concerned, although, he said, "I'm not here to point blame. I'm not here to point fingers."

What we learn from the Brownie Dialogues is that 1) the Bush administration seriously undermined the effectiveness of an effective agency, 2) that Congressional oversight ain't just fer after disasters - it's that branch's fuckin' duty, and, finally, 3) Michael Brown is a little bitch. In times past, he'd've fallen on his sword somewhere in the middle of the brackish flood waters of New Orleans, accepting his fate as he disappeared into a swirl of sewage and ruin, but such grace is no longer possible in the time of mid-level bureaucrat, Peter Principle'd into uselessness, flailing in his chair as he swats at imaginary flies without realizing that the failure is within himself.

As the man said, "The bed that you make/ That’s the one you gotta lie on/ When you point, your finger cos your plan fell through/ You got three more fingers pointing back at you." And, well, they also point at everyone behind you, too.
Michael Brown Bitch Slappin' Later Today:
The Rude Pundit is waiting to see what Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco tells the Republican Committee O' Doom. Check back this afternoon.


FEMA's Long-Term "Strategic Plans" - My, How They've Changed:
So apparently, under James Lee Witt in 1997 and then under Michael Brown's college roommate and boss, Joe Allbaugh, in 2002, FEMA laid out two very different long-term plans for how the agency was to improve and how its success was to be measured. What becomes evident is a stark contrast between the Clinton-era emphasis on saving people and communities as goals in and of themselves and how the Bush administration's FEMA sees itself as serving "customers."

This is most starkly clear in both plans' Strategic Goal Number 2: to "reduce human suffering and enhance the recovery of communities, " according to Witt's version, or to "minimize suffering and disruption caused by disasters," according to Allbaugh's. In Witt's Strategic Plan, which was set to go to fiscal year 2003, although its goals were stretched out to fiscal year 2007, FEMA sought to "By FY 2007, reduce by 25 percent human suffering from the impact of disasters." Human suffering "is defined as the feeling of loss of control over one’s physical and economic state." In order to measure the success of this objective, FEMA would conduct "an assessment of the percentage of times that, within 12 hours of a disaster, the agency and its partners act on all identified State and local government requests to meet disaster victims’ needs for water, food, and shelter. The intention is to coordinate the provision of these basic needs within 72 hours of the disaster," among other things. Performance time is also a measure of the restoration of infrastructure to affected areas in this report. Read the whole report. It's so Clinton-era, with its imploring the reader to think about the psychological trauma suffered by victims. It's just so give-a-damn.

By contrast, the Allbaugh Strategic Plan, for fiscal years 2003-2008, reads like the manual for training desk jockeys at a paper clip company. Its emphasis is on quantity - the ability to handle four catastrophic and twelve non-catastrophic disasters at once. Other than saying that a "quick" and "timely" response is ideal, there's no measure of what "quick" means (unlike the hours stated above). A major part of the plan is to slough off responsibility for disasters. Whereas the Witt Strategic Plan was clear and forceful about the role of FEMA, Allbaugh's is all about delegation of duty, with goals of "Shared Responsibility in Managing Disasters" and the truly darkly comic caveat on page 14: "Increasing expectations of FEMA may cause mission creep beyond the Agency’s current focus and capabilities, but without accompanying resources.This could compromise FEMA’s ability to succeed at its core mission."

So, to summarize here, the Strategic Goals of FEMA have shifted from definite measures of effectiveness in emergencies, including the responsibility to feed, hydrate, and shelter victims in the first couple of days after a disaster, to a business-speak that leaves weasel room for any screw-ups. To put it plainly, FEMA had been neutered by the Bush administration, dehumanized and made robotic. Is it any wonder how Michael Brown could sit there today with a straight face and claim he did his job?

And when you read even the dry minimal performance goals, and you compare it to Brown's testimony, you quickly realize he simply didn't care.

We've kept this entry clean for the kiddies. But tomorrow: Why Michael Brown Is a Little Bitch.
Operation War Porn: Back in college days, among the many jobs he held at one time or another (which would include a diner dishwasher with a mentally challenged boss - no, really), the Rude Pundit worked at a video rental store, an independent one before Blockbuster gorged on nearly every local shop. The Rude Pundit did not have one of those Quentin Tarantino-type experiences where all of us shelf-stocking clerks traded our Kurosawa and Samuel Fuller flicks in a cinephile circle jerk. Nope. Eventually the Rude Pundit had to quit his job at said video store for one simple reason, for one question that he'd get on a nearly daily basis: "Which Faces of Death is better?" When the Rude Pundit answered that he didn't know, that he had never watched any of them, he was faced with some variation of "Dude, it's cool" followed by a description of some gruesome "death" scene the person had heard about. Yep, at the time, most of us didn't realize how much of it was fake - most everyone who rented it thought they were gettin' the real deal: actual footage of murders, suicide, and monkey brain-eatin' (the fuckin' box said it was all real). Here's a 2005 review of the recently released DVD box set from an Amazon customer: "I watched this collection in the barracks while I was in the Army while eating honey nut cheerios. Its hard to believe that as a hard core horror/gore fanatic that I did it now. I thought it was fascinating and gross at the same time. I love biographies and documentaries and liked the way it was presented." You get it? When the Rude Pundit dealt with customers who wanted to rent Faces of Death, they didn't want to dare their friends to watch at the slumber party. It wasn't just because it was "cool" to say you'd seen it. No, you see, they were gettin' off on it, like it was a porn film. What brought up this tender memory of rude times past is John Aravosis' passionate, angry piece about websites that put up graphically violent and gory photos allegedly taken by American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these are porn sites that are trading access to photos of women eating each other out in exchange for soldiers sending in photos, of, say, a headless man in a car that ran a military checkpoint. Giving head, losing head, it's all the same when your brain's been so jacked up on violence and sex for your entire life that you think slappin' bitches is foreplay. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger after shooting a half-naked Sharon Stone in Total Recall, saying, "Consider dat a divorce," the photos have cute titles, like "Cooked Iraqi," with its image of a burnt corpse, and many of them have the soldiers standing around and grinning, like hunters over a ten-point buck that's been taken down in one shot. Aravosis and others are rightly asking questions about what war does to humanity, and, specifically, how war is affecting soldiers who have obviously come to view horror as a joke (as a coping mechanism, some might say, when being polite). But, in the most liberal sense possible, we have to ask how a culture of violence has prepared the soldiers to see the dead enemy as a worthless pile of meat, that body parts aren't the viscous remains of life, but merely the cool detritus of the kill. As others pointed out, the stupidity of the outrage over the Grand Theft Auto sex patch, where your digital man can fuck a digital prostitute, is magnified when the violence of the game is so relentlessly brutal (yeah, yeah, it's all about the "choices" you make when playing - fuck you: it's about shootin' shit up gangsta-style). But this ain't about content: that's a bullshit excuse the conservative right likes to use as a method of believing it's doing something. No, it's about a capitalistic culture that commodifies and fetishizes violence. And, frankly, like competing with your friends to see who gets the most kills on Halo 2, you can bet there's a one-upmanship going on here among soldiers with their digital war porn: "Shit, you mean PFC Fuckface got a shot of an exploded stomach? Well, fuck him, here's one of half a head." Maybe, in a truly stomach-churning way, it explains why anyone took photos at Abu Ghraib. Can you top this line of jackin' off prisoners? The Rude Pundit ain't naive. People have collected trophies of the war dead since the apes figured out how to use bones to kill other apes. Skulls, scalps, skins, it was all a perverted way of demonstrating that the body's been conquered. Takin' pictures just made it easier. Somewhere back in the late 1800s, someone jacked off to Matthew Brady's photos of war dead. And it ain't just war. You click over to rotten.com or ogrish.com, and you've got Faces of Death 24/7. You can bet that photos of bloated and popped Katrina victims have made their way onto some of these sites. Maybe in some sick way, it all starts to make sense, all the violent images, the gun training that first-person shooter games provide, capital punishment being celebrated, the bland acceptance of torture. Many of us'll look at those photos from AmIFuckedUp.com or hear about them and sigh for the losses of this brutal war. But then there's the legion of people who're gonna click on over and fondle themselves and smile, loving the degradation by proxy. Fuck it. It's too much to grapple with. In the end, there's pictures of shiny-faced Americans, smilin' as they show us a disembodied, bloodied arm hanging on a hook. And does that say something about them? Us? As Americans? As humans?


The "Mainstream" Family Research Council Says Katrina and Rita Are A "Warning" For "Grave National Sins" (Part of the Christ Weary Series):
In Rolling Stone this past week, in the midst of its excellent coverage of the post-Katrina insanity, there's a list of quotes (in the print version) from various "religious" figures about the hurricane being evidence that God, Jesus, or whatever is mightily pissed at the United States (and/or homosexuality). Yep, God's showin' us who's boss, they say. Not a one of the quoted people of faith are anything more than fringe-ass nuts beggin' for air time, except for Hal Lindsey, who's been tellin' us the end of days is here since he stopped beshitting his diaper, and Pat Robertson, who's quickly disappearing into a miasma of irrelevance.

But now a group that's considered even more mainstream among the monkeyfuck insane Christian right and the media is saying the same thing.

See, the Rude Pundit, under a secret nom de rude, is a member of Super Duper Prayer Team of the Family Research Council, which is part of James Dobson's wackoid empire, and they're kickin' out the Jesus jams on what's what about the dual hurricanes. Here, from the latest Prayer Team Target e-mail, is the FRC's Tony Perkins, who has appeared on Fox "News" and MSNBC shows with regularity. After quoting Abe Lincoln's Day of Fasting Proclamation from 1863 (which he also proclaimed in 1861, but it's not quite as fun as the 1863 one), Perkins gets to the meat of the hate:

"America has committed grave national sins that are manifest in our public policies, our court rulings, our laws, and in many other spheres of our culture. Our involvement in the public arena may help godly counsel and common sense to prevail in the White House, the halls of Congress and the Supreme Court, but we have no control over the weather or many other natural events. Thus, we must bow before the Sovereign God of the Universe and appeal to Him for mercy, pleading for Him to intervene to stave off the judgments we deserve.

"Amid the media to-do about Katrina and who to blame for less-than-instant relief, few, very few, called for self-examination, repentance and a crying out to God for the moral change we must have as a nation. Whether we believe God sent or allowed these calamities we can be sure that America has received a warning from Heaven that WE MUST HEED!

"There are many public policy issues over which we could pray today and in the days ahead, but this is most urgent.

"Please pray that God will move upon pastors and civic leaders to speak out boldly & plainly to call America back to God (Joel 2:17ff).

"Pray that our national, state and local leaders, civic and religious, will call America to repentance & prayer. May they following the pattern set by our leading forefathers and issue proclamations setting aside specific days and seasons for corporate fasting, prayer, repentance. May they hold public and private Solemn Assemblies for confession of sin, repentance and seeking the Face of God (Joel 1:14).

"May God have mercy upon Louisiana and Texas. May He preserve people's lives and give special help to the elderly, poor, weak, handicapped & children (Ps 9:all)."

Goddamn, the Rude Pundit loves that last one, like the kind of afterthought Jesus might have had - like, "Oh, shit, almost forgot..." But it is worthless to argue with people who think a mystical sky wizard farted giant anus-looking storms to fuck up the Gulf Coast twice. It's worthless to ask why God decided to kick the asses of the poorest people, black and white, while leaving the French Quarter, where all the sex, booze, and feather queen fashion shows reign supreme, relatively unscathed.

It's because the wacky God of fundamentalists is as inconsistent and incomprehensible as a pet ferret that's gotten into your meth stash. God's hatin', he's lovin', he's smitin', he's depositin' great gobs o' god jizz into a teenage virgin. Really, this version of God's got quite the multiple personality syndrome. Man, the ancient cultures had it all over Christians in this god shit: instead of tryin' to come up with one all-encompassing God, they had all those many deities to blame shit on. The Mayans had kick-ass gods, like Ah-Puch, the most vicious god of death; Ixtab, the goddess of suicide; Cizin, the earthquake god; and Ixchel, the moon goddess. So you didn't have to fit disaster and happiness into one god figure. You could blame anyone you wanted. It's so much more convenient. It's so much less mind-blowing. And it doesn't require the faux-cryptic "we cannot know the ways of God." If it's a fuckin' earthquake god, you know what that bastard does.

But let's say, for a moment, that the Christian God is "warning" America, that it's a whole Sodom and Gomorrah deal. Maybe we could say that God's saying that it's time to work on the whole global warming thing. Maybe we could say that launching a big-time God attack on an oil production center says it's time to start buildin' more hybrid cars. Hell, maybe we could say that there's worse sins than tossin' a few coins on a craps table while gettin' fellated by your boyfriend.

Surely, though, when we see images of Bush in the Colorado "command" center, we are looking into a pillar of salt, the face of the one who looked back, to see what he had left behind, and he is frozen into place.


The Night Before the Storm - A DC Fantasia:
Karl Rove has named his leather slave's asshole "Katrina" because once he starts to work on it, he's going to permanently wreck it. After tonight, Rove has said he might name the leather slave's mouth "Rita." Karl Rove keeps his leather slave in the basement of the White House right next to a pile of William Henry Harrison's bloody phlegm-stiffened handkerchiefs and a box of empty bottles of Dwight Eisenhower's special bald pate sheen made from the rendered fat of Stalin's purge victims. Karl Rove's leather slave is worried about his master, who's been popping Viagra like Altoids before a breathalyzer test in order to get hard enough to enter the leather slave's asshole without lubrication.

Like the twin hurricanes, Rove is feeling the crushing tides of two scandals slamming into him. "Goddamnit, how many fuckin' pills does it take to get this cock hard?" Rove screams at his demi-erect phallus. Karl Rove's leather slave would like to reach out to his master, tell him not to worry, that the presidential pardon is always in the offing if Abramoff drags him down or if he's indicted for the Plame fiasco; yes, the leather slave would like to hold Rove and whisper these things to him, but, alas, he is a leather slave, and his arms are tied in front of him and a ball gag is in his mouth, and, frankly, it's hard to think about sympathy when a sweaty, heavily-breathing Karl Rove is trying to jack himself off while shoving a ten-inch twisted dildo into the heart of Katrina, with Rove saying, "Yeah, bitch, I'm not leavin' here until the job is done."

Elsewhere, President Bush is passed out on the floor of the bathroom just across from the Lincoln bedroom, a stream of vomit drying on his half-buttoned shirt and his pantsless crotch, an empty bottle of Jack Daniels clutched tightly, like a baby's bottle, in his hand. A little while ago, he pledged to stop drinking if Laura would suck his dick, even after he had puked, but he had mistakenly called his wife "Bianca," and she stomped out. Now he's dreaming of floating corpses in an ethereal flood, except he's at the bottom of the murky water and the stinking, bloated, half-eaten bodies are drifting above him. At some point, a familiar corpse floats into his line of vision. It's Jesus. And Bush watches as giant alligators feed on the exposed insides of his savior, fattening themselves to immobility from the feast. It doesn't even occur to him, down there in the mud, to honor the Lord by chasing the gators away. It doesn't even occur to him to swim up. Instead, he prefers it down here, in the sewage-ridden floodwaters, all alone, watching without needing to do a thing, not even breathe. The bliss of isolation and inaction.

In a little while, he'll be picked up, cleaned off, and taken to Colorado, where he'll watch giant screens show him Rita nailing Louisiana and his "home" state. And he'll keep moving, from disaster zone to disaster zone, because if he keeps moving, it creates the illusion of decisiveness, but it also creates the image that everywhere he goes is a disaster zone. Better to stay here for now, whether it's in the warm flood waters or on the cool tile, here is better than there.

All around the District of Columbia and its suburbs, there's a degraded peace. Even at the home of future Chief Justice John Roberts, where, to thank God for the vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the judge is scourging himself. He kneels, nude, in the basement, whipping himself bloody to banish the thoughts of being the meat in a Patrick Leahy/Russ Feingold sandwich, his fantasy being the two senators, greasing him up, saying, "You're the only thing that stands between Vermont and Wisconsin," before the two protean "liberals" try to conquer him. Maybe if he adopts another child, he thinks, his wife won't have time for all those Feminists for Life interns she brings home. But, still and all, there's whippings of thanks and whippings for sins to be taken care of.

Over at Sam Brownback's residence, he's plying the 14-year old girl with Down's syndrome he brought to the Roberts' vote with wine coolers, declaring his love to her and how he loves all the children, and, before taking her dress off, coos over and over how he's gonna make her happy she wasn't aborted. Over at Bill Frist's home, the Majority Leader is nervously feeling his fingers twitch, a sense memory of surgeries that he gets whenever he's under pressure, and, certainly, with a potential SEC investigation of his possible insider trading, he's as jittery as a rabbit on an electric floor, jonesing to grab a canvas bag and haunt the streets and alleys of DC in a mad search for stray cats on which he can relieve his stress. Strangely, Tom DeLay sleeps soundly, some evil so complete that it has no worry about conscience or consequence.

And back in the White House, staring in the mirror of her vanity, Laura Bush dabs the last of the vomit from the corners of her mouth, wanting so desperately to be sad and angry, wanting to feel something for the destruction that's been done and the destruction that's going to be revealed by the morning light. But instead, all she can do, like so many Americans, is reach for that bottle of pills - which ones tonight? Xanax? Ambien? Vicodin? - down a couple and stare at the swirling colors of the storm in its abstract art form on the TV until it hypnotizes her into a doped-out half-sleep that she calls rest.


The Bifurcated President:
Yesterday's speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition (motto: "Yep, we're the Israel-lovin' moneylenders you've heard so much about") by President Bush was one of those frightening exercises in logical leaps the likes of which generally take place only after one has discovered oneself wearing another person's pants after awaking from an acid dream involving pixies, a Sousaphone, and the gibbering skull of Rimbaud.

First, there was the introduction of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who, Bush said, "was looking for a meal -- he told me that on the plane yesterday." Oh, ho, oh, ho, you get it? See, part of his state was smashed into toothpicks by Hurricane Katrina, with starving citizens living in shelters, and Barbour was honoring them by eating Glatt chicken with his party's Hebraic faithful. One might think Barbour'd be busy helping his state figure out how to rebuild, say, a half-dozen gutted, flattened towns. But not when Bush needs a Katrina prop and there's no poor Negroes to fly in for the event.

Then, in praising the "strength" of the nation, Bush said that people have been moved to action; "I'm not talking about just government, I'm talking about the whole country," because, if he was talking about just government, well, shit, he'd be lying. Then there was this line, one that he's been repeating on a loop: "[W]e're going to stay as long as it takes," which begs the question: what other fuckin choice do we have? Cut Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama off and send them out into the wild Gulf of Mexico to become sovereign islands? Is the federal government's abandonment those states even an option? Bush assured, "There's a federal role to play, and we'll play it," because, you know, if there's a federal role, it'd be pretty fuckin' silly if, say, the crazy homeless guy on the corner played it. But don't worry about that federal role, because "We'll make sure your money is spent wisely." At that point, economists around the nation curled into a ball, shitting themselves, and muttering, "So cold, so very cold, please give me soup."

After going through his same blah, blah, blah list of shit he thinks will do some good for the poor and ruined of the Gulf Coast, Bush made this incredible, lemur-like, crazy-legged jump from one jungle tree to the next: "You know, something we -- I've been thinking a lot about how America has responded, and it's clear to me that Americans value human life, and value every person as important. And that stands in stark contrast, by the way, to the terrorists we have to deal with. You see, we look at the destruction caused by Katrina, and our hearts break. They're the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it." Although one might argue that perhaps one of their butterflies flapped its terrorist wings and started the air moving that would cause Katrina, what the fuck?

Well, if you have to ask a stupid question, motherfucker, you get a stupid answer: "We're in a war against these people. It's a war on terror." Which made more than one robo-grinnin' circumcised Republican there do a double take that'd make a Catskills stand-up comic proud. Bush continued: "These are evil men who target the suffering. They killed 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001." So, like, he's saying that the Goldman Sachs people in the World Trade Center were suffering. Or maybe, because we're all sinners, we're all suffering, and thus we're targeted because of our sinning suffering. Or maybe words just pop into his head that must be spoken or they'll eat his brain.

Blathering on without anyone there to stop him, Bush said, "And they've continued to kill. See, sometimes we forget about the evil deeds of these people." And then the President reminded us of what we might have forgotten: "They've killed in Madrid, and Istanbul, and Baghdad, and Bali, and London, and Sharm el-Sheikh, and Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Around the world they continue to kill." But never fear, "We're also going to defeat the enemy because they have no vision for the future that's positive." Unlike American evangelicals, who have a vision for the future that involves the torture and incineration of most of the people left behind after God takes all the Jesus-lovers away.

George W. Bush is a glass half-full kind of President: every tragedy of immense and horrific proportions is actually an opportunity, a chance to turn that frown upside down: "[T]he attacks of September the 11th really causes us to be more determined than ever to defend our way of life. And it also gave us an opportunity to advance the cause of freedom that were previously unthinkable," which, if you think about it, is not only grammatically incomprehensible, but means that he's admitting that 9/11 was just an excuse to go to war elsewhere.

Then, promising to open the change purse again, Bush said, "And out of the horror of Katrina is going to come a rebirth for parts of our country that -- that will mean people down there will be able to live with greater hope and prosperity -- the hope of prosperity -- than ever before." Solving problems before they become problems - that's the Bush administration's way, except when it isn't.

Yep, the glass is always half-full, just a chance to do good where no good could be done. Or, as we're learning now, if the glass is half-full, it's just an excuse for George W. Bush to finish that drink in one swallow.


Update: Alaska Has Glaciers of Cash:
Earlier today, the Rude Pundit wrote about the enormous piles of your money that Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, a man who would eat a beluga whale with bald eagle bone utensils, greedily hordes like a crazed mongrel over a tossed out bucket of KFC, and how such pigging out at the trough of public money is affecting paying for the Katrina clean-up and rebuilding.

Well, it seems that the enormous price of oil has left Alaska flush with cash, so much revenue that there's expected to be battles between the governor and legislature on how to spend it.

And if you believe that Ted Stevens'll take this opportunity to suggest giving back some of the federal budget and appropriations pork he's gotten for Alaska, the Rude Pundit has a couple of bridges he'd like to sell you.
Ted Stevens Hates America:
The Rude Pundit is sure that the people of Knik, Alaska are fine, fine American citizens. He's sure that, if, say, a pack of crazed moose, or maybe an earthquake, came along and shoved the buildings of the town into the Cook Inlet, those fine people would welcome the federal government in with open arms to pour the largesse upon them. Even though Knik is just a swamp-ridden shithole that's a stop on the Iditarod sled dog race, the Rude Pundit would want his Senator to say, "You know what? We can do without the Museum of Pudfucking for another year or two. Let's build some homes for the Knikkers."

But not the members of Congress from Alaska when it comes to the enormous bill for Hurricane Katrina. Oh, no - they got their piggy basket filled and they're bringin' home the bacon. And that fuckin' $220 million bridge over Knik Arm ain't goin' nowhere (although early estimates placed the cost at $600 million, so perhaps this is just a down payment), and neither is the other $220 million bridge to Gravina Island, because, you know, the couple of dozen people there have to consider the ferry schedule now when they need to get to Anchorage Airport. Said Representative Don Young of Alaska about diverting the bridge money to, say New Orleans, "They can kiss my ear. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard," as if Rep. Young never heard about telling an entire nation that it needs to go to war against another nation to destroy weapons that don't exist is the height of intellectual sobriety.

But Young is just echoing Senator Ted Stevens, surely one of the skeeviest fuckers in the increasingly skeevy GOP majority. This motherfucker brings home the fuckin' bacon. Before the transportation bill, Alaska led the nation in pork in the 2005 budget, with $985 per capita, or $646 million. These include (according to Citizens Against Goverment Waste):

In Agriculture: $37,402,000 for projects in the state of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, including: $26,000,000 (4.9 percent of the pork for the entire bill) for Alaska villages through the Rural Community Advancement Program; $1,790,000 for berry research; $1,108,000 for alternative salmon products; $358,000 for seed research; $284,000 for ethnobotany research; $167,000 for salmon quality standards; and $160,000 for seafood waste research in Fairbanks.

In Commerce, Justice, and Judiciary: $60,977,000 for projects in Alaska, including: $18,700,000 for Alaska Seals and Stellar Sea Lions; $2,000,000 for training village public safety officers; $1,100,000 for alcohol interdiction for bootlegging crimes; $1,000,000 for mobile computers for Wasilla police cars; $265,000 for a training academy driver simulator; and $150,000 for the Aleut Marine Mammal Commission.

In Defense: $175,775,000 for projects in Alaska, including: $27,200,000 for Alaska Land Mobile Radio; $22,000,000 for Allen Army Airfield upgrades; $7,375,000 for the Port of Anchorage Intermodal Marine Facility Project; $5,500,000 for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) (Initially designed to capture energy from the aurora borealis [northern lights], HAARP is now being configured to heat up the ionosphere to improve military communications. In 1997, University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute professor Syun-Ichi Akasofu stated that "To do what [has been talked] about, we would have to flatten the entire state of Alaska and put up millions of antennas, and even then, I am not sure it would work." Not surprisingly, HAARP is also heating up the ire of many taxpayers. Since 1995, CAGW has identified $100.9 million appropriated for HAARP); $3,400,000 for Adak airport operations improvement; and $1,000,000 to restore Woody Island and historic structures. According to Alaska’s Department of Commerce website, Woody Island has an official population of "0" and is only occupied on a seasonal basis.

In Energy and Water: $33,173,000 added in conference for projects in Alaska: $31,148,000 for 49 Army Corps of Engineers construction, and operation and maintenance projects for Alaska’s waterways (which represents 94 percent of the total Energy and Water Alaska pork); $1,500,000 for the Alaska Wind Energy Project; $325,000 for the Pacific Northwest Bi-National Regional Energy Planning Initiative; and $200,000 for the Alaska Wood Biomass Project in Ketchikan. The Sealaska Corporation oversees this wood-to-ethanol project, and built a $43 million facility to attempt to turn Alaska’s southeast old-growth (Tongass) timber and timber scraps into ethanol for use as a gasoline additive. The project has been in existence for many years and has yet to produce any significant results.

This could go on and on. Ted Stevens has ensured that hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to projects necessary and useless in Alaska. This is not to mention his securing of federal legislation in 2003 giving a corporation the right to fish for pollock in Adak. Stevens' son had an option that entitled him to one-fourth ownership of the company. Man, it's a good thing Republicans don't believe in big government, no?

Stevens doesn't give a shit that Alaska is part of the USA and that Alaska's tax dollars are part of a big pot. One of the failures of federalism is the notion that states deserve their "fair share" of that tax pot, that they should get dollar for dollar return. It's a bullshit concept, sort of like when the asshole middle-class Dad in a family that's just making ends meet decides to go through his mid-life crisis. Then he starts thinking, "Shit, I always have to pay for the food, send in the mortgage, put cash into Junior's college fund. When it is time for my payback?" And then he buys that Jag he's been eyeballin' for months, thinkin' it'll get him laid more. It might. But it'll surely fuck the family over.

But Ted Stevens doesn't give a happy monkey fuck about America as a family as long as he can bring the doggy bag of pork home from the Congressional buffet. (To be sure, other members of Congress could be offering to re-negotiate their pork, but Stevens is just an odious caribou fucker deserving of special contempt.) Instead, the Republicans are, of course, trying to cobble together appropriations from other programs, like, say, PBS and NPR, in order to keep their tax cuts, run a war, re-build the Gulf Coast, and get re-elected. There's a fuckin' hat trick for ya.

So, howzabout it, good people of Knik (sorry about the shithole comment, but, you know, c'mon) and Ketchikan (many of whom don't want the bridges because of the environmental impact, although Ted Stevens never met a tree he couldn't saw down to make a single sheet of toilet paper for the shit he'll take on the stump). Big Bird or bridges?


The Shank and the Beat Down: Two Approaches To Destroying George W. Bush:
Anyone who's spent time in a prison'll tell you: the best kind of shank is the one that's so sharp that you can get sliced by it and not know it until your intestines are bulging through the wound. Sure, sure, you can use a shank that punctures someone who's tryin' to punk you out, but it requires a helluva lot more force to do real damage. Nope, the razor-fine shank lets you cut some motherfucker just like you're walkin' by him. And then you are out of that area of the yard when said motherfucker feels a slight sting in his gut and looks down to see his guts.

When Bill Clinton went on This Week With George Stephanopoulos's Hair this past Sunday, the Big Dog used the razor shank like a blood artist on the Bush administration. One line in particular had a breathtaking undercurrent of viciousness and hatred, but stated in a way that seemed matter of fact, which, indeed, it was. When George Stephanopoulos's Hair asked Clinton about accusations of racism in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, after listing his administration's accomplishments for black Americans, Clinton said, "[A]ll I can tell you is that what, when James Lee Witt ran FEMA, because he had been both a local official and a Federal official, he was always there early and we always thought about that, but we, both of us came out of environments with a disproportionate number of poor people."

Look at that fuckin' line. Look at how much is contained in that compact statement. Clinton says that he brought in experienced, highly-qualified people to do their jobs. And then he slices: it's about social class (or, as ever, "It's the economy, stupid"). See, Clinton and Witt knew that poor people would be affected mightily by disasters because they knew that poor people exist because, at some point in their lives, they were poor people. In other words, George W. Bush and his cronies are incompetent, elitist nitwits who understand fuck-all about the reality of poverty. It's fuckin' brilliant. As ever, the Rude Pundit says that he'd've blown Bill Clinton if the Big Dog had asked. And he'd've washed his spooge-encrusted clothes.

The rest of the interview is just as incisive about the failure of the Bush White House. On appointments to the Supreme Court, he calls the Republicans out for being the savage political Huns they are. When he was President, Clinton said, "Republicans knew that I wouldn't appoint somebody they wanted on the court. And they knew that I'd appointed judges that were not extreme left-wingers, that were more or less mainstream judges and were unquestionably qualified...The other thing is, there was no issue with my appointees of their refusal to release documents." Clinton asked Republicans to at least respect the institutions they didn't control, offering them respect in return. But, again, the Republican Party slipped into its Gingrich-driven miasma of hate and disemboweling of the body politic.

Fuck, just read the whole Clinton interview. Suck it down slowly like it's a bottle of vintage wine that you're drinking out of Riedel crystal glasses in front of a fireplace with John Legend or old Massive Attack on the iPod while your kindest lover is going down on you like a starving dog on a fresh bowl of Alpo. Imagine Clinton's good buddy George Bush the Less Dumb being told about the interview and going even more ashen and shaky as Barbara berates him for ever having soiled the Kennebunkport bed linens with such classless trailer trash. And then come, come, come, for such moments of pure pleasure are few and far between in this graceless world of ours.

Of course, some are far less subtle in their approach than Bill Clinton. Most of the Democratic Party is engaged in the beat down of the Bush administration. You know the beat down, where a whole posse of pissed off motherfuckers piles on, stompin' and punchin' and slammin' the shit out of someone when he's already on the ground. When you see a beat down under way, you can either walk away, aghast at the violence, jump in and get your own licks in, or, if you find out it's someone who deserves it, just smile and watch. Witness John Kerry's speech last night at Brown University.

Kerry's speech was the dull thump of the fist compared to Clinton's knife edge. It did its job, but it took far more effort to get the work done. To be sure, the speech, wordy in that priceless way that only John Kerry can be, was effective in laying out a case against the White House. Said Kerry: "[We're hearing] the steady clucking of Administration chickens coming home to roost. We wouldn't be hearing that sound if the people in Washington running our government had cared to listen in the past. They didn't listen to the Army Corps of Engineers when they insisted the levees be reinforced. They didn't listen to the countless experts who warned this exact disaster scenario would happen...They didn't listen to those of us who have long argued that our insane dependence on oil as our principle energy source, and our refusal to invest in more efficient engines, left us one big supply disruption away from skyrocketing gas prices that would ravage family pocketbooks, stall our economy, bankrupt airlines, and leave us even more dependent on foreign countries with deep pockets of petroleum." The laundry list of failed policies at the end of the speech is the gut punch, the stomp to the head, of Kerry's portion of the beat down.

Yep, the blows were landed, as they were in John Edwards' latest "No, Really, I'm Still Relevant" speech on poverty. But neither of them (nor Clinton) has been able to utter the word "lie" in any of its forms. Sure, they'll talk about failures, incompetence, and more, but that death blow of a term eludes their vocabularies.

Meanwhile, as the victim of a shanking or a beat down always does, all Bush can do is lie there, pissing himself, and say, "Oh, God, oh, God."


John Roberts Is No Stealth Nominee:
Fuck his writings, fuck his interviews, fuck the cases he's tried, fuck the cases he's decided. John Roberts is a known quantity for one simple reason: he was nominated by George W. Bush. And to trust these vicious bastards for a moment is to end up with a shiv in your ribs.

Here's a line from the bizarro Senate confirmation hearings of Roberts that got little play. When Russ Feingold was asking Roberts about a potential conflict of interest in Roberts being interviewed to be nominated to the Supreme Court while he was judging the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld appeal on the Bush administration's rights of detention, Feingold said, "You had further interviews on May 3rd concerning a possible appointment to the court with numerous White House officials, including Karl Rove, the vice president and the White House counsel before the decision in the Hamdan case was released." Which leads to an inevitable question about Roberts, the "stealth" candidate:

Is there anyone, Democrat or Republican, who thinks that Roberts got out of interviews with Rove and Cheney without them knowing exactly how he would rule on every goddamn issue that might come up, from Roe v. Wade to enemy combatant cases? Rove and Cheney may be "masterful" politicians, but, to be sure, they are not subtle men. Shit, the fact that Rove even interviewed Roberts means that the political operation was under way.

If while talking to Rove, Roberts had dared to say about, you know, gay marriage, "I don't want to discuss anything about what's at issue in the case," Rove would have gone bugfuck insane, snapping for his goons to grab Roberts and hold him while the President's political advisor himself yanked down Roberts' pants and looped a fishing line lasso around the appellate court judge's nuts. Then Rove would have shown Roberts the price of not answering the questions directly, saying that he will ask Roberts a series of questions and for every squishy legalism Roberts gave, Rove would add weight to the end of the fishing line until it cut off the circulation to Roberts' balls, hell, until it cut off Roberts' nutsack altogether. Sure, Roberts might have had a brief erection of fear and suspense and desire, since Rove's sexual predilections are well-known inside the Beltway; shit, Roberts might have even given a "I might have to rule on that issue" answer once, but as soon as he felt the monfilament line around his scrotum tighten, he'd've spilled his guts like a cow carcass in a slaughterhouse.

And as for Roberts' interview with Cheney? Well, let's just say that if Roberts didn't answer questions directly, the femur of a Gitmo detainee who committed suicide would have needed to have been removed from Roberts' colon.

So let's stop playing these stupid fucking games of "Is-he-really-a-moderate?" The Bush White House knows exactly what Roberts will do, on every goddamn case that makes it to the Supreme Court. Or else they wouldn't have nominated him. This adminstration micromanages every fuckin' message that it's associated with. And you can bet they've got photos of Roberts in his Peppermint Patty outfit going down on the male classmate who played Snoopy or some such shit as insurance that Roberts will play nicely.

As for the Democrats who are deciding how to vote on Roberts, howzabout this advice: is there a reason to vote for him? So often, when Bush nominates someone, the Democrats are put in the position of having to find out where Alberto Gonzales buried his hobos, to try to come up with reasons not to vote someone into a position. But this ain't the cabinet. Roberts may be the grand glorious bench-sittin' fucker in the nation; he may be the shit and a half as a lawyer. But Roberts ain't up for assistant manager at McDonald's. How fast he can dish out the fries doesn't make a bit of difference. This is for the biggest motherfucker on the biggest motherfuckin' court in the land, so perhaps the standards oughta be higher than, "Well, shit, he didn't give us any reason to say no." No, see, the standard here is "Did he give me a reason to say 'yes'?"

If Roberts doesn't get the job, then he'll go back to bein' a judge, living off his millions, with just the scars of his interviews with Cheney and Rove to remind him of the process.


Presidential Dumps:
When the President finally got to take his shit at the U.N., he did it alone in the men's room. The Secret Service blocked anyone else from entering - not the Sultan of Brunei, not the Prime Minister of Sweden - no one could walk into the men's room right off the Security Council chamber. He brought John Bolton with him, and the Secret Service checked out the space, saying, "No windows, two stalls, one way in, one way out." Then, with Bolton leaning uncomfortably on the edge of a sink, President Bush took one of those titanic, moaning shits that only great leaders falling from great heights can take. Bolton thought Bush was going to die as the President pinched a mighty loaf, huffing and wheezing as if he was giving birth to another incredible idea for the world body.

The intensity of the Commander-in-Chief porcelain-cracking defecation was odd, since Bush had just that day taken two public shits at the United Nations building. First, before the General Assembly, the gathered world leaders were aghast at the amount of shit coming out of the U.S. President, as Bush admonished them to pass the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism even as his Pentagon makes plans to use nuclear weapons on other "evil" nations, with his commitment "to the Millennium Development goals" of stopping the spread of AIDS even as the his own administration imposes moralistic strictures on spending that are guaranteed to spread disease and poverty, with his support of the U.N. Democracy Fund even as his administration and its media lackeys support the overthrow or assassination of the legally elected Hugo Chavez. The President of Mozambique was overheard telling the Prime Minister of New Zealand, "Goddamn, that's a huge fuckin' load of shit" at the conclusion of Bush's speech.

Then, the President took a shorter, but no less torturous, shit at the Security Council meeting, when he spoke about terrorism to the leaders there. How odd it must have been, to sit there and listen to this man speak about the need to prevent terrorism in its early stages when his government reacted like a bunch of terrified toddlers when a predictable moment of violence happened with Katrina, running in circles, crying, bumping into each other, stumbling onto their diapered asses. No wonder Bush needed a bathroom break. No wonder Condi granted him permission to go. (This is not to mention that she was seated behind him and thus bore the full power of his serial farting.)

In the washroom, when Bolton coughed, as if overwhelmed by the stink of the executive turds, Bush laughed and told Bolton, "If you think my shit smells bad, you should smell New Orleans. Place smells like Jenna's ass after a frat party's run a train on it." Bolton, eyes watering, managed a brief snort, but he was caught up in the image of Bush's daughter bent over, commanding frat boy after frat boy to fuck her harder, reminding the U.N. Ambassador of his swinging days. His reverie was broken when Bush said, "Now come in here, Bolthead, so I can use that fluffy moustache to wipe my ass."

Tour of New Orleans III: Narcissus Speaks:
As the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN and every other fuckin' place you can go for your news analysis agreed, the President's prime time address from Jackson Square was a speech about George W. Bush, which makes it like everything else he's ever done. It was a speech about re-building an image, not re-building a city. Many words have been spilled about Bush saying that "When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I, as President, am responsible for the problem, and the solution." Which, considering Iraq, is a chilling proposition.

There's a fuck of a lot of difference between claiming responsibility and acting responsibly. Bush's solution seems to be tax cuts for businesses, paying workers shit wages to rebuild places they probably won't be able to afford, getting churches involved, and more failed ideas that won't do anything more than provide the magical illusion that Bush is doing something. Because, as we've noted, the speech was about him, not about Louisiana or Mississippi.

Essentially, the speech last night was an exercise in self-fellation. Bush may as well have placed his lectern on top of a pile of bloated black corpses and said, "Ya'll watch me while I suck my own dick," and then, balancing himself delicately on the graying skin of a drowned body, bent over to start blowing himself, looking up every now and then to say things like, "See how I don't neglect my balls? Ball-suckin' is good stuff." Yeah, it would have been disturbing to watch a nearly sixty-year old man bob on his own knob and seem to get immense enjoyment out of it. And when he started fingering his own prostate to make sure he had maximum ejaculatory intensity, some might have tuned out, but when he stood up, his teeth and lips glistening with a semen shine, spitting his own spooge on the heap of dead people, saying, "Goddamn, no one can suck my dick like me," we'd've had the same reaction as much of America had to the speech itself: "Well, isn't that nice for you."

(And, no, the actual content of the speech doesn't bear any real discussion because, as we've learned time and again, what Bush says and what Bush does are two entirely different animals. As far as what he said about poverty, the failure of the government to prepare for disasters, and racism, as if these are miraculous discoveries, all the Rude Pundit can say is, "Dude, haven't we all been partying at your place for the last four and a half years?")


Katrina Proves Liberals Were Right All Along (Part 3: Wherein the Rude Pundit Fails To Solve Centuries of Racism, But At Least He's Trying):
Yeah, Hurricane Katrina did fuck up the lives of a hell of a lot of white people. And that's sad and a shame. But to deny the racial imbalances that led to images of New Orleans lookin' like they came from Mogadishu back in the day is to deny the reality of our urban areas in America. In this week's Gallup Poll, with over 60 percent of black respondents saying that race was a factor in the delays in rescue and aid arriving in New Orleans, one must say, at a minimum, the perception of a racist government response is real. And, much as the white right and their nonwhite enablers wish to, dismissing those feelings is to dismiss the last thirty years or so of racial division in America, a division that plays itself out in the schismatic geography of our cities.

Katrina demonstrated how neglect of the poor has exacerbated racism to the extent that, true or not, a large number of Americans, black and white, can believe that its government would abandon them because of their skin color. When Lyndon Johnson extended poverty relief programs started under FDR and Truman and expanded on those programs, he was attempting to offer some way to allow black Americans into the mainstream. Johnson understood that in order to reach the majority of blacks, he had to have the federal government reach into urban America.

Said the fartin' Texan in his Great Society speech, "Many of you will live to see the day, perhaps 50 years from now, when there will be 400 million Americans -- four-fifths of them in urban areas. In the remainder of this century urban population will double, city land will double, and we will have to build homes, highways and facilities equal to all those built since this country was first settled. So in the next 40 years we must rebuild the entire urban United States. Aristotle said: 'Men come together in cities in order to live, but they remain together in order to live the good life.' It is harder and harder to live the good life in American cities today...Our society will never be great until our cities are great." And he admonished listeners to create an urban landscape where people can live that Aristotelian good life (although, one imagines, without the slavery and man-on-boy action that characterized Aristotle's Athens).

The floods of Hurricane Katrina focused our attention on the urban blacks of New Orleans because, simply, as many, many cities in America are, it is a majority black. In fact, it's 70% black. The Great Society programs, in targeting poverty, targeted the cities, which were just beginning to explode back in 1964. JFK had started the ball rolling with the Manpower Development and Training Act in 1962, which "retrained workers displaced by new technology," and then LBJ followed that with the more comprehensive Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which created the Job Corps and other work training programs. (And Reagan came along and, of course, fucked it up by giving control over to the states with the 1982 Job Training Partnership Act, which "ended federal funding for public service employment programs.") Toss in the Open Housing Act, which outlawed discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, the Food Stamp Act, the Child Nutrition Act, Medicaid, and on and on.

And when you list all these acts and programs and subsidies, some bag of douche conservative'll come along and spout Reagany things about welfare queens, the failure of the Great Society, and loser liberal ideology. But here's the fuckin' deal: the liberal ideas didn't fail - the government failed the ideas. First through the limited funding of the programs, then through the conservative ideological shift in the 70s and 80s, which, reduced to its essence, seems to have been a move from "We can help each other" to "Fuck you." With a Gerald Ford condemnation of New York City to hell along for good measure. So Washington fucked it up.

'Cause, see, during the 1960s, "median black family income rose 53 percent; black employment in professional, technical, and clerical occupations doubled; and average black educational attainment increased by four years. The proportion of blacks below the poverty line fell from 55 percent in 1960 to 27 percent in 1968. The black unemployment rate fell 34 percent." And much of that growth happened in urban America. So, with such success apparent, conservatives in both parties followed Reagan's lead and gutted programs for urban America like little boys filleting carp with butter knives. All that was left was shreds. Reagan cut money to federal assistance to cities, slashed HUD's budget (and even that pittance was given to major contributors for "development" of urban housing), and made sure that homelessness doubled during his presidency.

Things didn't improve under Clinton, with the limited scope of enterprise communities and empowerment zones, although the expanding economy did provide relief to urban areas. And, under Bush, beyond payin' Churchy with "faith-based initiatives," there's been lip service, proposed and actual budget cuts, and a 19th-century attitude towards the poor as being morally at fault for their poverty. (And this is not even getting into policies on crime and punishment, nor abortion politics, both of which impact urban areas.)

Katrina forced us to look once again at the cities of America (and it showed that the South has real cities, with real city problems, just like in the North), and at the vital, black centers of those cities, for the people who are still living there when many of the whites return home to Metairie, Georgetown, or Sugarland. The neglect of urban America by the federal government has blown up again, this time taking down the Bush administration, and, no matter how much they try to bribe people with faulty debit cards, destroying Republican chances of making inroads in the black community.

And, as with so many things, it didn't have to be this way. It didn't have to be that so many Americans would believe that the Bush administration blithely sat by to watch the slaves drown, like so many masters, their house negroes by their side, sitting on the plantation porch as the floods cover the field hands and their quarters.

(Note: An earlier version of this contained a long analogy about race relations and credit card debt after death. It was a fuck up and the information was wrong; therefore, it has been deleted.)


Part 3 Later Today:
Back later today with Part 3 of "Katrina Proves Liberals Were Right All Along." Unless it's tomorrow.
The Blog Post About John Roberts' Confirmation Hearing:
This is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing, and because it is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing, it will be devoid of content, it will not have any links to anything concrete, it will be circular in logic because it is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing.

This is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing, and because it is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing, it will contain no obscenities or arguments, it will have no sexual or violent imagery, it will do everything it can not to offend anyone because it is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing.

This is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing, and because it is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing, it is merely a formality, it is something that a blog needs to do, it does not, however, need to actually speak in specifics because, indeed, it is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing.

This is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing, and because it is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing, you may ask it anything you like, you may praise it, you may decry it, but it will not say anything that might compromise its objectivity because it is the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing.

And when it is over, you will agree that you know everything about the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing and that the blog post about John Roberts' confirmation hearing will become the blog post about the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

(Repeat this in an endless loop.)


Katrina Proves Liberals Were Right All Along (Part 2: Poverty Edition):
The only time most of America recognizes that poverty exists is when riots happen, and then the political divide is something along the lines of "Niggers have no self-control" to "Rioting is bad and maybe the negroes ought to be helped." Yep, poverty exists for all races (and is growing), but the black face of it is all many Americans ever see.

Every once in a while, though, something untinged (for the most part) by violence occurs that demonstrates the real, awful, degrading condition in which millions of Americans attempt to exist (and this is not even to address the horrible conditions for the migrant workers and illegals attempting to create some simulacrum of an American life). For urban and suburban Americans, poverty exists as "the projects" or the neighborhood to avoid. And in rural America, poverty exists as Brigadoon-like towns, except shitty and shack-filled, seemingly appearing and disappearing (and this is not even to address the horrible conditions for Native Americans on reservations attempting to create some simulacrum of an American life). For the most part, though, poverty is colored black, a perception which is borne out not just by the images from New Orleans, but by the latest stats, which say that the poverty rate for whites is 8.6 percent and 24.7 percent for blacks (with Hispanics a close second at 21.9 percent).

So Katrina happens, ripping the scab off the wound that is the desperate day-to-day life of millions in this America. Then, mostly, the right wing of the nation has offered the familiar, almost monotonous variations on "individual responsibility" and "self-control." Get educated, they whine, stop having babies, don't be hippin' and hoppin' to yer gangsta rap (although when Bill O'Reilly says the word "gangsta," it's time to retire the term completely from the hip-hop lexicon. If he says he's been "kickin' it old school," well, then it's time for rioting). And now, most frighteningly, congressional Republicans are declaring that they are going to take on the issue, although probably through their cutely-named "Republican Poverty Alleviation Agenda," which seeks to filter money to churches and other charitable organizations rather than actually set up programs to deal with, say, alleviating poverty.

At this point, most liberals with memories have got to be shaking their heads in disgust, 'cause, fuck, we've down this goddamned road before. If you try to housebreak a dog and that fucker keeps shitting and pissing in the house no matter how many times you bring it outside, at some point you have to think that the dog is either stupid or mean or both. Your choices are to live with a house stinking of dog shit or to put that dog outside for good or send it to the pound. Right now, Democrats are living with the stench. And real liberals are waving their arms, saying, no, we're humans, we don't have to live like this.

See, liberals believe in a very simple proposition: a stitch in time. You remember that old aphorism for darning socks? "A stitch in time saves nine"? Republicans are fond of saying that liberals want to just "throw money at" some problem whenever a program is suggested. Of course, what's going in the Gulf of Mexico region is just that, with Republicans retreating like sewer rats from flames and offering up billions of dollars in such a haphazard way that it's starting to make the disastrous, corrupt reconstruction of Iraq look lke a model of efficiency. Much of the billions will go to reconstruction efforts (or, to be more precise, to Bush-connected corporations that'll hire contractors that'll be able to hire workers for the cheapest wages with no oversight and probably eventually immunity from lawsuits). But a whole fuck of a lot is going to go to support families who, if, say, education and housing and job programs had been available might not be in as dire straits as they are now. In other words, a little federal money back then in the right programs might have meant a fuck of a lot less now.

And liberals fuckin' knew this and have been saying it for years: you will reap what you've sown, man, and if you sow hate and resentment and despair, sure, the short-term is a disenfranchised population that stays out of the political process so Republicans can win and continue the cycle. But the long-term is a bitch, and that bitch is the Katrina South.

The Great Society programs of the 1960s were a start and a possible solution. Remember the Great Society? Here's Lyndon Johnson in his 1964 speech that laid this shit out: "There is the decay of the centers and the despoiling of the suburbs. There is not enough housing for our people or transportation for our traffic. Open land is vanishing and old landmarks are violated. Worst of all expansion is eroding the precious and time-honored values of community with neighbors and communion with nature. The loss of these values breeds loneliness and boredom and indifference...In many places, classrooms are overcrowded and curricula are outdated. Most of our qualified teachers are underpaid, and many of our paid teachers are unqualified. So we must give every child a place to sit and a teacher to learn from. Poverty must not be a bar to learning, and learning must offer an escape from poverty." Man, over 40 years later, and those exact same fuckin' words could be spoken. Doomed to repeat, motherfuckers, doomed to repeat.

And so was born the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the creation of HUD, the Fair Housing Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and a great deal more, which contributed to a massive drop in poverty levels, when, in less than a decade, poverty levels dropped from 22.2 percent to 12.6 percent. Conservatives were apoplectic at these programs, seeing in them communism and social engineering, and, as ever, that individual states ought to take care of these things. Said Ronald Reagan in 1966: "[We should not] unquestioningly follow those others who pass the problems along to the Federal government, abdicating their personal and local responsibility. The trouble with that solution is that for every ounce of federal help we get, we surrender an ounce of personal freedom. The Great Society grows greater every day--greater in cost, greater in inefficiency and greater in waste." Although you know what's fuckin' hilarious? One of the most controversial of the Great Society programs had the poor in their communities offering up ideas of how to improve those communities. Man, conservatives fuckin' hated givin' up power to the people.

Of course, as Johnson learned, worthless wars always fuck-up budget initiatives, and programs were never funded as well as they could have been if he had had ceased the insanity overseas. Then, of course, Nixon sliced some of the domestic programs. Then, of course, Reagan slashed Great Society programs with the zeal of a bacon addict on a pig farm. Programs for low-income families lost 54% of their funding, subsidized housing went down 80.7%, job and training programs were gutted by 68.3%, and housing assistance for the elderly went down by 47%. And they never recovered. And no state has ever made up for the loss.

It's always a big damn knee-slapper whenever conservatives say that "we tried" this "liberal" program or that for those living in poverty and "it failed." George Will said as much this past Sunday. The problem is? At best, many of those programs were cut and burned. Clinton was little help (remember, children, Clinton was not a liberal - he was a leader, a real President, but he was a DLC-er all the way). And Bush II has sought to gut the remaining Great Society programs. So the answer to conservatives is "how about we try some of those old liberal notions?" It's a stitch in time. Try to end poverty before something like the Katrina South rears its poor, black head and bites you on the ass, costing you not only the money to help the poor, but all the medical attention your own ass is gonna need.

'Cause, you see, if yer gonna teach a man to fish, ya gotta provide him with the teacher, the fishing pole, the means of gettin' to the river, someone to watch the kids while he's fishin', the energy to cook that trout, the tools to cook the fish with...

Tomorrow: Race. Later this week: Education and the environment.


Katrina Proves Liberals Were Right All Along (Part 1: The Right Agrees):
Barbara Bush is, without a doubt, an evil she-devil whose fangs have ripped to shreds piles of politicos, laughing while she licked the gore and guts off her teeth. She is Lady Macbeth gone crone. One sometimes has to pity George Bush, Sr., because you can bet that at dinner parties in Kennebunkport, whenever the scotch has been flowing loosely and the wind is blowing the Atlantic against the edges of the compound, Babs mouths off about Poppy losing in 1992, cutting deep in that alcoholic patrician way that only old money can insult each other. She's a vicious old kooz, so calmly, mesmerizingly mean that daisies curl their petals for safety and male dogs cower in the corner for fear of losing their balls whenever she walks the streets. And when she deigns to allow Poppy to fuck her, she stares at him intensely, telling him that he's not man enough to make her come, get the lawnboy, get the butler, hell, get the goddamn maid to eat her out, anyone would satisfy her eternally dry snatch but Poppy.

And she has sense of privilege and the occasional noblesse oblige that makes it completely unsurprising that, when interviewed about the New Orleans Katrina evacuees in Houston, said, "What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overhwlemed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle)--this is working very well for them." The first part of the quote is pure white bourgeois fear. And the second part, about it working very well? For all the wrong reasons, Barbara Bush is on the path to being right.

As the right rages about the poor in Louisiana having only themselves to blame (along with the black Democratic mayor and the female Democratic governor), all the commentators and screeching wads of fuck are offering piles and piles of evidence that liberalism, in its 1960s and 1970s form, was absolutely, dead-on right about the results of poverty.

Here's Bill O'Reilly, a man who, no matter what, needs to be sodomized with a microphone, finding the kernel of truth in his crazed bellicosity on the poor left behind to drown in New Orleans: "If you do not educate yourself or develop a marketable skill, the chances are you will be poor and powerless." When George Will, who ought to have a bow-tie wound around his nutsack, said that to avoid poverty, the poor need to avoid having out-of-wedlock children, avoid getting married before 20, and graduate from high school, Will is not saying anything that liberal sociologists haven't been saying for years. Hell, devoid of context, O'Reilly and Will sound like Black Panthers from back in the day. Raise a fist, motherfuckers.

So when Barbara Bush grits her teeth to say that poor blacks have it better off in a hurricane shelter than at home and when O'Reilly and Will say that poor blacks need education, there's one thing they're leaving out: what are we gonna do about it? O'Reilly goes the idiot's route (which, to say about Bill O'Reilly, is to say that cats know where the litter box is so they can shit there) by saying that government cannot solve people's problems, but, you know, government provides education, which, if you work in the realm of logic, seems to indicate that government can solve problems. Will, on This Week With George Stephanopolous's Hair, spouted on that America has had poverty programs for years. Problem is, of course, the Great Society's poverty programs only lasted for a decade and a half before Reagan came in and gutted the living shit out of them. Since then, we've had piecemeal poverty support in America, at best.

See, liberals actually believe what George Bush (the Dumber) says over and over: we want to solve problems before they blow up in our faces. And Katrina proves that we're right.

More on that tomorrow.

Afternoon Correction
: As diligent, rude reader Gary points out, of course Barbara Bush's nickname is "Bar" and not "Babs." Either way, she's a kooz and Gary's today's Poindexter of the Day.


The Pentagon's Fourth Anniversary of 9/11 Spectacular: Freedom Walks, Bullshit Talks:
Sweet fuckin' mercies, what a mighty celebration of 9/11 they're a-gonna have this weekend in D.C. It'll be a hootenanny, a clambake, baby, an end-of-summer hoedown, or, as the Pentagon puts it, "the opportunity to remember the victims of September 11, honor our American servicemen and women, past and present, and commemorate our freedom." One might think that every day we wake up in America is a commemoration of our "freedom," but perhaps in these Patriotic Actic times, it's best to think of freedom with the same sense as Princess Di's picture on a Franklin Mint plate.

There'll be 3,000 to 10,000 people taking part in the "Freedom Walk," and, oh-ho, what irony with which the event has been named, considering that "organizers...are taking extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today." Actually, the time is 10 a.m., but, hey, if you can't punk the Washington Post, who can you punk? And your reward for takin' that hike from the Pentagon to the National Mall is a concert by lovable nationalist Clint Black, whose cowboy hat and country/western stylings are sure to attract a mesmerizing rainbow of skin colors in the audience, from pasty-faced to red-necked. Nothin' says "we remember you, men and women who leapt or burned or suffocated or were crushed to death" better than Clint Black wailin' his tunes "No Time To Kill" and "Burn One Down."

Then, as Black sings his final song, "Iraq and Roll," with its condemnation of the protesters who'll no doubt be herded into a small gated area to assure maximum freedom of speech, the real fun'll begin for the patriots in attendance as they're all handed dolls of Osama Bin Laden, dolls filled with blood and meat, and when Black finishes his final chorus of "Iraq, I rack 'em up and I roll," with fireworks launched into the humid night, all 3000-10,000 people will crack open the dolls and smear themselves with the blood as they rip out the meat with their teeth. No, we can't find Bin Laden, but, goddamn, we can eat his innards in effigy. Then Cindy Sheehan'll be brought up onto the podium, stripped naked, and forced to stand there as everyone hoots and laughs at her, tossing the ripped open doll carcasses at her before she's hanged in front of the frothing mass, demanding that their America be restored from all terrorists, here and abroad. Then, oh, fuck, the delicious irony, the President will appear to talk to her nude, hanging corpse, asking the dead Sheehan what she'd like to say to him. "What? What's that?," he'll say, goofily hamming it up, "You got your meetin', now say somethin'." Goddamn, how the crowd'll hoot and holler. And that's when the ecstasy will kick in.

Yep, all that meat will be laced with love doves, and just as the Freedom Walkers begin to feel that heat course through their bodies, as the Army Marching Band blares "America the Beautiful," Dick and Lynne Cheney will appear and begin to fuck madly on the stage, with Dick yellin', "Lemme slam my jumbo jet into your Foggy Bottom of love." Donald Rumsfeld'll bring out a model of the Twin Towers and shove them into Condi's asshole and cooz, the Secretary of State wearing nothing but Ferragamo shoes, shrieking in toothy orgasm as Rumsfeld tries to desperately masturbate onto Condi's hair. This'll be a signal for the real freedom to begin: the clothes'll start bein' ripped off as everyone begins to writhe in the blood and meat spilled all over the ground of the National Mall, fellating and rimming and muff diving and fucking hard and fucking soft and fucking for God, for country, for Bush, all for freedom, man, all for the victims, all for the troops, all, all for lettin' freedom fuckin' ring.

Throughout the frantically screwing crowd, members of the Louisiana National Guard, special guests at the Mall 'cause, you know, who needs 'em back home, will be handing out a tea brewed from the ashes of the World Trade Center and the bones of Saddam's Republican Guard members and the shit and piss of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib prisoners so that Iraq and a 9/11 are forever together, forever linked, inside the bodies of the fucking Freedom Walkers. 'Cause, you know, X gets you thirsty.

Finally, dawn will break on the National Mall, sunrise over the Washington Monument, the nation's hard-on, and James Dobson will saunter onto stage and ask the exhausted, sweaty, semen soaked, blood-covered Freedom Walkers for a moment of silence for our new corpses in the Gulf Coast, our Big Easy floaters, treated like so many turds in the stopped-up toilets of hell. Yes, yes, yes, then the weary marchers will bathe in the reflecting pool until it's turned a deep, deep crimson, like an open wound in the center of the nation's capital.


The Photo and the Photo-Op:
The worst possible thing has happened for the Bush administration: the majority of Americans have become media savvy, and that means hell for these fuckers who have manipulated images like a horny teenage boy with Photoshop and jpegs of Mischa Barton and the nude, split beaver porn shots of a hundred different women. In other words, we're learnin' what's fake and what's real, and there's nothin' real that Bush, Cheney, Laura, or Chertoff can ever do about Katrina that's ever gonna seem anything more than fake. Doesn't matter how many fuckin' times Bush gets his people to roll up his sleeves just right as he walks, surrounded by prop firefighters, through the ruins of people's lives. Doesn't matter how many times Laura appears in Louisiana to feed a person or two before she heads back to the limo or the helicopter.

'Cause this time we've already seen the real pictures. They exist by the thousands, like the corpses still drifting past the military units behaving as if they are confronting the man-eating CHUDs instead of hurricane survivors. We know what's staged. We know what's real.

A favorite Dostoevsky line of the Rude Pundit's goes something like this: Once something is thought, it cannot be unthought. Once you've seen the images, once the idea has crept into your head that Bush's smirking boobery is a defining factor in how devastating all of this is, you can't unthink it. Sure, you can listen to the rambling bullshit artists of the right spew and sputter, trying to tell you that what you know is real is actually fake, that up is down, that you have to put those bad, bad thoughts aside so we can attack the poor and the Democrats. But maybe, just maybe, you know now that when Bush makes a show of appearing with his cabinet to declare that he's gonna take action, it's just more flimflam, more sleight of hand, more deception - look over there so that he can pull a bouquet from his threadbare sleeve.

There's bodies under the polluted, shit-filled waters of New Orleans. Thousands of them. And whether we see them or not (and that's an issue for another day), we know they're there. Bush will bribe and cajole the survivors, but they were in the pictures. They stepped on the corpses trying to rescue themselves or others. And there's no amount of fakery and photo-ops that'll change that reality.

(Gotta stop. Fuckin' allergies makin' it . . . difficult . . . to . . . what?)