The rumors were false

As expected, the rumors about massive violence in flooded New Orleans were highly exaggerated at best, and completely false at worst.
It doesn’t make any difference, though. The people who want to believe those stories will believe them forever, and as long as people believe the stories, everyone who needs an excuse has one readymade.
Sure — some of those stories came from Democrats, and some of those Democrats were black. There’s enough blame to go around. My guess is that in the end Blanco, Nagin, and Bush will all get together and cover for one another, and the whole episode will be forgotten.

Cultural Genoicide in Iraq on Bush’s Watch

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Bush’s “war” in Iraq has produced a “new” nation-state that is, in every way, less safe and less secure for women and religious minorities.
The Mandeans, non-Christian followers, believe it or not, of St. John the Baptist are facing physical and cultural annihilation as a result of the chaos and empowerment of Islamic radicals precipitated by Duyba’s dubious invasion.
The next time you’re on a right-wing blog – especially one with religious conservatives on it, ask those folks if they’re happy with the idea that George Bush’s invasion has produced an Islamic state where it is not safe to be a Christian.

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House Republicans OK Christian-Only Hiring With Our Tax Dollars

House OKs Faith As Head Start Hiring Issue,

The House voted Thursday to let Head Start centers consider religion when hiring workers, overshadowing its moves to strengthen the preschool program’s academics and finances.
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The Republican-led House approved a bill that lets churches and other faith-based preschool centers hire only people who share their religion, yet still receive federal tax dollars.

No Jews need apply.

Hurricane Katrina Injustice Index

Drum Major Institute – Injustice Index: Hurricane Katrina

Percentage of New Orleans residents living below the poverty level in 2003: 20.8
Rank of New Orleans among the American cities with the highest rate of poverty: 17
Ratio of African-American households in New Orleans that did not have access to a car in 2000: 1 to 3
Percentage of evacuees in Houston shelters who had not heard about the evacuation order before the hurricane hit: 25

The rest is at the link.

Allowing Release of Toxics!!!!!!!

EPA seeks to ease reporting of toxics,

WASHINGTON — The government wants to stop forcing companies to report small releases of toxic pollutants and allow them to submit reports on their pollution less frequently.
Saying it wants to ease its regulatory burden on companies, the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday proposed adopting a ”short form” that would excuse companies from disclosing spills and other releases of toxic substances if:
They say they release fewer than 5,000 pounds of a specific chemical. The current limit is 500 pounds.
[. . .] EPA said it also plans to ask Congress for permission to require the accounting every other year instead of annually. [emphasis added]

Just like what we have learned about FEMA, the EPA is probably staffed entirely with Republican Party campaign hacks who are pocketing money from companies seeking breaks.
Do any of the readers have children or care about your own health? Then you HAVE TO get involved in getting these people out of office!!

Corruption Is Dangerous

FEMA had contracted out the job of arranging transportation for the evacuation of New Orleans to a Republican Party-connected outfit. That company completely flubbed the job. So they get new, huge contracts following Katrina.
Through Atrios, Chicago Tribune | Offer of buses fell between the cracks. From the story:

…eventually learned that the job of extracting tens of thousands of residents from flooded New Orleans wasn’t being handled by FEMA at all.
Instead the agency had farmed the work out to a trucking logistics firm, Landstar Express America, which in turn hired a limousine company, which in turn engaged a travel management company.
[. . .]In a regulatory filing last week, Landstar Express said it has received government orders worth at least $125 million for Katrina-related work. It’s not known how much of that total pertains to the bus evacuation.
Landstar Express is a subsidiary of Landstar System, a $2 billion company whose board chairman, Jeff Crowe, also was chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the nation’s premier business lobbies, from June 2003 until May 2004.
[. . .] Whatever happens likely will be good for Landstar’s bottom line. Landstar’s regulatory filing also said that because of Hurricane Katrina, the maximum annual value of its government contract for disaster relief services has been increased to $400 million.

So it’s not just that The Party purged FEMA of competent professionals and replaced them with Party hacks; they turned the agency’s money over to the Party as well as the jobs.
Here’s the question: How much of our government has been turned over to Republican Party cronies? How much of our taxpayer money is being fed into this circle of corruption/camaign contributions?

The End Of Tivo?

TiVo Users Fear Recording Restrictions,

Among the functions included in TiVo’s latest software upgrade is the ability to allow broadcasters to erase material recorded by TiVo’s 3.6 million users after a certain date. That ability was demonstrated recently when some TiVo customers complained on TiVo community sites that episodes of “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill” they recorded were “red-flagged” for deletion by the copyright holder.
[. . .] skeptics among TiVo users questioned why TiVo would own such a technology unless the company planned to one day use it.
[. . .] “TiVo would be of limited utility in the future if the studios were allowed to do this with regular broadcast content,” Haughey said. “This is like cell-phone jammers. What if you couldn’t talk on your cell phone? If customers can’t do something with their TiVo that they could in the past, they will stop using it.”

Tivo has to decide who to serve — their customers or the entertainment industry. If they can get the entertainment industry to pay them enough to compensate for losing all their customers, great. Otherwise…

Checks and balances

For one reason or another, Tom Delay, Karl Rove, and Bill Frist are all in serious trouble with prosecutors. Together with Bush’s Iraq / Katrina troubles, this could mark the end of the Bush administration’s rearward progress.
So maybe the checks and balances are working. But (as in Watergate and Iran-Contra) the legal system is being called in now to compensate for the failures of the electoral system.
Thank God for the separation of powers! But if this works, it will be a triumph of constitutionalism, not of democracy. When Nixon, Reagan, and Bush II were each elected twice, democracy failed.

Republican Culture of Corruption

As you read about the Republican corruption scandal, here is a multi-part seriesfrom 2002 on Tom DeLay’s racketeering scheme: AlterNet: Part I: Tom DeLay’s Axis of Influence for background.
Some background on the lobbying scheme, in Welcome to the Machine.
And, as you follow this, remember that it even involves a murder. (Remember how the Republicans liked to accuse Clinton of murder? and here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,here, here, here, etc.)