Saturday, September 03, 2005

At the end of the engagement Nelson would ask for "the butcher’s bill." (For the historically-challenged, Horatio Nelson was the Brit admiral who trashed Napoleon by sea.) The butcher’s bill was his name for the casualty figures, and I very tired of reading the butcher’s bill run up by the My Pet Goat inefficiency of George W. Bush.

The words of the President quoted below are simply not those of a leader with the slightest grasp of reality...
"The good news is - and it’s hard for some to see it now - that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house—he’s lost his entire house - there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch."

And talking of reality, there seems to be a fight brewing among the Red-State right, between the humans who have finally realized that their boy is a clown, and the wholly deluded who still spring to his defense. This set of posts seems pretty representative of a trip I took around the rightwing blogs...

In a highly creative use of the internet, a wiki-map of the Gulf Coast has been created at...

The secret word is Accountability

Thanks for all the birthday wishes.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Around 3.00AM last night I was in the depths of disgust. I had heard the words "shoot to kill" at least seven times on various newscasts, plus Louisiana’s totally ineffectual Governor Blanco posturing about her "300 soldiers fresh back from Iraq" and how "they have M-16s, and they're locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so if necessary, and I expect they will." Fury gripped me as these assholes attempted to blame the victims for the disaster, as in Michael Chertoff, the ludicrous Secretary of Homeland Security, claiming food couldn’t reach the Superdome because it had "crowd control issues." And then Bush himself bleating how "nobody expected the breach of the levees." Bush simply refuses to accept that he is the leader, the bucks stop with him, and, in a parliamentary democracy, there would be an opposition howling for his head and his resignation after he had allowed a large and decimated city to go without food, water, and medical supplies for four days without doing a fucking thing.
Today, as the first pathetic trickle of relief came in, and the mayor went on radio to curse the feds, I was marginally less furious. Grateful at least for Harry Connick, Kanye West, and few angry TV reporters who were stopping the horror from being buried either in lies and racism, or touchy-feely, self-congratulatory sacchine about white babies saved from wrath of the storm and the evil looters.

The email flies thick and fast, and here are some of the usual suspects.

HCB comments on yesterday’s diatribe against Fox...
Don't forget O'Reilly asserting, several times, that many of the people who stayed in NO deliberately remained behind so they could loot and wreak havoc. The question is, if a handful of street level thugs could successfully anticipate the effect of Katrina, why couldn't the government? As usual the Murdoch Rottweilers have laid down their firewall to allay any criticism of the Bush administration, while Condi takes in a show and buys shoes, and Bush struts about and pretends to give a shit. Funny, even in their little group photo op with the governors, Bush can hardly stay focused as he pretends to listen. Missing, I noticed, the their little assembly, was the governer of LA and the Mayor of NO. We haven't seen him for days, have we?

Meanwhile some girl has the goods on Condi and the comment "i would say it's un effing believeable, but nothing these people do ever surprises me."

Courtesy of Gawker: "Secret service is all over Seventh Avenue. That f---ing worthless bitch is shopping in showrooms right now." Whoa, such language! And how could anyone just assume that our leaders have anything other than the best intentions? We actually have it on good authority that Condi’s snapping up the best of the Spring 2006 collections and sending the fripperies directly to the Red Cross.
"Eyewitness: Sec of State Condoleezza Rice laughs it up at 'Spamalot' while the Gulf Coast lays in tatters. Theatergoers on New York City's Great White Way were shocked to see the president's former national security advisor at the Monty Python farce last night - as the rest of the Cabinet responds to Hurricane Katrina."
According to the Drudge Report, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently enjoyed a little Broadway entertainment. And Page Six reports that she’s also working on her backhand with Monica Seles. So the Gulf Coast has gone all Mad Max, and Rice is enjoying a brief vacation in New York. We wish we were surprised. What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan).
A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, "How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!" Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.Angry Lady, whoever you are, we love you. You are a true American, and we’ll go shoe shopping with you anytime. Copyright 2005

Some girl has also found Fats Domino
(Reuters) - Rock 'n' roll pioneer Fats Domino, who went missing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, was rescued by boat from floodwaters near his New Orleans home and is "stressed out" but safe, his agent said on Friday. Domino, 77, beloved for his boogie-woogie piano style and such hits as "Ain't That a Shame" and "Blueberry Hill," ended up as one of thousands of New Orleans residents stranded by flooding after he rebuffed pleas from friends to evacuate as the storm bore down on the city, agent Al Embry told Reuters.
The rotund musician, his wife, Rosemary, and at least one daughter were picked up by rescue boat on Tuesday following frantic efforts by Embry to alert authorities that Domino and his family were believed trapped in their home, Embry said. "We heard he was on the balcony with his family and waving to people." He said Domino and his family initially were taken to the New Orleans Superdome with thousands of other evacuees and have since been moved to an unspecified location "because of all the media attention." "He is doing well, he's just stressed out a little bit," Embry said in a phone interview from Nashville, Tennessee. "But praise God, he got out of the thing." A daughter, Karen Domino White, who lives in New Jersey, told news agencies she had identified her father from a photograph published by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, showing a man being helped out of a rescue boat. Embry said he confirmed details of Domino's rescue in calls to a son of the musician and the governor's office.

While kaymo views the menachious inner workings and dark agendas beneath the veneer of excuses...
Vis a Vis Limbaugh and Reilly etc.... the campaign to turn the disaster of New Orleans into a plus for the GOP is underway. Make it an "urban riot"-- read black youths with guns-- and we know what part of America will start saluting. But for Rove the demise of New Orleans is an electoral plus. It destroys the big Democratic vote center in Louisiana, a state that wobbles slightly in its assigned Southern Strategy Orbit. Once the population of New Orleans has been put in refugee camps, for a good long stay, the campaign to get rid of Louisiana's annoying Democratic Senator Landrieu will get underway in earnest. Rove always has his eye on the prize, the permanent Republican Majority and One Party Rule.

And Rob, a very old pal, also made contact with word on other missing musicians...
My man in the Louisiana music scene, CC Adcock, says Willie (de Ville) no longer lives in NO and has moved back to NYC. Children by the millions still wait to hear about Alex Chilton. (And whether Allen Toussaint is really in the Superdome.) CC actually went in to NO yesterday with his friend, producer Mike Neopolitano (who is also Ani DiFranco's husband), to retrieve some albums he was working on that were on hard drive. CC says that French Quarter is unscathed, but the whole scene is bizarre. And saw few if any cops/troops/rescuer workers, raising questions as to whether what the govt. tells us is true.

Rob also has a great piece in Salon on the Camp Crawford

The word is Communications. It’s no secret.

OH YEAH – Tomorrow is my birthday. At least I will not die young. But I still want gifts.

Thursday, September 01, 2005



This is going to appear disjointed because, right now I feel disjointed. Almost a poem of helpless fury. All afternoon, I have been spasmodically watching a great American city – the birthplace of the blues – slip away. Where now is the much vaunted Homeland Security as inhabitants beg to TV cameras "Help us! Help us!"? Maybe too busy spying on librarians?

A massive chant – "Help us! Help us!", while I can personally do nothing except rage. I’ve seen people dying in the supposed shelters at the Superdome and the NO Convention center without food and water, while, tanks roll on downtown streets loaded with heavily armed police and National Guard protecting fucking corporate property. I’ve seen an NBC reporter in shock, telling of the deaths, and how the rumors of anarchy are vastly exaggerated, and trying to make clear the difference between anarchy and folks foraging for food and medicine to survive. He also begs for help.

And yet, on Fox news I’ve watched in disgust as Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly hammer on and on about "the breakdown of law and order", and stack up the buzz words until you need wings to stay above them – "rape", "looting", "crime", "gangs", "chaos" "disorder", "anarchy." On radio, the hideous Limbaugh huffs and puffs that the people still in NO and Biloxi don’t deserve help. They were warned to get out. (And a nod and a foul Limbaugh wink. After all, they’re only poor black people.)


Fox would have us believe that relief cannot be brought until the streets are secure. And yet the continue to hamper relief efforts by spreading their horrorshow rumors. I am not going to forget this, you bastards. News crews fly in and out, and even Harry Connick can get in. Are media and musicians braver than FEMA and the National Guard? At the Convention Center, Connick seemingly talked to people and did what he could. The same NBC reporter told how he was the closest thing to an authority figure to come there since the levee burst. Maybe Fox are loyally covering up for the Federal cluster fuck, but, like I said, I ain’t going to forget what I’ve seen. Or the deathly quiet from all of those usually make so much unholy noise about the right to life. Were’s your fucking God today, Pat Robertson? No one to blame, Ann fucking Coulter? Where are the sooo patriotic flags in the windows of the SUV, assholes? Must the weeping be left to atheists?


HCB hasn’t been exactly helpless...Put Irish radio in touch with John Swenson, who's been supplying nightly reports on NO, as have I. The fun part is that John helped them make a connection with the bartender of Johnny White's Sports Bar, which has stayed open throughout, and she's feeding them the right sort of local color commentary. A real coup.

But he’s still pissed enough to be quoting Orson Welles...
Harry Lime: "Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever?"
The Third Man
Bush looks down from Air Force One, 2000 feet in the air, and remarks "it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground," Wonder if he feels any more connected to the worms below than he does the red blots in Baghdad?

He also provides a link to a sobering essay by Dion Dennis

While kaymo looks dourly to the future...
Or not. Maybe I'm just a cynical old hippy, but I have to wonder if the future New Orleans won't just be a small domed entity around the hotels and the French Quarter-- operated by Disney-- plus the industrial sector that the rest of the country needs, while the ruined slums and suburbs will be left to the Formosan Termites and the waves.This may sound heartless and all that, but this is a Republican country run by flinty hearted Christians who like to spend their money on themselves, right? Why would they want to build housing for hundreds of thousands of poor, nay destitute, African Americans, especially as said housing would just become a huge, juicy target for the next Category 5 Hurricane that happens to slam into that part of the Gulf Coast?
Estimated costs of rebuilding New Orleans are already running over $100 Billion. Seeing as how the country is already deep in the red and has an expensive little war on its hands that won't go away, I don't see how this thing is doable, other than as a limited re-build of a tourist district.But even that may be hard to contemplate, until the many square miles of flooded, ruined homes, mired in filth and corpses have been bulldozed, or cleared away.
And any time, this year or next, or a few more down the road, another big Hurricane is gonna come boiling out of the Gulf. And a little farther down that road, when the oceans are a wee bit warmer, there's gonna be a new kind of storm, Category Six, with sustained winds of 200 mph.In fact this disaster may just be the first of several to come, with Miami, Charleston, Houston, Savannah, Mobile all capable of providing the next. With the obvious fragility of American civilization exposed-- one big storm can disrupt gasoline supply to half the country-- one has to wonder if this may not be the beginning of a long retreat from the southern coasts, a pulling back to higher ground and safer land.

Some girl sends a related link to yet another of global warming symptom in Scotland...
"last year's breeding failures were due to lack of food for seabirds as a result of warming seas along the east coast which are a result of climate change."

Maybe that’s enough for now. I feel strange. Disgust is tiring. I just heard on TV that Fats Domino is among the missing. And has anyone heard anything of Willy de Ville?

The secret word is Shameful

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that New Orleans as we knew it is history. I also worry about the friends and folks I know down yonder. And between the bouts of numbness with the TV images, I want to leap up and down and scream. "It was a superstorm, motherfuckers, because the temperatures on the ocean surface are too fucking high!" But maybe rage is not yet appropriate.

This email came from Cole Coonce, a stalwart colleague at LA CityBeat, and I share it because it brings the disaster into a tighter, more personal focus...

... as of this morning, the levees have broken and the water in New Orleans is rising an inch every five minutes....
In the days before the hurricane and subsequent flood, I took snaps from a trolley going uptown from St. Charles and of the statue of Ignatius J. Reilly on Canal Street. I also took pics while cycling along the levees that are supposed to keep the Mississippi River in check and out of New Orleans itself. Also is stuff from the French Quarter, where my old pal Bo Fingers insisted we look for his friend Al Broussard, the Human Trumpet. (Turns out Al passed a couple of years ago, but we still have a grand time.)
I left New Orleans early Sunday. All Flights were cancelled, rental cars were non-existent and it was a 20 hour bus ride to Houston 300 miles away (the nearest airport) Sunday morning to Monday morning. The exodus was replete with a stinking backed-up toilet and an air conditioner whose condensation leaked into my lap for the duration... the first 10 miles took six hours... the bus driver bailed on the interstates and took parish highways through swamps, plantation country and sugar cane fields, which allowed for a lengthy meditation on the duality of the South as well as the imminent devastation.... anyway, I finally caught a plane out of George Bush last night...
And, of course, I got off light.So: Also documented is the Natchez Trace in Jackson, Mississippi, where I spent a couple of days last week cycling with my sister and my mom's neighbor, who -- come to find out -- is a DEA agent. Yes, Missisippi: My family got hit pretty hard by Katrina in Jackson and near Hattiesburg.... torn up fences and power lines, uprooted 150 foot pine trees, etc... My good ol Uncle Ed and Aunt Dot cannot get out of their house because of the prodigious amount of debris... but at leeast they lived... still, they are pretty demoralized and their plight makes me rather sad and feeling somewhat guilty about being back in Los Angeles and not back their helping them sift through the damage...
Even though none of these were shot in the storm itself, I still make no apologies for the blurriness of any of these photos. With the camera in hand, I rarely get off the bike, nor stop the vehicle. Except for the stuff in the French Quarter, these pics are all about motion... as was the situation in Mississippi and Louisiana itself.
Keep in mind that a lot of this stuff is now underwater and is teeming with sewage, water mocassins and dysentery.
80 people are dead in Gulfport, Mississippi alone. Trust me: that is a very conservative count. My mom told me the winds of Biblical proportion beat up her house ALL day Monday. Jackson is 180 miles north of the coast. There is more damage than is really fathomable along all those small towns from the coast, up the delta and into hill country. I cannot confirm this yet, but there is a rumor that Richton, Mississippi (where my Uncle Ed is the local doctor) is basically g-o-n-e. So: the only difference between this and the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia not too long ago is that the American peoples of the Gulf Coast were given 48 to 72 hours notice that the shit was going to hit the fan. We'll see how much difference that notice will make in the final casualty count.

The secret word is Mortality

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Today I had my first op-ed piece in the LA Times, which I guess is some kinda landmark. If the subject matter seems a little unexpected it was requested not instigated. I hope there will be more,0,3101267.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

The secret words is Debut

CRYPTIQUEYou wicked political dwarf, we will resolutely smash your desperate war moves!