Saturday, June 07, 2008

How Karl Rove Played Politics While People Drowned

That is part of the title of a post at Crooks and Liars by Logan Murphy. You can click on over to read about Karl Rove's role in the aftermath of Katrina.

Since this blog is so much about New Orleans, these days, it seemed proper to provide a link.

An excerpted paragraph:
“I could not believe that the president of the United States, staged by Karl Rove himself, had come down to the city of New Orleans and basically put up a stage prop. It was like you had gone to a studio in California and filmed a movie. They put the props up and the minute we were gone they took them down. All the dump trucks were gone. All the Coast Guard people were gone. It was an empty spot with one little crane. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life. At that moment I knew what was going on and I’ve been a changed woman ever since. It truly changed my life.”

--the BB

Take your daughters to work day

Well, it's Saturday and we were all in the mood for a romp. I did not get around to the touring with camera I had hoped because, when I finally shut down the computer, I had put in 7.5 hours at the office, and that with a late start.

But the girls were not about to stay at home if there was a chance I might go gallivanting about town.

So here are Belle (left) and Maggie (right), checking out the scenery from my cubicle - and pretty nice scenery it is. Regular viewers will have seen this view here before but the ladies were scoping it all out - and keeping me company. It was a skeleton crew, about ten of us when I came in.

I could not deprive them of a glance out the opposite side of the building, so here they are looking toward the riverfront and watching a tug pulling a barge along the Mississippi.

We took a slightly different path back toward the car park and caught sight of this moderne decor and cool poster below it.

What fun!

And how about these insets in the sidewalk? I really don't know, but I am guessing they mark where very early families lived in NOLA. Any locals care to enlighten me? [I think Mimi may have said something about these but, having very little in the way of short-term auditory memory, I cannot recall for sure.]

This one reads "Pelican Homestead." I forgot to enhance the contrast before posting. It has a partner inset for those approaching in the opposite direction, not that many feet further down the sidewalk.

I could try looking it up on the web, but then I would not get stories from folks who have lived or visited here, and stories are more fun.

I took other photos today, all architectural details, but I am pausing now.

Oh, btw, the girls think I am rather a silly bear. They think this all the time, as do all my children, but especially now. Belle, being a river horse, and Maggie being a dolphin, don't see what the anxiety I have about being below water level is all about. But then, Maggie has never been in a hurricane and if Belle was it has been many years since.

More on water levels in NOLA during Katrina later.

--the BB

People lived here

And some may have died here as well. Yes, there were lots of pieces of clothing amid the rubble. I imagine clothes that hung in abandoned closets, but I don't really know.

On the days when I have taken Earhart from River Ridge to the CBD, I have driven past a long stretch where ruined houses are being razed to make room for rebuilding. It has progressed, not looking now the way it did the first few times I drove that route.

This morning, since it was Saturday and I had no fellow car-poolers and was not really in the mood to rush to work... I stopped to take some pics, as I have wanted to do for some time.

This was once a neighborhood full of people. I wonder now what their stories were and are. Where are they now? What have they gone through? What are their hopes? Have some fallen into despair?

Just a little bit closer to downtown are three-story apartment buildings of brick, some with metal balconies. They still stand and folks still live there. They are a sign of life. I hope this will be a place of new life.

Yesterday, while chatting on the phone after work, I tired of pacing about and sat down on a backless office chair near the parking garage, just opposite the building I showed photos of yesterday evening. This morning as I drove in to work, it had migrated to the intersection. There is something whimsical about it all. So this very quickly taken photo while at a red light is my shout out to the chair that gave me a resting place.

To my imagination it is rather cute, and a bit forlorn, and evocative of the Pixar Studios lamp. I am picturing it hopping down the street on its own.
--the BB

$4/gallon coming soon to a filling station near you

As I was listening to Marketplace on NPR yesterday (I must have left work early), the comment was made that nothing was happening to supply that would prompt a ten-dollar jump in crude oil price; it all seemed to be driven by "perception."

Chris in Paris writes a bit about this news (whence I snaffled the price shown above).

I still plan to drive around a bit in NOLA this weekend.

Off to work (for a while)!
--the BB

Smintheus nails it

"Treat a cut immediately and nobody benefits. Wait for gangrene to take hold and lots of people can cash in. That appears to be the Republican governing philosophy."

From a post at Daily Kos

-the BB

Friday, June 06, 2008


From Iraq Coalition Casualties Count:
Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Army Casualties (3 of 3)
Sgt. Shane P. Duffy, 22, of Taunton, Mass...died June 4 in Tikrit, Iraq, of wounds suffered in Sharqat, Iraq, when their unit was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire and hand grenades. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion...

DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 3)
Spc. Jonathan D. A. Emard, 20, of Mesquite, Texas...died June 4 in Tikrit, Iraq, of wounds suffered in Sharqat, Iraq, when their unit was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire and hand grenades. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion...

DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 3)
Sgt. Cody R. Legg, 23, of Escondido, Ca...died June 4 in Tikrit, Iraq, of wounds suffered in Sharqat, Iraq, when their unit was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire and hand grenades. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion...

DoD Identifies Army Casaulty
Pfc. Joshua E. Waltenbaugh, 19, of Ford City, Pa., died June 3 in Taji, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a non-combat related injury. He was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.

Georgian Soldier Killed in Iraq
A Georgian soldier was killed on a combat mission in Iraq on June 4, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said on Thursday. Squad commander Irakli Kordzaia, 28, was killed when a checkpoint in the province of Diyala came under repeat fire...

MNF: MND-C Soldier attacked by small arms fire
A Coalition force Soldier was killed by small arms fire June 4 during a patrol south of Baghdad. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Quincy J. Green, 26, of El Paso, Texas, died June 2 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 601st Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Each a unique, beloved, irreplaceable child of God. May they rest in peace and may their families and loved ones find comfort in their sorrow.

May all those who perish in war from every side rest in the heart of Godde. May we learn to do a better job of getting along with each other and meeting our challenges than warfare.

For the countless, and uncounted, Iraqi dead amid the struggles for power and struggles to survive where fear, mistrust, and animosity divide the human family.

For those involved in "the forgotten war" in Afghanistan.

For those in war, civil strife, and terror anywhere on this planet.

For the preservation of the planet Mars from our madness.
--the BB

A little rebellion is good for the soul

So I took of early from work. That is, at 5:30 after a 9.5 hour day. Talk about living wild!

Well, it is Friday. I then got on the phone with my best friend and we talked for about 40 minutes. Not wanting to yak in the parking garage or while driving, I stayed on the streets, pacing back and forth, venturing up on to Canal Strett, trying to carry on a conversation with the generic noises of traffic, commercial air conditioning units, a really loud bus, a heated argument on the street, running young girls and older skater boys, tourists, downtown workers, and the scrabbling gurgle of water underground.

I spent a lot of time pacing up and down University on the block between Common and Canal. I posted a photo of this particular building at the end of this post. Here are some details. Most of the eagles are painted white. I much prefer the contrast of bronze (or better yet, gilt) as in the photo above to the sameness of white everywhere. In any case, the decorative detail on this building is incredibly rich and you just don't get that sort of thing anymore.

I love good post-modern architecture with its bold lines and beautiful materials, long straight lines and (mostly Romanesque) arches and arcs, frequently unusual angles and unexpected details. But I also love neo-classical and Victorian and the rich carved detail in buildings such as this. What marvelous acanthus scrollwork!

Hre is the detail on the columns and pediment of a bay window. (You may click to enlarge any of my photos).

I was tempted to crop this and focus on the shield (with its very French fleurs-de-lis) but thought better of it. The building is being repaired and renovated, so let's have the context. I am glad that buildings like this are being fixed and not razed. So much of the United States would trash a beauty like this one. Hooray for NOLA!

Across the street, and adjacent to the car park where the rental car awaited me, is the empty Orpheum Theater. I love theater, so this was a sad sight.

I have been promising myself for weeks that I would pull over and take a picture of St Joseph's Catholic Church and tonight I finally did it.

Radical topic shift alert (lest you suffer mental whiplash)---

The night before last I finally broke down and cooked in the evening. Cooking is really preparing lunches in advance since by the time food is cooked it is way too late. And when I come home I don't really feel like cooking. But cook I did.

I made a stew with some pork, half a dozen sundried tomatoes (in oil), half an onion, a beautiful large red bell pepper, a large clove of garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, black pepper, chicken broth, red wine, an entire package of organic baby spinach, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I also cooked up a bunch of brown rice with celery and sunflower seeds. I put rice in three plastic containers, covered it with the stew, and voilà! Lunch for three days.

I had the second helping today, reheating it in the nucrowave at work. Quite delicious, with good tang and a bit of fire and so many vegetables that my diet often lacks.

Tonight, in the Friday spirit, I stopped at the Shimmy Shack for a quick bite to eat and some more conversation with the adorable young Russian lady, Ksusha, who waits tables there.

I plan to work no more than six hours tomorrow and Sunday not at all. So here's to the weekend!

After a glass of cabernet across the street I am now having a rum and Coke (Diet Coke, and yes, not Diet Pepsi this time - I buy what is available from time to time).

I finished reading Steven Saylor's Roma last weekend. Enjoyable but a bit too ambitious and not quite the feast to savor that his Gordianus the Finder series is. Right now I am in the middle of Boris Akunin's The Death of Achilles, an Erast Fandorin mystery.

Beyond that I eat, I sleep, I work, I read news and blogs online, lather, rinse, repeat.
--the BB

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Just one new photo

And I took it yesterday.

There is elegance in the renaissance of New Orleans. It's not all rubble and rebuilding. Each day I pass MiLa restaurant and glance through the gap in the curtains, thinking to myself "How lovely!" as I look at the elegantly set tables. So I paused and took a photo yesterday morning (just before they began erecting scaffolding in front of it all).

Here's the blurb from their website:
MiLa Restaurant is now
open at the Renaissance
Pere Marquette Hotel

MiLa is the culmination of both the marriage of
chefs Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing
and their respective home state cuisines –
Mississippi and Louisiana.

With a heavy emphasis on provisions sourced
from regional farmers, MiLa fuses traditional
Southern classics with fresh and surprising
ingredients. Dine in an elegant yet relaxed
dining room in downtown New Orleans.

I'm assuming they won't mind the publicity. I want to go inside.
--the BB

About those military tribunals

The Rude Pundit has some good points to make.

--the BB

Sing it out, Langston!

I found this 70-year old poem at Daily Kos this morning

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

from Let America be America Again (1938)
Langston Hughes [1902 - 67].

Господи помилуй

Bloody day in Iraq: Truck blast kills 18
Detroit Free Press - 3 hours ago
AP • June 5, 2008 BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A truck packed with rockets blew up Wednesday in a Shi'ite area of Baghdad, killing 18 people in the deadliest single blast in the city in more than three months.
Truck explosion kills 18, wounds 75 in Iraq The Associated Press
3 US Soldiers Killed by Small-Arms Fire in Iraq ABC News

Iraq lawmakers want US forces out as part of deal
Reuters - 9 hours ago
William Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat and Iraq war opponent, released excerpts from a letter he was handed by Iraqi parliamentarians laying down conditions for the security pact that the Bush administration seeks with Iraq.
Iraqi Parliamentarian: 70 Percent Of Iraqis Want Withdrawal, Huge ... Think Progress

The Jews of Iraq
New York Times - 6 hours ago
As a first-generation American, born to an Iraqi Jewish father, I not only grew up hearing about the once vibrant Jewish community in Iraq and its special customs, but also grew up knowing that Americans knew next to nothing about the unique Jewish ...

US Marine acquitted in Haditha deaths
Reuters - 5 hours ago
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES, June 4 (Reuters) - A US Marine officer was acquitted by a military jury on Wednesday on charges he tried to cover up the shooting deaths of two dozen unarmed Iraqi men, women and children at Haditha in 2005.
US Marine acquitted of all charges in The Age
Closing arguments begin for Marine accused in Haditha case KESQ

Global Food Crisis
UN Chief Says Global Food Crisis Needs Quick Response
Voice of America - 21 hours ago
By Sabina Castelfranco UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that dealing with the current global food crisis is a fight the international community cannot afford to lose.
Video: Global food prices affecting families in Malaysia - 3 Jun 08 AlJazeeraEnglish
UN pledges $1.2b to fight food shortages ABC Online

Tsvangirai arrested, freed in Zimbabwe
United Press International - 11 hours ago
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, June 4 (UPI) -- Zimbabwean opposition leader and presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai has been released after being arrested Wednesday at a roadblock, his supporters said.
Opposition leader is held by police in Zimbabwe, charged and released Detroit Free Press
Zimbabwe opposition leader detained by police International Herald Tribune

Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Jets Attack Rebel Headquarters in North (Update1)
Bloomberg - 1 hour ago
By Michael Heath June 5 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan fighter jets struck Tamil Tiger bases in Kilinochchi district, site of the rebel headquarters in the north, acting upon reports the group was preparing attacks, the military said.
Sri Lanka commuters hit by bomb BBC News
S.Lankan shares at 3-½ month low after bomb blast Reuters

Hong Kong vigil for Tiananmen Square protesters low-key this year
International Herald Tribune - 20 hours ago
By Keith Bradsher HONG KONG: A smaller crowd than usual turned out here on Wednesday evening for the annual candlelight vigil commemorating the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, the participation depressed by a growing ...
Goddess of Democracy at Congress on Tiananmen anniversary AFP
China Should Give Account of Tiananmen Crackdown, US Says Bloomberg

Nouvelle réplique et alerte aux inondations dans le Sichuan
La Presse Canadienne - Il y a 4 heures
MIANYANG — Une réplique de 5,3 a secoué jeudi la région du Sichuan, alors que les autorités chinoises ont lancé un nouvel avertissement sur de possibles inondations dans la région, en raison de la montée des eaux jeudi dans un lac formé par les ...
Le PM chinois inspecte le lac post-séisme de Tangjiashan XINHUA
Sichuan: la colère des parents gronde, la presse muselée Papiers de Chine

Foreigners find Beijing becomes a forbidden city before Olympics
Globe and Mail - 1 hour ago
BEIJING - Daniel Yeung is still trying to understand how it happened. After eight years of steady employment, the Canadian recruitment consultant is being kicked out of China, forced to join an exodus of foreigners streaming out of the host country ...
China dissenter retains high hopes for democracy Reuters
Come clean on crushing protests, China urged National Post

Prosecutor lied on Darfur, envoy says
Boston Globe - 5 hours ago
KHARTOUM - Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations said yesterday that allegations his government is involved in crimes against humanity in Darfur are "fictitious and vicious.
Sudan ignores ICC extradition call
Darfur atrocities planned by Sudan government: ICC report JURIST

Mars lander told to dig up samples for analysis
Reuters - 12 hours ago
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Phoenix Mars lander has been instructed to scoop up and analyze its first samples from the planet's polar region to help determine if conditions were ever suitable for life, mission scientists said on Wednesday.
Mars Lander Is Poised to Begin Digging for Ice New York Times
Future of Mars Exploration: What's Next?

Pakistan - Scandinavia
'Al-Qaeda' claims embassy blast - 4 hours ago
Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad which left at least six people dead, according to an internet site purporting to represent the network.
Pakistan's chronic crisis Pioneer Press
Al-Qaeda threatens Norway Aftenposten

South Korea
South Korea parliament impasse stymies Lee reforms
Reuters - 2 hours ago
By Jack Kim SEOUL, June 5 (Reuters) - A boycott by opposition parties scuttled the opening session South Korea's new parliament on Thursday, dealing a fresh blow to an unpopular new president who was hoping to pass sweeping business-friendly reforms.
Poll rebuff for S Korea president BBC News
Election setback spells more woe for SKorea's Lee AFP

Finaliza con disturbios marcha de estudiantes y profesores en Chile
La Crónica de Hoy - hace 14 horas
Con enfrentamientos entre manifestantes y efectivos de la militarizada policía de Carabineros de Chile finalizó hoy una marcha de estudiantes y profesores en esta capital, en contra de una propuesta de reforma educativa. ...
Estudiantes y maestros chilenos enfrentan a la policía durante una ... La Jornada (México)
Profesores y estudiantes exigen en Chile una educación mejor AFP

United States
Gay couples can set the date
San Jose Mercury News - 2 hours ago
By Howard Mintz and Mary Anne Ostrom The wait is over for everyone from wedding planners to local clerks - and thousands of gay and lesbian couples across California.
California Supreme Court refuses to delay gay marriage Los Angeles Times
Calif. court refuses to stall gay marriage Chicago Tribune

O Ever-understanding Lover,
I have grown up in a world
which is addicted to success,
which places halos on those
who achieve fame and fortune.
Free me, I pray, from this addiction.

Guide my hand to lift up to you
all the harvest that may come
from the labor of my hands this day.
Help me to dedicate to you
the results of all I do.

And by offering to you the fruit of my labor,
may the words of your servant, St. Paul,
become a guiding compass for me:
“Whatever you eat,
whatever you drink
whatever you do at all,
do it for the glory of God.”

May I thus fully surrender
the success or failure of my work;
they now belong to you
and to you alone.
May I find my pleasure not in the prize
of my work’s successful completion
or my pain in the shame of its failure,
for my joy is in toiling for your glory.

Fix my heart firmly only upon the work at hand
and not upon the final product,
whether it be victory or defeat.
Let my delight
be only in the task before me,
for to you, my God,
I dedicate the fruits of all my acts.
—Edward Hays, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


U.S. Confirmed Deaths
Reported Deaths: 4090
Confirmed Deaths: 4086
Pending Confirmation: 4
DoD Confirmation List
Latest Coalition Fatalities

MNF: MND-N Soldiers attacked by small-arms fire
Three Multi-National Division – North Soldiers were killed as a result of a small-arms fire attack in Al Hawijah near Kirkuk June 4. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending next of kin notification and release by the Department of Defense.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Christopher D. McCarthy, of Virginia Beach, Va., died 1 June 2008 at Forward Operating Base Ramadi, Iraq. His death is under investigation. He was assigned to the U.S. Joint Forces Command, Joint Reserve Unit, Norfolk, Va.

MNF: MND-B Soldier dies of non-battle related cause
A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died from a non-battle related cause at approximately 8 a.m. June 3. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Justin R. Mixon, 22, of Bogalusa, La., died June 1 in Baghdad Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

Justin is a local Louisiana boy whom Mimi honored.

Information from Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

You may learn more about the fallen at IGTNT, a regular feature at Daily Kos intended to remember, to honor, to mourn.

--the BB

The latest on FISA

You can mosey on over to mcjoan for an update and call to arms.
--the BB

Martian Sunset

NASA's Image of the Day brings us this Martian sunset.

h/t to Hubris Sonic at The Group News Blog who observes, "Hollywood never had it right."

--the BB

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A few shots from today

Another angle looking at the dome of the "Jesuit Church" as it is popularly known.

A close-up of the door I previously showed from across the street.

The carved stone above said door. (I tweaked the lighting and contrast, etc.)

One of the buildings across from the parking garage. An elevator-like device connects to the wooden "mini jet ramps" on each floor. So much repair and renovation of buildings at every turn!

--the BB

Circling ever closer

Henry Waxman, Godde bless him, never gives up. Emptywheel has some reflections and quotes to share as Congressman Waxman keeps circling Cheney and Bush.

Go get 'em!
--the BB

Monday, June 02, 2008


Mercifully, it has been a few days since I updated this, though I do not trust lulls in growing death tolls. May they rest in peace.

Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
Cpl. Christian S. Cotner, 20, of Waterbury, Conn., died May 30 from a non-hostile incident in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing...

MNF: MNF-W Soldier dies in non-combat related incident
A Multi-National Force - West Soldier died as the result of a non-combat related incident June 1. The Soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.

MNF: MND-B Soldier attacked by EFP
A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed when an explosively formed penetrator detonated in northeastern Baghdad June 1.

Into paradise may the angels lead you. At your coming may the martyrs receive you, and bring you into the holy city Jerusalem.

--the BB


I still feel bad about the time Mimi challenged her readers to figure out what AMDG meant. She had barely clicked on "publish" when I read it and immediately responded, thereby spoiling all the fun of guessing and debating amongst us all. Still sorry, Grandmère.

So, this photo's for Mimi, by way of apology.
It is carved over the doorway of the rectory of Immaculate Heart, the Jesuit parish on Baronne that I have mentioned before. I took a few steps out of my way while returning from lunch so I could grab a few shots of the exterior. (This is the church I mistook for Orthodox when looking at the onion domes on its front towers from a 23rd story window.)

This shot, on the corner of Carondolet and Common, shows a fragment of the rebuilding effort in the Central Business District. I walk by it every day and we passed it in the streetcar yesterday.

Even items that could use repairs have their beauty. Isn't this a lovely base for the device that tells me when I can cross the street?

I am losing track of the photos and can't be bothered to pop over and scroll down to see if I have posted this urban canyon shot yet or not.

Or this fabulous door.

And where did I get my lunch every day while we worked at the former building? (And where did I have lunch today?)
The Tulane hospital cafeteria - a great bargain for quite good food. Granted, when you first walk in to the pavilion where the police keep watch over the lobby, there is a whiff of hospital smell. But you quickly forget it as you navigate toward the food and never notice it again. Fried chicken, spicy rice and beans, cornbread muffins, chicken fried steak, shrimp curry, stuffed peppers, blackened catfish - you never know what the home style offerings of the day might be. Pizza, cheeseburgers or grilled chicken on a bun, do-it-yourself salads sold by weight, wraps, sushi, desserts. Whatever tickles your fancy.

This is looking down Loyola Avenue from Tulane Avenue, an intersection through which I drive six days a week.

And this is the garage where we park. It functions but you can tell it is not fully "restored."
A couple final shots of Immaculate Heart. You gotta love the brick and tile work here.

A little Moorish influence.
And that concludes today's photo tour of New Orleans (or a few small spots where I hang out).
--the BB