David L. Kirp
Monday, September 19, 2005
That the Federal Emergency Management Agency mismanaged the Hurricane Katrina relief effort is old news. But there’s more to FEMA’s failure than simple bungling. The Bush administration’s core belief that faith-based organizations can do the job better than the government or experienced nonprofits has compounded the problem.
Immediately after the hurricane, there were only two secular organizations to which FEMA’s Web site urged that contributions be made; all the others were faith-based. What’s worse, in at least some instances, FEMA relied on faith-based charities to spearhead the emergency-relief effort, regardless of whether they had expertise. Case in point: Tulsa, Okla.
Years before Katrina, a coalition of public agencies and nonprofit groups in Tulsa, led by the Red Cross, had devised a disaster plan. In the wake of Katrina, the coalition quickly developed a detailed strategy to aid the survivors who, it was anticipated, would be sent to Tulsa — to provide help not just in the immediate aftermath but for the days and weeks ahead.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) needs your immediate help to stop Congress and the Bush administration from seriously degrading organic standards. After 35 years of hard work, the U.S. organic community has built up a multi-billion dollar alternative to industrial agriculture, based upon strict organic standards and organic community control over modification to these standards.
Now, large corporations such as Kraft, Wal-Mart, & Dean Foods–aided and abetted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are moving to lower organic standards by allowing a Bush appointee to create a list of synthetic ingredients that would be allowed organic production. Even worse these proposed regulatory changes will reduce future public discussion and input and take away the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) traditional lead jurisdiction in setting standards. What this means, in blunt terms. is that USDA bureaucrats and industry lobbyists, not consumers, will now have more control over what can go into organic foods and products.
Take action here.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 20, acting in haste and near-total secrecy, the U.S. Senate will vote on a “rider” to the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that will reduce control over organic standards from the National Standards Board and put this control in the hands of federal bureaucrats in the USDA. (Remember the USDA proposal in 1997-98 that said that genetic engineering, toxic sludge, and food irradiation would be OK on organic farms, or USDA suggestions in 2004 that heretofore banned pesticides, hormones, tainted feeds, and animal drugs would be OK?).
Take action here.
For the past week in Washington, OCA has been urging members of the Senate not to reopen and subvert the federal statute that governs U.S. Organic standards (the Organic Food Production Act – OFPA), but rather to let the organic community and the National Organic Standards resolve our differences over issues like synthetics and animal feed internally, and then proceed to a open public comment period. Unfortunately most Senators seem to be listening to industry lobbyists more closely than to us. We need to raise our voices.
Take action here.
In the past, grassroots mobilization and mass pressure by organic consumers have been able to stop the USDA and Congress from degrading organic standards. This time Washington insiders tell us that the “fix is is already in.” So we must take decisive action now. We need you to call your U.S. Senators today. We need you to sign the following petition and send it to everyone you know. We also desperately need funds to head off this attack in the weeks and months to come. Thank you for your support. Together we will take back citizen control over organic standards and preserve organic integrity.
Take action here.
The Bush regime is interested in Uganda-which is bad news for the Ugandans, who are dying in large numbers as a consequence of that concern.
On the one hand, the powers in Kampala have abruptly stopped distributing free condoms, which, predictably, has meant a deadly uptick in the rates of HIV/AIDS infection nationwide.
This genocidal shift in policy has everything to do with Bush/Cheney’s influence on Yowen Museveni’s government. (Pres. Museveni’s wife is a born-again Christian.
For more, read this.
And as if that policy weren’t murderous enough, Museveni’s government is wiping out Ugandans by the hundreds every day up in the country’s ravaged north-a genocidal drive to which Bush/Cheney, and the US press, are paying no attention.
Otunnu Says There is Genocide in North
The Monitor (Kampala)
September 19, 2005
Posted to the web September 18, 2005
Children’s rights activist Olara Otunnu has called on the UN to reprimand the government over what he describes as “ongoing genocide” in northern Uganda.
The former United Nations Under-Secretary General and Foreign Minister in the Okello regime wants Uganda to comply with the measures contained in a UN resolution that demands countries to end atrocities against children.
“The genocide unfolding in northern Uganda is happening on our watch, and with our full knowledge. Why is there no action?” Otunnu said on Friday.
He was delivering the main address at the convocation of Lehman College, a New York university that honoured him with a Doctorate of Human Letters degree for his role as a leading supporter of the rights of children.
After Katrina Fiasco, Time for Bush to Go
by Gordon Adams
Thursday, September 8, 2005
The Baltimore Sun
The disastrous federal response to Katrina exposes a record of incompetence, misjudgment and ideological blinders that should lead to serious doubts that the Bush administration should be allowed to continue in office.
When taxpayers have raised, borrowed and spent $40 billion to $50 billion a year for the past four years for homeland security but the officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency cannot find their own hands in broad daylight for four days while New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast swelter, drown and die, it is time for them to go.
When funding for water works and levees in the gulf region is repeatedly cut by an administration that seems determined to undermine the public responsibility for infrastructure in America, despite clear warnings that the infrastructure could not survive a major storm, it seems clear someone is playing politics with the public trust.
From Eileen S.:
State of Texas Executes Frances Newton
The state of Texas has executed Frances Newton. She was killed by lethal injection shortly after 6 o’clock last night despite widespread calls for a stay of her execution. She is the first African-American woman to be executed in Texas since Reconstruction. Her supporters included Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the Austin American Statesman and the head of the American Bar Association. Numerous questions were raised about whether Newton received a fair trial when she was convicted of killing her husband and two children 18 years ago. Her state-appointed attorney, Ron Mock, did not interview a single witness in preparation for her trial. He has since been barred from handling capital cases due to incompetence. Hours before her execution, the Supreme Court denied a petition to stop her execution.
Now They Tell Us
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, September 12, 2005
Amid a slew of stories this weekend about the embattled presidency and the blundering government response to the drowning of New Orleans, some journalists who are long-time observers of the White House are suddenly sharing scathing observations about President Bush that may be new to many of their readers.
Is Bush the commanding, decisive, jovial president you’ve been hearing about for years in so much of the mainstream press?
Maybe not so much.Judging from the blistering analyses in Time, Newsweek, and elsewhere these past few days, it turns out that Bush is in fact fidgety, cold and snappish in private.
Breach of a myth
After Katrina, the country no longer believes in Bush the protector. His presidency is ruined.
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By Sidney Blumenthal
Sept. 15, 2005 | Bush’s America is gone with the wind. It lasted just short of four years, from Sept. 11, 2001, to Aug. 29, 2005. The devastation of New Orleans was the watery equivalent of a dirty bomb, but Hurricane Katrina approached the homeland with advance warnings, scientific anticipation and a personal briefing of the president by the director of the National Hurricane Center, alerting him about a possible breaching of the levees. It was as predictable as though Osama bin Laden had phoned in every detail to the television networks. No future terrorist attack would or could be as completely foreseen as Katrina.
via Dr. Bombay:
from Today’s Paper:
Mississippi’s Hattiesburg-American also has a curious story that might be worth follow-up: Utility managers in the state said they were called by Vice President Cheney’s office and told they needed to get power back to a gas pipeline, stat. “We were led to believe a national emergency was created when the pipelines were shut down,” said one manager. Workers were diverted, and a few hospitals had to stay without power for an extra day.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: We recommend that our readers print out this incisive special report and read it in print. The author is an award-winning syndicated columnist, professor of journalism, and a former emergency management official. This article is an in-depth look at the Bush policies that created the atmosphere not only for an ineffective FEMA response during the Katrina catastrophe, but which may have contributed to additional property destruction and deaths than should have occurred.]
The Federal Response to Katrina
by Walter M. Brasch
In late afternoon, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005, the National Weather Service began tracking a tropical depression in the Atlantic about 175 miles southeast of the Bahamas. Moving quickly, it turned west and crossed into southern Florida two days later as a Category 1 hurricane, bringing with it almost a foot of rain. Now known as Katrina, it entered the Gulf of Mexico, where it quickly picked up speed and intensity from the warmer water. By Saturday evening, it was a Category 3 hurricane, and there was no doubt it would inflict significant damage when it hit the Gulf Coast. By mid-morning, Sunday, Aug. 28, with winds of 175 miles per hour, about 250 miles from the Mississippi River, it became a Category 5 hurricane, the most intense on the Saffir-Simpson scale. In more than a century of recording hurricanes, Katrina was only the fourth with that much force to be so close to the American shore. No longer was it a question if it would hit the Gulf Coast, it was with how much intensity. The target was New Orleans.