Thursday, February 21, 2008


Remember that it only takes one hurricane in your neighborhood to make it a bad season” says Conrad Lautenbacher from the National Hurricane Center.

From the Archives. (May 2006) I hate to bring this up but hurricane season is upon us and guess who’s still in office, tuning his guitar.

I was thinking about the Katrina debacle last night after discovering some chilling yet somehow beautiful New Orleans footage and videos at and

This made me remember how weird it was to drive from DC to Charleston after a hurricane nearly destroyed the city.

Signs as far away as Charlotte were bent to the ground and debris littered the roadside for hundreds of miles.

It got worse the closer I got to the coast. Then I reached Charleston and discovered that the damage was even worse than I had imagined,that the city had been effectively transformed into a bombed-out wisteria-dripping ruin.

Still, years later, when a local weather station warned that a hurricane was heading my way I said “Are y’all crazy? Hurricanes don’t come this far inland.”

Boy was I wrong.

Our seventy-year-old windows shook in their casements as Mud and I kept looking at each other and asking Is THIS when we fill the bathtub with water and stand in the stairwell with the mattress over our faces?

It was the only time I hated the fact that our house was filled with French doors.

The rain pounded against our thirteen-inch stucco walls so hard that they were saturated clean through. And, even though we scoured the neighborhood, we never found the patio furniture that the wind carried away or mangled beyond recognition.

(And did I mention that plants we’d never planted sprouted up everywhere even as we wondered what became of our tomatoes? Or that I was so damn desperate for a cup of coffee in our powerless town that I actually ground my beans with a rolling pin?)

All of which is a precursor to my saying that being in New Orleans next month is going to be mighty damn weird and I can’t believe that Bush isn’t doing more to prepare for this season (and that I can’t find some long-distance way to make plans to work in a neighborhood while I’m there) .

Meanwhile, Pat Robertson has announced that his god told him that a tsunami will hit the Pacific NW this year (which, to my undying delight, caused owlbear1 to write “Oh mighty Thor! I beseech thee to wack Pat Robertson’s pee pee”).

Meanwhile, tickets for Madonna’s new tour are a mere $350 apiece.

Puhleeez! I mean sure Madonna is great and like a virgin and yogatastic and all that and she survived that unfortunate equestrian accident unlike Christopher Reeves and I am sure that it is oh so fantastic to watch her because she is, after all, Madonna, but we are talking about HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS here and the biggest irony of all is that her tour includes a video montage of Bush, bin Laden, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al. juxtaposed with starving African children (all of whom could be fed and clothed for years if Madonna donated her profits to this cause).

Meanwhile, David Sirota points out in In These Times that the same neocons who preach the so-called culture of life are paid boocoodles of money from the health-care industry to look the other way when sick people skip a trip to the physician because they can’t afford to go.

He asks “Why do we hear so much about how well-off America is, yet our country has the highest number of uninsured citizens in the industrialized world?”

Why isn't that question asked? Because you can't answer it honestly without exploring how Corporate America has bought off enough politicians to make sure our government helps corporations perpetuate this travesty.

....I'm not naïve. I know that corporations exist for one reason and one reason only: the relentless, single-minded pursuit of profit, no matter who gets shafted. That is their stated purpose in a capitalist society, and that's fine. But in our country, corporations aren't supposed to pursue this purpose in a vacuum, unchecked, unregulated, unopposed. There is supposed to be a counterweight, a government separate from Big Business whose job is to prevent the corporate profit motive from destroying society.

That government once passed laws protecting the environment, so the profit motive wouldn't end up eliminating breathable air. That government once protected workers, so the profit motive wouldn't result in Americans toiling in sweatshops. And that government once demanded better wages, so the profit motive wouldn't result in a race to the bottom for poverty-level paychecks. But that government, as we all know, is long gone. Our government has been the victim of a hostile takeover. Over the last thirty years, Corporate America has applied its most effective business tactics to the task of purchasing the one commodity that's not supposed to be for sale: American democracy.

So yeah. Next time you’re watching one of those feel-good Blue Cross Blue Shield look-how-we-love-our-customers ads, remind yourself that HMOs doubled their profits in 2003 and spent $600 million on lobbying efforts and campaign contributions that year.

Sirota also points out that “Frist’s family was forced to pay $1.7 billion in criminal and civil fines for trying to rip off Medicare while running the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain“ (a chain where I toiled in their crummy kitchens for 7 long years).

And to think it was once considered primitive to feast on the poor.

BEST-OF SPAM: Do you want your dick to be wallpaper for a computer? (Um. I’m not even sure how to answer that?)

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