Sunday, September 25, 2005

Panda AC fundraiser


Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for the Panda Athletic Club Youth Scholarship Fund.

Meet the kids from the Panda AC.
@ Bastante
3315 Watson
Sunday October 2nd, 4pm-7pm
314-783-4000
$10 suggested starting donation

Also-
Hoosierweight Boxing
Sunday afternoon October 16th outdoors at Bastante
tickets on sale now at metrotix 534-1111

Banned Book Reading at the Royale


Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it.
-Mark Twain

ACLU-EM WILL HOST BANNED BOOKS READING
Local Community Leaders to Read Excerpts From Targeted Books


ST. LOUIS - In commemoration of Banned Books Week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri (ACLU-EM) will host a Banned Books Reading and Happy Hour from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27 at The Royale, 3132 S. Kingshighway.

Local community leaders and activists who will read selected passages from challenged or banned books include Editor of The St. Louis Journalism Review, Ed Bishop, Spoken work artist and host of Sistah Speak, Nailah, Executive Director of the ASC Foundation and the co-host of Literature for the Halibut on KDHX Ann Haubrich, and Spoken word artist, Bodacious. The readings will start at 7 p.m.

"The ACLU opposes censorship," said Scott Emanuel, ACLU-EM Project Coordinator. "For over 200 years, the right to choose what we see and hear and read has been one of our most cherished freedoms. Permitting restraints on literature sets the stage for attacks on all expression that is artistically or politically controversial or that portrays unpleasant realities of life. We think that an event like this is a great way to engage the community and demonstrate the great literary losses that censorship brings."

Among the books that remain on the American Libraries Association's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books are the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowlings, "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain.

Observed since 1982, Banned Books Week: Celebrate the Freedom to Read is observed each year during the last week of September (Sept. 24-Oct. 1) to remind Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. For more info about the National Banned Books Week visit the American Libraries Association website at www.ala.org

A percentage of the bar will support the ACLU-EM. For more information about the ACLU-EM Banned Books Reading and Happy Hour, please call 314-361-3635, extension 27.

The ACLU-EM is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, membership organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of civil liberties in eastern Missouri. Located in St. Louis ACLU-EM is an affiliate of the national ACLU. The ACLU-EM defends civil liberties and the principles of equality and justice in eastern Missouri through its Litigation, Legislative and Public Education Programs. The ACLU was founded in 1920 as the first public interest law firm of its kind, and is recognized as the country's foremost advocate of individual rights.

Fiscal Conservative

Snip from conversation with syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks:
DAVID BROOKS: They are upset for a lot of reasons. Some of it is Katrina - anger just with reaction. A lot of it is that. Again Katrina is always the end of a long accumulation of events and for conservatives on spending, you have got a highway bill which was ridiculous, a travesty of pork barrel spending; you had an Ag bill; you had really five years in which George Bush has spent money at a faster clip than Lyndon Johnson.

JIM LEHRER: Say that again.

DAVID BROOKS: Domestic discretionary spending - non-defense spending - non-homeland security spending -- has increased.

JIM LEHRER: Non-Social Security, none all of those things -

DAVID BROOKS: -- has increased under George W. Bush twice as fast as under Bill Clinton, and faster than under Lyndon Baines Johnson. Conservatives didn't expect that in 2000. I guarantee you that. A lot of it is, frankly, the Republican Congress's fault. If you look back - when we look back on this period, we are going to look at a Congress that came preaching limited government but just has gone hog-wild in spending, and a president who never disciplined members of his own party to restrain themselves.

So there's just a lot of built-up anger and symbolically I think for a lot of conservatives there has to be what they call offsets, which are budget cuts to compensate for the cost -

JIM LEHRER: Of Katrina, of Rita --

DAVID BROOKS: And what we were about to say.

JIM LEHRER: Or Iraq or whatever.

DAVID BROOKS: Right.

JIM LEHRER: What's your view of this, Mark?

MARK SHIELDS: I have seen this movie before, Jim. The first 200 years of the United States, seven wars, Louisiana Purchase, expansion of the continent, the Great Depression; we ran up a total indebtedness of 1 trillion dollars.

In 12 years from 1980 to 1992, under Republican presidents promising to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse, which is the term I heard again this week, we saw that national debt quadruple. It became an issue in the '92 campaign on balanced budgets raised by Ross Perot and the consequence was that Bill Clinton, Democratic president, working with the Republican Congress left George Bush with a budget surplus.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Who is leading the insurgency?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

readiness

I got this from Jeff Weigand via the stlouist. Bob Kraiberg put this letter out warning for a disaster. He has some experience in advising in the event of a disaster. He is also funny. It is some sharp observations and warnings. I am curious what sort of plans our city, our state and the Feds have in the event of a real emergency. I would like to say I have some confidence in our city, state and feds. I won't though.

I know that I have already taken a few of the precautions in just my natural everyday readiness. I am phasing out the leather soled shoes to speak of one step. Of course, I can't help but think of the extra advise the Feds gave of in defense of a gas attack. Duct tape and vinyl sheeting. I know if that chaos breaks out, we will be totally wiped out on a level we haven't ever seen or imagined. And in that world, I would begin to live like a Han Solo or Mad Max in a world of Escape from New York. Or something like that.

What does New Orleans and Soulard have in common? The Big One won't be pretty.

In another life, before I found my true calling as Liquor Commissioner, I was a former Director of Disaster Operations now referred to as CEMA (City Emergency Management Agency). My friends would affectionately refer to me as the Master of Disaster, a title I would have gladly adopted if I had chosen to follow a career as a professional wrestler.

Despite my aversion to most things scholarly I did manage to learn a few things about emergency preparedness. The "Big One" for New Orleans has long been recognized as a direct hit by a big hurricane. Have you ever wondered why a drink with that name was made popular in The Big Easy? Our greatest risks are tornados, floods, chemical spills and earthquake (Our "Big One"). There are several similarities and differences in dealing with our respective Big One.

To name a few:

ADVANCED WARNING--The levy breaks caused by Katrina need no explanation. However, you could see Katrina coming in advance and evacuate if you could or so desired. There will be no advanced warning when New Madrid goes off. Mass evacuation is unlikely. Consider the fact that St. Louis is surrounded by river bridges. Manchester road is the only way out of town without crossing a river bridge but involves crossing several overpasses.

Imagine rush hour times twenty. Now consider just one bridge rendered impassible by the earthquake. Throw in the invariable accidents, breakdowns and those running out of gas. Many thousands trapped like rats in eternal gridlock.

FIRE-many of our non-reinforced brick buildings will collapse and gas lines will break.

BOTTOM LINE to my words of woe-be prepared to hunker down for a week or two.

Permanently tie a wrench to the gas valve at the meter. This is no time to be looking for a wrench. TURN OFF THE GAS

Have a "Disaster Kit" and supplies pre-packaged available to survive those first 72 hours or so. It should include the following basics:

durable waterproof container
drinking water
soap
first aid supplies and guide
food bars/can goods
toilet paper
emergency whistle
blankets
feminine products
emergency signal mirror
2 person tent
toothbrush/paste
radio
all weather ponchos
leather work gloves
flashlight
batteries
dust masks
candles
sanitation bags
water purification tabs
waterproof matches
utility knife
folding shovel
light sticks
can opener
pry bar
drinking cups
towlettes
duct tape
50 ft. nylon cord
tools
pet food
winter clothes-it could be -10 degrees or 100 in the shade.

You might also want to consider security issues (looters and criminal opportunists) Of course this disaster kit can be of your own design. Heck, you could even throw in some hurricane mix if you so desire.

Hopefully this disaster kit will do nothing but gather dust-if not I'll see you when we dig out.

Bob Kraiberg

I got posts coming

I got several posts I want to do, but I have been busy. This whole thing in the south has sapped my focus. I feel a guilt for I feel no pain. I see it, I read it. I try to remind myself regularly what is going on. It is going to be a long, long story.

Business is way up. We are having to make some rather dramatic adjustments. It is very good and has required a lot of hours. I haven't gotten a chance to post, but I got two posts in particular I want to talk about. The first is my thoughts on locations for businesses in south city. I opened a business over here on Kingshighway. There were neighborhoods I wanted to go to, but it was going to be way too difficult to make it work. I want to do another post on all the ghetto barriers that have been put in this past summer in my favorite neighborhood. I got a lot of pix of the fighters that have been pouring into the gym.

And I will be writing something about the food channel show. It is really rather too much, but also funny.

I also got a fundraiser for the kid's scholarship fund for the gym on Oct 2nd over at Bastante. It is going to be a spaghetti dinner deal for ten bucks a head from 4-7pm.

I also set fights for the next Hoosierweight on October 16th in the back lot of Bastante. I will make more announcements this week.

I got a very very very busy week this week. I have to totally re-prepare for business. It is a good kind of busy. I doubt I will get to do much blogging after tonight, much less respond to email.

Other eyes

Normally speaking I roll my eyes when other countries spew filth about the United States, especially old world countries. I would say that I am a very proud and somewhat arrogant American that believes not only can we do better, but we can be the best by just making it happen. We are the new world. We leave all the baggage behind and we work together. Compared to other countries at least like the drama queens in Europe. However, sometimes the comments start to cut when the reactions are accurate and unable to argue. I don't appreciate the hint of smugness of the world reaction sometimes, but we as Americans should get used to it considering how bad we can in terms of both smugness and our general behavior about the world around us. We need to be admired around the world. We have been before, and we can be again.

"On September 11, America found a common cause for pride in the bravery of its people. This time there is no heroism and nothing left to see but the dark side of the empire, that of a country gnawed away by money and segregation, in which those shipwrecked in the system are left behind, abandoned to the elements." Le Liberation, Paris.

"Where was the president in his country's hour of need, and why has it taken him five days to go to New Orleans?" The Independent, London.

"Third World America." The Daily Mail, London.

"The tragic cost of Bush's Iraq obsession." The Financial Times, London.

"Incredibly unprofessional." Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany.

"For Bush, the poor do not exist." Le Figaro, France.

"Was Katrina color-blind?" Der Spiegel, Germany.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Watch this


This was on Salon.com If you need to sign up for the Salon account to view it, do it. It is a great online mag anyway. The video "The Blame Game" outlines the move of how this has become politicized, yet people are still dying. The beginning features a sickening scene by the press secretary. Scott McClellan is such a bad spokesman. Awful really.

=======

Things are especially amiss in our land. We are Americans. We are far better than this.

I was talking to my buddy Patrick. I used to box with him years back. He weighs about 170 or so and has very effective short punches. He now does mostly triathlons. Patrick is originally from Belfast and moved to the US about sixteen years ago. He has told me the very reasons he got the hell out. The sectarian war had engulfed his world. It affects all parts of society. His mother is there. He went back to visit a few years ago to visit mom and a few old friends. And while he was there he was reminded of why he moved to the United States.

He was hanging out with an old friend, a young Catholic lady in Belfast over the holidays. He was having a good time, but she wanted to go back to her neighborhood and have a drink. They went to an after hours bar in the Catholic neighborhood. Patrick had always gotten a hard time because his name was Patrick. From when he was a kid to even when he enrolled in the Royal Navy at 16. He is not Catholic. Now when he was in the bar a drunk fella started to rail on him. The guy kept saying "you look like a Protestant politician!!" Patrick told me he knew if they had found out he was Protestant, they very well likely have ganged up and given him a beating. He knew if they asked him the Lord's Prayer he would have been done for. Apparently that happens. The thugs in Belfast are thick in both neighborhoods. They are allowed to be out in society on all sorts of levels. I can only be thankful that I did not grow up there. It might not have been a good situation.

I was talking to Patrick last Friday night and he told me just how much he knows that Americans can be far better than we are right now.

I was out once protesting the fact that Margaret Thatcher was speaking on the campus of Saint Louis University. A good friend of mine put this together. I was working with him to get Gerry Adams to come to campus. I still think it is awful that SLU would pay money to such a woman as Thatcher to speak on our campus. She militarized Northern Ireland and restricted the rights of the people and Catholics in particular in an unprecedented fashion. There was an active ghettoization of Catholic neighborhoods with giant walls. People can be detained without lawyers. I was in Belfast about eight years ago. I was given a black cab tour of the Catholic ghetto and the neighboring Protestant neighborhood. The cab driver was voluntarily giving information that things were completely out of hand. The guy knew what was going on in the streets of Belfast. He showed us the plastic bullets that have killed hundreds over the years. He kept it in a cardboard tube so the authorities wouldn't obviously see it. He showed us the murals. He took us to the IRA HQ. He showed us the military bases. He showed us where people were detained without a lawyer or being allowed to contact family. He showed us murals of the Ulster Defense Force. Loyalist men were wearing face masks and armed with AK 47s. It had black marks all over it, for someone had firebombed it the night before. It was painted on the side of an apartment building. It is crazy. The cab driver was not Catholic, he was Protestant. All he wanted to do was stay out of it, but he lived in the middle of it. It is so sad.

I saw Patrick at this protest. He was headed in to see Margaret Thatcher. I went over and spoke to him. Just a smile to each other and some chatter. I then went back in to the protest line.

Patrick said that we got some problems here in the United States. Serious problems. And they stem directly at the federal level. His sister who moved here first says the same thing.

This is not good. I wish I could say I was surprised.

He said Americans are far better than this. He knows this because he has been here for sixteen years. He knows all sorts of people. He is right. We are Americans. We are far, far, far better than this. We need to work harder and do something about this.

=====

It looks like the Post sent down a second team. Tim O'Neil and JB Forbes. They are right in the thick of it. It is interesting. All of it is in the paper. I worry that the Post is going to cut back on this kind of necessary reporting with this new ownership.

I can only hope that they stop promising to "not cut any news", instead just giving more weight to investigative pieces. Exploratory pieces. They are the only print source in town of active hard news. They can add in more weight on anaysis stuff right now if they wanted to, but they refuse to bring in any of this younger element to fill out the ranks. Step up. Step up.

======

On a lighter note, and much needed, the food network tv show thing about the Royale is going to be showing on Tuesday at 8:30.

Let them eat cake

Put them down

Fox News is reporting that "Docs use morphine to kill critically ill patients". They had field reports from on the spot reporters that the doctors prioritize who they can treat, and who they do not have time to treat. For those they can't treat they dope up with morphine and let them go.

I found a story titled We had to kill our patients on this at the The Daily Mail.

Fox also reported there are patients labeled with "DNR" all over the hospitals. It is nasty wartime type of medical treatment. They did not say if these people had expressed they did not want to be resucitated.

I am curious if there are going to be any more stories about this, because if this is the steps that doctors are taking in this catastrophy, we need to know about this- where, when and why this is happening. This is not part of normal health care treatments. We need to find out exactly what is going on.

I wonder what the medical treatment is like in Iraq. I wonder what it is like for the soldiers. I wonder what it is like for the people of Iraq. Do we put them down like this, in these types of circumstances? Now we know what this is like a bit more. I think. Who knows?

Heck of a job Brownie, heck of a job.

Heck of job, Brownie

So the Prez by insistence of his advisors decided to remove the head of FEMA. Okay, fine, that is a technicality. He was recalled away from the emergency zone back to DC, and a more competent person was put in to handle the job.

By no surprise this hardly instills confidence to our country's reaction to anything that FEMA would be involved in. FEMA is a part of Homeland Security. Our people have been dying and we have done nothing. Our inaction as a country has caused untold deaths. We supposedly have been preparing for such an emergency and have failed miserably. And we rely our security upon such incompetent people. What a joke.

The sad part now is that the immediate emergency that FEMA is supposed to be set up for to handle is not needed as much at this point. We need to start up a new program to directly handle this ongoing disaster. A properly funded and effectively managed federal program or initiative is really what is needed now. A "New Deal" program, but updated and even more aggressive than the original. A program that can rebuild and bring people's lives back into the fold. We already screwed up this one, so lets not screw up this new phase.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Reactions

Here is an editorial on the President's reaction to the disaster from the conservative newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader.

A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease.

The cool, confident, intuitive leadership Bush exhibited in his first term, particularly in the months immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, has vanished. In its place is a diffident detachment unsuitable for the leader of a nation facing war, natural disaster and economic uncertainty.


More reports:
Matt Fredrick has been posting some amazing accurate relevant reports and information.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The news out there

I watched the news and read the paper on Monday and wrote the following. I didn't post it for a bit for I was starting to rant.
---

I have been watching the news. There was some woman being interviewed that they do need help, but not in the ways by form of toilet paper or supplies. There was a call to buy gift cards for victims of the hurrricane. Gift cards from places like "Exxon and Wal Mart."

The coverage was aired either yesterday or earlier today on Fox.

Then again, look at me. It just seems different though.

The mayor of N.O. said the drug users are going crazy. He spoke the truth that drug users are a fact of life, a common thing in any community from the crystal meth infested country towns of the Midwest to our nation's capitol city.

All week there has been some pretty whacked sh*t in the news. There are some seriously nasty stories being reported. We have yet to even hear just how bad this thing is. People are going crazy. They are going crazy. New Orleans cops had been commiting suicide. There are stories of small town sheriffs can't get help from the Feds because they can't email in the request. Untold numbers of people are without family members. Sons. Daughters. Mothers. Fathers. It is really f*cked up.

People are unable to pay for hotel bills. They have no food. They have no baby formula. They have no diapers. They have no money. They have no homes. They have no jobs. They have no place to go, nowhere to start.

Then I hear some idiot on TV say "We need to have someone deliver some cokes or something, cuz I am a coke drinker, and we need to have that delivered now!"

Cute. Thanks lady. People can't reunite with their kids and you are bitching about if you can have your coke over a pepsi. What a selfish b*tch. I hope she is only incoherent from being distraught. If that is her problem right now, she should count your blessings that she is not one of those people with a baby who has not had formula in a week. There are going to be some f*cked up babies now. And you can't have your soda fix.

People are going crazy by opening fire at a medivac choppers. What the hell? What the hell is going on? Bill O'Reilly wanted to know what is wrong with people that do that. What is wrong? They are crazy. The police chief told him "they just don't care. They don't even know what they are doing." People are in this harsh enviornment with no real law and they are just losing it.

Bill O'Reilly then accused that the Governor or Mayor will not go after people who shot at cops, firefighters and medical personnel. What the hell? Like the Mayor and Governor are not going to go after these thugs after shooting at their freaking cops, firefighters and medical personell? I wonder if O'Reilly has been asking the tough questions like "where are the cokes?" Where do these jerks come from?

Where is the leadership that people so desperately need?

Then I see George Bush strolling around some shelter signing autographs. That is disturbing. What is he doing signing autograhps? I don't care if you are in a shelter, a city was just wiped off the face of the earth. I didn't see Winston Churchill signing autographs inspecting the damage of the German air raids. That sounds like King Louis XIV or Czarina Catherine the Great would have done. I don't think the President of Sri Lanka or Malaysia was out signing autographs after the tsunami. Our leader apparently is oblivious to the problems and more concerned about the glory. I don't care if some stooges are star struck by you. Your aides can rush them away. Have dinner with the people. Be pleasant. Shake hands. Keep people's spirits up. Why would George Bush would sign autographs after a terrorist attack? What did Bush accomplish?

I hear the Post has sent down an ace team to catch some of this story. The loaded up an SUV and barreled south. I heard the guys packed in a bunch of baby food formula. It will be interesting to read what they find out. It actually makes me sick to my stomach to want to know, but I really feel the need to know the real stories.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Refugees


The Refugees are coming to town. My friend Rose was by earlier. She was collecting for a family. I gave her some stuff. Apparently there is a family in U City that took in their cousins and somehow this number was somehow 27. They had just gotten to town. The details just don't seem real. But they are.

It is freaky to see refugees within our own country. We so often see overseas refugees driven out of their home, especially from man made disasters/wars. We have accepted refugess from Somalia, Vietnam and Bosnia. It is amazing that we do this. We should be proud as a country. We now need to step up and take care of our own refugees in our own country. I signed up for a dinner out that benefits Katrina on Thursday and Friday. Sauce is putting it together. They really got it together.

I was talking to my friend Patti Loth from the United Way on Saturday night. I bumped into her as I was taking a break. Things are really screwed up. They are doing everything they can, but they are just a small relief organization. Apparently the overall plan from the Feds sucks and is really screwing the people at this point. The aid is not getting to the people and it is not the storm that was the issue, but the care and dire immediate assistance following the hurricane has been the issue. It is sad that people are going to such lengths to breaking into grocery stores in order to feed their families, but there has been no effective coordination to help people. They are dying in front of people. There have been some graphic pictures of stacks of dead bodies. People are still stranded and it is a week later. I heard Katie Couric and some other morning news sap grilled the head of FEMA. Youch, people are pissed.

I hope to see more refugees here. It is going to be a bit tough to get people to settle in on such short notice, but it really is our responsibility and duties as fellow humans and also countrymen. We need to stand up in order to take care of our people. There is no excuse. We all could benefit if we really accept the refugees with open arms. They have no home to go back to, so we need to really get ready and make this work.

The picture was taken by Dave Martin of the Associated Press. It was taken earlier today in New Orleans. Apparently the body had been lying in the street for several days and someone had put together this makeshift grave. There are some very stunning images at the MSNBC site.