You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for September, 2005.

ill eagle

September 19th, 2005

Secrecy News reports that Bush’s suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act may not be legal. The law that allows the president to take this action was superseeded by the National Emergencies Act of 1976. The president can suspend Davis-Bacon under the old law, but only if certain proceedural formalities are followed — none of which Bush followed.

This doesn’t change the fact that Bush has harmed working people by taking this action — until somebody sues to reverse Bush’s act, or until Congress passes a law requiring enforcement of Davis-Bacon in the gulf states (such a law has been introduced), workers won’t be getting a fair shake.

Quotables

September 14th, 2005

This list of Katrina-related quotations is staggering. The quotes are variously stupid, sad, funny, and very, very angry. This is not American politics as usual — but is it a trend or just a change?

Brownie gone

September 12th, 2005

FEMA Chief Michael Brown resigned today, saying

“It has been the best job in the world to help Americans in their darkest hours.”

The anger that wells up in my throat when I read those words is choking me — I thought my rage over the government’s handling of New Orleans had passed, but it has not. FEMA responded to many emergencies during Brown’s tenure, but when it really, really counted — FEMA didn’t step up. I won’t go so far as to say FEMA failed, because they have done something. But the response was too slow, too little, and too uncoordinated.

Bush (who is in the Gulf states again*) said he hadn’t spoken to Brown today, but that he’d talk to Chertoff tonight from Airforce One.
______________________

*Dude, this is called “too little, too late.” No matter how many times you tour the areas affected by Katrina now, we are not going to forget that you and your administration badly fumbled this play.

Start cooking, baby

September 12th, 2005

This is old news, but new to me. Cooking is good for your brain. Cooking had a particularly strong effect on a group of men, most of whom didn’t cook much. After taking 9 cooking classes, they showed improvement on a brain functioning test.

WWJD?

September 9th, 2005

President Bush never lets an opportunity to hurt working people pass by. Bush has suspended the The Davis-Bacon Act in areas where a Federal State of Emergency has been declared due to hurricane Katrina. Davis-Bacon, passed in 1931, requires Federal contractors to pay the “average” or usual rate of pay for their region. By suspending Davis-Bacon, Bush has cleared the way for contractors to pay workers much less than average as life is rebuilt in the Gulf Coast.

Talk about kicking people when they’re down. The suspension of Davis-Bacon means that people who are desperate for work in these areas can be seriously exploited by contractors who are getting millions from the government to rebuild the area. The State of Emergency arguably makes Davis-Bacon more necessary, not less, to protect those who have been left financially devastated by the hurricane. The construction job market in the area is likely to have many more low-level, unskilled applicants than positions, which means that the working poor will be hurt the most by this action. Furthermore, companies that are unionized will be discriminated against since they cannot undercut their labor this way.

And we’re not talking about people who are being paid a lot in the first place. Prior to Katrina, a construction worker in New Orleans made about $9 an hour. Now, that same worker can expect to make much less — and this in a region that desperately needs to put spending power in the hands of individuals (so that they can buy stuff and get local economies moving again).

This is just one more in a long line of outrages related to Bush’s management of Katrina and his management of our nation. If you needed any more proof that he’s not looking out for the folks, and that he’s a dangerous, deluded fool who is completely out of touch with the everday lives of most people, this is it. This is not what Jesus would do.

Hello, media?

September 8th, 2005

Every single journalist in this country ought to get on the phone RIGHT NOW and do whatever it takes to get ahold of the person who posted this description of a FEMA detainee camp (link via rc3.org). This is a scary, scary story, one that I’m praying is untrue.

Because if it’s true? We’re in deep trouble. They may be coming for Katrina survivors today, but they’ll be coming for the rest of us tomorrow.

Lovely

September 8th, 2005

This is one of the most lovely, inspiring ideas I’ve seen for Katrina relief. DC blogger Law-Rah is organizing a Caravan 4 Christmas to take gifts to kids in the affected areas this Christmas.

The idea is simple: Katrina survivors are getting a lot of attention right now, but may not get it in a few months, so Law-Rah wants to take some love down South for Christmas. I think it’s a great idea.

Too many worries

September 8th, 2005

I just tripped over this editorial from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, originally published 8/26/2005: A Job for the Experts (annoying subscription required).

As things stand now, in the event of an avian flu pandemic the Department of Homeland Security will have overall responsibility for coordinating the nation’s response. Two weeks ago, I would have thought this was a bad idea — but now in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and DHS’s proven incompentance for dealing with emergency response of any sort (even the most predictable sort like a massive hurricane strike in New Orleans), I think it is a terrifyingly bad idea.

However, unlike Katrina, it’s likely that bird flu will kill everyone, rich and poor alike — so maybe DHS will pay a bit more attention?

I doubt it. I think we’re all in this together.

Timeline

September 7th, 2005

This is important: Katrina Timeline (via Medley’s Furlings). As Karl Rove’s spin machine kicks into high gear, keep this timeline in mind. The bottom line is that the Federal response was too late, and it’s the Bush administration’s fault.

Waste

September 7th, 2005

Why are fire crews on loan to FEMA not doing rescue work? These are highly trained specialists, and people in the Gulf Coast area are still in danger. So why is FEMA wasting this resource?

The outrages just keep piling up.