A Tale of Two Phone Books

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[BSAlert *exclusive*]
[Beating Dead Horses]
The new New Orleans phone books showed up from Bellsouth/AT&T today. I couldn't help but notice the difference between these and the last ones that came out, so I took a picture...

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Subcontractors Are Becoming A 4th US Government Branch

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In June, short of people to process cases of incompetence and fraud by federal contractors, officials at the General Services Administration responded with what has become the government's reflexive answer to almost every problem.

They hired another contractor.

It did not matter that the company they chose, CACI International, had itself recently avoided a suspension from federal contracting; or that the work, delving into investigative files on other contractors, appeared to pose a conflict of interest; or that each person supplied by the company would cost taxpayers $104 an hour. Six CACI workers soon joined hundreds of other private-sector workers at the G.S.A., the government's management agency.

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Dan Savage: Who's Next To Hang After Saddam? God

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[Beating Dead Horses]
Who we should hang after we hang Saddam Hussein?

God.

Saddam Hussein found guilty of executing fewer than 200 men and boys after an assassination attempt was made on the dictator’s life near the village where these unfortunate men and boys lived. They weren’t guilty of any wrongdoing—but that didn’t stop Hussein from having these men and boys rounded up, tortured, and executed. Saddam was sending a message to all of Iraq:

“Don’t want f*ck with me, people, because that’s going to make me mad and when I’m mad I f*cking kill people—yes, even people that had nothing to do with whatever it was that made me mad in the first place. So not only should you avoid pissing me off, you need to keep an eye on your friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens to make sure they don’t piss me off. Because if they do, then a bunch of folks are gonna die—and that might include you and your whole family.”

Saddam’s crime was horrific — it’s the same crime that got hundreds of Nazis strung up after WWII. When a despot or an occupying power or a rebel army tortures and kills innocent people to send a message to, say, the population of occupied France or Kosovo or Iraq, that’s what known as reprisal killings, and that’s a war crime. And it mystifies me that American fundamentalists constantly accusing Jesus Christ—the Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of All Mankind, etc.—of engaging in reprisal killings and summary executions on a scale that would make a genocidal maniac like Hussein blush. Read the bible lately?

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Iowa Farmers Make Out Like Bandits Due To Katrina Disaster

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[Environment]
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, the aftershocks rippled all the way to Iowa. Grain shipments down the Mississippi River were shut down and the price of corn plunged. While people were drowning in New Orleans, the government had systems in place to make sure farmers up north wouldn't feel the pain themselves, to the tune of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

What resulted was a virtually unprecedented flood of government cash to Iowa's farmers, triggered by the drop in prices.

Iowa growers and landowners collected $2.24 billion in subsidies last year

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Internet Defamation Case Awards $11M In Damages

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[Mean People]
A Florida woman has been awarded $11.3 million in a defamation lawsuit against a Louisiana woman who posted messages on the Internet accusing her of being a "crook," a "con artist," and a "fraud."

Of course it didn't help her case to not show up in court to defend herself. However, the plaintiff continued the lawsuit on principle because it "hurt her feelings."

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More Than Half Of New Orleans' People Are Gone

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[Environment]
[Travel]
A recent population survey from the Louisiana Recovery Authority has reported that of the pre-Katrina population of 454,000 people in New Orleans, only about 187,000 remain today. More than a year later, 59% of the population has not returned since the hurricane and the large-scale flooding caused by the failure of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' faulty flood protection system.

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Don King: Fox News "Expert on Hurricane Katrina"

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[News Media]
Today on Fox News, Neil Cavuto devoted much of his show’s coverage to the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. To give the real picture of what’s going on, Cavuto brought in two “experts” on back-to-back segments — exercise guru Richard Simmons and boxing promoter Don King.

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Katrina Conference Organizers Duped By Fake Government Official

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A man claiming to be a high-ranking federal housing official addressed a conference Monday on public housing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, claiming the government was reversing its policy.

Following speeches by Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin, a man who said he was the "deputy assistant secretary" of the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a total reversal in the government's policy on public housing in New Orleans, claiming HUD would halt plans to demolish thousands of public housing units.

Turns out this was the work of an activist/theatrical group called The Yes Men. Their web site states, "We have impersonated some of the world's most powerful criminals at conferences, on the web, and on television, in order to correct their identities."

What's even more brilliant about this farce is that the company producing the event, Equity International claims to be "The center for homeland security" that specializes in "Winning the global war against terrorism." And they didn't have the aptitude to check to find out if one of their primary speakers, on stage with both the mayor and governor, wasn't a total imposter.

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State Farm Accused of Fraud in Katrina Settlements

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State Farm Insurance supervisors systematically demanded that Hurricane Katrina damage reports be buried or replaced or changed so that the company would not have to pay policyholders' claims in Mississippi, two State Farm insiders tell ABC News.

Kerri and Cori Rigsby, independent adjusters who had worked for State Farm exclusively for eight years, say they have turned over thousands of internal company documents and their own detailed statement to the FBI and Mississippi state investigators.

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Congress Recognizes Wine Anniversary; Katrina Who?

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[Mean People]
In August 2006, the U.S. Senate unanimously agreed to a House resolution introduced by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Napa Valley), passing the resolution recognizing the significance of the Napa Valley victory at the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, 30 years ago. House Concurrent Resolution 399 recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of those who created the winning wines and the many successes of the California wine industry in the intervening thirty years.

A similar resolution to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall failed to pass the House of Representatives--perhaps because it contained language suggesting that the government was committed to rebuilding New Orleans, only a year too late for most residents and business owners. (Better late than never, right? But then again, the non-binding resolution didn't pass.)

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A Virginia Republican's Obsession With Small Appliances

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Virginia's Republican senator George Felix Allen is a very busy guy in Congress. Is he looking into illegal wiretapping? Is he busy readying legislation to help hurricane Katrina victims? Is he working to bring our troops back home or curtail terrorism?

Nope. George Allen is apparently the go-to-guy when you need to import a ton of foreign-made, plastic home appliance crap, and you want import duties lifted so your profit margin is bigger. To what extent? Read on... this is rich..

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Maryland Humane Society Forced To Return Hurricane-Rescued Pets

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[Pets]
It's bad enough for the people in the South affected by hurricane Katrina's devastation. Many had to evacuate leaving their pets behind because there was no place to take them -- very few places are pet friendly down here like they might be in the midwest. In many areas of Florida for example, dogs aren't even allowed on the beaches!

So you can imagine the dismay when Belinda Sumrall from New Orleans tracked down her two German Shephards in Maryland where the local humane society had given them to someone else, and refused to return them to their original owner.

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Army Leader Who Admitted New Orleans Errors Quits

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[Environment]
The head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who in June admitted that design flaws in the levees his agency built to protect New Orleans caused most of the flooding during Hurricane Katrina, has asked to retire, the Army said on Thursday. In an after-hours announcement, the Army issued a statement saying Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, commander and chief engineer of the corps, had requested his retirement from the military "based on family and personal reasons," Reuters reports. The announcement came a bit more than two months after the corps issued a 6,100-page report admitting to its blunders in the design of storm walls and earthen levees that were supposed to protect the New Orleans area.

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$400M No-Bid FEMA Contracts Now Total $3.4 Billion

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Four no-bid contracts awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house Hurricane Katrina evacuees have ballooned in value from $400 million to about $3.4 billion, prompting renewed scrutiny from Congress and federal auditors.

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Career Moves of the Rich and Famous

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[Employment]
[Junk Food]
A fast-food worker in Louisiana shares with the world what she and her co-workers think of the people who make her paycheck possible.

Some of these rules are perfectly reasonable. (Why yes, you should order things that are available at McDonald's when dining at McDonald's, and you should be fully clothed while patronizing the drive-through.) Still, I'd have to say that her spelling, grammar, and disdain for punctuation alone (I have not altered her text in any way) may give us some clues as to why her career seems to be stalled in the drive-through lane. Her extreme devotion to customer service tells me that she'll go far; expect to run into her down at the Deparment of Motor Vehicles when she gets a bit older and wants a job with health benefits.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2006-08-09 11:40:46 | Comment on this Article

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