Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, September 17, 2005
A Future FEMA?

An Atlas V booster carries the 6 ton Inmarsat-4 satellite into orbit on March 15, 2005

With FEMA-hindered bureaucracy still a subject of much talk across the nation, The New York Times, Saturday, published a curious article that attempts to suggest the Bush Moon/Mars mission is still go, go, go.
The Times article introduces the term Shuttle-Derived Vehicle into the popular media:

A new generation of vehicles…a radical departure for the space program, rearranging the components of the space shuttle into a new design…the new plan would draw on the shuttle's existing network of thousands of contractors and technologies, in theory speeding its completion and lowering its cost…Michael D. Griffin, NASA's administrator…won a preliminary approval for the project despite continuing questions about how to pay for it.

Not being an on-the-cheap PR conscious Bush bureaucrat, I fail to see how “rearranging the components” can constitute “a radical departure” in NASA’s approach to achieving regular cost-effective orbital travel.

A Lockheed-Martin design for a Crew Exploration Vehicle (right) with a Trans Earth Injection Module (left)

A cached copy of an April 16, 2004 article at pierces the “radical departure” and suggests any Bush Mars mission “Go” is more of a “Not Quite Yet”:

SDV promoters are under-estimating the current cost of Shuttle launches by a factor of 2. NASA has traditionally used a phony cost accounting system in which the salaries of civil service personnel and facilities support are not allocated to specific projects… The only workable [SDV’s]…are not really "Shuttle-Derived Vehicles" because they no longer retain any element of the Shuttle… These designs are really EELV-Derived Vehicles.

EELV’s or Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles, an evolution of the highly successful Air Force and Lockheed-Martin-designed Atlas booster and according to the article “a true second generation of chemical rocket technology”, are bedeviled by two program-killing non technical bureaucratic and political difficulties:

One is employment. There will be strong political resistance to cutting back the huge Shuttle workforce. To Congress, NASA is a middle-class entitlement program… The other reason is the "Not Invented Here" syndrome. The EELV program was entirely managed by the Air Force and has provided the final proof that NASA's own booster design group at MSFC is unnecessary as well as incompetent.

If you find this subject interesting I urge you to ignore the sometimes mind-numbing jargon and read the Times and the cached articles for a glimpse of the possible Team Bush-inspired space disasters that could occur in the reasonably near future.

Images: International Launch Services, Lockheed-Martin
He's Ready!

Schwarzenegger's announcement…was an attempt to energize Republican activists…It also was a signal to Schwarzenegger's corporate supporters…that he intends to stick around to defend their interests…Schwarzenegger's consultant-heavy political operation burned through more than $25 million in the first six months of this year, but since then fundraising has been sluggish.
--San Diego Union-Tribune

CNN carried an inappropriately lengthy chunk of the overly energized Governator’s announcement yesterday afternoon before an invitation-only fake Town Meeting crowd in San Diego.

Pumping his arms, racing across the stage and leering at the crowd and cameras, the elderly scripted Austrian bodybuilder seemed, like a certain occupant of the national stage, desperate to recover the hype of lost glory among jaundiced Cal-ee-forn-ians.
I did notice, amid the surgical and cosmetic alterations, that the Governator was sporting new ring as gaudy as his giant blue cabuchon sapphire (scroll down).
The Guvernator must surely require hefty daily doses of legitimate sports supplements to simply lift the dead weight of this precious metal finger bauble and his personal reputation.

PS-Check out an interesting Bush family photo!

Modified Images: Reuters, San Diego Union-Tribune
Friday, September 16, 2005
Fascist Talk?

It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces.
--President Bush, 8:02PM CDT, Jackson Square New Orleans

No, it's not. Actually, every actual fact that's surfaced in the last two weeks points to just the opposite conclusion. There was no lack of federal authority to handle the situation. There was faulty organization, poor coordination and incompetence...You don't repair disorganized or incompetent government by granting it more power. You fix it by making it more organized and more competent.
--Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

I want to welcome all the new visitors to this little parcel of webspace!
I greatly appreciate your discerning eyeballs.
People from 99 countries have graced this space in the last 122 days and, as of today, here are the top 5 non domestic visitors to this humble blog:

1) United Kingdom
2) Canada
3) Norway
4) Germany
5) France tied with the Islamic Republic of Iran

Modified Image: Reuters,
Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fresh on the heels of President Bush's UN Potty Note tempest comes evidence, tonight, of the President's inability to correctly button a dress shirt.
I was aghast that Karl the Katrina Fairy, infamous for his visual manipulations, failed to notice that the President's poorly buttoned dress shirt matched the televised and floodlit color of St. Louis Cathedral and caused the President to fade like a Cheshire Cat.
Sadly for the once image-savvy Karl, were my eyes not rivited to the fashion faux pas of two button holes and one button at poor inept Mr. Bush's collar, I would have lost the President within the color matched backdrop.

Image: Reuters

From this morning's New York Times:

Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort.

From Dan Froomkin's 12:00PM post at

Rove's leadership role suggests quite strikingly that any and all White House decisions and pronouncements regarding the recovery from the storm are being made with their political consequences as the primary consideration.

Modified Images:,, Google, Reuters, USA Today

Remember when Katherine Harris and Bob Novak accused the "liberal media" of altering photographs back in early August?
Well perhaps those liberal fiends at Reuters manipulated the orginal photograph to humiliate the President with a fake potty note?

Modified Image: Reuters

Haven’t you ever wondered what a man like President Bush thinks about during high profile meetings and assemblies with members of foreign governments?
Thanks to Reuters' photographer Rick Wilking we manage a glimpse into that vast empty Bush cavern as the leader of the Free World is immortalized penning a poorly punctuated note to his Secretary of State during yesterday’s UN Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit in New York.
The photograph, snapped in the midst of feverish White House PR attempts to resurrect the President as a mature and responsible chief executive following the Katrina leadership disaster, has been noticeably absent from mainstream media coverage but did hit a few of the big liberal blogs late yesterday afternoon and Editor & Publisher last evening.
The image, according to E&P, is “destined to become one of the most joked about photos of the month”.
The President’s mid meeting note to Condi reads:

I think I may need a bathroom break (sic)?
Is this possible?

One can only assume Mr. Bush over indulged in Cappuccinos and juice at the pre Security Council World Leader buffet.
No wonder Condi soothes her bruised ego with $3,000 shoes.
Does Dr. Rice’s department now maintain an office for a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Urinary Affairs?

Photo: Reuters
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
It has been a busy couple of days here at planetsean global HQ but, though stressed with personal matters, two items of public interest did manage to snag my frazzled attention.

Firstly, our once unsinkable President, yesterday with much hemming and hawing and after, I’m sure, deep PR analysis by his handlers, eked out a half-hearted claim of presidential responsibility for the federal government’s criminally negligent handling of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating aftermath.
The HMS Bush’s panicked Rovian band, with tardy and unprecedented flutings of responsibility, is hoping to slow Mr. Bush’s titanic poll plunge with a metaphoric version of Nearer My God To Thee coupled with a ladies first dispatch of the Laura Bush PR lifeboat.
As the President, before a captive East Room audience, was stammering, “Uh, Katrina, uh, exposed serious problem in our response capability”, the First Lady managed to bail a little good news water for reporters and her primary Hurricane Corina, er, Katrina survivor, Bushie:

"At each of the shelters I've visited, I've never heard a single word of complaint…and we've seen unbelievably unselfish acts of giving…many more unselfish acts of giving than bad things…the media hasn't shown us that much, but we've read about it and we do know about it. "

While I am no expert in the art of bailing, I'm thinking Mrs. Bush needs a bigger bucket.
As with the brave stalwarts of April 15,1912, these last minute efforts of the First Lady and the HMS Bush PR orchestra will not halt an inexorable descent into the dark, icy waters of, in this case, public opinion.

Modified Image:, MSNBC
Monday, September 12, 2005
Iron Will?

Normally, whenever I’m in a position to listen to ABC’s George Will, I turn the television off or mute it.
For some unknown reason, yesterday, I listened as this cruel and arrogant White House shill ticked off three facile, ignorant and racist generalizations for why the poverty that doomed so many of the New Orleans hurricane victims was the fault of the victims themselves:

George Will--We’ve done anything but neglect poverty in this country. And, the funny thing is we know exactly how to cure it. Obey three rules: graduate from high school, don't have a child until you're married and don't get married until you're twenty.
In the cohort that obeys those three rules poverty is minimal. It’s simple, but it’s changing behavior.

In his heartfelt passive/aggressive race-baiting, the thankfully bow-tie-less Will, telegraphs what is sure to be the backed-into a-Katrina-soaked-corner Willie Hortonization of Karl Rove’s Republican campaign strategy for the 2006 mid-term elections.
How easily the pampered, fascist and, of course, Caucasian talking heads will cotton to this ego-glorifying and patently fraudulent racially blind idea that American success is based simply on merit and hard, boot-strapped work and that American poverty is the result of free choice and deserved by its selectees.
One boggles imagining how the diseased minds of the George Will types could view images of the New Orleans dead, most quite elderly and infirm, and conclude that these people chose their fate by dint of a late teenaged pregnancy conceived more than 40 years in the past or the equally distant lack of a high school diploma.
What motivates these harshly judgmental social Puritans and can a GED become a personal flotation device in times of deluge?
Was Mr. Will’s own flood-free life guided by his publicly espoused moral precepts?
Though computer-accessible information is sketchy for events from the Reagan era, Will’s seemingly precarious hold on upper-middle class status seems to have stabilized into dull high end Republican domesticity with a second marriage to a former Deputy Assistant to President Reagan and Dole presidential campaign staffer.
The freely chosen promiscuous zestiness that could have impoverished Will’s first marriage children and doomed them to death by hurricane came with the commentator and columnist’s steamy mid 1980’s flirtation with the daughter of Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham and a raucous divorce from betrayed wife #1.
So zesty was the breaking of Mr. Will’s first sacred marriage covenant that a January 1987 issue of Washingtonian magazine reported:

When Will moved out on his wife and children, he found his office furniture dumped on his front lawn with a note reading, "Take it somewhere else, buster".

Shocking, no?
Does the ABC pontificator escape his own personal condemnation because he was over 40 years of age, the correct skin color and a high school graduate at the time of his apparently infertile and unblessed coitus?
I can only imagine the florid high dudgeon of Will’s personal exculpation and its, no doubt, resultant social buoyancy.
If Will only possessed a small portion of the personal character he imagines as his own, this flawed elitist might, within the private darkness of his shriveled soul, see the grotesque injustice and distasteful prejudice of his half-baked righteousness.

Video of Will's comments via Crooks and Liars

Images: ABC, Los Angeles Times
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Resign, sir!

A distraught Biloxi child

A Newsweek article, entitled How Bush Blew It, published on line this afternoon, could easily form several articles of impeachment:

--The president of the United States [had] less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American…[this] ranks as a national disgrace.

--Bush's leadership style and the bureaucratic culture combined to produce a disaster within a disaster.

--[Governor Blanco] spoke to Bush. "Mr. President," she said, "we need your help. We need everything you've got." Bush…was reassuring…but the president…went to bed.

--Late last week…[a] Bush aide described the atmosphere inside the White House as "strangely surreal and almost detached."

The article can be fairly described as presenting a stunning picture of massive incompetence and dereliction of duty.

Photo: Los Angeles Times
America answered history's call to bring justice to our enemies and to ensure the survival and success of liberty.
--George W. Bush, yesterday's Radio Address

Did we and have we under your leadership, Mr. President?
Or, is it just money for political friends and lots of PR?

Modified and Unmodified Images: Sean Adair, White House, AFP-Getty, Los Angeles Times, UggaBugga

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