September 28, 2005
Lying by omission...
You should take a look at this fascinating photo essay.
The SF Chronicle ran a picture from an anti-war rally, showing a teenage girl.
Blogger Zombietime happened to take a picture of the same girl about the same time. But his picture had much more, and he is able to zoom out, and out, and out, and show the context that the Chron left out...
...The San Francisco Chronicle featured the original photograph on its front page in order to convey a positive message about the rally -- perhaps that even politically aware teenagers were inspired to show up and rally for peace, sporting the message, "People of Color say 'No to War!'" And that served the Chronicle's agenda.
But this simple analysis reveals the very subtle but insidious type of bias that occurs in the media all the time. The Chronicle did not print an inaccuracy, nor did it doctor a photograph to misrepresent the facts. Instead, the Chronicle committed the sin of omission: it told you the truth, but it didn't tell you the whole truth.
Because the whole truth -- that the girl was part of a group of naive teenagers recruited by Communist activists to wear terrorist-style bandannas and carry Palestinian flags and obscene placards -- is disturbing, and doesn't conform to the narrative that the Chronicle is trying to promote. By presenting the photo out of context, and only showing the one image that suits its purpose, the Chronicle is intentionally manipulating the reader's impression of the rally, and the rally's intent.
Such tactics -- in the no-man's-land between ethical and unethical -- are commonplace in the media, and have been for decades. It is only now, with the advent of citizen journalism, that we can at last begin to see the whole story and realize that the public has been manipulated like this all along...
The sad thing is that the people at the Chron probably don't even understand that they are telling lies. They have a certain ideology, and anything that fits in with it is "the truth."
Thanks to Rand.
Charlene and I had a good time tonight at a Federalist Society meeting, with William Rusher as guest.
He had lots of great stories about being the publisher of National Review, and the early days of the conservative movement, and the years when he worked with Cliff White in the campaign to draft Goldwater to run in '64. He said he used to be Janus-faced back in the early days, as the only person among the intellectuals at National Review who actually had any knowledge of politics, and the one person among the political organizers who had contact with the "kooks."
One thing he said that I liked, is that the relationship of conservatives and the Republican Party is like the wine and the bottle. The wine needs a bottle to give it shape and hold it together, and the bottle needs the wine if it is to be of any use....
bitch bitch bitch...
Washington Times: President Bush yesterday made his seventh trip to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, prompting some Democrats to complain that he was doing too much after initially doing too little.
"The guy's been there enough times that he could register to vote," groused Bob Beckel, a Democratic political analyst. "I mean, enough is enough, OK?"
This week's edition of Newsweek critiques the president's performance with an article headlined, "First, a slow-footed response. Then: hyperactivity." Time magazine complained the president's frequent trips to the Gulf Coast are "making him look too cloying and calculating."...[Thanks to Betsy N]
Gee, it must just be hell to be a Democrat these days. You get your "Bush is too remote from the problems" line out, and the very next day you have to switch to "Bush needs to stay away from the problems--how can anybody get any work done!"
And no sooner have your media allies mentioned for the 10,000th time that Bush is taking a 5-week vacation in Texas (ignoring all the trips and stuff he's been publicly doing the while) than you have to say that he ought to be doing work by teleconferencing!
But it's good news for Republicans, albeit annoying. Petty carping doesn't win elections. And in every recent crisis, one waits in vain for Dems to come up with some actual substantive contribution or better plan.
September 27, 2005
"You should have higher aspirations for your son"
I don't like Senator McCain. So it seems fair to put up a bit of the pro-McCain case, which was posted by Rich Lowry at The Corner...
McCain is an ardent free trader. I’ve seen him make inroads with some voters who think China/India/Mexico are destroying the country. A mill worker in New Hampshire whose place of employment had closed shop, told McCain that free trade meant his son would never have the security he once had. McCain’s response: “You should have higher aspirations for your son than the same job you had. Trade helps make those aspirations possible.” Tough message. Tough crowd. He was applauded. He thought the steel tariffs were Bush’s first huge mistake.
He’s committed to Social Security reform that includes personal accounts. Were he the President, we’d be under no illusion that Democratic opposition would melt away, but he might have a little more luck making his case to the public and persuading a few Ds to go along.
His tax cut proposal in 2000, while about half as generous as Bush’s, was a half a trillion dollars. He wanted to use the rest of the surplus for substantial defense increases, and help pay much of the transition costs for SocSec personal accounts. I understand that’s not the supply side position. But it’s also not tax-and-spend liberalism....
....He’s a strong believer in robust nuclear energy industry – even beyond the 20% of the grid it now provides (but soon won’t).
He’s solid on tort reform. School vouchers. Pro-life. Against race based remedies. Other than gun-show loophole (not exactly a major move toward gun control), he’s solid on the 2nd amendment and voted against assault weapon ban....[there's more]
That's not bad stuff. The cons are, that's he's a member of the McCain Party, not the Republican Party. And the McCain-Media Movement, not the Conservative Movement. And he's old, and he's a Senator, and has never run anything. CFR is the abomination of our times, and his immigration stance stinks...and can we add Gang of 14...
September 26, 2005
USS Theodore Roosevelt
I liked this picture because it is kind of science-fictiony and spooky. And I'm always ready for an excuse to do some honor to the troops...
A person from 50 years ago might not even guess this was a picture of a sea-going vessel. It kind of looks like a George Lucas space ship.
U.S. Navy sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt man the rails prior to getting underway from Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Sept. 1, 2005. Nearly 7,500 sailors from the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group deployed in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory A. Roberts
found at DefendAmerica Photo Essays...
"a socially conservative plinth"
This is a quote by Peter Burnet I had copied last year and never blogged...
...And they are right. The market is cold and uncaring, which is why radical libertarianism is bound to fail. Political freedom and free enterprise are proven essentials to a healthy and resilient society, but, unlike socialism, they are not self-contained, comprehensive philosophies that address all aspects of collective life, as Adam Smith recognized. A society that believes only in an atomistic individualism with no obligations beyond basic civility will leave behind the dull, the unlucky, the emotionally fragile, the unattractive, the socially unskilled, the unhealthy and many of those locked into family obligations. That is a lot of us. It is both morally offensive and politically dangerous.It's kinda scary all the draft posts I have that never got used.
Free societies must be built on a socially conservative plinth of interdependence of family, community and faith. They will flourish with citizens that see duty to others as the definition of the good life, not “finding the real me”, self-actualization or any of the other noxious creeds touted by educators and pop psychologists that serve only to drive practical and ethical wedges between us. The exact extent of these duties will always depend upon empirical realities and the vagaries of human nature and cannot be defined a priori. But to ignore or evade them will lead to both political instability and a sterile existence wherein life's highest purpose is summed up by that old Yuppie joke: "He who finishes with the most toys wins."
And I feel particularly bad because I'm reminded I haven't blogged the BEST BOOK I've read this year, the Anglosphere Challenge, by James C. Bennett. (Charlene agrees; we were grabbing it out of each other's hands). One of his points is that the nations and groups that succeed are those with a strong "civic society," where groups easily arise other than just the citizen and the state.
But it will have to wait; no time right now...
September 25, 2005
On the side of the the good guys...
And here's one of Melanie Morgan, who Charlene and I often listen to on the radio here in SF...
September 24, 2005
The usual bogosity...
Gateway Pundit has lots on the "anti-war" protests: "I thought this was going to be an Anti-Iraq War Rally but it's just a hodgepodge of extreme leftist groups taking turns at a microphone..." (Thanks to Rand)
Of course that's what the "anti-war" movement has been all along. They are utter frauds, and you won't see any of them get up early to protest any warlike violence that's against American or Israeli interests. Them wars are OK.
You also won't see them moving to anywhere where they are not protected by the US military. They all toddle off to their downy beds without worrying about anyone coming in the night to drag them off to torture dungeons. They are protected by the world's finest military, by thousands of nuclear warheads, by 12 Carrier Strike Groups, by police armed with deadly weapons. By the grownups. And then, like foolish children, they say "war never solved anything."
I just wish some of their little upscale neighborhoods could be invaded by "insurgents," to give them a taste of the medicine they are happy to let other people have. If Cindy Sheehan were about to have her head sawed off with a rusty knife, she'd start singing a different tune. "Why isn't Bush protecting us? Where's the army? Where are the Marines? Help!"
What's really disgusting is that the "anti-war" crowd claims to be motivated by "conscience," but they make damn sure it's other people who do all the suffering. They get to pose as moral-beings-purer-than-the-riffraff-who-drive-SUV's, while a few hundred-thousand Iraqis get to be shoveled into mass graves in the desert. Such a deal...
September 23, 2005
Game, no skill required.
If you are in the kind of mood where you might find yourself just staring into space, you might try staring at this.
If you hit the right spot, you start a chain reaction that's hypnotic...I just got a score of 1746.
Thanks to Zannah,
Mama said there'd be days like this...
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.
Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.
When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet....
..."We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said....
Thanks to Zannah.
September 22, 2005
"How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?....."
Katie has a good post on the Administration's plan to give vouchers to children displaced by Hurricane Katrina...
...While I agree that Bush should make the program limited and narrowly-tailored to avoid the appearance of capitalizing on disaster to promote a school choice agenda, I don't think that keeping the program limited will help the Democrats much. Even a small voucher program will help build a constituency for school choice.
Based on the experience of other voucher programs, the hurricane voucher families will be happier with their new schools and become new advocates for choice. It will be very difficult to tell them after one year that they have to go back to the public schools--as my mom likes to say, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. That's why lawyers defending school choice have always fought for injunctions to keep choice programs running while the legal battle goes on, and that's why the education establishment has fought so hard against any school choice program anywhere. Once people have had a taste of freedom, they won't give it up easily....
September 21, 2005
We three monkeys...
Apparently the Afghan election didn't get much coverage in the media. Surprise, surprise.
What a disgrace. One of the amazing stories of our times, but I guess it's not "news," because it isn't a violent fiasco. And mostly, because it doesn't make the President and our military look bad.
Once again the Administration's policies have been rewarded with success. You "liberals" can wall yourselves off and pretend it isn't happening. But I suspect the message seeps into your unconscious minds somehow. And that's why you seem so unhappy and act so crazy.
September 20, 2005
#192: lane management
KRUGMAN TRUTH SQUAD
Tragedy in Black and White (09/19/05) is another mindless, factless, “Bushbasher” of a column by Paul Krugman and it’s starting to look to us as if he’s just “mailing them in” these days. The recycled skreed they contain isn’t worth specific comment.
However, we did take note of a NY Times quote by the black mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, which goes to the heart of the federal/state/local government coordination issues that should be dominating the discussion of the Katrina disaster relief performance.
Noting that Admiral Allen had urged residents not to return, the mayor said: "The admiral's a good man. I respect him. But when he starts talking to the citizens of New Orleans, that's kind of out of his lane. There's only one mayor of New Orleans and I'm it."“Out of his lane”? Think about that! Here's a mayor who has just had his unevacuated town washed away, who has spent the last two weeks blaming everyone else for his own mistakes, who decided to repopulate the city despite contaminated water and lack of power and who rescinded that strange move only after President Bush pointed out to him that another hurricane was headed toward his area. And he’s worried about who's getting in his lane?
Well, as a matter of fact, we are supposed to have “lanes” in our federal system and “lane management” is essential for that system of shared responsibility is to work. Unfortunately, in Louisiana it did not work, because, as Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco have convincingly demonstrated, the lane system is not idiot proof. No president is going to sit by and take the blame for the actions or inactions clueless local yokels. So, just as the Department of Homeland Security and the National Intelligence directorate represented large consolidations of federal power in the wake of 9/11, we suspect that Katrina will result in more “lane mergers” and the federal government will end up with the authority to override local governments in national emergencies. As regrettable as this may be, the likes of Nagin and Blanco make it inevitable. Our hope is that the new authority will be a narrow as possible.
[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]
Beldar points out (thanks to Rand) that the one-year Statute of Limitations is almost up, and it is time for Senator Kerry to sue the authors of Unfit for Command for defamation, or lose his chance. Since the book is full of "scurrilous lies" that have "already been debunked," what could the Senator be waiting for? Perhaps the fact that he was forced to retract one of his own lies might cause a certain embarrassment in the courtroom...
Actually, I don't blame the Senator for hoping the issue will just go away. Any politician would do the same, especially since the various accusations have not been "debunked. But I'm still filled with deep disgust for the way the Old Media automatically appointed itself part of the Kerry Campaign, and instantly went to work to try to hide the story.
Matthew Hoy recently wrote:
...The story that really turned me against the Times was the paper's hatchet job on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth last year. For weeks, the Times ignored their very existence and the impact it was having on Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign. Just when the silence reached deafening proportions, the paper ran a 100+ column inch story, complete with charts detailing the vast conspiracy behind the Swift Boat Vets. The Times smeared these men who had served their country through innuendo. It wasn't until the very end of the story -- somewhere around inch 120 -- that the Times bothered to report that at least one of the Swift Boat Vets charges, that Kerry had not spent Christmas in Cambodia in 1968, was true and that Kerry had disavowed that 35+ year old story. Of course, when deciding where to trim their story for an easier-to-handle abridged version for their news service subscribers, the truth of one of the Swift Boat Vets' charges was left on the cutting room floor.
The Times is a once-great newspaper and it would require a sea-change to return it to its former place of respect and admiration. The abandonment of a committment to truth (or at least accuracy) on the editorial pages, is a sign that this turnaround won't be happening anytime soon.
On a lighter note: If anyone from any other newspaper is interested in hiring me to write for their editorial pages, then drop me a line and we can talk....
September 19, 2005
If you are like us, you get a lot of those "pre-approved" credit card offers in the mail.
The importance of tradition...
I suspect, if you were to speak to Democrats about the importance of tradition in American politics, they would stare at you blankly. But traditions are vital. They often arose for good reasons, and can still do their good work even though we may no longer be aware of the reasons. And because our politics tends to be variations on the same few themes, a feel for traditions and what has happened in the past can often guide us.
One of the traditions is that former Presidents do not criticize the President. I suspect that the tradition arose in times similar to this, when one party has moved into the minority after generations of thoughtlessly enjoyed majority status, and is feeling bewildered and as if the world has gone horribly wrong. At such a time people of the minority party are tempted to embrace flaky conspiracy theories, and imagine that the Brownshirts have taken over. It is the duty of any former presidents of the new minority party to resist such temptations, and set an example of self-control.
HANNITY: [Radio host Sean Hannity] I've watched your husband from a distance and I'm sure during those eight years while the Clintons were in office that there were times he was very tempted to come out and say something. But he pretty much remained quiet.They took a vow that they would not speak badly. That's classy. And traditional.
MRS. BUSH: And he should have.
HANNITY; Well, and even your son. The worst that he ever said about the Clintons was "We're going to restore honor and dignity to the White House." But yet Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton are out there almost daily as monitors of almost every single decision that your son is making.
MRS. BUSH: Well.
HANNITY: What do you make of that?
MRS. BUSH: I can't say. We took a vow that we would not speak badly. But that's just - that's just too bad. And it's, well ...
September 18, 2005
Good trick, it looks like...
I've been too busy to blog about what seems to me the most interesting debate happening right now. That's the debate among conservatives who like or dislike the President's response to Hurricane Katrina. It's a miniature version of all our recent debates, because the President is missing chances to promote traditional conservative virtues, but is also slanting his remedies towards "Ownership Society" measures. A painful lot of federal spending, but often in ways that give people choice, rather than simply taking care of them. (There is no interesting debate coming from liberals, just the reenactment of tired rituals.)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 - The Department of Education announced a plan today to pay 90 percent of the educational costs of students and schools affected by Hurricane Katrina for one year.
But the plan, which seeks $2.6 billion in new hurricane relief spending, came under immediate attack from Democrats and officials of the nation's two largest teachers' unions, who asserted that a major component - payments to families with children in private schools - amounted to a national voucher program.
The department proposed that the bulk of the spending, $1.9 billion, be used to pay states and school districts for absorbing children from the affected areas into their public schools. An additional $227 million would be dedicated to displaced adults with outstanding student loans and to colleges and universities that have taken in students from the storm areas....
The details are not clear, but it rather looks like large numbers of families are going to get school vouchers for a while. That will be, ummm, shall we say, an educational experience? They are going to be dropped into Anytown, USA, with the ability to look around at the local elementary and high schools, and CHOOSE. And with $7,500 per student going to whoever gets CHOSEN, why, a lot of those schools, especially public schools, will look at those students in a new way.
It's not surprising the Senator Kennedy and the vile corrupt teacher's unions are howling. The disaster spending can be a weapon, and Bush is wielding it.
I put a bit more of the NYT article below...
..."The federal government is doing something it has never done before," Education Secretary Margaret Spellings told reporters, referring to a tenfold increase in federal per-student spending. "Our 9 percent investment is going to 90 percent. That's my big news."
The budget request also includes $488 million to compensate families with children in private schools, which critics said represented an effort by the Bush administration to initiate a favorite approach to school choice, the use of vouchers.
Over all, more than 372,000 schoolchildren were displaced by the storm and are now enrolled in schools as far from the Gulf Coast as California and New England. The total includes about 61,000 who attended private schools in Louisiana, 50,000 of them in Roman Catholic schools.
Under the plan, children in public and private schools would be regarded equally for aid purposes, with a spending cap of $7,500 per student.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, the ranking member of the Senate education committee, said in a statement that he applauded President Bush's efforts to serve the educational needs of displaced children. "But I am extremely disappointed that he has proposed providing this relief using such a politically charged approach," Mr. Kennedy added. "This is not the time for a partisan debate on vouchers."...
September 17, 2005
Time to start paying more attention...Avian Flu to my list of categories. You can click to see other posts...
"booby-trapped dead child"
Quoted in The Corner (From Washington Times)
...Col. McMaster appeared in the Pentagon this week via a video hookup to describe how his 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, joined by 3rd Iraqi Army Division, routed most of the extremists.
But it was his description of how the enemy occupied their safe haven that got the most attention. Col. McMaster told of beheadings, gunshot killings, a booby-trapped dead child and kidnappings. "This is the worst of the worst in terms of people in the world," he said. "To protect themselves here, what the enemy did is they waged the most brutal and murderous campaign against the people of Tal Afar. ... The enemy here did just the most horrible things you can imagine, in one case murdering a child, placing a booby trap within the child's body and waiting for the parent to come recover the body of their child and exploding it to kill the parents." ....
These are the guys your friendly neighborhood "anti-war" activists and "pacifists" are FOR. These are the charming folk that Cindy calls "freedom fighters," and Michael calls "minutemen." Fortunately, they and the terrorists are losers, and the Americans and Iraqis are winners. And will continue to be.
From the President's speech, at a dinner celebrating the Judaisim's 350th year in America; the first Jews in America arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654.
...One of the greatest Jewish soldiers America has ever known is Tibor Rubin. After surviving the Holocaust and the Nazi death camp, this young man came to America. He enlisted in the United States Army and fought in the Korean War. He was severely wounded and was later captured by the enemy. For two-and-a-half years, he survived in a POW camp. He risked his life for his fellow soldiers nearly every night by smuggling extra food for those who were ill -- it was a skill he had learned in the Nazi camps -- and because of his daring, as many as 40 American lives were saved.
This evening, I'm happy to announce that next week, I will bestow upon this great patriot our nation's highest award for bravery, the Medal of Honor...
Tibor Rubin in Korea, 1950
Here's a fascinating article on Rubin. The reluctance of the Pentagon to award this guy ANY medals is flabbergasting...
...[Sergeant] Watson, who according to lengthy affidavits submitted by nearly a dozen men who served under him — mostly self-described "country boys" from the South and Midwest — was a vicious anti-Semite, who consistently "volunteered" Rubin for the most dangerous patrols and missions.
In one such mission, according to the testimonies of his comrades, Rubin secured a route of retreat for his company by single-handedly defending a hill for 24 hours against waves of North Korean soldiers....
...Faced with constant hunger, filth and disease, most of the GIs simply gave up. "No one wanted to help anyone. Everybody was for himself," wrote Sgt. Leo A, Cormier Jr., a fellow prisoner.
The exception was Rubin. Almost every evening, he would sneak out of the camp to steal food from the Chinese and North Korean supply depots, knowing that he would be shot if caught.
"He shared the food evenly among the GIs," Cormier wrote. "He also took care of us, nursed us, carried us to the latrine....He did many good deeds, which he told us were mitzvahs in the Jewish tradition....He was a very religious Jew and helping his fellow men was the most important thing to him."...
September 16, 2005
Unilateralist Bush occupies NOLA without UN mandate...
Seen in Best of the Web:
Forgotten but not gone, mad mama Cindy Sheehan is still ranting away over at the Fluffington Toast in hope of defying Andy Warhol and scoring a 16th minute of fame. In her latest post, she declares, "George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self [sic] from power."I remember. "This time it's curtains for Chimpyburton McBush. We have the silver bullet that will drive a wooden stake through his heart!" I expected Sheehan to fade once people got a good look at what a poisonous little screwball she is, but the speed of the meltdown is surprising. No doubt George Galloway still cherishes her.
Mrs. Sheehan, originally a sympathetic figure, is now merely a pathetic one, and we're inclined to ignore her totally, except that we keep remembering all those Angry Left types who, a few short weeks ago, were declaring that she had "absolute moral authority" and was going to transform American politics. If thinking about that doesn't give you a good, deep, soul-cleansing laugh, nothing will...
And I suppose those criminals and thugs who were terrorizing people in New Orleans when authority broke down are now going to be called "insurgents?" Or maybe "freedom fighters?"
Avian Flu: "This is a right now issue..."
...Even as work accelerates along the Gulf, the dangers from terrorism remain, and a new threat continues to approach: avian bird flu. Given that everyone who follows the subject sees the threat of an epidemic as a real possibility, the Adminsitration simply has to have a plan and it has to work. Today's Wall Street Journal's report on vaccine production is thus not comforting. (Subscription required.) Key infromation: The Department of Homeland Security gave Sanofi-Aventis Group a $100 million contract to produce a supply of the vaccine to thwart the killer flu. Other, smaller contracts have been let as well, but the gap between promised supply and obvious need is huge:....My understanding is that, no matter what we do, there will not be vaccines to combat the first wave of the pandemic. The flu that hits will be different from what's seen now; Flu mutates easily, which is why it is so hard to fight. and vaccine production takes time. (And the mutations could make the flu less deadly. So this could all fizzle-out, but that doesn't mean the threat wasn't real!)
.....Look. This is a right now issue, withIndonesia reporting its fifth case just hours ago. The UN's chief health official is ramping up his warnings, and although the president emphasized the threat at his UN speech, the American public is not aware of the magnitude of the threat, and a plan to produce vaccine for 20 million people in a nation of 300 million when the disease may have as much as a 50% kill rate just isn't "preparedness."
A whole lot of money is about to gush out of the Congress, and while the recovery effort on the Gulf deserves its priority status, the Congress should appropriate whatever it needs to in order to get the supplies of the necessary drugs up and running. A couple of well-publicized hearings on this matter would also be useful.
The buck will again stop on the president's desk, though, and he knows it. I hope he has communicated to all involved that he wants a plan on his desk on the hour by hour response once ABF reaches the US.
Skeptical?Read this. There are plenty of threats in the world (including this terrorist plot that almost got started in Los Angeles, and very few of them can be thwarted just by spending more money. ABF is, however, one of those threats which can be boxed in with planning and budget as it is a question of having and distributing the vaccines and treatments that work...
September 15, 2005
Just thought you would want to know...
Washington Post: Sept. 14 -- Early tests on the floodwater that covered most of this city do not suggest it will leave a permanent toxic residue or render residential areas uninhabitable for more than a short time, officials of both state and federal environmental agencies said yesterday....
Overhyped environmental catastrophe #96,750....(Thanks to Jerry Scharf)
alone in a bubble...I'm too busy to blog, but Luciferous put a great comment into the wind-chimes post...
Once upon a time artists made beautiful things and drew from their culture to do so. People in the culture could appreciate the made object. The artist, culture, people, and beauty were connected. But later art became self-referential (Art for Art's sake.) and estranged from beauty, culture, and people. Alone in its self-created bubble it consumed the legacy capital of culture and connection and became deranged and deeply estranged. Now we come to the latest step - antagonism and outright hostility to the ambient culture.Guantanamo Artist-In-Residence Program?
The isolation of artists was never helpful for the culture because it denied it an expression of beauty. But the culture, coarsened, could limp along. Now artists are in direct and overt opposition and will never reconnect to the culture. The have become enemies, and must, for the survival of the culture, be treated as such.
The world of books is not quite so bad, because many writers are still selling to the wide public. But the same thing exists, with writers joining, say, the "Manhattan literary elite," and never again writing anything people want to read (ie: Mailer)
Actually, you see the bubbles everywhere, if you stop to notice. Just look at the fashion world, chosing models who look like depraved drug addicts. Or judges who let criminals off on crazy technicalities--I have little doubt that in judicial in-groups that's considered wicked cool.
September 14, 2005
The Wind Chimes of Capitulation...I didn't comment on the crescent-shaped winning design for a Flight 93 memorial. But I just noticed this, by Michelle Malkin."
Memorial architect Paul Murdoch, whose firm emphasizes "environmental responsibility and sustainability," did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment, but he did emphasize to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his creation was about "healing" and "contemplation." He is also proud of his idea to hang a bunch of wind chimes in a tall tower at the site as a "gesture of healing and bonding."Let me guess. Let. Me. Just. Guess. Who needs "healing?" Could it be Islamo-fascist terrorists who murder thousands of innocent civilians? Taliban who kill people for crimes like listening to music or flying kites? Saudi religious police who let little girls burn to death because it would be immodest to run out from their school? People who think gays should be executed by toppling walls onto them? Ba'athists who throw hundreds of thousands of victims into mass graves? Hmmm?
Well, the list could go on and on. But YOU KNOW, and I KNOW, that the wind-chime crowd is not thinking along those lines. Who's sick? Who needs "healing?" I do. You do. AMERICA does. Nasty icky horrid America, that voted for George W. Bush, and thinks people who attack our country should be fought and destroyed.
I'm not even going to speculate what "bonding" is supposed to mean. I already feel like going out and beating up an architect...
My take: It's goodGlenn Reynolds mentions a new book, Flight Capital:
Amazon.com Book Description The best and brightest in America are returning to their homelands in record numbers-and with them is going U.S. technological and economic preeminence. In Flight Capital, we explore this exodus through the personal stories of dozens of successful, foreign-born professionals who are leaving America for opportunities in their native lands. Drawing on their experiences, Heenan analyzes the economic, cultural, and political factors that are driving this flight, as well as the initiatives that countries are using to attract top talent.This isn't bad, it's GOOD. We want all the other countries to do well, because the only way to do so is to become more like the United States. These people are carrying our "memes," like infectious agents.
They are not going back to, say, India, because they dislike the Rule of Law, economic opportunity, openness in financial markets, tolerance, a "high-trust" culture, etc. They think the old country is moving in that direction, and that there are opportunities because of it. And they will be pushing for more of the same.
September 13, 2005
Praise this day...
larwyn said...Bush taking the responsibility for Federal failures in Katrina, and not playing blame-games...He's a real man. The Democrats look like pygmies next to him.
Dear Jim, President Talabani was magnificent at the White House press conference today. He said "Thank you. Thank you, you GLORIOUS AMERICANS!" He credited President Bush for his courage and honored our military. You must get transcript.
It really made tears well up. He was very funny when asked about democracy. He said "We have all kinds of Democracy." He then clarified that to mean new freedoms and rights.
Please get the transcript. The Left Stream Media's take on the whole thing is that G. W. took responsibility for any failures by the Federal Government regarding Katrina response.
When truth all comes out, that will be very small part.
Praise this day. Roberts is slaying each dragon as it engages him.
Wonderful WH Press conference - Bush up to top speed.
Now cut screen shows Pres. Bush, Sec. Rice and that mean Amb. John Bolton entering UN. Kofi kowtowing. Bush magnanimous as usual. Why do we continue to misunderestimate him and his administration?
Kinda shakes your faith in representative government...
A reader e-mails:
Hope someone is keeping track of Senator time vs. Roberts time. I think it is running 4 to 1 to the blowhards. And he's running rings around them.
and Pejman writes:
I did catch the whole of John Roberts's statement. It was given without notes and with great rhetorical power and effect. It is easy to see why he was such a capable and successful advocate before the Supreme Court and the quality of his intellect fairly shone through.
I imagine that there is now much less chance that hostile Senators will actually try to engage Roberts with questions. Instead, they will likely try to hector him with speeches that end with something along the lines of "When did you stop beating your wife?" To do otherwise is to engage Roberts in a genuine battle of wits, which would put some of the Senators at a distinct disadvantage.
A little common sense would help...
I glad to see that the death-toll from Katrina will probably be far lower than estimated. But actually, one could have guessed that just from common sense (no, I didn't do so myself). 10,000 dead means a lot of corpses! Sit down and try counting to 10,000, and you will see what I mean.
There would have been rafts of bodies drifting around in the floodwaters. Log-jams of bodies. And there would have been pictures. All those helicopters flying around? They would have been snapping pictures of the dead. There was certainly demand for them...And it's hard to kill that many people; people are tougher than you think.
It's the same with that widely disseminated figure of 100,000 killed in the American occupation of Iraq. Statisticians have thoroughly debunked the number, though liars are still pushing it. But common sense tells us it's bogus. 100,000 bodies are hard to hide. There would be big piles of them lying around for significant periods of time. You can be sure Kevin Sites would have snapped pictures, and the MSM would have given them all possible publicity.
And 100,000 dead means at least a quarter of a million wounded! In a place the size of California. Where are they? I doubt if Iraq has even 10,000 hospital beds. There would be wounded people scattered everywhere.
Very funnyThe BIG AD, for Carlton Beer, from Australia. Not to be missed by fans of Carmina Burana, or of the movie version of Lord of the Rings...
dereliction of duty...Cliff May at the Corner posted this interesting e-mail...
As a retired structural engineer who has done exhaustive work on bulk liquids retention structures, including dams, dykes and levees; also having audited engineering schematics on the New Orleans levees in the 1994-1996 era, rest assured that federal officials were properly concerned about that situation. The problem was that they were the only ones. We bucked and kicked local officials for years throughout the entire project. The municipality demanded the money, and received millions, but repeatedly, they had more pressing uses for expenditures. The optimal, shear-sloped design for the levee reinforcement was approved in 1995. I tell you truly that in my 40-year career as an engineer, the local authorities in our New Orleans levee project take the prize in the area of callous disregard and their bungling remains notorious to this day. Truly, it was scandalous. Consequently, I find it hard to cast a major portion of blame for this disaster on any other entity than the local representatives of those unfortunate people in New Orleans. The truth is, at least the last three mayors of New Orleans are grossly negligent and in dereliction of duty in regards to repeatedly skimming federal funds allocated for their levee fortification. -- Allan McIsaac
September 12, 2005
I.C.C. alone justified voting for Bush
This is what you get when you tolerate the sham called "International Law"...
Scotland Yard was thwarted yesterday in its attempt to seize a former senior Israeli army officer at Heathrow airport for alleged war crimes in occupied Palestinian lands after a British judge had issued a warrant for his arrest.What do you know. An Israeli. Of course. "International Law" is only intended to hurt America and Israel. If they thought they could get away with it, those British "judges" would be arresting Americans too.
British detectives were waiting for retired Major General Doron Almog who was aboard an El Al flight which arrived from Israel yesterday. It is believed he was tipped off about his impending arrest while in the air and stayed on the plane to avoid capture until it flew back to Israel. Scotland Yard detectives were armed with a warrant naming Mr Almog as a war crimes suspect for offences that breached the Geneva conventions...(Thanks toBill Quick)
And WHO, EXACTLY, gave the British "judge" jurisdiction over Israel? Who VOTED for this? Nobody, of course. "International Law" is not about to give any miserable moronic voters any say in what happens to them.
Almog's crime was bulldozing houses. But you could wait a million years before any "Palestinian" was arrested for shredding Jewish women and children with nails and shrapnel wrapped around dynamite. That's OK, because they are "freedom-fighters." But a Jew who retaliates against terrorists without killing or injuring anyone is a war criminal. Pfui. I can just imagine the leftists who shuddered with indescribable moral disgust at the bulldozing of Palestinian houses. Frauds. What will they say about the Palestinians who just today were looting and burning synagogues in Gaza? Nothing. "Freedom fighters" y'know. They get a free pass.
But hey, the Jew should be arrested; what an evil crime it is to deprive the Palestinians of "martyrs" by not killing them. He's sabotaging the propaganda machine that brings in billions in "aid." He's trying to starve the Palestinians to death! War Crime! War Crime! And, a million times worse than killing some towel-heads, he's depriving the world's lefties of the chance for moral preening and feeling smug superiority—and that's all they've got! He's trying to destroy them! War Crime!
Thank you thank you thank you President Bush for rejecting the abomination called the International Criminal Court. I hope you will consider any such arrests of Americans by kangaroo courts as acts of war, and respond accordingly. Israel should do the same, but of course they are in a position of weakness and must endure such injustices by "progressives" who hate Jews, freedom and democracy.
He'll sleep with the fishes...A blabbermouth has spilled the truth a bunch of crazy lies about the Republican Talking Points...
...Q. How many other right-wing blogs out there receive talking points? A. I wouldn't know the exact number, but, obviously, most of them do.(Thanks to Glenn)
Q. How does a blogger get to receive talking points? A. Most blogs were created at the behest of Rove and started out with talking points. I had gained interest from my work as a Republican in college as offered a large sum of money to start a blog to pretend that conservatives are capable of humor (we really aren't). It is possible to start a blog and then be approached by Rove or his henchman, but he seems to like more control over blogs than that.
Q. Do you share the money Rove pays you with the other IMAO bloggers? A. This is "Frequently Asked Questions" not "Showtime at the Apollo," so enough with the jokes.
Q. What happens if you deviate too much from the talking points? A. A certain amount of deviation is expected to make it seem like we're each our own individuals (e.g., hating monkeys is not on the talking points). But the power of the blogosphere is that we Republican shills all act in unison on some issue, so, if one blogger wanders too far off the reservation, then he or she will simply stop receiving the talking points. This will leave the person pointless and having to make things up like Drudge...
More on possible Flu Pandemic...
When I was writing about a possible flu pandemic recently my good wife reminded me to check with my sister Jan. Well, duh. <smack forehead> She's an epidemiologist! (Janet McClure, nurse and epidemiologist BSN, MPH). I still think of her as a nurse, but she's in a doctoral program in epidemiology, and will soon be "my sister the doctor." </smack forehead>
She did not find my alarm in the least bit excessive. Quite the contrary...
...The reason this strain of flu is so worrisome is that it attacks the lung's microscopic air sacs and prevents exchange of oxygen and CO2. Modern medicine cannot solve this problem because ventilators can push air into the lungs but cannot make oxygen go through lung membranes that are not functioning.It's time to wake up and get ready! Make preparations. Be wise.
If you read the letter at the end of the link you provided, you will read a description how rapidly healthly men became ill and died of what is called "air hunger".
The expectation by public health experts is that due to lack of preparation and the nature the most worrisome flu strains, there will be a collapse of the US commercial and healthcare infrastructure as there was in 1918. Many deaths will occur not from the flu but from lack of food, fuel, etc as there will not be sufficient people who are able, willing, and available to provide services such as banking, transportation and sale of food, gasoline, medication and basic healthcare even for serious existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease etc. This is described in academic terms in the attached article p.590-1 " Social disruption, interruption of commerce, school closings, and public unrest are likely when many people are ill at the same time."...[link]
(Oh and by the way, I discovered she is ALSO a Vitamin C enthusiast)
test postKathy Kinsley once again proves to be a good resource if something goes wrong with your weblog software...
September 11, 2005
The Media Wing of the Democrat Party is reporting widely that the Shaw Group, a major corporate client of Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the FEMA, has received a big FEMA contract!
Of course they don't bother to report one teensy weensy little fact...
...The Shaw Group, a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate, is headed by Jim Bernhard, the current chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Bernhard worked tirelessly for Democrat Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's runoff campaign and served as co-chair of her transition team. Another Shaw executive was Blanco's campaign manager. Bernhard is back-scratching chums with Blanco, whom he has lent/offered the Shaw Group's corporate jets to on numerous occasions...[Find the details here, at Michelle Malkin]I'm sure we'll be hearing from Zoomie about the horrid crony-capitalists of the Bush Administration...
There is no room for neutrality...
Look at that destruction, that massive, senseless, cruel loss of human life ... and then I ask you to look in your hearts and recognize that there is no room for neutrality on the issue of terrorism. You're either with civilization or with terrorists.Quoted at the PajamasMedia site
On one side is democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human life; on the other is tyranny, arbitrary executions, and mass murder.
We're right and they're wrong. It's as simple as that.
-- Rudy Giulani, October 1, 2001
you will forget...forget...forget...
THIS is the war the phony "anti-war" left wants forgotten. Don't expect any giant puppets protesting attacks on America...
THIS is the war the fake "pacifists" didn't oppose. The slaughter would still be going on if they had their way. And there never will be be any "candlelight vigils" crap for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis shoveled beneath the sands during Saddam's internal war against his own people...they are just dirt to the Bush-haters.
Remember remember remember...
Let's climb in the What If machine...
Politicalities points out, what I hadn't realized...
Because I don't watch television...
There is a news blackout on the fact that the Red Cross was blocked from bringing food to the Superdome!
He's asking bloggers to put on pressure to get this story covered. (Well, my pressure-added is probably negligable, but who knows?)
He has a great open letter...give it a read...
...Why aren't you screaming this from the rooftops? I know why. Because the mayor who so failed his people, the governor who thwarted the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, the chief of police who rewarded his troops with Vegas vacations after they engaged in mass desertion and in some cases joined the looters... these people are all Democrats. That's the reason.This was especially interesting because the first thing I woke up to this morning was a comment by the usually-accurate Andrew Cory that was wrong on this point, and the second was the open letter...(Thanks to Lorie)
Don't try to deny it. Let's climb in the What If machine and ponder Hurricane LaTonya bearing down on the city of Jacksonville, Florida in a slightly different reality.
Jacksonville sits on Florida's Atlantic coast, just south of Georgia, and has thus far been spared major hurricanes, which means it's due. It's the most populous city in Florida and the 13th most populous city in the United States, about 60% larger than New Orleans. Its mayor is Republican John Peyton, its chief of police is probable Republican Donald R. Cook, and of course the governor of Florida is Republican Jeb Bush . Duval County voted for Bush over Kerry by 16%.....
September 10, 2005
We in trouble?
FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
If New Orleans shows us how DHS responds to a terrorist attack, we�re in a lot of trouble.
Oh right, we're in trouble. The terrorists just need to find a target that falls instantly into squalid confusion, that blocks access to Red Cross supplies and to the people coming to repair the police radios, a place where most of the cops run away and the disaster plan isn't even tried, and a wretched and ignorant population is abandoned by its leaders. In short, something that falls apart at a touch. They will have difficulty finding another New Orleans.
Some terrorist trouble. Pfui.
This was one of the the worst natural disasters to hit America, something no terrorist could equal unless they have real nukes. And America coped very well. We've handled all the problems that came up, and we haven't even strained our economy. The big federal bureaucracies didn't shine, but that's not suprising. Corrupt Democrat-led areas didn't do well, but again, no surprise. Military, cops (except in NOLA), private business and charity all did well. Yet again no suprise. (Notice they are the ones lefties tend to dislike.) A huge swath of territory was devastated, but only NOLA fell into anarchy. And the ten-thousand corpses don't seem to be materializing, much to certain people's disappointment.
No, we are not in trouble. FEMA is not supposed to be the Angel Gabriel come to protect us. It is just a small agency that coordinates the activities of other groups, all of which will still exist without FEMA, and most of which performed very well. And the controversies are over things being done a day or two late. Most countries would still be organizing their efforts a week after the levees broke.
With the possible exception of New Orleans, which was already in deep decline and decay, the affected regions will recover soon, and probably prosper with all of our tax dollars that will be lavished on them. You call that trouble?
And DHS is mostly about preventing terrorist attacks, not responding to them. They confiscate nail clippers, and make sure no one crosses our borders without permission. We are definitely in trouble if they need to be relied on. Fortunately, they are NOT what prevents terror attacks.
Two things keep us from from another 9/11. The first is that we are attacking them, around the globe, and especially in Iraq. They are not thinking about winning, they are trying to prevent us from spreading democracy and freedom to the Moslem heartlands. They are on the defensive. we have the iniative.
And even more important, terror attacks are meant to manipulate people. They are meant to make a country flinch, and retreat, and lose its nerve. They are not a direct threat. We lose 40,000 Americans a year in automoblile accidents. Are we in "trouble?" Of course not. So if terrorists suddenly killed 40,000 of us, would we be in trouble? NO! Not unless we lost our nerve and gave them what they want. And Americans don't do that. What did we do after 9/11? We've launched one of the most abitious projects in human history; an attempt to transform the culture of a entire region. A stupifying response.
So imagine you are an Osama bin Laden type. Do you really feel enthusiastic about trying another 9/11? After what you reaped from the first one? Or do you go look for a softer target, say Madrid, or London. That's why there hasn't been another 9/11.
We should indeed debate and discuss our response to Hurricane Katrina
However, there is one line that I've been hearing that I don't think has much merit. It's the: "But Bush PROMISED TO PROTECT US...whimper whimper snivel whine..." line.
Maybe I missed the memo, but I don't remember any promises to protect us from natural disasters. He did promise to hunt terrorist scumbags around the globe. That's the priority (though the appeasers will do anything to distract us. Like featuring Katrina corpses on TV, but not 9/11 images, or Saddam's mass graves)
Fighting the war is the REAL protection.
THIS is the real protection...
...PROMISED and DELIVERED.
I find the whining about President Bush's non-suffering once again a bizarre attempt at sympathetic magic. Somehow (it's never explained) Bush failing to suffer like the victims of the latest disaster makes that suffering worse. Personally, if I were such a victim, I'd prefer to have my leaders in the best condition to make the best decisions rather than putting on some sort of fake humility show about how they're "just like me". But those doing the complaining tend to be logo-realists for whom the symbology of an act is the primary determinant of its effectiveness.I think it's the 'no-win" that is the goal here. The losers are lashing out with any criticism they can find. If Bush somehow were to suffer enormously in the flood they would not be the slightest bit appeased. In fact they'd be delighted, since they are haters. And, by the way, how come we haven't heard any complaints that Gov. Blanco is not suffering with the victims?. (And how come nobody's calling her racist? She's a white person who's presided for years over deteriorating conditions for blacks in NOLA.)
This hair-shirt approach does have the benefit of putting Bush in a no-win situation, where (as noted above) if he doesn't demonstrate his compassion through symbolic visits to the disaster site, he's callous. But if he does visit then he's callous fordisrupting some rescue efforts for a photo-op....
I think the popularity of this sort of argument is evidence that people's brains are rotting in the Age of Oprah. You see the same thing in claims that various conservatives should not be on the Supreme court because they've never been poor. (Liberals get a free pass; they can be stinking rich and still blather about how they feel for the poor.) The people using the argument are cynical frauds, but it's disturbing that such stupidity is not just laughed off the stage.
September 9, 2005
Washington Post: President Bush yesterday suspended application of the federal law governing workers' pay on federal contracts in the Hurricane Katrina-damaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The action infuriated labor leaders and their Democratic supporters in Congress, who said it will lower wages and make it harder for union contractors to win bids.Excellent conservative move. The sort of laws that are supposed to keep wages high and protect workers from wicked capitalists always have one teensy-weensy unintended little side-effect...I'm sure I don't need to tell you what it is...
The Davis-Bacon Act, passed in 1931 during the Great Depression, sets a minimum pay scale for workers on federal contracts by requiring contractors to pay the prevailing or average pay in the region. Suspension of the act will allow contractors to pay lower wages. Many Republicans have opposed Davis-Bacon, charging that it amounts to a taxpayer subsidy to unions....
I'd just put it that President Bush cares about the poor and brown-skinned people of the region. And John J. Sweeney and the Democrats do not.
If so, bury gold coins in the garden...
I think of one of my favorite Reagan stories: While governor, he is on one of the California campuses, leaving a regents� meeting. And a student mob surrounds his car. They are chanting, �We are the future! We are the future!� Reagan reaches for a notepad, scribbles something on it, and puts it to the window: �I�ll sell my bonds.�
"Hoping to dodge a bullet" is not a plan...
...as we have seen recently. And there is a possible disaster on the horizon that could dwarf Katrina.
Our friend Dave recently passed us some links on the subject of Avian Flu. (Read THIS, and this) The possibility of a Flu pandemic really looks like a threat that should be taken seriously. NOTE: You will, when you read up on this subject, find frequent references to the 1918 Pandemic killing 20 million people. That figure is long out of date; historians now have estimates ranging from 60 to 100 million deaths worldwide. The equivalent for today's much larger population might be half-a-billion!
I have one bit of advice to add to what's easily available on the Web. There is, in the world of medicine and health, a large blind spot on the subject of Vitamin C. (I bet some of you are recoiling at this moment, and thinking, "Oh no, another food-faddist." But if you read Random Jottings you probably know that I'm pretty down-to-earth, and don't recommend any Appalachian folk remedies).
Anyway, I've been following the subject for about 30 years now, and I've seen that blind spot often. As one web site put it:
...Many studies have shown that Vitamin C is quite effective in treating and preventing colds. The medical profession is not very interested. The popular media always seem to take the same position. It goes something like this:It is all such a shame
- A study shows positive results
- The results are discussed
- The story ends with the warning of taking too much C and that we are all probably better off just eating a proper diet.
I think scientists and doctors shy away from the subject because it seems flaky and "amateur." And probably the herbal remedy types find Vitamin C too clinical and chemical (unless in the form of Rose Hips). But in fact, the scientific evidence in favor of routinely taking doses of Vitamin C much larger that the RDA is compelling. I'll just give you one example: Almost all animals synthesize their own Vitamin C. And they ALL do so in amounts much higher than the RDA, some as much as 10,000 mg (10 grams) per day per 70 kg of body weight. Compare that with the US RDA of 60mg! (Those RDA's, by the way, never had much science in them. They are regarded with awe, because they are from the GOVERNMENT, but in fact they were mostly guesswork.)
So, Vitamin C and the flu.
And what does your body do with this stuff? A lot--Vitamin C is a co-enzyme in hundreds of enzymatic reactions. Most importantly, it is used by your Immune System, and if you are sick your body wants plenty of it.
This is a complicated subject; you might want to read Vitamin C, the Common Cold and the Flu, by Linus Pauling. I won't tell you what to do, but I personally consider 2-4 grams per day a minimum, and if I or my family has Flu, we are going to be taking at least a gram or two an hour. I feel confident it will make a big difference, but even a small difference could be crucial, because a killer flu will leave a lot of people hovering right at the edge of death, or too weakened to nurse others. (And hospital beds will not be available!)
And you are probably asking, does John Weidner get colds and flus? Well, the answer is, no, sort of. What usually happens is that, when all about me are taking to their beds with boxes of Kleenix, I just feel run-down and blah. But not so much so that I can't work. (Hmm. That may be a disadvantage.) I'm rarely sick in bed with a cold, certainly less than once a year. And those times seem to be connected with neglecting to keep my C level extra high when I'm not feeling my best. (And yes, I am perfectly aware that this is anecdotal evidence, and doesn't carry a lot of scientific weight. Make of it what you will.) And I would normally never blog about personal health matters, but the thought of a killer epidemic kinda concentrates the mind. Makes me remember reading The Stand.
[Bronson is a good source for C. Add baking soda to powdered C to make it less acidic (ratio 1-3). And Costco has good 1000mg tablets.]
September 8, 2005
FEMA, OK, have at 'em. Tear them apart...
From the Corner at NRO:
OVERWORKED TAXPAYER RELIEF WORKERS [Kate O'Beirne]
The Washington Waste Watchers, organized by Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida and other conservative members of the House, promise to be among the busiest workers in Katrina's aftermath. Following the 9/11 attacks, the group tracked FEMA "mental health" spending for victims in Virginia that funded multicultural dialogues, theatre workshops, and "a yearlong celebration of trees, gardens , and other healing spaces." After a Feeney floor speech questioning a "personal growth class based on mindful meditation techniques" some of the questionable programs were cancelled. May Tom Feeney's ranks grow...
worse than we thought...
I wasn't planning to bash Louisiana government any more, but I just ran across several columnists (including Friedmann and Myerson) arguing that obviously people are now going to wake up and discard this conservative lunacy and raise taxes and return us to the glory days when Democrat big government made the trains run on time...Nuh uh.
This is the sort of stuff people are going to wake up to:
...In addition to the plans, local, state and federal officials held a simulated hurricane drill 13 months ago, in which widespread flooding supposedly trapped 300,000 people inside New Orleans. The exercise simulated the evacuation of more than a million residents. The problems identified in the simulation apparently were not solved.I think Dems are really going to regret starting their ugly blame-game. If they had know what was going to crawl out they wouldn't have turned over that rock...
A year ago, as Hurricane Ivan approached, New Orleans ordered an evacuation but did not use city or school buses to help people evacuate. As a result many of the poorest citizens were unable to evacuate. Fortunately, the hurricane changed course and did not hit New Orleans, but both Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin acknowledged the need for a better evacuation plan. Again, they did not take corrective actions. In 1998, during a threat by Hurricane George, 14,000 people were sent to the Superdome and theft and vandalism were rampant due to inadequate security. Again, these problems were not corrected...[Bob Williams, WSJ. ]
And I think we are framing the discussion very badly. The underlying fact is that southern Louisiana is a quagmire (metaphorically, though also physically of course). The word quagmire has been debased by un-serious people to mean "anything difficult attempted by the US." But go back to the original metaphor, of a path taken that gets one in deeper and deeper, until you can go neither forward nor backward. Louisiana took a path centuries ago, when she started building levees. And every step, every house built or field cleared or business started made it harder to even think of starting over again.
Once Louisiana started to fight against the water, it was, in the long-term view, like a child trying protect a sand castle against the incoming tide. There's not only the sinking land, and the eroding coast, but also the Mississippi River itself is trying to cut a new route to the sea. Slow-moving rivers always change their paths. The, you guessed it, Corps of Engineers has been trying to keep the river from making a new path through the Atchafalaya basin since the 1950's.
If you are in a quagmire, you can't think clearly. You have invested too much to consider starting over. Slavery was a quagmire for this country, because a whole region had invested its wealth, and its lives, in the system. There was really no escape that didn't entail a large part of the country "declaring bankruptcy," and starting over with nothing. It was inconceivable for them.
In the case of Louisiana, it may be possible to find a middle course, and manage nature more wisely. There are plans, possibilities. And one hopes the disaster will shake things up enough to make thinking about a new way possible.
That's one reason why I found the instant torrent of lefty criticism infuriating. There is no thought behind it; it assumes that the quagmire is normal, and anyone who doesn't support it is heartless, racist, incompetent, blah blah blah. And now the Administration will probably be forced by political pressure to stay in the quagmire. There's a good case to be made for a lot of federal spending to start the region onto a better road. If the critics really cared about Louisiana and its people they would be pressing for something like that. But they don't care, they are obviously thrilled that people are dying in NOLA, so they can vent their hated of Bush. Actually contributing to a real debate is totally beyond them.
September 7, 2005
Bill Quick writes:
I am sick and tired of windbag pontificators shrieking "A plague on both their houses." Conservatives and defenders of GWB did not start this brawl. We were not whining and weeping on national television that it was the feds' fault the locals refused to do their jobs. Conservatives in the blogosphere, in fact, were first out of the box organizing fundraising efforts. So why do fatuous, bilious, stupid bloviators continue to pretend that defending Bush against nearly baseless charges is exactly the same (and equally reprehensible) as the professional liars who instigated the battle, and mounted their first anti-Bush charges from atop stacks of NOLA corpses?I can't add much to that, except I've seen it all my life. If the lefty side is too grotesquely bad to defend (remember the Soviet Union?) then they pompously declare that both sides are similarly rotten.
This has the added advantage of allowing them to pose as neutral "concerned citizens," who are "above the fray" and "shocked by the ugly rhetoric" and all that. Since the two sides usually are not equal, it's really just another way of lying...
Aquinas put it under Charity...
Christians should remember that the just-war doctrine is not grounded in revenge, punishment, or even justice. Thomas Aquinas discussed it in Summa Theologica -- not in the section on justice but in the section on charity (that is, the love of God). As Christian scholar Darrell Cole writes, 'The Christian who fails to use force to aid his neighbor when prudence dictates that force is the best way to render that aid is an uncharitable Christian. Hence Christians who willingly and knowingly refuse to engage in a just war ... fail to show love towards their neighbor as well as towards God.' Out of love of neighbor, then, Christians can and should support a preemptive strike, if ordered by the appropriate magistrate to prevent an imminent attack.
Hillary Clinton talks the brave talk about "supporting the troops," but John Byrnes is a New York State guardsman, and isn't impressed.
.....Of course, I’m sure she had no plans to welcome them home anyway. At least that’s the treatment we got. I returned with the 2-108th In. in January. Upon our return we had re-deployment ceremony on January 2. This was the first NY Infantry battalion deployed to fight overseas in fifty years. We lost three brave soldiers and sent home a dozen more wounded. Clinton didn’t come. She didn’t send a representative. She couldn’t even be bothered sending a message to be read.
Again no surprise! She gave us the same snub before we deployed avoiding that ceremony in February of 2003, the same month she took a photo op in Afghanistan with the 10th....
.... have to wonder why we’re so invisible to her. She seems to LOVE the 10th Mountain. Maybe it’s because like her, they are essentially just visiting NY, passing through on the way to somewhere else. Hopefully a promotion! Is that why she ignores the real NY citizen soldiers? Because she’s over us already, on her way to a bigger better national constituency?....
Of course every politician has to fake things to some extant, it comes with the job. But the real person usually appears if you trouble to look. It would not be surprising if there were other groups that Hillary cares about, and finds the time and energy for. And I would sorta kinda guess that they are not..ummm...patriotic? I could be wrong.
One of the reasons I like the President and his wife is the stories that get passed around (Republican samizdat, you might say) of how they take time for people beyond what is needed for a photo-op. Here's one. I've never heard stuff like that about Kerry, or Hillary Clinton. Of course I may just not be listening on the right wavelength...But I think I would have heard something. And I probably would have blogged it.
September 6, 2005
Domeblog is blogging the evacuees in Houston. Fascinating stuff...
Houston's Unified Command today announced that there's a "zoning plan" for what they're calling "Reliant City," which consists of four locations:
. Dome City 17,500 residents
. Center City 3,800 residents
. Arena City 2,300 residents
. George R. Brown City 1,300 residents
They say that with 24,900 total residents, the Reliant Park Complex is now the largest evacuation shelter in U.S. history.
They are planning to set up typical neighborhood amenities such as a Welcome Center, Banking Center, Reliant Town Square Park, Reliant City Medical Center, a Transit Center with Metro Transit Authority and HISD school bus stops.
The Reliant Town Square will include a playground, sports field and laundry facilities. The Salvation Army will construct several refreshment centers east of Dome City.
Construction completion goal is Friday.
According to the Harris County Department of Education, more than 4,000 school-aged children are expected to register this week and will start classes Sept. 12. (Thanks to Aziz)
One interesting thing is a big effort starting up to find jobs for Katrina victims...
Leftizoids shield Bush Administration from criticism.Well, that's just what's happening. People like me would normally be inclined right now to be doing some criticism of the Federal response (and also, obviously, state and local) to Katrina. Us conservatives never did much like the idea of creating a giant bureaucracy to provide "homeland security," and we predicted red tape and delay and waste.
Instead we are busy combatting an incredibly infantile outburst of hatred and bile. Before the facts could possibly be known or digested, Bush-haters were declaring all problems to be the fault of the President, and claiming he is the worst most incompetent ever, etc etc. And pushing deliberate lies. Paul Krugman just wrote : "...the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients..." this story is apparently being passed around on lefty web sites.
But it's a LIE, as you can see for yourself at the Bataan website...Actually the hospital beds are not in use, because the medical team is ashore working on patients there. The Bataan was fully engaged by Tuesday PM.
The actual result of this mendacity is that valid criticisms are lost in the static, or never get made. Suggestions for improvements will likely go unheeded.
Paul Mirengoff at Powerline writes:
...there are, of course, trade-offs when it comes to allocating duties among local, state, and federal entities. State and local governments, especially those in some cities, tend to be plagued by corruption and incompetent leadership. New Orleans is the embodiment, or rather the caricature, of this. Federal agencies usually aren't particularly corrupt and they tend to attract more able leaders, but they are plagued by red tape and the related symptoms associated with large organizations of this kind.My little suggestion: You ask where the billions spent on homeland defense went? Much of it went to local governments (first responders). Louisiana got 3/4 of a billion, I hear. Why not tie that money to participation in rigorous "fire drills," war games of disaster scenarios? Let tests be designed and sprung by committees composed of both federal and local disaster officials, so everybody gets a vigorous workout.
These problems are inherent, and thus will persist long after the inevitable commission has issued its reports and the findings have been implemented. Nonetheless, given what terrorists may be able to accomplish in the near future, we need quickly to find some answers that will enable us to do better next time...
A strategy vs nothing...Martin Devon writes:
..Iraq was a strategy for the war on terror. I know that the left never bought that and still doesn’t. That’s ok. The point is, Bush has a strategy and is executing it passionately. As we approach September 11th 2005 I STILL could not tell you what the hell the Dems’ strategy is to defeat the threat posed by radical Islam...I bet in 2009 he will be able to write the exact same sentence. A strategy flows out of what you believe. To ask yourself what your strategy should be is to ask yourself what you believe.
The Republican strategy of fighting the roots of radical Islam by promoting democracy was actually hammered out during the Reagan Administration, when the Marcos regime in the Philippines was crumbling. We decided to abandon the Cold War strategy of fighting Communism by propping up anti-Communist authoritarian dictators, and instead encourage democracy movements. A risky choice between two conservative beliefs, one that has paid off hugely (Remember Latin American dictators? Not too thick on the ground these days.)
Democrats will not be able to choose a strategy, because they would have to define what they believe, and they don't believe in anything. They could not even denounce that loathsome spider Cindy Sheehan when she said that "America is not worth fighting for."
PS: Lyle has a good comment...
September 5, 2005
ask an expertOne of the infuriating things about discussing the response to the hurricane is that you end up arguing with hippies who have not a clue about the friction that bedevils real-world operations...even without a disaster. Jason van Steenwyck, who has done done NG disaster operations, talks about logistics...
...The closest available fuel on the Eastern approaches to New Orleans is Tuscaloosa, AL. The road distance from Tuscaloosa to New Orleans is 291 miles.To an NYT columnist, military units are just cardboard counters in a game, and you push them where you want. In real life it isn't like that. Our military is so superb that they make this stuff look easy, and then armchair whiners expect everything to always happen instantaneously. Van Steenwyck has lots of posts worth reading. He makes a good case, writing about the NG takeover of the Superdome, that:
My 2 1/2 ton trucks could not make it to New Orleans, carrying a full load. Without external fueler support, they'd run out of fuel on the way in. My Humvees could probably make it in, but they wouldn't be able to operate once they got there. We could maybe pull a mounted zone reconnaisance, and then that's it. Black on CL III.
So that's another layer of logistical hurdles to overcome. You'd need to set up a series of FLEs (forward logistical elements) just to allow your mass formations to get in.
But your FLEs are traveling from hours away, too. Which means everytime you empty out a fueler on the outskirts of New Orleans, you have to drive 291 miles to fill up and return again. Until Tuscaloosa runs out of fuel. Hopefully, you're trucking it in to Tuscaloosa from somewhere else. And Tuscaloosa needs its own fuel, too.
Think the shortage of available fuel for 300 miles might put a crimp on any Federal response?...
...our Army has never been better. The crucible of Iraq has tempered our NCOs and junior officer corps in fire, and they are able to concieve operations and execute quickly, with commendable restraint, even with an ad hoc force pulled together from all over.That operation went so smoothly that nobody noticed how superb it was. Not that our vile press is going to do much reporting about anything that goes well, unless it's done by Democrats.
This could not have gone well before the Iraq war. But one thing the Army has learned to do well is process large numbers of people quickly, screening for bad guys. We didn't learn this at Fort Benning or Fort Polk.
I would argue that despite the absence of part of the LAARNG in Iraq, the overall quality of the response, and the rapidity with which it was able to be delivered, is perhaps BETTER as a result of the war in Iraq. And our nation benefits indirectly from the leadership and logistics lessons learned by our National Guard officers and NCOs as a result of their widespread deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kudos to the LAARNG for not going in prematurely. This is one operation where you absolutely needed overwhelming force, and to go in like a bolt of lightning. Good work, brothers and sisters...
#192: Off the hook...
KRUGMAN TRUTH SQUAD
In Killed by Contempt (09/05/05) Paul Krugman continues the Bush-bashing frenzy that he and the liberal media began last week. He starts this way:
“I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized.”And,
“Experts say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are the crucial window during which prompt action can save many lives. Yet action after Katrina was anything but prompt.”Just about everything in these two statements is wrong. Let’s start with the critical 72 hours. This is also the amount of time that states are told they must rely on their own preparedness plans until federal assistance can arrive. And just what were those preparedness plans in Louisiana? They did not have an emergency evacuation plan, apparently–at least not for the poor, ill and elderly people the local politicians now profess to care so much about. That seems pretty elemental. Stashing them in the Super Dome and Convention Center was a spur of the moment decision made without adequate provisioning for food, water and security. What kind of preparedness is that? But what is particularly damning is that Louisiana and New Orleans have received three-quarters of a billion dollars in emergency and terrorism aide since 9/11. Where did that money go, we wonder? If the levees were in such bad condition, as local politicians now claim was common knowledge, some repair work would have been a good project, no? Or, maybe securing the water system? Or, how about some police training for handling looting after emergencies? We look forward to the official inquiry and to tracking of the disposition of those emergency funds and the lack of any visible signs of preparedness.
Now to Krugman's other claim that federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized. In a turn of justice so pure we could only dream about, this statement is completely undone by a NY Times news article concerning the “blame game” being played by officials in the same edition as Krugman's column. Buried deep in the story is this:
One sign of the continuing battle over who was in charge was Governor Blanco's refusal to sign an agreement proposed by the White House to share control of National Guard forces with the federal authorities. Under the White House plan, Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré would oversee both the National Guard and the active duty federal troops, reporting jointly to the president and Ms. BlancoThese two paragraphs contain some breathtaking admissions. First we learn that the governor did not even ask for troops until Wednesday when most of the liberal politicians and media were already bashing Bush for being late. Second, she refused to allow federalization of the National Guard which is the principal means by which the federal government gets manpower for emergency assistance. Third, she admits to being “in control from the very beginning.” This last admission is truly amazing. If she was so in control why had she not called up her own National Guard rather than demanding troops from the president. Or, if she had called them up why were they not in New Orleans by Wednesday restoring order? We will be watching for more information on the governors decision-making timeline. [Note: The quote above is a work in progress. The Times has changed it twice from one addition to another and to the on-line edition. But we can assure readers that each word was in at least one edition].
The governor, who had asked President Bush for 40,000 troops on Wednesday, did not want to cede control of the National Guard and did not believe signing the order would speed the arrival of troops. "She would lose control when she had been in control from the very beginning," said Ms. Bottcher, the governor's press secretary.
In the meantime, we think Krugman should have started his column thusly:
“I’m not letting the federal government off the hook, but the problems in Louisiana were primarily a failure of leadership and incompetence at the level of local governments.”[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]
September 4, 2005
BriefingGeneral Blum's briefing is worth reading. Among other things, National Guard response was delayed, not because they weren't ready, but because of the need to bring in large numbers of military police because the local police were almost non-existant. 4.200 National Guard military police were collected and flown in Thursday Friday and Saturday. Think about that a minute. The levees only broke on Monday, it was Tuesday before the collapse of civil order in New Orleans and the need for MP's became apparent...and on Thursday the first 1,400 were in NO. That's superb organization. Extremely fast response.
into the gnarled wreckage...
Gutfield, funny once again....
Additional National Guard members were ordered to combat looting that has erupted at the Huffington Post today. The troops have already witnessed brazen incidents of criminality since the disaster began, as Huffposters gleefully sift among gnarled wreckage and corpses to find any blunt or broken object to swing at an administration they detest. "Looters are grabbing whatever they can to make themselves look smart, and make Bush look or feel bad," Greg Gutfeld said in a telephone interview, hiding under his desk.
"They're taking everything that isn't nailed down! It's not just to survive, they're using the dead for personal gain... PLEASE SEND HELP!"....
Thanks to Richard, who also had this:
The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina...
Good. Halliburton is, as we know, an excellent company, but even if they weren't they should get some contracts just as a thumb in the eye to the Bush-haters who have slimed them so often...
The Lefty Prayer...
Mike at Cold Fury writes:
Do you remember when the last Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, told us that to be prepared for emergencies, we should put together a readiness kit? I do. The kit layout is suggested at Ready.Gov. The portion of the kit for dealing with attacks and natural disasters should have, ideally, “at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food” and a corresponding amount of water - a gallon per day per person.
Yet when he announced the suggested measures that we all take to prepare for potential terror attacks or natural disasters, he was met with nothing but mockery. So much so, that his name is synonymous with duct tape - since that’s the only thing anybody in the MSM (or for that matter the lefty blogosphere) cared to discuss.
Thanks for undercutting it, my patriotic left wing friends, and calling it partisan scare mongering. What kind of a warped mind, can spin basic common sense as partisan bickering.
So answer me this, how many of the displaced persons in New Orleans secured a ready kit? If none, then why not? They can’t all be that poor - three days food and water is pretty cheap, especially if you’re buying the non-perishable staples (e.g. beans & stuff) recommended....
Mike has a Lonnnnnnng list of links of lefty fatheads heaping scorn on Ridge for suggesting that ordinary Americans should keep emergency supplies of food and water. The same FATHEADS who are now dumping on Bush because people in NO were suffering.
The deaths in NO are partly the fault of people like Atrios, Kos, Yglesias, Drum...When Ridge was pushing Preparedness Month, they scoffed that it was just politics. The press scoffed. Those people are murderers. They laughed their sophisticated heads off at the homely advice Ridge was giving.
They sneered and sneered. Especially they sneered at the duct tape. But, of course, any emergency kit should have duct tape; it's useful for a thousand and one simple chores and repairs. But that's all Lefties can do these days, sneer. They have nothing positive to offer to our society, or to the hard-working people who actually wrestle with life's messy problems. They are empty.
Their prayer is, "Please God don't let me get tangled up in the world's grubby ambiguous problems, where I might get cooties. Let me keep my moral superiority and stand forever on the sidelines and sneer."
Compare Biloxi and New Orleans...
...A lot of attention has been focused on New Orleans this week, and given the number of victims there, that’s right. But people might consider that Mississippi got hit just as hard as Louisiana, and Biloxi as hard as New Orleans, but there has not been the looting, the violence, and the selfishness in Biloxi that we have seen in New Orleans. Granted, the flooding in New Orleans has made things very bad in sanitary terms, but the plain fact is, that Biloxi has done a great deal that we would all hope to see in our own towns, if such a disaster were to hit us.The Left favors gun control. Always. All around the world. They claim they wish to prevent crime, but that's a lie--the criminals are never disarmed. They claim they want to prevent accidents, but that's a lie--they never show any interest in safety training for gun users.
For all the attention given to it, New Orleans is the exception, not the rule. I might be wrong, but a friend reminded me this week that in Mississippi, regular people have guns. In New Orleans, only the police and criminals do. It’s a fact that the Left will never admit out loud, but there is a virtue to Force, when it’s properly used.
They want guns banned because they want ordinary people to feel weak, and dependent on government.
The various recriminations were hearing about Katrina all kind of miss the same point. We are not Euro-sheep, we are AMERICANS! Before all else, we should be self-reliant. We should take care of ourselves and our neighbors. And governments, federal and local, should be encouraging that FIRST. [And I'm far from perfect in the self-reliance bit, but I did go out today and beef-up our emergency supplies a bit.]
Tone-deafOrrin Judd writes:
...Somehow in the Left's memory the urban riots of the late 60s became an event that shamed white America into realizing how badly even Northern blacks were being treated. In fact, what they did was end the civil rights movement, because they filled whites with both fear and contempt for the very people they felt they'd gone pretty far to help at great cost to the cohesiveness of society.Democrats have played the race card so many times, they are incapable of doing anything else. It's a tic. If they actually cared about poor blacks, they would be condemning the black criminals who prey upon them. Instead they gain black votes by telling the poor that everything is somebody else's fault, and that they deserve to be taken care of by government. Katrina may well set back Republican efforts to woo blacks. But Republican efforts are based on appeals to grown-ups, and probably will never resonate with the welfare underclass. On the other hand, blacks who work hard and want to get ahead will probably keep trending Republican. I noticed this bit by Andrea:
The Left has made a rather tone-deaf decision to try and cast the aftermath of Katrina as a racial issue even though such a theme can only backfire. White America doesn't look at looting in New Orleans and say, "My goodness, what have we driven them to?" We look at it and say, "What kind of people are they?"
...I think the most sickening thing about this is the way some people are trying to make this into a race issue. I can tell you from personal experience on Wednesday morning at work the first conversation I got into with my coworkers about the situation in Louisiana, the first thing the two African-American coworkers I was talking to said was “this has nothing to do with race.” And they were upset at the media for latching onto every single instant that could be misconstrued into a “racism” angle...
"...it’s emergency management 101"
If Martians Red Planet Freedom-Fighters landed on the South Pole and declared it Ice Cream Land, the same brain-damaged goops we're hearing from now would instantly blame Bush for building a base at McMurdo.
Sorry Joel & ROE, but you guys are WAAAYYY off base in criticizing FEMA. Disaster preparedness is the responsibility of State and Local authorities – in this case LEMA (The Louisiana Emergency Management Agency). There is a state-wide director for disaster relief in every state – that person is called the Governor. There is a local director for disaster relief in every municipality – that person is called the Mayor. FEMA is a coordinating body that assists State and Local authorities in getting the resources they need. Because they are the “go to” people most folks are under the impression that they are in charge, and in fact if the State and Local authorities abdicate control over a disaster area they will take over. Typically after the initial response to a disaster the local guys do just that, leave FEMA in control. That’s because they have the experience and personnel to manage disasters of this scale.
Disclosure: I’m a volunteer coordinator for MEMA (The Missouri Emergency Management Agency), I’ve been through three major floods and a few big storms that generated enough tornado damage to get the affected counties disaster relief – believe me when I tell you what we are seeing from FEMA now is lightyears ahead of what I’ve seen from them in the past. Typically it took two to three days just to get the disaster declaration, then another two to three to get FEMA deployed – of course by then the local guys had been on the ground working around the clock for five or six days and we were more than happy to dump everything in FEMA’s lap. That’s the way the system is designed. Bush saw that and tried to skip a few steps to speed things up, he pre-declared the areas disaster areas. So what we are seeing in NO is the result of a convergence of factors:
First, the storm damage was bad, but the flooding has made relief efforts ten times harder than anything they could have imagined. Second, Mayor Nagin’s performance has been pathetic. This is the worst case of poor planning and criminal incompetence I’ve ever seen. Like I said, Bush declared the gulf coast area a Federal Disaster area on Saturday – two days before Katrina hit. That freed up FEMA resources for local and state coordinators and allowed for the pre-positioning of supplies so they could be rapidly deployed to the affected areas. Mayor Nagin waited until the last minute to call for an evacuation of the city, but the poorest people could not evacuate – why weren’t school busses used to get them out of town? Mayor Nagin made the last minute decision to declare the Superdome and COnvention centers as refuge relocation points – why weren’t they stocked with water, food, bedding, generators, and fuel? Why weren’t hospitals offered additional resources by the Mayors office? Mayor Nagin made the decision to allow looting and told the police to focus on Search and Rescue – but looting hinders S&R efforts (as we’ve seen) and no one I know could believe that decision – it’s emergency management 101, preserving order preserves life. There’s plenty of blame to go around – Blanco deserves her share too – but the real culprit in the aftermath here is Nagin.Of course some people remember it was the same stupid Bush-haters who criticized him for moving too fast with Hurricane Charley:
...Even before the storm hit, the president declared four counties disaster areas to speed federal money to victims. But that quick response fueled suspicion that he is using disaster politics to help his campaign in one of the most critical battleground states, a notion the president dismissed Sunday...
September 3, 2005
Meanwhile...We're preoccupied here, but the Iraq Campaign of the WoT has not slackened. Check out the recent posts by Bill Roggio. Heavy ops in Tal Afar, on the ratline between Mosul and Syria. Interestingly, two Iraqi battalions were were flown in by their own transport, on Iraqi Air Force C-130's. Interesting things going on.
Apropos of the previous, I'm reposting this from a year ago...
A little bit of the wisdom of W. By Linda Chavez:
George W. Bush once gave me some good advice -- which I never got the opportunity to use -- now I'd like to return the favor. Back when he picked me to be Secretary of Labor in 2001, the then president-elect sat me down in the Texas governor's mansion for a little heart-to-heart talk. "You know they're going to come after you in the Senate confirmation hearings," he said, fully aware that organized labor and other left-leaning groups vociferously opposed my nomination. "I know you can take care of yourself. You could probably come right back at them, and you might be tempted to do that," he added with a smile. "But here's my advice -- and you can take it or leave it: Don't get bogged down in winning the argument. Don't bite at their bait. I'm not telling you what to do," he said, leaning forward in his chair, "but it's what I'd do in your position."...And that's exactly what Bush does, and it works very well. The absurd lying attacks on his Air National Guard service have been going on since he ran for governor of Texas. Has he whined or complained once? No. Have the attacks worked? No. (Of course he's in a better position than poor Kerry, who has the disadvantage that the attacks on him are largely true.)
I admire intensely the discipline of Bush and his team. I can't imagine being slandered, and just ignoring it. [link to original post]
"but in the end they look shrill"Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit posted this, by a commenter:
The thing that amazes me is that Bush stays calm and greets the mayor heartily. This is why he is a president I respect. He could have sent his political hacks after the obviously inadequate mayor, but he didn't. Perhaps he felt what so many on the left could never feel for Bush: compassion. Bush realized how sorry this guy's political futue looks, and took pity on him.Amazes me too. I don't know how he does it. I think it's smart politics in the long run, but I always find myself wishing he would lash back at the stupid abuse he endures. Oh well, Lincoln and FDR got much the same sort of contumely, and treated it with the same disdain. (They don't call it the 70-Year Cycle for nothing. A new era is being born, just like in 1932 and 1860. And bewildered fury is the response)
The Dems can never figure this out. Their wailing and screaming grabs headlines initially, but in the end they look shrill and appear to lack the inner strength that it takes to lead a nation through crisis, be it a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or war. On a gut level, the American people know this.
Let's face it, acting emotionally and losing one's cool only looks good when the crisis is at its most unbearable, but after the fact, most of us realize how worthless those emotions are, and usually feel quite silly for acting that way.
Bush will come out of this on top. Nagin and the libs will come out of this smelling like, well, like the Superdome does right about now. – Mr. New York City
...murders, and mounds of bodies lining the streets...
The poor shipwrecked souls of the Left, embittered refugees from the sunken Twentieth Century, are already trying to blame President Bush for the catastrophe of New Orleans. But as the facts come out, as the timelines are scrutinized, it isn't Bush and the Feds who are starting to look bad.
The National Guard was positioning supplies before the State of Louisiana requested their help. And Bush was apparently urging Gov. Blanco to evacuate NO even before the levees broke. And while I tend to fault the Bush Administration for over-reliance on giant bureaucracies, by bureaucratic standards the Feds moved pretty fast. (In 1992's Hurricane Andrew, it took nine days for the request for federal help to move through the bureaucracy.) And I predict that our military will exhibit none of the corruption and sheer stupidity of the NO police. [And I'm not saying there were not Federal failures. But they are being compared with perfection, not with what normally happens in disasters.]
On the other hand, the failure of the first line of defense, local government, is looking greater than ever. Our troops are moving into an area with the flavor of Darfur or Banda Aceh, rather than America. This is a quote from an e-mail posted at PowerLine:
...As for the response post-Katrina, on Monday everyone was breathing a sigh of relief that New Orleans was spared. Rescue efforts were being geared to the Mississippi and Alabama coasts where the population densities were higher than the marsh lands south east of New Orleans. It wasn't until the levies failed late Monday night and early Tuesday morning that there was a need for more extensive planning in New Orleans. After that it was the failure of the Mayor to quickly order a total evacuation, and the Governor's failure for not over-stepping him and ordering it herself that caused a crisis to turn into a catastrophe. Once the flooding was complete there was no way for the people left in the city to escape. Furthermore, it was the Mayor's and the Governor's fault for not mobilizing the Louisiana National Guard as early as Tuesday when it became apparent that the city was going to totally flood, and it was their fault that they also did not give orders to shoot-to-kill any looter stealing more than food, water, or shoes. In Mississippi the Governor almost immediately gave shoot-to-kill orders for looters. How many looting stories have made the news from Mississippi?This, I think, is a dying spasm of the culture of welfare dependency, Democrat political machines, and the general corruption of Louisiana politics. Those problems won't go away of course, but they are dying in the sense that few people will be seeing them in the future as anything but pathological conditions.
A very close friend's sister lived in New Orleans, stayed at her home through the hurricane and only made it out yesterday. On Wednesday she and her neighbor decided they had to leave even though their homes were in the 20% that didn't flood. They spent that day gathering what food and water they had, loading their guns, and testing possible routes out. On their second try they met up with two New Orleans police officers who at gun-point ordered them to return home telling them they "would not" help them. On Thursday, when they left, their SUV was mobbed by a huge crowd that tried to pull them out of their car and take it. Brandishing their guns they were able to escape. Along their route out of town they witnessed murders and mounds of bodies lining the streets. Had they not left I doubt they would have survived....
And of course the Leftish appeasers instantly tried to use a hurricane to discredit the Iraq Campaign. They hate national defense, because it shines a spotlight on their greatest weakness--they no longer believe in anything enough to fight for it. But I think it is the "anti-war" movement that will be discredited. People will be seeing the splendid competence and professionalism of our military close-up. Our vile press can block positive stories from the War on Terror, but that will be harder to do in the streets of NO.
I'm wondering...Since some of those New Orleans neighborhoods are going to be pretty much total losses, I wonder about the possibility of covering them with enough soil to raise them 20 or 30 feet, then building anew? Obviously the cost would be vast, but I know the Army Corps of Engineers has been desiring to move 500 million cubic yards of sand to start the restoration of the barrier islands. (Here's a link to an article about it) That's got to be at least comparable in size...
The cost would be partly offset by an increase in property values for land not in danger of flooding, and also because it would be much easier to rebuild on a clean slate. All the gas, water and sewer pipes could be built right on the surface before the last 3 feet of soil is put down...Then the roads could all be paved at once, with no traffic in the way...
September 2, 2005
A centimeter a year...
It's good to keep in mind that Louisiana's current problems are actually manifestations of deeper problems. They've "built their house upon the sand," but sand moves, and needs to be replenished...
....As long as people could control floods, they could do business. But, as people learned too late, the landscape of South Louisiana depends on floods: it is made of loose Mississippi River silt, and the ground subsides as this silt consolidates. Only regular floods of muddy water can replenish the sediment and keep the landscape above water. But flood control projects channel the river's nourishing sediment to the end of the birdfoot delta and out into the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico....
....Abby Sallenger, a scientist with the United States Geological Survey who has studied the Louisiana landscape for years, sees the results of this bargain when he makes his regular flights over the Gulf Coast or goes by boat to one of the string of sandy barrier islands that line the state's coast.
The islands are the region's first line of defense against hurricane waves and storm surges. Marshes, which can normally absorb storm water, are its second.
But, starved of sediment, the islands have shrunk significantly in recent decades. And though the rate of the marshes' loss has slowed somewhat, they are still disappearing, "almost changing before your eyes," as Dr. Sallenger put it in a telephone interview from his office in St. Petersburg, Fla. "Grassland turns into open water, ponds turn into lakes."
Without the fine sediment that nourishes marshes and the coarser sediment that feeds eroding barrier islands, "the entire delta region is sinking," he said. In effect, he said, it is suffering a rise in sea level of about a centimeter - about a third of an inch - a year, 10 times the average rate globally...
From the NYT, (Thanks to Orrin). And thanks NYT. If I complain a lot about the New York Times, it's because It's I'm appalled to see one of the world's greatest newspapers sink into partisan hackery. But they still provide a ton of good information.
This is, by the way, similar to the problems of many areas where beaches are shrinking, Beaches need a constant infusion of sand, because sand is always slipping away into deeper water, where the waves can no longer push it up onto the beach. The sand comes down the rivers and streams and flood courses. Build dams, build flood-control projects, turn creeks into storm-drains...and you stop the flow of sand.
Marshes, beaches...they are hard for us to understand. We want to build walls to "protect" them, and to give them clear boundaries. Firm them up. Clarify them. But their nature is the opposite of clarity. They are very real, yet at the same time so formless you can't pin them down or measure them.
I often walk on the local beach, and I'm amazed at how it changes. Sometimes narrow and meager, other times (Winter? More sand from winter rains?) so wide it's a bit of a hike to get to the water. One day covered with thousands of smooth stones, another day not a stone to be seen...
A friend e-mails:
I've been watching a lot of the Blame-Bush-First media, CNN is terrible, but one thing seems clear. The introduction of federals into a State emergency requires a State request. Bush set the table for such a request by declaring the gulf states disaster areas even before Katrina hit. This made them eligible to make a request of the federals. If I have that much right, then the crucial question is when was the request was made. My guess is it was not until late Wed or Thurs. I suppose this is tivial in the Bush-bashing scheme of things but someone should set the timeline straight.Good question. And one might be interested in this piece, New Orleans orders evacuation, from last Sunday, which includes the line: "Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said that President Bush had called and urged the state to order the evacuation." Kinda looks like, far from dragging his feet, Bush may have been the only one looking ahead!
There's a lot of stupid talk right now, of the "the government ought to do something" variety. People seem to be only dimly aware that we have three levels of government, and the Feds are not the first responders in a disaster, but the last. I heard some New Orleans victim on the radio, saying, "The President should have had supplies piled up, to fly in the next day." NO, he should not have. YOU should have laid in supplies, your city should have stockpiled supplies, and the State of Louisiana should have accumulated supplies.
That would be normal preparation for an oncoming danger. Preparations for a week or two are the least that's reasonable. FEMA and the military should be back-up only.
Like throwing sandbags on the crumbling levees of civic sanity, bloggers, writers and radio hosts have been swarming on the crazy accusations that are being churned out by the moonbats. James Robbins has a good article in NRO demolishing the myth that Iraq has left too few troops and guardsmen available for emergencies. He's got the numbers, you can read it for yourself. Also, compared with past disasters, the Federal response has been very fast.
You can see great pictures of our troops helping in New Orleans and the region at Army Times' Frontline Photos. Starting with 8/31.
A Louisiana Army National Guard convoy makes its way
through the flooded streets of New Orleans
on Tuesday, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
M. Scott Mahaskey / Army Times 8/31/2005
And it's important to remember (well, it wouldn't be if certain people crazed with partisan venom weren't slinging stupid accusations non-stop) that the responsibility for planning for a predictable disaster is local. Not federal. It is the job of San Francisco to plan for earthquakes (and we do); to have the necessary communications and organization to coordinate emergency response. Including asking for and coordinating state and federal help when needed. New Orleans has been facing the possibility of flooding for at least 40 years, with the Mississippi flowing right through town, well above the height of many buildings.
But there were no plans. Byron Preston has pix of hundreds of school busses parked in New Orleans. They could easily have been used to evacuate tens-of-thousands of people. City busses and emergency vehicles were simply abandoned in the streets, to be destroyed by the water. There were no...well, the list is very long. Never mind. The thing is, it is extremely difficult for outsiders to accomplish much when they are groping around unfamiliar territory. They can spend days just finding out what's needed, and establishing communications.
As an example of disaster planning, here in SF we have NERTs, Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams, with HAM radios and generators...
...In the event of a major disaster, the disaster management for City of San Francisco decentralizes into what are called Emergency Response Districts or ERDs. There are ten ERDs in the City, each having the geographic boundaries of the ten Fire Battalion districts. In this decentralized mode the fire Battalion Chief is responsible for all tactical disaster response and management issues within that ERD. These battalion chiefs or ERD leaders report to the Office of Emergency Services where the city department heads and their operational people gather to make overhead decisions and to support the tactical response of the ERDs.
Within each ERD there may be several NERT neighborhood and business teams. Each of these teams has its own staging area or place where team members gather to make decisions on actions to take and assist teams in mitigating disaster events. Each team can work independently of each other and independently from Fire Department directions. The first actions the teams take is to form a command structure for operations, or Neighborhood Command. This is a basic form of the Incident Command System (ICS) with sections for command, logistics, operations, intelligence and administration. Being a modular system it can grow or contract as needed. The Neighborhood Commands exist to support activities in the neighborhood and make decisions that will do "the most good for the most people". The incidents that are beyond the scope of training, collapsed buildings, major fires, hazardous materials spills are immediately reported to the ERD.
There are redundancies built into the NERT communication system. The first choice for communications is the telephone. This may not always be possible because of the amount of phone traffic following a major disaster or the possibility of the system being overloaded by telephone receivers being knocked off the hook by the quake. As a back-up form of communications every NERT team has at least one HAM radio operator equipped with a portable HAM radio. The NERT organization also installed HAM radios in each of the ERD fire stations with a base station installed at the Office of Emergency Services. Thus the NERT teams are able to communicate with each other, with the ERD and when necessary with the Office of Emergency Services. If all other systems fail, the NERT teams will default to using written messages and runners to communicate...
#191: The complaint will look stupid in a week or two...
KRUGMAN TRUTH SQUAD
The New York Times editorial page and Paul Krugman in Can’t-Do Government (09/02/05) shifted into partisan overdrive today in the after math of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and nearby coastal areas. Nothing makes their Bush-bashing juices flow quite like the thought of catching Bush 43 in a rerun of something they did to Bush 41–in this case 41’s presumed indifference to Hurricane Andrew back in 1992. And now they have an extra hook–they believe National Guard units stationed in Iraq have depleted units needed here.
Here’s a sample of how the Times sees it from today’s editorial:
“Watching helplessly from afar, many citizens wondered whether rescue operations were hampered because almost one-third of the men and women of the Louisiana National Guard, and an even higher percentage of the Mississippi National Guard, were 7,000 miles away, fighting in Iraq.”Krugman, of course, is just plain nasty:
‘Even military resources in the right place weren't ordered into action. "On Wednesday," said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., "reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics. Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!"Hmmm. High-water vehicles in the deserts of Iraq? Well, they do have a couple of big rivers. But we smell a Krugman whopper here and hopefully some intrepid bloggers will run this down.
Maybe administration officials believed that the local National Guard could keep order and deliver relief. But many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment - including high-water vehicles - are in Iraq. "The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," a Louisiana Guard officer told reporters several weeks ago.’
We also note that a Rudy-Pataki combo representing local and state government has not stepped forward in La. Indeed the local police seem to have been AWOL and the mayor spends most of his time blaming others, especially the federal authorities.
But we think there’s a larger point here. In the battle of the Times and Krugman vs. Bush 43, they are “misunderestimating” him again! We fearlessly predict that in just a few weeks there will have been such a flurry of cleanup and rebuilding activity that their only option for complaint will be that he should have done it faster, and those kind of complaints typically have short shelf-lives. The reason we are so confident of our prediction is that a disaster like this unites all parties in Washington around that function they do best–spend money. No one will want to be left out. New Orleans will be showered with money and aid. Much of the most effective work as always will be done privately (Krugman will be too busy snarling to acknowledge that). And, by the way, the economy will benefit from Katrina also. We look for strong GDP growth for the rest of the year. The amazing thing to us is that the Times and Krugman could fall into such a trap.
Is all this rebuilding a good thing? We have some doubts because subsidizing construction in hazardous areas with cheap insurance and expensive infrastructure is usually a bad idea. But in this case, the New Orleans area ports are such vital national interests that maybe it will all work out. But Krugman, the Times and Co. are going to look like chumps very shortly.
[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]
John adds: Regardless of the truth of the charges, the instantaneous hatred and partisan venom we've seen from leftists at a time of crisis is sick. Mentally sick. These people are deep in embittered-loser-land. And they will keep losing for a generation or two, unless they can come back to the reactions of normal people.
Our friend Pamela writes:
Hi John, I'm really disturbed by how all media in the country are encouraging people to contribute to the Red Cross if they want to do something to help the people of NewOrleans. Practically everything Nicole Gelinas says about New Orleans could be said about San Francisco, however, when the entire world made massive contributions to aid our city after the 1989 earthquake, less than half the money contributed on our behalf was distributed to us. As far as I am concerned, the Red Cross is nothing but a giant money making scheme clothed in the pretense of generosity. If people want to help people they should "adopt" a needy family. My brother and sister-in-law have lost their home, all their possessions, the tools of their respective trades, and their lievliehoods. The Red Cross is only going to refer them to FEMA, which takes months. What is going to happen to the money all my friends are contributing to the Red Cross? It certainly isn't going to go toward rebuilding the lives and livliehoods of middle class, working citizens.
New Orleans is not just a place of slippery morals...just as San Francisco is not just such a place. Taking the money donated for San Francisco and keeping it for "other worthy causes" is just downright fraud....just as it will be for the money donated for New Orleans.
PS: I am going to turn my annual Blue Angels party into a fund raiser for Steve and Sidney and some of their friends I know who have also lost everything. Money and support from individuals instead of institutions means a lot more in terms of emotional and actual support.
I don't know much about the Red Cross, except that they seem very bureaucratic and complacent. People who do know seem to suggest giving to the Salvation Army or various church disaster-aid groups...
If that extra money donated for SF was used with wisdom and thrift to help others whose disasters didn't get enough attention, I wouldn't have too much of a problem with it. But one suspects that comfortable offices, high salaries and advertising campaigns were what absorbed the rest of SF's money...
September 1, 2005
Nothing will change...
Some hard truths from Nicole Gelinas at City Journal...
....And the locals and outsiders who try to help New Orleans in the weeks and months to come will do so with no local institutional infrastructure to back them up. New Orleans has no real competent government or civil infrastructure�and no aggressive media or organized citizens� groups to prod public officials in the right direction during what will be, in the best-case scenario, a painstaking path to normalcy.I would be delighted to find out that this is wrong, but I've seen nothing to contradict it. We've seen this sort of urban death spiral before (I won't make certain observations that would be politically partisan, this isn't the time.) Unfortunately it is not politically correct to take it into account when making plans for recovery. The Bush Administration and everyone involved will be forced to act like New Orleans is just a normal city, and only needs a helping hand to get back on its feet. No one will be allowed to say that the patient was dying before the accident.
The truth is that even on a normal day, New Orleans is a sad city. Sure, tourists think New Orleans is fun: you can drink and hop from strip club to strip club all night on Bourbon Street, and gamble all your money away at Harrah�s. But the city�s decline over the past three decades has left it impoverished and lacking the resources to build its economy from within....
....How will New Orleans� economy recover from Katrina? Apart from some pass-through oil infrastructure, the city�s economy is utterly dependent on tourism. After the city�s mainstay oil industry decamped to Texas nearly a generation ago, New Orleans didn�t do the difficult work of cutting crime, educating illiterate citizens, and attracting new industries to the city. New Orleans became merely a convention and tourism economy, selling itself to visitors to survive, and over time it has only increased its economic dependence on outsiders. The fateful error of that strategy will become clearer in the next few months.
Sure, the feds must provide cash and resources for relief and recovery�but it�s up to New Orleans, not the feds, to dig deep within itself to rebuild its economic and social infrastructure before the tourists ever will flock back to pump cash into the city�s economy. It will take a miracle. New Orleans has experienced a steady brain drain and fiscal drain for decades, as affluent corporations and individuals have fled, leaving behind a large population of people dependent on the government. Socially, New Orleans is one of America�s last helpless cities...(Thanks to Orrin Judd).
And no one will be allowed to demand reforms before trillions of dollars are poured into recovery efforts. That would be "heartless."