Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Some things to ponder about liberals

...and now the flip side of the coin, courtesy of Dennis Prager:

"You say you are a liberal.

Do you believe the following?

Standards for admissions to universities, fire departments, etc. should be lowered for people of color.

Bilingual education for children of immigrants, rather than immersion in English, is good for them and for America.

Murderers should never be put to death.

During the Cold War, America should have adopted a nuclear arms freeze.

Colleges should not allow ROTC programs.

It was wrong to wage war against Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War.

Poor parents should not be allowed to have vouchers to send their children to private schools.

It is good that trial lawyers and teachers unions are the two biggest contributors to the Democratic Party.

Marriage should be redefined from male-female to any two people.

A married couple should not have more of a right to adopt a child than two men or two women.

The Boy Scouts should not be allowed to use parks or any other public places and should be prohibited from using churches and synagogues for their meetings.

The present high tax rates are good.

Speech codes on college campuses are good and American values are bad.

The Israelis and Palestinians are morally equivalent.

The United Nations is a moral force for good in the world, and therefore America should be subservient to it and such international institutions as a world court.

It is good that colleges have dropped hundreds of men's sports teams in order to meet gender-based quotas.

No abortions can be labeled immoral.

Restaurants should be prohibited by law from allowing customers to choose between a smoking and a non-smoking section.

High schools should make condoms available to students and teach them how to use them.

Racial profiling for terrorists is wrong -- a white American grandmother should as likely be searched as a Saudi young male.

Racism and poverty -- not a lack of fathers and a crisis of values -- are the primary causes of violent crime in the inner city.

It is wrong and unconstitutional for students to be told, "God bless you" at their graduation.

No culture is morally superior to any other.

Those are all liberal positions. How many of them do you hold?"

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Intelligent design or creationism repackaged?

Heard an intelligent design discussion today on Michael Smerconish's morning radio show. One caller said, "If you see mold on a piece of bread, apparently the intelligent design people don't want you to investigate why - it's just God's will it got moldy." My reaction was "no, it was your dumb ass who left the bread bag out at room temperature for a week in a 75 degree kitchen."

Smerconish countered by asking if we couldn't just mention the fact that there is an alternative theory, these people may be kooky, but here it is, blah, blah, blah. Based on that defense, I'm sure Smerconish would gladly agree with inserting a few paragraphs about Lyndon LaRouche in every textbook on history and political science in high school. Right?

Some things to ponder about conservatives

Conservatives favor market forces and open competition. Unless you're talking about Halliburton and its subsidiaries getting no-bid contracts in Iraq, Qatar and Louisiana (it's due to their vast working on other no-bid contracts).

Conservatives favor limited public spending. Unless you're talking about this administration. Exactly where did that surplus go, again?

Conservatives favor intelligent design. Yet something went hideously wrong with "intelligent" and "design" if Bill Clinton got elected not just once, but twice, and Michael Moore can make millions of dollars.

Conservatives favor original intent of the framers. This is evident in their support of Iraq's Constitution, which doesn't give women the right to vote, either.

Conservatives equate assent to patriotism, and dissent to sedition and treason. Unless you dissented when Bill Clinton was President. Then your dissent was patriotic.

God helped me escape. Oh, and did I fail to mention the crystal meth I gave my captor?

Ashley Smith divulges a little nugget in her new book (courtesy of

Brownie: Don't blame me, blame them dysfunctional Lose-inians

Michael Brown covered his ass before a Congressional hearing on Katrina. A Sample Brown-ism from

“I’ve overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I’m doing, and I think I do a pretty darn good job of it,” he said.

Response was muted:
“I’m happy you left,” said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn. “That kind of look in the lights like a deer tells me you weren’t capable of doing that job.”

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., told Brown: “The disconnect was, people thought there was some federal expertise out there. There wasn’t. Not from you.”

It's going to be a long fall. Can we go back to that missing white girl now?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Not-so-blind trust

When is a blind trust not so blind? When it belongs to Bill Frist, for example.

Anti-War Rallies

London and Washington had anti-war rallies today. Check out BBC News tonight for more coverage.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

We'll just keep this between you, me and God"

A grand jury did not indict current and former priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, due to statute of limitations of the variety of alleged crimes. The Philadelphia Inquirer has the story here and here.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia responded angrily yesterday to the grand jury's clergy abuse report, calling it "a vile, mean-spirited diatribe" driven by "unbridled cage-rattling and insidious pre-judgments about the Catholic Church."

At an afternoon news conference, one attorney for the archdiocese went so far as to label the document "anti-Catholic."
Go figure. Unfortunately for the archdiocese, there is a mountain of evidence drawn from memos over the years as church leaders reassigned and "hid" "problem priests" in other parts of the state and country. So, this will likely play out in the court of public opinion, which certainly isn't going to be good for the church, or for that matter, for politicians who knew and did nothing. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has been very quiet on this issue when it comes to his state, as opposed to say, the Boston Archdiocese. Remember, he needs Catholic votes too.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Payday loans

Has your FEMA debit card run out? Don't have your FEMA voucher yet? Why not try a payday loan? I can see this scenario being repeated over and over in the near future. The Arizona Republic recently looked at the payday loan situation in it state (see the online article here.) Pluses? Fast access to cash, cash that would otherwise be unavailable through traditional sources such as banks and mortgage companies. Minuses? Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of up to 460 percent. Some would think that type of obscenely high APR would invite greater scrutiny from local or state government. Obviously, payday lobbyists don't think so. From CounselorLibrary.Com:
The Arizona Community Financial Services Association, the payday lending industry trade group, said it opposes any restriction that tries to distinguish payday loan offices from any other retailer. "We should be evaluated in the same context as any auto-parts or furniture store. To discriminate against a payday lender requires a governmental finding that the health, safety and welfare of the community are at risk in the absence of the additional regulation," said Lee Miller, an attorney for the association. "I haven't heard any compelling argument that a payday lending store puts the community's health, safety or welfare at risk."
Last I heard, Advance Auto Parts and Broyhill weren't charging consumers triple-digit interest. We'll see if governments treat these operations in the future as retailers or lenders, which is what they truly are.

MNRE - Meals (Not) Ready-To-Eat

It's not just German food being turned away from Katrina evacuees, it's British, Italian and Israeli food too.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Hurricane Relief on Ice

In case Mayor Nagin is wondering where all his ice is, it's in Maryland.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Halliburton: Gold diggers

Halliburton gets yet another no-bid contract.

Logistics, or why it takes time to get assistance

Carlos sent me this link explaining why the National Guard can't show up in a rescue boat in front of your house five hours after the levee breaks.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Two more on Katrina

We've heard about FEMA officials and others who kept food out. Now comes a story about neighboring city police officers who kept New Orleans flood victims in. And Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald weighs in with his assessment of FEMA's leadership:

As New Orleans slowly drains and the search for survivors continues, many are asking: Could President Bush possibly have picked anyone less qualified than Michael D. Brown to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency?

Sure, he could.

Courtney Love or Mike Tyson would have been worse choices, although both of them have more disaster experience than Brown.

The guy's got quite an unlikely résumé, highlighted by his now-famous stint as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association from 1991 to 2001.

It's the longest that Brown ever stayed in one job and, curiously, the only one he doesn't mention in his official FEMA website biography.

He does, however, cite among his exaggerated emergency preparedness credentials a stretch as assistant city manager in Edmond, Oklahoma, His actual job was assistant to the city manager -- ''more like an intern,'' an Edmond spokeswoman told Time magazine...

Among the 164 disasters declared during his tenure, Brown cited last year's four Florida hurricanes as experience builders. He didn't mention the ensuing scandal -- or offer a plausible explanation of why FEMA handed out more than $30 million in Miami-Dade County, which wasn't hit by a single hurricane. As for Katrina, Brown claimed he'd been told to expect ''a typical hurricane situation,'' a lame, butt-covering lie that he won't be able to dodge...

The disgraceful delay in getting help to Louisiana and Mississippi is the legacy of Joe Allbaugh and Mike Brown, political cronies who had no business being in charge of something as crucial as disaster relief. Like Allbaugh, Brown carried out the wishes of Bush and the leaders of Congress, who slashed FEMA's authority for the sake of making the federal government smaller. It was so small that thousands of Americans along the Gulf Coast couldn't find it after the hurricane, and many died trying.

More aid turned away - see why

US officials turned away a German aid shipment for Katrina, claiming papers were not in order (on any other occasion, I would find an American telling a German his papers are not in order to be profoundly funny - Hogan's Heroes, for example). What caught my eye about this CNN story was the reason quoted by Der Spiegel - that US officials feared part of the shipment had NATO rations that might contain mad cow disease. But aren't we a NATO member? What does that say about food given to our troops, let alone European troops?

Tillman Redux

A few months ago, we had a guest post about Pat Tillman's death, and whether revealing the true nature of that death served any useful purpose. The San Diego Union-Tribune points out another friendly fire death that was covered up, with no explanation given by the military.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Still more on Katrina, Part Two

An interesting read from Michael Smerconish in the Philadelphia Daily News. His column lists 26 points, some of which you may agree with, some not. Overall, he makes some cogent arguments.

Still more on Katrina

Some more on Katrina, from our friends at Cut To The Chase regarding Barbara Bush's compassionate (chuckle) conservatism...and on Keith Olbermann's take.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Still no plan

Is it just me, or is there any real plan for sending refugees to specific places? You already have the turmoil of families being separated. Now there's people being moved as far away as California and Arizona (as I mentioned earlier), but also to Utah and Pennsylvania. Does that make sense? There was also a story of a plane bound for Charleston. Which one? Hm. Well, they found out when they landed. South Carolina was all set. West Virginia wasn't. Guess which city got the refugees?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Good Samaritans

Katrina refugees, mostly in Houston, San Antonio and Baton Rouge, have also been flown to Phoenix and San Diego. Kudos.

Buses? Here you go.

And now for some local darts. Now that we've bashed Bush and FEMA, let's turn to the city of New Orleans emergency (un)preparedness. While Mayor Nagin was complaining about lack of buses, lots of pictures have appeared on the 'Net, among them shown above. Looks like a bunch o' buses from the school district and from NORTA that, given some competent planning and direction, could have aided in the relief effort. At least to get 13,000 to 20,000 people away from the Superdome and the Convention Center.

Lost in the mail?

And since the Administration claimed that Louisiana delayed asking for federal help, here's the letter from Governor Blanco. Decide for yourself. Looks pretty explicit to me that they were asking for federal help ASAP.

"Nobody's coming to get her"

From MSNBC, but seen pretty much all over the media by now...
During an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Aaron Broussard, the Jefferson Parish president, dropped his head and cried.

“The guy who runs this building I’m in, emergency management, he’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home, and every day she called him and said, ‘Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?’ And he said,
‘And yeah, Momma, somebody’s coming to get you.
Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday.
Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday.
Somebody’s coming to get you Thursday.
Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday’ — and she drowned Friday night. She drowned on Friday night,” Broussard said.

“Nobody’s coming to get her, nobody’s coming to get her. The secretary’s promise, everybody’s promise. They’ve had press conferences — I’m sick of the press conferences. For God’s sakes, shut up and send us somebody.”

That pretty much sums it up.

Here's the link to the video...I don't think anyone in the Administration will be watching it anytime soon.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

More on Katrina

Anne Rice on what it means to lose New Orleans...

Some visions of hell...

The Independent(UK), inside the Superdome and with refugees after airlifts...

The President's fake cleanup by German TV and mentioned on Daily Kos. Translation here:
2 minutes ago the President drove past in his convoy. But what has happened in Biloxi all day long is truly unbelievable. Suddenly recovery units appeared, suddenly bulldozers were there, those hadn't been seen here all the days before, and this in an area, in which it really wouldn't be necessary to do a big clean up, because far and wide nobody lives here anymore, the people are more inland in the city. The President travels with a press baggage [big crew]. This press baggage got very beautiful pictures which are supposed to say, that the President was here and help is on the way, too. The extent of the natural disaster shocked me, but the extent of the staging is shocking me at least the same way.

...and finally some relief...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

...and on top of all this, Rehnquist dies

The New York Times just reported that Chief Justice Rehnquist died. I suppose President Bush can cash in the extensive political capital he's earned through Iraq and Katrina and push through the nominee of his choice with no problems. Especially with the advice and consent of thoughtful and fair Democratic senators.

...and now the darts...

The Philadelphia Inquirer (9/2) editorialized that "human deeds can mitigate a disaster, or can make it worse." Let's review:

Dart and Laurel Combination: To Mayor Ray Nagin, who called for an evacuation a week ago, but should have started three days earlier. According to Scott Shane and Eric Lipton of the New York Times News Service, the city's hurricane plan said it might take 72 hours for residents to leave. And planners evidently didn't account for elderly and poor people who didn't have any way of leaving (no car, no relatives, etc.). But to those who said Nagin was nothing like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, consider this: 9/11 in New York City was a horrible event, but was geographically contained to several blocks. Approximately 90% of New Orleans is under water. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates it may take 80 days to pump out that water, or longer.

Dart: To the looters, rapists, snipers, murderers and carjackers. You suck.

Dart: To U.S. Rep Maxine Waters (D-CA), who justified the looting during the Los Angeles riots. Any storeowners in New Orleans who had their stores looted may submit bills to:
Congresswoman Maxine Waters
2344 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Note: There's been a lot of discussion about the difference between scavaging and looting. I'd provide links, but since I haven't had access to the net, you'll have to google for yourself. Some stores simply handed out as much food, water and diapers as they could, once it became apparent they would be flooded out. Other stores started price gouging. And then you had the looting, which is still going on, though the presence of the National Guard is reducing that. I can see stealing food (Les Miserables), but stealing VCRs, TVs and DVD players shouldn't be condoned.

Dart: To President Bush, who said this wasn't a time to point fingers. Really? His Iraq experiment pulled National Guard members away from Gulf states, and away from being able to help just where they're needed most. There should be no reason Pennsylvania has to send 2600 members of its Guard to the Gulf to help out. And not fully funding Army Corps of Engineers proposals for strengthening the levees in New Orleans didn't help, either. In 2004, Bush was in Florida at warp speed to dispense hurricane relief in an election year, and in a state he needed to win. This year, it took days for the National Guard to arrive in New Orleans - some people died outside and inside the Superdome and Convention Center because help didn't get there fast enough.

Dart: To Republican ideologues. Bill Bennett's radio show went on and on about how we're seeing looters, and single women with children, and how it's obvious that a decline of values and family structure is at the root of the violence we see there. That, and how all the druggies stayed behind to loot pharmacies to deal with not being able to get a fix in over a week.

Dart: To U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), who questioned the logic of spending billions to rebuild New Orleans, then had to issue a "clarification" that of course he supported rebuilding, but with the safety of residents in mind to prevent a future disaster. If tornadoes had leveled 90% of Hastert's district, somehow I don't think he'd be questioning if a rebuilding effort would be worth it.

Dart: To Democrat ideologues such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who quickly made inane comments like Katrina was God's punishment for having Haley Barbour, former RNC Chair, as Governor of Mississippi. Idiot.

Let's fix the problem, people.

Some laurels for the relief effort

Thanks to the actions of the US Military, both regulars and those in the National Guard, the Superdome and New Orleans Convention Center are close to being completely evacuated by tomorrow. And thanks to civilians who, without heistation, helped neighbors, friends and strangers to safety.

The Big (Un)Easy

Our prayers are with the survivors from Louisiana and Mississippi, and for those who didn't make it.

Technical Difficulties

Sorry for the lack of posts - we've had technical difficulties for the past week and they may continue for another week. Thanks, Comcast.