Friday, September 02, 2005

Hey, I don't eat ANYTHING that's been soaked in toxic waste!

Reports of cannibalism are irresponsible. (I am a bit peckish, though.)

Sorry, it just reminded me of some Monty Python sketches, for some reason.

The Law West of Canal Street

Rootin' Tootin' Lootin' Shootin':
John Carolan was sitting on his porch in the thick, humid darkness just before midnight Tuesday when three or four young men, one with a knife and another with a machete, stopped in front of his fence and pointed to the generator humming in the front yard, he said.

One said, "We want that generator," he recalled.

"I fired a couple of rounds over their heads with a .357 Magnum," Mr. Carolan recounted Wednesday. "They scattered."

He smiled and added, "You've heard of law west of the Pecos. This is law west of Canal Street."

. . .

With no officers in sight, people carried empty bags, shopping carts and backpacks through the door of the Rite Aid on Wednesday and left with them full. The forklift was still in the doorway. As they came and went, the looters nodded companionably to one another.

Paul Cosma, 47, who owns a nearby auto shop, stood outside it along with a reporter and photographer he was taking around the neighborhood. He had pistols on both hips.

Suddenly, he stepped forward toward a trio of young men and grabbed a pair of rusty bolt cutters out of the hands of one of them. The young man pulled back, glaring.

Mr. Cosma, never claiming any official status, eventually jerked the bolt cutters away, saying, "You don't need these."

The young man and his friends left, continuing the glare. A few minutes later, they returned and mouthed quiet oaths at Mr. Cosma, and his friend Art DePodesta, an Army veteran, who was carrying a shotgun and a pistol.

Mr. Cosma stared back, saying nothing. Between the two sides, a steady trickle of looters came and went, barely giving any of them a look.

(HT: Riding Sun)

Who's being discredited?

How to cover a disaster:

1. Remember, the point is to discredit the people trying to do something.

2. Emphasize the misery and failure, and blame those least responsible.

3. Imply that officials are liars.

4. Get shots of looting and lawlessness.

5. Squalor sells.


Now if we can implicate Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

New Orleans Died for Your Sins

If your name is George Bush, that is. The press and Democrats seem to have adopted that line. Otherwise sane people are claiming that Katrina was caused by global warming (and that adopting the Kyoto protocols would have prevented it), are being promoted by reporters and environmentalists. Last night, I heard Charles Ostman speculate that "weather manipulation may have been used to steer the direction of Hurricane Katrina into America's oil facilities, as a 'geopolitical attack.'". (scroll down to right sidebar with head "Katrina Coverage") Then there are the downright deceitful.

Michael Medved is pointing out coverage by the NYTimes of the measures taken by FEMA and National Guard officials, which were far more aware and sensible than you'd think listening to TV news. Medved's getting a number of angry calls from people who think the government should have been waiting in the streets for people to come out of their houses with buses, water, food and hot towels. One caller accused him of holding the president to a lower standard than the looters. Thus runs the liberal line. One thing I learned was that the levee that broke was on Lake Ponchartrain, not the river, as I had thought. If the river levee had breached, the devastation would have been much worse.

Medved also argues against calls for abandoning the city and not rebuilding it. I'm not sure I agree, but his point is a good one, that this is the biggest port in the world and the most logical center of our current oil industry, which imports vast amounts of oil. Certainly, the port and the oil refineries and storage need to be repaired and put back in service. Some of the refineries are back online today. Keep Bourbon Street and the French Quarter and the Superdome. For people who want to rebuild and can afford to do so, let them do it. But as for the huge housing projects and old houses below filled with old, feeble or helpless people, I say rebuild on higher ground, because when they get flooded, the only thing they know to do is go upstairs or to the roof. This isn't a criticism of them, they just don't have the means, strength or health to evacuate or do much to rescue themselves. It's not reasonable to expect them to make their way out of a city flooded with hazardous waste. There are also hundreds, maybe thousands, of strong, able-bodied men whose response is to take advantage of the disaster and loot stores, attack others, shoot at the National Guard and rescue helicopters, and rape and pillage. The bars that stayed open, were crowded. Some people's response to a hurricane is to get drunk.

What keeps going through my mind as the difference from previous hurricanes is that New Orleans is below sea level. People had foreseen and predicted this, but what could they do about the basic problem? It would have felt like being a castaway on a desert island and seeing a tsunami headed your way. I saw Joe Scarborough criticizing Bush for not having aid on the spot within 24 hours as his brother Jeb did after last year's hurricanes in Florida. Earth to Joe: In Florida, when the hurricane passes, the water runs downhill. New Orleans is a sump. The drainage system can't rely on gravity, it requires electricity and fuel to work. When those are cut off, they siphon back into the city. This is a huge city. It's just not possible to move this many people all at once, or to distribute food and supplies when the roads are all under three or four feet of water.

Ah, well. It's pretty predictable that the president has to keep his head while everyone else is losing theirs and blaming it on him.

Every demagogue in the media and politics is in full blame and outrage mode. I haven't heard of any of them suggesting anything useful, however. It's true that this was foreseeable, even foreseen, but what they should be thinking about is what to do now, not heaping abuse on those trying to do something.

More: A Some people are focusing on what we can learn from this. Others are denouncing those trying to turn this to political advantage.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Ah, vindication!

Not really.

Almost two-thirds of the respondents in a recent Pew poll "said they were open to the idea of teaching creationism in addition to evolution". I don't think I would go that far. I'd be open to mentioning the basic argument, that if you find a pocket watch in the path, you don't think that matter just happened to arrange itself that way. I think that's a defensible argument that should be considered along with the evidence for evolution. The fact that you have a whole line of earlier versions of the watch would be evidence that some organizing principle is at work, but it doesn't say what it is. Evolution shows the same thing, but it doesn't explain how life happened in the first place.

I would argue that the very first cell that could replicate itself in a manner that could adapt or create new species and all the intricate and ingenious mechanisms that are contained in ordinary organisms takes more of an explanation than random chance in a chemical soup. Science teachers shouldn't claim that they know that it happened by chance, by seeding from meteorites, or by advanced intelligence. That's what is not science. Closing off any possibility that involves intelligent design isn't either.


For the record, I'm NOT delinking Instapundit.

In the first place, I don't flatter myself that anybody follows links on my blogroll. Secondly, Glenn Reynolds wouldn't notice it if I did. And lastly, it's childish.

I go to Instapundit several times a day, along with Hugh Hewitt, Best of the Web, RCP and Power Line Blog. I don't agree with Glenn on a lot of things, but I do on a lot more. He is one of the people whose sense of what news is significant is valuable, along with his ability to see through the spin and slanted coverage of the MSM. His libertarian views are valuable correctives to the dumb CW that otherwise passes for analysis and "interpretation," and they have a large overlap with many of the things I've believed since I began paying attention to the news and politics. I don't particularly agree with his stance on the Rave phenomenon or the war on drugs, but why would I want to cut off my news to spite him?

When I disagree with him, or anybody else, I can say so here, as I have, and Glenn linked my comment. That's called living by one's principles. Also grownup behavior.

"A grievance culture"

Bill Bennett thinks we've lost our post-9/11 anger. Perhaps, but I don't think of it as anger--more as a kind of deep recognition that this is a dangerous world, and that we can't hide here in isolation and ignore things like terrorism, like we did all through the 1990s; and a determination to face up to that reality and defend ourselves. We take it for granted that our prosperity will continue, our lives will be better and better, without being called upon to sacrifice as previous generations did. My mother told me often about how she and her sister would walk along the railroad tracks when she was a girl picking up pieces of coal to take home in a gunny sack. Her mother was a widow with eight children during the Depression. One of her older brothers was killed in the South Pacific in WWII and another was captured at Corregidor in the Phillipines and held at Cabanatuan until the end of the war. I was born in 1948.

While I never had to live with hardship like that, I have a real sense that we live on a bubble, in a time and place that is exceptional in the history of the world. I don't expect it to go on indefinitely, and neither should anybody else. Nor do I believe that we can continue to support people who refuse to work, whether they're idle rich or idle poor, or who aren't loyal to this country. We have bred many enemies within our own society, people who see themselves as exceptional and are furious that they aren't the rulers. They see socialism as the answer to all problems, and are willing to achieve it by force, so long as they are in the governing class. I can't see any other reason for them to be so enraged about their political losses. Practical people would see losing elections as a clue that they need to become more in tune with the voters. These people see it as proof that the voters are stupid, and just rail against them. They assume that the elections are rigged by their opponents and become more angry.

I thought, after 9/11, that we'd have been shocked back to our senses, but that wore off astonishingly quickly. I guess it's just human nature, but you'd think that the moment of realization that those tiny objects dropping down the sides of the WTC towers were people would have remained fixed in one's mind and that people who would perpetrate such things have placed themselves outside of the community of the civilized and would have to be hunted down and destroyed. Sadly, it hasn't turned out that way.

Does anybody really understand history?

An Egyptian writer argues that terrorism is counterproductive and that the way to avenge the wrongs done to the Arab world is by out-competing the West with its own technologies and methods, following the approach adopted by the Chinese. I guess as a rhetorical position this works, but, as Carlos Alberto Montaner points out, it misstates history. Islam was not a victim, he argues, since it expanded its empire at the expense of existing Christian societies. Arabs understand their own history only partially, because they only see that part of it after the West began to drive them back and made colonies of their countries.

Their religious views make it impossible to view the expansion of Islam as anything other than positive, let alone justification for the Christian world to fear it or strike back. My impression is that the only thing they can see is injustice done to them after they began losing confrontations with the West, which fuels their shame because they've always been taught that Islam is God's will and must conquer everything before it. Most traditional Muslims would take this as reason to redouble their efforts to live a holy life. But to the Wahhabis, like bin Laden, and other radical elements, the failures to continue to spread Islam and its contraction after the West began winning wars, along with the cultural stagnation that occurred in Arab countries under the Ottoman Empire, makes them feel that they are unworthy of God's approbation, which they can only regain by restoring the Caliphate and growing the ancient Arab empire. So they respond with exhortations to jihad. In this view, emulating the West would be a greater sin than being defeated by it.

Montaner's conclusion:
Trying to find in the past a justification to commit violence today is a colossal stupidity. When the jihadists invoke the expulsion of the Moors from Spain in the 16th century as a reason to set off bombs in Madrid (an outrageous claim they have actually made), it's as if the Spaniards were to attempt to avenge with contemporary bombs set off in Morocco the atrocities committed in Spain by the Almoravides, the Arab dynasty that ruled Southern Spain during the Middle Ages.

There is no power on Earth that hasn't in the past been the victim of another, stronger entity. The British, who subjugated the Chinese in the 19th century, were themselves subjugated by the Normans in the 11th century. The sensible thing to do, therefore, is to disengage radically from the past and to look only toward the future -- and that's where the Arab people have a major problem. They are prisoners of a sectarian way of understanding history, and that usually leads them to commit worse crimes.
No matter how you look at it, the likelihood that countries with no industrial base, who import all their armament, are unlikely to conquer anybody. Even if they withheld oil, what good would that do? That would mean no income. They're going to conquer the world by attacking their customers?

He's still got it.

The personal charm of Bill Clinton still works, apparently. It's always baffled me how people just melt when he turns it on, but maybe you have to be there.

Are our military "mercenaries?"

Apparently Eleanor Clift thinks so. If they're doing it for the money, they're not making a whole lot. There are better ways to make a living, as many of our National Guard troops know.

Hybrid Hubris

John Tierney writes about the feeling of superiority one has when driving a hybrid car and why allowing them to use the carpool lanes may not be wise. There is a lot of self-righteousness among those who drive small cars, and real hatred for SUV owners. Funny how highways bring out the worst in people: rivalry, recklessness, arrogance, envy, pride, spite, anger, even violence.

The Lebanese Situation

Michael Young discusses the ramifications of the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri by a special investigator sent by the U.N. Security Council. I think most people, including the Lebanese, just assumed Syria was behind it.

But the investigator, Detlev Mehlis, has been a bulldog, and may link the murder to the Assad family, or Hizbullah:
What many Lebanese fear is that Mehlis might also implicate Hizbullah. There is nothing implying the party played a role in the Hariri assassination (though press reports mentioned that the UN team had asked for detailed maps of areas around the Palestinian camps in Beirut's southern suburbs, where Hizbullah holds sway). Some analysts hint the finger pointing may be manipulation, perhaps by the fearful Lahoud camp, to derail full disclosure in the inquiry, since involvement of the Shiite Hizbullah in the death of a Sunni politician raises the prospect of communal conflict. But few are especially sanguine.
There were almost certainly Lebanese officials involved as well.

Why is this worth noting?
It is ever more obvious that Lebanon's courts, given the country's political divisions and weaknesses, do not have the means to bring anyone to justice; nor its security agencies the wherewithal to protect witnesses, particularly if Syrian involvement is confirmed. This has led to growing speculation, buttressed by statements from Lebanon's prime minister, Fouad al-Siniora, that a special international tribunal might become necessary to act against the guilty. This would deeply alarm the Syrian regime (again, if Mehlis does find a Syrian connection), as it means Syria would become even more of an international pariah than it already is. That Assad could politically survive such pressure is doubtful.

In the coming weeks, we will know whether the Mehlis inquiry produces the "earthquake" that many have predicted it will. For the moment, the Lebanese are holding their breath fearing the Syrian backlash, but also hoping that Hizbullah is innocent, so that Sunni-Shiite tension can be averted. Everyone is anxiously aware that the truth may be painful.

Worst Case Scenario

Wikipedia for what it's worth, reports that New Orleans is now a "toxic soup.":
Ivor van Heerden, Deputy Director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center and director of the Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes, is warning that floodwaters resulting from Hurricane Katrina could carry toxic waste from the "Industrial Canal" area in New Orleans - the site of many chemical plants. Van Heerden has, for four years, studied computer models about the impact of a powerful hurricane.

"These chemical plants [could] start flying apart, just as the other buildings do, so we have the potential for release of benzene, hydrochloric acid, chlorine and so on." said van Heerden; "we're looking at a bowl full of highly contaminated water with contaminated air flowing around and, literally, very few places for anybody to go where they'll be safe."

Van Heerden itemized problems people returning to the city would find: "no sewage [treatment], no drinking water, contamination, threat of rapid increase in mosquitoes, roads are impassible, downed power lines everywhere, trees, debris from houses in the roads, no way to go shopping, no gas." The water has also released fire ants and thousands of snakes, many being venomous, from their normal habitats. [My italics]
No mention of other hazards one might imagine, such as alligators and rats. I have no idea what diseases could be unleashed. I suppose that there are more tropical diseases than you can count which could move in after days or weeks.

Another map

JPL has posted an animation showing the topography around Lake Ponchartrain which would be affect by varying levels of storm surge up to 9 meters. The highest level of storm surge didn't occur, but after the storm passed, the drainage system began to back up and the levee on the Mississippi broke and flooded New Orleans.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

N'ahleans solution?

A caller to the Hugh Hewitt show says he has invented floating house that will save people in a flood. I have suggested putting the city on pontoons, but it might be a possibility. I imagine that a lot of ideas like this will pop up in the next week or two.

Mormons are taught to store food and necessaries for such emergencies. We have some, but if I lived in New Orleans I'd have it stored in a boat ready to launch.

The Big Easy - the Big Wet

The photos on the WaPo are awesome, and the drawings showing the elevations and layout of the city are very helpful. We need this reminder of how vulnerable we are. If you have a dry house to live in, get on your knees and say thanks, and then send money. This is like the tsunami, if not worse. You can't send supplies, better to give cash.

I didn't realize that the Mississippi River is so far above sea level and the city after the floods on the Mississippi, I thought nobody would trust their home to levees again. I've seen so many things on TV about how the Mississippi has been corralled and Louisiana is losing coastlands that would normally be replenished by the delta. This city was a disaster waiting to happen. There is now no sanitation. It's hot. The water is pouring from the river through holes in the levees and Lake Ponchartrain is on the other side. I hate to think of the medical crisis this will cause.

I found the area on Google maps and half of the surrounding territory is lakes or inlets from the ocean. The link above to Lake Ponchartrain is a map of the levee system around the city.

This is almost as shocking as 9/11. Although the death toll won't compare to that, the property destruction will probably be higher.

And the effect on the nation's economy will be another recession. Gas is expected to rise to $3.50 a gallon, and building materials will practically prohibit any new home construction in the rest of the country.

Still not getting it

When you see somebody standing in the freeway trying to flag down cars, you kind of want tell him he's going to get hit. Then, when you do, and he gives you the finger, what can you do, except shake your head. That's the way I see Chris Nolan's comments about Nick Lemann's profile of Hugh Hewitt.

In the Wake of the Flood

Glenn Reynolds has some excellent observations about emergency preparedness. I say a first step would be to either lower the river or raise the city above sea level, or put it on pontoons. I know that they aren't the only ones who have relied on levees, but it is a reason to guard against complacency.

Jame Taranto has some interesting quotes from duelling prophets of doom. Compare the judgemental reactions of Pat Robertson with that of environmentalists on the left. The difference is that people can repent and get right with God, while I strongly doubt that we can do much about global warming. It's probably going to continue no matter what we do.

Calm down and go soak your head.

Iraq is not the scene of battle it is constantly being portraryed to be in our media. It's a big country, with a lot of people, and one or two incidents, bombing or attacks a week is not even like the riots this country saw during the 1960s. We seem to think of it as being the way it was when our troops moved in back in 2003. The media don't give us a broad overview of what life is like there for ordinary Iraqis. This should be obvious, but we need to be reminded. That's why Arthur Chrenkoff's columns are important.

The people with their hair on fire need to see to that first, and then remember that it is resolve and continued effort that will accomplish our goals. I have been disturbed by conservatives who seem to think that we're in a quagmire. We should all remember that the fascist resistance in Iraq is nothing like what we dealt with in Vietnam. They don't have the numbers or the weapons. They don't have China and Russia supplying them. The majority of Iraqis understand what we're trying to do, and their faith in us grows as we continue to help them, not if we dither and show indecision. They believe in fate, and it is therefore our job to convince them that we are fated to succeed.

Men, Women and Babies

I wasn't quite sure what Meghan O'Rourke's point was, at first. I misread her first line. Or maybe it was the incongruence of her subject with the ad for Thumbsucker above the column. The problem seems to be that some men who watch the birth process no longer feel sexually attracted to their wives. She's right. They are jerks. It should be a transcendent experience, where one understands what it's really all about. I've always thought women are more beautiful when they're pregnant and my appreciation of my wife for the gifts she has given me was really born with my children. The loss of this understanding is tragic.

Maybe this is why pornography is evil. It makes people live in fantasies rather than reality. It also seems to be making women think that their worth is in their bodies and little else, and children seem like some kind of penalty to be avoided. It's perversion any way you look at it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Interesting experiment

Hugh Hewitt played his interview with Timothy Rutten of the LATimes. I had a terrible time finding his column on the LATimes website, which is so cranky that I seldom go there. It seems that every time I try, it doesn't recognize my cookies and goes to a page telling me about why registering with their site will enhance my life. As if.

In the interview, Rutten sounded friendly, interested and open minded. In his column he was like about every other newspaper columnist writing about talk radio, the neo-cons, and bloggers. He sounds like he's rubbing his hands in glee over the news that talk radio listenership is dropping. His condescension grows as his piece becomes more dismissive of conservative opinion, even to the point of quoting W. B. Yeats:
While the political talk-show hosts and right-wing bloggers claim to have a quarrel with mainstream media's alleged bias, their real gripe is that the news media's traditional values stand between them and what they'd like to accomplish, which is the total politicization of all reporting and analysis. Combine this with the messianic confidence that new media — mainly talk radio and the Internet — inevitably will undermine and destroy the economic health of mainstream media — especially newspapers — and you've pretty much got what Yeats had in mind when he wrote:

If Folly link with Elegance
No man knows which is which

. . .

Political talk-show hosts see everything through the prism of their partisan politics and insist, as an article of faith, that everyone else is always doing the same. In this sense, their approach to current affairs is less a conservative one and more a creature of that most powerful of American vices: narcissism.
That last line is priceless. Here's the flashy journalist, flaunting his education and superior wisdom, describing someone else as "narcissistic," oblivious to the irony.

We've all got our own prisms, but just because you have a degree in journalism it doesn't mean yours is better, clearer or less distorting than anybody else's. There are lots of smart, educated people out here who can think and write and analyze every bit as incisively as the press can, many of them better and with more logic than anybody in the news media. I don't claim to be one, but I read blogs from some of them. And I'm not going back to newspaper articles that bury the lede until the 10th paragraph. I need news and opinion that get to the point, and I'm wondering if there will be any need in the future for pundits. There will be books, news sites and blogs. I find myself getting bored about three or four paragraphs into most articles, these days, but maybe I have an attention deficit. Maybe we all are going to have attention deficits in the future.

Rutten's piece is written for his fellow writers, not for the readers. Why should they care about the future of talk radio, newspapers or anything else? Who does his article comfort, except himself and others who are worried about talk radio taking over all media, i.e. liberal paranoids?

Update: Here's another second tier columnist chiding Bush for his "stubborness" on Iraq. Who will he write for when newspapers become anachronisms?

Maybe he can go into comedy. A lot of people seem to be getting their news from Leno, Letterman and Stewart. The problem with that route is that comedians are pretty even-handed in their abuse.

Or he could become a blogger, but I think it's an early adopter field. Who has time to monitor three million sites? I guess I don't get the "long tail" stuff.

Is there intelligence at the Times?

It's pretty predictable that the NYTimes would jump on a chance to both bash Bush and condemn open-mindedness in one swat. Scientists are always denouncing intelligent design as not being real science. In other words, real science doesn't allow for any explanation that implies a creator, designer or supreme being. Science does accept intelligent design whenever antropologists find stone tools, apparent campsites and middens. They don't think these things just happened, because they don't have a fossil record.

But what if there is, in fact, a creator-designer-prime mover? Will they ever be able to get to the correct answer? Advocates of ID argue that the vast complexity of organisms on earth, along with the ever-amazing mechanisms within them argue persuasively against their origin through blind chance. The answer is "That's not science."

I get suspicious when people start getting angry over someone else's questioning their views. It indicates a sense that they aren't all that sure of their own position. I don't care if they believe in ID or whether it's taught in schools. I'd just like students to be taught to keep an open mind about everything in science because many of them are likely to change during their lifetimes. Last night I watched a program about Saul Perlmutter and his discovery that the universe is not just expanding but that expansion is accelerating, and how it flabbergasted cosmologists and astronomers, including Perlmutter and his team. Think of the things we have found out in the past century, that beggar common sense or what scientists believed. Quantum physics, relativity, the existence of galaxies other than the Milky Way, buckballs and bucky tubes, integrated circuits, lasers, black holes, and so on. The SETI project is supported by a lot of scientists, but I imagine that they won't find anything until they discover some medium of communication that hasn't been imagined yet and which other advanced intelligent sources are using instead of light, radio or whatever. Of course that isn't science either.

Why don't they support the war?

More reporters have been killed in Iraq than during the Vietnam war. What that is supposed to tell us, I'm not sure. The toll is 63, the next highest was during the civil war in Algeria, from 1993 to 1996. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Arab guerillas don't care about killing reporters.

What's the fascination with size?

Maybe I've been watching too much Science and History Channel shows, but I've been getting the impression that everybody but Americans are fixated on bigness. The Germans have the biggest excavator on earth. The Canadians use the largest dump trucks on earth, (albeit manufactured by Caterpillar). The Koreans have the biggest shipyard on the planet. And Airbus makes the biggest airliner.

Of course, the fact that most of these shows are imported from Canada, Australia and the U.K. may have skewed my impressions.

I had a case like this

Great headline!

Man Walks Off Without Paying For Prosthetic Leg

I can see his arraignment. The prosecutor says, "You honor, he hasn't got a leg to stand on."

But Cindy said . . .

The New York Times quotes a Sunni member of the Iraqi constitutional drafting committee:
A Sunni member of the constitutional drafting committee, Mahmoud al-Mashadani, said he favored approving the document. But he added that he feared he could become a target of more militant Sunnis if he were to speak out about it, particularly if the Muslim Scholars Association, an influential Sunni group, were to denounce the charter.

"Who is going to protect me when I'm walking in the streets after that?" he said, adding that he had just heard a Sunni imam denouncing those who supported the constitution as infidels.

Other Sunnis have expressed similar fears, especially after two Sunnis involved in drafting the constitution were assassinated last month.
I hope the radicals don't read the Times, or Mahmoud is toast.

Someone needs to point out to the Sunnis that if you kill your representatives in government, it limits your input into national decisions. This is why we need to be there. I only wish we had better ways of protecting these people. The Iraq Security Forces can't get going fast enough for any of us. There may well be a war between the various militias. If so, I'd welcome it, provided we can keep the rest of the country from getting caught in the middle.

Update: RCP questions Cindy's compassion when talking about other grieving mothers who don't agree with her anti-war stance. She calls them "'continue the murder and mayhem' moms," and says they've been brainwashed.

Read the whole thing. This seems to be another in a long pattern of the left choosing unlikeable people as their spokespersons.

Starbucks is not taking sides.

Starbucks has a new line of coffee mugs with quotes from people of many different viewpoints, one of them was from Armistead Maupin. Accordingly, some national Christian women`s organization has criticized the new mugs as promoting the homosexual agenda. The quotes also include submissions by Michael Medved, his wife, Diane, and Jonah Goldberg.

Katrina hits land, loses storm surge.

The 30 foot storm surges didn't reach New Orleans, which is about 30 to 40 miles inland. I guess we should have known that it would lose power as it moved over land. They always do.

Conservatives and the ACLU

Glenn Reynolds has worked for, and will probably again work for, the ACLU. I can see why he would, given a particular case that he agrees with.

I don't think I could. I think that the ACLU and the host of imitators on the left, right and middle are bad for democracy. I think they have been instrumental in the courts' intervening in policy matters to a degree that they can almost always be persuaded that some groups civil rights are denied if their actions are illegal. I guess this is why Glenn doesn't endorse John Roberts. I find it ironic though, that libertarians would support using courts to change laws they don't like. It's definitely easier to persuade five senior citizens than a majority of Congress or some state legislature. The courts don't care about voters' opinions, or the way that their expansion of constitutional rights for some changes all our lives.

Popeil cashes out for $56 million

That seems kind of paltry, considering what a part of our lives Ron Popeil has been over the years. He's moved a lot of merchandise, but the business is basically dependent on his talents and personality. Will it work with someone new, like that BILLY MAYS WHO SHOUTS EVERYTHING like he was hard of hearing?

The numbers game

Ever wondered why the left keeps insisting that the U.S. has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. This might be a clue. The Bushies have a lot of catching up to do. We'll probably learn too late how many people have been murdered in Darfur. Will it match Rwanda?

It's a protest AND a media event!

It would be interesting to know how much money Camp Casey has cost the groups funding it. Shouldn't that be public information?

OK, she's got the record, now let her out!

Her employer wants Judy Miller set free. Now.
Last week a Paris-based journalists' organization called Reporters Without Borders sent around an impressive petition in support of Ms. Miller. It was signed by prominent European writers, journalists and thinkers including Günter Grass, Bernard-Henri Lévy, the French philosopher, and Pedro Almodóvar, the Spanish filmmaker.
If that doesn't prove she's above the law, what will?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hint to businesses

If you're worried about your reputation, suing bloggers is a bad way to improve it, especially if you're an internet business.

Would Rudy beat Hillary?

Michael Barone seems to thing Giuliani will be the Republican pick in 2008. If it were him or McCain, I'd support him, but I'll believe that when I see it.

Dueling Reverends

Not content with Pat Robertson getting all the negative publicity, Jesse Jackson is offering legal advice to Hugo Chavez. This must have been reported before Katrina.

Well, at least we don't have to watch Cindy Sheehan for awhile

The new story is Katrina. If you, like me, have wondered what this "Category 5" stuff is, NOAA explains. It's the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

Too long at the Times?

In today's topper of both Technorati and Memeorandum, David Brooks touts a new strategy for Iraq.Instead of trying to kill insurgents, Krepinevich argues, it's more important to protect civilians. You set up safe havens where you can establish good security. Because you don't have enough manpower to do this everywhere at once, you select a few key cities and take control. Then you slowly expand the size of your safe havens, like an oil spot spreading across the pavement.. . .

It's not really new and it doesn't sound all that brilliant to me:
But the strategy has one virtue. It might work.

Today, public opinion is turning against the war not because people have given up on the goal of advancing freedom, but because they are not sure this war is winnable. Why should we sacrifice more American lives to a lost cause?
At least, he didn't compare it to a blood spot. The main difference between this and what we're doing is that it would require a lot more troops and would look a lot more like an occupation, like the Russians in Afghanistan.

Krepinevich's article begins with conventional wisdom:
After two years, Washington has made little progress in defeating the insurgency or providing security for Iraqis, even as it has overextended the U.S. Army and eroded support for the war among the American public.
If this is true, why not just pull out and withdraw from the world stage? Surely sending in more troops for a strategy named "oil spot" would be a dream scenario for the people who hate George Bush and want to see him fail. I don't think we can do something like this without doing major damage to our morale and the confidence the people of Iraq have in us. What do we try if the "oil spots" don't grow fast enough for Cindy Sheehan? How about a "checkerboard" strategy?

The strategy calls for mixing indigenous forces with Americans and slowly having them take over. This is supposed to offset our deficiency in gathering intelligence. This sounds a lot like what we're doing now. It's just not progressing as fast as we'd like, and I think that the Krepinevich approach wouldn't move that fast either. I also think that it sounds easier than it would prove to be. The assumption is that we could establish areas of total security, where the enemy can't infiltrate. The problem with that is that we can never establish such areas without violating a lot of our own standards.

This is not Vietnam, no matter how many times the anti-war knee-jerks say so. In fact, sending in more troops would add substance to their fears. I think it's foolish to let the polls pressure us into trying to speed up a process that is inherently slow. How long were we in Germany and Japan after we basically destroyed their countries and subjugated their populace? The first thing we should be guarding against is listening to the hair-on-fire media and screwy left, even if they did lose a son in Iraq. The second is panicking and lurching around after new strategies. All that will do is give the media more to criticize.

The wisdom of the left

Cindy Sheehan, after being asked, "What would you say to the Iraqis who want us to stay?"
I would say to them that we don't need our military presence there; that we can work this out without a military presence in Iraq. And I would tell them that we have already harmed their country enough and we need to get our soldiers out. Thank you.[cutting off other questions]
This is the new spokesperson of the people who think George W. Bush is dumb.