Thursday, September 29, 2005

Today's thing I hope no one ever says to me again

"For future reference, we also keep the King Size Baby Ruths up next to the register."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

More Low Expectations from The Media

This story makes it even plainer that the media has no concept of what black people are like. You could sense it when news reports kept referring to how black the city seemed, like it was some kind of shock to them to even see so many in one place.

Now the excuses for the horrifying coverage point out even more problems for the media and New Orleans officials.
Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss cited telephone breakdowns as a primary cause of reporting errors, but said the fact that most evacuees were poor African Americans also played a part.

"If the dome and Convention Center had harbored large numbers of middle class white people," Amoss said, "it would not have been a fertile ground for this kind of rumor-mongering."

Some of the hesitation that journalists might have had about using the more sordid reports from the evacuation centers probably fell away when New Orleans' top officials seemed to confirm the accounts.

Nagin and Police Chief Eddie Compass appeared on "Oprah" a few days after trouble at the Superdome had peaked.

Compass told of "the little babies getting raped" at the Superdome. And Nagin made his claim about hooligans raping and killing.
First, "telephone breakdowns"? How does that make reporting less accurate? "Hey, I couldn't get anybody on the phone, I'll just make something up. Pedophile rapes? Sounds true enough."

Second, I guess somehow the fact that the flood victims were black made it fertile ground for rumor-mongering? How could this be, amongst our enlightened media? Upper, middle, lower, black, white, any color, I don't normally expect people to rape, murder, or cannibalize others. Is Amoss saying it's generally assumed black peole are savages in the media?

Third, Nagin and Compass used Oprah to make unfounded statements and accusations about their people? That's sick, and I think they should have already both resigned for fanning the flames of hysteria, but it's even more so that these things were just parroted on every channel.

It seems like even in the midst of covering the bad coverage, there's a little thread of "well, it's understandable, you know, with all those black people around, that we'd have thought that."

This whole thing truly is turning into a global embarassment. Maybe our journalists and Compass and Nagin need to spend some more time around regular New Orleans folks before they report on them next time.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Bigotry of the Lowest Expectations

The hysterics over Katrina revealed plainly what I think is the true force of racism in the U.S. today. From affirmative action to government housing, the ideas of the left are driven by the fact that Democrats simply don't think black people are capable of taking care of themselves. And from the start of Katrina, the local officials, the media, and much of the left's leadership has believed the worst of the people of New Orleans.

Rapes of babies, rampant murder, and cannibalism, all reported, all repeated, all false. All easy to find the truth of. Why didn't anyone look into it any further? Because for them, it was too easy to believe that a relatively black city would descend into Thunderdome inside of a week. From the Times-Picayune:
In interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Compass reported rapes of "babies," and Mayor Ray Nagin spoke of "hundreds of armed gang members" killing and raping people inside the Dome. Unidentified evacuees told of children stepping over so many bodies, "we couldn't count."

The picture that emerged was one of the impoverished, masses of flood victims resorting to utter depravity, randomly attacking each other, as well as the police trying to protect them and the rescue workers trying to save them. Nagin told Winfrey the crowd has descended to an "almost animalistic state."
I'm so tired of being defensive on the right from accusations of racism. We've been right at every major junction, from the Civil War, to the Civil Rights Act, to Senator KKK Robert Byrd.

I've walked through the "wrong" parts of New Orleans at 3 in the morning (sober), and I don't remember ever feeling I was in danger. I wonder how it is that people were so ready to report, and so ready to believe, that a city of black people is just hours from anarchy at any given time. I think it's time the lefties started answering some questions.

What is Mayor Nagin's Punishment?

As I watch the continued story of the nursing home owners indicted for negligent homicide in New Orleans, it leaves me wondering what Mayor Nagin's punishment will be for a similar level of negligence. My prediction? No punishment, but for kicks let's compare the two situations:
The Manganos

Executives of a Residence

Established Emergency Procedure

Failure to Implement Plan

34 Dead

34 Counts of Negligent Homicide
Mayor Ray Nagin

Executive of a City

Established Emergency Procedure

Failure to Implement Plan

Around 600 Dead

Airtime for Hysterics and Accusations
I don't really know if Nagin's on the hook for anything, or even has a chance of being removed from office at the next election. And many of those dead would have stayed behind even if the evacuation had been carried out according to plan. But it seems to me odd that we hold private business owners so much more responsible than government executives.

If that's the case, maybe the way to get government to keep their promises is to privatize it. It'd be great, each city has a list of services they require, companies bid to provide them, and when it hits the fan, they either do what they promised or they go to jail. I like it.

Cindy Sheehan Beats the Odds

Cindy Sheehan proved her critics wrong today when against all odds, she proved that she in fact can get arrested in Washington.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Back to Photo-Op Criticisms

I forgot to mention, and it was hilarious as usual, that the photo-op criticism is back for Rita, a return to Charley/Frances-style sniping. No end of coverage on how W was slow on the uptake for Katrina, and instant criticism if he learns a lesson from the media bloodbath.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dan Rather Hasn't Lost a Step

Rather praised the coverage of Hurricane Katrina by the new generation of TV journalists and acknowledged that he would have liked to have reported from the Gulf Coast. “Covering hurricanes is something I know something about,” he said.

“It’s been one of television news’ finest moments,” Rather said of the Katrina coverage. He likened it to the coverage of President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. “They were willing to speak truth to power,” Rather said of the coverage.

Amazing, "truth to power" eh?

Here's just a few of the bits of truth the Katrina coverage:

1. 10,000 dead

2. New Orleans shut down for 6 months

3. Worst natural disaster in U.S. history

When you think about how much stupid Rather's statements are, you need to take into consideration that he said this last weekend, after it was obvious the coverage was ridiculously off the mark.

It's no surprise that he'd enjoy that sort of unsubstantiated, breathless coverage, but it's sort of sad that he's out there reminding everyone why he's no longer working.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Get a Grip

How can the world's lone superpower be brought to it's knees in such an embarassing way as this? 10,000 dead in a major U.S. city! Why was the federal response so slow? This is the worst natural disaster in U.S. history! While everyone's trying to assign blame for everything, they are missing the fact that none of these things are true.

For one, our federal response to the disaster was not slow. Federal responders are not meant to be first responders, and can't actually just wait there during the hurricane. And they responded faster than they did in other recent hurricanes, such as Andrew.

There are not 10,000 dead, a pathetic estimate by fearmongering people and a panicking mayor with zero faith in individuals. Unfortunately for them, many people still can take some care of themselves and have survived. I don't know why they didn't just guess 50 or 100 thousand, for all the facts they had.

It was not the worst natural disaster in US history, and it won't even crack the top 5. And that's leaving out heat waves, which would knock it out of all contention.

Why bring up heat waves? Well, it wasn't so long ago that Parisians truly were dying by the thousands in just such a natural event. It was actually just 2 years ago, August 2003. Estimates range between 11,435 and 14,802 dead, 80% of them elderly and ostensibly being cared for by the government in France's socialist worker's paradise. Now that's what I call a pathetic government response.

What I'm left wondering is who will take responsibility for blowing the storm out of all proportion? Who will apologize when, as likely happened this time, people ignore evacuation warnings because it's never as bad as they say? Does the media ever apologize, or get called out on things like that? Do they get fired? Do they even care if what comes out of their mouths is accurate?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Los Angeles

It is reported that black outage victims in Los Angeles have begun fashioning candles from corpses to survive the night.

Four hours after the "accident", hundreds of thousands of blacks in Los Angeles are dying in the dark like dogs. No-one has come to help them.

I am a sixty-four year old African-American. Los Angeles marks the end of the America I strove for.

I am hopeless. I am sad. I am angry against my country for doing nothing when it mattered.

This is what we have come to. This defining watershed moment in America's racial history. For all the world to witness. For those who've been caused to listen for a lifetime to America's ceaseless hollow bleats about democracy. For Christians, Jews and Muslims at home and abroad. For rich and poor. For African-American soldiers fighting in Iraq. For African-Americans inside the halls of officialdom and out.

My hand shakes with anger as I write. I, the formerly un-jaundiced human rights advocate, have finally come to see my country for what it really is. A monstrous fraud.

But what can I do but write about how I feel. How millions, black like me, must feel at this, the lowest moment in my country's story.

Not Everyone is Glenn Reynolds

Just because half of Instapundit post remarks end with "I don't know if I'd go that far..." doesn't mean that some baseless conciliatory gesture in your own writing makes you Mr. Reasonable or something. And as much as you want it to, it doesn't make you as smart as Glenn Reynolds.

Here's the standard line start from conservative and libertarian leaning blogs right now:

"While there were plenty of problems at the federal level... " and then blah blah blah, ranging from Nagin stinks to Blanco stinks to whatever.

The problem is, prepending that statement onto things doesn't make you somehow more reasonable or reasoned at all. It doesn't present any proof, and thus it's worthless and misinformed.

In other words, when you throw out a blanket accusation at the federal response, it would be nice if you had at least one fact to start with. Something empirical would be especially nice, like "Compared to previous federal responses, the Katrina response time, from the moment of the request, was 2 days slower."

The reason you don't see those statements is because it's not true. It's just convenient, and it sounds nice to people that like to think they sound reasonable by being "moderate".

And by the way, people, if you're so anxious to agree with everyone, what are you writing for at all?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Emergency Preparedness Tasks in New Orleans

Below is the City of New Orleans emergency preparedness task list. The thing that strikes me when I read this isn't just how poorly executed it was, but how little it mentions George W. Bush as being responsible for everything on it.

I'm also left wondering if "first responders" complaining about the federal response are as prepared to abdicate all authority to the federal government as they are to pass the blame. If Bush is responsible for all local emergency preparedness, maybe we should just fire the police and fire departments, and immediately declare martial law and move the military in every time something goes bad.

Also note the specific reference to using buses to evacuate people when you look at the sea of unused school buses dumping oil and gas into the flood.
A. Mayor

* Initiate the evacuation.

* Retain overall control of all evacuation procedures via EOC operations.

* Authorize return to evacuated areas.

B. Office of Emergency Preparedness

* Activate EOC and notify all support agencies to this plan.

* Coordinate with State OEP on elements of evacuation.

* Assist in directing the transportation of evacuees to staging areas.

* Assist ESF-8, Health and Medical, in the evacuation of persons with special needs, nursing home, and hospital patients in accordance with established procedures.

* Coordinate the release of all public information through ESF-14, Public Information.

* Use EAS, television, cable and other public broadcast means as needed and in accordance with established procedure.

* Request additional law enforcement/traffic control (State Police, La. National Guard) from State OEP.

C. New Orleans Police Department

* Ensure orderly traffic flow.

* Assist in removing disabled vehicles from roadways as needed.

* Direct the management of transportation of seriously injured persons to hospitals as needed.

* Direct evacuees to proper shelters and/or staging areas once they have departed the threatened area.

* Release all public information through the ESF-14, Public Information.

D. Regional Transit Authority

* Supply transportation as needed in accordance with the current Standard Operating Procedures.

* Place special vehicles on alert to be utilized if needed.

* Position supervisors and dispatch evacuation buses.

* If warranted by scope of evacuation, implement additional service.

E. Louisiana National Guard

* Provide assistance as needed in accordance with current State guidelines.

F. Animal Care and Control

* Coordinate animal rescue operations with the New Orleans SPCA.

G. Public Works

* Make emergency road repairs as needed.

H. Office of Communications

* Release all public information relating to the evacuation.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Oh, If Only We'd Had Buses...

"Don't give me your money. Don't send me $10 million today. Give me buses and gas. Buses and gas. Buses and gas. If you have to commandeer Greyhound, commandeer Greyhound. ... If you don't get a bus, if we don't get them out of there, they will die."
- State Rep. Karen Carter, New Orleans
By all means, someone should get Greyhound doing something productive, I would have thought The Hague would have shut them down by now for the appalling conditions on their buses.

But in the meantime-- Hey Ray! Nice evacuation planning and timing (Sunday!?), way to utilize resources and way to lead. There's a reason Rudy Giuliani is a giant. He handled the critical early situation in his city and he lead, until reinforcements could get in to help clean up and rebuild. He was inspiring, confident, and hopeful.

By the way, when do you think the National Guard should have been there standing by, during the hurricane?

Take Solace, Lefties and Euthanasists

At least if people are somehow starving in 4 days, you guys can rest assured it's a peaceful, dignified death:
"What happens is she loses fluid from her body, she enters a peaceful coma and she gradually passes away, very gently and very peacefully."
I should be so lucky as to starve... I don't remember my last peaceful coma.

Were They Unaware of Any of This?

I'm sincerely shocked that only a year ago New Orleans was able to evacuate 600,000 people, and somehow this time it went so poorly. It's not a new situation, in fact maybe it's almost a boy who cried wolf type of a situation:
An estimated 600,000 people evacuated from the New Orleans area in what some state officials called one of the largest evacuations ever in state history.

Evacuees were upset at the long delays, and officials feared that the mass evacuation could backfire because people may be less willing to get out of the path of a hurricane in the future.

It was also the second time in six years that the city emptied out to only find the threatening hurricane veer off and miss New Orleans. In 1998, people fled the approach of Hurricane Georges.

Estimates show that about 11,000 vehicles an hour were on roads out of the New Orleans area last week. Faced with Hurricane Georges in 1998, about 4,000 vehicles an hour left the area.
I don't know what to make of all that, except that it's creepy to read now. It just seems like the local plan fell completely apart somewhere.

On a side note, for some reason no one needed President Bush actually standing on I-10 directing traffic last year to get the evacuation done. Amazing.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Make Up Your Minds

Apparently George Bush was asleep at the wheel during Katrina, if only he'd got on his waders and gone directly to New Orleans to stop the flooding and looting, things would be fixed already.

Paradoxically, that same response was somehow a problem during Florida's Hurricane Charley and Francis devastation:

I find it deeply disturbing that President Bush may use his trip to survey the damage of Hurricane Frances as a photo opportunity.
-Rep. Robert Wexler from West Palm Beach

George Bush only went to Florida to show off. There is not a sincere bone in his body. He is the world's greatest con-man and four-flusher. The people in Florida are no better off because of him, and neither are the people of Iraq, or America, for that matter.
- Mildred Perry Miller - Chattanooga, Tenn.

We all know this is a photo op for Bush. I actually don't need him to come here, he has already designated funds.
- Scarlet on News Hounds

Of course Bush will use the storm as a photo op. His gordo little brother already has. The goofy bastard uses 9/11 and active duty soldiers as his backdrop, of course he will try to mine this tragedy. That's what he does. That's ALL HE DOES!
- Gabby Hayes of News Hounds

So what is it exactly that you think should be done? Do you know, or do you just default to the opposite of whatever Bushitler does? I would agree more with the above sentiments than with current criticisms. It doesn't really help anything for Bush to walk around New Orleans, especially at present. Symbolically? Yes, maybe later, but it's just not important.

People forget, but we have phones, we have planes, and we have people working with the President. People get put in charge of things. Things get done. The President doesn't necessarily actually drain New Orleans himself.

For me, it is becoming more and more reassuring that Bush is not directly affected by polls and public opinion. I don't need him calling a press conference to sign some paper to show he's sending help.

In the meantime, Lefties, make up your mind and try to stick with it. If you find it's difficult, well, it might be because you are a kneejerk Reactionary.

Does Price Gouging Exist?

Prices are spiking on gasoline, and the complaints of price gouging are flooding into the FTC. My question is, is there such a thing as price gouging? In a voluntary transaction between two entities, how can there be?

In this particular situation, the probability exists of some level of shortages in supply around New Orleans especially. Should those gas stations be compelled to sell at the price they sold the day before, even though they will surely sell out and essentially be out of business until supply come back?

Their gas is worth exactly what customers are willing to pay to get it. If they charge too much, people will look elsewhere. If they charge too little, they will sell out and have to shut down until who knows when.

In Bend here in Oregon, there was a biodiesel station selling it for around $3.10 a gallon. If regular diesel blows past that, say to $3.20 or so, is it price gouging if the biodiesel station raises their prices to $3.40? There was no change in their supply or costs, how can they justify 20 cents for nothing?

They are justified, of course, because demand changed. Their supplies are always limited, but people will preferentially buy biodiesel as it nears diesel prices. If diesel passes it, well, they will not be able to supply all of their customers. The choices are: the price goes up to adjust to demand, or the owner is compelled to sell at some other price someone else "feels" is appropriate.

Our system naturally adjusts to these situations, and it is best left alone. It is the only rational way to allow resources to be allocated correctly. Prices through the roof? Probably people will adjust their driving, share rides, walk or ride to work, etc. People in life or death situations or businesses will likely pay it, because it's worth it to them.

That is exactly as it should be, unless you want politicians setting prices, causing outages and rationing as in the 70s. As kind as it sounds on the surface, it is cruel, irrational, and damaging to artificially "correct" our system, it just happens that if it hurts a few business owners over a crowd of workers, people think it's OK. It is not.

If businesses should be compelled to sell at a "reasonable" price, set by some official as opposed to supply and demand, I wonder if people would agree to be compelled to buy gasoline at that same price when a cheaper, better, alternative comes along, as it will eventually. What will happen when prices go through the floor and nobody really wants it? Who is looking out for the jobs and millions of dollars invested in gasoline production and sales?

No one is. Or rather, no person is. But Capitalism is. It is looking out for the people of New Orleans as it looks out for all people and businesses, by allocating scarce resources in the most rational manner possible.

BTW, Thanks for the "Mass" Transit

Just a note, thanks so much for the mass transit in New Orleans. Those quaint street cars did a lot for evacuation efforts. The news reports of the hundreds of thousands without individual transportation to escape the city are just propaganda anyway, the forward-thinking rail transports got everyone out in plenty of time.

Oh, if we can only get more people out of their cars, stranded and dependent on governments for getting around, it'll be so much easy to control the simple rabble.

After that, if we can just get the guns and keep people from protecting themselves. From there, we need to control the dinner table, people just don't know what to eat to stay healthy.

Somebody's just got to compel these unsophisticated hicks and rednecks to live the civilized way.

Can We Drill Now? Please?

Just asking, Democrats, but is ot OK if we drill for oil on 3.13 square miles of an area the size of South Carolina? Can we grow up and get serious?

The bottom line is your Priuses are still running on the same gas we already use, and it's going to be a while before we're off the teat here. So you can't keep crying about Big Bad Oil and our foreign dependence while simulataneously standing in the way of new refineries and new oil exploration.

Or rather, you can, and you do, because your "Reality-Based Community" has nothing to do with its name.

Send in the Cowards?

Apparently W sending National Guard folks to Iraq has ruined any chance of a rescue operation in New Orleans, and it probably caused the hurricane as well, what with all that pollution from deploying playing havoc with Mother Nature.

What I want to know is, who wants the Nasty Guard's help? As we all learned from the Democrats in the 2004 election, they're nothing but draft-dodgers and cowards anyway. Who needs them in an emergency? Has the world gone nuts?

In Good Company

Here's some real classic quotes:
"The President is nothing more than a well-meaning baboon... I went to the White House directly after tea where I found "the original Gorilla" about as intelligent as ever."

"Filthy Story-Teller, Despot, Liar, Thief, Braggart, Buffoon, Usurper, Monster... Old Scoundrel, Perjurer, Robber, Swindler, Tyrant, Field-Butcher, Land-Pirate."
And now... the rest of the story, as if you didn't see it coming or know already. These quotes are not about our current President George W. Bush, they are about another Republican Liar-in-Chief, Abraham Lincoln. First from General McClellan, the second Harper's Weekly.

I sometimes get discouraged when G.W. doesn't get out and defend more directly the positions we support him for. But when I think about it historically, I really start to love that he doesn't get all amped up about every sorry moron that calls him Hitler. Those people matter nothing in the grand scheme of things, and you can't change their minds anyway, they are determined to see every glass as half-empty.

The really nice realization is that negative do-nothing reactionaries like our current Democrats will always be around, they will always be negative, and they will always mean nothing.

Jon Stewart Arguing the NULL Position

Christopher Hitchens was on Jon Stewart to talk about his book, but apparently Jon geared up for a big confrontation to see if he could get an answer for why we're in Iraq from Hitchens.

The interesting thing, and the thing that stands out to me about people opposed to Bush in general, is that Jon Stewart is not arguing for anything. He has no position, only an attempt to negate another position. And nothing is easier to defend than nothing.

Throw out a few cute lines, make faces, point out stutters, but do not by any means actually put an idea foward, or you might have to defend it. If you're just attacking what others do, and doing nothing yourself, it's easy. You've got hindsight and humor on your side, how can you be wrong?

He asks why not Iran? Why not Saudi Arabia? But does he say he supports action against them? No, because he doesn't really support anything, because he doesn't have any ideas except "Bush = Wrong". Wow, how clever he is, I love his smirking asides to the audience and how they bolster his non-position.

He's by no means the only one, but it was just another in a long line of lefties with nothing but negativity going for them. Keep it up smarties.