Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Jedi Library found in Ireland 

Here's the proof. And the pictures are not doctored. Uncanny, isn't it?

And in other Geek news, Serenity comes out friday. Mr. Reynolds says its good, which pleases me greatly. I'll post a review after I see it this weekend.

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Sheehan Arrested 

while protesting outside the whitehouse. Drudge makes an amusing reference to a less than PC joke in his headline about the story (What's the difference between a magician's wand and a police officer's night stick?), but what really upset me was the audacity of Sheehan and her rabble of several dozen (hardly a powerful political posse, but that's neither here nor there):
Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was handcuffed, then led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching."

The whole world is watching what? You continue to tarnish the heroism of your sons achievements in Iraq? You continue to knowingly break the law ("Organizers had said some planned to be arrested.") and claim to be in the right even then? You continue to deny the valor of your sons actions, and others like him, as they protect the very freedoms you knowingly abuse and are arrested for?
This situation is frustrating in so many ways, because the grief of a mother is so real, so powerful. Yet we cannot pretend that it gives license to pontificate unceasingly, to break the law, and to endanger more US soldiers by aiding the very cause of the enemy.
Perhaps she isn't aware that her son's actions saved the lives of other soldiers, and that caring for the lives of men and women in harms way entails protecting and encouraging them while they fight, not denigrating their sacrifice and demanding a retreat. They know the risks of the job they have taken, and yet they choose to fight regardless, a bravery many of us knowingly lack. How difficult it must be to have to believe that today's pathetic display was what they are fighting for.

[Update:] Drudge changed his headline (Damn), but the cheeky original was "Sheehan Arrested in Cunning Stunt"...

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Saturday, September 24, 2005


Handled business, but thankfully not as badly as expected. Hopefully people will be able to recover, and on the bright side it looks like Houston was essentially spared. Stay tuned...

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Israel vows 'crushing' retaliation vs. Hamas 

We should be so lucky. Maybe this will make sympathizers realize what many common sense people on both sides of the isle have been saying for years: Its not about Gaza, it's not about land, it's not about statehood or cohabitation, it's not about a truce or making compromises or meeting demands. Hamas and Palestinian radicals will only be satisfied with a complete removal of the Israeli Jewery. As much as we would like to pretend otherwise, since there are many viable solutions on the table from all over the political spectrum, there can't be any real "truce" or "peace talks" or "negotiations" until Palestinian terror groups are willing to actually negotiate. Don't hold your breath.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Mean, Nasty Mr. Bush 

just won't stop with his global warming hurricanes. It looks like maybe the occupants of New Orleans are cursed: The first hurricane destroyed their home, and the next one followed the survivors to Houston! But seriously, this will provide a real opportunity for us to put the lessons of Katrina's nightmare to work: evacuate early, LISTEN TO EVACUATION ORDERS, and order evacuations wherever there is a possibility of trouble. Have the National Guard ready (as it was for Katrina, but bah), and ensure that State and Local governments are active and prepared, instead of languishing in their own self pity, refusing to order evacuations until Bush calls you and tells you too, and misallocating money sent to help prevent and repair these sort of disasters.
It looks as if Galvaston and New Orleans are being proactive this time:
Officials of Galveston, Texas — nearly 900 miles from Key West — were already calling for a voluntary evacuation. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco urged everyone in the southwest part of the state to prepare to evacuate.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin suspended his plan Monday to start bringing residents back to the city after warnings that Rita could follow Hurricane Katrina's course and rupture his city's weakened levees.

Watch this, as it is sure to develop much more spin, and I don't mean wind...

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Well, hail to the bengals too 

They spanked the Vikings, HARD.

It was a rather amusing game to watch considering for most of the third and all of the fourth quarter the Fox announcers just kept going on about the images of the Vikings sitting on the bench with their heads hanging low, and the Vikings QB standing around on the sidelines like a deer in the headlights. And, sadly, they were right. They looked like someone ran over their dog.

Anyway, Andrew, post something=)

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Hail victory!

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Intellectual Tattoo watch 

Oxblog has spotted a really awesome one that says "Eppur si muove". Galileo was a great guy. I think another cool one would be the greek equivalent of Socrates' "I know nothing". At least now I know what to keep thinking of so my subconcious will at least ensure the next time I go on a drunken binge I end up with a cooler tattoo.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Alaskan Photos 

Sometimes, among the porn, spam, politics and clutter, you find something really interesting and valuable on the internet. Check out these photos, many are breath taking.

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Satire can be delicious 

Here's a piece by David Brooks on the farce that is the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the confirmation of John Roberts to the Supreme Court; it'll satisfy your palate.

Of course, next week I'll have to pay if I want to read a similar column by Brooks in the New York Times. Frankly, if I was him, I'd be a bit miffed about the pay to read plan the Times is implementing, since far fewer people will read his work. Well, I guess I'd be miffed until the next pay check...

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To those coming here for pictures of the princes: 

Why are you so interested in finding a picture of Prince William and Prince Harry? What did they do in the news lately? Feel free to post a comment letting me know, since I'm curious.

I'm getting over a hundred referals on this.

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Why the 17th amendment should be repealed 

That's the amendment which stipulates that US Senators shall be elected by popular elections, and not by the state legislatures as the constitution originally stipulated.

This article
lays out a pretty good case as to why the 17th amendment should be repealed. The short of it is that the Senators, in the pre-17th era, were advocates of their states in the federal government, and acted as a check against rising rederal power.

If that's what Senators would become if they had to answer to the legislatures of their state (which would even instruct their Senators on how to vote on certain issues--making them ambasadors of their state, really), than I say repeal the sucker.

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Stereotyping UChicago 

Apparently some think that Chicago is the university with the highest percentage of academic nutjobs.

I think that's a load of crap. I haven't seen any professors there that have been mean, cruel, or domineering towards me as a student, at least. If you're willing to work very hard, than they are great. They may not praise your output, if it's not good, but I wouldn't expect them to. You can't get better if you don't have people inform you of your mistakes.

I think the faculty at Chicago is superb. Anyone that says otherwise, give me some evidence.

EDIT: In the comments to that post, here's a great piece of anecdote:
Sure, some of this is stereotype but I also think that academics have a peculiar form of interaction that non-academics often misinterpret as anti-social or at least dysfunctionally social. As academics we are more prone to debate and to speak our mind in front of those with whom we have disagreements than the general population is. My wife, a non-academic, was at first dismayed when I’d have friends over for dinner, and then we’d spend half the night disagreeing with each other over minute details of some esoteric argument. For those of us involved in the conversation, this was fun and very social, but for someone who’s not used to this kind of forceful exchange of thought and debate, it can be seen as graceless.

I also once recall having a discussion with a professor in his office, watching him get increasingly excited and boogley-eyed as we reached a point of disagreement. I wondered if others outside of academia might be offended by this kind of passionate debate of ideas.

Or perhaps I am lacking in social graces.
I personally can't stand it when people don't like to debate things. I love it. I think it's good fun. Disagreeing with someone has nothing to do with disliking them personally. When people think that, it really gets me.

I think this post really hits it. If you're good at academic subjects, which often involve considering very minute and esoteric details, than you probably like to talk about them. And thus debate.

Sigh, conversation really is dead. If you can't have a good debate with people and not be branded as rude and socially innept, than personally I don't know how to have a fulfilling conversation. I like to talk about stuff with people like politics, policy, religion, etc. Wow, I really do break all the taboos.

I must be socially innept then. Well, at least to those people that don't like what I like. And that's fine. But don't call me socially innept because I don't like what you like.

Ahhh, and now I see the root of the narcicism. If most of the average people you talk to don't like to talk with you about your passion, than you'll probably have a tendency to become annoyed with those type of people after a while. And maybe start to look down on them. I'm not saying that such a state is totally excusable, but I think it may be understandable.

What can I say, some people like things like history, ideas, etc. And some people like baseball (well, I like both, maybe that's why I'm not a narcicist. Yet). Now, unleash your cannons on me. I want a good debate=)

UPDATE: My waxing sentimental on my own geekiness aside, Chicago does have a new feather to put in its hat, one which is most likely due to its eccentric, braniac faculty: UChicago is one of the seven wonders of Chicago.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Democratic Doublespeak on Roberts [Updated: Scrolling Roberts Post] 

(Note: I decided to keep my daily take on the Roberts hearings in a single post, for easy reference. I will pop it to the top of the blog when its updated, so check the updates at the bottom of the post if you're interested.)

First off, tell me this isn't a bias headline:

Roberts Dodges Specifics on Abortion

Oooh, that fiesty John Roberts; just like him and his conservative wacko friends to lie, cheat, steal and dodge their way into a position of power. Nevermind that the same sort of vague responses and outright refusals are an established precedent in the initiation of Supreme Court judges, as the AP article later notes (perhaps in an attempt to balance their ridiculous headlines, I mean really, who writes these things?):
Roberts struck sparks when he indicated his refusal to answer certain questions was based in part on a precedent of "no hints, no forecasts, no previews" that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg set at her hearings a dozen years ago.

Senator Biden rejected the idea, revealing his ignorance of the hearings and the precedent in question (big surprise), as evidenced when we examine Ginsburg's own words from her hearing, taken from Wikipedia:
"Were I to rehearse here what I would say and how I would reason on such questions, I would act injudiciously."

The wikipedia article notes that she did explain her understanding of the right to privacy, as Democrats such as Biden will remind you unceasingly, but so did Roberts:
"The right to privacy is protected under the Constitution in various ways," Roberts said at one point. Hours later, he said he agreed with a 38-year-old high court ruling in a case involving contraceptives for married couples, a decision often cited as the underpinning for abortion rights.

The only real indications we can draw from these hearings is that today's Democratic party, especially those on the fringe left, are exactly who they appear to be: out of touch with main stream America, cautiously anti-religion, and fatally enamored with a cult of unchecked sexual deviance and, consequentially, abortion. The AP story notes that the issue of Abortion was raised only seconds into the hearings, and continued to be the main topic of debate throughout the day. Is it any surprise? All too often, a giddy, left leaning MSM will run stories about the fragile makeup of today's conservative block, but perhaps they should examine a little closer to home. Without the buzz words and sloganeering of the ever-present abortion issue, the left would have no way of covering up how blatantly irrelevant it is to 21st century America. A conglomerate of aging hipsters, soho generation college students who don't want to pay for music, let alone pay the consequences of their relativistic moral postering and sexual promiscuity, University proffesors, and all manner of idealogues from across the spectrum, today's American left has nothing in common, save for its sadistic worship of self mutilation, and perhaps anti-Americanism, although even on the left there are some who recognize a war when they see one. Its no surprise the Democrats are so anxious to use the "a" word at the Roberts hearings. Everyone knows he is pro-life, and unless they try to scare up enough ad hoc support, Roberts will be confirmed. But the real punchline is that he will probably be confirmed anyway. Surprise! In addition to being an otherwise nice guy, with a sterling record and a brilliant career, the majority of Americans probably agree with Roberts. But that's not important to senators like Biden: Nevermind judicial philosophy, adherance to the constitution, or understanding the legal principles on which his confirmation, and the abortion issue, rest. And why? Because abortion is all he's got.

[Update:] 9/14

Man, I just keep having luck with these AP Headlines. I mean, imagine, a judge deciding cases based on the law! Well, I never heard such a thing! The Roberts hearings, on day two, took on a more subdued tone, as Democrats struggled to come to grips with their own irrelevance. At any rate, I am pleased by Roberts statements on the Kelo ruling and congress's ability to usurp it, and on his conservative, but not mindlessly antiquated, stance on the use of foreign law and precedent. As usual, Joe Biden is on the attack, which seems strange given Roberts' other statements. If he plans to make decisions based on legal precedent and statute, than his personal beliefs are irrelevant. In fact, the much vaunted right to provacy, on which the lefties base or justify almost everything, should entitle Roberts to be as conservative and religious and neighborly as he likes, as long as he will rule based on an understanding of the constitution. On a positive note, Senator Cornyn from texas said Roberts "may very well be the most qualified nominee ever appointed". At least some people recognize intellect and character. Or, in Biden's case, a lack of.

[Update:] 9/15

Well, Roberts has passed the guantlet of questioning, enquiring, and generally trying to smear his character based on trumped up civil rights charges and and conservative abortion stance. From the looks of it, he will easily be confirmed and we will be through (temporarily) of this constant deluge of past memos and personal convictions being aired as public gossip. I hope he does get the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade, or at least rule on it, and really justify his refusal to answer the continued quesitoning. Ted (hiccup) Kennedy tried his best to make Roberts uncomfortable by demanding he acquiesce to several specific points of Liberal orthodoxy on civil rights legislation, but none the less Roberts probably won't pass with the kind of mandate we saw in the last confirmation (96 to 3). Apparently, it's not enough to bend over backward for the most out of touch ideologues in the senate; one also needs to demonstrate ample ability to grovel in such a position.

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Quote of the Day 

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

     -Ecclesiastes 9:11

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Linguistics Joke 

I found this to be amusing:
A linguistics professor is giving a lecture. He explains that in English, prescriptive grammar dictates that a double negative creates a positive, for instance "I ain't got no money" would parse as "I have money." He then goes on to explain that in many languages, a double negative creates a more emphatic negative, for instance, in Russian "U menya nyet nichyevo" (literally, "By me is not had nothing") uses two negative phrases to create a stronger negative. Furthermore, the prof explains, in most languages, using two positives will create a more emphatic positive, or at the very least, will not change the meaning of a phrase, for instance "Yes, I have bananas" is fundamentally the same as "I have bananas." However, the proffessor concludes, in no language does a double positive create a negative.

A student, in the back of the class, muttering under his breath, was heard to utter "Yeah, right."

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Adam Smith, swingin' sixties, and the suffering poor 

Read this article on how Adam Smith nailed down what we've seen in the past few decades--how living without considered responsibility has hurt the poor more than any other class.

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Take a look at this poll 

The media is doing much worse than Bush in relation to Hurricane Katrina, despite what the media's been howling for the past few weeks. Sigh...seems like MSM is still at it....

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Galloway debates Hitchens 

tonight, and its being streamed online! A must listen for anyone who (1) supports the war, (2) hates Galloway even if they don't support the war, or (3) thinks Hitchens is way cool.

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Want to buy a load of poorly-crafted books? 

You can buy the complete Penguin Classics library from Amazon for a mere $7,989... However, if you're going to spend that much on books, wouldn't you want to buy well made books that are printed on paper that's better than Penguin's newspaper-like stuff?

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Senate Democrats don't show up today... 

...at the hearings to confirm Justice Roberts. I think this idea, to give them what they deserve, is a great one.

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Want to read funny jokes from Australia 

Than click this link and scroll down.  It’s worth the two minutes if you want some laughs.

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Driving yourself deaf? 

It’s quite possible, especially if you go to lots of concerts or clubs, or even worse, if you use a portable music player frequently.

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The MSM Strikes Back 

Sadly, the Empire, I mean MSM and its ability to slant any tragedy into a ‘loss’ for Bush is at it again with a vengeance.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Some rules on avoiding poverty 

From George Will:
three not-at-all recondite rules for avoiding poverty: Graduate from high school, don't have a baby until you are married, don't marry while you are a teenager. Among people who obey those rules, poverty is minimal.

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Witness the emasculation of national sovereignty 

I’m glad the US saw the International Criminal Court for what it is—a means for the opponents of a nation and its policies to undermine that nation’s right and responsibility to maintain its borders and its internal and external security.  When nations start sending generals to the dock for making justifiable tactical decisions in war—war is war, it is not politically correct—as some British prosecutors want to do to visiting Israeli generals, how is a military to operate effectively when its commanders must constantly fear being molested by legions of lawyers?  It can’t, and thus that nation’s security is compromised.  And since domestic and international security of today and the last several hundred years is founded on the rock of national sovereignty, this can only be the first step down a road to anarchy and the destruction of good societies that are mislead into thinking that emasculating themselves—and thus leaving themselves open to being taken advantage of by less good and downright evil regimes—is a good thing.

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The Horror, the horror... 

Here’s a sensible article on why Bush probably won’t be hurt in the long-term for the rest of his presidency by the accusations flying around pundit-land concerning who’s to blame for the destruction and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Rising Sea Levels this Century 

are a reality we will have to deal with, regardless of opinions on global warming (rising sea levels have occured without man many, many times in the past). Here's some interesting thoughts from Chat Clussman you should check out.

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On Iraq, Short Memories 

A great summary on how the history of the leadup to the Iraq war is being rewritten by those too weak to put some resolve behind what they so long argued. The article says that most people in the political classes, including the Clinton administration, favored war to remove Saddam. But now, they seem to be recalling their past opinions a bit differently.

This article is also great because it quotes Pericles' Funeral Oration from Thucydides:
I am the same man and do not alter, it is you who change, since in fact you took my advice while unhurt, and waited for misfortune to repent of it.

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This song encapsulates... 

...the reaction to 9.11 for me better than anything else, especially the verses in which different reactions to the attack are described. I felt an aweful lot of them for a long time after the attack.

I may lose something because it's not being performed by the Alan Jackson (who also wrote the song within two weeks of the attack and performed it for the first time at the CMA awards a few days after he wrote it), but I think I'll just post these lyrics and let them speak for themselves, even though it is past the end of the anniversary:
Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

And, as an aside, I thought I'd mention that every time I here this song by Toby Keith, another good response from Country Music to the war, I think of Saddam's son's getting their just deserts from our soldiers.

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9.11 Remembered 

Here's the WaPo editorial from 9.11 titled "War". It was, and still is war. Let no one forget that. Just rereading that editorial makes Iraq look like no problem that we can't handle. It's all just a matter of our willingness to do what is necessary.

UPDATE: Here's some thoughts on how we're generally winning the war abroad but losing the opinion war at home.

And here's a consideration of the big question. Why haven't we been attacked again in 4 years, a possibility that was considered dreamlike 4 years ago.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Majority wants New Orleans Abandoned... 

...and rebuilt on higher ground. I'm surprised that I'm with the majority opinion on this one. I figured most people would want to rebuilt without thinking that another storm could come by do the same thing in 5 years and flush a hundred billion dollars down the drain.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hypocrisy can be so funny sometimes... 

Here's a good example involving the current confirmation process for the SCOTUS vacancies.

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Cold but effective 

Here's how Magic Markers can convince people to save their own lives in the event of an impending disaster.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Roberts nominated for Chief Justice 

Bush didn't waste any time. Who will be the other justice? Let the games begin. (Analysis forthcoming)

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Econ 101 

Here’s a nice lesson on supply and demand, and particularly why price caps on gasoline will result in shortages.

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Local Officals in LA to blame 

I love reading all of the articles in the paper this morning blaming the federal government, the President, and the nation for screwing New Orleans, well, I mean the poor in New Orleans.  However, I imagine when all is said and done, unless the President and most common-sensical people lose the PR war, it will come out that who’s really to blame for all of this is the local officials in LA and N.O (read that whole post, it’s great—here’s the key phrase: ‘"incompetent bureaucracy drag race" to the bottom.’).  Like I said before, the political corruption in LA has come home to roost in a big, tragic way.

UPDATE: Mr. Reynolds has hammered this point home along with blaming MSM for crying wolf too much, but I think it’s worth linking to.  However, hearing MSM enough that one was lured into making a very STUPID mistake and stay in New Orleans does not mean the federal government is to blame.

And, I can’t believe I missed this little gem that explains it all: Klingons have invaded the French Quarter!

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William Rehnquist, R.I.P. 

Chief Justice Rehnquist has died.  This is a loss to the nation.  

Well, to most of the nation.  To the cable news networks this is a boon—between the hurricane, Roberts’ confirmation hearings beginning soon, and now speculation on who the next SCOTUS nominee will be they’ve got enough gripping stuff to fill 18 hours a day.  Probably cracking the bubbly over the likely rise in advertising revenues this new story will bring right now.

UPDATE: I’ve been scooped by my partner.

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Chief Justice Rehnquist 

has died. If you thought hurricane Katrina was bad, watch out, because here comes a real storm. For now, we should add his name to the list of the many we are already praying for. His legacy, which will be talked about for some time, includes the impeachment trial of President Clinton, the 2000 election decision, and more. The AP writes:
For years he was known as the "Lone Ranger" for his many dissents on a then-liberal court that left him ideologically isolated on the far right. Succeeding appointments of conservative justices and Rehnquist's elevation by President Reagan to the federal judiciary's top job in 1986 transformed his role into one of leading and nurturing an increasingly conservative Supreme Court.

Rehnquist was the force behind the court's push for greater states' rights. The chief justice has been the leader of five conservatives, sometimes called "the Rehnquist five," who generally advocate limited federal government interference.

With his death, we suddenly have more answers than questions. We can only guess at who will replace him, how bloody and brutal a fight it will be, or at the ideology that will follow from the court; but let's hope that the ideals of limited government and conservative philosophy on the bench do not die with him. RIP.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Apocalypse; Poor and minorities worst hit [Updated!] 

Jason joked about it but check out the two below the fold headlines today in the Washington Post (free regisration required) :

The Racial Dimension
'To Me, It Just Seems Like Black People Are Marked'


Government's Role
Planning, Response Are Faulted

There you have it: it's all Bush's fault, and he caused he worst destruction on his favorite victims: minorities. Sigh

Meanwhile, as Jason also noted it looks like Bush is getting into his kick ass and take names mode: He arrived in Mobile and is headed to New Orleans later today. He has stepped up the level of his speeches, following what was a ho-hum address two days ago, and it looks like he is serious about getting things done. Maybe some of his critics will get the message, and stop with the pathetic partisan exploitation of this tragedy so that people can actually be helped.

[Update:] In other news, the meteorology inclined reader and myself seem to have reached a consesus of sorts about the cyclical nature of Hurricane frequency. Read the comments, and definately check out the cool linked data. Really informative.

[Another Update:] Since I have found the best way to refute and enrage angry liberals is to use their own words against them, please visit the blog of one Lazerlou, who frequents the comment section of our posts with some regularity, and get a feel for how the KOS-acks and others on the far left are handling another of Bush's evil plots for world oil domination. A sample of his "brilliance" can be seen on this post, to which I was forced to respond, as it questioned not only the comparative worth of my written offering, but the depth of my cognative abilities and the testicular fortitude of all on this blog. I encourage you all to thoughtfully refute the communist sloganeering, if you have the time and the stomach.

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Bush the Leader is back 

Just on live TV: The scrunched brows and the jaw grind are back.  Bush seems like he did after 9/11.  He seems pissed and determined to fix the situation down south.  He discussed that he had just received a briefing from the principals.  Clearly now that he’s been informed on the latest situation, he’s got enough information to begin making judgments and decisions on the future of this operation.  I don’t criticize him for taking time to do this since he doesn’t micromanage things all the time, so he has to get up to speed on things when he does want to take command.  And take command he clearly is doing.  He called the situation “unacceptable”.  Then he ground his jaw.  His determination is what I want to see.  It’d good to see a leader that has an opinion and is determined to do things.  In situations like this, we want a strong leader to follow.  And it seems that when push comes to shove, Bush is transformed into that leader by an inner desire to do good.

As an aside, calling it unacceptable is a good political move since he instantly empathizes with everyone suffering down there with that word.  However, I think what he said is more than that.  He looked determined, and he’s almost certainly determined.  I bet things will improve quite quickly now.

UPDATE: There are some Fox pundits saying that the “unacceptable” phrase shows that Bush is clearly unhappy with Chertoff’s handeling of the federal response.  That seems like a fair assessment.  However, the Homeland Sec was standing next to Bush when he said that, so he must not be too pissed at him.  I guess we’ll see what Bush’s new determination will do to improve the response.

Bush’ll be in the devastated region today.  Maybe there’ll be another moment like when he stood on the rubble and addressed the firefighters.  That would be good for moral for everyone.  Here’s hoping.

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Fed gets in on aid 

The Fed urges banks to help people cope with this disaster.  Bully.

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Massive US Oil Reserves 

Glenn Reynolds passes on some good news: The US has more shale oil reserves than all of the oil in Saudi Arabia.  Now that oil is much more expensive than it has been in the past, it may be economical to extract this stuff.  So, we won’t be running out of oil.  Cheap oil, probably.  But oil in general, not for a long time.

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Clinton Defends Federal Response to Katrina 

It's nice to see Bill doing this and taking CNN to task for nitpicking the federal response.. While I disagree with a lot of what he did, he's clearly a wise enough man to empathize with the extreme challenge that a President and his cabinet face in dealing with a large crisis. My respect for him goes up for a bit. It's kind of interesting that Bill seems to have done better in my opinion as an ex-President than as a President. I guess that's not all bad, since he's got (hopefully) many more years to go as an ex-President.

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International Aid flooding in 

From the Fox News broadcast this morning:

Israel says it'll offer whatever we want--field hospitals, doctors, money. All they need is twenty four hours to get their assets here.

Australia has donated 10 million dollars.

As I said earlier, France has offered assistance if we want to accept it.

I'm sure there is a lot more coming than this. It's nice to see the world come together in the face of such an emergency. We really don't have as many differences among developed countries than we think. It's nice to see our common compasion and humanity shining through the politics.

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Blogging from Word 

Hmmm… I’m trying out this blogging from Microsoft Word.  It seems to work pretty well.  Too bad I didn’t notice this before, because writing something in Word is much more productive than the Java applet that I’ve been using.

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Cohen's Law 

Those with a libertarian bent and a loathing of big government should remember, at the time of this great crisis in New Orleans and rest of the Gulf Coast, the sensible refrain of 'Cohen's Law': "Government is the enemy until you need a friend."

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Help from the private sector... 

...for Hurrican Katrina is coming, even in little ways. I just saw the History Channel running a little ticker at the bottom of the screen exhorting viewers to donate to Katrina relief funds at the Red Cross and other charities. Finally some good news. Cool=)

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Intelligent design theory + postmodernism = pure science fiction 

Here's a snippet of the conclusion from an article on the similarities between current I.D. 'theories' and postmodernism:
Like all conservatives, of course, the IDers claim to decry relativism and to embrace absolutes. But for them, the claim is logically incoherent in a way it wasn't when it came from their creationist predecessors.

When a proposition is empirically false, as both creationism and ID (to the extent that it makes empirical claims) are, you're free to assert its truth; you just can't call it science.

The creationists had no problem with this; they just rejected any science that contradicted the Bible.

But the IDers aspire to scientific truth. Unfortunately, the only way to claim that something empirically false is scientifically true is to question science's capacity for sorting out truth from falsehood, the same way postmodernists do.

Conservatives were quick to point out the danger of this view in the 1980s and 90s. They argued that a science that rejected the idea of truth was vulnerable to the most inane forms of intellectual hucksterism. And they were right. It's not hard to imagine scams such as cold fusion or the Scientologist critique of psychiatric drugs gaining ground in a world where science's ability to identify knowledge has been undermined. (Among other monuments to postmodern thought was the idea that E=mc2 might be a "sexed equation" that "privileges the speed of light over other speeds", as Belgian-French theorist Luce Irigaray once asserted.)

Americans don't like thinking of themselves as backward. As a result, the risk from science-rejecting creationists hasn't been particularly acute in recent decades. But most people don't have very strong views on the philosophy of science. If, unlike the postmodern Left, the ID movement can enlist mainstream conservatives in questioning science's capacity to produce objective truth, then it's by no means clear the effort won't succeed.

In that case, it will end up threatening a whole lot more than just evolution.
If you're interested in the history of ideas, the Enlightenment, and such, reading the whole thing wouldn't be a bad idea.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina Conspiracy Theories etc. [Updated] 

In the midst of this true human tragedy, I have to say I am disgusted and enraged by the pseudo science and conspiracy theories being peddled by those who would seek to politicize even the most heart wrenching of events. We are being told that global warming is to blame for the hurricane, and that the war in Iraq has caused the deaths by taking away needed National Guard Troops. This is sickening. As I said earlier, I can't imagine what sort of narcissistic worldview is required to believe that we, man, can even begin to control the awesome forces of nature. The overall number of Tropical Cyclones has been declining since 1995, and hurricans in general had continued to decline before that, during the so called "warming."

Ah, and the conspiracy has at last blossomed into a full blown nonsense. In addition to the global warming claims, some are now comparing the attacks with 9/11, and not in terms of damage:

The connection between global warming and Katrina may be tenuous, but it is certainly much firmer than that between Iraq and 9-11.

We have dealt with this before, but the shear insanity of making such politically motivated, nonsense statements at a time when we should be concentrating on helping those in need, spurs me to act by refuting this drivel once and for all. Funding Suicide bombers and providing checks to their families, meeting with and harboring high level al Qaeda figures, according to a 1998 Justice department memo:
"Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."

And again from the 9/11 commission (Both links here):

" A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Laden in 1994. (Statement # 15). "

And having Iraqi Nationals indicated in the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing and 9/11 (Here's he link)

These don't seem like connections to Al Qaeda, terrorism or 9/11, do they?

And here's the punchline: we never went into Iraq, nor deposed Saddam, on claims of connections to 9/11 anyway. We did because not to do so would have been a moral injustice, and a security mistake so glaring and so potentially dangerous that the consequences dwarf 9/11 by far.
If you plan to come onto this blog and make comments, which are encouraged, be ready for the crushing power of truth and logic to decimate any liberal swank and lies you should feel the need to post. Again, as Jason said, we should all pray for the victims of this disaster and do what we can to help them, and our country, right itself from this mess; not float wacko conspiracy theories and play the blame game with something we cannot pretend to control or even fully understand.
Stay tuned.

[Update:] Check the comments for further discussion, based on accurate hurricane data

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A Great Column 

Check out this by Mr. Nordlinger. It shines.

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Best way to stop rioting 

Meet the first signs of lawlessness with arrests and a clear showing that deadly force will be used if necessary. Problem solved. Too bad we seem to frequently forget this in our country.

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Hurricane Link Roundup 

Here's some news to bolster growing depression: the world is a dangerous place and their are snipers shooting hospitals in N.O. It's shades of the end of civilization.

Here's an an overhead photo of the flooding in N.O. Here's more photos of the area.

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Hurricane Updates 

Here's a description of the current state of things in New Orleans by someone who's been there for several days. Pretty bleak...

Good news though (and without snarkiness): France is offering assistance. Vive la France.

All of this teaches us that a good cash of supplies and a firearm are good things to keep handy to avoid being at the mercy of the elements. Of course, most people in New Orleans who would have had the ability and foresight to set themselves up in this way probably left town when they were ordered too.

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Hurricane Overload 

I'm finding I can't watch news on the Hurricane any more. There's just too much unhelped suffering. As far as the amount of human suffering goes, this is definately worse than 9/11. I suppose our government leaders will figure that out in the next day or so, but so far the response hasn't been on scale with the event.

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Disgusting (and not the first time) 

Planned Parenthood has reached a new low, offering free emergency contraception to displaced victims of the Hurricane:
"Did you escape the hurricane without your birth control?" asks Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas.

"As a courtesy to women fleeing Hurricane Katrina, we will offer one free cycle (one month) of birth control or one free Emergency Contraception kit to women" who come to a Houston-area Planned Parenthood clinic and produce a valid Louisiana or Mississippi driver's license.

What???? And its not just as if they are offering a free extension of subscription birth control. While objectionable to many still, it would at least be an extension of some sort of medicinal assistance. Instead, they are actually offering free emergency contraception, as if the hurricane will have caused widespread power outages, flooding, property damaged, and untold instantaneous conception. This makes me sick, so much so that I think PP needs to re-evaluate what sort of orginization they actually claim to be. Any group with the word Parenthood in the name ought to be supporting parents affected by this event, by providing infant support supplies, support for needy and suddenly homeless families, and helping to teach parents to cope with such disasters and, for those not directly affected, how to talk to their children about what happened in New Orleans. How pathetic must be the state of affairs on the left, especially among the pro-choice movement, that they have to hijack national tragedies in order to push their message. This angry, partisan group has found yet another opportunity to exploit human tragedy for subtle, hedged gains. And its not the first time:
Planned Parenthood of New York City offered women free abortions and other related services as a response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The goal of the offer, good for 12 days in September, was "to reach out to women who have been displaced and ease their fears," the group said in a press release.

"Everyone wants to do something," spokesperson Ali Bartolone said in the statement. "This is our response; this is our way of helping women in need."

Maybe it's time for Planned Parenthood to change its name.

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Despair in the SuperDome 

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