Saturday, October 01, 2005

Should Louisiana get $250 billion?

CNBC TV ran a poll, asking The Louisiana congressional delegation requested $250 billion from the federal government to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The request would be on top of the more than $62 billion the government has already approved for reconstruction after the storms. Do you think Louisiana should receive the money it asks for?

The results were 94% said no. The next question is, how many of the remaining 6% don't live in Louisiana?

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Delay Defended

David Frum wrote on National Review Online With due respect to the always cogent editors of NR, the pithiest defense of Tom DeLay comes - from of all unlikely people - Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. Dionne this morning puts his finger on the central and hopeless flaw in the case against DeLay: "The corporations that forked over the cash to DeLay's PAC did so not because their hearts were filled with affection for those particular Texas legislative candidates but because they recognized DeLay's power over federal legislation." (emphasis added.)

Good point
Texas law forbids corporations to give money to state candidates. The case against DeLay charges that he conspired with corporations to help them circumvent this law by routing the money through political action committees he controlled. But as Dionne acknowledges, the corporations in question did not care about Texas politics. They wanted to give to DeLay's political action committees, which was perfectly legal. It was DeLay who wanted to support the Texas candidates - which was also perfectly legal. The only way you can link these two legal transactions into one illegal transaction is by claiming that the corporations wanted to break the law. Dionne - his reporter's instincts trumping his partisan zeal - admits that of course the corporations had no such desire, and so there was no crime.
That is the problem with all campaign finance reforms. People read the law carefully, discover a loophole, and then take advantage of it.
To put this into simpler terms. Suppose a corporation hired Dionne to give a speech at their next annual meeting. Dionne then turns around and gives his fee to Democratic candidates for the Texas legislature. Has any law been broken? Obviously not. The corporation does not intend to help Texas candidates: It does so only inadvertently and indirectly, as a consequence of Dionne's decisions.

But as Dionne goes on to explain there is one big difference between my hypothetical and the actual case of Tom DeLay: "DeLay insists he did nothing illegal, but even if he wins the case, the core facts speak to the hubris of the new machine politics. Drawing congressional district lines for political purposes is an old story, but DeLay went a step further. He got the Texas Legislature to toss out a congressional map that had been drawn only two years earlier, an unprecedented act of political gamesmanship."
Actually I believe that the map drawn two years earlier was not drawn by the legislature, but by the courts, and I don't recall exactly why the legislature was unable to do it (as the Constitution requires)
DeLay's real crime is to have redesigned Texas congressional districting to beat Democrats. That's his unpardonable offense in the eyes of his accusers. On that count, he is of course guilty as charged - only it so happens that beating Democrats is not a crime in this country. Not yet anyway.
The Dems are working on that

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EU Wants Shared Control of Internet

Yahoo! News reported The
European Union insisted Friday that governments and the private sector must share the responsibility of overseeing the Internet, setting the stage for a showdown with the United States on the future of Internet governance.


Certainly sharing it with the EU is better than turning it over to the UN (as I said earlier, but I thought each country already did the domain registration in their country. Here is a list of domain registrars in other countries.

Drew McKissick blogged While I'll admit there's a lot of stiff competition, the notion that the UN should take over management of the Internet takes the cake. Imagine turning over something like the net to the folks who've brought us that model of efficiency and virtue known as the United Nations. No need to worry about THEM screwing up something that can and is transforming the world for the better. Not to mention the fact that the US created the Internet...provided the initial funding for it, etc., etc.. But hey, we did the same thing with the Panama Canal, right?

BusinessWeek reported A senior U.S. official rejected calls on Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium's principal overseer.

We built it, we control it. If the UN wants to develop some new technology, it can control it.
"We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet," said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable."

Many countries, particularly developing ones, have become increasingly concerned about the U.S. control, which stems from the country's role in creating the Internet as a Pentagon project and funding much of its early development..... A stalemate over who should serve as the principal traffic cops for Internet routing and addressing could derail the summit, which aims to ensure a fair sharing of the Internet for the benefit of the whole world.

Some countries have been frustrated that the United States and European countries that got on the Internet first gobbled up most of the available addresses required for computers to connect, leaving developing nations with a limited supply to share.
If they are just worried about running out of IP addresses, Internet 2 will take care of that

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Bali Bombings Leave 22 Dead, 50 Injured

Yahoo! News reported At least two bombs exploded almost simultaneously Saturday in tourist areas of the Indonesian resort island of Bali, killing at least 22 people and wounding about 50 others, officials said.

It looks like the al-Qaida-linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, nearly three years to the day after the bombings in Kuta that killed 202 people, mostly foreigners, and subsequent deadly bombings in 2003 and 2004, have done it again. All of these Islamic terrorist groups need to be dealt with.
The blasts came a month after Indonesia's president warned of possible terrorist attacks. The wounded included at least two Americans. The blasts at two packed seafood restaurants in Jimbaran beach and a bustling outdoor shopping center in downtown Kuta were the work of terrorists, Indonesian President Suslio Bambang Yudhoyono said. He also warned that more attacks were possible.

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Bennett under fire for remarks

CNN Congressional Democrats blasted former Education Secretary William Bennett on Thursday for saying that aborting "every black baby in this country" would reduce the crime rate, and demanded their Republican counterparts do the same....

A lot of crime (both black on black, and black on white) is committed by blacks so the statement is certainly true. It is insensitive, but since the very next thing he said was that he found doing it morally reprehensible I think those that jumped on him are being unfair.

In this extreme environment the Dems have created, now they not only will jump on someone for proposing something, but also for one sentence in a thought that says it is a bad idea.

The question he was responding to, was if all of the black babies that had been aborted had not been, would Social Security been in better shape. I am not sure whether his response, which was no, is correct. Certainly if all of the black AND white babies that have been aborted since Roe v Wade had not been, Social Security would be in a lot better shape, since there would be more workers contributing to support those retired. It still would have gone bankrupt; the Ponzi Scheme still would eventually have collapsed, but the date the bankrupcy date would be further in the future.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters on Friday that President Bush "believes the comments were not appropriate." .... Bennett stood by his comments Thursday night. "I was putting forward a hypothetical proposition. Put that forward. Examined it. And then said about it that it's morally reprehensible. To recommend abortion of an entire group of people in order to lower your crime rate is morally reprehensible. But this is what happens when you argue that the ends can justify the means," he told CNN. "I'm not racist, and I'll put my record up against theirs," referring to Pelosi and other critics. "I've been a champion of the real civil rights issue of our times -- equal educational opportunities for kids." "We've got to have candor and talk about these things while we reject wild hypotheses," Bennett said. "I don't think people have the right to be angry, if they look at the whole thing. But if they get a selective part of my comment, I can see why they would be angry. If somebody thought I was advocating that, they ought to be angry. I would be angry." "But that's not what I advocate."

OTB blogged Even aside from the genocide issue, that blacks (or the young, or the poor, or white males, for that matter) commit crimes at a statistically significant higher rate than the population as a whole is incontrovertible.

echidne blogged Quite a few people are discussing Bennett's statement out of context but even within context it's fairly bad. He picks African-Americans as the group to use in his stupid example, and that is racist. Because if he had really wanted to make the point by picking a group with very high crime rates he should have suggested aborting all male fetuses. And don't you now go saying that I have advocated that, because I didn't. I just pointed out how one can see that Bennett uses an "out-group" for his example, and by doing that he others the members of that group.

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Saturday, October 1

This Day In History

  • 1800   Spain ceded Louisiana to France in a secret treaty.
  • 1880   A new director of the United States Marine Corps Band was named. John Philip Sousa became the band’s 17th leader. In 1888 he composed "Semper Fidelis", traditionally known as the official march of the Marine Corps.
  • 1896   The U.S. Post Office established Rural Free Delivery, with the first routes in West Virginia.
  • 1903   The visiting Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Boston Pilgrims 7-3 in the first World Series game.
  • 1908   Henry Ford introduced the Model T automobile to the market; each car cost $825.
  • 1936   General Francisco Franco was proclaimed the head of an insurgent Spanish state.
  • 1949   Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong raised the first flag of the People's Republic of China during a ceremony in Beijing.
  • 1962   Johnny Carson succeeded Jack Paar as regular host of NBC's ''Tonight'' show.
  • 1964   The Free Speech Movement was launched at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • 1971   Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Fla.
  • 1986   Former President Jimmy Carter's presidential library and museum were dedicated in Atlanta.
  • 1989   Thousands of East Germans received a triumphal welcome after the communist government agreed to let them flee to West Germany.
  • 1991   President George H.W. Bush condemned the military coup in Haiti, suspended economic and military aid and demanded the immediate return to power of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
  • 1993   Twelve-year-old Polly Klaas was abducted from her Petaluma, Calif., home by a knife-wielding intruder; her body was found more than two months later.
  • 1994   National Hockey League team owners began a 103-day lockout of their players.
  • 1996   A federal grand jury indicted Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski in the 1994 mail bomb slaying of an ad executive.
  • 2001   The Supreme Court suspended former President Bill Clinton from practicing before the high court.
  • 2001   A Pakistan-based militant group attacked the state legislature in Indian-ruled Kashmir, killing 38 people.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1903   Vladimir Horowitz (concert pianist: New York Philharmonic Orchestra; TV: Vladimir Horowitz at Carnegie Hall [1965]; died Nov 5, 1989)
  • 1920   Walter Matthau (Academy Award-winning actor; The Odd Couple)
  • 1924   Jimmy Carter (39th U.S. President [1977-1981]; married to Rosalynn Smith [three sons, one daughter]; full name: James Earl Carter)
  • 1924   William Rehnquist (U.S. Supreme Court Justice [sworn in Jan 7, 1972], Chief Justice of U.S. Supreme Court [Sep 26, 1986-present])
  • 1927   Tom Bosley (actor: Happy Days)
  • 1928   George Peppard (actor: The A-Team, Banacek)
  • 1935   Julie Andrews (Julia Wells) (Academy Award-winning actress: Mary Poppins [1964]; The Sound of Music, Victor/Victoria, 10, Hawaii; Emmy Award-winner: Victoria Regina: Hallmark Hall of Fame [1961-62]; My Fair Lady, The Boyfriend)

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Nats' Church Apologizes for Remarks About Jews

WaPo reported The Washington Nationals suspended a volunteer chaplain and distributed an apology from outfielder Ryan Church yesterday, two days after Church was quoted in a front-page Post article as suggesting that Jews are headed for eternal damnation. Tony Tavares, the team's president, issued a statement saying the quotations in the article "do not, in any manner, reflect the views or opinions of the Washington Nationals franchise." Tavares acted following complaints from Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, leader of an Orthodox Jewish congregation in Washington, who said it appeared that "the locker room of the Nationals is being used to preach hatred" and urged the club to distance itself from Church's remarks.

How did he preach hatred? He was asked a question, about a major tenent of his faith, and he nodded yes. This is carrying political correctness to an extreme.
Tavares said he was conducting an investigation that might lead to the permanent removal of chaplain Jon Moeller, an FBI agent who volunteers for Baseball Chapel, the Pennsylvania-based evangelical Christian group that provides unpaid ministers for many major and minor league teams. "I don't dispute his right to teach his Christian beliefs. It's just the way this was done, turning this into some public pulpit . . . that's what troubles me," Tavares said.
Where was the public pulpit. He was asked a question in private, and nodded his head. Is that the same as yelling something from a public pulpit?
An article in Sunday's paper about Baseball Chapel quoted Church as saying that he had turned to Moeller for advice about his former girlfriend, who was Jewish. "I said, like, Jewish people, they don't believe in Jesus. Does that mean they're doomed? Jon nodded, like, that's what it meant. My ex-girlfriend! I was like, man, if they only knew. Other religions don't know any better. It's up to us to spread the word," Church said.

In a written statement yesterday distributed by the team, Church said: "Those who know me on a personal level understand that I am not the type of person who would call into question the religious beliefs of others. I sincerely regret if the quote attributed to me in Sunday's Washington Post article offended anyone." A spokeswoman for the team, Chartese Burnett, said Church would not have any additional comment.

Moeller did not respond to e-mails and telephone calls, and neither did officials of Baseball Chapel. But some evangelical Christian leaders defended Moeller, saying he had simply reiterated the traditional Christian doctrine that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

"Just how many ways can you interpret the words of Jesus in John 14:5-6, 'I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me,' " said the Rev. Richard Land, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. "The worst this chaplain could be convicted of is ascribing to orthodox Christian historic faith, which is what I would think you would want from a Christian chaplain."

The Rev. Christopher M. Leighton, a Presbyterian minister who is executive director of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore, said that while the "dominant tradition" in Christianity has emphasized the exclusivity of salvation, Roman Catholics and many Protestant denominations have moved toward the view that God has a "continuing covenant" with the Jews.

"It's a real shame that this challenge had to be mounted by a rabbi. This is the work that really belonged to other Christians, to say this is an unacceptable understanding of our faith," he said.

Tavares said that the choice of chaplain was made by the players, and that the Nationals would be glad to make similar provisions for Catholics, Jews, Muslims and others who work for the club.

"But one of the cautions I intend to give anyone who comes in here is, these are private services and should be kept private," he said. "I'm not trying to change anyone's religion or beliefs. I just cannot provide a public pulpit."


The American Family Association is circulating a petition to Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball saying I urge professional baseball to support freedom of thought and religion and the right for two individuals to discuss religion if they choose as individuals to do so. . Click here to sign the petition.

For another stupid example:


WaPo reported A leading Jewish organization is condemning the Southern Baptist Convention for using a group of "messianic" Jews _ people who have already converted to Christianity _ in its evangelism. Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman said the effort is offensive because the Southern Baptists are using Jews who have converted to Christianity "to go after other Jews." "If people convert, that's their individual business," Foxman said. "But don't use them as a tool to convert other people." At the heart of the ADL's complaint is a decision by the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee to ask its missionary boards to study the idea of recognizing the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship as "an evangelistic mission to Jewish people."
That is reasonable. They must have read Romans 1:16 which says: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."
The fellowship is made up of about a dozen congregations in the United States. Its Web site says its mission is "to encourage Jewish believers that their ethnic and historical heritage need NOT be lost upon their commitment to Yeshua (Jesus)".... As recently as 2003, Jewish leaders criticized a Southern Baptist seminary president for saying Christians have a mandate to evangelize Jews just as a surgeon has a responsibility to tell a patient about the presence of a "deadly tumor."

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Cord-blood stem cell breakthrough

BatesLine blogged There's news of a woman, 19 years a paraplegic, who has regained some feeling and movement in her legs following infusion of stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

Mister Snitch writes: "If this, again, is valid, it probably also marks the beginning of the end of principled resistance against stem cell research in this country. The political tide will quickly swing overwhelmingly in favor of more research, and quickly."

I am not aware of any opposition to any form of stem cell research.

I believe he means to any thing except embryonic stem cell research.
The principled resistance is to embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Extracting stem cells from an embryo results in the end of that human life; extracting stem cells from cord blood, bone marrow, fat cells, or mucous membranes -- "adult" stem cells -- does not destroy the living human being from whom the cells are taken.

Adult stem cell research has produced real therapeutic benefits, but for some reason it is overlooked by celebrity proponents of embryonic stem cell research. Perhaps it's because it undermines the argument that ESCR is essential. Some ESCR supporters seem desperate to find some positive benefit that can justify the destruction of human life, but so far, all the results have come from non-controversial adult stem cell research.
The reason that only embryonic stem cell research gets publicity is because the MSM is in the pocket of the Democratic Party, that views acceptance of destroying embryos to help adults will make it easier for them to keep killing babies in abortions.
It reminds me of the lifeboat scenario used to teach "values clarification": There are too many people in a lifeboat, so you have to decide whose life is worth saving and whose should be sacrificed. Ideally, you figure a way so everyone can be saved and no one has to be thrown overboard. That's what adult stem cell research offers.

If there is any political tide resulting from this development, it ought to sweep away federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and deposit those dollars with researchers who are achieving cures using stem cells from cord blood and other sources that respect the sanctity of human life.


The Anchoress blogged Doug rightly points out that, were this account refering to EMBRYONIC stem cells, there would have been a great deal of coverage. I believe he is correct. I have noticed that only the embryonic stem cells excite the press, and that the current US policy about stem cell research - which is that we favor and support research on adult stem cells, but will not federally fund research using new lines of embryonic stem cells - is routinely misreported as “Bush is against stem cell research and science.”

There is another story out there - I cannot find it on google and forgot to save it to my hard drive - about two seperate women who suffered spinal cord injuries in accidents and who were now walking (with canes) after being treated with stem cells from their nasal cavities. I’ve got to look for that piece.


Doug blogged Remember the ad showing a walking Christopher Reeve? Remember John Edwards saying that someday folks in wheelchairs would be able to get up and walk? Both were extolling the virtues of embryonic stem cell research. Turns out that adult stem cell research, which doesn't require the destruction of embryos and has none of the ethical issues, is on its way to fulfilling that promise. The article notes that this is still very preliminary ("one patient does not a treatment make" cautions a bioethicist), but this is very exciting.

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A prophecy fulfilled

Cal Thomas wrote in JWR It took just 12 days from completion of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza before rockets started raining down on the Western Negev area from the now-unoccupied territory. The attacks late Friday might have occurred sooner had the terrorists not been preoccupied with torching synagogues and destroying flower-growing operations in Gaza that could have been used to produce income for Palestinian residents. Sadly, their hatred of all things Jewish prompted them to act against their self-interest. (Late Sunday night, following crushing retaliatory attacks by Israel and threats from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of an even more massive response, Hamas announced that it was halting all attacks from the Gaza Strip. For now, perhaps, but given its history, one can safely bet, not for good.)

A Reuters story about the Israeli attacks on Saturday said, "The upsurge in violence was a blow to international hopes that the pullout could revive peacemaking."

What did Reuters say about the attacks for which the Israeli attacks were a response?

Palestine can have peace. They just need to learn to live in peace with their neighbor. And if they show that they cant learn that, then
  1. They dont deserve a state of their own, and
  2. Israel must respond to each attach with such a furious response that at least they may learn it is not nice to attack Israel
The concept of international "hopes" is founded on the false premise that peace is dependent only on Israel's behavior. Every time Israel offers concessions, withdrawals, confidence-building measures and other "good faith" gestures, the response is more terror, more death and no peace. Will there ever come a time when the United States and the international community concludes that forcing Israel into making unilateral concessions is not a prescription for peace, but a guarantee of more war?

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The United Nations wants the Internet

Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky & Joseph Barillari wrote in National Review In my opinion, freedom of speech seems to be a politically sensitive issue.

Perhaps in China, where the government wants to control what the people learn and think.
A lot of policy matters are behind it." So observed Houlin Zhao, the man who wants to control the greatest forum for free expression in history. Zhao, a director of the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and a former senior Chinese-government official, is a leader in the United Nations's effort to supplant the United States government in the supervision of the Internet. At a series of conferences called the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held under the aegis of the ITU, and set to culminate in Tunis this November, the U.N. has floated a series of proposals for doing exactly that.
We need to make certain they are not successful.
The U.N.'s professed goals, which include expanding Internet access in developing countries and fighting spam, are laudable. However, the substance of its proposals — shifting Internet governance from the U.S. to a U.N. body — would produce an Internet in which regulations smother free speech, strangle net-driven economic growth, and threaten America's online security. A typical U.N. enterprise, in other words.

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Is Hillary Clinton the next Geena Davis?

John Fund wrote in OpinionJournal When Margaret Thatcher led Britain in the 1980s, there was much speculation about women finally breaking the glass ceiling of America's governing class. There was also much horror, in certain circles, that they might share Mrs. Thatcher's politics. It would have made an interesting TV show, a Thatcher-like figure putting some spine into her male subordinates, telling them not to go wobbly and otherwise keeping standards up.

No such luck. A few years later we got "The West Wing" instead.

And now we have "Commander in Chief", whose primary job is to convince people that Hillary can become president.
But the glass-ceiling speculation has not gone away. Indeed, it is more intense than ever. Political pundits speculate endlessly, for instance, about a possible Hillary-Condi match-up in 2008. Thus the mood was positively giddy at last week's parties celebrating "Commander in Chief," ABC's new series about a female president who assumes office after the incumbent dies. The series pits Academy Award-winner Geena Davis against the patriarchal world of national politics until her "You Go, Girl!" attitude puts to rest the doubts of her many detractors. The creator of "Commander in Chief," Rod Lurie, is apparently trying to broaden the show's appeal by promising that he won't be using it as a soapbox for his admittedly liberal views.
And any one that believes that, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you.
He is quick to note that Ms. Davis isn't playing a Democrat. Instead she is an independent who landed on a Republican ticket in order to offset a conservative candidate's low approval rating among women.

Mr. Lurie insists that red-state viewers need not shun the show.
He hopes they won't, because his show will flop without them, and it is them that he hopes to convince to give Hillary the presidency
He admits that he "can't write to a belief system that I can't swallow myself," but he says that he has hired some conservative writers to make up for his deficit. Not that a balanced approach was evident at last week's series-celebrating parties, in Washington and New York, hosted by the feminist White House Project.

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Three winners, three losers

Marvin Olasky wrote in Townhall Here's hoping that our run of major hurricanes is over -- and here's an opportunity to examine which people, institutions and concepts won or lost credibility this month.

One big loser is New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who jumped to erroneous conclusions and cast blame like confetti. But he wasn't alone among local demagogues, who did Huey Long proud. Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, embellished a widely publicized story of a nursing home mother who purportedly begged her son for four days to rescue her from rising waters. Reports of official pilfering of emergency aid bring to life FBI agent Lou Riegel's description of Louisiana public corruption as "epidemic, endemic and entrenched."

Nagin certainly bears a lot of the blame, but I think Governor Blanco deserves as much, if not more, of the blame for the problems in New Orleans.
A second big loser: national media that served as megaphones for hysteria and propaganda. Journalists circulated rumors of hundreds of gang members killing people at the Superdome and "30 or 40 bodies" stored in a Convention Center freezer. The reality was different: Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan said authorities found only four murders in the entire city in Katrina's aftermath, making it a typical week in a city that anticipates over 200 homicides per year. Reports of police in shelter shootouts or racing toward midnight muzzle flashes, with snipers firing at doctors and soldiers from downtown high-rises, delayed volunteers and rescue workers. The sensational reports were also demeaning toward the overwhelmingly African-American part of the population that remained in New Orleans and received branding as savages.

Now, a winner: the U.S. military. During September, nearly 65,000 active-duty military personnel helped out in saving lives and offering help, with best results often obtained by entrepreneurial officers who saw immediate problems and decided to act. Some wonder if the armed forces are suffering mission creep, as during the Clinton years, but there's a big difference between peacemaking projects that stretch on for months and years, and emergency help intensively proffered over a few days that makes use of troops still available to be deployed elsewhere the following week.
I agree, and they did a FANTASTIC job.
A second winner: faith-based groups. I've written in previous weeks about what they've accomplished, but here's a new wrinkle: The feds announced that groups which operated emergency shelters, food distribution centers or medical facilities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama can now be reimbursed for their out-of-pocket emergency expenses, such as purchasing goods for distribution to evacuees.
The faith based groups AND the individuals that provided money, their time, and their houses to receive the evacuees as guests are all important illustrations of why this is such a great country.
Most groups don't want government funds because they are working out of love for God (and also want to avoid political entanglements and preserve their volunteer donor base), but it's good that religious groups have the same choice that secular groups possess. Volunteers will not receive any pay, but here's an opportunity for government to provide the resources that compassionate citizens need so as to contribute their time in the most useful way.

A third winner: the importance of individual preparedness. During the Rita evacuation, many coastal residents headed inland without food, water or extra gas, thinking they could buy what they needed on the road. They were wrong. Everyone should have a "grab-and-go" backpack with water bottles, medicines, cash or traveler's checks, and other necessities, along with a three-day supply of food.
A very good point.
Maps, planned-in-advance escape routes and destinations, and an extra 5 gallons of gas can also come in handy. Those in hurricane, tornado and earthquake zones have the most obvious need, but the next terrorist attack could be anywhere.

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Hey, ICE man!

John McCaslin wrote in Townhall A high-ranking U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, assigned to the Gulf Coast to assist in recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, says he and his fellow agents were forced to remove their uniforms with "ICE" branded on the back (similar to "FBI" and "POLICE") because storm victims were chasing them down in hopes of receiving bags of ice.

ROF, LMAO (Rolling on the Floor, Laughing my Ass Off
To end the confusion, several ICE agents changed into legacy uniforms - gear that reads "U.S. Customs" and "INS" (the old Immigration and Naturalization Service) - they had worn before the two agencies merged under the fledgling Department of Homeland Security.

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Send in the Marines

Oliver North wrote in Townhall "Send in the Marines." For more than two centuries, those words -- or something similar -- have been uttered hundreds of times by our nation's leaders when it became necessary to protect American lives, property, interests and security. But in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, "Send in the Marines," may take on a whole new meaning.

This week, while hundreds of square miles of storm-devastated Louisiana and Mississippi are still inhabitable, the House Government Reform Committee began hearings into what went wrong in responding to Katrina. Unfortunately, before we have even determined what went wrong, "official Washington" -- meaning the Bush Administration and Congress -- seems to have already come up with the answer. For future disasters, send in the Marines -- and the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Actually I dont think he expects to be given that authority, nor do I think he wants it, or that it is a good idea to give the President that authority, regardless of who is in the White House.

But he was being blamed for the poor response in New Orleans, when as the former head of FEMA testified, the local and state officials were the problem. The governor would not authorize the President to send in aid, but he was being blamed for not sending in the aid, so he raised the question about whether he should have the power to send in forces to get everyone to pause and think about that that would entail.

What should happen, and what did happen in Mississippi with Katrina, and in Texas and even in Louisiana with Rita, is that the governor should request the feds to send in forces and aid immediately.
In response to reporters' questions, President Bush said, "I want there to be a robust discussion about the best way for the federal government, in certain extreme circumstances, to be able to rally assets for the good of the people." He went on to ask, "Is there a natural disaster of a certain size that would then enable the Defense Department to become the lead agency in coordinating and leading the response effort?" The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Virginia's "Senior Senator" -- who ought to know better -- has said, "I believe the time has come that we reflect on the Posse Comitatus Act," in urging that the president and secretary of defense be given "correct standby authorities" to manage natural and perhaps man-made disasters.
Actually I believe Posse Comitatus only prevents him from sending in the Army and the Air Force. The Navy, the Marines, and the Coast Guard is legal now.
These are the reactions of national leaders -- and many in the public -- who were misled by the hyperventilated claims of local politicians and authorities that "more than 10,000 are probably dead," that "rapes and murders" were occurring in the Superdome and that "all law and order have broken down" in New Orleans. We now know that the death toll is a fraction of that forecasted by state and local officials. And while there were well-documented cases of looting, the homicides and rampant sexual assaults that were reported -- but never verified -- by the mainstream media were, for the most part, untrue.

The men and women of our Armed Forces were efficient and effective. They did a great job in New Orleans -- as they have done on every operation in which I've been a participant or observer for the last forty years. They did what they were ordered to do and did it well. As one young soldier told me, quoting one of our FOX News slogans -- "This is what we do." But is this what we want our military to be doing? Before we decide to rescind the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, put the Secretary of Defense in charge of disaster relief and give this -- or any other president -- more federal power over our state and local governments, serious questions need to be answered and the facts should be known.

First, neither this president nor any other needs more "legal" or legislated authority to send U.S. troops into the teeth of a disaster. Every president's aide carry PEADs -- Presidential Emergency Action Documents -- which draft Executive Orders giving the Chief Executive broad authorities in the midst of a declared national emergency. In May of 1992, President George H. W. Bush issued such an order at the request of the California governor during the "Rodney King riots" in Los Angeles. His Executive Order 12804 suspended the proscriptions of Posse Comitatus to allow Army and Marine units to "restore law and order."
The operational term there was "at the request of the ... governor". In the case of Louisiana and Katrina, Governor Blanco refused to sign the request.
Second, the military is already tasked to provide -- under the provisions of the "Stafford Act" -- significant material support to governors and other jurisdictions which make such requests of the president in the midst of a declared emergency. Understandably, the Commander-in-Chief does not relinquish control over the federal troops being used in such circumstances.
Again, the operational phrase is "at the request of the governor". Do we want the President to have the power to send in troops and aid without the request of the Governor. I say NO, but if he does not have that power, you should not blame him for not sending in troops and aid.

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Friday, September 30

This Day In History

  • 1641   Once upon a time, New York and New Jersey were known as the New Netherlands. It was on this day that an ordinance by the authorities of the New Netherlands declared that an annual fair be held at Fort Amsterdam (now, New York City). The ruling actually stated that there would be two fairs, a Cattle Fair on October 15 and a Hog Fair on November 1; and that all who had any thing to buy or sell could attend. Anyone remember seeing a cow or a pig running around NYC lately?
  • 1791   Mozart's opera ''The Magic Flute'' premiered in Vienna, Austria.
  • 1846   Ether was used as an anesthetic for the first time, at the office of Boston dentist William Morton.
  • 1927   Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees hit his 60th home run of the season to break his own major-league record.
  • 1946   An international military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, found 22 top Nazi leaders guilty of war crimes.
  • 1949   The Berlin Airlift, which delivered 2.3 million tons of food and fuel to West Berliners while circumventing a Soviet blockade, came to an end.
  • 1954   The first atomic-powered vessel, the submarine Nautilus, was commissioned by the Navy.
  • 1955   Actor James Dean was killed in a two-car collision near Cholame, Calif., at age 24.
  • 1962   Black student James Meredith succeeded on his fourth try in registering for classes at the University of Mississippi.
  • 1991   The military in Haiti overthrew Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the country's first freely-elected president.
  • 1992   George Brett of the Kansas City Royals reached 3,000 career hits during a game against the California Angels.
  • 1993   A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck southern India, killing an estimated 10,000 people.
  • 1997   France's Roman Catholic Church apologized for its silence during the systematic persecution and deportation of Jews by the pro-Nazi Vichy regime.
  • 1999   The San Francisco Giants played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the last baseball game at 3Com Park (formerly Candlestick Park); the Dodgers won 9-4.
  • 2002   New Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli abruptly ended his scandal-tainted re-election campaign just five weeks before the election, leaving Democrats scrambling for a candidate.
  • 2003   The FBI began a criminal investigation into whether White House officials had illegally leaked the identity of an undercover CIA officer.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1861   William Wrigley Jr. (chewing gum tycoon; died Jan 26, 1932)
  • 1905   Johnny (John Thomas) Allen (baseball: pitcher: NY Yankees [World Series: 1932], Cleveland Indians [all-star: 1938], Brooklyn Dodgers [World Series: 1941], SL Browns, NY Giants; died March 29, 1959)
  • 1921   Deborah Kerr (Trimmer) (actress)
  • 1924   Truman (Streckfus) Capote (Persons) (writer)
  • 1931   Angie Dickinson (Brown) (actress: Police Woman)
  • 1935   Johnny Mathis (singer)

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Opposition to Iraqi constitution weakening

KR/a> reported The two strongest opponents of Iraq's proposed new constitution said this week that they wouldn't campaign against it aggressively, making it likely that voters will approve the constitution in an Oct. 15 referendum.

This is good news. It looks like it will pass.
Passage would be a victory for the Bush administration's Iraq policy, but it's unclear whether the document will produce a stable Iraqi government with broad public support or further alienate the country's Sunni Muslim Arab minority. Rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's representatives said that while he's not thrilled about the constitution, he likely wouldn't encourage his followers to oppose it. Hazem al-Araji, a senior al-Sadr aide, said that al-Sadr has formed a committee to review the document and that once he hears from them he'll make a final decision. "But for now, his opinion is neutral," al-Araji said.
That is certainly better than shooting from the hip, and saying oppose it without knowing what you are talking about
The largest Sunni political group, the Iraqi Islamic Party, said that although it has encouraged its supporters to vote down the document, its efforts are focused on the December election for a new National Assembly.
They really did shoot themselves in the foot the last time by boycotting the election.
"There are powers that will make sure this bad constitution passes," said Ala'a al-Maki, a party spokesman. "We are focusing more on ensuring the Sunnis participate in the next election." Both al-Sadr's supporters and members of the Islamic Party said they're concerned that federalist provisions in the constitution could divide the country along sectarian lines.

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Chip Helps Electric Outlet Go Broadband

AP News reported The common electric socket will serve as your home's connection to broadband with a new chip developed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. - doing away with all the Ethernet cables or the hassle of hooking up to a wireless network device.

There are devices like this available now, but I think this one is faster.
Products are still being developed, but gadgets embedded with the chip from the Japanese manufacturer of Panasonic products can hook up to a broadband network by plugging into the common electrical outlet, company officials said Thursday. That's because the Osaka-based company has come up with technology to use electric wiring in the home to relay not just electricity but also data.
This will only work within your home, you will not be able to get internet this way, because it will not pass the transformer from the electric company's pole to your house.
The technology has been around for some time - including in the United States - but Matsushita's system is unique in that it delivers fast-speed broadband information at up to 170 megabits per second, which is faster than Ethernet. The advantage is that the lowly electric socket is everywhere. Right now, a broadband outlet still isn't usually available in every room, even in homes that have broadband connections.
Yes this is definitely faster.
In the future home envisioned by Matsushita, people will be able to download and watch high-definition movies in any room of the house that has an outlet. Attach a special device made by Matsushita into a socket and all you have to do is plug your TV or other gadgets into a socket for instant connection to broadband, which allows for faster transmission of online information than dial-up telephone connections.
Orders of magnitude faster than dialup
Matsushita hopes to eventually sell refrigerators, TVs and other products with the chip already installed.
Once Internet 2 is available, this will really work, because the current internet has 32 bit addresses, which results in only 4 billion unique host interface addresses, while Net2 has addresses that are 128 bits wide, or 2 to the 128th power unique addresses, so every electric appliance in your house could have its own unique IP address.

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Gov. Blanco gets no Katrina questions

Washington Times reported Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, blamed by the former leader of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin for many of the city's post-hurricane problems, was given no questions about her response to Hurricane Katrina when she appeared before a Senate committee to plead for more federal money. She asked not to be questioned about it and the senators agreed.

They were cowards. They should have told her that if she would not answer questions about what she did, when she did id, what she did not do, and why she did not do it, then she should take her request for more federal money and stick it where the sun does not shine.
Mrs. Blanco, a Democrat, was invited by the Senate Finance Committee to respond to charges by former FEMA Director Michael D. Brown, who the day before called Louisiana officials "dysfunctional" in handling the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
If she did not want to talk about what she was called to talk about, she should have left. Brown at least said what he did wrong. Many dont like that he said his main failing was failing to realise that the government in Louisiana was dysfunctional, and that he should have tried harder to get the Mayor and the Governor to work together with each other, putting their differences (Nagin supported Blanco's opponent in 2003), and working together with him. But he at least admitted he had done some things wrong.
"Today, I came really to talk about job creation," she said. Later, she told reporters, "The facts will speak for themselves. I will tell our story when the time is appropriate."
You had that chance, and refused to talk about it.
Mark Noonan blogged What the heck is this all about? When was the last time a person called to testify got to determine what questions would be asked? For crying out loud, there are certainly at least as many questions about Blanco's actions as there are about Brown's...but she gets a pat on the head and a bucket of cash while Brown is fitted for the rack?

The abject cowardice on display here is flabbergasting - the Senators, boys and girls, are simply afraid...the MSM mantra is that it was all Brown's (and, by extension, President Bush's) fault, and the Senators are apparantly so afraid of this that they will simply ignore reality and go along with the MSM fantasy...Blanco, who's political support has collapsed, gets a chance to rebuild it by bringing home the bacon, Brown is hung out to dry in disgrace. It is just a sad and pathetic spectacle.

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Roberts Confirmed

John Roberts was confirmed 78-22, and at 3pm Eastern time he will be sworn in. Fox News will carry it live. At that time he will become Chief Justice Roberts

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Government takes too much authority and not enough responsibility.

Peggy Noonan wrote in OpinionJournal .... David Brooks on "Meet the Press" Sunday said he thought Katrina had given rise to a greater public desire for "authority" and "order." I found what he was saying typically thoughtful, but I differ with him. That difference gives rise to this piece.

I don't think Americans are or have been, by nature, lovers of authority. When we think of the old America we think of house-raisings on the prairie and teeming cities full of immigrants, but a big part of the American nature can also be found in the story of Jeremiah Johnson, the mountain man who just wanted to live off by himself, unbothered and unmolested by people and their churches and clubs and rules. He didn't like authority. He wanted to be left alone.

I agree. And the Republican party used to stand for those ideas.
We live in the age of emergency, however, and in that age we hunger for someone to take responsibility. Not authority, but a sense of "I'll lead you out of this." On 9/11 the firemen took responsibility: I will go into the fire. So did the mayor: This is how we'll get through, this is how we'll triumph.

In New Orleans, by contrast, the mayor seemed panicked, the governor seemed medicated,
The First Responders, and the Mayor and the Governor certainly did a better job on 9/11 than they did with Katrina. But on Katrina I think it was just Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin that were at fault. The Governor of Mississippi seemed to do a good job, and both the Mayor of Houston, and the Governor of Texas did a very good job with Rita.
and the airborne wasn't there until it was there and peace was restored. Until then no one took responsibility. There was a vacuum. But nature abhors a vacuum, so rumors and chaos came in to fill it. Which made things worse. No one took charge. Thus the postgame commentary in which everyone blamed someone else: The mayor fumbled the ball, the governor didn't call the play, the president didn't have a ground game.

No one took responsibility, but there was plenty of authority. People in authority sent the lost to the Superdome and the Convention Center.
But they did not have food and water for them there, or the 600 buses ready to take them to safety.
People in authority blocked the bridges out of town. People in authority tried to confiscate guns after the looting was over..... Government has real duties in disaster. Maintaining the peace is a primary one. But if we demand that our government protect us from all the weather all the time, if we demand that it protect us from rain and hail, if we make government and politicians pay a terrible price for not getting us out of every flood zone and rescuing us from every wave, we're going to lose a lot more than we gain. If we give government all authority then we are giving them all power..... It is the government's job to warn and inform. That's what we have the National Weather Service for. It is not government's job to command and control and make microdecisions about the lives of people who want to do it their own way.

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Turks Challenge Hughes On Iraq

WaPo reported A group of Turkish women's rights activists confronted Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes on Wednesday with emotional and heated complaints about the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, turning a session designed to highlight the empowering of women into a raw display of the anger at U.S. policy in the region....

The complaints were coming from women, and it is good that women in Turkey have the freedom to speak their own minds. That is not true of most of the Islamic world.
In this case, the U.S. Embassy asked an umbrella group known as Ka-Der, which supports women running for office, to assemble the guest list. None of the activists currently receives U.S. funds or had any apparent desire to mince words. Six of the eight women who spoke at the session, held in Ankara, Turkey's capital, focused on the Iraq war....
None of the activists currently receives U.S. funds. Could this be what they were upset about?
"You're concerned about war, and no one likes war," Hughes said. But "to preserve the peace, sometimes my country believes war is necessary," she said. She also asserted that women are faring much better in Iraq than they had under the rule of deposed president Saddam Hussein.

"War is not necessary for peace," shot back Feray Salman, a human rights activist. She said countries should not try to impose democracy through war, adding that "we can never, ever export democracy and freedom from one country to another."
Does she think women were better off under Saddam, where they were tortured, raped and killed.
Tuksal said she was "feeling myself wounded, feeling myself insulted here" by Hughes's response. "In every photograph that comes from Iraq, there is that look of fear in the eyes of women and children. . . . This needs to be resolved as soon as possible."
I have seen no look of fear in the eyes of women and children interacting with American soldiers. I just saw a look of thanks. But they are fearful from being killed by the Islamic terrorists and the insurgents, both Muslim.

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"Intelligent Design" is a threat to our economy

Roger L. Simon blogged Go ahead and believe the "intelligent design" theory if you want to - I think it's claptrap and an insult to theists - but please keep it out of the science classroom. Our social studies and humanities classes are already polluted by enough asinine nonsense from the fuddy-duddy left. We don't need to have science turned into Bible class (covert or otherwise) from the other side.

If you will get all of the asinine nonsense from the fuddy-duddy left out of school, and will teach just the parts of evolution (adaptation of a species to its environment) that can be proven scientifically, and leave out the assumption, but unproved part, that the same technique must have caused new species to be created, then you may leave ID out as well.
I don't blame the biology teachers in Dover, PA for keeping this pseudo-science out of their classrooms. They've got plenty to do getting their high school students prepared for the serious (and worsening) competition of the global economy. (You can bet their peers in Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai aren't wasting a helluva lot of time on "intelligent design.")
They are not wasting a lot of time on the unproven parts of Evolution. They are teaching the basics: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.
To be clear. I have no objection to cr├Ęches at the mall, the Ten Commandments in court rooms, "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, etc., etc. Although I support separation of church and state, I'm happy to respect everyone's beliefs and I'm not particularly scared of this country turning into a theocracy.
We agree on all of that.
But the science classroom is for science.
Then just teach science. Leave out the Secular Humanist interpretation of evolution, and you can leave out ID as well. But if you insist on including the secular humanist claptrap, then include ID as well.
Students in Dover, Pennsylvania and other rural areas are just as entitled to a real education as those in Los Angeles and New York. In fact the country needs them to have it, especially in science and math. And in the case of public education, it is not in our interest to waste precious taxpayer dollars teaching mythology in biology.

mikem commented Well, in the other classes it is 'unAmerican' to even discuss the fact that most Americans see God's place in the world. Just where in the already "claptrap" free classrooms would you allow children to be told that most Americans, most humans, see God's hand in our origins.
AMEN
You make it sound as if our children are free to discuss their belief in God in schools if they wish, just keep it out of the science room. That is a public school that the ACLU hasn't gotten around to suing. ID adherents have simply tailored their belief in God's role in their lives to try to pass muster with those who want to marginalize people of faith out of public view and life. But nothing gets by the eagle eye of our secular priests. Don't forgot to mention the deepest respect you hold for other's "claptrap" beliefs, of course.

Robert Munn commented ID does fall more under philosophy than science, yes. But so does much of what's currently taught in science classes under the mantle of teaching evolution! If you're teaching, "Natural selection causes the gene pool to tilt towards the more favorable adaptations and away from the less favorable ones," that's testable. It's repeatable. It's science. But the minute you switch over to "... and thus the origin of the species came about through random mutations, guided by nothing but pure chance," you're not engaged in science anymore, but philosophy. Just as are those who would say "... and thus the origin of the species came about through carefully planned mutations, guided by a designer." Both of these statements are in the realm of philosophy.
Precisely my point. Teach neither, and I am happy, but if you are going to teach the Secular Humanist interpretation, then also teach ID
So since you're already doing philosophy in the science classroom when you teach about how species came about, why not at least acknowledge the fact that there's a philosophical debate on the point you're about to teach? You don't have to cover it in detail, just say, "Now, how exactly this came about is debated. Some people claim it was guided by nothing but random chance, others talk about the evidence of design. But that's a point for philosophical debate. In this class, we're going to focus on the question of how rather than why."

M. Simon commented Intelligent Design is dependent on ignorance - "we don't yet undersand how xxx happened so we will posit an intelligent designer".
While the Secular Humanists would say, we proved part of it (adaptation of a species), so random chance must have created new species.
The march of science is reducing the islands of ignorance. There is less and less for the Intelligent Designer to do. In fact I would limit the Intelligent Designer to the first sigularity - the big bang.
He was certainly involved there. If the Big Bang was the result of the explosion of a Cosmic Egg, who created the egg? That explosion generated a lot of light energy. And what is the first step in Creation, as told in Genesis? And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
After that the universe runs on its own. Of course my God is smart enough to get it right at the beginning. Intelligent Design posits God too stupid to get it right the first time.

Rob commented An intelligent designer, for example, wouldn't run the male urethra right through the middle of a gland prone to swelling.
It is a dual purpose organ, and the urethra is not used while the organ is swollen.
Our backs are clearly designed for walking on all fours: standing upright causes no end of problems.
Walk on all fours if you wish, maybe you have "DeEvolved"
Our immune systems are sadly prone to mistaking parts of ourselves for invaders.
Not often, and evolution was one of the tools used by the Designer

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Fear Exceeded Crime's Reality in New Orleans

NYT reported After the storm came the siege. In the days after Hurricane Katrina, terror from crimes seen and unseen, real and rumored, gripped New Orleans. The fears changed troop deployments, delayed medical evacuations, drove police officers to quit, grounded helicopters.

I wonder where that fear could have come from. Could it be from the inaccurate news stories that appeared in all of the MSM, including the NYT?
Edwin P. Compass III, the police superintendent, said that tourists - the core of the city's economy - were being robbed and raped on streets that had slid into anarchy. The mass misery in the city's two unlit and uncooled primary shelters, the convention center and the Superdome, was compounded, officials said, by gangs that were raping women and children. A month later, a review of the available evidence now shows that some, though not all, of the most alarming stories that coursed through the city appear to be little more than figments of frightened imaginations, the product of chaotic circumstances that included no reliable communications, and perhaps the residue of the longstanding raw relations between some police officers and members of the public.
Stories printed by the MSM because they made GWB look bad.
Beyond doubt, the sense of menace had been ignited by genuine disorder and violence that week. Looting began at the moment the storm passed over New Orleans, and it ranged from base thievery to foraging for the necessities of life.

Betsy blogged The New York Times catches on with reporting how the media reported so many rumors that turned out to be false. The real problem is tha tthese false reports led to delays in rescue responses.

TimWorstall blogged I think this is about as close as anyone is going to get to an apology or clarification from the NY Times about their reports from New Orleans. Second hand reports, misidentifications and rumour, all reported as fact. I’m not sure that anyone else or any other system woudl have done it differently but just another example of the point that you shouldn’t always believe what you read in the papers.

B. Preston blogged If your only source for news is the New York Times, you're always the last to know anything unflattering to Democrats or the press. And when the Times finally gets around to telling you about it, there's a good chance that they're leaving quite a bit out. Case in point: The NY Times finally follows where the LA Times, the Times-Picayune and the AP have led, examining the role of rumor mongering in relief efforts after the levees broke in New Orleans. Here's the nut sentence:
What became clear is that the rumor of crime, as much as the reality of the public disorder, often played a powerful role in the emergency response.
Ya think so? Is it possible that all the rumors combined with the meltdown at the city level and the incompetence at the state level might have had a thing or two with how the whole situation played out?

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Museum Dropped From WTC Site for Now

WaPo reported Bowing to pressure from Sept. 11 families, Gov. George Pataki on Wednesday removed a proposed freedom center from the space reserved for it near the planned World Trade Center memorial, saying the museum project had aroused "too much opposition, too much controversy."

The title says FOR NOW. Why "for now". This was a terrible idea from the very start
Pataki initially said the state would help the International Freedom Center find another home, but center officials said they weren't interested and considered the project dead.
They only wanted it if it could be at the 9/11 Memorial, to try to detract from it.
Pataki said a planned cultural building meant for the freedom center would now tell only the story of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Which is as it should be
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., created by Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to rebuild the trade center site, will work on Sept. 11-related content for the building, LMDC spokesman John Gallagher said.

Michelle Malkin blogged Reaction from Take Back The Memorial, started by blogger Robert Shurbet, who was inspired by Burlingame, is here. Reaction from 9/11 Families for a Safe and Secure America will be here. What's more than a bit disturbing to me is that it took Hillary Clinton's announced opposition to the IFC before Rudy Giuliani and Gov Pataki finally drove the final (we hope) nail into the Ground Zero guilt complex. But better late than never. Biggest losers: Tom Bernstein, Rich Tofel, and the shameless editorial writers at the NYTimes who had the gall to call critics of the IFC "un-American."

BlackFive blogged WTC Memorial - We Took It Back! Thanks to many of you. Received several updates from Susie, Brett, Harding, and John H. that the International Freedom Center - the group that is twisting of the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial into an America hating museum - has been removed from the Memorial.

Wizbang blogged All it was ever about for the IFC crew was ramming their world view down the throats of unsuspecting ground zero visitors. If they're not front and center they're not interested. If the IFC was in such demand they'd be looking to build it somewhere else. They're not...

Greyhawk blogged Make no mistake about it - the internet played the key role in making this happen. Outside of New York City this story garnered very little media attention - and in New York City the NY Times was strongly in support of the IFC, with frequent editorials dismissing the "handful" of "vocal 9/11 families". Governor Pataki made the right decision - the memorial will be just that - a memorial to the fallen, free from politics or other distractors. That is as it should be. But this is also a victory made possible by new media - internet sites helping form a coalition and "getting the word out" - and breaking an old media stranglehold on the shaping of events.

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Thursday, September 29

This Day In History

  • 1789   The U.S. War Department established a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.
  • 1829   London's reorganized police force, which became known as Scotland Yard, went on duty.
  • 1902   Impresario David Belasco opened his first Broadway theater.
  • 1918   Allied forces scored a decisive breakthrough of the Hindenburg Line during World War I.
  • 1943   General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice aboard the British ship Nelson off Malta.
  • 1953   Danny Thomas, who many now remember as Marlo’s dad and Phil Donahue’s father-in-law, is also remembered for many things that influenced television. At the suggestion of his friend, Desi Arnaz, Thomas negotiated a deal that would allow him to retain ownership rights to his programs, like "Make Room for Daddy", which debuted this day on ABC-TV. Later, in 1957, the show would move to CBS under the Desilu/Danny Thomas Productions banner. The rest is, literally, TV history. His success allowed him to give something back to the world, in the form of his philanthropic efforts to build St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. “All I prayed for was a break,” he once told an interviewer, “and I said I would do anything, anything, to pay back the prayer if it could be answered. All I needed was a sign of what to do and I would do it.” And so it was.
  • 1954   New York Giants centerfielder Willie Mays made a running catch with his back to home plate on a 450-foot blast by Cleveland Indians batter Vic Wertz in the opening game of the World Series. It is widely considered to be the greatest catch ever made.
  • 1963   The second session of the Second Vatican Council opened in Rome.
  • 1978   Pope John Paul I was found dead in his Vatican apartment a little more than one month after becoming head of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • 1979   Pope John Paul II began his first trip to the United States.
  • 1982   Seven people in the Chicago area died after unwittingly taking Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide.
  • 1986   Mary Lou Retton, who stunned audiences with perfect 10 scores in the Olympics of 1984, called it quits from the wide world of gymnastics.
  • 1988   The space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., marking America's return to manned space flight following the Challenger disaster.
  • 1989   Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was convicted of battery for slapping a Beverly Hills police officer who had pulled over her Rolls-Royce for expired license plates.
  • 1995   The O.J. Simpson trial was sent to the jury.
  • 1995   Three U.S. servicemen were indicted in the rape of a 12-year-old Okinawa girl and handed over to Japanese authorities.
  • 1996   The Nintendo 64 video game system, known as the first ‘true’ 64-bit system, hit North American shelves. That first day, Nintendo sold 500,000 systems, with the Mario64 game selling the same with it. Needless to say, Nintendo’s system was a big sucess.
  • 1998   Former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley died at age 80.
  • 2000   Israeli riot police stormed a major Jerusalem shrine and opened fire on stone-throwing Muslim worshippers, killing four Palestinians and wounding 175.
  • 2002   West Coast longshoremen were ordered off their jobs for a second time in a costly labor dispute with shipping lines.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1547   Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (author: Don Quixote; died Apr 23, 1616)
  • 1758   Horatio Nelson (military: British Navy: Battle of Trafalgar hero; killed during that battle Oct 23, 1805)
  • 1904   Greer Garson (Academy Award-winning actress)
  • 1907   (Orvon) Gene Autry (‘The Singing Cowboy’: actor: 100+ cowboy westerns; singer: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine, The Death of Mother Jones, You are My Sunshine, Mexicali Rose, Back in the Saddle Again; owner: California Angels, Golden West Broadcasting; CMA Hall of Famer; only person to have 5 Hollywood Walk of Fame stars [film, radio, TV, stage, records]; died Oct 2, 1998)
  • 1931   Anita Ekberg (actress: La Dolce Vita, War and Peace)
  • 1935   Jerry Lee Lewis (Rock and Roll Hall of Famer [1986]: singer: Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On, Great Balls of Fire, Breathless; cousin of singer Mickey Gilley, and evangelist Jimmy Swaggart)
  • 1948   Bryant Gumbel (TV host: Today [NBC], Real Sports [HBO], Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel [CBS], The Early Show [CBS]; brother of Greg)

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The perils of a politicized select committee

Gary J. Andres wrote in National Review Online Congressional Democrat leaders thrilled left-wing bloggers and other liberal activists last week by picking a fight with Republicans about how to investigate the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But the minority party's tactics — premised more on pugilism than precedent — might not lay a glove on Republicans, but instead leave Democrats with a bloody nose and Congress a black eye. Most think congressional investigations of high-visibility issues hold the potential for partisan posturing. They do. But Democrat leaders are doing their share of grandstanding before an investigation even begins, threatening congressional-reputation suicide in exchange for what they really want: an independent commission. The House last week created a "Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina" on a near-party-line vote (all Republicans, plus seven Democrats voted for the measure). The Senate took a different path when Senator Frist announced last Tuesday that the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, would also undertake an investigation,

That was a mistake. Collins is a RINO
but prospects of bicameral hearings with the new House select committee now appear remote. Trying to avoid a partisan food fight, GOP leaders are working to coax minority-party participation — so far to no avail. House and Senate Democrat leaders seem dug in on boycotting any kind of select-committee meeting.
The Sunnis boycotted the last Iraqi elections; they now realize they shot themselves in the foot. How long will it take before Dems realize the same thing?
House Republicans structured the new panel along the same lines as other select committees that investigated issues such as Iran-Contra, the Kennedy assassination, and Pearl Harbor, including breakdowns that reflect the existing partisan ratios in Congress. Since 1946, the House used this select committee model 41 times to investigate a host of issues, usually while Democrats controlled the majority.

While attacking the select-committee idea, Democrats see no sins in commissions. Despite historical precedent for the proposed structure, the House minority is insisting on an investigative body more like the 9/11 panel or a committee with equal representation from both sides of the aisle. Keeping with their favorite tactic of non-cooperation, House Democrats are holding their breath until they get their way.
Don't give in to them. I realize they are catering to Blue States, but when they turn blue from holding their breath, they will find blue is not their best color.
Blood pressures in the Senate are a little lower. Majority Leader Frist decided against creating a select committee, instead saying the Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee (which includes a full complement of nine Republicans and seven Democrats) will take the lead in that body. But Democratic leader Harry Reid has not indicated much interest in authorizing the government-affairs panel to join in any kind of bicameral investigation. The scrum continues this week.

Clause 11 of Rule I in the House of Representatives says "The Speaker shall appoint all select, joint and conference committees ordered by the House." Denny Hastert announced the 11 Republicans on Wednesday but is still waiting to hear Nancy Pelosi's recommendations. Technically he could appoint the nine Democrats to fill out the panel, but the speaker will likely indulge Pelosi a bit longer. House Select Committee chairman Tom Davis of Virginia has said Republicans will wait a few more days for Pelosi to provide names for the speaker to appoint. Davis did invite several Democrats from the Gulf states to participate at the select committee's first hearing last week and two representatives, Gene Taylor of Mississipi and Charlie Melancon of Louisiana, attended.

Further complicating the Democrats' boycott strategy is the scheduled appearance of former FEMA director Michael Brown, slated to testify at what promises to be a much more high-profile hearing before the committee on Tuesday, September 27. The prospect of a hearing that promises to get a lot of media attention with the minority represented only by a couple of "unofficial" representatives could prove highly embarrassing to the Democrats.

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Israel Warns of Attacks on Hamas Leaders

WaPo reported Israeli military aircraft carried out a fourth day of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and Israel's defense chief suggested that leaders of the radical Palestinian group Hamas might be assassinated if rocket fire into southern Israel did not stop.

This is a good idea. The Hamas leaders fear being targets themselves. But I believe that to fully get their attention, the Israelis need to respond to each rocket attack with overwhelming distruction: of the area that launched the attack, the area where the ones launching the attack fled to, the location of some of their bomb and rocket factories, and the leaders of the attacks. That won't convince them not to attack, but being dead will, and perhaps the magnitude of the Israeli response will convince others not to try to do the same thing.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz singled out Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyya and Mahmoud Zahar in his warning. He said that unless attacks from Gaza ceased, Israel would send the men "to where Abdel Aziz Rantisi and Sheik Yassin are." Ahmed Yassin, one of the founding leaders of the Islamic Resistance Movement, as Hamas is formally known, was killed last year by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City. Israel assassinated Rantisi, who succeeded Yassin, less than a month later. Israeli officials have said they would respond to attacks from Gaza far more vigorously after ending Israel's 38-year presence in the strip earlier this month.

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Zarqawi 'Hijacked' Insurgency

WaPo reported The top U.S. military intelligence officer in Iraq said Abu Musab Zarqawi and his foreign and Iraqi associates have essentially commandeered the insurgency, becoming the dominant opposition force and the greatest immediate threat to U.S. objectives in the country.

"I think what you really have here is an insurgency that's been hijacked by a terrorist campaign,"

I guess that is only to be expected. The Islamic movement hijacked a major religion, and now its representative in Iraq hijacks an insurgency worried that the Shi'ites may do to them, as they did when they were in power. Zarqawi just lost his second in command, and the man in charge of the financing. When will the Iraqis get tired of Zarqawi and turn him in too.
Army Maj. Gen. Richard Zahner said in an interview. "In part, by Zarqawi becoming the face of this thing, he has certainly gotten the funding, the media and, frankly, has allowed other folks to work along in his draft."

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Intimidation Alleged On 'Intelligent Design'

WaPo reported Parents in federal court Tuesday described an atmosphere of intimidation and anger when school board members in Dover, Pa., last year decided to require high school biology teachers to read a statement that casts doubt on the theory of evolution.

Teachers complain when the school board requires them to read a statement??? Who the heck runs the school? The School Board, which is elected to do that job, or the administrators it hires, or some teachers that are just hired to teach what the school board wants taught?
Bryan Rehm, a parent who also taught physics at Dover High School, testified of continual pressure from board members not to "teach monkeys-to-man evolution." He said that the board required teachers to watch a film critical of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution
The school board made them watch a film, and read a short statement. If they dont want to work in that school district, they can quit.
and that board members talked openly of teaching creationism alongside evolution.... Rehm is one of 11 people from Dover, a small town south of Harrisburg, who want to block their school board from requiring the reading of that four-paragraph statement that criticizes evolutionary theory. The statement notes that "intelligent design" offers an alternative theory for the origin and evolution of life -- namely, that life in all of its complexity could not have arisen without the help of an intelligent hand..... Rehm had a different bottom line. Intelligent design, he said, is inherently religious -- a view shared by many scientists. And, he added: "Nine board members without degrees in science should not be dictating science curriculum."
And I suppose an English teacher might say nine board members without degrees in English Literature should not be dictating an English Literatur curriculum, or nine board membes without degrees in Mathematics should not be dictatating a Math curriculum. The school board is elected to run the school system, and dictating what is taught and what is not taught is their job. If you dont like it, resign and run for the school board. If you are elected, you will then have a voice in what is taught.

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Rough Road

Fred Barnes wrote in Weekly Standard Republicans should be worried about their White House prospects for 2008.... The 2006 midterm election? Republicans are likely to hold onto the Senate and House. But 2008 is another story. In the midst of a Republican era, Democrats stand a good chance of taking the White House then. Even Senator Hillary Clinton of New York--or perhaps I should say especially Hillary Clinton--has realistic prospects of winning.

What's the problem for Republicans? There are at least five of them. The field of Republican candidates is weak. Democrats will have an easier time than Republicans in duplicating their strong 2004 voter registration and turnout drive in 2008. Democrats, despite their drift to the left and persistent shrillness, barely trail Republicans at all in voter appeal. Besides, they may sober up ideologically in 2008. And the media, unless John McCain is the Republican nominee, will be more pro-Democratic than ever..... And aides to Jeb Bush say he has no desire to run in 2008, but might consider it in 2012.

That would be interesting: Bush41, Clinton42, Bush43, Clinton44, Bush45
That leaves the Republican party with a lesser field of candidates: McCain, Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Virginia Senator George Allen, and a few others. All of them have distinct handicaps. McCain's is that many Republican loathe him. Giuliani is a social liberal. Allen and Romney are inexperienced at the national level. Frist has a soft and blurred image.

The second reason for Republican anxiety about 2008 is organization. Democrats, with millions of dollars from limousine liberals such as George Soros, paid for thousands of campaign workers to sign up voters and get them to the polls.
Whether told to work by their unions or hired by Soros, the Dems have always had a lot of campaign workers. But the right wing side of the Blogosphere is stronger than the Left.
They produced a much larger Democratic turnout in 2004 than in 2000. Republicans used an army of 1.5 million volunteers to increase the Republican vote by even more. It was an enormous political feat.
And hopefully the Republican party will be able to repeat it, if not to elect a weak candidate for President, but at least to make sure that a Democratic president will have an even larger Republican majority in the Senate and the House to have to deal with.
But in 2008, there's a reasonably good chance Democrats will able to produce another great field operation. All they'll need is another infusion of money from rich liberals. But Republicans will have a harder time. The 2004 volunteers showed up because of their strong personal commitment to President Bush. Will so many volunteers work so hard for McCain or Allen or Giuliani or whoever wins the Republican presidential nomination in 2008? I doubt it
So they focus their efforts on winning from the legislatures, both Federal and State, and the Governorships.
..... So Republicans have a lot to worry about. George W. Bush's current troubles are small stuff compared to the party's prospects for losing the presidency in 2008.

BAH blogged Just as Ruffini left Newt Gingrich out of the roster on his "Main Ballot," so too does Fred Barnes not even make mention of him in his column. I regard that as a serious oversight. In my book, he's the sleeper candidate (currently testing the waters) who could resurrect the enthusiasm of the Reagan era and restore a capital "C" to the word Conservative.
I agree Gingrich is a sleeper candidate, and I have hopes that he will find the backing to emerge as the Republican candidate. 2008 is a long way off. And we could use Gingrich's help to strengthen our position in the House and Senate in 2006.
If the Democratic Party could ever find it within itself to jettison its far left, extremist fringe that continues to dominate the party, it might find some easier sailing in the roiled waters of a conservative movement that has lost its True North.
That has about as much chance of happening as pigs do learning to fly.
Betsy blogged If you're a Republican, Fred Barnes paints a very depressing picture for the prospects for a GOP victory in 2008. None of the choices are that exciting for the base and if the base isn't excited, will they turn out to help the candidate and help get out the vote? Perhaps, having Hillary as the Democratic candidate would be the best thing for the GOP since they would be motivated by the same negativity that got so many Democrats involved in John Kerry's campaign. It certainly wasn't enthusiasm for John Kerry.
And even if she does get the White House she should have a strong Republican House and Senate to contend with.



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Wednesday, September 28

This Day In History

  • 1066   William the Conqueror invaded England.
  • 1542   Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived at present-day San Diego.
  • 1781   American forces, backed by a French fleet, began the siege of Yorktown Heights, Va., during the Revolutionary War,
  • 1787   Congress voted to send the just-completed Constitution of the United States to state legislatures for their approval.
  • 1850   Flogging was abolished as a form of punishment in the U.S. Navy.
  • 1892   A football game was played in Mansfield, PA. The game, between Mansfield State Normal School and Wyoming Seminary, was the first one in the U.S. to be played at night.
  • 1939   During World War II, Germany and the Soviet Union agreed on a plan to partition Poland.
  • 1967   Walter Washington took office as the first mayor of the District of Columbia.
  • 1972   Japan and Communist China agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations.
  • 1974   First lady Betty Ford underwent a mastectomy at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland.
  • 1989   Deposed Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos died in exile in Hawaii at age 72.
  • 1991   Garth Brooks, big ol’ black hat and all, hit number one with his album "Ropin’ the Wind". He was the first country artist to debut an album at #1 on both the "Billboard" album chart and country album chart.
  • 1995   Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat signed an accord to transfer much of the West Bank to the control of its Arab residents.
  • 2000   Capping a 12-year battle, the government approved use of the abortion pill RU-486.
  • 2000   Ariel Sharon, leader of Israel's hard-line opposition, sparked new Israeli-Palestinian clashes by touring the Temple Mount.
  • 2000   Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau died in Montreal at age 80.
  • 2002   Iraq rejected a U.S.-British plan for the United Nations to force President Saddam Hussein to disarm and open his palaces for weapons searches.
  • 2002   Rep. Patsy Mink, a 12-term Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii, died in Honolulu at age 74.
  • 2003   A massive blackout struck almost all of Italy, leaving millions of people without power.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1902   Ed (Edward Vincent) Sullivan (newspaper columnist, TV host: Toast of the Town, The Ed Sullivan Show; died Oct 13, 1974)
  • 1909   Al Capp (Alfred Gerald Caplin) (cartoonist: Li’l Abner; died Nov 5, 1979)
  • 1934   Brigitte Bardot (Camille Javal) (actress)
  • 1972   Gwyneth Paltrow (Academy Award-winning actress)

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Louisiana's Looters

WaPo editorialized The nation is at war. It is mired in debt. It has been hit by floods and hurricanes. In the face of this adversity, congressional leaders have rightly dropped proposals for yet more tax cuts, and some have suggested removing the pork from the recently passed transportation bill. But this spirit of forbearance has not touched the Louisiana congressional delegation. The state's representatives have come up with a request for $250 billion in federal reconstruction funds for Louisiana alone -- more than $50,000 per person in the state. This money would come on top of payouts from businesses, national charities and insurers. And it would come on top of the $62.3 billion that Congress has already appropriated for emergency relief.

And because of it, Louisiana should get NO additional money; any rebuilding money should go to Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama, who worked with the Feds, and who have not asked for ridiculous helpings of pork.
Like looters who seize six televisions when their homes have room for only two, the Louisiana legislators are out to grab more federal cash than they could possibly spend usefully. For example, their bill demands $7 billion for rebuilding evacuation and energy supply routes, but it also demands a separate $5 billion for road building and makes no mention of the $3.1 billion already awarded to the state in the recent transportation legislation. The bill demands $50 billion in community development block grants, partly to get small businesses going, but it also demands $150 million for a small-business loan fund plus generous business tax breaks. The bill even asks for $35 million for seafood marketing and $25 million for a sugar-cane research laboratory. This is the equivalent of New York responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center by insisting upon a federally financed stadium in Brooklyn.
This is a very good point, and I am surprised to see it in a Washington Post editorial.
The Louisiana delegation has apparently devoted little thought to the root causes of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. New Orleans was flooded not because the Army Corps of Engineers had insufficient money to build flood protections, but because its money was allocated by a system of political patronage.
And why were they stupid enough to provide building permits for houses on land 7 to 15 feet BELOW SEA LEVEL.
The smart response would be to insist that, in the future, no Corps money be wasted on unworthy projects, but the Louisiana bill instead creates a mechanism by which cost-benefit analysis can be avoided. Equally, Katrina was devastating because ill-conceived projects have drained coastal wetlands and caused their erosion, destroying a natural buffer between hurricanes and human settlements. The smart response would be to insist that future infrastructure projects be subject to careful environmental review. But the Louisiana delegation's bill would suspend the environmental review process. Rather than grappling with the lessons of Katrina, Louisiana's representatives are demanding an astonishing $40 billion worth of Corps of Engineers projects in their state. That is 16 times more than the Corps says it would need to protect New Orleans from a Category 5 hurricane.
And they already got more Corps money this year than any other state.
The Louisiana bill is so preposterous that its authors can't possibly expect it to pass; it's just the first round in a process of negotiation. But the risk is that the administration and congressional leaders will accept the $250 billion as a starting point, then declare a victory for fiscal sanity when they bring the number down to, say, $150 billion.
How about $1.50, which is more than they deserve.
Instead, Congress should ignore the Louisiana bill and force itself to think seriously about the sort of reconstruction that makes sense. Katrina has exposed mistakes of policy: water-infrastructure programs that made flooding more likely, and levees and insurance schemes that encouraged human settlement in dangerous places. Now that Congress is getting ready to spend tens of billions on reconstruction, it must seize the opportunity to correct those past errors.

GlitteringEye blogged Presumably you’ve already heard about various Louisiana politicians’ proposal for administering the federal tax bonanza that they’re hoping for to rebuild after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Wouldn’t it be a more prudent use of that kind of money to condemn the affected shoreline, floodplain, and other wetlands and make it into a national forest, wildlife refuge, or something of the sort?

Don Surber blogged f the Washington Post editorial reflects the mood of Americans, then common sense will prevail in the reconstruction

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