Friday, September 30, 2005

Who Wouldn't Pay 6 Bucks For Rice Water

A new theme restaurant in Pnom Penh is in danger of going under.

"We opened two weeks ago, but have only had two Europeans coming here to eat. We don't know how much longer we can go," said 17-year-old manager Hakpry Agnchealy.

Her brother opened the restaurant across the street from Pol Pot's infamous Tuol Sleng "S-21" interrogation and torture center.

"Our grandfather and other relatives lost their lives under Pol Pot's regime," she said, whose brother owns the business. "This is more than just a restaurant. It is to remind us of those who died."

For a mere 6 dollars, diners can order a bowl of rice water as an appetizer, followed by a mixture of corn and leaves.

"Faithful to the Khmer Rouge era, when many victims starved to death after a disastrous attempt to transform the country into a peasant utopia, the waitresses are barefoot and clad in the black pyjamas and red-white scarves of the guerrillas.

Speakers blare out tunes celebrating the 1975 toppling of U.S.-backed president General Lon Nol and the walls are adorned with the baskets, hoes and spades Pol Pot hoped would power his jungle-clad south-east Asian homeland to communist prosperity.

Recognising that many tourists might not be able to stomach such a close brush with the Killing Fields, the "Khmer Rouge Experience Cafe" is also promoting itself to those wishing to shed a few pounds.

"It's good for me to slim down," said Tan, a 40-year-old Malaysian visitor."

I can't help but wonder why nobody ever thought of a holocaust-theme restaurant at Auschwitz, where diner could pay $6.00 for the privilege of being starved.

Apparently, the restaurant is a place that not even a mother could love. "My mother visited me here once, saw the Khmer Rouge style and has never come back again," Hakpry Agnchealy said.

We're All Gonna Die!

The UN has appointed a new "bird flu czar." If the UN is as efficient at preventing pandemics as it has been at preventing wars and genocides, then we're doomed.

I Think We All Knew This Was Coming

If a marriage is not a union between one man and one woman, then it can be anything.

"De Bruijn explained: "A marriage between three persons is not possible in the Netherlands, but a civil union is. We went to the notary in our marriage costume and exchanged rings. We consider this to be just an ordinary marriage."

DeBruijn insisted there is no jealousy between the three partners because Mirjam and Bianca are bisexual.

"I think that with two heterosexual women it would be more difficult," he said, noting he is "100 percent heterosexual."

But don't worry about the "marriage" expanding any further. These people do have standards.

A fourth person would not be allowed in their marriage, de Bruijn said, emphasizing they want to take their marriage obligations seriously, "to be honest and open with each other and not philander."

The Wheels Are Coming Off

Or maybe is just that the air is escaping. Anyway, Err America's decline continues and even accelerates.

Still No Place For Accuracy At The Times

The New York Times continues to flout its much heralded accuracy policy.

[NY Times editor Gail] Collins’ comment came in response to my Monday query about the handling of an error by columnist Frank Rich. That mistake has turned out to be the latest of five appearances that versions of the same “college roommates” error have made in The Times this month. While minor in normal times, the mistake has been made a total of four times by three Op-Ed columnists attacking cronyism—and once in a news article. In all five instances, Joe Allbaugh, President Bush’s 2000-campaign manager and a former head of FEMA, and Michael Brown, his successor at FEMA, were described variously as college roommates, college buddies or college friends.

In fact, the two men didn’t even attend the same college. While they have been friends for 25 years, a spokeswoman for Mr. Allbaugh said they didn’t know each other during their years at different Oklahoma colleges.

Or We Will

Israel say the the civilized nations of the world must put a halt to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"The United States and its allies must act to stop Iran's nuclear programs -- by force if necessary -- because conventional diplomacy will not work, three senior Israeli lawmakers from across the political spectrum warned yesterday.
As a last resort, they said, Israel itself would act unilaterally to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.
Iran will not be deterred "by anything short of a threat of force," said Arieh Eldad, a member of Israel's right-wing National Union Party, part of a delegation of Knesset members visiting Washington this week.
"They won't be stopped unless they are convinced their programs will be destroyed if they continue," he said."

Select Your Expert

I am not an expert on much of anything – although I often play one in this corner on Saturday mornings. I have often pretended to be an expert at geology, economics, sociology, history and biology. I’ve even taken a swipe or two at meteorology. And I feel that I must wear that last hat again. Certainly, I don’t have the credentials of a real meteorologist, like Pocatello’s Scott Stevens, who caught the Japanese red-handed as they tried to destroy the United States with Russian made hurricane generators. Neither have I been sleeping at the Holiday Inn. Instead, I have been listening to such crackpots as Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University, whose annual tropical forecasts are famous for their accuracy, and Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center.
Both of these guys were once pretty smart. As recently as a month ago, Max Mayfield was one of the smartest people in the world because he warned George Bush that Katrina was going to be a devastating hurricane at landfall. Well before the summer’s first swirl of tropical thunderstorms, William Gray predicts the number and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes with startling precision. But, of late, they’ve both been suffering from serious cases of IQ decline. Neither says what the press wants to hear, so the press has gone in search of someone who will serve as its echo chamber.
What they want to hear is that, because George W. Bush has not embraced the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty, hurricanes are increasing in frequency and ferocity. Neither Gray nor Mayfield agree. The formerly brilliant Mayfield was all over Sunday morning talking head programs last weekend pronouncing bunk upon those who claimed that this year’s hurricanes were caused by global warming. We were simply passing through a decades-long period of increased tropical activity, something the world has experienced before. This cycle is independent of global warming.
Now if hurricanes swept off ice fields, glaciers and pack ice I might seek Dr. Maynard Miller’s expertise on tropical storms. He directs the Glaciological and Arctic Sciences Institute. Recently returned from a trip to that notorious hurricane spawning ground, the Juneau Ice Field, Dr. Miller was prompted by a cub reporter to opine that, “My suspicion is that with Katrina itself, very likely the scale was tipped on getting it started as a major, major hurricane by global warming.”
After stating that one shouldn’t jump too quickly to draw the inference he just drew, he dismissed those who disagree as, “probably playing politics.”
This paper noted that: “Hurricanes the intensity of Katrina and Rita have never occurred in the same hurricane season, let alone within a month of each other.”
Bunk. In 1961, both “Carla" and "Hattie,” category 5 storms, formed in the Atlantic basin. The previous year, category 4 hurricanes “Donna” and “Ethel” formed within 9 days of each other. Katrina and Rita both made landfall this year as category 4 storms.
The uncomfortable fact remains that, had George Bush done what Bill Clinton and Al Gore never even attempted, which is get Senate ratification of the treaty, it would not have affected anything. If every signatory to the treaty suddenly adhered to its provisions assiduously, New Orleans would still be submerged.
Without the treaty, global temperatures are predicted to rise by about 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Under the Kyoto Protocols, the atmosphere will rise 2.86 degrees.
If George Bush had strictly adhered to the letter of Kyoto from the first day of his administration, according to the mathematical formulas accepted by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Earth would be about one ten thousandths of a degree cooler than it is today.
As for Katrina and Rita, both achieved their power through an incredible coincidence of bad luck. An entirely natural warm current called a loop current swerved directly into the path of both storms, supplying them the fuel that fed their fury. Had the loop current meandered a little further south, or had either hurricane taken a slightly different path, neither could have fed off the warm waters and neither would have amounted to anything of historic or political consequence.
Once again, we have the press, with a preformed conclusion, running about seeking the endorsement of a credentialed expert, even if his expertise is in ice, rather than fire.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Live Sex Equals Opinion

In Oregon now, public sex equals an opinion. Live sex is now a protected form of free speech according to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Referencing the paragraph, "No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write or print freely on any subject whatever," the court ruled that sex is a form of expression.

Justice Michael Gillette, who wrote the majority opinions in both cases, said it "appears to us to be beyond reasonable dispute that the protection extends to the kinds of expression that a majority of citizens in many communities would dislike -- and even to physical acts, such as nude dancing or other explicit sexual conduct that have an expressive component."

I suppose one could argue that taking a dump in public is also expression. Afterall, one is expressed feces. The same could be said for expressing a bladder.

How To Beat Your Wife

Did you know that there is an actual Islamic guide book describing how to beat your wife? I didn't, but I'm not surprised either.

"In his book "Women in Islam," published four years ago, Mr. Mustafa wrote that verbal warnings followed by a period of sexual inactivity could be used to discipline a disobedient wife.
If that failed, he argued that, according to Islamic law, beatings could be judiciously administered.
"The blows should be concentrated on the hands and feet using a rod that is thin and light so that it does not leave scars or bruises on the body," he wrote."

The Plot Thickens

Former New Orleans police superintendent Eddie Compass told his friends among the police force that he was fired by Ray Nagin after a heated confrontation.
As noted here earlier, the "retirement" came on the heals of a report by Fox News' Tony Snow that the New Orleans police department payroll was padded with non-existant officers.

Sorry. The link to the story about the phantom officers is now dead. No explanation.
This one still works though. (Media Player required)

Silence of the Times

Today's New York Times is loaded with gleeful stories regarding the indictment of Tom Delay. But, the Times has not yet informed its readers of the scandal developing around their own senator, Chuck Schumer.

"Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, a rising star in the party, is considering a Senate bid for the Maryland seat being vacated by Democrat Paul Sarbanes next year. Apparently threatened by the prospect of a strong, popular, black Republican candidate, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee got down and dirty. Two of Schumer's staffers on the committee, including a former top researcher for David Brock's left-wing "think tank," obtained Steele's confidential credit report by using his Social Security number, which they had reportedly culled from court records.

Under federal law, it is illegal to knowingly and willfully obtain a credit report under false pretenses. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act imposes a maximum two-year prison sentence for the crime."

Since discovering that these two had illegally obtained the report, Schumer's office has kept the perps on the payroll and destroyed evidence.

Ironically, Chuckie co-authored legislation stiffening penalties for identity theft. So, it's not as though he's unaware that this sort of thing is illegal.

But of course, like all good liberals, he probably relies on the Times for his news, so he might not even be aware that he's been caught.

Microsoft Could Do Better

While I was working in Central America this past spring, I learned that computers and software are hideously expensive. Microsoft software was 2-4 times as expensive there as here. Computers generally cost about twice as much. Why? I have no idea. But those pricing exesses are undoubtedly slowing economic development and motivating Latin American countries to move toward open source operating systems, such as Linux.
Peru is the latest.

Prosecutorial Nastiness

I firmly believe that Tom Delay's indictment will ultimately do the Democrat more harm than the Republicans. Ronny Earle's history will be put on trial and he can be proven guilty of prosecutorial abuse beyond the shadow of a doubt.

The Democrats used precisely the same accounting maneuver that Delay if accused of, during the same election cycle.

It's too bad that Delay isn't a representative from my home state, Washington. A few years back, our then attorney general and current governor created just such accounting tricks to permit the state's teacher union, the Washington Education Association, evade recently passed Washington state campaign finance laws.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More on New Orleans Phantom Cops

New Orleans if famous for its ghosts. Apparently, some of them were on the police payroll.

Sorry, the link above is now dead. Go here instead.

My, The Rocks That Katrina Overturned, And What Was Found Underneath

Michael Brown might only have scratched the surface of Louisana's dysfunctionality. Tony Snow reports that most of the New Orleans cops who supposedly deserted in the face of Katrina never actually existed in the first place. But, somebody's been cashing their checks. Who?
Will, it's worth noting that New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass abruptly retired just hours after Tony Snow's report.

Don't Know Nothin' 'Bout History

Did you know that cavemen lived in cars?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I Thought Everything Was Bush's Fault

" Police Superintendent Eddie Compass resigned Tuesday after four turbulent weeks in which the police force was wracked by desertions and disorganization in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

''I served this department for 26 years and have taken it through some of the toughest times of its history. Every man in a leadership position must know when it's time to hand over the reins,'' Compass said at a news conference. ''I'll be going on in another direction that God has for me.''

As the city slipped into anarchy during the first few days after Katrina, the 1,700-member police department itself suffered a crisis. Many officers deserted their posts, and some were accused of joining in the looting that broke out. Two officers Compass described as friends committed suicide."

This seems to corroborate what Michael Brown has been saying.

"My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional."

Pathology Of The Academy

Victor David Hansen sees the decline of higher education manifested in the degradation of the university president.

"Whether or not you agreed with them, university presidents used to be dignified figures on the American scene. They often were distinguished scholars, capable of bringing their own brand of independent thinking to bear on the operation and reform of their institutions. Above all, they took seriously the university's mission to seek and transmit the Truth, and thereby to strengthen the free society that made such inquiry possible.

But it has been a long time since Woodrow Wilson (at Princeton), Robert Hutchens (at Chicago) or James Bryant Conant (at Harvard) set the tone for American campuses. Over the past year, four university presidents have been in the news--from Harvard; the University of California, Santa Cruz; the University of Colorado; and the University of California, Berkeley. In each case, the curtains have briefly parted, allowing the public to glimpse the campus wizards working the levers behind the scenes, and confirming that something has gone terribly wrong at our best public and private universities.

Hypocrisy, faddishness, arrogance and intellectual cowardice are among the ailments of the American university today, and it is hard to say whether even a great president could save higher education from its now institutionalized vices. Amid the variety of scandals afflicting the campuses, the one constant is how the rhetoric of "diversity" trumps almost all other considerations--and how race and gender can be manipulated by either the college president or the faculty in ways that have nothing to do with educating America's youth, but everything to do with personal aggrandizement in an increasingly archaic and unexamined enclave."

The BBC Has a Competitor

Al Qaida now does it own news broadcasts.

An Internet video newscast called the Voice of the Caliphate was broadcast for the first time on Monday, purporting to be a production of al Qaeda and featuring an anchorman who wore a black ski mask and an ammunition belt.

The anchorman, who said the report would appear once a week, presented news about the Gaza Strip and Iraq and expressed happiness about recent hurricanes in the United States. A copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, was placed by his right hand and a rifle affixed to a tripod was pointed at the camera.

How will Reuters deal with the competition?

Cindy Sheehan and George Galloway's Heroes at Work

Terrorists in Iraq yesterday dragged five Shi'ite Muslim schoolteachers and their driver into a classroom, lined them up against a wall and gunned them down, an illustration of sectarian divisions ahead of a crucial constitutional referendum.

Yes, these are the people who would end up running Iraq if the Cindy's, George's and Democrats of the world had their way.

Never Underestimate the Power of Vanity

As is usually the case, narcissism is the biggest motivator, even in anti-war movements.

Cindy Sheehan: "I am watching CNN and it is 100 percent [Hurricane] Rita. Even though it is a little wind and a little rain, it is bad, but there are other things going on in this country today ... and in the world."

And, "There are signs, in fact, that Mrs. Sheehan's celebrity, which waxed through the summer news doldrums, might be waning. The substantial book and movie deals that she expected after her well-chronicled peace vigil in the name of her son Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004, apparently have not been sealed."

It Depends Upon What The Meaning of "Is" Is

The New York Times descends into absolute Clintonism to defend itself from charges of lying. On September 5, New York Times reporter Alessandra Stanley accused Fox News' Geraldo Rivera of nudging an Air Force rescue worker out of the way so his network's camera could record his heroic rescue of an elderly woman.

Now, Geraldo does have a well earned reputation for nacissism that is consistent with this story, but, it simply didn't happen. And, Fox News had the video to prove it. Rivera demanded and correction and an apology, but the Times refused, in flagrant violation of its much heralded, but often ignored accuracy policy.

Geraldo continued to defend himself. Fox News replayed the exculpatory video over and over, the blogosphere was on the case, and so, the Times issued the following at the very bottom of its ironically misnamed "corrections" page.

"The TV Watch column on Sept. 5 discussed broadcast journalists' undisguised outrage at the failings of Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts. It said reporters had helped stranded victims because no police officers or rescue workers were around, and added, "Fox's Geraldo Rivera did his rivals one better: yesterday, he nudged an Air Force rescue worker out of the way so his camera crew could tape him as he helped lift an older woman in a wheelchair to safety."

The editors understood the "nudge" comment as the television critic's figurative reference to Mr. Rivera's flamboyant intervention. Mr. Rivera complained, but after reviewing a tape of his broadcast, The Times declined to publish a correction.

Numerous readers, however - now including Byron Calame, the newspaper's public editor, who also scrutinized the tape - read the comment as a factual assertion. The Times acknowledges that no nudge was visible on the broadcast."

I report, you deride.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Will Chuckie Shumer Protect Us From Ideologues Like This?

John Roberts was compelled to convince senate Democrats that he was not an ideologue who would use the court to advance his personal political agenda.
This distinguishes him from the Democrats' court darling, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"I will take enlightenment wherever I can find it...I don't want to stop at a national boundary."

In other words, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will find support for her ideological agenda wherever she can find it, even if it is nowhere in the law of the United States or the US Constitution.

Gimmee Gimmee

When does charity degenerate into looting? When Louisiana "public servants" get involved.

"Louisiana's congressional delegation has requested $40 billion for Army Corps of Engineers projects in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, about 10 times the annual Corps budget for the entire nation, or 16 times the amount the Corps has said it would need to protect New Orleans from a Category 5 hurricane.

Louisiana Sens. David Vitter (R) and Mary Landrieu (D) tucked the request into their $250 billion Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery Act, the state's opening salvo in the scramble for federal dollars.

The bill, unveiled last week, would create a powerful "Pelican Commission" controlled by Louisiana residents that would decide which Corps projects to fund, and ordered the commission to consider several controversial navigation projects that have nothing to do with flood protection. The Corps section of the Louisiana bill, which was supported by the entire state delegation, was based on recommendations from a "working group" dominated by lobbyists for ports, shipping firms, energy companies and other corporate interests."

The Corps of Engineers state that it would cost $2.5 billion to upgrade the levees to endure a category 5 hurricane, even stronger than Katrina. But, Louisiana is demanding $40 billion. I suppose it's not unreasonable to expect that 94% of Louisiana spending would be diverted to graft. That's probably about par for Louisiana, which has always set corruption above the public good.

More Fuel

Of course, we can't simply keep the terrorists in Guantanamo forever, and we certainly can't turn them loose either.
So it was with interest that I read General Schoomaker's words this morning.

"I personally believe this is a very important undertaking that we're under and it's very important to the future security of our nation that we be successful in this. I think people are being very shortsighted that don't understand it. I have devoted a great [deal] of my life in fighting these cats and this is real."

So, from this, I see an opportunity to rid this world of these vermin and reduce our own depency on fossil fuels.

Marionettes on Money Strings

We are becoming a one party system thanks to McCain-Feingold. Now that campaign money is out of the control of the parties and is administered by 527's, the Democratic Party is necessarily beholden to a few, kook zillionaires. As a result, to keep the money flowing, the Democrats have to speak the words put into their mouths by these lunatics. The rich lunatics like it, but it's not a winner with the people who cast the ballots.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

George Galloway's Hero At Work

George Galloway is a big fan of Syrian dictator Bashir Assad.
I suppose this is what he finds for admirable.

Dolphin Of Death On The Loose

The US Navy has a battalian of specially trained killer dolphins, armed with toxic dart guns, for underwater warfare against scuba diving terrorists. And one of them was lost after Hurricane Katrina.

No, I'm not making this up.

Darling Victims

Will Berbers ever achieve the same victim status among the fashionable elite as the Palestinians, or American Indians?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bush Was Right. Ray Nagin Was Wrong (Again)

It's official.

The Opiate of the People

I guess that, when your official state religion is radical Islam, you have to look elsewhere for your opiates.
In Iran, they turn to opium.

"Heroin, a powerful derivative of opium, is taking hold among young people whose path to addiction typically stems from disappointment in the job market. A government poll shows almost 80 percent of Iranians detect a direct link between unemployment and drug addiction. Iran's government regularly fails to produce the 1 million jobs needed each year to accommodate the new workers entering the labor force from a baby boom still coming of age."

Who Needs Boeing? Washington Has Dead Cats.

I take it all back. We here in Washington are truly fortunate to have Christine Gregoire as our governor. She is a woman with a nose for opportunity. And her bloodhounding skills were never more in evidence than this last week. On the very day that she chose to announce her plans to establish Washington as a center for biofuels production, Spokane’s animal shelter bemoaned the fact that it had too many cats and was forced to euthanize a great many of them. These two news reports would have meant nothing, except that on that very day, CNN reported that a German inventor had developed a process for distilling diesel fuel from dead cats.
America has too little energy. Spokane has too many cats. Some guy in Germany says he that can turn cats into auto fuel. Jackpot! With Gregoire, Washington has all the pieces in place for an economic boom. We can become the Saudi Arabia of dead cats.
According to Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services director Nancy Hill, "The average life of a cat coming in the shelter is one to seven days. We have way more coming in than going out. I feel like … rerouting traffic to make everyone adopt a cat."
This is where Christian Koch steps out of his Saxony, Germany beer hall and into Washington’s economic future. He says that he can make diesel fuel out of a mixture of household garbage and road-kill cats. "I drive my normal diesel-powered car with this mixture," said Koch. "I have gone 170,000 km (106,000 miles) without a problem."
Do the math. The disparity between the number of cats coming into the shelter and the number going out to adoption that Ms. Hill now bemoans would translate into fill ups and big profits. It needs just a little nudge from the governor.
And, Mr Koch says that he can produce his biofuel for about 30 cents per liter, or about $1.14 per gallon. That represents a considerable saving over the three bucks most of us are paying now.
With Mr. Koch’s ingenuity, Ms. Hill won’t have to reroute traffic to encourage cat adoptions. Traffic will reroute itself if drivers can save money filling their cars’ tanks.
I’m sure a lot of people would happily toss a few cats into the mix to lower their gas bills. I assume that Mr. Koch’s process is not species dependent. On the streets around my house here in Pullman, I could certainly find and contribute a few flattened squirrels to the brew. And, if I were permitted to toss in a few thousand live ones into the cauldron, I could make my fair city a far better place.
Given the sudden influx of problem bears into the Quad Cities area of late, we might be able to fill a few gas tanks with Ursus americanus.
Unfortunately, Ms. Gregoire’s vision gets cloudy when her populist demagoguery gets going on big government high octane. At the very same press conference where she promoted her biofuels initiative, she accused the oil industry of price gouging and threatened them with an investigation. Her short sightedness is that, for biofuels to have the slightest chance of succeeding, the cost of fossil fuels would have to be high. Would she be complaining if the products of her dead cat generators were commanding $3.00 per gallon? Probably not. Especially if the people making gazillions of dollars on biofuel were thanking the governor for her help with generous contributions to her political action committees.
But alas, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. It seems that German media have the same commitment to accuracy as CBS or the New York Times exhibit in this country. It turns out that the reporter who authored the story about dead cat biofuels made it up. Mr. Kock’s biofuel formula includes no dead cats, or any other animal, although he allows that an occasional toad might have inadvertently fallen into his generator.
Not to worry though. I have no doubt that duplicate and fraudulent King County ballots can make a decent diesel too. I’m sure we have enough of those left over from the 2004 election that, when mixed with Pullman’s squirrels, will generate sufficient energy to keep the lights burning in Washington for a long, long time.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What Makes This Depressing Is That It's True

Now This Is Something You Should Worry About

Global warming? Hurricanes. That's nothing. We need to start worrying about bird flu.

"It's coming," says Dr. Lee Jong-wook, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), who urges intensified planning now. "When the pandemic starts, it will simply be too late."
The latest avian-flu strain, blamed by WHO for 63 deaths in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, has spread to poultry in Russia and Kazakhstan and will almost certainly show up in Western Europe as well, international health specialists predict. Tens of millions of birds, mostly chickens and ducks, have been slaughtered in Asia to prevent spread of the animal strain.
WHO researchers say between 7 million and 100 million humans worldwide could die in such an outbreak. Dr. Michael Osterholm, head of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, predicts it could kill at least 1.7 million Americans. Worldwide, he foresees at least 180 million deaths and possibly 300 million.

North Korea Agrees to Reforms

At last, real progress.

Shedding Moderate Clothing

Of late, Hillary Clinton seems to be giving up on her experiment with moderation. Yesterday, she appeared and spoke at a environmental extremist event and today, she's planning to pow wow with Mama Moonbat, Cindy Sheehan.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

More Texas Buses

They look more useful than these buses in New Orleans.

Texas Bus Drivers Must Be More Reliable Tha Louisiana's

Harry Reid's Monumental Foolishness

Harry Reid seems to be laying the groundwork for future Democratic defeats.

"The president is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary."

If the nation is ever foolish enough to elect a Democratic president again, Republicans would be well advised to recall those words and throw them back into the Democrats' faces.

Do Democrats really want the American confirmation system to move in that direction? Republicans may still be in the majority the next time a Democratic president nominates a justice. Is it now okay for them to vote against a person who -- as Mr. Reid put it of Judge Roberts -- is "an excellent lawyer" and "a thoughtful, mainstream judge" who may make "a fine Supreme Court justice" simply because the nominee doesn't represent their ideal? When that day comes, and Democrats cry foul, remember what Mr. Reid said about how little deference he believes he owes Mr. Bush concerning Judge Roberts.

The Next Kook Theory

Let's see now, Robert Kennedy thinks God sent Katrina to Mississippi to punish governor Haley Barbour.

Louis Farakhan thinks that George Bush blew up the New Orleans levees to kill black people.

Now, we learn that the Japanese Mafia created Katrina to avenge the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Oddly though, only the third one is universally derided by the MSM.

It's All Bush's Fault

Global warming on Mars.

Hat tip, the Blogfather.

What Sort Of Fools Do They Think We Are?

Harry Reid, who as Senate Minority Leader is opposing the nomination of the eminently qualified John Roberts, is asking Bush to "go slow" on replacing Sandra Day O'Connor.
Of course, what he hopes is that he can stall for a couple of years so that maybe, just maybe, a Democratic president can choose her replacement.

When one considers the reprehensible behavior of Democrats during the Roberts confirmation process, there's really no reason for Bush to cooperate with Democrats at all.

Penguin Wars

They're just birds! Dammit!

At Last, A Lasting Legacy For Clinton

Clinton can stop trying to rewrite his own history and stop campaigning for UN grand high poobah. His legacy will now be right where it belongs.

"A rubber company in China has begun marketing condoms under the brand names Clinton and Lewinsky, apparently seeking to exploit the White House affair that led to the impeachment of America's 42nd president.

Spokesman Liu Wenhua of the Guangzhou Rubber Group said the company was handing out 100,000 free Clinton and Lewinsky condoms as part of a promotion to raise consumer awareness of its new products.

He said that after the promotion ends, the Clinton condoms will go on sale in southern China for 29.8 Yuan ($3.72) for a box of 12, while the Lewinsky model will be priced at 18.8 Yuan ($2.35) for the same quantity.

"The Clinton condom will be the top of our line," he said. "The Lewinsky condom is not quite as good."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Scientists now say that curses were just about the human species first words.

Not only that, it's good for you: Yet as much as bad language can deliver a jolt, it can help wash away stress and anger. In some settings, the free flow of foul language may signal not hostility or social pathology, but harmony and tranquillity.

"Studies show that if you're with a group of close friends, the more relaxed you are, the more you swear," Dr. Burridge said. "It's a way of saying: 'I'm so comfortable here I can let off steam. I can say whatever I like.' "

Evidence also suggests that cursing can be an effective means of venting aggression and thereby forestalling physical violence.

With the help of a small army of students and volunteers, Timothy B. Jay, a professor of psychology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams and the author of "Cursing in America" and "Why We Curse," has explored the dynamics of cursing in great detail.

The investigators have found, among other things, that men generally curse more than women, unless said women are in a sorority, and that university provosts swear more than librarians or the staff members of the university day care center.

After listening to rap and rock stars, one wonders if evolution is a one way street.


Kim Jong Il is a liar.
Does Warren Christopher know this yet?

North Korea - Counterfeiters, Drug Smugglers

They can't grow food, so they do what criminals do best, smuggler weapons, drugs and print counterfeit C-notes.

"North Korea's government is producing high-quality counterfeit $100 bills and is working with criminal groups in China to sell the fake U.S. money internationally, U.S. officials say.
Some details of the production of what federal officials call "supernotes" were disclosed after arrests last month in several U.S. cities of people linked to a major Asian crime ring trafficking in fake money, arms, drugs and cigarettes."

Climate of Fear

Dan Rather says that newsrooms are frightened places. Who's scaring these cub reporters?

"[P]oliticians "of every persuasion" had gotten better at applying pressure on the conglomerates that own the broadcast networks. He called it a "new journalism order."

He still doesn't get it. Journalists, including Dan Rather have grown fearful of being caught lying. In the new media climate, people like Dan Rather no longer have monopoly on information. Once upon a time, Dan Rather could have gotten away with his lies. But today, the new media gets to fact check.

Truth equals fear.

It's particularly interesting that Rather was so complimentary of Hurricane Katrina coverage - especially since it has since come out that so much of it was inaccurate.

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

"It's been one of television news' finest moments," Rather said of the Katrina coverage. He likened it to the coverage of President Kennedy's assassination in 1963."

First of all, it's well established that Dan Rather famously lied in his reporting from Dallas on the day of the assassination.

Similarly, reporter lied about Katrina, and even the New York Times and the Washington Post have ripped media coverage.

Monday, September 19, 2005

What's Good For Democrats, Is Good For The USA

Bill Clinton actually believes that Hurricane Katrina will end up being a net positive because it will inspire more people to vote Democratic.

What a cynical sicko!

The Enzyte Legislature

According to the Financial Times, German voters elected a "hung" parliament.

It's About Time

The groundswell to impeach Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has a website.
Give generously. Aside from Ray Nagin, nobody else was more responsible for the tragedy in New Orleans.

Forget It Mama Moonbat, The MSM Is Done With You

Only the New York Times is still trying to prop up Cindy Sheehan these days.

And now, Mama Moonbat is threatening to toss Saint Hilary out of office if she doesn't turn against the war soon.

Speaking in front of more than 500 supporters in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Ms. Sheehan, speaking of Senator Clinton, said, "She knows that the war is a lie but she is waiting for the right time to say it."

Then, as the crowd cheered, she issued a challenge to Senator Clinton, saying, "You say it or you are losing your job."

It Will Now Cost You To Get Lied To

Even though the New York Times ombudsman admits that Paul Krugman is a liar, it will now cost you to read his drivel.

Would You Trust Lunatics Like This With Pointed Scissors?

He wants a nuclear bomb.

"During his 25 minutes Saturday, [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad delivered what began as a sermon praising the prophets of Islam, Christianity and Judaism and then descended into anti-American vitriol, conspiracy theories and threats.

He expressed doubt that the deadly attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, were really carried out by terrorists. He said Americans had brought the devastation of Hurricane Katrina upon themselves and that the U.S. military was purposely poisoning its own troops in Iraq.

There were quotes from the Koran, angry finger pointing and attacks on Israel interlaced with talk of justice and tranquility. There was a staunch defense of Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy, and to enrich uranium to fuel that program. There were no new proposals and little detail about old ones that were reoffered."

The rump Axis of Evil is also the Axis of the Insane.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

What? He's Not A Thug?

John Bolton is winning fans at the UN.

Much of the positive reaction to Bolton has come from him not living up to his negative reviews.

"People were very cautious, to say the least, because of his reputation as a tough guy who didn't like the U.N.," said Abdallah Baali, the ambassador of Algeria, who said he knew Bolton from working with him in Africa. "In fact, I was the only one who said that Bolton was an intelligent man who could be creative and constructive and wouldn't go around bullying delegations."

Instead of strong-arming delegations, Bolton won points for glad-handing them, making it a point to make contact with all 32 envoys in the talks.

"I was struck by this almost hysterical notion of what having Bolton in the room would mean and how that would work out," said a European ambassador, who said he could comment on a colleague only anonymously.

"Quite frankly," he said, "not even one-third of what was feared about John Bolton, his style, his approach, the way he would work, actually came through in the room. All I saw was an ambassador who did his work and did it well."

Will his critics apologize?

Corruption - A Racial Right?

One worm forced into the light when the New Orleans flood turned over rocks was Congressman William Jefferson.

His corruption is obvious. His defense is predictably racial.

"This is the new Jesse Jackson-style twist on Louisiana's tradition of crooked populism: if pols get caught out helping themselves to money through misuse of office while claiming to help the downtrodden, they blame their troubles on racism. Huey Long played the socialist card, saying the powerful didn't want him to help the poor; now the William Jeffersons play the race card, saying the powerful don't want them to help the black. Yet William Jefferson's blatant use of public resources intended for the distressed underclass to fish a laptop out of his posh house, which was reported this week, is one more illustration of malfeasance by local pols that gives the lie to their accusations against the federal government for its supposed indifference to the fate of New Orleans blacks."

There's Nothing To Eat, Nothing To Drink

Come on home says New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

The water's undrinkable. There's no food. No work. But, Ray Nagin want to bring 180,000 residents back into New Orleans now.

No doubt the disaster will be Bush's fault.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Thank God for Eleanor Clift

Eleanor Clift channels the Democratic Party perfectly. Katrina relief is not about helping people. It's about seizing politic advantage.
"The White House hopes to repair the president’s image by throwing money at the hurricane zone. Progressives need to come up with an alternative vision ahead of the ’06 election."

Eleanor needs a lecture from Foamy the Squirrel.

Washington's Gregoire Pushes Biofuels

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire sees high fuel prices as an opportunity for the state to become a world leader in biofuels.

Sorry Chrissy, this guy's way ahead of you.

Update: Oh well, it was a good story, but as it turns out, the German MSM maintains the same standards for journalistic integrity that the US press does. The author of the dead cats for biofuel story made that part up.

Pay Attention To Me!

The ultimate narcissist, Bill Clinton just can't bear not seeing his mug on the tube.

A Bad Night For Democrats,er, I Mean the MSM

Actually both. The MSM has been carrying Democrat spears for the last couple of weeks, blaming Bush for everything regarding hurricane Katrina.
However, in their latest attempt at Bush bashing, they discovered that there is one segment of the population who haven't been swayed by their lies - the actual victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"Not one of the six people interviewed on camera had a bad word for Bush -- despite Reynolds' best efforts. Reynolds goaded: "Was there anything hard to believe that he said, that you thought, well, that's good rhetoric, but, you know, the proof is in the pudding?"
Brenda Marshall answered, "No, I didn't," prompting Reynolds to marvel to anchor Ted Koppel, "Very little skepticism here."
Reynolds pressed another woman, "Did you feel the president was sincere tonight?"
She affirmed, "Yes, he was."
Reynolds soon wondered who they held culpable for the levee breaks. Unlike the national media, London did not blame Bush-mandated budget cuts: "They've been allocated federal funds to fix the levee system, and it never got done. I fault the mayor of our city personally. I really do."

Clearly, these people have not been getting their news from the MSM>

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Energy Crisis Solved!!!!!

Inventor fuels cars with dead cats.

A German inventor has angered animal rights activists with his answer to fighting the soaring cost of fuel -- dead cats.

Christian Koch, 55, from the eastern county of Saxony, told Bild newspaper that his organic diesel fuel -- a homemade blend of garbage, run-over cats and other ingredients -- is a proven alternative to normal consumer diesel.

"I drive my normal diesel-powered car with this mixture," Koch said. "I have gone 170,000 km (106,000 miles) without a problem."

Don't put a tiger in your tank. Put a pussy.

Blanco's Incompetence Is All Bush's Fault

Amazing!!!! Absolutely amazing. The New York Times publishes an interview with former FEMA director Michael Brown in which he places the blame for the New Orleans disaster squarely on Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, and the Times still manages to make it all Bush's fault.

"Mr. Brown's version of events raises questions about whether the White House and Mr. Chertoff acted aggressively enough in the response. New Orleans convulsed in looting and violence after the hurricane, and troops did not arrive in force to restore order until five days later."

Why this interview doesn't raise questions about the role that local government dysfunctionality had to do with the disaster can only be explained by the preformed conclusions of the Times.

Pompous Frauds

Our lawmakers will lecture us on how much we should sacrifice for the victims of Katrina. But, not one of them will give up a pork project in his own district.

" Sen. Tom Coburn, playing his familiar role of skunk at the Sunday school picnic, is arguing that massive federal spending in the wake of Hurricane Katrina must entail some sacrifice. By that he meant the pork so dear to his colleagues. That has evoked an icy response, not only from Congress but from the White House as well."

Bush Utters the "C" Word

George Bush spoke the forbidden word at the UN yesterday. I just wish he would same something about that problem in Louisiana.

Well, If The MSM Won't Do It

Bloggers push the Err America scandal investigation.

Of course, where would we be if bloggers had not pushed the UN Oil for Food investigation, or if we hadn't worked the CBS National Guard memo stories. Or for that matter, would anybody had learned of the state and local shortcomings in hurricane response.

Now It's Ray's Turn

Guess what? Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco is not perfect. After blaming Bush for everything for the last two weeks, she has finally admitted shortcoming in the state's response.

"We all know that there were failures at every level of government: state, federal and local. At the state level, we must take a careful look at what went wrong and make sure it never happens again. The buck stops here, and as your governor, I take full responsibility."

She also promised that she would alter Louisiana politics in the future. "I assure the Congress and every American taxpayer that every nickel will be properly spent," Mrs. Blanco said.

Now that would be a first.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Does Al-Reuters Really Expect Us To Believe This?

Al-Reuters actually expects us to believe that this is a real photo.

At Least NBC Is Figuring It Out

It's two weeks overdue, but one major network is finally discovering that it's not all Bush's fault. The route problem is local corruption.

"The unveiling of the Mardi Gras Fountain was celebrated this year in typical New Orleans style. The cost of $2.4 million was paid by the Orleans Levee Board, the state agency whose main job is to protect the levees surrounding New Orleans — the same levees that failed after Katrina hit.

"They misspent the money," says Billy Nungesser, a former top Republican official who was briefly president of the Levee Board. "Any dollar they wasted was a dollar that could have went in the levees."

America's Average IQ Just Went Down

Britney Spears had a baby boy.

Let's hope I'm wrong, but genetics supports my pessimism.

Kathleen Blanco, Certified Moron

Why does anybody pay the slightest attention to Kathleen Blanco? This should seal the deal on her moron credentials.

Critical paragraphs: "The updated Louisiana death toll was released as Gov. Kathleen Blanco lashed out at the federal government, accusing it of moving too slowly in recovering the bodies. The dead "deserve more respect than they have received," she said.

However, Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman David Passey said the state asked to take over body recovery last week. "The collection of bodies is not normally a FEMA responsibility," he said.

Ted Rall: Charitable Giving is for Suckers

The conscience of liberalism snears at America's good heart.

"Hurricane Katrina has prompted Americans to donate more than $700 million to charity, reports the Chronicle of Philanthropy. So many suckers, so little foresight."

NBC Finally Gets It

NBC places the blame for the evacuation failures directly on the shoulders of New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin.

Great Moments In Palestinian Self Rule

I thought that the Israelis made a mistake when they demolished Jewish settlements in Gaza after evacuating the region. I thought that it would be instructive for the entire world when the Palestinians predictably trashed the places. I thought that it might have been useful to post before and after photos.

Well, the Palestinians found another opportunity to live down to my expectations. Israel left behind a system of greenhouses that were meant to promote economic development.

"Palestinians looted dozens of greenhouses on Tuesday, walking off with irrigation hoses, water pumps and plastic sheeting in a blow to fledgling efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip.

American Jewish donors had bought more than 3,000 greenhouses from Israeli settlers in Gaza for $14 million last month and transferred them to the Palestinian Authority. Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who brokered the deal, put up $500,000 of his own cash.

Palestinian police stood by helplessly Tuesday as looters carted off materials from greenhouses in several settlements, and commanders complained they did not have enough manpower to protect the prized assets. In some instances, there was no security and in others, police even joined the looters, witnesses said.
Story continues below ? advertisement

“We need at least another 70 soldiers. This is just a joke,” said Taysir Haddad, one of 22 security guards assigned to Neve Dekalim, formerly the largest Jewish settlement in Gaza. “We’ve tried to stop as many people as we can, but they’re like locusts.”

The failure of the security forces to prevent scavenging and looting in the settlements after Israel’s troop pullout Monday raised new concerns about Gaza’s future."

The Virgins Can Wait

Reportly, Osama bin Laden is very ill and is seeking medical attention.

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is in poor health and is seeking medical attention, the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat said on Wednesday, quoting a U.S. officer in Afghanistan.

"Osama bin Laden is trying to obtain medical attention," Colonel Don McGraw, director of operations at the Combined Forces Command in Kabul, told a group of British reporters, including one from al-Hayat, it said.

"He (McGraw) refused to say what the al-Qaida leader is suffering from or whether it is the same kidney disease which Pakistani officials said in the past he was suffering from," the newspaper added.

Paradise can wait.

Update: US military denies report.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Who Needs Attitude

Americans know enough to expect hateful bile from stars. So, Americans opened their wallets for Katrina flood victims, but turned off the big, star studded telethon.

At Last, Good News For Democrats

Hurricane Katrina was good news for Democrats after all. For a while it was looking bad there for a while as it became clear that body counts were going to fall short of expectations. But it turns out that stacks of dead bodies were not required for the Democrats absurd lie that Bush wanted blacks to die has gained traction anywyay.

"Attitudes toward Bush and the government's overall response to Hurricane Katrina fracture along clear racial lines. Nearly three in four whites doubted the federal government would have responded more quickly to those trapped in New Orleans if they had been wealthier and white rather than poorer and black, the poll found. But an equal share of blacks disagreed, saying help would have come sooner if the victims had been more affluent whites."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bush Failed to Consider Louisiana's Incompetence?

In what I would have to classify as the strangest anti-Bush piece yet, ABC News notes the dysfunctional incapacity of Louisiana and New Orleans to deal with emergencies and is actually criticizing the Bush administration for failing to take that incompetence into account in its own disaster plannning.

""What troubles me the most is the fact that they knew the potential impact, knew the potential loss of life, knew how many people would be stranded," said Jerry Hauer, a former emergency management official. "And they did not use every resource humanly possible to get people out of the city."

ABC News has learned that the disaster plan was sent to FEMA and Louisiana state officials this past January after a hurricane simulation in July 2004. In this simulation, a Category 3 hurricane named Pam slammed New Orleans with sustained winds of 120 mph. Water from Lake Pontchartrain poured over the levees and the entire city was quickly under water.

"The fact that the exercise predicted this kind of an outcome makes this response even more, just incompetent, at all levels of government" Hauer said.

Under the disaster plan, preparations for the storm should have begun at least three days before it made landfall. With Katrina, New Orleans ordered a mandatory evacuation 20 hours before the storm struck. FEMA officials were supposed to have critical resources in place before landfall.

When one figures that it takes a few days to move all that stuff, FEMA would have had do know where the hurricane would hit about a week in advance. In other words, FEMA would have had to anticipate a direct hit on New Orleans before Katrina hit Florida as a category 1.

And Yet, Mosques Stand Unmolested In Israel

The religion of peace strikes again.

"Attacking what they saw as symbols of hated occupation, youths set ablaze several of the houses of worship left behind in 21 settlements evacuated last month under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to disengage from conflict.

Palestinians were furious when Sharon's cabinet decided to leave synagogues intact, under pressure from rabbis whose support could be key in a power struggle. Adding to tensions, Israel demanded on Monday that the buildings be preserved."

Parade of Failed Democrats

Showing again the originality and imagination that won him the title of latest loser, John Kerry followed Al Gore to the hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast so he could hotdog by personally delivering relief supplies.

"Sen. John Kerry flew south Monday with a planeload of supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims largely donated by Massachusetts businesses.

On board the UPS Boeing 757 were 5,000 bottles of baby formula donated by Children's Hospital, 5,000 pairs of sneakers from New Balance and an array of cleaning supplies from the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans.

In addition to supplying the plane, flight crew and fuel, UPS also donated trucks and drivers to transport the goods to Logan International Airport and then to disperse them to Baton Rogue and Lafayette, La. The list of requested supplies was given to Kerry by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Ray Nagin: My Biggest Mistake - I'm Stupid!

From today's "Meet the Press."

MR. RUSSERT: What's the biggest mistake you made?

MAYOR NAGIN: My biggest mistake is having a fundamental assumption that in the state of Louisiana, with an $18 billion budget, in the country of the United States that can move whole fleets of aircraft carriers across the globe in 24 hours, that my fundamental assumption was get as many people to safety as possible, and that the cavalry would be coming within two to three days, and they didn't come.

Where the hell did Ray Nagin get the idea that we could move a fleet of aircraft carriers across the globe in 24 hours? He must have learned math in the New Orleans public school system.

Plus, isn't it possible that FEMA et al assumed that the mayor of New Orleans was smart enough to use his city's 2500 buses to help evacuate people?

Turns out, that's not his fault either.

MR. RUSSERT: "We've all see this photograph of these submerged school buses. Why did you not declare, order, a mandatory evacuation on Friday, when the president declared an emergency, and have utilized those buses to get people out?

MAYOR NAGIN: You know, Tim, that's one of the things that will be debated. There has never been a catastrophe in the history of New Orleans like this. There has never been any Category 5 storm of this magnitude that has hit New Orleans directly. We did the things that we thought were best based upon the information that we had. Sure, here was lots of buses out there. But guess what? You can't find drivers that would stay behind with a Category 5 hurricane, you know, pending down on New Orleans. We barely got enough drivers to move people on Sunday, or Saturday and Sunday, to move them to the Superdome. We barely had enough drivers for that. So sure, we had the assets, but the drivers just weren't available.

MR. RUSSERT: But, Mr. Mayor, if you read the city of New Orleans' comprehensive emergency plan-- and I've read it and I'll show it to you and our viewers--it says very clearly, "Conduct of an actual evacuation will be the responsibility of the mayor of New Orleans. The city of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas. Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require specific life-saving assistance. Additional personnel will be recruited to assist in evacuation procedure as needed. Approximately 100,000 citizens of New Orleans do not have means of personal transportation."

It was your responsibility. Where was the planning? Where was the preparation? Where was the execution?"

Where are the buses?

While Kathleen Blanco was demanding that George Bush produce buses to evacuate New Orleans, she had at her fingertips 21,000 buses.
Hat tip, Glenn Reynolds.

Sucking Up To The Religion of Peace

Advisors to Tony Blair are encouraging him to scrap Holocaust Memorial Day because it is offensive to Muslims.
Instead, they want to create "peace in our time," by replacing it with a "Genocide Day that would recognise the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths."

Winston Churchill wouldn't just turn in his grave, he might climb out of it to save the nation again.

Al Franken, Lying Liar

A month ago Al Franken claimed ignorance of the transfers. "I didn't know anything about this until late last week," he told Air America listeners on Aug. 8. The network's brass echoed this: Air America CEO Danny Goldberg told the New York Sun this week that the "on-air talent" has "never had any responsibility for this loan." This seemed plausible at the time, since no one expects the talent to be arranging finances, so in our Aug. 3 editorial on the subject we gave Mr. Franken a pass.
Regrettably, it appears we shouldn't have. In light of documents that surfaced last week, it looks to be the case that as of November 2004, and possibly earlier, Mr. Franken knew the amount of money, the money's origins and the dates the transfers occurred. This came to light after a settlement agreement between former and current owners of Air America -- a document which details the Gloria Wise transfers -- was leaked to Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney, who promptly posted the document on their Web sites. The document shows that Mr. Franken signed off on the settlement, and did so in the presence of a notary public, no less.

Read the rest of the sordid tale here.

What? You Mean It Wasn't All Bush's Fault After All?

Of course, once the truth gets out, the Washington Post has to dilute it with lots of other nonsense and gratuitous criticisms of the president, but if you're willing to suffer through a long, tedious piece, you will at last find these nuggets of truth that the blogosphere has known for a long time.

"The only thing I can say to them is I hope they have a hotel room, and it's a least on the third floor and up," Nagin said. "Unfortunately, unless they can rent a car to get out of town, which I doubt they can at this point, they're probably in the position of riding the storm out."

In fact, while the last regularly scheduled train out of town had left a few hours earlier, Amtrak had decided to run a "dead-head" train that evening to move equipment out of the city. It was headed for high ground in Macomb, Miss., and it had room for several hundred passengers. "We offered the city the opportunity to take evacuees out of harm's way," said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black. "The city declined."

So the ghost train left New Orleans at 8:30 p.m., with no passengers on board."

"But he never mentioned the numbers that had haunted experts for years, the estimated 100,000 city residents without their own transportation. And he never mentioned that the state's comprehensive disaster plan, written in 2000 and posted on a state Web site, called for buses to take people out of the city once the governor declared a state of emergency.

In reality, Nagin's advisers never intended to follow that plan -- and knew many residents would stay behind. "We always knew we did not have the means to evacuate the city," said Terry Ebbert, the sharp-tongued city director of emergency management."

"By late Sunday, as millions of people in the Gulf region sought a safe place to hunker down, hundreds of shelter beds upstate lay empty. "We could have taken a lot more," said Joe Becker, senior vice president for preparedness and response at the Red Cross. "The problem was transportation." The New Orleans plan for public buses that would take people upstate was never implemented, and while many residents did manage to get out of town -- about 80 percent, the mayor said -- tens of thousands did not."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Science Fails To Spoil Good Mood

A scientist has managed to prove that the residents of a small Irish village are no luckier than anyone else, but he failed to ruin their good spirits.

"Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in England told a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Dublin that he had proved there was nothing particularly lucky about the place.

He bought 50 lottery tickets in Skibbereen and another 50 in Dublin. He didn't fare any better in the country town than in the capital, proving with statistical precision that its luck is little more than a myth."

Full Investigation of Ward Churchill

Fake indian Ward Churchill will face a full investigation by the University of Colorado.

"The University of Colorado's inquiry into professor Ward Churchill has moved into a full-blown investigation, but a decision on whether he'll keep his job could take at least five more months.

In a news release Friday, CU spokeswoman Pauline Hale said the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct had notified interim provost Susan Avery that seven allegations warrant further investigation.

The seven allegations "include alleged instances of plagiarism, misuse of others' work, falsification and fabrication of authority," Hale said, declining to elaborate.

However, she said the seven allegations under consideration "remain unchanged" from the time they were referred to the committee."

Kathleen Blanco Didn't Even Know What to Ask of FEMA

Even though the NY Times does its best to cast the Bush administration in a bad light, this story is quite illuminating.
For example, there's this line: " By the time the last buses arrived on Saturday, he said, some children were so dehydrated that guardsmen had to carry them out, and several adults died while walking to the buses. State officials said Saturday that a total of 10 people died in the Superdome."
This, after governor Blanco prevented the Red Cross from delivering food and water to the Superdome.

And this line: " When the water rose, the state began scrambling to find buses. Officials pleaded with various parishes across the state for school buses. But by Tuesday, Aug. 30, as news reports of looting and violence appeared, local officials began resisting.
Governor Blanco said the bus drivers, many of them women, "got afraid to drive. So then we looked for somebody of authority to drive the school buses."

So, it's the fault of fraidy-cat women that those buses were left unused?

Here's another good Blanco line: "Ms. Blanco, in an interview this week, said she had been frantic as conditions grew more perilous. "We went from early morning to late night, day after day, after day, after day. Trying to make critical decisions," she said. "Trying to get product in, resources, where does the food come from. Learning the supply network."

She said she didn't always know exactly what to request. "Do we stop and think about it?" she asked. "We just stop and think about help."

So, it's George Bush's fault that he didn't immediately provide what Kathleen Blanco didn't know she needed? If she doesn't know what she needs, how is Bush supposed to know? Is he just supposed to send everything?

Hire These Guys

I understand that a lot of children have been separated from their parents in Louisiana. But, some people are working very hard to track down missing football recruits.

"Dozens of blue-chip high school players scattered when the storm ravaged the recruiting hotbeds of Mississippi and Louisiana, and Brignone is among the lucky ones -- he stayed on college recruiters' radar.

But interested coaches are scrambling to keep track of others who have dispersed among schools in the Southeast."

Friday, September 09, 2005

I'll Bet the Boycott Has Something To Do With This

An oversupply of Bordeaux wines is forcing a reduction in production.

"In response to a growing surplus of French wine in a tough global market, France's Institut National des Appellations d'Origine instructed growers in most French wine-producing regions to reduce output for the 2005 grape harvest — but none by as much as Bordeaux.

Winemakers' unions there had already suggested lowering output by 10 percent to cope with falling prices."

Most Charges Against Ward Churchill Go Forward

If he had been charged with sexual or racial harassment, he'd have been on the street already. But, he's only charged with professional misconduct. So, Ward Churchill's incredibly slow march toward dismissal from the University of Colorado advances another ponderous step forward.

"Seven of nine allegations against University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill warrant full investigation, school officials announced today.

The allegations of research misconduct referred by the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct for further investigation include alleged instances of plagiarism, misuse of others' work, falsification and fabrication of authority, CU officials said in a statement."

A Culture of Entitlement

Our friends overseas note a difference in American culture versus their own.

"We have been puzzled by the pictures on television," a friendly Indonesian diplomat says. "We were plucking starving, bedraggled people out of trees more than a week after the tsunami, and the reaction was invariably one of gratitude and thanksgiving. In America there is only complaining that someone did not get there sooner with more."

There is no There, There

More than ever, the mainstream press is not the place to go for inquiring minds seeking solid information. I tuned in CNN Monday for the latest news on the hurricane disaster, and heard nothing but speculation on how the storm and its aftermath was affecting President Bush politically. A CNN political analyst spent quite a long time dissecting a poll on the subject. Meanwhile, CNN kept repeating outrageous statements from self-serving Louisiana politician working overtime to absolve themselves of responsibility by passing the blame upstairs. But CNN was doing little more than acting as a caricature for all the mainstream press. There are stories to be learned and substantive failures that deserve sincere investigation. But, none of this are to be learned from the mainstream press, which simply focused on who said what about whom and who was winning the mudslinging contest. What Hurricane Katrina has certainly taught us is that, if you want genuine information, avoid the mainstream press. To borrow shamelessly from Gertrude Stein, there is no there, there.
The "new media" is where information is to be found. I have not heard on broadcast news or read anywhere in a newspaper the real story behind the incredible squalor and suffering at the Superdome and the Morial Convention Center. While the mainstream press did a fine job of showing us the misery, aside from Fox News, no outlet reported that, on the orders of governor Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana law enforcement prevented the Red Cross from delivering food, water and medicine to those suffering people. According to the Red Cross's website, the relief organization is still being kept out. One of these days, after Blanco is done using the mainstream press as her bullhorn to criticize the federal government, shouldn't somebody ask her why?
The Associated Press published photographs of hundreds of New Orleans school buses, parked in neat rows, submerged in floodwaters. Why hasn't anyone investigated why those buses were parked in a low lying area when they could have been used to evacuate all those impoverished people whom we are constantly reminded did not have the means to escape on their own. I have read that New Orleans owns 2000 school buses, all of which are now under water. In addition, the city owned over 350 municipal buses. If only 42 people had been loaded onto each of those buses, then all of the 100,000 residents who were stranded could have reached safety. And, as an added bonus, those buses would today be high and dry, available for future use and not leaking diesel fuel into the floodwaters. The next trip those buses make will be to the scrap metal dealer.
One of these days, after Ray Nagin exhausts himself after one of his tirades, why won't somebody from the New York Times or CBS ask him why he left those school buses parked below sea level? Why, if thousands of people could be assembled at the Convention Center and the Superdome, couldn't those same people have been loaded on buses and driven to high ground?
The blogosphere, talk radio, and occasionally Fox News asks those questions. But, the mainstream press seems uninterested.
FEMA Director Michael Brown has few defenders. Indeed, he has exhibited little evidence that he possesses the slightest aptitude for the job. But, surely the press could do more than report the shrill and extravagant personal insults of Nancy Pelosi and Mary Landrieu. I read earlier this week that Michael Brown waited until 5 hours after Katrina struck before dispatching FEMA employees to the area. That may be a fact, but it's hardly information. Was there a good reason, such as transportation availability? Was it prudent to wait until damage reports identified the neediest areas before boarding airplanes? Perhaps Michael Brown is a moron. But, I need more than Hilary Clinton's word on it. Surely a newspaper or a broadcast news source could do a little investigation, rather than rely upon hysterical ranting of partisan politicians to fill column space and air time.
I realize that all I ask would require an honest day's work. But I also appreciate what Penn State football coach Joe Paterno meant when he said that, if he ever needed a brain transplant, he wanted the brain of a journalist. That way, he'd know that he was getting one that hadn't been used much.

Update, the story about the Red Cross being kept out of New Orleans is off the charitable organization's website. But, the story can still be found here.

Bad News For Democrats

The death toll in New Orleans is apparently much lower than originally predicted.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Religion of Peace Is Making Friends Again

"Zarqawi's fighters were killing officials and civilians seen as government-allied or anti-Islamic, witnesses, residents and others said. On Sunday, the bullet-riddled body of a woman lay in a street of Qaim. A sign left on her corpse declared, "A prostitute who was punished."

Why the whole world doesn't embrace the "Religion of Peace" continues to astonish me.

Maybe this is why: "Shops selling CDs, a movie theater and a women's beauty parlor were newly burned, apparently targeted by Zarqawi's group under its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Residents said Zarqawi's fighters were killing most government workers, but had spared doctors and teachers.

Karim Hammad Karbouli, a 46-year-old resident still in Qaim, said he was waiting only for his brother to come with a pickup truck so Karbouli could load up his household and leave. Karbouli feared both Zarqawi's fighters and U.S. bombs, he said.

Zarqawi's fighters had taken control of the town's hospital, one of its medical workers, Dr. Muhammed Ismail, said. The hospital's director then ordered all patients to leave, fearing the presence of Zarqawi's fighters would draw air strikes on the clinic, Ismail said."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tear New Orleans Down

If politicians and other public officials were held to the same standards of accountability as the private sector, we would soon be hearing of indictments of the former for negligent homicide. What happened in New Orleans this last week was not just predictable - it was inevitable. For decades warnings have been issued that the Crescent City was vulnerable to just the sort of disaster that befell it after Hurricane Katrina. In spite of all the predictions, when the disaster struck, New Orleans’s city government and Louisiana’s state government were totally unprepared.
When I travel to the Oregon coast, I see signs everywhere warning me of the tsunami hazard that threatens low lying areas. Roads leading to higher ground are marked as escape routes. The population is educated. A warning system exists. When the inevitable quake generates the inevitable wave, just about everyone knows what to do to save his or her life.
In Orting, Washington, the danger is Mount Rainier. The town sits directly upon ground deposited by lahars from previous eruptions. A lahar is an enormous mudslide generated by the sudden melting of the glaciers. The next time Rainier erupts, and it will, Orting will be buried. But, Orting residents know what to do. Orting has volcano drills and has mapped out escape routes.
In each instance, state and local governments have made preparations for events that will provide little warning, but occur only once every several centuries. And yet, in spite of the unlikelihood that any person living today will experience the emergency they have prepared for, the preparations are made.
On the other hand, the New Orleans disaster has been gathering since the first levee was constructed to keep water out. The very act of building the levees initiated the subsidence that has since dropped New Orleans below sea level. Everyone knew that someday these levees would fail and the city would suffer catastrophic flooding. And yet, when it finally happened, no one had a plan. I was just in New Orleans and I can tell that there were no emergency evacuation plans. Nowhere was an escape route described. So far as I could recall, there was no warning system. And, as was made abundantly clear after the levees failed, no thought had ever been given to dealing with the aftermath. All knew it was coming, and did nothing.
The thousands of deaths that have occurred and all the deaths that will occur in the next few weeks can be laid at the feet of Louisiana’s chronically corrupt politicians.
But now that New Orleans has been laid waste, the next act of criminal negligence would be to rebuild it. Geologists have pointed to the subsidence in the delta and predicted that New Orleans would become uninhabitable no later than 2100. Some have put that date as early as 2050. The levees that kept New Orleans dry before Monday disrupted the geologic history of the delta and is causing the entire region to sink into the Gulf of Mexico. Since 1930, more than a million acres have been lost. Just last year, 28,000 acres were lost.
Estimates are that rebuilding New Orleans will take years and tens of billions of dollars. And for what – to recreate a dangerous place for hundreds of thousands of people to live for a few more years until New Orleans sinks forever into the muck? Why not use those billions to construct a new city in a more geologically stable area?
Louisiana’s wetlands yield a third of the entire nation’s commercial fish and shellfish harvest. Trying to keep New Orleans where it is will cost us that resource. No one in his right mind would build a city in such a vulnerable spot.
Let’s hold politicians to the same standards as the rest of us. Accountants across America were laughing hysterically after King County Executive Ron Sims stated that the vote counting within his kingdom last November achieved an accuracy that would be the envy of banks. Every bank clerk knows that if his error rate were 1% of King County’s, he’d be spending his days dressed in an orange jumpsuit and would spend his nights at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary as somebody’s girlfriend.
Every living current and former politician who sold New Orleans out deserves a jumpsuit of his own, and the nickname “Shirley.”

Update: Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has questioned the rebuilding of New Orleans. He's right of course, but the media and the Democrats will pounce on this as a political issue.