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Saturday, September 10, 2005
 
Sounds Like I Was Right About FEMA

I commented the other day that what FEMA did really well was write checks; today comes the confirmation:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has paid out $669 million nationwide to families affected by Hurricane Katrina, officials announced Saturday.

Nationwide, FEMA has registered 573,262 families, agency spokesman Ed Conley said.

In the Houston area, 36,823 families have registered and $49.3 million has been paid. Conley said the family registration figure represents singles and multiple-member households.


(!)
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More on the Horror at the Convention Center

This one isn't graphic, but it does paint a horrific portrait:

Mayor Nagin and the New Orleans police chief, P. Edwin Compass III, said in interviews that they believe murders occurred in the Superdome and in the Convention Center, where the city also started sending people on Tuesday. But at the convention center, the violence was even more pervasive.

"The biggest problem was that there wasn't enough security," said Capt. Winn, the head of the police SWAT team. "The only way I can describe it is as a completely lawless situation."

While those entering the Superdome had been searched for weapons, there was no time to take similar precautions at the convention center, which took in a volatile mix of poor residents, well-to-do hotel guests and hospital workers and patients. Gunfire became so routine that large SWAT teams had to storm the place nearly every night.

Capt. Winn said armed groups of 15 to 25 men terrorized the others, stealing cash and jewelry. He said policemen patrolling the center told him that a number of women had been dragged off by groups of men and gang-raped - and that murders were occurring.

Lambs 'With the Lions'

"We had a situation where the lambs were trapped with the lions," Mr. Compass said. "And we essentially had to become the lion tamers."

Capt. Winn said the armed groups even sealed the police out of two of the center's six halls, forcing the SWAT team to retake the territory.

But the police were at a disadvantage: they could not fire into the crowds in the hot and dimly lit facility. So after they saw muzzle flashes, they would rush toward them, searching with flashlights for anyone with a gun.
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Will This Become the Cause of the Week?

A black woman who claims she is innocent is scheduled to be executed this week for killing her husband and two children in 1988.

The article seems to paint a picture of an innocent woman at the beginning:

Tears well in her eyes when Frances Newton talks about her children.

"I wonder how they would have turned out," she says, her voice wavering. "Would they be happy, well-adjusted kids?"


But read to the end and you'll quickly see that she's a cold-blooded killer:

The cheap .25-caliber handgun determined to be the murder weapon was found in a bag Newton placed in an abandoned house that belonged to her parents. Newton said she found it in a drawer at home and hid it to keep her husband from getting into trouble. Adrian Newton had a drug history, and the couple was having marital problems.

The cousin with Newton when they arrived told police about the bag she saw Newton conceal.

The blue dress Newton was wearing had possible gunpowder residue on it. The trace of nitrites, however, came from fertilizer rubbed on her dress by her daughter, who stayed with relatives during the day while she worked at a tax accounting office, Newton said. Her uncle had a large garden, where he used fertilizer, and toddler Farrah would have collected it on her shoes, she said.

Attorneys have been unable to conduct additional tests because the clothing was contaminated when it was stored unprotected with other evidence, and because the initial testing destroyed that part of the fabric.

Three weeks before the deaths, Newton took out $50,000 life insurance policies on herself, her husband and her daughter. She named herself as beneficiary, and signed her husband's name. She said later that she didn't want her husband to know she had been saving money for the policies because he would have wanted the cash. After their deaths, she says at the urging of her insurance agent, she applied to receive the policy benefits.
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Another Blogger I Don't Link Often Enough

Is Michael King, aka Rambling's Journal. Great blog, one of the first of the bigger blogs to link me at Kerry Haters and Brainster's. Go get acquainted.
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Friday, September 09, 2005
 
Moron Al Franken and Air America

Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney haven't let up on the scandal.
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Was It Racism that Kept New Orleans' Residents Trapped?

This was something I had heard elsewhere, but hadn't seen confirmed:

Police from surrounding jurisdictions shut down several access points to one of the only ways out of New Orleans last week, effectively trapping victims of Hurricane Katrina in the flooded and devastated city.

An eyewitness account from two San Francisco paramedics posted on an internet site for Emergency Medical Services specialists says, "Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the city on foot."

"We shut down the bridge," Arthur Lawson, chief of the City of Gretna Police Department, confirmed to United Press International, adding that his jurisdiction had been "a closed and secure location" since before the storm hit.


Later:

"If we had opened the bridge, our city would have looked like New Orleans does now: looted, burned and pillaged."

But -- in an example of the chaos that continued to beset survivors of the storm long after it had passed -- even as Lawson's men were closing the bridge, authorities in New Orleans were telling people that it was only way out of the city.

"The only way people can leave the city of New Orleans is to get on (the) Crescent City Connection ... authorities said," reads a Tuesday morning posting on the Web site of the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper, which kept reporting through the storm and the ruinous flooding that followed.


Hat Tip: Instapundit.
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Charles Krauthammer Pounds the Liberal Blame-Makers

I've been busy this morning making updates to the levee post two posts below this one, but here's a terrific article:

This kind of stupidity merits no attention whatsoever, but I'll give it a paragraph. There is no relationship between global warming and the frequency and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes. Period. The problem with the evacuation of New Orleans is not that National Guardsmen in Iraq could not get to New Orleans but that National Guardsmen in Louisiana did not get to New Orleans. As for the Bush tax cuts, administration budget requests for New Orleans flood control during the five Bush years exceed those of the five preceding Clinton years. The notion that the allegedly missing revenue would have been spent wisely by Congress, targeted precisely to the levees of New Orleans, and that the reconstruction would have been completed in time, is a threefold fallacy. The argument ends when you realize that, as The Post noted, "the levees that failed were already completed projects."
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Thursday, September 08, 2005
 
Brady: The Greatest Ever?

Hey, I'm a Joe Montana fan so I'd be the last person to jump the gun on this. But it's no longer jumping the gun. I don't think you find anybody in the history of the NFL pushing their case forward like this so quickly and at such a young age. Otto Graham obviously has an argument, although he did it in a league (the post-WWII AAFC) that was quite clearly inferior to the NFL.
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Breach in Levees Not Anticipated--Multiple Updates!

(Welcome fellow Ankle-Biting Pundits, Conservative Grapevine, Michelle Malkin, Sister Toljah, Abracadabrah, NewsBusters and Chip Mathis readers!)

The idiot chorus on the Left has been hammering this statement by President Bush:

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breaching of the levees."

Indeed, Eleanor Clift recently claimed it would be a crippling statement by President Bush.

Bush’s comment that nobody thought the levees in New Orleans would break is false, and he will regret those words just as Condoleezza Rice did her comment that nobody could imagine a plane flying into a building like a missile. Local authorities and the Corps of Engineers had war-gamed hurricane scenarios and issued repeated warnings about the vulnerability of the levees.

Here's one of the pieces of "evidence" that they've seized on:

Mayfield said the strength of the storm and the potential disaster it could bring were made clear during the briefings and in formal advisories, which warned of a storm surge capable of overtopping levees in New Orleans and winds strong enough to blow out windows of high-rise buildings. He said the briefings included information on expected wind speed, storm surge, rainfall and the potential for tornadoes to accompany the storm as it came ashore.

(boldface added)

But of course, "overtopping" the levees and "breaching" the levees are not the same thing. If the levee had just overtopped, then the flooding would have ceased once the storm subsided.

The simulations much mentioned? RiverRat points us to "Hurricane Pam", an exercise that imagined a disaster in New Orleans. Once again:

Hurricane Pam Exercise Concludes

Release Date: July 23, 2004
Release number: R6-04-093
Printer friendly version icon

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Hurricane Pam brought sustained winds of 120 mph, up to 20 inches of rain in parts of southeast Louisiana and storm surge that topped levees in the New Orleans area. More than one million residents evacuated and Hurricane Pam destroyed 500,000-600,000 buildings. Emergency officials from 50 parish, state, federal and volunteer organizations faced this scenario during a five-day exercise held this week at the State Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge.


(boldface added)

Update I: Nightline just had Ted Koppel interviewing some expert (I didn't catch his name) who obviously was not overimpressed with FEMA's performance. The guy said exactly what President Bush said and I said, that nobody anticipated a break in the levees; that they anticipated overtopping.

Update II: As to why it breached, here's an article from the Times-Picayune speculating that it was a barge, with some fairly strong evidence.

A loose barge may have caused a large breach in the east side of the Industrial Canal floodwall that accelerated Hurricane Katrina's rising floodwaters in the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish, Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi said Monday.

Naomi said the barge was found on the land side of the floodwall, leading corps officials to believe it could have crashed through the wall and sent a huge amount of water - which was already pouring over the top of the wall - into the neighborhoods immediately downriver.

"We have some pictures that show this very large barge inside the protected area. It had to go through the breach," Naomi said. "The opening is a little bit wider than the barge itself. One would think it's the barge that did it."


(Later note: This article says that the breach caused by the barge was not the breach of the 17th Street levee, but a separate breach of the Industrial Canal.)

Let me just say that this is one of the things that is really starting to bore me about the Left. Even when it appears at first blush that they really have something, you can almost guarantee it's going to turn out to be BS if you look into it--from Rathergate to the mythical 98.55% turnout in Miami County.

You can see that the Left and the media's attempt to nail Bush as the culprit in the aftermath of the tragedy in New Orleans is going badly. CNN was in full backpedal mode at least for the brief part of the evening that I checked them out; they highlighted the part about the Red Cross being denied entry to the city by the State of Louisiana, and even had Anderson Cooper emphasizing that people died because of that decision. To reassure the faithful, they mentioned that there was plenty of blame to go around, but of course the message they were forced to admit was that the blame for the suffering that Geraldo and Cooper and Shep spend days wailing about belonged to Blanco.

I'm going to add to this post as I look back at some of the other citations the Left is using to bolster their argument that everybody knew about the possibility of a breach in the levees.

Update III: This USA Today article gets cited. Part of it repeats my case:

The Army Corps of Engineers, which built most of the flood-protection levees in the region, pulled its personnel to a safe distance, expecting rising water from the storm would top the levees.

But the article also claims:

In fact, FEMA had run a mock disaster exercise a year ago in which the levees were breached by a fictitious "Hurricane Pam."

This does not appear to be true; as noted above:

Hurricane Pam brought sustained winds of 120 mph, up to 20 inches of rain in parts of southeast Louisiana and storm surge that topped levees in the New Orleans area.

Note particularly the word "topped". The one person I have seen who predicted a real failure of the levees themselves was the mayor, who said they might "topple". It's arguable at least that he misspoke.

This part of that article is certainly relevant:

For years, engineers had warned that the levees were weak, but they hadn't been shored up because of funding shortfalls and disputes over their location and environmental impact.

Yep, disputes over their environmental impact, with folks like Robert Kennedy, Jr., on the side of not building them. The word "weak" of course is suggestive, but it's aways from being dispositive.

Update IV: Russert brought up this citation in an interview with Secretary Chertoff:

In 2002, The Times-Picayune did story after story... New Orleans has hurricane levees that create a bowl with the bottom dipping lower than the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain. ...the levees would trap any water that gets inside-- by breach, overtopping or torrential downpour--catastrophic storm. ...

Okay, so we trackback to the T-P in 2002.. and find the quote:

Like coastal Bangladesh, where typhoons killed 100,000 and 300,000 villagers, respectively, in two horrific storms in 1970 and 1991, the New Orleans area lies in a low, flat coastal area. Unlike Bangladesh, New Orleans has hurricane levees that create a bowl with the bottom dipping lower than the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain. Though providing protection from weaker storms, the levees also would trap any water that gets inside -- by breach, overtopping or torrential downpour -- in a catastrophic storm.

So here's someone who used the word breach. Unfortunately, that is the only relevant mention in the article; there is no discussion of the relative likelihoods of the two scenarios in which New Orleans is flooded by the effective failure of the levees (breach or overtopping). The only other place the word "breach" appears is certainly interesting:

The most likely alternative [to pumping out the water] is simply blowing holes in the levees or widening existing breaches. Breaches in the levee totaling a half mile would allow the water to drain in one day, Combe said. With a more modest effort, totaling 100 feet of openings, draining would take four weeks. If they do dynamite the levees, officials must also weigh the risk of another hurricane hitting in the short term against the urgency of getting the water out.

Existing breaches? Note that here breaches are seen as a solution, not a problem.

By contrast, the overtopping possibility is highlighted at the very beginning:

The debris, largely the remains of about 70 camps smashed by the waves of a storm surge more than 7 feet above sea level, showed that Georges, a Category 2 storm that only grazed New Orleans, had pushed waves to within a foot of the top of the levees. A stronger storm on a slightly different course -- such as the path Georges was on just 16 hours before landfall -- could have realized emergency officials' worst-case scenario: hundreds of billions of gallons of lake water pouring over the levees into an area averaging 5 feet below sea level with no natural means of drainage.

(boldface added)

So the perceived worst-case scenario (overtopping) had been averted in the case of Katrina.

Jay Lake pointed me to a 2001 Scientific American article; I'll see if I can get hold of a copy.

Update V: The Scientific American article appears in the October 2001 issue (not apparently available on-line; I went to the library and read it on--gasp!--microfiche) and is entitled prophetically: Drowning New Orleans. It appears from page 76-85 and paints a picture of potential disaster that fortunately was not quite met by Katrina:

Scientists at Louisiana State University (L.S.U.), who have modeled hundreds of possible storm tracks on advanced computers, predict that more than 100,000 people could die.

However, it does not base this estimate on the levees breaking, but a storm surge coming up from south of New Orleans:

The low-lying Mississippi Delta, which buffers the city from the gulf, is also rapidly disappearing... Each loss gives the storm surge a clearer path to wash over the delta and pour into the bowl, trapping one million people inside and another million in surrounding communities.

(boldface added)

Okay, maybe a map will help:



The delta is the area South, Southeast and East of New Orleans. However, where the actual flooding came from was from the North, from Lake Ponchartrain.

The article makes no mention of the levees breaking, or breaching. It does mention the levees but only to complain that they have added to the problems facing New Orleans:

The Mississippi River built the delta plain that forms southeastern Louisiana over centuries by depositing vast quantities of sediment every year during spring floods....Since 1879, however, the Corps of Engineers, at Congress's behest, has progressively lined the river with levees to prevent floods... As a result, the plain just subsides below the encroaching ocean. As the wetlands vanish, so does New Orlean's protection from the sea. A hurricane's storm surge can reach 20 feet, but every four miles of marsh can absorb enough water to knock it down by one foot.

Update VI: Henry Waxman gets into the act (Word Document). But like everybody else, he seems to be ignoring the distinction between "overtopping" and "breaching":

“Hurricane surge would block highways and trap 300,000 to 350,000 persons in flooded areas. Storm surge of over 18 feet would overflow flood-protection levees on the Lake Pontchartrain side of New Orleans. Storm surge combined with heavy rain could leave much of New Orleans under 14 to 17 feet of water. More than 200 square miles of urban areas would be flooded.”

(boldface added)

Breaching is mentioned here, but again as a potential solution to the flooding of New Orleans:

“It could take weeks to ‘de-water’ (drain) New Orleans: Inundated pumping stations and damaged pump motors would be inoperable. Flood-protection levees would prevent drainage of floodwater. Breaching the levees would be a complicated and politically sensitive problem: The Corps of Engineers may have to use barges or helicopters to haul earthmoving equipment to open several hundred feet of levee.”

Update VII: More at the Chip Mathis Experience.

Update VIII: EasyLiving points out in the comments that several sources have reported that the 17th Street levee had recently had repairs completed on it. I haven't yet seen a source for this; if you find one, post in the comments or on your blog and send a trackback. I should get some decent traffic off this post based on the linkage I've already gotten, so try to get some for your blog!

Update IX: Reliapundit points us (in the comments) to this briefing by the general in charge of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Now, could this have been avoided? The area where the levee leaks -- where the levee breaks occurred was at its final design configuration. So that was as good as it was going to get. And what does that mean? Actually we knew that it would protect from a Category 3 hurricane. In fact, it has been through a number of Category 3 hurricanes. The intensity of this storm simply exceeded the design capacity of this levee. And those two points-- and others were over top, but those are the two main points of trouble. But that is the basic problem here, is that this storm exceeded the design capacity.

Conclusion: The evidence used by the media and the Left to convince us that the "breach" in the levees was anticipated boils down to a single use of that word in a 2002 New Orleans Times-Picayune article.

Note that I am not saying that an overtopping situation from a Category 5 storm surge could not have been worse, just that in this particular instance it had not been. Remember, everybody thought by late afternoon-early evening on Monday that New Orleans had been spared the worst of Katrina.

Yet Another Update: Commenter Al shows the way to this NY Times story over a week ago that seems to settle the matter:

Local, state and federal officials, for example, have cooperated on disaster planning. In 2000, they studied the impact of a fictional "Hurricane Zebra"; last year they drilled with "Hurricane Pam."

Neither exercise expected the levees to fail. In an interview Thursday on "Good Morning America," President Bush said, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." He added, "Now we're having to deal with it, and will."


(boldface added)

Army Corps personnel, in charge of maintaining the levees in New Orleans, started to secure the locks, floodgates and other equipment, said Greg Breerwood, deputy district engineer for project management at the Army Corps of Engineers.

"We knew if it was going to be a Category 5, some levees and some flood walls would be overtopped," he said. "We never did think they would actually be breached." The uncertainty of the storm's course affected Pentagon planning.


Llama School points to another passage in the 2002 T-P article:

"Another scenario is that some part of the levee would fail," Suhayda said. "It's not something that's expected. But erosion occurs, and as levees broke, the break will get wider and wider...."

I should have included that quote, but of course, "It's not something that's expected."

Yet another update: We The Free notices another example of the discussion of "overtopping" but not "breaching" in a Popular Science article. Also note this discussion by the NY Times's Public Editor I covered over at Lifelike:

But neither the news article nor the editorial commentary prepared readers for the possibility of breaches in the levees or canal walls.
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Maybe This Is the Hate America Part of the Flight 93 Memorial?

Real Clear Politics noticed something that I didn't.
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Hail Haley?

Pat Hynes advises that the new buzz in Washington is about the Giuliani effect on Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

And yes, it's having an effect in the Tradesports market:

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Dammed If You Do....

Damned if you don't.
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More on the Coast Guard

Our buddy John at My Take on Things came up with a great video about the Coast Guard. With all the criticism of the federal governments response, nobody's mentioning the great work these men and women did in the first few days.
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A Way to Look At Blog Traffic?

(Note: This will probably be of little interest to non-bloggers).

As a Sitemeter Junkie, I spend an absurd amount of time looking at my visitor stats--who sent them, where they are, how many visited in the last hour, day, week, month. But it's sometimes hard to figure out how much progress has been made because of extraordinary events. For example, here's a look at my monthly traffic count for the last year:



As you can see, there are three rather large spikes in traffic. In November, I plugged Brainster's ruthlessly at Kerry Haters, and was able to siphon off some of the traffic that we'd had over there. But like about every political blogger on the planet I lost significant traffic in December. The February spike was caused by my one and only Instalanche as I noticed the witchhunt developing on the Left for Jeff Gannon. And last month I had terrific traffic thanks to Michelle Malkin linking me five or six times on the Air Enron story.

You can see a generally rising trend there, but how much of that is due to getting occasional big links, and how much is permanent? It's obviously somewhere between the peaks and valleys, but where?

Then it hit me. Why not look at my worst traffic days for each month? Presumably these are the die-hards, the folks who come over when I don't get a post link from Mrs M, or Lorie Byrd or Kitty or Ankle-Biting Pundits or Conservative Grapevine ("It's like morning coffee").

Here are the lowest traffic days each month since November, when I started blogging significantly over here again:

Month ..Lo Traf. .Date
November...17...11/1/04
December...18...12/25/04
January....57....1/16/05
February...86....2/6/05
March......80....3/27/05
April......45....4/24/05
May........69....5/1/05
June.......71....6/18/05
July......118....7/4/05
August....196....8/7/05

Moved up quite a bit there over the summer, although again there are a few anomalies. For example, the low traffic days for December and July were for Christmas and Independence Day, respectively. Most of the other lows were set on weekends, when everybody's traffic is off. So here's a look at my monthly lows on weekdays which were not a holiday:

November....17....11/1/04
December....39....12/23/04
January.....66.....1/6/05
February...113.....2/21/05
March......100.....3/25/05
April.......85.....4/8/05
May........117.....5/3/05
June.......159.....6/17/05
July.......207.....7/22/05
August.....248.....8/8/05

Fairly regular rise there; February still sticks out, but not quite as dramatically as in the graph above.

If we run a three-month moving average, using the month before, this month, and the next month, here are the results:

December...41
January....73
February...93
March......99
April.....101
May.......120
June......161
July......205

Note: This may not be the best way to analyze all blogs. I post almost every day (I think I've missed one day this year), so somebody who takes a week off here or there may get different results. And it may not work for the bigger blogs. But I thought I'd share this bit of inside blogging for others looking for a different way to look at traffic.
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Disabled Hero Makes Ranger

Pretty good story here.

MEN'S Health will feature a disabled man on its cover for the first time on its November issue — Cpl. Peter Sprenger, who lost an eye in Iraq when his motorcade was ambushed. Against all odds, Sprenger, who wears an eye patch, bullied his way into the elite Army Ranger school, graduated, and made military history as the first soldier with a disability to complete the training. The 23-year-old leaves for his second tour in Iraq later this month.

Here's picture of Sprenger (Hat Tip: Iraq Pictures, which looks like a good site):



Longer article with the same picture here. Sounds like he kept his sense of humor:

"My right eye was just mutilated, and I had shrapnel wounds to my mouth, back, legs and shoulder," he said. "It kind of messed up my day."

Hat Tip: Kitty
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Hurricane Cindy Makes Landfall In Chicago

Fortunately, the winds have been depleted and she has been downgraded to a tropical storm, then a summer squall, and now just a sprinkle.
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The New Chickenhawks

This is pretty funny.

Hat Tip: Conservative Grapevine.
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Here's the Stupidest Reason for Opposing Roberts

Is Richard Cohen really serious with this?

I sometimes think the best thing that ever happened to me was, at the time, the worst: I flunked out of college. I did so for the usual reasons -- painfully bored with school and distracted by life itself -- and so I went to work for an insurance company while I plowed ahead at night school. From there I went into the Army, emerging with a storehouse of anecdotes. In retrospect, I learned more by failing than I ever would have by succeeding. I wish that John Roberts had a touch of my incompetence.

Instead, the nominee for chief justice of the United States punched every career ticket right on schedule. He was raised in affluence, educated in private schools, dispatched to Harvard and then to Harvard Law School. He clerked for a U.S. appellate judge (the storied Henry J. Friendly) and later for William H. Rehnquist, then an associate justice. Roberts worked in the Justice Department and then in the White House until moving on to Hogan & Hartson, one of Washington's most prestigious law firms; then he was principal deputy solicitor general, before moving to the bench, where he has served for only two years. His record is appallingly free of failure.


Back in the 1970s Harold Carswell was nominated by Nixon to the Supreme Court. When people claimed he was a mediocre judge, Senator Roman Hruska of Nebraska famously remarked something along the lines of "So what if he's mediocre? Mediocre people deserve representation, too!"

As endorsements go, it was not very succesful, and Carswell's nomination was defeated. This column by Cohen is nearly as silly in its efforts to derail Roberts, and I suspect he will be confirmed easily.
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005
 
Errr, Thanks for the Link, I Suppose

Discoved some interesting linkage in my referring pages today, where I was getting used as a stick by two bloggers who apparently aren't familiar with my blog. I can forgive one, but the other's a little sneaky.

To start out, OzarkLad was annoyed at the angry Left's default analysis that everything is Bush's fault, an observation that we have often turned to here at Brainster's. So far so good.

That post was picked up Sarah D. Bunting at something called Project DU. It does not appear to be associated with the Democratic Underground; its about us section says:

Project D.U. is a network of top blogs and collection of influential editors designed to inform, as well as entertain. A place where content is king. Where smart, witty, never-thought-of-that-before banter always rises to the top. It's your connection to uncommon thoughts on common subjects.

Okay, my guess is something like Blogcritics, but still not pushing much traffic it would appear, since I didn't even see them in my referring logs although the post was made a couple of days ago. Sarah writes:

OzarkLad is annoyed at the tendency of the "angry left" to default to blaming Bush for everything that's going wrong in the Katrina aftermath, but Truthout.org links to a Times editorial criticizing the president's "casual" demeanor in the face of this crisis. Jay Lake wonders why it took Bush so long to react, and why that reaction is "unpreparedness." Law 'n' Order calls on readers to hold the president accountable for his "reckless negligence," while Media Needle talks about efforts on both sides of the aisle to "politicize" the disaster, and Brainster talks about "political looters" leveraging the situation to look good for their constituencies. Even Elephant In Exile thinks the feds should have shown more foresight in their handling of Katrina, before and after the storm made landfall.

Some real problems in there. First, what is the word "but" doing in that first sentence? The word "but" indicates that she's going to prove something completely different from what OzarkLad had claimed, but instead she proves his point. Truthout.org, an angry Left site if ever there was one, "links" to a New York Times editorial (actually they swipe the whole thing) which blames Bush. Stop the presses!

The next three links are to angry left sites that are blaming President Bush. I mean, at this point OzarkLad can rest his case! Media Needle certainly does not talk about efforts on both sides of the aisle to politicize the disaster, as this snippet reveals:

So much for any shred of credibility from this administration.

I have a feeling that Mr Needle has never felt the administration had any credibility anyway, so it's not like President Bush has lost anything there.

Then comes Brainster's and what she says is literally true:

Brainster talks about "political looters" leveraging the situation to look good for their constituencies.

But of course coming on top of what has gone before it sounds like I agree with the four liberal bloggers who preceded me. In fact, I was assailing exactly the sorts of folks who were sitting there in supposed judgment of the President when of course their minds were made up before they heard any evidence. Some of the political looters I cited:

Political looters are popping up almost as fast as property looters. Robert Kennedy, Jr. put down the needle long enough to pen a screed about how Haley Barbour deserved the destruction that hit Mississippi. Ross Gelbspan screamed it was all global warming.

So it should be obvious that I disagreed fiercely with the other guys cited in that paragraph other than OzarkLad.

Even Elephant In Exile thinks the feds should have shown more foresight in their handling of Katrina, before and after the storm made landfall.

Elephant in Exile's one of those sites that reads something like a seminar caller; perhaps we should call them seminar blogs.

He says the following about himself:

I am a former Chief of Staff to a Republican Congressman and current attorney/lobbyist My ideology leans right in classic conservative sense with a libertarian twist.

Then why the in exile part? You can probably guess. I couldn't find an actual explanation, but based on what I did read, "horrified with the right-wing policies of George W. Bush" about covers it. In fairness I did read a couple posts that indicated that perhaps he's a Libertarian, not a loony bin Lefty. But he's certainly not a Bush supporter who has suddenly seen the light because of New Orleans.

So I can hardly blame OzarkLad for assuming I was part of "Five links to angry left folks that re-inforce my point." Actually it was six links, four of which were to angry lefties, one to me that didn't prove her point, and one to an arguable anti-war libertarian who's let that color his attitudes towards Bush. His argument was born out by Sarah's post no matter how many "evens" and "buts" she puts in to divert attention.
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Flight 93 Memorial Designed

Something seems to be missing though.

The chapel, featuring 40 chimes symbolizing each of the victims, will stand at the entryway to the vast park.

"The idea is, as the wind continues through the site, there will be sounds generated that will act as a living memory to those who died," Murdoch said.

The memorial in Shanksville, Pa., will also include pedestrian trails and a roadway leading to a visitor center and the actual crash site, which will be surrounded by a crescent of maple trees. The victims' names will be inscribed on a white marble wall.


Errr, a chapel? I foresee a small obstacle:

Murdoch's design still must get the approval of the director of the National Park Service and the secretary of the Interior.

Maybe I'm just paranoid, but is there any doubt whatsoever that the ACLU is going to oppose a chapel?

And I still can't figure out what's missing. Here's a photo:



Looks beautiful, but there's still something missing. What could it be?

Oh, I know! The Hate America Museum! Where are they going to put that?
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FEMA Thoughts from An Insider

I have a friend who has a housing inspection business and because of his experience at that he's qualified to do contract work for FEMA. As it happened I talked to him today and he's already been to Louisiana, although this week he's been working in Houston and Dallas (because he really can't look much at properties and the people are no longer there). He says that his understanding of the purpose of FEMA is nothing like what is being reported in the media.

Most FEMA employees are not intended to be rescuers (although they do have a search and rescue squad), and their purpose is not to handle ongoing emergencies, but to take care of folks after the emergency is over. They push a lot of paper around, and what they are very good at doing is getting checks to people. This is why they got generally solid marks last year during the hurricanes in Florida.

He said that we would see a turnaround in the way refugees thought of FEMA in the next week or so. He's been explaining to all his clients that the local government failed them and in general they seem to agree with him.
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Firsthand Account

Dana at Northshore Politics (that's Northshore of Lake Ponchartrain) is back blogging about her experience riding the storm out in Slidell. Welcome back, Dana!
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Mary Landrieu Vows to Punch Herself

From the gal who makes Patty bin Murray look smart:

Today she promised to literally "punch" anyone, "including the president," who contnued to question the local response to the tragedy, considering the gross federal misconduct.

"If one person criticizes them or says one more thing - including the president of the United States - he will hear from me," she said on the ABC program. "One more word about it after this show airs and I might likely have to punch him. Literally."


Looks like we have a winner:

(Click on picture to enlarge)



Hat Tip: Ace of Spades via Conservative Grapevine.
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So Much For That Effort to Smear Bush

CNN Poll: Percentage of people who blame Bush for the aftermath of New Orleans: 13%.

You have to wonder if the media would have done a better job of smearing Bush by talking about what a wonderful job he was doing.

Hat Tip: Ankle-Biters

Our buddy Buckley F. Williams has a great take on this.
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Coast Guard Heroes

A story that hasn't been getting enough attention:

At least 1,000 times in the last nine days, a crew from the Clearwater Coast Guard Air Station has plucked a hurricane survivor from a roof. After some of them returned Wednesday, they recalled an amazing experience.

The first day was the roughest, many said. There were so many people to rescue that sometimes they didn't know who to pick first.


But... but wait a minute! I thought the Federal Government didn't do anything to save lives in the first few days!

"I remember that first day we had, at one time, four Coast Guard H-60s and three Coast Guard H-65s all in one city block. Things we would never normally do," Lt. Cmdr. Eric Johnson recalled.

For every rescue mission, there's a support plane flying behind it. Every plane based in Clearwater has been up and back to the hurricane zone, putting in a total of almost 500 hours of flying.




Here's another good story:

Ryan White, a rescue swimmer with the Coast Guard, helped to rescue people from flooded buildings.

“I was on a school top with about 200 people, and we could only take so many at a time, so they left me behind, and we were shouldering the people off the roof and I told them, ‘You guys just won the lottery. We’re going to get you all out of here. I promise you that,’” White said.


And here:

Mixson, of Orange Park, Fla., said as his crew finished pulling up a group of survivors, a young girl, about 2 years old, tugged on the pants of the rescue swimmer, and offered him her candy bar.

See also our friend Mrs Media Matters.
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Cindy Sheehan's Lawyer a Vietnam Vet Wannabe?

Kitty pointed me to this post, apparently based on evidence compiled by Tim Blair (read the comment this takes you to).

I guess Ward Reilly is not that surprising; one of the early leaders of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War was Al Hubbard, who turned out to have served in the Vietnam era, but not in Vietnam. And of course, we have Rambo Ward Churchill, who claimed to have been involved in heavy-duty combat operations, but turned out to have manned nothing more deadly than a filmstrip projector.
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Would You Say FEMA's Response Was Niggardly, Reverend?

Jesse Jackson thinks the word refugee is racist.
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Al Franken, and the Frankening' Frankeners Who Franken

Hoo-boy, do Michelle Malken and Brian Maloney catch Stewart Smalley in a bit of Frankening! And I helped! (Not a whole lot--it's their work that has moved this story forward so far).

Franken: v., to lie, after Al Franken, a notorious liar.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005
 
I Smack Mo Dowd Around

Over at Lifelike.



(Yes I know it's un-PC. It's also a metaphor. No actual New York Times columnists were harmed in the making of this photoshop.)
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Myth & Reality III

Interesting story here about three Duke University students who managed to slip into New Orleans by stealing a press pass and a TV crew shirt. It's self-reported, so take it with a pound of salt, but it's certainly intriguing.

The evacuation was basically complete by the time they arrived, at about 6:30 or 6:45 p.m. What the trio saw there horrified them.

"The only way I can describe this, it was the epicenter," Buder said. "Inside there were National Guard running around, there was feces, people had urinated, soiled the carpet. There were dead bodies. The smell will never leave me."

Buder said the students saw four or five bodies. National Guard troopers seemed to be checking the second and third floors of the building to try to secure the site.

"Anyone who knows that area, if you had a bus, it would take you no more than 20 minutes to drive in with a bus and get these people out," Buder said. "They sat there for four or five days with no food, no water, babies getting raped in the bathrooms, there were murders, nobody was doing anything for these people. And we just drove right in, really disgraceful. I don't want to get too fired up with the rhetoric, but some blame needs to be placed somewhere."


Except that they got in there on Saturday, which tells us little about the difficulty of getting in there Thursday and the availability of buses and places to handle the refugees. It may be easy to get a small group of people out as they did, but I'd be they also looked them over a little first. Would they have as willingly evacuated five young men? Because the authorities don't have the option of saying no, you can't leave with us.
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Other Voices, Other Blogs

Our buddy John at My Take on Things is a terrific blogger. He's got a strong post on Sean Penn's misadventures plus the latest revelations the mayor of New Orleans is now saying that the governor let him down.

Chris has the famous flash animation that was put together immediately after 9-11. If you haven't seen it you're really missing a tremendous production.

Pam Meister has a couple questions she'd like you to answer. I've already sent her an email with my answers; what do you think?
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Myth & Reality Part II

(Fair warning: There is very disturbing material in this post. You may not want to read it if you have a normal person's compassion, because it's liable to break your heart.)

Hugh Hewitt pointed this story out on the radio. Folks may have gone too quick with the stories of rapes & murders, but it may also be the case that we are going too fast with discounting those stories. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune today:

Arkansas National Guardsman Mikel Brooks stepped through the food service entrance of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Monday, flipped on the light at the end of his machine gun, and started pointing out bodies.

"Don't step in that blood - it's contaminated," he said. "That one with his arm sticking up in the air, he's an old man." Then he shined the light on the smaller human figure under the white sheet next to the elderly man.

"That's a kid," he said. "There's another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut."


Later:

Of the four bodies that lay just inside the food service entrance of the Convention Center, the woman in the wheelchair rattled Brooks the most. When he found her two days before among the sea of suffering in front of the Convention Center where one of the last refugee camps evacuated, her husband sat next to her. He had only one concern when Brooks and some of his comrades carted her away.

"Bring me back my wheelchair," he recalled the man telling him.

One of the bodies, they said, was a girl they estimated to be 5 years old. Though they could not confirm it, they had heard she was gang-raped.

"There was an old lady that said the little girl had been raped by two or three guys, and that she had told another unit. But they said they couldn't do anything about it with all the people there," Brooks said. "I would have put him in cuffs, stuck him in the freezer and left him there."
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Sean Penn Accuses Bush

Of pulling the drainage plug from his boat.

Get this part:

Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Sean Penn, who has been assisting rescue efforts in New Orleans, said the US government did not "seem to be inclined to help".

"We were pulling drowning people out of the water, it's the ultimate distress and human suffering ... dead bodies," he told GMTV.


Yes, I'm sure there were drowning people in the water for Sean Pennhead to rescue. They've been treading water for six days, and just as they were about to go down for the third time, up shows Spicoli to fish them out of the drink. Obvious question: where's the pix? We know he had his photographer with him. Or is he planning on selling them for a couple hundred grand to the Star?

As an aside, get this in another article:

"We have advised people that this city has been destroyed," said Deputy Police Superintendent W.J. Riley. "There is nothing here for them and no reason for them to stay, no food, no jobs, nothing."

Nagin said the city had the authority to force residents to evacuate but didn't say if it was taking that step. He did, however, detail one heavy-handed tactic: Water will no longer be handed out to people who refuse to leave.


Heavy-handed? For Pete's sake, those idiots need to evacuate!

Update: Daffyd at Captain's Quarters has more.
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The Haters

Pat Hynes has another must-read article in the AmSpec.

And they were off. You all know the headlines and sound bites. Cindy Sheehan, who seemed to get over the grief of her son's death easily enough once the subject turned from the war to the hurricane, falsely claimed President Bush was golfing during the carnage in New Orleans. Sydney Blumenthal blamed the President for "cutting" funding to stop wetland erosion (forget, if you can, that the wetlands in question have been eroding since the Johnson administration). A blogger on the DNC's official blog castigated the president for discouraging looting.

As a follow-up, Pat posts over at ABP on the jubilation that this tragedy has engendered in the loony Left.

Though it is controversial to say so, the political Left in America has been waiting anxiously for Hurricane Katrina to come along for quite a while (almost four years, to be exact) and now that she has come, they can hardly contain their glee.

Indeed. As I have stated in the past, confronted with Katrina, the right-wing blogs have rolled up their sleeves and got to work, raising over $1.23 million. The left-wing blogs rolled up their sleeves and got to work bashing President Bush.

Their next party isn't hard to anticipate, either; they'll be breaking out the champagne when the number of US deaths in Iraq reaches 2,000.
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The Left Finally Recommends a Charity!

Okay, a couple Left-wing bloggers did participate in last week's charity drive for Katrina relief, and they deserve to be commended. However, the major Lefty blogs did not; no charitable push from Kos, Atrios or the Huffington Post (which, to be fair, did link to an article telling people where they could contribute).

However, one of the Huffers has finally stepped up to the plate and recommended sending money to one group. I should say that this guy at least is not leading the charge in the blame game, but the charity he recommends and why he recommends it are mind-blowing:

1-Help ACORN. Headquartered in New Orleans, these good folks quietly registered more bodies than anyone (including ACT) in the last election cycle, while doing pioneering work fighting redlining, pay day loans, rapid refund rip-offs from H&R Block and more. Their offices across the southwest (Houston, Dallas etc) are stepping up to help the same folks who were forgotten at the Convention Center.

Listen to ACORN's accomplishments and tell me this is what is required now:

ACORN's accomplishments include successful campaigns for better housing, schools, neighborhood safety, health care, job conditions, and more.
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You've Probably Already Seen This...

But WuzzaDem has a terrific post on the television coverage. I particularly liked the bit with Anderson Cooper.
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Airiheadda Lying or Just Sloppy?

Arianna Huffington slams the media for--no kidding--going too easy on the Bush Administration over their reaction to Hurricane Katrina. But she plays a little fast and loose with the facts here:

The Post, citing an anonymous “senior Bush official”, reported on Sunday that, as of Saturday, Sept. 3, Blanco “still had not declared a state of emergency”… when, in fact, the declaration had been made on Friday, August 26 -- over 2 days BEFORE Katrina made landfall in Louisiana. This claim was so demonstrably false that the paper was forced to issue a correction just hours after the original story appeared.

As best I can work out, the Governor did not declare a state of emergency, and she certainly did not declare it on Friday, August 26. The text of her letter to President Bush is on the New Orleans Times-Picayune's webblog:

August 27, 2005

The President
The White House
Washington, D. C.

Through:
Regional Director
FEMA Region VI
800 North Loop 288
Denton, Texas 76209

Dear Mr. President:

Under the provisions of Section 501 (a) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5206 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR § 206.35, I request that you declare an emergency for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina for the time period beginning August 26, 2005, and continuing. The affected areas are all the southeastern parishes including the New Orleans Metropolitan area and the mid state Interstate I-49 corridor and northern parishes along the I-20 corridor that are accepting the thousands of citizens evacuating from the areas expecting to be flooded as a result of Hurricane Katrina.


Notice the date of the letter at the top? August 27. Yes, she requested that the state of emergency be backdated to August 26, but she did not request it until August 27.

I'm not sure if there's any significance to the fact that Blanco did not declare the state of emergency herself, or if the Washington Post and Airiheadda are just making the mistake of assuming that she had the authority. Blanco's letter appears to make it clear that she was requesting that the President make the declaration.

Hat Tip: Rick Moran's invaluable timeline of the response to the disaster.
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There's Always A Market

For books that go against the grain.

Peggy Drexler's highly publicized new book, "Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men," contends that father-absent homes -- particularly "single mother by choice" and lesbian homes -- are the best environments for boys. Drexler recently told "Good Morning America" that boys do great without dads, and her "maverick moms" always seem to have a better way of handling their sons than a dad would.

As the reviewer points out, this claim is ridiculous on its face, and it is clear that the book is intended to be a "feel-good" seller to the lesbian and single-mom crowd.

The rates of the four major youth pathologies -- juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, teen drug abuse and school dropouts -- are more tightly correlated with fatherlessness than with any other socioeconomic factor, including income and race. While Drexler waxes poetic about fatherless parenting, she makes little attempt to explain why it results in bad outcomes for so many kids.

A lot of people read facts like the above and assume that this is some sort of slam at single mothers. It's not. Most kids raised by single mothers turn out fine; just not at the same percentage rate as kids raised by a mother and dad.
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Reality And Unreality in New Orleans

Richard Baehr looks at some of the more egregious Bush-bashing and gives the real story.

If 80% of New Orleans got out before disaster hit, instead of 40% or 60%, that is an additional 100,000 to 200,000 residents who were spared the worst of this week's trauma. For this the President deserves credit, which he will not receive. Remember that the focus all week has been on the slow response to assist the 20% who did not get out. There is plenty to criticize in what happened this week for the 20% left behind, but it does not diminish the achievement in getting 80% of the residents of the city to safety before the storm hit.

Michelle Malkin has more on the reporting versus reality situation, citing this article in the Guardian.

While the Guardian automatically sends up red flags in my mind, it's true that there is a lot of wild reporting going on. The truth will eventually come out.

Mrs M also points us to this terrific job of blogging myth and reality.
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Monday, September 05, 2005
 
NFL Team Name Trivia

1. What team got its name from the color of their jerseys?

2. What team adopted the last name of their first coach as their nickname?

3. What team chose its name to signify that they were going to be the monarchs of the league?

4. What team's nickname stems from a symbol used by the FDR administration?

5. What team's name was the winner from a group of suggestions that included Apollos, Bobcats, Stallions and Wildcatters?

6. What team got its name from the favorite college football team of one of the owners?

7. What team's name is just a rip-off of a baseball team's name?

8. What team's name comes from a poem?
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Jerry Rice Calls it Quits

One of my favorite players of all time. He had 208 touchdowns total, 33 more than Emmitt Smith, the #2 man in league history and an incredible 63 more than Marcus Allen, who's third on the list.
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Let's Call in a Logistics Guy

Fortunately we had one all along and didn't even know it: Our old buddy Teflon at Molten Thought.

Let me just add one thing: Airlifting in lots of food and water may be the wrong solution, because it encourages people to wait it out. As I noted earlier this morning, rescuers are finding their task complicated by people who don't want to be evacuated. Cut off their food and water and those idiots will finally leave.
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Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

Must read blogpost of the day.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin
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Mary Landrieu Loses It

What an embarrassment:

Senator Mary Landrieu, the Democrat of Louisiana (whose father was a mayor of New Orleans), appears to have finally found her voice after offering only cautious criticism of the federal relief effort in the hurriance catastrophe earlier in the week. Today she promised to literally "punch" anyone, "including the president," who contnued to question the local response to the tragedy, considering the gross federal misconduct.

Appearing on ABC's "The Week" TV program this morning, Senator Landrieu still appeared to be smarting from President Bush's comments, during his national radio address, that state and local bore a fair share of blame for the slow response. On a copter tour of the area, Landrieu said that if she heard any more criticism from federal officials, particularly about the evacuation of New Orleans, she might lose control.

"If one person criticizes them or says one more thing - including the president of the United States - he will hear from me," she said on the ABC program. "One more word about it after this show airs and I might likely have to punch him. Literally."


Translation: How dare he blame it on somebody else when we're trying desperately to blame it on him? Yet another example of Bush Derangement Syndrome in the way these folks fly into a passionate rage whenever anybody dares suggest that the local officials screwed up.

Also, check out Van Helsing's picture of "Slugger" Landrieu

A commenter left this:

And what the hell is up with Bush calling the Hurricane effected areas "this part of the world". He said that at least four times in his Friday Press Conference.

And why did he go to California last Monday?


Not sure why the commenter's angry over "this part of the world"; I guess "this part of the country" would be better. And IIRC the reason he went to California was to give a speech.

Terrific blame game round up at Generation Why.
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Stem Cells Not the Miracle Cure?

As I suspected, they've been oversold:

A leading scientist who pushed for the controversial research into embryo stem cells will warn today that the challenges are so huge that any cures for disease lie a long way in the future.

Lord Winston, who pioneered fertility research in the UK, is to tell the British Association for the Advancement of Science, meeting in Dublin, that during the political campaign to push through legislation in 2001, some parliamentarians were led to believe that clinical treatments were "just around the corner". Some of the lobbying came from patients' groups, but it was stimulated by scientific observations.


"I view the current wave of optimism about embryonic stem cells with growing suspicion. Embryonic stem cells replicate very slowly in culture, and it may well be that in the culture systems where you want to grow them the selective pressure is in favour of the faster growing cells, the ones of course which are most likely to be genetically abnormal," he said.
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Tough To Rescue People Who Don't Want to Leave

Not surprising, but good to see it being reported:

Still, many people were choosing to stay in their homes, confounding a flotilla of flat-bottomed boats carrying a patchwork of city, state and federal emergency workers. The boats also dealt with gunfire and fear of water contamination.

"They tell us, 'We're OK, just keep bringing us in food and water,' " said Jimmy Breen, an emergency response official from New Mexico. "But that obviously is not a solution to the problem."
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Sunday, September 04, 2005
 
Have We Reached the Comic Book Future?

Ponder it for a moment. Most comics publishers in the 1970s posited a worse world in the future than existed then; it's safe to say that by 2000 or so they looked like pretty poor prognosticators.

But since 2001 we seem to have slipped into a comic book world. In October 2001 if I'd told you there would be an immense disaster in another US city, you would have assumed that it was a terrorist attack, right? So now we've had a terrorist attack beyond imagining and a natural disaster beyond our comprehension as well, leading to the botched evacuation of a major American city.

Now I'll admit, as I pointed out below, evacuation isn't easy. Suppose the enemy explodes a dirty bomb in Phoenix:



There are essentially six routes out of town and each of them has 2-3 lanes for the most part. If we assume nobody coming into town and appropriate the inbound lanes we can assume a maximum of 36 lanes.

To evacuate a metro area of about 3.7 million.

Well, you know what the problem with that is, right? These roads, that are equipped to handle a small percentage of the population at a time, will suddenly be asked to handle everybody at once. And cars are going to break down and people driving them will not be saying "Can I get a lift?"

And you can already see that I'm in a comic book reality.
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Excitement in the Neighborhood



(The lights are firemen)

First siren I figured it was a cop pulling somebody over a couple blocks away for speeding. Second siren I figured backup. Third siren, I decide to check it out.

Four houses down from me, the flames were above the tree-line. As I watched the firemen burst into the house and popped out the windows. Next thing I noticed they were cutting their way into the attic with a chainsaw. It was clearly a roof/attic fire as like me they have block construction on the four walls. Some discussion among the neighbors that it may have been an improperly vented dryer. Where does my dryer vent exit?

Story is the family smelled the smoke and called 911, got out of the house. Looks like everybody's okay, we'll see what the house looks like tomorrow morning. I assume major damage.
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Sean Penn, Savior

It didn't quite work out the way he'd planned:

Penn had planned to rescue children waylaid by Katrina's flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch.

The actor, known for his political activism, was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup.




Notice that there's no body armor for the troops, only the general.

With the boat loaded with members of Penn's entourage, including a personal photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: "How are you going to get any people in that thing?"

He was only planning on saving kids. Preferably photogenic kids.



(Note: This is a photo I found surfing around--it's not really Penn's boat.)

Best header.
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Dershowitz

Proves that he should not be out of bed at 1:30 in the morning.
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Does This Sound Familiar?

Discussing the way intelligence worked in the Pre-Revolution Boston:

The American system of intelligence was organized in the opposite way, from the bottom up. Self-appointed groups such as Paul Revere's voluntary association of Boston mechanics gathered information on their own initiative. Other individuals in many towns did the same. These efforts were coordinated through an open, disorderly network of congresses & committees, but no central authority controlled this activity in Massachusetts--not the Provincial Committee of Corrrespondence, or any small junto of powerful leaders; not Sam Adams or John Hancock, not even the indefatigable Doctor Warren, and certainly not Paul Revere. The revolutionary movement in New England had many leaders, but no commander. Nobody was truly in charge. This was a source of weakness in some ways. The system was highly inefficient. Its efforts were scattered and diffuse. Individuals demanded a reason for acting before they acted at all. They wrangled incessantly in congresses, conventions, committees and town meetings. But by these clumsy processes, many autonomous New England minds were enlisted in a common effort--a source of energy, initiative, and intellectual strength for this popular movement.

From Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer.
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Cool Links

Over at the Carnival of the Chillin'.
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Poll: Media Not Successful in Blame Bush Effort

And that's actually they're playing it:

Other evaluations are divided. Forty-six percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of the crisis, while 47 percent disapprove. That compares poorly with Bush's 91 percent approval rating for his performance in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but it's far from the broad discontent expressed by critics of the initial days of the hurricane response. (It also almost exactly matches Bush's overall job approval rating, 45 percent, in an ABC/Post poll a week ago.)

Given the opportunity to blame Bush, only 44% took advantage. Of course, that's far from the broad discontent expressed by the liberal media. Given that about 35% would blame Bush for their sunburn at the beach, 44% isn't too bad.
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Still Time to Get Your Dem Slogan In

Here's a couple of the entries so far:



While obviously needing a little more brevity, that entry captures the intent. Remember the original slogan from Oliver Willis was "Truman Dropped the Bomb". Hence, what I'm looking for are similar expressions of former Democratic positions that would horrify most liberals, but might be perceived (incorrectly) as a means of attracting conservative voters. "Al Gore's Daddy Voted Against the Civil Rights Act" might be a good example--liberals believe that all racists vote for Republicans, hence this might leech a few racist votes. It's somewhat similar to the gratuitous mentions of the sexuality of Dick Cheney's daughter by John Kerry and John Edwards. It also helps if the slogan seems like it would be ineffective due to faulty assumptions, and if it's somewhat politically incorrect, as in my "FDR Interned the Japs" example.



I agree that's what they're selling, just not sure it quite fits the contest. Here's another idea:



An appeal to Vietnam vets: John Kerry's just like you!
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Picture of the Week?



Combs Spouts Off has an aerial of the same setting showing that those buses are not far from the Superdome.
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LA Times Continues Its Long Slide to Obscurity

With this inane article about Kanye West's remarks:

NBC may have been nervous about West's comments, including the notion that America and its president are unresponsive to the needs of the poor. But you can be sure those remarks would have been cheered more than anything else in the program by the black parents and children still trapped in the New Orleans Convention Center and the Superdome if they had been able to hear them.

I actually agree with this:

The puzzling thing is why NBC axed that, but allowed another provocation, potentially more disturbing, to stay in: "We already realized a lot of the people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way, and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us."

Although of course the critic is undoubtedly arguing that they should have left West's remarks about Bush in, not taken the remarks about "given them permission to shoot us" out.

There's the obligatory mumbling about West being this bright new force in pop music. Why this gives him any special insight into the situation in New Orleans goes unexplained. The Captain and Tenille were a bright new force in pop music 30 years ago, but I don't recall them letting us know their thoughts on Watergate, or idiot critics from the LA Times telling us it was important to listen to them.
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