Friday, September 30, 2005


Sorry I haven't posted in too long. Been really busy, but have been formulating posts in my head. I hope to get some big ones going this weekend, so please check back!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Depleted Uranium: Is it a Health Hazard?

Doesn't appear to be, despite the wild assertions of the Left. The World Health Organization doesn't seem too concerned, nor does Sandia National Labs.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Hurricane Forecasters Got it Right, But the AP Gets the Story Wrong

Much has been reported and written about hurricane Katrina and the poor response from government at all levels. The president has even accepted responsibility for the shortcomings of the federal government, but as written about in this space previously, the real tragedy was the inability or unwillingness of local officials to implement their own well-documented emergency plan and evacuate those people who could not get out themselves.

Much has also been made, especially by those opposed to everything the president does and says, to his comment that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breech of the levees." In an otherwise good article about the accuracy of the hurricane forecasters, John Pain of the Associated Press writes,
"The performance by the two agencies calls into question claims by President Bush and others in his administration that Katrina was a catastrophe that no one envisioned."

For example, Bush told ABC on Sep. 1 that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." In its storm warnings, the hurricane center never used the word "breached." But a day before Katrina came ashore Aug. 29, the agency warned in capital letters: "SOME LEVEES IN THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA COULD BE OVERTOPPED."

Note that the president says "breached", whereas the warnings Mr. Pain cites warns of levee "overtopping". "Breaching" and "overtopping" are not the same thing. Breaching refers to a hole or break in the integrity of the levee, while overtopping describes the water level rising above the top of the levee, but not the failure of the levee itself. The distinction between the two is crucial to the crux of this article.

The article does go on to cite dire warnings given to the administration by the director of National Hurricane Center, but fails to cite specific sources or quotations. It makes one wonder if specific warnings about "levee breaches" or "levee failures" were ever actually given. If such evidence were available, I would think Mr. Pain would have cited references.

I will give Mr. Pain credit for adding, albeit at the very end of the article, the fact that the National Hurricane Center director took the unusual step of personally calling "the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin two days ahead of time to warn them about the monstrous hurricane."

Unfortunately, most of the blame for the slow response to the disaster continues├é—from the left, anyway├é—on the president, when the mayor and governor had ample warning to get the residents out two days before the hurricane struck.


Friday, September 16, 2005

The Liberal Mind

I spent time with a committed liberal recently, and it was a real eye-opener. Like you, I have heard and read about the differences between how liberals and conservatives think, but here before me like a freshly opened oyster was liberalism in all its glory... or misery, depending on your point of view.

For context, we spent time together while the tragic events unfolded in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. My liberal comrade was deeply offended that the media referred to those people who sought refuge from the storm and its aftermath as "refugees". He actually believes that the apparent slowness of the aid response is because most of the people who live in New Orleans are black.

On a broader level, he believes that everything printed in the New York Times is gospel truth, and everything broadcast on Fox News is a lie. He is, at 25 years old, still in college studying to be a social worker. A social worker. No doubt a noble pursuit, but one that will forever place him under the control of, and in support of a growing Welfare State. I know his heart is in the right place, and he doesn't qualify (yet) as a classic "angry liberal", but he isn't yet old enough to become angry and bitter.

His choice of career, however, compared with another 20-something acquaintance of mine who is more conservative is stark. Here he is, still in college, with no plans for his future other than doing social work. He doesn't own a car, or a computer, or a TV, or really anything except, of course, his Ipod. He does have very good musical talent, but doesn't have the drive to succeed at music. He is irresponsible about many things, and completely lacks a sense of urgency in just about anything he does.

My more conservative friend, however, is also in his twenties, is a college graduate, has a good job with a high five-figure salary, owns a house, two cars, has a family, and pays lots of taxes. In fact, if it weren't for my more conservative friend who earns money and pays taxes (and the millions like him), my liberal friend (and the millions like him) wouldn't have the grant money to go to college, perform social work, or generally be the lazy and irresponsible guy he is.

It seems clear to me that my liberal friend is very typical of many liberals. It is also very clear why so many liberals go into journalism, academia, government and the public sector, and why so many conservatives prefer to go into business and private sector. Liberals, to their credit, seem to understand that by controlling the news media, academia, and government, that their collectivist goals can be reached. Whether by design or by accident, liberals have for a very long time been working to institutionalize their agenda through control of these three areas, with average Americans unaware of this creeping revolution.

Conservatives, on the other hand, generally tend go into business and the private sector because they believe that by helping themselves, they can best help society. Conservatives, while working to build success in their own lives and the lives of their fellow Americans, haven't and still don't seem to understand that liberals have a seven-decade head start on controlling government, academia, and the news media. Fortunately, however, the conservative counterrevolution is underway, with control of the government now in Republican hands.

One other interesting illustration of how conservatives and liberals think is their respective reactions to hurricane Katrina. Liberals, who prefer strong central control over local control, were aghast at the response of the federal government. Conservatives, on the other hand, were aghast at the response of the state and local authorities to the hurricane, as conservatives prefer control by state and local authorities through the concept of federalism.

It seems to me that to be a liberal, you must first react emotionally to a situation. You must also be able to overlook reality if you find it offensive. Like referring to those seeking refuge as "refugees"; even though that is what they are, it is 'mean-spirited' to call them that. And you must believe that the best way to solve problems is by a consolidation of power in fewer hands.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Who's Fault is Katrina? **UPDATE**

The destruction and misery brought on by Hurricane Katrina has been viciously exploited by the Angry Left, the Hate-Bush crowd, and even the leadership of the Democrat party. The unfortunate truth in this tragedy, despite the lies of the left, is that many of those people killed, or raped, or murdered during and in the aftermath of the storm would likely have been saved had they been properly evaculated.

The emergency plan in place prior to Katrina's strike clearly outlines that the evacuation of New Orleans is "responsibility of the Mayor of New Orleans in coordination with the [state] Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and the OEP Shelter Coordinator." If the people who had no transportation were looked out for as described in such great detail in NO's "Hurricane Emergency Evacuation Standard Operating Procedure", the horrific situation that followed the hurricane could have been avoided. Had the people not been in NO, as ordered by the mayor (but not enforced), then whether federal response was fast or slow would have made no difference.

There is also evidence (though I have not been able to confirm this yet) that the president had urged the governor or Louisiana to formally request federal assistance as early as Friday night before the storm hit, and again on Saturday. It wasn't until Sunday, the day before the storm hit that the governor actually requested federal assistance. Until this request is formally made, the president does not have the authority to order federal troops or other aid into an affected area.

It is also important to remember that the mayor of NO did not order mandatory evacuations until Sunday, the day before the hurricane hit. Had he done so even 24 hours earlier, or on Friday night as apparently urged by the director of the National Hurricane Center, the situation during and following the hurricane would likely have been much better.

It is clear that the federal response to Katrina was inadequate, but more importantly, the state and local response was even worse. Had they not delayed requests for federal aid, and not delayed mandatory evacuations, and had they actually implemented their own emergency plans, federal aid would probably have come sooner, and more importantly, those most vulnerable to the wrath of Katrina could have gotten out of harm's way before the storm hit.

A timeline of Katrina

**Update** A better timeline of Katrina

*Fixed misspelling

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Low post rate

Sorry, been really busy, but will post more this weekend, mostly about Katrina.