Friday, September 30, 2005
Here's more on the story, courtesy of John Lott:
In fact the defendant's position actually was that the gun confiscation statements were a hoax. Their intention was not to confiscate guns but to terrify and fool people into leaving their guns at home. Of course an "unintended" side effect of all their "no guns" statements was that police officers, believing that they were being told to confiscate guns, did so.
Hopefully this initial success will terminate in a permanent injunction, and lead to civil damage suits against the officers and their departments. . . . (This from Don Kates in an email to Lott)
Last night I heard that one of the reasons that the New Orleans police chief was fired this week was because of the gun confiscations that had occurred. Whether Nagin really had nothing to do with it is debatable, but at least it may indicate concern over future fall out (possibly the civil damages that Kates notes). (John Lott's comment.)
Lott may or may not be speculating about 'firing the Chief,' but it's irrelevant. A FreeRepublic thread on this topic produced an opinion from one of FR's members that the officers who actually DID confiscate guns could be Federally prosecuted. Seems that it's a violation of Federal law to deprive a citizen of their Constitutional rights "under color of law."
That provision is most often used to prosecute folks like Bull Connor, a well-known Democratic politician--but it certainly fits this event, as well.
In general, the police position is like this: "If we pull Joe Blow over for a traffic stop, we SHOULD be able to determine whether or not Joe has a CCW permit. Things could be messy if the LEO walks up to the car and spots a big-ass .45 semiauto on the dashboard."
Owen, at Boots&Sabers does not like this argument. Sykes is sympathetic. Paul Bucher made a big stink about this item last time around, and he and I had an extensive email discussion; I thought he was wrong to demand such a list, even if it was only electronic in a State database. The NRA does not like lists, either.
After reflection, however, I could be persuaded that a list may be made available to the authorities--defined as law enforcement-types--but only as needed--that is, through a driver's license code, or a vehicle-registration code. In other words, if the LEO does not NEED the info, he/she will not have access. Obviously, that means that somebody at the State will have the info, somewhere.
But so what? Gun owners (I am one) claim that they are law-abiding types, clean as the driven snow. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it. BTW, speeding doesn't count!!! dammit!)
What's the big deal? If gun owners who have a CCW are all that clean, Officer Friendly will be inclined to like you anyway, even if you get a $165.00 tag for 12 over.
But there's another side to this, too. I've made it clear (distant-past post) that in general, LEO's are more and more developing a 'fortress' mentality--that the only clean folks are LEO's, and that citizens are suspects. This mentality is most evident in the post-9/11 airport environment, but by no means is it restricted to that venue. I still think that Dave Clark is NUTS for banning fingernail-cleaning 2" knives from the Milwaukee Courthouse. NUTS, I say.
It's a very close call. But if the bill MUST include a provision enabling LEO access to the records to get a veto-proof passage, then the greater good (having CCW in Wisconsin) should be served.
You could call this the “10-Step Program,” brought to you by: Pontifications, at
Restore the versus apsidem. Celebrant and congregation should together “face the Lord” in prayer.
Get rid of the guitars and the sentimental, trite praise songs.
Rediscover the sublimity and grace of Gregorian and Anglican chant.
Fire the solo song leader.
The celebrant should restrict himself to the words of the liturgy.
Restore a sense of sacred formality.
Stop worshipping on the cheap.
Bring back the alb and amice.
Start building more beautiful churches.
Improve the quality of liturgical texts.
AND you know that when the Able Danger team attempted to pass this knowledge to the FBI, they were blocked at every turn by Pentagon and Attorney-General types.
AND you know that Jamie Gorelick was at one time the chief Pentagon attorney for such matters, and later became #2 in the Attorney General's office.
AND you know that Ms. Gorelick was appointed to those positions by X42 and his co-President, the Hildebeeste.
AND you know that Ms. Gorelick served on the 9/11 Commission.
AND you know that the 9/11 Commission sorta, kinda, ....FORGOT!! That's It!! FORGOT!! about the testimony of the Able Danger team members--who told the 9/11 Commission members that yes, indeed, we KNEW about Atta & Co., but were prevented from ACTING on that by Clinton's Pentagon and Attorney General's office.
AND you know that Congressman Weldon blew the whistle on the 9/11 Commission Report for "forgetting" all about Able Danger.
AND you know that there are at least FIVE people who clearly recall the Able Danger work--which was ordered destroyed by the Pentagon (all 2.5 terabytes!!!!!!) of it.
AND you know that the Pentagon is concerned about testifying before a Senate Committee which is investigating the matter.
So guess what? The Pentagon has now 'pulled the license' of the main whistleblower, based on such remarkable crimes as misappropriating pens/pencils about 20 years ago.
CQ is doing an excellent job of keeping up with this Byzantine tale.
The Gamo rifle will pick off a chipmunk at 25 yards using the tru-glo sights--it IS accurate enough so that one can head-shot a critter as large as a rat with no difficulty.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
...at the time of the police dogs and firehose incidents, CONNOR WAS A MEMBER OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE. He was the single Democratic National Committeeman from Alabama.
Some Democrats like to pretend that all Democrats were for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all Republicans were against it. Just the opposite of the truth. ...
A few posts down, we observe that the Davis-Bacon act was race-discrimination in a party dress.
A few posts down, we observed that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D, NY) was likely a conspirator to deprive a black American of his privacy rights.
Get the drift, yet?
Brookfield aldermen Gary Mahkorn and Steve Ponto told the dozen residents attending Wednesday's meeting that the city has never forcibly seized a home or business for private redevelopment and that they could not foresee that occurring in the future.
"We are all crusaders for property rights," Mahkorn said. "I really can't conceive that we would endorse that."
"We just don't do that kind of thing," Ponto said. "We're not about to enter into any drastic changes in policy with this council."
But put it in writing? No way!!
Citing the Assembly's overwhelming vote to curtail seizure of private property for economic development, Brookfield aldermen said Wednesday that a local ban was not needed.
NB: Mahkorn and Ponto were VERY careful to specify that they would not take "homes" for more upscale (read: tax-rich) development. Obviously, owners of commercial property are at risk in Brookfield.
The group failed. Oh, they produced a report, all right. But Thompson and Klauser did not have the muscle to force the various State agencies to give up their individual IT fiefdoms.
Thus, Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) has a problem:
During Wednesday's board meeting and in a letter sent to the board Tuesday, Accenture senior executive Meg McLaughlin said her firm was partly responsible for the delay because of software problems, but she insisted the state was also at fault because of problems linking state computer systems to the voter database.
The voter database needs to access driver's license information kept by the Department of Transportation, death records maintained by the Department of Health and Family Services and the Department of Corrections' file of felons.
We all know that Accenture is happy to illuminate the State's IT problems.
On the other hand, Accenture took the contract WITH the deadline (which they will miss.) Didn't they look at the system-compatibility issue BEFORE making all those promises?
"This is a good, productive measure," said Marc Tuttle, communications director for Pro-Life Wisconsin. "Cloning is something that people in our state have been worried about for a long time."
"We are absolutely elated," added Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life. The Legislature's vote put Wisconsin on record as being against human cloning and against the state becoming known as the "research capital of the world" for destroying human embryos, she said.
Jimbo, our current Mengele-wannabe, trots out Melanie Fonder to read his written evasion:
"I do not understand how anyone can, in good conscience, tell a family whose child is suffering from a life-threatening disease that politics is more important than finding a cure."
In other words, the Moral Imperative that the end cannot justify the means is irrelevant, in the world according to Jimbo.
(He, too, claims to be a Roman Catholic--just like the porn-lover at Watchdog Milwaukee)
Karl Rove is Bob Shrum with a good cause. (Shrum has run eight presidential campaigns; number won: 0, number lost: 8.) Bush calls Rove the "architect" of his 2004 victory.
In 2004, America was at war and the Democrats ran a gigolo to be commander in chief. The nation hasn't changed so much since Reagan was president that the last election should have even been close.
Whenever the nation is threatened by external enemies, the only way Democrats can win a presidential election is with another Watergate. And yet Bush nearly lost the last election. He would have lost, but for the Swiftboat Veterans – also dissed by Bush.
The "architect" of victory was nearly the architect of Bush's defeat when he advised Bush to come out for gay civil unions one week before the election. In terms of generating enthusiasm, this was the campaign equivalent of a teacher assigning homework late on a Friday afternoon. Judging by the results of more than a dozen elections where gay marriage was on the ballot last year, gay marriage is about as popular in this country as a day celebrating Hitler's birthday would be. (It is even less popular than the idea of John Kerry as commander in chief in wartime!)
In other words, Karl (with a K) Rove damn near lost the election with his inane and counterproductive "ideas."
The voters approved an amendment defining marriage as between "one man and one woman" by a margin of 59/41. (Obviously, Jimbo the WEAC Butt-Boy knows this, which is why he's doing his damndest to keep this kind of thing from actually coming to a vote...)
At any rate, a wacked-out lefty judge ruled that the provisions of the Amendment do not bar the State of Michigan from providing "partner benefits" to whoever.
The taxpayers were not consulted.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
It is an outrage that a month after disaster struck, not a single Coast Guard helicopter has been by to air drop bags of relief cash for stricken lending institutions. Without help soon, it is quite possible that we will start losing quarterly performance bonuses at an alarming rate.
...In related news, New Orleans Chief of Police, Eddie Compass, in surveying a devastated city, a police force in tatters, and a citizenry desperate for some return to normalcy, came to the only conclusion possible: “My work here is done.”
Believe it or not, the rest of the piece is just as good...
Most Conservatives indicted DeLay of willful and malicious stupidity and pig-headedness about 10 days ago after his "there's nothing left to cut" braying.
Perhaps DeLay IS the first ham sandwich to be indicted, proving the adage.
Look for a dismissal of the indictment about, oh, 42 seconds after the judge begins reading.
"Jim Kouri claims that US Senator Charles Schumer not only has a permit for a concealed handgun, but that "a check of Pistol License records shows that Senator Schumer possesses an "unrestricted" pistol permit, a rarity in New York City." The information is apparently based in part on statement on WABC by the famous Mark Levin."
Likely that Senator Schumer, a notorious conspirator to deprive a black American of his privacy rights, will be unhappy to know that someone may have 'violated his privacy' to publish this info.
Maybe Jimbo Three-Card-Monte Doyle, the WEAC butt-boy, should call Chuckie to consult about this dreadful state of affairs. After all, Jimbo doesn't need a carry-permit; he has several State-paid armed bodyguards available.
This is a good thing.
But there has been an outburst, as one might expect, from the usual suspects. One of the "factoids" which has been circulating is that 'there is no direct linkage between pedophilia and homosexuality.'
The correct word is "ephebophilia," which means acting on homosexual impulses with teen-aged boys older than, say, 12, but under the age of 18 or so. "Pedophilia" is restricted to children under the age of 12--really young ones. Generally speaking, a pedophile could be either heterosexual (the larger percentage) or homosexual.
Davis-Bacon provides that 'the prevailing wage' must be paid on Federal contracts--and typically, States and municipalities also invoke 'prevailing-wage' language in their contracts.
The Act is a Sacred Cow for Big Labor--and, by the way, for a number of contractor-firms, as well--it's protection for them.
But who is this guy Bacon? and why did he ram this through Congress in 1931? Mike Shedlock did some homework.
It's not very pretty.
"The co-author of the Davis-Bacon Act, Rep. Robert Bacon, represented a congressional district in Long Island. Bacon's opinions on issues like immigration demonstrate the extent to which his views were patently racist. For example, in 1927, the same year he introduced the Davis-Bacon Act, he submitted the following statement from 34 university professors concerning a new immigration law into the Congressional Record:
"'We urge the extension of the quota system to all countries of North and South America from which we have substantial immigration and in which the population is not predominantly of the white race… Only by this method can that large proportion of our population which is descended from the colonists…have their proper racial representation… Congress wisely concluded that only by such a system of proportional representation…could the racial status quo be maintained.'
And as one might expect, that race-animus has been quite effective. Let's quote Ron Paul:
"Most small construction firms cannot afford to operate under Davis-Bacon's rigid job classifications or hire the staff of lawyers and accountants needed to fill out the extensive paperwork required to bid on a federal contract. Therefore, Davis-Bacon prevents small firms from bidding on federal construction projects, which, unfortunately, constitute 20% of all construction projects in the United States.
"Because most minority-owned construction firms are small companies, Davis-Bacon keeps minority-owned firms from competing for federal construction contracts. The resulting disparities in employment create a demand for affirmative action, another ill-suited and ill-advised big government program.
"The racist effects of Davis-Bacon are no mere coincidence. In fact, many original supporters of Davis-Bacon, such as Rep. Clayton Allgood, bragged about supporting Davis-Bacon as a means of keeping `cheap colored labor' out of the construction industry.
Not only "cheap," but "colored." That's also "Mexican."
And the Dimowits, benighted but beholden (AFL-CIO) tell us that Bush is a Racist.
When you see a window-display and HOPE that your children never see it--or worse, see it and start asking you quesstions--that's pornography.
A more strict definition (but not necessarily complete) is that pornography reduces men or women to 'sex toys,' or "objectifies" them--makes them objects, rather than people.
A couple in Wauwatosa have heroically quested to force Mayfair management to order Victoria's Secret to take down their window-display of, ah, lightly-clad women. Some of that cladding looks vaguely like stripped-down leather goods, which brings up a whole 'nother problem...but nonetheless, the couple is taking the heat.
Why? This society has been overtaken by the "non-judgmental." Some of this is fine--one should not judge a person strictly on appearance, for example. But this rule has been taken to the extreme--so that we are now "evil" if we actually DO render a judgment based on far more than appearance: the reality.
Ad the reality is that those windows are filled with porn.
Mayfair should order Victoria's to fix it, or paper over the windows.
A. D. M. has spent some cash,
To shove a corncob up your a*&,
With a stalk-stalk here
and a stalk-stalk there,
Here a buck, there a buck,
EVERYWHERE a buck, buck,
A.D.M has spent some cash,
Monday, September 26, 2005
We already know about Young, the godfather of the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, and DeLay, the "nothing left to cut" moron (not yet convicted of BEING a moron)--
Denny Hastert's been useless, running the "go-along-to-get-along" game for years, but maintaining a very low profile. I recently spoke with one of his constituents, a conservative, who actually disowned the jerk.
And then there's Bill Thomas, Chair/Appropriations--
Limbaugh called it right. These jerks react just like the Dimowits do: "ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching, write checks, write checks, ka-ching, ka-ching."
And when even Rush-bo is disgusted with these slimballs, there's cause for lynchings.
...President Bush and Congress have already approved $62.3 billion in spending for the Gulf Coast. But... the Louisiana delegation's $250 billion bill would cost more than the Louisiana Purchase under the Jefferson administration on an inflation-adjusted basis. Some critics...said the $40 billion Corps request could make the delegation look especially greedy....
Vitter and Landrieu have described their bill as a starting point for congressional deliberations....
The bill...would create a powerful "Pelican Commission" controlled [Louisiana residents] 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 bill would exempt any Corps projects approved by the commission from provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act. It would also waive the usual Corps cost-sharing requirements, ensuring that federal taxpayers would pay every dime.
The...bill also includes $50 billion in open-ended grants for storm-ravaged communities... along with mortgage assistance, health care, substance abuse treatment and other services for hurricane victims. It also includes hefty payments to hospitals, ports, banks, shipbuilders, fishermen and schools....
Almost all the other members of the group [writing the bill] were lobbyists from firms such as Patton Boggs, Adams & Reese, the Alpine Group, Dutko Worldwide, Van Scoyoc Associates, and a firm owned by former senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.). There was a lobbyist for the Port of New Orleans, a lobbyist for Verizon, and three lobbyists who were former aides to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska).
Actually, now that the opportunity has arisen--what if we sell N.O. back to the French? They can have the Wet-Panted Governorette as a Free Bonus Offer!!!! We keep the port facility--the French get N.O. (and Nagin, conveniently already having a French name.)
Reminder: call Don Young's office and tell him he's a slimy pig and a liar.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Quick review: Tom Reynolds' printing business does a print-job for some outfit called Wisconsin Christians United, which calls the Pope "the voice of Satan." Owen and Wendy, at Boots and Sabers, defend Reynolds' decision--a print job is just a print job, after all.
Watchdog replies that Reynolds, as a community leader, should have Higher Standards.
However, Watchdog then attacks the Zurawskis, who are campaigning to remove the porn-display maintained at Mayfair by the Victoria's Secret people.
So Watchdog (Jim McGuigan, Pension-Pig who CLAIMS to be Catholic,) wants us to believe that porn, which is really "hate literature" against women--it objectifies them as sex toys--is OK, while "hate literature" printed by Reynolds is NOT OK.
Or, logically, that the Mayfair management does not consist of "commuity leaders."
"Christians" United is obviously a nut-group and viciously anti-Catholic. Demented also comes to mind...and Reynolds' decision to print their crap was questionable. If you read my posts, you'll find that I'm sympathetic to Reynolds' policy positions, by the way.
On the other hand, Watchdog should get a better understanding of "hate" materials before they attempt to defend Mayfair's management.
Up to now, embryonic stem cell advocates have claimed that they are only interested in stem cells harvested from embryos at the blastocyst (or five-to six-day) stage. They have denied any intention of implanting embryos either in the uterus of a volunteer or in an artificial womb in order to harvest cells, tissues, or organs at more advanced stages of embryonic development or in the fetal stage. Advocates are well aware that most Americans, including those who are prepared to countenance the destruction of very early embryos, are not ready to approve the macabre practice of "fetus farming." However, based on the literature I have read and the evasive answers given by spokesmen for the biotechnology industry at meetings of the President's Council on Bioethics, I fear that the long-term goal is indeed to create an industry in harvesting late embryonic and fetal body parts for use in regenerative medicine and organ transplantation.
...Scientists associated with a leading firm in the embryonic stem cell field, Advanced Cell Technology, recently published a research paper discussing the use of stem cells derived from cattle fetuses that had been produced by cloning (to create a genetic match). Although the article did not mention human beings, it was plain that the purpose of the research was not to cure diseased cows, but rather to establish the potential therapeutic value of doing precisely the same thing with human beings. For those who have ears to hear, the message is clear. I am hardly the first to perceive this message. Slate magazine bioethics writer Will Saletan drew precisely the same conclusion in a remarkable five-part series, the final installment of which was entitled "The Organ Factory: The Case for Harvesting Older Human Embryos."
...My suspicions and sense of urgency have been heightened by the fact that my home state of New Jersey has passed a bill that specifically authorizes and encourages human cloning for, among other purposes, the harvesting of "cadaveric fetal tissue." A "cadaver," of course, is a dead body. The bodies in question are those of fetuses created by cloning specifically to be gestated and killed as sources of tissues and organs. What the bill envisages and promotes, in other words, is fetus farming. The biotechnology industry put an enormous amount of money into pushing this bill through the New Jersey legislature and is now funding support for similar bills in states around the country.
Another little item festering away on the David Walsh's plate as President/Regents/UW System. Looking at the list of those who promote this stuff from the Republican side in Wisconsin only confirms Professor George's suspicions.
For those of you who wondered what Mengele's NEXT move would have been...
Now and then the StoppedClock/DU Guru gets it half-right.
The right part: photo ID, in and of itself, will NOT prevent vote fraud, here or anyplace else.
Of course, Xoff forgets that Photo ID, along with eliminating same-day registration, implementation of the Federal-mandated voter registration requirements (submarined very nicely by Kevin Kennedy, whose contractor is in failure mode), AND well-trained poll-workers, will go quite a long way toward eliminating vote fraud--the lifeline of Democrat politicians.
ALL of these (and more) have been proposed by Republicans in our Legislature, who have offered some homage to the keystone of this republic: the sanctity of the vote.
Simply put, photo ID is part of a coherent package, as James Earl Carter affirms.
(We detect that Xoff can smell the coffee. He implicitly concedes that photo ID works. S'pose the WEAC butt-boy in the Mansion reads the polls, too?)
Under the newly-written provisions implementing the McShame/Feinwipe Act which eliminated your First Amendment rights to free speech, we now demand that you cease and desist blogging.
Congress considered re-writing the Act to "regulate" bloggers who accepted paid political advertising, and dismissed the idea. It will be far easier for us, here at Big Brother, to simply eliminate blogging altogether.
Opinions which contradict the Thoughts of Politicians (or Chairman Mao, whoever, makes no difference) will now, by order of the FCC, cease.
Please delete your blog-posting page access from your Favorites menu. We need not remind you, with pictures of Elian's liberation, (or of that little old lady in New Orleans who ALSO thought she had a Constitutional right, the stupid old broad) what can happen if you refuse to obey.
That is all.
HT: Random 10
Legislators have pounded the university system this summer for one example after another of what they consider reckless spending - $700 car stipends given to administrators, paid leaves guaranteed to those who relinquish management positions, back-up jobs handed out to seemingly everyone.
I think that keeping CONVICTED SEX-CRIMINALS on the UW PAYROLL should be part of the paragraph (it's never mentioned in the story, at all)--and that little manipulation about why Ms. Hong left UW deserves a phrase in the 'graph, as well.
"Her decision to leave UW-Madison, Hong says, was influenced by the state of Wisconsin's lack of commitment to higher education, which manifests itself in a continuous struggle for fiscal and staff resources, and by difficulty recruiting staff because the university currently is not able to provide benefits to domestic partners."In my three years here, I have seen a complete turnaround from what I thought higher education was all about in this state, " Hong says.
Today, the Steingass report on the Paul Barrows affair was released. When reading through it, it is clear that Hong was right in the middle of it, having allegedly being harassed by Barrows himself. On page 33 of the report, it says, "Hong says that Barrows' conduct, the university's lack of forthrightness in dealing honestly with it, and the factions that developed as a result, caused her to leave the University of Wisconsin-Madison and take another position at Arizona State University, Phoenix. There are rumors that Hong was asked by Wiley to resign, but they do not appear grounded in fact."
So let me get this straight - Hong was sexually harassed and blew the whistle when she learned that this was the case with other women at the university. Things then got so bad for her, she not only left, but Wiley likely forced her to do a completely bogus press release about how she was leaving because state taxpayers don't pay enough to support the university.
(Via Sykes from Dennis York)
And Lakeshore Laments summarizes this very nicely.
The bill of particulars indicting UW's management is far, far more serious than $700/month car allowances. Maybe David Walsh, the President of the Board, will get this, someday...
...The...patent does not describe the intended use of the technology by the agency, noting only general uses like measuring the "effectiveness of advertising across geographic regions"
The patent-holder? NSA.
Time to clean up the acts, boys and girls.
Friday, September 23, 2005
HOW MANY OLD PEOPLE DIED? HOW MANY WERE INJURED?
This is not rhetorical. At some point in time, if it has not already happened, nursing homes in Wisconsin will simply run out of money. There will be less staff--or none--available to help the residents who are in distress.
Who will get the blame? The nursing home(s), of course.
But who aimed the gun at the nursing homes??? Jimbo. Three-Card. WEAC-Jim. Party-On-With-the-Press-Jimbo. California-Fund-Raising-(Today) Doyle.
Here are the current cosponsors: Senators Reynolds, Zien, Grothman, Lazich and Leibham; cosponsored by Representatives Wood, F. Lasee, Gundrum, Jeskewitz, Kerkman, Kestell, Lothian, McCormick, Pridemore, Kreibich, and Vukmir.
MISSING: Senator Kanavas, who states that he 'opposes' the automatic increase.
We already know that Rep. Jensen will NOT sign on as a co-sponsor until he knows without a doubt that this bill is dead meat. Rep. Jensen tells us that "we have to be able to PLAN on pissing away taxpayer money"--well, that's not really a direct quote, but it's ludicrous no matter how you phrase it.
As residents in coastal Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama continue to piece their lives back together, there are two persistent questions about Hurricane Katrina at the forefront of acrimonious political debate this week.
First, there is the lingering question of who is responsible for the lack of planning, preparation and infrastructural improvement in the days, weeks, months and years leading up to the hurricane. This all-important question, however, has spawned a concerted effort to focus on the sluggish federal response as a diversion. (As a resource for this question, please see the Katrina Consequential Timeline.)
Clearly there were bureaucratic failures by FEMA—but that is the nature of the beast, and no amount of reform, other than decentralization, will change that. The most productive thing President George Bush can do to alleviate the bureaucratic abysses is to eliminate it. As noted in this column last week, "As a first measure, the President should fire every senior executive service lawyer in DHS, FEMA, DoD, et al. The entire federal bureaucracy is hamstrung by legalities."
As for the question of accountability in New Orleans, by now, everyone on the planet knows that most of New Orleans, with the exception of the original city settlement, has been developed below sea level—surrounded by expanding levees intended to protect it from Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi River and the Gulf. Those levees, designed to withstand a category three hurricane, were never upgraded to withstand a category four or five hurricane, though clearly such a storm was inevitable.
On a good day, New Orleans continuously pumps water out of the alluvial bowl created by its levees, though building structures there continue to sink. In the event of a category four or five hurricane, however, 80 percent of the city would be swamped, and every politician from the city's mayor to the state's governor knew it. But the Big Easy is a party town—a gambling destination—and the city's leadership wagered the city against odds of a big hurricane.
In the years prior to Hurricane Katrina, there were numerous factors that precluded the strengthening of New Orleans' levees. The primary burden for inaction lies with generations of corrupt Louisiana politicians, from the Huey Long dynasty forward. Despite the city's continued below-sea-level expansion, these crooked and negligent pols paid little regard to levee strength, even in the face of repeated warnings about their inadequacy. There were also successful legal challenges brought by environmental groups who blocked the expansion and hardening of levees in an effort to protect the neighboring wetlands. Indeed, New Orleans' hurricane-defense system—such as it was—would have been greatly improved by the Army Corps of Engineers had it not been for environmental lobby lawsuits in both 1977 and 1996.
In recent years, Louisiana has received more federal taxpayer-funded Corps of Engineer grants than any other state and has received more levee funding under the Bush administration than it did under the Clinton administration.
The funding New Orleans did receive was often diverted by the city's Levee Board to other projects. For example, the Board spent $2.4 million of levee funding on a Mardi Gras fountain near Lake Pontchartrain, and $15 million more on overpasses to riverboat casinos. All the while, a big storm was on the horizon.
On Monday, 29 August, after a few days of evacuation flip-flops, tens of thousands of New Orleans residents emerged midday to the realization that Katrina's worst winds had landed to the east. Although Katrina was now tearing into Mississippi and Alabama, New Orleans had—or so it thought—dodged the bullet.
As waters continued to rise against levees holding back Lake Pontchartrain, there was some concern that Katrina's massive rainfall might yet overtop the levees. However, it appears now that the levees were not overtopped. In fact, there is compelling evidence that the floodwalls failed structurally in two locations—which would not have happened if they had been built to specifications. (Contrary to assertions by Nation of Islam agitator Louis Farrakhan, the levees were not "blown up" in order to divert flood waters from "white" to "black" parts of the city.)
Simply put, somewhere there is a contractor, and a whole cadre of well-grafted inspectors, who are accountable for the structural failure of the levees. Finding that contractor will be one of many serious tasks facing congressional investigators in the coming months.
As you recall, in the immediate aftermath of the levee failure, Democrats were waving accusatory fingers and demanding an "inquisition commission." They were hoping for colorful headlines blaming the Bush administration and, by extension, anyone on a Republican ticket in the upcoming election year. Then, when Republicans joined in the call for investigations, Democrats quickly backed down and, indeed, refused to take part altogether. Upon reflection, they determined that an inquiry into factual communication, material distribution and evacuation failures after Katrina would instead bury Louisiana Democrats—from buck-passing New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (see his evacuation plan) to lachrymose Governor Kathleen Blanco to hysterical Senator Mary Landrieu.
Truth be told, congressional investigators need only do one thing to get to the bottom of the floodwaters in New Orleans—follow the money.
Rep. Tom Davis, chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, said this week that his investigation will "move ahead" with or without Democrats. Rep. Davis, who also chairs the chamber's Government Reform Committee, said, "At the end of the day, we must come together for good, hard fact-finding." But, he noted, Democrats "could tie up the process forever, and losing time is losing information." (Of course, the Demos will obstruct the investigation, claiming it is a Republican cover-up.)
Perhaps the committee's first witness should be Bill Nungesser, a former Levee Board chairman who tried to reform the system. Mr. Nungesser says of the levee failure, "Every time I turned over a rock, there was something rotten. I used to tell people, 'If your children ever die in a hurricane, come shoot us, because we're responsible.' We throw away all sorts of money." (In other words, Louisiana Democrats had looted New Orleans long before Katrina hit.)
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Today there were at least two. Early on, he hypothesized that hurricanes were in a 20-year up/down cycle, when the published information says it's a 40-year cycle. Well, what the hey.
Later, and in a much better display of total ignorance, he decided that the Roman Catholic church has erred in barring homosexuals from seminaries. He really doesn't have any particularly compelling proof for his contention (that's because he's ignorant.) Rather, he just decided that he, personally, doesn't like the decision.
His principal misunderstanding has to do with the nature of homosexuality, which to him (and many others, equally mis-informed) is merely a matter of choosing an orifice for gratification. Were it just that simple, his argument may actually stand. But it's not.
Homosexuality is a grave disorder of the personality, involving psychological factors which, in most cases, are manifested in an "un-manly" outlook on many things in life.
Priests are by definition, "alter Christi," another Christ--and that implies real manhood, totally. Not just the physical factors, but the whole enchillada. We needn't get into a discussion of whether mankind is sinful--we already know the answer. Nor do we need to discuss particular priests who are heterosexual but otherwise somewhat wacky. That's not the issue. The issue is precisely psychological, and homosexuals are psychologically disordered.
He then went on to rant that this is "unfair" and "hypocritical" as there are a number of already-ordained priests who ARE homosexual and 'they are not being dismissed from Orders.'
Good grief. The Church may dismiss a priest (or Archbishop) from their public duties as a priest; the Church may even "laicize" the priest, meaning that they are released from their vows. But the indelible mark of Ordination on their souls does not disappear.
Afternoon Screamer, of course, proposes no alternatives--like what the Church would DO with a bunch of ordained priests which may no longer serve in that capacity. No--there's a justice issue here. As long as the priest/Bishop/Cardinal has not become a scandal (civil conviction or obvious indiscretions) the Church has an obligation to these men.
Most likely I've taken more time to post this than the Afternoon Screamer spent actually thinking about the topic.
So what's harder? Blogging intelligently or being a Radio Screamer?
In his latest issue, J J asks the question: can we actually afford to live here? He does marshal a few facts which are dismal:
- Wisconsin has the third-highest tax burden as a percentage of income;
- Wisconsin residential property-taxes are the third-highest in the USA (03/04);
- Wisconsin is ranked fifty-first as a retirement site (Bloomberg);
- Wisconsin has the nation's leading gas tax at .324/gallon; and
- Wisconsin's cost-adjusted spending per-pupil is highest in the nation ($10,249.)
That was before Three-Card Monte Doyle really got his hooks into us.
That's not all. In the near future, WEAC, for whom Three-Card is a very reliable towel-boy, will file a suit seeking "Adequacy" in educational spending for Wisconsin public school students. Should the WEAC prevail, Milwaukee's per-pupil expenditures will rise to a minimum of $14,719./pupil--and another study suggests $34, 486.!!
Oh--there's more. Remember TABOR? As most educated observers know, Three-Card, WEAC, and the AFSCME are fighting like mad to keep TABOR from emerging soon. But they are hardly alone; there is NO Democrat in the Legislature that wants it, and there are, perhaps, only a few Republicans who actually want it.
So here's the plan: Glenn Grothman will come up with a TABOR bill which, rather than limiting spending, will limit revenue growth to all levels of Government in Wisconsin. That's a very good plan--among other things, it comports with a conservative view of 'local control' of spending.
However, the plan will be skewered by amendments (last-minute or not) which will: 1) use Personal Income Growth as the benchmark for revenue increases, whereas the best measure for taxpayers will be the CPI index plus 2% (plus population growth, where applicable;) and 2) will require a "supermajority" of the Legislature to over-ride its provisions, rather than taxpayer referendum controls.
Go ahead--ask me why? Here's the answer: NO politician wants go give up spending Other People's Money. No Way, No How. Pass TABOR with CPI+2 and Referendum Controls, and the Pols will not control the money.
By the way, and on-topic: my State Senator emailed to advise that 'there are a lot of co-sponsor papers being circulated,' thus, he just didn't sign on to SB331--although he states that he most likely will support it if it emerges from Committee.
It's too much effort to sign on, eh, Senator? Or--is it just that the Pubbie Boyzz who are running for higher office don't want to see the automatic-increase provision go away BEFORE the November elections? See, that would put them in a really bad spot: if the auto-increase is stopped, then DOT's highway-funding increases go away as of next April. But next April the higher-office wannabees will be collecting money from Highway Contractors.
It's a real bitch, ain'a?
Senator Kanavas has made it quite clear that he thinks the gas-tax-hike methodology, which allows our Overseers to increase taxes without actually VOTING on it, is, ahhhh, sneaky, dirty, and ethically-challenged. There are better words.
To date, Senator Kanavas has not: 1) responded to my email, nor 2) joined the co-sponsor list on SB 331.
Hello!!! Ted!!! We know you're not THAT busy out there!!
Like Jessica, we presume that the fastidious Press Corps members paid the Governor for their repast, because the Press is Holy, Pure, and Ethically Superior.
But let's go a little further: is the WEAC Towel-Boy, Diamond Jim, repaying the Wisconsin taxpayers for the use of OUR mansion? How about for the free food? The staff who did all the work? The security, provided by our Capitol Police/State Patrol?
In the meantime, are nursing-home residents dying because of Jimbo's Veto?
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Seems that HPV, which causes cervical cancer, is really an STD, meaning that there's much less cause for concern if one is 1) ladylike prior to marriage and 2) ladylike DURING marriage.
But there's a pharmaceutical firm out there that doesn't like to talk about it that way...surprise!
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
In brief, it was an allegorical portrayal of a number of events in the USA and Rome. The author stridently maintained that it was "semi-fictional;" but it caused quite a stir, insofar as the characters were largely Catholic Bishops and priests, thinly-disguised--we all knew, for example, that Bishop "Cuthbert" certainly resembled a former Archbishop of Milwaukee...and a good portion of the "fictional" events portrayed in the book were historical, not fictional.
Well, one of the book's predictions (more or less--remember, this is "fiction") was that an extremely popular secularist smooth-talker would eventually assume a worldwide office, perhaps the Sec-Gen slot in the UN--and that this figure was really the Anti-Christ.
(Isn't speculation fun???)
Want to play mind-games? JunkYardBlog has an interesting take on X42's latest adventure in the International Intellectualoid Community--from James Pinkerton, no less:
Last week in New York City, the Clinton Global Initiative (GGI) made its bid to upstage the United Nations' 60th anniversary General Assembly. And the former president made a start toward displacing the fading UN from its prominent perch. And he will be back to try again next year.
Put simply, the CGI is striving to be a better version of the UN, skimming off the cream and the glitz; Mick Jagger, Brad Pitt, and Chris Tucker, among other stars, showed up at the Clinton extravaganza. Convening in Manhattan at the same time as the General Assembly, just a mile or so from UN headquarters, the CGI set forth four missions for itself: a quartet of "breakout sessions" were dedicated global warming, economic development, religious harmony, and effective governance. All weighty topics, no? Exactly the sorts of issues that the UN would worry about, right?
Naaaah. We all know better than that, right? X42 the Anti-Christ? Never.
Discussing recent comments by Archbishop Edward O’Brien on the apostolic visitation of seminaries and on homosexuality among seminarians in particular, Fr. James Wehner says:
"He is being very general. I would not challenge what he said, but I think we need to be more specific. You can have an orientation and never engage in homosexual acts. And you can have some young man who has too much to drink and engages in perversions he never would otherwise. That doesn’t mean he’s gay,” Wehner said.
HT: Dom's site
Fr. Wehner is the Rector of the undergrad Seminary in Pittsburgh. Gives you confidence, eh?
Rapacious trial lawyers are already on the hunt rounding up Katrina's victims to unleash a barrage of multimillion dollar lawsuits. Now they have been empowered by Congress to finance these lawsuits against taxpayers . . . with taxpayer dollars.
The government has just allocated $250 million for "counseling and legal services." After 9/11, the federal government authorized tens of millions of dollars for "counseling" to traumatized families of the victims. A Republican Study Committee audit discovered that millions went for "peace" and "diversity" workshops, a "yearlong celebration of trees, gardens and other healing places," theater workshops, anger-management classes and multiculturalism programs to discuss "who we are and why we are here." (Isn't that what churches are for?)
Please refer to the post immediately beneath this one.
Within a couple of hours, Congressman Petri will release another pile of fertilizer to WisOpinion, defending this truffle, no doubt.
What they did NOT do, of course, was to draw equally valid conclusion that GWBush, (their hero, what the hell) is acting perfectly in line with the Hegelian/Darwinian philosophical hegemony through his brutal mashing of States' rights (does the No Child Left Behind bill ring a bell?--how about Highway Funds with strings made of tar? or the upcoming Second Reconstruction?)
Naaahhh. That sort of stuff will have to be reserved to Conservatives, who will immediately be dismissed as Neanderthal America-Firsters.
She's a cute chick; that's about the end of the story. Had a couple of folks under her management at one time--now GWB proposes to give her all of the Enforcement arm of Customs/Border Patrol.
George--did you learn NOTHING from the FEMA joke?
So she married a Chertoff-staffer and is related to some 4-star. Wow.
Cute, smartass, and otherwise unqualified. Your legacy deserves better than that.
UPDATE from Froggy: she’s a true trifecta of affirmative action, nepotism, and cronyism
Hint to GWB: PULL this inane nomination!!
Monday, September 19, 2005
Here's just one of the little goodies he "sent home"--of course, this is Good Spending--it's an Investment--it's The Right Thing To Do:
Construct bike/pedestrian path in Portage, WI.
Wisconsin - 6th district
Petri, Thomas E. (R)
Herbert Kohl (D)Russ Feingold (D)
(Comment from blogger at The Truth Laid Bear:) Speaks for itself. How can a bike/pedestrian path anywhere in this cold, wintery state be deemed a "high priority". Let's see, we get about 5 months of walkable weather, tops up here. Also, we have extensive bike/pedestrian trails here in our neck of the woods and they just aren't used that much. I would love to see a cost-per-person or similar analysis done on every bike/ pedestrian trail in this state.
Oh, there's more:
Construct bike/pedestrian path and facilities in the Central Park area of Madison.
Wisconsin - 6th district
Petri, Thomas E. (R)
Herbert Kohl (D)Russ Feingold (D)
Wisconsin. Cold. Bike/pedestrian path - bad idea and unused for a large portion of the year.
Construct a bike/pedestrian path in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
Wisconsin - 6th district
Petri, Thomas E. (R)
Herbert Kohl (D)Russ Feingold (D)
Are we seeing a trend here?
And even MORE:
$25,000,000 in Sheboygan County for "nonmotorized transportation trails," namely bike paths.
Wisconsin - 6th district
Petri, Thomas E. (R)
Herbert Kohl (D)Russ Feingold (D)
$25,000,000 for Sheboygan County for the creation of "nonmotorized transportation trails" that are meant to "relieve congestion and promote exercise." This is a pilot program and Cong. Petri used his position as Chair of the Highways, Transportation, and Pipelines subcommittee to give all kinds of pork to the district.
All told, around $30 million. How many meals for flood-refugees would that buy, Congressman Petri?
Regardless of the RINO/Dimowit smear job in the SpiceBoyzzz column, Reynolds just keeps putting out the good stuff.
If your Legislative-Critter is not on this list:
Introduced by Senators Reynolds, Zien, Grothman, Lazich and Leibham; cosponsored by Representatives Wood, F. Lasee, Gundrum, Jeskewitz, Kerkman, Kestell, Lothian, McCormick, Pridemore and Vukmir
then perhaps they need a gentle reminder.
Since my guy, Sen. Kanavas, keeps insisting to me that he IS in favor of this sort of legislation, I reminded him that perhaps he forgot to co-sponsor.
Note to self: maybe Lazich is really a good guy.
Next Note to Self: Jeskewitz is STILL trying to keep her office.
The text, which was approved by Pope Benedict at the end of August, says that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers
This should trigger a bunch of "outrage" and "concern" from all sorts of folks. The MSM, of course, who will NOT tell you that the policy has actually been around since 1958 (or so) but was ignored. Some current seminarians will be unhappy--not too many, we suspect.
The loudest screams will emanate from certain already-ordained men and their feminazi enablers, largely in the USA, secondarily in Europe.
For the rest of the world, this is a non-event.
By the way: last year the Archdiocese paid $1 million in legal fees and $4+million in reparations and other costs on the abuse problem largely caused by homosexual priest-predators. Up through mid-2005, Milwaukee alone has paid out over $11 million.
More here on FreeRepublic.
Shea doesn't place a lot of emphasis on the fact that the Cardinal was speaking in English, and although Shea adduces the argument that John Paul II often used the term "God of Abraham," he flatly ignores the fact that McCarrick SAID "Allah" (not God of Abraham.)
Whether 'Allah' is used by Maronite Catholics (who worship, after all, in Aramaic) or whether 'Allah' is a variant of 'Elohim' is irrelevant--McCarrick is not a Maronite.
Finally, Shea attempts to apologize for McCarrick on the basis that 'Yahweh' is not tri-une, either--that is, that the Hebrew concept is not Trinitarian, as is the Christian one.
Yeah--but--the fact that Mohammad was a heretic is significant here. The Jews have NEVER thought of God as a Trinity (although there are references to the Trinity in the Old Testament.) Mohammed, on the other hand, had some understanding of Christianity before he went off the rails.
All in all, Shea's defense is weak. Face it, Mark--the Cardinal's attempting a Clinton-schmooze move here. You're trying to lipstick a piggy.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Excited [New Orleans] officials have announced some preliminary plans. Mayor Ray Nagin has proposed an underground parking garage to store all the city’s municipal busses, the new Orleans Levee Board has suggested building a new meeting room carved from a solid block of gold, the city council wants to establish a jobs program for the very neediest of their first and second cousins while Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco is still trying to decide what to wear this morning.
White House officials stress that this really isn’t spending, it’s “investment.” How can you tell the difference? It’s spending when the other guy does it.
My bet: 80% of the above will eventually play out, just as written above.
There is a flu remedy, however, called Tamiflu. It works.
Since the manufacturer, Roche, sells Tamiflu to governments on a first-come, first-served basis, one would expect that the US Department of Health and Human Services (formerly run by Tommy Thompson) would have stepped up and ordered a bunch of the stuff.
We have about 2 million doses. Great Britain has ordered enough for a quarter of their population; Australia has 3.5 million doses.
"Do we wish we had ordered it sooner and more of it? I suspect one could say yes," admits Leavitt [currently the Secretary, HHS.] "Are we moving rapidly to assure that we have it? The answer is also yes."
When asked why the United States did not place its orders for Tamiflu sooner, Leavitt replied, "I can't answer that. I don't know the answer to that."
Even leading Republicans in Congress say the Bush administration has not handled the planning for a possible flu epidemic well.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., says the current Tamiflu stockpile of 2 million could spell disaster.
"That's totally inadequate. Totally inadequate today," says Frist, who is also a physician. "The Tamiflu is what people would go after. It's what you're going to ask for, I'm going to ask for, immediately."
Is this a clear and present danger? Clear, yes. Present? Not quite yet.
"It isn't going to happen tomorrow, but if it happened the day after that, we would not be in as good as a position as we will be in six months," he [Leavitt] says.
However, in the end, even the country's top health officials concede that a killer flu epidemic this winter would make the scenes of Katrina pale in comparison.
"You know, I was down in New Orleans in that crowded airport now a couple weeks ago," Frist says. "And this could be not just equal to that, but many multiple times that. Hundreds of people laid out, all dying, because there was no therapy. And a lot of people don't realize for this avian flu virus, there will be very little effective therapy available early on."
As we recall, Tommy Thompson was telling us all to lose weight. That will not be helpful.
Friday, September 16, 2005
In reference to the Vatican's interest in actively discouraging homosexuals from seminaries, he said: ''They are going to exclude gays, when what they should exclude is mandatory celibacy, which I would describe as a failed experiment."
Ummmnnnhhh--Dan, your mirror is calling.
Somehow, the ACTUAL letter surfaced--and needless to say, it did not agree with the Cardinal's statement.
NOW the Cardinal, having been granted a (brief, we pray) stay in his office beyond his mandatory retirement, has found a new Faith: the one with Allah as its god. This we learn from CWN's back page.
Although we suspect that the Cardinal's acquaintance with Belloc's Great Heresies may be distant in time (if he ever read it), the book is accurate in portraying Mohammedanism as precisely a heresy. And it is precisely because "Allah" is NOT tri-une--that is, the Muslims do not recognize the existence of Christ nor the Holy Spirit as members of the Trinity. To them, there IS no Trinity.
One can only hope that Rome's email system is functional and that the Cardinal's retirement will be immediately granted. He could always serve as a missionary in Turkey, or Somalia.
Jeskewitz? Lazich? C'mon. Jeskewitz is working on saving her job--and Lazich's conservative leanings, while markedly more certain than Jeskewitz', are not exactly legendary--as opposed, for example, to Nass' Lassee's, or Gundrum's.
The fact is (Jessica's right) that the Association of General Contractors and the road-builders are the financial lifeline of the Pubbies in the Legislature. Actually cutting into their meal-ticket would offend them, and trust me, there's big money out there. Ask Scott Jensen, who will NOT consider removing the no-vote-automatic-escalator of the gas-tax because "it would make planning [difficult.]"
Yeah--that marginal 1/2 a cent or so every year would certainly cause all the road projects to simply disappear, Scott.
And some things are simply more important than taxpayers' personal budgets, right Scott?
That is to say, he opposes the war, but supports the troops.
His conclusion is based on a lot of faulty logic. For instance, he stated that WalMart is behind the drive to dump the legislation because it is in their interest to occasionally sell gasoline at a loss, as is common in retailing.
Actually, whether WallyWorld wants it or not is irrelevant. I know of nobody who will drive 20 miles to save 4 cents/gallon on gasoline; I seriously doubt that thousands of motorists will drive 20 miles to save TEN cents/gallon. Gasoline is largely purchased from convenient outlets, period. WallyWorld does not have nearly enough locations to make them 'convenient' to the vast majority of Wisconsin motorists.
Secondly, the afternoon guy (and a lot of other people) don't understand gas-station economics. NOBODY makes any money on gasoline alone--at least not enough to talk about. The big money is made on the "other" stuff: candy, coffee, OTC drugs, oil, gas-additives, and (if one is in an old-fashioned 'gas-station,' the "back end"--automotive repairs.
Sorry, afternoon guy: the principle is important, and the arguments adduced by those who claim otherwise are simply wrong, or deceptive. Nothing new about that--but one expects a lot more from someone who claims to be analytically acute.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Paul's not the first Conservative to bring it up, and it is certainly not suitable for a number of people. But it deserves consideration--there's no Mayfair Mall sex/drugs/rock'n'roll display located in Fennimore, WI.
Read the rest at Free Congress.
A few selected items:
National Geographic's recent special on 9/11 reflected the CIA's spin on the world. It was filled with conjecture based on bad sources, and a few outright falsehoods. As is the case with so many CIA products, it avoided the distinction between what we know and what the U.S. government wants to believe. In doing so, it gave the impression that we know things that we do not.
The program quoted the CIA line that Osama bin Laden escaped to Pakistan. Not only is there no evidence for this, but there is no evidence of bin Laden's continued existence after November 2001. This, after the world's most thorough manhunt. The several bin Laden tapes have never been credible, and no reputable person claims to have seen him.
The CIA would have us believe that private entities like al-Qaeda manipulate vast state intelligence services—not the other way around. Not surprisingly, the CIA draws evidence for this view from the intelligence services of states like Syria, Egypt, and yes, until 2003, Iraq. These state agencies dish up intelligence from terrorists outfits because they have infiltrated every one. They manipulate the groups against other state rivals and against us. And yet the CIA still assumes the information is disinterested.
Experience demonstrates that the CIA often thinks it has the upper hand while being taken for a ride by foreign services—hostiles and "friendlies" alike. When we have actually come upon intelligence windfalls, like Germany's Stasi files, we have discovered that nearly all the CIA's agents were actually were working for the other side. Most recently, the CIA's vaunted ROCKSTARS operation in Iraq—on the basis of which part of the April 2003 attack was planned—turns out to have been managed by Saddam.
The whole article can be found at Claremont and is written by Angelo Codevilla. Frankly, although I didn't post it here, the best quote concerned the CIA's 'case managers,' who are basically administrators--never been there, never done that, and don't have a T-shirt. But they have the attention of the National Geographic...
U.S. government trade data released today reflect that China's undervalued currency continues to take a toll on American jobs and the manufacturing sector, according to a coalition seeking an end to Chinese currency manipulation.
The Department of Commerce's latest economic indicators show that the bilateral trade deficit with China was $17.7 billion in July. "
These numbers clearly demonstrate that the annual bilateral trade deficit continues on its trajectory of reaching almost $210 billion in 2005, nearly a 30% increase over the previous high of $162 billion in 2004," said David A. Hartquist, spokesperson for the China Currency Coalition.
"The ever-increasing deficit with China will continue to hurt manufacturing until China stops subsidizing its currency," Hartquist continued. "U.S. workers should no longer have to shoulder the burden of China's export- led strategy."
The U.S. manufacturing sector continues to bear the brunt of China's undervalued currency, according to the Coalition. It points to Department of Labor statistics, which show that another 14,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in August alone, resulting in a cumulative decline for the last twelve months of 90,000 jobs.
Said Hartquist, "Since January 2001, 2.8 million manufacturing workers have lost their jobs, and there is no reason to expect this downward trend to change."
Ummmnnnhhhh...another way to put it: when the Feds spend roughly a $ Gazillion of Other People's Money on New Orleans, which country will provide all the beds, linens, dressers, TV's, VCR's, PC's, and underwear?
Hint: It Ain't the USA.
Remember that "promise" by the still-Communist "leader" of Red China about re-valuing the yuan? It has had the same force as, well, "Republican" leaders' promise to utilize fiscal prudence:
China claimed that the new currency regime would increase flexibility in the system by allowing the yuan to appreciate over time within certain bounds. If allowed to operate fully within that system, the exchange rate for the yuan already would have appreciated by 12% to a rate of approximately 7.3 yuan per dollar. However, since the July appreciation, China has kept its exchange rate for the yuan at a stable 8.09 yuan per dollar, belying Chinese assertions that the new exchange rate mechanism would reflect market conditions.
(Figures and more info: http://www.chinacurrencycoalition.org/ )
Tom DeLay...said that government has been "pared. . . down pretty good" and that nobody has been able to identify any spending cuts to make in exchange for Katrina-related spending. Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation emailed me a long list of evidence that DeLay is wrong.
• The federal government cannot account for $24.5 billion spent in 2003.
• A White House review of just a sample of the federal budget identified $90 billion spent on programs deemed that were either ineffective, marginally adequate, or operating under a flawed purpose or design.
• The Congressional Budget Office published a “Budget Options” book identifying $140 billion in potential spending cuts.
• The federal government spends $23 billion annually on...projects such as grants to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or funds to combat teenage “goth” culture in Blue Springs, Missouri.
• The Advanced Technology Program spends $150 million annually subsidizing private businesses, and 40% of this goes to Fortune 500 companies.
• The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets, and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were reimbursable.
• The Conservation Reserve program pays farmers $2 billion annually to not farm their land.
• Washington spends $60 billion annually on corporate welfare, versus $43 billion on homeland security.
Of course, DeLay's comments are laying the groundwork for spending a $Gazillion on "rebuilding New Orleans"--and as the wet-panted Governorette of the State of Corruption has promised, it will ALL be Federal (read Other Taxpayers') Money.
Denny Hastert, not notorious for principled stands, ought to speak up again--rebuilding cities under sea-level is not exactly bright, although it certainly comports with the rationale demonstrated above.
On the evening of September 13, 2005, the Pregnancy Help Center of Milwaukee burned to the ground. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. Regardless of the fire’s source, this small but important institution will not be able to function for some time. I am writing to request, on its behalf, thoughts, prayers and support.
For some twenty years, the Pregnancy Help Center has provided counselling and health services, food, clothing and baby materials for pregnant women otherwise ignored by society or informed that their unborn children are unsupportable and therefore unwanted. The Center is located in a poorer district of the city and its clientele is predominantly African-American women and new immigrants. Often having to deal with abuse, neglect and poverty in their homes, these women and their children have relied upon the Center for all manner of support and guidance.
Donations can be sent to “The Pregnancy Help Center of Milwaukee”, P.O. Box 1074, Brookfield, WI, 53008-1074
We know the people who run Pregnancy Help Center, and it is a VERY worthwhile cause.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Wow. Rates here are 57% above the national average. Wow.
That's the upper 2% for hospital costs.
Reason: "lack of competition." This according to a study requested by Congresscritters Barrett and Ryan (Barrett is now the Mayor of Milwaukee), reported by the Business Journal.
It gets worse. Eight of the 10 highest-physician-cost cities in the USA are in Wisconsin, with LaCrosse being the most expensive. Here, Milwaukee/Waukesha ranked 16th of 319 areas.
Lemmeesee, heah, now, Gomer. We got, ah, well, we got Aurora, the McDonald's of health-care, with a facility on every major intersection. Then we got Covenant, second but trying harder. Then we have that Waukesha outfit, ProHealthCare, which has nothing to do with major-league sports, I think.
Then there's Children's, first in costs by a country mile.
Related topic: a few months ago I rumor-blogged that hospitals in this area were about to go to a "cash-up-front" method of payment--no more of that pay-the-deductible-later crap. Seems that they have a hard time collecting.
Shock! Surprise!! Gasp!!! First they charge in the upper 2% in the country--then they complain that people just aren't paying.
Hell--we have People with Guns after us for the 4th-highest TAXES in the country. No hospital-collection type compares.
It's even more fun to go to the 'second level' of the supporters.
One of them is the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, whose members include:
Benedict Center, Milwaukee
Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community, Milwaukee
Congregation of the Sisters of St. Agnes, Fond du Lac
ELCA Greater Milwaukee Synod
Franciscan Sisters of Mary - Madison
GLSEN-South Central Wisconsin
Pax Christi - Madison
St. Benedict's Center, Madison
St. Norbert Abbey Justice and Peace Committee
Saint Norbert College Peace and Justice Center
School Sisters of Notre Dame - Milwaukee Province
The Sinsinawa Dominicans (Racine/Chicago)
Sisters of Saint Francis of Assisi, Milwaukee
Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, Green Bay
Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF, Chicago
Sisters of the Divine Savior, Milwaukee
Socialist Party of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin-Madison -United Faculty & Academic Staff, AFT #223
Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba, Art Heitzer, Milwaukee
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Mike McCabe, Madison
Naturally, being a Catholic, I was interested in the number of orders of nuns who are into the dope-smoking support chain. Suppose the parents of little Suzy at DSHA hear much about the Order's interest in dope-smoking? How about the children at the SSND-run girls' middle-school on the South Side?
So Herbie, given this weighty responsibility, used the moment to ask a question fraught with import; weighty; and demonstrative of his acumen, not to mention his concern for the future of the American experiment.
"Mr. Roberts, do you think the President should nominate a woman to replace [Sandra O'Connor]?" he intoned.
Herb--this will be a bumper sticker in the next Senatorial campaign you buy.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Let's not (in this post) politicize; rather, let's try to point out that in an operation the size and scope of Katrina, some things will simply go wrong. In the words of an estimable military-type, "When the poop hits the fan, a Plan is just a guess in a Party Dress."
Corrective Action is next. One needs to be familiar (but not expert) with industrial quality-control techniques to understand the statistical mandates--but in effect, they are the same mandates one uses when training folks in target-shooting.
The First Rule: NEVER "correct" an isolated incident. In target-shooting, one looks for patterns by studying groups. So you fire five rounds at a target, and THEN adjust the sights for the deficiency observed in the group of five. One cannot correct the sights for a "group" of one. Period. (There are a lot of statistics published on this, most of which I don't understand--but it's a True Fact.)
The same rules will apply to deficiencies in FEMA, Louisiana, and New Orleans actions. We can spend all day talking about firefighters getting harassment training in Atlanta instead of being sent to fires, or Dallas cops being sent to NO while Arkansas cops are sent to Dallas. Fine--but until a pattern emerges, there's no sense in attempting a "fixit."
Another lesson: what's YOUR hometown's emergency-planning department been doing, lately? Does it include practice? And have ALL the communications/control hardware and software devices been tested? Backup power?
A couple of 'money quotes:'
"...the head of Florida AHCA and the head of Florida wildlife (which is responsible for all search and rescue) all said they made offers of aid to Mississippi and Louisiana the day before Katrina hit but were rebuffed. After the storm, they said they've had to not only help provide people to those states but also have had to develop search and rescue plans for them. "They were completely unprepared -- as bad off as we were before Andrew," one Florida official said.
And how Louisiana and Mississippi officials have handled Hurricane Katrina is a far cry from what emergency managers here would have done. Mississippi was in the middle of rewriting its disaster plan when Katrina struck. Officials there were still analyzing what went wrong during Hurricane Dennis earlier this year when Katrina overtook them. Search teams from Florida were rescuing Mississippi victims before law enforcement officers there were even aware of the magnitude of the disaster.
Louisiana also lacked an adequate plan to evacuate New Orleans, despite years of research that predicted a disaster equal to or worse than Katrina. Even after a disaster test run last year exposed weaknesses in evacuation and recovery, officials failed to come up with solutions.
"Search and rescue crews from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were poised in Pensacola on Sunday night in anticipation of Katrina's landfall Monday.
After scouting the Panhandle and determining it was OK Monday morning, Jones said she called Mississippi officials to see if they needed help.
"They said, 'We don't know,' " she said. "Monday night, Mississippi said 'We still have not been able to evaluate the damage, so please go.' So Monday night, we were at the border ready to go, and we were in Mississippi by 6 a.m. Tuesday. So before Mississippi could wake up and say, 'OK, we have to start doing assessments,' Florida was in those two counties, in Jackson and Harrison."
Jones' crews made the first rescue in Mississippi at dawn the day after Katrina made landfall, and they spent a week in the area, ferrying Mississippi Marine Patrol officers whose vessels were destroyed by Katrina.
One wonders why the Louisiana and Mississippi Emergency Ops people had not made it a point to contact the Florida people long ago to find out How It Is Done.