Friday, September 30, 2005

Is the media biased? Google News has the answer.

Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News (Paperback)According to its informational page, Google News, "gathers stories from more than 4,500 news sources in English worldwide." I wonder what Google News, with its integrated search capability, can tell us about media bias?

Let's do a little experiment. Let's search for the two major party names.

republicandemocratic% Rep.
%s senator2,3202,75046%
%s senate7,2208,44046%
%s congressman4,7904,25053%
%s congress22,40025,60046%

*Note: searches were qualified on both sides with the term "United States" to ensure a minimum of foreign news stories. In addition, the terms "democrat", "democratic", "democrats" were all counted; and "republican" and "republicans" were also counted on the other side.

Interesting. It looks like there's pretty much an even split.

I wonder what happens if -- instead of using party names -- we use the labels "conservative" and "liberal"? You would guess that a balanced mainstream media would employ the terms on a relatively equal basis. After all, the terms are subjective, and not official designations of any kind. If the mainstream media were truly balanced, these subjective terms would be evenly distributed.

I'm excited. Let's search.

%s congress9,0404,42067%
%s senator4,1402,98068%
%s senate15,30010,00060%

I'm stunned. On average, about two-thirds of mainstream media articles (remember, around 4,500 news sources in English) use the subjective term "conservative". Only about a third use the subjective term, "liberal".

How about additional subjective terms, such as "right-wing" and "left-wing"?

%s congress79648862%
%s senator39326560%
%s congressman1273977%

Pretty much the same result. The media is more than willing, on average, to throw around a subjective label like "right-wing". Far more willing than to use the equivalent term for the other side of the political spectrum.

That's another reason I call the mainstream media the "mediacrats". Their agenda is so transparent, you can hardly see the New York Times when you hold it up to a bright light.

Next time you hear geniuses like Dan Rather or Al Franken blathering about how fair the Mediacrats are, pull these numbers out.

By a simple, quantitative measure, most news sources appear perfectly willing to slap labels on the GOP and the right... far more frequently than doing so for the Democrats and the left. I think that tells us just about all we need to know.

The mediacrats: taking a dying medium and killing it even quicker.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

"Roberts Decision Unsettles Dems"

The Perfect Kill, by AJ QuinnellThe other day, I was shocked to encounter a news story that seemed to tilt its coverage against the Mediacrats. What the... ? I had to read it twice to be sure. Even the headline (above) was discomforting. Here's an excerpt:

For the eight Democrats on the 18-member Judiciary panel and the 44 Democrats in the 100-member Senate, the choice over how to vote is riddled with short-and long-term political ramifications...

...As members of a divided, minority party, many of their considerations are at odds, such as how to appease a liberal donor base while appealing to swing voters, and trying to sort out whether voting no makes any difference to what sort of nominee President Bush submits in coming weeks to fill a second high court vacancy....

Wow. The author used the "L" word in a news article, plus labeled the Democrats "a divided, minority party." Which I guess they are. Alright, someone needs to come clean. Which editor was sleeping off a fifth of Jim Beam when this gem belly-crawled past the news-desk?

I've got to admit, I've seldom seen such characterizations in the mediacratic newspaper I read on a daily basis. So, what news service produced this story? The Associated Press? Nope. Knight-Ridder? Nah. Agency France Presse? Uhm, no. Al Jazeera? Surely you jest.

No, the author was none other than Margaret Talev of the McClatchy News Service . Hmmm. Never heard o' that one before. If Fox News is any indication, McClatchy might have a big future in store.

We'll know the trend is for real when a news story -- describing the area affected by Katrina -- estimates the size at, "roughly three times the diameter of Michael Moore."

Margaret Talev: "Roberts Decision Unsettles Dems"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The mediacrats: AWOL again

Countdown to Crisis : The Coming Nuclear Showdown with IranThe mediacrats are so busy ripping former FEMA head Michael Brown (a suitable proxy for George W. Bush) that they've missed out on yet another critical story:

Anyone who believes that Iran is not on a crash program to build atomic bombs need only listen to the Iranian leaders speaking to their own people. On September 15, for example, there was a meeting at the defense ministry in Tehran, involving the defense minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, and the heads of the Basij and Revolutionary Guards - the bloodiest arms of the regime. Right after the meeting, a young journalist reported on the official Jam-eh-Jam TV that Mohammad-Najjar had said that it is Iran’s "absolute right to have access to nuclear arms and that we must stand up to any pressure from the international community."

Immediately following the televised report about "nuclear arms," the broadcast network was disconnected. Shortly afterwards, Minister Mohammad-Najjar appeared on a radio broadcast for an interview about the meeting and attempted to whitewash his original remarks by stating the official disinformation that Iran "has the right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program for economic and energy purposes."

...Our main enemy, the single greatest engine in support of the terror war against us... is Iran. There is no escape from this fact. The only questions are how long it will take us to face it, how effective we will be when we finally decide to act, and how terrible the price will be for our long delay.

Michael Ledeen: Iran bubbles over

What do these cities and towns have in common?

Fort Myers, FL
Salem, OR
Gray, GA
Birch Run, MI
Franklinville, NJ
Rumson, NJ
San Diego, CA

What do these places have in common? U.S. military personnel in Iraq found computer files containing floor plans and security information from elementary schools located in those towns. Shhhhhhhh. No one tell the mediacrats.

Hat tip: Cassandra Page.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Stockdale Paradox and the Modern Left

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don'tI'm reading a business book called Good To Great . It has absolutely nothing to do with politics. The book is very enlightening. After man-decades of careful research, Jim Collins and his team arrived at a few basic characteristics that distinguish great companies from merely good ones.

How, for example, did Walgreens outperform the market by a factor of fifteen times, while its competitor Eckerd became an industry laggard? How did Kimberly-Clark dominate the master marketers at P&G? And how could Nucor take on -- and soundly defeat -- US Steel? Simple: all exhibited certain traits in its leadership that allowed it to prevail.

To illustrate the point: had you invested one thousand dollars in Walgreens in 1975, that stake would have been worth over $560,000 by the year 2000. Contrast that performance with the great names of corporate America: Intel ($309,000), GE ($119,000), Coke ($73,000), Merck ($64,000), and the general market ($37,000). Walgreens? Are you kidding me?

So what -- exactly -- allowed companies like Walgreens, Kimberly-Clark, Pitney-Bowes, and Nucor to grow in spectacular fashion?

I'll review the book in detail later. But -- for reasons that will become evident -- I wanted to mention "The Stockdale Paradox", a characteristic of all great leaders as quantitatively assessed by Collins. What is "The Stockdale Paradox"?

The name refers to Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was the highest-ranking [US] military officer in the "Hanoi Hilton" [POW] camp during the... Vietnam War. Tortured over twenty times during his eight-year imprisonment..., Stockdale lived out the war without any prisoner's rights, no set release date, and no certainty as to whether he would survive to see his family again. He shouldered the burden of command, doing everything he could to create conditions that would increase the number of prisoners who could survive unbroken, while fighting an internal war against his captors and their attempts to use the prisoners for propaganda.

At one point, he beat himself with a stool and cut himself with a razor, deliberately disfiguring himself, so that he could not be put on videotape as an example of a "well-treated prisoner." He exchanged secret intelligence information with his wife through their letters, knowing that discovery would mean more torture and perhaps death.

He instituted rules that would help people to deal with torture (no one can resist torture indefinitely, so he create a step-wise system -- after x  minutes, you can say certain things -- that gave the men milestones to survive toward). He instituted an elaborate internal communications system to reduce the sense of isolation that their captors tried to create [using taps and pauses]. At one point, during an imposed silence, the prisoners mopped and swept the central yard using the code... [tapping] "We love you" to Stockdale on the third anniversary of his [captivity]. After his release, Stockdale became the first three-star officer in the history of the Navy to wear both aviator wings and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

You can understand, then, my anticipation at the prospect of spending part of an afternoon with Stockdale...

...we continued the slow walk toward the faculty club, Stockdale limping and arc-swinging his stiff leg that had never fully recovered from repeated torture. Finally, after about a hundred meters of silence, I asked, "Who didn't make it out?"

"Oh, that's easy," he said, "The optimists."

"The optimists? I don't understand," I said...

"The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."

Another along pause... he turned to me and said, "This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith you will prevail in the end -- which you can never afford to lose -- with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be."

To this day, I carry a mental image of Stockdale admonishing the optimists: "We're not getting out by Christmas, deal with it!"

So, exactly what is the Stockdale Paradox? What trait allowed Stockdale to marshall his charges towards eventual liberation without succumbing to insanity and suicide?

The Stockdale Paradox
Retain faith that you will
prevail in the end
regardless of the
AND at the
same time
Confront the most brutal
facts of your current
reality, whatever they
might be.

In other words: maintain your confidence in spite of all odds while maintaining a grasp on reality. Confront the "brutal facts" of your existence while maintaining a fundamental belief that somehow, some way, everything will turn out fine.

While reading this, I had what could only be termed an epiphany. The modern Left are precisely analagous to Stockdale's "Optimists." Their philosophy: if we ignore the global war on terror, the problem will... go away. Consider, if you will, just a few recent events on the world stage:

1: On show at [Iran's] annual military parade were thousands of troops and a range of hardware including six of Iran's Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, which sported banners saying "Death to America", "We will crush America under our feet" and "Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth".

2: In the first such statement by an Iranian president in nearly 20 years, Mahmood Ahmadinejad said his election would mark what he termed a new Islamic revolution. Ahmadinejad said such a revolution would spread throughout the world... "The era of oppression, hegemonic regimes, tyranny and injustice has reached its end."

3: [Al Qaeda] spokesman, Suleiman Abu Gheith, published an article on the alneda website that claimed: "We have the right to kill four million Americans - 2 million of them children..."

4: A university student from Egypt was ordered held without bond after prosecutors said they found a pilot's uniform, chart of Memphis International Airport and a DVD titled "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act" in his apartment...

5: Four men, including the head of a radical Islamic prison gang, were indicted on federal charges of plotting terrorist attacks against military facilities, the Israeli Consulate and synagogues in Los Angeles...

6: Iran... resumed its work at the plant near Isfahan, where uranium oxide (called yellowcake) is converted to uranium hexafluoride gas... This gas is the feedstock for centrifuges that enrich uranium to varying degrees: 4 percent for power plants, 20 percent for research reactors and 90 percent or higher for weapons. This was a clear breach of Iran's agreement to suspend "all uranium enrichment related activities"...

The "optimists" don't talk about a nuclear Iran. Nor the fact that Saddam's regime was, for decades, a veritable clearinghouse of terror. They don't mention the extremists' 1996 declaration of war against America and the resulting litany of attacks.

The "optimists" don't dare discuss the changing fabric of the Middle East: Libya disclaiming nuclear weapons and the rising tide of Democracy in Lebanon, Egypt and even Saudi Arabia.

The "optimists" certainly don't state (in public) that Iran is now surrounded by a democratic Afghanistan to the east and a democratic Iraq to the west.

Like Stockdale, Ronald Reagan confronted the "brutal facts" of Communism. And like Stockdale, George W. Bush confronted the "brutal facts" of the global war on extremism.

You never hear the Left talk about the implications of a nuclear Iran; a country that has threatened to crush America and wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. You don't hear the Left talk about any credible, long-term solution to religious extremism. In other words, the Left remains simple "optimists", hoping for a fortuitous outcome in spite of the "brutal facts" confronting the United States.

The electorate should know that, unless the Left is willing to confront the "brutal facts" of today's world, it has no business at the levers of power in this country.

Related reading: Wizbang, Hugh Hewitt, Michelle Malkin, Clarity & Resolve, Cassandra Page.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Mediacrats hit Bottom - then find new Sub-basement

Arrogance: Rescuing America From the Media EliteIt's possible you missed this story, because last I checked it hadn't been reported in the States:

TEHRAN (AFP) - Under pressure over its nuclear programme, Iran flaunted its ballistic missiles and warned any nation considering attacking the Islamic republic would face a “destructive and fiery” response.

On show at an annual military parade on Thursday were thousands of troops and a range of hardware including six of Iran’s Shahab-3 ballistic missiles - which sported banners saying “Death to America”, “We will crush America under our feet” and “ Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth”.

Yep, no story there. It's hard to blame the Mediacrats: it doesn't exactly jibe with their worldview. You know, that evil doesn't exist and child-slaughtering terrorists are "insurgents".

Meanwhile, back in the real world, GlobalStrategy and other analysts:

...predict that Iran could acquire a nuclear weapon as early as 2006. As of mid-2003 the CIA reportedly assessed that Iran was two or three years away from developing nuclear weapons. IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei told Der Spiegel 21 February 2005 that if Iran was determined to have nuclear weapons - as the US believes it is - it was “likely to have a bomb in two or three years”.

Just what you want to hear from a country threatening to wipe the US and Israel off the face of the planet.

And, in keeping with the status quo, the EU remains as useless as a 'Michael Moore Weight-Loss Program': "Europeans Drop Harsher Stance on Iran." And the IAEA -- another stellar component of the UN -- executes a bold strategy: it "adjourns."

So while even the slowest of the slow -- I mean, the cadre known as "international journalists" -- have finally been tasered into realizing what a nuclear Iran means for Europe, the mainstream US media has been out to lunch. And that's putting it kindly.

Consider this article from ABC News. It describes the Iranian nuclear situation using the headline, "Europeans Drop Harsher Stance on Iran." And it doesn't bother to mention the whole "crush America" and wiping Israel "off the face of the Earth" bits. I don't know about you, but I think most Americans might like to know who's threatening to kill them and their families.

But the Mediacrats don't think it's newsworthy. So, yes, you heard that right. While even "International Journalists Doubt Iran’s Nuclear Program Is for Peaceful Purposes," the American mainstream media seems as though it's purposefully withholding critical information from the American public.

Choo!! Choo!! Welcome aboard the clue train, "International Journalists." Now, if only the Medicrats would step onto the platform.

Actually, to be fair, it's only that most international journalists have gotten on board. There are exceptions, like the Beirut, Lebanon press:

...if safeguards can now be established, it is unrealistic to deny Iran the rights [to have nuclear weapons] that are extended to every other country in the global community...

Last time I checked, no other member of the nuclear contingent was threatening to wipe... entire countries off the face of the Earth. But maybe I'm just the overly sensitive type.

Meanwhile, the Mediacrats -- the US media and the Democratic Party leadership -- can't be bothered reporting on "low interest" stories. Like Iran's promises to light the Middle East on fire.

It reminds me of this hilarious MSNBC headline: "In media, truth is the goal, but how to get there?" Yes, indeed. How do we get there? Perhaps... by telling... the truth? Americans can only dare to dream.

Just when you think the Mediacrats have hit bottom, they fall through a trapdoor into a whole new sub-basement.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Mediacrats: Stuck on Stupid

Flight to New Orleans for camera crew and talent: $3,790.
Hotel and meals in New Orleans for camera crew and talent: $1,893.
Getting ripped a new bodily orifice by General Honore while on camera: priceless.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 at 10:21 PM

CNN: conference on Hurricane Rita. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin & Gen. Russel Honore.

Honore: And Mr. Mayor, let's go back, because I can see right now, we're setting this up as he said, he said, we said. All right? We are not going to go, by order of the mayor and the governor, and open the convention center for people to come in. There are buses there. Is that clear to you? Buses parked. There are 4,000 troops there. People come, they get on a bus, they get on a truck, they move on. Is that clear? Is that clear to the public?

Female reporter: Where do they move on...

Honore: That's not your business.

Male reporter: But General, that didn't work the first time...

Honore: Wait a minute. It didn't work the first time. This ain't the first time. Okay? If... we don't control Rita, you understand? So there are a lot of pieces of it that's going to be worked out. You got good public servants working through it. Let's get a little trust here, because you're starting to act like this is your problem. You are carrying the message, okay? What we're going to do is have the buses staged.

Male reporter: General, a little bit more about why that's happening this time, though, and did not have that last time...

Honore: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. This is public information that people are depending on the government to put out. This is the way we've got to do it...

MediaGab: Honore press conference.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Iran and the Bomb: Visions and Lies

Countdown to Crisis : The Coming Nuclear Showdown with IranAs the Democratic Party expends its limited energies attacking George Bush through proxies (e.g., John Roberts, Michael Cherthoff, and Katrina), Iran's mullahs are busily assembling nuclear weapons. Biding time and manipulating the ineffectual leaders of France and Germany -- while utterly ignoring the U.N. -- Iran's leaders should be setting off the alarm claxons.

But the not-so-loyal-opposition represented by the Democratic leadership can't be bothered with a nuclear-armed Iran. They've got to ensure John Roberts doesn't make Chief Justice! So while Condoleeza Rice makes her case for pressing Iran through the Security Council, virtually no words of encouragement can be heard from the Democratic leadership.

We've been down this road before. When Hitler wrote Mein Kampf , his vision for a totalitarian third Reich was crystal clear. The same sort of vision has been expressed by Iran's 'President', Mahmood Ahmadinejad. It's all there for anyone to see, if they can be bothered taking the time to read. Just don't tell the Democratic leadership. Kennedy, Feinstein and Boxer have more important things to do.

Hitler's blitzkrieg war upon first western, then central and eastern Europe came as a surprise to those who thought diplomacy and appeasement had triumphed. But as anyone could have seen, even decades before the war had started, Hitler's true aim, his real vision for the destiny of the German Volk, was not in peaceful coexistence with their neighbors, but in a violent expansionism; especially to the east, into the fertile fields of Russia. It was all there, in Mein Kampf , for all to see. Right from the start.

That is the thing with megalomaniacal, totalitarian leaders. They almost universally believe themselves to be chosen men, destinied to lead their people on a grand quest toward eternal glory. And try though they might to be subtle, to be discrete, to conceal their plans from unhelpful scrutiny, they are just so utterly wrapped up in their own magnificent cleverness that they can't help but reveal their master plan beforehand.

I am now talking about the Iranian leader, President Mahmood Ahmadinejad. Like Hitler, he has made many entreaties to the west, using every trick in the fascist handbook in order to buy time. He knows that in dealing primarily with today's France and Germany, he is dealing with the same kind of weak, vaccilating liberal leadership Hitler had to contend with in France and Britain of the 1940s. He has little to fear from them, or their feeble UN motions that lead nowhere. However, in those seldom instances when it does look as though something solid might actually be brought against Iran before the UN Security Council, what do the Iranians do? They suddenly make concessions. Concessions which draw out the negotiations. Negotiations change to a sick, embarrassing game, as Iran first feigns cooperation, then suddenly switches to making ridiculous, impossible demands of the EU and the UN's toothless nuclear watchdog, the IAEA. Eventually, the entire process begins again. No inspections have taken place. Nothing has been achieved, except by Iran. In that time, months have elapsed. Months you can be sure the Iranians have put to excellent use in their uranium enrichment plant near Isfahan.

But if Ahmadinejad was like Hitler only in terms of his ability to stall, there would be little comparison to be drawn at all. The trouble is, he's also very much like Hitler in the sense that he believes himself to be a man of destiny, out to win a glorious triumph for his Volk (or the Ummah - whichever you prefer.)

Happily for us, he also suffers from Hitler's appalling inability to keep quiet about his own brilliance:

In the first such statement by an Iranian president in nearly 20 years, Mahmood Ahmadinejad said his election would mark what he termed a new Islamic revolution. Ahmadinejad said such a revolution would spread throughout the world.

"Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen and the Islamic revolution of 1384 [the current Iranian year] will, if God wills, cut off the roots of injustice in the world," Ahmadinejad was quoted by the official Iranian news agency as saying. "The era of oppression, hegemonic regimes, tyranny and injustice has reached its end."

Like Hitler's references to the valiant eastward destiny of Aryan man, Ahmadinejad's words here can only be construed as alluding to the precise opposite of every diplomatic gesture he has made, especially his declarations in regard to nuclear weapons...

Daily 'Cuz: Iran and the Bomb: Visions and Lies

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Mediacrats: Clueless

For your reading pleasure, I refer you to a list of recent terrorist threats that have been foiled -- here in America as well as in Europe -- courtesy of our fine (but much maligned) intel and law enforcement communities:

> Egyptian Arrested with Aviation Materials: Student from Egypt, in the country illegally, found with a pilot’s uniform, a chart of Memphis International Airport and a DVD titled “How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act:” Student Arrested After Pilot Uniform Found... I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical explanation...

> Four Indicted in Los Angeles Terror Plot: Four men, including the head of a radical Islamic prison gang, were indicted on federal charges of plotting terrorist attacks against military facilities, the Israeli Consulate and synagogues in Los Angeles...

Named in the indictment were Levar Haley Washington, 25; Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21; Hammad Riaz Samana, 21; and Kevin James, 29. The four conspired to wage war against the U.S. government through terrorism, kill armed service members and murder foreign officials, according to the indictment... [they] allegedly conducted surveillance of the Los Angeles targets... Law enforcement officials have previously said that the military facilities included National Guard sites, though the indictment does not specify.

The attacks were to be carried out with firearms and other weapons at synagogues during Jewish holidays “to maximize the number of casualties,” authorities said. Patterson allegedly bought a .223-caliber rifle in July. In Los Angeles, authorities said the suspects could have attacked as soon as the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday in October.

> Flyer Calls for "Jihad" Against the LAPD: KFI NEWS has obtained a copy of a flyer that’s been circulated in South Los Angeles, calling on members of two violent street gangs to join the Nation of Islam in a jihad, or holy war, against the LAPD...

> Hundreds of Islamic Terrorists in UK: Police are monitoring “hundreds” of potential terrorists in Britain, according to Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary. Mr Clarke, along with Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, was giving evidence to the all-party Home Affairs Select Committee looking into the aftermath of the July 7 bombings and July 21 attempted bombings...

> 5,000 Suicide Bombers in Germany: BERLIN, Germany (AP) — Germany is home to between 3,000 and 5,000 potential Islamic suicide attackers, a senior security official touted as the country’s next interior minister has been quoted as saying. Guenther Beckstein, currently interior minister in the German state of Bavaria, said on Monday in an interview with the online Netzeitung newspaper that he was worried small cells of “fanatics” could prepare attacks without detection.“...

The mediacrats are heretofore unable to string these stories together into a cohesive whole. Why? I can't ascribe their motives to anti-Americanism (yet). So I'll chalk it up to incompetence, willful stupidity and/or suicidal partisanship until I learn otherwise.

Contrast this coverage with the ravings of Kos and Puffington Toast fave Cindy Sheehan who, as of last Friday, was calling for the U.S. to withdraw from "occupied New Orleans."

Ah, the Left. It makes you yearn for the good old days of 2004, when the moonbats were at least lucid.

Oh, and how can I forget the latest in an egregious set of anti-American initiatives formulated or promulgated by none other than Representative John Conyers (D-MI)?

I got a kick out of this hysterical screed from barking moonbat Democrat Congressman, John Conyers, concerning the recommendation {gulp} that photo ID’s be required to cast ballots in federal elections.

You know, the exact same documents the poor and the elderly currently utilize: to get food stamps, to obtain SSI, Medicaid, Social Security, and other [government] benefits, to cash checks, and to drive cars?!

But I feel Rep. Conyers’ pain.

After all, if Democrats could not engage in systematic and massive election fraud – e.g., paying people to vote multiple times in multiple precincts and casting ballots on behalf of corpses and family pets – their political prospects would go merely from being disastrous to beyond disastrous.

Yes, as the real world spins perilously close to a nuclear Iran and attacks launched on American soil, Congressman Conyers is busy playing caddy to anti-American interests. What possible constituency benefits from voter fraud? Well, the corpse, felon and multi-state voting blocs of the Democratic party, for starters. I'll refer you to the Presidential Election, Wisconsin circa 2004 and the Washington Gubernatorial Race for laff-a-minute reference links.

Just when you think it can't get worse for the Mediacrats, it does.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The full horror of Hurricane Katrina Sinks in

As the full horror of Hurricane Katrina sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if this is the end of George Bush's presidency.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that every copy of the US Constitution was destroyed in the storm. Otherwise President Bush will remain in office until noon on January 20th, 2009, as required by the 20th Amendment, after which he is barred from seeking a third term anyway under the 22nd Amendment.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term will not still be damaged in some terribly satisfying way.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term consists of repealing the 22nd Amendment. Otherwise, with a clear Republican majority in both Houses of Congress, he can carry on doing pretty much whatever he likes.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the Republican Party itself will now suffer a setback at the congressional mid-term elections next November.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that people outside the disaster zone punish their local representatives for events elsewhere a year previously, both beyond their control and outside their remit, while people inside the disaster zone reward their local representatives for an ongoing calamity they were supposed to prevent. Otherwise, the Democratic Party will suffer a setback at the next congressional election.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if an official inquiry will shift the blame for poor planning and inadequate flood defences on to the White House.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody admits that emergency planning is largely the responsibility of city and state agencies, and nobody notices that the main levee which broke was the only levee recently modernised with federal funds. Otherwise, an official inquiry will pin most of the blame on the notoriously corrupt and incompetent local governments of New Orleans and Louisiana.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush contributed to the death toll by sending so many national guard units to Iraq.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody recalls that those same columnists have spent the past two years blaming George Bush for another death toll by not sending enough national guard units to Iraq. Otherwise, people might wonder why they have never previously read a single article advocating large-scale military redeployment during the Caribbean hurricane season.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnist are asking how a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

The answer is that only a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should be held responsible for the terrible poverty in the southern states revealed by the flooding.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody holds Bill Clinton responsible for making Mississippi the poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as president, or for making Arkansas the second-poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as governor. Otherwise, people might suspect that it is a bit more complicated than that.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should not be concerned by accusations of racism against the federal government.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody remembers that Jesse Jackson once called New York "Hymietown" and everybody thinks Condoleezza Rice went shopping for shoes when the hurricane struck because she cannot stand black people. Otherwise sensible Americans of all races will be more concerned by trite, cynical and dangerous political opportunism.

As the full horror of that sinks in, this columnist is simply glad that everybody cares.

Newton Emerson, Irish Times: Ill Wind May Not Blow to the Whitehouse (via New Sisyphus).

Book Review: Robert Crais' Demolition Angel

Book Review: Robert Crais' Demolition AngelL.A. Detective Carol Starkey is damaged goods. The former bomb-squad technician is descending into a vortex of alcohol, cigarettes, and guilt; all the result of a bomb that went off -- literally -- in her face. The resulting explosion scarred her severely, killed her partner (who'd protected her at the cost of his own life), and simultaneously ended the most meaningful romantic relationship she'd ever had.

Teetering on edge of a mandatory visit to the Police equivalent of a psych ward, another bomb changes everything. A sinister device discovered in a parking lot takes the life of another of her former partners, bomb-squad tech Bill Roggio. Starkey's expertise is needed because the device had the unique hallmarks of a dreaded serial bomber, known only as "Mr. Red."

When the ATF shows up, Starkey becomes their liaison to the L.A. Police Department. And her exceptional skills at sniffing out clues leads to the first major break in the case: the explosive mixture included a rare compound called RDX, access to which is limited to the U.S. military.

Crais has created a mind-twisting, compelling novel that you can't second-guess. Nothing is as it seems and the masterful plot twists are impossible to predict. Mr. Red is the bomb-squad equivalent of Hannibal Lecter: highly intelligent, completely psychopathic, and deadlier than a rattlesnake. And Starkey is a tough, human heroine trying desperately to veer back onto the road to redemption. But she hits an unexpected pothole when Red shows up: her life will never be the same.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

David Coursey, "technology columnist"

I only have one word to say after reading David Coursey's latest missive in PC Magazine, which analyzes the effects of the MGM vs. Grokster ruling. That word is, "wow."

Coursey advocates a sort of "national firewall" to prevent intellectual property theft (e.g., your daughter downloading the latest Gwen Stefani MP3), gambling (e.g., your son laying down a $10 bet on the Bengals over the Vikings at, and similar "crimes". These crimes consist of transporting bits around in ways that technically violate U.S. criminal law but are, in fact, practiced on a daily basis by a large percentage of the U.S. population. Coursey states,

When the Internet is being used on American soil, it should comply with American law. And if it doesn't, then the government should be able to step in and filter the illegal sites and activities.

In doing so, Coursey asserts the Government should provide a "national firewall" capability not dissimilar to that used by China. That Coursey is embarking down a path that leads the U.S. to current Chinese governmental policy should be caution enough.

But Coursey's understanding of the Internet -- its fundamental TCP/IP fabric -- is so lacking and so vacuous that he should be writing for Redbook or Cosmo, not a magazine purporting to have a technical audience. In fact, I've seldom seen such a misguided opinion column outside the pages of the Gray Lady, which regularly hosts the ravings of Dowd, Herbert, Krugman, and Rich.

Consider the following methods that a "national firewall" -- no matter how comprehensive or technically sophisticated -- can be defeated:

 >  Imagine there are proxy servers outside the U.S. (and, yes, these already exist in droves). The proxies support SSL. Users inside the U.S. surf to the proxy and thereby access "forbidden" content that is tunneled via SSL. Today's clientless VPN (or SSL VPN) solutions are typical examples of corporate solutions that serve this purpose. And there are plenty of other examples capable of reverse-proxying this sort of traffic. Or does Coursey propose banning SSL outside the U.S.? Uhmm, that'll make it... a little tough to do business outside the country.

 >  A while back, there was a great hulabaloo about "darknets", which are private peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. An article in BusinessWeek, for instance, pointed to products like BadBlue and Groove as examples of private P2P file sharing systems. A national firewall doesn't help mitigate transport of traffic through "darknets", either within our borders or without. Or does Coursey intend to ban those types of products, though they have significant business capabilities?

 >  What about web servers, FTP servers, Torrent servers, and the like? Any sort of content can be placed upon those types of publishing systems - legal or illegal. Or does Coursey intend to have the government periodically audit all infrastructure for IP violations?

I must say, I don't know who David Coursey is. But, based upon this article, I don't think I need to read any of his future work. Woven throughout this article are assertions that demonstrate a stunning misunderstanding of how the Internet works. David Coursey has about as much chance of seeing a "national firewall" as I have of throwing down a two-handed dunk over the heads of Amare Stoudamire and Shawn Marion in the 2006 NBA All-Star Game.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Joe "Kabuki Dance" Biden Weighs In

If you want to see cold, hard proof that the modern Democratic party has imploded, you need look no further than this week's meetings of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This embarrassing spectacle was headlined by a preening peacock known in some circles as Joe "Kabuki Dance" Biden.

The Senate minority hypocrite, Biden's driveway doesn't go quite all the way to the garage. In fact, I would call Biden dim, but that would unfairly tar half of the tasty Chinese dish known as dim sum. Put simply, Biden possesses the legal intellect of Britney Spears on an epidural.

Britney -- I mean Biden -- is so obviously hamming it up for the cameras that he could be nominated for a daytime Emmy. It's all part of Biden's grand scheme of securing the 2008 Democratic nomination. And, in typical Biden fashion, it has no chance of succeeding.

Although, given the amount of makeup that Biden, Kennedy, and Feinstein are using each day, they may be responsible for a boomlet in the burgeoning "congressional makeup artist" profession. So don't say the Democrats never do anything to help the economy.

The most laughable performance (as of Tuesday) was by Sen. Joseph Biden, Delaware Democrat. After spending about eight minutes making statements and not asking a question, Biden accused Judge Roberts of "filibustering" in his answer to one of the questions Biden eventually asked.

Biden's body language, his arrogant and condescending attitude and his use of the vernacular ("I hope you don't still hold that view, man" and "Hey, Judge, how are ya?") was improper and ill-mannered. Worse, though, was Biden's amnesia.

Biden tried to make political hay out of a memo a young John Roberts wrote on Dec. 11, 1981, in which he referred to a "so-called right to privacy." Three months after Roberts wrote his memo, Biden voted in favor of the Hatch Amendment... an amendment whose purpose was essentially to obliterate the "so-called right to privacy."...

Shocking. Biden hypocritical?

Cal Thomas

Liberals can't win on abortion, gay marriage and bans on the Pledge of Allegiance by allowing Americans to vote. That's why they need the courts to keep inventing rights to abortion, gay marriage and bans on the Pledge of Allegiance... Just let us know before Bush nominates Janice Rogers Brown to the Supreme Court so we can arrange for live TV coverage of George Soros' head exploding, OK?

Ann Coulter

Nothing could better illustrate the wrongheadedness of modern liberalism toward the role of the courts in the American constitutional framework than the allusions to Hurricane Katrina by Senators Leahy, Kennedy and others in the context of the Roberts confirmation hearings...

The senators' invocation of Katrina is obscene and manipulative. They are highly frustrated that the electorate won't endorse their policy prescriptions for the nation and therefore rely on the judicial branch, entirely inappropriately and unconstitutionally, to effect their agenda.

David Limbaugh

Monday was only the first day of the Senate hearings on John Roberts’ Supreme Court nomination, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) couldn’t resist. In her opening statement, she compared American religious conservatives with Nazis and fascists who murdered Jews in World War II... she asserts that “to protect against religious persecution, the framers” of the Constitution “established a secular government that would remain separate from religion... [T]hese basic principles could be severely weakened or unraveled depending on the Court’s allowing government funding of religious education, prayer in school, and the display of religious symbols on public property and land.”

...The Declaration of Independence states that our rights are “unalienable” for a reason—because we are “endowed by our Creator” with them. It states that our nation’s place “among the powers of the earth” rests upon “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

Calling the United States “one nation under God” is not a statement of arrogance, as many seem to assume. It is, instead, a statement of humility...

Peter Sprigg

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Barking Moonbat Awards: Top Ten Anti-American Statements from the Left

Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White MaIn answering a question my sister posed a couple of nights ago, I hereby present The Barking Moonbat Awards. Winning one of the coveted 'Lindas' means you've been recognized for one of the top ten anti-American statements in recent memory.

My sister, a bright young professional is, shall we say, a tad on the liberal side of the aisle. She expressed dismay that I termed the Left 'anti-American'. I qualified her statement: it is my contention that the Democratic Party has been co-opted by the Left's Moonbat Wing. Think Howard Dean, Michael Moore, George Soros -- the folks who provide emotional and financial succor to the Democratic Party.

Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for us, they also cause the Dems to lose a lot (and I do mean a lot) of elections. I guess it's hard for most of us here in Jesusland to empathasize with a multi-millionaire film director who resembles Orson Welles after a five-day bender. Or a billionaire currency trader with socialistic tendencies, who reminds folks of a Bond villain (c'mon, you're thinking 'Ernst Stavro Blofeld' every time you see Soros, right?).

So, here, without further ado, are my top ten anti-American statements or actions on the part of the "Barking Moonbat Wing" (which, if memory serves, is the term they prefer) of the Left:

#10) "Inspections work, War won't." -- billboard, rendered unintentionally hysterical through a series of recent disclosures. Combine the massive corruption in the United Nations' Oil-for-Food program with its related, failed inspections regime... the result: a fraudulent "inspections" proposition that would have killed thousands of more innocents under the benevolent leadership of Saddam Hussein.

#9) "The people who invaded and destroyed Iraq and have murdered more than a million Iraqi people by sanctions and war will burn in Hell in the hell-fires, and their name in history will be branded as killers and war criminals for all time. Fallujah is a Guernica, Falluaja is a Stalingrad, and Iraq is in flames as a result of the actions of these criminals. Not the resistance, not anybody else but these criminals who invaded and fell like wolves upon the people of Iraq. And by the way, those Arab regimes which helped them to do it will burn in the same hell-fires," -- George Galloway, interviewed on Abu Dhabi television in November, 2004, rooting against Democracy... and for terrorism.

#8) “WMD, period." -- the reading-impaired Barbara Boxer, stating the reason she authorized war in Iraq. Whereas, back in the land I like to call 'reality', the resolution that authorized war outlined a litany of reasons for war, not the least of which was regional stability. And, yes, that means I just called Saddam Hussein unstable. Go figure.

#7) "[CBS] believes the documents to be authentic." -- Dan Rather, September 13, 2003, justifying the use of forged documents (designed to turn the election against the sitting President) in the final days before the vote.

#6) "[That Karl Rove created the CBS forgeries is] ...a possibility, yes. It's a possibility based upon circumstantial evidence and the history of his behavior over the course of several decades." -- Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), expounding his theory on the Rathergate forgeries during an interview on CNN.

#5) "Against" -- John Conyers (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), the six who voted no (against 402 "For" Votes) with respect to a ceremonial resolution marking the fourth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The resolution, as James Taranto notes, '...extended sympathy to the victims and survivors; honored the military, first responders, and others who helped; thanked foreign leaders for their support; declared that America is not waging war "on any people or any faith"; reaffirmed a commitment to the global war on terrorism; and vowed "never [to] forget the sacrifices made" on 9/11 or to "bow to terrorist demands."' Hard to disagree with that, right? Yup. Unless, of course, you're a barking moonbat.

#4) "These measures [killing or dismantling the Patriot Act] are long overdue, and we call on the Republican leadership in Congress to bring them to a vote now...", Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), during a meeting with, among others, the group CAIR. That is, of course, is the same group alleged to have various odd linkages to terror organizations (based upon the State Department's list of terror groups.

#3) "[Iraq] is clearly George Bush's Vietnam." -- Ted Kennedy (D-MA), in January of 2005, calling for an immediate retreat for U.S. military forces. Way to embolden the terrorists, Teddy!

#2) "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings," Dick Durbin (D-IL), describing his view of prisoner treatment at Guantanamo Bay - as quoted in (where else?) Al Jazeera.

#1) "The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not 'insurgents' or 'terrorists' or 'The Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win." -- Michael Moore, an honored guest at the Democratic National Convention's Presidential Box (with Jimmy Carter), promoting terrorism here and abroad.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Joe Biden: a tale of two Judiciary Committees

Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John KerryIn the cozy confines of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden -- erstwhile Democratic candidate for President -- spoke to John Roberts. Rather, he spoke to the cameras and Roberts, because for Biden, every second of C-Span face-time is worth serious campaign dough:

Judge, I need to know whether you will be a Justice who believes that the constitutional journey must continue to speak to these consequential decisions – or that we’ve gone far enough in protecting against government intrusion into the most personal decisions we make... this is your chance to explain what you meant by what you have said and what you have written.

Contrast this statement with Biden's remarks at the confirmation hearing of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Judge, . . . you not only have a right to choose what you will answer and not answer, but in my view you should not answer a question of what your view will be on an issue that clearly is going to come before the Court in 50 different forms, probably.

Ginsburg was very much a liberal and had even served as the ACLU's general counsel for nearly a decade. But the GOP -- in the minority at the time -- gave Ginsburg the respect she deserved and she was confirmed by a vote of 96 to 3.

Of course, this is a different era. The Democratic party, now beholden to the the hard Left (or, the term they prefer, 'The Barking Moonbat Wing'), will do everything in their power to destroy any Supreme Court nominee -- no matter how qualified -- proposed by President Bush.

Fair? Of course not. But when your failed 2004 Presidential candidate was John Kerry (for goodness sakes) and an '08 frontrunner such as Biden has, on multiple occasions, been accused of plagiarism, well... you get what you pay for. And, in the current scheme of things, the Democratic party is sufficiently discombobulated that candidates like Biden are considered strong.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Mad Max Beyond ThunderdomeIn a report you may have missed, a group of New Mexican Paramedics -- who had stayed behind in the Superdome as it descended into chaos -- recently recounted their experiences in the local paper:

...Alone, the New Mexico team -- and one doctor from New Orleans -- set up a full-scale acute medical-care clinic by 11 a.m. in the basketball and hockey arena, which is connected to the Superdome by a causeway. The sick and injured from the Superdome came to them. Some had head injuries. Some had gunshot wounds. Some had cuts on their bodies from walking through the water-filled streets. Some had gone cold turkey off their medications.

In the space of 40 hours, the staff treated 800 to 1,000 patients. Hesch said he sutured wounds under the light of his headlamp...

...Hesch said he is disgusted that some Americans, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, are claiming that relief didn't come quickly because New Orleans has a large black population.

"It had nothing to do with race," Hesch said. "It had to do with the fact that New Orleans exists 12 feet below sea level. That is the big problem."

The other big problem, he said, were the high numbers of people trapped in the disaster. He said the city of New Orleans should have organized a more persuasive evacuation, using school buses and other means...

Santa Fe New Mexican: Sante Fe man recounts chaos in the Dome

Naval Technology: the DD(X)

Twenty-First Century Warships: Surface Combatants of Today's NaviesThe Weekly Standard covers the Navy's new DD(X) destroyer, the aquatic equivalent of the stealth bomber. Its unique electronics, low profile in the water, and construction using radar-resistant materials are all interesting facets. But:

...the most intriguing element of DD(X) is its guns. Each 155mm gun will fire a Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP). The LRLAP has already been successfully tested to 83 nautical miles. Though it only carries 24 lbs of high explosives, the Advanced Gun System (AGS) is fully automated and holds a magazine of 300 rounds. With a rate of fire of 10 rounds a minute, the AGS should be able to provide the volume fire capability the Navy so desperately needs, and with GPS-guidance the LRLAP will be extremely accurate.

Critics of the AGS point out that accuracy of fire may be less important than the volume of fire when softening up onshore targets for an amphibious assault, but because the DD(X) can be replenished while at sea (and while firing), she will be able to fire at least one gun continuously for an indefinite amount of time. In addition, each gun will be capable of putting up to eight rounds on a target simultaneously. To achieve this effect, shells will be fired in rapid succession at different trajectories. In conjunction with the counter-battery capability of the dual band radar, any enemy troops who fire on U.S. forces will have only minutes before the 2 guns of DD(X) can return fire with devastating accuracy: Tests have shown the guns accurate to within two meters at a range of 68 nautical miles...

Weekly Standard: DD(Rex)

What would we do without 'Flood Experts'?

Washington Post: Flood Experts See Lessons in New Orleans.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Patching Firefox... ignoring Internet Explorer

Firefox and Thunderbird GarageThe folks at Mozilla have responded to the report of a serious flaw in their browsers, including Firefox. The vulnerability relates to the handling of 'International Domain Names' (IDNs), which use local language characters. The browser's handling of these characters can be exploited to run malicious code on a user's PC.

One of the neat things about Firefox, however, is its ability to control all sorts of settings that lie just underneath the covers. CNet provides the following instructions on turning off IDN handling without having to patch your browser:

Type "about:config" in the address bar, hit Enter; type "network.enableIDN" in the filter toolbar, hit Enter; right-click the "network.enableIDN" item and select Toggle to change value to false.

Easy enough. Contrast this with Microsoft's Internet Explorer (or "IE") browser. It supports, for example, a powerful tool called Browser Helper Objects (or BHOs). BHOs allow third-party software developers to extend the functionality of IE.

In practice, though, many BHOs are used by spyware vendors who want to inspect and monitor your browsing activities. Are you visiting the site? A surreptitiously-installed spyware app -- using BHO technology -- can detect that operation and popup another window to, say, (or whichever advertiser pays them for competitive positioning). In other words, lots of IE configurations have all the privacy of a house without any window treatments.

Here's the kicker, though. BHOs are notoriously difficult to find and remove. Want to see which BHOs are installed on your PC? According to, Microsoft doesn't provide tools capable of either viewing or removing specific BHOs*. Only third-party tools, some of which may have dubious capabilities themselves, can be used to diagnose BHO problems. Or, if you're feeling particularly tech-savvy, you could risk open-heart surgery on the registry (that's where BHOs strap themselves into the IE browser).

Aside from the IE team's egregious omission of tools to monitor and control BHOs, the succession of serious security flaws in Microsoft's browser render it -- at present -- an inferior choice for Internet surfing. If you're not doing so already, download Firefox. And if you're already using it, make sure you take ten seconds out of your day to change the IDN setting. Mozilla offers temporary fix for Firefox flaw

* As of December, 2004, Microsoft apparently does offer a solution to disable all BHOs in an IE installation.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Anti-American Left Bank: Congressional Report Card

Taranto blisters the Anti-American Left Bank (or, as they prefer to be called: 'The Moonbat Wing') of the Democratic party, some of whom just happen to be members of Congress:

The House yesterday passed an anodyne resolution commemorating the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. It extended sympathy to the victims and survivors; honored the military, first responders, and others who helped; thanked foreign leaders for their support; declared that America is not waging war "on any people or any faith"; reaffirmed a commitment to the global war on terrorism; and vowed "never [to] forget the sacrifices made" on 9/11 or to "bow to terrorist demands."

No one could disagree with that, right? Not quite. The House vote for the resolution was 402-6; here are the six far-left Democrats who voted "no":

* John Conyers (Mich.)
* Barbara Lee (Calif.)
* Jim McDermott (Wash.)
* Cynthia McKinney (Ga.)
* Pete Stark (Calif.)
* Lynn Woolsey (Calif.)

This is the Moonbat Wing of the Democratic Party in action.

On an earlier post, a commenter (Jarrod) asked, "Why do you have to be soooo partisan?" Because, as I've said before and will say again, the Moonbat Wing of the Democratic Party is a cancer that must be excised by the moderates of the party. This hard Left stain on the proud traditions of the Democratic party is demonstrably anti-American. And the Moonbats will, if they ever achieve access to the levers of Governmental power, get a lot more American civilians killed.

AutoSpies Black List

Jaguar Mk I/ii (Haynes Great Cars)The always interesting AutoSpies site is featuring its 2005 black list: its "bottom ten" - the worst vehicles currently available for sale in the US. The bottom five?

5. Cadillac XLR- Or should we call it the Allante II? This thing is deadsville in the marketplace. Looks like a door stop with dual nightlights on it!
4. Acura RL- Feels like the whole car's drive system has been shot with Novocaine. The most over priced car on the mainstream market.
3. Honda Ridgeline- With national leases already at $199 per month, this thing (maybe they should have called it, the Honda THING) is sinking fast! Thank GOD!
2. Hummer H3- The Hummer thing is just SOOOOO over. And we predict there is no comeback in sight. Even Steve Jobs couldn�t figure out how to bring this brand back! Sorry Liz...
1. Jeep Commander- Whatever over paid slacker at DCX green lighted this piece of trash, should be removed from his or her command! The only thing missing is the "Body designed by YUGO" on the side panel.

AutoSpies 2005 Black List: The Worst Vehicles Available Today

Friday, September 09, 2005

Gov. Blanco's Bureaucrats Blocked Food and Water

Fox News is reporting that the Red Cross was blocked from delivering food and water to the Superdome by Louisiana officials. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. From all appearances, you could have gotten better leadership than Nagin and Blanco simply calling Rudy Guiliani's mobile and asking for advice.

Warning: take your blood-pressure medication before reading the following snippets.

The Red Cross was reportedly ready to deliver food, water and other supplies to flood-ravaged refugees who were sweltering inside New Orleans' Superdome last week - but the relief was blocked by bureaucrats who worked for Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

Fox News Channel's Major Garrett reported Wednesday that the Red Cross had "trucks with water, food, hygiene equipment, all sorts of things ready to go ... to the Superdome and Convention Center."

But the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, Garrett said, "told them they could not go."

"The Red Cross tells me that Louisiana's Department of Homeland Security said, 'Look, we do not want to create a magnet for more people to come to the Superdome or Convention Center, we want to get them out,'" he explained.

"So at the same time local officials were screaming where is the food, where is the water, the Red Cross was standing by ready [and] the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security said you can't go."

Following up, Radioblogger transcribed a fascinating interview with Garrett:

MG: know, I watch hurricanes all the time. And I see correspondents standing among rubble and refugees and evacuaees. But I always either see that Red Cross or Salvation Army truck nearby. Why don't I see that?

HH: And the answer is?

MG: The answer is the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, that is the state agency responsible for that state's homeland security, told the Red Cross explicitly, you cannot come... I want your listeners to follow me here. At the very moment that Ray Nagin, the Mayor of New Orleans was screaming where's the food, where's the water, it was over the overpass, and state officials were saying you can't come in.

The Political Teen has video of Garrett discussing this issue with Britt Hume.

Bob Williams, a state legislator from the state of Washington during the Mount St. Helen's disruption, also pins the blame on clueless state and local officials:

...Mayor Nagin was responsible for giving the order for mandatory evacuation and supervising the actual evacuation: His Office of Emergency Preparedness (not the federal government) must coordinate with the state on elements of evacuation and assist in directing the transportation of evacuees to staging areas. Mayor Nagin had to be encouraged by the governor to contact the National Hurricane Center before he finally, belatedly, issued the order for mandatory evacuation. And sadly, it apparently took a personal call from the president to urge the governor to order the mandatory evacuation.

...unlike the governors of New York, Oklahoma and California in past disasters, Gov. Blanco failed to take charge of the situation and ensure that the state emergency operation facility was in constant contact with Mayor Nagin and FEMA. It is likely that thousands of people died because of the failure of Gov. Blanco to implement the state plan, which mentions the possible need to evacuate up to one million people. The plan clearly gives the governor the authority for declaring an emergency, sending in state resources to the disaster area and requesting necessary federal assistance...

The phrase 'useless bureaucratic gasbags' comes to mind. As do a few choice curse words. When the final history of this sorry catastrophe is written, the names Nagin and Blanco will likely be written in the same context as Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dropping Some Science on the Left

Rising Tide : The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed AmericaThe best quote yet on the reaction to Katrina comes from Greg Hanke:

The earliest official date on the two Louisiana Governor's 'Emergency Evacuation by Buses' orders is August 31, 2005. This is apparently an order to move those at the Superdome, as well as other places.

The hurricane hit NOLA on August 29.

Seems a tad late for an emergency order, no? Why wasn't a similar order put into effect before the disaster? It may have prevented this.

I swear, if President Bush had shown up like Moses, parted the waters and led the people to safety, the liberals would have sued him for violating the separation of church and state.

Would it be trite to say... 'Indeed'? I have evidence that Governor Blanco was hard at work during the crisis, though. That much is clear:

On the afternoon of Aug. 27, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco held a press briefing in which she answered a question about what could be done to avert disaster: "We can pray very hard that the intensity will weaken. We don't know what it's going to be yet, but we're all watching the weather service. I believe that's the best we can do right now."

Yes, the best strategy Governor Blanco could recommend was to pray. No, she couldn't bother following the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Plan -- and thereby deploy hundreds or thousands of buses -- that wasn't necessary. Just prayer.

Can you imagine if Blanco were a Republican? How long would it have taken Maureen Dowd to call her 'Governor Falwell'? Or the Times' other shameless, tag-team DNC mouthpieces -- Herbert & Krugman -- to claim the Governor's admonition was violating the separation of church and state?

Greg also drops some science on the crowing, baying group of liberals anxious to pin something (anything!) on George W. Bush. Greg points to the Post-Chronicle, which notes:

It is against the law for any President to order troops into a city or across state lines without a request and permission from the Governor of that state.

John Armor, a First Amendment lawyer... told me, "Federal law prevents the President from sending in the National Guard until the Governor gives the order. It is little known, but the Commanding General of the National Guard in every state reports to the Governor, not the President, until the Governor says otherwise. U.S. military units (regular Army, not the Guard) cannot be used because of the Posse Comitatus law, until the Guard has been authorized."

Translation for the geniuses on the Times' Op-Ed page: the President can't do jack-squat unless authorized to do so by the Governor.

The key questions we must related to a simple, underlying premise: Louisiana has a required emergency response plan... why was it not followed?

o Why did the Governor abandon the City of New Orleans for the safety of Baton Rouge, before the Plan was Executed?

o Why, when the federal Government was acting in accordance with the Stafford Act, did the State of Louisiana, by its Governor's acts, delay making requests when being told this storm was going to hit?

o Why did Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco, delay while "sleeping on it" Saturday night, the mandatory evacuation spelled out in the Louisiana Emergency Plan? On Saturday the Mayor said he may order an evacuation, "tomorrow" (Sunday).

o Where were the Parish Presidents who were signatories to the Louisiana Emergency Plan, and why did they fail in the execution of the plan?

o After the Parish's obvious failure to implement, why didn't the State take over as required by the plan?

o Why were the Hospitals, nursing homes, etc. not evacuated since the plan required them to do so?

o Why did the mandatory evacuation only occur AFTER President Bush called, and why did Governor Blanco stress that it was only after President Bush's call urging the evacuation order? Was she concerned for the citizens, or was she grandstanding so she could blame the President if the storm didn't hit?

Maybe the proposed Hillary Commission could get to the bottom of this (after its requisite orgy of Bush-bashing). And after, of course, its inclusion of Ray Nagin and/or Governor Blanco on the commission itself -- 9/11, Jamie Gorelick-style.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Plenty of Blame, Alright

Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present The Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool. New Orleans owns about 205 school buses and 364 public transit buses.

Estimates indicate upwards of 30,000 people could have been evac'ed in one trip. That is, of course, assuming there had been sufficient planning and execution at the local level. Think about it. In a single trip, most of the folks at the Superdome and Convention Center could have been sent to Houston or other venues.

But, no, the buses sit unused in flooded parking lots, leaking a delightful concoction -- made up of diesel fuel and motor oil -- into the toxic soup soaking the city. But, hey, maybe the Left can figure out a way to blame that on President Bush, too. Along with the hurricane, global warming, Governor Blanco's deer-in-the-headlights performance, and runny catsup in the relief centers.

Thank God for the U.S. Military and for President Bush. I shudder to think what would have happened had the President not called the Governor and personally requested a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, an act called 'unprecedented':

...a mandatory evacuation was ordered Sunday for New Orleans by Mayor Ray Nagin... The mayor called the order unprecedented and said anyone who could leave the city should... Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding...

And, yes, all pre-evacuation plans for New Orleans called for using buses and organized assistance to those who do not have private transportation. May I quote from the State of Louisiana's Emergency Operations Plan?

The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating...

Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool

The Washington Post, no friend of the administration, is also reporting that Governor Blanco resisted a centralized command-and-control structure requested by the President on Friday. That night, the administration had sent Blanco a legal memorandum requesting a federal takeover of the New Orleans evacuation.

In other words, the administration wanted centralized command-and-control over the police, state National Guard, and related local units that report to the governor. According to the Post's report, Louisiana officials rejected the request, apparently fearing a political backlash to any de facto declaration of martial law.

Furthermore, the Post reports that, "Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said."

From all appearances, Governor Blanco did everything in her power to resist asking anyone for help. And her motivations -- at this point -- appear politically motivated.

And what of the failed levee? Can federal authorities be blamed for that? AFF notes:

[One] eye-witness quoted on Fox News today... said that he saw floating grain barges hit the 17th St. canal and cause that breach, not just flood waters. This is pure conjecture, but regardless, the breaches of the 17th St. levee occurred at the newly reconstructed and restored part of the levee, not the old decrepit part.

Hmmm. Ben Stein also relates, in a brilliant, brief summary, his opinions:

Why is it that the snipers who shot at emergency rescuers trying to save people in hospitals and shelters are never mentioned except in passing, and Mr. Bush, who is turning over heaven and earth to rescue the victims of the storm, is endlessly vilified?

...What special abilities does the media have for deciding how much blame goes to the federal government as opposed to the city government of New Orleans for the aftereffects of Katrina?

If able-bodied people refuse to obey a mandatory evacuation order for a city, have they not assumed the risk that ill effects will happen to them?

When the city government simply ignores its own sick and hospitalized and elderly people in its evacuation order, is Mr. Bush to blame for that?

Meanwhile, the Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool percolates in a thick, soupy mush, awaiting deployment orders that will never come.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Gas: 33% Off

Biodiesel: Growing A New Energy EconomyTwo nights ago, my brother-in-law calls me, breathless, "Get over to the BP station on the corner. Gas is $2.09!" Yeah right, I retort. After all, Katrina has bumped the price of gas in our area to a uniform $3.09 a gallon. Why would a station be selling gas for 33% off?

Just get over there, he insists. I take the short drive from our neighborhood and my daughter drives her car over as well. The illuminated sign on the corner reads, "Unleaded: $3.09". I pull next to a pump. The LCD on the pump displays the price for each grade. Premium is $3.39. Plus is $3.19. Unleaded is $2.09. What the... ?

I whip out an Amex and fill both cars. Drive back to the house and get my wife's car. And fill that up. While her car refuels, I walk into the small station/convenience store. I ask the lady behind the counter: what's up with the $2.09 gas? She reponds that she had received a call to change Unleaded to $2.09. Uncertain, she said she'd called back to another office to make sure. Yup, they had said, it's $2.09.

Hmmm. The next day, I drive by the same station. Unleaded is now $2.99. Looks like someone from corporate had gotten their wires crossed, albeit for only a few hours or so.

The whole frenzy about fuel prices and the nature of our automobiles got me thinking about Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. It is outrageous, on a variety of levels, that the government hasn't gotten more aggressive with CAFE standards. These regulations, which were designed to regulate and -- over time -- improve fuel efficiency for vehicles have not substantially changed in decades.

Hybrid and biodiesel vehicles demonstrate that alternatives to traditional fossil fuel-burners are emerging. And it's literally disgusting that huge tax incentives exist for business owners to buy giant SUVs such as Hummers.

Furthermore, the domestic auto industry would have been far better off being pushed to compete on fuel economy. Instead of lobbying for standards that have essentially remained static, they could have used those funds and resources to greatly improve efficiency in order to compete at a higher level. Today, Toyota and Honda dominate the hybrid landscape. And the domestic manufacturers have only themselves to blame.

No matter. The market will mandate its own fuel-efficiency standards. It's just a shame the Government didn't work with the domestic industry to gain more efficiencies over the past twenty years. Competing on fuel-efficiency would have been a net benefit for GM, Ford, and Chrysler.


In honor of such an automobile-focused topic, the following reprises a December, 2003 entry that describes a very personal automotive history: the cars I've owned since my first auto purchase.

1982 Honda Prelude - It was my senior year in college when I first spotted the gen-I Honda Prelude. I was smitten. Sports-car? I don't know, but I loved the lines, the sun/moon-roof (this, when the only way to get such a roof in a GM car was to use a blowtorch), the five-speed. When my '77 Nova was finally paid off, I went to Joy Stillpass at the old Stillpass Honda and bought a stripped, burgundy Prelude.

1985 Saab 900 Turbo - My Dad introduced me to Saabs: they were certainly very rare in the Midwest. He had a gorgeous company car: a blue 900S four door. When I was close to paying off the Prelude, I decided to switch. I bought a black 900 Turbo 16-Valve (woo-hoo, 16 valves!) with the factory whale-tail spoiler. I also had a company car, so I could leave my baby in the garage for long stretches. At the time, these cars were so uncommon that I pulled into a McDonald's drivethrough once, only to have the guy at the window ask me, "is that a masserrattee?".

1991 Mazda Miata - With a young child, my wife sent me to get a sedan in October of '91. I came back with a Miata. An Indian Summer test drive left me captivated with ragtop driving. Rear-wheel drive, manual transmission, with no limited-slip - in snowy Boston - truly teaches you how to drive. My first attempted fast-lane pass in the snow resulted in me doing 360's on Route 128. Over the years, I spun the Miata out three times. Each time, the car touched nothing. Yes, I was lucky - not good.

1994 Cadillac Eldorado - My brother-in-law Marc introduced me to the comfort of Cadillacs, taking me to a dealership for some test drives. After about a six-hour negotiating session - after which both Marc and the salesman ("G") were near tears, I drove away in the Eldo. The seats were the most comfortable I'd ever felt. The 275 horsepower Northstar engine was a delight: torquey, responsive and turbine-like. The downsides? Handling (non-existent) and the 'sploded fuel-pump that left me stranded partway to Indianapolis. After a few years of spotty reliability, I'd had enough.

1999 Volvo S70 T5 - My Dad had a T5 five-speed, which I thought was very cool ("it looks like a Nazi staff car"). I'd never thought of springing for one until Tommy (again, from Stillpass) called with a deal I couldn't refuse. They would take the Eldo in trade (strangely enough, no other dealership seemed to want to take Cadillacs!) and cut me an end-of-the-month deal on a T5 that had been on the lot awhile. Powerful and luxurious, without any ostentatiousness, the T5 did have some downsides: it was plagued with a variety of electrical problems including starting, burned out bulbs and the dreaded "check-engine light".

2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe - What can you say about the G35C that hasn't been said by the automotive press? I compare it to a Porsche 911 Coupe for a fraction of the cost. 280 HP, tremendous handling and grip, back seats that are actually usable - at least by my kids - and the most 'looks' per mile I've ever experienced while driving. A black coupe with 18" rims is simply a moving piece of art. I'm going to be an Infiniti driver from this point forward. At least until a fuel pump 'splodes.