Wednesday, September 28, 2005


DeLay has been indicted, Frist is ineffectual and Republicans are spending like drunken sailors. If it weren't for the absolute conviction that Democrats would actually be worse (but how could they be...), I would support the idea that Congress be dissolved and new elections ordered...oh wait...this is not Europe....sorry...we are stuck with these guys for another year+.

Can't someone please run against these idiots? Who me? No thanks. I have too many skeletons in my closet and some of them are still trying to move around.

Social liberal/fiscal conservative. Stay out of my bedroom and my pocketbook.

We all know really good people that would serve in a heart beat....except they look at the treatment of good people like John Roberts and say, "are you kidding?"

You have to be perfect, and if you are, no one believes it anyway. The first casualty of politics is truth. The second is the loss of good people. I don't like DeLay...frankly, I think he is slimy with a capital S. Frist reminds me of Gomer Pyle...nice guy, but an idiot - I know he is a doctor...but so is Kevorkian.

Blame us...everyone else does...we elect these guys...but we also complain that it is the lesser of two evils. So what happens is that 60% of us stay home and refuse to vote for either evil. In Louisiana, Nagin and Blanco WERE ELECTED. Say what you want about Brown being appointed and Bush being to blame (hey didn't Brown handle 4 hurricanes in 8 weeks in Florida last year....yea....seemed to do ok there...) we (at least the voters in LA and NO) are to blame...not Bush.

My rep is Tammy Baldwin...haven't seen hide nor hair of her this last month. Sen Feingold and Kohl. Feingold...I like but oppose because of his stance on Iraq. Kohl supported the bankruptcy bill and we won't go there (until October 18th when the real screaming will begin). So, I am much to blame as others. But people, something has got to change. We either accept that people are not perfect and look to leadership and passion, or we continue to look for perfection and know it is not possible ignore everything else bad.

What do we change? Is there no one ready, able and willing to step up? I see no evidence....

Economics of gas

We have two gets around 25mpg, the other about to guess which has been parked most this month? Right.

Two years ago, people were commenting on the lack of refineries built in the US in the last 25 years. Guess how many have been started in the last 2 years...right, none.

People are commenting again...but of the 250 billion asked for by Louisiana, none is going to refinery building. Refineries are running full tilt and making money hand over fist, but the market isn't building more...why? Well, because we don't want more refineries. The environment would be would mean lower prices, more consumption and that is BAD.

A recommendation that oil companies (those vertically integrated monsters) divest themselves of one part (preferably two parts) of the exploration/refining/retailing trifecta is being suggested. I have a different suggestion. How about we get rid of the requirement to blend 50 different types of gas to satisfy local environmental requirements. It would require no new refineries and no long term efforts of is a place to start.


Over the weekend I had a chance to talk to someone about Iraq. The question she asked, as so many have before her, was "what right did we have to go into Iraq". My answer is, and has been, "who else was going to?"

If it is imperialism when we act and racist indifference (is that possible?) when we don't (Rwanda), exactly where do those that object to the US stand?

What right does a passer-by have in interfering with a parent hitting a child? A husband beating his wife?

When people suggest that other countries have a right to the type of government they have without the US interfering, they give strength to those that abuse their own people.

What makes me think our way of life is better than someone elses? DUH! LOOK AROUND!

Name me a single country, ONE, with greater potential for it's citizens, with greater freedoms for it's citizens...ONE. I will not make it harder by asking that you add the criteria that whatever country you name also invites more immigrants.

The United States has an OBLIGATION to support freedom and democracy around the world, and those incredibly brave men and women of our armed forces know that deep in their souls.

I joined the Air Force in 1977 when it was very much NOT in fashion...but I had only a distant fear that war would break out during my enlistment. My nephew joined during war with the complete knowledge that he was going to be going to an active war zone. His sacrifice stands World Trade Center TALLER than my service.

As was true in the 60's, those that stand in open opposition to our war on terror, give aid and comfort to the enemy. Such pandering only emboldens those that think death (specifically our death) is an honorable calling.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Late Summer Rant

Morality is personal and SUBJECTIVE, it is not societal nor objective.

I am tired of people slamming me (and others like me) as amoral. They act like I am some kind of sociopath.

Here is the basis of my morality...

Rule #1: Always act in my own best interest.

Best interest - defined as the set of goals I have set for myself
Always act - personal responsibility - actions I take I must be held accountable for, ALWAYS, without qualification or exception.

Corollary: I must offer the same level of freedom of action to others as I hold for myself. If I have absolute freedom to act, so does everyone else. Therefore, if I seek to limit the actions of others, I must likewise be limited. I therefore accept the laws of the land as applicable to me because they are enforceable on others on my behalf.

Personal freedom means personal responsibility. Suggest to me that there are many people that need the structure imposed by society in order to act appropriately and I will not disagree in the general but will in the specific. If you assume people are children, what incentive do you offer them to grow up?

The Constitution of the United States is a document of maturity. Isn't it about time we started to act like the adults it assumes exist under it's umbrella?

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Definition: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Examples:
$600 a month to Katrina evacutees
UN Reform
Senate Confirmation Hearings

If you are not sure what results I am thinking about....

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Americans are giving hand over fist to the people of the Gulf Coast, yet a vocal and oh so minor minority continue to proclaim that we are the stingyist country in the world when it comes to aid. They claim that we should give .7% of our GDP to help the less fortunate around the world....(they might be the same people claiming we can't help our own people...might not).

So, to ANYONE that agrees we need to donate in cold hard cash (in kind aid doesn't appear to count) $42 BILLION a year to help end poverty I ask this simple question:

For how long?

How long do we engage in this WAR ON POVERTY? Of the 10-12 TRILLION spent so far have we gotten?

So, I might consider your plea, but you have to tell me for how long? I want an exit plan. No open ended commitments to spend billions every year without any way to determine if it is accomplishing it's goals.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Shameless Plug

I have established a new website after spending the weekend with my elderly parents. (They are in their 70's but able to care for themselves "just fine thank you")

Katrina has scared them and while they will never feel a huricane at their home (1000 miles from ocean), they are concerned that other events could leave them equally in trouble. We spent a lot of time talking about various situations and what they should be considering. The website is up but I am still working on it. I will be looking for a partner or two on this project if you are interested.

On Being Prepared

I have heard numerous talking heads proclaim that the Federal Government should have had more resources ready for deployment given the knowledge that a hurricane would (not could) slam into New Orleans.

Let us take this criticism to heart.

I call upon the Governors of California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Utah and Washington to prepare for an earthquake EVERYONE knows is coming and that will likely kill tens of thousands. Let's get shelters ready, stockpile food, water, medicines and helicopters.

We better get moving...there is no such thing as earthquake season...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Kelo and New Orleans

I haven't seen it anywhere else, and it might be too soon, but here is the idea.

Kelo the whole city of New Orleans. Give the people that own property there the market value of the LAND (most structures are going to have to be razed) and then develop the land not as residential, but as park and visitor and industrial land.

The Port of New Orleans could be expanded and improved, most of the levees could be removed or reduced to protect the tourist areas/downtown and a great cost savings.

Friday, September 02, 2005

September's Rant

Mornin. For the last 24 hours virtually every newscast has included reports from New Orleans screaming, literally screaming, that Bush has left them high and dry...or in this case, low and wet. Bloggers that normally seem reasonable even if they disagree with Bush have lost their minds. Everyone seems to say that we can not get politics involved right now, people's lives are in danger....that hasn't stopped an increasing shrillness to the reporting on Bush's activities or lack thereof.

The comparisons to the tsunami or 9/11 ignore vast differences.

9/11: The area of damage was contained to about 4 square miles in New York and one building in Washington. The area of damage from Katrina is THOUSANDS of square miles. In New York, emergency services could literally drive right up to the areas affected. In LA and Mississippi, emergency services were under as much water as the areas they were to assist.

Let me diverge here for a moment.
"Where the hell is Bush? We have no water or food for 4 days....". This was a quote from a woman on a newscast on Thursday. I have to ask, why? Why did she and her family not have food or water since Sunday. It wasn't like they didn't know a hurricane was coming. Even if the levees had not broken, the probability that electricity would be available even now is zero. Let is ignore for the moment the evacuation, let us not. People were told to get out of New Orleans. I remember seeing a report late Sunday night from the French Quarter where bars were open and people were partying on the streets. Why were the businesses open? Why were there people having a party AFTER an evacuation order? Still, the people of New Orleans and all the Gulf Coast KNOW they are in Hurricane Boulevard. Where was the personal stockpile of food and water?

(Now some reasonably sounding person is going to comment - the stockpile of food and water is in their home...submerged under water....and I will agree that is possible for say...20% of those that stayed. Remember, only about 20% of the population either ignored the evacuation order (75%?), or had no way to get out(25%?).

Louisiana has lived with the possibility of a major hurricane hitting it for decades. Where was their own emergency plans? The Superdome? is in the middle of the severe danger zone! In the event of a levee breach, the Superdome would become an island in a sea of devastation...oh, hey, IT IS.

The National Guard is controlled by the individual states where they are based. Where were the Louisiana Guard? Please don't give me the crap they are all in Iraq, because that is not true. But even if EVERY National Guard member were available and ready to go, the question is...go where? As many as a dozen towns in Louisiana have CEASED TO EXIST. The damage in Mississippi is as bad although it had no cities the size of New Orleans in the path of destruction. Louisiana has about 6,500 National Guard troops available...meaning that if they were deployed to cover the entire damage area (about 20,000 sq miles) there would be only a couple per square mile if they were limited to actual towns. So, IGNORING all the rest of the damaged areas, a National Guardsman whose normal Guard job is fixing radios, COULD, hold a gun and stand on a corner in 4' of water in the French Quarter with 5 other equally 'well-trained' Guards for hours on end to protect it from looting...but of course, they would need food and water and people might be dying three blocks away...

As late as Friday, Katrina was only a Cat 1 hurricane with the potential of hitting the Gulf Coast. It was a Cat 3 only 12 hours later and a Cat 4 24 hours later...but now it was late Saturday/early Sunday....the weekend. The path was predicted on Saturday to hit Louisiana Monday. As late as Sunday evening I heard people saying it was going to miss New Orleans...from people in New Orleans...idiots.

Federal funding. Even if every penny had been left in the budgets, the levees would not have been ready for a Cat 5 before 2011 (I have heard 2008 to 2015). Does anyone else think this is ridiculous? People wonder why others insist on building homes on sides of hills in California that are KNOWN to homes on the BARRIER islands on the southern Atlantic homes on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. I can't get a permit to build a home if the area is in a 50 year flood plain....but we built a whole city below sea level in an annual flood plain? Hello??

Remember the newscasts on Monday afternoon? "New Orleans dodged a bullet." All those people that stayed, "I've been through 3 of problem", were congratulating themselves Monday evening...were drowning Tuesday morning.

Looters. I would agree with those that think "shoot on sight" is an appropriate response except there bodies would end up floating with all the other garbage floating in the city. People knew they wouldn't be where to put, the scum of New Orleans walked among all the other floating scum and added to the destruction. I AM NOT BEING RACIST - the majority of the looters shown on newscasts have been BLACK...AFRICAN AMERICAN....why? It appears the vast majority of people that did not evacuate when told to do so, were black. Where was the neighborhood leadership....gone? Is it because the majority of the people left were too poor to leave? They had to loot to survive? I find there is NO excuse for looting, PERIOD....EVER. What percentage of looters do you want me to concede were not black...10%, 20%...40%? The majority was/is. Again, why? The asshole that said he had been held down by the man and this was payback time, was a criminal and NO ONE should defend either his words or actions. But you will, won't you....

Another thing I noticed. Lack of leadership. People were wandering around asking what to do, where to go, where is the help? Where were the people that organized small groups to help themselves? I hate to say it, but those people looked not only lost but helpless.

I have a portable radio. I would have gathered my family and neighbors and started walking out of the damage area. Sitting on a bridge surrounded by water for 4 days JUST WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.

To the idiot that asked where was the plane with porta-potties. Yea, over in Kansas, there is an airport with 200 porta-potties and a plane right next to them that can hover and drop them off anywhere in the US with just a few hours notice...but you are black and live below sea-level and didn't evacuate when told to, so we sent the pilots home to have a nice LABOR day weekend....tough shit...

Of course if people hadn't started shooting at rescue workers, things might not have gotten stalled on Wednesday...

No one is covering it deeply, but it is getting reported that there were rapings going on in the SuperDome...treat them like animals and what do you expect? Sorry, I don't buy that shit. If it was happening, then the people in there should have beat the shit out of the criminals and dumped them outside. Where was/is the leadership? NO NOT BUSH.....let us start with the people themselves...the neighbors, the pastors....the Mayor of New Orleans, the Governor of Louisiana. The Federal Government doesn't act until requested...of course the offers can be (AND WERE) made.

Where would the government put up evacuees? To the east, the damage was as bad or worse and the access to the east is severely damaged. Most areas outside the damage area already were full with those that actually did leave when they were supposed to. The AstroDome is 320 miles to the, having places to put people have been sense in loading people into trucks and buses with no place to go...

-- NOTE to residents of New Orleans and other damaged areas: The Bankruptcy Reform Act goes into effect on October 17th. Your income is based on the last 6 even if your home is gone, your job is gone, you might not QUALIFY to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy....good luck.... ---

I heard on woman complain that the MRE's she had gotten were terrible, that she couldn't eat that crap...I guess beggars can be choosy...

The devastation is terrible, the loss of life, horrible. But the place to start questioning readiness is IN NEW ORLEANS, in Louisiana...not Washington DC. Americans are going to give BILLIONS to the damaged areas...the Federal government is going to allocate and spend BILLIONS in Louisiana and Mississippi. Rebuilding will take years...but it is going to be for naught....because sometime in the future, a Cat 5 is going to come ashore again and lay waste to all that rebuilding. Some have compared the rebuilding to Chicago after the fire...but is wrong...Chicago did not build wooden houses on top of smoldering ashes...

Oh...the comparison to the tsunami, which caused damage over a widespread area. Access was available almost immediately after the fact....the population density did not approach that of the Gulf Coast, and the level of technical infrastructure was considerably lower....and if I recall correctly, it took 4-5 days for relief to get into place.

By the way....what kind of disasters happen (even if infrequently) in your area? Are you ready? Do you and your family have an evacuation plan? For your house, your neighborhood? I do. I know what we will do and where we will go in the event of: a fire, a tornado, a blizzard, flooding, loss of utility services (expected to last for more than couple of days), loss of civil order, loss of government services (fire, police).

Do you?