September 30, 2005
Milt Rosenberg of the smartest show on radio, Extention 720, is podcasting weekly highlights. Even with WGN's powerful signal it's sometimes hard to get the station up in the Milwaukee area. This is a smart move on the station's part.
Losers No More
The Brewers won. They got behind but they remained calm, hit some home runs, and won 6-5 over Pittsburgh. This ends the 12-season losing streak Milwaukee was on. Now, we need one more win for a winning season.
Five Years Later, Elian Speaks
Elian Gonzalez speaks five years after Janet Reno and Bill Clinton sent him back to Cuba:
ELIAN FIVE YEARS LATER: CASTRO A FRIEND AND 'FATHER'; WANTS TO SEE MIAMI RELATIVES, THOUGH CALLS THEIR ACTIONS 'WRONG'
To say I have strong feelings is an understatement. I devoted months covering the story and advocating that Elian be allowed to live free. It was my first obsession with a news story. A special weblog was created just to comment on the latest news. [Yes, it looks awful. No templates and any sense of design. Even though Blogger was just starting to be used I hand coded and FTP'd text files daily.] ElianWatch was my first brush with internet fame. It was linked by Salon back when Salon was cool. I also was interviewed on CNBC, but it aired on a Friday when no one was watching.
Eerily some of the last posts on ElianWatch have a kernel of accuracy. In 2000, I wrote:
Since Elian is Castro's prized possession--his trophy signifying his victory over the U.S. government and the Cuban exile community in the U.S.--Elian will likely be under constant surveilance through electronic means as well as informants and local block committees. If Elian has any inkling of rebelling against the "workers' paradise" he could endure political reeducation.
also I wrote:
Elian's the second-most famous Cuban alive (behind Fidel). Should Elian have the desire and the ability, I can see a popular movement develop around him. He was declared a sacred child by Cuban Santeria religion--a reason Castro fought so hard for his return--so I see the religion declaring Elian the future leader of Cuba. Because of this, Castro will do everything in his power to mold and shape Elian to continue the "Revolution."
Sadly, considering the brutal totalitarian thug Fidel Castro a "friend" and delivering patriotic speeches means Castro was successful in molding the child.
TAM got it's first mention on the National Journal's Blogometer. That could explain a couple of traffic spikes in the middle of the day. Can someone give them some permalinks. It's like Kaus. I'd read more if I could easily link to items.
Badger Times 7
RealDebateWisconsin hosts this week's Carnival of the Badger.
One More Win
With yesterday's 2-0 win over Cincinnati the Brewers almost have their first non-losing season in ages. That's a pretty good birthday present for owner Mark Attanasio. Three games are left at Pittsburgh. One win assures a .500 season while two wins means the first winning one since 1992. I was still in high school then!
"View from Above"
September 29, 2005
Chili and Champagne
How's this for a culinary combo chili and champagne?
Ice-cold beer or iced tea (sweet or unsweet) may be more traditional partners than wine, but lots of wine enthusiasts swear by a big Zinfandel, and I was quite happy with the husky Rabbit Ridge 2002 Paso Robles Westside Zinfandel featured in Monday's 30 Second Wine Advisor. Off-dry Riesling also makes a surprising match with spicy fare, and for something a little more off the wall, try it with bubbly - a modest Prosecco or Spanish Cava, or Dom Perignon if that lights your fire.
I wonder what Professor Bainbridge would think?
If you're a wine lover or just want to dip your toes into this intimidating world I highly recommend the 30 Second Wine Advisor. Just go to the Wine Lovers Page and sign up.
For Grand Jury It's Miller Time
NY Times reporter Judith Miller got out of jail today after agreeing to testify before the grand jury investigation Valerie Plame's outing.
Ms. Miller was freed after spending more than 12 weeks in jail, during which she refused to cooperate with the criminal inquiry. Her decision to testify came after she obtained what she described as a waiver offered "voluntarily and personally" by a source who said she was no longer bound by any pledge of confidentiality she had made to him. She said the source had made clear that he genuinely wanted her to testify.
Tom Maguire notes the back and forth between lawyers as the reason for Miller's 85-day "vacation" in a Virgina county jail.
Supposedly this is the last piece of the puzzle special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald needs. It will be a riot if he doesn't charge anyone. Miller and Time's Matt Cooper will be steamed. All hell will break lose at Daily Kos, and someone wacko Lefty will claim Karl Rove bribed Fitzgerald with Halibruton money.
John Hindrocker wants attention paid on "one of the great scoundrels of recent times," Joe Wilson.
"Jailed Times Reporter Freed After Source Waives Confidentiality"
The John Roberts Era begins for the Supreme Court. Now, we'll see if he's the conservative jurist many said he was or if he's Souter II. We'll see how he is on campaign finance law when a Vermont and Wisconsin case are heard.
"Supreme Court Will Hear Challenges to Campaign Law"
Carnival of the Vanities #158
Conservative Cat hosts this week's Carnival of the Vanities.
UPDATE: Hmm. There's controversy with the CoV this week. So much that Laurence Simon posted his own version.
UPDATE II: Kevin sets me straight. The original host, who deserves no link, did such a horrible job both Conservative Cat and Laurence Simon went to work. The question now is will any of them get an Instalanche?
New King's X
Amazon let me down. They've known my purchases for years and years and yet to let me know that Ogre Tones, the latest album from one of my favorite bands, King's X, came out Tuesday. It's one of those albums I'd be surprised to see sitting on a shelf at Best Buy so online is how I'll get it. Jeff Bezos, back to the drawing board.
I'll play too. Here are the top five most played for me:
September 28, 2005
Conservatives rejected Rep. Dreier as interim Majority Leader.
DeLay, according to several GOP sources, knew that House rules would give him no choice but to step down immediately. But he made clear to Hastert, his longtime friend and protege, that he was determined to fight the charges and return to power as soon as possible.
Rep. Roy Blunt is DeLay's replacement for now. Reuters is reporting [via TPM] that he and Dreier will "share some leadership responsibilities." It's nice to see conservative Republicans are feisty and getting tired of the current leadership. They have a little momentum. Let's hope they can turn that into getting some real spending cuts passed. That should create a positive loop with the grassroots. As with anything in Washington, I'm preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
The Hammer Got Nailed
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was indicted by a Texas grand jury for campaign finance violations. James Joyner utters the maxim that a "prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to 'indict a ham sandwich.'" The Texas Democratic prosecutor Ronnie Earle has a history of putting partisanship above ethics while also taking down prominent Democrats. Mark Levin read the indictment and writes,
Moreover, not only is there no information about DeLay committing acts in furtherance of a conspiracy, there's no information about DeLay entering into a conspiracy. I honestly believe that unless there's more, this is an egregious abuse of prosecutorial power. It's a disgrace. I understand that not everything has to be contained in an indictment, but how about something!
House Speaker Dennis Hasstert will install Rep. David Dreier has DeLay's temporary replacement. If Dreier is more conducive to spending cuts and real fiscal sanity (yeah right!) I wouldn't mind DeLay riding into the sunset permanently. The GOP doesn't need a stained leader who's been admonished by the ethics committee. DeLay's claim to fame is his redistricting of Texas that will help the Republicans hold on to the House at least through 2006. He's a hardball pol who's now let his quest for continued power interfere with advancing conservative principles. I definitely don't want GOP leaders browbeating their conservative members:
In private meetings last week, GOP leaders sharply criticized rank-and-file Republicans for taking issue with the surge in spending, pleading instead for unity. But neither the public relations offensive nor the private upbraiding has quieted conservatives.
"DeLay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe"
"Tom Delay Indicted by Texas Grand Jury"
"Ton DeLay Indicted"
Finally! The Canadian power trio get some much-deserved love. First, Michele, then Cleveland...someday.
"ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: First Inductee"
September 27, 2005
Can't Help But Laugh
What a combo: Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life + crystal meth.
"Shooting Suspect’s Hostage: I Gave Him Meth"
Wining and Dining
Gov. Jim "Needles" Doyle, last week, spent about $400 wining and dining reporters. He got a pass until Jessica McBribe pointed out the media double standard in coverage of him and Scott Walker. I had no problem with Doyle's picnic or Walker's ticket giveaway. I think it's preposterous for reporters to be "paid off" with zoo tickets or some wine and chicken breasts. Common sense has to come in instead of the ethical straight jacket local media is putting themselves in. It's the job of editors, publishers, and ultimately, readers to hold reporters accountable. I refuse to accept a reporter's objectivity can be so easily bought off.
"Mainstream Media Tougher on Walker than His Opponents"
Katrina Mayhem Myths
It's been three weeks since the levees broke, and New Orleans was turned into a lake. One of the more dramatic stories was of the literal raping, killing, and pillaging that happened at the Superdome and convention center. It's interesting that no witnessness or alleged victims have come forward to personify the horrors that supposedly happened in those places. That's because much of the violence was false. The idea that the Superdome during the Hurricane Katrina flooding turned into a little Baghdad is a myth propagated by a MSM intent on advancing conventional wisdom instead of seeking truth.
After five days managing near riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
When will we hear CNN's Anderson Cooper decry the performance of himself and the MSM? Will he use the same passion and anger that he saved for his criticism of FEMA and the Bush administration?
Two MSM explanations for the bad coverage: broken telephones and racism:
Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss cited telephone breakdowns as a primary cause of reporting errors, but said the fact that most evacuees were poor African Americans also played a part.
The truth changes how to proceed with New Orleans' rebuilding. Conventional wisdom was that it might not be wise to pour a few hundred billion in federal funds into fixing the Big Easy if all that was going to be repaired were the areas of black underclass that turned into barbarians at the first leak from Lake Pontchartrain. Noemie Emery wrote on 09.06.05:
The reason New Orleans slid so quickly from civilization into Third World conditions was that it was pretty much a Third World city already, and didn't have too far to go. In its violence, in its corruption, in its reliance on ambience and tourism as its critical industry, in its one-party rule, in its model of graftocracy built on a depressed and crime-ridden underclass that was largely kept out of the sight and the mind of vacationing revelers, it was much more like a Caribbean resort than a normal American city. Its crime and murder rates were way above national averages, its corruption level astounding. The latter was written off as being picturesque and perversely adorable, until it suddenly wasn't, as it paid off in hundreds of buses--that could have borne thousands of stranded people to safety--sitting submerged in water, and police either looting or AWOL.
Conservative criticisms of New Orleans blacks being the result of Great Society welfare programs also need to be rethought.
A better reason to not dole out billions to New Orleans and Louisiana is because the state and local governments don't have a good history of wisely spending previous funds.
The moral of the story: a lot of people didn't heed John Cole's advice.
"Reports of Anarchy at Superdome Overstated"
"Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy"
[via Charlie Sykes]
September 26, 2005
Better Late Than Never
AnyLetter hosts this week's late Carnival of the Capitalists. The tardiness shouldn't take away for its always high quality content.
September 25, 2005
Wisconsin 23, Michigan 20
"Luck of the Draw"
September 24, 2005
I watched C-SPAN's coverage of CindyFest 2005. These goofs couldn't help themselves. The protest was suppose to be against the Iraq War, but Palestine had to be mentioned along with globalization, Cuba, and gay marriage. Surprisingly in the time I watched no one wanted to "Free Mumia!" He must be passe. The Cuban 5 is where it's at. Here are some
The best part was the ANSWER organizers making the crowds endure all the speakers with their Leftist pet causes that had little to do with the Iraq War. A new speaker would come up and the crowd would moan loudly. They wanted to march, but the ANSWER gang hushed them. Getting "valuable" C-SPAN TV time before an audience of over 50 people was too tempting to pass up.
I now just watched Cindy Sheehan's talk. She sounded like a kindergarden teacher. "You're a part of history!" "Pat yourselves on the back." "Thank you. I love you." Such eloquence hasn't rung in my ears since...since this loon said the Yakuza sent Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans.
Sunday, you have a chance to support the President, our troops, and the Iraqis fighting for peace, security, and freedom. Unlike the Left, you will speak one message with one voice. Say it loud. Say it proud.
"Count the Causes: The 'Whatever' Protest"
"Crowds Opposed to Iraq War March on D.C."
The NY Times' experiment of selling access to their op-ed writers will fail. That I agree with Tom Maguire. However, Maguire compares the failure to New Coke. Just one problem: only us internet news junkies know about TimesReject. How much of a debacle is it if hardly anyone notices?
"Tierney Gets Results! (Never Again...)"
Signs of the Times
The anti-war, anti-American Bush bashers tried really, really hard to focus only on the Iraq War. Dr. Rusty Shackleford sharp eyes shows not everyone could pull it off. And notice the grin on Cindy Sheehan. It isn't so much a job well done as the high from being the center of attention once again.
"Conspiracy Theories Abound at Sheehan Antiwar Rally"
Someone stayed in Houston and survived Hurricane Rita.
"Thankfully, Not Much to See Up Here"
Hall of Shame
When watching Cindy Sheehan prance around our nation's capital this weekend protesting the Iraq War remember these "proud" moments in her recent past:
Cindy's Radical, Anti-War Friends
On this weekend's anti-war protests, James Joyner writes,
The organizers are mostly from the radical, America-hating fringe while the overwhelming majority of the crowd are surely either hippie wannabes or honorable citizens simply gathering in peaceful protest against a very controversial war. One wonders, though, how the Post would cover a pro-war event sponsored by similarly radical groups?
Go support the troops and oppose Cindy Sheehan and her radicalism.
"Antiwar Rally Sponsored by Radical Groups"
September 23, 2005
Stop Giving Clothes
Tee Bee wants people to donate to a Hurricane Katrina clothing drive. Unfortunately clothes are one catagory of relief charities have plenty of:
So many truckloads of clothes have poured into Baton Rouge since Hurricane Katrina that volunteers from the St. Vincent de Paul Society gave away 100,000 pieces of clothing in 10 days, says Mike Acaldo, director of the Baton Rouge chapter. The group's 20,000-square-foot warehouse is still "packed," he says.
Tee Bee's heart is in the right place, but cold, hard cash is what's needed. The Red Cross is asking for more donations. The $853 million already donated is only half of what they need, and more funds will be required for Hurricane Rita relief. It's time for you to make another donation. Every little bit helps.
"Cities Bursting at Seams with Excess Used Clothes"
What a way to ruin the National Book Festival. Bring in a bunch of America bashers with the Stallinist ANSWER as chief organizers. It's impressive that President Bush did take seriously the concerns of the thousands of protesters coming to Washington, D.C. He said they have "good intentions, but their position is wrong."
Contrast that with some of the performers at tomorrow's concert. They will include Steve Earle and the Coup. Earle is the country-rock singer who told Rolling Stone,
No one could have predicted the amount of damage Bush would do to this country in four years. I wouldn't have believed it. I thought, "Oh, God, another idiot. We survived his father, though. We can survive this." But this is a totally different beast.
Then there's the Coup. Their claim to fame was almost coming out with an album with the World Trade Center twin towers on fire. Founder Boots Riley argued with his record label to keep the cover saying, it was "supposed to be a metaphor for the capitalist state being destroyed through the music."
If you're anywhere near Washington this weekend head over there to support the war and our brave troops.
"Capital Girds For Weekend Of War Protests"
UPDATE: Gateway Pundit monitors some of the MSM coverage of the protest moms.
With highways outside Houston turned into parking lots I'm surprised no one has blamed President Bush. But in all seriousness about the only thing Texas officials could have done was to implement contraflow sooner, and that might not have done much good.
With Hurricane Rita losing steam a lot of evacuees will regret leaving town. Many of us have short-term memories. We best remember events that happened most recently. Millions fled from Rita because of the recent memory of Katrina's destruction (the most visible due to New Orleans' failed levees and not the storm itself). When the next hurricane heads toward the Texas coast many will wait longer to see if she loses power.
That's the price of giving people free choice. Even in a devestated New Orleans officals didn't go so far as to force people to leave, and that was only a few thousand stubborn people. There's no way to force evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people. Even with martial law and thousands of armed troops Americans would resist. Such blatant totalitarianism isn't in our cultural DNA.
"Best-Laid Plans Weren't Enough in Texas"
[As an aside, why did so many people take the same roads? From a brief look at a map I see lots of ways out of Houston. Not all of them are straight shots to San Antonio or Dallas, but I'm sure a 100-mile detour would be faster than sitting in miles and miles of traffic.]
I slept so long today that I got tired of sleeping. Yes, it is possible to be in a nice, comfy bed for so long that you just want to get up and move around just for the sake of doing so. Thanks for all your concern about my sickness. Yesterday, the doctor told me I have a sinus infection. Now, I have drugs just no good drugs. Just some antibiotics and something for my nose. The antibiotics are a huge pills, but they're working even if it's just a placebo effect.
September 22, 2005
At least in one instance political diversity isn't encouraged in Hollywood:
Actor Ron Silver says he has had fewer movie offers and dinner invitations since he parted political company with his Hollywood colleagues and spoke at the Republican National Convention last year.
"Silver Pays for His Politics"
What is Rummy Thinking?
The Pentagon has confirmed Able Danger members did indeed discover Mohammad Atta was a terrorist, but Rumsfeld refuses to let them testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. What's Rumsfeld hiding? At a time like this sucking it up and accepting embarassment is doing what's best for the country. No more games. We need to know.
"Able Danger: Hide In Plain Sight?"
This purely derivative post (good work Captain Ed) is because I'm still sick. It's off to the doctor to see if this is just a cold (hopefully). You'll know I'm feeling better as the number of posts increase along with their intensity.
September 21, 2005
A Bug Got Me
Yesterday morning I woke up with a sore throat. I only worked half a day. Sleeping 13+ hours and Advil helped my throat but I have a splitting headache and am very, very tired. Thus TAM is quiet today. Here's hoping some oatmeal and lots more sleep will make things better.
September 20, 2005
Music Social Site
For a few weeks I've been playing with Audioscrobbler and Last.fm. The latter is a music social website that tracks what songs you've listen to and connects you to people with similar music tastes as well as discussion groups. The personal charts is a nice feature simply because it's taking your most-played list out of iTunes and showing it off to the world. Musical tastes says a lot about one's personality. Two problems with Last.fm:
It's a nice start for Last.fm. It's intrigued me enough to wait and see how they'll improve.
Reid's "Petty Partisanship"
The LA Times urged Senators to confirm Judge John Roberts and launched a pre-emptive strike on Democrats who will oppose him:
It will be a damning indictment of petty partisanship in Washington if an overwhelming majority of the Senate does not vote to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. to be the next chief justice of the United States. As last week's confirmation hearings made clear, Roberts is an exceptionally qualified nominee, well within the mainstream of American legal thought, who deserves broad bipartisan support. If a majority of Democrats in the Senate vote against Roberts, they will reveal themselves as nothing more than self-defeating obstructionists.
Then we have Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) going to the Senate floor to oppose Roberts' confirmation.
Here's hoping the Times editorial board lays it on thick for Reid's "petty partisanship."
Cindy's Ad Campaign
Cindy Sheehan will be showing up in Washington, D.C. Thursday to promote an anti-war ad campaign:
The print ads, with the tag line, "They Lied, They Died" will run in 14 major newspapers covering several congressional districts across the United States. The TV ad will begin airing on Washington, DC cable and nationwide on CNN this Thursday with a combined buy of over $1 million.
One of the groups behind the campaign is Win Without War. On their web site they state:
We share the commitment to countering terrorism and weapons proliferation, but oppose the doctrine of unilateral military preemption. We believe that international cooperation and enforceable international law provide the greatest security for the United States and the world, and the greatest opportunity for people to live in free, healthy, and just societies.
Be wary of anyone using the unilateral canard. Just because the U.N. (i.e. Germany, France, and Russia) didn't give the U.S. (and Great Britain, and Spain, and the Netherlands, etc.) permission to liberate Iraq doesn't mean it was "unilateral." In the next sentence WWW mentions "enforceable international law," but fails to admit one of the reasons stated for going to war was to enforce U.N. resolutions:
Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 (1990) authorizes the use of all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 660 (1990) and subsequent relevant resolutions and to compel Iraq to cease certain activities that threaten international peace and security, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and refusal or obstruction of United Nations weapons inspections in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (1991), repression of its civilian population in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 (1991), and threatening its neighbors or United Nations operations in Iraq in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 949 (1994);
The groups behind WWW are your typical Leftists: Greenpeace, MoveOn, NAACP, Rainbow/Push Coalition. It includes TrueMajority, the Ben Cohen organization that funded Sheehan's publicity stunt in Crawford, TX.
"Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star Mothers, Win Without War Launch TV, Newspaper Ads"
Cash It All In
WILLisms.com hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.
September 19, 2005
Cindy Said What?
Last week in Columbia, SC before a rollicking crowd of 50 said,
My son should be here right now. When he got back from Iraq he was supposed to come back to Fort Jackson to do some more training. He was changing his specialty, so it's really hard for me to be here. My son was an honorable man, and I know the troops are honorable and they're doing the best they can do and we honor them, but we figure the best way we can support them now is to bring them home so nobody has to die.
In Cindy's mind U.S. troops cause all the death and suffering in Iraq. Never once does she blame the Islamists for bombing civilians and coalition troops.
If Sheehan had her way U.S. troops would have never liberated Iraq. But that wouldn't have stopped people dying. In fact, without Iraq's liberation Saddam would have continued his reign of terror. Ironically, outsiders pro- and anti-war alike didn't know about Saddam's mass graves until the U.S. invasion. Here's what was found in one grave:
The victims are believed to be Kurds killed in 1987-88, their bodies bulldozed into the graves after being summarily shot dead.
And how about this information about a large grave near Hillah:
"About 20 percent of them were buried alive, because they had no bullet wounds, but their hands were tied and they were blindfolded," said Amer Shumri, an official from the governor's office in Hillah.
The myopic Mother Sheehan ignores these facts. That's because these facts would put hte Iraq War and President Bush in a better light. Her friends and bankroll wouldn't like that.
"Sheehan Leads "Bring them Home" Tour to South Carolina"
September 18, 2005
Rally in D.C.
People who support U.S. troops and honor the mission they're bravely conducting have an opportunity to counter communist-inspired Cindyfest next weekend. Redstate.org has the details. What's really great is if you can get a group to go to Washington, D.C. transportation can be arranged. So stand your ground and oppose the America-hating Left.
Redstate.org has a new area set up to document the wackiness of anti-American Cindy Sheehan. Nick Danger has a good post puncturing the idea that Sheehan is some grassroots phenomenon. She's a useful idiot in the hands of well-funded Leftists.
"The Blonde Ditch Project"
Sheehan's Red and Black Friend
Cindy Sheehan could easily silence critics about her communist connections if she would stop associating with them or call them her friends. Power Line reports on Sheehan's praise of Malik Rahim, admitted communist and Black Panther. Here's a man with no love for a nation that protect his right to speak anti-Americanism.
"The Friends of Cindy Sheehan"
Nintendo's Lost Me
For the Revolution Nintendo is coming out with a controller with a split personality. It looks stupid. I don't like it. I'm not coordinated enough to use both my thumb on the analog stick and my fingers on the buttons simultaneously. If I wanted some split controller I'd stick with PC gaming.
"The Nintendo Revolution Controller — No, Really!"
On the BorderLine is one-year old. Congrats.
Cindy Sheehan: Useful Idiot
Cindy Sheehan was an August story. In a slow news time her protest outside President Bush's Crawford ranch garnered significant media attention. When you combine little news in late summer and a MSM inclined to attack Bush any chance they get you get the "Mother" Sheehan freak show.
I've been ignoring Sheehan. I figured she would just fade away when here 15 minutes of fame ran out. Too bad for us the Bush-bashing, anti-war Left sees a good thing in her. When President Bush left Crawford a few weeks back, Sheehan started following him like a stalker.
There is something about the company you keep. Sheehan has become an arrow in the quivver of the Stalinist International ANSWER when she is the star of next weekend's anti-war protests in Washington, D.C. These ANSWER people have to always mention the "plight" of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. What's really disturbing is ANSWER's support for totalitarian regimes like North Korea and Cuba.
Let me make it clear: I'm not opposed to anti-war protests. Not all protesters and Bush-bashers are Communists or support totalitarian regimes. Sheehan's problem is she's said plainly anti-American statements. The most recent was her ridiculous notion that U.S. troops are occupying New Orleans.
I've had it with the America bashing led by a mother who can't accept the free choice of a dead son. The gloves are off. America needs to know more about the Left's latest useful idiot.
"Saddam's Useful Idiots: Stalin Would Be Proud"
September 17, 2005
No Big Loss
Starting Monday you'll have to pay to read NY Times' columnists.
Yeah, there will be a big hole in my daily reading. I can feel the middlebrow intellectual hole already forming. What will I do without Paul Krugman's and Frank Rich's screeds on my computer screen? How will I cope with not having Thomas Friedman's occasionally insightful essays filled with his too-cute-by-half pop culture references? (This is the man who thinks Google "is a little bit like God.") We will lose David Brooks and John Tierney. Bummer. And I'm serious about that.
When the Times' columnists go behind the pay firewall it's influence diminishes. The blogosphere won't care what Krugman is yapping about because, in essence, he will no longer exist. Friedman, Krugman, and the rest might not care. They may only want the powerful and influential reading their words. If I were them I'd be ticked at the Times. As a writer readers mean influence. Limiting one's audience limits the ability of one's ideas to spread. It limits the conversation. Both readers and writers suffer because of that.
Andrew Sullivan informs us that the Washington Post is taking a different route and linking up with independent webloggers. They see the future while the Times rebels. Guess who will win?
September 16, 2005
The Roberts' hearings have not earned a post on TAM this week. I didn't expect any drama since Roberts was replacing Rehnquist instead of swing-vote O'Connor. The end result was assured before the hearings began. Other than Sens. Kennedy and Biden looking like jerks there wasn't much to watch.
"Roberts' Confirmation Virtually Assured"
Carnival of the Badger #5
Letters in Bottles hosts this week's tiny Carnival of the Badger. Come one guys, the thing is supposed to get bigger.
September 15, 2005
Aristotle and Mistakes
When thinking about responsiblity in the Katrina rescue efforts consider the words of the dead, white man Aristotle:
Thus there are three kinds of injury in transactions between man and man; those done in ignorance are mistakes when the person acted on, the act, the instrument, or the end that will be attained is other than the agent supposed; the agent thought either that he was not hitting any one or that he was not hitting with this missile or not hitting this person or to this end, but a result followed other than that which he thought likely (e.g. he threw not with intent to wound but only to prick), or the person hit or the missile was other than he supposed. Now when (I) the injury takes place contrary to reasonable expectation, it is a misadventure.
--Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics Oxford University Press. 126-7
September 14, 2005
The Wal-Mart Bugaboo
Sen. Glenn Grothman was swept into office because his opponent State Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer was ineffective in advancing the government-limiting Taxpayers' Bill of Rights (TABOR). We've found nothing has been done with TABOR. It's dead thanks to the new GOP Senate Leader Dale Schultz, a TABOR opponent. Now, Grothman is explaining why in a committee he voted to keep the minimum markup law. On WTMJ radio he put out two reasons: 1) he didn't get his compromise amendment voted on; and 2) he fears Wal-Mart swooping into the gas market, killing off competition, then raising prices. Grothman's first reason is just petty legislator-speak. The second reason has little empirical evidence. I've studied economics for years and know the theory of predatory pricing. The problem is there are few examples of it actually happening. For instance, Wal-Mart has cut prices on food and consumer disposable goods that have driven out mom-and-pop stores selling the same items. It doesn't matter if the state has a minimum markup law or not. There's been no example of Wal-Mart then raising prices after killing competition. That's because there's free entry into the market. A big competitor can come in like Target. Smaller stores adjust to the new competition and offer better service, a better environment, or lower prices on some items. New business models like the dollar stores pop up. Minimum markup backers have not offered any reason why something similar wouldn't happen in the gas market.
Grothman was a breath of fresh air when he came into office. He's now become a big disappointment in a very disappointing Wisconsin Republican Party.
September 13, 2005
Yesterday at the first day of John Roberts' confirmation hearing, when Sen. Coburn wasn't working on a crossword puzzle (guess he hasn't been bitten by the sudoku bug) he was crying:
A television camera behind Coburn caught the senator working a crossword puzzle. But Coburn went from detachment to emotional overdrive when it was his turn to talk; seconds after asserting that "a super-legislator body is not what the court was intended to be," he paused and wept.
The future of the Supreme Court is important, but the man needs to relax.
"A Day of Firsts, Overshadowed"
Hannity and Gingrich Can't Count
Just because something went wrong in New Orleans and a lot of useable buses became waterlogged doesn't mean critics of Mayor Ray Nagin can be so very incorrect about the number of buses available. I'm talking to you Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich. Get your facts straight before you shoot off your mouths. I saw the same pictures as you. When the number 2000 came up you're common sense flag should have popped up. But why let accuracy get in the way of an exaggerated jaw-dropper?
"ABC's Stephanopoulos Repeated School Bus Falsehood Spread by Pruden, Hannity, and Gingrich"
September 12, 2005
eBay Buys Skype
Ebay buying Skype makes little sense unless Meg Whitman is trying to turn her company into the GE of the internet. Sure, Skype technology will allow some eBay buyers and sellers to better communicate. But she could have just as easily (and more cheaply) partnered with Skype. She didn't have to pay $4.1 billion. This is the first purchase for the company that goes outside the e-commerce zone eBay has dominated. If we see more unusual purchases we'll know if Whitman is trying to become the next Jack Welch.
Engadget interviewed Michael Robinson, CEO of SIPhone, a VoIP competitor. Interesting view of the whole market.
"EBay Set to Acquire Skype Technologies"
A Perfect Storm
By the post title I don't mean Hurricane Katrina. I mean the circumstances lining up for significant GOP losses in November 2006. Whether it's true or not there is a perception reinforced by a MSM not inclined toward President Bush that the federal government failed Gulf Coast residents by not acting fast enough (compared to what no one says). Even though most people aren't thinking about the political ramifications of Katrina the constant chorus of "Bush failed!" could become tar on GOP Congressional candidates. An effect of Katrina's path of destruction is the new federal spending already passed or soon to be to help rebuild. Fiscal conservatives don't want rebuilding costs added to a large federal deficit. The response from other Republicans is less than encouraging:
In closed-door meetings, fiscal conservatives have begged their colleagues not to put the cost of disaster relief on the government credit card for future generations to carry.
The Bush coalition has always been tenuous. What's bound the Right wing together has been the Islamist War and tax cuts. Budget hawks and constitutionalists have been upset with No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement, and the bloated highway bill. Free traders have gotten ticked at Bush's steel tariffs. Libertarians found fault with stem cell research policy and Bush's gay marriage stance. Yet the Islamist attacks on Sep. 11, 2001 forced all parts of the coalition to put their smaller concerns aside in the name of national security.
In a way, President Bush is a "victim" of winning a second term. Thomas Barnett sees a flaw in Bush's CEO-as-commander-in-chief approach:
But also because his CEO-like faith in delegated authority wore out its welcome. Notice how the CEO presidencies do well for the first term, with the A Team hot off the election, and then they start sucking as the B Team starts rising to the top posts? In some places, like Defense, the talent pool is deep enough (especially for the Republicans), but elsewhere . . . and FEMA is just so elsewhere.
Working in D.C. with any significant authority takes so much out of people. Workaholics love it, but dealing with agencies, Congress, and the press becomes a marathon. It's not surprise there is change over from one term to the next. (It's even more amazing that Donald Rumsfeld decided to stay on at DoD.)
Upsetting a part of the base combined with second-string bureaucrats means Karl Rove has his work cut out for him in maintaining the GOP majority.
Election Day 2006 is way too far away. So much could happen between now and then. In another post Barnett notes that the mid-term elections won't take place in a vacuum.
The discounting on this presidency has begun internationally.
Democratic victory would cause further discounting of the Bush Presidency. Foreign leaders would figure the Democrats had the momentum in claiming the White House in 2008--something I think they'll do anyway. Get ready for divided government in a few years. If GOP defeat (look at the Senate; the gerrymandered House is safe) does happen next year many pundits will look back to Katrina's aftermath. I'll be looking even further to that awful Medicare drug entitlement.
"Fiscal Conservatives Riled"
The Sports Gods are Smiling
September 11, 2005
Gleening public opinion can be an interesting task. Most of the time the results should be nothing more than the stuff of party conversation. Elected officials should most definitely not govern by them. An AP-Ipsos has President Bush's approval rating at 39%. Dismal. In the AP story Barry Allen a Michigan independent his thoughts.
Allen said he liked some of Bush's economic steps during his first term but has been dissatisfied with the president's economic moves in his second term, his Iraq policy and his handling of gasoline prices.
The reporter should have asked Allen what the President should have done about gas prices. Should the President have issued and unconstitutional order preventing gas stations from raising gas prices? If that would have happened you would have seen gas shortages across the country. Then Mr. Allen would be complaining that Bush should have done something about the lack of gas. Or maybe Bush should have magically created oil refineries bypassing environmentalists and NIMBYs.
Complaining is easy. Heck, being a weblogger I know just how easy. Polls and sound bites don't mean much in political discourse. It's bad enough the AP keeps a running poll. What's worse is psuedo-news story that doesn't add to the discussion.
Pack Loses Walker
The Packers lose to the not-so-lowly Lions. They did it with a defense that performed ok except for all the defensive holding penalties (I'm talking to you Ahmad Carroll). It's the vaunted offense that failed today. Mike Sherman and Brett Favre will have to think of something now that #1 wide receiver Javon Walker injured his ACL and might be done for the season. There's some bad karma with wide receivers and Detroit. Just ask Charles Rogers.
"Knee Injury May Sideline Walker for Season"
60 Minutes Showed Dead Body
We deserve an explanation for why some media are showing dead bodies floating in New Orleans while not showing World Trade Center jumpers. CBS News did so in a 60 Minutes story on the ordeals of New Orleans' police. CNN sued to tape dead bodies. Ed Driscoll writes,
It's even more astonishing, coming from a network which for over a decade whitewashed images of Saddam Hussein's atrocities, just to maintain a "LIVE FROM BAGHDAD" line chromakeyed on the screen while their reporter spoke in front of Saddam's Ministry of Information. Broadcasting the same lies from Saddam Hussein's propaganda ministers they could have just as easily have picked up on any news wire and reported from CNN's facilities in Atlanta--along with some thoughts on what the true story might be.
I think it would be unseemly if media showed both the jumpers and the bloated hurricane corpses. Such visuals aren't needed to appreciate the awfulness.
"Media Plans to Show New Orleans Bodies"
UPDATE: For example, Michelle Malkin didn't need to post pictures of Sep. 11 jumpers. It's her being needlessly provocative.
This Beats the Packers Game
Watching the anemic Pack losing to the Lions is frustrating. So I stumbled upon this sports story:
In Sport, it is usually a case of you like what you’re good at. In that case the playing fields of Scotland will soon be rumbling with the heavy footfalls of pachyderms.
Who knew? I bet many Scots didn't. Where does the team practice? Do they go to the Glasgow Zoo and ask them if they can work out in the elephant pen for a few hours?
"Scots are Heavyweight World Champs"
2005 Packers Prediction
It's time for my annual Green Bay Packers/NFL predictions. My beloved Packers deal with a split personality. They have an offense as potent as any in the league. Amman Green, Javon Walker, and Donald Driver are threats to score anytime; and future hall-of-famer Brett Favre can get them the ball. A big question is if they found replacements for guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera.
An even bigger question is the defense. Have they improved from last year's dismal showing? Then they couldn't get into the right position, couldn't tackle if they got there, and committed so many penalties. The defensive line hasn't improved. Cledius Hunt got cut for being a lazy bum who didn't fulfill his rich contract. Grady Jackson is a great run-stuffer, but his girth makes him prone to injury. Somehow the defensive coaches have to find a rotation of linemen to stop the run and derive enough of a pass rush to take opponents' focus off of Kabeer Baja Biamila.
I'll ask the same questions I did last year:
Did the Packers Get Better?
General manager Ted Thompson brought in no big-name defensive free agents. He did bring in ex-Patriot Adrian Klemm but who knows if he'll be a starter to replace either Wahle or Rivera? In the draft the focus was on the future by drafting Aaron Rodgers. (Thompson's best pick may end up being guard William Whitticker who could start even for being a seventh-round pick.) The team lacks depth at wide receiver and tight end. On defense it will be a line-by-committee. Nick Barnett, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamilla, and Al Harris are the only real stars on defense. Saying the Packers are the same as last season is being generous.
What About the Opposition?
It will be hard for the Packers to win a fourth-straight NFC North Division title. Minnesota has loss Randy Moss, but they've worked hard to improve the defense by signing ex-Packer Darren Sharper and Fred Smoot. The Detroit Lions have plenty of young talent. This might be the year when it finally comes together. The Chicago Bears, well they're the Bears, but they do have a solid defense. If Cedric Benson gets in gear after holding out so long rookie Kyle Orton could surprise teams.
What About Intangibles?
Brett Favre has made no indication this will be his last season. He couldn't have been too confident with Thompson's off-season moves--including drafting his presumed heir in Rodgers. But throughout his career Favre has never given up. His offensive line will need to gell pass and run blocking. On defense we'll see if new defensive coordinator Jim Bates can get his players to play above their talent level. What will help is if they can cause turnovers.
The Packers play some good teams this season. They play critics' fave Carolina in Week 4, Pittsburgh in Week 9, Atlanta right after that in Week 10, and Philadelphia in Week 12--a month of hell. They get the Bears twice in December when wins will be very important for a playoff birth. Sorry Packers fans, I have to use my head. 9-7 and a wild card spot if they're lucky.
As for my Super Bowl picks I'll go with Pittsburgh topping Philadelphia in an all-Pennsylvania final game.
The Onion Matching Donation
DJ points out that The Onion is matching Red Cross donations up to $100,000. Donate through them and you in effect double your money.
"God Outdoes Terrorists Yet Again"
September 10, 2005
Donate Some More
It's been a few days since I last asked, but hurricane relief is still needed. If you haven't donated yet, what are you waiting for? If you have, thank you, but more help is needed. The Red Cross is the charity I'm pushing. Please donate.
September 09, 2005
Police Prevented People from Escapting New Orleans
Police from surrounding jurisdictions shut down several access points to one of the only ways out of New Orleans last week, effectively trapping victims of Hurricane Katrina in the flooded and devastated city.
Being middle class and living in a "bedroom community" means you too can turn into an unfeeling brute during crises. The veneer of civilization is very thin.
Mr. Brown Goes Back to Washington
FEMA chief Michael Brown was removed from running disaster relief operations in Baton Rouge:
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown, the principal target of harsh criticism of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, was relieved of his onsite relief command Friday.
No surprise. Look when it happened: on Friday afternoon. That's news-burying time. (Fewer people read Saturday newspapers.) The Sunday talking heads won't hammer Brown much. It's now old news. That dead horse won't be beaten anymore.
"FEMA Chief Relieved of Katrina Command"
Official Confirms Red Cross Denied Access to New Orleans
Col. Jay Mayeaux, deputy director of the state’s Office Of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness confirms the Red Cross wasn't wanted inside New Orleans on 09.01 and 09.02:
“He asked us not to go in and we abided by that request,” said Howell, who added that the Red Cross was supplying food and water throughout the metropolitan area, just not in the city itself.
"Red Cross Was Told to Wait"
Salvation Army Denied Access
Major Garrett has continued working on the story of how Louisiana state government prevent relief workers and supplies from entering New Orleans:
MG: The Salvation Army basically said look. We...first of all, both agencies also want to let people know that they've served the needs of thousands of people who got out, and who got out just a little bit to high ground, north of New Orleans. But they couldn't get in to meet those needs. They asked to get in. They were prepared with their...the Salvation Army has these ever-familiar portable kitchen canteens, is what they call them. They can actually make food, produce food on spot, and distribute it there. People line up. We've seen that at hurricanes and other natural disasters. They were ready. Not allowed in. At first, it was this idea that we don't want to create a magnet at the evacuation site. Secondarily, it became an issue of well, there's lots of water, and we can't assure your safety, so on and so forth. Here's another key point, Hugh. I was very specific with the American Red Cross, president and CEO Marty Evans, and said wait. Tell me clearly. Were you prepared to go in before the levees broke? Before water became an issue of any kind? She said absolutely. Were you denied access before the levees broke? She said we were denied access from minute one.
I somewhat understand the thinking of the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security. They wanted people out of New Orleans. When the water rushed into the city officials wanted people out. That way police wouldn't have to worry about looters and could focus on rescuing people. But then efforts had to have been made to get people out of the city. The plan was to use buses. That never happened. Nagin consulted with lawyers when thinking about a mandatory evacuation of the city. Ashley Tate at Bilges speculates that similar thinking might have been why school buses weren't used.
September 08, 2005
Bush Signs Storm Relief Bill
$51.8 billion will go to hurricane relief bringing the total federal cost to almost $62 billion with much more to come.
"Bush Signs $51.8 Bln Storm Relief Bill"
Thursday Night Shootout
If the first half is any indication the Raiders will have a long season. They may win a few shootouts but their defense is incapable of stopping Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game. It would help if they could generate a pass rush. Warren Sapp, you should just hang it up. Al Michaels and John Madden haven't mentioned your name all night.
UPDATE: I'll be ignoring Tim McGraw's halftime highlights every MNF. Pointless. I'm already tired of hearing "I Like It, I Love It."
P.S. "60 Seconds with Jimmy Kimmel" isn't any better. And what an awful new hairdo Jimmy is sporting.
IM During the NFL Opener
Like any good football fan I'll be stuck in front of the tv for the Patriots-Raiders game. I won't be live-blogging it (thank god), but the IM will be on. If you use Google Talk you can reach me at sean.hackbarth--at--gmail--dot--com. On MS Messenger use shackbar--at--hotmail--dot--com.
Revolution is a Process
The Ukrainian government was booted by President Viktor Yushchenko. Some may think the Orange Revolution is over. Not so. Democracy is a process, not an end state. The end state is liberty. Tremendous change convulses societies, institutions, and whole nations. That's what happened in the U.S. after she threw off her British changes. It's also what Iraq and Afghanistan are going through.
"Didn't See this Coming"
"Ukraine's Yushchenko Fires Government"
Holtzbrinck Publishers owns such imprints as St. Martin's Press; Henry Holt; and Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. They are now producing podcasts to showcase their new titles. It's a good idea. Even if a readers doesn't consume audiobooks this will expose them to new books in a way that's better than simply reading a dust jacket or reading a book review. Jeff Gomez told DMNews.com, "What we're doing as a trade publisher is allowing users to experience new books whenever they want, the same way that they might not have the time to listen to a radio show the day it's broadcast, but will listen to it later."
UPDATE: In related book-tech news Apple is selling a branded Harry Potter iPod and you can also buy all six audio books from the iTunes store.
Red Cross Prevent from Going to Superdome
Readers know I'm not fond of the blame game. I have been posting a few items that seriously question the response to the Katrina disaster. To FEMA wasting highly-skilled firefighters by making them pamphlet-toting field agents add the Lousiana state government preventing the Red Cross from sending supplies to the Superdome and New Orleans convention center:
Major Garrett: Well, the Red Cross, Hugh, had pre-positioned a literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items. They're not really big into medical response items, but those are the three biggies that we saw people at the New Orleans Superdome, and the convention center, needing most accutely. And all of us in America, I think, reasonably asked ourselves, geez. You 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?
For those of you suspicious of anything Fox News puts out the Red Cross is backing the story on their website.
According to Garrett's report Louisiana state government didn't want the Superdome and the convention center to be magnets for people who didn't/couldn't leave New Orleans. A magnet might have been the best thing. It would have been a centralized place to evacuate victims without first responders traipsing all over the flooded city. The downside would have been putting more people into an already-lousy space. We need to hear the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security's explanation before we start beating the hell out of them. I just hope in-state political fighting didn't have anything to do with decisions [via The Strata-Sphere]. Also, Louisana did get lots of federal dollars. It just wasn't spent on improving levees. Whether, that would have been an effective use of funds is another question.
"Louisiana State Government Banned Red Cross From Helping Evacuees"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
Yesterday, Apple wowed us with the new iPod nano. It's smaller and thinner than the iPod mini (62% smaller according to the Engadget crew), has a color screen, and keeps the cool, minimalist iPod look. Apple shrank the sucker by replacing the hard drive with flash memory for storage. The thing won't skip. It's very cool. But it's going to destroy any reason to buy the iPod shuffle. The 2 GB nano sells for $199. The 1 GB shuffle goes for $129. Apple should slash the prices of the shuffle in half and make that their introductory music player. Kind of like free crack for the first-time user.
Get Those Line-Ups Set
To the Webloggers League:
The NFL starts tonight. If you want to start any Patriots (Brady, Dillon) or Raiders (Jordan, Moss, Collins) make sure you get them into your line-up in a few hours.
Good luck everyone. May the best owner (me) win.
At Least We Tried
Besides our high taxes there's a reason people are leaving Wisconsin for the Sun Belt. It's the same reason many hurricane refugees don't want to come to this state: the weather.
FEMA officials said many evacuees are not interested in leaving Texas or other southern states because they want to stay as close as they can to their homes, and because they're worried about their jobs, property and the safety of their loved ones.
Staying as close to home as possible is true, but the first snow flakes could come in about six weeks. The mild winters of Arkansas, Tennessee, or Georgia vs. that of a place where a stadium is nicknamed the "Frozen Tundra." Wisconsin won't likely be the winner in that battle. After getting wallopped by Katrina victims don't want to be messed with by any more bad weather. No offense taken, but the welcome mat is always out., Some have taken advantage:
By late Wednesday, 206 people - including 104 families - were living at the Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center at State Fair Park, said Kate Hinze, director of media communications for the Greater Milwaukee Chapter of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is also helping 144 evacuees who came to Wisconsin on their own and have made their own living arrangements.
Welcome to our soon-to-be cold and snowy state.
"Warm Offers, but Response is Cool"
September 07, 2005
Waste of Resources
You have over 1,000 highly trained firemen together in one room. What do you do? If you're FEMA you make them endure a day of lectures (including an all-important sexual harassment talk) to prepare them to be "community-relations officers" who won't be doing much rescuing but will be handing out FEMA flyers. FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak was indignant saying, "I would go back and ask the firefighter to revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country." I would ask Ms. Hudak to revisit her commitment to saving hurricane victim's lives. She doesn't care what life-saving resources she has before her.
Anarchist-libertarian professor and New Orleans resident Walter Block doesn't want you to donate to the Red Cross. Fine, there's plenty of other charities who are doing good in the disaster areas. However, Block prefers you donate to the Libertarian Parties of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as well as give to the Mises Institute. I like the Mises Institute as much as any good Austrian-sympathizing economist, but Anarchy Lew Rockwell for sure won't use the funds to feed and clothe the needy. His work promoting free enterprise is important, but there is a time and a place. Just when I think a paleo can't get any stranger Block then thinks the government is getting in the way of private firms finding ways to control the weather:
The point is, if we the people had vastly more money at our disposal than we do now, thanks to government profligacy with our funds, we would be able to donate some of it to the not-for-profit sector to engage in research and development for weather control.
Someone was drinking too much absinthe before evacuating the Big Easy.
"Then Katrina Came"
Ricardo Pimentel and the Journal Sentinel editorial board want FEMA chief Michael Brown's head:
The sputtering start deepened the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina, heightening the toll in lives and in misery - for which officials at all levels of government must answer. But this crisis found one agency wanting in particular: the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose inept performance should lead to the dismissal of its director, Michael Brown.
Brown will probably get the heave-ho, but the short-sighted editorial board can't (or won't) explain how a Brown-led FEMA managed the California wildfire crises in 2003 and last year's series of hurricanes that hit Florida and the Gulf coast. The board just looks angry and let loose a Bush-bashing temper tantrum without putting in some serious thought.
"Sack Michael Brown"
Former ESPN reporter Adrian Karsten hanged himself in his Green Lake garage. He was to begin serving time for not filing tax returns.
According to court records, Karsten made more than $600,000 while reporting for ESPN between 1999 and 2002. He did not file tax returns for any of those years and owed the IRS approximately $167,000.
It's pure spectulation but gambling and/or drugs must have been involved. Karsten didn't have the money to pay the government and he didn't think he could survive prison so he gave up. Too sad.
"Ex-ESPN Reporter Karsten Found Hanged at His Home"
David at Carrick Bend Thoughts wants us to remember those helping the hurricane refugees coming to our area:
I will, however, ask that if you have a few coins left over that maybe you might want to concider sending a note (or a pizza or a fruit basket or something) to the nurses at St. Joes.
Katrina's ripples reach farther than most realize.
"St Joe's Nurses Need Our Applause and Gratitude"
September 06, 2005
Owen Robinson's advice would have saved some people in New Orleans and Mississippi.
John Cole deflates a few myths about the Katrina disaster. Most interestingly is no one has come forward about the rapes that supposedly happened inside the Superdome. I'd like to blast FEMA director Michael Brown but 1) we still don't know what happened in the conversations/arguments between government officials at all levels; 2) the guy led FEMA in aiding the Gulf states during the hurricane onslaught last year and the California wildfires in 2003. I don't recall complaints back then. I don't feel the need to be an instant pundit and launch a full salvo. I'll leave that to the Michelle Malkin's and talk radio yappers (oddly Sean Hannity has been pretty subdued except about New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin and his flooded buses) of the media world. There's a lot we don't know. So most of us should cork it with the Monday morning quarterbacking.
"Calm Down And Let’s Get This Right"
Kids of Katrina
Michele's Kids of Katrina project is going well:
Quickly, I just want to say that it looks like Baton Rouge is a go as well as Houston for Kids of Katrina. Supplies are piling up at home and in my workplace, money sitting in PayPal just waiting for me to get to National Wholesale Liquidators and buy out their supplies.
Despite illness she's found a way to not play the blame game and will end up helping a lot of people. Bravo!
Kids Camp New Refugee Home
The Salvation Army has turned one of their summer camps in Kenosha into a place of refuge for a few hundred hurricane victims who start arriving today.
"Kenosha County Camp, Fair Park Prepare for Evacuees"
September 05, 2005
Katrina Refugees Coming to Wisconsin
For those of you no where near SE Wisconsin refugees may be headed your way. If not please donate to the Red Cross. Want a list of alternative charities? Here you go. I'm not keeping score like some other webloggers. But it would be really cool to seem them reach the $1 million mark. Please donate.
"State Fair Park Facility to House Hurricane Evacuees"
Bush, Blanco: Get Over Yourselves
Lousinana governor Kathleen Blanco and President Bush are barely on speaking terms. At a news conference Bush kissed Blanco on the cheek. I hope they both realize that no one cares whether they like each other, hate each other's guts, or blames the other for not getting help into disaster areas fast enough. Personality issues won't get the water pumped out of New Orleans any faster. Blaming each other won't help with rebuilding and getting people back into their homes. Neither Blanco or Bush can changed what has passed. That's done. Egos will only get in the way. Hell, I'd be happy if no officials who aren't directly in charge of relief efforts talk to the media for a few days. Disaster recovery isn't about scoring political points or claiming credit. It's about helping people. Let Congress have their "fun" investigating. It's the only thing besides spending money they can do to make themselves appear to be "doing something."
"Bush, Blanco Reveal Strained Relationship"
September 04, 2005
Mansfield Featured on C-SPAN
Harvey Mansfield was the focus of this month's In Depth on Book TV. The mild-mannered Harvard professor immediately became provocative by suggesting that New Orleans shouldn't be rebuilt. He mentioned ancient Greeks would seriously consider whether rebuilding a city was the wisest course of action. This isn't a question of if New Orleans will be rebuilt to what it was pre-Katrina. I see no political possibility that it wouldn't happen. But should the city be rebuilt on a spot where another disaster like this could happen? If it was just insurance companies and Louisiana governments covering the bill then I wouldn't care, but billions of federal dollars will go into rebuilding. Is this a wise use of money?
Mansfield should generate more intellectual controversy with his book Manliness due out next year. Martin Marty writes:
Mansfield swings widely, at left and right: "Here is gristle to chew for liberals and conservatives, both of whom -- except for the feminists -- have abandoned manliness mostly out of policy rather than abhorrence." Mansfield's second review book, you guessed it, is on "manliness." His two predictable cracks at feminism aside, he sticks to his praise of manliness and his attack on being sensitive. I wonder, however, what planet Mansfield lives on and what he reads and watches. I won't document in detail here what anyone who spends an hour with cable news shows and shouts, politicians' rhetoric, defenses of our go-it-alone foreign policy, and some Christians' defenses of all the above, will find: consistent attacks on sensitive people as being unworthy and un-American, maybe even un-Christian.
William Rehnquist, R.I.P.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist died last night. The Wisconsin native was 80. He will be remembered for leading the court down a more conservative, originalist path and for presiding over the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. He will also be remembered for his devotion to his job. He endured cancer treatments yet continued to work. He truly took his life appointment seriously. Godspeed, William.
Who will be the first to claim Rehnquist's death is part of a Rovian conspiracy to divert attention from "inadequate" disaster planning in Louisiana and Mississippi?
"Rehnquist is Dead at 80"
It's been some time but Steve of Norway is back weblogging. All it took was a natural disaster and too many playing the blame game.
It's amazing really, the President could've had 10,000 troops stationed outside of New Orleans; had FEMA ready to go and could've had $50billion earmarked for the initial wave of rebuilding/rescues, but it would not have mattered one iota. This hurricane would've blown through New Orleans and would've still flooded 80% of the city. Lake Pontchartrain still would've blasted through the levees and the looters & shooters still would be causing the havoc that they are. Because a hurricane is a hurricane...it causes an ass-load amount of damage. Is that too simple to grasp? No amount of pre-planning would've saved New Orleans. Kyoto would not have saved New Orleans. The Governor of Louisiana could not have saved New Orleans. Haley Barbour, although being blamed for causing Katrina, could not have stopped it from tearing apart Mississippi. It's mother nature and in the case of the blogosphere, it's natural to bring politics into the mess. And in some cases, call the President names to make themselves feel better about their little lives. Well bravo...bravo.
Welcome back, Steve.
September 02, 2005
Katrina Blame Game
The levee's haven't even been patched and pundits and media mavens are all playing the blame game. NBC's Tim Russert in the safe (and dry) confines of Washington, D.C. said on Today, "But there appears to have been a significant lack of real preparation for this crisis. Tim Naftali, writing for Slate, blasts the Department of Homeland Security for immediately getting the military into New Orleans to secure the city. He points out that 3,000 soldiers are nearby. Cindy Sheehan goes along with the German Green kook and blames President Bush's environmental policies. President Bush got into it by saying, "the results are not acceptable." He didn't clarified what he meant.
I'm sure there were plenty of screw-ups, and there will be many more as the disaster unfolds. Realize the severity of the situation: an entire American city is in essence gone. Roads into New Orleans are flooded with only big army trucks able to get through. Naftali thinks the 4th Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division is only three hours away, but that's on passable roads.
Most of the blame will be on governments not be prepared. But what does that mean? Should governments have huge warehouses filled with MREs, bottled water, medicine, cots, and blankets at the ready at all times? Where would these warehouses be? Imagine if New Orleans had such supplies on hand in warehouses in the middle of the city. All that stuff would be underwater or looted. Oh, you say, armed guards should be around the warehouses. What if these warehouses were built after Hurricane Betsy passed over the Big Easy in 1965? Then for 40 years warehouses would need to be guarded, restocked, and maintained just in case "the Big One" hit. Imagine what kind of graft and boondoggle that would have turned into in the not-so-pure New Orleans.
There are important questions about DHS' authority over the military in times of emergency. Posse comitatus is something to take seriously. Then there's the question of sheer logistics. Helicopters are useful, but they can't move as much stuff as trucks. You can have piles of relief supplies ready for distribution but if roads are impassable they're not much use. It also doesn't help when anarchy is the norm in parts of New Orleans.
So, please, enough of the blame game. There will plenty of time for that later. Blaming won't get a single person fed or clothed. It won't fix a breeched levee, and it's won't drain a city. People are doing the best they can. Even when that happens bad things occur. Such is the tragic place of Man in the universe. We will (must) look back and learn from our mistakes. Life is a process.
"Bush on Relief Effort: 'Results Not Acceptable'"
UPDATE: Austin Bay has a great international perspective on relief efforts:
We’ve a million people dispossessed and they are suffering. Critics grouse that the response to Katrina’s devestation has been abysmally slow. Compared to what? Slow compared to our expectations is the correct answer. Compared to every other nation on the planet, we’re moving at warp speed to address a natural disaster of extraordinary magnitude.
We are blessed to live a great, rich nation where we can complain like we do.
September 01, 2005
Just Like on TV
I need to lighten things up a tad today. This e-reader gave me a case of deja vu from the not-so-old sci-fi series Earth: Final Conflict. It was a pretty good show, but they never should have killed the main character, Boone, at the end of the first season.
Hey you! Yeah, you. You long-time reader who loves TAM for its brilliance, wit, and insight. You haven't donated to the Katrina relief efforts. What are you waiting for? The cash is needed and will be needed for some time. Hell, an entire American city has been made unliveable and we watched it happen live on television. Donate now. Don't even wait to finish reading this post. It will still be here after you've done your thing. Now, be a good American and go. Now!