Thursday, September 29, 2005

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hail, Ants

In reading this Jonah Goldberg column about the MSM's insane rumor mongering and hysteria during Katrina, the famous "Space Shuttle" episode of the Simpson's immediately came to mind. I googled the phrase "Hail, Ants" to try to find an explanation of that episode that I could cut and paste into this post. It turns out that an old Jonah Goldberg column gives the best one:

Recall, if you will, the episode of the Simpsons when Homer is selected to be a space shuttle astronaut. News anchor Kent Brockman is scheduled to interview the shuttle crew while they are in orbit.

But just before they "switch live" to the crew of the corvair craft, there's a mishap on board. Homer, unaccustomed to weightlessness, is veering, out of control, straight toward the ant farm the crew brought along for study.

(the ants, seeing Homer homing in on them, break into a panic.

- Protect the Queen!

- Which one's the Queen?

- I'm the Queen.

- No you're not.

- Freedom!

- Horrible, horrible freedom!)

When news anchor Kent Brockman cuts to the live feed from the shuttle, the ants float by the camera lens — momentarily appearing gigantic. Then they lose the picture. Brockman instantaneously reports:

"Ladies and gentlemen, er, we've just lost the picture, but, uh, what we've seen speaks for itself. The Corvair spacecraft has been taken over — 'conquered', if you will — by a master race of giant space ants. It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive earth men or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain, there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to...toil in their underground sugar caves."

When it becomes clear that the bugs are in fact not a "master race of giant space ants", Brockman quickly removes his "Hail Ants" sign hanging just behind him, covering the station logo.

Well, if this doesn't sum up MSM coverage of the Katrina disaster, I don't know what does.

Here's an excerpt from Jonah's latest:

We now know, thanks to valuable post-mortems by the Los Angeles Times and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, that a great deal of the "great reporting" was in fact great rumor mongering. The stories of rape and murder in the Superdome were all unfounded. Six people died in there, tragically. But nobody was murdered.

All of the major newspapers contributed to the hysterical environment, passing on one unconfirmed rumor after another. And, to be fair, almost everyone else in one way or another contributed to the climate as well. The blogosphere bought the hyperventilation hook, line, and sinker. The low point was almost certainly when Randall Robinson ominously disclosed on the Huffington Post that African-Americans in New Orleans had resorted to eating the flesh of corpses to stay alive. This was just days into the flood (it took the stranded Donner party weeks to resort to eating the dead). Yet this supposedly fact-checked blog found it credible that African Americans would eat the bloated carcasses floating in New Orleans' floodwaters almost the second they ran out of groceries.

What accounts for this journalistic fiasco?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

According to MSM, Perpetrating Mayhem, Or At Least Lying About It, Is Just What Poor Black Folk Do

Great post by Ace of Spades. Read it all, but here are some exerpts:

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.

"If the dome and Convention Center had harbored large numbers of middle class white people," Amoss said, "it would not have been a fertile ground for this kind of rumor-mongering."

Okay... here's the deal. Conservatives mistrust the media, but poor blacks mistrust it to the third power. There's a slang expression I heard a few years back about the unofficial grapevine for black rumors: "the Brown Paper News." During one of the periods of rioting in New York, a special phone line was set up for people to call which would debunk rumors flying around. The phone line wasn't set up for white people.

The media should know that. Their job is not to report rumors -- for crying out loud, bloggers are taken to task for doing just that even though we, you know, don't -- but to verify stories as true and then report them. Not to simply regurgitate whatever crazy unsubstantiated rumors they've heard.

So who's fault is it that they just reported this stuff as true? Why, it's the fault of poor blacks, who passed rumors on to them! Apparently they had no obligation to confirm these things before broadcasting them.


Well, there you go. If it sounds accurate to you, run with it!

Let me hoist the MSM by their own retarded petard and make a left-wing criticism of them:

Did these rumors of ramptant lawlessless and murder and rape "sound accurate" to them because the assumed perpetrators of the mayhem were "sooo poor and sooo black"?

Apparently it's easier for the MSM that soooo poor and soooo black citizens will degenerate into a Mad Max-like state of barbarism, murder, and even cannibalism than other people.

Let's compare the responsibility and restraint shown by bloggers to that shown by the MSM. Who wins? I will be G*d-d*mned to hell before I ever put up with another MSM scolding about how "irresponsible" bloggers are in their reportage and commentary.

The Answer, My Friend, Ain't Blowin' In The Wind

Nice column by David Limbaugh.


It is inconceivable to me how a natural disaster could spark a virtual orgy in a political movement, but that seems to be precisely the effect of Hurricane Katrina on liberals.

Ever since President Bush took office, liberals have been rooting from one thing to another in a frenzied quest to find that one issue, one tragedy, one scandal that would bring him down. The list is too long to recite here.

Bush's critics treat each of these issues, in turn, as the final straw that will break the back of this abominable presidency. Everything is blown out of proportion, every possible ambiguity is resolved in President Bush's disfavor, and every possible malevolent motive is attributed to him. The most innocuous of events is treated as scandalous. Hyperbole rules. Panic prevails. Fantastic conspiracy theories triumph. Sober, balanced analysis is absent.

You would think the liberal cabal would have thoroughly discredited itself with its incessant crying of "wolf," but with mainstream media megaphones always at their back, they march on.


But with Katrina I smell an even greater blood lust in the air, even more so than with our failure to find WMD stockpiles in Iraq, and much more than Abu Ghraib or Gitmo. They seem to believe Katrina offers real promise for finally exacting justice on President Bush, the paragon of conservative insensitivity, the poster boy for anti-intellectualism and hero of the uncultured.

There has been a new spring in their step since the New Orleans levees broke and they realized they could blame any tardiness in the federal response on racism. As but one example, I refer you to "Meet the Press," Sunday, Sept. 25, where Tim Russert interviewed three New York Times columnists, Thomas Friedman, Maureen Dowd and David Brooks.

Listening to Friedman and Dowd you would assume Katrina had ushered in some profound revelation about President Bush that had caused a sea change in the way we should view him from this point forward.


I wouldn't cite Friedman if his position were not representative of that being expressed by many liberal commentators and Democrat politicians, who are behaving as if Democrats have just won a major election. Either they're deluding themselves or trying to fool the public into believing a national disaster has serendipitously vindicated their entire worldview. If anything, the opposite is true...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Professional Protestors

In perusing this photoessay of the weekend's antiwar protestors in San Francisco, I came across this image:

Well, well, well. I distinctly remember that very same punk figuring prominently in the counter protest to the Walk For Life last January. I got to see him rave at the cops just a few feet away from me. Glad to see the young man has found something constructive to do with himself since last January.

Against wars of liberation and for baby killing...the boy is consistent!

Protest Pics

Good photoessay of the antiwar protest in DC this weekend. I liked this poster:

Yes, Dear.

Nice reflection by The Anchoress.


I suspect the GOP is weary-unto-humorless because it is feeling henpecked in the extreme.

After a while, no matter how much you try to enjoy it, living with a harridan is hell on earth, and so many (not all, but many) on the left and in the press have become such scolding, pinch-nosed and prudish harridans that they’re simply tiring. Picture the stereotypical nagging wife who finds fault with everything, and the stereotypical husband hiding behind a newspaper and grunting back non-committally. That’s pretty much what it is getting like.

EJ Dionne: John Roberts hasn’t “failed” enough. Yes, dear.

Richard Cohen: the Stem Cell policy stinks, even as I misstate it. Yes, dear.

Maureen Dowd: Bush is a feckless boy king, to blame for everything. Yes, dear.

President Clinton: I woulda done it better. I woulda done it all better! I would have addressed terrorism… Yes, dear.

Howard Dean: the president exercises too much. Yes, dear.

Chelsea Clinton: On 9/11, I was expounding upon the detriments of the Bush Tax Cuts… Yes, dear.

Sally Quinn: the president doesn’t entertain enough. Yes, dear.

Diane Fienstein: John Roberts doesn’t emote enough. Yes, dear.

Al Gore: the failed Kyoto protocol, which Clinton didn’t sign and which died by a vote of 99-0 in the Senate, is Bush’s fault! Yes, dear.

Joe Biden: this judicial nomination, which has provided more background and paperwork than any in the history of the SCOTUS, hasn’t provided enough information. Yes, dear.

Reporters: President Bush wasn’t in Louisiana for Katrina! He sucks! Yes, dear.

Reporters: President Bush might be “in the way” for Rita. He sucks! Yes, dear.

Tina Brown: This pope is not good enough. I wouldn’t have chosen him! Yes, dear.

If you want to have some fun, sometime, check out the “latest postings” section at Scroll down and you will invariably see the following headlines:

Democrats Bash…
Democrats Demand…
Dems Decry…
Dems Denounce…
Dems Attack…
Dems Plot…
Democrats Call for Investigation…
Democrats Pound…
Dems Oppose…
Dems Battle…

It’s never anything constructive. There is never a hand reached across the aisle.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Listening To Your Customers And Improving Your Product Just Might Be Crazy Enough To Work.

Sez John Hinderaker:

As life-long newspaper junkies, we take no pleasure in the industry's current crisis. Apart from anything else, we web-based commenators need newspapers to produce the raw material for our commentary. But my sympathy for the Times, the Globe, the Chronicle, et al. is tempered by the knowledge that there is a path to solvency, which I think would likely succeed, but that they would never consider: stop being so liberal. Wouldn't you think that with newspapers nearly everywhere sliding inexorably downhill, just one might consider whether its readers--or former readers--were trying to tell it something? Like, we're not interested in supporting far-left nonsense?

But no. They would rather go broke than abandon their reason for being, which is, with only a handful of exceptions, promoting the Democratic Party.

Would moderating their hard-left politics help stop the financial bleeding? It's hard to say for sure. But don't you think that if they were motivated mainly be economics, just one of our major liberal papers might try it?

Humorous Putdown

Lileks had a good little quip today (highlighted in bold):

There was one of those guys in the coffee shop I frequented – not a natural mentor, shall we say, but gruff and blunt enough to be one of those fellows whose grudging spare respect was highly prized. He’s still livin’ the life of the mind, keepin’ it veritas! In retrospect, he was a failure by the standard yardsticks of adulthood, and he was plagued by a combination of ego, financial constructions and ill humours. After a while you suspected that his Olympian Standards masked corrosive resentment of those whose who succeeded in the literary trade and did spend the afternoon glaring at the coffee-shop help for laughing too loudly. The last time I saw him I had published my first novel; I was sitting in the chair he wanted, and he threatened to punch me in the face if I didn’t move.

Googling . . . well, he’s still out there, still writing poetry and letters to the Nation. Good for him. Lesser men would have chucked it and gone into something that paid the bills. Better men, too, of course.

Media Storylines Never Apply To Media

Ace of Spades delivers a very succinct commentary on the NYT's announced reduction in force:

Greedy Corporation To Take Away Jobs From Workers To Increase Filthy Profits

The New York Times will shed 500 workers.


posted by Ace at 07:59 PM

Promoting The General Welfare, Or Promoting Welfare In General?

Some nice historical quotes in this Walter Williams piece, which has an all-too-true conclusion:

Here's my question: Were the nation's founders, and some of their successors, callous and indifferent to human tragedy? Or, were they stupid and couldn't find the passages in the Constitution that authorized spending "on the objects of benevolence"?

Some people might say, "Aha! They forgot about the Constitution's general welfare clause!" Here's what James Madison said: "With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

Thomas Jefferson explained, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated." In 1828, South Carolina Sen. William Drayton said, "If Congress can determine what constitutes the general welfare and can appropriate money for its advancement, where is the limitation to carrying into execution whatever can be effected by money?"

Don't get me wrong about this. I'm not being too critical of President Bush or any other politician. There's such a broad ignorance or contempt for constitutional principles among the American people that any politician who bore truth faith and allegiance to the Constitution would commit political suicide.

Angry conservatives take note: a fiscally responsible Republican Party would probably be an out-of-power Republican Party. The reason? Voters, by and large, have no real interest in fiscal responsibility. End of story.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Think Globally, Act Locally. Very Locally.

True "social justice" starts with that barbarian in the mirror. Good Dennis Prager column.


[T]he Left frequently defines "social justice" differently than Judeo-Christian values do. For most on the Left, "social justice" means social equality and social fairness. It is not fair that some people have more than others. This is why the Left believes that courts should be far more than umpires when adjudicating justice: they should be promoting fairness and equality.

The other difference, the focus of this column, is that leftist ideologies are so preoccupied with "social justice" that they generally ignore personal character development.

Judeo-Christian values believe the road to a just society is paved by individual character development; the Left believes it is paved with action on a macro level.

That is one reason the Left is far more interested than the Right, i.e., religious Jews and Christians and secular conservatives, in passing laws, whether through legislation or through the actions of judges. That is how the Left believes you make a better society. There is, incidentally, a second reason the Left passes so many laws: As the Left breaks down the self-discipline of Judeo-Christian religions, more and more laws are needed simply to keep people from devouring each other.


I first became aware of this vast discrepancy between "social activism" and personal ethical behavior when I saw the personal behavior of the "pro-peace," anti-war, activists at my graduate school (Columbia University) in the early 1970s. They demonstrated for world peace but led personally narcissistic lives. Their theoretical altruism was all macro. Meanwhile, most of the religious students were preoccupied with personal character issues.

Why? Because Judeo-Christian values have always understood that the world is made better by making people better. On occasion, of course, a great moral cause must be joined. For example, it was religious Christians who led the fight to abolish slavery in Europe and America. But in general, the way to a better society is through the laborious and completely non-glamorous project of making each person more honest, more courageous, more decent, more likely to commit to another person in marriage, more likely to devote more time to raising children, and so on.

That is why all those peace studies institutes and courses are morally meaningless. Only by people learning to fight their [worse natures] will peace reign on earth.

Food For Thought

I hadn't really thought before about the idea I've reproduced below (Front Page Mag original post is here) as an explanation for Europe's decline and cultural suicide. But, hey.


The following is an article written by a Spanish journalist,
Sebastian Villar Rodriguez.

Europe died in Auschwitz

I was walking along Raval (Barcelona) when all of a sudden I understood that Europe died with Auschwitz. We assassinated 6 million Jews in order to end up bringing in 20 million Muslims!

We burnt in Auschwitz the culture, intelligence and power to create. We burnt the people of the world, the one who is proclaimed the chosen people of God. Because it is the people who gave to humanity the symbolic figures who were capable of changing history (Christ, Marx, Einstein, Freud...) and who is the origin of progress and wellbeing.

We must admit that Europe, by relaxing its borders and giving in under the pretext of tolerance to the values of a fallacious cultural relativism, opened it's doors to 20 million Muslims, often illiterates and fanatics that we could meet, at best, in places such as Raval, the poorest of the nations and of the ghettos, and who are preparing the worst, such as the 9/11 and the Madrid bombing and who are lodged in apartment blocs provided by the social welfare.

We also have exchanged culture with fanaticism, the capacity to create with the will to destroy, the wisdom with the superstition. We have exchanged the transcendental instinct of the Jews, who even under the worst possible conditions have always looked for a better peaceful world, for the suicide bomber. We have exchanged the pride of life for the fanatic obsession of death. Our death and that of our children.

What a grave mistake that we made!!!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Barely A Parody

I didn't pay any attention to Bush's speech last night. I did, however talk to a liberal friend of mine on the phone, and even he, who doesn't read any right-wing websites or listen to any right-wing radio was wondering about all of the drowned schoolbuses. So the media propaganda, I guess it ain't workin'.

Apropos of all this are a couple of good parodies (which apparently are pretty close to the truth) of ABC trying to get a rise out of displaced victims (H/T Ace Of Spades).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Blanco And Nagin Did Nothing Wrong, And Bush Screwed Up Because He Didn't Immediately Recognize Their Total Incompetence!!

Right Wing News has an excellent couple of posts, one of which highlights details of Michael Brown's side of the story as FEMA director. It sounds like he had to deal with some folks who just weren't holding up their end of the bargain, but hey, they were Democrats, so no harm, no foul, you know?


The original meme pushed by the media after things started to break down in New Orleans was that FEMA, and by extension the Bush administration, were supposed to be first responders, and therefore they were responsible for every mistake that was made.

Unfortunately, this meme was out there for almost a week because most conservatives, driven by a sense of decency, didn't want to start pointing fingers while people were still being rescued.

However, conservatives eventually started speaking up and pointed out that the locals, not FEMA, were supposed to be the first responders. Then, one screw-up after another that had absolutely nothing to do with FEMA were revealed. Nagin didn't follow the city's evacuation plan. He didn't use city buses to get people out of New Orleans. The state blocked the Red Cross from coming in to feed the people at the Superdome. Blanco was slow to call out the National Guard, etc., etc., etc.

At that point, the media had a dilemma to deal with.

They had already spent a solid week screaming to everyone who'd listen that this whole mess was Bush and FEMA's fault and yet, as the days went on, it became increasingly obvious that Blanco and Nagin were the root of the problems in New Orleans.

Which brings us to where we are today.

If the liberal MSM were to correct itself at this point, it would not only be embarrassing, it would require shifting the "finger of blame" from the hated Bush administration to two Democrats. Of course, that would never do.

So, what the MSM has done instead is shift the goalposts and blame the Bush administration for not realizing Blanco and Nagin were inept overwhelmed sooner. This is a perversely brilliant tactic, because no matter what happens, the Bush Administration is always at fault. Did FEMA screw something up that was actually their responsibility? Then FEMA gets the blame. Did Blanco or Nagin screw something up? Then FEMA gets the blame for that, too, because they should have immediately realized that Blanco and Nagin didn't know what they were doing.

That sort of, "d*mned if you do, d*mned if you don't," coverage for the Bush administration is typical of how the MSM has handled Katrina's aftermath. For example...

Bush was too slow to fly over to New Orleans? That means he's a big jerk who doesn't care! Bush flies over New Orleans? What good is a fly-over? He may as well have just watched it on TV. Bush actually goes to New Orleans and talks to people on the ground? Oh, he's just looking to get some good publicity photos!

It's as if the MSM's hurricane coverage started out with a premise of "How can we use Katrina to stick it to Bush?" and then they worked from there. You know, in retrospect, even if they didn't start out with that premise, would the mainstream media coverage have been significantly different if they had? The honest answer to that question is "no"...

If You Mean By 'Judicial Activism', 'Refraining From Judicial Activism', Then, Why, Yes, We're Against That

A middling Ann Coulter column has this good, meaty section (and I've emphasized a good quip in bold):

If Americans loved judicial activism, liberals wouldn't be lying about what it is. Judicial activism means making up constitutional rights in order to strike down laws the justices don't like based on their personal preferences. It's not judicial activism to strike down laws because they violate the Constitution.

But liberals have recently taken to pretending judicial activism is – as The New York Times has said repeatedly – voting "to invalidate laws passed by Congress." Invalidating laws has absolutely nothing to do with "judicial activism." It depends on whether the law is unconstitutional or not. That's really the key point.

That's why we have a judicial branch, Mr. Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times. It's not a make-work program for the black robe industry. It's a third branch of our government. You'll learn more about this concept next year when you're in the seventh grade, Pinch.

If Congress passed a law prohibiting speech criticizing Bush, or banning blacks from owning property, or giving foreigners the right to run for president – all those laws could be properly struck down by the Supreme Court. That's not "judicial activism," it's "judicial."

Invalidating a law that prohibits killing unborn children on the preposterous grounds that the Constitution contains an extra-double-secret right to abortion no one had noticed for 200 years – that's judicial activism. When conservative judges strike down laws, it's because of what's in the Constitution. When liberal judges strike down laws (or impose new laws, such as tax increases), it's because of what's in The New York Times.

The left's redefinition of judicial activism to mean something it's not allows liberals to claim they oppose judicial activism and to launch spirited denunciations of conservative judges as the real "judicial activists." This is the Democrats' new approach to winning arguments: Change the definition of words in mid-argument without telling the guy you're arguing with.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Tragedy Of The Commons

Truly excellent analysis here (H/T Instapundit).


Now that everyone is preaching their Lessons of Katrina, let's conduct a little thought experiment with variables. The laboratory stretches from ground zero in Louisiana hundreds of miles up the East Coast, along crippled gasoline supply lines. What if the buses in New Orleans had been privately owned, and the gasoline supply had been a nationalized, government-run quasi-utility?

We know that New Orleans' infamous municipal and school buses were left to be destroyed at the very instant they were needed most. Over 400 were left idle when they should have been pulled back to higher ground for use in those tense days after Katrina hit.

Had there been a futures market on buses in New Orleans, the value of the buses would have skyrocketed as Katrina approached, signaling their increased utility in the emergency. But even without such an overt market signal, any private owner of the vehicles would have exhausted all opportunities to save his or her property. Nobody who owned such a potentially valuable product would have done what New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin did: let it all go to waste on the assumption that drivers would be impossible to find. Greyhound, after all, did not leave hundreds of its buses to be destroyed. And, of course, this very fact caused Nagin to scream for "every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country" to come to the aid of his city. And it should go without saying that no private employer would long tolerate a workforce that, in Sen. Mary Landrieu's memorable description of New Orleans public sector workers, has trouble coming to work even on sunny days.

Now to the flip side. Gasoline prices are nothing but one big futures market, constantly transmitting both the current value and the expected replacement cost of the stuff to consumers. Would a government-run monopoly have permitted prices to zoom past $3 a gallon, reflecting both reduced refining capacity along the Gulf and, more importantly, power outages on key gasoline pipelines to the East? Or would a government decree have muted this powerful conservation signal to everyone on the supply chain? There is little question that, judging from the hys terical ravings about "price gouging," that a system of rationing and price controls would have been instituted, thereby guaranteeing long, costly lines to get gas and quite likely an exhaustion of the limited supply as consumers bought too much gas at artificially low prices.

Good Economics, Good Sense

Walter Williams explains post-disaster prices to our would-be socialist masters.


Here's a which-is-better question for you. Suppose a hotel room rented for $79 a night prior to Hurricane Katrina's devastation. Based on that price, an evacuating family of four might rent two adjoining rooms. When they arrive at the hotel, they find the rooms rent for $200; they decide to make do with one room. In my book, that's wonderful. The family voluntarily opted to make a room available for another family who had to evacuate or whose home was destroyed. Demagogues will call this price-gouging, but I ask you, which is preferable: a room available at $200 or a room unavailable at $79? Rising prices get people to voluntarily economize on goods and services rendered scarcer by the disaster.

After Hurricane Katrina struck, gasoline prices shot up almost a dollar nearly overnight. Some people have been quick to call this price-gouging, particularly since wholesalers and retailers were charging the higher price for gasoline already purchased and in their tanks prior to the hurricane. The fact of business is that what a seller paid for something doesn't necessarily determine its selling price. Put in a bit more sophisticated way: Historical costs have nothing to do with selling price. For example, suppose you maintained a 10-pound inventory of coffee in your cupboard. When I ran out, you'd occasionally sell me a pound for $2. Suppose there's a freeze in Brazil destroying much of the coffee crop, driving coffee prices to $5 a pound. Then I come around to purchase coffee. Are you going to charge me $2 a pound, what you paid for it, or $5, what it's going to cost you to restock your coffee inventory?


Recovering from Katrina means resources will have to be moved to the Gulf Coast. I ask you, how does one get electricians, plumbers and other artisans to give up their comfortable homes and livelihoods in Virginia and Pennsylvania and travel to Mobile and New Orleans to help in the recovery? If you said pay them higher prices, go to the head of the class. Higher prices, along with windfall profits, are economic signals of unmet human wants. As such, they encourage producers to meet those human wants.

Politicians of both parties have rushed in to exploit public ignorance and emotion.


There's an important downside to these political attacks on producers. What about the next disaster? How much sense does it make for producers to make the extra effort to provide goods and services if they know they risk prosecution for charging what might be seen as "unconscionable prices"? Politicians would serve us better by focusing their energies on tax-gouging.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Michael Moore Tries To Make Hay Out Of Katrina, Only To Find Himself Fisked In A Most Ruthless Fashion By Doug TenNapel

Nicley done. An entertaining read.

Great Comment

Many of the "mere commenters" over at Roger L. Simon's blog are better writers than "journalists". Here's a good one:

"It is the media too that fanned the flames of partisanship here, looking to assign blame before anyone could possibly understand what was happening. They are an increasingly reactionary force in our society, driving people toward partisan reactions and further and further from the ability to reason with each other. People like Nancy Pelosi, screeching for the head of the President during a natural disaster, are essentially creatures of the media. They are nothing more. "

There you have it Roger. In one short paragraph. The whole sad sorry story.

When the mayor and governor effectively disappeared, the only story was the Superdome and tapes of looting. They stopped running the boring pictures of Mississippi and Alabama. That was the same old stuff from Florida last year. Not much mileage in wind and water and collapsed houses and casinos.

The vacuum created by the absence of local authority was soon filled with the reporters crowding into the small area with the unfortunate refugees (yes I said refugees). And those pictures of human anguish and fear and panic were indeed heartwrenching. And then the rumors from inside the building started. And the reporters on the scene repeated the rumors and repeated them and the rumors became facts. I do not mean to say that no one was raped inside or that hoodlums did not shoot and kill innocents or that many bad things had happened. Soon, we may know all the facts, but last week the reporters on the scene gradually took on the character of the people they were reporting on. Shep Smith, Cooper, Geraldo, all became shriller and more emotional as the hours and days dragged by. "Someone has to do something. This is horrible. Why aren't THEY doing anything?" And the viewers like you and me, we too got swept up. And THEY became the President and THEY became FEMA.. FEMA FEMA FEMA FEMA. What did FEMA do wrong? Yes, we have this horrible situation here and someone, some group must be at fault. And the chorus grew louder. FEMA FEMA FEMA. BUSH BUSH BUSH. "Do something"

And what is it that we didn't see? We didn't see hundreds or thousands of men and women working. The people behind the logistics. The military arriving at the airport and finding it wasn't operable. No radar. No air control. We didn't see the people surveying the damage. The pipeline of equipment flowing in to open the airport. The aircraft standing by elsewhere to take off as soon as they had a place to land. We didn't see the engineers working to evaluate the break in the storm wall. The meetings to decide how best to repair them to stop the flow of water. The logistics of putting that effort together. The electric people and the water pump people and telephone people, all working round the clock to bring help. We never saw that story. All we saw were the victims and their apparent unaswered pleas, echoed and amplified by the media, the talking heads, the profound anchors pontificating about things they knew little about.

And then miraculously help was there. The Merlin in the White House had heard the pleas and came out of his oblivion and waved his magic wand and help appeared. There was General Honore taking charge and helicopters arrived and the people were saved. Yes, saved by the media. Without their cries they never would have gotten the help they needed, the help that was not there. FEMA FEMA FEMA. The media was self congratulatory. Their coverage has stirred THEM to act.

Does anyone yet know what FEMA didn't do right? Have we ever been told exactly what FEMA was supposed to do? I do not want to defend any government agency. We all have our own experiences dealing with bureaucrats. But I sure would like to know the major failings last week. And not the nitpicking.

What benchmarks will be used to measure the response of all those who were responsible. What was reasonable to expect and how well did all of the responders perform? It will take a long time to sort all that out. In the meanwhile, the myths created last week will live on.

and as Roger so well put it

"It is the media too that fanned the flames of partisanship here, looking to assign blame before anyone could possibly understand what was happening. They are an increasingly reactionary force in our society, driving people toward partisan reactions and further and further from the ability to reason with each other. People like Nancy Pelosi, screeching for the head of the President during a natural disaster, are essentially creatures of the media. They are nothing more."

Posted by: TedM at September 12, 2005 11:53 AM

Relativism Is For People Who Can't Handle Absolution

Well, here's one heck of a piece, which says far better than I ever could, just what the core dynamic of Political Correctness actually is. I've alluded to many of these aspects in the past, both on this blog, and in my thinking, but this piece really distills it down. Great writing, too. (H/T The Anchoress). Too much good stuff to excerpt.

Vote Democratic and your sins will be forgiven. As far as the East is from the West, that is how far the Democratic Party will separate you from your sins. Though your sins be as scarlet, you will be made white as snow...

Bonfire Of The Inanities

John Hawkins rounds up "The 20 Most Obnoxious Hurricane Katrina Quotes".

Dilbert Was Way Ahead Of This Game

There's a great old Dilbert comic strip in which Scott Adams illustrates the way in which wild-assed guesses become "facts".

In the first frame, an annoyed engineer looks at his off-the-page questioner and says, "I don't know, anywhere between one and a million".

In frame two, a marketing person spreads the news to her off-the-page gossip partner, saying "They say it could be as much as a million!"

In the last frame, a TV news anchor solemnly intones, "Experts say one million."

Here's a post which explains the recent MSM Katrina dynamic.


So far incredible news from Katrina, the dead body count is really low compared to the numbers in the thousands we heard about.

So how did the media get the number and keep putting it out?

A few thoughts.

Let's say you are a reporter at the scene. The going story is that it is a disaster. The biggest ever. Every network is live with the same story. The pictures sure match that thought.

Does the producer or reporter take up any airtime saying well maybe it is not as bad, maybe there is some good news? No. Why? It is the old story that that a house on fire is news, the house not on fire is not news.

So you show the house on fire. If someone drops a number like there could be thousands dead, the story is that there are probably thousands dead, then officials are expecting thousands dead, then by the time the evening news is on it becomes thousands are dead.

But wait what if the information from someone else is slow down we never said that? Does the reporter change the story? Probably not. If they do it probably becomes "officials confused and argue about death toll."

Again the house not on fire (maybe fewer dead) isn't going to get airtime. In fact if anyone came to say maybe the estimate is going to go up BOOM on the air they would go. You would never see it go backwards. Can you think of ANYONE reporting "we were wrong earlier today saying there are thousands dead, that was an alarmist and premature report and we regret the airing of the story."

Tell me when that happens...


One image I was told about were the dead bodies floating around NO. It was a popular story. Probably true. There are probably pictures on the web. But the way I heard it reported was to give the impression that dead bodies were everywhere. Like some zombie movie. Reporters saw them everywhere they looked. Was that true? No.

But if you are reporting the story the sensational report like that gets passed on. It is the hot headline and even if you didn't see it, well you heard about it and since you are giving the report from the scene for the evening news report you have to mention it. Did I ever see a tempered report about there not being that many floating bodies or a tempered report about anything? No. It was always the sensational. When you see the same sensational footage replayed over and over remember it is because it was the most sensational footage they filmed NOT because it was the most accurate representation of the situation.

It is like showing sports highlights of a game on ESPN. The news has become a highlight reel. Maybe it always has been.

Mommies Are For Families, Not Societies

Good Dennis Prager column.


To say that the human race needs masculine and feminine characteristics is to state the obvious. But each sex comes with prices. Men can too easily lack compassion, reduce sex to animal behavior and become violent. And women's emotionality, when unchecked, can wreak havoc on those closest to these women and on society as a whole -- when emotions and compassion dominate in making public policy.

The latter is what is happening in America. The Left has been successful in supplanting masculine virtues with feminine ones. That is why "compassion" is probably the most frequently cited value. That is why the further left you go, the greater the antipathy to those who make war. Indeed, universities, the embodiment of feminist emotionality and anti-Judeo-Christian values, ban military recruiters and oppose war-themed names for their sports teams.

A sentiment such as "War is not the answer" embodies leftist feminine emotionality. The statement is, after all, utter nonsense, as many of the greatest evils -- from Nazi totalitarianism and genocide to slavery -- were quite effectively "answered" by war. (Virtually every car I ever have seen display the bumper sticker "War is not the answer" was driven by a woman.)

The response of one of the leading women professors who attended Harvard President Lawrence Summers' talk aptly illustrates this point. As The Boston Globe reported, Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "walked out on Summers' talk, saying later that if she hadn't left, 'I would've either blacked out or thrown up.'" It is difficult to imagine a male MIT professor, even another leftist, walking out of a lecture and saying that he had to lest he vomit or faint.

In the micro realm, the feminine virtues are invaluable -- for example, women hear infants' cries far more readily than men do. But as a basis for governance of society, the feminization of public policy is suicidal.

That is one reason our schools are in trouble. They are increasingly run by women -- women with female thinking moreover. Such thinking leads to papers no longer being graded with a red pencil lest students' feelings be hurt; to self-esteem supplanting self-discipline as a value; to banning games such as dodge ball in which participants' feelings may get hurt; to discouraging male competition; to banning peanut butter because two out of a thousand students are highly allergic to peanuts.

In a masculine society governed by Judeo-Christian values (which include a masculine-depicted and compassionate God), feminine virtues are adored and honored. In a feminized society, male virtues are discarded.

Then both sexes suffer.

Monday, September 12, 2005

MSM: A Portrait In Disgrace

Excellent Ben Stein column. Read it all, here's a choice excerpt (emphasis mine):

What is the real story of Katrina is (I suggest) not so much that nature wrought fury on land, water, people, property, and animals, not at all anything about racism, not much about federal government incompetence. The real story is that the mainstream media rioted.

They used the storm and its attendant sorrows to continue their endless attack on George W. Bush. Wildly inflated stories about the number of dead and missing, totally made up old wives' tales of racism, breathless accounts of Bush's neglect that are utterly devoid of truth and of historical context -- this is what the mainstream media gave us. The use of floating corpses, of horror stories of plagues, the sad faces of refugees, the long-faced phony accusations of intentional neglect and racism -- anything is grist for the media's endless attempts to undermine the electorate's choice last November. It is sad, but true that the media will use even the most heart breaking truths -- and then add total inventions -- to try to weaken and then evict from office a man who has done nothing wrong, but has instead turned himself inside out to help the real victims.

In the meantime, George Bush does not lash out, does not attack those who falsely accuse him of the most horrible acts and neglect. Instead, he doggedly goes on helping the least among us. I don't know how he does it, but we are very lucky he does. As for truth, it eventually may be salvaged from the flooded neighborhoods of The Crescent City, but not as long as there is a lie to use to hurt an honest man trying to do the best he can, and hundreds of thousands of brave, tireless men and women who do more than point fingers and tell tales. The Katrina story is a disgrace to the people who are "reporting" it while pouring gasoline on a fire. They and their crusade against George Bush are the real stories, and they are dismal ones.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I Loathe And Despise the MSM

I did before, and now it's at a whole new level. The reasons are spelled out in this Power Line piece:

No analysis please, we're the MSM

I've commented before on the unwillingness of critics of the administration's response to Katrina to engage in any analysis of how that response compared to the responses to prior, but less severe, hurricanes. Without such an analysis, it's baseless to say that, on balance, the federal response this time was poor. This means that such a claim arises not from the facts of the matter, but from the a priori view that Bush is incompetent and/or a villain, or from unhappiness over non-hurricane related events (in Korb's case the war in Iraq). Unfortunately, when it comes to the MSM, this phenomenon is reinforced by natural laziness and the desire to entertain and scandalize, rather than to think and inform.

Jack Kelly supplies the information about hurricane response time that the MSM is too biased and lazy to provide. For example, he quotes Florida National Guardsman Jason van Steenwyk, mobilized six times for hurricane relief, who states: "The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne." Indeed, Kelly makes a good case that the response to Katrina represents "the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history." If true, then the MSM's coverage must rank among the most monumental and (thus far) successful frauds in the history of journalism.
Posted by Paul at 08:37 PM

The Power Line piece quotes this Jack Kelly editorial. Here are some more quotes:

Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

So they libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.


Journalists complain that it took a whole week to do this. A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog, Moltenthought:

"We do not yet have teleporter or replicator technology like you saw on 'Star Trek' in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grown-ups actually engaged in the recovery effort were studying engineering.

"The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.

"You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets (in the affected areas) since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.

"No amount of yelling, crying and mustering of moral indignation will change any of the facts above."

"You cannot just snap your fingers and make the military appear somewhere," van Steenwyk said.


Exhibit A on the bill of indictment of federal sluggishness is that it took four days before most people were evacuated from the Louisiana Superdome.

The levee broke Tuesday morning. Buses had to be rounded up and driven from Houston to New Orleans across debris-strewn roads. The first ones arrived Wednesday evening. That seems pretty fast to me.

A better question -- which few journalists ask -- is why weren't the roughly 2,000 municipal and school buses in New Orleans utilized to take people out of the city before Katrina struck?

Slanderers, ignoramuses, and squawling infants. That is all the MSM has become.

See also this brilliant and ruthless fisking of Newsweek.

Mmmm...Saddle Shaped Potato Chips

Doug Tennapel has a pretty good short post about the absurdity of all of the post-Katrina casting of blame. It's all worth reading, but I liked this throw-away line:

Sharpton's on Geraldo - there's a recipe for intelligent discourse. If you combine Geraldo's mustache with Sharpton's slicked back hair you get the man on the Pringle's can.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Stick With The Side That Can Do An Accurate Imitation Of The Other

Pretty good rule, since the side that can generally understands both sides of the argument and has probably thereby thought things through. A case in point is this contest over at Wizbang. The rules:

With that information in hand you're now ready to write your Daily Kos or Atrios post that answers the "Can you imagine how it would have been perceived.." portion of the article.

For the sake of your post assume that Bush did invoke the Insurrection Act and seized control of the Louisiana National Guard. Your assignment is to describe that historic takeover in the style of either Kos or Atrios.

Go ahead, unleash your inner moonbat in the comment section. The winning entry will be rewarded semi-handsomely ($50).

Some pretty good entries [and please see the originals to appreciate the deft use of moonbat-style italics and bolding; I started to try to include these in the second example, but there was just too much]:

And so we finally have it. We've known for a long time that the depravity of Bushco has no bounds, but now it's on display for the whole world to see. If this doesn't wake 'em up, then it'll just be to hell with all of them, because they won't deserve anything but what they get from their Dear Leader.

This is really it, folks. They've overplayed their hand. When the pictures come out of Karl's Krazy Korpsman actually shooting the po' negroes, when there are so many bodies clogging the streets of New Orleans that you'll see it on Google Maps' satellite pictures, when the stories come out of the gestapo tactics, of everything we've known they were capable of for the last five years, it'll all be over.

They thought this was the moment they had been waiting for. They didn't realize that this is the call, this is the moment that WE'VE been waiting for.

In usurping the sovereignity of the State of Louisiana, in casting aside the authority of a LEGALLY ELECTED GOVERNOR, in violating one of the basic precepts of our Democracy by using combat troops within our borders, Bushco has decreed that Democrats, women, minorities and everyone who values their Constitutional rights are a lower form of life.

This is the battle cry, people. It's going to get ugly. They just weathered a storm down there. It's time to get ready for the next storm. The real storm.

Thoughts on how you can prepare for the invasion in theresmoreville...
Posted by: roland at September 9, 2005 07:46 AM

In the unlikely event I win, please send the $50 directly to the Red Cross...

(deep breath)

Well, now it all makes sense.

With his war on the environment, Chimpy ensured there would be plenty more "natural" disasters of unimaginable proportions. Many of these would strike helpless overseas victims, already impoverished by his imperialist policies, but they were not the real targets - just "collateral damage". The real target was us.

With his war for oil, he removed the state National Guard from the picture, sending them off to the other side of the world where they couldn't possibly do their primary job of waiting for hurricanes. Once the cats were away, the rats could play.

With his war on the poor, he created a vast multitude of helpless fodder who would be unable to afford a car to get out of the way when disaster loomed, or afford the exorbitant gas prices that were lining the pockets of his oil buddies even if they had one. Instead, they would be forced to forage for the food and water his policies stole from them. The wingnuts on CNN and Fox would, according to script, call this "looting" instead. The wealthiest 1%, on the other hand, had no problem thanks to their tax cuts.

When disaster struck, everyone had their orders. Why else would a State of Emergency be declared days before the hurricane even made landfall, and before the extent of the damage was clear? This is the smoking gun people.

But there's much more. We now know that Bush personally called the governor to urge a mandatory evacuation, two days the storm hit. Now why would he do that? New Orleans is 2/3's African American. So it couldn't have been to save lives. Is anyone naive enough to believe that? No, it was to create a huge diaspora of refugees, overwhelming the city and state's resources. Those overwhelmingly African-American refugees would be welcomed into the solidly red state of Texas, where they would be effectively disenfranchised for the foreseeable future. There is another name for it: ethnic cleansing.

To their credit, the mayor and governor refused to take the bait. Under pressure from Bush, the mayor ordered a mandatory evacuation, but cleverly held back the city's large transportation pool, which could have allowed Bush's ploy to succeed. The governor delayed calling in National Guard troops, who, like the Clone Army in Revenge of the Sith, might have received "Order 69" and turned on her at any moment. Governor Blanco's cool grace under pressure and refusal to yield has earned her a place alongside Saddam Hussein, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi and myself in the pantheon of freedom fighters.

But Nagin and Blanco's heroism wasn't enough. Even before the winds had died down, FEMA commando teams began the federal assault. They had prepositioned food, water and medical supplies. Sound familiar? Well of course it does. They did the same thing in Kuwait before toppling another sovereign, democratically elected government in Iraq. Practice makes perfect, and they left nothing to chance in this invasion.

Bush's media puppets continued to follow the script. They hyped images of people trapped in Superdome and at the New Orleans convention center, whipping up a frenzy of hysteria. These peoples' lives were in no danger, and in the wake of such a massive storm, everyone would have understood if they'd had to wait a few days for evacuation. But the Fuhrer had other plans.

Quoting legal mumbo-jumbo, mouthing laughable platitudes about wanting to save lives and restore order, and claiming the state's response (which on September 1 just four days after the storm had barely gotten started) to be inadequate, the trap was sprung. Against the wishes of (another) democratically elected government, Bush sent in the Army to "save" helpless, dark-skinned people who just happen to live next to a whole bunch of oil. He invaded Louisiana.

Even Hitler waited longer after the Reichstag fire.

With ruthless efficiency, FEMA and the butchers of Abu Ghraib and Gitmo now descended on an American city, with an African-American mayor, in a state governed by a woman. Would Bush and company have been so eager to rush battalions of goose-stepping storm troopers into a city full of white people? You know the answer to that one.

His legal fig leaf for this act of war on American citizens was a dusty statute called "The Insurrection Act" dating from the Civil War era. It allows the President to invade a state with Federal troops if the state rebels. That's right folks - a hurricane is now an insurrection.

If we allow this to happen, we deserve our fate. But we will NOT allow this to happen. What has to happen next is obvious.

The people still in New Orleans should stay where they are and refuse to leave the city. There are no "looters" now, they are insurgents. Once a few hundred martyrs, preferably minorities, have fallen to Bush's army in front of the TV cameras, the facade of "saving lives" and "restoring order" will be exposed.

The governor must order the state's police to resist and block the flow of supplies to Bush's SS. Resistance is key. The local police are the Minutemen.

Residents of Louisiana must also resist. We can finally dispense with tiresome platitudes about "supporting the troops". We know what works from Iraq - improvised explosive devices. Use them. Go after the soft-targets if you have to - mercenaries like the Red Cross and Salvation Army. They aren't in Louisiana because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Louisiana a better place. They are there to deliver relief for profit. Screw them.

Impeachment is insufficient (yeah, like we really want Cheney in charge). This government must be overthrown. They have already torn up the Constitution by declaring war on us.

If they want an "insurrection", let's give them one.


(ugh, it's gonna take a few showers to feel clean again after that...)
Posted by: LagunaDave at September 9, 2005 11:17 AM

When lefties can write parodies that read like Weekly Standard or National Review pieces, then they will have learned. Of course, having learned, I don't think they'd be lefties anymore...

A Former Leftist's Conversion Story

Pretty good read from FrontPageMag.

The author mentions his infatuation with Chomsky, Said, Parenti, and Zinn. I also used to read and enjoy that stuff. Shudder. Its relation to rational political thought is the same as that of porn to holy marital love...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Good Comments

Just thought I'd highlight a few from these comment threads at Roger L. Simon's blog:


Watching all of the frenzy in the press makes me wonder if there's not another "war" going on in addition to the one between conservatives, and the Liberal Left. I'm think of a "war" to preserve the power sand credibility of the MSM.

It's been my belief for years that ever since the Vietnam War, the MSM had acquired power and prestige far beyond what it had in the past, and without ever having been chosen by the people to have it. They had, I think, assumed the role of "kingmaker" and "high priest of truth" and reveled in their ability to set the national agenda.

I think that they recognize that success by George Bush will go a long way toward shattering that power. With Bill Clinton, they reached the pinnacle of their power as he would move in whichever direction the current polls dictaged. GWB has demonstrated that he's willing to do what he believes is right whether or not the media agrees with him.

Something along these lines may well explain the intense visceral hatred of GWB demonstrated by the MSM, since it adds the more personal threat that would tend to explain their intensity. Their "power" is threatened not only by the rise of the "new media" which has broken their monopoly, but by the fact that if a president manages to succeed in spite of them, the Ptemkin Village of their power will be conclusively demonstrated. While they've never come out and admitted it, I think that they were all smugly confident that their ability to deliver 15% in the presidential election as Evan Thomas claimed would PROVE their power. They fully expected to see Kerry trounce Bush, when that didn't happen their psyches took a horrible shock, and they began to get truly scared that their house of cards was crumbling.

Great Discussion,


Posted by: Ralph [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 8, 2005 09:38 AM



The level of ignorance by the media and the political opportunists on the sperate powers of state and federal governments is staggering. The MSM is judging President Bush as if he had the power of a dictator and didn't use it and now the Dems are trying to wrestle the recovery money and give it to the local authorities. Let me try to understand the logic. President Bush should have known that the city and state governments were useless or too wounded to operate and should have ignored the law and sent the Marines in and bypass the befuddled locals, before he had the legal standing to do so and before they had turned the power over to him. Now they are planning to give the power and the money for the unprecedented reconstruction to the very same befuddled locals that Bush was suppossed to brush aside and bypass because they were not up to it. Sure, I get it.

Posted by: Kevin P [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 8, 2005 12:26 PM



Because they are so distant from these things, many people simply have no idea what is involved in the rescue of a city- and absolutely no sense of how long it takes to accomplish the most basic tasks when all infrastructure is ruined.

A few little vignettes. Just moving helicopters in to the theater and setting up maintainance and refueling capabilities in preparation for the SAR missions took us about a day and a half. Ordering buses from throughout the South (while the local school buses seemingly sat unused) I understand took about 2.5 days. Ordering and moving MREs from the plants to destination takes about a week. Send it by air? Ah, airlift to the victims, the politicans favorite scenario. However. There is no time advantage unless the food plant is next to the runway and all the hurricane victims are sitting on the destination runway. Plus, a C-130 holds only about as much as a - as in one - standard highway cargo trailer. I guess the Germans have offered to fly two trailers of food across the Atlantic. A C5 Galaxy, by the way, is about 4 trucks. Lots of nice political photo ops in airplanes flying around with bottled water and food, but not enough to make a difference.

Actually a much more practical albeit longer term offer is coming from the Ecuadorians, who want to donate - no fooling - a boatload of bananas. In containers that is about maybe 1,500 trucks worth. Not too shabby.

Que Viva Ecuador.

I can't watch the news. I don't think I will ever watch much TV news ever again.

I'm rambling. Later.

Posted by: Skookumchuk [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 4, 2005 06:06 A

Our God Has Failed Us

That is, if government is your God. Good George Neumayr piece.


A republican form of government presupposes self-government -- the capacity of citizens to govern themselves according to reason -- and does not, if it intends to survive, champion them as "victims" when they don't. But the shocking lack of self-government demonstrated by New Orleanians is the one area of government that our republic's vapid media won't scrutinize in their post-mortems on the city's collapse.

Reporters keep shaking their fists at "the government," as if America were not a republic but a statist autocracy in which remote rulers can snap their fingers and make problems vanish for their subjects. Reporters also keep saying that the government's response last week was "embarrassing." What I find more embarrassing is the media's infantilizing of New Orleans citizens who chose not to evacuate despite loud and obvious warnings. Does personal responsibility mean nothing at this point? Aren't citizens "the government" too? What's disgraceful, and positively dangerous, in a republic that depends on self-reliance is a media that encourages a culture of victimization.


In their scattershot criticism of the federal government's response, the media have demonstrated a childish petulance -- a juvenile demand born of the expectation of instant gratification that the government wave a wand and solve all problems -- while ignoring the most obvious causes contributing to the crisis.


"We have gotten our media back," Bill Maher and others have burbled, slapping the Anderson Coopers on the back for holding the government "accountable." Actually, the media will hold nobody, save for a few political figures they detest, accountable. They aren't holding looters accountable but giving Al Sharpton a platform to justify the looting. They aren't holding citizens who were told repeatedly to evacuate and didn't evacuate accountable, though their recklessness put a lot of Coast Guardsmen and rescuers at serious risk. Yes, government agencies owe citizens help. But citizens who through their own heedlessness put government rescuers into a near-impossible spot are in no position to gainsay the help.

The storyline of New Orleanians as victims and government responders as villains is just one more outrageous item in the media's voluminous catalogue of victimization. No reasonable calculus of accountability is ever brought to bear in these tales. Whether it's needle-using, promiscuous AIDS patients or cigarette smokers or litigants in some self-propelled accident, the media will absolve the person who contributed most directly to the problem of responsibility while searching frantically for some nebulously malign force external to the person to villainize. Yet by their own standards of indulgence -- if they can rationalize the decisionmaking of citizens who are told to evacuate but don't, why aren't they similarly tolerant of inadequate planning by FEMA? -- their ferocious appetite for blame appears utterly capricious.

But worse than that, it is destructive to the life of a republic, rendering individuals passive and derelict at the very moment its survival requires more not less self-government.

Lileks On Katrina

Good stuff.


It turns out that the state officials turned away the Red Cross from using pre-positioned supplies to alleviate the conditions in NO and the Superdome, “right after the storm passed.” Anyone have any Righteous Anger to spare for them? Or is that blaming the victim? It’s come to this: suggesting that the local officials might be more responsible for, you know, local conditions is now a partisan position. Apparently if you put more responsibility for those actually entrusted with the welfare of a city, you’re one of those “big government is the problem” Reaganite nutcases who wants to devolve everything down to the block level. Which, in retrospect, might actually have served NO residents better. But that would be bad; if the feds requested that people form block organizations for disaster survival it would be either derided as hysteria – oh, and I suppose we’re supposed to bring duct tape – or an attempt to extend the Patriot Act to cover rolling-paper purchases at the corner store. (Note: Cuban and Nicaraguan Party-ordered block clubs were a natural reaction to Yanqui imperialism, nothing more. Granted, when you get the order requesting your presence at the police HQ to explain what someone heard you say at the bar last night, that’s unfortunate. On the other hand, literacy rates in Cuba are great, so you can read the summons for your semi-annual tooth-loosening without having to ask your neighbor what this word means. Win-win, really, in the long run.)

I never have understood why some people sprong a Louisville Slugger when the subject of Activist Government comes up. In another age and place, I would have agreed. Hoover Dam, the Interstate Highway System, enforcing Civil Rights, the Moon Shot - these are big-ticket items, and big guv paid the freight. But they are limited ideas with limited, defined goals. If the federal government had decided to make New Orleans safe from floods, and had unlimited funds, it could have done so – either by building 67-foot walls or moving the entire city or enclosing it in a dome and blasting it into space. Give them a blank check and 27 years, and they’ll probably get it done, and done well. But Big Government is not good at dealing with things that happen at 3:57 PM Eastern Standard Time tomorrow.


Oh, the lessons we learned from Katrina. Bush’s refusal to invade New Orleans tells everything you need to know about Republican racist perfidy. The local government’s incompetence tells you nothing whatsoever about Democrats ability to govern at the micro level. Lethal storms can be turned aside months in advance by signing the right treaties. Or so they’re saying in the reality-based community.

Check the blogs: they’re calling President Bush’s response to Katrina “My Pet Goat pt. 2.” It’s a reference to the idea, so beloved of the Michael Moore enthusiasts and Osama Bin Laden, that President Bush’s initial reaction to the 9/11 was to give a what-me-worry grin and keep reading a kid’s story, because he wanted to know how it ended. These people seem to believe that a complete set of evacuation plans – including the removal of the entire city, buildings included, to Manitoba – were slapped down on the President’s desk the moment Katrina was just a stiff breeze, and Bush said nope. Call me when gas hits nine bucks a gallon, and besides, the town’s just full of Democrats; let ‘em float out in those Cadillacs they bought with welfare checks.


This level of incandescent lunacy isn’t new. In the 90s there were people who believed that President Clinton would use Y2K to herd us into FEAM-run gulags to have barcodes tattooed on our necks, but these people confined themselves to rants at 3 AM on Art Bell’s radio show. By 2006 their ideological heirs on the left will be the evening line-up of MSNBC guests.

If we learned anything we can take away, it’s this: you’re on your own. At least keep an emergency kit on hand, the sort of thing Tom Ridge proposed, and which made the smart set hardy har har because it contained duct tape. Don’t rely on the government. Four years after 9/11, it’s apparent that some local governments are not well-oiled machines when it comes to disasters – more like a box of sand and busted gears. Blame for that can be promiscuously distributed.

Lesson two: the next terrorist attack will not unite us for a warm hug-filled fortnight. The hard left won’t wait 24 hours before blaming President Bush, and the country will enjoy the sight of prominent pundits angrier at the President than [at] the men who nuked Des Moines.

Where Vengeance Holds Sway, Timidity Rules

Quickie little fortune cookie thought, inspired by all of the ineptitude that doomed New Orleans and the desperate casting of blame afterwards: Isn't it the case that in our modern, "sic the lawyers and the press on 'em" society, that people in authority tend to be afraid of making a move, even if it's required, and even if it's right? And isn't it the case that we are a litigious society for the precise reason that vengeance is a primary motivator in our hearts?

"Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord", is not so much a phrase indicating that God is a vengeful God. The emphasis should be: "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord, [not yours]". If vengeance is required let God handle it. It's too much for man and only harms him.

Am I being inconsistent when I say this because I support the Iraq War, which, to paraphrase Bill Whittle in his most recent essay, is not "Bush's War", but "Bush's and Matteo's War"? I don't think so. What we're doing in Iraq is trying to reform the Middle East in such a way as to prevent some serious "turn Islam into a sea of glass" vengeance...So perhaps the converse also holds: "Where Timidity Holds Sway, Vengeance Will Eventually Rule".

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

No If's, And's, Or's, Or But's

But you must read Bill Whittle's latest, fresh off the presses.

Save Your Lecture For The Mirror

Good Jim Geraghty piece.


"To my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.” — novelist and New Orleans resident Anne Rice

Let me get this straight.

Ms. Rice, you live in (what was) a very attractive city which lies below sea level. On one side you have a giant lake; on the other side you have the Gulf of Mexico. Running through the middle is the Mississippi River. All of which are above you.

Preventing those giant bodies of water from flooding and drowning you are levees. These levees are described as “century-old.” People have been warning about the devastating effects of a direct hit from a hurricane for decades.

I’ve heard a great deal of complaint in recent days that the federal government may not have allocated enough money to speed up the upgrades to those levees. This does, however, raise the question of why city and state residents were waiting around for the federal government to send enough money to upgrade this, instead of paying for it themselves. I mean, it was only your homes, businesses, and lives at stake. Perhaps these upgrades would have been expensive. If only this city had some sort of events to attract tourists, from which to collect taxes.

Anyway, your state and local officials decided to spend your tax dollars on something else that they (and presumably you) found more important, and then they waited for the rest of the country to pay for these life-preserving necessities.

Your beloved city and region has a colorful political history, in which there is, oh, a wee bit of corruption. I’m from New Jersey, so I can’t throw stones at that glass house. But you guys have managed to pick leaders who give you the worst of both worlds — they’re scandal ridden and incompetent in a crisis. Look, Rudy Giuliani might have run around with Judith Nathan before his divorce, but he was a hell of a leader in our darkest hours. You know the National Review crowd isn’t a fan of Pataki, but the man was a rock after 9/11 compared to Governor Weepy I’ll-Evacuate-Eventually and Mayor It’s-Everybody’s-Fault-Except-Mine. Nobody’s throwing around the adjective “Churchillian” about any of your officials these days. We didn’t pick your local officials; you guys did.

Rice asks, “how many times did Gov. Kathleen Blanco have to say that the situation was desperate? How many times did Mayor Ray Nagin have to call for aid?”


We failed you? No, oh brilliant creator of Exit to Eden, you failed. You might not think of it this way, but: Your leaders failed to upgrade the levees. You elected a bunch of weepers and blame-shifters who lost their head in a crisis.


To save you guys now, I — and a lot of other Americans — will pitch in. We are witnessing the biggest mobilization of civilian and military rescue and relief crews in history. But I have a sneaking suspicion you’re going to want the rest of us to pay for the rebuilding of your city. (In the near future, we’re going to have to have a little chat about the wisdom of building below sea level, directly next to large bodies of water.) And if you’re going to come to the rest of us hat in hand, demanding the rest of us clean up after your poor judgment, I’d appreciate a little less “you failed us” and a little more “we’ve learned our lesson.”

Salvation Via Price Gouging

Why don't they teach this stuff in schools? Oh, yeah. It would hurt the socialists.

Karl Rove Kaused Katrina

(H/T The Anchoress). Good article about the MSM's all-too-predictable antics. Oh, if only God, oops, I mean The President, had been a Democrat during this disaster.


From the moment Katrina made landfall the media focused on anything that could redound to the detriment of President Bush or inflame race and class tensions. Reporters and commentators ignored the dismal performance of New Orleans’ Democratic mayor and Louisiana’s Democratic governor, blaming every problem that arose on the Bush administration.

Racial demagogues accused Bush and his administration of reacting slowly because most of the victims were black. Environmental activists said Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Treaty caused Katrina’s severity. Democratic operatives said the administration’s decision to cut funding for a long-term study of flood control caused the levees to breach.

All of this is stuff and nonsense. The tragedy is that the media know it too, but they still printed it.

The media know that the first response to natural disasters is always from the local and state governments. They’ve covered enough hurricanes to understand that. They know, or should know, that the response from the federal government, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is always in the second phase of recovery, not the first. They know, or should know, that a state’s National Guard is commanded by the governor, not the president. They know, or should know, that active-duty U.S. military personnel cannot act as law enforcement. But none of this was reported.

As for a president’s role, it has traditionally been in declaring disaster areas so that the victims can get grants and low-interest loans to rebuild, and ordering FEMA into the area. His role also traditionally includes a visit to the stricken area. That’s pretty much it, unless you’re George W. Bush; then that’s not enough. Not reported was that it was Bush himself who, before the storm hit, pleaded with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco to order a mandatory evacuation.

The misreporting of the tragedy, and the false impression it has left with some, is even being used now for other political advantage. On Monday, NBC’s Matt Lauer interviewed “Meet the Press” anchor Tim Russert about Bush’s Supreme Court appointments. Russert said “there was a perception created of incompetence, some even said callousness and he needs to replace it with compassion” by appointing a moderate, a liberal or even a minority to the high court.

At least Russert was correct on one point. There was a “perception created.” The incessant drone of the media story line that Bush was to blame is what created that impression, and one that is entirely false. As with the run-up to the military operation in Afghanistan and Iraq, the media display a convenient amnesia about what they wrote in the past.

The story line today is that things were self-evidently so catastrophic as Katrina made landfall that everyone knew that drastic measures were called for. But was that the case?

[examples given that this was not the case]

Also, via The Anchoress, check out this most excellent MSM satire.

Flypaper For The Darwinist Peanut Gallery

I guess I'm an idiot. I think this is a good article (quoted in full here, I also quote it in full below). Poor, uneducated, foolish, superstitious me. I eagerly await tedious non-sequitors from Darwinist commenters. Commenters who haven't bothered to read any of the primary ID works.

Science Classes Should Educate, Not Indoctrinate
By Rebecca Keller
Science Text Publisher
Saturday, September 3, 2005

On Sunday, Aug. 28, the Albuquerque Journal paraphrased me as saying, “Scientists err by being unwilling to consider the possibility that some sort of transcendent being is responsible.”

The Journal acknowledges that this misrepresented my actual words. In fact, it is opposite to what I really think. I don’t believe that looking for a transcendent being, or God, or little green men is in the purview of good science.

However, being willing to consider a design inference, if the data point in that direction, is good science regardless of the philosophical or religious implications.

No scientist should ever be so committed to an ideology, whether that ideology is religious or philosophical in nature, that it blinds him to possible interpretations of scientific data. That happened in Galileo’s time and it is happening today whenever people close their eyes and plug their ears to design inferences in biology.

Living things are incredibly complex. Even on the microscopic scale each cell is literally packed with interacting networks of molecular machines. It looks designed. If it looks designed, how can it be unscientific to wonder if that design is real?

It is understandable that people are concerned about the metaphysical implications; if there is design then there must be a designer.

But the basic trouble, and the underlying reason this controversy never ends, is that evolution is a creation story; it has huge metaphysical implications no matter how it is taught. How is it less religious or less controversial to teach evolution as it is now, pretending that we somehow know that there is no design?

The only way to be religiously neutral on a subject such as evolution is to acknowledge what we know and what we don’t know. Virtually all of our students come into class knowing that evolution is controversial. Pretending it’s not, passing off students’ questions with patronizing non-answers, or pretending “science” really knows that there is no design in biology is certainly not good educational practice.

The current NM State Science Standards were crafted in part to deal with exactly this issue. The Science Standards are divided into three strands: Strand I, Scientific Thinking and Practice, Strand II, Science Content, and Strand III, Science and Society.

If we are going to teach students about biological origins we need to help them understand all the issues behind origins science, including evolution. Why is it controversial? What worldview assumptions are behind it? Do we really know that life was generated only by random processes of mutation and natural selection? What evidence supports it, what evidence is against it?

Strands I and III give guidance in how to deal with such questions. For the record, our science standards were given national recognition as some of the best standards in the nation.

Rio Rancho Science Policy 401 kicked off the latest local brouhaha but what is really happening in Rio Rancho and across the country? Is it a sneaky effort by creationists to get a Trojan horse into the classroom? Is it a conspiracy by the fundamentalist right to take over the country?

No. What’s really happening in Rio Rancho is that because the theory of evolution is being taught without the possibility of criticism or objective dialog, people recognize that it amounts to “religion” being passed off as science.

The Rio Rancho policy is intended to ensure that the state standards are followed. By following Strands I and III of the state standards, the teaching of evolution as religion is minimized. In particular, science teachers should encourage questions and critical thinking about the controversial aspects of evolution.

Not only should students learn that reasonable people disagree about the meaning and interpretation of data, they should learn that scientists disagree, too. In fact, disagreeing about how data should be interpreted is what scientists do. That is science. The history of science illustrates that disagreements in science are the very thing that fuels scientific discovery.

Evolution as a secular creation story is already being preached from the classroom pulpit. Teaching the controversy helps keep religion, of any flavor, out of the classroom.

This is good science education and this is what is being proposed in Rio Rancho and across the country.

Rebecca Keller, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of New Mexico, is president of Gravitas Publications of Albuquerque and writes elementary and middle-school science textbooks.

Back to story page
Rebecca Keller, Ph.D.
Gravitas Publications, Inc.

The Lynchpin, The Very Cornerstone. Not Quite.


John Derbyshire is at NRO explaining why only the strengths of Darwinism should be taught to high school students, never the weaknesses. His argument rests on this statement: "Darwinism is the essential foundation for all of modern biology and genomics, and offers a convincing explanation for all the phenomena we can observe in the life sciences." The "convincing explanation" bit is, of course, question begging. As for the claim that Darwinism is the cornerstone for all of modern biology, National Academy of Sciences member Philip S. Skell investigated the claim, and reports his results in the latest issue of The Scientist. He writes:

My own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming's discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin's theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.

I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin's theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.

The Lameness That Is MSM News

Pretty good piece on the faults of cable news coverage of the Katrina aftermath here. Just one example from the litany:

I hate the use of undated footage, especially when it's two or three days old, that runs as "video wallpaper" as the anchors talk about looting, the breached levee, death, destruction, or what have you. It's TV news if it's live or happened recently or is placed in context. But if I have to look at that shirtless guy with the extravagant butt-crack trying to shatter the store door one more time, I'm going to fly down to New Orleans and arrest him myself. Likewise the footage of the rescue helicopter blowing roof shingles into the air.

I offer this easy remedy: If the talking heads need a visual backdrop, let them run the footage as they gab. But all footage that's not live or taped "today" should be date- and time-stamped conspicuously.

Why won't the networks do this? My friend Mark Feldstein, a recovering broadcaster who now teaches journalism at George Washington University, explains that this video ambiguity is deliberate.

"Labeling the video as a few days old draws attention to just how stale the most dramatic shots are and thus makes it harder to hype for ratings," he writes in e-mail. While undated footage often confuses viewers about the who-what-when-where-why basics, it helps the news networks by concealing how much of their "coverage" consists of cheaply produced talking heads in New York studios speculating on what's happening, rather than more expensive in-the-field reporting, he continues.

Another thing I noticed while reading the leftist news weekly known as Newsweek on the plane ride home yesterday: people complain and complain that the federal government was not able to immediately swoop in with overwhelming quantities of supplies and cops, rescue everyone, have hot meals ready, and enforce order. The same people who complain about all of this howl about such innocuous things as the Patriot Act, and should the government ever create a law enforcement and logistics organization ready to handle all of this at a moment's notice, why, then, they'd be complaining that we're living under a fascist dictatorship run by Chimpy McHitler.

Regarding Katrina (and true to form), Newsweek was full of barely veiled assertions that more socialism is the answer to our woes...