Friday, September 30, 2005

Definite Double Standards

ROME (Reuters) - Sony (6758.T) has apologized for an advertising campaign for its PlayStation game console which featured a young man wearing a crown of thorns with the slogan "Ten years of passion."

Some Catholics were outraged by the adverts, which ran in newspapers and magazines to celebrate the product's tenth anniversary. "This time they've gone too far," said Antonio Sciortino, editor of Famiglia Cristiana (Christian Family), a mass-circulation Catholic weekly. "If this had concerned Islam there would have been a really strong reaction," Sciortino was quoted as saying in the Corriere della Sera
newspaper.


Mr. Sciortino is actually wrong about really strong reaction if the ad had used Islamic references. Why? Because Sony never would have done it.

However, Sciortino is correct in noting the double standard. Can you just imagine the hue and cry if the person in the picture had been Mohammed? I am quite sure the Sony executives would have been marked for death and a fatwah issued against Sony (a typical over reaction by the Islamists who seem to revere Mohammed, a human, as some sort of deity). Christians, on the other hand, have to suffer the indignity of watching Jesus, who we hold to be God, held up to ridicule in some idiotic ad campaign for a video game.
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Thursday, September 29, 2005

BIG Government

Peggy Noonan has a good piece today discussing the implications of expecting Big Government to rescue us from every mishap.
"Government has real duties in disaster. Maintaining the peace is a primary one. But if we demand that our government protect us from all the weather all the time, if we demand that it protect us from rain and hail, if we make government and politicians pay a terrible price for not getting us out of every flood zone and rescuing us from every wave, we're going to lose a lot more than we gain. If we give government all authority then we are giving them all power."
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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Why Not... Everyone Else Does!

The Michigan Wolverines took another one on the chin today, losing the lead to the Wisconsin Badgers in the waning moments of the game.

I blame Bush!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I Hate College Football!

We are in week 2 of the college football season and already my Michigan Wolverines are likely out of the national championship hunt after suffering yet another humiliating defeat to the upstart Irish of Notre Dame. Grrrr... why do I continue to follow a sport that is just way too frustrating?!? Did I say grrrr yet???

At least with the Detroit Lions we won't know that they are officially out of the playoffs until about the 9th or 10th week of the NFL season.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Sinking Poll Numbers

The folks at Powerline have analyzed the sinking poll numbers for President Bush following Hurricane Katrina... and they aren't pretty.

But could anyone think the poll numbers would be otherwise? For nearly 2 weeks the floodgates have been open (forgive the pun) with the Mainstream Media unleashing damning story after damning story (again, forgive the near pun), brazenly criticizing the President's performance from their anchor chairs, interviewing angry survivors, and airing unchallenged interviews from political opponents, all while failing to analyze the responsibility and failures of the local and state governments to minimize Katrina's harmful effects.

In fact, the arrival of Katrina signalled the opening of hunting season for the Mainstream Media, which perceived a weakness that it could finally hammer the President on with impunity. Finding that their efforts to derail the Bush presidency failed to gain traction on the issues of the Iraq War, the economy, or the President's service in the military, the media has seized on the federal response to Hurricane Katrina as its issue to bring down the Bush presidency. Of course it helps that the role of the federal government in bringing aid to New Orleans is complicated and not easily communicated on television. Most certainly, an explanation of the federal government's subordinate role in bringing succor to New Orleans is easily dismissed when the footage flashed into our living room so vividly brings home the horrible conditions that arose in the Hurricane's aftermath.

Indeed, the raw video of the disaster of New Orleans now serves as the ammunition for the media's relentless assault on the Bush presidency. And no matter how strongly charges of mismanagement or malfeasance are rebutted, Bush still loses in the end simply because terrible events were caught on video, and in this day and age, bad things, even the destruction wrought by a category 5 hurricane, should not happen if only a responsible federal government were in place.

Add to that mix the fact that the President has been unable to respond to the charges without appearing insensitive or un-presidential.

Afterall, President Bush couldn't publicly rebut the outlandish charges of a weeping family struggling for its survival in flooded New Orleans since that would certainly be unseemly. Nor, for that matter, could the President take to the television airwaves to counter the hysterical charges of New Orleans' mayor since that would of course be un-presidential.

No, President Bush was forced to take all of the attacks, some valid, most scurrilous, without the luxury of being able to respond. Instead, the President's only hope is that the media, perhaps eventually prompted by the blogosphere, finally begins to provide fair coverage to the actual events that transpired after Katrina made land fall over the Mississippi coast.

So yes, President Bush's poll numbers have fallen dramatically... as would the popularity of any president who had to withstand the blistering and baseless charges that have been leveled the past two weeks.

If You Can't Say Anything Nice....

Karen Hughes has a formidable task ahead of her in countering negative myths about the USA... one that would be made much, much easier if folks here at home such as Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, et. al. toned down their persistent anti-American rhetoric.

Then again, I guess that presupposes that Ted, Howard, and their ilk actually want to promote America's reputation abroad....

Count One for the Good Guys

This is good news on one front in the Global War on Terrorism.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Guarding the Hen House

Ouch! This should leave a mark... and hopefully John Bolton will see that it does!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A New Homestead Act - A Tale of Two Cities

Detroit and New Orleans. Two cities alike in so many ways. Both owe their origins to the French who settled the two locations because of their control of their respective waterways, and the trade that flowed through them. Both cities have more recently experienced "white flight" leaving behind an impoverished underclass and a political class who have excelled only in the art of corruption.

Now the two cities share an additional distinction. The massive depopulation of their citizenry.

One was sudden. Estimates suggest that up to 80% of the home in New Orleans have been destroyed or have otherwise become uninhabitable because of Hurricane Katrina, leaving one million residents of the Big Easy displaced and homeless.

The other decline was more gradual. Detroit has lost more than half its population since its heyday in the 1950's. The people who remain are mostly black -- 83 percent -- and mostly working class, with 30 percent of the population living below the poverty line according to the US Census Bureau In fact, the flight from Detroit has resulted in a greater population decline than was experienced by 14th century Europe during the height of the Black Death when as many as 25% of all villages were depopulated.

While the two cities share so much in common, a crucial difference in their respective plights may offer hope for both the displaced populace of New Orleans and the depressed economic fortunes of the Motor City. According to the blog "Turn":

"Detroit's fleeing businesses and homeowners have left behind about 36 square miles (58 square kilometers) of vacant land. That's roughly the size of San Francisco and about a quarter of Detroit's total land mass. Professor Stephen Vogel at the University of Detroit-Mercy has proposed turning these swaths of abandoned land in Detroit into farmland. Others disagree, noting that many of the abandoned homes have solid foundations which could be repaired with proper attention."
Regardless, the availability of large tracts of abandoned homes and land in Detroit offers a permanent solution for the diaspora from New Orleans. As an immediate remedy for the homeless displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Detroit should enact its own Homestead Ordinance patterned after the Federal Homestead Act of 1862, which provided 160 acres of public land free of charge (except for a small filing fee) to anyone either 21 years of age or head of a family, a citizen or person who had filed for citizenship, who had lived on and cultivated the land for at least five years. By the turn of the Twentieth Century, more than 80 million acres had been claimed by homesteaders.

Likewise, a Motor City Homestead Act of 2005 could make vast areas of currently abandoned land in Detroit available to those persons who can demonstrate they were residents of New Orleans displaced by Hurricane Katrina. If after five years, the new residents of Detroit were able to demonstrate they had made improvements to their property by bringing the property up to code, the residents would be granted title at no additional cost.

The new residents of Detroit would find a city much like the one they left (weather excepted) and Detroit would have the benefits of an influx of new residents, a substantial addition to its tax rolls, and perhaps even a much needed attitude adjustment reflecting the easy going New Orleans spirit.

Sticky Wickets

"Oil falls below $66 as industry recovers" screams the headline. I am sure that tomorrow the gas I pay for at the pump will return to the mid-$2 range it was in prior to Katrina, when the per barrel price of oil was in the mid $60s.

And pigs can fly….

Monday, September 05, 2005

Too Much!

One red dixie cup.... 5 cents

Designer sunglasses and flakjacket.... $250

Forgetting to plug the hole in the buttom of your boat before embarking on a rescue mission with your hollywood entourage... Priceless!

Please Sean, tell us again about the incompetence of President Bush!
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Mr. Chief Justice Roberts?

President Bush has acted swiftly to replace Chief Justice Rehnquist, who died late Saturday. The President announced this morning that he would nominate Judge John Roberts to the position of Chief Justice of the United States and nominate someone else for the position now held by Sandra Day O'Connor, for which Judge Roberts was initially nominated.

I certainly hope the President is confident as to how a Chief Justice Roberts will act jurisprudentially. Chief Justice Warren (brrrr!!!!) comes to mind...
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Bush Selects Roberts for Chief Justice

President Bush has nominated John Roberts as the President's choice to replace William Rehnquist as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

I am disappointed. I had hoped that Clarence Thomas would get the nod. Not only does Justice Thomas write the most cogent and clear opinions of all the Justices of the Supreme Court, he seems well liked by his fellow Justices, therefore being well suited to bring together the necessary consensus to restore judicial restraint to the Court.

Of course, Justice Thomas' selection would also have the added benefit of perhaps minimizing some of the racial incriminations hurled at President Bush in the week following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Then again, perhaps not. President Bush's selection of Colin Powell, Condoleza Rice, and other minorities to positions of true leadership in this nation have routinely been dismissed by the usual suspects in the race racket as being the selections of persons who are insufficiently "of color" given their failure to buy into the race agenda that dominates the Democratic party.

Nevertheless, my largest concern is that John Roberts becomes the next David Souter writ large. From Brennan to Souter, Conservatives have been promised the appointment of Justices in accord with our judicial philosophy (and in accord with the outcomes of the many presidential elections during that period), only to be sorely disappointed by stealth nominees after they take the bench.

Like Souter, we know so little about Roberts which is all the more surprising given his involvement in the government from such a young age. I cross my fingers that President Bush has sufficiently screened his nominee to ensure that he will adhere to the Scalia and Thomas philosophy while fulfilling his duties to the Court.
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Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Death of Decency

Perhaps reports of the death of common decency have been greatly unexaggerated but events of the last week now confirm that decency now lies dead in the grave.

First, within hours of Hurricane Katrina making landfall over Louisanna, Mississippi, and Alabama, President Bush's opponents were out in force calling for his head for either causing the hurricane (see Robert F. Kennedy) or for having failed to have instantaneously provided relief for the survivors of the largest natural disaster ever to befall the USA (see Congressional Black Caucus). Rather than lend a hand in this hour of need, these folks instead chose to point fingers for political gain.

Then the City of New Orleans descended into anarchy as the Mayor of New Orleans (after having made arrangements to evacuate his cronies) handed the devastated city over to looters, murderers, rapists, and other subhumans (I am reluctant to call them animals lest the animal kingdom be justifiably offended at being associated with these sickening people).

Now, within hours of the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz takes to the Fox News airwaves to call Rehnquist nothing more than a "right wing thug" while trashing his legacy and disparaging his character and values.

I would be curious to see if Prof. Dershowitz openly publicized his vitriolic view of Justice Rehnquist before Justice Rehnquist's death. Was Prof. Dershowitz courageous enough to so fiercely attack the Justice during Rehnquist's lifetime, knowing that it could be harmful to his continued advocacy of cases before the Supreme Court?

Or, as I suspect, did Prof. Dershowitz wait until Justice Rehnquist had passed, and could no longer defend himself, to unleash the full torrent of his scurrilous attacks on the deceased Justice's character and values? Simply cowardly.

In any event, for all of his supposed intellect, apparently Prof. Dershowitz lacks even the slightest sense of common decency. Just as it was once understood that criticisms of US foreign policy during war time stopped at the water's edge, it was also understood that common decency prevented politicians from using the death of their political adversaries to make political points (i.e., see John Ashcroft's refusal to campaign or contest the Missouri Senate election results of 2000). No more.

And some wonder why the political divide is so great in this Country. One need only look at the events of the past week to realize that while this divide may be growing smaller (as the Democrats alienate more and more of mainstream America with their outlandish behavior) it is growing more intense as the Democrats desperately attempt to cling to their last redoubts of power.

The Wheels on the Bus(es) Did Not Go Round and Round

Junkyard Blog has a fascinating post (with updates and pictures) showing LOTS of New Orleans buses sitting right where they were on Monday morning, August 29 -- in their holding yards.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies at Age 80

CNN and the AP are reporting that Chief Justice Rehnquist passed away on Saturday at age 80.

This promises to be a VERY interesting political month or so ahead.
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Good News from the Big Easy

Michelle Malkin's got a round-up of good news from New Orleans. Let's hope the good news now will overshadow the bad!
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Responsibility

Murder and mayhem in New Orleans' miserable shelter - Yahoo! News


"NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - With the rotors of President George W. Bush's helicopter sounding overhead, New Orleans' poor and downtrodden recounted tales of murder, rape, death threats and near starvation since Hurricane Katrina wrecked this city."
So begins Reuters' depiction of the horrors that have unfolded in the hours following New Orleans confrontation with Hurricane Katrina. After making sure to establish that President Bush was living the life of luxury safely removed from the devastation below him, the article then proceeds to interview survivors who hurled invective after invective at the President for seemingly ignoring their plight.

The anger and dismay of these folks is certainly understandable. But I have to ask... what the heck where they still doing in New Orleans facing a Category 5 Hurricane!!!

Reuters interviewed a 37 year old mother who was forced to take shelter in the infamous Convention Center. Why was she even in New Orleans on Monday defying the mandatory evactuation order, risking the life of her young child? Perhaps a "news" service such as Reuters could ask these questions... but I doubt it will. Indeed, on the Sunday before landfall, Fox News was continuously reporting projections that the loss of life in New Orleans from a Cat 5 Hurricane such as Katrina (at that point in time) could exceed 50,000 people! 50,000! And yet, this mother and daughter remained in New Orleans despite the risks of death and mayhem. Why?!?

Likewise, Richard Dunbar, 60, another survivor at the Convention Center also apparently defied the mandatory evacuation order (first requested by President Bush) and instead weathered the storm in a city most of which is below sea level. I have questions for you Richard. Richard, you seem to be relatively young and in good health... why did you stay in this city when all levels of government were telling you to run for your very life in the days before the storm struck? And now that you defied those orders and have seen the absolute destruction wrought by Katrina, what makes you so certain that the Federal government could so quickly alleviate the suffering that you chose to endure despite its warnings?

I understand that there were obviously some residents who were too infirm, too young or otherwise physically incapable of making it out of the city in time. And for them, words cannot describe their grief and the pain all Americans feel for their horrific plight.

But footage after footage shows young, seemingly healthy survivors who obviously made a choice whether to evacuate... and then made the worst decision possible by remaining in the city. Frankly, I am simply not buying into the theme making the airwaves that all of the poor and downtrodden lacked the means to escape. I see some survivors ingeniously crafting the means to float big screen televisions down flooded streets and yet these same folks are now claimed to have lacked the wherewithall to evacuate the city?

Their choice has landed them in the terrible plight they are now experiencing. That is not to say the federal government shouldn't do everything in its power to save and care for them. But there should be some balance in the media treatment of the federal government's role in providing relief for the largest natural disaster to afflict the United States.

There are limits to what anyone could do to alleviate the suffering in the Gulf region... communications were down, roads impassable... and yet, President Bush is accused of indifference or even down right hostility to the plight of blacks and the poor although the federal government was able to reach the area in force within only 3 days of the breaching of the levies this past Tuesday.

Perhaps Reuters could do us a service (and again I am not holding my breathe) and either detail for us how the National Guard and the feds could have either bypassed these obstacles and reached the survivors faster or explain to its readers what conditions existed that prevented aid from reaching any faster. Without that information, all we can react to is the raw emotion of the survivors who decided to take their chances against a Category 5 Hurricane and are boiling mad that the predictions of devastation came true.
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Friday, September 02, 2005

Weird Blogs #1

I am going to start a new feature here on alt-ctrl-del -- Weird Blogs. The first entrant is the WW Club, a blog apparently devoted to the consumption of Burger King Whoppers on Wednesdays. That, in my book, qualifies as a Weird Blog!
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Lest We Forget Iran

With everything else (justifiably) occupying us at the moment, we should not forget that there are non-natural forces out there that wish the United States ill. One of those forces is the Islamic Republic of Iran. After much dithering and hand-wringing, it appears that the inestimable International Atomic Energy Agency has reached a conclusive non-conclusion about Iran's nuclear activities:
"The confidential report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), obtained by Reuters, said the agency was 'still not in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran.'

The report, penned by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, said: 'In view of the fact that the agency is not yet in a position to clarify some of the important outstanding issues after 2-1/2 years of intensive inspections and investigation, Iran's full transparency is indispensable and overdue.'"
Reading between the lines of this double-negative laden diplo-speak, one must conclude that the IAEA is saying that the Mullahs are up to no good.

Really?

Only a fool would believe that a country sitting on top of one of the largest proven petroleum reserves in the world has any need whatsoever for peaceful nuclear power. The ayatollahs want the Bomb in the worst way and are willing to lie, cheat and steal in order to get it.

Now -- what do we do about it?

Hopefully something -- while we have the chance.
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Another Reuters Gaffe

Reuters makes another gaffe. In an article this evening, Reuters make the following ridiculous statement:
"The disaster has highlighted the racial and class divides in a city and a
country where the gap between rich and poor is vast. "
Why is this ridiculous? Because, as poor as the New Orleans victims might be, they are incomparably wealthy when compared to the truly poor in Third World nations. New Orleans residents have a per capita (not a per family) income of $17,258. Contrast that with the African nation of Ghana, which hopes to achieve a $1,000 per capita income by 2010.
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The Blame Game and the Father of Cool - Willis Haviland Carrier

The Father of Cool - Willis Haviland Carrier and Air Conditioning

Well the pundits have blamed George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and every other Republican they could think of in spewing out fault for the natural disaster that descended on New Orleans this week while the true culprit remains unnamed.

Yep... Willis Haviland Carrier certainly bears the blame for this tragedy as much as Presidents Reagan or Bush. Would the deadly Gulf regions of the USA have been as heavily populated were it not for this nefarious man's invention of that hellish device, the air conditioner? Certainly not! Would the now-ravaged coastal areas have been as seduced by development were it not for the artificially cool breezes manufacturered by Mr. Carrier's machine? Certainly not!

The pundits may claim that this hurricane could have been avoided had Jimmy Carter defeated Mr. Reagan's bid for the presidency in 1980 and had the all-powerful George W. Bush only adhered to the Kyoto treaty (instead of seeking to further enrich the rich), but we know who is really to blame... the man who had the temerity to manufacture the air conditioner.
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Race Baiting the Wind - An Open Message to Congressman Elijah Cummings

The Congressional Black Caucus hit a new low today. During a press conference, Rep. Elijah Cumming (D-MD) stated:
"The overwhelming proportion of black people among the refugees, made clear to Americans by television coverage of huge black crowds pleading for water and food in New Orleans, has raised questions about the role of class and race in the response."

I don't know what the television coverage has made clear, other than a tragic event caused by nature. However, Congressman Cumming's implication is clear -- the plight of the New Orleans victims of Hurricane Katrina is a result of racial animus on the part of the "white" Bush Administration and its "failure" to do anything to help.

Perhaps a few words of explanation are in order, Congressman Cumming.

First, the reason there has been an "overwhelming proportion of black people among the refugees" is because New Orleans (or at least Orleans Parish, Louisiana, of which New Orleans is a major part) is 67.3% black (U.S. Census Bureau, Louisiana Quick Facts [Orleans Parish]). Thus, it stands to reason that the majority of those affected would be black, and not those of other racial groups.

Second, there is a very simple explanation for why the relief effort is not farther along -- there just has not been time to execute a relief plan for such an unprecendented disaster. Today is Friday, September 2. While it is true that Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans on the morning of Monday, August 29, the City of New Orleans escaped the direct wrath of Katrina. It was not until the morning of Tuesday, August 30 that the 17th Street Canal Levee broke. Even after the levee broke, it was not clear at the outset that the resultant flooding would be as severe as it turned out to be. We, thus, are only about 72 hours removed from the first realization that the flooding was going to be a serious problem. (Incidentally, this is far short of the 140 hours that Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. claimed in his companion speech to that of Congressman Cummings' speech this morning (140 hours before Congressman Jackson gave his speech was Sunday morning, August 28 -- a full 48 hours or so before the levees broke.))

72 hours.

In such a short period of time, the Black Caucus (and other black leaders who have jumped on the bandwagon), apparently expect miracles beyond the capability of any human organization to perform. This is a crisis of the first magnitude of the sort rarely seen in a Western nation. And yet in such a short period of time, the Black Caucus clearly expects that all of the victims of the New Orleans flood to have been evacuated elsewhere. Never mind that many of the victims are scattered all over New Orleans, which has been virtually inaccesible to automotive traffic and accessed only with difficulty by boats (due to the debris in the water and the danger of fouled propellers). Heliocopters have essentially been the only means to rescue many of the unfortunates.

Never mind that the hurricane itself made the land routes to New Orleans difficult to traverse, particularly from the north and east. Never mind that much of the infrastructure in the vicinity has been destroyed or seriously damaged, making coordination all the more difficult. That anything is happening at all at this early date is a testament to the logistical abilities of our great nation.

Never mind that efforts to rescue and evacuate and provide medical treatment for the victims have been hindered by the actions of animals scarcely deserving of the title "human being" brandishing AK-47s, who are murdering, raping and pillaging all over the City of New Orleans. At the risk of being labelled a "racist" or of "generalizing", I am nonetheless quite certain that these individuals are mostly, if not all, black. They are the product of the failed "promise" of modern liberalism and feminism, to which the Congressional Black Caucus succombs hook line and sinker. The thugs roaming the city streets of New Orleans and inside the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center are, in most cases I am sure, the children of single-parent, frequently drug-addicted mothers who have been told over and over again that its okay to have children out of wedlock; it's your reproductive right to do so. (See Michelle Malkin's post earlier today for the argument that the thugs themselves are drug addicts) We are now reaping the whirlwind of those foolish, self-indulgent policies. Who are paying the ultimate price for these policies? The good people of New Orleans who are not being rescued by the police and National Guardsmen who have had to engage in urban warfare rather than search and rescue.

Had this tragedy occured during the Clinton Administration would there be such recrimination from the black "elite"? I don't think so. This is clearly just another effort to "bash Bush".

Shame on you Congressman.

P.S. I took great pleasure in watching your diatribe on Fox News Channel this morning in a split screen. What was on the other screen, you ask? Merely images of the convoy of several thousand vehicles -- fire trucks, buses, Chevrolet Suburbans towing boats, and the like -- making their way across the Mississippi River into New Orleans.

I guess you criticized a little too soon, eh Congressman?
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