Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Moon Shots: Did They Happen?

Run across the web pages, and eventually you'll run into the idea that the Moon Landings were faked. The comments may even seem persuasive, and the memory of their happening is fading. Not only that, but what we've had since then has been a low-orbit boondoggle which has led to deaths and proof that people focusing too much on the bottom line don't learn anything worth knowing.

So is there merit?


I remember seeing an experiemnt with a feather and a hammer testing Galileo's contention that things fall at the same speed. If I remember right, they fell at the same speed, with both items falling smoothly and evenly, with no hanky panky on either side. One would have to rework that stuff thousands of times to get the whole set right.

Then there's the matter of getting everything in focus. All you really need to do that is a pinhole to focus a camera through. Everything comes out clear and detailed, both near and far, although in a small area.

Again, the information is out there. Sometimes the question is what to look for and where to find it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tell Me About World War II Again?

Didn't Roosevelt push us into WWII by letting the Japs attack us in Pearl Harbor?

Probably. Thing to remember, though: The US had to get into WWII, otherwise chances were that Russia would have invaded the whole of the European Subcontinent and turned it into a Soviet Frontline.

The invasion at Normandy didn't do as much to defeat the Germans as people think. The Germans had already lost in Russia, and they were beginning to start the rolling that would have taken them to Germany by 1943. What the Invasion of Normandy did was to end the war a bit quicker in the European front, and put up a de facto limit to Soviet ambitions.

Think I'm joking? Consider that Stalin had people set up to run France, Italy, Germany and Spain hand-picked. That they ended up in the Gulag instead showed what Normandy did.

Also, look at 1984, the now nearly forgotten book by George Orwell. In it, he had the European mainland under the control of "Eurasia" (the Soviets). Seems like an odd way of splitting the continent given what happened, but had the US not joined in the battle there was no way England could have made a move onto Europe.

So while Roosevelt may have pushed the US into WWII, I have no problem with that. Sometimes a little dishonesty can help towards the common good, and remember: we're talking about reality, not some perfect world where everything goes according to the rules of right and wrong.

We're sure the Allies knew about the Concentration Camps. Why didn't they do anything about them until they invaded?

First off, where would the prisoners have gone had they been given the chance to escape? Everything around them was surrounded by people who were overeager to show their hatred (or so they knew -- while there were thousands and thousands of Jews hidden away by friends and right-doers, nobody was supposed to know about that) and there were still armed guards roaming about.

Besides, had the Germans seen Auschwitz (or another camp) bombed, they would have taken people from the front to kill the people within the camps. They had already made the death of the Jews more important than the conduct of the war by 1942, otherwise they may have been able to at least make a decent defense of their fatherland. Imagine if they saw a threat of their prisoners running away and invading the countryside -- Imagine instead thousands of Commies looking in front of them and seeing the enemy running away like mad without any provocation. Say goodbye "Paris," hello "Leningrad, France."

Again, the truth is out there. You just have to know how to look.

And that includes what NOT to be distracted by.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Thought: What Do We Really Know?

I was thinking recently of a visit I made to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

I was thinking about the Nazi Olypmics, and what was written about there.

Amazingly, the people in The United States knew about what was happening to Jews and others in Germany then. Indeed, many of the AAU units in the United States moved to boycott those Olympics. Avery Brundage overruled the group and pretty much bullied many of the atheletes to participate. In the end, while Jesse Owens ended up winning the German Crowd (and probably the best showing of sportsmanship from the German atheletes he beat out), Hitler got his propaganda boost.

So if you're wondering about the utter stupidity of the people around you, look around. There's SOMEONE out there who knows the truth, and if there's someone out there, the truth is out there. Just remember, sometimes you DO have to hunt it down.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Problems with the last two elections

  1. I wonder if Gore threw the 2000 election.

    Consider this: whole areas in northern Florida were set up with the sole purpose of keeping Blacks from voting. Systems which were put in place to keep "felons" from voting were made to include as loose a definition as possible (if an identifying marker or two was close enough to a match, you were excluded despite your history). Florida A&M University's Union was locked -- odd because that was where the school students, mostly blacks, were supposed to vote.

    But while he waxed poetic and verbose about the loss of a few hispanic votes, he cared nothing about what happened to the north.

    Did Gore decide to throw the election so that he wouldn't owe the blacks? They've suffered from both ends of the political spectrum: The Democrats give them little since their vote can be counted on, and the Republicans are in the position that they don't need to deal with them to win many elections. Here was a place where their vote could have explicitly counted, and the people who needed them chose to lose.

  2. If I was the Democratic Party, I would have looked into cooked elections LONG BEFORE THE ELECITON ITSELF! I would have looked at the Iowa Primary, plus I would have looked at the press itself for its actions.

    Consider: Dean, their front-runner and major fundraiser comes in a distant third behind two of the lamest people the Dems could have come up with. Then, when he's trying to rally the troops, the press isolates his voice and insures that the ONE SOUND BITE THAT WOULD HAVE KILLED ANYONE was caught and reran for the rest of the nation to think over.

    By the time the press did their "How we skewered the news" segment on the Dean Scream (more to the point: their bragging about how they delivered the election to Bush and Company), the Dems had panicked fatally. They went from "Who do we love" to "Who do we think can defeat Shrub Jr." Needless to say, the lamest candidate (one who actually looked forward to retiring, may I add) was the one picked, and even with all the advantages couldn't beat Bush.

Just some thoughts about the election. Stuff I don't need to invoke Diebold (we fix elections, so you don't have to) to dispute.

Friday, September 23, 2005

As I Said Before; "Benign Neglect" Is Destroying New Orleans

Experts Say Faulty Levees Caused Much of Flooding -- so says the Washington Post.

I remember when I put up my earlier thoughts about how the government destroyed New Orleans with "Benign Neglect". Someone from the Shrub Jr. Choir yelled at me because I didn't parrot his thoughts.

Well guess what: Turns out they DID have forty years of planning behind those levees. Bad funding, bad planning (Category 3 ONLY?) and bad construction left the levee system weaker than it should have been. Not only that, but the storm turned out to be weaker than originally thought -- the water surge turned out to not make it up to the top of the Lake Ponchatrain dikes, as it should have had the storm actually hit New Orleans as a Level 4 Hurricane.

Sadly (and I say this as a Progressive/Liberal), it is the Democrats who were to blame for this. This was started under their watch, from local to state to national. Plus, while it is understandable that Louisiana would want to figure ways to make money with their infrastructure gifts, the Democrats are still in power in Louisiana. And with much of their Urban base scattered and probably unlikely to come back or find themselves welcomed, don't be surprised to see the Louisiana populace take a severe, bitter turn to the hard right.

And now there's another storm on its way, with yet another opening of the dike system flooding Precinct 9. The storm was supposed to hit Houston, now it's aiming at Lake Charles. If the thing turns further east, watch out -- especially where the Achafalaya departs from the Mississippi.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What Bush Should Have Considered (From a Righty's Point of View)...

Looks like Mr. Roberts will make it as the Supreme Court Head Justice. The Dems have decided (rightly this time, I believe) not to threaten a fillibuster.

If I were Bush and his cronys, I'd have pushed Scalia as Head Justice and had Mr. Roberts as an associate justice. The reason is simple: Scalia is tested, Roberts is not.

Let's not forget: While Mr. Roberts has spent much time in the Supreme Court, it was mostly lawyer or support for Scalia. He didn't have to consider the other side or why it was wrong; just his side. Now, as Supreme Court Judge, he'll have to listen to both sides AND to consider the full intent of the law -- not just whether it fits his viewpoint, but whether it has proper standing either in law or in the American experience of the law. Plus his rulings will affect the nation for years, maybe generations to come. A heavy burden, no matter how you slice it.

Not only that, but he's still relatively untested. Scalia has spent years in the Supreme Court, his fidelity to his beliefs over the years is well known. What happens if Roberts drifts to the left -- to liberalism, or even progressivism?

Remember, he's going to be the head Justice for a long time. This is not a place to gamble, and Bush is gambling greatly (not that he hasn't before; he's done much worse and with much greater glee) Better to let him learn the ropes and find out where his heart leads him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Party of What?

(First, an apology: I wrote a longer post for this which turned out to have some off-topic stuff. Nothing filthy or salacious, just off topic. I'll place it in its own post in a couple of days.)

Deficits and Surpluses since Kennedy

That's right, friends. The Republicans -- the so-called "party of responsibility -- has been the party to raise the deficit every chance they get. And don't tell me that Clinton did his part -- even before the Repubs took over the house and senate he was working to reduce the deficit.

Now you can tell the true cost of subsidizing the rich with money from the poor. And it's going to get worse -- Bush has said "No New Taxes" probably because he's yet to figure out a way to have a tax that ONLY hits the poor; and they're probably too chickenshit as yet to put up a proposal for a regressive income tax yet. Give them another year, and they'll probably try to browbeat congress into creating such a thing.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Don't Tell Me...

No, you're not seeing fiction...

Bad enough that the student body makes an effort to be boorish and riotous. Now we got our Gridiron representatives doing stupid shit like this.

Stuff like this makes it harder and harder to be proud to be a Spartan.

Yes, I know we're supposed to support our team. Still, it's not like we're the newest kids on the block. Maybe in 1950, but there should be SOME sense of decorum after fifty-five years (or so) of Big 10 Membership. Plus these guys are adults (or at least they SHOULD be...).

One wonders what would happen if, next year, ND came into Spartan Stadium, won the game, and planted THEIR flag in the middle of the turf?

Thing is, this game has meant almost nothing. MSU has always found ways to fall behind U of M in some way, even after a victory over them. It's almost as if they've substituted this game for what they should aim at: Winning the Big 10 conference, or at least finish above Michigan those years they defeat them.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Who WAS Saul Alinsky, Anyway?

This blog has been up for about three months, and the name "Saul Alinsky" has been just a name in the title section.

So who was Saul Alinsky?

He was an organizer of communities. He got people together to get things done, and usually was successful at it. He started in the Back of The Yards, worked to unite communities all over Chicago, and was invited to Rochester to break the color barrier there.

His philosophy was pragmatic, in that he believed you worked with what you had. Whatever you could do, you did. His favorite example was Ghandi, the "hero of nonviolence." Alinsky's view of Ghandi was that Ghandi used nonviolence because it was his only choice -- the Indians were very passive towards their masters, and the British Press was open enough to play on the British sense of fair play. Had he been in Nazi Germany, he would have become part of the resistance, with its works against the Germans.

But what the title of my blog refers to is a quote of his. It actually refers to a quote stated three times in Rules For Radicals, each time slightly different but saying the same thing:
All issues must be polarized if action is to follow. One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side, and all the devils are on the other.

In short, remove the center.

And that's what's happening in America: the death of the center. Whereas once the phrase "The center cannot hold" referred to a coming collapse, now the phrase "The center must not hold" is responded to with cheers.

And, as has been true the last thirty years, the right is better at this than the left. They've fitted into their pocket the Fundamentalist Christian Right, who have decided that self-righteousness and the joy of watching others lose their rights is worth the impoverishment of their own pocketbooks and of the nation they supposedly love. In this way the Corporatistas have been able to co-opt the middle class into their plans.

It is interesting that, towards the end of his life, Saul Alinsky saw the middle class drifting rightward, and saw the solution as bringing the middle and lower classes together. Sadly, he was unable to initiate actions towards uniting the lower and middle classes, as he died in 1972.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Soda, Pop or Coke

The Pop vs. Soda Page

An intriguing page I found that talked about what people called that fizzy stuff that we drink all too much of. What's interesting is not so much the division between "Pop" and "Coke" (north vs south, with a middle finger of "Coke" in central Indiana), but where the word "Soda" pops up. Not only is it the most evenly spread across the nation (with "Pop" up north and "Coke" down south) but the places where it shows up the strongest leads to some discussion. It is, of course, strongest in the northeast, but there's also a strong presence in Florida, Eastern Wisconsin, in a wide swath around Saint Louis, and it oddly enough rules Arizona and Florida (along with Salt Lake City, if you see the yellow dot deep in the blue of Utah).

Probably the best description of the differences between the usages seems to be religious:
  • Coke: fundamentalist versions of Christianity
  • Pop: mainstream protestant versions of Christiantiy
  • Soda: catholic Christians and/or Freethinkers

The Freethinker adjunct to Sodas is to explain California and the populous parts of Nevada. Florida has a bunch of retirees from the northeast, who bring their "Soda" bias along with them.

Also kind of interesting looking through the statistics to see how the divisions work themselves out. Kentucky is definitely in the "Coke" category, whereas Indiana is definitely "Pop" Country. The words seem to slide from "Soda" in Virginia to "Coke" in Georgia along the seaboard (the Appalachians mark a border of sorts). New York is definitely a "Soda" state, whereas Pennsylvania is nearly split into the "Soda" east and the "Pop" west. Utah is a "Pop" state with a "Soda" enclave in Salt Lake (1/3rd of the Pop respondants, 1/2 of the Soda respondants; only 5 more Soda responants), and Oklahoma is nearly equally split between "Pop" and "Coke" (they call it "living in Tulsa time," just so you know).

One last item: looking through some of the other selections, I notice the words "Tarzan Slam" comes up on a few votes. Either some spammers decided to put this up as a pop brand to make their mark, or it was some odd, rad-type pop few people knew about -- but those who knew about it LOVED it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

One Word: Fillibusters

Okay, so it was bad enough that the moderate-"liberal" O'Conner was to be replaced by John Roberts, at least we had a guy who know the Supreme Court intimately. Now Roberts is being tapped to be Head of the Supreme Court, in response to Judge Reinquest's death.

Is it me, or are the neocons (with Bush as their leader) getting bolder (or more desperate) about getting rid of the Fillibuster?

I'm not sure what would be worse this time around: Roberts as leader of the Supreme Court, or Roberts fully rejected. The former would just be the victory of stupidity, but it would be trumpeted all over the world as a victory against evil. The latter would lead to the rejection of the Fillibuster law, one of the last checks against rampant majority rule.

I hope the same moderate grouping that headed off the last fillibuster threat comes back again, this time with this offer to the president: Roberts as a Supreme Court member, Scalia as its head, no problems in the senate. Otherwise, I fear things will change, and all for the bad.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Forty Years, Says Bush II Apologist

Some anonymous poster commented either to my having some Second Thoughts about Katrina's Aftermath or to another person's reply to those thoughts:
Yes, because lord knows levees are easy to build. It only took the Dutch forty years to finish their project, and all that was at stake for them was half their country. It must be so nice to be a conspiracynik - none of that bothersome "chance" hindering judgement.

Actually we're talking about four hundred years, at least. You see, the Dutch built leevee after leevee, sometimes succeeding sometimes failing. Each time, though, they took stock in what happened and worked to improve their system. And they never took their leevees for granted -- why else would they have, as one of their heroes, an anonymous boy who stuke his finger in a leaking dike?

We're talking about a possible case of "benign neglect" here. This would include the Louisiana politicians, since it's them who gets the money for the dikes and spends it on attempts to improve trade, but surely the Federal Government should have told them what to do with the money.

Besides, there's a major difference between the Dutch and New Orleans: Both rich and poor Dutch live below sea level, whereas New Orleans is overwhelmingly poor (average earnings: 12,000/year). This might explain why the Dutch continually work at improving their dikes, whereas the people in Louisiana let things ride for so long where they had them and took so long to strengthen the dikes. Maybe now that people are seeing how important the city is (at least the port section), they'll build the dikes as strong as they should have been working at.

See, I can understand if they didn't finish the job in time. But not caring enough to work at it -- that's what I reacted to then, and what I'm reacting to now.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

And Now, a Heretical September 11th Memorial Posting

For some reason, I'm thinking of the nineteen men who went on the planes with the intention of flying them into buildings.

Never mind the oddities of what happened -- how the Twin Towers fell so quickly, the acrobatics that had the Pentagon hit at its least deadly side (as compared to where it would have logically hit), and the contradictory testimony from the ground that seemed to point towards a missle strike on flight 93 (understandable considering what happened, but a distraction from the "Let's Roll" mythology (based on what happened on-plane, I must add) that's taken hold). Just the nineteen "muslims," some of whom seem to have thrown away their chance at 72 virgins by some questionable actions the night before.

I'm wondering: What would these guys have been thinking as they prepared for their duties? Would they have been thinking only of Allah and of the virgins they would have had the glory of entering? Would they have prayed? Would they have been sober-minded and quite?

Would there have been a song going through their heads?

Surely, they must have heard this song on the radio during their years waiting for their call. The bells, I'm sure reminded them of the islamic call to prayer; the music was hard enough to block out alternative thoughts, and the lyrics (after rewriting the first part of verse two) would have sounded like the soundtrack to their planned actions (with their victims going to Hell while they go to Paradise)

And Now:

Hell's Bells
(Young, Young, Johnson)

I'm the rolling thunder; the pouring rain.
I'm comin' on like a hurricane.
White lightning's flashing across the sky!
You're only young but you're gonna die!

I won't take no prisoners - won't spare no lives!
Nobody's putting up a fight!
I got my fill; I'm gonna take you to hell;
I'm gonna get you - Satan get you...

Hell's Bells!
Yeah, Hell's Bells!
You got me ringing Hell's Bells!
My temperature's high! Hell's Bells!

I'll give you black sensations up and down your spine.
If you're into evil, you're a friend of mine.
See my white light flashing as I split the night,
'Cause if good's on the left, then I'm stickin' to the right!

I won't take no prisoners, won't spare no lives;
Nobody's puttin' up a fight.
I got my fill; I'm gonna take you to hell;
I'm gonna get you - Satan get you...


Hell's Bells, Satan's comin' to you!
Hell's Bells, he's ringing them now!
Hell's Bells, the temperature's high!
Hell's Bells, across the sky...
Hell's Bells, they're takin' you down.
Hell's Bells, they're draggin' you around.
Hell's Bells, gonna split the night!
Hell's Bells, there's no way to fight! Yeah!

Ow, ow, ow, ow!

Hell's Bells!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons

An interesting book.

For those of you who've read The Da Vinci Code (not to be confused with the Da Vinci Cod, which hasn't come out yet), you've read the book before. There's all the same plots and devices:
  • A search for the truth that's hidden from the eyes of the common people and must be deciphered to be learned
  • Multiple enemies, all set up to oppose the truth-seeker and all under the control of a single person
  • The most sympathetic character (outside of the main character and his love interest) becomes the one person controlling everything behind the scenes (the Angel Of Light proves to be the King of Darkness -- a familiar motif for your average Fundamentalist Christian.)
  • The outsider who does the important killing seems to have a wildly mistaken view of his place, believing himself to be doing God's Work (tm) (and you albinos better calm down -- I found the albino character sympathetic, something the hashassin in Angels and Demons was never meant to be).
  • In the end, what's found turns out to be much less than what's sought. Angels and Demons ends up with a group that no longer exists (except in the mind of a scheming pope-wannabe who turns out to be a nutcase), whereas in The Da Vinci Code it turns out the secret is not so much already out as it is being uncovered, discovered and reinvented before our eyes (the documents/cup/whatever may still be out there, but who REALLY needs the relics nowadays?

Indeed, once you separate all the too-many similarities, there's two main difference between the two books:
  • Angels and Demons only preports to be a book of fiction with the Catholic Church and the story of the Illuminati as its basic building blocks; whereas The Da Vinci Code preports to be fact written up as a book of fiction.
  • There's nothing to be gained from reading Angles and Demons, other than a few hours of reading fun frustrated by the vertigo caused by too many plot twists at the end and bits of information seemingly thrown in to show off knowledge. The Da Vinci Code, however, seems to be built for people who want to believe what the book preports as true.

Supposedly Mister Brown's writing another book in this Robert Langdon series, which involves the Masons and Washington D.C. Although this should be very illuminating (as the Masons have a more important role in creating America than most people know or want to know) I hope Mr. Brown is coming up with a different plot, as you can only write the same thing so often before people start noticing.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Something Oddly Wonderful

Here it is, two weeks into the college football season, and I don't really care how the MSU football team is doing.

Yes, I'm sure they're 1-0, but then that's remembering that they played an MAC team, and I have their websites (sports and collegiate) on my URL list, but I could care less how the team is doing.

Now admittedly, if they get through the meat of their schedule relatively unscathed (beat Michigan or the other two teams) and have a good chance at a New Years Bowl by the time they play in November, I'll probably be following them -- like with basketball and hockey.

It also means my attentions can go to more important things. After all, why focus on two hundred underpaid jocks when there's people on dialysis who need to get to and from their appointments? Like I said, more important things.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New Orleans: What should be some final thoughts

I was going to go to New Orleans the weekend after the Fourth of July.

The motel was ready and located near the French Quarter and the Warehouse district. It would have been free (for me). And there would have been friendly people to walk through NO with, just in case I wanted some protection in a group.

Thing was, there were doubts. The person paying for the trip cringed over the cost -- not just what it would cost her, but some other things that were threatening to tear into her wallet. Plus I considered the weather and the time -- too hot, too little time (one whole day).

So I held off and figured I'd do a winter visit -- maybe in time to catch Mardi Gras.


Mind you, no one would have figured on a Hurricane blasting through the Big Easy, although it had to happen eventually. Not only that, but no one figured that a culture based on "if it hasn't busted yet, don't fix it (even if it's obvious that it will)" would fall apart eventually as something broke.

Anyway, Looks like New Orleans won't be there for me to visit anymore. At least not in the old, friendly version.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Women Earn 76 Cents For Every Buck Men Earn? Read On...

Exploiting the Earnings Gap
(Will need to register to read this)

An interesting read, again poking at certain bits of "common knowledge." Amongst other things, it shows:
  • Men earn more because they work more
  • Men earn more because they take the riskier jobs
  • Men and women tend to work for different reasons (and even the deviations have patterns to them...)
  • What "the same job" is, is often a bit too widely defined to make sense
  • When EVERYTHING is made equal, women earn more than men. This actual difference in earnings I call the "Childbearer's Premium," meaning extra pay for attention not given to children.

    The importance of this is such that many women married to upper-class men have turned their backs to the working world to raise their children, causing many academic feminists to wring their hands in confusion. They expected these women to monopolize the CEO, CFO and other leadership positions in America's corporations; when in fact many women would rather choose motherhood over the working world.

Thing is, I've always thought this "women earn 76 cents for every buck men earn" as a distortion of the truth. A bit TOO simple for my tastes.

For me, the main reason was always that women could turn to raising kids, and the man would have to dedicate himself more fully to the job to compensate. I've seen this happen twice, from both perspectives.

In once case, a female friend of mine talked about her life after having kids. She talked about her dreams, and how she found herself giving up on them so she could focus on raising her children.

And the other case? My brother, who has felt the need to go to extremes so he could earn enough for him, his wife and their children. Fact is, the woman isn't about to find work.

Monday, September 05, 2005

New Orleans = Sodom Of The South?

I've got another theory why the Bush White House and his Neo-Con house and senate let things go in New Orleans until the dikes broke, then fiddled while Rome flooded over: They saw New Orleans as the Sodom of The South, and Hurricane Katrina as Divine Justice on the sinner's city.

Remember, we're talking about 22 percent of the voting electorate who voted for Moral Issues; 44% of Bush's vote. These are the people who believe that creation took 144 hours, and don't care if they get used and abused by the powers that be as long as in the future they can imprison abortion providers for acts they do today (say good-bye to ex-post-facto law bans) and use those who LOOK like they might be gay as kindling for Homecoming rally bonfires.

Of course, the most vocal of the NO=Sodom believers (gays who hate themselves and hide it behind gay-bashing beliefs) make it out to be a Gay thing. However, most would point to the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras, when Women are expected to expose their chests for beads. Then there's the fact that one could wake up at six AM, feel the need to drink, and find open bars to satisfy your thirst. Add into that the fact that New Orleans in under Sea Level, and you get the image of a City under the thumb of a patient yet angry God and a people unwilling to turn and repent.

Just like Sodom.

And since the prevailing belief system of america is a new-agish twist on Christianity (You are doing what you want. Anything otherwise is a lie, since where you are is where you have chosen to be, and thus want to be), it's obvious they believe the people there were getting their just desserts. They were the unrepentant (according to these people) and thus they should be punished.

That would explain why the dikes were never fixed after constant warnings. And why the poor are being blamed for not escaping what they couldn't escape.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Further Rethinking of Katrina

Okay, so that thing in his hand don't look like a fiddle...

Sad some of the news I've read and heard recently.

Bad enough that some people made it a point to destroy their automobiles rather than help out some of their poor neighbors -- that is to be expected, considering the present worship of the rich and likely quiet racism that pervades a city with lots of blacks, almost all of them poor.

But now I'm reading where there was plenty of stuff ready and able to go but held back by the military. People eager to rescue others (family members, even) were told to stop.

Now I'm reading about the starving of FEMA, how everyone around New Orleans shouted for help and got nothing. Then people go around, saying they shouldn't have depended on the government to protect them.

Now I've heard that the storm New Orleans suffered through wasn't a Category 4 (or 5) hurricane (such as Biloxi and Gulfport suffered, let us remind ourselves); but could easily be considered a Category 2. This would imply criminal neglect, since the dikes were supposedly built with Category 3 hurricanes in mind.

Racism? I'm still loathe to use that term. After all, rich blacks were able to escape with the rest of the lot, while many poor whites were trapped in the rising polluted floodwaters.

Also, there would have been trouble in New Orleans without the flood waters. With every other way out cut off and everything turned off, people would still have starved and died. Chances are people would still have looted and ganged together and shot up people trying to rescue others.

And it wouldn't surprise me if Bush and Company liked hearing about the looting and shooting. After all, this has been a war on the poor they've been (successfully) waging since 1980. Here's a chance for the right-wing to look and say "See? They act like animals, so they deserve our derision." And the best thing for them is, they didn't have to cause it, just let it happen.

More tomorrow, on another subject.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

News Flash: Rehnquist Dead

Chief Justice Rehnquist Dies at His Home

So will O'Conner come back into the court? Doubtful; she's had a bunch of stuff to deal with. Besides, her putative successor is already being looked at.

I hope that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales gets to replace Rehnquist. I would expect another right-winger to replace this right-winger, with Gonzales replacing a liberal (if allowed). Again, I would expect him to put Scalia instead of Thomas as head justice, though Bush Jr. could put anyone as head justice.

Finally, I get the impression that Rehnquist's last statement was "I told you I'd outlast that liberal bitch in the court."

Second Thoughts about Katrina's Aftermath

While I have had no problem with explaining the wait for help, there are a few things I'm concerned about:
  • I'm sure everyone knows that the government knew about the sinking levees in New Orleans, yet they did less and less as the War in Iraq went on. I'm sure that Shrub Jr. felt it necessary to insure that those of us living day-to-day were giving our daily tithe to the rich, but surely they must know that killing the poor only impoverishes us...
  • Is it me, or has the government declared war on Democrats and Liberals? First the Enron thing (California, and I would hate to see how far it would have gone had Enron been financially sound), then New York (9/11) and Chicago (the planes used in 9/11), now New Orleans (a convenient hurricane and neglect). Think of it -- had this Houston, the levees would have been made to hold off Level 7 hurricanes, and finished before 9/11 besides.
  • Not sure how things are going on television, but I've been following on radio (a couple of on-air hosts on talk shows have tackled the issue with grace, flair and power) and they seem to be handling the "looter" and "refugee" question well. Maybe because pictures show more clearly the racial divide of what's going on there.
  • What's this about all these people blaming those left behind. As I said before, there's good reason to hate those too stubborn to move away and those who stayed behind to loot; but most of those there were there because they couldn't afford an escape. It's not like everyone has an SUV that can float on water; too many NO residents had trouble affording bus fare.
  • And what's this about the people wanting to rescue others and the military saying "no?" One would think that people going in would be allowed.

Curiouser and curiouser. Will need to pay more attention to other sources.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Overload

Thankfully things are finally getting organized down in New Orleans. The people there have been starving and thirsting for too long.

People think things have been going on for too long. They go out of their way to forget a few things:
  1. New Orleans is literally an island by itself in the Continental United States. Three access roads to the east (one of any usefulness; all knocked out), one road over Lake Ponchatrain (sp?) in the north (itself out) Two roads that become one to the west (I-10, with I-55 meeting up with it), and one road to the southwest (US-90, the only road crossing the Achafalaya between I-10 and the Gulf).
  2. There are military bases to the east -- all of them knocked out, sometimes totally. Lest anyone forget, the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coast got totally blitzed by Katrina; possibly beyond recovery themselves. So forget that area in trying to do stuff in New Orleans.
  3. You don't just say "Ship tons of food, lakefuls of water and a thousand Gryehounds" without organizing stuff so that it gets there. That takes time.
  4. What happens when people shoot at you? They're starving, but they think their guns will keep them in power long enough to find the Hard Rock Candy Mountain they're sure is hidden somewhere in what should be the Mississippi River floodplain.

And as for the "poor/race" angle, remember: The Rich know enough to get out of disaster places, and have the means to do so. Many of those stuck there would have gotten out if they could have, others were stubborn or were preparing to hold out or loot the place. Don't blame everyone you see stuck at the Superdome, just those who didn't have to be there but were.

Anyway, it's good to see the people in New Orleans finally being evacuated and order restored. Whether New Orleans (or the rest of the Gulf Coast between there and Florida) will recover is another question; one I wouldn't bet "yes" on,to be honest.