Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Weighing Roberts

Well, I've retreated a little bit from my wholehearted endorsement of Roberts, but I don't know that I would vote against him

As earlier analysis in the Times has allowed, it seems that Robert's judicial philosophy is somewhere between a Thomas/Bork/Scalia and a Renquist. He does not believe in a "general" right to privacy (a la Thomas/Bork), but he does believe, unlike Scalia, that the constitition can "evolve" to include modern concepts of morality and new technologies. That puts him somewhere between very and extremely conservative.

I certainly would never *endorse* someone of this temperment. I personally believe in the Kennedian approach of looking at universal (i.e., international) human values and in respecting precidents in social rights, which would argue for a general privacy right.

But I say that the question is this: does a President have the right to nominate someone of his own judicial philosophy, as long as that philosophy is not TOO far outside the mainstream? I would certainly want a Democratic president to be able to nominate someone with clear liberal views. Roberts, it seems to me, is just inside the line of being within the conservative mainstream. And I find his ability to reason and change his opinion (however obtuse it may be) reassuring. So - while I have more misgivings than before - if it were me, I would still vote to confirm.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Survive the Plague

My friends - the time has come to expect the worst.

I'm not talking about another terrorist attack. I'm not talking about a hurricane. I'm talking about a plague that world leaders know is coming - possibly as soon as this fall - and is projected to kill as many as one of every three living people, close to two billion. The plague will leave communities isolated, our economy destroyed, our country defenseless, and world-wide institutions shattered more than New Orleans.

This is not science fiction. This is true. I'm talking about Avian bird flu.

The bird flu is very likely coming, and our government is totally unprepared to deal with it.

What can you do? Here are some suggestions:

1. Stock up on tamiflu before supplies run out or governments prevent you from ordering abroad.

2. Stock your home with supplies. Don't forget masks, gloves, and first aid kit.

3. Keep your car gas tank topped off; have a couple gallans in the garage.

4. Arrange for work-from-home options with your business or employer. Do you have off-site access to essential computer networks, files, and business records?

5. Practice good hygiene this winter. Use antibacterial soap.

6. Pray.

7. Sign this form to impeach Bush here, here, and here.

Sorry, I wish I could offer you more. At least this is something.

God bless, and good luck.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Human Stain

As someone who has signed petitions calling for Bush's impeachment (based on Abu Ghraib), I didn't think I needed to add my voice to the chorus calling for Brown's firing. Until I read this story.

I'd still like to see Bush impeached for what he's done to descimate the honor and competance of this country. As that's not likely to happen, at this point, I'd settle for the sacking of a least one incompetant (#*@bag. So if Andrew Sullivan's call for a rousing blogger chorus to stoke the public anger can make it so, I'm more than happy to take part.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bunk Versus De-Bunk

Salvation Army (SA) Divisional Commander Major Dalton Cunningham:
"I don't think anyone could have predicted the geographical expanse and the massive destruction that was going to happen would be this huge."

National Geographic, 2004:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great.

George W. Bush, President of the United States:
"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

Al Naomi, Project Manager, New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps, June 6, 2005:
"In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding....I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction.... These projects are literally life-and-death projects to the people of south Louisiana.... The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded..."

FEMA Director Michael Brown:
"We did not anticipate ... that there would be quite the numbers that we are dealing with, and that we would have the logistical problems that we're having getting those people evacuated."

LSU’s Hurricane Center, Summer, 2005:

From the simulation, officials estimate that a storm like Hurricane Pam would:
  • cause flooding that would leave 300,000 people trapped in New Orleans, many of whom would not have private transportation for evacuation;
  • send evacuees to 1,000 shelters, which would likely remain open for 100 days;
  • require the transfer of patients from hospitals in harm’s way to hospitals in other parts of the state;
  • trigger outbreaks of tetanus, influenza, and other diseases likely to be present after a storm;
  • create 30 million cubic yards of debris and 237,000 cubic yards of household hazardous waste.

    Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, the head of the National Guard Bureau:
    "We did not anticipate the collapse of local law enforcement."

    National Guard Fact Sheet, Army National Guard Charter:
    "Under state law, the ARNG provides protection of life, property and preserves peace, order and public safety. These missions are accomplished through emergency relief support during natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and forest fires; search and rescue operations; support to civil defense authorities; maintenance of vital public services, and counterdrug operations."

    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:
    "I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the Convention Center who don't have food and water."

    CNN (website and Cable news), Simultaneously:
    "At the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, thousands of increasingly frustrated people waited for help amid dead bodies, feces and garbage, in 90-degree heat and rain with little food and water. (See video on the desperate conditions -- 4:36)"
  • Interviewing the Government about Katrina

    Here's how it goes,

    "Sir, why are all those people dying? Why is the city on fire?"

    "Lie. Lie lie. 9/11. Lie lie. Heros. Rebuild in no time. Big Lie."

    "But we've known for years that the levies would break if hurricane would hit New Orleans. Look, here's a study."

    "Lie lie lie. Tremendous job. Lie lie lie. Possible link to Al Queda. Dodge. Distortion."

    "We're getting reports on the ground that people are shooting at the rescue workers."

    "Lie. Homosexuals. Liberals. Terrorist-sympathizers. Ad hominum. Smear victims."

    "How can you say that?"

    "Lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie. Definitely looking into possible Al Queda links."

    "How would you assess the situation now? Do you think the government should be doing more?"

    "Everything is going fine. Now I have to cut short this interview, I have a golf appointment with Tiger Woods."

    (Aside, later: "Damn it, Karl. How come the usual bullshit isn't working???")