Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Ah, the blogosphere is swarming again, but this time it is to cut the fat in the federal government spending. Instapundit has the details on media attention.

Here's the Porkbusters website.

Check it out and ask your local congressmen and women to CUT THE FAT!!!

Technorati tag:

UPDATE: Surely, you can't be serious! As of 12:30 PM Easter Time today, the only congressperson who has committed to cuts is Nancy Pelosi! Now, it's based on a statement on CNN so there may be others that haven't updated the site at TTLB, but come on Rebublicans, step up!

UPDATE #2: As you can see in my comments below, there is another site tackling this issue called Porkopolis which contains a spreadsheet showing specific pork earmarks for each state.

Monday, September 19, 2005


After yesterday's 20-17 win over the Chargers, I reflected on the Broncos prospects for the season:

1. Offense is struggling, especially in the red zone, the same place as last year.

2. Special teams looked a little better, but honestly fellas, could the point after team stay on the sidelines until after the touchdown is called? There's no reason to hurry onto the field to kick the point after.

3. Defense was great, in the second half. However, I am sure the next opponent will employ all sorts of misdirection and play action to catch them off guard.

4. The biggest change the Broncos need to make is to get a new photo of Jake Plummer to CBS. This one makes him look like Jeff Foxworthy or a '70s porn star. Really, the 'stache just won't cut it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Buffoon Quotient

In my earlier post, I cited Hugh Hewitt's reference to Lilek's Buffoon Quotient. Now here's a real live example courtesy of Diane Feinstein:

"FEINTSTEIN: In a September 26th, 1983 memo to Fred Fielding, you rejected an alternative proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights to women.

In 1982, you wrote a memo to then attorney general in which refer to the task force which was to conduct a government-wide review to determine those laws which discriminate on the basis of gender as the ladies' task force.

I mention these examples to highlight what appears to be either a very acerbic pen or else you really thought that way. Did you really think that way, and do you think that way today?

ROBERTS: Senator, I have always supported and support today equal rights for women, particularly in the workplace. I was very pleased when I saw, for example, the report of the National Association of Women Lawyers, who went out and talked and interviewed with women lawyers who have worked with me, who have appeared before me.

And the conclusion was that I not only always treated women lawyers with respect and equal dignity, but that I had made special accommodations for life/work issues to ensure that women could continue to progress, for example, at my law firm, and had always treated women who appeared before me in a perfectly professional way.

FEINSTEIN: Then why say those things?

ROBERTS: Well, let's take the first one you mentioned.

I'm -- it is to me, obvious, in the memo that I wrote to Fred Fielding that it was about whether or not it's good to have more lawyers. Whether they were from homemakers, from plumbers, from artists or truck drivers had nothing to do with it.

The point was, is it good to have more lawyers? That's the way I intended it, and I'm sure that's the way...

FEINSTEIN: And you don't think it was good to have more lawyers?

ROBERTS: I think there were probably -- the point that Mr. Fielding and I had commented on, on many occasions, was that in many areas there were too many lawyers.

And that's a common joke that goes back to Shakespeare. It has nothing to do with homemakers.

The notion that that was my view is totally inconsistent and rebutted by my life.

I married a lawyer. I was raised with three sisters who work outside the home. I have a daughter for whom I will insist at every turn that she has equal citizenship rights with her brother.

FEINSTEIN: I don't want to belabor it.

I'm just trying to understand how you think, because you appear -- you know, you speak about modesty and humility, and yet none of these comments are modest or humble.

ROBERTS: Well, those comments were in the nature of the tone that was encouraged in our office.

It was a small office. They expected return projects around very quickly. We were expected to be candid. And if making a joke about lawyers would make for a more enjoyable day on the part of the people in the office, that's what we did.

FEINSTEIN: So it's fair to say you don't think that way? Is that correct?

ROBERTS: Well, I don't think in any way that is based on anything other than full equal citizenship rights on the basis of gender.

I might tell a lawyer's joke that there are too many lawyers today, but that's all it was back then."

Obviously, Feinstein has no sense of humor.

Ready, Break!

I got a good chuckle out of Hugh Hewitt's morning post as he paints the picture of what the Democrats will say in their morning huddle before the Roberts' confirmation hearings:

"When Senator Leahy pulls the Judiciary Committee Democrats together this morning, do you think he might say something like, 'Alright, folks, let's try and not make complete asses of ourselves again. That goes double for you Joe. Stay away from sports analogies and Schumer, for goodness sakes, leave the twenty-year old references to amigos out of it. I'll try and not slur my words if you'll let him finish a sentence Ted. Alright, go out there and show the world that at least one of us knows what we are talking about!'

Probably not, but he should. Long ago Lileks remarked on Senatitus, a peculiar condition affecting members of the 'greatest deliberative body in the world' that leaves them wholly unaware of their buffoon quotient, which is high even when in recess, and never higher than when preening on national television.

I confess, I am addicted to Slow Joe Biden. If he comes on the tube, I have to stop and stare, like every driver crawling past an overturned semi with ambulances and firetrucks and stretchers everywhere. Biden is quite simply the only cartoon with flesh I have ever seen, a wholly ridiculous fellow, but one who is completely unaware of his own absurdity."

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Predictions

Polipundit has some predictions from an army reservist who has been helping with the Katrina clean-up. This is king of what I thought too:

1. Mayor Ray Nagin (D) estimated that fatalities would be as high as 10,000. While it is conceivable that area wide fatalities could in theory approach 3,000, I strongly believe that fatalities in NOLA, directly attributed to Katrina will be less than one thousand, (1,000).

2. Pat O’Brien’s will be serving “Hurricanes” again before Thanksgiving of this year.

3. The Mardi Gras Carnival Parade will go on “as scheduled” for February 28, 2006.

4. Within thirty days, electricity will be restored to a majority of NOLA.

5. Within thirty days, 90% of the city will by dry enough to access by civilian SUV.

6. Dependent on the restoration of water/sewer service, of which I have no first hand knowledge to comment, large numbers of NOLA residents will be going home by Thanksgiving.

7. Ninety percent, or more, of the residents that were displaced in NOLA will eventually return to the city in search of the now greatly expanded employment prospects in construction. However, the small percentage that does not return will change Louisiana politics permanently. Louisiana will join the rest of the “South” as a solid Republican State.

8. The funds allocated by Congress will not be completely used.

Especially the death toll, I think it will be shockingly lower than everyone expected, as evidenced by these early observations.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Different View of Price Gouging

From the "I-never-looked-at-it-that-way-before" departmentJohn Stossel's article about price gouging makes you stop and think:

"The people the softheaded politicians think are cruelest are doing the most to help. Assuming the demand for bottled water was going to go up, they bought a lot of it, planning to resell it at a steep profit. If they hadn't done that, that water would not have been available for the people who need it the most."

Some of these softheads include Senator Clinton, who has demanded an inquiry into the oil companies. I say go ahead and do your inquiry. As a taxpayer, I'll support it. On the condition that after the inquiry is conducted and the results show that there is no evidence to support the charge of price gouging, Senator Clinton goes on the record aplogizing and saying, "I was wrong."

Hey, I can dream can't I?

Sign of the Apocalypse

In an article from the *gasp* LA Times and carried on Yahoo, some good news from Iraq is actually reported:

"...the rebuilding of Sadr City is an impressive, if imperfect, accomplishment in Iraq, where many projects remain incomplete and U.S. promises unfulfilled.

Unlike elsewhere in Iraq, where the reconstruction fell under the purview of a hodgepodge of U.S. civilian agencies, the American military provided sustained, focused leadership in a limited geographic area. That focus provided the oversight needed to coordinate the military's efforts with those of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Pentagon's Project and Contracting Office, the primary reconstruction agencies.

The rebuilding also held more immediate significance among mid-level commanders in the field than among higher-level Pentagon officials preoccupied with fighting the war. The field officers focused on short-term, high-visibility projects such as cleaning up trash and digging wells, instead of massive new water treatment plants or power stations that take years to build. They also hired local Iraqi contractors, who in turn employed many of the militia members who had once battled U.S. troops.

Finally, unlike the U.S. multinationals contracted to build large infrastructure projects, the military did not have to rely on expensive security contractors for protection. That enabled soldiers to more easily communicate with Iraqis, monitor progress and overcome problems.""

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sowell on the Chaos in New Orleans

I've always admired Thomas Sowell's writing and clarity of thought. In today's RealClearPolitics, he discusses how our society's departure from moral tradition helped contribute to the chaos in New Orleans:

"When all is said and done, government is ultimately just human beings -- politicians, judges, bureaucrats. Maybe the reason we are so often disappointed with them is that they have over-promised and we have been gullible enough to believe them.

Government cannot solve all our problems, even in normal times, much less during a catastrophe of nature that reminds man how little he is, despite all his big talk.

The most basic function of government, maintaining law and order, breaks down when floods or blackouts paralyze the system.
During good times or bad, the police cannot police everybody. They can at best control a small segment of society. The vast majority of people have to control themselves. (emphasis added)

That is where the great moral traditions of a society come in -- those moral traditions that it is so hip to sneer at, so cute to violate, and that our very schools undermine among the young, telling them that they have to evolve their own standards, rather than following what old fuddy duddies like their parents tell them.

Now we see what those do-it-yourself standards amount to in the ugliness and anarchy of New Orleans."

Thousands of people have pitched in to help the people of the Gulf Coast, but in the media, the focus is on the blame game. Could things have been done better? Sure. But what good does it do now to point fingers. Any sort of blaming is only being done for political gain and not for any improvement in future preparedness.

The real lessons that need to come out of this is, as Sowell points our above, to help your neighbor. Build community and be prepared. Stop relying on the government - local, state, federal - to do it for you.

As the fourth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, we will remember the heroics of the passengers on flight 93 who did not lament the fact that the governement couldn't stop the hijackers, but instead took action to save other's lives. We need more of this attitude today.

We will remember this tragedy and, for a short time, change our ways to help ensure it doesn't happen again. But as the years go by, we'll get complacent. We'll forget the images of looters and bodies lying on overpasses. We'll go back to our own lives, relying on the government to provide what we should provide for ourselves. When the next great natural disaster hits, be it another hurricane or the Big One in California, we'll blame the government for not doing enough to save us from ourselves.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Fat Bastards Predictable Response

I'm surprised that it took Michael MooreOn this long to pen a nasty letter to President Bush about his response to Hurricane Katrina. There must have been a 2 for 1 sale on Big Macs at McDonalds.

Below is the email that Fat Bastard sent to his mail list this morning, including my commentary in italics:

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Not all national guard units have equipment appropriate for disaster relief. Read more at Red from someone who actually knows a thing or two about the National Guard.

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

If you actually read about the 17th Street levee breach, you will find that it acutally occurred along one of the newer sections: "No one expected that weak spot to be on a canal that, if anything, had received more attention and shoring up than many other spots in the region. It did not have broad berms, but it did have strong concrete walls.

Shea Penland, director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of New Orleans, said that was particularly surprising because the break was "along a section that was just upgraded."" It must be Bush's fault that the breech happened on the newest section. Hat-tip: Red State, again.

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.

I haven't seen Mr. Moore in New Orleans or any of the areas hit by the hurricane trying to deliver aid. There's not even a link in his email to donate money.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

Signing the Kyoto Treaty doesn't automatically lower water temperature of the the Gulf.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.


Michael Moore

P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.

Honestly, I can't say this is surprising. All talk and no action. Instead of using your mail list to criticize, why don't you use it to raise money and help out. But that wouldn't be make a good movie, would it?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Aid

There are literally hundreds of places where you can donate your time or money to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

I chose the American Red Cross.

Instapundit has a huge round-up of all the bloggers and which efforts they are supporting.

Imagine losing everything you have. It happens all around the world, but this time it is on a mass scale in America. Please give whatever you can to help your fellow Americans.

Thoughts on New Orleans

I've spent a little bit of time in New Orleans. In college, we made a few trips to the Big Easy for the nightlife. Then, when I worked on a cruise ship in 2000, I spent 10 days there.

Our ship had been chartered as a floating hotel. We docked next to the mall on the river. Since the ship was only being used for room space, most of the crew had days off. Most of the crew members were from foreign countries and had seen very few American cities, except the ship ports in Florida. New Orleans proved to be especially enchanting for most of them.

As for myself, I was dating the woman that would become my wife. New Orleans was the place where we solidified our relationship. We spent our days strolling through the less-visited sections of the city. We watched the musicians on the street in Jackson Square. Listened to jazz at Snug Harbor. Gambled at the casino on the river. We looked for out of the way restaurants.

For all the charm that New Orleans had, I knew that is was a nice place to visit, but I would never want to live there.

At the time, I thought that 10 days in New Orleans was enough to last me a lifetime. Unfortunately, those 10 days of memories will have to last me a lifetime, as the New Orleans in which my wife and I fell in love is gone forever.

Back to Blogging

It's been awhile since I've posted, but I am back now.