Saturday, September 03, 2005


Not to belittle her grief, but what's to become of Cindy Sheehan now? Hurricane Katrina coverage, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist dies, how much coverage will she be able to maintain?

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Chief Justice Rehnquist Dead!

William H. Rehnquist

Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court

October 1, 1924 - September 3, 2005

Dead at 80.

Being reported now on Fox and CNN

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This Course Has Been Offered Before

Everybody's talking. And talking. Mostly complaints about the response to the effects and aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina. Many on the left are assigning blame for a slow response to the federal government, specifically President Bush. Many on the right are assigning blame for the slow response to the local authorities, specifically the Governor Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. I side with the latter, but that's neither here nor there.

We are being bombarded with images of people crying out for help. Yes, there are multitudes of people requiring assistance. We as a nation are responding, as we should, indeed, we must.

But... Read this excerpt, then go read the whole thing:
Image after image of unrelenting sorrow, layered one atop the other like a deck of haunting cards. A baby held aloft, inches above a sea of desperate faces, gasping for air. The dead left where they've fallen, in plain view, robbed of even the simple dignity of a shroud. Survivors waiting, then begging, then fighting, finally, over food and water.


While the images of natural disasters and man-made ones alike, from Sri Lanka or Baghdad, cause despair, the pictures from New Orleans inspire not just helplessness, but disbelief. The richest, most powerful nation in the world can build schools, hospitals and shelters halfway around the globe, but it can't provide the basic necessities for its own days after a disaster that everybody saw coming?


Usually, we shudder, change the channel or turn the page, awaiting better news. But there is something too compelling about these pictures. The distance between us and the people in them has been narrowed, rendered uncomfortably close, and not just for those who are family, friends or neighbors. We recognize them. We all see people like them.


Back? Great. What did you think after reading that trash? The United States is presently circling the drain, in a cataclysmic descent into third-worldness, right?

WRONG! We are doing just fine, thank you. Except...

What really bothers me about this (and we'll leave the Mainstream Media reporting, the source of this feeling of dispair, as another post) is this (bolds mine):

There will be time enough, too, to assess blame, for politicians to point fingers, find and fire those deemed accountable. And maybe even to figure out how a handful of Southeast Asian governments, whose economies, armies and emergency resources could all be folded comfortably several times inside those of the United States, responded to a tsunami much larger and fiercer than Hurricane Katrina with swiftness and efficiency, and we could not. And so the frustration builds, not so much over what happened, but what did not.

One, I hope those politicians are looking in a mirror when they point the fingers. Probably ain't gonna happen, though.

Two, and this goes along with those saying that we need to step back, look over the things that worked and the things that didn't, so we don't have to go through this again. Uhhh, people, I have to tell you this... this WAS NOT THE FIRST chance to learn about disaster preparedness. Remember August 24, 1992? Think Hurricane Andrew. I participated in the recovery efforts after Andrew, spending a total of four months there (paid work, not volunteer, before you go thinking what a nice guy I am). I saw firsthand the destruction, the suffering, the misery, the seemingly inadequate responses. I say seemingly because the responses, in hindsight, were not inadequate, nor too slow in coming. The greater the response required, the longer the time necessary to accomplish it. Granted, the loss of life and property from the aftermath of Katrina will exceed that of Andrew.

Nevertheless, in the school of life, this course has been offered before. Apparently, not many enrolled, and those that did failed to receive a passing grade. Why not? I refer you to the first bolded passage in the previously quoted section. Politicians are the culprits.

(Thanks to Free Republic for the original link)

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Is It Time To Panic Yet? (Updated)

Was browsing around Snopes tonight, and ran across this:


According to Snopes, the original caption was:
Gasoline customers check prices and leave at a BP station in Stockbridge, Ga., Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005. Gasoline price soared Wednesday toward $3 a gallon in many parts of the country, surpassing that level in some places, such as this station, as key refineries and pipelines remained crippled by Hurricane Katrina, crimping supplies and leading to caps on the amount of fuel delivered to retailers.
Snopes goes on to state:

Prices didn't stay at these levels for long, however — on the same day this photograph was taken, Georgia governor Sonny Perdue signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against price-gouging gasoline retailers:
Good for Sonny!

I mentioned in an earlier post that prices had jumped locally 30 to 50 cents per gallon on Wednesday, with many retailers out of regular. Well, the trend continued, with prices jumping another 10 to 15 cents per gallon today. My local station, and many others, are sitting at 2.99 per gallon of regular this evening. My daughter informed me that stations in Kentucky near where she works were charging 3.09, and that local auto parts stores were completely out of locking gas caps. How well I remember the early 70's and lining up at the pumps at daybreak on alternate days, when your turn was assigned. This sucks, because it's so artificial.

Oil companies are going to have to modify all of their spreadsheets, widening the columns to show the percentage and dollar amounts of their profits. Wait! Wasn't Bush an oil man? Yeah, it's his fault! (disclaimer: the preceding was bleed-over from some blogs that lean the wrong way.)

The mention of oil company profits notwithstanding, I would REALLY hate to see any level of government get involved in any pricing schemes, like price caps and such. bad news, there.

(image credit: Snopes.com)

UPDATE: (9/2/05 - Midnight) Gasoline prices at my local station went up another dime today, with regular now standing at 3.09.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Golden Brown Thumb!

Seems that passing through Chicago O'Hare twice in the past week kinda stuck with me. Tonight I baked some nice garlic bread for dinner, then decided to try my hand at something I'd never done before. Soft Pretzels. Hot out of the oven, a little dab of mustard... mmmm mmmm good!


Of course they don't yet stand up to Chicago standards for size and shape, but practice makes perfect!

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"But for the British, it's all about F---ing."

Can't say it better than the title, go read the whole thing. Sounds like a hoax to me, but what do I effing know?

Update: Well, guess it isn't a hoax, after all.


Also, it doesn't appear to be news, either.


Update II: Maybe it's just the entrepreneur in me, but whenever I read about one of these really attractive signs (street, town, whatever), my first thought is why try to stop the thefts? Surely this little hamlet could use the additional revenue brought in by the sale of stolen signs.

Update III: LOL, how'd you like to have the title of Mayor of Fucking?

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All Bark and No.... Nevermind

Interesting concept, how to remove certain men from the gene pool... and the jean pool. This article concerning a more proactive approach to rape deterrence has some possibilities. (bolds mine)
KLEINMOND, South Africa (Reuters) - A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker's penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.

"Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time," Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex", a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.

An interesting turn of phrase, there...

That would certainly cause some hesitation. The article doesn't go into that much detail about the utilization of the device, other than saying it is worn like a tampon. It seems, though, that a device that is easily removable by the user would also be detectable and removable by the attacker. Then ther is always this concern:


Ehlers, who showed off a prototype on Wednesday, said women had tried it for comfort and it had been tested on a plastic male model but not yet on a live man. Production was planned to start next year.

Volunteers, anyone?

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Lots Happened

Back from my travels to the funeral.


Travels went well, had nice visits with family members I hadn't seen in a long time, weather was perfect.

Last month I commented on the difference of TSA and Airport personnel between several airports, with nothing positive to say about Chicago O'Hare. After this trip, I am forced to revise my opinion somewhat. Previously I had experienced marked rudeness of personnel at O'Hare. This trip, in both transits through O'Hare, I encountered really nice, helpful people, who seemed to enjoy their jobs, and seemed to do them well. I extend my thanks to them, along with the personnel at Nashville and Oakland (CA) airports, for a job well done.

Seems like a lot happened while I was away. The fact of Katrina is inescapable. Lots of damage, many died, multitudes displaced, and still being displaced, by flood waters and lack of normal services. My prayers go out to all of them, and to the dedicated personnel bringing relief to the affected areas. I spent a number of years performing disaster restoration, particularly related to water damage. One of my first major disasters was Hurricane Andrew, so I can relate to what some of these people are experiencing. It will be years before the hardest hit areas recover. Glenn at Instapundit has extensive listing of agencies recommended by others if you are able and inclined to assist. And if you are able, you should be so inclined. Goods, supplies, time and money will all be needed. It's, dare I say it, the American thing to do! If you're a Christian, then it's the Christian thing to do. If you're Jewish... you get the point. Assist, donate, volunteer. Hey, if you're Tennessean, being from the Volunteer State, volunteer!

For every low-life you see on the tiny screen looting shops, there are hundreds of fine people in need who would never do such a thing, and you won't see them on television. A Cajun friend of mine once told me that he considered anyone who lived North of Interstae 10 to be a Yankee... well, it's time for the Yankees to step up and lend a hand.

Doing my usual after being isolated for a while (I really HATE not having internet access!), I checked to see if Fabian Cayetano Urrea had been apprehended for the murder of Jorge Estrada. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Although I do see that he has been upgraded from holding the premier spot in my Blogosphere's Most Wanted (see my sidebar, top left) to a nice spot on America's Most Wanted, aired on August 27th. This guy should be nailed the instant he sets foot back in the U.S. Too bad we can't get him from Mexico!

Although it is meaningless in the grand scheme of things, I see that I have slipped from being a Marauding Marsupial back to an Adorable Rodent in The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem. <sigh>.

More later, maybe. I have to continue my search for employment, and may be (hopefully) too busy to post.

Update: I almost forgot to mention gasoline prices. It seems that due to factors related to Katrina, such as inoperable refineries (no electricity to run them), shut down oil rigs in the Gulf, distribution problems, and other factors, that there is a real shortage of gasoline in some areas. Middle Tennessee is one of those areas. As my nephew drove me home from the airport last night, we stopped to get some gas for his car. Surprisingly, the station was out of regular! The clerk informed us that numerous stations in the area were out, and awaiting delivery. Luckily, for my nephew, we stopped at another station on the way home that was out of the beaten path, and they had regular. I'm not ready to throw out the profiteering charge yet, but I have my suspicions. While I was in the air yesterday, gasoline prices spiked here, up 30 to 50 cents a gallon! Something is not right with this picture.

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