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Archive for September, 2005

Is That A Technical Term, Senator?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Arlen Specter (R – PA) to John Roberts (Nom – SCOTUS) on Roe v. Wade:

“Would you think that Roe might be a super-duper precedent?” Specter probed, pointing to times it has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Tomorrow Specter is expected to “double-dog dare” Roberts to answer questions.

Hitchens to Debate Galloway

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

It’s been in the makings for quite some time, but liberal hawk Christopher Hitchens is set to debate anti-war loon George Galloway tomorrow. Hitchen’s take on the event can be found here. Behold, a sample:

Can I convey the deep sense of delight that stole over me when I learned that George Galloway and Jane Fonda were to go on an “anti-war” tour together and that the idea of this perfect partnership had come from Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues?

The pure silliness and risibility of the thing would have been quite beyond one’s power of invention. And, oh, just to be present when they finally meet. Jane can shyly tell George, who yells daily about the rape of Jerusalem by Zionism, of the brave days in 1982 when she and Tom Hayden went to entertain Gen. Sharon’s invading troops in Lebanon. He can huskily and modestly discuss (he says he’s a great admirer of her role in Barefoot in the Park) his long record as one of Britain’s leading pro-life politicians, and his more recent outrage at the judicial “murder” of Terri Schiavo.

So long, Brownie.

Monday, September 12th, 2005

Thanks for nothin’.

Mike Brown resigns, R. David Paulison gets the White House nod.

Imagine! A director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency having experience directing personnel during… wait for it… EMERGENCIES!

Twenty-five Stupid Quotes About Hurricane Katrina

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

I’d copy and paste a favorite here, if it weren’t so very sad and very real. (Hosted at the craptastic about.com, so I hope you have your pop-up blocker ready.)

Via Sploid

You People Are So Screwed

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Via Drudge: Scientists discover growing volcanic bulge in Eastern Oregon.

A large, slow-growing volcanic bulge in Eastern Oregon is attracting the attention of seismologists who say that the rising ground could be the beginnings of a volcano or simply magma shifting underground.

That’s right, Bend, nature is coming for you.

Oregon Legislator News

Thursday, September 8th, 2005

Rep. Kelley Wirth Hit by Car – Driver Charged with Attempted Murder

An Oregon legislator, Rep. Kelley Wirth (D-Corvallis), was hit by a car driven by the angry and jealous girlfriend of a man with whom Rep. Wirth was allegedly in a relationship. [Superflous “with” removed by the department of redundancy department.]

Former Rep. Dan Doyle to Plead Guilty to Filing False Reports

In other news, former Rep. Dan Doyle (R-Salem) is evidently going to plead guilty to filing false campaign finance reports. His wife is also going to plead guilty. According to the article, the former lawmaker said “I did in fact file 11 reports over those years that were false. When I appear in court on Friday, I intend to plead guilty as charged.”

Former Eugene Mayor Jim Torrey Announces Bid for State Senate

Former Mayor Jim Torrey has tossed his hat into the race for the Senate seat currently held by Vicki Walker (D-Eugene). Torrey, a Republican, served two terms as mayor and declined to run for a third term despite efforts by some groups to convince him to run again.

Thanks to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Albany Democrat-Herald, and OregonLive, for the above linked articles.

UPDATE: Fixed an instance of Rep. Kelley Wirth’s name that was misspelled.

At some point, I hope, red tape should give way to reality

Thursday, September 8th, 2005

From a report asking why helicopters weren’t more quickly dispatched to New Orleans:

Because of worries that terrorists could take advantage of such chaos, FEMA now must abide by post-9/11 security procedures, such as putting air marshals on flights. That meant stranded residents couldn’t be evacuated from the New Orleans airport until FEMA had rounded up dozens of Transportation Security Administration screeners and more than 50 federal air marshals. Inadequate power prevented officials from firing up X-ray machines and metal detectors until the government decided evacuees could be searched manually.

(Hat tip: Hit & Run.)

We Got A Nice Quiet Beach Community Here, And I Aim To Keep It Nice And Quiet…

Thursday, September 8th, 2005

Words fail:

We questioned why we couldn’t cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. [The sheriffs] responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City… All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot. Meanwhile, the only two City shelters sank further into squalor and disrepair. The only way across the bridge was by vehicle.

Whole thing here, via Samizdata.

I didn’t even excerpt the worst bits. If this story checks out, heads should roll.

“Convey a positive image”

Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

More good news about the neutered and listless FEMA:

The government’s disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the region – and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents.

Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff roughly five hours after Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29. Brown said that among duties of these employees was to “convey a positive image” about the government’s response for victims.

Gosh, and they couldn’t even get that one down.

After The Rehn(quist)

Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

John Roberts now tapped for Chief Justice. There are some potentially interesting repercussions here.

Firstly, it’s an excellent move from a political standpoint, as most on the left have conceded Roberts’ nomination as associate justice. It’ll be hard to manufacture opposition to his nomination as CJ from thin air. Also, in the absence of an extensive judicial record, one of Roberts’ main features was that he was respected and liked by the other justices, having argued fifty-odd 39 cases before them. This actually seems like a better qualification for CJ than associate.

On the other hand, this makes Roberts, technically, Rehnquist’s successor. Now all the nonsense about unbalancing the Court will come back into play with the next nominee. In the wake of the horrific federal mismanagement of Katrina, and the predictable upswing in Kanye West-style identity politics, there will be even more pressure to fill the remaining vacancy with a female or non-white justice.

Suits me fine: Janice Rogers Brown is, of course, a female non-white justice. Alas, there’s basically no chance of that happening. On the other hand, did I mention that Edith Clement is from Louisiana? (Well, OK, Alabama. But she worked there a lot, according to Wikipedia.) Not sure how I feel about Clement, but I’m pretty sure I prefer her to Gonzales. Dan, please enlighten us when you have a minute.

Meanwhile, here‘s a moderately depressing Plastic thread.

PayPal Shuts Down Katrina Donation Drive

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

My blog post last week about how terrible PayPal is now has exemplery backing evidence. Check out the front page of Something Awful (saved copy here.) PayPal’s seized over $20,000 in hurricane relief donations because of unconfirmed and unexplained “suspicious behavior.” I guess making 2.35% of the donations wasn’t enough for the greedy bastards.

Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court William Rehnquist Dead

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

Seven minutes ago, age 80. Full Fox here.

I have my preferences for the next Chief Justice, but that seems the wrong thing to think of at a time like this.

Update by Michael G.: Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a Biography.

On Quitters

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

I can’t even begin to form coherent thoughts about this ignorant asshole’s latest column:

It’s over for the Saints. Their city, their stadium, their lives are a mess. And given the death toll and the economic devastation of Katrina, the franchise’s future is somewhere else.

While most the city of New Orleans lies under seven feet of water, thousands lie dead, and tens of thousands lie in shelters, this impotent sack of bloody whore pus is advocating that the perenially-losing team that the city has (for some reason) wildly supported for 38 years pack up its bags and move to Los Angeles. LA, a city of nearly four million people, has such finnicky and worthless fanbase that in the past it couldn’t support one pro team. Look at how LA treats the Clippers… the Saints would need a whiny probable rapist as team captain to get any Angelinos to fill the seats.

The Saints permanently leaving would be laughable if the city’s existing wounds weren’t so fresh and deep. Tom Benson may be many things, but he’s not stupid when it comes to non-football matters. He would be a villain the likes of which America has never seen. To New Orleanians, Bin Laden and Benedict Arnold would be remembered fondly in comparison. If anything, this disaster has solidified the Saints’ place in Louisiana.

But allow me to address Czarnecki and the other defeatist shitferbrains who are calling for New Orleans to not be rebuilt (or in Dennis “Pork” Hastert’s case, further demolished):

When the World Trade Center buildings collapsed, did we question rebuilding such a commanding symbol of America’s economic power? Hell, the site is a ripe target for terrorists: After they were attacked by terrorists in 1993, didn’t people realize that it may be attacked again? After they were destroyed by terrorists in 2001, didn’t the plans for a replacementinclude safety measures in the highly likely event it would also be attacked? Despite the high probability of further attacks, New York has persisted in its efforts to replace the towers. And thank God for that, because despite what some raving lunatics claim, New Yorkers (and Americans in general) aren’t cowards and quitters.

Meanwhile, America fights a global war on terrorism despite cloudy end goals and long odds. Some funny-smelling slack-jawed idiots call for America to remove its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Because our military is sustaining casualties and costing us vast sums of money. Well, I’ve never heard of a bloodless and inexpensive war that was worth fighting. If there is one thing that can be learned from the early years of the (then-unknown) war on terrorism, it’s that quitting empowers terrorists.

The situation New Orleans now finds itself in was repeatedly predicted and well-known by anyone with even a remote knowledge of its levee system. If rebuilt, the city will still be in danger. Another massive hurricane is nearly guaranteed within the next 100 years.

But as with the WTC, the global war on terrorism, and fast cars and short skirts, quitting is not an option. The greatest war of all remains that of humankind versus nature: the fight to control disease, to survive natural disaster, and to control the primal yet natural instincts that resides deep within all of us. The french quarter still stands, downtown still stands, many of the residential areas still stand. Fuck no. If the people of New Orleans will still cheer for a shitty football team after 38 years of ineptitude, what makes you think they’ll cede their home to Poseidon?

But while quitting should not be a choice in any necessary conflict, proceeding blindly without concern for the mistakes of the past is equally foolhardy. Jeff Jarvis links to an old Times Picayune article detailing some of the regulatory changes and infrastructure improvements that must be implemented in order to survive future storms. The destruction of the wetlands south of New Orleans is perhaps the biggest contributor to the severity of incoming Hurricanes. As the Picayune mentions, normal coastal restoration techniques are not enough, new methods are needed. When most people think of environmentalists, they think of mouth-breathing potheads chaining themselves to trees and torching SUVs, but it’s time for mainstream and bi-partisan environmentalists concerned with coastal management rather than pure conservation to be seen and heard. If I’m missing a group that’s doing this, please alleviate my ignorance.

There are too many who have died or lost everything they have for New Orleans to ever be the same. But the city’s infrastructure can and will be rebuilt, and I for one plan to be there for Super Bowl XLIV.

UO Offers to Help Students Affected by Katrina

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Kudos to the UO administration for offering to help students from the Gulf Coast area. One question, though: what happens to a student from, say, UNO who is unable to return to school for longer than one term?

The university will make every effort to accommodate the students affected by the hurricane and will work with each student individually to address their specific needs, including admission, academic and personal advising, course placement, housing and financial aid,” Moseley said. “We expect that many of these students will want to return to the institutions where they originally enrolled as soon as possible. Those who are able to return to those institutions before the end of the term will receive tuition refunds.

(emphasis added)

Will the administration’s generosity expire if New Orleans takes longer than four months to rebuild? One would hope not.

A Man With Vision

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

And also a comedian, apparently.

“The good news is – and it’s hard for some to see it now – that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house – there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.’ (Laughter).” – President George W. Bush, today.

From Andrew Sullivan.