Friday, September 30, 2005

I thought Bush was responsible!

Increased output from the Sun might be to blame for 10 to 30 percent of global warming that has been measured in the past 20 years, according to a new report.

Increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases still play a role, the scientists say.

But climate models of global warming should be corrected to better account for changes in solar activity, according to Nicola Scafetta and Bruce West of Duke University.

The findings were published online this week by the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

My Candidate for Worst Idea Correctly Rejected

A senior U.S. official rejected calls on Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium's principal overseer.

"We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet," said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable."

Hurricane Summary

The following was published on Slate and pretty well sums up the way the events of Katrina were presented.

Liberal position: Racist neglect caused poor New Orleans residents to suffer from the unspeakable things that only a racist would assume actually happened!

Conservative position: A father-less under-culture caused poor New Orleans residents to do the unspeakable things the anti-Bush MSM falsely reported they did!


There is much talk in the blogosphere about budget cuts to offset what is projected to be breath-taking in expendatures for rebuilding the Gulf Coast. The only real place to do this is in entitlements.Of course, it won’t be easy. Ameri cans are too comfortable with their Social Security and Medicare benefits to let them be trimmed without a vicious fight. There is one entitlement, however, that Americans haven’t gotten their claws into because it’s not scheduled to start until Jan. 1: the Medicare prescription drug benefit. To offset the spending on Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction, the Republican Study Committee is proposing cuts that will save nearly $103 billion in 2006, $370 billion over five years and $950 billion over 10. Part of Operation Offset’s savings just happens to come from delaying by one year the start of the prescription drug benefit. Not a bad start. Here’s a great finish: Kill the program before it becomes entrenched and begins to metastasize. As Congress debated the prescription drug benefit for the elderly, the country was told it would cost $400 billion over 10 years. No way. Government programs always grow far beyond their forecast costs. Here are some examples:
  • Consider Medicare. When it was launched in 1965, we were told it would cost $9 billion a year by 1990. Twenty-five years later, its cost was $67 billion. When a special hospital subsidy was added in 1987, Washington said it would cost $100 million in five years. Real cost: $11 billion.
  • Then there was the 1988 projection that Medicare’s home-care program would cost $4 billion by 1993. Five years later, spending was in fact $10 billion.

So it will be with the Medicare prescription benefit. Sen. John McCain said it’s now projected to cost $730 billion over 10 years, a jump of nearly 83% before the first pill is popped. Even that figure’s a bit misleading, because it doesn’t include $134 billion that will be spent by the states, plus other Washington budget tricks. The real cost is going to be closer to $1.2 trillion.
Clearly, the drug benefit will be a budget buster. Surely the Bush administration understands that by enlarging the welfare state now, they'll bleed the public dry later. Tom Delay had to keep the vote open nearly all night to get the thing passed in the House. Killing it with a new Majority Leader should be easy. Hope someone has the courage to challenge the big-spending Bush and kill this baby in its crib.


I guess a governmental agency has to have its rules. Afterall, Congress forces them to do certain things, but I read the other day that some firefighter/EMT volunteers from Indiana signed up to go to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast and FEMA first sent them to Atlanta for 8 hours of sensitivity and diversity training . Geez!

Texas Solution to Looting

Thursday, September 29, 2005

American Society

Charles Murray, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, recently pointed out some statistics which tell a lot about the status of American society today. Here are some of his observations and statistics:
  • The underclass has grown at the same time as crime has been decreasing for 13 years. Even though the crime rate has been dropping, the number of young men who commit crimes if given the opportunity has not dropped. We have just locked them up. When Reagan was first sworn into office 0.9% of the population was in prison. In 2003 it stood at 2.4%. This represents an actual prison population of 490,000 in Reagan's time and 2,086,000 in 1903.
  • Another manifestation of unsocialized young men, most of whom grew up without Fathers, is the proportion of males age 20-24 who choose not to work. In 1954 the figures stood at 9%. In 1999 it had risen to 30% and this doesn't include those which we have locked up in prison.
  • What evidence is there that growing up without Fathers is related to the problem? In the early 1950's, illegitimacy (rate of births to single women) stood at 4%. In 1988 it reached 25%, in 2003 it was 35% and in 2003 the black illegitimacy rate stood at 68%.
  • The saddest aspect of all this is the Democrats rediscovered the plight of this underclass following Katrina and blame it all on Bush and the Republicans , or at least Bush, rediscovered poverty and is now claiming that government can fix it. As if Lyndon Johnson didn't prove that the programs which politicians tout as cures are a mismatch for the problems.

Hard to argue with this

"In 2006, all Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for reelection. They ought to be turned out in droves. Their conduct for the past six years has betrayed every promise they ever made about smaller, less-intrusive government and fiscal responsibility. They passed tax cuts, which in the old days meant less revenue, thus less government. But then they have passed one pork-laden bill after another. They have created new entitlement programs, and they have spent the Treasury dry."
Read the whole thing here.

Hurricane Relief

For some years now, I have not trusted the Red Cross. Their performance with hurricane relief seems to vindicate this opinion. Most reports I read seem to support the conclusion that the Salvation Army is doing a much better job in getting relief to those who need it. I am sure it is a challenge to meet the needs of so many who have lost everything and want instant restoration of their lives, but the Red Cross has collected a billion dollars and hundreds of thousands of volunteers and still can't perform efficiently.
FEMA is apparently a fairly typical government operation. I know you can't believe what you read in the papers--especially an AP report--but evidently a FEMA relief station closed down yesterday because there were too many people there trying to get some help. And it was hot. So they recommended that people go home and call FEMA or get on the internet to register for help. Next they will tell people to call them on their satellite phones or text message with their Blackberries.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

You gotta love the late Henny Youngman

Getting on a plane, I told the ticket lady, "Send one of my bags to New York, send one to Los Angeles, and send one to Miami." She said, "We can't do that!" I told her, "You did it last week!"

The Doctor called Mrs. Cohen saying "Mrs. Cohen, your check came back." Mrs. Cohen answered "So did my arthritis!"

The Doctor says "You'll live to be 60!" "I AM 60!" "See, what did I tell you?"

A doctor says to a man "You want to improve your love life? You need to get some exercise. Run ten miles a day." Two weeks later, the man called the doctor. The doctor says "How is your love life since you have been running?" "I don't know, I'm 140 miles away!"

"Doctor, I have a ringing in my ears." "Don't answer!"

Nurse: "Doctor, the man you just gave a clean bill of health to dropped dead right as he was leaving the office". Doctor: "Turn him around, make it look like he was walking in."

A bum asked me "Give me $10 till payday." I asked "When's payday?" He said "I don't know, you're the one who is working!"

A bum came up to me saying "I haven't eaten in two days!" I said, "You should force yourself!"

Another bum told me "I haven't tasted food all week." I told him "Don't worry, it still tastes the same!"

I played a great horse yesterday! It took seven horses to beat him.

She's been married so many times she has rice marks on her face.

She has a wash and wear bridal gown.

Those two are a fastidious couple. She's fast and he's hideous.

She's a big-hearted girl with hips to match.

This man used to go to school with his dog. Then they were separated. His dog graduated!

During the war an Italian girl saved my life. She hid me in her basement in Cleveland.

Why does the New Italian navy have glass bottom boats? To see the Old Italian Navy!

A woman was taking a shower. There is a knock on the door. "Who is it?" "Blind man!" The woman opens the door. "Where do you want these blinds, lady?"

A man is at the bar, drunk. I pick him up off the floor, and offer to take him home. On the way to my car, he falls down three times. When I get to his house, I help him out of the car, and on the way to the front door, he falls down four more times. I ring the bell, and say, "Here's your husband!" The man's wife says, "Where's his wheelchair?"

n high school football, the coach kept me on the bench all year. On the last game of the season, the crowd was yelling, "We want Youngman! We want Youngman!" The coach says, "Youngman - go see what they want!"

I wish my brother would learn a trade, so I would know what kind of work he's out of.

I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back.

I asked my wife, "Where do you want to go for our anniversary?" She said, "Somewhere I have never been!" I told her, "How about the kitchen?"

My wife and I went back to the hotel where we spent our wedding night. Only this time, I stayed in the bathroom and cried.

Katrina's Research Effects

Since I used to be in the research business to some extent, I found it interesting to read how much the Katrina aftermath affected scientific research--especially biological research. For example, when the power went out in New Orleans and other places in the Gulf Coast, many research labs were fatally crippled. LSU reported that 8,000 research animals were lost due to the loss of temperature control and an inability to even feed them. Similar losses were experienced at Tulane and other research facilities. It will take years to rebuild these resources if it can be done at all.

Another research effort affected was clinical trials. In order to be valid, there must be a continuum of treatment of patients in various groups and this became impossible when the patients couldn't come for treatment visits. The National Cancer Institute alone had 318 trials involving over 7,000 patients registered which have been adversely affected, and in some cases compromised completely.

Finally, the most damaging blow may have been to cells and other biological samples which were being preserved in freezers throughout the area. Preservation of irreplaceable tissues, bacterial cell cultures, and other cells depends almost entirely on liquid nitrogen, which needs to be replenished frequently, or low temperature freezers which, of course, need electric power to function. When exposed to elevated temperatures, the cells die or in the case of serum or other types of research samples, are ruined.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Happy Arrest

Looks like an enjoyable arrest to me.

I am just shocked

Closely on the heels of two hurricanes we now have the slimy trial lawyers moving in. They want to rewrite insurance policies to make the companies which have sold policies with flood exclusions for decades now pay for this form of damage. A tort kingpin by the name of Dickie Scruggs whose own home in Mississippi was damaged now promises to sue for deceptive business practices. He is arguing that since the wind pushed the water during the hurricane the flooding was in fact wind damage.This should be a non-starter since the policies exclude rising water no matter what caused it.

It is important for the insurance companies to win this battle. The way insurance works is the companies assess risk and when an incident occurs, they use the money gathered from the many to pay damage to the few affected. With flood insurance, the only people who will buy the coverage are those who have a risk to flooding. If it is found that legally, the companies writing policies for those in flood zones must pay regardless of exclusions written in plain English, they will be faced with bankruptcy and if they survive, they will have to charge all of us for flood damage, even if we live on mountain tops in the desert. The risk has to be spread in order to be real insurance.
There is an alternative, however. Rational insurance companies could well choose to simply stop writing policies in states like Mississippi where contracts are not worth the paper they are written on.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Middle East Confusion

I admit I am not the first one to be confused by the actions of those in the middle of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but the Gaza situation is fully bazaar. The Israeli citizens have been removed from Gaza and Hamas celebrates their departure by exploding their own rockets killing large numbers of Palestinians. To save face Hamas blames Israel and begins shooting inaccurate rockets into Israel which hurt nobody. In response the Hamas leaders are being pounded with highly accurate missiles being fired in retaliation by the Israeli military. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has chosen to simply call for everyone to play nice rather than exert any form of control over Hamas and other militants. It is hard to see how this is going to end well for those left in Gaza. I have long thought that the only solution to the mess in the Middle East is a decisive military victory and I still feel that way. We may be getting closer to that day.

Quote of the day

In his comment on Hillary Clinton's decision to meet with the Sheehan woman, Mark Steyn says:

Hillary Rodham Clinton has yielded to "pressure" and agreed to meet with Mrs. Sheehan to "explain" her vote for the Iraq war. The dwindling stars of today's Democratic Party expend most of their energy jumping through the ever smaller hoops of an ever kookier fringe.


There is a big movement in the blogosphere to generate political pressure on Congress and President Bush to help pay for hurricane damage by reducing the "set-asides" in the recently passed Highway bill or by some other measures such as delaying the Medicare drug bill which is a gigantic boondoggle. Much sound and fury is directed toward a return to fiscal sanity which Republicans used to rate highly on their agenda. The following quote by Jonah Goldberg sums up my feelings on the subject.

"Expecting Congress — of either party — to give back pork which has already been approved and passed into law is like expecting crack whores to give refunds days after services have been rendered."

This doesn't seem right to me

Women are increasingly seeking inappropriate IVF treatment because they do not have the time or inclination for a sex life and want to "diarise" their busy lives. Wealthy career women in their 30s and early 40s, some of whom have given up regular sex altogether, are turning to "medicalised conception" - despite being fertile and long before they have exhausted the possibility of a natural conception. Read it here.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Best Hiatus

We'll be off to Las Vegas for most of next week. Unless I win one of those casinos, I may not find anything of interest that is worthy of the BestView.

Scalia vs. Schumer; No contest

Speaking recently at Chapman University Law School in California, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said:

"Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?"

Scalia was probably responding to a public release by Senator Schumer of a letter he wrote giving advise to President Bush on how to pick a judge.

"I start by encouraging you to use the same principles that guide me in evaluating judicial nominees. I consider three criteria: excellence, diversity and moderation."

Stupid Questions

As a former Professor, I really enjoyed an article I just read by Mike S. Adams, a professorial slave at UNC Wilmington, which challenges the old saying that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Here are some examples he has endured in his career and you can decide:
  • Why do you consider homosexuality to be abnormal simply because most people don't do it?
  • What makes you think that all illegal aliens have broken the law?
  • Are you going to talk about anything important next class period?
  • Nearly three years ago, a feminist student asked me why she should support the First Amendment rights of the religious right since those people prevented her mother and grandmother from exercising the right to choose an abortion. That was the kind of brilliant question that only an honor student could ask. Surely, she would be less resentful had her mother or grandmother decided to have an abortion.
  • Why do you talk about us trans-sexuals as if we are somehow different from other people
Dr. Adams ends with this advice:

The next time you hear someone ask a stupid question just say "Man, that was a stupid question." Remind the person that the First Amendment gives him a right to show us he is stupid. But, also remind him that the Fifth Amendment can help him keep it a secret.

Global Warming and Hurricanes

The following is an exerpt from an interview with the man who has studied hurricanes for over 50 years. Read the whold thing here.

Glassman: And from a seasonal, monthly point of view, you had been predicting a growing number of hurricanes. Now, my question is in the wake of Katrina and some of the statements that we’ve heard immediately afterwards by advocates of the global warming theory – is global warming behind this increase in hurricanes?

Gray: I am very confident that it’s not. I mean we have had global warming. That’s not a question. The globe has warmed the last 30 years, and the last 10 years in particular. And we’ve had, at least the last 10 years, we’ve had a pick up in the Atlantic basin major storms. But in the earlier period, if we go back from 1970 through the middle ‘90s, that 25 year period – even though the globe was warming slightly, the number of major storms was down, quite a bit down.

Now, another feature of this is that the Atlantic operates differently. The other global storm basins, the Atlantic only has about 12 percent of the global storms. And in the other basins, the last 10 years – even though the Atlantic major storm activity has gone up greatly the last 10 years. In the other global basins, it’s slightly gone down. You know, both frequency and strength of storms have not changed in these other basins. If anything, they’ve slightly gone down. So if this was a global warming thing, you would think, “Well gee, all of the basins should be responding much the same.”

Friday, September 16, 2005

Stuff I ran across today

1. Others have not forgotten. It has now been 229 days since John Kerry promised to release his military records.

2. A few days ago I posted a link to a National Geographic article published last Fall which, writing in the past tense, described what then seemed to be a prescient chronicle of the events in New Orleans. Here is a sample: Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.
Now it looks like it won't be that bad.

3. This look good? Unfortunately, this isn't on my diet anymore. Anything that starts with a pound of bacon is alright with me.

1 lb bacon
1 loaf bread
1(16-oz) ctn sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lg tomato (take out seeds & juice)

Fry bacon until crisp. Cool and break into small pieces. Dice tomato.
Mix sour cream and mayonnaise.
Add tomato and bacon pieces.
Toast 1 loaf of bread and cut in triangles. Serve toast on side for dipping.

Liberal version of Bush Vacation

Katrina in Football Pads

Of all the consequences of Katrina, the one which is now being brought to the surface with the most heat is the way some of the most promising football players on the Gulf Coast have suddenly suited up and starred for teams hundreds of miles from their original schools. It has even been alleged that some coaches actually went to shelters and made it known they needed a running back or wide receiver or whatever. Opposing coaches and fans have charged that the housing and other accommodations for such players and families which accompanied matriculation in the new school may have even been of the quid pro quo ilk. To paraphrase the line from Casablanca, "I am just shocked."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Several years ago I kept a list of my colleagues whom I found especially irritating. Most were also shallow and phony. There were strict rules governing this list. It could only have 10 names on it. In order to add someone new, I had to remove someone. This often proved difficult, but it prevented me from what I feared could be unseemly excess.
I think this might be a good time to resurrect the list for this blog. Obviously, my colleagues and relatives would not be suitable for this blog, even though some could qualify, so I will start with well-known names which illustrate the principle. There are only 5 names at the present time and I can accept nominations as I consider additions to reach the maximum magic number. As you ponder the list, you must keep in mind that you won't make the list if you are just pitiful--like Michael Jackson or Mike Tyson. In addition, if you are just stupid--like Jessica Simpson--there is no way to justify the exclusion of others, like Paris Hilton who is similarily afflicted. So, she won't be on the list.
  1. Dennis Rodman--his brain must rattle around in his skull like a BB in a boxcar. Wasted life.
  2. Geraldo Rivera--what a phony. And slimy.
  3. Jane Fonda--she makes the list in so many ways it is hard to know where to start
  4. Tom DeLay--see comments below
  5. Joe Biden--I have to be careful with politicians since I could easily fill up the entire list with just them. DeLay and Biden, however, are especially phony and in their own way equally vicious and thus despicable.
Hopefully this will give an idea about the list. You can't just be a hopeless liberal like Al Franken or a conservative bloviator like Rush Limbaugh. You can actually find humor in both of these guys. Hollywood is full of candidates and may be represented in the future. The problem is knowing where to start out there. It is sort of like the politician problem. I will keep working on it and consider suggestions of others.

Poor Judge Roberts

This is what happens to someone who has to spend hour after hour listening to Biden, Kennedy, Schumer, et al.

Gas and lettuce

My bride and I have chuckled over the years about the time when for some reason we can't remember that lettuce went from 59 cents per head to well over $1.50. We largely had to either not buy lettuce or pay what we considered exorbitant prices. After a period of some months, the crisis in lettuce abated and the price came down to around 99 cents. To us, that meant the veggie was a bargain and we again bought it with nary a thought.
We are seeing the same thing in gasoline today. After buying a few tanksful at $3.49 per gallon, we have forgotten how neat it was to pay under $2.00 per gallon and now think nothing of filling up at $2.60 per.

Predictable Senators

The Senate Judiciary Committee is stuffed with 18 of the most ideological clowns in that entire body. On the democrat's side, the liberals have had over a month to dig into Robert's background to uncover something which can be used to derail his nomination. They haven't found anything and can't even manufacture something. So they have one last chance to block Judge Roberts. They have to come up with questions in these hearings which trap him into saying something which they can use to parlay into a denial of confirmation. This would be difficult in the best of circumstances since he is smarter than any of them, but the way they procede when the camera is on is almost comical. Each Senator has 30 minutes. Instead of giving Roberts a lot of short questions to answer in the time allotted them, they can't resist long, rambling, self-congratulatory statements with numerous first person references which allows Roberts to just sit there listening to their drivel. You gotta love it.

Monday, September 12, 2005


A female researcher by the name of Barbara McClintock discovered jumping genes in corn. She called these transposons and described them as genes which were able to move from place to place on the chromosome. Finally it was found that such genes were responsible for the different colors in corn. She got the Nobel Prize for this research in 1983 and since then her research has been expanded in remarkable ways. Now, for example, scientists have taken a gene from coral and inserted it into mice and made them glow red, or other colors. A scientist by the name of Tian Xu has recently taken this "trick" which has been done by numerous laboratories, and shown how such transposons, his is called PiggyBac and came from the cabbage looper moth, can be used in genetic modifications at cost of a mere $500. Heretofore, the cost has been $100,000 to create a modified mouse. Now drug companies, for example, can use genes which have been modified to jump will-nilly around cells as they watch to see which genes or combination of genes permit cancer to develop. Another benefit one can predict is gene therapy. Such things as muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, and cystic fibrosis are good candidates for targeting the gene defects which cause them. Until now, however, there has been no cost effective way to address the theoretical approach. A researcher by the name of Largaespada at the University of Minnesota has created a transposon called Sleeping Beauty. Like PiggyBac, his transposon which came from fish, and also works well in mammals. This is all pretty exciting to someone who once studied all of this as a possibility at some time in the distant future.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

West Nile Fever

We should not let idiots like New York's Green Party, which is against killing of mosquitos because it "disrupts the food chain", dictate our reaction to health threats. I have already written about how banning of DDT in developing countries has allowed malaria cases to increase to the point where about 1 million people are killed each year by malaria.

Here is the current situation. We have the Gulf Coast with standing water and mosquitos breeding at abnormally high rates at a time when the mosquito-borne viral infection known as West Nile Fever is gaining in both incidence and severity. Last year there were 2,500 serious cases and 100 deaths from West Nile. The virus reservoir is animals--mostly birds-- and there is a time lag between animals becoming infected, mosquitos conveying the virus to humans and the incubation time until serious infection is recognized. The virus has been found in birds in 44 states and Louisiana is 4th in the number of human infections. Conditions in New Orleans can reasonably lead to an increase in cases despite a warning by the CDC to avoid mosquito bites by wearing clothes which cover the skin, using insect repellent and removing standing water. Good luck. The CDC doesn't challenge the politically charged suggestion that insecticides could be used.
In 1972, on the basis of data on toxicity to fish and migrating birds, the EPA banned almost all uses of DDT. It is ironic, of course, that the substance banned largely because of its toxicity to birds is now unavailable to kill mosquitos bearing a virus which is killing birds by the millions. We should declare an exception to the ban on the use of DDT in the New Orleans area for mosquito control. There are no good alternatives since DDT is long acting and could well spare a lot of people in the New Orleans area a life-threatening and preventable disease.

Whose side are they on???

The House yesterday passed a resolution commemorating the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. It extended sympathy to the victims and survivors; honored the military, first responders, and others who helped; thanked foreign leaders for their support; declared that America is not waging war "on any people or any faith"; reaffirmed a commitment to the global war on terrorism; and vowed "never [to] forget the sacrifices made" on 9/11 or to "bow to terrorist demands."

No one could disagree with that, right? Not quite. The House vote for the resolution was 402-6; here are the six far-left Democrats who voted "no":

  • John Conyers (Mich.)
  • Barbara Lee (Calif.)
  • Jim McDermott (Wash.)
  • Cynthia McKinney (Ga.)
  • Pete Stark (Calif.)
  • Lynn Woolsey (Calif.)

Katrina Photos

This is an interesting picture on the Gulf Coast looking back from the beach inland. It is easy to see how far inland the water surge went. Above that, structures pretty much survived.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Good Recommendation

I just ran across the following written by a blogger whom I follow fairly often. He posts mostly on other things, but I intend to at least tape the program.

The story of Flight 93 is extraordinary. "The Flight That Fought Back" is an extraordinary documentary.

On September 11, at 9 PM (ET/PT), Discovery Channel will screen this documentary in the United States, with other countries to follow soon (please check you local TV guides for details). Thanks to the show's creators, I got a sneak preview and just finished watching it.

I cannot recommend it highly enough.

You simply cannot miss it. I never type in capitals to make a point, but you can take it that I am now. Extensively researched and drawing on some previously unpublished information, "The Flight That Fought Back" provides the most complete and comprehensive recreation of events onboard Flight 93. It's a stunning, immensely moving production.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

ESPN is an idiot

Unless you watch college football, this might not mean much to you, but ESPN has fired Trev Alberts and kept Lee Corso. In doing so, they have eliminated one of their few personalities that give an honest and intelligent opinion and retained the buffoonery we see and hear from Lee Corso on Gameday.

Corps of Engineers Projects in New Orleans

Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic.

Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing. Read the entire article here in the Washington Post.

I was mildly surprised to read in this paper that the stinginess of the Bush administration was not responsible for the breech of the levees.

Buddy Holly

Today is the anniversary of Buddy Holly's birth. What an unbelievable impact he achieved in a recording career that lasted less than two years. When he died at age 22 in the famous plane crash of February 1959 while on his way from Clear Lake, Iowa to a concert in Moorhead, Minnesota, he had established himself as a precocious musician of great gifts.

Writing and singing his own songs, fronting his own four-piece band, introducing the Fender Stratocaster as the supreme rock axe, Holly inspired a legion of followers. Foremost among the followers, of course, were the Beatles. They paid tribute to Holly in their name, a play off of Holly's Crickets, the group that had backed him on his first hits. But the Beatles were only the most prominent of an improbable crew of successors including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Elvis Costello.

The song that put Holly on the charts was "That'll Be the Day," a takeoff on John Wayne's line in "The Searchers." The hits that followed were "Peggy Sue," "Oh, Boy!" "Maybe Baby," "Rave On," "Heartbeat," and "It Doesn't Matter Anymore." Among the nonhits are such knockouts as "Words of Love," "Well All Right," and "Not Fade Away."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Earl Pitts, American

Earl Pitts comes on my radio station every day at about 9:30 am and offers up some red-neck wisdom. Yesterday he made the observation that a naked woman could get a man to do whatever she wanted. Never had thought about it before, but I guess ol' Earl has that about right.

Rehnquist Humor

Rehnquist actually possessed a sense of humor. Not too many years ago, while addressing a ceremony at the University of Virginia Law School, he began his speech by noting that the audience was filled with lawyers and nonlawyers alike.

"In the past, when I've talked to audiences like this, I've often started off with a lawyer joke, a complete caricature of a lawyer who's been nasty, greedy and unethical. But I've stopped that practice," he said.

"I gradually realized that the lawyers in the audience didn't think the jokes were funny and the nonlawyers didn't know they were jokes."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Foreign Assistance

In an earlier blog I wondered how other nations would respond to our Gulf Coast hurricane and the resultant destruction. Well, the evidence is coming in and overall other countries are really stepping up to pledge assistance. For example, Bangladesh, one of the worlds poorest countries is sending $1 million and France is sending some cots.

Monday, September 05, 2005

National Geographic Article, October 2004

This article is not even a year old and it describes pretty well what we are now observing in New Orleans.

Funny if it weren't pathetic

EFFORTS by Hollywood actor Sean Penn to aid New Orleans victims stranded by Hurricane Katrina foundered badly overnight, when the boat he was piloting to launch a rescue attempt sprang a leak.

Penn had planned to rescue children waylaid by Katrina's flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch.

The actor, known for his political activism, was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup.

When the boat's motor failed to start, those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street.

Nobody was rescued since his entourage filled the boat.

Bush's Elevation of John Roberts

When Sandra Day O'Connor retired, the liberals insisted Bush appoint a centrist to replace her and maintain the balance on the court. Now that Bush has named Roberts who clerked under Rehnquist ( whom they considered a right-wing, conservative, originalist) to replace Rehnquist as Chief Justice, I wonder if they will be happy?

Economic Ramifications of Katrina

  1. National debt will go up and the movement toward lowering taxes will be confounded.
  2. Unemployment will go up.
  3. The Fed may stop raising interest rates. At least they should.
  4. Online retail sites will be affected. People who once used the internet to shop and book travel will not have computers for some time. I read today that companies like Amazon have many orders ready to ship to the affected area and, of course, the addresses on the orders no longer exist. Credit card companies will have to unwind a lot of charges.
  5. Companies like Home Depot will benefit. So will home builders and road builders and companies which sell heavy equipment, like Caterpillar, will do well.
  6. Gulf shipping and much of the economic benefit will shift to the Florida panhandle (think Panama City) since it has the only other deep water port available. Wish I owned real estate around there.
Everyone is predicting widespread health problems could arise among those displaced and affected by the environmental exposure they endured. The nature and extent of that could well affect the drug companies, vaccine producers, hospitals, etc. Must keep an eye out for investment opportunities in that regard.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Random Thoughts

  1. The situation in New Orleans that developed after the levee broke and those who tried to help were fired upon is the best argument for gun ownership I can think of. Liberals can stay with the flawed argument that lawlessness is best dealt with by police until pigs fly, but I want my own guns.
  2. With a hurricane bearing down on the city of New Orleans one must ask whether it was George Bush's job to evacuate those who were at risk or did that job fall at the mayoral and/or governor level of responsibility? If Osama had blown a hole in one or more of those levees, would the response have been better? I think it would have been.
  3. "This poor woman who's the governor of Louisiana, and floundering away on TV, she'd be out of her depth even if her city wasn't flooded. There's a level at which at some point, you have to talk about the political authority. When you send in an inadequate police force, to relieve a stadium, where people have gone to take refuge, and instead they're being raped in there, and you send 80 police officers, and the police officers are being beaten back by the rapists, that's a poor political decision." This observation by Mark Steyn pretty much sums up the quality of leadership at the state level.
  4. They should capture the guys who were shooting at the children's hospital and other relief workers and lock them in the Superdome.
  5. After looking at the football scores from yesterday, I imagine Oklahoma and Auburn learned the truth of the old Southern saying:"The sun don't shine on the same dog's ass every day".
  6. It took a 100 years storm and a Supreme Court Chief Justice death to do it, but it looks like the cable networks will finally let poor Natalee Halloway rest in peace.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina Charity

The following are good charities for helping Katrina victims I have discovered.

We are giving to both.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gas Prices

Here in the South we have some panic attacks on the gas pumps since the word went out that there would be no or not enough gas soon. Everyone is faced with pump price shock here in the wake of Katrina. However, as you stand watching the total being summed up as you pump gas, keep the following in mind:
  1. If ANWR drilling had been approved in 1995 when Clinton nixed it, we would be producing another million barrells of oil a day (5% of our total consumption) which would reduce gas prices, oil imports, and our susceptibility to things like Katrina.
  2. Federal law prohibits energy exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Continental Shelf plus much of the Rocky Mountains and the waters off California. According to the latest studies by the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, this has increased the price of natural gas by 83% in the past 41 months and cost consumers more than $111 billion.
  3. We haven't built a gasoline refinery since 1976 because of environmental regulations and on top of that Congress has mandated 13 special blends of gasoline which add 4 to 8 cents to a gallon of gas. This also makes it more difficult to refine, store, and distribute these regional blends. The latest is a requirement to double the amount of ethanol used in gas which will raise gas prices and do little to clean the air.

Another double standard

Back in 1997, George Stephanopoulos, fresh from his influential post in the Clinton White House, called for the assassination of Saddam Hussein in a Newsweek article subtly titled “Why We Should Kill Saddam.”
No self-righteous editorials condemning Stephanopoulos as a loose cannon. No endless talking-head discussions on how his words upset our diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. No reprimands on how a dictator was given proof that the U.S. was out to get him.
Instead, Stephanopoulos has been rewarded with media prominence and gets to expound his moderate views on ABC’s “This Week.”
Unlike private citizen Robertson, Stephanopoulos advanced his idea when he still had the ear of the U.S. president, after we had just fought a war with Iraq. “Assassination may be Clinton’s best option,” Stephanopoulos wrote. “If we can kill Saddam, we should.”
I suspect the media outrage over Robertson is really undisguised glee over the opportunity and ammunition he gave them to broadly paint the Christian right, a major part of the Bush base, as a bunch of loonies, as opposed to cooler heads like Howard Dean.

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