30 September 2005

Remember the Green Bus and Keep it Holy

I'm always on the hunt for hypocrisy; everything from crooked fools trying to tell me how to live as they run from their own mirrors, to convertible owners who drive with the top up on beautiful days.

Here's one I'm trying out: Close your eyes, and picture the crowd that shouts the loudest for the elimination of any hint of religion. They scream about an invocation at a commencement, they weep and wail over the logo a city uses on it's letterhead (never mind the factual history of the city), and if the Boy Scouts want to have a meeting in a public school, well they basically swallow their own tongues in fits of rage. You know the crowd that always thinks there's some chapter in the U.S. Constitution that separates church and state? Got 'em pictured? There are lots of these people who worship the late U. S. Senator Paul Wellstone, and want nothing more than to have their religion spread throughout public life.
This weekend, students at Brandeis University in Massachusetts are learning the ABCs of political organizing at the new "Campus Camp Wellstone." Actors at the Great American History Theater in St. Paul are rehearsing "Wellstone," a three-person play based on the life of the late U.S. senator from Minnesota. Construction workers are pouring sidewalks at the nearly-finished Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center for Community Building in St. Paul. And today, a month shy of the third anniversary of the couple's death, the Wellstone Memorial and Historic Site will be dedicated in Eveleth, Minn., near the field where the senator's plane crashed, killing all seven aboard. Nearly three years after his death, Paul Wellstone's legacy shows no sign of diminishing. Two books about the senator were published this month alone. Wellstone Action!, a liberal political training center based in St. Paul, boasts 8,500 alumni across the country and now is adding "advanced placement" classes. And at least a dozen buildings are named after Wellstone and/or his wife, Sheila, including schools, a housing complex and a battered women's center. Celebrities such as actors Robert Redford and Warren Beatty offer support to Wellstone's training network. Lesser-known Minnesota artists have paid their respects with everything from a seed-art portrait displayed at the Minnesota State Fair to Wellstone-inspired songs with titles such as "Who Will Lead Us Now?"
Here's a rendering of the memorial the be built near the site of the plane crash. Tell me it's not a shrine. Check out this poor, lost soul seeking salvation in the form of a politician:
The moment I saw the green bus it all came flooding back to me. The overwhelming feelings of loss. The gaping hole that his absence left in our community's landscape. The fear that we will never again elect a leader with that level of heart and conviction. He cared about the little people. He was an advocate for them.

Wellstone fought passionately for people who had been forgotten and disenfranchised. He fought for people who didn't have any fight left in them. He believed in them and he dedicated his life's work to them. The little people. The runners who struggled at the back of the pack. His death marked the end of an era. It seems as if everything changed when Wellstone died.
Wellstone was an enigma for me. He said he would only seek one term, but like so many other politicians, he couldn't walk away, and ran for a second term. As much as I never fell in with Wellstone's political ideology, I always admired his gumption. He was a tireless guy, but I often felt his energies were misdirected. I even felt envy for his devotees, for I would like to vote for that I believe in so wholly.

Just not so Holy.

Nose Under Threat; Face Needs Spite

There's this writer you like. You've read most of their work. Their style or subject choice holds your interest. They are consistent, but not totally predictable. This writer has a mind of their own and, although you've never met, you feel like you know and trust them by their work. This writer's never helped you paint your house, or picked up garbage from the side of the road, but their contribution to your life is all you really expect.

After some time, you learn one new thing about this writer. Maybe it's that they square dance, and you think square dancing is stupid. Maybe they drink whole milk and, as a skim drinker, whole milk creeps you out. Maybe this writer loves San Francisco, but you were mugged there one time, and would never go back.

Knowing this one new thing, will you buy their next book?

Do you now throw this writer on the scrap heap because of their square dancing? The writer has never mentioned square dancing in their work. Do you hate whole milk so much that you'll never crack their pages again? You just saw a very positive review of this writer's soon-to-be-released book, but that thing they have for San Francisco is The Last Straw! All you have ever expected of this writer is to work in a manner that produces results that range from amicable to pleasing to rewarding, but now, because of something wholly unrelated to their writing, you write them off.

Randy Kelly is the mayor of Saint Paul. He comes from a modest, blue-collar neighborhood on St. Paul's East Side, where he still lives. He's run a tight ship at city hall, and the benefits are everywhere. There are new business coming into the city, property taxes remained nearly flat, the crime rate is low (especially compared the zoo across the river). There have been 5,000 new housing units built during his term, and the city retained a AAA bond rating in spite of huge cuts in state aid. He a tireless booster for the city, can properly saddle a horse, and knows a two-line pass when he sees it. He frequently wears boots and jeans in public, and moved his elderly mother into his house. Pardon my spin, but he's a good mayor and a good guy. He's been a Democrat for over 30 years, but there is no reason to hold that against him.

During the last presidential election cycle, Randy Kelly endorsed George W Bush. He cited the climate in the world, and thought it'd be better to stick with Bush. Now, here, the holier-than-thou Democrats are turning on him for that reason and that reason alone. They say he's no longer 'Democrat enough' for their petty, narrow worldview, and one strain of extreme idiots are actually trying to recall Kelly. They haven't even hinted he's committed the shallowest wisp of malfeasance; they want Kelly out only because he endorsed Bush over 2 years ago, and they can't stand that.

Kelly's endorsement of Bush changed nothing for anyone in St. Paul, yet people are so consumed by hatred, and so stuck on stupid, that they carry this straw-man grudge around like a boat anchor. It becomes this imaginary itch they cannot scratch.

I back Kelly because I approve of his pragmatic approach to government. The fact that he belongs to a political party I frequently oppose has never been an issue for me, because Kelly puts city ahead of party; he does what's right for St. Paul, not what Howard Dean tells him.

The primary election did not go well for Kelly. I hope people snap out of their zombie-like state and evaluate him on the job he's done in city hall, for St. Paul, and not on what type of milk is in his refrigerator. Katherine Kersten has a nice wrap up to my rant:

By rejecting Kelly -- a successful sitting mayor with a vibrant vision for St. Paul -- the DFL is sending a message to voters: This party has no room for those who don't hew to a narrow, ideological party line. Party officials have descended to pettiness to enforce conformity. Last month, according to news reports, they voted to exclude Kelly from a customary invitation to serve ice cream at the party's State Fair booth.

Obviously, the DFL's narrow-mindedness poses a problem for Randy Kelly. Yet in 2001, he won the mayor's seat without the party's endorsement. In last week's primary, Kelly struck out with DFL stalwarts. But he will work hard to reach a cross-section of voters in the general election.

By rejecting Kelly, the DFL is shooting itself in the foot. American political parties have grown significantly weaker in recent years. Their base among voters has contracted as they have become more ideological. Since the 1970s, the turnout at both Minnesota's Democratic and Republican precinct caucuses has declined dramatically. Today more than one-third of national voters call themselves independents and tell pollsters that neither party reflects their views exactly.

28 September 2005

Public Record Review

A good friend of mine made me a mix CD. I figured why not review it in public, for all the world to see:

1-Guitars & Cadillacs by Dwight Yoakam. The very song that, for me, pole-vaulted Dwight Yoakam out of the pile of hat-wearing phonies and right into the world of authenticity.

2-Blame the Vain by Dwight Yoakam. New Dwight and I hadn't heard it before. Like The Simpsons, still good as ever.

3-I'll Pretend by Dwight Yoakam. Also new. I love that little 1-2 bounce shuffle thing, whatever you musicians call it. See above.

4-Casino Queen by Wilco. Wilco sometimes baffle me. I like the stuff from AM, but they seem to be unsatisfied with that vein. Like Son Volt, I am really attracted to Midwest themes, whatever those might be.

5-Box Full of Letters by Wilco. I like the lyrics and the stompy beat. I have a dream about hiring a band to play in an old wood barn for a big ol' pig roast. Wilco'd be a pretty darn good choice for that.

6-Cry, Cry, Cry by Robbie Fulks. Cover of the Johnny Cash classic. This version had me in the first 3 seconds; very true to the Tennessee Two. Tribute albums used to suck. Not so much recently.

7-Let it Ride by Ryan Adams. The first time I heard Ryan Adams was in a rented Ford Explorer. The Mrs. and I were leaving Louisville heading for a wedding somewheres near the Indiana/Illinios border. I don't remember the album played by the college station at the bottom of the dial, but I sent them a thumbs-up email about it as soon as I got to a PC. No reply. The scenery northwest of Louisville into south Indiana was a nice surprise.

8-V by Golden Smog. This always sounded like two songs to me. I like the chorus better than the verses. Very much a clone of contemporary Jayhawks efforts, personnel notwithstanding.

9-Pecan Pie by Golden Smog. A new song for me. I dig the casualness of the arrangement. Sounds like they recorded take #2 or 3, said "that's plenty good," and moved on.

10-Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. I grew up poisoned by KQRS, and therefore bristle at dinosaur rock, but to be fair, I'm trying to listen again to the occasional track by Bob Seger, Blue Oyster Cult or Heart, just to make sure I know what I'm poo-pooing. I like Born to Run because I believe the emotion, and the production of the song is stunning.

11-Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. Not quite as fat as Born to Run. I still buy it, although, like a lot of Springsteen's stuff of the era, its themes are ones that I do not relate to in the least.

12-You're Still Standing There by Steve Earle. There's great romance in a good duet. In this case it's Earle and Lucinda Williams. The best songs are always about the confusion and comfort that's part and parcel to matters of the heart. A good, clean, simple tune.

13-The Road Goes on Forever by Joe Ely. A new song for me. I listened to it in headphones in the dark, and couldn't wait for the resolution. This version was recorded live, and Ely really works a sly drama with the story. It's quite the contrast to Robert Earl Keen's lighter original.

14-Some Girls by The Rolling Stones. You mean that album had a title song? It sounds exactly what I picture the Stones sounding like, talking like, walking like, acting like etc., in the soft focus of the late 70's - Keith and Mick looking around, wondering how much longer this'll all go on.

15-Far Away Eyes by The Rolling Stones. This was on the b-side of the Miss You 45, which my friend Doug had. We used to laugh at it since it was evidnet to us (even as 8th graders) that not everyone can pull off country music. This was the first time I've heard it not from vinyl.

16-Bottom Dollar by Eddie Spaghetti. A tough nut to crack; not Keen, not Eaglesmith, not Auldridge, not Shaver . . . A nice song and a good album cover. I'll be looking further into Mr. Spaghetti's body or work.

So for presentation, I can only go 4 out of 10, because the CD was written on with a Sharpie and had no liner notes. For technical execution, a 2, since the last 3 tracks (there were 19 on the disc) didn't play, but I blame that Steve Jobs and his damned DRM-encrusted iTunes, and not the compiler, whose heart was in the right place. For song selection, a 9; a little Detroit Techno would have made it a 10, and that stuff never hurt any mix, ya know.

That Pesky Internet

I tell ya, these days, it's very easy to have your cover blown.

So the photo is a lie, which you'd never know seeing it in a newspaper or on the Tee Vee News unless the journalist has the will and the savvy to find out what was really going on.

A commenter on the WhizBang stie sums it up: "Eddy is a software guy and his scheming ways get outed by Google. How stupid is this guy?"

27 September 2005

CNN Sucks Like No Other

ITEM 1 - Two weeks ago CNN (and most everyone else) was lighting up the president for not being anywhere near Katrina damage moments after the rain stopped. Tonight, as Bush arrives in the region for the 7th time (that's about once ever four days since), CNN is blowin' the lid off the cost of the fuel required to shuttle this president, not any president, mind you just This One, to and fro. "Oh Jeez," sez leggy Paula Zahn, "just yesterday Bush tells everyone to cut back on fuel consumption, and what does he do? He takes off in a big airplane that uses lots and lots of fuel. How mindlessly inane can correspondent Suzanne Malveaux specifically, and TV news in general possibly get? After the shocker headline, those mental midgets never actually did any math to put their hype into perspective. You want something to bitch about, Paula, how about the Yankees flying to Boston, ot the Nationals flying to New York while we all subsidize that east-coast heavy turd called Amtrak.

ITEM 2 - Next story has Susan Candiotti talking to people who are still living in FEMA trailers post Hurricane Charley; yes the one that went through greater Punta Gorda, Florida over a year ago. Shockingly, she found some folks without teeth who weren't happy there, and still didn't know where to go. Never mind that they are living rent-free for 18 months, they don't like the conformity of the surroundings.

CANDIOTTI: FEMA's emergency housing trailers in Punta Gorda, Florida, stretch as far as the eye can see. They were put here as an oasis for last year's homeless after Hurricane Charley. But many residents call it a nightmare.

DOYLA LANE, RESIDENT: It's all identical. You cannot have no individuality.
Time to grow up, Doyla. Where's the pile of cash you should have from living for free for 13 months? You got that working for ya?

ITEM 3 - Then we went to the Ninth Ward in New Orleans. There was the always-available city council type talking to John King. She was all set with the black helicopter/foil hat theory about rebuilding someday:
WILLARD-LEWIS: I'm not so foolish as to believe that other agendas are not being fashioned. I would imagine that individuals who focus on the wealth of the land, who focus on the fact that, perhaps, with higher integrity of the levee system, high-rise buildings might be fashionable and trendy.
John King comes back with the nugget that over 50% of the neighborhood was rental, which means that the former residents don't really have a say in what gets built and when, but that doesn't prevent the nutria-eatin' alligator tears about the whole dang deal.

All three of these stories do nothing but perpetuate in the minds of shockingly Stuck-on-Stupid America the sense that they can have what they want when they want it. Nothing bad just happens, it's always someone's fault, and damned if it isn't up to the government to solve every problem out there.

All this crap ran in just one hour of CNN tonight, 27 September, 2005.

26 September 2005

It's Not Like You're Helpless

It's just that you're right-handed.
(University College Dublin Professor Kevin) Denny points to neurological studies which have shown that left-handers, particularly males, are better at divergent thought — or thinking outside the box. They are also better able to deal with completely new situations because it is the right hemisphere of the brain, which controls the left side of the body, that is used in these cases. “This may explain why left-handers have some advantage in dealing with novelty — they are more inclined to use the right hemisphere of their brain than their left,” said Denny.

24 September 2005

Elvis Has Entered the Building

Last year, near Halloween, this cat came to a Minnesota Wild game dressed as The King. He has the jumpsuit, the cape, the hair, the shades, chest hair, the whole smash. This year, the team has various fan phots on the tickets, and 'Elvis' made the cut. His picture was on the ticket for Thursday's game, and, since life imitates art, he wore the whole get up again to help cement his fame.

I was working over a Labatt with friends in the concourse when the great man came by, and he was good enough to autograph our tickets. I don't think he was surprised by our request as he was carrying his own Sharpie.

Sidewalk Skies

Five days out of five this week on the bike. I hope my car forgives my daliances. September's been better than all right so far. Cooler and gray today; a pith of rain. Don't know if it's weather related, but there's lots of pigeons on my neighbor's roof. Some are pretty attratively colored. Too bad they're all just flying rats.

Tundra weather is nothing like the gloomy skies over Goodison Park. What's become of Everton? Going down to Wigan at home? I think that's eight losses out of the last nine played at home. It's hard to believe they qualified for European play. It's early, but that club is in flames.

Naturally, I'm only rubbing it in as I back the Other Side from Mersey, who drew with Birmingham City today at St. Andrews.

23 September 2005

Friday (Fist Pump)

This is what is feels like to leave work today. To quote the psychobilly band Southern Culture on the Skids; "Don't it feel good to work so hard?"

Okay, okay; I was just looking for an excuse to post this picture.

22 September 2005

That Shoe Fits on Either Foot

Over across the river, the Strib ran an editorial by Anne Applebaum; she of WaPo fame. Applebaum is among the first to ask constructive questions about reconstruction in the wake of Katrina. It's good timing for the topic, because the politically-icky blame game is fast wilting, and Rita has all the makings of a bad sequel. What gets rebuilt for who, by who, and where, is a good dialogue that a lot of entities need to be having and soon, so bravo to Ms. Applebaum for teeing this one up.

The piss in the Applebaum's punchbowl, though, is that her whole point is framed around Mississippi Senator Trent Lott's home, he of lefty punching bag fame.

What interests me is not the now-tired question of whether the president ought to have promised to rebuild the Mississippi senator's family home on the Pascagoula beachfront before mentioning the lost homes of thousands of much poorer, less notorious people. What interests me is why his house was built on the beach in the first place.

She continues to make basically sound points, but she's only using half of the binoculars:

Houses or apartments with ocean views command higher prices. Beachfront property owners can demand higher rents . . . And, best of all, the risks of owning beachfront property, floods, hurricanes and erosion, are covered by other people. Federally subsidized flood insurance programs and state-subsidized beach "re-nourishment" programs ensure that taxpayers -- rich, poor, local, national -- pay for damage to property built close to the water. To put it differently, Lott's house was on the beach because you and I paid for it.

OK, all valid, but try this one on: The reason the overwhelming majority of people who lost everything in New Orleans is because their houses were in a geographic bowl just waiting to be flooded. Among the reasons they chose to live there are the fact that it was just about the cheapest place to live in the lower 48. They don't have ocean view (like Lott, we're to presume), but are also making an equally unwise housing decision in the unbiased eye of Mother Nature and based on the inevitabilities of the hurricane cycle. They are also going their homes rebuilt by all of us, long before anyone with a spine can float a legitimate argument about whether it's a good idea or not.

So the very poor in New Orleans are tempting the same fate as the very wealthy along the gulf coast. They don't swing the kind of political clout that the wealthy apparently do, but this is a group that pays little to nothing in the way of federal taxes or into insurance pools.

Put another way, why doesn't Applebaum's basic tenant apply to the 'other side' of the imagery she's painting? Because she doesn't want to cloud the picture she's trying so hard to paint:

Leave aside New Orleans for a moment, with its special history and its peculiar geography.

Isn't that a convenient way of getting out of the hypocrisy . . .

Focus instead on the rest of the Gulf Coast, much of which was wiped out no less thoroughly. Just like other hurricane-prone, flood-prone, erosion-prone parts of the country -- the Florida Keys, the Outer Banks, the Texas and California coasts -- the Gulf Coast recently has experienced an extraordinary building boom. In 2003 approximately 153 million people lived in U.S. coastal counties, an increase of 33 million people since 1980. By 2008, 7 million more will probably have moved there, too.

There you have it. The shoes will fit either foot, but Applebaum has only brought us one shoe. Applebaum not only tries to pretend that New Orleans should not be considered in her crusade for wiser development, but does so by using the convenient lever of the embattled Republican who happened to have a nice view.

Lott himself used his political clout to force an Army engineer out of his job after the man had the temerity to suggest that Mississippi stop building casinos along the flood-prone coast. Twenty of those casinos were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and the 16,000 people who worked in them have lost their jobs and probably their homes as well.

If Lott acted improperly, then use the system go get him. If those 16,000 don't deserve jobs, then tell them so. Applebaum is making a clumsy and elitist class judgment about how people should earn a living. Would she rather have those folks out of work, not owning/renting, not buying groceries and cars and DVD players?

To reverse this trend, politicians would have to do a lot more than write checks and come up with neat new names for old housing programs. Instead, they would have to force coastal property owners to pay the real cost of the risk they incur by building in dangerous places.

Correct, Ann: If they choose to live in dangerous places, make them pay the real costs of their decisions, including those who live below sea level. Oh, wait, she slipped in the term 'coastal.' I guess that mean we don't get to consider New Orleans.

(W)hen President Bush finally gets around to drinking his alcohol-free mint julep on Lott's new porch, we can hope that he raises a glass to those of us who made it all possible.

That's a nice lefty touch for the ending: Rip a person struggling with a disease. I'm trying to recall if Applebaum made Marlboro Man gags upon Peter Jennings' death . . . better yet, try this ending: Let's all go over to this guy's newly taxpayer-rebuilt pad for a cold Heineken.

If you address the rural meth problem, exclusion of white people in mobile homes invalidates your arguments. If you are going to address street gang issues in Chicago, and you pretend that none are born of the Asian community, your points become invalid. The same goes for you, Ms. Applebaum: Unwise development and building cuts across race, income and class, whether you choose to admits it or not.

Short But Sweet

Bob Hope; high prince of set-up one-liners.

21 September 2005

Stop This Ride

I feel the need to post, but it's like a multi-media Rube Goldberg experiment gone wrong around here: I'm trying to make everone out there aware of really important stuff here on the Ol' Farm; but as I write this, we got us some freakshow weather here on the Tundra. The old fuddy-duddy legacy AM station is trying to make it seem like the northern suburbs have been reduced to Pass Christian status, which is beyond pathetic, but like a crazy old acquaintance that can't stop wallowing past glories, this big, slow, dull radio station keeps pretending they are the link that keeps us all from death by atmosphere.

There's Airbus trouble over Los Angeles (and therefore live on TV). Larry King just assured the nation that there will be no more commercial breaks until they get her on the ground. Thanks, Larry, I know CNN cares more that all the other 24-hours news/hype cable stations.

It seems that Katrina has a bigger and uglier sister blowin' around out there in the warm bathwater. Looks like I picked the wrong week to buy a floating oil rig. I'm not exactly a barometer of compassion, nor do resemble anything bordering on philanthropy, but as a household, we're in for 2.15% of my 2004 take-home pay for Katrina-related donations.

Hope for FM? KCMP is playing "Gates of Steel" by Devo.

Nice that the NHL's back. I missed the ritual, and it's hard to be bitter about the whole lockout thing, especially since the local club is not part of the income-disparity disease that might still take a few teams from us in the next year or so. Fun to go last night with an old pal. The Wild defense snoozed throughout period 1, and promptly went down 3-0 to the Sabres, but at 3:55 of period 2, the boys got the first of six unanswered goals, and beat Mika Noronen like a rented goalie.

I had to return some fouled paperwork to my mortgage company, and now I can't get the envelope taste out of my mouth. I tried a dose of Belgium to chase it away, and have now just opened a second dose of the Czech stuff; we'll see how that goes. It has not improved my electronic penmanship.

Before I forget: There is nothing at all interesting about Kate Hudson. She has no redeeming value, America, so please move on.

I love this magazine. The annual music issue is out now, and, bless their souls, it reacquainted me with Number Nine Train by Dale Hawkins.

A bad day for Cindy. Her handler got busted in New York City in spite of the fact that, you know, rules don't apply to those correct of thought. Her whole 'troops out of occupied New Orleans' jive didn't last 5 minutes, so she took her sad show deeper into the embrace of the northeast. Lemme get this one straight: Bush doesn't meet with the grieving mother of a dead soldier, and he's a worldwide idiot, but Senator Clinton doesn't meet with the grieving mother of a dead soldier, and she gets a world-class pass from Big Media. The whole NYC circus is just a whistlestop, as Cindy's headed north again to next get the Blue Angels out of occupied Maine.

Batten down the hatches, Galveston; Rita's comin' over, and she's pissed.

20 September 2005

Buyer Beware

Remember back in elementary school when you first heard of the Louisiana Purchase? Did you ever wonder how things could be different if we had kept the receipt?
"Jack understands full well that this one's a 'fixer upper,'" said Bush. "He and the French people are quite prepared to pump out all that water, and make Louisiana a decent place to live again. And they've got a lot of work to do. But Jack's assured me, if it's not right, they're going to fix it."

Fiscal Oversight

Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo has a pretty interesting idea.

"Public corruption is a well-known problem in Louisiana," Tancredo wrote in his letter to (House Speaker Dennis) Hastert. "The head of the FBI in just this past year described the state's public corruption, as "epidemic, endemic and entrenched, No branch of government is exempt Over the last 30 years, a long list of Louisiana politicians have been convicted of crimes; the list includes a governor, an attorney general, an elections commissioner, an agricultural commissioner, three successive insurance commissioners, a congressman, a federal judge, a State Senate president, six other state legislators and a host of appointed officials, including local sheriffs, city councilmen and parish police jurors."

Small wonder that Tancredo states: "I am not confident that Louisiana officials can be trusted to administer federal relief aid."

Read it all. The sins of Louisiana politics are laid bare for all to see. I like the idea because it might be the only reigns of responsibility on the no-questions-asked cash orgy proposed by W.

17 September 2005

Constant Vigilance

There was a time when you'd have laughed at this guy, and said he's still not outgrown his Dungeons and Dragons phase. Now it's not so funny, and we cannot spend enough time finding out everything about this freak, and everyone with whom he associates.

A university student from Egypt was ordered held without bond after prosecutors said they found a pilot's uniform, chart of Memphis International Airport and a DVD titled "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act" in his apartment.

The FBI is investigating whether Mahmoud Maawad, 29, had any connection to terrorists. He is awaiting trial on charges of wire fraud and fraudulent use of a Social Security number. Maawad, who is in the United States illegally, told the judge during a hearing Thursday that he is studying science and economics at the University of Memphis.

15 September 2005

You Loved His Tears On Tee Vee

Now read the hard-hitting truth. And weep.

This is Aaron Broussard. He's the president of Jefferson Parrish in Louisiana. On September 4th, Broussard was interviewed by Tim Russert on NBC's Meet The Press. During his prepared remarks (Broussard frequently looked down to his script) he told very emotional tales of the terrible destruction wrought by the flooding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

As a kicker, and the albatross he'd hang on the neck of George W. Bush, Broussard told the world of an acquaintance of his who works in an emergency management/preparedness capacity (oh, the irony) whose mother drowned at St. Rita's nursing home in St. Bernard Parish after waiting days for help to arrive.
His mother was trapped in a St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, 'Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?' And he said, 'Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday.' And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.

Friday night was September 2nd. The New York Times reports that the 32 residents of St. Rita's died on 29th of August; the previous Monday. So Broussard was claiming that his colleague's mother was calling for help for 3 or 4 days after she died.

Broussard is just one of a long line of local officials whose actions and inactions set the stage for so much chaos and human loss, and he's lock-step with Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco, Senator Landrieu, etc., in that 100% of the fault lies at the feet of FEMA & Bush.

Well, two things are true: Broussard's colleague's mother died as a result of the hurricane aftermath, and the Bush-FEMA efforts are full of holes. What isn't true is the account that Broussard laid down, which went unchallenged by Russert, and has since become one of the enduring, politically laden images (scroll down for the drama) of the Katrina aftermath.

So, assuming the MSNBC story is accurate, Broussard's story was at least significantly embellished... Broussard, for all the apparent sincerity in his emotional on-air breakdown, was willing to lie in order to make his story work better as political theater, which in turn makes it harder for me to credit the rest of the slow-FEMA-response anecdotes he described.
The whole stinking bayou mess is summed up well at WuzzaDem:
At best, I think Aaron Broussard is the political equivalent of a price gouger; taking advantage of a tragedy in order to gain political capital. He may very well be purposely trying to blame someone's death on an innocent party (or parties). Either way, it's despicable.
So, assuming the MSNBC story is accurate, Broussard's story was at least significantly embellished... Broussard, for all the apparent sincerity in his emotional on-air breakdown, was willing to lie in order to make his story work better as political theater, which in turn makes it harder for me to credit the rest of the slow-FEMA-response anecdotes he described.

UPDATE: CNN transcript of Susan Candiotti's interview with Tom Rodrigue, the man who's omther died; it backs up the NYT's timeline. Also, the Louisiana attorney general has chargerd the owners of the St. Regis nursing home with 34 counts of negligent homicide.

UPDATE 2: NBC doesn't seem to retract the story (on Russert's behalf), but MSNBC sorta backpedals on the the Cryin' Cajun.

Compassion Means Using Your Own Money

Swiped from Investors Business Daily, via Newsbeat 1 and G. H. Reynlods:

Professional fretters, led by gloomy columnists such as David Broder, and political opportunists are casting long shadows over the spending, declaring that it is yet another disaster created by the Bush White House. They see the deficit hitting a half trillion dollars this year. And they, no surprise here, demonize the Bush tax cuts as part of the problem. They're not.

The problem is what it always is in Washington, no matter who holds Congress or who sits in the White House: Too much spending. There is a way out. For every buck Washington spends on Katrina relief, Congress has to cut a dollar from somewhere else in the budget. Every House member and every senator, as a show of support for the hurricane's victims, should publicly give up a pork project in their district or in their state.

This includes lawmakers from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well. Those states accept pork just as the other 47 do, and it's a certainty that taxpayers' dollars went to pet projects in those coastal states that could have blunted the effects of Katrina had they been used properly.

14 September 2005

By Any Other Name

Power corrupts it seems:
Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, (Congressman William) Jefferson asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson's initial request.

Finally, according to the source, Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck.
I don't think it would take two 5-ton trucks, a dozen soldiers, and 45 minutes of Coast Guard helicopter time to get a few belongings out of Chateau Octane, but, hey; I'm not a politician from Louisiana.

13 September 2005


1. Best new band name: A Stockcar Named Desire.

2. Ever notice that the same people who are most loudly decrying the federal government's failed disaster relief efforts are largely the same people that want you to believe in federal government-provided health care.

3. The Louisiana Attorney General has charged the owners of a nursing home with 34 counts of negligent homicide for basically bailing out on the most vulnerable, leaving them to die alone. I'm sure Salvador and Mable will beat the wrap, since it was actually George W. Bush who killed everyone.

4. Texas is one of the states that issues separate 'truck' license plates, different somehow that passenger car plates. I saw a set of Texas truck plates the other day . . . on a Buick Rendezvous. Jesus H. Christ, that's just wrong for so many reasons.

5. Yee-ha! Champions League Group G results: Liverpool 2, Real Betis 1. The Reds first goal came at 2 minutes from Florent Sinima-Pongolle, who has the 2nd best name in the EPL, right behind Papa Bouba Diop .

6. Beautiful pictures of Germany, back in the good old days.

7. Money cannot buy you class: The head of Yahoo rats out a Chinese citizen, and another person goes to prison because his beliefs do not match those of the state. Roger Simon draws a very legitimate parallel, while the silence of the left is deafening.

8. It's pretty sad how the MainStreamMedia can only cover one story at a time. Once it was 24/7 rooting-on of the non-Iraqi insurgency , then it was 24/7 of the gourmet meal selection in Guantanamo Bay, now it's 24/7 of flooded New Orleans (what, it hit Mississippi too?), which is Bush's fault, since the Senate vetoed Kyoto 98-0. Hey, you Tee Vee News idiots, what's happening in North Korea? What the latest from Iran? Did you notice the crap in Northern Ireland? Did you see the Palestinians burning synagogues? How about Mark Messier hanging up the blades?

World Class Gassbag

Chivas connoisseur Ted Kennedy to Judge John Roberts today: "Judges are appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and it is our duty to ask questions on great issues that matter to the American people and speak for them. Judge Roberts, I hope you will respond fully and candidly to such questions, not just to earn our approval, but to prove to the American people that you have earned the right to a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land."

Oldsmobile Submarine Captain (in training) Ted Kennedy to Thurgood Marshall in 1967: "We have to respect that any nominee to the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters which are either before the court or very likely to appear before the court."

12 September 2005

If He Keeps On Jokin', Levee's Gonna Break

Greg Gutfeld has a questionnaire, and posts it in an unlikely place.

Are you on any advisory boards? Do you "spearhead" things? Are you on any advisory boards to "spearhead" things? Have you ever co-chaired a task force? Are you a founding member, a president, senior counsel, a visiting fellow, a lecturer and an author of 14 books? Have you been a memorial lecturer, or earned a honorary degree? Have you done all this without ever holding an actual job?

News Because Wolf Blitzer Says So

LOS ANGELES - Utility workers connected the wrong wires and caused a blackout across major portions of Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, trapping people in elevators and snarling traffic at intersections, authorities said . . . Some power was restored within an hour; (Ron) Deaton said he expected all power to be restored by 5 p.m.
Jeez, I hope those poor people stuck in the elevator for all that time didn't have to resort to cannibalism.

One More from Duluth

The Antikeri, anchored outside the Duluth/Superior harbor September 12th. She's 607 feet, about 20 years old, and sailing under the flag of Malta. You have to know these things when you're king.

Mental Health Day

Since I had my shoulder to the wheel so late Friday (technically Saturday), my manager told me to take today off. So what's guy do on a rainy Monday? That's easy; drive 280 miles for lunch.

The above shot is what it looked like about 10:45 this morning somewhere near Pine City or Beroun. Spitting rain, warm and humid all the way to Duluth.

For the uninitiated, Duluth is old rust-belt; really cut from he same cloth as Cleveland, Detroit, Toledo and the like. It has glory years and old money in its past, and it has been grappling with a present since the mid-60's. It's still a big time inland port on a big time inland sea. It's long been a destination for me because it offers the most geological contrast to St. Paul in a 2-hour driving radius.

Back in the mid-80's, a group of friends and I were in Duluth for no real reason We were hungry, so we pinched the phone book in room 1212 of the Radisson for answers. We found what seemed to be the only Mexican food place in downtown, Hacienda Del Sol. I make t htere about 3 times a year, which isn't bad given the drive. It may not be the 'best' Mexican restaurant on Earth, but it's my favorite, and happily, the food is exactly the same as it was almost 20 years ago.

So, haul it up there, scarf down the Burrito de Chorizo, and speed home. Leave at 10:00, home by 4:00. Back to work Tuesday.

11 September 2005

What if?

Speaking at the rally, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) said, "as a woman of color, I am all too familiar with the horrific reality of racial profiling in America. This Administration wants you to believe that just because these men are of Middle Eastern heritage, they are suspects in some diabolical plot. Box cutters? Get serious. What could anyone do with box-cutters - take down a plane? The Republicans are paranoid. Bush has got to go."

In Boston, a crowd estimated around three thousand showed up to listen to a short speech by MIT linguistics professor, Noam Chomsky. "The US government wants you to believe that because these men were taking classes at flight training schools that they are somehow dangerous and in need of incarceration. They had flight manuals with them? Of course they did. They were student pilots! The United States is a terrorist regime bent on world hegemony."

Gimme Some Autumness

I want to be able to wear long pants outdoors. I want to ride the bike without sticking to the inside of the helmet. Hot, sticky, windy day on the Tundra, and what's going on . . .

I like what Dan Currie has on the reinstating J. Todd Bertuzzi. For those who do not follow NHL hockey, and cannot make the distinction between physical play and felony assault, it will go right over their heads.

I tend to agree with Ann Althouse on the Daily Show becoming too bitter and so precious after Katrina. I used to be amused, especially when political humor was an equal-opportunity art, but now it's just so much piling on Bush, and there's no flair to it anymore. There's being funny, and then there's being catty.

My pile of music just passed the 30 gigabyte mark; on the order of 400 CDs. Yes, I have a backup drive. I've found real joy in making music CDs; I consider it the closest thing to an artistic pursuit I have. Wasn't that many years ago I thought using a PC to host, manage, and listen to music was silly. How silly was I?

Liverpool travel to White Hart Lane, without Fernando Morientes, and come away with a scoreless draw against a vastly improved Tottenham Hotspur. What's this? Everton crumble at the hand of Portsmouth at Goodison Park? My, my; this will not play well in D.C.

I went to the Wheels and Wings car show in Osceola yesterday, and just enjoyed it. Left to his own devices, my Mr. Hyde side would have painstakingly marched every inch and photographed most everything, but instead, I just putzed around with an old friend, and hung it up when we had enough sun. Personal favorites were all over the map, just like the car show itself; I dug a 1965 Impala SS Convertible, a perfect Mini Cooper, a Fiat 500 and a 1966 Ford GT40. After the 917K (the Holy Grail of race cars), a real GT40 is about as good as it gets.

I wish I had something weighty to write today, since it's the 11th of September, but for now, I'm going to carry on just like terrorists hope I do not.

10 September 2005

Spreading it Out

Charles Krauthammer shares the love:
No fall of a sparrow on this planet is not attributed to sin and human perfidy. The three current favorites are: (1) global warming, (2) the war in Iraq and (3) tax cuts. Katrina hits and the unholy trinity is immediately invoked to damn sinner-in-chief George W. Bush. This kind of stupidity merits no attention whatsoever, but I'll give it a paragraph.
Krauthammer's paragraphs give it to nature/God, Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco, FEMA stoodges, W, Congress, and you and me.
Now is not the time for constructive suggestions. Now is the time for blame, recrimination and sheer astonishment. Mayor Ray Nagin has announced that, as bodies are still being found and as a public health catastrophe descends upon the city, he is sending 60 percent of his cops on city funds for a little R&R, mostly to Vegas hotels. Asked if it was appropriate to party in these circumstances, he responded: "New Orleans is a party town. Get over it."

You Always Remember Your First Time

Gary over at Kennedy vs. The Machine knows quality analysis when he reads it.

Just Sayin'

Today I am signing into law H.R. 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998." This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress that the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi opposition that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the bitter reality of internal repression and external aggression that the current regime in Baghdad now offers.

The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and law-abiding member. This is in our interest and that of our allies within the region. The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.

My Administration has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these objectives through active application of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The evidence is overwhelming that such changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership. In the meantime, while the United States continues to look to the Security Council's efforts to keep the current regime's behavior in check, we look forward to new leadership in Iraq that has the support of the Iraqi people. The United States is providing support to opposition groups from all sectors of the Iraqi community that could lead to a popularly supported government.

My Administration, as required by that statute, has also begun to implement a program to compile information regarding allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes by Iraq's current leaders as a step towards bringing to justice those directly responsible for such acts.

There are, of course, other important elements of U.S. policy. These include the maintenance of U.N. Security Council support efforts to eliminate Iraq's weapons and missile programs and economic sanctions that continue to deny the regime the means to reconstitute those threats to international peace and security. United States support for the Iraqi opposition will be carried out consistent with those policy objectives as well.

October 31, 1998.

It's Not Easy Being Green

File under "Wither further, Minneapolis:"
"Speaking on behalf of the poor and oppressed and generations to come is not always popular, but it is necessary," he said. "It is my life's work. It is my work as a public official. And it's work I intend to continue."
That's a nifty way to cower in plain sight.

Minneapolis City Council Member Dean Zimmermann took $7,200 cash in exchange for support on zoning changes, according to a federal affidavit filed Friday. The search warrant affidavit claims the FBI had probable cause to believe Zimmermann violated the law by accepting "bribes in exchange for official acts."In a June 6 conversation at a Minneapolis restaurant, the witness told Zimmermann he needed his vote. When the witness asked the council member what he needed, Zimmermann said, "money, money, money," the affidavit said.
Underdog no more, the Green Party has arrived now that they have the FBI on their backs.

Zimmerman's supporters said he would push ahead with his campaign. "I think it becomes a tougher race because it's hard to remove a cloud of suspicion over your head," said Lauren Maker, a campaign coordinator.

Jeez, ya think?

Let's see; that's 3 (perhaps) in 4 years: Council Member Brian Herron resigned, pleaded guilty, and did a year for extortion, and former Council Member Joe Biernat did 19 months for accepting free plumbing work from a union official.

Buried News Unearthed

Transcript of wire tap from Sandy Berger's office: "Must polish Clinton legacy . . . Must polish Clinton legacy . . . Must polish Clinton Legacy

WASHINGTON — A federal judge yesterday ordered Sandy Berger, who was President Clinton's national-security adviser, to pay a $50,000 fine and give up his security clearance for three years for taking classified terrorism documents from the National Archives in 2003.

Berger pleaded guilty in April to unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents. He admitted to stuffing copies of documents in his coat jacket as he left the National Archives and destroying some at his office and pretending he had never possessed them.

Berger had been reviewing the records about the Clinton administration's response to reports of terrorist threats in 2000 as he was preparing to respond to questions from the commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The disclosure of the government's investigation of Berger last year prompted him to step down as an adviser to the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
Berger: "See, see? Bin Laden was invented by Cheney and Rove on the day W took office!"

We now return you to what CNN deems newsworthy.

09 September 2005

Meanwhile, on the Emerald Isle

Newton Emerson in the Irish Times, via Slugger O'Toole:
As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush contributed to the death toll by sending so many national guard units to Iraq.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody recalls that those same columnists have spent the past two years blaming George Bush for another death toll by not sending enough national guard units to Iraq. Otherwise, people might wonder why they have never previously read a single article advocating large-scale military redeployment during the Caribbean hurricane season.
That's just a small sample of Emerson's armada.

Insert Cricket Sound Effects Here

It's hard to not go deaf in the wake of the screams of "Bush drowned all those people," especially when you are so intently listening, like I am, for examples of what Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco, through their orders, policies or leadership actually did, actively or passively, that benefited anyone in this mess. Show me the Louisiana resident that can say "If it wasn't for the sure actions of Nagin/Blanco, I would have really been in trouble."

Anyway, part of what makes the blame game such a loser is in the complexities of what's involved in the Who's In Charge debate:

To seize control of the mission, Mr. Bush would have had to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows the president in times of unrest to command active-duty forces into the states to perform law enforcement duties. But decision makers in Washington felt certain that Ms. Blanco would have resisted surrendering control, as Bush administration officials believe would have been required to deploy active-duty combat forces before law and order had been re-established.

While combat troops can conduct relief missions without the legal authority of the Insurrection Act, Pentagon and military officials say that no active-duty forces could have been sent into the chaos of New Orleans on Wednesday or Thursday without confronting law-and-order challenges.

But just as important to the administration were worries about the message that would have been sent by a president ousting a Southern governor of another party from command of her National Guard, according to administration, Pentagon and Justice Department officials. "Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?" asked one senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the talks were confidential.

Officials in Louisiana agree that the governor would not have given up control over National Guard troops in her state as would have been required to send large numbers of active-duty soldiers into the area. But they also say they were desperate and would have welcomed assistance by active-duty soldiers. "I need everything you have got," Ms. Blanco said she told Mr. Bush last Monday, after the storm hit.
In an interview, she acknowledged that she did not specify what sorts of soldiers. "Nobody told me that I had to request that," Ms. Blanco said. "I thought that I had requested everything they had. We were living in a war zone by then."

By Wednesday, she had asked for 40,000 soldiers. In the discussions in Washington, also at issue was whether active-duty troops could respond faster and in larger numbers than the Guard. By last Wednesday, Pentagon officials said even the 82nd Airborne, which has a brigade on standby to move out within 18 hours, could not arrive any faster than 7,000 National Guard troops, which are specially trained and equipped for civilian law enforcement duties.

06 September 2005

Mr. Holt, Your Ride is Here

Phillip Kennicot, who either spends an unusual amount of his life in hotels, or has some false sense that they are supposed to be tougher than other buildings, has his world view shattered, not unlike the glass at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans.
For a while, on Monday, one of the more arresting images from New Orleans was the Hyatt Regency Hotel, its windows blasted out, curtains flapping in the wind, pink insulation exposed to the elements . . . For $150 a night, the large name-brand hotel offers the illusion of safety, the assurance that you are not set down among foreign people, strange customs, incomprehensible languages . . . And the windows? When we enter the hotel room, that wall of glass seems so inviting, as if we might sit in the lone chair by the lone table and stare out at the world, safely held at bay by impregnable transparent panels . . . There's been a convention in the theater world to think of the division between audience and spectacle as a fourth wall, a wall that the playwright tries to eliminate through the force of his drama. But as images poured forth of hungry, exhausted, terrified and soaked survivors, anyone with any sense was happy for any kind of barrier that kept this drama, this devastation at bay . . . With hotels like the Hyatt, we have extended this illusory zone of security around the world. Katrina did far worse damage, by orders of magnitude, than some shattered glass at the Hyatt. But it was the image of a hotel -- a refuge against the world -- that first suggested the degree to which Katrina would bring a foreign world, of chaos and frailty, into the comfort zone of American security.
All very eloquent, but full of crap nontheless. Problem here is viewing the devastation through the lens of the Post's culture critic. Yes, Phil, I get your metaphor around America and our tenuous need for security, but the whole 'hotels are supposed to be impenetrable' angle is a bit too precious for us here in flyover land.

Of course Phil's musings aren't nearly as revolting - in that classic Manhattan-centric snobbishness sorta way - as Jim Holt's effort:
The devastation that Hurricane Katrina wreaked upon New Orleans concentrated the minds of New Yorkers, who also weighed the possible consequences of such a storm hitting the five boroughs someday, including the evacuation of up to 2.4 million residents. A team of emergency planners was to be dispatched to the Gulf Coast to glean what preparatory lessons they could. Katrina's remoter effects were felt here in the form of a stifling blanket of humidity. Several competitors at the U.S. Open were overcome: One vomited on the court; another collapsed in the bleachers; yet another, a rather good-looking player from Spain, Feliciano Lopez, played in white Capri pants that were soon rendered all but transparent by his copious perspiration, affording fans an unexpected anatomical spectacle.
Katrina bad, Gulf Coast is toast, but what about New York? For a guy like Jim Holt, there probably is no greater torture than making him drive to a July 4th Missouri barbecue in a rickety F-150 with no air conditioning. Think about it.

05 September 2005

Up is Down, Down is Up

Doug Saunders has a day job writing for the Globe and Mail based in Toronto, which is a good thing because he clearly doesn't understand the United States.
(H)istorians point to a constant threat of self-destructive breakdowns that seem to dot U.S. history, belying the thin veneer of civility that sits between entrepreneurial prosperity and mass chaos. The individualistic, egalitarian, anti-authoritarian values that have made the United States succeed have always been accompanied by an every-man-for-himself ethos that can destroy the system itself.
Contrary to Saunders' point, the every-man-for-himself model he demonizes is actually a positive. There is nothing more valuable or cherished than reaping the benefits of what you make for yourself. How does the house get painted? How is the child educated? How are the bills paid after retirement? Not from or because of the state, or a political party that feels your pain, but from individuals who know that the good things in life come from individual involvement. I'm in it for me, that's how it works, and I'm not apologizing to anyone.

This recent natural disaster in the form of a hurricane reveals the man-made disaster of the welfare state that's been among us for quite a while now. The nominal human reaction to crisis is to respond to the situation by doing all possible to mitigate and overcome both immediate and long-term adversity. The problems that arise from chronic dependence are many; disregard for potential consequences, blaming others for mutual grief, and using the occurrence of disaster to take criminal advantage of your fellow man.

There are significant numbers of Americans who rely completely on the government on an otherwise sunny day. In the wake of a disaster, are they concerned about their homes and possessions? 'Course not, they maintain nothing of their own, nor do they have any stake in the collective fortress that is society. A life of dependence has seemingly relieved them from caring about their neighbors, local businesses and employers, or who has to foot the ultimate bill for their decision to live solely on handouts, with no insurance, 10 feet under sea level, right next door to the Gulf of Storm Manufacture. "Not my fault, man; Bush did this to me."

An entire class of people who are willing to settle for the very least from life, who perpetually gripe about others not doing enough for them, and then shoot at those who come to help is not a product of W, FEMA, Wal-Mart, Ashcroft, Lott, et al. It's a product of the Welfare Industrial Complex that has been a tumor growing on society for over 40 years.

From the perspective the Kool Aid drinkers in semi-socialist states like Canada, it's easy to demonize the freedom and individual pursuit of happiness enjoyed south of International Falls. The truth is that the downside of the hardships we must endure are a passive product of all the possibilities when the upside is so vast and accommodating.

03 September 2005


I'm pretty hard on Canada sometimes. They have nothing that passses for the free speech provision of the United States' Bill of Rights, they have a free but crummy health care scheme, and their national game is run out of New York City.

One thing they do have going for them, in British Columbia at least, is the IMPACT program and its use of Bait Cars:
A bait car is a vehicle owned by the police and is intended to be stolen. After a bait car is stolen, the location, speed, and direction of travel of the vehicle is monitored by police dispatchers at EComm through GPS tracking. Everything that takes place inside the bait car is caught on audio and video. The dispatcher will coordinate a police response and once officers are in position behind the bait car, the engine will be disabled at the click of a mouse button which allows for the quick arrest of the car thieves.
If you go to the IMPACT web site, you can watch the videos recorded in the cars after they're stolen. It's hilarious to see these chronic dumbasses get caught, and even funnier to listen to them ponder whether the car they've just stolen is a Baitcar or not. That's right, most of them know full-well of the Baitcar program.

Why do I jump up and down? Three reasons: First I love cars, and think car theft should be a capital offense. Second, I live in a state in which you must be convicted of stealing 6 cars before state sentencing guidleings require incarceration. By the way, Minnesota has the lowest per capita incarceration rate in the country, and Hennipen County, where Minneapolis is found, has the highest per capita parole rate in the nation. Third, I loathe the arrogance and nuisance criminality of idiot youth.

Go get 'em officer, and keep the Tazer warmed up.

New Orleans is Us

Nicole Gelinas writing in City Journal:
Katrina didn’t turn innocent citizens into desperate criminals. This week’s looters (not those who took small supplies of food and water for sustenance, but those who have trashed, burned, and shot their way through the city since Monday) are the same depraved individuals who have pushed New Orleans’ murder rate to several multiples above the national average in normal times. (New Orleans, without Katrina, would have likely ended 2005 with 330 or so murders—compared to about 65 in Boston, a city roughly the same in size.) Today may not be the best day to get into New Orleans’ intractable crime problem, but it’s necessary, since it explains how this week’s communications and policing vacuum so quickly created a perfect storm for the vicious lawlessness that has broken out.

Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco lost whatever fragile authority they ever had over New Orleans early Monday, as the waters still rose. The federal government was unacceptably slow at assessing a rapidly deteriorating situation. Now, no civil authorities can re-assert order in New Orleans. The city must be forcefully demilitarized, even as innocent victims literally starve. What has happened over the past week is an embarrassment to New Orleans—and to America.

02 September 2005

First Shot Across the Bow

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin:
"You mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on man," he said. "I need reinforcements," he pleaded. "I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. This is a national disaster.
Say, uh, Mayor, what about the ones in your own city? I'm still working on a flogging of W, but first things first; Nagin is a pathetic poser, especially in light of what we saw from Rudolph Giuliani.

UPDATE: More here.

01 September 2005

Who Are We to Judge?

The only thing better than parody is parody laced with timliness.

Christopher Cross? I knew there would be a reason to oppose the nomination.