Friday, September 30, 2005

Shaving With a Cheese Grater...


One of the best lines in the history of network television was spoken by Sam Malone on the popular 80's sitcom, Cheers. In response to an absolutely distasteful alternative, Ted Danson's character replies, "I'd rather shave my head with a cheese grater while chewing on tinfoil." As amusing as it was to hear at the time, it could not have been fully conceived by me until now... every time I am forced to listen to anything from Dan Rather. Hand me a friggin' box of Reynolds Wrap and the grater. Just turn the man off!

We came in Tuesday after an 8 hour flight from New York to Oregon and tuned into Hugh Hewitt for the first time in a week. There, I was tempted to endure the blathering of Dan Rather being interviewed the previous night by Marvin Kalb. In his usual reliable fashion, Duane has posted the audio and transcript over at RadioBlogger for anyone brave enough to endure it. Or just grab the cheese grater and call it a day.

I'm not sure what is worse, Rather indulging his own delusional gravitas, or the aura of misdirected respect afforded his very being. But, one thing is certain. Dan has served as a model mentor for a generation of journalists who are determined to follow in the little man's footsteps... right to the edge of the cliff. And that precipice was violated some three weeks ago by the coverage of Hurricane Katrina; plummeting the character of the American Press to its lowest depths in the history of this nation.

Misrepresentation at best or downright malevolence at worst, press coverage after the storm became an orgy of feigned consternation and self-righteous repudiation hurled like brickbats in a riot. And their target was exclusively (while not surprisingly) FEMA and the Bush administration. It likelwise became a convenient if not gruesome political bludgeon of the Democrats. Myopic reporting by vampiric news crews culling New Orleans for misery became a game entertained by the network news staffs, who were the only people entertained. The American public bore witness to imagined horror; an invisible travesty consisting of roving hordes of murderous cannibals, mass looting, rape and murder. The anarchy at the city's two major hurricane shelters became legendary as Americans conjured scenes of the LA riots being replayed in the darkness of the SuperDome, while a Romero remake was being realized in the flooded streets outside. 10,000 were dead, said Mayor Nagin. And the press played a proverbial game of badminton with that number until it was 25,000 dead... as bad as the Indian tsunami for some, and even another Holocaust in the eyes of others.

Yet it was all a lie. As
Hugh Hewitt points out in his latest Weekly Standard column,
At this point there is no disputing that media hysteria overwhelmed most of the mainstream media's talking heads and even their old school newspaper reporters and editors. The only question is whether the mainstream media will admit that it suffered another pratfall in full public view.

DON'T COUNT ON IT. Discussing the meltdown on MSNBC on September 27, reporter Heath Allen defended the hysterical reporting, arguing that, "[I]t's the responsibility of the photojournalist to capture that and put it on television because those people at that point needed help no matter what was true, what was false, what was exaggerated."

Thus is established the "fake but necessary" corollary to the Rathergate doctrine of "fake but true."

Hugh was on the PBS News Hour last night discussing the subject of Katrina coverage with fellow journalists from CBS and the Times-Picayune. There amidst the usual naval-gazing, he reiterated his view with an appropriate degree of admonition toward his fellow journalists who were not, as Hewitt submitted, simply covering a disaster. By painting a misleading picture of confusion and chaos, they were in fact contributing to a catastrophe. That being the case, how can the American people trust the Press to get any story right? The incompetence and malfeasance extends from local policy to the Iraq War, where a constant misrepresentation of the situation might very well be emboldening insurgency and promoting mass murder, while threatening the safety and security of the United States both at home and abroad. It is a profound point and one that should be carefully considered before affording another ingot of respect to the likes of Dan rather and his generation of pathetic media proteges.

The reign of the fourth estate has been collapsing for years. Rather was one pillar... rotted to the core and overbearing with bias and condescension, certain to crumble. And in the aftermath of Katrina, what little remains of its professional reputation and perceived objectivity is disintegrating faster than the chimera of benevolent humanitarianism in Louisiana. The ability of the mainstream media to manufacture reality has been eroded by the advent of the New Media using radio and the internet to challenge the aged aristocracy of arrogant omniscience. With it goes the propaganda wing of the American Left, much to the chagrin of that failing movement.

But, it is clearly not going quietly. With the analysis of botched Katrina coverage threatening to dominate the news cycle, the CIA Leak Probe redux, the suspicious indictment of Congressman DeLay, another media attack on Bill Bennett, combined with a new wave of violence in Iraq offers a maelstrom of convenient distraction. Attention must be hurried away from stories of Senators Reid and Schumer's malfeasance, the lurid impressions of Hurricane Politics and the degeneracy of mainstream American journalism championing the contemporary doctrine of "fake but necessary" to qualify an agenda that tastes, to most Americans, more and more like tinfoil.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Virtue of Godlessness...


    “The non-religious, proevolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.

    “The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”

This is how a story Tuesday in the UK TimesOnline titled, Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side,' concludes. It's writer, Ruth Gledhill, reviews a new report by Gregory Paul for the Journal of Religion and Society, that determines the United States to be the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies; "sometimes spectacularly so” citing its Christian heritage and beliefs as the primary cause of damage to society. At least this was the nature of the reports findings as portrayed by Ms. Gledhill.
Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as its “spiritual capital”. But the study claims that the devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills.

...The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from “ uniquely high” adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.

...He said that the disparity was even greater when the US was compared with other countries, including France, Japan and the Scandinavian countries. These nations had been the most successful in reducing murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, he added.
Mr. Paul is reported to have used data from the International Social Survey Programme, Gallup and other research bodies to reach his conclusions. But, it remains vague how the information confirmed his findings or how the idiosyncracies of individual belief informed the nature of societal evolution. Nevertheless,
He said that most Western nations would become more religious only if the theory of evolution could be overturned and the existence of God scientifically proven. Likewise, the theory of evolution would not enjoy majority support in the U.S. unless there was a marked decline in religious belief, Mr Paul said.
Assuming for a moment that statistical data indeed suggests the U.S. to be a dysfunctional society, it is unclear from the story, just exactly what specific data Mr. Paul assembled to cultivate that conclusion. There seems to be a number of factors that were conveniently ignored. For instance, of the 57 most populated metropolitan areas of the world, the U.S. is home to 11. Japan has 3. Germany, UK, and France each have 1. Skandinavian nations are not represented. The dehumanization of urbanization has long been known to contribute to a state of social distress. That does not even begin to factor the socio-political aspects of those local governments and the tendencies of urban populations to defy traditional social trends as cited by Mr. Paul, yet wholely ignored in his analysis. Drug use, promiscuity, crime, prostitution, violence, poverty, agnosticism and general social degeneracy are magnified by density. Additionally, the trend toward rejection of both religion and philosophy in favor of conditional pragmatism in urban culture promoted by a majority of popular institutions would undermine any assertion of collective conformity of a moral persuasion. It is a fact that negates many of Mr. Paul's particular presuppositions with only that one additional consideration. Furthermore, any assumption that presumes a consummate rejection of evolution theory on the part of Christian sensibilities, is fatally flawed at best. Clearly, there is reflected a naive understanding of the observed culture inherent to the overall analysis that undermines any subsequent conclusions.

With the incomplete picture presented by the Times Online, one is encouraged to go straight to the source of the report for clarification. the Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies: A First Look is a lengthy and quite cumbersome psuedo-anthropological survey targeted toward the author's hypothesis; Christianity promotes profound social illness. Ignoring for a moment the motivation of such research, it is fair to note that Mr. Paul does not, as Ms. Gledhill asserts, draw conclusions in his report. In fact, he clearly states that his findings should be used as the beginning for extended discussion and analysis.
This study is a first, brief look at an important subject that has been almost entirely neglected by social scientists. The primary intent is to present basic correlations of the elemental data. Some conclusions that can be gleaned from the plots are outlined. This is not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health. It is hoped that these original correlations and results will spark future research and debate on the issue.
That being said, Mr. Paul's correlations remain clearly suspect. The author of the report attempts to certify statistical presumptions as scientific principle, while the writer of the article attempts to peddle ambiguous assertions caressed by her own agenda as fact.
One seems ridiculous, while the other is patently absurd.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Letter to Home

Major Mike

I have decided, in spite of all of the good things that happen in this country everyday, that journalists and newspapers cannot bring themselves to print or report “good” stories. This is both a poor business decision (as evidenced by dramatic declines in the major liberal publications) and an indifference to the obvious gap that they have in their coverage of the events of the day. This is a blind spot that they simply cannot be convinced that they have. They buy, sell, push, and write negativism.

This became clear when a follow-up story on Katrina and Rita, on NPR, felt compelled to report that ALL of the levees on the Mississippi River, as far north as St. Louis were in dire need of repair. No doom and gloom here. Maybe we should begin to evacuate the entire country…then we can all be safe.

I believe this blind spot is induced because most Journalism students are being educated on the subject at a time in their lives when they, and most young people, are at their most liberal. Most of us get past the "ideal" and live in the "real," but it seems at times that Journalists are stuck in this period. Combined with the "distrust everybody" and "bad news sells papers" intructional primer for Journalism 101, our news becomes an almost constant splatter that the "real" is negatively impacting the "ideal." An inevitable collision that occurs in the real world everyday, but apparently it is news to Journalists.

I thought it would be fun to read a journalism 101 sturdent's first letter home after her first Journalism class at USC...

“Dear Parental Team,

I have arrived in Nirvana. There are plenty of people who think like me, but many seem to be depressed, oppressed, helpless and homeless. There must be some way for me to help them…please send more money.

The weather here is way too good. The sun is in its early stages of giving me skin cancer, and it is a sure sign of global warming. If we have one more, warm, sunny day, I think I’ll scream. The constantly fine weather can be a real drag.

Our football team traveled to an away game, so we protested to try to get them home before any of them got hurt. I think we will continue to protest all of the football games, because the dumb jocks don’t realize the Dean is using them. So, we will do our part and try to keep them from getting hurt, by getting all the rest of the games canceled. We really support our team by not letting them play, so they don’t get hurt. There is no more altruistic demonstration of support…go team.

The Dean is a jerk, scumbag, mental midget, numbskull, public-educated idiot. He actually has a crime prevention program here on campus!!! Doesn’t he realize that criminals are just reaching out for help! He is actually trying to keep the criminals off of campus…shouldn’t we be a bit more understanding of their underlying, and systemic issues? Then wouldn’t we all just get along? I think so! If we didn’t have a closed campus they wouldn’t try to rob us!! We are organizing
a protest so that the Dean relaxes his policies, so that the criminals can enjoy our campus and we can help them overcome their issues with us, and then we will have no crime on campus!

Oh speaking of the Dean…the jerk let it rain last week…my gosh, how weak can he be? He should have been able to keep it from raining…at least here on campus…can’t he do anything?

My grades are good, but who cares, they are simply an antiquated method to crush my individuality. I think I should be measured by my effort…results aren’t that important.

I am taking all of the deepest courses…Psychology, Sociology, Modern Cultures, Journalism, and Art Appreciation. These classes are far better than Physics and Math. My classes really give you a feel on how things in the world really work. Math and Physics…archaic ideas!

I am a bit disappointed in the composition of the student body…there is not one Asian Jew vegan! I really think that with a little effort we could really diversify the student population. It is so important to learn about others…hopefully we can also get an oppressed Eastern European Buddhist Yogi for next year…that would complete the class roster!

I have to go…off to protest space garbage!!!

With love,
Your Child"

Somewhere in this country...some very good things happened about getting over your idea of "journalism," and find these things and report on them.

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Sandmen Anniversary...


In all of the turmoil of this last month of the Summer of 2005 - Katrina, Rita, Exams and Vacation - I nearly forgot that we here at My Sandmen have an anniversary to celebrate. Only as I read the freshman recollections of a suberb fellow blogger over at Okie on the Lam, did it occur to me that we too have been at this for one year... at least Dueler and I have been at this station for that long. Major Mike joined us not long ago from his own accomplished site. Yet we are all Hugh Hewitt inspired bloggers determined in our own way to be In But Not Of the culture of contemporary depravity. In the midst of a brutal Presidential election season, Dueler 88 and I were inspired to bring our insights and sensibilities to the broiling battlefield of philosophical discourse... pickets in a stand against rampaging stupidity. And this is how it began, September 10th, 2004.

    Mice and Men...

    All is fair in love and war … and politics. But, what is fair is not necessarily moral, and it is often far from the metal of Men. During a time of crisis, Mr. Kerry - wings melted, spiraling out of control on his own Icarus-like plunge to Earth - continues to hurl rhetorical obscenities upon the American nation in the form of attacks and accusations against the sitting Commander-in-Chief. Politics being as they are, one might expect strong expressions of disagreement with procedure and policy. It is afterall, necessary for candidates to distinguish themselves for the people in advance of an election. But, these are extraordinary times and this election is far from an ordinary event. The nation, and indeed the entirety of Western Civilization, is engaged in a brutal struggle for its very survival. The President is the Nation’s Executive representative among the community of nations and against the barbarian hordes that are its mortal enemy. Openly undermining that authority is not merely foolish, it is blatantly suicidal. And it is wholely unnecessary. A Man should be able to tell you who he is without resorting to the demonization of the Man he’s not. One might expect a display of the meritoriuos qualities of personal character that inspire respect and admiration, rather than a pandering to the malevolence of misfits to encourage scorn and loathing. A Leader might have chosen to unite a beleagured nation. Such a Man would certainly not resort to expedient political strategy that cut the lacerations deeper, devastating the nation’s moral resolve, demoralizing her defenders while emboldening and reinforcing an enemy of butchers.

    This is John Kerry… 2004 Candidate for President of the United States?

    This is the same John Kerry that returned from valorous service in the Vietnam conflict, joined with anti-war radicals and proceeded to destroy the character of his fellow soldiers, impugn the integrity of leadership, and undermine the effort to liberate a people from another horde of butchers. The result of those actions was, one nation hopelessly divided and demoralized, and another surrendered to the brutality and the killing fields of a vindictive menace from which tens of thousands fled.

    This is John Kerry… Navy Lieutenant?

    This is the same John Kerry who was first elected to the US Senate from the State of Massachusetts in 1985. Whatever the history there, it seems wholly irrelevant in light of the fact that the Candidate neglects to discuss, much less defend his record there. During his nineteen years in Congress, Kerry may have adequately represented his constituents, but the nation is comprised of 49 other states, each unique of Massachusetts, all deserving to know the product that is being marketed to them in the form of a National leader. Kerry’s tendency toward Socialist democracy and conciliatory pacifism is a legitimate subject of discussion and debate. The query hardly qualifies as ‘dirty’ politics, ‘smear,’ or as an inquisition of the man’s patriotism. And yet he is hiding behind a barrier of such rhetoric emanating from his party, his staff, his supporters, and even the mainstream media. Mr. Kerry has a record that he should be proud of. So, why is he not proud of it? And if he is proud of his record, why then does he refuse to run on it?

    This is John Kerry… U.S. Senator?

    This is the same John Kerry, who overcame his primary contenders by default; defining himself loosely enough to fit an amorphous evaluation of ‘electability’ by a party that has long since abandoned conceptual conviction to variable consensus. Nevertheless, he was given a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the quality of statesmanship that defines a good leader. He could have united the Nation, and secured her efforts and resolve. He could have recognized the nature of the present conflict and given it the legitimacy it deserves. He could have acknowledged the enemy, renounced brutality, praised allies while denouncing the timid and the guilty. Three years into the present struggle, he could have helped tremendously to weaken enemy networks and secure victory. He could have done all of this by simply standing firm with the effort that his vote, his words, and his support had helped to begin in the first place. He could have supported his Nation and his President in a time of War. Even if, he had developed sincere disagreement with the liberation of Iraq and ongoing efforts to engage terrorism, he might nevertheless, have recognized the severity of the given situation and set his personal vanity aside in an effort to maintain a semblance of unity and strength in the face of clear and present danger. As a Senator, that was his duty. As a Citizen, that was his responsibility. As a Man, that should have been his honor. As a Candidate, his actions and his judgment speak for themselves. If Mr. Kerry maintains an obligation to this Nation and its people and sincerely believes that he can better perform the job of Commander-in-Chief, then he might begin his quest by demonstrating a respect for that office and it’s current elected occupant. Yet, as he continually undermines that authority in the eyes of the nation, the world, and the enemy, so too does he impair his own potential authority. He likewise defames the Nation as a whole and his service to its people. It begs the question: what kind of a man endeavors to assume a role for which he has so little respect? Further, what kind of a man lacks pride for a life of ostensibly respectful service? I would go so far as to ask…what kind of a man scurries from role to role and position to position foraging for the sustenance of an esteem that remains elusive to him?

    Who is John Kerry?… Man? Or Mouse?!

It's been one hell of a year. And we're just getting warmed up.

    Saturday, September 24, 2005

    Blog Of The Week?...

    Mr. Atos

    Voting has commenced over at RadioBlogger for Hugh Hewitt's Blog of the Week contest. We have a post in the finals there, so if you read and liked, S.O.S... pop over there and vote. Do be sure to read all of the entries, as they are all good.

    Duane is also taking votes on names for the growing Schumer Scandal. "Charlie and The Document Factory" is in the lead so far. Very funny!

    Hugh is on the Schumer story as is Okie on the Lam, and Michelle Malkin between comprehensive Rita coverage.

    Okie Boy has made some changes to his site in light of celebrating a notable first year of quite successful blogging. I like it. there is a sort of fear and loathing in the blogosphere theme going on there now. See what you thiink.

    Happy Birthday, DB! And Congratulations on a tremendous first year of blogging. It has only just begun.

    ... as for me? It is a beautiful morning in upstate New York. The fetching Mrs. and I are going to take the kids to pick some fresh apples. Afterall, I am on vacation.

    Don't forget to Vote!

    Friday, September 23, 2005

    The Perfect Response...

    Mr. Atos

    What is the perfect response to catastrophe? There isn't one!

    As I attempt to keep track of the progress of Hurricane Rita (from vacation) a clear and disturbing trend is being revealed in the American psyche... the obsession with failure.

    First of all an update. The lastest NCH storm advisory (
    Advisory 23) shows an apparent weakening of Rita. With sustained winds of 140 mph, she has been downgraded to a Category 4 storm. Although, experts caution that a recycling of the storm could yield an increase in strength before landfall. Nevertheless, her path projections reflect a clear shift to the west, placing landfall along the North Texas Coast to the east of Galveston and the greater Houston Metropolitian area. Make no mistake, however, that a storm of Rita's size still presents significant danger to those areas, and increased danger surely to areas directly before the eye. But, the Big Thicket region of east Texas is far less populated than Central Texas... a far better path for inland assault. Perhaps my particular preferences are exposed here, since the storm is no longer pointed directly at my heartland in and around Lee County.

    Surely one city is breathing a sigh of relief, and that is Corpus Christi where previous mandatory evacuation orders have been suspended in light of the latest storm projections. As the Caller-Times reports, dowtown is effectively closed for business. Many families and individuals evacuated inland to San Antonio and Austin and every town along the routes inland. There may yet be a lot of retrospective aggravation in light of a disaster avoided, but for now relief likely overwhelms it should.

    In and around Houston however, the tedious process of evacuating the fourth largest city in the United States (plus Galveston through the middle of that) is beginning to breed viral negativity; a disease transmitted by confusion and conjecture through crowds, traffic jambs, shortages, and the obsessive compulsion of the media. The mainstream media cameras are out in force from every station and network - local to international - feeding on confusion and transmitting it abroad. Stories of
    traffic jambs, gas shortages, summer heat reflected off black asphalt, no accommodations, and even dead evacuees plague the coverage. Many bloggers are demonstrating that they can be part of the problem. There is certainly much calamity and even failure in an operation of this magnitude. The perception is compounded by the length of the situation. Authorities in Texas got hold of the situation early, and all of the problems unfolding before the storm are issues that can be resolved before the advent of this catastrophe ... and the next. When you evacuate a theater compromised by fire, the best approach is a calm, steady and systematic response to the situation. Because the best way to minimize catastophe is to encourage action while limiting panic. In this repect, Rita is every bit as important a lesson as was Katrina.

    The coverage of Hurricane Katrina was nothing if not a constant lecture on failure by everyone in the media... EVERYONE. While the MSM focused attention on every myth about the Federal response to the extent of ignoring a total collapse in some of the regional response, the 'New Media' was obliged to concentrate its attention on the failure of that local response. And the nation was treated to a pathetic exercise in self-flagellation from both.

    Do let's be honest with ourselves as we view the regional response to another localized disaster. The best that we can do is better than we expected. Because in fact, catastophe is really nothing more than a systematic collapse of expectations.

    Previous posts:

    Rita Cat. 5...

    Houston Chronicle
    Corpus Christi Caller-Times
    Free Republic Live Thread

    (Edited for clarity,

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Rita Cat. 5...


    Hurricane Rita has lit fire fire in the Gulf of Mexico. With sustained winds of 165 mph, the
    Nationa Hurricane Center has upgraded her to a Category 5 storm placing her in the pantheon of monster storms. AP is reporting this afternoon that Rita may well be the strongest storm ever to make landfall in Texas.

    As many as 1 million people were ordered to clear out along the Gulf Coast, and hospital and nursing home patients were evacuated Wednesday as Hurricane Rita turned into a Category-5, 165-mph monster that could slam Texas by the weekend and inflict more misery on New Orleans.

    Forecasters said Rita could be the most intense hurricane on record ever to hit Texas, and easily one of the most powerful ever to plow into the U.S. mainland. Category 5 is the highest on the scale, and only three Category 5 hurricanes are known to have hit the U.S. mainland — most recently, Andrew, which smashed South Florida in 1992.

    All of Galveston, low-lying sections of Houston and Corpus Christi, and a mostly emptied-out New Orleans were under mandatory evacuation orders, one day after Rita sideswiped the Florida Keys as a far weaker storm and caused minor damage.

    The latest Advisory (17) has her tacking slightly east again shifting the zone of likely impact just South of Galveston. If memory serves me correctly (from my reading) this could be the same path taken by Isaac's Storm in September of 1900. That condition poses the worst case scenario for this particular geographic area, as the anti-cyclonic action of hurricanes drives the peak storm surge from right to left as the storm approaches. That pushes a wall of water first up onto the seaward side of Galveston's barrier island and well into Galveston Bay into the Houston ship channel. As the storm's eye makes landfall, the winds will shift from east to west, to north to south, then reverse west to east, driving the same wall of water down upon the back side of the island completely submerging the entire city, scouring the surface of all objects, sending them out to sea. The causeways will be submerge and likely destroyed. Ferry service will be severed for days and maybe weeks. Anyone remaining (alive) would be alone and isolated for a good long time.

    That's just Galveston. Houston itself and its surrounding metropolitan area constitutes one of the
    largest cities in America rivaling LA and Chicago. Given the local geography and population density, the devastation potential is nearly unimaginable, even by Katrina standards.

    The photos from the
    Houston Chronicle's Hurricane website, shows a picture full of haunting irony as school buses can be seen in a line seemingly a mile long, ferrying residents to safety from Galveston and adjacent coastal areas. At least local officials are taking this situation seriously. A well-coordinated and competent regional response to this potential catastrophe will surely enhance the speed and efficiency of Federal and private rescue and relief efforts both during and after the storm. It is certain to ensure a swift recovery for the region.

    That may be a small consolation for those who are looking at a very rough weekend. Many of them are friends and family. Its hard to be so far away at this time.

    Previous posts:

    See Also:
    Houston Chronicle
    Corpus Christi Caller-Times
    Free Republic Live Thread
    Animated Storm Surge Projections



    Producer Duane of the
    Hugh Hewitt radio show captured a classic bit of audio yesterday from a New Orleans Press Conference. The assembly was hosted by feckless Mayor Ray Nagin to discuss current conditions in the city with respect to the approach of Hurricane Rita. But, as feckless Mayor Ray Nagin begins to lose control of the assembly to the nattering numbskulls in a blunderous microcosmic replay of his previous actions, Lt. Gen. Russel Honore took control of the situation... once again.

    Duane has posted the audio and transcript over at
    RadioBlogger. Anyone who wonders about the true nature of the Federal response to Katrina should listen to the sound of solid command and reconsider what they think that they think about it.

    Listen here to the Man berate the press for being "Stuck on Stupid!"

    In this one interchange, is contained the entirety of the philosophical condition of modern Western Civilization. Half of civilization is simply stuck on stupid...

    Harry Reid is stuck on stupid!

    Dan Rather is stuck on stupid!

    John Kerry is stuck on stupid!

    Both Bill and Hillary are stuck on stupid!

    Ted Turner is stuck on stupid!

    Cindy Sheehan is stuck on stupid!

    The Anglican Church is stuck on stupid!

    George Galloway is stuck on stupid! ... actually, he's just a malevolent communist Scot.

    ... and the American Democrat party is joined with him being stuck on stupid!

    Which half are you?

    You know this was inevitable. MIchelle calls attention to a new blog inspired by Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, called Stuck on Stupid blog. It is to be devoted to covering MSM reporters who deserve an Honore-type lashing from time to time. Given the nature and sensibilities of the Old Busted Media, site founder TTLV, should stay quite busy. He can start with Chris Matthews.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005



    Hurricane Rita. It would make one hell of a drink... but it could be a frightening cousin to Katrina. Just three weeks since Hurricane Katrina unleashed catastrophe on the Central Gulf Coast, this new storm threatens still more destruction. She is entering the September Gulf tonight where water temperatures are edging upwards of 88 deg F. The Gulf of Mexico is like gasoline for storm combustion at the moment and early projections for this storm aim it right at my heartland. The entirety of my clan exists between Houston and Austin and currently, they are facing a world of hurt if this storm lights fire and plows into the Texas Coast. The immediate destruction of sustained winds, and the accompanying storm surge are formidable enough. But as the storm reaches inland unloading its contents, flash flooding is certain. The Guadalupe, Colorado, Brazos, and Trinity Rivers are some of the main tributaries to be headed. But, anyone from Central Texas knows that a trickling branch can turn into a raging torrent within minutes. Then there are tornados.

    In Texas alone, 3 major cities lie in this storm's path, along with two smaller ones. Houston, and Corpus Christi hug the coast - north and south respectively. Galveston hangs out in the Gulf on a barrier island at the mouth of the Ship Channel (Oops.. geographic correction. That is Trinity Bay). San Antonio and Austin are about 180 miles inland and typically bear the brunt of flooding and tornado damage as happened in Austin in 1980 when
    Hurricane Allen spawned a deadly tornado that caused $100 million dollars in damage.
    Many of these cities are already hosting refugees from Katrina's destruction, and now face tribulations of their own as do their unfortunate guests.

    As with Katrina, we'll hope for the best and expect the worst. I am off for a week of vacation. Nevertheless, I intend to keep track of this storm as best I can through news, web and other blogs as well as direct accounts for family and friends both before and after. I will convey that information to our readers as the opportunity permits, so keep checking back here through the week and into the weekend for updates, as well as new posts from my fellow Sandmen.

    I guess I should go home and thank the fetching Mrs. Atos. If I had one the coin toss, we would have been heading for Port Aransas this weekend instead of New England.

    Stay tuned. Meantime, here are some resources that can provide real-time information about Hurricane Rita:

    Houston Chronicle
    Corpus Christi Caller-Times
    Free Republic Live Thread

    Forecasters fear Hurricane Rita's strength

    KEY WEST, Fla. - Rapidly strengthening Hurricane Rita lashed the Florida Keys on Tuesday and headed into the Gulf of Mexico, where forecasters feared it could develop into another blockbuster storm targeting Texas or Louisiana.
    Oh my God!
    Here are Storm surge projections using video animation for Galvestion, Texas City, and La Porte. (HT: Freeper Hobson) Click on 'Storm Surge,' and cycle through 'Next.' Then pick a specific location and watch. If you live there, make plans to get out. If you doubt, go pick up a copy of Erik Larson's book and read it tomorrow.

    Then leave.

    Hurricane Rita has ignited in the Gulf. As of Wednesday morning she is already a Category 4 with sustained winds in excess of 130mph. From the AP,
    Rita, now Category 4, heads for Gulf Coast.

    Rita intensified into a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday with wind of 135 mph, deepening concerns that the storm could devastate coastal Texas and already-battered Louisiana by week's end.

    Mandatory evacuations already have been ordered for New Orleans and Galveston, Texas, one day after Rita skirted the Florida Keys as a Category 2 storm, causing minimal damage.

    And her journey across the Gulf has just begun. See the latest 5-day cone from NOAA

    Michelle Malkin is
    Blogging Rita as well with constant updates and great links. She's the bomb... her own perfect storm of news and information.

    All eyes are on Galveston and Houston, but as the updated tracks keep indicating, this storm seems to be tacking west' getting ever closer to Corpus Christi. From the
    Corpus Christi Caller-Times:
    The Port of Corpus Christi has started emergency preparedness procedures and is working with the U.S. Coast Guard to prioritize ship dockings in the Inner Harbor of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. The port's plan includes steps should the storm surge, flooding and strong winds breach the seawall, according a port-issued news release.Military equipment will be relocated to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and the port is setting up a secondary command post up town in Corpus Christi and a third post at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.Port personnel have access to satellite phones and Yahoo e-mail addresses should they experience a power failure. All non-essential personnel will leave Thursday and the port will be locked Friday, according to the port

    The Naval Air Station is being evacuated as well,
    Navy Region South has ordered an evacuation of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Naval Station Ingleside and Naval Air Station Kingsville no later than noon Thursday.

    Between Corpus and Galveston there is a long stretch of nothing, with the exception of smaller coastal towns. That is an ideal strike zone for this storm. It wont spare the State from flash flooding and tornados, but the effect of the destructive winds and tidal surge would be minimized. I wouldn't want to be in Victoria on Friday night, that's for sure.

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    The Modern Mobile Refuge...


    My earliest memories of home in East Central Texas was of a small wooded lot adjacent a forest along the highway between two forgotten towns. The home was parked behind a blue corrugated box that concealed one of the most popular roadhouses in Lee County. My parents were the perprietors of "Rocky Top Tavern." And we four kids lived in the mobile home out back. It wasn't luxury, but it was Home.

    Many things have changed in the world since then. The blue shack is still there, now full of junk and spider webs. The old mobile home is long gone. Yet, behold the modern 'mobile' home... The Dwell Home.

    I only wish that my family had been so lucky. Prefabricated homes have evolved significantly since 1975. So when the President proposes what Hugh Hewitt calls a "trailer park nightmare", to house Hurricane refugees in ' mobile home' villages, perhaps there is opportunity in the misfortunes of circumstance. Applying modern Prefab technology to the current problem of emergency housing combined with a little design innovation and entreprenuerial initiative, could yield a more beneficial solution for everyone involved.

    Imagine for a moment, refugee housing carved out of the desolate suburbs of Southwestern metropolises. Design innovations, employing prefabrication technologies could create housing solutions that are both economically expedient and aesthetically appealing, while being marketably fecund... and fully transportable.

    Does that not make more sense than disposable transient 'shantytowns' devoid of pride and possession?

    Consider, the possibility of applying all the altruistic efforts of private charity and Federal allocations for the investiture of materials and resources toward something permanent and meaningful, rather than ephemeral and disposable. We could create emblems of ownership heretofore unrealized by the refugees from progressive entitlement to which ownership has been an historical anathema.

    One could purchase a home, assembled in a temporary village, to be relocated to any urban lot in any city or locale in the United State of America.

    Would not that make more of common sense?

    Friday, September 16, 2005

    The Dem Senators Cannot Find the Holy Hand Grenade

    Major Mike

    I listened to as much of the Judge Roberts confirmation hearings as humanly possible for a knucklehead trying to hold down full time employment, so I caught maybe forty percent of the hearings. I probably didn’t catch all of the whoppers, but I did get a few lasting impressions.

    The first stream of questioning by the Democrat Senators on Tuesday revealed an arrogance that was built on over-confidence and coupled with an aristocratic snobbishness. It was sad to see these Senators wallow in the delivery of their impromptu remarks that were sandwiched between questions that had been prepared for them by some Democrat lawyers with too much time on their hands. It was clear that they were asking questions, delivered through myriad of mired soliloquies, that they barely understood. And when their questions were ably answered by a man who possesses an intellect on Constitutional law logarithmically ahead of theirs,…they were left naked before the world. They were done after Senator Leahy’s first thirty minute spanking.

    Senator Leahy had faced the Black Beast of Auuuugh and he was soundly defeated. The remainder of Leahy’s brave Ka-nig-its failed to recognized the deadliness of the beast and continued their attacks on the Cave of Caerbannog, but to no avail… It went like this…

    What, behind the rabbit?
    It is the rabbit.
    You silly sod!
    You got us all worked up!
    Well, that's no ordinary rabbit!
    That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
    You tit! I soiled my armour I was so scared!
    Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
    Get stuffed!
    He'll do you up a treat, mate.
    Oh, yeah?
    You mangy Scots git!
    I'm warning you!
    What's he do, nibble your bum?
    He's got huge, sharp-- eh-- he can leap about-- look at the bones!
    Go on, Bors. Chop his head off!
    Right! Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew comin' right up!

    They continued, until yesterday, to face the Black Beast of Auuuugh in the Cave of Caerbannog…each time with the same result. Their lightweight understanding of the Constitution and their filibustering was no match for the rabbit. Their thrusts were parried with all the effort that it takes to sleep. It was more an endurance contest than a battle of wits…and the Dems were out matched on all fronts…by the rabbit.

    Their well-researched, prepared questions were fumbled by the wallowing delivery of each Senator. They quickly cut off the rabbit’s responses, and changed the subject when their thin knowledge of the material they had been fed was gobbled up by the rabbit and spat back at them.

    Their narcissism was revealed and reviled in the discussions about the legislative history of some laws enacted by congress. As if the merits or the lobbying efforts of a particular piece of legislation are enough to push Congressional power AROUND the Constitution. Is the law not obvious to the Senators…? A well- intentioned and meaningful piece of legislation may still be un-Constitutional. The way to get this changed is not but garnering more support, and getting more committee endorsements, it is by changing the Constitution…any other process unbalances the power within our government. The rabbit calmly goes about the business of educating the panel…many of which are lawyers.

    They attempted to use the hypothetical to slay the rabbit…but the rabbit was not vulnerable to the easily recognized trap. The rabbit move confidently around the mouth of the cave, avoiding each of the carefully laid, but clumsily disguised obstacles.

    Finally when they had exhausted all of their weapons, they went to Ka-nig-it Schumer, who finally asked the rabbit bluntly “Kind rabbit, how may I defeat you?” The unharmed rabbit replied…”Sir Ka-nig-it, you have done a marvelous job of attacking me, you have used all of the right weapons, you have even made me work a bit. You have done a good job in trying to defeat me.” But, alas the rabbit remained in front of the cave. And the Ka-nig-its retreated.

    If they had only possessed the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

    Although, after this performance, I am not sure they would be able to understand the directions.

    The instructions for its use are in the "Book of Armaments" (Chapter 2, verses 9-21), as follows: "And the LORD spake, saying, first shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three. No more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither thou count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

    What perfect Ka-nig-its they made.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    Alabama, G.I. Family Needs Help...


    The fetching Mrs. Atos conveyed the message this evening that a long-time friend is having severe difficulty. Amy is the mother of four alone at the moment as her husband is currently deployed with his Army Reserve unit in Iraq. She was in the process of selling their old home to move into a new one and that is when her world took a tail spin. In addition to some health complications with the kids, the new house sprung a leak, and the sale of the old house fell through. Now she has two mortgages, a major leak with interior damage, and the emotional burden of medical difficulties.

    Isolated from their families, Amy is working to support her family and dealing with some fairly heavy tribulations that needn't burden her, nor distract her husband from his perilous duty. If there is anyone out there in the area of Birmingham, Alabama that is willing to lend a hand, she could sure use it. I don't know what we could do to help sell her old home, but a Contractor willing to donate services on her behalf to fix problems with the new home would go a long way to help the family of a serviceman standing guard on the frontier of chaos. Anything else would be a plus.

    I will help forward any assistance in their direction. Please contact me through my email, and I can get you in touch with their local liason.

    Thank you for any assistance that you can provide.

    Let’s Get Down to Work

    Major Mike

    I am sure that the Katrina Blame Game will continue well into the future, perhaps eclipsing the World Poker Tour as the number one game show on TV, but I think it is time to get down to providing solutions to all of the problems that were encountered during Katrina. Many of my ideas could be applied across the board for flood causing rains, earthquakes, and other natural disasters that are likely to occur locally or regionally.

    Preemptive Evacuation Reimbursement Funding

    When, in cooperation with State and Federal governments, local officials' call for evacuations, emergency funds should be guaranteed. This guarantee should be in place even in the event the evacuation turns out to be unnecessary...i.e. the hurricane shifts direction...the intensity diminishes...the damage is less than imagined. It is this guarantee that then precludes the finger pointing and the post disaster carping. Local officials, in a zero revenue environment, will be incentivized to make the right call, rather than the fiscally prudent call.

    Good Samaritan Protection for Service Providers, Transporters, and Public Officials for Evacuation Casualties During Evacuations

    Evacuating elderly, frail, and infirmed patients in an extremis situation is an inherently risky business. Remaining in place and ignoring evacuation orders can be, as we now know in spades, equally as risky. Descriptions of the harrowing transfers of many critical patients highlight the peril that critically ill patients are in when they are moved from their safer, stable environments. It is entirely conceivable that during a mandatory evacuation, that some of these critical patients could be lost. Without Good Samaritan protection, the movement of these patients may, in turn, become problematic due to potential legal liabilities. Facilities managers may be reluctant to become involved in evacuations without protections from litigation should evacuation caused injuries or death occur. Good Samaritan protection keeps hospital and nursing home owners from facing the impossible conundrum of a continuous stream of Hobson's choices facing them.

    Define the Evacuation Requirements/Preparations of Owner/Operators of Hospitals and Nursing homes

    In light of yesterday's indictments of the St Rita's owners for negligent homicide, a discussion of the issue is imperative. I suggest that these indictments are greatly misplaced. What are the existing statutory requirements for owner/operators? What are the moral obligations in light of the nearly impossible task of an owner/operator in evacuating nursing home patients when a mandatory evacuation is ordered well inside the time that it would take to do a safe and orderly evacuation? Would indictments be handed out to New Orleans' hospitals if conditions and lack of support had eventually caused deaths within those facilities? Especially when there was no indication that specific assistance was included anywhere in State and Local plans? Be careful here...arduous statutory requirements may well eliminate the existence of nursing homes and intensive care facilities inside the impact zone of hurricanes. From the Atlantic coast to Houston, nursing homes may evaporate because evacuation requirements of the elderly and feeble are, accordingly intense and arduous.

    Appropriate regulatory requirements, coupled with more detailed and refined local evacuation plans, AND combined with more timely evacuation notices, would certainly result in reduced risk for patients and it would continue to incentivize the existence of nursing homes and hospitals.

    Improved Modeling and Simulation Tools

    The key elements of success in a fluid (no pun intended) environment are anticipation and appropriate reaction. By far, the best way to prepare detailed plans and reaction schemes is through modeling. Advanced modeling tools should be applied across, at a minimum, the 100-year impact zone for hurricanes. Modern modeling programs are more than capable of accepting the variety of variables that were encountered during Hurricane Katrina. Time of day of impact, tidal surge, rain volumes, wind patterns and speeds, and even looting patterns, can be modeled to give planners a decided edge in mobilizing given certain conditions. This would provide State and local officials with enough information to react...let's a Cat 3 hurricane, with a 15 foot tidal surge, 115 knot winds, that hits 20 miles south of their city. Results of the modeling should be able to predict flooded roads, intact bridges, target areas for looting, and the areas of greatest need.

    This is no small investment, but it is the key to timely and cost effective reaction. Additionally, this is the type of "project" must be protected from the usual chicanery and pilfering that occurs in many "soft" product projects. It must be closely managed by a knowledgeable and forceful manager, that keeps his eye on the is not pork for Louisiana, nor any other hurricane impacted state.

    Regional Pre-existing Contracts for Evacuation Resources

    Regional contracting for evacuation resources should be contracted through standing, and maintained (paid for) contracts to bus and other transportation resources that are safely out of the modeled, affected areas. This may result, somewhat predictably, that contracts should be in place for Houston, TX; Shreveport, LA; Monroe, LA; Jackson, MS; Meridian, MS, Birmingham, AL; Montgomery, AL; Tallahassee, FL; Orlando, FL; Atlanta, GA; Augusta, GA; Columbia, SC; Fayetteville, NC; Raleigh Durham, NC; etc. that can ensure that required transportation can arrive to the area to be evacuated in a timely manner... less than four hour seems appropriate. These contracts could be awarded to private or regional transportation entities that have the necessary resources available, to support an evacuation scenario as modeled. It would remain the responsibility of State and local officials to exercise the responsiveness of those assets, and ensure value in those contracts. While these contracts may be seldom used, their value lies in the security of the assets and simple implementation triggers it would take to mobilize them under conditions that compress decision making windows for State and local leaders.

    Regional Consolidation of Emergency Response Supplies

    While it is impossible to eliminate all risk in pre-positioning supplies, pre-positioning hurricane relief supplies can be achieved, in parallel with contracting for evacuation services. So some, or all, of the cities listed above, may also serve as pre-positioning sites for non-perishable response materials, both private and public. This would reduce response times, and improve service to evacuees and survivors.

    Plug and Play Command and Control

    Migration must occur towards a wireless, continually connected emergency response system that does not require serious infrastructure construction in an emergency. The system should include response asset tracking, emergency responder training and accounting tracking, evacuee accounting, needs request and response control system, and pre-event communication capability. Conceptually, Federal, State, and local governments would be continually connected to each other, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other integrated relief agencies, so that communication infrastructure connectivity is not an issue during crisis... a seemless transition could then occur from daily operations to emergency operations, speeding resources to affected areas.

    Emergency Response Training for State and Local Officials

    Governors, State agencies heads, city mayors and managers, must participate in a minimal, recurring training event that ensures they have a basic understanding of Federal capabilities and response times, private entity capabilities and response times, and jurisdictional responsibilities. Complete failure by local entities in New Orleans, and multiple failures at the State level...nuff said.

    These are just the building blocks to more refined plans and better response results. But these steps are collectively needed to remove the results that are expected after these events from "chancy" to assured. If we are looking for guaranteed results in these situations, it will take money, foresight, difficult decision making, and planning. Without the will to see these changes through, the results after the next disaster could well be the same.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    Flight 93 Memorial...

    Mr. Atos

    Much is currently being made of the proposed Flight 93 Memorial design. And rightly so, it might seem. The selected scheme, by Los Angeles architect,
    Paul Murdoch, borders on being flippantly obscene. Michelle Malkin links to a graphic that puts the designer's idea into simple perspective.

    The design consists of red maples forming a crescent wrapped around the crash site near Shanksville, Pa., where
    40 innocent people were murdered at the hands of Islamic terrorists. The red crescent, an overt symbol of Islamic faith, might seem to be a profoundly offensive reference in light of the justification of its fundamentalist perpetrators who murdered over 3000 innocent people in the name of their religion.

    Over at
    OKIE on the LAM, OkieBoy sums up the sentiments of many regarding this concept,

      I actually like to give folks the benefit of the doubt about intent and all that, but these guys are professionals, with large planning projects in their backgrounds. It’s not defensible to say that they created this without knowing that the crescent was a major symbol of Islam. With that firmly in mind, makes you wonder which of the dead these architects are trying to memorialize!
    He's absolutely right. As designers, it is necesary to be acutely sensitive to the complete context of every opportunity. In this case there would seem to be a degree of insensitivity if not indeed bias involved in the conceptual process. And yet, as professionals, they are hired to manifest artifacts that will define human culture at a moment in time for generations into the future. What, afterall does the Athenian Parthenon tell us now, some 2500 years after its erection. What story does the Chrysler Building contain that is similar or different from the destroyed towers of the World Trade Center? Most artifacts are tools of utility, and convey a functional honesty of the task for which they served. Architecture serves a function in addition to glorifying itself before men, gods, or God. In that respect it is art. And as art, it is highly subject to the eye of the creator... as well as the beholder.

    There is certainly subjectivity involved in any creative process, but architects unlike artists, must convey honesty, thoughtfullness, and beauty. Clearly, this particular creator superimposed an additional set of values on his work, perhaps not appreciated by most beholders in this case, as
    Murdoch's own philosphy suggest...

      A primary task of this generation is to create new patterns of development that sustain human habitation on this planet. Towards this end, the principles adopted for our practice are intended to ensure that each project contributes to an overall goal of environmental responsibility while striving for design excellence. As architects, we are uniquely qualified to help formulate and translate policy into tangible form; mitigating pressures of urbanity with the need to heal the natural environment. Each design solution is seen as a contribution to the human condition; as it exists today and evolves into future generations. Our goal is to define and study problems both in terms of clients’ direct needs and relative to long term effects on natural and man made surroundings. More than problem solving however, we aspire to emotionally affect and uplift our lives through poetry and beauty. It is through these transcendent qualities that we optimistically strive for ways to enrich life and fulfill our original purpose for engaging in the practice of architecture.”
    One might attribute his mission statement to the whims of narcissistic folly on the part of the designer's approach to the historical significance of this place. The jargon, meant to impress the professional courtesans, obscures the substance of the intention with meaningless pretension. Often architects are the first to inject ego in the form of condescension in the place of context. Here Wretchard writing at the Belmont Club, serves as arbitrator providing the necessary overlay of cultural implication regarding the Flight 93 Memorial design concept.

      If you look at the video provided, you'll see that the orientation of the "Crescent of Embrace" is determined, or at least very strongly suggested by the contours of the ground. (The PDF map shows the same thing). The contours run right through the opening of the crescent. Unless you wanted the park visitors to climb up and down contour lines the opening was exactly where it had to be. So the simplest explanation it seems to me, is that the orientation of the Crescent of Embrace is coincidental....

      I am reminded of all those "Freudian" symbols that everyone suddenly noticed in High School, or about calculations showing the Great Pyramid had this or that occult meaning. Looking at the architect's portfolio and the topography it was better than even odds he was going to come up with a semicircle somewhere and if you allowed for twenty degree arcs as the limit of suggestion, there was a 1 in 9 chance of an accidental orientation to Mecca because any azimuth has a reciprocal.

      But memorials are what we perceive them to be; they rarely have an intrinsic value. They "remind" us of things, and it so happened that a design which was probably innocently conceived triggered certain unfortunate associations. Symbols are powerful and dangerous to the unwitting. During the Stalin era, one man was sent to the Gulag because he hung his hat over Stalin's picture. It didn't matter that he was blind. It was the symbolism of his act that counted then. Perhaps years from today no will object to Red Crescents displayed in conjunction with the victims of September 11, just as someday people may remember that
      Swastikas were widely employed as ancient religious symbols. One day, but probably not in 2005.

    Upon first hearing about this latest 9/11 Memorial controversy, I too was inclined to jerk from the knee at the design. But, upon extended reflection, I came to a simliar conclusion as did Wretchard. And looking at the site and its physical context, I am not surprised about the selection of the form. In fact, sweeping arcs have been a trendy feature of design for quite a few years.There is something quite evocative about such a form in the landscape as perceived from the perspective of the human eye and rarely from the sky. Add to that the manifestation of that form with the red maple, and there is a bit of somber genius at play. If I recall from my trips to Lost Maples State Park in Central Texas, there is a fiery brilliance about the red maple when isolated and contained... it's contrasted fury comes to life for a brief instant at the beginning of the Fall igniting passion. Even if that fury symbolically defines the spirit of Islam , as perhaps was intended here, it does so momentarily, only to dissolve into the skeletal remains of stripped glory stolen by the winter of discontent. Perhaps I am being to gracious, but there are degrees of brilliant propriety in that approach, I think.

    But, then I too am an architect.

    It is both necessary and appropriate to question the propriety of those monuments that are erected to represent our culture and ourselves. In this Republic, everything can be subject to debate. Discourse is the fertilzer of American liberty. So when Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) questions the propriety of a selection for the Flight 93 Memorial, he does so both as an individual and as responsible member of public representation. But when the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) invokes the charge of bigotry in the form of "anti-Muslim bias" in an attempt to silence his input, CAIR is demonstrating that they have no respect for this nation, its people, its culture, its traditions, and the foundations of liberty that maintain the Republic for our posterity. In this fourth year of conflict with radical elements of the Islamic faith, I submit that this organization has worn out its welcome.

    We the People of the United States will decide how our culture is represented... not the apologists and public relations wing for global facsists butchers.

    Monday, September 12, 2005

    Choosing Your Rescuer

    Major Mike

    Below was captured from
    Friday's Oregonian...

      "For the man in the mirror, the woman in the mirror, the child in the mirror -- still devastated from the Gulf Coast storm and flood -- to travel more than 2,000 miles to Oregon and not see reflections of themselves, a new form of devastation is created.

      I was compelled to write this in response to the insensitivity to locations for placement of African Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Locations such as Oregon lack a culturally diverse majority to act as a hospitality group having the competency to truly relate to the social, spiritual and cultural healing these evacuees will need.

      Some readers will interpret my use of "insensitivity" as charged language. That in itself supports the argument that there's a lack of understanding about the needs of mankind extending beyond the basic requirements of food, clothing and shelter.

      You don't need a course in statistics or a review of a census report to realize that the majority of the citizens of New Orleans, Biloxi and surrounding areas are African Americans. Those assigned to make placement decisions for these evacuees are rendering a disservice to them and showing disrespect to African American civic groups in Oregon that seek to embrace the men, women and children in the mirror.

      My intent here is not to damage caring hearts. It is not to provoke anger or set a prejudicial tone. After listening to communications from the director of the area's American Red Cross and from those commissioned by Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Tom Potter to locate emergency housing, my intention is to publicly educate them that the needs of these survivors extend beyond what is being offered.

      I agreed with the Red Cross director's comment that the survivors need time to rest and process what they have experienced. This healing should involve the support of a group reflecting, embracing and mirroring their life experiences. Such a bond tends to soothe and expedite the healing process.

      For an African American to leave the South, where she or he has been rooted, and relocate to Oregon -- as gorgeous as it may be -- is an unimaginable cultural shock. After 30 years of Southern living, I married an African American native Oregonian, which prompted my move to this state, where I experience this jolt of the culture.

      The perception most African Americans have of Oregon is that there are no African Americans here, which often equates to an assumption of ill treatment of African Americans by white Oregonians. At the very least, there is ignorance. For example, some well-trained Northwest television news anchors have described survivors coming to Oregon as "refugees," a hurtful label that would foster resistance to temporarily residing in our great state.

      Do demographics, cultural differences and impoverished conditions cause Oregonians to believe that these people are "coming to America"? The term "refugees" suggests as much, even though these survivors sing "America," too.

      In TV interviews, residents of Portland neighborhoods where placement facilities are located have asked, "Are we going to be safe?" These remarks are stereotyping indicators and are barriers to the healing process.

      These survivors have lost enough to the bayous and the Gulf and do not need their sense of worthiness and self-esteem washed away on our Oregon shores.

      Those of the majority culture in Oregon have practiced the process of diversity competency, but they have not mastered the art of it adequately enough to fulfill the extended needs of African American evacuees."

      Deborah Harris is a Portland State University graduate student.

    I came across this piece in the Oregonian Friday morning and I was a bit stunned by it. Portland State University student Deborah Harris makes, what I believe is a sincere attempt to explain why evacuees from the Gulf Coast may be reluctant to come to Portland for refuge, but I think, in the end, she has done more harm than good.

    In her first paragraph, she immediately implies that race is a factor even when sheer survival is at stake…that rescue and relief efforts are somehow negated if those being helped are not being helped by those of the same color. I am taken aback by this on several levels.

    First, I understand any gulf coast resident’s reluctance to leave the area. Nearly everything here is different…the weather, the topography, the general culture, etc. But more importantly, a displacement of this distance induces other logistical problems for the evacuees…cost to return, cost to connect with and visit with relatives, who may also be in the same situation, or enduring the pangs of the simple desire to return to where one grew up. All very understandable.

    But certainly, trying to incorporate over 400,000 evacuees within a few hours of their immediate homes, is also a near impossibility. Local services are already stretched, and the ability of the cities and communities in the southern region to immediately embrace significant population changes is dubious. It is extremely likely that surplus housing does not exist in those areas that the evacuees would prefer to live. In that case, temporary, and I think I correctly view Portland as a temporary refuge for the evacuees, refuge must be found spread across the near entirety of this nation.

    Four hundred thousand, needy, evacuees cannot just assimilate into Baton Rouge, Meridian, Lafayette…today. In time, yes. But to relieve the strain on all of the services in the region, many of the evacuees will have to move to unfamiliar territory, at least temporarily…Portland being one of the likely spots.

    Secondly, I am insulted by her statement. When I was flying ejection seat equipped fighters, I had no choice whom worked on those life-saving devices…man/woman, black/white/Hispanic/Asian. I had to trust in each and every specially trained mechanic regardless of their socio-economic or racial status. At their core, race neutrality, racial blindness, and racial accptance hinge on the idea that those barriers are rapidly disassembled in extremis. This has been proven time and again in combat, in our emergency services, and on our sports fields. Trust is the building block that moves race relations forward faster than any other factor. Faster than the wholey created business of "diversity." Faster than the near continuous din of "racism" that permiates post-Katrina.

    Embracing “diversity” (our buzzword for racial harmony), means not looking in the mirror, but looking out the door. Sometimes this means taking risks…trusting strangers, reaching out even though you are unaccustomed to it…getting outside your comfort zone. And in this emergency, this might be a good exercise for both the evacuees from the south and caregivers here in Portland. The volunteers sure seem willing. Couldn’t this connection actually strengthen racial ties here in Portland?

    A study of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, will show that meeting the basic needs of life, supercedes higher level needs in time of crisis. It doesn’t mean the relief agencies are entitled to be insensitive, but it does mean that the evacuees need to prioritize their needs…it is hard to eat a “diversity” sandwich. Let’s deal with the immediate needs, then we can move on to the higher level needs. Not ALL needs can be adequately accommodated all the time.

    I suggest that the African-American population in Portland is sufficient in size to tend to the very specific cultural needs of any diverse evacuees, but is color required to tend to all needs? If this is the standard, then should all monies to support African-American evacuees come only from African-Americans? I think we would find, because of the size of the African-American population in this country, that this standard would result in a significantly lower level of care in meeting basic needs. Why not agree that cultural support could come from within the culturally unique communities, and that the bascis needs could come from the relief agencies already equipped to tend to the basic requirmentst?

    As for “damaging caring hearts”, how would African-American volunteers feel if whites declined shelters offered in black neighborhoods? One word, offended. I understand that it may be impossible for some African-Americans to see past color…I understand what a profound impact race has played in their lives, and I understand they may feel more comfortable in black neighborhoods, but when food and shelter are declined in a time of emergency, because of race, it is hard not to be offended. And it is nearly impossible for that attitude not to do irreparable harm to race relations. Without the multitude of white volunteers throughout the country where would the rescue/relief/recovery effort be? Tread lightly here, the harm you do may not be measured until the next crisis.

    As for mis-labeling of evacuee as refugees…a minor nuance in the dictionary…I looked it up. Maybe insensitive, but not unexpected at the local level by MSM wannabes. I doubt it was intended at all to imply a different class of citizenry. The blathering idiots on local TV stations, often misspeak dozens of times in their reports. Be insulted if you want to, but this should not be a barrier to needy evacuees receiving help and a place of respite.

    I also think, based on the images of the looting and lawlessness, that was readily apparent in the Superdome, the Convention Center, and the streets of New Orleans…asking about safety is a legitimate question by neighbors, and possibly caregivers. It is easily put to bed by the experienced institutions handling the crisis. But it is legitimate to ask, answer, and put behind us. No reason to ignore the legitimate concerns of care givers and shelter neighbors, in light of the violence presented on TV, simply because one group might get insulted. When we mature as a racially neutral country we will come to miss these “insults” rather than see them at every turn.

    Ms. Harris comes very close to espousing the idea that only African-Americans should, or can, adequately care for other African-Americans in need. If this is true, I am sure there are many white Americans out there that would let them carry the entirety of the burden…and it comes with a significant price tag, one I am not sure that the African-American community can carry alone.

    This idea, is, regardless of intention, divisive to its core. As our country continues to move farther from the bonds of slavery, the inequities of segregation and pains of discrimination…these kinds of ideas need to be more closely examined before they are espoused, because, regardless of the beliefs in the black communities, a vast majority of whites are not bigots or racists, and to be eyed as one at every turn is becoming insulting in the extreme.

    Regardless of whether the Portland shelters are occupied or not, they will be predominately manned by whites, who seek only to help, and to profit only by the good they feel in their hearts…as it will likely be out into the future. But our country and our diverse communities will never connect as they should, until we can graciously accept help in the good light that it is offered.

    It turns out that Portland will not receive any evacuees via official programs...was the printing of this OpEd piece worth the damage it may have caused to the relief organizations who toil away, everyday within our very liberal, and caring community? It is hard to imagine...perhaps behind Ann Arbor, and Eugene...any more progressive and socially involved community than Portland. I am not sure how this involved and committed community will feel about their warmest, and most welcoming efforts being dismissed soley because most of them happend to be white.

    Michelle Malkin links to this story from Nashville's News Channel 5,

    "The Red Cross has been praised for its tireless efforts assisting storm victims in Middle Tennessee. But there are concerns in the black community that the organization lacks diversity, especially in an effort helping mostly black evacuees. A number of minority churches and groups are offering to help, but say they've been left out.

    But Reverend Enoch Fuzz says in times like this, the volunteer corps should be more diverse, “Who in Brentwood would know where a black beauty shop or barber shop is?” asks Fuzz. The Red Cross acknowledges most of it’s volunteers are white, but says training is open to anyone. Since then, Joyce Searcy went through training, and is signing up others.

    A number of black churches are helping evacuees on their own even though it isn't through the Red Cross.

    (shaking the head)