Yesterday, an airline passenger was shot and killed by an air marshal. The dead man shouldn't have gone on an airplane without his medication, but he doesn't deserve the death penalty for this oversight.
The blogosphere has been too quick to forgive the air marshal without really knowing the facts. Statements like "Now we know that the air marshal system worked, and the terrorists have to consider it." (Counterterrorism Blog)
Anyone smart enough to obtain a bomb and sneak it aboard a plane is smart enough not to run around the plane yelling "I have a bomb!" Compared to all the other crowded places in which I regularly find myself, such as subway stations, the Staten Island Ferry and movie theaters, an airplane is the least likely place in which someone would actually be carrying a bomb.
The air marshal shouldn't have shot a guy in this situation with a woman screaming that it's her husband and he didn't take his medication.
Back in the 1950s America faced a threat from communism. Looking back on this era, those of the left will loudly complain about how American communists were denied their civil rights.
Let's fast forward fifty years. I'd like to see the same people on the left who denounce McCarthyism speak up in favor of the rights of neo-Nazis to peacefully march.
The march was allegedly to demonstrate against black gangs. So what do black gangs do? They prove the white supremacists' point by rioting.
Does America face a threat from neo-Nazi white supremacists? Based on the fact that only "two dozen" showed up to the march, I'd have to say that they are a pretty small fringe group. The hundreds of gang members who showed up to riot are a lot scarier.
Through some sort of amazing coincidence, it looks like New Orleans is in the possible path of hurricane Rita, which is predicted to become a major hurricane of at least category 4 before it makes landfall.
I'm hoping it scores a direct hit on New Orleans. Am I sadistic? Not at all. First of all, most of New Orleans is already destroyed, so what more damage can another hurricane do? At least everyone is already evacuated.
I am mad that Bush wants to throw $200 billion into rebuilding New Orleans when it's still below sea level in the middle of an active hurricane region. It's only a matter of time before New Orleans takes another hit and then we need to spend yet another $200 billion.
How many times does New Orleans need to be destroyed before we figure out that it's built in a dumb spot? Apparently more than once, but maybe its second destruction in a few days will do the trick. Rita could wind up being the only hurricane to ever actually save the taxpayer money.
I don't understand the urge to donate to Katrina related charities. With the government already earmarking tens of billions of tax dollars towards Katrina related activities, I feel like I've already contributed too much.
And I ask, where were all the do-gooders prior to Katrina? Maybe if they had donated some money for better levees in the first place, they wouldn't need to donate money now.
The disaster in New Orleans "is not an act of God," said Benigno Aguirre, a professor at the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware. "This is an act of man. The federal government refused to spend the money to improve the levees."
I'm sick and tired of people blaming the federal government for this. If the people in the city of New Orleans and the state of Lousiana were stupid enough to live there without taking adequate precautions, that's not the federal government's fault. New Orleans should have raised taxes by a few percent to pay for better levees. And if the higher taxes caused everyone to move out of the city, that would have just demonstrated that it wasn't an economically viable place to live there in the first place.
There has been talk in the news about gas stations "price gouging." At the same time there has been talk about gasoline shortages. This is talk from people who are economically illiterate.
When an item is in short supply, prices rise until enough people decide they no longer want to buy it at that price. If the government prohibits sellers from raising prices, then we wind up with shortages, preventing people who really need the gasoline from buying it, and forcing people to waste huge amounts of time waiting in lines at gas stations.
At this time we need to let gas stations charge as much as they want. Maybe $7/gallon gas over Labor Day weekend will discourage some people from driving to the beach, allowing time for the supply situation to be rectified.
I personally am disgusted that people are so concerned that it costs more money drive to the beach this weekend while thousands of people are trapped in New Orleans without food and water.
Iris Lindberg of New Orleans told a WSJ reporter in Baton Rouge, "A lot of people are telling me they never want to go back, and that's a thought."
What we need is a plan to move a lot of the refugees out of the region entirely. Baton Rouge and other nearby cities are obviously going to be inundated. Why not move them to places like Boston or Seattle?
The governor of Louisiana says no one will be allowed back into the city for 12-16 weeks. So assuming at least 16 weeks (because so far every projection involving the Katrina catastrophe has been over-optimistic) no one will be allowed back into New Orleans until Christmas. And when they get back, their house will probably be gone anyway. And whatever job they had there will also probably be gone. Tourism, one of New Orleans' biggest sources of jobs will not return automatically. People go there to party, not to see a depressed town where where people are homeless and jobless.
Except for people who work in the oil and gas industry who have to be in the area, everyone else will probably find jobs elsewhere and never go back. (This blogger has similar thoughts.)
So I think that the authorities, instead of working under the false assumption that everyone will move back to New Orleans and rebuild everything, need to more realistically work towards easing the former residents' migration to new locations, and making this the number one priority ahead of draining the city, which is no longer filling up with water because the water level has now equalized with the lake.
This end of New Orleans may have the effect of extending the housing bubble a while longer, because all those displaced people will need new homes.
I'm not talking about the people trapped there, who we need to get out of there as soon as possible. The government authorities have been doing a pretty lousy job on this account and the Superdome was a really stupuid place to use as a shelter.
But what about the city itself? Yesterday morning, we were told 80% of the city was flooded, and since then there have been more levee breaches and waters have continued to rise. By now I assume that close to 100% of the city is flooded.
I'm not a structural engineer, but I am pretty sure that houses flooded up to their roofs cannot be saved, and will have to be torn down and entirely rebuilt once the flood waters are finally gone. So far I have not read any reports about what percentage of homes will have to be torn down and rebuilt, but I'm guessing that the majority of homes in New Orleans will fall into this category.
Does it really make sense to rebuild a home in a "bowl" that's susceptible to future hurricanes? Did it ever make sense to build it there in the first place?
This morning on CNN, there was an interview with a woman who so far was the first person to publicly speak any common sense. She's with her parents in South Carolina and she has no intent to return to New Orleans, she's looking for work elsewhere.
I don't want to see our government spending tens of billions of dollars to restore New Orleans to a condition that will never be what it was before when the money might be better spent closing down the city and moving the people elsewhere.
The Washington Post reports that the Army is behind on its recruiting goals.
Violent, long deployments to Iraq and a sound job market at home have combined to reduce what the Army calls the "propensity to enlist" -- the percentage of young Americans willing to consider Army service -- which dropped from 11 percent last year to about 7 percent this year.
It’s probably correct that all the news reporting about violence in Iraq is dampening enthusiasm to enlist. I am certain that if the news reported about the more than 42,000 motor vehicle deaths per year with the vigor it reports about a much smaller number of deaths in Iraq (as of June 10, only 1,326 since hostilities began on 3/19/03, per AntiWar.com), everyone would be afraid to get into their cars.
This article will only give hope to the insurgents, because they will see that if they keep at it, eventually we will have to withdraw our army for lack of manpower.
This has to be the most anticlimactic “big” news story of all time. My reaction is, “Mark who? Who cares?” Probably this story is only of real interest to journalists over the age of fifty. It’s all very exciting for them. Watergate was the zenith of investigative journalism. It’s journalists over the age of fifty who get to decide what’s news, so we are bombarded with “news” of Deep Throat.
The only thing really interesting here is what I presume to be Mark Felt’s motive for tipping off Woodward and Bernstein. Nixon passed him over for promotion to Director of the FBI and Felt wanted revenge.
Mark Felt was himself a crook who was convicted of conspiracy in 1980. Maybe everyone involved in high level federal politics is a crook.
An article in the NY Times explains how Congress wants to waste $10 billion on missile defenses for commercial airplanes. $120 million has already been wasted on this project. Even worse, the airlines would be required to pay for maintenance on these systems which, according to the article, could exceed $1 million per year per plane. (That would be an ongoing expense of $6.8 billion per year if installed on 6,800 planes.)
Why is this a big waste of money? Because shoulder fired missiles, the type that this defense system is designed to protect against, just aren’t that big of a threat to large commercial airplanes.
A friend of mine who was flew F-15s in the U.S. Air Force and who was a pilot for Delta Airlines once explained to me that a small missile couldn’t take out a large commercial airplane because they are too big and can be landed even if one of their engines are hit. The article seems to bear out what I was told:
Part of the reason for the relatively low ranking of missiles among threats is that large passenger airliners are designed to fly after the loss of an engine, even if that engine explodes, industry experts said.
The article also mentions two instances in which shoulder fired missiles were launched at commercial airplanes. In 2002, two missiles were fired at a Boeing 757 in Kenya and both missed. And in 2004, a missile was fired at an Airbus A300 on takeoff from Baghdad, and although this missile hit and disabled the plane’s hydraulic system, the pilot was still able to land the plane. So it seems that these missiles are 0 for 3 against large commercial airplanes.
[I]n last Friday's sermon televised on Palestinian Authority television the paid employee of the PA described the Jews as an AIDS-like virus responsible for all the world's evils, blamed their economic sabotage of Germany for the Holocaust, and predicted the future triumph of Islam over America, a time when "everything will be relieved of the Jews, even the stones and trees."
I certainly wish that U.S. publications like Newsweek would report what the Islamic world is really about instead of ignoring it and only finding fault with America.
On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that what Newsweek reported two weeks ago wasn’t true, or that Newsweek didn’t have a right to publish it.
Now let’s look at the actual paragraph that supposedly caused all of the riots and killing:
Investigators probing interrogation abuses at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash. An Army spokesman confirms that 10 Gitmo interrogators have already been disciplined for mistreating prisoners, including one woman who took off her top, rubbed her finger through a detainee's hair and sat on the detainee's lap. (New details of sexual abuse—including an instance in which a female interrogator allegedly wiped her red-stained hand on a detainee's face, telling him it was her menstrual blood—are also in a new book to be published this week by a former Gitmo translator.)
The paragraph is misleading because it implies that U.S. investigators “confirmed” that a Koran was flushed down a toilet. But it does say this information came from “sources,” which is newspeak for “there’s no way to truly know if this is true or not.” I wish that the MSM would use more exact language in the way they report this stuff instead of presenting it so that the average reader, or even the sophisticated one, gets the impression that it’s 100% true.
Everyone is now in CYA mode, so we may never know if someone at Guantanamo “flushed a Qur’an down a toilet.” And don’t give me “but a book won’t go down a toilet,” because the obvious meaning of the statement is that the book was either dumped into the toilet, or that pages were torn out and flushed down the toilet.
Just because the Pentagon says “oh no, nothing like this would have ever happened,” doesn’t mean I believe those denials. For reasons explained in a previous post, I am sure that military authorities are lying to us about who was really responsible at Abu Ghraib and are making scapegoats out of unfortunate low level soldiers.
Is it possible to successfully fight a war against shadowy guerilla organizations without using interrogation methods that seem uncivilized to the typical liberal Westerner living a comfy life in spoiled luxury? Probably not.
I could care the less if some soldier flushed a few pages of some book down a toilet, but it does bother me that, if it did happen, our government would probably try to cover it up.
Michelle Malkin says that there’s no racism involved in the lack of attention being given to the death of Lisa Eatmon when the facts are very similar to the Scott and Laci Peterson media brouhaha, but with an important difference being that Lisa Eatmon is black.
I hate it as much as anyone when the left screams “racism” where none actually exists. But let’s get real here Michelle. The only reason anyone cared about Laci and Scott Peterson is because they were good looking preppy white people.
And I say it’s reverse racism because in criminal law the rights of the accused are paramount. Law enforcement and prosecutors when far beyond the call of duty to prosecute Scott Peterson when, as far as I can tell, the evidence against him was severely lacking. If Laci and Scott had been ugly black people from the ghetto (or ugly white trailer trash) there would have been no media attention and probably no trial.