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    Wednesday, September 28, 2005

    Yeah. I'm A Geek

    From the Comic Book Resources Forums: How would the Mighty Thor sing modern song hits. My favorite?

    Mine Milkshake brings all the young lads to the yard

    And they are known to say
    Tis better than yours
    Yea verily tis better than yours
    I can educate ye on it
    But I'd have to maketh thee pay

    Little Pink Locker Rooms For You And Me

    Kris at Random has a brilliant post about the pink locker room controversy. Well, controversy is probably too strong. Let’s call it the pink locker room contretemps.

    In brief, for my non-Iowa readers, when Hayden Fry came to rescue Iowa football from the wasteland, he painted the Kinnick Stadium visitor’s locker room pink. Fry, an old psychology major, reasoned that pink was a more soothing color and, to be completely fair, somewhat of an insulting color. He felt it would give the Hawks a slight advantage.

    The University is in the midst of a remodeling project for Kinnick. Part of it is finished, including the new locker rooms. The visitor’s locker room, and all facilities within, are a dull pink. Not so much because of a belief that it still gives the team a psychological edge, but as a nod to the legacy of Coach Fry.

    Recently, several University professors have complained that the use of the color pink is degrading to women, gays, and flamingoes. Sorry. To women and gays. There has been somewhat of a backlash to this opinion, including death threats. And that should catch you up to the point where Kris’s post, which you can and should read it its entirety here. (Another interesting discussion is available here at the Yin Blog.)

    There are just a couple of things I would like to add to this. First, I think I usually have a pretty good radar for these things, at least as good a radar as a straight middle-class middle-aged white guy can, and this never struck me as problematic. To be absolutely honest, it still doesn’t. I can see the point, but I don’t see it as being strong enough to warrant painting or redoing the locker room.

    Offensiveness lies on a continuum that runs from “This bothered you why?” on one end to “I can see why that gets to you” in the middle to “They said that in public?” on the other end. At the same time, offensiveness cannot be removed from the impact it causes and how many people feel that impact. The smaller the number of people who take offense to something, the more offensive that thing needs to be to warrant action. The message the pink locker room sends is too diffuse, too disparate, and too poorly felt to warrant the University acting on the concerns. If the quality of anyone’s life is being seriously impacted because the visitor’s locker room in Kinnick Stadium is a dull pink, then that person has far more important problems they need to be looking into.

    That doesn’t mean a person doesn’t have a right to have those concerns aired. I think Kris makes a perfect case for that, and as she points out, the ferocity of some of the responses highlights that underlying hostility towards women does still exist. But having a right to have your concerns aired doesn’t mean you have a right to have your concerns addressed.

    Sunday, September 25, 2005

    Poker Tourney Thoughts

    Nice: Getting pocket A's, going all in, getting called by two players pre-flop

    Nicer: When cards are revealed, having them show pocket 6s and pocket 8s respectively.

    Nicest: Having the flop come out A-K-A. Yep. I not only flopped four of a kind, I flopped four of a kind Aces.

    Watching Ethan Grow

    From the home office in North Liberty, Iowa, my Top 10 favorite things to hear an almost three-year-old say.

    • 10. Juice Box The sing-songy way he says it is so cute.

    • 9. That is mine! I never would have dreamed a child that young could say something with indignation, but he can.

    • 8. Spleen! Have you seen the new Nicktoon Catscratch? It's from that.

    • 7. Carry you I think this derives from being asked "Do you want me to carry you?" Used on those rare occasions when he wants to be carried someplace. It's sad for me to think those days are almost over.

    • 6. Again Used when he wants to do something over again, such as

    • 5. Rosies Ring around the rosies. His mother taught him it, and he loves it.

    • 4. That funny Used when something funny happens on TV.

    • 3. Silly Drew Used when his older brother does something to make him laugh.

    • 2. Daddy what doing? This one seems pretty self-explanatory. It's a recent addition, though.

    • 1. Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! He screams this when I come to pick him up at daycare everyday. He is so happy when he says it. It's nice to know my presence can bring such pure joy to him.

    Numbers Game

    Number of people attending Saturday's anti-war rally in DC: 100,000+

    Number of people attending Sunday's pro-war rally in DC: 400

    Source: Yahoo News

    Friday, September 23, 2005

    Fab Five Freddie Told Me Everybody's High

    Courtesy of Wheezy: The Rapture Index.

    I don’t believe in the rapture. I think the historical record is clear as to how Revelations should be interpreted. It’s not meant to be taken literally; indeed, the main argument against inclusion of Revelations was a concern that future generations would interpret the book literally. Isn’t that ironic? Don’t ya think?

    Anyway, I don’t believe in it. But I do like the idea of the day after the Rapture, as the Dobsons and the Robertsons of the world are struggling to explain why they got left behind. Man, do I like that idea.

    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Stone Cold Bluffs

    You see it all the time in online play, particularly in tourneys. Someone wins the pot with a stone cold bluff, then shows their hand to let everyone know they won with a stone cold bluff.

    It's tough to blame then. It's a rush to win with a stone cold bluff, and you want people to know that you schooled them. But it's a bad idea. Because people who need to show that they won with a stone cold bluff fall in love with the stone cold bluff, and when you fall in love with the stone cold bluff, you've fallen in love with danger. Because sooner or later you will get called, and you will be gone.

    It's the same thing with small pocket pairs. People fall in love with pocket pairs of any sort, but for some reason known only to God and themselves, they bet heavy on small pocket pairs and, almost inevitably, lose. It's probably cause they won big with pocket 4s once, or pocket 2s. I understand that. I won a huge hand once with Q-7 Diamonds, and I always play it now if it doesn't cost too much to do so. But I shy away from small pocket pairs. Oh, I'll call the blinds to play pocket 7s and under, but I don't raise the big blind unless the pocket pair is at least 8s. (On the other hand, I just went all in and won with pocket 9s. And on the next hand eventually called an all in with pocket 10s and lost. Oh well.)

    I guess what I'm getting at is: The toughest decision you make in a hand is almost always your first decision. Some of those first decisions are easy - a 7-2 offsuit, for instance. Pocket As. sitting in the big blind with crap but it comes around to you and no one has done anything but call. But most of them aren't. They depend on so many factors. Your chipstack. Your position. The table image of the other players. What's happened in front of you. All these things come into play. At least they do for smart players.

    As Mike Sexton says, the key to poker is making good decisions. Now making good decisions doesn't mean you'll always win. But remember (switching games for an instant), hitters hit home runs all the time off good pitches. A home run doesn't necessarily mean the pitcher threw a bad pitch. But you have a better chance of winning if your pitcher is throwing good pitches, just as you have a better chance of winning at poker if you are making good decisions.

    I'm Bummed

    As many of you – check that, a couple of you – all right, probably just Matt – know, I write for a living. That’s me, Mr. Paid To Write Guy. Jealous, huh?

    Anyway, I’ve been working on a project for an unnamed department of the federal government, a department which begins with E and ends with ducation. This project is a follow-up on a project I did several years back, one which resulted in a document ignored by hundreds, if not thousands, of people in financial aid offices at colleges all around the country.

    The process works like this: I write something, the designer I’m working with does her artistic magic, we send it off for review, we get comments back, we incorporate those comments, we send it off again, we get more comments back and so on in a circle that guarantees several people have jobs for at least a couple of years. And before you start in on wasteful spending, one of those people is me. So shut it. Okay?

    Anyway, the latest round of comments involved the following phrase: “If one of these things happens”. The comment was “Shouldn’t that be happen?” See, they were thinking the “happens” applies to the word “things”, and if it did, “things happens” would be incorrect. So it wasn’t totally off base. But the “happens” applies to the word “one”, and you wouldn’t say “one happen”. You’d say “one happens”.

    We have a regular conference call on Thursdays to discuss comments. As we were thinking about the call, it was pointed out the best way to explain this particular point would be the old Sesame Street song “One of these things is not like the other”. You wouldn’t sing “One of these things are not like the other” just as you wouldn’t say “If one of these things happen”. I was so pumped up to sing the song, to break into “One of these things is not like the other” in the middle of our conference call, but when we pointed out that the original was correct, the client just said “Okay – you guys are the word people.”

    And now I’m bummed. Because how often do you have a justifiable reason for singing Sesame Street songs at work? That is, how often if you are not employed by the Children’s Television Workshop?

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    Some Songs For An Unbelievably Crappy Tuesday Evening

    (Note: Blogger wouldn't post this last night. I'm not quite at the same place I was when I did this, but I'll post it anyway. Just for the historical record, ya know?)

    I'll Be Okay - Amanda Marshall

    It's time to let you go
    It's time to say goodbye
    There's no more excuses
    No more tears to cry

    There's been so many changes
    I was so confused
    All along you were the one
    All the time I never knew

    I want you to be happy
    You're my best friend
    But it's so hard to let you go now
    All that could have been

    I'll always have the memories
    She'll always have you
    Fate has a way of changing
    Just when you don't want it to

    Throw away the chains
    Let love fly away
    Till love comes again
    I'll be okay

    Life passes so quickly
    You gotta take the time
    Or you'll miss what really matters
    You'll miss all the signs

    I've spent my life searching
    For what was always there
    Sometimes it will be too late
    Sometimes it won't be fair

    Throw away the chains
    Let love fly away
    Til love comes again
    I'll be okay

    I won't give up
    I won't give in
    I can't recreate what just might have been
    I know that my heart will find love again
    Now is the time to begin

    Throw away the chains
    Let love fly away
    Til love comes again
    I'll be okay

    Try and Love Again - Eagles

    When you're out there on your own
    Where only memories can find you
    Like a circle goes around
    You were lost until you found out
    What it all comes down to

    One by one
    The lonely feelings come
    Day by day,
    They slowly fade away

    Ooh, the look was in her eyes
    You never know what might be found there
    She was dancing right in time
    And the look she gave so fine
    Like the music that surrounds her

    Should I stay or go?
    I really want to know
    Will I lose or win
    If I try and love again?

    Oh, gonna try and love again
    Oh, I'm gonna try and love again

    Right or wrong, what's done is done
    It's only moments that we borrow
    But the thoughts will linger on
    Of the lady and her song
    When the sun comes up tomorrow

    Well, it might take years to see
    Through all these tears
    Don't let go
    When you find it you will know

    Oh, Gonna try and love again
    Oh, gonna try and love again

    Sometimes you lose,
    Sometimes you win,
    Sometimes you need a friend

    Gonna try, gonna try
    Gonna try, gonna try

    Cause We're From Iowa, IOWA

    Today’s blog motto comes from Episode 22 of Lost. In it we find that Kate was actually born and raised in Iowa, adding her to the list of fictional characters to come from our fair state. The line is spoken by her ex-boyfriend Tom, a doctor, as she and Tom go to dig up a time capsule they buried in when they were kids. Here it is in context:

    Tom: (Reaching into the car to grab a beer) You want a beer?

    Kate: You brought beer?

    Tom: No self-respecting man in Iowa goes anywhere without beer.

    It’s not a bad Iowa depiction, as far as these things go. The state trooper uniforms look like Iowa State Trooper uniforms. (The trooper cars are a navy blue, though, which doesn’t cut it.) There are Iowa license plates on all the cars. The most glaring thing, though are the longhorn cattle walking by in the scene where they dig up the time capsule. Now I’m not saying there are no longhorn cattle in Iowa, but you would have to look hard to find them. It would have been better just to leave the cattle out.

    On the other hand, it’s a far better depiction of Iowa than what came in last season’s 24. Sorry folks. No mountains here.

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    The Thing About Bifocals Is

    Things get blurry if you aren’t looking at them directly. I’m sure the sign on the elementary school said “Give Your Pennies To Hurricane Katrina Victims”, but at first glance out of the corner of my eye it looked like they wanted me to give something a lot more personal and, quite frankly, I’m not through with mine yet.

    Although depending on which Hurricane Katrina victim they wanted me to give it to, and with the caveat that it stays attached...


    Friday, September 16, 2005

    This Isn’t Funny, But

    Grizzly Bear, Seeking Pic-A-Nic Baskets, Attacks Two In Yellowstone Park. Film at eleven, story at Yahoo.

    A grizzly bear attacked two hikers in Yellowstone National Park, but the men escaped serious injury, the National Park Service said Thursday.

    Pat McDonald, 52, of Bismarck, N.D., and Gerald Holzer, 51, of Northfield, Minn., were hiking on a trail near Shoshone Lake in the park's southern section Wednesday when they noticed fresh bear scat, officials said in a written statement.

    They decided to continue, but were charged by a grizzly bear "at full stride" about a quarter-mile further along the trail, the release said.

    Holzer, who was in front, sidestepped the bear. McDonald stepped behind some trees and dropped to the ground, officials said. The bear ran past him, but returned and swatted at him, then turned to Holzer, who had dropped to the ground and was lying on his stomach.

    The bear jumped on Holzer's back, swatted at him, then retreated briefly. During that time, McDonald retrieved the bear spray strapped to his waist and doused the bear in the face when it returned and starting biting his leg. The bear then ran off, officials said.

    The two men hiked 4 miles to the trailhead and drove to the clinic at Old Faithful for treatment.

    McDonald suffered a puncture wound to his leg. Holzer was not injured, and officials said his backpack protected him during the attack.

    How many news stories do you see that get to use the phrase “fresh bear scat”? And yes, I do shudder to think what sort of people those words might bring to the blog.

    “Let’s see what I get if I google fresh+bear+scat. Corn O’What?”

    And doesn’t that fight with the bear sound like something from a Python skit?

    So Sharon, Re Fox Good Day Iowa

    Eadie Fawcett and Craig Johnson? What, couldn’t they find Dave Towne? Did Pete Seyfert leave the area? Did the corpse of Conrad Johnson turn them down?

    (Note to non-Iowans: Sharon works for the local Fox affiliate in my minor media market. Eadie Fawcett and Craig Johnson are a retired newscaster and a retired weatherman who have been signed on to host a new morning broadcast on said Fox affiliate. The other three people I named are a retired weatherman, a retired newscaster, and a dead weatherman. There. You’re all caught up.)

    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    Poker? I barely know her!

    I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Dweeze, played any online poker lately?” Here’s my response to that.

    “What do you mean by that, asshat? Fuck you and your fucking accusations!”

    Sorry, acid flashback.

    Anyway, yes, last night I entered the Full Tilt 2,500 chip tourney. It used to be the 9:00 tourney, but Full Tilt has moved it to 10:10 CST because they hate everyone in the central and eastern time zones. Fuckers.

    But I digress.

    I didn’t start out well. In fact, I was down to about 300 in chips by the end of the first half hour and I was hanging onto my tournament life by a thread. That’s when my fortunes changed. First, I tripled up, bringing me to just under 1,000. In short order I doubled up two more times, won a couple of other good pots, and found myself as the chip leader at my table. I was playing in streaks – I’d go seven or eight hands without a hand to play and then seven or eight with playable hands. It stayed that way through the first break, through the next hour, and on up to just before the second break. In the meantime the bubble had come and gone and I found myself in the money. Well, not the money. But in the chips.

    In the last hand before the second break I found myself with about 25,000 in chips. I got dealt A-K offsuit. I bet double the big blind, got called by one player, and raised by another. I called him, as did the person who had called me. The flop comes 4-Q-J rainbow. I check, as does the guy who just called, and the guy who raised goes all in for about 15,000 in chips. After hesitating for a bit, I call. So does the third guy. I’ve still got chips left if I lose, but if I win the other two are gone. I show my A-K, the raiser shows pocket Js for a set, and the other guy has pocket 9s. I have no idea what he was thinking. So we brace for the turn, my only hope being the 10 for the straight, cause even if I go A-A to get a set of As or K-K to get a set of Ks the guy with the set of Js gets a full-house. The turn is the 10, the river is harmless, and I knock out two people and take a 50k pot. Add that to my chips and I’m sitting nicely at just over 60k in chips.

    It got better from there before it got worse. I remained right around 60k for the next hour, sometimes going up a little, sometimes going down, never straying far from the 60k mark. That changed shortly into the fourth hour. The chip leader at our table had about 100k in chips. I get dealt A-J. The chip leader raises the big blind, and everyone scrambles but me. I call. The flop goes A-3-4. He raises twice the big blind and I call. The turn is a 7. He checks and I go all in. I figure we both have an A. My J makes a decent kicker. I figure if he had a better kicker, or if he had matched the board earlier, he would have bet higher. He calls, shows A-10. I show my A-J. The only thing that hurts me is a 10 on the river. But it’s not a 10. It’s another 4, and I win.

    And now I’m sitting pretty. I check the tourney info, and I’m in 5th place overall with over 120K in chips. There are only 30 people left in the tourney, and I have a pretty clear path to the final table – bet smart, don’t get too aggressive, and I’m in.

    The next hand I lose 65K.

    Here’s how it started. I get dealt A-K clubs. One person bets pre-flop, raising twice the big blind. I’m the only one who calls. The flop goes Qc-Jc-6d. The other player goes all in. It’s 60k to call.

    Now scroll back up. This is almost the mirror image of the earlier hand, the hand that started me off to a good tourney. The difference? This is a better hand. Not only do I have the straight draw, I also have the flush draw. Even better – I have a straight flush draw. So I call. How could I muck? As far as this tourney is concerned, this is my lucky hand.

    He shows pocket Js, for a set of Js. The hand my opponent had in that earlier hand. Again, another omen that this was my hand.

    Now, if you play a lot of online poker, you see a lot of things you never expect to see. It’s inevitable. The more hands you see, the more the odds work in your favor of seeing unexpected stuff. Once, I got both four of a kind and a straight flush not only in the same tournament, but within four hands of each other. In another tournament I was part of a deal where one player got pocket As, one player got pocket Ks, and another player got pocket Qs. Hell, earlier in this hand I had a streak where I got dealt pocket 6s on three consecutive hands. (Won with all three of them.) So while it is unusual to say the least that this almost mirror hand happened, it’s not unheard of. Still, it’s unique enough to suggest to me that it was a good omen. I mean, look at all the fricking outs I had. Any club gives me the nut flush. Any 10 gives me the straight. A 10c gives me the straight flush.

    I don’t remember what the turn and river were – I’ve blocked it – but suffice it to say it contained neither a club or a 10.

    So with that I was down to 60k. If I were smart, I would have mucked a few hands before playing any. But I kept getting good cards. Unfortunately, others got better. Finally, I was down to about 9k in chips when I got dealt K-J suited. I was short stack for the tourney, and figured that was as good a place to make my stand as any. The blinds were 1,000-2,000, the ante 200, and I would be blinded out in short order anyway. So I went all in. Unfortunately, the player who called me had pocket Ks. It played out as expected, and I finished in 20th place.

    Not a bad night though. Really. I mean that.

    Coming Soon, For Your Reading Pleasure

    Two new endeavors - What's So Amazing? and Survive This. Check 'em out starting, oh, say early next week.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    Fake Motivational Posters, Baseball Style

    Two Cincinnati Reds bloggers, Red Hot Mama and Reds and Blues, got together and made fake motivational posters for every major league club. Here are a couple - be sure to go see all of them.

    Link via Bellyitcher

    Monday, September 12, 2005


    This is all I want to say about my football weekend. It will be a nice counterpart to Landru’s very lengthy post about his football weekend.

    My favorite pro team and my favorite college team combined scored fewer points than nine baseball teams scored yesterday.

    And that’s completely ignoring the fact that I went 1-3 in fantasy football games this weekend.

    Thoughts On The Tube

    No, not the tube. Or the Tubes (Don't touch me there!). The Tube. A new music video channel. The thing is, we don’t technically have it. I stumbled across it while working through the channels one night. What do they play? Take it away, press release!

    In a vast departure from the way music has traditionally been presented on television, The Tube features a bold fusion of music that crosses multiple formats and spans several time frames. The Tube delves into the music video archives for classic videos from artists such as Duran Duran, The Eurythmics, Peter Gabriel, INXS and Talking Heads and features them alongside just-released promotional videos by current artists including Norah Jones, Dave Matthews, Joss Stone, Jet, John Mayer and Los Lonely Boys.The Tube features catalog artists such as Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley and The Rolling Stones prominently, and provides a forum for new tracks from favorite artists such as Elvis Costello and The Eagles. Live concerts on DVD from acts including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, ColdPlay and U2 also contribute a significant portion of programming.Further differentiating The Tube is the undercurrent of purity that pervades every aspect of the channel. The images and channel promos that round out more than 50 minutes of music every hour contribute a distinct look and feel to the channel without detracting from the music.

    That’s right – over 50 minutes of music every hour. They play nothing but music videos. What an idea! A music video channel that plays music videos! What will they think of next?

    Anyway, here are some thoughts on videos I have seen – you guess the video and artist.

    1. Dave Coulier? No shit? Wow.

    2. If you’re looking for a girl to be a crazy woman in your video, you can do far worse than Juliette Lewis.

    3. And if you’re looking for a slinky, sexy woman, you can do far worse than Heather Graham.

    4. The only artist I can thing of other than Frampton to use that funky “talking guitar” sound in a song, this video is a concert video from an artist that I can’t believe is still doing solo contests (and that I can’t believe could get that many people to a concert).

    That’s enough for now – that last one is a doozy.

    More Reading

    Chilling story in Newsweek. If you've started to suffer from outrage fatigue, read this. Here is a sample:

    The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.

    How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.

    President George W. Bush has always trusted his gut. He prides himself in ignoring the distracting chatter, the caterwauling of the media elites, the Washington political buzz machine. He has boasted that he doesn't read the papers. His doggedness is often admirable. It is easy for presidents to overreact to the noise around them.

    But it is not clear what President Bush does read or watch, aside from the occasional biography and an hour or two of ESPN here and there. Bush can be petulant about dissent; he equates disagreement with disloyalty. After five years in office, he is surrounded largely by people who agree with him. Bush can ask tough questions, but it's mostly a one-way street. Most presidents keep a devil's advocate around. Lyndon Johnson had George Ball on Vietnam; President Ronald Reagan and Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, grudgingly listened to the arguments of Budget Director Richard Darman, who told them what they didn't wish to hear: that they would have to raise taxes. When Hurricane Katrina struck, it appears there was no one to tell President Bush the plain truth: that the state and local governments had been overwhelmed, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was not up to the job and that the military, the only institution with the resources to cope, couldn't act without a declaration from the president overriding all other authority.

    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    Required Reading

    Some great Katrina-related posts at No Quarter, the blog of retired CIA-officer Larry Johnson.

    And on a lighter note, W's Katrina Thought Process, courtesy of the Progressive Programmer. (Click to enlarge.) (The picture.)

    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    A Serious Aside

    "The responsibility for the public safety is absolute and requires no mandate. It is in fact, the prime object for which governments come into existence." Winston Churchill

    Over at that other place, a thread got started called WTF which quickly denigrated into a discussion of things evacuatees from NO have said. Things like “People are complaining that their pizza is cold or people are refusing to be evacuated to cruise ships in Galveston or the cops in NO are cowards.” Me? My personal WTF list would primarily be made up of comments from this thread.

    I haven’t posted on this until now because I’m angry. Fuck I’m angry. I’m angry at the President, whose policies beforehand and dithering afterwards cost many American lives. I’m angry at his legion of apologists, those enablers who try to hide the dripping blood on their hands by dancing around the issues. I’m angry at those who make incredibly repugnant statements and then try to back away with passive-aggressive dissembling because they didn’t mean anything by it. I’m angry at those who think they can put the experiences of these people into a frame of reference from their own experience.

    The situation these people have experienced is unlike anything anyone on this thread has ever experienced. It is as beyond the personal experience of most people posting here as talking about living on Mars would be. I AM NOT GOING TO JUDGE SOMEONE WHO COMPLAINS THAT THEIR PIZZA ISN’T HOT ENOUGH OR WHO DOESN’T WANT TO GO TO GALVESTON BECAUSE I CANNOT, AND I HOPE TO GOD I WILL NOT EVER BE ABLE TO, BEGIN TO IMAGINE WHAT THEY HAVE GONE THROUGH IN THE LAST FEW DAYS.

    (And I’m not even going to begin to comment on calling police officers cowards, except to say that the firemen and police officers who ran into those collapsing towers didn’t have to keep running into the collapsing towers for five days straight. For the most part, they didn’t have to worry if their family members were alive or dead. It makes a big difference.)

    Now here’s the part where the apologists jump up at say “You can’t imagine what the President is going through either!” And I can’t. But I don’t have to be able to do that to criticize him, to judge him. The President is elected precisely to handle events such as this. That applies to any President – but with Bush, the bar is raised higher still because his whole 2004 campaign was based on the theme “Bush will keep you safer than the other guy.” That is the standard he asked to be judged by, and it is the standard to which he should be held.

    Because this isn’t just about what happened last week. This is about the systematic gutting of the federal agency responsible for emergency management. A systematic gutting that took place AFTER a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil showed us the importance of emergency management. A systematic gutting that took place after we were faced with the reality that someday we might have to evacuate a major American city. The blame game isn’t about getting Bush – it’s about accountability.

    The following is from Cunning Realist.

    This is why what happened was a fundamental betrayal that transcends spin and political ideology. For as much as they suffered, those people in New Orleans were not the only ones who were failed. This was a betrayal of every citizen who goes to work and pays taxes to assure that if this tragedy befell him, the federal government would uphold its part of the bargain. It's incumbent on each of us to react as if this happened to our friends, our parents, our children, or us. Because one day that might be the case, and by then it will be too late to demand accountability.

    The response to Katrina should have shown conservatism at its best. Those calling themselves conservatives who disagree with this need to explain exactly what they think the federal government should do and why it should exist at all. I happen to think it should not do much more than field a strong military, defend the borders, collect taxes, maintain national infrastructure, enforce laws that are beyond the purview of the states, and respond to historic disasters such as this. But for God's sake, it must do those things competently and not embrace an almost Soviet type of failing-upwards cronyism. The most senior federal officials learning from television reports about thousands of people trapped and dying for days in a single place is not competence.

    I’ll pull one sentence out for those who say it is inappropriate to be playing the blame game. I’ll also (mostly) ignore the fact that for people who are supposedly so high on accepting personal responsibility, you sure are reluctant to assign blame. (Or is personal responsibility only for those less fortunate than you?)

    Because one day that might be the case, and by then it will be too late to demand accountability.

    What happens if another hurricane forms in the next few weeks and hits hard? What happens if our enemies choose this moment when our forces are stretched to the breaking point and our response ability is in disarray to attack us? The first inquiry into the bombing at Pearl Harbor was launched TWO DAYS after the attack. It was launched because we realized we needed to know what went wrong to prevent it from going wrong again. The same is true here. Blame must be focused now, because if it isn't, those who deserve it will do all they can to escape it's grasp. It's not always true, but those who say "let's not play the blame game" are usually doing so because they know they are the ones to blame.

    And that’s about as far as I can go right now without the anger taking over completely.

    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    So Sue Me

    I'm not a big fan of the color blue.

    New Blog Motto Up

    In honor of those responsible for me having four teleconferences today.

    Thursday, September 01, 2005


    I'm 46 today. So what.