Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Katrina: 2 Years Later

I figured since CNN was trying to cash in on stories about life in New Orleans two years after Hurricane Katrina, I'd throw in my two cents' worth.

First off, I have a question to the people still rebuilding their lives two years after Katrina. Why are you still rebuilding your lives? I can understand people who can't let go of their homestead or who want to get a business restarted, but that's not who I was seeing on CNN. What I was seeing was person after person who seemed to have next to nothing. If you're still that poor after two years, you might want to move.

Insensitive, yes, but it has to be said, as does this. The sympathy card has been been played WAY too much with the Katrina crowd. I admit I felt sorry for them and felt New Orleans should have been rebuilt. Now, I have a different opinion. But it's not without reason.

I honestly think New Orleans is too far gone to be saved at this point. The bad guys have taken over and they will not give up control without a superior force taking back New Orleans. The New York Post reported that since Katrina hit, New Orleans has had the highest murder rate of any city in the First World. If this is true, it's a sign that the bad guys have won. If it's not, it's hard to deny that cities where New Orleans refugees wound up saw spikes in crime. You don't have to take my word for it; check out the crime stats for Houston, Texas.

I know there are good people trying to hold onto the remains of their lives or their businesses. The problem is that you're surrounded by bad people. First, it's the politicians trying to earn your vote by telling you how much they care about you, but never really helping you rebuild. Then there are the lawyers trying to get you to sue somebody so they can make a buck. And the thieves, thugs, and murderers are looking at you as potential victims. Not a good place to be in by any stretch of the imagination, but I give you credit for trying to be a candle in the darkness.

But even a candle has to burn out sometime, and I'm afraid New Orleans's candle burnt out some time ago when it chose victimhood over victory.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzo Gone, But For the Wrong Reason

Today, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned. To hear the faux left talk about it, it was like they were able to impeach George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and every Republican member of Congress in the same day. Of course, to those of us living in the real world, we saw things a little differently.

I, however, agree with the Democrats that Gonzales needed to go, but not for the reasons they've been citing. No matter how many times they scream "torture" and "illegal wiretapping," the Democrats by and large didn't get the real reason Gonzales should have been fired. They're too busy letting their Bush hate rule their thinking to see it.

The real reason is something much more basic. Two Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, were railroaded by federal prosecutor Johnny Sutton for, of all things, trying to arrest a known drug smuggler. Because the smuggler got shot in the butt, Compean and Ramos were tried, convicted, and sent to prison where they were put in general population. Since then, they've both allegedly been beaten, harassed, and even almost killed.

All for nothing.

Sutton's argument relied on the testimony of not only the "victim," but of people who perjured themselves under oath. Even Michael Nifong knew when to pack it in, but Sutton got his convictions by doggedly ignoring the facts. And who was Sutton's boss?

Alberto Gonzales.

So far, I've only seen two or three DC Democrats even talk about Compean and Ramos, but they will crawl over each other to get to a microphone to talk about torture and illegal wiretaps, neither of which has been proven, by the way. Nothing about the real torture of the two Border Patrol agents whose lives have been ruined because of Sutton and Gonzales. Where were the Democrats on this one?

I guess they were too busy trying to get Bush to really focus on real corruption.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Is Ron Paul This Year's Howard Dean?

On my website,, I wrote a piece about the Iowa Straw Polls where I single out Ron Paul's 5th place finish as evidence that the Iowa Straw Poll shouldn't be taken seriously. That one paragraph has already elicited responses from the Ron Paul Fanclub, including condescending posts about how I'm "a stooge" or "ignorant" and that I need to "wake up." Usually, I get those kinds of comments from faux liberals or egotistical faux conservatives who think they know more than they actually do, so I'm used to comments like that.

What I wasn't prepared for was a flashback to 2003-2004. I seem to remember another politician who had a lot of early support, was deemed to be the savior of his party, and was thought of as the real deal. That was before a fateful January when the candidate dropped to third at the Iowa Caucuses due in part to his snapping at an elderly gentleman and political machinations behind the scenes. Then, there was "the scream."

Yep, I'm talking about Howard Dean.

Judging from how defensive Ron Paul's supporters are about their candidate, I am reminded of how Dean's supporters were whenever anyone would question him. And after his comments at one of the Republican debates where he still unsure of what happened on 9/11, I think we've found a good reason to question him. His approach to the war on terrorism leaves a LOT to be desired because I don't think he gets it. He may be okay on other issues, but when you consider we're hip deep in an international war against people who want us dead for being us, you kinda need to have a handle on that, and I'm not confident Paul has that.

I have a hypothesis about Paul's support base, and it's only a hypothesis. Given how loose the Iowa Straw Poll and the Iowa Caucuses to a lesser degree are, it's entirely possible that Democrats are registering as Republicans so they can try to weaken top-tier candidates and knock them out, thus giving Hillary Clinton a much easier road to the White House. Then, surprise surprise, they "come to their senses" and reregister as Democrats. And all they have to do is talk up Ron Paul enough that people think he's viable.

But as we saw with Dean, being popular in the early going means nothing if you can't pick up the votes when it counts.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Exit the "Turdblossom"

Karl Rove announced Monday that he was stepping down as the President's political advisor. Reaction has been widespread, but the consensus with the modern left has been one of joy. They've always regarded Rove as "Bush's brain," meaning that the President couldn't do anything without consulting him. They're also salivating at the possibility of getting him before Congress to testify in any number of investigations, which I'm sure are completely above board and not at all partisan. (For those of you playing along at home, that was sarcasm.)

I wouldn't be so fast to cheer if I were a member of the modern left. Then again, I wouldn't have anything to cheer about if I were a member of the modern left, but I digress. Karl Rove's departure doesn't signal much for the left to cheer about. First and foremost, he hasn't really been that instrumental in anything since Bush was reelected in 2004. He's been taking a pretty low profile, mainly because there hasn't really been much for him to do. Sure, the modern left and some members of the modern right blame him for the Republcians losing Congress in 2006, but Rove wasn't running that show; the Congressional Republicans did.

Another reason to be less than happy with Rove departing is the timing. He may be saying he wants to spend time with his family, but with the election season about to heat up (because we'll actually have caucuses and primaries), and he knows how to win the big election. Don't think that the Republican candidates aren't trying to bend Rove's ear for advice. And if the rumors are true, Rove will be heading to the Fred Thompson campaign. That combination alone will prove to be a much bigger challenge than the Democrats think.

So, Rove's departure may be something the left can cheer for now...but once the implications of it finally sink in, those cheers will be replaced by gasps of disbelieve as Rove beats the Democrats again.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Great Feat or a Great Fraud?

In case you haven't heard, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is the new all-time home run leader. Everyone from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to President George W. Bush has congratulated Bonds on his feat. Yet, he's not universally heralded for his feat.

Maybe it's because it's not clear he's earned the feat.

For the past few years, it's been rumored that Bonds has been using steroids, and there are photographs that show differences in Bonds's body and head size, both of which are said to be indicators of steroid use. And Bonds hasn't exactly put the rumors to bed with excuses flimsier than a wet toilet paper nightie.

But does it really matter? After the 90s, we've grown to accept the less than perfect as though it were perfection, all so we don't make people feel bad. We're even willing to accept cheating because it makes us feel better about the times when we've failed.

I'm not perfect, but I have no problem saying that Barry Bonds doesn't deserve the home run title. Until he is exonerated, I will believe he used steroids to win that historic title. There is just too much to overlook to think that he's clean at this stage. Some people have defended him saying that steroids don't improve hand-eye coordination, which is essential to hitting. That's as may be, but when you're dealing with an older man as Bonds is, that hand-eye coordination starts to slip a bit. And when you're trying to hit home runs, you need power to do it. Hand-eye coordination alone doesn't do it.

Bud Selig isn't my favorite guy in the world, but I think he had the best take on the Bonds situation. When Bonds hit the record-breaking home run, he looked confused for a time and then bored. No words could have been more pithy, dear readers.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Quit Proving John Edwards Right!

After yesterday's bridge collapse in Minneapolis, a lot of people started speculating as to why it happened. Much to my chagrin, a number of conservatives piped up and said it was definitely terrorism. Of course, my mind said the exact opposite because, as nice as Minnesota and particularly Minneapolis is, there really isn't much justification to take out a section of a bridge connected to Interstate 35.

Remember a few weeks ago when John Edwards said Republicans were turning the war on terror into a bumper sticker? When we rush to judgment about incidents like the bridge collapse, we're proving Edwards right. And Lord knows if he ever catches wind of that, he'll be even more unbearable than he already is. Instead of looking for Osama Bin Laden under every bridge in Minnesota, we should really start thinking logically.

And the best place to start is with consideration to the purpose of terrorism. Contrary to what some will tell you, terrorism isn't random, nor is it without a purpose. Every terrorist act is designed to, at the very least, instill fear in a desired target. Sometimes the terrorism, such as what the IRA has done over the years in Ireland, has been with a political purpose. Other times, as is the case in the Gaza Strip and in Israel, the terrorism is for religious purposes. Even our homegrown terrorists, like EarthFirst! and the Animal Liberation Front, have a reason to commit acts of terror. (Granted, with the last two groups, it's something utterly stupid, but you get the point.)

So, that brings us back to the question of why terrorists would try to take out a section of a bridge in Minneapolis. The answer: they wouldn't. There's no real payoff to it. It doesn't help a cause, it doesn't make a statement, it doesn't even really instill fear in the general public. It's a bust as a terrorist act.

Yet, there are people who, I think, may be hoping it's linked to terrorism because it fuels their preconceived notions about Muslims. I actually had someone tell me point blank that the proof that the bridge collapse was terrorism was because Minnesota has a high Muslim population. That's it. I won't use his name to protect the innocent, the guilty, and the insufferably stupid.

Folks, not every bad thing that happens in the post-9/11 world is connected to terrorism. Kevin Bacon, yes, but not terrorism. So, let's use our heads for a change and realize that the bridge disaster yesterday might just be a mishap, not an attack.