September 30, 2005

U.N. agency says it's ready to govern the Net | CNET

The gloves will come off during this fight. There is a strong argument to be made for the ITU to oversee the Internet because it is international infrastructure, but if it could remain in the control of private hands as it is now, the world may be better served.

This is a tough one. If the U.S. cedes control of the Internet, we should get some significant concessions elsewhere. Don't give it up for no gain.

September 29, 2005

A $100 Laptop from MIT Media Labs

Note that one of the funders for this project is Google who runs Linux on their tens of thousands of servers. I have to believe that Mircosoft is concerned, but there's nothing stopping them form providing a stripped down version of Windows for a cheap PC.

The time seems right for this project.

Move over Microsoft, Dell. The $100 PC cometh. From MIT. by ZDNet's David Berlind -- As a part of what he says is his life's most important work, MIT Media Labs director Nicholas Negroponte is on course to deliver a $100 laptop to the people who need it most: the world's children.

To Help Gulf Coast, Town Tries Returning Pork Barrel - New York Times

This is a wonderful idea. The NY Times editorial page also suggested it in Katrina's aftermath. If Congress wanted to send a very strong signal that they care about people and are fiscally responsible, they would so something to enable these givebacks.

GE Healthcare to Acquire IDX Systems Corporation; Significantly Expands GE Presence in Healthcare Information Technologies

Big news for IDX headquartered in Burlington.

September 28, 2005

Supreme Court to Determine Fate of Business Tax Credits - New York Times

The Roberts Court will have its hands and minds full in the upcoming session.

The Endgame in Iraq - New York Times

As has been the case from the beginning of the wars in Iraq and the previous war between Iraq and Iran, the struggle among the Muslim sects was at the root of Saddam's stronghold in Iraq and the present insurgency/terrorist chaos. The Sunnis hate the Shiites and the Arab world is mostly Sunni, except in Iraq and Iran. The situation is complicated by the fact that they all have oil and we in the West, and now in China and India, need it.

Which of These Foods Will Stop Cancer? (Not So Fast) - New York Times

Worth the read. No evidence yet that diet alone lowers the chances of cancer.

"It is turning out to be much more difficult than anyone expected to discover if diet affects cancer risk. Hypotheses abound, but convincing evidence remains elusive."

Dr. Schatzkin said. "We have a responsibility to give the best advice we can while pointing out where the evidence is uncertain and how we're working to improve the science."

"That, however, is little consolation to cancer patients and family members who are terrified that cancer might strike them next. And there are more and more. As the population ages, the number of cancer patients is soaring. From 1997 to 2004, the number of Americans with cancer jumped, to 9.6 million from 9.4 million. Cancer strikes one in two men and one in three women in their lifetimes."

Can the statement above be correct? One in two men will get some form of cancer???

September 27, 2005

Justices Agree to Review Campaign Spending Limits - New York Times

Well, Vermont will be featured in the Supreme Court's next term. I've always believed Vermont's statute was unconstitutionally preventing the right of free speech as expressed in dollars within a political campaign.

I hope the Court agrees.

"The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which includes Vermont, endorsed the state's approach in a 2-to-1 ruling last year that concluded that Buckley v. Valeo was not a complete prohibition on spending limits and that such limits could be justified by rationales the Supreme Court had not considered at the time, including public cynicism about the impact of money on politics."

Former FEMA Director Admits Errors in Response Effort - New York Times

Brown may have 'failed' in FEMA, but he's shooting straight in testimony before Congress. The Democrats will have a tough time defending Blanco and Nagin, who I said early on in this blog, in Katrina's aftermath, were inept and overwhelmed.

To his credit, he's testifying clearly and without obfuscation.
Go here for the transcript of his testimony. He's an able guy who's telling it like it is. The media is wrong to blame FEMA for all the response problems. Blanco and Nagin are the culprits. Is any media besides Fox willing to tell the full story? I applaud the Times for this piece. Now, let's see how they editorialize it.

It's already clear that the Times' headline writers have a bias! Here's the headline that should have appeared: Former FEMA Head Testifies Local Officials Failed. If you read the transcripts, you'd agree.

If you buy into the rhetoric that FEMA alone is responsible for the failure, Go here to read about the resignation of the New Orleans police chief today. CNN last night had strong statements from a guy named Brinkley that Nagin is inept and most interested in covering his political backside.

"Former FEMA director Michael Brown aggressively defended his role in responding to Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday and put much of the blame for coordination failures on Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Michael D. Brown, the former director of FEMA, said many people incorrectly believe the agency serves as something of a federal rapid-response force.

'My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional,' two days before the storm hit, Brown told a special congressional panel set up by House Republican leaders to investigate the catastrophe."

Update 9/28/05:

The Times' editorialists have now weighed in:

"...Republicans used a sham hearing to help Michael Brown, who resigned under fire as the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, pass the buck to Democratic officials in Louisiana despite the now-transparent record of federal ineptness.

According to Mr. Brown's self-serving tale, the heart of the mismanagement of Katrina was that officials in Baton Rouge and New Orleans were too "dysfunctional" for their part of the challenge.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Zarqawi's number two 'shot dead'

Despite these successes, the naysayers at the BBC who oppose the war in Iraq have their input:

"BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs says that while the killing could be an important public relations boost for the US, it is not clear how significant Azzam is or whether his death could have a lasting impact."


  • Real name reported to be Abdallah Muhammed al-Juhaari
  • Also known as Sheikh Abdullah Abu Azzam, or the Emir of Anbar
  • Based in Baghdad since April
  • Financier and aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, oversaw bombing campaign in the capital
  • Believed to be Palestinian
  • $50,000 reward for his death or capture - Microsoft Shifts to Services

With many of the large software (e.g., Microsoft) and Internet (e.g., Google and eBay) companies assembling the elements to make a play in the voice telecom market, the established telcos like Verizon, SBC and BellSouth must emphasize and build for wireless and fiber broadband so as to capture as much of the premises and moblie business as possible.

Here's another piece about VoIP on other devices like PDAs, iPods, etc.

Verizon's purchase of MCI provides a substantial Internet backbone network on which this VoIP traffic can ride, as well as entry into a large number of large business accounts and a worldwide presence. The question is how to exploit for increased revenue from VoIP?

"One of the key services that might help Microsoft create a legacy beyond Windows in its next 30 years is Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), an emerging market ripe for domination by a large software company, Helm said. Microsoft has been 'gradually getting the pieces in place' to provide VoIP service, a technology with the potential to be as disruptive as the Internet was ten years ago, he said.

Telecom Interests

Earlier this week Microsoft unveiled its first telecommunications customer, Qwest Communications, to develop services using its new VOIP software platform.

And in August, Microsoft acquired Teleo, a developer of services and technology that allows users to make and receive voice phone calls on their PCs via the Internet. The company plans to incorporate Teleo's VOIP technology into its own software to upgrade online services from its MSN division.

'If [Microsoft] could make the same economics of the PC apply to telephony--a small number of dominant hardware standards, a large number of hardware players and one big software company--it could yield returns [for the company] commensurate to the PC [market],' Helm said."

September 26, 2005

Vermont Turtles Spark Controversy

Don'tcha just love these Vermont controversies. Some are about removing dams on rivers that are used to produce relatively cheap hydropower so the fishing will improve. Others, like this one, aim to keep man-made structures like causeways because the turtles seem to need 'em. What do ya s'pose the turtles did before causeways? Still others revolve around the capacity and the reliability of the electric transmission.

Many would despoil Vermont's pristine ridgelines to build monstrous 300+ foot wind turbines vainly seeking a tiny, unreliable natural source of electric power. The good news is that the Burlington Free Press opposes this development.

At the same time, some of these same folks oppose upgrading our power transmission system arguing that we can conserve our way out of the rising demand. How do they expect the wind energy electricity to get from our mountaintops to the grid supplying homes and businesses? Oh, and if upgrading the transmission grid, the NIMBYs want the line buried or moved so their view is unobstructed. Some even resort to junk science to support their claims that EMF causes all manner of terrible diesase and defects. To their credit, the Vermont Public Service Board refused to reopen ["For the reasons explained above, we decline to exercise our discretion to reopen this proceeding, and we deny New Haven's and CLF's motions to do so."]their decision to allow the upgrade.

And... some want to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon which produces the cheapest 1/3 of Vermont's electricity without offering anything to replace it beyond conservation and windmills.

What a place!!

Many Contracts for Storm Work Raise Questions - New York Times

Give me a break. The Times would have competitive bidding in the aftermath chaos of Katrina? This is 'cheap shot' journalism at it's worst or stupidity. A terrible piece.

"More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency alone were awarded without bidding or with limited competition, government records show, provoking concerns among auditors and government officials about the potential for favoritism or abuse.

Already, questions have been raised about the political connections of two major contractors - the Shaw Group and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton - that have been represented by the lobbyist Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former leader of FEMA."

September 25, 2005

Broadband Plus from Various Providers

Broader Broadband

New services, available for under $100 in limited parts of the country, leave traditional 1- to 2-mbps broadband in the dust.

Broader Broadband (chart)

Alcohol in Moderation is Good For You

This excerpt from Eating Well magazine clearly cites the coronary benefits of a couple of drinks a day.
"Modern physicians first began to suspect that alcohol might protect against heart disease almost a century ago, when autopsies revealed that the arteries of heavy drinkers were remarkably free of atherosclerosis. Researchers in the 1970s began to look at large populations of people to compare drinkers and non-drinkers and their risk of heart disease. In 1974, Arthur Klasky, M.D., a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland California, published the first epidemiological evidence that consuming alcohol was associated with a lower risk of coronary disease. In a recent update of those original findings, which now include data from 128,934 people who have been followed for more than 20 years, he and his colleagues calculated that people who imbibe one to two drinks a day enjoy a 32% lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease than those who abstain from alcohol.
"The benefits show up in men and women, in people with diabetes and without, in all ethnic groups across the board," says Klasky. More than 100 studies, in fact, conducted in countries around the world, have confirmed that people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol are about one-third less likely to get heart disease or dies of a heart attack than those who do not drink at all." (From: October/November 2005 Issue of Eating Well magazine Special Report: The Power of Spirits: New science explores just how much a glass of cheer can do for your health; by Peter Jaret)

As Test Scores Jump, Raleigh Credits Integration by Income - New York Times

A sensible way to raise the performance of students. Racial integration doesn't seem to have the same payoff as economic/income integration. This is a big reason for the success.

"'Low-income students who have an opportunity to go to middle-class schools are surrounded by peers who have bigger dreams and who are more academically engaged,' said Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation who has written about economic integration in schools. 'They are surrounded by parents who are more likely to be active in the school. And they are taught by teachers who more likely are highly qualified than the teachers in low-income schools.'"

Is It Better to Buy or Rent? - New York Times

Rent or buy, the age old question. Renting may be today's deal, but only if there are enough places to rent.

"Add it all up - which The New York Times did, in an analysis of the major costs and benefits of owning and renting, including tax breaks - and owning a home today is more expensive than renting in much of the Northeast, Florida and California. Only if prices rise well above their already lofty levels will home ownership turn out to be the good deal that it is widely assumed to be."

New Advice to Retirees: Spend More at First, Cut Back Later - New York Times

New financial advice for retirees about withdrawals form retirement savings may make sense.

"They often say that people who retire at the age of 65 can safely remove only about 4 percent of their portfolios each year, along with adjustments for inflation. On that basis, the initial withdrawal from a portfolio worth $1 million would be just $40,000.
But some experts have been making waves by suggesting that it may make more sense to withdraw bigger amounts in the early years of retirement.
Ty Bernicke, a financial planner in Eau Claire, Wis., for example, says retirees generally spend less as they age, so that it is reasonable for them to spend more when they are in retirement's early stages. Mr. Bernicke's conclusions, which relied on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2002, were published in June in The Journal of Financial Planning ("

Israel Strikes in Gaza After Hamas Fires Rockets - New York Times

Those who believe a negotiated peace in the Middle East between the Palestinian terrorists and the Israelis are deluded by their hopes.

September 24, 2005

Google Takes Over the World

Fascinating speculation about Google's business plan. They clearly are good at what they do and pose a significant challenge to traditional desktop vendors. But the network is not an operating system...yet.

GoogleNet and the Internet Age by ZDNet's Dan Farber -- Elinor Mills of writes about Stephen Arnold's "The Google Legacy: How Google's Internet Search is Transforming Application Software," (available for $180 from the author), which posits that Google is building a highly scalable platform for virtual applications and services (VoIP, Wi-fi, content distribution, etc.) on any kind of device. It's not an anti-Microsoft issue--it's [...]

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The Education Gap - New York Times

Brooks describes the current dilemma. But is this not what one would expect? I will be interested in how to rectify this reality.

"Educated parents not only pass down economic resources to their children, they pass down expectations, habits, knowledge and cognitive abilities. Pretty soon you end up with a hereditary meritocratic class that reinforces itself generation after generation."

Why Time Warner Has Fallen in Love With AOL, Again - New York Times

This is nuts. People aren't stupid. They'll eventually move away from AOL.

"'At a certain point, the ones that are left are going to stay,' said Jonathan Gaw, an analyst at IDC, a market research firm based in Framingham, Mass. Current AOL members are sticking with their pokey dial-up service, paying AOL $23.95 a month, even in areas served by Verizon and SBC Communications where D.S.L. service - offering download speeds 7 to 25 times as fast - is now available for $14.95 a month."

September 23, 2005

Departing Chairman of Public TV Defends Acts - New York Times

Bias in journalism is inevitable. Balancing bias is tricky business. Nevertheless, taxpayer funding of consistently biased journalism should not be tolerated. The bias is very tough to eradicate and may be present not so much in what IS reported as in what is NOT reported.

"Appearing before the Media Institute, a research group supported by major news media companies and devoted to free-press issues, Mr. Tomlinson said Thursday that there was nothing substantive he would have done differently as head of the corporation.

'If I threatened the cozy atmosphere of public broadcasting over the failure to balance the liberal advocacy journalism of Bill Moyers, so be it,' he said before a luncheon sponsored by the institute. 'This thing of balance is not rocket science, and that is why I had so little tolerance for public broadcasting's inability to achieve balance. Let the record show that I gave as good as I got.'

'I am highly skeptical of so-called nonpartisanship in public broadcasting because that appears to mean the same old liberals making the same old decisions,' he added."

Miles of Traffic as Texans Heed Order to Leave - New York Times

The best laid plans...

We should be learning serious lessons about the inherent problems when millions of people evacuate a major metropolitan area. The exodus is simply overwhelming the capacity of the infrastructure to deal with it.

Meanwhile, ignorant reporters ask foolish questions.

"Officials in Texas also said they recognized a serious situation had arisen in the evacuation, with many people stranded on traffic-choked highways, without gas and without water. The state had promised to send gas trucks to relieve the problem, Mayor White said, but he could not say how long it would be before those trucks arrived.

In the meantime, he said, the city intended to send out vans and buses filled with water to take to the stranded people, and to evacuate some on the buses, as needed. To that end, Judge Eckels put out a call for volunteers to help load these vans and buses with water, and said that their help was needed immediately.

Mayor White deflected questions from reporters asking him to assess who was to blame for what happened Thursday, specifically the lack of gasoline where needed.

'This is not the time to look at who should have done what on the emergency,' the mayor said. 'This is not the time we're going to get into who should've done what.'"

Shift in Storm's Path Raises Fears About Weak New Orleans Levees - New York Times

Differing opinions about whether New Orleans levees may fail. Ugh.

"In the Lower Ninth Ward, where two gaping breaches in the Industrial Canal levee submerged and splintered one of the poorest sections of the city, four to eight inches of water began seeping back into some abandoned and destroyed neighborhoods by noon on Thursday. Small waterfalls of leakage could be seen several feet below the top of the repaired levee as wind pushed rising water from Lake Pontchartrain through the Industrial Canal.

This was to be expected, said Chad Rachel, a civil engineer with the corps, after an inspection of the repaired breaches. There did not appear to be any erosion of the compacted clay base of the patched dike, he said, adding that he felt certain the large, interlocking stones atop the base would be able to withstand the expected storm surge.

'We don't expect any problem with a catastrophic breach,' Mr. Rachel said.

By dusk, however, water had continued to rise, and Maj. Barry Guidry of the Army offered a direr assessment after examining the leaking at the Industrial Canal. 'The levee's going to cave in,' Major Guidry said. 'In the middle of the night, this thing is going to be gone.'"

September 22, 2005

Hillary Will Vote Against Judge Roberts

No surprise here, Hillary votes against Roberts to satisfy the liberal left wing of the Democratic Party, those who give the big bucks which she will need in her run for President in 2008.

Message: I Can't - New York Times

Dowd, the darling of the ultra-left, is so filled with hatred and animosity that she cannot think positively. For all her journalistic skills, her bias and venom are so strong that she can only lash out, seldom offering a constructive thought. Does she really provide a needed public journalistic service? Doubtful. The Times might be better off without her.

Faulty Levees - New York Times

as usual, the Times leaves out any reference to possible malfeasance at the local level, corruption in government, bid rigging, etc., etc. So typical of the Times in its slow decline in relevance.

Kerry and Edwards, 2005 - New York Times

Brooks nails it. The Democratic Party is hamstrung around the issues of policy and 'framing.' Keep in mind that the Republicans have a similar dilemma with the ultra-conservatives and more moderate folks.

"The Kerry-Edwards contrast is characteristic of the argument that now divides the Democratic Party. On one side are those who believe that the party's essential problem is with its political style.

The Republicans win because they are simply rougher, so the Democrats must be just as tough in response. They must match Karl Rove blow for blow. Democrats in this camp are voting against John Roberts just to show the world, and their donors above all, that they are willing to give no quarter.

On the other side are those who believe that the Democratic defeats flow from policy problems, not from campaign style or message framing. They don't believe that Democrats can win wrapped in their own rage, or kowtowing endlessly to their psychologically aggrieved donor base. For them, the crucial challenge is to come up with policies more in tune with voters.

Kerry speaks for the first group, which believes in more partisanship, and Edwards for the second, which believes in less.

I have discussions with my Democratic friends over whether the party will snap back to Clintonite centrism after the polarizing Bush leaves town. Some think yes. I suspect no. As Kerry's speech shows, the emotional tenor of the party has changed. The donors are aroused. Bush may end up changing the Democratic Party more than his own. "

September 21, 2005

What we know so far - and what we don't about Katrina response|

Hurricane Rita provides local and federal government another chance to get it right. If the feds fail this time, they will have little excuse. But I hear nothing yet on TV news about what they will do differently. What's up?

Just this minute TV reports that Bush has declared a state of emergency in Texas and Louisiana. - JetBlue plane attempts landing in LA area after wheel problem

Watching the Fox News coverage of this flight's emergency landing, it's clear they don't have much innate knowledge of emergency landing procedures. For instance, the anchor had no clue what runway foaming was and why it was done.

Update: Congratulations to the pilots who landed this Airbus safely. Under the circumstances, they performed with the best skills. Thank you, Lord!


The North Korean leadership is a gang of lunatics that cannot be trusted.

Sleight of Budgeting - New York Times

The Times is wrong. While some additional revenue may be needed in light of the damage likely from Rita, intense efforts are needed for spending cuts from other programs, as Senator Frist is arguing today.

The 'Big government' Times should know better as they begin to extract costs from their operation through layoffs announced yesterday.

"Katrina cannot and should not be paid for by cutting government programs, unless the goal is to end up with a government that's even less effective than it was before Katrina. True, there's fat that Congress should trim. But even if members of Congress were willing to rescind the porkiest of the pork spending they approved in the highway bill passed last summer, doing that would raise about $24 billion"

Leahy Says He Will Vote to Confirm Chief Justice Nominee - New York Times

Three cheers for Senator Leahy for correctly voting his conscience. I hope 'Jumpin' Jim' Jeffords will do the same.

"Only one other Democrat on the committee, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, has announced his position on the nomination. On Tuesday, Mr. Kennedy said, as expected, that he would vote no, and today his fellow Massachusetts senator, John Kerry, said he would vote against Judge Roberts on the Senate floor."

View topic - Verizon Vacation Mode ::

Verizon BroadbandAccess has a vacation mode! Cool.

Cellular Fills Gap Between Hotspots

Excellent primer for cellular broadband.

Avidly Seeking Wireless Clues From Google - New York Times

This move into free WiFi by Google, if true, would be a major thrust into the heart of a fledgling industry. But WiFi hotspots with today's technology are too small and scattered for ubiquitous access. I think a cellular broadband infrastructure makes more sense, even with a charge for the service. Could Google be planning on a different wireless technology beyond 802.11a,b,g,n??

Qwest and Microsoft in Web Phone Deal - New York Times

The transition from POTS to paid VoIP moves ahead.

September 20, 2005

Doctors Join to Promote Electronic Record Keeping - New York Times

We must move as rapidly as feasible to digitize medical records, both future and past, for those persons being treated. Scale is important in keeping costs at reasonable levels and the cooperative efforts among small physician practices should be examined as a possible model. Insurers and large hospitals can help this effort along.

"But smaller medical practices have typically been ineligible for such bonuses because the doctors lack the computerized records that help them qualify. The hurdles typically include up-front costs as high as $30,000 for each doctor, and the need for support and training.
As a result, fewer than 5 percent of physicians nationally are using a computerized system as part of patient care, said Dr. Thomas J. Handler, a research director at the Gartner market research group. For most doctors who work in groups of five or fewer, the portion is probably 3 percent or less, he said.
To overcome such obstacles, Dr. Heslin and his regional colleagues, who call their cooperative effort the Taconic Health Information Network and Community, are pooling their resources and knowledge."

September 19, 2005

Rita Following Katrina

Here we go again. God help the Gulf coast and Texas/Mexico.

Bush Questions Mayor's Plan to Reopen New Orleans - New York Times

"''We have made our position loud and clear,'' Bush said. ''The mayor is working hard. The mayor has got this dream about having his city up and running. We share that dream but we also want to be realistic about some of the hurdles and obstacles.''"

My translation: Don't do anything so stupid you zealous fool. Listen to the experts.

Update 5:20 Sep 19:
The mayor has listened to reason.

A Company Looks to Wean Computers Off the Wires - New York Times

Another significant step forward in the wireless arena by Airgo Networks will enable high quality digital TV to be transmitted within the home.

North Korea Says It Will Abandon Nuclear Efforts - New York Times

Pessimist that I am about the good faith of a rogue nation with nutcase leaders, I think this 'agreement' is nothing more than a ploy by the North Koreans to buy time to proceed with their nuclear development. If the agreement has validity, we should demand and the Koreans should agree to an immediate return of inspectors with free access to all N. K. nuclear sites while negotiations continue.

September 18, 2005

Hurricane Local Statement for EIGHTEEN

Possibly another hurricane, now only a tropical depression, headed for the U.S. mainland, this time Florida. But Katrina killed 12 in Florida before slamming into the gulf coast region.

Admiral wary of return to Big Easy?-?Nation/Politics?-?The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Once more the incompetent mayor of New Orleans is making rash statements, this time on the positive side. Remember his previous comments that there'll be "10,000 dead." The Coast Guard admiral is inserting some sense into the situation. Mayor Nagin needs a muzzle and possibly a short course in how to tell the truth without political exaggeration.

The Supreme Court's Biggest Question - New York Times

The biggest issues the Supreme Court will have to face in the future are certainly those that orbit the term 'privacy.'

This piece should stir our thinking. I believe Roberts will be the kind of justice who will tackle these thoughtfully. Let's hope Bush can nominate another equally qualified jurist. I'll bet he's trying to find a woman this time.

A Bushian Laboratory - New York Times

Brooks describes what Bush is trying to accomplish in rebuilding the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. Let's hope we can afford this vision because it's the right one.

Bush must find a way to fund it by cutting the present budget. The Times had it right in a previous editorial. The Congress must give up some of its pork spending in the Transportation bill. Let's get on with it.

"Now the Bush administration is trying to change all that. That means trying to get around the corruption that made the city such a rotten place to do business. The White House is trying to do this by devising programs in which checks and benefits flow directly to recipients, not through local agencies.

That means challenging the reigning assumptions. Right now the White House is fighting with Louisiana over where to house evacuees. The state wants to put temporary trailer parks on faraway military bases, where there are no jobs and where they will live in "abject dependency," as one senior White House official puts it. The Bush folks want to put temporary housing within a mile of the original neighborhoods so people can become self-sufficient as quickly as possible."

Whoops! There Goes Another Pension Plan - New York Times

Industrial America is in a terrible bind and with it the retirees of those companies that are undergoing bankruptcy and restructuring.

We have a failed system that enables people to make extraordinary profits and bonuses while the government, and perhaps eventually the taxpayers, is left to pick up the pensions and benefits of the retirees.

Even more perverse is the idea that healthy companies with solid pension plans may be required to pay higher premiums into the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to bail out those companies that have failed to provide for the benefits of their retirees and employees.

One lesson that's clear, defined benefit pension plans and guaranteed health benefits for retirees are dead in large corporations. They simply cannot afford the financial liabilities involved.

Talking in the Dark - New York Times

The pipe dream proposed in this piece is tempered by this single sentence tucked into the last paragraph. "Of course, a WiFi mesh wouldn't work if its users had no supply of electricity."

In a hurricane disaster one of the first systems to fail is the power grid. With power the WiFi mesh is a fine backup. Without it WiFi is worthless.

My Fuel Gauge

My new RV fuel gauge!

September 16, 2005 - Plan Treats All Broadband Providers Alike

Progress comes slowly in Congress for policy that pushes forward broadband deployment. The marketplace does that better. But for those areas without choice of providers, some rules of the road are needed.

Greenhouse Hypocrisy

I missed this Samuelson piece on global warming when first published in June. As usual, I find he makes the most sense of any journalist when tackling controversial topics. Certainly global warming is one of those. Both Clinton and Bush were wise to reject the Kyoto protocol. I wonder what Kerry or Gore would have done?

Well worth the read.

Describing Vermont - 2005

Vermont's economy may soon be overwhelmed by political forces that cater to meeting all social desires. Who will be left to pay for these grandiose expectations?

From THE DWINELL POLITICAL REPORT September 15, 2005 Vol. 6, No. 13 ,


"What we see here is a political structure that no longer corresponds to its economic base, a society where productive forces are hampered by political ones." --Ronald Reagan, June, 1982

Current Account Deficit Shows Improvement

Here is the ultimate point of leverage that other countries have over the United States.

"A less benign outcome would have foreigners suddenly deciding to dump their U.S. stocks and bonds, sending stock prices plunging and interest rates soaring. Such a stampede for the exits by foreigners could be enough of a jolt to push the country into a recession."

New Lines of Communication

Some interesting ideas that should be pursued further for the telecom rebuild of the Gulf coast and New Orleans. However, as with all good ideas, they must be tempered with the reality as expressed in the concluding paragraph in this Washington Post article.

"Anthony Townsend, research director at the Institute for the Future in California, pointed out that many of those high-flown ideas could run up against a fundamental problem: The services rely on electricity, which often goes out during such disasters. The nation must focus on finding more flexible ways of distributing power, he said."

Ex-FEMA Chief Tells of Frustration and Chaos - New York Times

Another chapter in the saga of ineptness and incompetence in the local, state and federal response to Katrina's devastation.

September 10, 2005

Commentary - The Inequality Taboo

Haven't read it yet, but wanted to retain the reference.

Political Fiasco and Public Safety in Louisiana

Received this in an email from a friend. I don't know if it's all true or where it originated, but if it is true, it makes clearer my previous assertion that the inept leadership in Louisiana and New Orleans is primarily responsible for the debacle in preparing the city of New Orleans and environs and protecting people from Katrina's devastation.

From the beginning, Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin have been part of the problem rather than the solution.
The chain of responsibility for the protection of the citizens in New Orleans is:

1. The Mayor
2. The New Orleans director of Homeland Security (a political appointee
of the Governor who reports to the Governor)
3. The Governor
4. The Head of Homeland Security
5. The President

What did each do?

  1. The mayor, with 5 days advance, waited until 2 days before he announced a mandatory evacuation (at the behest of the President). Then he failed to provide transportation for those without transport even though he had hundreds of buses at his disposal.
  2. The New Orleans director of Homeland Security failed to have any plan for a contingency that has been talked about for 50 years. Then he blames the Feds for not doing what he should have done. (So much for political appointees).
  3. The Governor, despite a declaration ion of disaster by the President 2 DAYS BEFORE the storm hit, failed to take advantage of the offer of Federal troops and aid until 2 DAYS AFTER the storm hit.
  4. The Director of Homeland Security positioned assets in the area to be ready when the Governor called for them.
  5. The President urged a mandatory evacuation, and even declared a disaster State of Emergency, freeing up millions of dollars of federal assistance, should the Governor decide to use it.
Oh, and by the way, the levees that broke? They were the responsibility
of the local landowners and the local levee board to maintain, NOT THE

Katrina..................the rest of the real story.

This is a post from Bill Weiler, freelance journalist, over in Merritt Island, FL, who has been researching what went on before the storm hit. These are the authors comments - very interesting.

Politics over Duty
I think all of Mayor Nagin's pomp and posturing is going to bite him hard in the near future as the lies and distortions of his interviews are coming to light. On Friday night before the storm hit Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center took the unprecedented action of calling Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco personally to plead with them to begin MANDATORY evacuation of New Orleans and they said they'd take it under consideration. This was after the NOAA buoy 240 miles south had recorded 68' waves before it was destroyed.

President Bush spent Friday afternoon and evening in meetings with his advisors and administrators drafting all of the paperwork required for a state to request federal assistance (and not be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act or having to enact the Insurgency Act).

Just before midnight Friday evening the President called Governor Blanco and pleaded with her to sign the request papers so the federal government and the military could legally begin mobilization and call up. He was told that they didn't think it necessary for the federal government to be involved yet.

After the President's final call to the governor she held meetings with her staff to discuss the political ramifications of bringing federal forces. It was decided that if they allowed federal assistance it would make it look as if they had failed so it was agreed upon that the feds would not be invited in."

Saturday before the storm hit the President again called Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin requesting they please sign the papers requesting federal assistance, that they declare the state an emergency area, and begin mandatory evacuation.

After a personal plea from the President, Nagin agreed to order an evacuation, but it would not be a full mandatory evacuation, and the governor still refused to sign the papers requesting and authorizing federal action.

In frustration the President declared the area a national disaster area before the state of Louisiana did so he could legally begin some advanced preparations. Rumor has it that the President's legal advisers were looking into the ramifications of using the insurgency act to bypass the Constitutional requirement that a state request federal aid before the federal government can move into state with troops - but that had not been done since 1906 and the Constitutionality of it was called into question to use before the disaster.

Throw in that over half the federal aid of the past decade to New Orleans for levee construction, maintenance, and repair was diverted to fund a marina and support the gambling ships. Toss in the investigation that will look into why the emergency preparedness plan submitted to the federal government for funding and published on the city's website was never implemented and, in fact, may have been bogus for the purpose of gaining additional federal funding as we now learn that the organizations identified in the plan were never contacted or coordinating into any planning - though the document implies that they were.

The suffering people of New Orleans need to be asking some hard questions as do we all, but they better start with why Blanco refused to even sign the multi-state mutual aid pact activation documents until Wednesday which further delayed the legal deployment of National Guard from adjoining states.

Or maybe ask why Nagin keeps harping that the President should have commandeered 500 Greyhound busses to help him when according to his own emergency plan and documents he claimed to have over 500 busses at his disposal to use between the local school busses and the city transportation busses - but he never raised a finger to prepare them or activate them."

This is a sad time for all of us to see that a major city has all but been destroyed and thousands of people have died with hundreds of thousands more suffering, but it's certainly not a time for people to be pointing fingers and trying to find a bigger dog to blame for local corruption and incompetence. Pray to God for the survivors that they can start their lives anew as fast as possible and we learn from all the mistakes to avoid them in the future.

September 9, 2005

Power to Detain 'Enemy Combatant' Is Upheld - New York Times

A wise decision. - Broadband Service From Your City

Summary of the two bills in Congress for and against municipally provided broadband services.

Political Issues Snarled Plans for Troop Aid - New York Times

This analysis suggests even more strongly than I concluded previously that the Louisiana governor and other officials were overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster and probably incompetent to deal with it. See my previous post.

"...But just as important to the administration were worries about the message that would have been sent by a president ousting a Southern governor of another party from command of her National Guard, according to administration, Pentagon and Justice Department officials.

"Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?" asked one senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the talks were confidential.

Officials in Louisiana agree that the governor would not have given up control over National Guard troops in her state as would have been required to send large numbers of active-duty soldiers into the area. But they also say they were desperate and would have welcomed assistance by active-duty soldiers.

"I need everything you have got," Ms. Blanco said she told Mr. Bush last Monday, after the storm hit.

In an interview, she acknowledged that she did not specify what sorts of soldiers. "Nobody told me that I had to request that," Ms. Blanco said. "I thought that I had requested everything they had. We were living in a war zone by then.""

September 8, 2005

Haunted by Hesitation - New York Times

Dowd is a terribly vicious, hate-filled journalist who must drink vinegar and bile for breakfast.

Bring Out Your Pork - New York Times

A sensible suggestion by the Times for Congress to return the pork $ to aid the devastation relief and rebuilding effort.

September 7, 2005

Why We Ignore the Risks

A dose of reality and clear thinking from Samuelson, one of my favorite journalists.

"...We do not plan, even when the case for planning seems overwhelming. Examples abound. We know that over the next few decades the number of retirees will double and that the costs of federal retirement programs will explode, requiring huge tax increases (at least a third), unsustainably large budget deficits or deep (and undesirable) cuts in other government programs -- or some combination of all three. All of this has been evident for years: indeed, it is the subject of countless government reports. But successive presidents and Congresses have done little to change matters, the current stalemated Social Security "debate" being a case in point."

It's Not a 'Blame Game' - New York Times

Once more, the Times is on its Bush bashing horse. Sad to see such a worthy newspaper continuing to take cheap shots.

"With the size and difficulty of the task of rescuing and rebuilding New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas still unfolding, it seemed early to talk about investigating how this predicted cataclysm had been allowed to occur and why the government's response was so slow and inept. Until yesterday, that is, when President Bush blithely announced at a photo-op cabinet meeting that he, personally, was going to 'find out what went right and what went wrong.' We can't imagine a worse idea."

Osama and Katrina - New York Times

Sad to see that Friedman has joined the ranks of the 'screaming media' following Katrina. Friedman is mostly wrong in this piece. I guess it's because he works for the Times and suffers from the constant soaking in failed liberal thinking.

"More taxes Thomas" should be his new pen name.

September 6, 2005

The 'city' of Louisiana - Bloggermann -

This guy is full of vigor now that the tragic week has passed to bash Bush and the federal leaders. However, most of this problem lies at the door of the incompetents in Louisiana, most notably the governor and her administration and the Mayor of New Orleans and his administration. It's the feds who made a difference, as I opined last week on this blog, once the military got the orders to move in.

The governor has not declared a state of emergency, a political move to thwart the feds, I wonder?. Awful!

Not much traction with the abuse?-?Nation/Politics?-?The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Comments on this editorial later...

Foreign Oil Independence

From several quarters, the call for a policy and commitment of resources that will lead toward less reliance on imported oil. Congress passed and the President signed a new energy policy bill that goes in that direction, but it's not being touted as a national priority. Of course, recent events have overshadowed that step, but once the crisis spike of Katrina has passed, the energy issue should be brought forward again. I'm surprised the Democrats have not proposed this issue as 'front and center.'

This from Mario Gabelli of Gabelli Funds.

"Much of our imported oil is purchased from the Saudis, about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded on an 18th century alliance between the Wahhabi religious movement - an extremely strict Muslim faction - and the House of Saud, which has ruled Saudi Arabia since the 1930s. The Wahhabi movement is a rigidly exacting interpretation of Islam, far more inflexible than Sunni or Shiite Islam. It is the Wahhabis - to whom millions in oil dollars are funneled - who fund the religious madrassas that teach virulently anti-American, anti-Western thoughts and ideas. It has been announced that at least two of the London subway and bus suicide bombers recently attended Wahhabi-funded madrassas in Pakistan. Our oil dollars pay for this, there are few voices arguing that American purchases of Saudi oil are not in the national interest.

What the U.S. needs now is an intense focus to reduce its dependency on oil. In the 1940s it was the Manhattan Project that led to the discovery, building, and use of a nuclear weapon in six years. In 1957, the Soviet launch of Sputnik I led to the creation of NASA the following year; and when Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the earth in 1961, the U.S. responded just 8 years later by landing men on the moon - and bringing them back again. This is the sort of concentrated, rapid pace focus needed now to reduce American dependence on oil. This has many facets - reducing American dependence on foreign oil, improving auto and truck and airplane efficiency, developing alternate sources of energy and other fuel conservation efforts."

Bush Makes Return Visit; Two Levees Secured - New York Times

I wonder...are they pumping the putrid, dead-body laced water back into the lake untreated? Where's the environmental uproar?

"With those barriers at least temporarily restored, engineers began draining the flooded streets and sending the water back into Lake Pontchatrain, but carefully, using portable pumps set up at near the lake on the 17th Street canal. Gregory E. Breerwood, a city engineer, said, 'We intend to take it slowly so we don't overtax the pumps themselves, because they have not been in service for a while.'"

Update 9/07/05: The scientists have taken a common sense approach on pumping flood waters back into Lake Pontchatrain.

"...Some scientists outside government tended to agree that the risk of long-term damage to the coastal waters was not high. One reason is that the lake is fed by several rivers and flushed by tides through its link to the Gulf of Mexico.

There will probably be an "initial toxic slug" entering the lake but that will be diluted and degraded by bacteria, said Frank T. Manheim, a former geochemist for the United States Geological Survey who teaches at George Mason University and was a co-author of a 2002 report on pollution issues in the lake."

September 5, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | Viewpoint: Has Katrina saved US media?

BBC NEWS | Americas | Viewpoint: Has Katrina saved US media?

After Failures, Government Officials Play Blame Game - New York Times

This is nonsense and the Times should know better than to quote such an utterly ridiculous statement. Nobody in their right mind would turn away critical supplies or cut emergency communications purposefully. This is such a jaded, frustrated person, probably so overwhelmed with the enormity of this disaster that he can't think straight.

Or is the Times deciding to publish anything that could be used later when the commissions and investigations begin their work to embarrass the Bush administration.

If destructive political motives are behind this crap, the writers, editors and political operatives behind this should be ashamed of themselves and called to account.

As for the governor of Louisiana, she strikes me as incompetent.

"...But local officials, who still feel overwhelmed by the continuing tragedy, demanded accountability and as well as action.

"Why did it happen? Who needs to be fired?" asked Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, south of New Orleans.

Far from deferring to state or local officials, FEMA asserted its authority and made things worse, Mr. Broussard complained on "Meet the Press."

When Wal-Mart sent three trailer trucks loaded with water, FEMA officials turned them away, he said. Agency workers prevented the Coast Guard from delivering 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel, and on Saturday they cut the parish's emergency communications line, leading the sheriff to restore it and post armed guards to protect it from FEMA, Mr. Broussard said.

One sign of the continuing battle over who was in charge was Governor Blanco's refusal to sign an agreement proposed by the White House to share control of National Guard forces with the federal authorities." A Calamity Waiting to Happen -- Sep. 12, 2005 -- Page 1

The reality of the Mississippi River delta region as portrayed in this Time Magazine synopsis suggests that rebuilding 'as is' may not make sense. Now is the time to restore as much of the natural delta as possible because the people and many of the structures are, sadly, gone.
The shriveled Louisiana coastline is dying a slow death at human hands

1 Over the centuries, the Mississippi flooded periodically, bringing downstream fresh silt that replenished wetlands and water that nourished the plants growing there

2 This flow created a large delta of swamps and barrier islands that absorbed storm surges and protected inland areas

3 When the river is constrained to a channel by levees, the silt is funneled out to sea

4 Without water flow and natural silt replenishment, the land outside the levees dries and sinks under its own weight, allowing salt water to intrude and killing plants that fed off the fresh water

5 Drawing drinking water from the land outside the levees only makes matters worse, hastening the sinking" Hurricane Katrina | A Calamity Waiting to Happen Map & Graphic Hurricane Katrina | A Calamity Waiting to Happen Map & Graphic

Here's an excellent graphic from Time Magazine showing the track and size of hurricane Katrina. I think it requires Macromedia Flash Player to view it appropriately. Dipping His Toe Into Disaster -- Sep. 12, 2005 -- Page 2

The administration's slow and and perceived inept response to the Katrina crisis may be the undoing of the Republican's hold on the politics of the nation. This analysis by Cooper is typical of the media reaction. I note that the Democrats' leadership is strategically laying low with little public comment. This is wise on their part for two reasons. First, the immensity of the tragedy suggests that negative political salvos would be received poorly by the electorate. Second, they are banking on the fact that this mess can be turned to their advantage as the 2008 campaign season heats up.

September 4, 2005

New Orleans Times Picayune

Here's what journalists in New Orleans are reporting and thinking.

"Part of the problem is that the quick mobilization of massive human and material resources takes expert management from the top, as well as the coordination of dozens of different federal agencies. That would have enabled a quicker entry into the city by National Guardsmen to establish order, distribute food and get people out.

Emergency management plans are for the most part based on the assumption that the people involved will be relatively cooperative.

The eruption of violence, disorder and confusion in and around New Orleans caught many people by surprise. A simulation that emergency management officials ran last year of a catastrophic flood and hurricane hitting New Orleans did not address the possibility of widespread violence and disorder, said Madhu Beriwal, the president of EIM, the company based in Baton Rouge that ran the exercise, which brought together emergency managers from local, state and federal agencies."

"Certainly what happened was some degree of a lack of coordination between federal, state and local folks prior to the arrival of the hurricane and immediately afterward," said Suzanne Mencer, a former Department of Homeland Security official who worked with state and local agencies. "It’s that coordination piece that is always the most difficult."

Bush Pledges More Troops as Evacuation Grows - New York Times

A succinct summary of the New Orleans situation on Day 6 of the catastrophe.
...But new problems are beginning to emerge. More than 220,000 hurricane refugees are already in Texas and thousands more are coming. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said yesterday that local officials were reporting "they are quickly approaching capacity in the number of evacuees they believe they can assist."

Why aren't nearby states like Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas accepting more refugees?

...Mr. Chertoff said the war in Iraq was not hurting the Guard's ability to respond to domestic catastrophe. He said the issue was not numbers, but logistics. "These are citizen soldiers, we have to get them mobilized and deployed," he said.

Painful as it is to understand and accept, time and thousands of people are required to mobilize the resources for a disaster of this magnitude. They and the resources aren't just sitting around ready to move at a moment's notice.

Sending in the active duty military with effective leadership, supplies and communications was the necessary step. Bush should have done this sooner. His remarks yesterday in the Rose Garden, are here. He is desperately trying to make up for the slow initial response of the federal government.

...Superintendent P. Edward Compass III of the Police Department said 200 of the 1,500 officers on his force had walked off the job, citing the perils of fighting armed and menacing refugees, and he reported that two officers had committed suicide.

A terrible statement of the reality faced in New Orleans by an outmanned/outgunned police force with a reputation for corruption and patronage. One thing they did do well historically is keep Mardi Gras revelers under some control. I have mixed emotions about this abandonment of duty. I am probably a very poor judge of their actions sitting in my comfortable home.

Here's what the Times-Picayune has to say about the police actions.

"Throughout the inundated city, what remained of the New Orleans Police Department was transformed into a virtual militia operation, Compass and other commanders said, forcing officers to freelance without radios, supplies or clear orders. Dozens of officers turned in their badges or fled without a word.

Some joined in with looters and marauders, plunging an already jittery situation into moments of complete societal breakdown.

"These events do two things: they show your strengths and they expose your weaknesses. We had both," Compass said.

But according to Compass, the majority of the 1,700-person force held its ground, figuring out ways to save lives and restore order, working to save the city despite, in many cases, becoming victims themselves.

"The bulk of this police department stood intact," Compass said in an interview, tears streaming down his face. "We fought the most unbelievable war imaginable and we survived . . . Some officers lost their houses and they’re still out there. Some officers lost family members and they’re still out there."

Like every other city, state and federal agency, the police department was almost instantly overwhelmed by Hurricane Katrina, Compass said. With the city plunged into a near-total communications blackout, the police radio system was reduced to walkietalkies among small squads.

As much as possible, the squads began organizing themselves at key points around the city, Compass said. The SWAT team tried to quell looting, track down armed gangs and restore order. The vice squad took over the search-and-rescue boat patrols. District patrol officers set up satellite evacuation points as refugees began streaming out of flooded neighborhoods. Compass bounced between the City Hall emergency command post, the law enforcement staging area at Harrah’s Casino and the field.

At one point, there was a rumor that Compass had fled to Baton Rouge. He said the bad information circulated because his car was seen heading to the Capitol, carrying his eight-months-pregnant wife when she went into distress.

"I’ve been rolling on calls, backing people up on the ground, fighting off people with my bare hands," he said.

Police protocol was tossed out the window. The force’s usual show of crisp white and blue uniforms was largely supplanted by t-shirts, jeans, bandanas, hip-waders, shirts with the sleeves torn off. The department’s polished and immaculately groomed spokesman, Capt. Marlon Defillo, armed himself with a pistol in one hand and an semiautomatic shotgun in the other."

Why the Internet Isn't the Death of the Post Office - New York Times

USPS is still strong, on balance a beneficiary of the Internet society.

Allan Bloom and the Conservative Mind - New York Times

I remember reading Bloom years ago. His ideas of what the university should be still create intense interest. Capturing academia seems a goal of both the political left and right. Left seems ahead in the battle, but losing ground.

September 3, 2005 - President sending active-duty troops to region damaged by hurricane

The statement of a man hoping to be the next president.

"'If we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?' asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican."

Leadership Lacking

I find it telling that the governor of Louisiana has almost faded from public view, as has the mayor of New Orleans. I sense that they are likely ineffective leaders without the capacity to lead in a crisis of this magnitude. Also, they are probably worn out emotionally by the devastation.

The best thing that can be done now is to put seasoned military commanders in charge of this huge effort. People with experience in life and death situations, not inept politicians and bureaucrats are needed to muster resources and give clear direction for their deployment.

Update on the lack of leadership from the governor of Louisiana: This from the Washington Post on 9/3.

"Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.

A senior administration official said that Bush has clear legal authority to federalize National Guard units to quell civil disturbances under the Insurrection Act and will continue to try to unify the chains of command that are split among the president, the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor.

Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said."

The Needed Speech

This blogger has hit all the important issues. Worth a read.

Wired News: They Knew What to Expect

We think we can have ad do everything at once in this country. We can't and find it politically unpalatable to make hard choices. The terrible Katrina tragedy brings all the political warts to the fore. This administration and the preceding one have to bear the blame for the mess.

"'No one cares about disasters until they happen. That is a political fact of life,' he said.
'Emergency management is woefully underfunded in this nation. That covers not only first responders but also warning, evacuation, damage assessment, volunteer management, donation management and recovery and mitigation issues.'"

September 1, 2005

How to Make Phone Calls Without a Telephone - New York Times

VoIP basics...a nice primer of useful information.

A Lipstick President - New York Times

Maureen is not happy with Hillary, but Hillary wants to be president. She's not dumb and full well knows that as a left wing liberal, which she is at heart, she would never have a chance.

"But by hanging back and trimming her positions, by keeping her powder dry until a more politically advantageous time, she may miss the moment when Americans are looking for someone to emerge from her cowering party to articulate their anger about Iraq or their fear about a Supreme Court that will scale back women's rights and civil rights here, as Islamic courts do the same in Iraq.
Hillary may get caught flat-footed. Or she may be right in betting that there's no need to do anything rash now, like leading."

20 oil rigs missing in Gulf of Mexico: US Coast Guard - Yahoo! News

If the supply of refined products is the problem, than shortages should begin to occur. It can't be only a matter of high prices if there's not enough to go around.

"While additional supplies of oil will be helpful in keeping crude prices from reaching 80 dollars a barrel, the real supply constraints are with refined products made from crude, said Wachovia economist Jason Schenker.

'There is no strategic government reserve of natural gas or refined products, and right now the biggest concerns in the marketplace are for products,' Schenker said.

'At the end of the day, it may not matter for gasoline and heating oil prices how much crude comes out of the SPR,' he said."

Maps: The Impact of Hurricane Katrina - New York Times

An excellent graphic of the New Orleans levee and pump system showing the extent of flooding on Wednesday.

Owners Take Up Arms as Looters Press Their Advantage - New York Times

Should anyone be surprised that lawlessness reigns without the presence of armed police? In crisis situations the extremes of the human character emerge. We find the lawlessness abhorrent because we think we're good people. The fact is that sin reigns in our being, closer to the surface in some than in others.