Friday, September 23, 2005

A Brief Thought

As I was listening to Arianna Huffington on "Left, Right and Center" (a great radio show, by the way), I was struck by the dichotomy that is the liberal position on Iraq. Huffington wants immediate withdrawl from Iraq. She also continually preaches about helping poor people at home and abroad. Whether or not you agree with going to war initially, pulling out now would lead to a massive Iraqi Civil War. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, would die in the chaos. The left is willing to sacrifice these people, and sacrifice Iraq's chance at building a stable democracy, because of 2,000 American deaths. Forget for a moment that 2,000 deaths in a large-scale war of this nature is ridiculously low by any historical measurement (in fact, it's completely unprecidented). How can the left, the people that are supposed to care about the poor and unfortunate of the earth, so easily abandon people clearly in need? Their position is completely heartless and would lead to needless death and suffering.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


"Freakonomics", a new book by economist, Steven Levitt, is fantastic. I highly recommend it regardless of your personal or political philosophy. Levitt uses numbers to bring out the truth in hot-button issues like abortion, racism and crime. Anyone, especially readers that enjoy the work of Malcom Gladwell, will love this book.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Nagin Fails to Use Amtrak Trains

From Newsmax:

Officials at Amtrak say they offered to run a special train out of New Orleans that could have evacuated hundreds of residents hours before Hurricane Katrina struck - but city officials turned the offer down.

"We offered the city the opportunity to take evacuees out of harm's way," Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black told the Washington Post on Sunday. "The city declined."

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The train had room for "several hundred passengers," the Post said. But it left loaded only with railroad equipment - destined for higher and drier ground.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said Sunday he had no idea what Black was talking about.

I don't know where that's coming from," he told NBC's "Meet the Press." "Amtrak never contacted me to make that offer. As a matter of fact, we checked the Amtrak lines for availability, and every available train was booked, as far as the report that I got, through September. So I'd like to see that report."

Nagin also offered a new explanation as to why he didn't press hundreds of city buses into service to aid in evacuation efforts.

"Sure, here was lots of buses out there," he told "Meet the Press." "But guess what? You can't find drivers that would stay behind with a Category 5 hurricane, you know, pending down on New Orleans. We barely got enough drivers to move people on Sunday, or Saturday and Sunday, to move them to the Superdome."

The New Orleans Democrat had a different excuse tens days ago, when asked about using his city's bus fleet.

"One of the briefings we had they were talking about getting, you know, public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out of here," he told WWL Radio.

"I'm like - you've got to be kidding me. This is a natural disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."

Asked about the buses two days before his "Meet the Press" interview, Nagin told NBC's "Dateline": "I dont know. That is question for somebody else."

Flood Money Squandered

From Boortz:

Now here's something you probably didn't know about Louisiana and Hurricane Katrina. At the very time Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans, there were several top-level officials in the very department of Louisiana government that prepares for emergencies such as Katrina sitting around and waiting for their trial. Trial, you say? Trial for what? Let's try corruption and throw in a bit of fraud.

It seems that these Louisiana officials either misspent or misplaced or ... worse ... about 60 million federal taxpayer bucks. Here are some details ...

In March of this year -- that's about five months before Katrina -- FEMA was asking for the return of $30.4 million that the federal government had sent to Louisiana for emergency planning and preparedness. Most of this money was sent to some state office called the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Wait .. it gets worse. According to the Los Angeles Times, much of that money was sent to Louisiana under some federal program called the Hazard Mitigation Grant program. That is a program that is, in part, supposed to help states improve flood control facilities. Flood? Did someone say flood?

Hazard mitigation would have been a great idea in New Orleans, don't you think? Especially that "improve flood control facilities" part, but nobody seems to know where the money went! OK ... let's follow the trail of $15.4 million dollars that was spent by the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. The $15.4 million was part of a $40.5 million grant of your money that was sent to Louisiana for the Hazard Mitigation Program. You know ... flood control and all that. Oops! Hold on a second here. My bad. It seems we can't follow that $15.4 million.. You see, the Louisiana officials say that they awarded that money to subcontractors for 19 major hazard mitigation programs, but they just can't seem to find any receipts to account of 97% of the funds. Ninety-seven percent of $15.4 million, my friends. No receipts. That's $14.94 million .. gone, and nobody can trace it.

Do any of you think that something good might have been done with some of this money? Lives saved? Flooding prevented? If you're thinking that, remember ... we're talking Hurricane Katrina here, and we all know that every bad thing that happened in Hurricane Katrina was --- all together now ---- Bush's Fault!

Perhaps if these Louisiana officials ever actually go to trial now they will be able to use the "Blame Bush" defense.

Clinton Shifts Position

From Newsmax:

Contradicting his previous statements on the Iraq war, ex-President Bill Clinton said Sunday that there was no basis to attack the rogue nation when President Bush began the Iraq war two years ago.

"The administration . . . decided to launch this invasion virtually alone and before the U.N. inspections were completed - with no real urgency, no evidence that there was any weapons of mass destruction there," he complained to ABC's "This Week."

"I did not favor what was done," Clinton said.

"I thought that diverted our attention from [Afghanistan] and al Qaida and undermined the support that we might have had," he said. "But what's done is done."

Story Continues Below

Clinton's comments represented a marked shift from the position he took as president.

"We have to defend our future from these predators of the 21st century," he warned in a Feb. 1998 speech.

"And they will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. . . . There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein's Iraq. His regime threatens the safety of his people, the stability of his region and the security of all the rest of us."

But the ex-president suggested Sunday that deposing Saddam by military force had been a mistake.

Asked if he thought the U.S. had a strategy for victory in Iraq, Clinton told "This Week": "Well, if we do it's not working right now."

If he were president, Clinton said he'd make stabilizing Afghanistan a bigger priority than securing Iraq.

"The only thing I would sacrifice [Iraq] to is if I felt we were going to lose in Afghanistan. We cannot lose in Afghanistan. We cannot let the Taliban come back. We cannot let Karzai fail. We cannot relax our efforts to try to keep undermining the al Qaida because that's still, by far, a bigger threat to our security."
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