Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Hurricane Katrina

It’s been four years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, flooding 80% of the city, redistributing over 1 million people in the region and killing 1,836.

A few observations:

New Orleans is still underwater:
New_Orleans_Elevations

FEMA’s Michael Brown – surely 12 years of judging horse shows qualifies him to coordinate the largest disaster response in U.S. history

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was re-elected in 2006 despite his numerous failures (and he’d probably be re-elected again in 2010 but for the grace of term limits).  Here’s a few highlights:

Much of the city is below sea level, you’re surrounded on 3 sides by water, the most intense hurricane ever seen in the Gulf is bearing down on you, the Director of the National Hurricane Center calls you at home and says “get people out of New Orleans,” yet the mayor doesn’t want to issue an evacuation order because he’s afraid he’ll get sued?

18 hours before it hits, Nagin finally orders the mandatory evacuation.  Everyone should get out of New Orleans.  But what about the estimated 134,000 people without cars?  Well, there is an evacuation plan that calls for busing people out of town, but Nagin thought the Superdome was a better alternative, advising anyone with special needs to bring along food, water and a folding chair.

Great idea:
superdome

But what about the buses?  The official way out was to be the 550 municipal buses and 254 usable school buses.  They weren’t used:
buses

But these 150 buses were moved to higher ground:
150 more busses

In the aftermath, there’s widespread looting, overall anarchy, no cops to be found and as Nagin said “Now you got some knuckleheads out there, and they are taking advantage of this lawless — this situation where, you know, we can’t really control it, and they’re doing some awful, awful things.”  The response: start confiscating law abiding citizen’s guns.

 

And finally, there’s the estimated 20% of the population of New Orleans (that’s 63,000 people) who chose to ignore the strongest, most vividly worded warning from the Nation Weather Service:

...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE KATRINA CONTINUES TO APPROACH THE
   MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA...
...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...

MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT
LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL
FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY
DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.

THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL.
PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD
FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE
BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME
WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A
FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH
AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY
VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE
ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE
WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN
AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING
INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
 

Timeline

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If the US governement was in charge of rescuing the Titanic

if-the-gov-was-in-charge-of-Titanic-rescue

Possible reason for the decline and fall of US automakers?

uaw contract photo

Ford’s 2,215 page, 22 pound ’07 United Auto Workers master contract.

Constitution Out of Stock

Telling sign of the times from our National Archives:

constitution-out-of-stock2

Luckily The Heritage Foundation is giving them away:

http://wwrdheritage.org/

B.S. Detection

Scott Berkun has a great piece on B.S. Detection mirrored here.

For future reference: this handy guide to logical fallacies from Wikipedia.  This should be useful in the runup to Novemeber.

How does your candidate measure up?

Here’s what we really should be looking at:
Candidate positions

Too lazy to figure out which one you hate least?  Try this candidate test.

That wasn’t chicken

Although only a tiny amount of Chinese crap is tested, 1 out of 100 items don’t even meet minimum quality standards.

From noupsell
“It is unfair and irresponsible for the U.S. media to single China out, play up China’s food safety problems and mislead the U.S. consumer,” 中华人民共和国 | Oh Yeah? Well tell that to some poor 90 year old Grandma who just lost her poodle ‘Muffycakes’ to a can of the poison shit on a stick you’re selling.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China warned the United States on Thursday against “groundless smear attacks” against Chinese products and said it was working responsibly to address concerns over a spate of recent food safety scares.

“The Chinese Government has not turned a blind eye or tried to cover up. We have taken this matter very seriously, acted responsibly and immediately adopted forceful measures,” said a statement by China’s embassy in Washington.

“Blowing up, complicating or politicizing a problem are irresponsible actions and do not help in its solution,” the Chinese mission said in a rare policy pronouncement.

“It is even more unacceptable for some to launch groundless smear attacks on China at the excuse of food and drug safety problems,” it said.

Echoing the Beijing government’s complaints about U.S. media reports, the embassy said food safety concerns were not unique to China, 99.2 percent of whose food exports to the United States in 2006 met quality standards.

Problematic U.S. imports from China — including toxic ingredients mixed into pet food and recalls of toy trains and toothpaste — were isolated cases and “hardly avoidable” amid huge and rapidly growing bilateral trade, the statement said.

“It is unfair and irresponsible for the U.S. media to single China out, play up China’s food safety problems and mislead the U.S. consumer,” it added.

Appealing for strengthened cooperation between Chinese and U.S. food inspection authorities, the statement urged Americans to “respect science and treat China’s food and drug exports fairly.
…from reuters

Big Brother is here

The FBI is now in the spyware business.  No warrant required.

    FBI agents trying to track the source of e-mailed bomb threats against a Washington high school last month sent the suspect a secret surveillance program designed to surreptitiously monitor him and report back to a government server, according to an FBI affidavit obtained by Wired News.

    The court filing offers the first public glimpse into the bureau’s long-suspected spyware capability, in which the FBI adopts techniques more common to online criminals.

    The software was sent to the owner of an anonymous MySpace profile linked to bomb threats against Timberline High School near Seattle. The code led the FBI to 15-year-old Josh Glazebrook, a student at the school, who on Monday pleaded guilty to making bomb threats, identity theft and felony harassment.

    In an affidavit seeking a search warrant to use the software, filed last month in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington, FBI agent Norman Sanders describes the software as a “computer and internet protocol address verifier,” or CIPAV.

    Sanders wrote that the spyware program gathers a wide range of information, including the computer’s IP address; MAC address; open ports; a list of running programs; the operating system type, version and serial number; preferred internet browser and version; the computer’s registered owner and registered company name; the current logged-in user name and the last-visited URL.

    The CIPAV then settles into a silent “pen register” mode, in which it lurks on the target computer and monitors its internet use, logging the IP address of every computer to which the machine connects for up to 60 days.

    Under a ruling this month by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, such surveillance — which does not capture the content of the communications — can be conducted without a wiretap warrant, because internet users have no “reasonable expectation of privacy” in the data when using the internet.
…From Wired

France

This one was overlooked by the mainstream media:

In the spirit of its mission statement, “The French Will Never Forget” (www.thefrenchwillneverforget.com), organized an extraordinary gathering of approximately 2500 people in Omaha Beach, Normandy for July 4 th 2007. The crowd formed on the sand the letters of the phrase: “FRANCE WILL NEVER FORGET”, aimed at honoring the fallen American heroes who scarified their lives to liberate France at the end of WW II.

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