Friday, March 23, 2007

So Long, Me-Maw

As reported here, [I]n New Orleans, they aren't shedding a tear over Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's decision not to seek a second term.

Julia Reed of Newsweek, resides in New Orleans, and relates what was contained in two e-mails she recently received. One had to do with some armed robbery crimes that were recently committed, a trend that is on the rise in the Crescent City (Hey, Nagin! What are you doing to fix that, huh? Sorry, I digress.), while the second had to do with the announcement that Governor Kathleen Blanco will not seek a second term. Some excerpts from Ms. Reed's article, with my thoughts occasionally thrown in:

As crimes go in the city with by far the highest murder rate in the nation (96 per every 100,000 people in 2006; more than 40 people overall have been killed so far in 2007), these could actually be viewed as good news-nobody was killed or even shot, after all. But the real good news came in my next e-mail: Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced that she would not seek re-election to a second term. [Emphasis mine]

Blanco, a former high-school business teacher-turned-public servant, elected in 2003 as the first woman governor of Louisiana, became one of the many not-so-happy public faces of Katrina, along with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and FEMA's Mike (Brownie) Brown. In the storm's immediate aftermath, she appeared so disoriented that one press account of her public appearances went so far as to suggest that she seemed "over-medicated." Times-Picayune columnist James Gill reported that "'Me-Maw's tranked' is the word on the street." (Blanco is sometimes nicknamed "Me-Maw" due to her grandmotherly affect.) That general perception was not helped when she was overheard by a CNN producer while still miked, admitting that she hadn't known it was the governor's responsibility to call out the National Guard.

She didn't know it was her responsibility to call out the National Guard? How did she even get elected to the office of Governor in the first place if she didn't know something as elementary as that? What kind of "assistants" does she have, anyway? Did anyone in her office think to give her a nudge, and whisper in her ear that she needed to call out the NG? It appears not, and those people who failed to properly advise her on something as important as this - something any first year civics student would have been able to tell her, if they still taught civics that is - should be fired immediately, and barred from holding any government job in the state.

But wait - there's more!

Indecision and failure to act have been the hallmarks of her administration. In neighboring Mississippi, Haley Barbour had convened two special sessions of the legislature before she called for her first one. Louisiana received the first half of the $7.5 billion earmarked for homeowners' reconstruction efforts in December of 2005, and the second chunk in June 2006. The so-called "Road Home" program offers owners of storm-damaged homes up to $150,000 in aid. But so far, bureaucratic hurdles put in place by the state have meant that only 3 percent of the 115,000 families who have applied for help have received it. Worse, the contractor handpicked by Blanco's administration to implement the process stands to make a jaw-dropping $765 million from the job, though it has further slowed progress with computer glitches and Keystone Kops-style mistakes. By contrast, 78 percent of Mississippi's applicants in a similar, but much less bureaucratic, program have received their checks.

Read that first sentence again - Indecision and failure to act have been the hallmarks of her administration. That was true before Hurricane Katrina hit, it was true in the immediate aftermath, and it's obvious it is still true today. For years, Mississippi was the unfortunate butt of a lot of jokes about ... well, about most things that went on in that state, and yet with proper leadership in the form of Gov. Haley Barbour making, and implementing, the hard decisions needed to help the state of Mississippi recover from Hurricane Katrina, 78% of applicants in a similar home recovery/rebuilding program to that in Louisiana have received money to help them rebuild, as opposed to a miniscule 3% of people in Louisiana having received help from the program there. That speaks volumes both for Gov. Barbour, and most loudly against Gov. Blanco. Now here's the kicker.

The irony is that when the program was finally launched last summer-with the official name "Governor Kathleen Blanco's Road Home Program"-critics cried foul, saying that she would get too much political credit for the payouts. Now, of course, she has been given all the blame for the lack thereof.

My question is, why did Blanco wait until last summer to launch this program? Is the legislature in Louisiana so inept that they couldn't get legislation pushed through to get this program off and running as soon as the first installment of federal funds was received? Or, is this just another example of Blanco's indecision and failure to act? Oh, and naming a program after yourself is just bilious, in my opinion, Gov. Blanco. After all, the money didn't come from you, it came from the federal government; you were simply supposed to properly allocate it. You rightly deserve all the blame for the lack of pay outs to those in need. Only 3% of the people eligible for the pay outs because of the hurdles placed in their way by your state government is beyond obscene!

A January poll showed her garnering only 24 percent of the votes in a race against U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, her 2003 opponent, who had 59 percent. Since then, she has dropped 8 more points, and last week in yet another embarrassing blow, HUD charged that the state was breaking federal law by requiring homeowners to wait for a series of reimbursements rather than giving them the option of taking a lump sum.

I must say that Blanco isn't entirely brain dead, as anyone in political office would realize that their re-election prospects with only 16 percent of the state vote are basically slim to none, especially after the state was charged with breaking federal law in making people take incremental payments, without giving them the option of taking a lump sum payment. The state agency responsible for making the pay outs quickly changed the rules, as we'll see in the next excerpt, to make HUD happy, but these missteps did not make the state Democrat Party happy - at all.

Though the State Recovery Authority agreed to change the program to address HUD's concerns, the feedback from the initial HUD announcement had been so negative that the state Democratic Party put strong pressure on Blanco to bow out sooner rather than later, so that it could field a better candidate.

As Ms. Reed goes on to state, no matter who decides to run from either side of the aisle, the prospects for the people of Louisiana are brighter now, than they have been in some time.

Now, if only "Mr. Chocolate" Ray Nagin would learn a lesson from all of this, maybe the prospects for the citizens of New Orleans would be brighter as well.

Nealz Nuze, via Hollie-is-Right

Muslims offer to help 'John Does' sued by imams

As reported here, [l]awyers and a Muslim group say they will defend at no cost airline passengers caught up in a lawsuit between a group of imams and U.S. Airways if the passengers are named as "John Does" and sued for reporting suspicious behavior that got the Muslim clerics booted from a November flight.

The six imams are suing the airline, Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission, and the unnamed "John Does" to be named later, for discrimination, saying they were removed from the flight for praying in the airport.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix-area physician and director of American Islamic Forum for Democracy -- a group founded in 2003 to promote moderate Muslim ideas through its Web site ( -- told The Washington Times his group will raise money for legal fees for passengers if they are sued by the imams.

"It's so important that America know there are Muslims who understand who the victims are in air travel," said Dr. Jasser. "But I hope it doesn't get to that point because the backlash will be even greater when Americans see Islamists trying to punish innocent passengers reporting fears."

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy has also posted a press release regarding this on their web site, which can be found

As those of you who read my blog are aware, I've written many posts about the Islamofascist terrorists that are trying to take us all back to the 8th century as they attempt to recreate their coveted "Caliphate". It is very heartening to see that there are those who are Muslims who reject this way of thinking, and aren't afraid to speak up! (We need to gear from more of you folks.)

To Dr. Jasser and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, I say thank you! Your efforts on behalf, and support, of those who may become targets of CAIR in this blatant attempt at intimidation are very much appreciated by this writer.

Hollie is Right

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Lights, Camera . . . Candidacy?

Fred Thompson is shaking up the GOP presidential field. And he's not even running yet.

So says John Fund of
OpinionJournal in this piece, and I agree with Mr. Fund.

Maliki Speaks Out

As reported here, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER NOURI AL-MALIKI, speaking at last week's international conference in Baghdad, reminded many who needed reminding exactly what is at stake in the war in Iraq. Unfortunately, few people in Europe seem to have heard the message.

The great enemy, Maliki warned, is the ideology of terrorism, which threatens not only Iraq but every decent and peace-loving nation on the planet. "The terrorism that today is trying to kill Iraqis in Baghdad, Hilla, Mosul, and Anbar," he said, "is the same as the terror that intimidated the population of Saudi Arabia, targeted the people of Egypt, attacked the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and hit underground trains in Madrid and London."

In other words, whatever one thinks of the decision to topple Saddam Hussein, Iraq has become another front in the war on radical Islam. This faith-based ideology assumes various shapes--Sunni suicide bombers, al Qaeda operatives--yet all pursue the same overriding objective: to turn Iraq into a haven for international terrorism, guided by a militant and murderous vision of Islam.

This is, of course, exactly the argument made by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair--which probably explains why media outlets such as the BBC downplayed Maliki's blunt assessment.

The Iraqi prime minister can be faulted for his handling of security issues and failure to politically unite the country's religious factions. Yet he seems to understand the nature and difficulty of his task, a difficulty that is hard to overstate and greatly complicated by daily acts of barbarism. For a few moments last week--moments that surely offended the sensibilities of political and media sophisticates--Maliki reminded the world that America is not the problem in Iraq or in the Middle East. Terrorism is the problem. And it is the reason Iraq is fighting for its life.

We would do well to remember - and remind the Democrat politicians - that America is not the problem in Iraq, but that terrorism is. Fault Mr. Maliki all you want for his past reliance on Al-Sadr to keep him in power, but know this - he gets it, while the vast majority of Democrat politicians don't have a clue.

Howard refuses withdrawal date

As reported here, AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister John Howard and his Iraqi counterpart Nuri al-Maliki today refused to set a timetable for the withdrawal of Australian troops, vowing they will stay in Iraq until "terrorists are defeated".

In a press conference with Mr Howard, Mr Maliki was first to admit he didn't want to see a timeline put on Australian troop withdrawal.

"There has been some progess but we still wish the Australians to remain until we have completely defeated the terrorists," Mr Maliki said.

Mr Howard immediately backed Mr Maliki's view, saying: "We have made progress but there is still work to be done."

"I told (Mr Maliki) that Australia will continue its presence in Iraq to assist in bringing about a situation where the Iraqi people are reasonably able to provide for their own future and for their own security.

"We both agreed that the future lies in collaboration between improved security and reconciliation in the political process."

Fortunately for the Iraqi's, Prime Minister Howard isn't hampered by a Democrat controlled Congress pushing for an early withdrawal of troops!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bright sun, warm Earth. Coincidence?

Lorne Gunter of, writing in this piece asks the very pertinent question - "Is it so hard to believe ... that the sun could be causing our current warming ... ?", in light of the fact that the sun is, and has been for about the past 150 years now, very active. Activity which has caused the polar ice caps of Mars to begin melting; a second giant red spot to develop on Jupiter; Triton, Neptune's moon, has experienced melting of it's frozen nitrogen surface, so that now it's atmosphere is becoming more dense; even Pluto has "warmed" from its' usual -233 degrees Celsius to a balmy -230 degrees Celsius.

Now, the last time I checked, the only thing all of these planets really have in common with Earth is that they all orbit around a huge yellow orb, which we call the Sun. There are no SUV's on Mars. There are no factories on Jupiter. There are no coal fired power generating plants on Triton. Other than on Earth, there aren't any people on any of those other planets and moons that are flying through space in orbit around the sun, and yet, according to the global warming alarmists, it is people who are contributing to the warming of planet Earth, through our "destructive activities".

But, if it is people causing the warming of Earth, what then accounts for the warming phenomena happening on the other planets and moons in our solar system? There aren't any people anywhere else, so what is causing it? There is only one possible answer to that question - heightened, and sustained, activity of the Sun.

To say otherwise is foolish beyond belief, as is saying that man's activities here on planet Earth is the sole, and overarching, reason why our climate is changing (which it is, as I have stated numerous times before; Earth's climate always changes - always has, always will - it has never been static).

Is Man having an adverse affect on Earth? In many way, yes. We pollute our air. We pollute our water. We cut down the trees in our rain forests which deplete wildlife habitat, and cause far too much land erosion. Population growth in some parts of our planet is unsustainable (while in other areas, populations are declining) from a resource availability standpoint. Could we do better? Of course we could, and we should.

But to say that Man is the sole cause of "global warming", without taking into consideration any other external factors such as heightened solar activity making a contribution, is not only foolish, but dogmatic in the extreme, Al Gore's opinions notwithstanding.


Monday, March 12, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

Via LGF, comes The Great Global Warming Swindle, from the UK's Channel 4. It's a rather long video (requires Adobe Flash Player), at over an hour and a quarter, but it is something worth investing the time in.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

TV Star, Former Senator Fred Thompson Considers '08 Presidential Bid

As reported here, "Law and Order" star and former Tennessee Republican Sen. Fred Thompson is weighing a bid for the White House in 2008, he told Chris Wallace on "FOX News Sunday."

"I'm going to wait and see what happens," Thompson said. "I want to see my colleagues on the campaign trial, what they say, what they emphasize, whether they can carry the ball next November."

Thompson, 64, who plays district attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's drama, said he was pondering a run after former
Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker and other Tennessee Republicans began drumming up support for his possible Republican candidacy, citing his conservative credentials.

This is a man I would get behind very quickly. Fred Thompson would make an excellent candidate for the Republican Party - much better than that RINO McCain - as well as an excellent President.

This is an exciting prospect, and it's hoped here that Mr. Thompson does throw his hat in the ring.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Words of wisdom from a good friend

From time to time, some of my friends come up with some very interesting points to ponder, and what follows is a case in point. Many thanks, Bryan, for your kind permission in allowing me to re-post this here.

I have a LOT of thoughts on the subject of war and peace on Earth, but until now I couldn't quite figure out a way to articulate my driving sentiments on the matters at hand. Rather than waiting for some sort of Divine inspiration to help me along in my quest, I've decided to just throw out a few things in the hopes that something makes sense and starts a dialog.

As always, your mileage may vary...

* If a group of individuals attempt to break into my house and attack members of the household, I don't give a crap about motivations, historical context, what they look like, etc. I will use deadly force in whatever manner is afforded to me in order to defend property and personnel. I expect nothing less from the elected leaders of my country in the face of mortal dangers to our nation.

* Nobody alive was responsible for the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, or any other carnage or inhumanity prior to World War I. I would appreciate it if we can remember that in all future conversations about assigning blame and culpability for historic hatreds.

* Long after the initial conflicts have ended, American Forces are still in Europe, the Middle East, South Korea, and Japan. It took decades for most of those environments to stabilize to the thriving peaceful governments that they are today. For some reason though, the patience and tenacity to see things through in Iraq doesn't seem to exist. But that hasn't stopped some folks from demanding American intervention in Dafur, not unlike similar calls for action in Bosnia, Haiti, and Somalia. I think we all remember how those adventures turned out.

* The hatred of some for the United States Armed Forces (that originates from within this country) is probably linked to the lack of emotional equity in the troops due to the volunteer nature of the service. The folks in uniform are "poor, uneducated, misinformed, easily-manipulated, fascist-supporting, blood-thirsty, knuckle-dragging religious freaks" who probably get off killing brown-skinned people for pay, to hear those critics tell the tale. I don't know what the story would be if there were a mandatory two-year service commitment of all able-bodied citizens at age 21, but you can bet that there would be more political activity among the 18-26 year old crowd. That, and more entry visas to Canada and Europe.

* I want to see an end to "the politically correct war." They tend to last too long, cost too much money, and endanger too many lives of our own armed forces. If American diplomats show up at a foreign embassy and warn of "military consequences" if our words aren't taken seriously, I want those foreign leaders to shake in their boots and have buckets of floppy worry sweat drip from their bodies. Wars should be horrific moments of pure hell that all parties must be willing to avoid whenever possible. But such avoidance should NOT come at the cost of freedom and liberties as expressed in our most sacred documents, and certainly not at the expense of an unwilling group of sacrificial lambs.

* Over half of humanity are governed by oppressive rulers that most likely would not be in place if free and independent elections were held. That said, what obligation to said populations do those of us in the so-called "Free World" owe anyway? Do we say "Sucks to be you!" and move on? If the majority of a specific nation were to cry out for assistance in ousting their brutal leaders, would we intentionally turn a blind eye to them? Could anyone sleep at night with their blinders on and the cries of anguish muffled out by earplugs?

* How far are we willing to go to prosecute the war against Islamic Jihadists and other terrorist groups of international reach? Are nuclear strikes off of the table? When will we know that the conflict is over? Must it end in our lifetimes, or can we punt it down to our kidlings the way that the Cold War was passed on to most of us from the previous mid-century? And what matters more to us - our own noble extinction, or our victory and the ability to write the history books centuries from now? Just askin', folks.

* We can't get humanity into space fast enough, IMHO. The survival of our species depends on some seeds being scattered into earth-orbit colonies, lunar colonies, terra-formed planets, and beyond the solar system. At the moment, my cynical self believes that The Earth That Is won't make it past 2100 in anything that we would recognize today.

If you want to go directly to the source of this post, you can find it
here, and if you want to get to know Bryan, you can go here. Tell him I sent you. ;)

YouTube about to become politician friendly

As reported here, [p]oliticians have not cherished most of their YouTube moments, those snippets of candid camera video posted on the popular Internet site.

Now comes a friendlier YouTube politics.

Wednesday, the online video Web site announced the beginning of a voter education initiative that will be an information hub for political candidates to showcase their own videos.

Well, that's interesting. The only question I have is, are registered users of the site going to be able to flag the video's that are put up by the politicians (especially those by Republicans) as "inappropriate", so YouTube yanks them?

It will be interesting to find out, and it is hoped here that this doesn't happen. Guess we'll all find out soon enough, eh?

Baghdad security plan hinders death squads

As reported here, [t]he Baghdad security operation has been under way less than three weeks, but it has already registered a success: a sharp drop in the number of bullet-riddled bodies found in the streets -- victims of sectarian death squads.

The number of bodies found so far this month in Baghdad -- most of them shot and showing signs of torture -- has dropped by nearly 50 percent to 494 as of Monday night, compared with 954 in January and 1,222 in December, according to Associated Press figures.

"The intensive security measures have forced the gunmen to leave Baghdad and quit throwing bodies in the streets," said Kamil Abdul-Nour, a 42-year-old Sunni teacher. "Still, I am afraid that this phenomenon will appear again if the security measures end," he said.

The U.S. military has boosted the number of U.S. troops working with the police -- and Mahdi Army chief Muqtada al-Sadr pulled many of his fighters off the streets under pressure from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his political ally.

Well, well, well. Imagine that. The surge is actually working, with only one new brigade so far. Imagine what will happen when the other brigades arrive in Iraq.

Now, imagine this. What do you think will happen if the surge is stopped by the Democrats, and they somehow make the rest of our troops pull back to the fringes? Do you think the killing will stop? Do you think the Shiite death squads will stop killing Sunni's? Do you think the Sunni's will stop their reprisal killings? Do you think Al Qaida in Iraq will stop killing people in their attempt to destabilize the Iraqi government, and simply "go away"?

I'll tell you what will happen. The killings will continue, and at a pace that you've not seen up until now. The only difference will be that our troops will be less of a target, because they won't be there to stop the killing. Is that really what the Democrats want to see happen? It appears so.

Imagine that.

Second court-martial set in Watada case

As briefly reported here, [a] second court-martial is scheduled to begin July 16 for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who refused to go to Iraq with his Fort Lewis-based Stryker Brigade and spoke out against the Bush administration. The first ended in a mistrial after three days when the judge said he didn't believe Watada fully understood a pretrial agreement he'd signed. If convicted, Watada could be sentenced to six years in prison and be dishonorably discharged. Pretrial motions have been set for May 20 and 21, with the court-martial scheduled to begin the week of July 16.

It is hoped here that things will go right with this trial. We really don't need another "circus" event, although I suspect that Watada's attorney will try to bring up the "illegality" of the war in Iraq again, even though there is nothing illegal about it whatsoever.