Friday, September 30, 2005

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Whose Turn To Pick Up The Soap?

This has been an exceptionally bad week for Republicans. First there is Bush, who is still trying to regain his footing after sleeping through Hurricane Katrina and its immediate aftermath.

Then late last week we learned that Senate majority leader and possible 2008 presidential candidate Bill Frist is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible insider trading. The problem is that he sold off his stock in a company his family founded shortly before its value plunged because of a poor earnings report.

It may sound serious, but it probably isn't. After all, Martha Stewart faced similar charges a while back, and she got through that unpleasantness in about six months or so.

But the clincher came yesterday, when House Majority Leader and top Bush ally Tom DeLay was finally been indicted by a Texas grand jury. While the indictment stems from efforts by DeLay to have Republicans seize control of the Texas state legislature, he has actually been dogged by ethics questions since 1997.

Unfortunately this is not an election year for Congress. Otherwise the Republicans would be kissing their majority in the House goodbye.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Swimming No More

In a past life, a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote for the student newspaper at George Mason University. And while I continue to toil away in obscurity for free, lobbing barbs at the various acts of folly committed by the Bush Administration, another writer from that same college paper has gone on to achieve fame and fortune. This was making me increasingly bitter in my old age until I realized something important: At least my testicles still work!

Okay, so I haven't had an opportunity to use them in a while, but that's besides the point....

Buzz McClain has written a pretty funny piece for the Washington Post about his recent vasectomy. For any guys out there who may be considering one, it's a must read.... Just keep your legs crossed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sorry About That, Chief

One by one the icons of my youth are dropping like flies. And as each one falls, it further reminds me that I'm getting old myself.

Frankly, it's pissing me off.

Anyway, the latest is Don Adams, who died yesterday at the age of 82. He, of course, played Maxwell "Agent 86" Smart on Get Smart. I only vaguely remember watching the show in the '60's, but a few years later, it was one of the reruns that populated one of the four TV channels in the DC area. As I recall, it used to come on about the time I got home from school.

Max had some great recurring lines. His most famous, of course, was the unforgettable "Sorry about that, chief." That's a line that lives on even today, and I can imagine former FEMA Director Micheal Brown saying that to Bush in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

But my favorite was the one he always said whenever the Chief would give him a complex set of instructions for some delicate mission involving the fate of the free world. Max would be listening to the Chief, a look of intense concentration on his face. The Chief would finish up by saying, "Did you get that Max?" And Max would say "I lost you at the bakery."

Of course there was never any mention of a bakery anywhere in the instructions, and the Chief would begin screaming.

Sure, I enjoyed Gilligan's Island, loved Mr. Ed, and found My Favorite Martian to be out of this world. But it was Get Smart that missed my heart by that much.


Is it just me, or is the middle of a lake a really dumb place to stick a water tower?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Personal Growth

Scientists have discovered a mysterious "bulge" in the Earth's surface in Oregon. It is about 100 kilometers across and growing at the rate of 1.4 inces per year.

Big deal. I develop a bulge whenever I look through my Britney Spears swimsuit calendar, and you don't see scientists getting all worked up about that.

Nice Job. Now Get Lost.

Congratulations to the American team for winning Golf's President's Cup. Now that the tournament is over--and don't take this the wrong way, because we really do appreciate you coming, so please don't think I'm being ungrateful here--could the whole bunch of you please go the hell home?

Those of us that live and work in the area are really tired of the unending traffic jams, the slow moving buses, and the constant police direction at every single freakin' intersection.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Fly The Flaming Skies

For several hours Wednesday evening much of America watched and waited as JetBlue flight 292 circled Los Angeles. The plane had no sooner taken off from nearby Burbank when the pilots discovered they were unable to retract the front landing gear. A flyby of the control tower revealed that not only were the front wheels stuck, they were stuck in a sideways position.

Heavily loaded with fuel for the flight to New York, the pilots circled the city for several hours to burn most of it off. In the meantime, the news media got wind of the story and flight 292's dilemma quickly became the top story of the hour, forcing Rita updates and important stories about missing white women off the air.

Pretty nerve wracking stuff for anyone who was watching this story undold live on national TV.... Which happened to include the people on the freakin' plane!!!

You see, one of JetBlue's claims to fame--besides low fares and brushes with death--is the fact that each seat comes equipped with its own TV. Passengers are thus able to watch whatever they want so long as it's on DirectTV. So the people on the crippled plane, as they circled LA. ended up watching experts on Fox News and CNN speculate about whether they were all going to die in a fiery crah.

All I can say is I'm glad I wasn't on the damn plane. I can only shit my pants so many times an hour.

Rita Demoted

Hurricane Rita has now been downgraded to a puny little category 3 storm with sustained winds of only 130 mph. That's not much stronger than a weak tornado, and barely enough to reduce a solidly built house to splinters.

In what can only be described as more bad news for New Orleans' weakened levees, Rita's fringes are expected to drop a significant amount of rainfall on the city. Tropical force winds are also expected. One recently patched floodwall in the city's ninth ward has already given way, and water was waist high in places. However, that area is isolated from the rest of the city by other levees, so it may not be a full replay of what happened four weeks ago.... At least not yet.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Panic At The Pumps

On the way home tonight I couldn't help notice that every gas station I passed was busy, and some even had short lines at some of the pumps. After what happened in the days after Katrina hit, motorists are apparently taking no chances with Rita. They're filling up with cheap gas while they still can.

The concern is apparently justified. All the refineries around Houston and Port Arthur--representing 20% of the nation's refining capacity--are either already shut down or in the process of doing so. This is in addition to the 5% of capacity still offline in Louisiana and Mississippi. Additionally, the oil rigs out in the Gulf itself are in the process of being evacuated.

Meanwhile, the cause of all this consternation is down to category 4 status at the moment. It's in the process of replacing the eyewall, a normal part of the life cycle of hurricanes. Once that's completed, Rita will likely strengthen again.

It's actually quite eerie. The storm is still some 36 hours from landfall, and already a sense of dread has overtaken much of the country. It's a weird feeling, knowing what's coming and being totally powerless to do a damn thing about it.

Protecting Us From Ourselves

The FBI has launched a new War on Porn. Well, it's about damn time!! They need to stop looking for terrorists who may be trying to kill thousands of Americans in one fell swoop, or wasting their time looking for missing women like that girl in Aruba or the more recent case in Richmond. And forget trying to solve the Anthrax attacks that killed or sickened almost a dozen people in the fall of 2001.

And forget trying to prevent cyber crime, like those damn phishing emails we all keep getting from banks we've never heard of. Let them steal our identities and clean out the bank accounts of 80 year old retirees!

Preventing white collar crime is another colossal waste of time. Let those corporate bigwigs cook the books, bankrupt their companies, and throw thousands of employees out of work. That's none of the FBI's business! It's much more important to protect Americans from having the freedom to look at naked adults.

In fact, I'll be more than happy to volunteer my services as an analyst in the War on Porn.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Rita has now made it to the top of the scale: Category 5.

Am I the only one who's starting to freak out just a little bit? I'm not talking about this one single hurricane and what it might do to Texas; I mean freak out in a much broader sense, like maybe we've really f*cked something up with the whole damn planet? With Katrina you could at least still make the argument that it wasn't a symptom of global warming. Strong hurricanes, after all, do happen. Camille was stronger, as was Andrew, and an unnamed storm that hit the Florida Keys in 1935 ("Isaac's Storm" of 1900 was a category 4). And isn't that really the point? That devastating hurricanes strike this country so rarely In fact, between 1900 and 2000, there were only 15 category 4/5 storms that actually hit the U.S.

So to have a second massive storm this soon after Katrina.... Well, does that strike anyone else as w-a-a-a-y out of the norm and more than just a bit alarming?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm going outside to plant a tree.

First The Bad News, Then The Bad News

With Rita now a category 4 hurricane aimed at southern Texas, localities along the coast have begun evacuations. This time, after the Katrina fiasco, most people are wasting no time getting the hell out of the warned areas.

Prominent on the list of potential targets for Rita's landfall is the city of Galveston, which was the scene of America's worst-ever disaster. An estimated 6,000-8,000 people died in that 1900 hurricane which eventually became known as Isaac's Storm.

Aside from the potential human toll, Rita may deal an even greater blow to the oil industry. Some experts predict gas at $5 a gallon next week (Yes, we all know about you Europeans who have been paying $8 a gallon for years. Thank you for weighing in. Now go hide from the Germans).

Katrina knocked out 15 refineries with a capacity of 3.3 million barrels a day. That damage has mostly--but by no means completely--been repaired. We're still almost a million barrels short. And in a worst case scenario, Rita may take out another 3 million barrels a day. Additionally, since the offshore platforms along the Texas coast produce mostly natural gas, those prices may also spike just as we prepare to enter the winter heating season.

An additional complication is that the crews that repair refineries are still in the Louisianna/Mississippi area trying to bring those facilities back on line. No one will be available to work on the ones in Texas.

As a precaution, I'm taking all those empty Budweiser bottles in my recycling bin and filling them with regular unleaded while I still can.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Say "Ahhh"

According to a recent study, just over half of teens aged 15-19 have engaged in oral sex. It is unclear exactly whose definition they are using, since according to a certain unnamed former President, Bill Clinton, oral sex isn't actually sex at all. It's just, um, "extreme flossing."

At any rate, it makes me wish I were young again.

Job Promotion

Congratulations to Rita, who began the day as a tropical storm with 70 mph winds. By this afternoon, however, she had been promoted to a category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. This just goes to prove that hard work, diligence, attention to detail, and the availability of a warm ocean surface pays off in the end.

Forecasters say further intensification is likely as Rita barrels across the Gulf Of Mexico towards landfall somewhere along the Texas coast.

Hmmm.... Maybe this is God's way of punishing Texas for launching George Bush's political career.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bragging Rights

Three Texas surgeons were playing golf together and discussing surgeries they had performed.

One of them said, "I'm the best surgeon in Texas. A concert pianist lost 7 fingers in an accident, I reattached them, and 8 months later he performed a private concert for the Queen of England."

One of the others said, "That's nothing. A young man lost both arms and legs in an accident, I reattached them, and 2 years later he won a gold medal in field events in the Olympics."

The third surgeon said, "You guys are amateurs. Several years ago a cowboy who was high on cocaine and alcohol rode a horse head-on into a train traveling 80 miles an hour. All I had left to work with was the horse's ass and a cowboy hat. Now he's president of the United States."

--------From an email.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Lovely Rita, NOT A Meter Maid

We now have a Hurricane Phillipe. However, it is living up to its French name and proving to be a real wuss. Phillipe is expected to stay safely out in the Atlantic.

Of greater concern, however, is Tropical Storm Rita. It is currently entering the Caribbean and expected to hit the Florida Keys. While it is not very strong at the moment, that may well change in the coming days. It's projected path will then carry it into the Gulf of Mexico, and we all remember what happened when Katrina did that a few weeks ago.

Fortunately I don't live on the Gulf coast. But if I did, I think I'd start checking housing prices in North Dakota.

Sixteen Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

There have been a lot stories to come out of New Orleans over the last three weeks, most sad beyond words. One, however, that does have a happy ending is the tale of the "Abstract 16."

They were the residents of a group home known as Abstract House. The group consisted of recovering drug addicts, schizphrenics, and otherwise mentally ill. All were unable to function properly in society. During the confusion of the early days of the flood, 16 of them were left behind and forced to fend for themselves. Not only did they do so successfully, they managed to make their way--unsupervised--all the way to Houston.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


What is our world come to when you can't even trust your hitman?

In Japan, a woman paid a man a million yen to kill her lover's wife. So what does the guy do? Nothing. He pockets the money and fails to carry out the job.

Well, so much for that much-vaunted Japanese work ethic!

Friday, September 16, 2005


The Senate Judiciary Committee has wrapped up four days of questioning John Roberts. The debate over whether he should be the next Chief Justice of the United States now moves over to the full Senate.

As near as I can tell, the extreme liberals and the wacko conservative Christians are equally scared to death of Roberts, so he must be fully qualified for the position.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Credit Where Credit Is Due

I've been slamming President Bush pretty hard the last couple of weeks for his handling--or lack thereof--of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. I found it especially distasteful when the White House tried to pass the blame onto local authorities.

That's why I was absolutely stunned earlier today when President Bush accepted responsibility for the entire fiasco and even admitted that there are serious flaws in the nation's disaster response mechanisms. Bush is not generally capable of admitting fault, so I have to salute him for having the cojones to do so this time.

In fact, I was so surprised by the news that I actually passed out. When I finally came to, I was in the back of an ambulance being rushed to the hospital. The paramedics asked me what had happened, and I told them that Bush had accepted responsibility for screwing up the relief effort. As it turns out, this was the first they had heard of it, and they ended up passing out as well!! I had to crawl over their bodies to get to the steering wheel and get the vehicle over to the side of the road.

Unfortunately, during all the swerving around, several cars and a truck were sideswiped. After we all stopped, everyone came running up to see what was going on. So I told them Bush had accepted responsibility for what had gone wrong with the Katrina response, and the next thing I know, they're all collapsing in shock.

Finally the police showed up and demanded to know what was going on. So I told them about Bush, and.... Well, you know.

The worst part was when the medivac helicopter's pilot passed out and crashed into the gasoline tanker.

Hey!! Remember The Guy Up In The Corner?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Crank It Up

Are you sitting down? I'm going to briefly write about something other than Bush or Katrina....

Someone sent me a link to a rather interesting music video. While it's not in English, the song is still good, and the accompanying animation is very well done. It runs about three minutes or so.

The song is by a Russian singer named Glukoza. If you click on the links in the top left hand corner of the page you can find some photos of her, and she is absolutely nothing like the stereotypical Russian woman you might expect. Glukoza is blonde, green-eyed, svelte, drop-dead gorgeous, and doesn't even have a mustache.

Can't tell if she shaves her armpits, though.

Science Sucks

President Bush is conducting another tour of the devastation in New Orleans in an effort to show that he is firmly in charge of the situation. This is a good move on his part, though some whiners will undoubtedly say that he should have done this two weeks ago before bodies began floating in the streets of the city.

Yet critics will undoubtedly keep on harping at Mr. Bush, and they will continue to point out that the storm was forecast to hit New Orleans two days ahead of time. What these critics fail to understand is that meteorology is science, and science is only relied upon by godless pagans who are doomed to burn in hell.

Meanwhile, the President has also unveiled his new faith-based recovery plan. It involves lots of prayer and two of every animal being loaded onto a really big boat.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

An Anniversary

Today marks the fourth anniversary of September 10, 2001. You may recall it, for it was a day totally unlike any since. Here are just a few of the reasons 9-10-01 will be remembered for a very long time:

* There were no armed fighter jets patrolling the skies of the United States.

* We were able to get on an airplane without eyeing the other passengers suspiciously. And once the plane took off, all we had to worry about was the quality of the food--or lack there of.

* The purpose of flight attendants was to hand out little bags of peanuts and fluff our pillows, not to serve as the last line of defense for homeland security.

* Department of Homeland Security? Never heard of it. What's it do?

* Terrorism was something that always happened some place else.

* We weren't afraid of our mail, and Anthrax was just a loud band.

* If we saw white powder somewhere, we automatically assumed someone had spilled creamer.

* No one had to take their shoes off at the airport.

* No one gave a damn where Afghanistan was. And what's a Taliban?

* No one had ever heard of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. And no one in Shanksville expected that anyone ever would.

* If we went downtown, the only thing we worried about was getting mugged.

* The Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 was the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil, and April 19 would always be associated with that unimaginable horror.

* If a plane had crashed on September 10, our first thought would have been, "Gee, what a horrible accident."

* The only emotion we felt when we had to pull over for a firetruck was annoyance.

* We didn't think twice about getting on the subway, and we paid no attention to who else might be on the car with us.

* Several thousand tourists enjoyed the spectacular view from the observation deck of the World Trade Center today. Assuming it doesn't rain, several thousand more will enjoy it tomorrow.

* Most of all, it was a day to feel good about the future, and our place in the world. After all, this is the United States of America, and everyone in the world loves us.

Yes, September 10, 2001 was quite a day.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hurricane Irony

FEMA director Michael Brown has now been relieved of his oversight of the Gulf coast recovery effort. The move comes after mounting criticism of Brown's performance in the hours and days after Katrina hit. It also comes the day after Time magazine uncovered serious discrepancies in his resume.

Asked by reporters if he felt he was being made a scapegoat, Brown replied "By the press, yes. By the president, no."

Yes, it does seem Brown is being made a scapegoat, and that's an unfortunate shame. The simple truth is that the man most responsible for embarrassing the United States in the eyes of the international community, and increasing the scope of the tragedy not only in New Orleans but all along that stretch of the Gulf coast is the guy at the top: George W. Bush. It is his ENTIRE Administration that is responsible for this fiasco, and it was his sworn duty to protect the lives of ALL Americans by making absolutely certain the people under him were on top of the situation.

Bush's defenders argue that the President can't control the weather. Well, that's true. And it's also true that the people making that argument are morons. Bush may not control the weather, but he can certainly control the response to catastrophic weather events. And when the storm is predicted days ahead of time, he can certainly insure that the necessary personnel and supplies are assembled and ready to start to moving the very moment the rain stops.

In this regard he not only failed miserably but betrayed his citizens as well.

---------------From an Email by Tuan

For Bush or anyone else to say that the catastrophe was unexpected is nothing short of a baldfaced lie. First of all, Katrina did not materialize in the Gulf of Mexico overnight and unexpectedly come ashore that fateful Monday morning.

Forecasters had known for two days beforehand that Katrina had begun to intensify in the Gulf and would soon turn northward. Then on Sunday afternoon, the storm became a strong category five hurricane aimed squarely at New Orleans. By then everyone in the media was talking about what was going to happen to the city in the following 24 hours. It was NOT a secret. All Bush, or Brown, or anyone else had to do was turn on a damn TV to get an idea of the calamity that was about to unfold. Besides, Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew didn't happen all that long ago, and the memories of those storms should have been fresh in the minds of everyone in charge.

And for anyone in this administration to suggest that no one could have foreseen the levees being breached is either another outright lie, or a sign of gross incompetence.

The fact is that last summer FEMA and a host of other state and federal agencies conducted a week long simulation of a category 3 storm striking New Orleans. The exercise involving the fictitious Hurricane Pam came up with results frighteningly similar to what happened with Katrina:

* Flood waters would surge over levees, creating "a catastrophic mass casualty/mass evacuation" and leaving drainage pumps crippled for up to six months. "It will take over one year to re-enter areas most heavily impacted."

* More than 600,000 houses and 6,000 businesses would be affected, more than two-thirds of them destroyed. Nearly a quarter-million children would be out of school. "All 40 medical facilities in the impacted area (are) isolated and useless."

* Local officials would be quickly overwhelmed with the five-digit death toll, 187,862 people injured and 196,395 falling ill. A half million people would be homeless.

* The report calls evacuees "refugees"--a term now derided by the Bush administration--and says they could be housed at college campuses, military barracks, hotels, travel trailers, recreational vehicles, private homes, cottages, churches, Boy Scout camps and cruise ships.

The Hurricane Pam project also predicted over 61,000 dead, a forecast which is not likely to come true.

No one could have foreseen what happened? Give me a freakin' break.

A Matter Of Perspective

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Of Hurricanes & Men

Let me be the first to congratulate Ophelia on her promotion earlier today. She is no longer a mere 'tropical storm," but rather a full-fledged batten-down-the-hatches hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph. Sure, not very impressive yet, but give her time. After all, two weeks ago no one was sure whether Katrina would actually become a hurricane before hitting Florida, but she did! And then she just kept going & going &.... Admittedly, the assorted computers are still all over the map for Ophelia. One has her hitting Florida, another has her making landfall in Georgia, and the rest have her going in circles in the Atlantic.

But enough about Ophelia.... Whatever happened to Hurricane Hamlet?

Speaking of hurricanes.... The cleanup in New Orleans continues. The Army Corps of Engineers succeeded in closing the breaks in the levee system yesterday and has begun pumping water out of the city. Now comes the gruesome task of recovering bodies, of which there are certain to be many. In fact, the government has ordered 25,000 bodybags for the task. Then there's the equally horrible job of identifying the dead.

Plenty of unanswered questions remain, however, about exactly who dropped the ball with Katrina. The Bush people lame the local folks and the locals blame Bush. But one thing that all sides do seem to agree on is that the job done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) thus far borders on total incompetence. They are the ones responsible for coordinating the various relief efforts, and have thus far failed miserably.

According to an article in the New York Daily News, this is not surprising. While FEMA used to be a respected organization, it has recently become a dumping ground for political hacks owed jobs by the President.

Agency director Michael Brown used to run horse shows prior to be putting in charge of coping with massive natural disasters, and his second in command was an advance man for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Well, that explains everything.

P.S.--Thanks to Mike K. for the Daily News link.


Now it may be Tropical Storm Ophelia's turn to threaten Florida. Then again, the computer models are just a bit uncertain about it's direction.


What's next? Hurricane Shakespeare?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

In Defense Of Bush

It seems that President Bush has been taking a lot of heat for his slow response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Let me be the first to say that this criticism is totally unjustified. After all, the man is busy trying to build freedom and democracy in a country halfway around the world, and he can't be bothered with trivialities and petty annoyances such as mass death and destruction here at home.

Besides, how were Federal officials expected to know how bad it was going to be? The people that run this country of ours can't be expected to do things like pay attention to the Weather Channel, CNN, Fox News, or any of a hundred other news outlets that were screaming the day before the storm hit that Katrina had become a category five hurricane with 175 mph winds, that it was aimed square at New Orleans, and that the city could well vanish in the next 24 hours.

Our government officials were much too busy protecting us from terrorists to worry about some silly natural disaster that was fully expected to wipe entire communities from the face of the Earth, potentially kill thousands of people, and destroy the nation's energy delivery infrastructure. I mean, suppose such a distraction had caused someone to miss an important Al Qaeda videotape airing repeatedly on Al-Jazeera TV? What then? Catch the tape in a rerun later in the day?

And suppose someone had caught a report about Katrina, and known that a massive hurricane was about to strike the United States within the next 24 hours. What then? Was someone in charge suppose to remember what Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew did a few years ago, and recall the additional pain and suffering caused by slow government responses back then? Should someone had taken note of all this, and maybe exercised a little initiative by organizing a relief effort ahead of time that could have been in place and ready to go first thing Tuesday morning?

And then after the disaster, all these people wanted someone to swoop in and save their lives and the lives of their family members. How selfish and inconsiderate is that!?!? Obviously these ordinary citizens are totally oblivious to the fact that requests must go through official channels, regardless of the dramatic live action shots of people screaming and waving their arms on their rooftops. Forms must be filled out in triplicate, and the utmost care exercised that someone doesn't confuse the goldenrod copy with the yellow one. Otherwise things will have to be refiled under penalty of law, and could someone PLEASE turn down the TV? Hey, does that helicopter pilot have permission to be saving people's lives?

And how dare all these people complain? Why did they stay behind in the first place? After all, a mandatory evacuation order was issued. Never mind that many of these people are too poor to afford cars of their own. What was the government supposed to do? Furnish them with buses that would enable them to get to safety? Don't be ridiculous.

After all, many of their neighbors to seek shelter at the Superdome. So what if the place turned into a lawless cesspool of human waste? Just because the Superdome was expected to house tens of thousands of evacuees during a disaster that everyone agreed was going to happen sooner or later is no reason to think that the facility would have been equipped with a generator big enough to not only power the lights but to also provide air circulation. Oh, and what about the water situation? Why, these taxpayers had the audacity to expect an adequate supply of running water to be able to flush the damn toilets. So what if the if the people would end up slipping on and falling into one another's bodily wastes? What's wrong with that?

What else would these greedy citizens have asked for? Adequate personnel in the building to maintain some semblance of law and order? Don't be ridiculous. The government can't be expected to waste its time on something like that. Not when we're busy spreading the joys of freedom and democracy in Iraq.

Besides, most of the people suffering are black, so it's not like they voted Bush in the first place.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Religious Experience

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods. What majestic trees, he thought to himself. What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!

Then suddenly he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look and saw a 7 foot tall grizzly charging towards him.

The atheist ran as fast as he could along the riverbank. He looked over his shoulder and could see the bear quickly closing in on him. Looking over his shoulder a second time he could see the bear was now even closer. Then the atheist tripped and fell to the ground.

He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was now practically on top of him, preparing to slice into him with his razor sharp claws.

At that instant the Atheist cried out, "OH MY GOD!!!!"

Time stopped.

The bear froze.

The forest suddenly grew silent.

Even the powerful river stopped flowing.

Suddenly a bright light shone down upon the man, and a booming voice echoed down from the sky: "You have repeatedly denied my existence for all of these years. You continue to insist to others that I don't exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Now, at the moment of your death, you suddenly expect me to drop everything and help you out of this predicament?" The voice paused. "Am I to finally count you as a believer?"

The now humbled atheist looked directly into the light, "Well, I suppose it would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian?"

After pondering the request for a moment, the voice finally said, "Very well. So shall it be done."

The light went out.

The forest grew noisy again.

The river resumed flowing.

Even time itself resumed.

And then the bear stopped his surely fatal swing at the atheist, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke: "Lord, bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen."

-----Received via email.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Now That Smarts

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has had his differences with the United States in the past, has offered troops, oil, and monetary aid to help in the Katrina relief effort.

Jeez.... Now I feel bad ABOUT urging Pat Robertson to call for his death.

Another Opening

Last October Chief Justice William Rehnquist was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, leading to much speculation about his future on the Supreme Court. And since there are only nine justices who are appointed for life, any possible opening is a pretty big deal. Then when the Court went into recess for the summer, traditionally the time that justices announce their retirements, the speculation ratcheted up even more. Even when justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced she was stepping down, talk about Rehnquist persisted.

Then on July 14, seeking to squash a flurry of rumors, Rehnquist declared that he had no immediate plans to retire from the Supreme Court and would continue to serve as long as his health permits.

Last night, with his children at his side, he died at his home of the illness.

No immediate word on how this development will effect his future plans.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Goodbye To An Old Friend

May, 1988-September 2, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Now We Are In Hell

Just when you think the situation in New Orleans can't possibly get any worse, it does.

The city is continuing its descent into lawlessness and anarchy. Nothing illustrates that better than an incident this morning in which a Chinook helicopter on its way to pick up evacuees came under small weapons fire! And that wasn't the only incident. Another chopper pilot aborted his landing at a hospital when he saw an armed mob waiting on the ground. With such dangerous conditions for would-be rescuers, the plan to move refugees to Houston's Astrodome has been running slow. In other words, New Orleans is rapidly turning into "Escape From New York."

But while the government's efforts may be faltering, some citizens are finding ways to save themselves. For example, Jabbar Gibson took it upon himself to comandeer a school bus, pick up about 80 other evacuees, and drive the 350 miles to Texas. And guess what? They were the first ones to arrive!!!

Meanwhile, there are numerous other reports of rescue vehicles being stopped and their contents of ice, food, water, and medical supplies stolen by gun toting gangs. In an effort to restore order, Mayor Ray Nagin has ordered his police officers to suspend search and rescue operations and concentrate on stopping looters.

That's a good idea. Keeping a waterlogged 32" TV from being stolen is certainly much more important than, say, saving a human life.

And with still no electricity or running water, conditions at the Superdome continue to deteriorate further. One woman has said of her experience there, "Now we are in hell."

The article then goes on to describe the four levels of Superdome hell: At field level people have established a reasonably civilized existence. Cots are used to set personal spaces for families, and their areas are kept orderly.

The restrooms are the second level of hell. With no running water, the urinals and toilets are clogged and overflowing, and people slip and slide in eachother's excrement. If you need to go, you just find a corner and go.

Level three is where the darkened skyboxes are. It is described as "a place for abandonment and coupling." Use your imagination on that one.

Then there is level four. It is for the druggies and gangsters, and rumors abound about murders and rapes.

And there you have it: Life in New Orleans, or what's left of it. While there are thousands of National Guard in the city, many more will be needed to restore order. Of course, that may be difficult, since so many of them are off fighting in Iraq.