Saturday, September 03, 2005

what's wrong in Mississippi?

All reports seem to indicate that disaster relief in Mississippi has been a disaster. This is comparing it to disaster relief in Thailand earlier this year which seemed to go much better. I wonder why.

Two possibilities occur to me. First, it may be just a matter of expectations. We didn't expect anyone to be able to do much in Thailand, and it was amazing what the US Navy was able to pull off, while in the US, we expect the government to be able to handle emergencies and it is shocking when a disaster is beyond our means.

The second possibility is that there are just better people in charge on US Navy carrier groups than in the federal government. Maybe the big mistake was in letting elected officials get involved. Would the people of Mississippi have been better off if Bush had just assigned an admiral to handle the emergency?

Friday, September 02, 2005

why Democrats need to keep control of the media

California Mafia reports on a Democrat state Senator who snuck into the state House and cast a fraudulent vote from a Republican's desk. From the reactions, it looks like nothing is going to be done about this. And I'll bet that the media isn't going to report it. If a Republican did this, it would be front-page news all over the country and the debate would be not on whether it was deliberate but on how to punish him.

This is an example of why Democrats need to keep control of the media. It lets them elect and reelect race hustlers, con artists, welfare cheats, rapists, murderers, traitors, and former KKK leaders.

Why they would want to do that is an open question.

the carnival of the comedy

Well, here it is. What you've been waiting for all week. The nth Carnival of Comedy! [note: look up what number this Carnival is]. I know it's a bit late and I take full responsibility for that although it's really SpaceMonkey's fault.

SpaceMonkey told me what date I was supposed to host and I ignored it because I figured he would have to send me the information to host it a few days before the Carnival. Why should I watch the calendar when he had to watch the calendar anyway? Well he got distracted by this little hurricane in his neighborhood, totally forgetting about our needs as comedy consumers. Fortunately, I saw a visit from someone who was announcing the Carnival and that led me to investigate only twenty-four hours later, to realize that I was in fact supposed to be hosting it this week, and well, things just went downhill from there.

First of all, did you know there isn't a computer program or anything to put all these entries together into a Carnival post? I had to do it by hand. They didn't even assign me one of the IMAO secretaries to help me out.

Second of all, I had to read all of these posts to rate them and filter for content. I work for a living! I don't have time for that!

So anyway, here you have it: my best late-night effort. Content warnings are in bold, my witty comments are in italics. I caution you that if you want to see the actual funny posts, you have to follow the indicated links. My witty comments are not the point of the Carnival, although you might be excused for thinking otherwise.

The next two Carnivals are

Week 19 - Sep. 8 - Rapid Politics
Week 20 - Sep. 15 - Either, Orr

Oh, and the terms of my Carnival-hosting contract require me to provide links to IMAO the Creator of the Carnival, and to the IMAO Podcast page although I don't even know what podcast is.

If you would like to enter a funny blog post in the Carnival of Comedy, first write a funny blog post. Then go to the new and actually there IMAO Carnival page for further instructions. Or you could just post your entry at Conservative Cat's generic carnival thingy.

Really Funny

Ironman at Political Calculations presents Flying the Friendly Skies (Part 1)
Funny things flight attendants have said that they didn't get sued for.

Josh Cohen at Multiple Mentality presents Protest Songs
Look out. Here come's an "s".

Elisson at Blog d'Elisson presents Speaka Da Language
You have to read all the way to the end.

mensa barbie at Mensa Barbie Welcomes You presents Signs of Your Politics
Skinny piggy banks are funny.

Remulax MoxArgon at The MoxArgon Group presents Episode #4: Time to open MoxArgon's Mail-Sac!
[insert funny comment later]

The Evil Emperor Mindstation at Point Five presents Sharper Image Introduces Ionic Breeze For Rifles
Couldn't you just hang one of those car-wash smelly thingies from the trigger guard?

Funny, just not laugh-out-loud funny

Miriam at miriam's ideas presents a long-lost letter from John Roberts
I shudder to think what Senator Kennedy will do with this.

Fitch at Radioactive Liberty presents Terrell Owens: Will Work For Food
I don't get it but the pictures are kind of funny.

Mr. Satire at presents Venezuelan President Offers Free Gasoline and 10% Discount On Brain Smog Check To Americans
naughty picture alert
Everyone loves a good joke about a Venezuelan dictator.

Harvey at Bad Example presents THIS IS JUST WRONG, SO MIGHT AS WELL GO WITH IT
How about: "Only babies worry about traffic"?

Mr. Right at The Right Place presents The U.S. Constitution - A Liberal Interpretation
There might be some really funny jokes in there but I didn't read the whole thing. I feel kind of bad because Mr. Right obviously put a lot of work into it, so all of you guys go and read the whole thing for me and tell me there were some really funny parts

Big Picture Guy at Big Picture, Small Office presents Crunch Time
The philosophy of snacks.

Dr. E. Scientist, phD. at Where's the Kaboom? presents Why do they hate us?
If the post had stopped after the first few paragraphs it would have gone in the "Really Funny" category.

Holly Aho at Soldiers' Angel - Holly Aho presents A Death Clock? Get your date of death! Bwaa ha ha ha
A funny story about over-simplified logic in a computer program. No, really.

Kid Various at The Idiom presents God does USA Favor. Wipes Last Vestige Of French Culture Off Map.
naughty picture alert
Everyone loves a good joke about a disaster that kills dozens of people.

a4g at Point Five presents New Accusations Surround Lance Armstrong
Getting tired. Smart-alek comment faculty on the fritz...

Two Dogs at Mean Ol' Meany presents Romance - The Two Dogs Way
The philosophies of powerlessness.

Mondo at Mondo Blog presents Mondo Goes on a Furlough
In the movie, Mondo will be played by Peewee Herman in a fat suit.

Ricky at In Search of What's Next presents Why do we do dumb things?
Personally, I do dumb things because I enjoy the challenge of thinking up a good explanation afterward.

Hatcher at Ideas Hatched presents Spammers Love Me
... and Hatcher obviously loves spammers.

Dr. Phat Tony at Dr. Phat Tony's presents Just Because
Shouldn't that be "Dr. Tony Phat"?

Citizen Grim at Right Hand of God presents Photographic Evidence Tying Bush to Hurricane Katrina
Mr. Grim really needs to take some classes on Photoshopping or something.

Damian G. at Conservathink presents Conservathink Poetry: Cindy Sheehan the Loon
Some of those words don't actually rhyme.


David Hadley at The Trouser Quandary Resolution presents The Nipples of an Expert
adult theme. I think.
David Hadley promises that this will make sense some day. I think he lies.

Buckley F. Williams at The Nose On Your Face presents Top 9 Little Known Ethnic Stereotypes
naughty word alert
There's a joke in there somewhere, struggling to get out.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

the joy of mispeling

In my post about the hurricane, I misspelled "levees" as "levies". I corrected it about twelve hours later, but Google hasn't caught up yet, so I've gotten several hits from people looking for "New Orleans levies". Either these people spell as badly as I do, or they are looking for information on historical military units.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

disaster to tyranny

This really ticks me off. Some people who took refuge from Hurricane Katrina in the Louisiana Superdome are being held there against their will (link from Michelle Malkin). The National Guard isn't letting people leave because they --the National Guard-- think it's not safe enough. Who the hell do they think they are?

The inside of that dome is miserable. And if leaving is risky, staying also is risky. Ever heard of heat stroke? If someone wants to leave because of the oppressive heat but they aren't let out, and then the person dies of heat stroke, who is responsible? Each adult has a right to decide for themselves and their children what level of risk is acceptable to avoid what level of misery and additional risk. That's what freedom is.

There is no need for New Orleans to become a tyranny just because things are hard. Now is the time to let people solve their own problems because the government is obviously overwhelmed. Some National Guard officer needs to be relieved of duty.

hurricane blogging by cable

Back when I didn't have TV, I appreciated the accounts of what was showing when there was big news, so I thought I'd take over some of the late-night hurricane blogging.

It's really hard to get good information from cable news, but apparently the hurricane has breached the New Orleans levees in two or three places and there is serious flooding in the city. The levees are big walls that keep the ocean out since parts of New Orleans are below sea level. Fox News has the best coverage. They are showing pictures of flooded streets about six to ten feet deep and running rapidly, but other pictures of New Orleans aren't significantly flooded. I wish they would show a map of the city to give an idea of how extensive the flooding is. Apparently it is less serious than feared because the storm surge was less than expected.

Right now they are showing an aerial view of a flooded portion of the city near the levees. Again, it looks like about six to ten feet deep. The large range in depth is because I don't know how high the bottoms of the door are above the ground in those areas. The water comes about to the tops of the doors. There is no obvious sewage floating in the water, it looks reasonably clean, but I'm not sure how much that tells us.

Several channels are showing video of an unused oil platform that came unmoored and crashed into a bridge. It looks like it is jammed under the bridge now. No one knows how extensive the damage to the bridge is yet.

Some pictures of Biloxi Mississippi showed flooding three or four feet deep there.

A lot of people are going to be left homeless from this storm. Anyone who needs a place to crash and can get to California, I'll put you up for a couple of weeks.

It looks like the oil refineries and other equipment related to gasoline were not hit as badly as feared and they expect the 70/gallon peak on oil futures to go down. Here's hoping, but I'm going to fill up tomorrow and try not to drive for a couple of weeks.

Fox News had a fun montage of all the local reporters out in the hurricane competing on who can take the dumbest risks. Standing out in 70 mph winds, wading through hip-deep flood waters. I'm so jealous. I'd love to have a job that would give me an excuse to take dumb risks like that in big storms.

They just showed one reporter standing hip-deep in flood water near one of the big pumps. You could hear it humming in the background and the reporter was saying that they hope it can keep going.

Morgan-Stanly has some really obnoxious commercials.

Now they are showing a weather map with rain over almost the entire US, east of the Mississippi.

More later if I don't go to bed like I ought to.

UPDATE: I realized that I should mention Hurricane Katrina for people doing a google search, but I doubt that google updates often enough that anyone will find this post while it is still relevant. But just in case: Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina.

Also, Michelle Malkin was keeping everyone up to date on Hurricane Katrina earlier in the day so I thought I should trackback to that post in case people are still going there for info.

Katrina has now been downgraded to a tropical storm as she blows through the in-land states.

Monday, August 29, 2005


The latest Storyblogging Carnival is up. This is the first one ever that I haven't had an entry in and I feel kind of left-out. I just didn't have time to write until Saturday and by then it was too late.

This Carnival has more stories than usual and I hope that's is a sign that the Carnival is growing.

racism in Congress

Conservative blogs have not been paying enough attention to the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. This act is a direct racist attack on the unity of the United States. It will take native Hawaiians and make them subject to a special government, even though most of Hawaiians don't want it.

Even worse, the Bush administration is supporting the plan. It's a good thing that the multiculturalist John Kerry wasn't elected, huh?

What is George Bush thinking? And why can't the Republican party nominate actual Republicans for president?

Rutten on bias

For several years now, conservative writers have spilled hundreds of thousands of words proving that the mainstream media has a bias in favor of the Democratic party. Some of the argument has involved pointing out that the large majority of the press consists of Democrats and Democrat supporters, but by no means all. The huge majority of that argument has consisted of hard evidence: press accounts, individually or in summary, that clearly treat Democrats differently from Republicans and leftists differently from rightists, that frame issues to assume that the Democrat side is correct, that push stories that hurt Republicans (contrasted with a lack of stories that hurt Democrats). In other words, they don't just assume that the press is biased, they provide huge amounts of evidence.

And when a prominent member of the mainstream media wants to argue that the press is unbiased, how does he respond to this overwhelming deluge of evidence? He ignores it:
You know this particular argument like a mantra: All humans have personal beliefs, including political ones, which inevitably bias anything they write or broadcast. Therefore, everyone who reports or analyzes the news must publicly declare everything they believe and all their personal associations so that their readers or audience can — to borrow Hewitt's phrase — "correct" for the journalist's bias. The notion that the former — all people have biases — might be true, but not the latter — they always determine absolutely everything you say or do — never is considered. Nor is the possibility that personal discipline and the conventions of the craft already accomplish that "correction" among journalists who observe them. It's simply not an admissible idea here. (Let's not even touch the common-sense proposition that it's the normality of the mainstream media's workaday, unbiased journalism that makes the biased stuff stand out so clearly — and offensively — when it occurs.)
That's Tim Rutten of the LA Times writing about conservative talk radio (via Pattericao and Hugh Hewitt).

This is a disgraceful caricature of the conservative position. Actually, it would be disgraceful if it came from an admitted partisan. Coming from a journalist who claims to be writing impartially, it's downright journalistic malpractice --of the same sort that we have been pointing out for decades. While arguing that the mainstream media can report objectively in spite of its political leanings, Rutten demonstrates that he, at least, is severely lacking in this legendary capacity of the Professional Journalist. One might even suspect that for Tim Rutten, the idea that his biases might be infecting his writing "never is considered". Nor is the possibility that personal discipline and the conventions of the craft have failed to produce the objective reporting that they claim to produce. "It's simply not an admissible idea here."

He makes no attempt to present evidence. All he gives us is a dismissive assurance that he knows what he is talking about and we should just be open-minded enough to take his word for it. Who are we going to believe, him or our own lying eyes? He has nothing to say to the volumes of hard evidence of press bias.

Where is his explanation for why a Republican who believes in completely un-regulated abortion, who believes private citizens should not be allowed to own guns, and who wants to legalize gay marriage is called a "moderate Republican", but a Democrat who doesn't believe in all those things is called a "conservative Democrat"? Can he explain why the military record of a Republican presidential candidate who never mentions his military record deserves endless scrutiny but the military record of a Democrat presidential candidate who mentions it in every speech is not worth questioning, even when people who served with that candidate say that he is lying about his record? Is there a good reason why on the one hand the press is so concerned with America's image abroad and the way George Bush is tarnishing that image,while on the other hand, they flog to death any story that will tarnish America's image abroad --stories like Abu Ghraib, Korans in the toilet, harsh questioning at Guantanamo, and the Iraqi civilians killed in the war?

This is a tiny sample of the biases. For more, see Accuracy in Media. For the LA Times in particular, Patterico has an examples of press bias several times per week.

This volume of complaints shows how silly is Rutten's suggestion that "it's the normality of the mainstream media's workaday, unbiased journalism that makes the biased stuff stand out so clearly — and offensively — when it occurs." There certainly are some good, unbiased stories in the mainstream media. Probably even the majority can be described as "reasonably unbiased". But biased pieces are far from an aberration. They are extremely common. I once estimated that every issue of the San Francisco Chronicle has at least one obviously biased story on the front page.

So there is our evidence. What do we see in response? Well, the response to AIM has been FAIR and Media Matters for America. Both organizations purport to be critical of press bias, but neither offers the kind of hard comparative evidence of bias that conservatives offer. They berate the press for not pushing anti-Republican stories enough, they give advice to the press on how to frame the issues in a way that is more favorable to Democrats, and they engage in direct advocacy. Neither of these sites can be seen as an actual response to the volumes of evidences that conservatives have piled up.

Nor has the press itself answered the charges with anything except empty assurances that their system will weed out bias. There is no explanation of how they are going to even detect the biases when everyone in the system shares the same ones. All we have is an assurance that it works, in the face of massive evidence that it doesn't. But Tim Ratten scolds us for not considering the alternatives. That's pretty rich.