Saturday, September 24, 2005

Finally, Some Good News About Rita

The Hurricane hit the mainland early this morning, but was much less devasting than originally feared. Residents of the hurricane-threatened areas breathed a collective sigh of relief when they heard this news.

Thankfully, the barrier island of Galveston escaped the predicted devastation.

So did Houston. And residents of the city are now returning to their homes, although emergency agencies have requested them not to.

And quite fortunately, the oil-refineries escaped the brunt of Hurricane Rita as well. The feared spike in gas prices due to the Hurricane looks not to be the case, but prices could still be inflated if the pipelines and oil refineries are slow in resuming their operations.

On another note, the much talked about anti-war protest took place today in DC. Cindy Sheehan and the normal rank and file all made appearances. But the MSM hasn't reported it this way. Thank goodness for Jeff Goldstein, and his debunking of a story on the protest by Jennifer Kerr of the AP. (HT: Instapundit)

Michelle Malkin also has some provocative pictures from the rally.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Rita Causes More Problems

On Interstate 45 near Wilmer, Texas, a charter bus transporting residents of a retirement home caught fire and exploded. Up to 24 people are presumed to be dead. The passengers were leaving Houston in compliance with evacuation requests with the imminent threat of Hurricane Rita. More, here.

Second, areas of New Orleans are flooded. Again. Rains from Hurricane Rita topped one of New Orleans' battered levees and poked holes in another earlier today, sending water gushing into already-devastated neighborhoods just days after they had been pumped dry. More, here.

As Hurricane Rita begins its final approach on Galveston, be prepared to offer up aide to those who will be affected. Head over to reliefconnections.org and get linked up with those in need.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Anti-War Crowd

The "S24" anti-war protest is supposed to take place tomorrow in Washington, D.C. The protest seems to be a result of the "grassroots" movement that essentially hit the mainstream with Cindy Sheehan. But Captain's Quarters has something worth knowing about the protest:

"The groups that will gather in Washington DC for a major anti-war protest this weekend have financial ties to major leftist fundraisers like George Soros and Theresa Heinz Kerry, and beyond them to communist organizations and radical left-wing groups, the Washington Times reports today. The conduits for the rallies appear to be the ubiquitous front groups International ANSWER and the UPJ."

More, from the Washington Times:

"The leaders of ANSWER, founded three days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, are connected to the Workers World Party, a Marxist group that has expressed support for such dictators as North Korea's Kim Jong-il, Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic and Iraq's Saddam Hussein... Other groups associated with ANSWER are the Free Palestine Alliance, U.S.-Mexico Solidarity Foundation and the Muslim Student Association of the U.S. and Canada."

This information should not be a surprise to anyone who has looked at this new anti-war movement closely. The harsh rhetoric of its leaders has almost implied association with groups such as ANSWER. Yet as Captain's Quarters points out, this doesn't mean that everyone who attends these rallies lacks sincerity in the message. It would behoove them to know, however, that their association with such gruops will eventually destroy their credibility. And once their credibility is gone, their arguments will no longer have a place in the discussion.

Speaking of the anti-war crowd, Ellen Knickmeyer of the Washington Post is making her best case for enemy combatant status. She wrote on Monday:

"The fact that American forces still attack entire cities and towns in the west is a sign of how much territory remains out of U.S. and Iraqi government control, said Abu Hatem Dulaimi, a member of the Zarqawi-allied Ansar al-Sunna Army. 'I can say that the legend of the undefeated U.S. Army is gone, owing to our rockets and mines, which are separating them from it day after day,' Dulaimi said in a telephone interview. 'If they bet that time will be the way to end the resistance, they are wrong, because we are stronger since a year ago or maybe more.'

Twenty-five members of Ansar al-Sunna killed themselves and others in suicide attacks last month, he said, and 53 volunteers for suicide attacks have arrived since."

Does anyone esle find it disturbing that Knickmeyer went to a representative of the insurgency for her interview? I could be wrong, but I would consider going to the enemy as a source over our own military personnel to be bad journalism. Furthermore, according to our military commanders on the ground, this "information" relayed by Dulaimi is categorically untrue.

RealClearPolitics sums it up best: "There's nothing quite like getting your enemy's propoganda served up unfiltered in a major American daily newspaper."

Roberts Goes to Full Confirmation

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to approve John Roberts' nomination as the next Supreme Court Justice. Some facts to note: Three Democrats, Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold from Wisconsin, and (surprisingly) Patrick Leahy of Vermont voted with the ten Republicans on the committee to approve Roberts' nomination. Five Democrats, Senators Feinstein, Biden, Kennedy, Schumer, Durbin (all not surprisingly) voted against Roberts.

The full Senate vote will take place next week, and will almost certainly result in the appointment of John Roberts as the next Supreme Court Justice of the United States. This is a huge success for the Bush administration, and I am confident that the president will follow this success with another solid appointment to the court. For more, look here.

Schumer's Poor Tactics

Chuck Schumer plays dirty. That's at least what Lt. Gov. Michael Steele of Maryland must be thinking right now. Drudge links to the story:

"Lt. Gov. Steele was extremely disturbed to learn about the alleged criminal identity theft of his personal finance records by (a staff member of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.,) at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee... According to the FBI, two Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee employees illegally obtained Steele's credit report."

If the allegations against the DSCC are true, as they appear to be, then Schumer's Committee will have a lot to answer for.

Relief efforts along the Gulf Coast continue, despite this unfortunate news:

"BATON ROUGE, La. - Police found cases of food, clothing and tools intended for hurricane victims at the home of the chief administrative officer for a New Orleans suburb, authorities said Wednesday. Officers searched Cedric Floyd's home because of complaints that city workers were helping themselves to donations for hurricane victims. Floyd, who runs the day-to-day operations in the suburb of Kenner, was in charge of distributing the goods."

I'm sure this is an isolated incident, but it is disheartening to see. Nonetheless, we must not forget that the majority of the country has responded with selflessness and a willingness to give. With that in mind, check out NZ Bear's reliefconnetions.org to see if you can provide any extra help, because there is still need.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

North Korea, The United States, and Nukes

In the six-party talks on Monday, North Korea promised to give up its nuclear weapons program in an exchange for "normal" relations with the other countries involved in the talks -- South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China. These 5 nations said that they would provide oil, energy aid and security guarantees in return for North Korea's disarmament.

Supporters of the six-party talks were quick to cheer the agreement, considering it to be of landmark importance. The head negotiator from China called the deal "the most important achievement in the two years since the start of six-party talks." The chief U.S. negotiator seemed enthusiastic as well.

When I read this I was completely unconvinced about the deal's "success." The deal is instantly another blemish on the Bush administration's record. This agreement undermines what the president is trying to accomplish in his stance towards nations from the Axis of Evil, as well as nations that harbor terrorists. This deal is not the steadfast, stick-to-your-guns approach that has made the president successful in the past. But this is besides the point.

Have our country's foreign policy negotiators completely forgotten about the 1994 Agreed Framework? Do they refuse to remember that it failed miserably? North Korea had promised to give up its nuclear weapons program then, yet secretely continued to pursue nuclear capabilities. What makes this new agreement different from the failed 1994 attempt?

Well, nothing. There is absolutely no reason to be confident that North Korea will comply this go around. And two days after the agreement, there are already problems. From Breitbart:

"In a second day of bluster after its disarmament accord, North Korea accused the United States on Wednesday of planning a nuclear attack and warned it could retaliate.

North Korea 'is fully ready to decisively control a pre-emptive nuclear attack with a strong retaliatory blow,' the communist nation's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in an English-language commentary carried by the state Korean Central News Agency."

It remains to be seen what the administration plans to do about this blunder. My hope is that a close, scrutinous eye will be kept on North Korea, and that when Pyongyang missteps, the administration will return to an uncompromising approach in attaining the nuclear disarmament of North Korea.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Stuck On Stupid

In a press conference today held by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the MSM was dealt a crushing blow by Lt. Gen. Russel Honore. While the blogosphere may have been saying it all along, Lt. Gen. Honore thrust into the public eye the MSM's insistence on living in the past. Radioblogger has the transcript of the press conference. Read the whole thing.

Also, what is PorkBusters? What should you know about it? Instapundit has the answer.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Democrats' A Team

John Kerry, John Edwards, and Cindy Sheehan all made the news today. Kerry and Edwards graced the headlines for blasting Bush at separate speeches at Brown University, and the Center for American Progress (a liberal think tank in DC), respectively. The twosome who ran for the presidency in 2004 (and lost) seem to be getting a very early start on the 2008 election campaign. Kerry was back to his old tactics of brutally criticizing the administration with harsh rhetoric and little reliance on facts. His speech focused on the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, in which he blamed the Bush administration for nearly all of the failures related to the relief effort.

It appears that conveniently forgetting how things actually are is gaining popularity in the Democratic Party these days. Or maybe the Democrats just don't bother reading anything other than MSM agenda journalism. While Kerry rants about "the administration's failure" his time would be better spent getting in touch with reality. He might consider this article from the post-gazette last week. Key graphs:

"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.

For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.

Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

So they libel as a 'national disgrace' the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history."

He could also look here. And here.

I would give the same advice to former Senator Edwards, who spent his time speaking about poverty in the wake of the Hurricane. He noted that "if the Great Depression brought forth Hoovervilles, these trailer towns may someday be known as Bushvilles." It's amazing to me that Edwards would think this comparison is even remotely warranted (It's not). Nonetheless, I will take up the same position as the RNC. From AP:

"The Republican National Committee said that while the country has pulled together during the crisis, 'Democrats' efforts to politicize this tragedy are unsavory at best.' The GOP organization said of Kerry's criticism: 'Such tactics haven't served him well in the past and today is no exception.'"

As for Cindy Sheehan, well, all she is after is attention and publicity.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bill Should Stick To Fund-Raising

Breaking the long-standing tradition of US Presidents silencing their criticisms of their successors, former president Clinton decided to let the world what he thought about the Bush White House. From Yahoo News:

"The Bush administration decided to invade Iraq virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq war diverted US attention from the war on terrorism and undermined the support that we might have had."

Is Clinton really trying to revive this debate? You betcha. It is a very strange thing that after these issues have been argued about and essentially resolved, the former president decided he should chime in on the issue. It's a very unprecedented move for a president to criticize his successor, but it is equally unheard of to reopen a debate that was dropped a year ago. I guess you could say he was making up for lost time.

Clinton goes on to make judgemental statements about the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. These remarks are a little more timely, but still AFTER all of the same comments have been made by Senate Democrats. Furthermore, the former president makes an assertion of "the good old days" back when James Lee Witt ran FEMA. "[James Witt] was always there early, and we thought about that." I'm glad that being on time was such a highly valued attribute.

It's the same old story. Harsh words, no facts, and no alternative plans for improvement. Maybe tomorror president Cliton will have something good to say... but probably not.