Monthly Archives: August 2011

Racist Republicans

Long before Barack Obama become President, the Republican party has been accused of being racist.  I guess it’s because conservatives advocate policies that don’t transfer wealth from one group of people to another that’s the cause of this shrill shriek.  In a similar vein, the Left could argue that conservative parents who think it’s a good idea to do your homework could be called “kidists”.  Clearly those parents hate their kids.

However, since Barack Obama IS the President, the case against conservatives being labelled as racists has increased.  It seems that not one single critique of the President or his policies can be leveled without the hammer of race being raised to combat that critique.

The most recent example of this phenomenon is when Rick Perry referred to the debt as a “black-cloud”.  Ed Schultz jumped on the occasion and labeled the man a racist for his racist comments.  Normally I would say that Ed is just an entertainer trying to make a living and using what he can to do so.  However, this isn’t an isolated case, this is systemic, this is premeditated and this is a strategy.

Only look back to Obama’s 2008 campaign when he mentioned that:

“…you know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

He knew it then, he knows it now.  He signaled it then and the folks have followed.

The problem is, fewer and fewer people are buying it:

ONE of the most dispiriting aspects of going through university as a humanities major in the mid 1990s was the insistence on viewing everything—or at least every work of literature—through the prisms of race, class and gender. It turned the pleasurable act of reading into a tawdry little detective game, in which students were expected to ferret out every conceivable shred of “evidence”, plausible or not, for bias on the part of the author, the publisher, society, etc. Offer precocious undergraduates the chance to rail against society’s (read: their parents’) hidden biases and they will surely take it, but these readings were for the most part boring, wrong and trivial.

All of which is by way of saying that I have a great deal of sympathy for Reihan Salam’s argument against reductionism. He begins by giving Ed Schultz a well-deserved raspberry for imputing racist sentiment to Rick Perry’s reference to debt as “a black cloud” (boneheaded as Mr Schultz’s comment may be, it is hard to wholly deplore something that led to such a great Daily Show sketch). “Many on the left are convinced that Perry must in his heart of hearts be a racist,” Mr Salam writes, “and indeed that conservatism itself is rooted in racist sentiments.” Does one even need to say that this is wrong—that conservatism is not, in fact, rooted in racist sentiment? That opposition to a Democratic president, even one who happens to be black, is not inherently racist?

There was a reason, even as a liberal 18 year-old, that I mocked CLA’ers.  CLA is short hand slang for “College of Liberal Arts” at the University of Minnesota.  We attended the Minnesota Institute for Technology.  Rightly so, we reasoned that many of those gaining a degree at the “other school” were really gaining what some people called a degree.

But fun at the expense of silly degree programs aside, the idea that conservatives must be racist because we don’t agree with the prevailing thought mentality of the average Leftist is as silly as those degrees.  The idea that I have to have my ideas and intentions vetted for validity by the likes of  those who build programs that don’t help the people they’re meant to help is absurd.

Sadly, absurd sells.

 

Meanwhile, In Other News

With all the news this weekend focusing on Irene, it’s important to note that Obama and his administration continue to operate in the back-ground.

For example, there are reports that the “War on Terror” is moving along swimmingly:

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Atiya Abdul Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, a U.S. official said Saturday.

The official would not discuss the circumstances behind his death, but did say Rahman is a key loss for al Qaeda.

“There’s no question this is a major blow to al Qaeda. Atiya was at the top of al Qaeda’s trusted core,” the official said. “He ran daily operations for the group since Shaykh Sa’id al-Masri was killed last year, and has been (Osama bin Laden successor Ayman al-Zawahiri’s) second-in-command since bin Laden’s death in May.”

Excellent news during a day filled with storm damage!

Further, on the science front, specifically geology, the Obama administration is equally busy:

Richmond, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Scientist studying the recent Virginia earthquake have identified a new geological structure that many feel explains the recent seismic activity in the region.  The region had known boundaries, referred to as tectonic zones.

Researchers began studying historical sources for past earthquakes in the region and were surprised to find indications of such activity from an unlikely source; Native American relics.  In fact, there are records dating back as far as the 1600’s that show significant activity in the region, known as Unega Gihli.

The Obama administration, eager to understand what Unega Gihli meant brought in linguistic experts to study the reference.  As it turns out, Unega Gihli is Cherokee for “Bush’s Fault”.

All is well in the world of Team Obama!

Disaster Planning: Free Market vs. Government

Sadly, most conversations regarding damage, preparedness and reaction to catastrophes take place during or AFTER an event takes place.  Such is the nature of people, and is what separates us from even squirrels.  Even they gather for the winter.

However, there are people, organizations who do look ahead and plan.  They take the responsibility seriously and give great thought to the subject.  These people study disasters and recoveries.  In fact, the organizations they work in are aptly named; Disaster Recovery.  We have one for my company, in fact, we have staff at my building.

As with anything, there are certain people more skilled at this than others.  In fact, again, just like we would expect, there are groups of people, organizations, that are better at it than other groups of people.  It should not surprise anyone that when it comes to government preparedness and the private sector’s planning, who’s side I’ll take.

Consider this: Via Carpe Diem

Forecasters don’t expect Hurricane Irene to make landfall until Saturday. But for nearly a week now, big-box retailers like Walmart and Home Depot have been getting ready.

They’ve deployed hundreds of trucks carrying everything from plywood to Pop-Tarts to stores in the storm’s path. It’s all possible because these retailers have turned hurricane preparation into a science.

At Home Depot’s Hurricane Command Center in Atlanta, for example, about 100 associates have been trying to anticipate how Irene will affect its East Coast stores from the Carolinas to New York.

At times like this, the Command Center looks much like NASA Mission Control during a shuttle launch, says Russ Householder, the company’s emergency-response captain.

“We’ve got all the key news agencies on the big screens up front,” he says. “We’re also monitoring our store sales so we can better be in tune to what’s happening in our stores, and we’re also connected live one-on-one with district managers in the impacted areas.”

Walmart is able to anticipate surges in demand during emergencies by using a huge historical database of sales from each store as well as sophisticated predictive techniques, Cooper says.

He says that with Irene on the way, that system is helping them allocate things like batteries, ready-to-eat foods and cleaning supplies to areas in the storm’s path.

Walmart also has the advantage of having a staff meteorologist, Cooper says.

Walmart’s preparedness system helped the company emerge as a hero after Katrina, says Steve Horwitz, an economist at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., who studied the company’s response.

“They know exactly what people want after a hurricane,” he says. “One of my favorite stories from Katrina is that the most popular food item after a major storm like this is strawberry Pop-Tarts.”

Wanna see what Wal-Mart’s preparation for moving supplies in, before Katrina, looked like?

Care to see the Government’s preparation for moving people OUT?

As 1,000’s of people needed to leave the city, a city that sits BELOW sea level, the government left a fleet of buses to simply flood.

Government simply can not DO like the private, for profit, sector operating in a free market.

 

Hurricane Irene Update

The view down my driveway to the street.  So far, just an afternoon of cleaning up twigs, leaves, pine cones and junk.  We’ve been lucky.

The rest of the state has a bit more in terms of damage:

But Progress Energy is doing yeoman’s work:

The company has amassed an army of more than 1,000 line workers, tree crews and support staff from five states – more than three times the normal complement of workers in the region – and crews are ready to conduct damage assessment and begin large-scale repairs as soon as weather conditions permit. In some areas, tropical storm-force winds are expected to linger through Saturday evening, hampering repair efforts. To ensure their safety, crews cannot work in winds of 39 mph or higher.

North Carolina counties with the largest numbers of outages as of 10 a.m. included New Hanover (58,000); Carteret (22,000); Onslow (19,000); Craven (16,000); Johnston (13,200); Wake (12,000); Lenoir (10,200); Pender (10,000); Columbus (9,000); Brunswick (8,300); Duplin (8,000); Sampson (7,000); Nash (6,600). Numerous other counties had scattered outages from the coast to the Triangle.

Keep those workers in your thoughts and prayers.

But, do we think we’ll suffer the fate of Japan?

NEW YORK, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Nuclear power plants along the U.S. East Coast are braced for the impact of Hurricane Irene which is churning north toward New York and New England after making landfall in North Carolina on Saturday.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it sent additional staff to monitor conditions and storm preparation at the fourteen nuclear units from Maryland to New Hampshire in Irene’s path as well as a nuclear fuel production plant in North Carolina.

Plant employees are securing equipment and readying extra staff for the storm.  Dominion Resources Inc will reduce power at its two-unit 2,111-megawatt Millstone plant in Connecticut ahead of the storm, a company spokesman said on Saturday.  Progress Energy’s Brunswick nuclear plant, perched on the North Carolina coast, cut to 65 percent power late on Friday and does not expect to return to full power until after the storm has fully passed, a spokesman said on Saturday.

Dominion shut down its North Anna nuclear power station because of an earthquake on Tuesday.  The two-unit, 1,950-megawatt North Anna nuclear plant will remain shut through the storm.  The company’s two-unit, 1,598-MW Surry plant in Virginia was designed to withstand winds of 360 miles per hour and is expected to remain at full power throughout the storm, a spokesman said on Saturday.

It appears that our power plants are well tended to:

It’s not over, she’s slowed down, but it appears that it could have been a lot worse here in Carolina than it could have been.

God’s speed to those in her path as she moves North!

The Lamb’s View of the Lion

Some quick shots of Irene as she’s huntin’ North Carolina:

[slideshow]

All shots by me.  With my iPhone.

Ice and Gas Shortage: Hurricane Irene

She’s coming.  There’s been little doubt about that now for 2 days.  Irene is coming and she is big.

As the storm hits and does her damage, residents in her path are going to find that they’re short critical supplies; water, ice, gasoline, propane to name a few.  Part of the reason we’ll be short these key commodities is because people have bought more than they usually would have in advance of the storm.  The second is because we’re just gonna use more of ’em.

Demand will impact supply.

And, just as the law of supply and demand would dictate, as those items begin to run out, the price will rise.  In some cases doubling or even tripling.  This does several things:

  1. It reduces the desire of people to hoard.
  2. It signals to suppliers that a need has been established and in the interest of profit, will work to fill that need.
  3. It activates politicians to fulfill the law of politics: Pass laws that try to break the law of economics.

See, people vote politicians in, so politicians react in irrational ways to this problem:

RALEIGH, NC (NCDOJ) — North Carolina’s strong price gouging law is now in effect because a state of emergency has been declared due to Hurricane Irene, Attorney General Roy Cooper notified businesses and consumers today.

“We’re warning price gougers that you can’t use a crisis as an excuse to make an unfair profit off of consumers,” said Cooper.

Price gouging—or charging too much in times of crisis—is against North Carolina law when a disaster, an emergency or an abnormal market disruption for critical goods and services is declared or proclaimed by the Governor. The law also applies to all levels of the supply chain from the manufacturer to the distributor to the retailer.

What people WANT is for suppliers to supply goods at the normal price even as the cost of doing so goes up.  IF the law above were written to say :

The people of North Carolina have decided that during times of crisis, we do not want to encourage exceptional efforts to deliver necessary and critical goods.  We don’t want to pay any price for this effort and would rather, instead, save our money and do without.

THAT is what this law is doing.

And if you don’t think so, or if you think that we should allow prices to reflect demand, then I suggest YOU buy a U-Haul truck of water or a refer truck full of ice and drive to the coast and deliver that water and ice yourself.

Irene: August 23 – 23:30

She’s comin’!

The question is, where will she hit?

Now, close your eyes so tight your ears hurt.  You can KINDA hear the word Irene……

THAT is a song that’ll take your mind off of hurricanes for sure!

Social Programs For The Poor: Open Question To The Left

As I was typing this one single question, I thought of  more:

  1. Does your definition of “poor” predicate itself on things needed to live?  Or does it involve definitions based on relative wealth?
  2. If the government capital “O” Ought provide for the poor, does this include those who choose to put themselves in that group of people defined in question #1?
    1. I.E. If a person chooses to be poor, is the government still bound by the Ought?
  3. If you could compel a citizen to work in a pure socialist state, why can’t you do the same in this one?

Libyan Consequences

I’m all for two things regarding Libya:

  1. The fall of the Colonel.
  2. Free people exercising Liberty.

In respect to those two things; Libya is a positive so far.  And I’m glad, I think, that we assisted in the struggle.

However, there is circulating a draft constitution for the new, as of yet formed, government.

Part I Article I?

Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).

I’m kinda not so down with the whole “established religion” thang.  I bet the Left isn’t either.

What gives?

The Tender Mercies Of The Bully

I’m a weird guy.  I’m a weird adult who grew out of a weird kid.

I had weird hair growing up, and played weird games.  My most favorite thing to do as a kid was to play D&D.  I remember getting that very first blue Dungeons and Dragons rulebook.  Remember?  Back when an Elf was a class and the levels went ALL the way up to 3?

Crazy times.

I played that game until I was 4 years out of college.  And even now am anxiously awaiting the day when my son understands how to play the PokieMon cards I’ve bought him.

I wasn’t very good at games with a ball; I can catch anything thrown within 10 yards of me and can hit the eye of a bird flying, but I SUCKED at those games.  But, for a small farm town kid in farm country I could run forever.  In track I won more races than I didn’t.

I went to church, Sunday school and sang in the choir until the day I graduated.  I delivered Easter morning sermons at 5:00 AM.  I marched in the band [though I did quit after two summers of marching in Minnesota heat in those hot as hell wool uniforms and those ugly black buffalo hats].  I loved debating in school, was in theater and ran the computer lab during study hall.

It was great.  All of it.  And I wouldn’t trade it for all the world.

But I paid a price; a massive price.

Beginning in the 5th grade I started getting picked on.  While fast, I was small; until I was 33 I weighed 137 pounds.  Marching in the school band with your head in the Monster Manuel while the cool guys played on the varsity basketball team didn’t make a lot of friends [though it made the BEST of friends].  Not until years later did the torture really stop, and even then it didn’t really stop.  It just slowed down.  I still remember opening my locker and reacting with horror that the entire contents had been doused with water; my Honor Cords [you know what honor cords are?] were in there.  Thankfully the perpetrator had displayed some form of human sympathy and took ’em out before the dousing.

I was hit, kicked, pushed and taunted.  Heck, I even had my hair set on fire once coming back from a class trip.  The things you see in the movies…..they’re real.

I still remember walking down the empty second floor hall in the middle school when I realized one kid in front of me.  One in back.  I fought as hard as I could, but I couldn’t stop ’em from pinning me to the locker and feeding me dog food.

Good times.

Oh, and to ensure that I would continue to participate in this mandatory fun, my dad was the 8th grade math teacher.  The deck was stacked against me.  In science class it got bad one day.  2-3 guys [it was never just one now that I think of it.  cowards] were kinda taking turns, like crows on road kill.  It went too far that morning and I actually retaliated; I hit the kid in front of me.  That kinda calmed things down.  After class, the teacher pulled me aside and mentioned that he saw what had happened.  I was relieved, ’cause it didn’t FEEL like the bastard saw it while it was going on.  He then looked at me dead in the eye and expressed his disappointment that I had hit that kid; he expected better.  I bit my tongue–that made TWO of us.  Ass.

But at least I didn’t have to worry about a girlfriend 😉

I knew back  then that this wasn’t “fair”.  That I really didn’t do anything that deserved this.  Heck, I didn’t DO anything.  I read The Trilogy, all four of ’em*, during class and just stayed out of the way.  I went to class, went to Greyhawk, went to church, went to track and went to bed.

I suspected then, I continue to believe even now, that those kids didn’t know what they were doing.  I bet if you were to ask those boys, now men, they wouldn’t remember the stories.  In fact, if I were to see ’em in town, we’d have beers and talk about the GOOD times.  As if.

And so it is, as I read stories of kids in school today being bullied, that I wonder how I’m gonna teach my own kids.  What I’m gonna say, what I’m gonna do.  What lessons will I make them endure.  My own father let me experience every one of ’em.  He didn’t intervene even once that I knew of.  In fact, only one time did I see an exchange that let me know he knew what was going on.

Down the street were some brothers.  And one day they were picking on my sister.  We told dad and he went over and tried to talk those boy’s dad.  The man refused to believe that his kids could’ve done that, “Not my boys” was what he told my dad.

The next night my brother and I took it out on those brothers at the ice rink.  Looking back I suppose it was us that was the brute then.  Anyway,  it wasn’t long before that man came knocking on OUR door and asked my dad to explain why his sons would have done what we did to his boys.  I still remember dad saying, “That wasn’t my boys.  My kids wouldn’t do that.”  He closed the door and simply went back to his paper.  Not even one word, for or against, was said.

I think that I’ll try, somehow, to explain to my kids that growing up is a lot like life.  It isn’t not getting knocked down that’s the goal, THAT is gonna happen.  It’s all about the getting back up.

My heart breaks for those kids getting picked on today.  I just read a story of another girl who has been bullied and the hell her parents are going through. For those kids that don’t know where to turn and who to talk too, [God knows they most likely don’t even KNOW about Styx] I just wish they could see their 26 year old self.  Still weird, still geeky.  But okay with the world and their place in it.  But if I could talk to ’em, I know what I’d say; “Get up!  Get back on your feet!  You’re the one they can’t beat and you know it.”

Anyway.  I don’t remember what the point was except maybe that life teaches how to prepare for life.  Yesterday’s wimpy kid is going to be tomorrows Libertarian champion maybe?  The geek makes good maybe? The ugly duckling gets the hot wife perhaps?  I dunno know.

Maybe it’s just to remind us that mean people suck.

* Rings, Lord of the; Unbeliever, Thomas Covenant the;  Lance, Dragon and Foundation, Just