Friday, September 30, 2005

If You Are Following The Joe Wilson Saga, Read This; And Here's Something Else Too . . .

John Hinderaker of Power Line offers a succinct and persuasive explanation for New York Times reporter Judith Miller's sudden decision to testify to the grand jury. It is interesting that the New York Times and others in the MSM echo chamber have imputed such nobility to Miller's refusal to testify. It certainly seems that her reasons for protecting sources are not quite so high-minded.

Speaking of Power Line, don't miss this exchange between Mr. Hinderaker and Marvin Kalb, one of the old lions of CBS News during the 60s and 70s. Kalb recently interviewed Dan Rather about RatherGate, and did so in such a softball manner that Hinderaker felt compelled to comment. Anyway, read the e-mails between Kalb and Hinderaker. For me, reading Kalb's comments was a painful reminder of the bad old days when biased, faulty thinking like his could not be effectively challenged. Reminders like that are important; without them the blogosphere's impact might go unappreciated.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Quote of The Week

Howard Fineman

[I]n a roomful of well-connected Democrats the other night, I was struck by how gloomy they were. They can't stand Bush, but didn't have much faith in their own party's prospects. Why?... It's incontestably true that the Democrats simply aren't blessed with much charisma in the leadership ranks -- unless you consider Angelina Jolie a Democrat. The GOP has Rudy, Colin, Arnold, McCain and Condi -- just to name a few: big, bold, controversial characters. Good copy if nothing else. The more or less official roster of titular Democratic leaders includes Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean and 2004 nominee John Kerry. 'Nuff said.

-- Newsweek's Howard Fineman in Newsweek Online

Michael Yon Reports from Iraq

If you haven't read any of Michael Yon's dispatches from Iraq, you're missing a treat. He's an independent journalist, and his posts are gripping. The latest is about a little Iraqi girl named Rhma who had a serious health problem, and how Americans are saving her life. Another must-read.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Thank you, but don't leave yet."

Ralph Kostant observes:

In this column from today’s Wall Street Journal, the first democratically elected President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, recounts the remarkable progress that Iraq has made from tyranny toward republican government in the two years since the Coalition invasion, thanks the United States for its leadership, and pleads that America stay the course until the job is done.

Ralph B. Kostant

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Katrina Coverage: A Major MSM Organ Concedes Accuracy Problems - And Blames The Situation, Not The New Media

I don't know what's more noteworthy about this story in the L.A. Times-- that it appeared at all, or that it is buried on page A16 of the print edition. There is general criticism of the MSM here, and even a passing criticism of the Times itself. Entitled "Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy," the story tells how "rumors supplanted accurate information and media magnified the problem. Rapes, violence and estimates of the dead were wrong."

Surprised at this seeming burst of self-critical analysis? Don't be. Here's how the problem is explained away:

Journalists and officials who have reviewed the Katrina disaster blamed the inaccurate reporting in large measure on the breakdown of telephone service, which prevented dissemination of accurate reports to those most in need of the information. Race may have also played a factor.
Well, I'm glad to know where unnamed "journalists" place the blame. Certainly not on themselves. And the issue of race creeps in once again. Read the whole thing. It'll remind you of the squishy thinking that takes place among Times writers.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What Does "Stuck on Stupid" Mean, Anyway?

My fellow Southern California Blogger Alliance member John Schroeder at Blogotional shows us all, in a graphic you'll want to see here. John's also up for Blog of The Week on Hugh Hewitt's site. Go to Radioblogger to vote for John!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Quote of The Week

Jonah Goldberg in National Review Online:

[W]hile I would love to be proven wrong, I can’t help but think the chances of all the fun domestic stuff Bush was working — on tax reform, Social Security reform — will now be sacrificed in order to make sure every street corner in New Orleans is outfitted with a soft ice-cream machine and an ergonomic moving sidewalk.
I would love to see him proven wrong, too.

Another New Blog Worth Visiting

GM's Corner is a recent find, thanks to InstaPundit. Visit and enjoy!

How MSM Reporting From Iraq Misleads Everyone and Distorts The Truth

G.M. Roper (via InstaPundit) presents a devastating open-source analysis of the systemic (I won't say systematic) bias in the MSM coverage of the war. He also posts this great Chris Muir cartoon on the subject:

Roper's post will enlighten you and infuriate you. It may also depress you-- it certainly left me discouraged. As compelling as the information is, it takes careful reading of solid writing like Roper's to comprehend the extent of the bias problem. Most of the general public won't make that effort. Blogs are great, but I wish the White House and larger media outlets could expose the bias on a larger scale.

My pessimism aside, good for the blogosphere. Someone's got to expose this journalistic deficiency, and the MSM surely won't do that.

Corporal Tibor Rubin, Medal of Honor Winner -- 55 Years Late

Regular readers know I post lots of war hero stories on this blog. Tibor Rubin's actions under arms are every bit as inspiring as any others I've posted, with a twist: It took 55 years for Rubin to be recognized. There are suggestions that anti-Semitism by his commanding officer played a role. Mudville Gazette has the story here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Illegal Amigos," John Roberts' Heart, And Harry Reid's Brain

According to this story in The Hill, Harry Reid is not sure that John Roberts' "heart is as big as his head.” What is the senator talking about, you ask? "Asked to explain his comments about Roberts’s heart, Reid mentioned the nominee’s description of illegal immigrants as 'illegal amigos' in a memo from 1983."

Leaving aside the question whether a Supreme Court justice should consult his heart in interpreting the law, this is pretty funny. "Illegal amigos," aside from having a nice alliterative feel to it, is simply a turn of phrase. That Reid is willing to reach this far in order to raise questions about Roberts' sensitivity shows the difficulty of the Democrats' task in opposing Roberts. If then-junior lawyer Roberts had been writing a memo about trade barriers involving the French or Germans and had referred to "obstructionist amis" or "fractious freunden," would that have been insensitive or simply clever use of the language?

My title above refers obliquely to the size of Harry Reid's brain. Well, he's not dumb, even though his comment is. Reid is a smart man, which is why the sleazy race-baiting he engages in here is so disappointing. But not surprising.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One More Post on Gaza

Ralph Kostant has a few further observations on Gaza:

The Palestinians have told the world how much they suffered during the Israeli occupation of Gaza. It is unquestionable that the Gazan economy suffered during the post-Oslo Intifada, when so many Gazan Arabs were cut off from their former jobs in Israel. But, beyond that, Israel has not infrequently even been accused of conducting physical and cultural genocide against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Since Israel left Gaza only a few weeks ago, surely those terrible living conditions, the virtual holocaust, that the Palestinians supposedly have endured must still be very much in evidence. Indeed, some Palestinian leaders have argued that Israel continues to occupy Gaza, because, citing security, Israel has not yet allowed reopening of the Gaza airport and free shipping into Gaza ports.

One would naturally think that any young Arab woman with a choice between living in the virtually occupied, Israeli-ravaged Gaza, or the proud, long independent and sovereign Arab nation of Egypt, would never choose Gaza. Imagine my surprise, then, to read in today’s Jerusalem Post that over 100 Arab women have smuggled themselves into Gaza from Egypt, since Egypt took over policing of the border. The reason--they are looking for a better life. Here are some excerpts:

  • Some of the men [who married the Egyptian brides] were already married and had decided to take a second or third wife after discovering that Egyptian families were eager to send their daughters to a relatively better life in the Gaza Strip, the source added.

  • One of the brides, who identified herself as Samira, said she agreed to marry the man she met only hours earlier "because this was an opportunity that should not be missed." Samira, 28, lived with her family in Al-Arish."In Egypt, it's very difficult for a woman my age to get married because I'm considered too old," she said. "Moreover, the economic situation in Egypt is not as good as in the Gaza Strip."
My word, could it possibly be that the terrible suffering of Gazan Arabs was overstated for propaganda purposes? It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Palestinian self-rule in Gaza to bring Gaza down to the economic level of Egypt.

Ralph B. Kostant

Roberts on Roe

If you are among those who are confused or worried about John Roberts' comments on Roe v. Wade, you should read this interesting analysis by Ed Whelan. (HT: ConfirmThem also has a good collection of its own analysis and comments on the subject.

Here's my view:

According to Robert Bork, stare decisis at the Supreme Court level applies much more strongly to statutory law than to Constitutional law. Bork's reasoning, as I understand it, is that in the case of statutes, Congress can amend them, but changing the Constitution is left only to the very difficult amendment process or the decisions of the Supreme Court. In other words, the Court defers to legislative judgments, and follows precedential decisions interpreting those judgments, all the while recognizing that if the Court gets stare decisis wrong in interpreting a statute, Congress can fix that error, in effect reversing the Court. But if the Court gets a Constitutional decision wrong, short of a Constitutional amendment only the Court can reverse that decision. So the Court should not consider its past questionable Constitutional decisions as quite so iron-clad; it needs to police itself and, where appropriate, reverse itself. Think of Plessy v. Ferguson, which had to be reversed 60 years later by Brown v. Board of Education.

I did not watch the Roberts confirmation hearings at length, but I haven't heard or read anything suggesting that Judge Roberts disagrees with Bork's view of stare decisis. Nor do I think any senator's questions in the hearings were designed to expose such a sophisticated approach to the Supreme Court's role. If Roberts does indeed agree with Bork, then his answers to Senator Specter on the "super-precedent" questions were beyond clever.

Viewed in that perspective, Roberts' statement that the Casey decision is "entitled to respect like any other precedent of the Court" means something much different than the heartburn-producing interpretation some conservatives are giving it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Another MSM Correction We Would Never Have Seen Without The Blogosphere's Involvement

I wonder how many more Katrina stories there are like this one that an eager MSM grabbed and ran with-- and got terribly wrong?

I wonder how many of these stories went unchallenged, uncorrected, or both over the decades before the internet allowed close scrutiny of old media's stories?

I wonder how many times Jonathan Klein has wished he had not made that dismissive comment about people, blogging in their pajamas, who do not live up to the supposedly rigorous standards under which old media journalists must operate?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

"Send Us Another Roberts"

Now we have a David Broder op-ed praising John Roberts. To those nervous on the right, this will be a bad sign. I think it's simply evidence of just how unusually well-suited Roberts is for the Supreme Court. The President could do much worse than to send another one like him up to the Senate.

One Last Post About The Gaza Withdrawal

Loyal reader and frequent contributor Ralph Kostant e-mails the following:

Despite the sadness, fear and concern that I deeply felt during the Israeli withdrawal, I rarely if ever have felt prouder of Israel, of the Israel Defense Forces and of the settlers who lost their homes and farms, or prouder to belong to the Jewish people. This photo essay, a short video by Chabad, captures my feelings wonderfully, and is worthy of sharing with the Hedgehog readers.

Ralph B. Kostant

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Comments from A Presbyterian Reader

I received the following from Larry Rued, who is affiliated with the First Presbyterian Church of Bradenton, Florida. I am not Presbyterian (although I have many Presbyterian friends, and I know I have many Presbyterians in my family tree) so I cannot comment knowledgeably on these points of information. They do seem interesting, thoughtful, moderate, and consistent with center-right thinking. I invite comments from Presbyterian readers who are better-informed than I am.

Presbyterian Church Overtures

You may want to include this information on your blog.

Our church has submitted four overtures to our Peace River Presbytery. The overtures are currently under review by a presbytery committee and will be voted upon at the November 17, 2005 meeting of the Presbytery.

The overtures are available for reading on the Truth in Love Network Blog:

1. Divestment overture----Peace River Presbytery offers its concurrence with the Mississippi Presbytery, who on May 17, 2005 unanimously approved an overture to the 217th General Assembly on rescinding and modifying certain actions of the 216th General Assembly regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

2. Abortion overture----Peace River Presbytery calls upon the 217th General Assembly to direct its offices and entities immediately to cease funding of any group that supports or advocates either for or against abortion.

3. Property overture----Peace River Presbytery calls upon the 217th General Assembly to repeal the property held in trust clauses so as to allow those churches, who as a matter of conscience have defied the Book of Order, to leave the denomination with their property.

4. Reapportionment overture----Peace River Presbytery calls upon the 217th General Assembly to direct the 16 Synods to reapportion the presbyteries so as to achieve fair representation on the critical votes amending the Book of Order.

Collectively, the overtures will improve the peace, unity, and purity within the Presbyterian Church USA.

Larry Rued
First Presbyterian Church
Bradenton, FL
UPDATE: Larry sent me a follow-up e-mail, which explains the significance of the overtures above:
These are the issues that have been very divisive in the Presbyterian Church USA. The leadership has been pushing their liberal agenda for years and the result is that over the past 40 years the PCUSA membership has dropped from 4,3 million to 2.3 million members.

Of course, the denominational leadership totally opposes these four overtures. However, the rank and file people in the pews would pass these overtures in a heartbeat.

The internet through bloggers, websites, and the email system are new means to get the message to those people in the pews.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson on The MSM And Katrina

I must say, Prof. Hanson unleashes a pretty good Jeremiad when he wants to:

For all the media's efforts to turn the natural disaster of New Orleans into a racist nightmare, a death knell for one or the other political parties or an
indictment of American culture at large, it was none of that at all. What we did endure instead were slick but poorly educated journalists, worried not about truth but about pre-empting their rivals with an ever-more-hysterical story, all
in a fuzzy context of political correctness about race, the environment and the

Let ghoulish CNN file suit against the government to film all the bloated corpses it can find. Let a pontificating PBS "News-Hour" conduct more televised roundtables with grim-faced elites searching out purported national racism. But few any longer trust a frenzied media whose reporters and commentators continually prove as incompetent as they are disingenuous.

Was it too much to ask reporters to look to history to judge this recovery against other past disasters here and abroad? Could they have strived for accuracy instead of ratings — and at least made sure that the images from their cameras did not refute their own predetermined scripts?

HT: Real Clear Politics via Power Line.

The Bush Bathroom Note

I hesitated to give this sorry story any additional play, but I 've decided it's worth reading about. PDN Online tells you how the photo got revised ("Photoshopped") and put into the eager hands of the anti-Bush elements in the news media. My favorite snippet is this quote from Reuters picture editor Gary Hershorn at the end of the article:

"There was no malicious intent," he says. "That's not what we do."

Yes. And anyone who believes that should avoid making any purchase over $20 without the advice of a competent adult.

HT: Michelle Malkin, who calls this the "Stupidest. Media-manufactured. Non-scandalette. Possibly ever."

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What The Islamofascists Are Saying

CENTCOM's web site regularly posts unedited translations of statements by the terrorists in Iraq. I recommend a browse through the whole thing.

Here's a snippet:

Investigator: Is this Jihad - raping women? Is this Jihad?
Abed: It is because they collaborated with the Americans.
Investigator: That's why they were raped?
Abed: Yes.
Investigator: A student, who is simply going to her university, is kidnapped, raped, and then slaughtered?! This was an American collaborator?!
Abed: Mullah Al-Raikan would give the names to the squad commander.
Investigator: My information says that they were kidnapped and brought to Mullah Al-Raikan's headquarters. True or false?
Abed: He would interrogate them.
Investigator: Were they raped after the interrogation?
Abed: Yes. He would give them to the squad, and they would kill them. Some would rape them.
Investigator: You bastards. This is Jihad? You call this Jihad?
Investigator 2: What was your role in these operations?
Abed: I would stand at the entrance to the headquarters. It was a house, and they would bring them there.
Investigator 2: Did you participate in the rape and murder?
Abed: No. Just one who worked for the PUK. She was a Kurd.
Investigator: In the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan?
Abed: Yes. We brought her too.
Investigator: And you raped her?
Abed: Yes.
Well, it was "just one." Not a big deal. And only a Kurd, after all. I suppose he thinks the Almighty will not mind.

And another:

Al-Iraqiya TV

Investigator: Did you rape anyone?
Abed: Only one, a relative of mine.
Investigator: A relative of yours. You kidnapped her and raped her?
Abed: No, we did not kill her.
Investigator: You didn't kill her, only raped her?
Abed: Yes.
Investigator: You have some nerve...

Again, if it was only one, and she was a mere relative, I guess that makes it something other than an atrocity, at least in that monster's mind.

These people have no honor.

Well, Maybe President Bush Didn't Dynamite The New Orleans Levees After All

Riehl World View has the story. Early on in the Katrina disaster many on the left were fond of saying that the White House's decision to cut $44 million from flood control money that would have gone to New Orleans (and I'm not sure exactly how that appropriation was supposed to have worked) was responsible for the catastrophic failure of the levees there. There are many flaws in this astonishingly specious argument, but let's just focus on the entity that would have decided ohw to spend that money: the New Orleans Levee Board. Riehl World notes:

Along with establishing an Airport and Marina, the levee board is said to have also played a key role in establishing a floating casino and a fiber-optic cable network around the levee. Unfortunately, fiber optics don't hold back much water. However, I would think they, along with a marina, casino and private airport certainly could be good for business. One source indicated that the levee board spent approximately two-million dollars to erect a fountain and light show at a local lake in recent years.
There's much more. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Thanks to frequent and valued commenter BlueBuffoon for directing us to this link to a Scott Stantis editorial cartoon that appeared Monday.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Stanley Tillinghast, M.D. - Another Katrina Physician Hero

Dr. Tillinghast On-Site, with Halita Jones

Now, for a change, here's something Katrina-related that is simply fun and uplifting to read. It's a blog called Dr. Goodheart, by Stanley Tillinghast, M.D., who I understand is a retired cardiologist from Davis, California. Here's the good doctor's introduction of himself on his blog. See if it draws you in the way it did me:

"I am a clinical cardiologist, but with special training and interest in preventive cardiology—the prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Years ago the great cholesterol tsunami had not yet hit. To encourage patients and physicians to think about heart disease prevention, I invented a semi-autobiographical cartoon character, Stanley Goodheart, to explain in verrrry clear terms why I thought this was important. Now I’ve brought back Stanley as Dr. Goodheart—not because my heart is pure but because I want everyone’s heart to be healthy. But Dr. Goodheart also represents the irrepressible urge to make things right, which can lead us down some interesting but strange paths. We’ll start where we are now, with what nature has dealt us this month, September 2005. Katrina, here we come!"
Read Dr. Tillinghast's posts. You'll feel better about humanity.

Some Follow-Up Information on Greg Henderson, M.D., the Katrina Medical Hero

In some posts below I shared information from and about Gregory Henderson, M.D., who provided heroic medical services in catastrophic circumstances. Twice, derogatory comments appeared below my posts about Dr. Henderson. I deleted them both as soon as I became aware of them; to me they seemed like the work of a prankster. (Let's just say they were anything but convincing.)

Today I received these comments and am posting them here to give them maximum exposure. I briefly hesitated to do so because I was concerned about adding any circulation to the "prankster's" comments, but I think this information is worth posting.

I first met Greg Henderson 25 years ago, and I can assure you, "Anonymous, Slyboots, NOLA doc" as he has styled himself, who is posting all over the web whereever he can find Dr. Henderson's first courageous dispatch from New Orleans, could not be more wrong. I asked Dr. Henderson if comments were completely made up, or if something could have occurred that could have been misinterpreted. I asked him if he remembered "Slyboots" (. . . doesn't the name just say it all?) Here is his answer in his own words. You have a comment from his father and here is one from his sister, who can say it better than I can, so I am forwarding that post to you as well, in hopes that you will make every effort to correct the libelous accusations this cowardly poster is trying to disseminate.

Thank you in advance for setting the record straight,

Celia Swender

From Dr. Henderson:

I am pretty sure he was one of the docs who I worked with to set up the first clinic in the Ritz Carleton. They were the ones that high-tailed it out of town as soon as the Ritz Carleton got them a bus. They all seemed very impressed with themselves after they let me and the police officers and one of the pharamacists raid the Walgreens with gunpoint protection by the police. They set up a very nice little clinic and dealt with medication refills and some cuts and bruises for 1 day until they bailed out. Then it was left to me to, with the help of the NOPD, raid yet another pharmacy and restart the whole process again in the Sheraton and run it singlehandedely. This evolved to treating people under police guard at the convention center, and organizing the civilian medical treatment and evacuation station with the help of Northwest Medical Teams. Each of these efforts could have valued greatly from the presence of some of their primary care skills. I guess all while they were back home in their big city apartments slapping themselves on the a** for the daringly good job that they have done. In my opinion every one of them ran in the face of danger, and for that reason I consider them to be a disgrace to their profession. You can put me on the blog record on that one and send it on to slyboots himself. Hope the vision of the people who died at the convention center after he left doesn't keep him up at night as long as it will haunt me.

Dr. Gregory S. Henderson, M.D., Ph.D.

From his sister:

I would like to personally thank whoever is defending my brother, Dr. Greg Henderson. My brother risked his own safety to aid thousands and thousands of people at the Convention Center. Our whole family has been actively calling people and forwarding his emails in an effort to get him some help and to help him get out. He had the opportunity to leave several time, but refused to do anything for himself until the people at the Convention Center were evacuated. When help finally did begin to arrive on Saturday, he collapsed from dehydration and exhaustion. After 12 hours on an IV, he went back to the Convention Center to make sure people were alright -- he stayed to assist with any patients coming in as people continued to be extracated from their flooded homes. Whoever thinks his messages are a for "his personal gain," provides a clear example of the cruelty and cynicism that so permeates our society ... the very type of cruelty that somehow facilitated the tragic stories coming out of New Orleans."

Katherine Michalak

Is Post-Katrina "Environmental Derangement Syndrome" on The Horizon?

Laer at Cheat Seeking Missiles has an interesting bit of investigative blogging today. Among other things, Laer anticipates issues that lefty environmentalists may raise in the wake of Katrina. He also catches an EPA official lying on a talk radio show. (Or, if the official's not lying, he is exposed as woefully uninformed and without any credibility whatsoever. I wonder if he can be fired? The guy will probably claim whistleblower status.)

So far, Katrina has been the left's Christmas tree-- and they keep hanging ornaments on it. Kyoto, racial discrimination, class warfare, slavery, the Iraq war, tax cuts, even the Supreme Court vacancies-- the Democrats have used the hurricane and its aftermath to invoke all of these. Why shouldn't garden variety environmental boobery be next?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Quote of The Day

From the Wall Street Journal's Political Diary (a subscription-only service:

The only way to follow anything that happens in the United States today is not to rely on what drifts back into the British media from the overwhelmingly liberal American establishment newspapers and national television bulletins: almost the sole source for, say, the BBC. Instead we must search America's blogs and Web sites.
-- Frank Johnson, a columnist at the London Daily Telegraph, commenting on biased coverage of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath in the British media.

Johnson continues:

From them it will be discovered that nearly everything being reported most insistently about Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans is questionable. By checking evacuation figures against census figures, it seems that the great majority of blacks - about 70 per cent - reached safety before the storm. Concerning the argument that President Bush did not rush to help the city because most of the victims were black, four of the five local government districts worst affected by the storm had white majorities ranging from 67 to 88 per cent.

For these, and many other correctives, I especially recommend the website
I also liked this:

The lack in President Bush that New Orleans has exposed is not his lack of organisation, but of eloquence. Contrast the then prime minister, Churchill, on the 1953 floods.

"The House will have heard of the disaster which fell upon the country on the night of January 31," he begins. But he knows that this is no time for rhetoric. People wanted to know what was being done. He proceeds: "As one might expect after the experiences of two wars, organisations of all kinds, national and local, military and civil, reacted immediately to the call upon them." He mentions accommodation, blankets and food. "There have been the difficulties of contamination of water... military stores are being drawn upon wherever necessary. Certain emergency plans for restoring healthy sewerage are already working under the guidance of local and central engineers."

Doubtless the government was more confused than that. But Churchill did not sound it. Compare with Bush's words to his crony, the now-removed Michael Brown, who was in charge of national emergencies: "Brownie, you're doin' a heck of a job."

I love George W. Bush the man and the president. George W. Bush the communicator, however, often makes me cringe.

FEMA: What's The Problem?

Rebecca MacKinnon is one of the more interesting bloggers out there. She's a former CNN reporter turned blogger/academic, now a research Fellow at the Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. On her blog, RConversation, Ms. MacKinnon posts a Bloomberg report about the apparently high incidence of political patronage among top-level Bush FEMA appointees. The article's point seems to be that President Bush appointed cronies to FEMA slots, unlike President Clinton, who appointed the highly-regarded James Lee Witt and others with real disaster management experience.

I have found MacKinnon to be fair in her approach to politically-charged issues, but I don't understand why she thinks the Bloomberg article is worth posting in full. What strikes me as most interesting about the piece is that it assumes that experienced FEMA leadership would have averted many of the problems that arose during the New Orleans/Gulf Coast disaster. I haven't seen one shred of evidence of that.

Bloomberg relies heavily on Paul Light, a professor of organizational studies at New York University and Director of a Brookings institution center. (I must admit that Light's status as a New York-based academic and officer in a liberal think-tank does not inspire confidence in the objectivity of his views. But at least I admit my biases!) Referring to the current FEMA leadership, Light says:

"These guys kind of have a deer-in-the headlights look; they haven't been through this kind of thing and it shows,'' said Light, the founding director of the Center for Public Service at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based research group. "I'm afraid FEMA has gone backwards in time to the old era of a more traditional campaign-loyalty position.''
Light was less critical of FEMA in this Washington Post op-ed written in the early days of the disaster. In that piece, Light seemed to see the failures Katrina exposed in a more broad-based manner: Everyone was blowing it. In the Bloomberg piece, the story is all about President Bush's political appointments, as if they were the cause of the problems.

Not that President Bush deserves a pass on this one. He clearly did not "get" the enormity of what was happening along the Gulf Coast and made more than one misstep, and as Charles Krauthammer points out, GWB was

Late, slow, and simply out of tune with the urgency and magnitude of the disaster. The second he heard that the levees had been breached in New Orleans, he should have canceled his schedule and addressed the country on national television to mobilize it both emotionally and physically to assist in the disaster. His flyover on the way to Washington was the worst possible symbolism. And his Friday visit was so tone-deaf and politically disastrous that he had to fly back three days later.
Richard Nixon once famously said that he had given his enemies a sword, "and they stuck it in." GWB has done the same thing. White House seems committed to the strategy of riding this controversy out, rather than taking any action designed to regain the initiative. I hope it works.

Monday, September 12, 2005

What Katrina Teaches Us

This op-ed piece by Alan Caruba has a pretty good list.

Also, Hugh Hewitt has a rich set of links on a similar subject: How the Katrina "hysteria is subsiding with the flood waters." The Matt LaBash article Hugh links to is a mighty fine piece of journalism, and Jack Kelly's piece is a must-read.

UPDATE: Speaking of MSM hysteria, Laer Pearce at Cheat Seeking Missiles has an interesting analysis of the New Orleans mortality figures, which appear to have been hyped. Laer concludes:

I don't wish to downplay the suffering and the loss. I just desire clarity, and in this case, clarity leads us to the conclusion that the sensationalists are being just that: sensational.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Military to The Rescue in New Orleans

The Iwo Jima

Chances are slim that you'll see this in the MSM, so here's a link to some great posts on Hugh Hewitt's blog about the work the USS Iwo Jima is doing off the coast of Louisiana.

A Fair-Minded Editorial in The Los Angeles Times? Yes, It's True

It's here, by Michael Kinsley, who is better-known for his snide, smart-alec style than for providing compelling and reasonable commentary.

Perhaps the most interesting snippet is this one. Kinsley reports, "A Los Angeles Times colleague of mine, appearing on CNN last week to talk about Katrina, was told by a producer to 'get angry.'"

Far be it from me to suggest that CNN might be managing the news to be consistent with a particular bias, but that producer's statement certainly does raise a question, doesn't it?

It's September 11. Take Ten Minutes to Watch This.

It is not easy to watch this multi-media presentation. But it shouldn't be easy. And it's important to remember. Go here.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

If You're in The Mood To Feel Disturbed About Iran . . .

Read this op-ed by Amir Taheri. (Thanks, Power Line.)

Devastation Along The Gulf Coast

These photos are as amazing as the tsunami photos were last December. I fear the Gulf Coast was hit harder than most of us realize. The calamity in New Orleans has taken up most of the attention because it is a big city and there was (and is) so much concentrated suffering there. The real damage to New Orleans came from the broken levees and the resulting flood; the Big Easy was spared a direct hit from Katrina. The Mississippi and Alabama coasts were devastated by the hurricane itself, however.

This whole thing is simply horrible.

Maybe Nancy Pelosi Should Re-Consider Her Boycott of A Katrina Investigation

In his New York Times op-ed piece, "The Case for A Cover-Up," John Tierney explains why:

. . . Congress has finally sprung into action. It has bravely promised to investigate the situation. Unfortunately, the members haven't figured out exactly how, because Democrats want it to be done by outsiders. They say the Republicans will turn it into a cover-up. But why does that bother the Democrats so much? Shouldn't members of both parties want to cover this up?
Read the whole thing to find out why Tierney thinks so.

Friday, September 09, 2005

An Unbelieveable Design for A Flight 93 Memorial

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for making this photo available. It is the Flight 93 Memorial design:

It was unveiled this morning. As Michelle asks, "Remind you of anything?"

It gets better: The design is titled "The Crescent of Embrace."

They have got to be kidding.

Michelle has much more on this; so do Captain's Quarters and PoliPundit.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Slugger O'Toole: Newton Emerson Can Certainly Turn A Phrase

Read this post on Slugger O'Toole's blog, re-publishing a Newton Emerson piece in the Irish Times. Then peruse the comments to the post. Aside from the authorship of an Irish writer (which itself gives the piece an interesting angle) the ensuing discusison is about as interesting and fair-minded (with openly displayed biases here and there) as you will see anywhere. (HT: Hugh Hewitt.)

Two Views of The Blame Game

Byron York is one of my favorite political journalists. His latest piece in The Hill strikes a thoughtful and hopeful note, analyzing the opinion polls and concluding that "the effort to find a single scapegoat — preferably one whose name is George W. Bush — just won’t succeed."

John Hinderaker of Power Line comes to a different conclusion:

The Democrats are never discouraged when early polling results don't favor them. On the contrary, they recognize that this happens a lot, since they tend to advocate positions that aren't very popular. So they aren't deterred. They keep pounding away, and they know they can count on the support of the media, so that over time--often, over a period of years--their position, though initially perceived as bogus by most Americans, becomes the conventional wisdom. I still think that will happen here if the Bush administration doesn't do a better job of defending itself.
John, as much as I love his blog, tends to be a pessimist. A year ago he was fairly certain that Kerry would be elected president. So I take his darker predictions with a couple of grains of salt.

And yet, and yet . . . I do think he has a point about the MSM's ability to creat a public perception simply by pounding away at a theme. Example: In 1991 most of the polls showed that the public generally believed Clarence Thomas, not Anita Hill. A year later the opposite was true. Ms. Hill remains something of a celebrity with great moral standing among the Left.

The Bushies do need to do something to take back the initiative over Katrina. It will be interesting to see if they try, and if they do, whether they succeed.

Do The U.S. Mainline Protestant Churches Truly Support Palestinian Christians?

Ralph Kostant, who really ought to give up his guest-blogging gig and join this blog as a full-fledged hedgehog, e-mailed me the following:

In the July 11-July 18 issue of The New Republic (TNR), Martin Peretz, its publisher, excoriated the Episcopal Church USA for announcing a policy of exploring divestment of the Church’s investments in companies that, in the words of Bishop C. Christoper Eping, the Church’s Deputy for Ecumentical and Interfaith Relations, “contribute to the infrastructure of Israel's ongoing occupation of the West Bank.” Peretz argued that such an action represented a throwback to historic Christian anti-Semitism. Peretz argued, quite reasonably I thought, that in a world full of cultural and physical genocides against ethnic minorities, such as China’s bloody and suppressive occupation of Tibet; the suppression of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey (at a cost, in recent years, of some 30,000 lives), the iron-fisted Russian campaign in Chechnya, the genocide of Christians and animists in the Sudan, and so many other atrocities, to single out the relatively benign occupation of the West Bank by the world’s only Jewish State might indicate some anti-Jewish animus. That would be true even without an examination of how that occupation came about—as the outcome of Israel’s defense against an Arab attempt in 1967 to destroy the Jewish State; the effect of continuing Palestinian Arab rejection of Israel’s legitimate existence on the prolongation of that occupation; or the historic Jewish claim to Yehuda and Shomron, the lands that the Western world refers to as the “occupied West Bank.”

Nonetheless, in the current edition of TNR, one Jesuit letter writer, Edward T. Oakes from the University of St. Mary of the Lake, makes a compelling argument that the actions of the Episcopal Church USA are best explained not by historical Christian anti-Semitism, but rather by the modern anti-Semitism of the secular Left. Mr. Oakes, who is a witty stylist, writes:

After all, one cannot have a theological animus without theology; and, as Peretz showed, the Anglicans have almost none at all. I suspect that Anglicans' vulgar, pseudo-prophetic witness in support of a possible boycott against companies that do business with Israel is but one more sign of their hopeless hankering for
approval from the secular left, whose enmity against Israel (which has now broken out into outright anti-Semitism) can hardly be said to have Christian roots, since it tolerates Christians only when they serve as "useful idiots." I admit, when Presbyterian and Anglican Church bodies indulge in such fatuous politics, they deserve criticism. But, in this instance, they deserve criticism because they are whoring after secular gods, not because they are harkening to Christian Scriptures.

The ever open-minded Martin Peretz simply responded, “Edward T. Oakes is probably correct.”

Bishop Eping, however, not merely disagreed with the charge of Episcopalian institutional anti-Semitism; he was outraged by it. But, to quote Shakespeare, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Hamlet, Act III, Scene 2. Hamlet, Act III, Scene 2. His letter to TNR goes so far as to say, “Third, it is presumptuous and even outrageous of Peretz to assert the baseless charge that Palestinian Christians don't want to live in a Palestinian state.”

Actually, it is not at all baseless. Evidence abounds, including the tens of thousands of Christian Palestinian Arabs who have fled Bethlehem and other formerly Christian Arab communities in the Holy Land, for the United States and other non-Arab countries, since the Palestinian Authority assumed control over their home towns following the Oslo Accords. Indeed, a number of Arab towns (to be fair, including Moslems as well), have protested their location on the Palestinian side of Israel’s security fence precisely out of the fear that they will eventually be included in a Palestinian state, rather than Israel.

Finally, Bishop Epling might ponder this article from the September 5, 2005 Jerusalem Post, reporting how a Muslim mob ransacked Taiba, a Christian village near Ramallah, from the previous Saturday night through Sunday morning. The riot occurred after the “honor killing” of a 30-year Muslim woman by her family, in the nearby village of Deir Jarir, for the unforgiveable offense of a romance with a Christian Arab man from Taiba. Her family apparently poisoned her and secretly buried her. When the Palestinian Authority initiated an investigation into her death, and proposed exhuming her body for an authopsy, the family protested, fearing that the forbidden relationship would be exposed, to their shame. The natural reaction of the Muslim villagers of Deir Jarir to all this was to pillage and burn the homes of their Christian Palestinian Arab neighbors in Taiba. [Oh, did the Los Angeles Times miss this story? How surprising?]

Yes, Bishop Eping, no doubt Palestinian Christians eagerly look forward to life in a Palestinian state.

Ralph B. Kostant

A Little More Information on Gregory Henderson, M.D.

I'm delighted to have received a comment below from Dr. Julian Henderson, who is Dr. Greg Henderson's father. Here it is:

Dr. Gregory Henderson is my son and to set the record straight he was a practicing pathologist at New Hanover Regional Medcal Center in Wilmington, NC. He moved to New Orleans in August to take a position as pathologist with Ochsner Foundation Hospital. He went to the Ritz Carlton on 8/26 for a planning retreat sponsored by Ochsner. This retreat ended at noon on 8/27 but he made arrangements with the hotel to return on 8/28 to ride-out the storm. My wife and I were in New Orleans and we evacuated his wife and two young daughters back to Jackson, MS. We have been in periodic contact with him and the information on the internet posted by him and the news media that have been covering the story is factual. I would hope that JT would post his name and address so that one might respond to his scurrilous and libelous comments.

Julian C. Henderson, MD
Father of a true hero

As for "JT," I have deleted his comment from the list. I thought I had done so immediately after it appeared and will do my best to make sure it does not re-appear. For those interested, the comment was sophomoric and mean-spirited and not really worth the attention of serious people.

For other posts on Dr. Henderson's heroism in New Orleans, start here and here.

Choosing The News

Just heard the 10:00 a.m. (Pacific time) ABC News broadcast on my car radio. The two top stories? First, Katrina evacuees in Houston are confused about getting debit cards from FEMA. Second, while Vice President Cheney was somewhere in the disaster area, answering reporters' questions, someone in the audience shouted an expletive at Cheney three times. (All three shouts were played, with appropriate "bleeping.")

I kid you not. That was the news as reported by the venerable American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"The power of collective human love:" The Latest Report from Gregory Henderson, M.D., On-site in New Orleans

I received the following my e-mail this morning. It shows Dr. Henderson's progress in providing medical care to Katrina's victims in New Orleans. (Note: It appears my earlier posts were in error when they concluded that Dr. Henderson had been visiting New Orleans when the hurricane struck. From the message below it appears that he was and remains New Orleans-based.)

An Update on the situation in New Orleans from Gregory S. Henderson, MD, PhD

To everyone all over the world who has read my e-mails, sent your prayers and your help. I am sorry that I haven't been able to reply to all of you acknowledging your e-mails and updating you with many details, but there has been so much to do. However, through all of this I didn¦t want the details of what has occurred day to day to be lost. Because to me the way in which each of you have responded to the situation I told you about is about the most clear example of what the power of collective human love can create in this world. You should all remember what happen this week, what is still happening now, and how all of you helped to turn it around. Since I obviously haven't had much time for writing about what has gone on, I asked a favor of Ms. Nancy Zeleniak, who works for PPD International in Raleigh, North Carolina if she would summarize what all has happened since September 3, the day of the evacuation of the convention center. Nancy and her company were so very instrumental in helping get the attention and care that these people needed, and spent a huge amount of time on the phone connecting the right people with the right people until it finally all started to come together. So, she really deserves to tell the tale. Finally, before you read Nancy's summary below, know that my family and I are still safe. I am now back at Ochsner Clinic Foundation Hospital trying to continue my efforts from here. In the care that Ochsner has given to patients ceaselessly throughout the tragedy, in the help with supplies and equipment while I was alone in the field, and in their construction of a relief effort they have proven to me that I did indeed decide to join the best medical center in the country. This e-mail has an attachment from Ochsner which describes ways in which you can contribute help to the people of this battered and beleaguered, but not defeated, city. Nancy's summary follows. Please pass it on all over the world.

Since the time of the preceding e-mail of 3 Sept:

  • The convention center was evacuated.
  • The medical supplies sent by PPD filled two full buses were used by Dr Henderson and the National Guard within a few hours of delivery. Louisiana State Senator Rob Marionneaux is to thank for helping get the supplies from Baton Rouge into the hands of Dr Henderson. He arranged the ground transport and police escort. We also thank the bus drivers, Beth Carbo and Michele Drevecky. More supplies will be needed by medical personnel working throughout the disaster areas.
  • Dr Henderson determined it would be better to evacuate those requiring dialysis versus bringing in mobile units under the current conditions.
  • Nancy Zeleniak, global head of communications for PPD, contacted Dr Henderson's former colleague, Dr Michael Moulton, an ER physician at New Hanover Regional in Wilmington, NC, to gain advice on obtaining medical staff for the MASH. Dr Moulton brought in Dr Bob Seligson, CEO for the NC Medical Society. The team tapped into Dr Paul Jones in the office of the soon-to-be chief medical officer for National Homeland Security, who was not to start his job until 6 Sept. for additional insight. . . . This team worked together and through connections and communications over a couple days, a NorthWest Medical Team already headed to the disaster area was contacted to help with Dr Henderson's MASH.

E-mail excerpt from Dr Henderson to share with others:
Subject: Re: New Orleans Under Siege
Date: Sun, 04 Sep 2005 11:24 -0200
From: "Gregory S. Henderson, MD, PhD"

I am still in New Orleans. I was out of commission for a few hours overnight. I didn't realize how dehydrated and hypoglycemic I was until I collapsed at the Sheraton last night. My close colleagues in this effort, the New Orleans police got an ER doc that I met up with during the evacuation efforts of the convention center to come by and run a few bags of fluid in me and bring me to Ochsner where I got some sleep. I am about to head back out into the field - I will remember to drink more this time.

Editorial: As of Sun., 4 Sept.: After staying overnight Saturday in the hospital, Dr. Henderson was back in full throttle. He began working with the 72nd Military Police Company, an 82nd Airborne Company and the NorthWest Medical Team to set up a much needed M.A.S.H. in a new location on Convention Center Boulevard in a parking lot in front of Hall H of the New Orleans convention center. This location offers space to expand the clinic and is accessible to current victims still in the city and those being brought in by police, ambulance and neighbors from remote areas for treatment and evacuation. The NorthWest Medical Team is highly experienced in providing medical care in disaster areas. The 82nd Airborne under the direction of Lt Col Metcalf is providing medics for screening patients, security and evacuation of severe cases through helicopters. The 72nd Military Police Company has since been reassigned to another need but Sgt John Sampson and Capt Troy Armstrong were incredibly helpful during the operation.

The NorthWest Medical Team led by Dr. Bill Essig and Dr. Dan Diamond came into the site late Sunday evening. They worked with Dr. Henderson through the night and into early morning hours to clean up trash and debris left from the convention center evacuation to make it possible to set up a medical base. As of Monday morning, Dr. Henderson says they were up and running with 4 MDs and 3 RNs. The state police emergency center was informed of the MASH and its capabilities and they also helped communicate to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and EOP who could network the information to law enforcement around the region and functioning hospitals within the evacuation zone. Other medical professionals joined the MASH so that at the end of the day, six MDs and 4 RNs were effectively working together and they had triaged and treated almost 175 patients that day, evacuating the severe cases.

Thank you for the outpouring of support from all of his fellow medical professionals. As medical staff can only give so much time away from their work, the need for additional staff will be ongoing for quite some time. As of today, there are sufficient qualified professionals in the queue to work at this MASH unit; however, if you¡¦re interested in helping with similar efforts, you can apply through the NorthWest Medical Team ( who is helping coordinate volunteers. They'll help you get registered and placed in an area of need. Alternatively, you can register through the U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services (HHS) for short to long term assignments (min. 14 days - max. 30 days) via (click on Hurricane Katrina link) or call +866 528 6334. If you¡¦re not certified to practice in Louisiana, you need to get registered. You'll also want to linked with a group with authority to be directed to a location with medical needs; otherwise, you can waste much time traveling around without putting your skills to work.

Thanks to all of you offering to ship supplies. What a difference in four days because currently, the MASH is adequately stocked. The shipment from PPD helped a couple days ago but NorthWest Medical Team brought resources and the 82nd Airborne is tapping its sources to help replenish supplies as needed. However, all medical teams in the disaster areas are working with an understanding that these are long term operations and supplies will need to be continually replenished. As MASH units need to stay flexible to relocate to meet the needs of victims and patients, it is better to not ship large quantities of materials directly to the sites at this time. The NorthWest Medical Team takes supplies from companies in their warehouse and directs them overnight to sites as needed. Please see their Web site for donating. For individual and group donors, it would be best to donate money to organizations to use for buying supplies.

Dr. Henderson is extremely grateful for all of the well wishes, prayers and generous offers of supplies and volunteer services from experienced medical professionals. Although he and his colleagues have the difficult job of being on the front lines, the overwhelming outpouring of support from so many bolsters the spirits and helps as they provide care for and save lives of our neighbors caught in this horrific disaster.

I write with kindest regards on behalf of Dr. Henderson,


UPDATE: Apparently some people have questioned the veracity of the Dr. Henderson saga, to the point that has become involved. Guess what? Snopes says the story is . . . true!

For other posts and additional information on Dr. Henderson's heroism in New Orleans, go here, here and here.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Katrina Law Firm Challenge Continues: They Continue to Come On Board!


As noted below, I've challenged other law firms to join Foley & Lardner LLP in matching donations by their people up to an aggregate of $100,000. Hugh Hewitt reported on his show this evening that Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP has taken the challenge. Hugh said he had heard that O'Melveny & Myers LLP is also on board.

UPDATE: I just got an e-mail from Hugh telling me that Dewey Ballantine LLP, a venerable and famous New York-based firm, has joined the challenge.

UPDATE: Winston & Strawn LLP is now on the list. Thanks to my old friend Tom Stromberg for passing the word along!

These are three of the finest law firms in the USA. We already have both coasts covered. I honor these firms' leadership in this effort, and I am sure others will be joining soon.

If someone from Gibson and O'Melveny will e-mail me at lbrown[at] and confirm your firm's participation, I'll post that information here (along with anything else you want me to post, with your permission) and make sure Hugh recognizes you on-air.

Let's keep this going!

(With excerpts from each firm's web site)

Foley & Lardner LLP

"Foley & Lardner LLP is a highly regarded, national law firm providing client-focused, interdisciplinary services that result in high-value legal counsel for our clients.

"Our practice areas encompass the full range of corporate legal services, including corporate governance and compliance, securities, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, labor and employment, intellectual property and IP litigation, and tax. Our attorneys are recognized as insightful thought leaders on these and many other of today's most complex business issues."

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

"Gibson Dunn enjoys a rare place among the world's leading law firms. Consistently ranked as one of the leading law firms in the world, Gibson Dunn serves individuals and industries at the forefront of the economy, including those enterprises shaping the future in the world of business."

UPDATE: I heard from Dr. T. Steven Roosevelt of Boise, Idaho, whose son is with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Dr. Roosevelt reports that Gibson Dunn has "matched and raised the ante" in this challenge:

From the New York Law Journal . . .

"The Red Cross was the designated agency for an immediate $100,000 firm contribution from Los Angeles'Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, one-fifth of whose 780 lawyers are in New York. Managing Partner Kenneth M. Doran expects that amount to increase dramatically with individual donations."

Let's give some virtual applause to Gibson Dunn!

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

"O'Melveny & Myers LLP is a values-driven law firm guided by the principles of excellence, leadership, and citizenship. With the breadth, depth, and foresight to serve clients competing in a global economy, our attorneys devise innovative approaches to resolve problems and achieve business goals. Established in 1885, the firm maintains 13 offices around the world, with more than 900 attorneys."

Dewey Ballantine LLP

"Dewey Ballantine is one of the most highly regarded names in the legal profession, consistently ranked among the handful of firms with the breadth and caliber of practice to serve the complex needs of a discerning client base. For almost 100 years, Dewey Ballantine has garnered success in high-profile transactions and landmark litigation."

Winston & Strawn LLP

"For 150 years, Winston & Strawn LLP has made it a goal to provide clients with the highest quality legal representation. Founded in 1853 by Frederick H. Winston, the firm is one of the nation's oldest and largest. With nearly 900 attorneys and offices located in major business centers around the world, including Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Geneva, Paris, and London, we are well positioned to effectively serve our clients' needs in the global economy."

Everybody Wants to Be in Show Business

Ralph Kostant has yet another choice tidbit for us:


As reported by JTA, Mohammad Daoud, the Palestinian terrorist who masterminded the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre which took the lives of 11 Israeli athletes, has assailed Stephen Spielberg for not consulting with him on Spielberg’s forthcoming film regarding the Munich atrocity. “If someone really wanted to tell the truth about what happened he should talk to the people involved, people who know the truth,” Daoud told Reuters in an interview from his Middle East hideout.

Your Hedgehog Entertainment Reporter fully concurs that Mr. Spielberg should avail himself of Mr. Daoud’s services. Indeed, Mr. Daoud should be featured in the film. If Mr. Daoud will only reveal the whereabouts of his hideout (which is probably in Damascus), I am sure that Israel would be happy to arrange, for his convenience, to shoot him on-location, as we say in Hollywood.

Ralph B. Kostant

Bill Clinton Never Fails - to Display Astonishing Narcissism, That Is

Now, you may ask, after all the narcissism Bill Clinton has displayed, how is it possible for narcissism emanating from him to be astonishing? Well, he always finds a way. It's just, well, astonishing! Radioblogger has the details.

Christopher Hitchens: "A War to Be Proud Of"

In addition to contributing the post immediately below, the ever-watchful Ralph Kostant points us to this excellent Weekly Standard piece by Christopher Hitchens. Like most of Hitchens work, the piece is too densely packed with gleaming nuggets to do justice to it with a snippet quotation. Here's one anyway:

Coexistence with aggressive regimes or expansionist, theocratic, and totalitarian ideologies is not in fact possible. One should welcome this conclusion for the additional reason that such coexistence is not desirable, either. If the great effort to remake Iraq as a demilitarized federal and secular democracy should fail or be defeated, I shall lose sleep for the rest of my life in reproaching myself for doing too little. But at least I shall have the comfort of not having offered, so far as I can recall, any word or deed that contributed to a defeat.
I greatly respect Mr. Hitchens' intellectual honesty, because the opinions he routinely expresses on foreign policy cannot make him popular in the journalistic elites (like the Vanity Fair crowd) among which he moves.

Hitchens' piece also brings to mind another important aspect of the current war effort: The inability of the White House (and yes, President Bush) to articulate the justification for the war. I am as committed a conservative Republican and Bush supporter as one can be, but I must admit I find this disappointing. The president keeps on repeating the same old mantra: We removed a terrible dictator; we're fighting them there instead of here; etc. All that is true, but he can't just keep saying it over and over without developing some other derivative themes; the fickle public will simply get bored. Meanwhile, the MSM simply reports on U.S. casualties.

When I read Hitchens' piece, I see ten compelling reasons why the war is very much worthy of our support and pride. But why should Americans have to dig into the pages of The Weekly Standard to see those reasons? As Hitchens notes:

It would be admirable if the president could manage to make such a presentation. It would also be welcome if he and his deputies adopted a clear attitude toward the war within the war: in other words, stated plainly, that the secular and pluralist forces within Afghan and Iraqi society, while they are not our clients, can in no circumstance be allowed to wonder which outcome we favor.
Alas, GWB is the only president we have. He's wonderful. But he needs some help telling his story. Where are Peggy Noonan and Karen Hughes? We need them.

How Will the Left Oppose the Roberts Nomination as Chief Justice?

Ralph Kostant writes in with these thoughts about the Roberts nomination:

Even while his Administration is under siege from the Main Stream Media and the Democrats over the Hurricane Katrina relief effort and the war in Iraq, George W. Bush shows that strain and stress have not dulled his political instincts. Besides being an excellent nomination on the merits, naming Judge John Roberts to replace the late William Rehnquist as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court virtually disarms the enemy before the confirmation battle has begun.

In the weeks since the initial nomination of Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court, the most cogent argument (and I am applying a very liberal and tolerant standard of cogency here) against his confirmation has been that President Bush should have named a “moderate” (meaning a liberal) jurist to replace the supposedly moderate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. For example, in an August 31, 2005 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, Duke Law School Professor of Law Professor Erwin Chemerinsky warned that Judge Roberts would replace Justice O’Connor’s swing vote on the Left’s Holy Trinity of abortion, affirmative action and separation of church and state. One suspects, however, that Professor Chemerinsky would find anyone to the right of Lawrence Tribe to be unduly conservative.

[Of course, it is an indicator of how the nation’s politics have shifted to the right since 1964 (which I would mark as the high tide of liberalism in America) that Justice O’Connor would be considered by both the Left and the Christian Right to be a moderate. Never mind that Sandra Day O’Connor was an Arizona Republican and the natural-born political scion of Barry Goldwater. Even Senator Goldwater would be considered a moderate in the current political atmosphere. What typifies Goldwater conservatism, and now brands both him and Justice O’Connor as “moderates”, is their almost libertarian conviction that government interference in our private personal lives is as abhorrent as its interference in our businesses and with our property rights. However, I digress--that is a topic for another discussion.]

The argument that Judge Roberts was too conservative a replacement for Justice O’Connor is now moot. Judge Roberts will not replace the “moderate” Justice O’Connor, but rather her Stanford Law School classmate and former comrade-at-arms in Arizona politics, Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The Left has never tried to portray Justice Rehnquist as a moderate (although they prefer him to the twin Princes of Darkness, Justices Scalia and Thomas). While always acting with prudent regard for stare decisus (the principle that the Supreme Court should try to preserve stability and predictability in our system of law, by respecting its prior decisions), CJ Rehnquist regularly parted company with Justice O’Connor in cases involving abortion rights, affirmative action and establishment clause issues. President Bush is replacing a conservative Chief Justice with the very person that CJ Rehnquist considered to be his judicial disciple, in politics, style and judicial philosophy. To have chosen a “moderate” to replace CJ Rehnquist would have been to disturb the very status quo that the liberals have been arguing must be preserved.

Not that the Left will stop arguing that Judge Roberts is too conservative, but the shamelessness of the argument will be more fully displayed. The Left is really arguing against the result of the 2004 elections.

I fully expect the battle lines now to be drawn over the even more fallacious issue of Judge Robert’s supposed lack of judicial experience. Even setting aside the facts that he has now sat for two years on the Federal appellate bench, and that he may well have more experience as an advocate before the Supreme Court than any prior nominee in the nation’s history, one may easily hoist Lefties on their own petards, if they assert the lack-of-experience issue. The patron saint of Chief Justices, for the Liberal Left, is Earl Warren. At the time of his nomination as Chief Justice by President Eisenhower, he was the sitting Governor of California, and had utterly no judicial experience.

Ralph B. Kostant

Sunday, September 04, 2005

President Bush Has An Interesting Public Perception Issue To Address

I am attending a wedding in Atlanta and was just now riding back to the hotel from the ceremony. The group in my car truly believes that the cuts in funding for flood-related work in New Orleans were the cause of the flooding and the ensuing loss of life there. These are educated people. Bush-haters, yes, but educated professionals who should know better.

Now, if people like that think such things, what must the rest of the country-- the folks who rush home to watch "Jeopardy" every night-- be thinking? Especially while the MSM is performing its customary role as megaphone for Bush's critics?

For example, below, a commenter purportedly named Blanche Schwartz seems to think she has handily rebutted Ben Stein's piece by sharing some random, out-of-context excerpts from a description of the Department of Homeland Security's scope of duties and some press reports about criticisms of the FEMA director. I have no doubt that Ms. Schwartz (if that is indeed the commenter's name) really believes that what she posted is valid.

That kind of obtuse credulity is an interesting problem. John Hinderaker at Power Line thinks the White House has been ineffective at preventing such confabulated stories from becoming generally accepted. I must admit, I tend to agree, although there's so much smoke around the whole story it's hard to tell what really went on.

Things may be looking up. Polls suggest the public isn't buying the MSM's megaphone message. (Thanks, Power Line.)

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt thinks fighting back is not the right strategy:

The folks who are trying to politicize the greatest natural disaster in the history of the country don't deserve a response while people are still trapped, lost, and reeling backwards. They will eventually inherit the scorn they deserve.
I hope he's right. Time to go downstairs for the wedding reception.

Another Report from A Physician on The Scene in New Orleans

Thanks to reader Paul DiGiovanni, who put me in contact with his acquaintance Dr. Gene Parrino, a cardiothoracic surgeon based in New Orleans. Dr. Parrino authorized me to post the following story:

For what its worth, here is what I did/saw.

We found out about the storm on Saturday morning. We were at a downtown hotel for a meeting, and our babysitter called and said she needed to evacuate, and when were we coming home. We left the meeting and went to our house. We had some friends leaving for Mobile (I know, still close but the baby can’t deal with the car for long), so Charlotte and Heyward left Saturday afternoon. They went to Lee and Libby Thompson’s house. I went to the grocery store and bought water and ice. Saturday night, I moved a lot of furniture around, tied all of the patio furniture together, and ate dinner. Sunday, I boarded up the windows on the house. My neighbors had been offered a flight on a private plane out of town. They planned to take their car to the airport, and to expect it to be lost. I offered to drive them there so their car wouldn’t be destroyed. It turned out that I had to pick up an Irish widow, her two cats, and a birthday cake also. Anyway, we got her, her stuff, and my neighbors in the car and went downtown to put their cars in a deck. As we left downtown, the airport was closed due to high winds. The cats were going crazy. So, we headed back to the deck, they and the Irish widow got in their car, and they headed for Monroe, LA. I went back home, threw some clothes in a bag, and went to the hospital. Sunday afternoon was one of odd nervous excitement, kind of like pregame jitters in high school.

Monday morning we were all up early. I had slept in my office in a recliner. At sunrise, the wind was really whipping. Through the morning, it just got worse. Big sheets of metal were getting pulled off of the roof of the hospital, and the building was leaking from odd places due to the force of the wind. Power went out sometime around 7 or 8 am. My office faces the Mississippi river, and I could barely see it for most of the morning. It is only about 300 yards away. When I could see it, it had 4-5 foot waves on it, whitecaps, and it was even with the river levee behind the hospital. It didn’t come over, though. The river was not in flood, the wind was just pushing the water that hard. The eye went by around 10:30 am, and then it got nasty again for a while. Around 2:30 I left the hospital. There were still tropical force winds, but I went over to the levee with my mountain bike and walked down it towards the city. It was blowing too hard to ride, and raining. Once I got to St. Charles/Carrollton intersection, I was able to ride mostly, but there were HUGE oaks down everywhere, so despite riding on both sides of the street and in the neutral ground, I had to get off and push some. I swung by some friends houses to check on them, and they were mostly ok. No roofs sucked off, but many, many trees down on houses and lots of broken windows. I got to my house, and it was pretty ok. Two broken windows (sucked out, not blown in), lots of trees down, and some roof damage. I rode around my neighborhood some, and it was tough going with all the trees. I went back home, texted with some friends out of town, and went to bed.

Tuesday, I rode down to the garden district to check on a friends parents. Cell service had been weak Mon afternoon, and by Mon night all that worked was data (text, Blackberry email). By Tues am that was dead too. My friends parents weren’t at home, so I went to the hospital. It was like a Dutch oven, hot as hell and so humid the floors were slick. We had power for lights and elevators, but no A/C. The patients were being well cared for, but the nurses and staff were all drenched in sweat. Most were wearing shorts or cut-off scrubs. There were fans around, but they were just pushing hot humid air. I hung out at the hospital, but there really wasn’t much for me to do. I had expected some sort of mass casualty incident, but at that stage no one could get anywhere, and with the temp and humidity changes in the hospital, the sterility of our gear was in question. Clearly, no heart surgery was going to happen, but I still remember how to pulse irrigate a leg wound. Any way, it was hot as hell and there were lots of surgeons standing around, so I got back on my bike. I later found out that they did three cases that day. So, Tuesday afternoon I went back into the city. I did find my friends parents then, and they were fine on 4th street in the garden district. They had communicated with their daughter. It was then that we heard about the levee breech, and the city flooding. So, I rode further downtown to check it out. The intelligence of this decision is debatable, I know. So, I rode down St Charles. Along the way, I saw people looting every rite-aid and store. They were stealing tv’s, and one lady was pushing a grocery cart filled with bud lite and coors lite. One image that really stuck with me was of crews of young guys in small pickups loaded with stolen stuff, riding in back with the back end almost dragging the ground they were so loaded. It reminded me so much of the pictures of Somalia and of the “technicals” that the dudes there rode around in. The office depot had been cleaned out, and there was a freight palette leaning against the door so people could climb in. I saw one lady with her child in the baby part of a shopping cart loading stuff though the door of a rite aid into the cart. I made it past Poydras almost to Canal, which is where I saw my first police personnel. The water was getting deep, and they were trying to keep people out of that area. They were swamped in every sense of the word. There were dozens of people milling around, going down alleys and side streets. There just wasn’t much they could do. I rode back to the friends parents house. Things were collapsing rapidly. Looters had stolen all of the guns from the wall mart, and were robbing people on Jackson Ave, and shooting at firemen. It was somewhat dicey. I was seeing more and more “technicals”. After conferring with the parents, I rode back to my house. Once there, I moved all of the pictures and chairs from the first floor to the second, and did some other stuff. I hid the silver and the china. I was eating dinner, trying not to use the hospitals resources, and listening to the am radio. It was then, around 8pm, that I heard that the pump that had been helping keep even with the breech had failed, and that they were expecting 9 feet of water on St. Charles in 12-14 hours. My house is 2 blocks from St. Charles. By then, it was dark, and it was a darkness like camping. The only sounds were of incessant helicopters and occasional gunshots. Between overflights, it was dead silent. No background of airconditioners, streetcars, people, cars, nothing. Hanging out there seemed ill advised at that point. I had wanted to remain to protect my house, and had the necessary means, but wading out in the pitch black at 2:30 am in 4 feet of water was not appealing. There was no moon. I did have my waders, but that didn’t exactly make me feel better. So, around 8:30, I left. I took my bike and the pictures off of the refrigerator, and grabbed some few clothes. It was too dark to ride, and I didn’t want to attract attention by using my flashlight, so I walked. It was about 4 or 5 miles. There were some cars driving around, going from one side of the street, down the neutral ground, whatever. When I could see one coming, I slipped off the side of the road and waited for it to go by. Then I kept walking. Sounds tricky, but really no big deal. Afterall, I could see them long before they could see me, and with all of the trees and stuff down there were plenty of places to duck. Anyway, I eventually made it back to the hospital. I slept from about 3:30 til 6, and then got up. It was so freaking hot and humid that sleeping was a joke.

Wednesday morning, I realized that I was accomplishing little. The hospital was evacuating our VAD and vent patients, and we still weren’t seeing an influx of casualties. FEMA was arriving and setting up stuff around town. I went out and got in my car, which was gassed up. I drove to my house (even looters have to sleep, and I figured that they weren’t typically early risers) and checked it out. There was about 6 inches of water in one street next to my house, but the rate of rise was almost imperceptible. I grabbed a couple of things, and left again. I went back to the hospital, and met up with my partner. His sister and mother and a friend needed an escort out of town, and I was leaving. So, they followed me along river road to the Huey P. Long bridge, over it, and onto US 90W. We went to 310 and then on north on I-55. I peeled off and crossed to see about my grandfather. He is 88 and a hardass. He refused to leave his house, which was powerless but otherwise unscathed. He had a generator that his tractor would power. I got some gas from a step cousin, and drove to Mobile. LA was trashed- trees down everywhere, power poles snapped in half. I must have run over hundreds of power lines. Mississippi 30 miles inland was fine, just no power or gas. I made it to Mobile after about 7 hours with the red light on in my gas gauge. Spent the night with lee and libby, and then drove charlotte and Heyward the next day (Thursday) to Charleston. We are putting H in school here, and Charlotte is trying to get a job. I am going back to New Orleans either Saturday or Sunday.


Dr. Parrino adds this post-script in a subesequent e-mail to me:

as a follow-up, i am now back in new orleans and at the hospital. we are
trying to get FEMA to recognize that we are here and ready. Our cath lab is
doing a case today, and i have a lung case tomorrow. i am doing a bypass
operation on tuesday for a guy who has had angina since the storm



Saturday, September 03, 2005

Read Ben Stein's Latest

Ben Stein's got a piece in the American Spectator that is a flat-out must-read.

William H. Rehnquist, RIP

I just heard the news of Chief Justice Rehnquist's passing on my car radio as I returned from an errand. I was instantly reminded of how, during my law school days in around 1980, my left-liberal Constitutional Law professor regarded Justice Rehnquist (he was not yet Chief) with a sort of grudging respect. Professor McCormack considered Rehnquist brilliant but dangerous. Oh, well, the Republic not only survived, but seems to have thrived. Justice Rehnquist was an exemplary Chief Justice who understood the dignity his position required. He also got the cases right almost all the time.

My prediction, without having yet read any prognostications from the Wise Men of the internet, is that President Bush will appoint a Hispanic. Maybe it will be Gonzalez. I hope not. Emilio Garza would be terrific. Manuel Estrada would be even better than terrific, but I wonder if the President has the political capital right now to carry that off?

Gregory Henderson, M.D., Reports from his Makeshift Clinic in New Orlean

We have a situation here where the blogosphere can help publicize a need.

Dr. Greg Henderson is the heroic physician who sent his family away to safety and stayed in New Orleans to help with the disaster. This is a man of courage. Although he is a pathologist and a medical school practitioner who does not deal directly with patients, he threw himself into a chaotic and dangerous situation because he knew he could help. I posted Dr. Henderson's first e-mail here. If anything's a must-read, that e-mail is.

Now he has responded to an e-mail I sent him earlier this week. I received the following today at 6:57 a.m.:

I am replying to all of your letters of prayers and support in this way in the interests of time.

1. thanks for all your letters of support and prayers and offers to help.

2. i am safe, and now based at the Sheraton hotel where we have a new makeshift clinic established.

3. the situation at the convention center is urgent and disastrous = 10-20 thousand people in dire need of health care from minor to severe. A small MASH unit was established there last night. I will be joining them today - I desparately need the help of as many medically trained individuals as possible to triage these patients, treat if necessary, and evacuate - only the most serious will be seen at the MASH

4. i need to figure out how to set up a morgue. there are several dead at the convention center

5. some supplies are ariving today courtesy of Fred Eschelman and PPD Inc of north carolina - I will get these supplies to the convention center as soon as they arrive.

6. i need mobile dialysis units - thousands haven't been dialysed in over a week.

7. i can be reached pretty well on my cell phone at 504-717-8135 8. now is the time to act - i need help - i haven't found any other physicians in the field yet and i can only do so much

9. Ochsner is the only fully functional facility in the city - they are effectively taking care of all of their patients and offering extrordinary help, an lots of supplies - i am proud to be part of this organization.

Greg Henderson


I am sure help will be flowing to Dr. Henderson soon. Meanwhile, if anyone knows of a way to get him the help he's asking for, go to it!

UPDATE: Commenter Paul D., also a physician, notes this morning in response to my post below:

Yes, that is the Greg Henderson who was my classmate for the first two years of medical school. He is on Fox News now, asking for any trained medical personnel (EMT, PA, RN, LPN, MD, etc) to arrive downtown to the Convention Center area to assist with triage of these people. Some will not be well enough to be evacuated before being treated and need immediate attention; others can be sent on their way once transportation is available.

Good for Greg. And although this might be lost on non-physicians, for a guy who practices pathology to have taken a lead role as he has is astounding.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina's Impact on The Courts, The Legal Profession, And The People They Serve

For professional education purposes, I'm a member of the American Bar Association Health Law Section. About an hour ago I received this e-mail that one of the Section's members, Conrad Meyer, sent to the Section. Here it is, with telephone numbers removed. The old saying is that "the devil is in the details." As more information like this comes in, the details of the disaster become clearer and clearer. There is lots of work to do!

Hey . . .

I wanted to send you an email to describe some of the devastation here in New Orleans. I have relocated to Baton Rouge, which has now become inhabited with New Orleans residents. Currently, the legal community has been severely impacted by this storm. I have posted an email I received from an LSU law professor regarding some of the issues we New Orleans lawyers now face. This is the most disastrous event that will change my life forever. I hope that our nation and our fellow colleagues in other areas can help support us in our time of need. I will be accessible by email.

Conrad Meyer JD MHA
Jones Walker
201 St. Charles Ave
New Orleans, La. 70170


5,000 - 6,000 lawyers (1/3 of the lawyers in Louisiana) have lost their offices, their libraries, their computers with all information thereon, their client files - possibly their clients, as one attorney who e-mailed me noted. As I mentioned before, they are scattered from Florida to Arizona and have nothing to return to. Their children's schools are gone and, optimistically, the school systems in 8 parishes/counties won't be re-opened until after December. They must re-locate their lives.

Our state supreme court is under some water - with all appellate files and evidence folders/boxes along with it. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals building is under some water - with the same effect. Right now there may only be 3-4 feet of standing water but, if you think about it, most files are kept in the basements or lower floors of courthouses. What effect will that have on the lives of citizens and lawyers throughout this state and this area of the country? And on the law?

The city and district courts in as many as 8 parishes/counties are under water, as well as 3 of our circuit courts - with evidence/files at each of them ruined. The law enforcement offices in those areas are under water - again, with evidence ruined. 6,000 prisoners in 2 prisons and one juvenile facility are having to be securely relocated. We already have over-crowding at most Louisiana prisons and juvenile facilities. What effect will this have? And what happens when the evidence in their cases has been destroyed? Will the guilty be released upon the communities? Will the innocent not be able to prove their innocence?

Our state bar offices are under water. Our state disciplinary offices are under water - again with evidence ruined. Of particular interest to you...our state disciplinary offices are located on Veteran's Blvd. in Metairie. Those of you who have been watching the news, they continue to show Veteran's Blvd. It's the shot with the destroyed Target store and shopping center under water and that looks like a long canal. Our Committee on Bar Admissions is located there and would have been housing the bar exams which have been turned in from the recent July bar exam (this is one time I'll pray the examiners were late in turning them in - we were set to meet in 2 weeks to go over the results). Will all of those new graduates have to retake the bar exam?

Two of the 4 law schools in Louisiana are located in New Orleans (Loyola and Tulane - the 2 private ones that students have already paid about $8,000+ for this semester to attend). Another 1,000+ lawyers-to-be whose lives have been detoured. I've contacted professors at both schools but they can't reach anyone at those schools and don't know the amount of damage they've taken. Certainly, at least, this semester is over. I'm trying to reach the Chancellor's at Southern and LSU here in Baton Rouge to see if there's anything we can do to take in the students and/or the professors. I think I mentioned before, students from out of state have been stranded at least 2 of the other universities in New Orleans - they're moving up floor after floor as the water rises. Our local news station received a call from some medical students at Tulane Medical Center who were now on the 5th floor of the dormitories as the water had risen. One of them had had a heart attack and they had no medical supplies and couldn't reach anyone - 911 was busy, local law enforcement couldn't be reached, they were going through the phone book and reached a news station 90 miles away!! It took the station almost 45 minutes to finally find someone with FEMA to try to get in to them!!

And, then, there are the clients whose files are lost, whose cases are stymied. Their lives, too, are derailed. Of course, the vast majority live in the area and that's the least of their worries. But, the New Orleans firms also have a large national and international client base.

For example, I received an e-mail from one attorney friend who I work with on some crucial domestic violence (spousal and child) cases around the nation - those clients could be seriously impacted by the loss, even temporarily, of their attorney - and he can't get to them and is having difficulty contacting the many courts around the nation where his cases are pending. Large corporate clients may have their files blowing in the wind where the high rise buildings had windows blown out.

I woke up this morning to the picture of Veteran's Blvd which made me think of my students who just took the bar. My thoughts wandered from there to the effect on the Disciplinary Offices and I thought of you. Then my thoughts continued on. I'm sure I'm still missing a big part of the future picture. It's just devastating. Can you imagine something of this dimension in your state?

Professor Michelle Ghetti
Southern University Law Center
Baton Rouge, LA 70813