The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Friday, September 30, 2005

Deal of the Century

Can you believe this only cost $100 bucks?

Neither can I.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fur Peace Ranch

The New York Times has an excellent article today - in the travel section no less - on Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch.

After 40 years of stardom, Jorma Kaukonen, a founder of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, has turned to teaching. In 1998, he opened Fur Peace Ranch ("It's a fur piece from anywhere," as the locals say) with his wife and manager, Vanessa Lillian. Nestled in the Appalachian foothills of Pomeroy, Ohio, it is an hour-and-a-half drive south of Columbus. From March through November, guitar buffs from as far away as Hong Kong descend on its 119 acres, hoping that in four days Kaukonen can impart a little magic before they perform in the weekly Sunday workshop.

Mostly middle-aged men - computer specialists, contractors and airline pilots who can now afford the $4,000 Gibsons and Martins that they often hide from their wives - they are serious and as unassuming as the backwoods music itself. If a newcomer falls behind on a thumb-contorting G7 chord, the better players, some of whom can match Kaukonen's licks, will stop their own practice to help.

The bearded Kaukonen, with his tiger tattoos and biker's heft, turns out to be warm and funny. Where lesser talents might desperately peddle their latest reunion tour, he remains upbeat despite the lack of commercial interest in the blues. ³People who love this kind of music are everywhere,² he tells the class. ³It's just that none of us looks good in Spandex, so you don't see us in music videos.² Gorging on pork loin in lemon butter and the house specialty, hot tuna, doesn't help.

Sure, he may be a smelly pinko hippy biker, but the guy is a real life guitar god and next to attending Skip Barber Racing School have had attending a session of the Peace Ranch on my to do list for at least 5 years, though I have been a Hot Tuna (acoustic AND electric) fanatic since I was first turned onto them in the early 80s by my guitar teacher. He lent me a copy of Hot Tuna and there was no looking back.

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I might be a suck ass guitarist, but every time I pick one up, I imagine I am Jorma Kaukonen. There have been few finer finger pickers.

Hesitation Blues
Lyrics by Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady
Music inspired by the Rev. Gary Davis

Well, nickel is a nickel, I said, dime is a dime
I need a new gal, she won't mind
Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, I said, must I hesitate?

The eagle on the dollar says "in God we trust"
You say you want a man
You wanna see that dollar first
Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, I said, must I hesitate?

Well, If the river was whiskey, said, I was a duck
You know I'd swim to the bottom
Lord, and never come up
Tell me how long

Well, rocks in the ocean, said, fish in the sea
Knows you mean the world to me
Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, Lord, must I hesitate?

Well, the hesitation stalker's got them hesitation shoes
You know, Lord, I got them hesitation blues
Tell me how long do I have to wait?

Can I get you now, Lord, must I hesitate?
Said, can I get you now, how long must I hesitate?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

NY Time's Compass

Eddie Compass just resigned and the The New York Times punted on the opportunity to address his/their veracity

Still on sabatical

I am still not blogging, but thought this post - on Heads attempt to escape Rita - is worthy of preserving for posterity. I know I am going to re-evaluate our bug out plans, I suggest you do as well.

Speaking of which - anyone know of a computer program or web based route planner that can print out directions other than the shortest way or through a route using interstate highways? I know mapquest or yahoo maps used to feature this option (and a point by point option) but don't believe they still do. A program like that could be very useful.

Democrats = Communists

Some people still reel back in horror as I continue to call most mainstream Democrats communists or simply communist sympathisers.

Well, if the Nancy Pelosi connection to the Democratic Socialist of America isn't enough, perhaps this article by Christopher Hitchens on the mainstream left's fascination with the main "anti war" groups is.

Just remember, no less a mainstream Democrat than Jesse Jackson (ie: Bill Clinton's good buddy) attended and Michael Moore was seated next to Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Box at the last Democratic Convention.

Like I said, Democrats = Communists. For the most part.

Of course, the Republican have their own problems, but thats a post for another day (preferably one while I am not on sabbatical) but its not like they are actually running around with the Klan or the National Socialist Workers Party or anything else Democrats haven't done.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

NRA, NY Times & New Orleans

I just sent a copy of this off to the New York Times.

Dear Mr. Calame:

On September 8th, the New York Times opened a story on the looting that accompanied Hurricane Katrina, by reporting the following:

Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here.

No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.

Based in large part on this report, and other subsequent reports of weapons confiscations, the National Rifle Association filed on behalf of its members a lawsuit to stop the confiscations. The other day they were successful in winning a restraining order against the city of New Orleans, its mayor, and Superintendent of Police Edwin Compass. That order states, in part that:

2. P. Edwin Compass, III acknowledges that no authority has been delegated to him by C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of the City of New Orleans, pursuant to the powers granted unto the said Mayor by the provisions of LSA-RS 29:721, et seq. to order the seizure of lawfully-possessed firearms from law abiding citizens and that any and all statements which are allegedly attributed to him in such regard do not represent any policy, statement, ordinance, regulation, decision, custom or practice of either C. Ray Nagin or the City of New Orleans, its agencies and/or departments;

3. C. Ray Nagin and P. Edwin Compass, III affirmatively deny that seizures of lawfully possessed firearms from law abiding citizens has occurred as a result of the actions of officers, city officials, employees and/or agents of the City of New Orleans or any of its departments and further affirmatively deny that any such weapons are presently in the possession of the City of New Orleans, its agents and/or departments;

4. C. Ray Nagin and P. Edwin Compass, III further affirmatively deny that it is the custom, practice and/or policy of the City of New Orleans, either officially or unofficially, to seize and/or confiscate lawfully-possessed firearms from law abiding citizens.

In light of this order, in which Superintendent Compass either denies making the statements attributed to him in the New York Times or denies having the authority to undertake the actions attributed to him, I was surprised to find the paper did not run either a correction to its original story, an additional story calling into question the veracity of Mr. Compass generally, or simply even a story acknowledging this major civil rights victory on behalf of the citizens of New Orleans.

It seems to me either Mr. Compass is lying now (and under oath) or Messrs. Berenson and Williams were lying in their original story. Either way, it would seem some response from the NY Times was warranted.

Thank you

WELCOME INSTAPUNDIT READERS: I am on an extended sabbatical around here - and have been for about a week or so, but you couldn't tell that from the number of blog post's I've put up. Anyway, while your here, feel free to stick around, peruse the archive, bookmark me, stick me on your blogroll, curse me out, or simple mail your own follow up letter to the good folks at the NY Times. I'll be on sabbatical for some time - until I decide what it is I want to do with this place. Till then, TTFN!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Three Peaks Challenge

Les is right, so is Uncle.

There is no quitting, but I am still on sabatical.

As I sit here nursing my bum foot - I've been on crutches for a week - I think of all the crazy sports I used to do when I was younger and in better shape.

Mountain Biking.

Giant Slalom.

Mountain Climbing.

Backcountry skiing.

Of all that, the most difficult and most exciting was the Three Peaks Challenge which I completed in the spring of 1994 while an intern with Friends of the Earth, UK (didn't agree with them politically on most issues, but it was an excellent experience and I have always thought highly of David Brower - epecially as he denied Al Gore his endorsement while on his death bed).

I did it with some folks there as part of a charitable fundraiser - essentially we ascended and descended the highest mountain in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours. Its brutal.

If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it and my goal is to now complete it again within a year.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Still on Sabatical

But thought I might suggest you check out The Gun Guy. He's new, but boy is he polished.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Outrageous Incompetence

On the day we find out that the Bush Administration has nominated one of the least competent, and most difficult to deal with, individuals I have ever had the misfortune of work with, we also find out that the Justice Department is removing valuable resources from the war on terror and wasting them investigating porn.

Not on kiddie porn. Oh no, I guess thats not a problem.

What we really need to be looking out for are those perveted fetishists.
"Based on a review of past successful cases in a variety of jurisdictions," the memo said, the best odds of conviction come with pornography that "includes bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior." No word on the universe of other kinks that helps make porn a multibillion-dollar industry.

Captain Ed thinks this might be about a Supreme Court seat for Gonzales.

Well, General Gonzales. Fuck You and your seat.

To everyone else, I suggest you visit The Hun's Yellow Pages and have fun. (warning: 100% most defiantly not safe for work - and probably going to be the number 1 target of Allie G) Embrace the porn. Embrace the fun.

Maybe, when I return, my new focus should be Fun and Gun.


I swear, sometimes I have a tough time justifying my support for the Republican party. Like I always say, Pigs Get Slaughtered, and it sure looks like they are feeding at that trough.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Just one more post

I promise. I am really heading off on my blogging sabbatical after this.

Saysuncle can't be right so soon.

Its just that I'm depressed after a miserable day prowling the corridors of power in the nation's capital.

Here's my quick hit thoughts today.

1st, Glenn Reynold's Quixotic quest to cut pork is noble, but also futile . I've just spent the day in meeting after meeting listening to lobbyist after lobbyist and politician after politician searching for ways to find more pork in the budget to fund more worthless projects and coalitions from which they can take their greedy little share. These people aren't looking at cutting spending, or raising taxes. They are just looking to spend spend spend. And, notwithstanding the press releases and high profile interview statements, they aren't looking to spend it on New Orleans either.

Its despicable, but in the end the lobbyists win. Glenn loses because every pork project in DC has a powerful interest who thinks its the most imporant thing in the world (and someone else's most important thing in the world deserves to be cut instead) and a powerful lobbyist who gets to take a size able cut from whatever coalition is pushing whatever appropriation ( which happens to be the super lucrative job the congress critter dreams of after retirement/defeat) and nothing is going to change anything.

Least of all getting a powerful Committee chairman to give up his bridge to nowhere.

2nd, China is going to win in the end. We simply can't compete with them. They have caught up with us on the technological/manufacturing front and will soon surpass Japan in terms of R&D savy. They have no human rights, let alone worker rights, and hence no outrageous liberal pipe dream issues to deal with. They have no run away tort system or me first and the rest of the comrades be damned mentality either (see point #1). End result, a billion Chinese willing to work long and hard for very little.

Say goodbye to America's worldwide dominance.

I'm just slightly depressed. Its been a crappy day.

Back For One More

See, SaysUncle is right. Its too tought to stay away, especially when the United Nation's is reporting things like this.

A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America.
England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.

I probably don't need to let my readers know which of those countries allegeldy has the most firepower owned by private citizens and which have been effectively disarmed over the last few years.

My guess, the NRA will have a field day over this. Read the whole article. Its got a wealth of incredible information. Like, did you know

Violent crime has doubled in Scotland over the past 20 years and levels, per head of population, are now comparable with cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Tbilisi.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Back So Soon?

Well, like I said in the previous post, it is sort of addicting.

How can I decide to run away on the day the NY Times decides to run this gorgeous picture??

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Right on!!! Get 'Em Samantha!! You go girl!!!

She had won a "dream hunt" given away by a Vermont man whose goal is to get more children to hunt, and she had traveled about 200 miles from her home in Bellingham, Mass., and was missing three days of school to take him up on his offer.

The dream hunt - all expenses paid, including taxidermy - was the brainchild of Kevin Hoyt, a 35-year-old hunting instructor who quit a job as a structural steel draftsman a few years ago and decided to dedicate himself to getting children across the country interested in hunting.

His efforts reflect what hunting advocates across the country say is an increasingly urgent priority, and what hunting opponents find troubling: recruiting more children to sustain the sport of hunting, which has been losing participants of all ages for two decades.

God Bless Mr. Hoyt. If he ever makes his way to the DC area, I'd love to buy him a drink.

First Kim and then . . . .

Looks like the time has come to wrap things up.

Its been fun, and while I might be back, I also might not. As I sit here, after almost 2 and 1/2 years of blogging I shudder to think of all the time I could have spent more productively - with my son or advancing my career.

While its been fun (and heck, adictive), I've come to a point in my life where I just don't see myself capable of justifying the time needed to keep this blog up.

Its been a weird few weeks here at Fort Countertop, and I expect that after a break I will return, refreshed and re-energized. When that time will be, I do not know. Till then, I say simply adieu and leave you with the lyrics from one of the world's great crazy bands, the Foo Fighters.

Foo Fighters
Times Like These

I, I’m a one way motorway
I’m the one that drives away, follows you back home
I, I’m a streetlight shining
I’m a white light blinding bright, burning off and on

It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again
It’s times like these time and time again

I, I’m a new day rising
I’m a brand new sky that hangs stars upon tonight
I, I’m a little divided
Do I stay or run away and leave it all behind


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UPDATE: In light of the confusion I want to stress the language in the last paragraph over porky the pig. Specifically, where I say
I expect that after a break I will return, refreshed and re-energized

I am looking at this as an extended sabatical. Don't know when I will return (heck, there have already beenone post and this update in less than a day) but I am not going anywhere, just not gonna be blogging for awhile. Oh, and the archive and past posts are staying up.bloggers.

Fire Fulmer


Enough is enough.

The man might have more wins (or a higher winning percentage) than any other active college football coach (or whatever the dumb record he holds is), but seriously, is there any coach anywhere who has lost most games that actually count?

I'm not a fan of Tennessee football in order to see them beat the likes of UAB 17-14. Its the big games that count, and time and again Fulmer fails to deliver the goods.

Oh sure, he got lucky and won a National Championship 8 years ago, but seriously, even then he was coaching the greatest chocking experiment ever. Its not the players fault, so much of what ALWAYS goes wrong is the fault of the coach. I'm sure Eric Ainge is a good guy, but he was wholly ineffective tonight. Casey Clausen, on the other hand, has been delivering the goods. Why then, won't Fulmer go with Clausen? Why do we run when we should pass and pass when we should run? Like tonight? We should have pounded their ass with Gerald Riggs and a superior running game. Instead, we decide to waste time with a bunch of pansy gimick pass plays where we were outclassed and outplayed. Why do we play to their strength and not ours?

What the fuck was up with the mental errors? That fake punt? The dropped punt?

And on that Florida drive that killed us, how many 3 and 15+ situations did we allow Florida to come back from. Don't get me wrong, the D did their job - you can only ask for so much. Its the failure of leadership that Fulmer brings which trickles down and infects the entire team - but especially the offense.

Perhaps we can trade coaches with South Carolina. Or go bring Danny Ford out of retirement.

I don't care who we get, lets just fire this guy already.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Great Charitable Idea

Boobs for Bourbon Street!

Donate now!

In Call/Out Call

Tough to beat the porn industry when it comes to advanced personal services.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Seems the NY Time's still has a credibility problem.
A bottom-line question: Does a corrections policy not enforced damage The Times's credibility more than having no policy at all?

And to think, this is published by the Public Editor on the eve of NY Times Online essentially shutting down in favor of the ridiculous and overpriced TimesSelect Service. As a user of NY Times online since the very first day it came out (back in late 1995, for those interested), I can say with certainty that I would never pay for their schlock op-eds.

Bye Bye Gray Lady

More Katrina Fallout

File this under the crazy world of Katrina

Never ones to let an ambulance go by unescorted, trial lawyers and the environmental scare mongering industry have already filed the first of what will undoubtably be many class action lawsuits against the oil and gas industry alleging environmental harms as a result of katrina.

“Everyone has been talking about the failures of the state, local and
federal governments in the wake of Hurricane Katrina,” said Val P. Exnicios of Liska, Exnicios & Nungesser. “We believe it's the right time to pinpoint who's essentially responsible for the devastation caused by Katrina in the first place — the major oil and gas companies, who haphazardly dredged thousands of miles of exploration and drill site canals throughout South Louisiana to extract oil and gas.

Next up, look for lawsuits blaming Mississippi Power and Southern Company for Katrina as a result of the global warming they are responsible for (I'll have more on climate change lawsuits later today).

That Was Fast

After 5 months of matrimonial bliss, Renee Zellweger and her country crooning hubby Kenny Chesney are splitting up. Interestingly, Zellweger is seeking an annulment.
In court papers filed Wednesday, Zellweger listed "fraud" as the reason for the breakup but did not elaborate, The Associated Press reported.
Hmm, this might be one celebrity story worth keeping on top of.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Cool, today's featured article at Wikipedia's home page is on The Krag Petersson rifle.

The Krag-Petersson rifle was the first repeating rifle adopted by the armed forces of Norway, and one of the first repeating arms used anywhere in the world. Developed by Ole Herman Johannes Krag, the action of the Krag-Petersson was uniquely actuated by the oversized hammer. Another distinguishing feature is that the cartridge rising from the magazine is not seated automatically, but has to be pushed into the breech of the rifle.

Testing by the Norwegian military revealed that the Krag-Petersson was a robust, accurate and quick firing weapon, and the Royal Norwegian Navy adopted the rifle in 1876. The rifle was also extensively tested by other nations, but not adopted. After being phased out around 1900, the remaining rifles were sold off to civilians, and often extensively rebuilt. Today it is so difficult to find one in original condition that the Krag-Petersson has been described as "the rifle everybody has heard about, but hardly anybody has ever seen"[1]. It was the first rifle designed by Ole H. J. Krag that was adopted by an armed force.

Like I said, cool.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Coolest Name in Rock and Roll

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

It can't get much better than that!

And the sky is blue

At least, thats what seems to pass for news these days. Check out this headline from CNN today.

Crowe lawyers working on reducing charges

Really guys. I thought his lawyers would be working to ensure the charges were increased - maybe ensure their client did life behind bars for attempted murder or something.

Geeze, next thing you know they will tell us Ted Kennedy is a Democrat.

Asshole Liberal Comedian Sues Blogger

Doesn't Garrison Keillor have anything better to do?

Boy, I wish I could get one of those "A Prarie Ho Companion" T-Shirts.

A Prarie Ho Companion A Prarie Ho Companion A Prarie Ho Companion
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Its very strange to have now lost both paternal grandparents. My father was taking it pretty hard the last few weeks - I had never really seen him cry like he did at the hospital last weekend - but overall he seems mostly relieved today. Both of his parents were very healthy right up till the end, and while in their 80s could easily pass for 60 somethings (heck, my grandmother looked 50). Still, when the end neared, it came quick for both - though not without causing some physical torment. The weight they both lost - and the aging they underwent - in the last few weeks was shocking to witness. To have them pass away within a year of each other is even harder still.

Grandpa was always exceptionally strong and in good health. After coming back from the war, he went and played professional baseball for a number of years. Even in retirement, when a hip injury and a bad knee hobbled his ability to play ball, he could still hit a baseball 300+ feet. It was simply amazing to watch him play.

Eventually, the realization that he had to make more money in order to support a family (this was back in the day before $20 milllion annual salaries and sneaker contracts) forced him to get a job and stop playing ball. He went off and started working for a guy from the neighborhood and quickly discovered he could run the business better than him. After a year he left, found an abandoned garage in an industrial area, bought some machines, and started a business selling soaps and laundry supplies. With one employee and one delivery driver, he would work during the day making sales and stay up all night filling orders. Soon, he former boss got tired of competing with him and decided to sell him the already established business. After a few years, he sold that and purchased a different - but similar - business, which my father and brother still run.

My grandmother, on the other hand, was pretty much the typical Italian grandmother - serving up wonderful meals and doting on her children and grandchildren. Even though they divorced in the late 1970s I still saw both grandma and grandpa often, growing up. I didn't understand why they divorced when I was a child, but do now. While my grandfather held no grudges, my grandmother despised him till the end - but usually expressed her dislike of him in a very humorous fashion and her under the breath comments still bring a smile to my face when I think of their extreme wit. She spent the last 30 years simply enjoying life, traveling with friends, and going to church.

I wish they were still here.

This is them back in the 40s, right after the war ended.

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Rock Star INXS

OK, tonight's show was interesting.

First, I think Marty should win overall, though I feel JD's style is a bit closer to INXS's sound. Knowing that he is an actual INXS fan, I can't help thinking of him as anything much more than a second rate Ripper Owen. He's gotten a lot better - but if I were him, I wouldn't want to win. I don't really see a long term future in INXS, whereas the runner up will have his choice of already established stars (Dave Navarro??) to play with.

Second, the quality of performance between the top 3 and the bottom one tonight was striking.

Marty - Once again, he simply out-shined the competition. It was interesting (and a bit surprising) to see him take the stage with an acoustic guitar and only Dave Navarro accompanying him to reprise his killer Trees. It was great last week, it was stunning this week. As he has in the past, he also nailed another modern rock hit - the Radiohead classic Creep. Within that modern rock confine, Marty is phenomenal. Don't know if he can get bluesy enough for the gig, butif INXS is looking to expand their horizons as opposed to becoming simply a novelty act, I think Marty is the direction to go. He got my vote.

JD - I was nauseous watching him perform Pink Floyd's Money - it was borderline blasphemous - and what's up with the annoying punk rock/green day hop at the end of each song and throughout the chorus. Its getting old, dude. However, he also reprised his hit, Pretty Vegas from last week - this time with the full band and Navarro on lead guitar. It worked, and I can see it easily fitting into the INXS repertoire. That, more than anything, is what's going to carry JD to victory. But, as I said above, in the end he will be little more than Ripper Owens light, and while INXS might score a minor hit with it, don't expect them to recreate their earlier 1980s successes.

Suzie I hate 4 Non Blonde's and I hate their one hit wonder What's Up. That said, I thought Suzie's version was inspired and easy to listen to. She his the high notes and had a nice stage presence. Did I read somewhere that she did porn once upon a time??? STP's Interstate Love Song was interesting, but she succeeded in making it her own. Too bad she didn't borrow JD's bullhorn though.

MIG sucked. He will never be a rock star cause he's nothing more than a two bit pretty boy theater geek. Ugh!! Every performance feels like a Broadway show - I don't know if I am listening to Rock and Roll or a performance of Oklahoma!. Poor Mick Jagger - what an awful version of Paint It Black that was. Don't even get me on Seal's sappy Kiss From a Rose. Ugh. Didn't he learn last week that there is no place in rock and roll for crap tearjerkers.

Anyway, I don't know how they are going to handle tomorrow nights broadcast - do you have all but one in the sing off? Do you stick them all in? Two and two?? Either way, its pretty clear to me that the Migster is on his way out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

You Don't Say

American aviation officials were warned as early as 1998 that Al Qaeda could "seek to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark," according to previously secret portions of a report prepared last year by the Sept. 11 commission.

Imagine that.

The White House and many members of the commission, which has completed its official work, have been battling for more than a year over the release of the commission's report on aviation failures, which was completed in August 2004.

Hmm, I wonder which commission members that might include?


I know there lots of knife people out there - and I for one know very little about them.

However, I was out the other night and saw a simply gorgeous knife on display - a Russ Kommer Wrangell Range hunting knife.

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Any idea if this is a good knife, that will hold its edge? Is it worth the seemingly high (to me at least) price tag of $130?


Sure beats Mystery Meat.
A public junior high school in Japan's northern port town of Kushiro had a new item on the menu for its students Monday _ rice topped with whale curry.

The meat is from minke whales the local whalers had caught just off the coast of Kushiro on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, Kyodo News agency reported.

Whale meat returned to public school lunches in Kushiro, the former whaling hub about 560 miles northeast of Tokyo, last year for the first time in 38 years as part of the city-sponsored campaign to promote whale meat.


Presidential Folly

Well, former president, at least.

For those of you old enough, think back a few years to the dark days of the late 70s when Jimmy Carter was smoking pot with Willie Nelson in the White House.

What was liberal whackjob Jimmy Carter most famous for while in office.

Well, not counting running the economy in the ground. Or the sky high interest rates and record inflation. Oh yeah, don't include his monumental screw up in Iran.

What's that leave us with: energy. Yep, there was a serious energy crisis during the Carter years. As a kid, I remember waiting hours on line for gas, of only being able to go get gas on certain days as it was rationed out based upon whether our license plate started with an odd or even number, and paying rates that were the highest ever - adjusted for inflation - until about 1 day ago.

Well, Jimmy Carter has decided to wade back into the energy policy debate where he argues for maintaing high costs and falls for the specious talking points of enviros.

As I've said lots of times before, ANWR is simply not about oil - but much more concerned with increasing supplies of natural gas, the "climate friendly" energy source the liberals pushed for years and which serves as a feedstock for most of modern society and for which we have put tremendous artificial hurdles in front of the supply of (ie: no pipelines or LNG facility to accept shipments from overses and shutting off access to our most productive gas fields)

Thank god he isn't President now.

RIP, Grandpa

Mr. Madonna Penn,
Good for me, not for you

Notorious liberal Sean Penn whack job has been all over the news excercising his constitutional right to free speech and keep and bear arms.

While we all know of his proclivity to annoy, under the guise of 1st Amendment protections, Les Jones is exploring his more mainstream 2nd Amendment tastes.

A Question for Roberts

The NY Time's liberal columnist John Tierney has a bunch of questions for John Roberts.

I liked this one

After Justice Souter's opinion in the Kelo case endorsed the use of eminent domain to seize peoples' homes for a higher "public use," a group proposed that the town of Weare in New Hampshire increase its tax revenue by taking Justice Souter's property there so that a developer could build a resort called the Lost Liberty Hotel. Would your family ever vacation there?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sites and Yon

Yahoo is hiring Kevin Sites as its official online war zone reporter.

Mr. Sites intends to visit over the course of a year every place on earth that is defined by international organizations as a war or conflict zone. The list is evolving but is likely to include about 36 countries.

As he travels to these places, Mr. Sites will write a 600- to 800-word dispatch each day and produce a slide show of 5 to 10 digital photographs. He will also narrate audio travelogues. There will be several forms of video - relatively unedited footage posted several times a week, and once a week, a more traditional video report, edited in the style of a network news broadcast.

Mr. Sites plans to travel largely by himself, although he will hire translators, drivers and security guards as needed. His carefully constructed travel ensemble includes a rolling suitcase filled with lightweight clothing treated with insect repellent, a sleeping bag and a custom backpack that contains an array of gadgets that would put James Bond to shame.

On his travels for Yahoo, he will carry a Canon digital still camera and three small video recorders, including one that fits on a headband.

"I've had to expose myself to open street fighting," Mr. Sites said. "Moving around while looking through the viewfinder of a camera is difficult in those situations."

Like I said, Cool.

Maybe with the unveiling of its new Times Select Service, the NY Times can go and hire Michael Yon. The truth: not only fascinating, but profitable.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

.Gov to DC Residents: Your Screwed!

Yep. So much for any notion that DC is better off without guns. In a fascinating article today, the Washington Post - citing numerous local officials basically admit that any major emergency will send the DC area spiraling into New Orleans like chaos.

The U.S. Capitol and the White House have been fortified, police forces strengthened, high-tech security equipment purchased, vulnerable streets closed and checkpoints and barriers erected. In all, federal, state and local governments have spent more than $2 billion to protect the Washington area since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Despite these efforts, security officials in the region concede that they fear another major terrorist strike would result in the kind of chaos and confusion seen along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Yep, cause when the Poop Hits The Fan, all those resources are going where they should - protecting the long term viability of the United States. Your individual life is worthless on balance.

Of course, some local politicians - scared for their jobs - are premptivly blaming the Feds.

After watching the bedlam in New Orleans after Katrina, Washington area officials said they are concerned about how much help they would get from the federal government and how quickly it would come.

"For four years, we've been hearing from the feds that they are going to take charge so we can respond to any catastrophe that comes our way," said Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D). "And here's the first major test, and it's a failure. . . . I've lost confidence in [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] to come in and be part of the solution.

Being somewhat involved in the planning at the local (town) level around here - I've got to say Doug Duncan is an idiot (but then, we already knew that after his utterly inept performance in the face of the snipers). Never once has the Federal Government told the locals it would come to their aid as first responder. Not here, not anywhere. What it has offered to do is work with the local government to assist in the development and coordination of emergency response plans.

But, don't expect the local governments to have done much of anything.

"What we lack is a coordinated public information system in the event of a major incident," said David Snyder, a member of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' homeland security task force. "What we need is a system that will function instantaneously and automatically every time. . . . That doesn't exist now."

David Snyder is generally a good guy, and I consider him one of my friends. Politically, we have worked together a number of times and I helped him out when he ran for the House of Delegates - but I've got to point out something right here. While a Republican - he is a gun banning bigot. Sure, he might not be as bad as his opponent Jim Scott was - Dave will allow you to keep arms, but he sure doesn't appreciate your right to bear arms. Doug Duncan, across the river in Maryland wants to just ban them all - and laid the foundation for the house to house confiscations going on in New Orleans when he approved the house to house confiscation (for ballistic testing) of all AR-15s in Montgomery County during the sniper episode.


Yet, in light of their admitted failure to improve coordination amongst local emergence response agencies, or even to be somewhat self sufficient, local elected officials in the District of Columbia are still trying the keep the citizens disarmed (link to the video here).

Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Anthony Williams, and corrupt and incompetent police chief Chuck Ramsey just don't get it.

Sadly, neither does my fence sitting good for nothing congressman, Tom Davis. I'd love to find a Democrat who did - and whom I could vote for instead. Davis would rather spend his time at the bar, drinking, than actually tackle a tough problem, or stand up for the rights of Americans - but what would you expect from a former County Supervisor.

I certainly wouldn't expect these folks to recognize the continuing need for the militia.

The several dozen people who did not evacuate from Algiers Point said that for days after the storm, they did not see any police officers or soldiers but did see gangs of intruders.

So they set up what might be the ultimate neighborhood watch.

At night, the balcony of a beautifully restored Victorian house built in 1871 served as a lookout point.

"I had the right flank," Vinnie Pervel said. Sitting in a white rocking chair on the balcony, his neighbor, Gareth Stubbs, protected the left flank.

They were armed with an arsenal gathered from the neighborhood: a shotgun, pistols, a flare gun and a Vietnam-era AK-47.

Luckily for me, in my neighborhood, my arsenal is considered small. Of course, some of the neighbors are without any guns. I don't really feel like protecting them, but I probably will, if needed.

UPDATE Sent to Beltway Traffic Jam

View From The Porch

Tamara, of The High Road, The Firing Line, and Coal Creek Armory Fame has started an absolute classic blog. As soon as I get around to it, it'll be up on my blog roll's daily read list - but it already has that spot on my bookmark list.

I've communicated with Tamara a few times over at The High Road, and had the pleasure of meeting her over Christmas when - while driving South to Chattanooga, I stopped in to Coal Creek to try out the sub guns.

Fun Fun Fun. Plus, she ended up selling me some 1911 mags which made convenient Christmas Gifts.

Carnival Time! of Cordite Double Edition!

A very special, double dosage edition of the Carnival of Cordite is up!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Understatement of the Year

We are not going to get discouraged. I knew coming into the season that there was a good chance we were not going to win them all.

Gamecock Coach Steve Spurrier following South Carolina's 17-15 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens.

The 'Ol Ball Coach nevertheless deserves heaps of praise for almost taking down the highly ranked Bulldogs (a Gamecock touchdown was called back because of a penalty and they failed to convert a two point play with 7 minutes left) who some thought were going to hang 50 on the board.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Enemies: Domestic and Foreign

We know about the enemies overseas: China, Al-Quaeda, Syria, Iran, Zaraquai, Venezuala, North Korea, the United Nation's.

But, in light of this, it seems the list of domestic enemies has now grown by at least one.

Meet Edwin P. Compass, or at least my view of him.
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And shame on any National Guard member who complies with his oppressive, unreasonable, overbroad, and unconstitutional demands. As Uncle says
I would not disarm.

The authorities would have to take them from my cold dead hands. Period. I have a line in the sand and this is it.

Me too.

As Anarchangel points out:
Shooting Cops
Nasty subject, and one which I generally believe should get you the death penalty...

Unless those cops are no longer acting as the legitmate representative of civil authority that is.

The sooner Edwin Compass (and that incompetent mayor) is relieved of his duties, the better New Orleans will be.

Molon Labe

Whats In The Sunsphere

No wig factory - there used to be a wig store down the street - but I had sex in it :)

Bet the rubber is still there.

Job Search

OK, I generally love my job - but I am getting sick and tired of the pay and lack of real opportunities for future advancement in the organization (my boss ain't retiring for another 15 years or so).

So, with that, I have decided to explore the waters. Being a lawyer, as much as I hate to consider it, that also means looking at law firms.

And today, I had an interview with a large firm out of Texas. Salary is $200k with a guaranteed bonus in the range of $50-100k if I bill 2200 hours (about 45 hours a week billing, in reality its a lot of 80 hour weeks). Up for partnerhsip after 18 months (Avg profit per partner is well over $1 million - though in reality junior partners make much much less than that).

Did I mention how much I hate law firms. This is like selling my soul to the devil . . . . but he certainly is willing to pay alot for it.

So tempting. So hard to resist. Must resist. Must must must resist.

Can someone come up with a reasonable compromise???? Right now, the only other alternative is to accept a position with the .gov - something I might be dreading even more. And no, staying put isn't an option in the long term.

Advance Men

Mr. Altshuler and Mr. Rhode had worked in the White House's Office of National Advance Operations. Those are the people who decide where the president will stand on stage and which loyal supporters will be permitted into the audience - and how many firefighters will be diverted from rescue duty to surround the president as he patrols the New Orleans airport trying to look busy. Mr. Morris was a press handler with the Bush presidential campaign. Previously, he worked for the company that produced Bush campaign commercials.

So when Mr. Brown finally got around to asking Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff for extra people for Katrina, it wasn't much of a departure for Mr. Brown to say that one of the things he wanted them to do was to "convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public." We'd like them to stay focused on conveying food, water and medical help to victims.


The Time's goes on though, in a strikingly partisan manner.

Political patronage has always been a hallmark of Washington life. But President Bill Clinton appointed political pals at FEMA who actually knew something about disaster management. The former FEMA director James Lee Witt, whose tenure is widely considered a major success, was a friend of Mr. Clinton's when he took office in 1993, but he had run the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services. His top staff came from regional FEMA offices.

Of course, Bill Clinton put far more important agency's into the hands of his incompetent friends. Witness Madelaine Albright at the State Department, Janet Reno at the Justice Department, and Andrew Cuomo at HUD, Hazel O'Leary at Energy, and of course, Ron Brown at Commerce.

The Man

I am not making any statement on Michael Brown's qualification to head FEMA, but I found Philip Greenspun's thoughts on what it means for the Western Hemisphere particularly relavant.
A lot of folks in Latin America remain convinced that the Man (Uncle Sam) is keeping them down. Considering that the Man is actually mostly guys like Michael Brown they ought to be really embarrassed that they are such pushovers.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Why Shouldn't This Man Be Killed???

Sure, he hasn't killed anyone, but seriously, should any bastard that stabs 10 month old babies just be shot on sight, out of principle????

Here Comes The Gestapo

What the hell is the authority for this?

Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered weapons, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here.

No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns, or other firearms of any kind, said P. Edwin Compass, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.

But that order apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property. The guards, who are civilians working for private security firms like Blackwater, are openly carrying M-16's and other assault rifles. Mr. Compass said he was aware of the private guards, but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.

If I were living there, I'd quickly seek out a judge and get some sort of restraining order against this guy. Seriously, this is quickly turning into a wholesale violation of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 10th.

I'm sure the 7th is being ivolated too, I just can't see it clearly yet. But how much do you want to bet that some of those cops are gonna end up sleeping in some of the grand homes of New Orleans. Seems to me that would clearly violate the 3rd.

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Forced removal is never "with consent."

I guess they have finally found a way to kill off the entire constitution.. And for what its worth, someone should kick Edwin Compass in the balls (or worse). After his uter failure in the face of Katrina, he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt.


Freaky D

This freaky dude was sitting in the row ahead of me on the plane.


He had the funkiest ass hair I have seen in a long long long time.

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And yes, he does have leopard skin hair.

UPDATE Thanks to reader Mike for doing the necessary photomanipulation to make the hair really show.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Rockstar INXS

OK, so my attention wasn't fully there. Before it came on tonight, the wife and I were channel surfing and stumbled onto a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy with a fat nudist mechanic living with his mother. Classic television and forced us to make frequent use of the Last Channel button on the clicker*.

Anyway - here's my roundup.


I Can't Make You Love Me This song capped what was a phenomenal comeback album for Bonnie Raitt in the early 1990s. For me, this song will always be the version Bonnie sang on Saturday Night Live the weekend after Bill Graham died. It was perhaps one of the single most emotional performances I've ever witnessed and Suzie would never be able to top it. By comparison, her performance, while technically proficient, nevertheless was soulless and without emotion - though considering what she was up against, I don't think anyone could match Raitt. I didn't like Soul Life, but then I don't like Suzie.


Hard To Handlewas a technically competent performance, with tons of energy and a bizarre striptease at the end, but ultimately, it was shallow and soulless as almost all of Migs performances are. He's a great showman, but should stay in Theater cause he lacks the heart for Rock and Roll.

His original song, Home In Me blew monkey turds.

Jordis I'll pass on her version of We Are The Champions (haven' we heard someone else attempt it already???) but give her credit for a fun original, even if it sounds like it was written while sitting on the toilet taking a shit (Potty Music, my wife calls it)

JD - missed his performance but based on his past performances I can't imagine he would challenge.

UPDATE: I went online and watched his performance. I liked his introductions a lot - they flowed excellently. His take on Nirvana's Come As You Are was haunting, but didn't quite do it for me. It would have been nice if it wasn't so abreviated. With a couple of more minutes to perform he could have done something good with it, as it is, it was just too short and the killer rocking ending only lasted 15 seconds or so. His original song, Pretty Vegas was pretty damn rocking though, and would sound great in an Arena or by INXS.

Marty was once again the cream of the crop. Everlong was fantastic - he really does have a great modern rock voice (what's more amazing is how good a band the Foo Fighters are) - and his original song Trees may have been the single best performance of the night - something INXS acknowledged. Look for Marty to encore it tomorrow and INXS to release it shortly after hiring him.

I've already told you, I thought Marty gets the encore tomorrow with his song Trees. As for the bottom three - JD, Jordis, and Mig with JD taking a walk. Just my prediction.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


The visit to Florida was ok. Saw some family members I hadn't seen in awhile and got to spend time with Grandpa. He was mostly in a coma in his hospital room, but responded to my holding his hand. He also let out a very loud, disapproving grunt as we discussed my grandmother (his ex-wife) and their relationship.

Anyway, he woke up from the coma today. My mom is down with him and called me on my cell phone and I got to talk with him at least one more time.

I've got lots of thoughts on Florida and Continental Airlines generally, but for now, I am just pleased Gramps has woken up. And for the record, I would much rather die of a massive heart attack than waste away to cancer. So cruel, So cruel. Please pass the jelly donought.

My Lunch

Came back to work today and my copy editor had returned from a trip home to Texas. She had flown back with some pork Tamales and, especially for me, a bottle of Dublin Dr. Pepper!

Mmm Mmm Mmm

Friday, September 02, 2005

Calling All Volunteers

Any Volunteers or other Members of the Rocky Top Brigade in the D.C. Area, the Tennessee State Society is joining the State Societies of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and FLorida in holding a benefit fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina Sepember 7th at the Jones Day Building near Union Station.

If your in D.C. please consider attending.

Are You Prepared??

Says Uncle links to this post on what it takes to survive.

Nobody lives without risk. Let's toss that one into the dumpster, and we can follow it with the rest of the nonsense, too: this is not Bush's fault, it was not because of global warming, and even legendary corruption of New Orleans government played only a minor supporting role. Most of the victims are not responsible for their plight; they are coping as best they can, often showing the sort of heroism and concern for one another that we would expect of ourselves. They are in deep trouble now, simply because trouble is always a real possibility in this world. Too many of us forget that.

Shit happens. It's our responsibility to deal with.

He then goes on to list a number of items necessary for survival.

Tranistor Radio - Check. Actually, we have a couple of different options. We have a large flashlight/lantern/B+W TV/Radio/police scanner that uses 6 C batteries. Last time DC was hit by a hurricane it ran for two evenings on those batteries. It is stored together with an additional 32 batteries (2 multipacks of 16) . I estimate that will last me at least 10 days of prudent use. We also have a weather band radio (slightly bigger than a pack of cigarettes) that operates on AA batteries. It is stored with 48 other AA batteries. Lately I have been contemplating one of those self powered crank radios. Will probably pick one up this week. Communications are key.

Pure Water - Check. In addition to about 10 gallons of frequently rotated bottled water (3 2.5 gallon bottles with the tap like spouts and 2 cases of Deer Park 1 pint bottles) I also have a Pur Hiker Microfiltration System. It has a new filter in it (200 gallon capacity) with a spare right next to it. I've taken it around the world and it has filtered some nasty water and works like a charm (the reason its the number 1 selling backpacking filter). We also have at least a case of bleach (6 1 gallon bottles) in our basement at any time.

First Aid Course - Was re-certified in first aid and CPR 10/20/2004. Will be recertified October of next year.

Medicine - We have what we need, in sufficient quantity to last some time. No one in our immediate house has any need for refrigerated medicine.

Protection - thats what this blog is all about. Actually our bug out kit includes handguns for my wife and I as well as an assortment of rifles for the task. Right now, the go to rifles are probably Marlin 336 with about 150 rounds of .30-30 and a Browning BPS with a couple of hundred rounds of birdshot. Thats enough for our defense. If things get real scary, I am bringing out the Garand. All told we have thousands of rounds of ammo in various calibers.

Light - I've already talked about the portable light/lantern/radio. We also have a number of other battery operated flashlights (waterproof) as well as an oil lamp (Coleman) and a number (6 or so) of little candle lamps (with about 100 little cocktail floating candles - we get the bulk bags at Ikea).

Handheld Radios - nope. Thats something we are going to have to consider.

Backpacking Stove - Check. I have the Whisper Light International that he recommends too, along with a simple aluminum oven contraption that will fit over it (nothing like fresh baked bread to warm the heart and keep you going). Here's the impressive list of fuels it will reliably run on. Mine was actually rated for use with distilled spirits (ie: vodka) when I purchased it. It runs (though not as efficiently) on vodka and other booze (and yes, in Eastern Europe I have resorted to that as fuel), though the news one don't indicate that they can run on it. Hmmm.

Food - Just rechecked the bug out box last night (what we take if we need to evacuate - it has lots of rice, some seasonings in it, and other food items. Enough to keep us comfortable for 3-5 days depending on caloric intake. Overall, we have about a months worth of food in the basement pantry - again, depending on daily caloric intake (which will undoutbaly be much reduced in an emergency - heck I should reduce it now).

I'd like to offer a simple proposal - nobody is allowed to blame the government, or the police, or the victims for being unprepared for this crisis unless they themselves are prepared to care for their own families under similar circumstances.

It's not their job. It's yours.

Couldn't agree more. Here's a couple of other things to consider.

Spare gas. Used military cans are cheap, and while more expensive than it used to be, gas is still relativly cheap. We keep 15 gallons on hand, though we are considering doubling this to 30 (15 for each car) once we figure out appropriate storage. If your going to travel with it, throw it on the roof.

A camp ax - it can be used for all manner of purposes (breaking throw your roof if your in New Orleans, basic close quarters self defense, and harvesting fuel, etc.

Beyond that, throw in those things that make you comforatable. I've always got plenty of books on hand that I haven't read yet.

Good Luck

Good luck to America and the good people in Louisiana and Mississippi (and Alabama).

My grandfather has fallen into a coma and I will be flying down to Ft. Lauderdale this morning to meet with the family there and spend some final moments with him.

I won't be posting over the weekend (though I am unsure if my guest bloggers will).

What Petro said

A lot of people should read this comment over at Buzzmachine. As Glenn says, go there and read the whole thing, but this is a start.

Do some math would you PLEASE? I realize it’s “linear thinking”, and “hard”, but just stop and figure:

Let n be the number of buses needed to to shift people from one place to the other.
Let x be the number of miles you need to shift these people to get them to “saftey”.
Let y be the number of people you can shift per bus.
Let p be the total population you’ve got to move.
Let h be the time you’ve got to move them in.

The simple calculation is:

How many people on a bus? Well, let’s assume a big bus, I think that’s around 70 people, and we’re going to move them 300 miles from the coast (the effected area reaches inland /at least/ 120 miles, my daughter lives in Central MS, and as of 3 this afternoon they were w/out power and she was heading to Atlanta to be with her mom)

How many people have we got to move? 2000:

29=2000/70 (this is integer math, we get whole buses so we round up).

10000 people:
143 buses.

100,000 people:
1429 busses.

Now, 1429 buses is a lot. And that’s also 1429 drivers that have to be gotten somewhere on time etc. Where are you going to get that many? You won’t. You can’t. The buses in the damaged areas cannot be planned on, nor can the drivers (they have families etc.). So you do with fewer buses but make multiple trips, this gets even worse, because now you add time into it, and it becomes about how long it takes to shift people, and how many you can shift per trip or hour.

All this takes planning. And shifting resources around (buses have to be fueled people have to be fed and watered etc.).

And 100,000 is only 1/10th-1/12th of hte people in that area. In addition to just shifting these people you’ve got medical problems, rescue problems etc.

And you /cannot/ pre-plan and pre-stage because you don’t know where the damage will happen, so you can’t count on any particular route being open, and you can’t count on any particular *close* spot being safe, and if you’re too far away you’re running low on fuel inside the damage zone and and and and.

70 per bus, 300 miles each way. 60 miles per hour. That’s 70 people per bus in per 10 hours. Or 7 people per hour per bus.

You’ve got 100,000 people to shift, which means (basically) 14286 bus hours, so 10 buses finishes the job in 1428 hours, 100 finishes in 142 hours (actually add 5 to that for 1 one way trip). To get 100,000 people shifted in 48 hours you’re going to need roughly 298 buses. Which is also 298 drivers. This is all, of course, assuming that things go smoothly. You could probably gather up 3oo school buses from the states around the affected areas and get them in, but school buses are smaller (IIRC about 40 adults) than what I was talking about. WHich means almost (fudging because of the hour) twice as many buses and drivers.

Right after a hurricane. And we haven’t even begun to talk about how many buses go to where and at what time. Or about how to handle medical problems on the bus, feed the people etc. Hell, even refueling the buses.

And note, we’re just talking about getting 100,000 people out of New Orleans and the surrounding area.

And we didn’t /know/ it was going to be New Orleans until Saturday/Sunday.

And on Tuesday morning (before the levee gave way) it looked like things were going to be, well, not ok, but not worse-case. So the planners started shifting resources and planning to the areas that were obviously going to need it.

Then the damn broke.

There are good reasons why there are NO large scale evacuation plans for any metropolitan are in this country. You simply CANNOT plan that sort of thing. Really, Really bright people have tried, and they keep realizing it DOES NOT WORK.

Huricane Katrina

Two initial responses:

Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour to his virtually demolished state - much of which has literally been blown off the map incurring substantial loss of life and where up to 80 percent of the residents sufferred significant losses: We will are not gonna be kind to looters (ie: shot on sight).

Louisiana Democrat Governor Kathleen Blanco to her state which fared far better than could ever have been hoped for with its largest city, New Orleans, still standing and much less death's than originally predicted: "I know, by praying together on Wednesday, that we can pull together and draw strength we need; strength, that only God can give us."


Mississippi keeps violence to a minimum and state begins quickly rebounding and rebuilding.

New Orleans levee breaks, corrupt police force in corrupt Democrat controlled city joins swarms of looters and marauding gangs of rapists and looters, entire attention of nation turns on New Orleans and perhaps 50,000 residents of that city strangle relief effort overall and harm 3-4 million other Hurricane survivors (who also have need of significant federal assistance) by returning to state of wild and untamed nature. Only after 5 days does Louisiana Democrat Governor Kathleen Blanco agree to allow troops to shoot and kill.

OK, then.

Every Man For Himself

Tourist Debbie Durso of Washington, Mich., said she asked a police officer for assistance and his response was, "'Go to hell — it's every man for himself.'"

"This is just insanity," she said. "We have no food, no water ... all these trucks and buses go by and they do nothing but wave."

And yet, Department of Homeland Security Officials looked at my incredulously when I suggested to them today that they revise the silly Emergency Preparedness Pamphlets being handed out at the Union Station "National Preparedness Month" kick off event to include the recommendation that people have guns - or simply some other means of adequate self protection. They were aghast that I would suggest the Government couldn't provide for an individuals protection.

Of course, it also raises the question of why the National Rifle Association isn't a Coalition Member of the campaign.

Remember -

The Second Amendment is America's Original Homeland Security.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: A Legal Perspective

This was just emailed to me by a collegue.

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. 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. 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

Beltway Road Hazard of the Day

Steve at Ravenwood saw a dead fan the other day, I rode my bike in today and saw the rear (better???) side of at least a dozen shapely young ladies jogging on the WO&D bike path (nice tight running shorts, most wearing sports bras, none of those dumb small of the back tattoos).

I win.