Bob Hope, ladies & gentlemen.
Egads. This is the worst natural disaster I’ve seen in my life in the United States. It’s certainly worse than Mt. Saint Helens and the earthquakes in California.
Eager to avoid the blogsin of opining with too little data, I’ve waited until now to post my views on it. That being said, here’s to putting mustard on my foot.
- RFK Jr. is opportunistic, politicizing jerk.
- The loss of oil production & refinement is exactly why we have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
- I suppose Pat Robertson is going to open his mouth about how this is judgment for sin. It is, but his ham-fisted comments about assasinating Chavez a week or two ago are still too fresh in everyone’s mind for his words to have any effect.
- Then again, Governor Blanco’s call for prayer is a welcome sight.
Pray for the victims and the rescuers. Please pray that God give us all the physical and spiritual strength to work through this crisis and rebuild.
Please pray for patience for those anxiously waiting to hear from family members or to get word about their homes. Pray for the safety of our hard-working rescuers and those they are bringing to safety.
I know, by praying together on Wednesday, that we can pull together and draw strength we need; strength, that only God can give us.
I know Jen & I are praying.
- Hugh & Glenn are coordinating a blogger relief effort. Pitch in.
- Looter’s booty should be inspected by whatever police are at hand. If it’s food or medicine, they should be let go. If it’s anything else, they should be stopped
shot at (though not necessarily hit, at least lethally), like they used to be(sorry, reading that after a few hours and I realize that’s a dumb thing to say, though it would be dumb to roam the streets of N’Orleans without a gun now). In the absence of law, the only two things that can stop a person from doing the immoral are a gun and the person’s conscience. Since they are looting, you can’t rely on the latter.
- If the reports of police looting are true, things are truly more depraved than I thought possible.
- At least it now can’t get worse, flooding-wise. WWL TV is reporting (31Aug, 12:11 PM) that the “Water has become level with the Lake in the city so no more water should flow into the city, except at high tide.” Still, damn.
- I invited my Dad to guest-blog on this, as he’s a mechanical engineer and has a few thoughts on structural engineering works, like levees. In his words this morning, “They’ve got a crack in the dam and no dutch boy with a big enough thumb.” He may or may not post, depending on his
ability to figure out these new-fangled computer thingyswork schedule.
Tomorrow is the big blog push for relief, coordinated by Hugh & Glenn (or, as I would like to call it, Operation Swamp Fox). Give, please. They’re your brother citizens, and need your help.
David Stoeffler, publisher and editor at the Arizona
Daily Red Star, has decided to make some changes to the opinion page. Ann Coulter is “shrill, bombastic and mean-spirited”, and is therefore not welcome on the editorial page. Of course she has to be replaced, and the new guy on the page is Tony Snow, whose conservative credentials are accepted and established. With Jonah Goldberg’s column there as well, at least you can say they are trying to bring in conservative readers.
What bugs me to no end, though, is the continued lack of a local conservative editorial writer. This is the editorial board that just this past Sunday applauded the transfer of a ranch from an American citizen to a pair of foreign illegal immigrants, for no better reason than the ranch owner threatened them with a gun. Surely, even the liberal branch of American political commentators can see why there are problems with arbitrarily giving property to foreign nationals. Granted, the ranch owner was wrong and should go to jail. But his property should not be seized for the benefit of foreigners.
This is the same problem Hugh Hewitt identified in his interview yesterday with Tim Rutten from the LA Times. There is no conservative voice in many editorial boardrooms and it is driving readers away. For the AZ Red Star, the problem is constrictive: the paper’s readership doesn’t crest 45% of the local homes on Sunday or 25% of homes on weekdays; ignoring the political views of roughly half the population explains a lot of that shortfall. Even the Minneapolis Star & Sickle have better numbers, though only marginally.
Yet reporters seem unnaturally wed to the idea that bias should be unheard of in reporting the news. On the one hand, their bias is so severe as to be obvious in their stories; on the other, they claim to desire a lack of bias, as if they search it out and kill it as American troops seek terrorists in Iraq. The shotgun wedding of reporters to objectivity shows all the outward signs of a relationship in name only.
Rutten was remarkably thick-headed in his attempt to understand why people would want to know a reporter’s bias when reading an article:
And the notion that people would be better off…I’m always slightly fuzzy on why it is that people would be better off knowing these things about you, than they would be discussing what’s actually on the page.
Let me put it in as simple terms as I can muster. Every reporter has a bias. Whether you want to or not, that bias creeps into the reporting. Tis better to announce that bias, let it flow freely, and allow reader’s to interpret your story through it than to conceal your opinion and claim there is none. It is best to respect their own opinions by declaring yours. Diversifying your editorial boardroom helps them by giving them a broad set of opinions with which to shape their own.
But if reporters see their job as one of shaping public opinion instead of reporting facts, all becomes crystal clear. They would not want a diverse set of editorials, as that may shape opinion in a way contrary to their desires. Instead, they would want a homogenous board that typed in lock-step, yet concealed their opinions behind the mask of objectivity. Diversifying the board would keep them from doing their job, but would enforce them to do their responsibility. In other words, they trade duty for idealism and lose honor. No wonder their readership is low.
Yet one might point out that I complain about bias in reporting but present facts about the editorials. “Its apples and oranges,” the left would say, “so ipso facto there is no bias.” The simplicity of that argument just makes my job easier. Editorial boards influence the reporting of a paper. As reporters go about their beats with an eye towards career advancement, they would have a natural inclination to take note of the editorial board direction and tailor their articles towards the opinions thereof. In the world where reporters are opinion shapers and not fact reporters, agreement becomes a prerequisite for advancement. When you begin to see phrases like “those on the blue side of the aisle … those in the red pews …“, and “anti-choice”, you can tell what the reporter wants to do with their career, especially if the weekly editorials use those phrases too. Editorial boards shape reporting in the same way a potter shapes clay.
Newspapers would do well to take note of the consequences of concealing the truth – just ask Saddam Hussein. He concealed the truth about his weapons programs and lost his country for it. If editors conceal the truth about their biases, they will lose their readership. For them, I cannot imagine a more bitter pill to swallow than to have their paper suffer a fate parallel to that of Saddam Hussein.
Courtesy of Pejman & his new site we have Help Mates, which poses an interesting puzzle. The FEN specification for the problem is:
8/8/8/8/1BK5/1p6/8/k7 b – - 0 1
Which is this position for those without Winboard:
Black to move. The problem is to find the move where black helps white to checkmate. The correct solution for this problem is
- … b2
- Kb3 b1=B
But that begs the question, what if black doesn’t feel like quitting?
Methinks Jeremy has gone a little loose in the noggin…
About 15-20 years ago (egads) I was in Boy Scouts. They teach you several important things, like woodcraft, camping, and fire safety.
We had barbeque ribs yesterday for dinner. They smoked all afternoon, soaking in the rich goodness of the hickory chips that were laid in a foil packet on top of the coals.
A. FOIL. PACKET. ON. TOP. OF. THE. COALS.
Anyway, I go out this afternoon to clean up the barbecue. The coals have burned to ashes, and there is nothing left of them but dust. The foil packet is still there, and is quite hot. I open it up to have a look inside, and the chips are all black as coal now. I close it up and dump it in the trash.
By now you see where this is going, I hope.
Two hours later I’m looking at the kitchen garbage.
As I go outside with the garbage, I notice dust coming out of the garbage can. Funny, I say to myself, the charcoal dust doesn’t normally stay airborne after it goes into the trash. I open the lid and lo and behold, there’s a funny smell, like trash burning.
I knock it over, turn on the hose, and stop the smoldering trash from becoming the Towering Inferno that destroys my house.
Silly me, I thought my inner monologue was driving me to take out the trash. It was God, who must love me or something.
Alternate histories fascinate me, mainly because they show what God did not allow to happen. Reading through Harry Turtledove’s How Few Remain gives more than a few ideas of why He may have wanted the North to win in 1865.
Professor David Allen White of the US Naval Academy was on Hugh’s show yesterday to announce Hugh Cruise 3, to be held next year. Destination: Alaska. It’s one of the things Hugh does every year – a cruise where you learn stuff. This year they toured Europe & Russia. Hugh teaches politics, Prof. White teaches literature, music, and a whole lot of other stuff.
Anyway, Prof. White announced his reading list for the trip next year. In the interest of having people get started early, I went out and found the appropriate links:
- Herman Melville, Moby Dick
- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlett Letter
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
- William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
- Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
The last two are Amazon links, as I can’t find a link to a freely available text. If you intend to go, I suggest you get started, as these are heavy books. Heck, even if you don’t plan on going, pick up one or two of them.
If you missed yesterday’s Hugh Hewitt show, you missed this. Absolutely incredible.
CNN.com – Military laser brings ‘Star Wars’ reality closer – Aug 24, 2005. My boss, as I’ve related before, still doesn’t like Star Wars because he thinks its impossible. I’m sure the Wright Brothers were told the same.