Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ed Koch rocks

I love writing, it is no secret. But when someone else does it better, why bother? I dont agree with everything he says, but Ed sums up *most* of my feelings perfectly.

Cindy Sheehan: A shame and a disgrace
By Ed Koch

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in action in Iraq on April 4, 2004, has become the face of the anti-war movement in the United States. While her grief is understandable, her rhetoric is outrageous.

As the mother of a son killed in battle in Iraq, she originally struck a sympathetic chord, whether you supported the war in Iraq or opposed it. One cannot help but empathize with the agony of a bereaved mother. But that has changed over the months, and I believe that many Americans who viewed her with sympathy no longer do so.

Many Americans, myself included, now see her as a person who has come to enjoy the celebratory status accorded to her by the radicals on the extreme left who see America as the outlaw of the world. These radicals are not content to be constructive critics. They are bent on destroying this country.

Some of them want to turn America into a radical socialist state. Others hope to create a utopia. But regardless of their agendas, how can Cindy Sheehan's supporters defend her shameful statement, “This country is not worth dying for.”

While we recognize the U.S. is far from perfect, we are still head and shoulders above most other countries in the world in every respect. We remain the place where almost all others, given the chance, want to come to live. We continue to be the land of opportunity. We are the world’s leading economy.

Yes, there is far too great a difference between the incomes of the rich and the poor. Yes, we haven’t provided universal medical care as a matter of right for all of our citizens. Yes, minorities still suffer from discrimination socially, in housing, jobs and education. But we have a political system that for more than 200 years has allowed the electorate to work its will through regularly held elections. The government follows the will of the people, or it will no longer stay in power.

Those who rail against the United States have simply failed to sell their message to the public at large. They keep losing elections, local as well as national. Rather than broadening their appeal, they have narrowed it.

I supported and still support the war in Iraq, because our Congress and President had every right to rely on the advice of the CIA that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. On Sunday, September 25, 2005, Tim Russert of Meet The Press, summed up the situation prevailing before the war, saying, “…post September 11th, there was a fear of terrorism, an inability to know whether there were weapons of mass destruction by the public or by the media. George W. Bush said there were. Bill and Hillary Clinton said there were. The Russians, French and Germans, who opposed the war, said there were. Hans Blix of the UN said there were.”

Iraq had fought an eight-year war against Iran resulting in a million casualties, using poison gas against the Kurds, who were citizens of Iraq, and against the Iranian army. Yes, since the 2003 invasion, we have not found any present supplies of WMD. Nevertheless, based on advice from CIA counterparts advising every member nation of the United Nations Security Council, the Security Council, including Syria, adopted Resolution 1441 unanimously, finding Iraq had weapons of mass destruction for which it had not accounted and advising Iraq that failure to account was cause for war. Iraq refused to account for them to the U.N. We and our allies were right to invade, notwithstanding that other countries, terrified by the prospect of terrorism against them and tempted by corruption at the UN masterminded by Saddam Hussein through the Oil-For-Food program and lucrative vendor contracts with Hussein’s regime, did not join us.

As I have often stated, we have accomplished our original goal to prevent Iraq from threatening us or its regional neighbors. We should declare victory and get out. Yes, there probably will be a civil war among the Kurds, Sunni and Shia. If the UN — which is still under a cloud because of the "Oil for Food" scandal — decides to take a military role in Iraq to stop the civil war, we can join them at that time.

Having accomplished our original mission, we should no longer be fulfilling the obligations of other countries, such as Germany and France which have had a free ride to date. Even in Afghanistan, the latter NATO allies, do not participate in combat duty, leaving that and the ensuing casualties for the U.S. to bear.

President George W. Bush summed up his views on Iraq when he stated, “When the Iraqi army stands up, the American Army will stand down.” I have low expectations of that happening in the immediate future. The estimates provided by the Bush administration on our getting out range from two to ten years. I do not believe we should wait that long, because of the casualties that would be involved. We should get out now, leaving the UN in charge. Although I believe that we should leave Iraq, I do not accept Sheehan’s outrageous statements.

Sheehan has joined those who rail against Israel, labeling Israel as the culprit with her comment, “You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine and the terrorism will stop.” Is that why Sunni and other terrorists have intentionally killed thousands of Shia civilians, labeling them, according to al-Zarkawi, infidels? Is that why Arab fundamentalists have declared war against all Christians and Jews?

According to Wikipedia, on August 15, 2005, on the Chris Matthews Show, Sheehan said, “she would not have responded differently to her son’s death had he died in Afghanistan rather than in Iraq.

Sheehan argued that the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was ‘almost the same thing as the Iraq war.’” Remember, the UN Security Council authorized the invasion of Afghanistan and the war against the Taliban government.

Sheehan’s personal attacks on President Bush include comments in a speech on April 27, 2005, when she said, “We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush.” Shameful.

According to Wikipedia, Sheehan wrote, “Casey was killed in the Global War of Terrorism waged on the world and its own citizens by the biggest terrorist outfit in the world: George and his destructive neo-con cabal.”

In an interview on CBS, Sheehan referred to the foreign insurgents coming into Iraq, who are condemned as terrorists even by other Arab countries, as well as the U.S. and Great Britain, as “freedom fighters.” On September 16, 2005, she said, “Pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq.” On the one hand, she and her supporters urge that the National Guard be brought back from Iraq to be used in New Orleans, and on the other hand, she condemns their use there now.

In addressing a veterans’ group on August 5, 2005, she demeaned herself with the use of truly outrageous remarks hurled at the President, describing him as “a lying bastard,” “that jerk,” “that filth spewer and war monger,” and “that evil maniac.”

Sheehan appeared this past weekend in Washington, D.C., leading the parade in a picture captured by the media that included Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond and Al Sharpton.

On Monday of this week, while Sheehan and her supporters were in Washington protesting at the White House against the presence of U.S. military forces in Iraq — those forces there at the request of the democratically elected Iraqi government — according to The New York Times, “Armed men dressed as police officers burst into a primary school in a town south of Baghdad on Monday, rounded up five Shiite teachers and their driver, marched them to an empty classroom and killed them, a police official said.” Sheehan believes them to be “freedom fighters.”

Of course, Sheehan has the right to state her opinion in a country she believes shouldn’t be defended. We who disagree with her statements, we who believe this country deserves our thanks, love and willingness to defend it, also have the right to express our views. Speak up, America.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I think I owe Ms Sheehan an apology.

I know I haven’t been very respectful of her protests, and I have fairly openly chided her for being a left wing tool, of letting the Bush haters use her protest for their own agendas. Don’t get me wrong, they did. But I think all along she was manipulating them as much as they her.

You see, while I was sure she was on an anti Bush agenda, I was wrong. She is totally on an anti war agenda, no doubt about it. And what’s more, no one is safe from her laser guided attacks.

Look at the focus of her latest attack. It isn’t the RNC, or the President. It’s none other then Hillary Rodham Clinton.

No I am serious. See below:


War protester Cindy Sheehan came to New York last night with a blunt warning for Senator Clinton: End your support for the war in Iraq or else.

Visiting New York City for the first time since leaving her campsite outside President Bush's vacation ranch in Crawford, Texas, Ms. Sheehan told a packed audience in a Brooklyn church that Mrs. Clinton "knows the war is a lie" but because of her political ambitions refuses to voice any opposition.

Mrs. Clinton is "waiting for the best political moment to say" she opposes the war, Ms. Sheehan said during a 15-minute speech. "You say it or you're losing your job," she said, provoking a roar of approval from the audience. Mrs. Clinton, believed to be a possible presidential contender in 2008, has said she supports the war in Iraq and has pushed for a greater troop presence in the country.

In an interview after her speech, Ms. Sheehan said she has requested a meeting with Mrs. Clinton but has not gotten a reply. Mrs. Clinton's office was not immediately available for comment last night.

Now, Sen Clinton is hardly my favorite, but there is no mistaking that she is the golden child of the DNC. She is by all accounts a strong contender for the 2008 presidential and one of the most powerful people in Washington DC.

Ms Sheehan in going after Sen. Clinton has seized the tiger by tail, in a big way. There are few democrats with more influence then the former first lady, and an attack on her could fracture many alliances.

Sen. Clinton has perfected a moderate stance that will make her presidential bid very hard to counter, and by taking this tone, Ms Sheehan has set Sen. Clinton on a very bumpy road.

For if she appeases her, and capitulates to the demand that she speak out against the war, then she will have to explain her public support of the war, and her calls to increase our presence there. If she maintains her public stance, she risks alienating a good number of liberal followers.

It will be interesting to watch as Ms Clinton decides how to handle this. Ms. Sheehan has made a familiar call for a meeting. Will Ms Clinton shut her gates or open them wide?

And will Cindy camp out in front of the Clinton’s home in New York?

And if so, will MoveOn.Org and Michael Moore support her against one of their strongest allies?

Rather then just attacking the administration in a choreographed partisan parade, Ms. Sheehan is apparently a loose cannon who attacks anyone she decides is necessary.

I will never agree with her or her tactics, but I have to give her grudging credit. She has guts.

This also begs the question: Have they created a monster?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Pledge

I admit to being somewhat conflicted concerning the Pledge of Allegiance controversy.

The Pledge remains a strong memory of my childhood, all of us in our classrooms standing united, hands on hearts, reciting this promise. At School, at Church, at Cub Scout meetings and other places, all would respectfully join together.

As I grew older it became less reverent and respectful. Not that we were unpatriotic, but we were youth. It didn't matter.

When I joined the Air Force, it was again important, though perhaps not quite as important as the Oath of Enlistment, and the Star Spangled Banner.

And as it is now under attack it makes me wonder, how have we as a country changed so much in a mere 40 years or so.

It isn't just the Pledge. Any mention of God causes knees to jerk wildly. People have taken the 1st Amendment establishment clause far from it's intended meaning, and seek to remove all reference to God from our society.

There will soon, I predict, be a call to remove God from our money, to sand off the architectural symbols in our public buildings, to edit the Constitution and any thing else they can.

Now, looking at the divisive "under God" in the pledge, first let me say, yes I know it was only added to the Pledge in the 50's. Regardless, I don't see it as establishing any manner of religion. It establishes, to me, a metaphor that we exist united before all to see, God and people alike. It establishes our equality as people before God and before each other. It doesn't say which God, or which faith, it's just a metaphor. I frankly see it as a historical reference as much as anything, an indication of certain facets of our history. It reflect where our country was, and how it was founded. Anyone who looks to our history and cannot see faith as a facet of it is blind.

Having said that, I also see no reason to compel anyone to say those words if they do not believe them. I am not a big one for forced pledges and allegiance in the first place. Compulsory pledges lack the force of conviction usually. It is rote obedience, not allegiance. It is hollow and meaningless.

The pledge should be spoken from the heart as an affirmation of the belief and the participation in something greater then individual wants and desires. It's an affiliation, a bond with freedom as our goal and prize. It's a proclamation of voluntary membership in a society that values us as much as it does me.

And in that respect, what's wrong with people actually giving something back to the system that they take so much from? All these freedoms they abuse, all in the name of the liberty that provides them the freedom. We should be honored to pledge our alliance to the concepts of liberty.

So I guess what I am saying, is that I see no particular reason to remove the words from the pledge. It was put there for a reason, and that reason is now a part of our culture and history. They hurt no one, they impy no particular faith, they are just a symbol.

But, if the take the Under God back out, it won't change anything to me. Those people of faith or the people who revere the tradition will silently (or maybe not so silently) insert it anyway, even as some athiest omit it now. And besides that, the core of what the pledge means will remain, the ideals that it represents will remain.

The important thing is not whether you say God, the important thing is whether you are saying it with conviction.

The following words were spoken by the late Red Skelton on his television program as he related the story of his teacher, Mr. Laswell, who felt his students had come to think of the Pledge of Allegiance as merely something to recite in class each day.

Now, more than ever, listen to the meaning of these words. They seem very appropriate...

"I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?"

me, an individual, a committee of one.
dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.
my love and my devotion.
To the flag
our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there's respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job!
that means that we have all come together.
individual communities that have united into 48 great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose; all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that's love for country.
And to the republic
a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the
people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
For which it stands, one nation
one nation, meaning "so blessed by God"
incapable of being divided.
With liberty
which is freedom -- the right of power to live one's own life without threats, fear or some sort of retaliation.
And Justice
the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.
For all
which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the pledge of Allegiance...
Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer and that would be eliminated from schools too?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

We must not forget.

As I sit here on the anniversary of Sept 11, 2001 I need to reflect on a couple things.

First, 911 changed a lot of perceptions and paradigms that we as a people had. Hijackings were certainly not a new thing, we had seen them before. A group would take over a plane; we would watch news coverage of them as they negotiated for the release of a comrade, or safe passage to this or that country. But before, there was a typical pattern. Hijack, land, make demands, deliver messages and ultimatums, and eventually (in most cases) some kind of resolution where most hostages were released unharmed. It was theorized that the first three planes in the 911 attack never even considered fighting back because they were probably expecting to land and go through some process of negotiation. We were not prepared for the mindset these hijackers had, where their deaths and their method of dying *was* the message. Flight 93 apparently after realizing their fate chose another path.

It isn’t that terrorism was a new thing. I can personally remember some manner of terrorist like activity going back to the 1972 Munich Olympics. Bombings, including suicide bombings have a long history. The Middle East, particularly the Palestinian and Israeli conflict, has been a source of decades of violence, and even Europe has had its share of problems, specifically in the UK with the IRA conflicts a not too distant memory.

But there has been a kind of bubble in the USA that seems to have insulated us from a lot of this, with a couple of exceptions, those being the UniBomber and the Oklahoma City Bombing. But those seem to be isolated acts of disgruntled individuals, not organized acts by a foreign group against us as a people.

We have been attacked before, but always overseas. The USS Cole bombing, car bombs in Beirut and various other places, all of these were attacks but in lands far from Manhattan. They were news stories, but unless a loved one was hurt, it wasn’t real. It was just a story.

Here we were safe. Until September 11th.

Then the reality came home, and one of our last bits of innocence was gone.

What made the comparisons to Pearl Harbor a little inaccurate was the fact that Pearl Harbor was an attack by a Sovereign nation using an armada of military planes and ships to attack a strategic military target. 911 was a handful of men using our own unarmed civilian planes as devastating weapons against a purely civilian target. Nothing prepared us for how effective a fuel laden passenger airplane can destroy an office building. In the aftermath, we expected to find Iraq at the heart of it, I know I did. And while Iraq did have limited ties to Al Qaeda, there was surprisingly no connection to 911. It was the work of a group, not a country.

All the rules were changed. We had become used to the world as safe place, but no longer.

We became united. We were solid and unwavering in our desire to punish those responsible. Congress was acting in an unprecedented unity…for a while. Eventually politics proved more persuasive then unity. By the time the 2004 election rolled around, we were just as fragmented as we were before, only now we were divided during war.

Our leaders chose to take war to the terrorists and those who harbored them, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Now we again fight them over there. I will defer any arguments on the validity of the places we fight. I am a realist. We are already there, and we will be there for a time to come. The problem I see is we are once again losing valuable unity and perspective. I see this as akin to the pre 911 attitude of seeing it happen “over there”.

We have forgotten the deaths and the pain of watching the towers fall. We forgot the coming together we saw locally in NYC. We forgot the stepping forward as a nation we did, all partisan bickering gone.

Hurricane Katrina has proven just how far back we have fallen and how much we forgot. The response flaws should have been dealt with in proactive correction, and in stepping forward to save those afflicted, and often it was, but as often as not it was greeted with blaming, mostly down party lines.

We have forgotten almost every lesson we learned after 911, and it isn’t really a surpise. The bubble is back. In four years we have not had anything happen here of any significance.

But we are just as vulnerable, because our borders are ridiculous and our security is still flawed. We may be hit here again.

We as a people must wake up and become unified as a country again, not just to combat Al Qaeda and those whose ideology wishes our deaths, but against nature and her fury, which we have seen respects no borders.

The Tsunami was another case of watching it happen over there. Sure whole cities were flattened but that was some place far away. Katrina brought it home again, and the lesson was clear: Yes it can happen here.

And when it did we weren’t ready. As a city, as a state, as a country we were not prepared. Once again, we were faced with something that changed the rules. We had weathered storms, we replaced windows and roofs and moved on. That was the normal procedure.

But the floodwaters, and the resultant pollution in the waters was not what we expected, nor we prepared for the looting and raping. The rules changed. Now local communities are stepping forward, and the spirit of the country is coming close to a partial unification.

The lesson is clear. We must unify as a people, or we will continue to be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. United we stand and divided we fall. How much more clear can it be?

If we only remember one facet of 911, it must be that we have shown we can stand united.
We must not forget that.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Lone Wolf

It’s not a secret to anyone who knows me that I love wolves. Both my tattoos feature wolves, I have several hundred graphics of wolves on my computer, my favorite book series uses wolves as a central character, and my most common nickname is wolf related. On the intro page to my website, I make mention of this and detail some reasons why, which isn’t what I want to discuss.

What concerns my random thoughts today is image that the wolf inspires.

The identity of a wolf is primarily its pack. A pack can be made up of many males and females and their offspring, often up to twelve animals or more, depending on the environment. The family nature of the pack is solid, and provides stability and benefit in hunting. The females will communally raise their pups. Describing the social factors of a wolf pack is a huge task.
Despite this, the image of the lone wolf comes to mind much quicker in many people.

The lone wolf is certainly not a myth. Wolves disperse from their packs for many reasons. For some it is to make a new life, perhaps from overcrowding. For others, dominance competitions, competition for mates and even for food happens and they are driven out.

The lone wolf faces a bleak existence for hunting solo is less efficient. The lone wolf will often trail a pack trying to gain acceptance.

Now bringing this back to me, I was asked by a friend (thanks Erin) if my tattoos represented a lone wolf.

It made me think. As a child I often felt like the loner, or at least one of the loners, if such a thing existed. In fact, most of my life I found myself outside the main flow of the social structure I was in be it church, school, military or work. It’s not that I didn’t have friends; but I was never the social butterfly in the center of group; the main focus of attention. I am actually somewhat uncomfortable in such roles. So yes, in a social context I was a bit of a loner, and when I was younger, I spent many a night bemoaning this fact.

Looking at it today though, my feelings have changed. I began to wonder, is the concept of being alone necessarily a bad one. People choose to live apart from others all the time, for a variety of reasons. My mother was once very isolated in central Oregon, miles from ‘civilization’, and she was content, and healthy. She now lives with my sister, and despite having cancer, she has a strong sense of independence.

In fact the concept of “Loner” is so different from the concept of “Independent”, is it? Look in your trusty Thesaurus and you will find that Lone-Wolf is linked directly to both loner and independent. And if you follow the chain of meanings you see that Independent is closely aligned with Individualistic, Self-Reliant, Liberated, Self-Determining, Self-Sufficient and my personal favorite, Non-Partisan.

All of these terms would commonly be considered positive traits, yet the Lone-Wolf is generally considered the “Odd Man Out”. True that sometimes in our society social groups will drive people out with pack like ferocity, and sometimes this results in maladjustment, but those cases are typically not the norm.

The difference is in how you see yourself isn’t it? The only practical difference comes in perception, nothing more. Sure, I know it’s true that isolation can be unhealthy, and even dangerous. Left to oneself, a person can indeed be their worst enemy. Loneliness can be painful and compelling. But that path leads to self pity, and I personally reject it. Like so many aspects of life, I find that pity is useless. It will certainly allow you think you feel better and you can always blame others and become the victim, but in the end it won’t help.

Instead as the years have gone by, I have learned to draw on self acceptance, self respect, self confidence and self discipline, all of which are components of Self Esteem. Acceptance allows you to grow and learn, and heal. I am not perfectly there yet, but I am trying and a lot happier for it.

I’m still somewhat of a loner, and in some ways I will always be one. The difference is that I no longer mind.

Attitude is the key. I am independent not because I deny the need for others in my life, but because I maintain that need in proper perspective. I don’t indulge in self pity; I simply accept who I am and I enjoy the socializations that I do have. I don’t rely on others for my ultimate happiness; I share the happiness our friendship produces. The mutual benefit means a lot to me.

So call me a lone wolf, I don’t mind and I won’t deny it, it’s true: I am self reliant and non partisan, and proud of it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The lesson in adversity

(dedicated to Allison, in Southeast Louisiana- Glad you and your family made it through ok)

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~Arthur Golden.

Boy isn't that the truth.

When Katrina came to town, her winds stripped the buildings and the countryside, but she did much more. She stripped away the facades from some of the people, as the quote above says and in some cases what was revealed was very bad.

Some of the people in the cities were stripped completely of their humanity. Survival was placed second to greed lust and anger. Looting can be the most basic of survival mechanisms, as the need for food and water and sometimes clothes outweighs respect for laws and property, and in most cases is forgivable, but, when the looting is for a TV set and DVD's, well you have to regard that as opportunistic, not survivalist. And while sex might qualify for a survival mechanism to some evolutionists, I just don't buy it when its rape. I am also at a loss to explain how shooting at the fireman and rescuers is a survival mechanism.

Now, to be fair, I am certain that the overall percentage of people whose inner child was revealed to be a delinquent was small but it was much more prevalent then a lot of people were prepared for. The savagery stunned the nation I think, because we as Americans have this inflated self image that we are a nation of civilized people. In reality, it has been shown time and again we can revert to base animalism almost immediately, as witnessed in the Rodney King riots for example, or the WTO riots here in Seattle a few years ago.

One other place saw the veneer of civilization stripped away, and that was in the comments of the politicians and activists.

Almost as soon as Katrina was detected, the accusations flew. It seemed like mostly the left leaning people were blaming President Bush, first by claiming that the terrible Hurricanes were a result of global warming, and thus directly linked to our refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty. When scientists verified, in the New York Times of all places, that the storm pattern was normal, and in fact we had been running on borrowed time for a big one, they wasted no time in finding other complaints.

Since it hit, we have heard all kinds of accusations, mostly directed at Bush and FEMA including:

There were no national guard response in Louisiana because all their troops were in the gulf- this is patently false, there are adequate troops, just no one called them in, something the Governor should have done.

That the levy broke because the funds to fix it were diverted to the war...or that the funds had been diverted to homeland security. - there is some truth here, but it also appears that there is a much more complex picture, including the fact that the section of levy that burst had just been updated.

That Bush was a murderer for not responding quicker (queue Cindy Sheehan)- I swear, they are determined to pin him for murder somehow, and frankly they are wearing that accusation out.

Some of the worst comments were about race, of course.

"Many black people feel that their race, their property conditions and their voting patterns have been a factor in the response... I'm not saying that myself, but what's self-evident is that you have many poor people without a way out." -- Rev. Jesse Jackson

Well thanks. Now Jesse is trying to incite a race war. Just what is needed.

What is it that makes people want to capitalize on the tragedy of others to score points politically? And why is it that the victims are so willing to go along with it?

And make no mistake; Bush's political enemies are fully on the attack, perhaps seeing this as the way to finally bring him low. No one in the early hours was the focus of more complaints.

Complaints were made that he just toured the area from the air, made a quick stop, looked around and then left. Not like what all past presidents have done during national disasters, which is to use aircraft to fly over and get the broader view of the devastation, then land and assess the damage from the ground, before returning to Washington to coordinate relief efforts. Wait...that sounds just like...

I grant that as the details emerge the overall response was bad, but the reasons for that run in and out of many levels, not just the Federal response. The Mayor responded poorly by not following the evacuation plan for his City; the Governor responded poorly by not calling in her guard units, and requesting timely aid; FEMA responded but may have been so mired in procedure their initial response was slow.

In fact, the issue of proper procedure was one that played a huge role, not the least of it was Bush's inability to do anything until the Governor asked.

The point of this is not to absolve the administration of anything; it is just to point out that the list is not limited to GWB. And think reasonably here folks, it's no wonder this was relief effort was slow considering that the scope of this was far larger then anyone imagined. FEMA had a lot of areas to cover, including the earlier damage in Florida.

Yes, the comparisons to 911 are made, and people point out how smoothly that effort went. But in respect to the area affected 911 was really a small disaster, limited in acreage to several square blocks, not hundreds of miles of rural urban coastline.

Why do people draw on the need to blame someone?

Are we stuck in some twisted form of the stages of grief: First comes denial (it wont hit here); then bargaining (please God, don't let it hit here); Then finally blaming (it's Bush's fault it hit here)Â?seems like it to me.

If so, then the Fifth step of the typical grieving process, acceptance (it hit here and it's no ones fault) better come soon, so recovery can truly begin.

(yes I skipped step 4, depression...I don't think it's hard to believe people are feeling that one already.)

Some people rise to the occasion in diversity, they discover things inside themselves, and they achieve wonders. We as a people have come together so many times in our history to help each other and recover from tragedies, and really this should be no exception. For all the "bad" I have noted above, there is so much more "good" happening: People reaching out to each other; People helping each other; even new lives being born during the disaster. I even saw a wedding at a shelter. We may not hear it much, because of the media's blinders, but we will eventually hear these amazing stories and miracles told.

In summary, in Katrina, we have seen some of the worst in our humanity.

Now it's time to see the best.

The strength of our nation is not always in the initial responses, as anger sometimes overcomes reason. But we always seem to shine in recovery when love overcomes barriers. That is the truth that lies beneath most of us.

Love. Compassion. Selflessness. These are the qualities Americans have in spades, and they are the reason I look at this country with any hope.

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. ~Duke Ellington

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant. ~Horace

Friday, September 02, 2005

This weekend

Rant Ahead.....

I know its a holiday, and normally we would all think about parties, travel and food and drink.

I will be sitting at home, wondering how to reconcile what I expected to happen in New Orleans and what did, not just from dissatisfaction about how the city, state and federal government all responded (or didn't as is the case in all three areas), but how the people there turned so savage so quickly.

I am disappointed on so many ways....how could our so called civilized culture so quickly degrade. Looting I can expect, particularly for food, but shooting at rescue helicopters, burning down a mall then shooting at the firemen and rape and assaults....Its horrible. And enjoy that dvd and big screen tv thieves....A lot of good it will do you. Greed, pure and simple, and so stupid.

Pray for the survivors that they may find both rescue and refuge.

Pray for the looters and rapists so that they find their humanity, and hopefully justice.

Pray for our government that it finds its focus and does what it is required to do. Lets see some leadership in all quarters. Please!

Pray that the bullshit fingerpointing stops and people worry less about who to blame and more about what to do. Its too late to stop it, lets recover and have all the fingerwaving blame games another day.

Right now, while the pundits point fingers, people are fucking dying. These are real lives not talking points and campaign signs.

I hate politics, I fucking hate it.

And pray it never happens where you live.

Rant over.....sorry