Friday, September 30, 2005

Racism in the Party

Today's news brings to us yet another indication
that SOME in the Republican Party, and its
Conservative figure-heads, just do not GET IT
when it comes to Racism:

A prominent figure in the Party, Bill Bennett, had
this to say on his weekly radio program recently:

"If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that
were your sole purpose -- you could abort every
black baby in this country and your crime rate
would go down... That would be an impossibly
ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do,
but your crime rate would go down," he said.
-- quoted from a piece on today's

OK, if anybody actually needs to EXPLAIN to
Mr. Bennett why this kind of comment is profoundly
and deeply Racist, then he is nowhere near as
smart as I used to think he was...

The fact that he's right now trying to spin it as "taken
out of context" further undermines his credibility.
A public apology from Bennett, and a quick termination
by the radio station of this person, needs to happen
immediately, to make a statement to African-Americans
everywhere that this kind of obvious Racism simply
will not be tolerated.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Bush: The Good, The Bad... and Iraq

I feel the need to come right out and make something clear:

I do not now, nor have I ever, supported the war in Iraq.

President Bush missed a prime opportunity to "spin" the
invasion of Iraq in its only positive light: That the US
(and some of its allies) were going to go into Iraq and kick
down any damn door it chose to, to FORCE compliance with
the UN Resolutions on Weapons of Mass Destruction; once
that mission was complete, we should have gotten the h---
out of there...

Instead, Bush made two fatal errors:
1. Insisting (or having Colin Powell wear the egg on his
face on behalf of the president) before the UN that
there was credible "evidence" for WMD in Iraq...
2. Changing the mission, once WMD were not found, to
some "noble cause" that has now cost the US nearly
two THOUSAND lives and BILLIONS of dollars,
with no end in sight...

He could have easily chosen FAR better:
1. "We have no idea for sure if there really are WMD
in Iraq, but I tell you what, we're going in with guns
blazing to find out; when WE are satisfied, we'll leave..."
2. "Our mission is complete; no WMD, and we'll continue
to keep Hussein in our cross-hairs, taking covert action
against him when our interests are threatened".

Since when did America become the "chosen people",
carrying out some crusade to plant Democracy in every
nation on earth?? So we don't agree with Theocracies,
and we think Freedom is to be prized above all else;
Fine, but a Foreign Policy guided by an approach that
says "free elections or it's Bunker Busters for YOU!"
is nothing short of Imperialism.

I voted for Bush, and I still like everything I know
about him in terms of his character as a man and his
faith in Jesus Christ; but the flag waving and the
Sousa marches and the party allegiance have steadily
faded in me as the stream of news stories of carnage
and futility in Iraq continue...

And my estimation of Bush's leadership abilities has
taken a nose-dive in the wake of Katrina, which
demonstrated how pathetically lacking this Administration
has been in overseeing the agencies which exist to
respond to these types of catastrophies...

No president is perfect, and I'll take a Bush over
a Kerry any day... But past ALL the labels, accusations,
suspicions about "liberal media bias", etc., Leadership
means (among other things) keeping those you lead
up to date on what's going on and what your PLAN is
to accomplish the objectives. It also means having
CONTROL over what your government is doing...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Finding BLAME over Katrina

The devestation in the Gulf Coast states over the past week
or so continues to dominate media headlines; the images of
destruction, death, violence, and suffering are both captivating
and heart-breaking...

And the anger over all of it has, not surprisingly, inspired
passionate outbursts from every angle, from the mayor of
New Orleans to journalists on the scene to rappers participating
in fund raising events...

Where should BLAME fall in this terrible situation? If you'll
permit the opinions of one lone voice out in the void of this
online community, here are my own thoughts on that subject:

I wrote a respsonse to the Tsunami, in Asia, a short while back,
so I won't cover the issue about Natural Disasters again; the
Universe was cracked and broken by Original Sin, and will
never be healed until the New Heaven and New Earth are
brought into existence (this, along with literally SEEING God,
is the Great Hope of the believers...)

I will say one thing loosely related to this, however:
If a person chooses to live in a city that is half a dozen feet
below sea level, and if that area of the country is subject
to hurricanes on a routine basis, I don't see how GOD can be
blamed when "nature" does its thing and lives and property
are destroyed...

George W. Bush
Here's the hot one: Blame the "GUB-ment" when national
tragedy strikes... It's a "25-meter target" scenario (you military
types know what I'm talking about) that doesn't take a whole
lot of thought or analysis, and provides a great hook on which
to hang all the pain, suffering, and anguish; it makes us all "feel"
better to vent, and Bush is an easy mark for those emotions...

HOWEVER, I am compelled to generally agree with those who
say Bush should have done more, sooner:

1. The meteorologists were predicting devestation for DAYS
before landfall... PLENTY of time for the Administration to
craft a Response plan and be at the ready the moment it was
possible to a) mobilize the military to restore order and stem
(the highly predictable) looting that ensued, b) release the
emergency supply pods stationed around the country, as
part of the Homeland Security infrastructure, for precisely
these kinds of events, c) air-drop MRE's and other food, water,
blankets, toiletries, etc., to any place needed, and d) to commandeer
local and state Public Safety resources, under some kind of
emergency federal mandate, to get help to precisely where
any help might be needed...

2. Instead, what we saw was the same sort of mass confusion
and slowness to respond in the past week that we saw when 9/11
happened... So despite the creation of a cabinet-level office
to protect the country, and despite the failures from 9/11 that
should have taught this Administration how to RESPOND to
national emergencies, we have -- 4 years later -- the same
inability to ACT, quickly and efficiently, as we had then...

3. At a minimum, the President should have gotten on a helicopter
and been on the scene the very moment it was possible for him
to do so; he's got people everywhere to protect him and to pull him
away if a military emergency seemed attached to the situation in
the Gulf states... short of that, his mere presence down there, nearly
as soon as the hurricane died down, would have been huge...

It has come to light in the past week that the "perfect storm"
of a levee break combined with a severe hurricane, which would
inflict devastation to the magnitude we've seen this week, is
something that had been studied and reported on numerous times
in the years leading up to Katrina... but NOBODY did anything
about it, not the Army Corps of Engineers, not the state of LA,
not FEMA, not Homeland Security (FEMA is part of HS), not
ANYBODY who might have been able to implement a plan to
build up the levee... And to say that this type of scenario was
"never envisioned", as Homeland Security's Michael Chertoff
is saying on the news, is ludicrous: The reason you HAVE
this type of department in the government is specifically so that
it WILL "envision" any and all possible scenarios! Even a
junior high school student can think along the lines of, "gee,
what would we do if X happened..." !!

It seems like every time large-scale tragedies
strike this country, the powers-that-be are shown to have been
totally unprepared for those events....

Read more along these lines here:

The Mayor and the LA Governor
But the federal government is a giant, 800-pound elephant that
moves incredibly slowly; state and local authorities should ALSO
have had their OWN Emergency Response plan. They should
ALREADY have had answer to questions like, "how would we
maintain law and order in the event of massive flooding" and
"how would we evacuate 200,000 people" and "how can we work
in conjunction with neighboring states to set up evacuation
centers", etc. etc.

But more specifically, I hold Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco
(mayor and governor, respectively) the MOST responsible for
their inadequate response to the disaster (and if the governor did not go
on record, prior to the disaster, screaming to the Feds to strengthen
the levees, then she should be ashamed...). Neither Nagin or
Blanco demonstrated ANY kind of Preparedness, and worse,
BOTH of them had RESOURCES that could have been utilized
immediately after the initial impact to save lives by getting people
out... The picture of HUNDREDS of school buses in a New Orleans
parking lot -- unused, and now flooded -- is an amazing sight,
especially given the story of one courageous young man who
"stole" one of them, on his own, and drove about 75 people
300 miles to safety...

The NYPD also offered to come to N.O. to help maintain law
and order; Nagin declined. Instead, he went to the media and
let loose a profanity-laden tirade against the Federal government,
while some his citizens looted, others remained trapped in their homes,
and many died in those first critical few days...

AGAIN, given the fact that the severity of the disaster was predicted
several days in advance, the do-nothing response of these two
Louisiana elected officials is utterly disgraceful and inexcusable.

Churches, Charitable Groups, and Citizens
Tell me this: Why do the secular Entertainment groups, right now,
have (or have had) no less than THREE (at my last count) fund-raising
events scheduled, to be televised nationally, while the Christian
communities and organizations -- while responding through their own
Giving campaigns -- are largely silent? Surely one of the Christian
record labels can muster enough resources to televise a fund-raising
event that say to the world, "Hey, Jesus cares about what is going on
in New Orleans"??

Now, I already have read about roughly 6 distinct, organized efforts
from the Church to reach out with all kinds of help, and I'm FAR more
interested in one-to-one assistance ("here, sir, take this water... take
this box of MRE's... please, sir, you and your family follow me over here
to this area where there are cots and you can all sit and rest...")...
I'm just wishing, along the way, that we could see more of a PUBLIC
response to these types of things...

And if every single CHURCH that was NOT in the affected areas would
EACH take in as many victims (and their families) as they could,
a dozen in some cases to possibly *hundreds* at larger churches with
more resources, and if the PEOPLE in those churches converged on
the church to SERVE those victims, the burden on the "gub-ment"
would be far less severe... MORE IMPORTANTLY, though, it would
send the message that Love is, indeed, the center of the
True Gospel...

The victims themselves
(some of them)
If you chose to stay in harm's way when you could have gotten out
(i.e., had somewhere to go and the means to get there), then your
suffering is your own fault (though no less pitiable). And if you
take advantage of the Chaos to LOOT or SHOOT or ABUSE,
then you are a CRIMINAL and nobody has any sympathy for you
(except insofar as your debauched Soul needs Salvation, as we all do...)


Our nation has once again shown its Weaknesses to a watching world.
While we pray for the victims as they suffer through this (and as we
send our financial assistance, supplies, and even volunteers) to that
part of the country, we are ALL coping with the thoughts that our
vaunted reputation as "the greatest nation on earth" has, once again,
been a bit tarnished by such events...