September 27, 2011

This is the Way the World Ends...

The world will not end with delusional self-indulgent B.S. like man-made global warming. It is far more likely that all but the least observant of us will miss it when a massive solar flare like AR1302 casts us back into the Dark Ages.

Very few would die as a direct result of a solar flare's massive electromagnetic blast, but the partial or full collapse of our electrical grid, most forms of machine-based transportation, and collapse of computer-controlled water treatment and pumping stations means that the vast majority of us would succumb to starvation and disease within the first three months.

Overnight, the Amish would become the most technologically-advanced population in the United States and one of the only sectors of our technology-driven society not directly affected. Not that they would last very long. Their desperate and starving neighbors would most likely overrun and pillage the pacifist community within weeks, meaning that Mormons and preppers may be the only subsets of society to survive.

I'm just full of sunshine and rainbows today, aren't I?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:13 PM | Comments (7)

September 02, 2011

I've Got A Bad Feeling About This

20 inches of rain, being deposited in a hole in a swamp surrounded by major bodies of water.

Fire up the buses this time, you morons.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:16 AM | Comments (5)

August 09, 2011

Dear London

It seems your quaint and artificial veneer of civility is falling away, as adults trained to be spoiled children by your culture seem intent on burning their neighborhoods—and just about anyone else's—to the ground. It seems that they are a bit put-out because they aren't getting their "fair turn" sucking on the government teat.

At least that is what your fellow socialists claim.

Tell me... how is that working out for you?

Specifically, I mean the part where these leeches rip apart and destroy your homes and livelihood, as your prim little government tells you to stand aside and not dare hurt the poor dears.

Are you still liking the wussification of your nation, and the acceptance of violence, now that it is your world on fire?

Despite the best efforts of our current president and his criminal Attorney General, we don't do that here.

We have a response for looters. From our perspective it's called "outbound fire."

The firearm I am holding in the photo above is just one of many that I have access to; I own several very much like it, and they all fire very real, very deadly bullets. Just before posing for this photo, I had just used this very rifle to repeatedly shoot a 6" target at 150 yards (about 137 meters, a bit longer than a football pitch) with very little effort.

Why? It's quite simple.

Our Creator endowed me with certain unalienable rights—stop me if you've heard this—and also the responsibility to defend the life he gave me from oppressors, tyrants, and thugs.

That right extends to defending the lives of my family, and our home. No one has the right to take away my home or threaten my family, and I have the God-given responsibility to ensure their safety and survival by any means necessary.

We're quite adamant about that, and have taken up arms against entire governments on more than one occasion to ensure our liberties, and will likely do so again at some point.

I'm sure you find our ideals all very quaint as you flee your home for a less combustible location, but perhaps you can reflect upon the idea at a later time. Giving up the rights given to you by your Maker wasn't an intelligent decision, and is perhaps one you may want to revisit.

He expects you to defend the life he gave you, not just the body you inhabit.

Think about that, once you've put out the fires.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:46 AM | Comments (14)

The Fit Has Hit The Shan

The economy is going so well that the host of one of the most popular radio morning shows in our rather large market area spent at least a good half hour this morning talking about his disaster preparation plans, and stocking up for survival with like-minded families.

The few callers to the show had an interesting mix of reactions. Some thought he had clearly gone off the deep end, and very bluntly stated—almost directly—that " it can't happen here." Others thought he was very much on the right track.

It was interesting to listen to the host calmly insist such preparation is a form of insurance, which is a sentiment I share. You have home insurance, car insurance, medical insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, flood insurance... all designed around the theory that it just makes sense to be prepared as you can be for those eventualities. Disaster preparation is nothing more than an insurance to make sure that your family has access to food, water, and shelter in the even of natural disaster or economic turmoil that could interrupt our normal just-in-time supply chain.

Quite frankly, you're rather a bad provider if you don't think ahead for your family's security. I think he made the right call.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:20 AM | Comments (6)

May 14, 2011

Corps of Engineers to Flood Productive Farmland to Save Fetid Cesspool

Here's an idea: Let's build a city below sea level—a city that keeps sinking lower every minute, at that—and surround it on three sides by one of the mightiest rivers in the world, a massive lake, and the Gulf of Mexico. Then we'll fill it with a heart-rending mix of poverty and corruption, and then make it most famous for wanton debauchery, inhumanity, and greed.

Then, when we've created about the most depraved place possible in a goelogically untenable position, we'll use the political influence of that hole in the swamp to make sure people and property that are productive are destroyed by the whims of those with a stake in the corruption.

That about sums it up.

Of course, one could note that if the Corps hadn't created the current system of levees and canals, nature itself would have been able to distribute the flood waters as God intended to make fertile cropland and a home for man and beast alike. Modern man, unfortunately, finds the idea of letting the Mississippi act the way a river is supposed to act in its own delta to be far too uncivilized, even as they destroy the delta itself and all who reside there in the process.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:23 PM | Comments (8)

March 11, 2011

Catastrophic 8.9 Quake, Tsunami Level Northern Japan

Our language lacks the words to convey the scope of the devastation.

Oh. My. Word.

A powerful tsunami spawned by the largest earthquake in Japan's recorded history slammed the eastern coast Friday, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control. Tsunami warnings blanketed the entire Pacific, as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast.

Authorities said at least 35 people were killed. The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake was followed by at least 19 aftershocks, most of them of more than magnitude 6.0. Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter.

A utility company in northeastern Japan reported a fire in a turbine building of nuclear power plant.

U.S. servicemen at bases in Japan are accounted for and safe and are gearing up to render assistance if asked. The tsunami racing across the Pacific is supposed to hit Hawaii in less than 2 hours from now with waves roughly 2 meters high.

Please pray for those affected.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:07 AM | Comments (2)

January 26, 2011

IFAKs Saved Lives in Tucson

@ITSTactical points to a Washington Post article about the lives saved in Tucson because responding deputies were equipped with military-grade Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs) optimized to deal with the most common causes of battlefield trauma and death. The small kits—not even the size of a child's lunchbox—have saved lives in combat overseas and did the same at the site of Jared Loughner's attack.

Doctors and law enforcement officials told reporters here that the incident would have been much worse without a small brown kit devised by David Kleinman, a SWAT team medic who had become concerned about rising violence.

Kleinman cobbled together the Individual First Aid Kits out of simple items used by combat medics in Iraq and Afghanistan: an emergency bandage pioneered by the Israeli army; a strip of gauze that contains a substance which coagulates blood on contact; a tactical tourniquet; shears that are sturdy and sharp enough to slice off victims' clothing; and sealing material that works especially well on chest wounds.

I purchased my first IFAK in mid-2010. As I spend a decent amount of time at shooting ranges, and the skill level and safety practices of people at ranges varies widely, it simply seemed prudent to have such a kit as part of my range bag in case someone suffers the results of a negligent discharge or catastrophic failure. I'm also looking to pick up some relevant first responder training so that I can use the kit more effectively, but the brilliance of the kit is that it uses equipment that requires minimal training.

As ITS brought this article to my attention, I think it only fair that I provide a link to their site, where they sell a similar kit they call an ETA. Considering the amount of time I spend on the road each week (minimum of 250 miles) I'm thinking about picking up a pair of these to keep in my vehicles to deal with the more common scenario of running across an accident scene.

I hope I never find myself needing to use any sort of blow-out kit like these, but if they're needed, I hope to God that I have one nearby.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:05 PM | Comments (5)

January 03, 2011

What Is Going On In Arkansas?

I read the other day of the deaths of a thousand blackbirds that fell dead out of the sky in Arkansas. The original claim by "experts" was that there must have been some sort of cloud-to-cloud lighting that lit up the flock, but now that the total is over 5,000 birds, that theory just doesn't seem to hold water. And speaking of water, at least 100,000 drum (the freshwater fish, not the saltwater game fish, or the musical instrument) have died in an Arkansas river, and the toll may go into the hundreds of thousands. disease is suspected instead of pollution since only one species was killed (other native fish seem to be unaffected), but when you have two bizarre die-offs within days and within fairly close proximity, you have to start wondering if this is a coincidence, or if the die-offs are somehow tied together to the same biological organism.

There is no word yet an whether or not if any of the fish and fowl have come back from the dead with a dietary preference for brains, but we'll keep a look-out, just in case.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:42 AM | Comments (4)

July 01, 2010

A Whale Skimmer Still Anchored By Administration, EPA

The most powerful oil-skimming vessel in the world languishes in port, anchored by incompetency in the White House and absurd EPA red tape:

The A Whale arrived in the Gulf on Wednesday, the Coast Guard said. It was anchored in Boothville, Lousiana, about an hour south of New Orleans.

"While the ship is ready to work, it still doesn't have approval to engage in the effort," said Frank Maisano, spokesman for TMT Shipping, the vessel's owner and operator, in a statement.

Officials from the company are meeting with BP and the U.S. Coast Guard Thursday morning, he told CNN. "We don't know what will happen," he said, but added it's expected that parameters for a test of the vessel will be discussed -- "they'll give us a plot and we'll test the technology."

Has a government ever been overthrown for environmental incompetence?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)

June 26, 2010

Governed by Fools

They mismanage wars, economies, and even disasters:

The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company's expense. "If there's a country that's experienced with building dikes and managing water, it's the Netherlands," says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.

In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment --unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn't good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million -- if water isn't at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

Why, why do liberals place such blind trust in legendary incompetence of government bureaucrats, instead of the ingenuity of the people?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:02 PM | Comments (17)

Change? The Pending "Oilcane" Disaster

Doug Ross stares into the eye of the pending environmental disaster of an oil-fueled Gulf coast hurricane, and places the blame squarely at the feet of the incompetent spill response of the Obama Administration.

The recovery period after a hurricane can take years. It was 10 years until some communities fully recovered from Hurricane Andrew in South Florida, some never recovered at all. The New Orleans area is still putting itself back together after Katrina in 2005. The recovery period after an oil-soaked hurricane -- or what could be called an Oilicane – is impossible to forecast but it could take years and many billions of dollars. One wonders if BP has the money to survive such a unique disaster. The human and natural losses from such an event could be historic.
There's that word again: historic. Everything about this administration is historic -- and none of it in a good way.

Should, heaven forbid, the world's first Oilcane wreak havoc in the Southeast, one man will have to shoulder substantial blame. One man's legacy will be utter economic and environmental ruin. One man's unsuitability for the highest office in the land will be crystal clear even to the most obtuse observer.

I've been through a number of minor-to-moderate hurricanes, have seen trees crashing down around me on cars and buildings. When I return to my hometown of Greenville, NC to visit family, I can still see the scars from Hurricane Floyd's floodwaters.

I can't even begin to fathom the environmental disaster of a hurricane compounded by the sludge of oil. It may simply kill entire sections of the coast, rendering large areas toxic wastelands unacceptable for habitation.

Obama's Democrats own the Deepwater Horizon disaster, lock, stock and oil barrel.

That will be a comfort to no one.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:17 AM | Comments (5)

June 23, 2010

Obama Continues Effort to Wreck The Gulf

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster is threatening the estuary marshes and wetlands of the Mississippi delta, potentially destroying the vital nurseries of hundreds or thousands of species, including commercially and recreationally important species of fish, shellfish, and waterfowl. Louisiana has taken matters into their own hands, creating sand barriers to slow or stop the oil's intrusion.

The Obama government's response? Sabotage.

The federal government is shutting down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico.

The berms are meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has concerns about where the dredging is being done.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who was one of the most vocal advocates of the dredging plan, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, pleading for the work to continue.

Nungesser said the government has asked crews to move the dredging site two more miles farther off the coastline.

"Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil," Nungesser wrote to Obama.

Ideologically-driven pissants and list-checking bureaucrats led by the wimp in the White House have done nothing to help the Gulf coastal states, and have thrown up a series of absurd roadblocks that not only threaten to create billions of dollars in economic losses, but may kill entire ecosystems.

The Obama Administration continues to impede emergency efforts for the most absurd reasons.

We must ask the obvious question: is the White House purposefully sabotaging emergency efforts to save vital wetlands in order to serve a radical political agenda? Does Obama really think that wrecking rescue efforts to save coastal communities and delicate ecosystems actually makes his cap-and-trade fantasy more palatable?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:54 AM | Comments (8)

June 21, 2010

I'll Take Your Worse-Case Scenario, and Raise It To Eleventy

So if this is correct, the pressure from the Deepwater Horizon gusher will defeat all conventional attempts to plug the well, because the walls of the well have been fatally compromised. If we manage to cap the well at or below the seafloor, the pressure will simply blow out the sides of the well below it, finding fissures (or creating them) in the seafloor, before creating countless seeps and blowouts for miles around.

If these experts are right the well cannot be capped. The best we can hope for is to capture as much of the oil as possible and keep the environmental damage minimized while a deep kill is attempted with the relief well underway. If the relief well fails...

Why you should be pissed off:
If the folks at The Oil Drum are correct with their hypothesis, the failed blowout preventer (BOP) and casing pipes are collapsing, BP knows they are collapsing, the government knows about it as well, and they are all conspiring to keep us in the dark.

So what is it that the Obama Administration is trying to hide?

When enough is eroded away the casings will buckle and the BOP will collapse the well. If and when you begin to see oil and gas coming up around the well area from under the BOP? or the area around the well head connection and casing sinking more and more rapidly? won't be too long after that the entire system fails. BP must be aware of this, they are mapping the sea floor sonically and that is not a mere exercise. Our Gov't must be well aware too, they just are not telling us.

All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit...after that, it goes into the realm of "the worst things you can think of" The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well, that could literally come flying I said...all the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn't any "cap dome" or any other suck fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf. While at the same time also doing more damage to the well, making the chance of halting it with a kill from the bottom up less and less likely to work, which as it stands now? the only real chance we have left to stop it all.

It's a race now...a race to drill the relief wells and take our last chance at killing this monster before the whole weakened, wore out, blown out, leaking and failing system gives up it's last gasp in a horrific crescendo.

No wonder the President spends his time playing golf, partying with celebrities and generally living it up while he can. Once the public finds out how deeply his government conspired with BP to cover up the extent of the disaster, the American people are going to call for his resignation, if not for his head on a pike.

But as horrific as the scenario painted for us by this group of experts may be, there is one possible scenario even more cataclysmic, a methane eruption wilder than any nightmare Roland Emmerich could dream up.

Quite frankly the magnitude of what Terrence Aym suggests is possible isn't believable. It isn't because he's necessarily wrong, but because what he suggests could occur is so horrific that we can't allow ourselves to consider the possibility.

According to Aym, geologists report that there is a massive lake of methane gas trapped deep under the well at an incredible pressure of 100,000 psi. As the oil rushes out and weakens the seafloor, a collapse could cause a blowout of super-pressurized methane.

If the huge methane bubble breaches the seabed, it will erupt with an explosive fury similar to that experienced during the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens in the Pacific Northwest. A gas gusher will surge upwards through miles of ancient sedimentary rock—layer after layer—past the oil reservoir. It will explode upwards propelled by 50 tons psi, burst through the cracks and fissures of the compromised sea floor, and rupture miles of ocean bottom with one titanic explosion.

The burgeoning methane gas cloud will surface, killing everything it touches, and set off a supersonic tsunami with the wave traveling somewhere between 400 to 600 miles per hour...


...A supersonic tsunami would literally sweep away everything from Miami to the panhandle in a matter of minutes. Loss of human life would be virtually instantaneous and measured in the millions. Of course the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and southern region of Georgia—a state with no Gulf coastline—would also experience tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of casualties.

I hope this scenario is far-fetched, but neither is desirable.

All that we can say for certain now is that the well failed, and that it likely failed because corners were cut, warnings were ignored, and rules were ignored or discarded. This applies to the companies involved and the government to which they must answer.

Barack Obama infamously boasted several weeks ago that he met with experts so that he'd know "who's ass to kick" for this disaster. The Obama Administration signed off on the drilling of this well.

The buck stops with the man sitting behind the Resolute Desk.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:43 PM | Comments (14)

May 28, 2010

Don't Claim Success So Soon: BP's "Top Kill" Effort Far From Over

I've been far more quiet (in general) about the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling disaster that I was the disasters of hurricane's Katrina and Rita, precisely because I know so little about drilling, especially drilling that occurs a mile underwater.

My criticisms of the White House response has also been muted as well, as I don't think they have any more answers, legal authority, or capability to respond to this disaster than President Bush did in the aforementioned storms. I find myself, once again, defending the Office of the Presidency because it is not the ultimate authority on everything (even though President's certainly like to think so, and we do too, when it is time to assign blame). If we're going to criticize the White House for anything, it had to be its actions and inactions before the rig exploded, which can no doubt be traced back to earlier administrations as well.

This disaster is a tough problem to fix, and I'm sure the engineers geologists and workers frantically working on this are doing the very best they can to solve the problem of the gushing oil well a mile below the cold dark waters of the Gulf.

But I was a bit shocked yesterday to see so many news sites and blogs so eager to be the first to trumpet the success of BP's "top kill" attempt. The process is simple, in theory. Pump heavy mud in to the well, and the weight of the mud will eventually overcome the pressure of the oil attempting to escape from deep underground. Once equilibrium has been established, the oil will stop flowing and the well can them be capped by a thick layer of concrete.

By early yesterday, officials were attempting to claim success, even though they had no idea if the attempt worked. The process only had a 60%-70% of working, and we still don't know if it is having the intended effect.

Keep your fingers crossed, folks, but we still don't know of the mud is working, if it is is creating a permanent stoppage, or just forcing the oil to look for another outlet. Even if the mud works, it will be years, perhaps, before we know if the concrete plug has really stopped the column of oil and gas forcing it's way to the surface, or just redirected it.

Hope for the best, but don't assume this is over.

Update: Peggy Noonan, of all people, has a much harsher take on Obama's actions and inactions, and wonders if his illusion of competence can survive:

I don't see how the president's position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts.

There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don't see how you politically survive this.

The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:10 AM | Comments (6)

May 14, 2010

Why Not Nuke It?

National Geographic warns that the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico could leak for years, wrecking the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico and once it hits the Gulf Stream, the East Coast as well.

Why not nuke it?

A low-yield nuclear device detonated deep in the relief well now being drilled in the would fracture the rock around the leak and seal it, would it not? Presumably, the detonation sealing the well would trap any radiation far under the seabed.

It seems a potentially practical solution at a time where we seem to be running out of ideal solutions, and one that might be far less ecologically damaging than allowing the leak to spew oil for years.

Any experts out there care to weigh in on this?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:22 PM | Comments (9)

May 12, 2010

Simple Brilliance

Not every complex problem needs to have a complex (and expensive) solution. Check out this quite green idea for capturing much of the oil still being emitted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Via the Huffington Post, which has the back story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:08 AM | Comments (10)

May 06, 2010

The Disaster America Ignored

I'll be frank: I didn't have a grasp of how bad the flooding in Tennessee was, because I didn't see enough news coverage to grasp to severity of the disaster.

I know now. [via Hot Air]

It's amazing and inspiring to watch a community exhibit so much courage and a can-do attitude in the face of such utter devastation. They didn't cry and wait for others to rescue them; they rescued themselves. They didn't loot and riot and shoot at those trying to help them; they organized and helped those most in need.

In several years, I suspect most of Nashville will bear few physical scars from the 2010 flood, because the city and people of Nashville are not just survivors, they are winners determined to triumph.

Years after Katrina, New Orleans will still be a stinking cesspool of quitters and defeatists crying for handouts.

Look at the character of these two cities, and see if you can figure out why one will thrive no matter the odds, and why one will fail no matter the treasure wasted.

Character matters.

Update: Frank Ross has similar thoughts:

Nashville had all of the elements of Katrina, except for the "narrative" bits: no helpless population, no incompetent governor, no hopeless mayor, no looting, no screeching about FEMA, and most important, no Republican in the White House. Instead, it offered a community that banded together, took on the task, saved its neighbors, fought back the floods and is now getting on with its life.

In other words, it offered an old fashioned America: folks doing what Americans do best, including that most important thing: not whining. Maybe that's why they call it the Volunteer State.

Meanwhile, readers of left wing blogs did what liberals always do, and immediately attacked this post as being—sigh—racist. Why of course it is, dear liberal.

Strong moral fiber. Deep sense of community. Selflessness. Courage in the most extreme circumstances. Charity. All racist.

At least for liberals, I mean. For those of you able to comprehend a more complex world view, I'd suggest re-reading Bill Whittle's excellent post-Katrina essay Tribes.

As I said... character matters.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:13 AM | Comments (33)

April 30, 2010

Do They Suspect Sabotage?

Glenn Reynolds points out the odd behavior of law enforcement agencies in the growing Gulf oil spill disaster.

Mr. Obama said SWAT teams were being dispatched to the Gulf to investigate oil rigs and said his administration is now working to determine the cause of the disaster...


...Napolitano said the Homeland Security and Interior departments are conducting a joint investigation into what caused the explosion on the rig.

I understand that Homeland Security may have a valid role investigating the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, especially if there are concerns that it may not have been an obvious accident and that sabotage needs to be ruled out.

But unless SWAT means something in some other context than paramilitary special weapons and tactics teams, I'm not understanding why these units are being deployed to oil rigs, when to the best of my knowledge, that is both well outside their normal jurisdiction, and presumably, beyond the average SWAT team's skill set.

Don't get me wrong... I'm not bad-mouthing SWAT officers, but how many of them have the kind of background to investigate oil rigs? The logical use of such teams on a rig would be to provide security and deter criminal actions, right?

So why does the President think that oil rigs need SWAT teams instead of engineers?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:49 AM | Comments (33)

January 24, 2010

At War With Dying

Simply a must-read from the USNS Comfort. Please keep these wonderful men and women in your prayers as they show the best of humanity in the worst of times.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2010

Not Again: Haiti Rocked by 6.1 Quake

The hits just keep coming:

The U.S. Geological Survey says the preliminary 6.1 magnitude quake hit at 6:03 a.m. (1103 GMT) Wednesday about 35 miles northwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince.

It says the quake struck at a depth of 13.7 miles.

AP reporters in the Haitian capital say the temblor sent scores of people fleeing into the streets.

The only possible upsides to this is that rescue teams and relief supplies are already on-hand, and that so many buildings were destroyed in last weeks quake that there simply aren't very many more occupied structures left to collapse.

For all intents and purposes, Haiti is no more.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:41 AM | Comments (3)

January 15, 2010

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Unbelievable. Haitians aren't getting the help they need because the nation's already meager infrastructure was destroyed by the earthquake, and their brilliant response is to create more roadblocks? And out of the corpses of their countrymen, at that?

As Bill Whittle noted so perfectly in the essay Tribes after Hurricane Katrina, this is an issue of a mental mindset. The same mindset that has made Haiti one of the poorest and most corrupt nations in the hemisphere is the same childish, short-term gratification-focused mindset that leads people to build roadblocks when roads need to be cleared.

Their "logic"—such as it is—seems to be that if they build roadblocks, aide convoys cannot pass them by, and must stop and service them. That building such gruesome edifices only ensures that the flow of aide will slow even further, making their survival even less likely, seems to have completely escaped them.

It is heart-wrenching to watch an already pathetic nation experience such a disaster, but even more pathetic to watch them committing suicide through stupidity.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:50 AM | Comments (20)

January 14, 2010

Barack Obama Hates Black People

For years, all we've heard from the left is how George W. Bush was to blame for the failures that occurred during the hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi. Throughout the 2008 campaign season, we heard how George W. Bush was the cause of so many of this nation's problems real or imagined, and to this very day, Barack Obama and his administration try to blame every conceivable problem, malady, short-coming and gaffe on the 43rd President.

And now Obama wants Bush to help head up relief efforts for Haiti.

I wonder what Kanye West is thinking.

(h/t Hot Air)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:19 PM | Comments (5)

Morehead City Port Shut for Third Day Because of Explosive Spills

This is just sad:

The cleanup of a spill of explosive materials at the state port in Morehead City stretched into a third day Thursday, with no word on when the port might reopen.

Nine 50-kilogram drums filled with the explosive PETN were punctured by a forklift early Tuesday as they were being unloaded at the port. Officials said Wednesday that they had found PETN leaking from drums in shipping containers not involved in Tuesday's accident.

100 grams of this can blow up a car/half that could rip open an airliner. There were 450,000 grams in the drums in the main spill, and an unknown amount of leakage in the secondary spills.

We're in the best of hands...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:02 PM | Comments (2)

January 13, 2010

Good News! NC Port's Contractors Spilled More PETN

Hey, it's only a slurry of one of the most powerful explosives on earth. We don't need to be careful with it, or anything:

Nine 50-kilogram drums filled with the explosive PETN were punctured by a forklift early Tuesday as they were being unloaded at the port. Also known as pentaerythritol tetranitrate, the colorless PETN crystals are used in detonating cords for industrial explosions, as well as in heart medications.

Officials said Wednesday afternoon that they had found more of the PETN spilled at the port that didn't come from the punctured drums, which necessitated additional cleanup. They said they didn't know how the PETN was spilled but said it might have occurred during shipping.

That's encouraging news. It seems that would-be terrorists don't need to manufacture explosives or try to smuggle them into the country. They can simply get custodial positions at the nation's ports, and then they can blow up what they retrieve from their dustpans or wring out of a mop.

Homeland security? Not so much.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:15 PM | Comments (3)

Haitian Hell

As you probably know by now, a 7.0 earthquake centered just five miles underground apparently destroyed the Haitian capital of Port-au- Prince yesterday, and damged cites and towns throughout the impoverished island nation.

World governments, the Red Cross and other volunteer aide organizations are rushing in to save as many lives as possible.

The exact scope of the devastation is not precisely known and may not be known for some time, but there are expectations that thousands are dead in collapsed buildings, and that as many as three million people will need some sort of assistance in the wake of this natural disaster.

We're going to do the best we can with what we have, but we could do better.

In recent years there have been some novel ideas floated on using retiring U.S. Navy vessels as floating emergency response bases for natural disasters and terrorist attacks on coastal regions in our hemisphere. Theoretically, ships could be based strategically on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as well as in a port in the Gulf of Mexico with supplies and rescue equipment pre-loaded for dispatch on very short notice.

An acquaintance of mine named Ward Brewer (which I've unfortunately fallen out of contact with) was a firm proponent of the idea, and proposed using some of the retiring Tarawa-class amphibious assault ships in this role. While obsolete by Navy standards and being replaced by more modern vessels, many of the features that made the Tarawa-class so well-suited for landing Marines on hostile shore would work exceptionally well for transporting heavy equipment, medical supplies, and rescue craft to areas in need. Each Tarawa can create fresh water, electricity, and has a 300-bed hospital with four operating rooms, 17 ICU rooms, and a 1,000-unit blood bank.

As it so happens, two Tarawa class ships are still in service, and presumably could be re-tasked to this rescue role upon their retirements with minimal transition work, and the first ship in the series is presently inactive and presumably ready to be refit as needed.

With real unemployment presently at 22% and skilled American tradesmen at shipyards around the nation needing work, it would seem to be an excellent time for a President so concerned about America's image to announce plans to turn these old warriors into angels of mercy.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:18 AM | Comments (8)

June 10, 2009

38 Injured, Two Dead, One Missing in Garner, NC ConAgra Blast

A fire at a nearby ConAgra plant led to explosions late yesterday morning that collapsed large sections of the building's roof and caused an ammonia leak that was responsible for a large number of the injuries. Two bodies have been located within the wreckage of the building, but rescuers were forced to abandon overnight recovery efforts because of intense lightning and heavy rains as violent thunderstorms passed through the area. Another person is listed as missing.

Someone had called the plant over the course of the preceding weekend and threatened to start a fire, but authorities are officially downplaying the possibility of arson at this time.

Please say a prayer for the victims of this tragedy and the their families, and also for the first responders and search teams who risked their own lives to save others.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:23 AM | Comments (1)

April 03, 2009

Massacre at American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY

Breaking news is that the American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY today has been attacked. Casualty accounts vary depending on source, but it appears a minimum of 13 people have been killed and more than 20 have been wounded.

ABC News reports that the shooter committed suicide.

Please remember to take all early media accounts (including this blog entry) with a grain of salt until details are confirmed, and pray for the victims and their families.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)

February 20, 2009

The 11 Most Expensive Catastrophes in History

I received this via email this morning. I apologize in advance for not knowing who the author is, or knowing if it is particularly accurate, or who has the rights to the images, but found it interesting that it was circulating, and thought I'd share.

# 11. Titanic - $150 Million

The sinking of the Titanic is possibly the most famous accident in the world. But it barely makes our list of top 10 most expensive. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage and was considered to be the most luxurious ocean liner ever built. Over 1,500 people lost their lives when the ship ran into an iceberg and sunk in frigid waters. The ship cost $7 million to build ($150 million in today ' s dollars).

# 10. Tanker Truck vs Bridge - $358 Million

On August 26, 2004, a car collided with a tanker truck containing 32,000 liters of fuel on the Wiehltal Bridge in Germany . The tanker crashed through the guardrail and fell 90 feet off the A4 Autobahn resulting in a huge explosion and fire which destroyed the load-bearing ability of the bridge. Temporary repairs cost $40 million and the cost to replace the bridge is estimated at $318 Million.

# 9. MetroLink Crash - $500 Million

On September 12, 2008, in what was one of the worst train crashes in California history, 25 people were killed when a Metrolink commuter train crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles . It is thought that the Metrolink train may have run through a red signal while the conductor was busy text messaging.. Wrongful death lawsuits are expected to cause $500 million in losses for Metrolink.

# 8. B-2 Bomber Crash - $1.4 Billion

Here we have our first billion dollar accident (and we ' re only #7 on the list). This B-2 stealth bomber crashed shortly after taking off from an air base in Guam on February 23, 2008. Investigators blamed distorted data in the flight control computers caused by moisture in the system. This resulted in the aircraft making a sudden nose-up move which made the B-2 stall and crash. This was 1 of only 21 ever built and was the most expensive aviation accident in history. Both pilots were able to eject to safety.

# 7. Exxon Valdez - $2.5 Billion

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was not a large one in relation to the world ' s biggest oil spills, but it was a costly one due to the remote location of Prince William Sound (accessible only by helicopter and boat). On March 24, 1989, 10.8 million gallons of oil was spilled when the ship ' s master, Joseph Hazelwood, left the controls and the ship crashed into a Reef. The cleanup cost Exxon $2.5 billion.

# 6. Piper Alpha Oil Rig - $3.4 Billion

The world ' s worst off-shore oil disaster. At one time, it was the world ' s single largest oil producer, spewing out 317,000 barrels of oil per day. On July 6, 1988, as part of routine maintenance, technicians removed and checked safety valves which were essential in preventing dangerous build-up of liquid gas. There were 100 identical safety valves which were checked. Unfortunately, the technicians made a mistake and forgot to replace one of them. At 10 PM that same night, a technician pressed a start button for the liquid gas pumps and the world ' s most expensive oil rig accident was set in motion.

Within 2 hours, the 300 foot platform was engulfed in flames. It eventually collapsed, killing 167 workers and resulting in $3.4 Billion in damages.

# 5. Challenger Explosion - $5.5 Billion

The Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after takeoff due on January 28, 1986 due to a faulty O-ring. It failed to seal one of the joints, allowing pressurized gas to reach the outside. This in turn caused the external tank to dump its payload of liquid hydrogen causing a massive explosion. The cost of replacing the Space Shuttle was $2 billion in 1986 ($4.5 billion in today ' s dollars). The cost of investigation, problem correction, and replacement of lost equipment cost $450 million from 1986-1987 ($1 Billion in today ' s dollars).

# 4. Prestige Oil Spill - $12 Billion

On November 13, 2002, the Prestige oil tanker was carrying 77,000 tons of heavy fuel oil when one of its twelve tanks burst during a storm off Galicia , Spain . Fearing that the ship would sink, the captain called for help from Spanish rescue workers, expecting them to take the ship into harbour. However, pressure from local authorities forced the captain to steer the ship away from the coast. The captain tried to get help from the French and Portuguese authorities, but they too ordered the ship away from their shores. The storm eventually took its toll on the ship resulting in the tanker splitting in half and releasing 20 million gallons oil into the sea.

According to a report by the Pontevedra Economist Board, the total cleanup cost $12 billion.

# 3. Space Shuttle Columbia - $13 Billion

The Space Shuttle Columbia was the first space worthy shuttle in NASA ' s orbital fleet. It was destroyed during re-entry over Texas on February 1, 2003 after a hole was punctured in one of the wings during launch 16 days earlier. The original cost of the shuttle was $2 Billion in 1978. That comes out to $6.3 Billion in today ' s dollars. $500 million was spent on the investigation, making it the costliest aircraft accident investigation in history. The search and recovery of debris cost $300 million.

In the end, the total cost of the accident (not including replacement of the shuttle) came out to $13 Billion according to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics..

# 2. Chernobyl - $200 Billion

On April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the costliest accident in history. The Chernobyl disaster has been called the biggest socio-economic catastrophe in peacetime history. 50% of the area of Ukraine is in some way contaminated. Over 200,000 people had to be evacuated and resettled while 1.7 million people were directly affected by the disaster. The death toll attributed to Chernobyl , including people who died from cancer years later, is estimated at 125,000. The total costs including cleanup, resettlement, and compensation to victims has been estimated to be roughly $200 Billion. The cost of a new steel shelter for the Chernobyl nuclear plant will cost $2 billion alone. The accident was officially attributed to power plant operators who violated plant procedures and were ignorant of the safety requirements needed.

# 1. 2008 Presidential Election- $800 Billion in the first two months………..

That was, of course, an incredible lie, and I responded thus in response to the others who had also received this email:

I must protest the inaccuracy of this email in the strongest possible terms.

Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009. I received this email on February 20, 2009. He signed the Multi-Generational Financial Rape Act of 2009--AKA, the stimulus package--into law 4 days ago.

Barack Obama became the most costly disaster in world history in 50% of the time allowed in this forwarded email.

I'd like to find out who the pro-Obama shill is that seeks to minimize the harm that this two-legged trainweck has caused IN JUST 28 DAYS. Somehow, I suspect his terrorist buddy, Bill Ayers.


Bob Owens

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:32 AM | Comments (12)

February 01, 2009

Obama's "Katrina on Ice"

More than 700,000 homes are still without power in Kentucky due to a massive ice storm that struck the state six days ago, forcing Gov. Steve Beshear to mobilize his entire state's Army and Air National Guard, a total of 4,600 men and the largest call-out in Kentucky's history.

FEMA has apparently been a no-show.

Our Hawaiian-borne President, basking in the glow of an overheated Oval Office and dining on $100/lb steak, has been utterly disinterested, indulging himself in vodka martinis at cocktail parties, as he continues to talk up the need for the $1.1 trillion dollar "stimulus" while simultaneously trying to lower expectations of its impact, knowing how little it will actually accomplish for the economy even as it furthers his political agenda.

So please pardon some of my friends if they engage in a little hyperbole as they notice that our Freshman Senator cum President is a bit too giddy with his newfound power and the D.C. cocktail circuit to notice that as many as 1.5 million Americans are in dire straits at this moment.

After all, Barack Obama probably doesn't hate white people no matter what 20-years in the pews of a racial separatist church suggests. It's just far harder to see a bunch of white people against ice and snow.

And Caleb, while I don't doubt that the sage of hopenchange has a distinct preference for the refined metropolitan areas of the nation over areas those that bitterly cling to the Bibles, guns, and snowshovels, I'm pretty sure even he doesn't consider Kentucky "southern", even on his 57-state map.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:13 PM | Comments (45)

January 16, 2009

Deterring the Obama Assassination Threat

With woeful predictably, the media is ginning up threats of an Obama assassination attempt to accompany his inauguration next Tuesday. Are there any specific threats, militant chatter, or suspicious behavior?

Of course not.

But birds gotta fly, Huffington Post authors have to insist Bush is going to stage his coup any second now, and CNN has to make up news:

So far, there is no known organized effort to express opposition to Obama's rise to the presidency other than a call by the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for its members to wear black armbands as well as fly the U.S. flag upside down on Inauguration Day and Obama's first full day in office.

As Tuesday approaches, when Obama stands outside the Capitol to take the oath of office, experts expect anger about the new president to spike. But they don't expect it to go away.

"The level of vitriol, I expect, will go up a bit more around inauguration time," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.

The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino?

That sounds even less credible than the Media Violence Project, which at least happens to have cool posters and an excellent analyst on staff.

The simple fact of the matter is that while Barack Obama is as cringe-inducing as a trainwreck about to happen, the freshman Senator cum President Elect hasn't done anything to garner strong feelings of hatred from anyone.

Literally nothing.

He didn't do anything as a Illinois legislator. He didn't do much more as a U.S. Senator. And he's made and backtracked on so many promises as a candidate and future President that people are to confused about where he stands too even know if they disagree with him.

And as CNN even notes, white supremacists can't even get that worked up (arm bands?), as he's only 50% non-white.

He stands for nothing, and represents nothing. The simple fact of the matter is that until he's actually sworn into his first-ever leadership position on Tuesday and had time to flail and make a series of horribly stupid mistakes, there isn't anything he's done to make him worth an effort on his life.

Obama is also defended by legions of highly trained federal law enforcement officers, and perhaps the greatest deterrent of all, a simple two word phrase of such horror that would stop most callous, calculating assassin in his tracks.

"President Biden."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:11 PM | Comments (9)

Women and Children First

155 souls crash-landed into the freezing cold waters of the Hudson River yesterday afternoon, and through particularly brilliant examples of piloting skill, courage, heart and determination, the rapid response of an inspiring cast of everyday heroes and not a little divine providence, nobody died.

Well done.

I may get frustrated with my fellow Americans from time to time, but in those times that it all falls apart, there are simply no other people on this planet that I'd rather have at my back.

God bless you all.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

TS Hannah certainly may have had a more substantial impact south and east of here (and certainly along the beaches), but what I've seen thus far isn't anything you'd recognize from the ground as anything more than a series of showers... and I've got a pretty good vantage point:

In this satellite image snagged the image from the Weather Channel just a few minutes ago, I'm just inside the right side of the nasty little red dot, and we're not seeing much of anything right now, even though we've had an estimated 4 inches of rain overnight.

Let's hope everyone makes it out with as little damage as we have thus far.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:48 AM | Comments (11)

August 30, 2008

Gustav Takes Aim At The Gulf Coast

I've got a bad feeling about this.

I hope those along the Gulf coastline are in the process of packing up and heading out, especially those in New Orleans. There will be no shelters of last resort; the Superdome will be locked down.

It doesn't matter where you hide...

Fragments of the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Katrina

...storms this size don't leave much behind.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:30 PM | Comments (6)

July 28, 2008

Small Miracles

There was a shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, TN yesterday during a children's play. Two people have died, and seven more are recovering from injuries that resulted when an unemployed man with a long history of verbal hostility against Christians targeted this specific congregation because he also hated liberals and gays.

While many in the political blogosphere will no doubt focus on the fact that Adkisson said he hated liberals and gays, the fact of the matter is that the didn't target a gay club or local progressive political groups, he specifically targeted a church. He did so after expressing beliefs to neighbors in the past that he had an abiding anger against Christianity, an anger that appears rooted in his childhood. The church appears to have been targeted because it embodied at least three things this pathetic human being hated, not just the one or two things I know certain critics will single out as they view the world through their own warped prisms.

Adkisson had apparently planned to keep murdering church-goers until gunned down by police. He planned to keep killing innocents until he died in a hail of police bullets... suicide-by-cop. But he was instead tackled and restrained by church-goers just seconds into his attack as he attempted to reload after shooting his shotgun's magazine dry.

The two people that died were 60 and 61. Those wounded were 38, 41, 42, 68, 69, 71, and 76. Though Adkisson walked past an assembled group of children outside the sanctuary awaiting their stage call, he did not fire on them. No children were physically injured, and no parents of young children were killed, creating orphans. There is reason to be thankful for that.

Though he was found with 73 live 12-gauge shotgun cartridges, he was only able to fire 3 before being tackled while trying to reload. Most semi-automatic and pump shotguns hold 5 rounds of 12-gauge ammunition, unless plugged for bird-hunting. Those two additional shots would have taken less than a second to fire, and could have hurt several more people, at least. There is reason to be thankful that the previous owner of the gun was probably a bird hunter. There is reason to be thankful that Adkisson apparently didn't know enough to remove the plug.

Sunday was a horrible day for the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, and there will be terrible days ahead as they seek to recover, and to heal.

But most will heal, and a day that could have been far worse was not, thanks to small miracles.

Update: Apparently there are some people who want to go on a shrieking political bender about this tragedy (both right and left), but that isn't going to happen here. Comments off.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:11 PM

June 18, 2008

Gore Shame

The worlds greatest environmental hypocrite wastes so much energy that his consumption would power 232 normal homes.

Sadly not content with even that level of wastefulness, the Goracle has now taken to directly belching balls of energy into the atmosphere.

Update: Steve Strum notes (correctly) that Gore's annual usage would power 232 normal homes for a month. Not quite as bad as originally thought, but still horrific.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:44 AM | Comments (6)

May 08, 2008


CNN has an article posted this AM about the on-going misery in Myanmar resulting from the recent cyclone that devastated the Irrawaddy delta and has left as many as 100,000 dead. The country's paranoid military dictatorship is hampering aid efforts, and as a result, is no doubt adding to the number of dead and injured.

In writing about the U.S. forces in the area poised to help if the dictatorship will only allow international aid, CNN makes the following curious claim (in bold):

The U.S has also been pushing for access, pledging $3.25 million and offering to send U.S. Navy ships to the region to help relief efforts.

The U.S. military had already flown six helicopters on to a Thai airbase, as Washington awaits permission to go into the south Asian country, two senior military officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.

In addition, several C-130 cargo aircraft aboard the USS Essex, which was conducting an exercise in the region, were available for relief missions.

That is one neat trick.

Essex is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. It is perhaps the most capable ship class in the world when it comes to providing help in the event of coastal disasters such as hurricane and cyclones due to its onboard 600-bed hospital, large helicopter contingent with search and rescue and transport capability, and well deck that houses LCACS and LCUs capable of landing heavy supplies and vehicles directly onto the beach. Essex is capable of a lot of things... but launching and landing a C-130 is not remotely among their capabilities.

Either Essex is merely being used to haul C-130s to the region that will have to be offloaded in port before being used, or CNN drastically has their story wrong. I suspect the former over the latter but you never know.

After all... "this is CNN."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:54 AM | Comments (18)

February 18, 2008

Text Messages Don't Stop Crime

A futile effort, to say the least:

In the event of an emergency on North Carolina State University's campus, officials would send out text messages to faculty, students and staff.

Getting people to sign up to receive the "WolfAlert" messages is another issue.

Of the 40,000 faculty, students and staff at N.C. State, only 10,000 have registered their phone numbers, despite campus-wide advertising. For those who have signed-up, school officials plan to test the system this week.

N.C. State isn't the only campus trying to get this type of system off the ground. On North Carolina's 110 public and private college campuses, new safety measures have quickly become the priority.

"Our challenges are population and geography. We're the largest in terms of students and area," said David Rainer, N.C. State's associate vice chancellor for environmental health and safety.

Last year, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper formed a task force to look at crisis communication plans at colleges and universities. The task now is to make sure those plans work.

The plans being used will do very little to stop the next Virginia Tech or NIU.

Keeping involuntarily committed people from being able to purchase firearms and getting the mentally ill treatment are laudable goals, but messaging systems and alarms are reactive in nature, and would not have saved a single life at either of the universities when gunmen rampaged through classrooms in a matter of minutes. In both instances, the events would have been over, or almost over, before an alert was even issued.

These are feel-good solutions, but in general are not real solutions to stop a threat as it is occurring. They are designed merely to speed emergency response to those who are lucky enough to survive the initial onslaught, or to keep a shooter from moving from one building into another after catastrophic events have already started. If you happen to be in the room or building when such an unlikely assault takes place, there is little that can currently be done to save you.

In such situations, only luck can save you if you are unarmed. I'd like to see university administrators in North Carolina rationally discuss the pros and cons of allowing faculty, staff and students in off-campus housing with concealed carry permits to carry their handguns on campus. I can find little evidence of such a conversation having occurred.

Perhaps university administrators are under the impression that by posting policies declaring university campuses "gun free" that they in fact are. I know for a fact that is not the case from my own university days, when I knew of at least three students who chose to carry pistols because they did not feel (rightfully) that university police officers, while diligent, could be relied upon to be there at the precise moment they were needed if a violent crime was visited upon them.

This was over a decade ago. University shootings were virtually unheard of at the time, and those I knew to carry did so because of a fear of sexual assault or armed robbery on or near campus.

Those I speak with now are now typically staff and faculty-aged, and while those fears of being a victim of a case of individual violent crime are still valid, I've heard some talk from staff and faculty would would feel safer if they had the means to legally protect their fellow staff members and students if a school shooter happened upon their classroom or administration building. They aren't looking to be heroes. Like most in the education field, they only want what is best for their students, and they tend to agree that life is one of their students continuing interests.

Not all university staff and faculty are comfortable with the idea of fellow faculty and staff being armed—in fact, I'd hazard a guess that most are probably uncomfortable with the general concept of having to face the fact that firearms are indeed on university campuses. They would rather pretend them away.

But firearms are on university campuses across North Carolina, and they always will be as long as distant parking lots and night classes exist. Instead of making self-defense illegal and typically be practiced by those with no formal training, it would perhaps be far wiser to allow those who have undergone the legal training, shooting qualifications, and background investigation to earn a CCH to legally carry a defensive handgun on campuses.

Allowing CCH to legal permit holders is not guaranteed to stop any specific crime on college campuses, but what it does do is give qualified citizens the option, and that is a discussion worth having, and far more likely to help prevent or stop a violent crime on campus than a belated text message or siren.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:38 PM | Comments (9)

December 06, 2007

Surviving the Mall

You should never have to shop in fear, but yesterday's senseless murders at an Omaha, Nebraska mall remind us that violence can happen almost anywhere. Because it can, it isn't a bad idea to have an exit strategy in the back of your mind.

In the very unlikely event that you find yourself in a situation like that in Nebraska yesterday or previous shootings this year in malls in Salt Lake City, Kansas City, and Douglasville, Georgia, there are simple actions you can take to increase your changes of getting out unharmed.

Get in.
The long, wide corridors and hallways lined with stores in a mall provide us with easy access from one store to another. In situations where a shooter is on the loose, they are also going to be the first route of escape for shoppers. The panicked rush of people attempting to use these corridors to escape increases the risk of being trampled in a mob. It goes without saying that these long open hallways provide next to no cover from any bullets fired.

If you happen to be walking in the mall and a shooting occurs, get into the nearest store or side hallway.

Get low.
Firearms, be they handguns, rifles, or shotguns, are typically fired from the shoulder. Most bullets or pellets travel roughly on a horizontal plane from shoulder to waist high. By going prone, you decrease your chances of getting hit. Once down, stay down. Bullets have no problem penetrating multiple layers of building materials. Just because you do not see the shooter does not mean you are out of danger.

Get out.
Stores do not bring their merchandise in through the front door. Almost all have loading docks, and to comply with fire codes, an emergency exit that leads either to a back hallway, or provide directs access to the outside of the building. Look up for the "exit" sign on the ceiling at the back of the store, and make your way there as fast as possible, keeping as low as possible.

Keep moving.
Once you make it outside, keep moving. Put as much physical space and as many physical objects between you and the scene as possible.

Putting it all together.

  • Get in.
  • Get low.
  • Get out.
  • Keep moving.

File that bit of information in the back of your mind. I'll pray you never have occasion to use it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:25 AM | Comments (26)

November 08, 2007

"It is the Greatest Scam in History"

So says John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel, as he discusses global warming. He is not kind to global warming advocates, some of which preached the horrors of the impending ice ages of global cooling just several decades ago with the same cocksure fanaticism.

It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

"Friends in government?"

Gee, I wonder which former vice president and political party he could be referring to...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:40 AM | Comments (20)

October 23, 2007

Pink and Grey

Scott Lindlaw reports on the differences between the current wildfire evacuation to Qualcomm stadium and the scene in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

Like Hurricane Katrina evacuees two years earlier in New Orleans, thousands of people rousted by natural disaster fled to the NFL stadium here, waiting out the calamity and worrying about their homes.

The similarities ended there, as an almost festive atmosphere reigned at Qualcomm Stadium.

Bands belted out rock 'n' roll, lavish buffets served gourmet entrees, and massage therapists helped relieve the stress for those forced to flee their homes because of wildfires.

"The people are happy. They have everything here," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared Monday night after his second Qualcomm tour.

Although anxieties ran high, the misery index seemed low as the celebrity governor waded through the mob. Scarcely a complaint was registered with him.

Predictably, the completely different ways these cities are dealing with their disasters only needed the common point of a stadium refuge to set keyboards a-clattering from both the left and the right.

At right-leaning Liberty Pundit:

Because these are mostly white people, and the response has been supposedly better, you can better believe that people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have taken note and will trot this out in the future whenever it suits their purpose. They’ll say that because these are white people and the governor is a Republican (jury is still out on that), and this was a better response, then it proves that our party hates blacks (or whatever minority they want to use to serve their purpose). Nevermind that the failures of Katrina were mostly the result of incompetent Democrats in New Orleans, it was still all George W. Bush's fault, because he didn't personally land in New Orleans and start bailing water.

At lefty blog Attytood:

Still, I can't help but think that other nations must look at these things -- the treatment of evacuees in one of America's richest cities (at least by housing price), and in one of its poorest -- and conclude that we're some kind of barbarians. The contrast between the wealth of water and food at Qualcomm, pictured at top of this post, with the scarcity at the Superdome is outrageous.

My biggest quibble with this AP article is the headline about "civility" -- which implies the contrast is the fault of the evacuees. That myth was pretty much punctured after Katrina, as in this article:

The vast majority of reported atrocities committed by evacuees — mass murders, rapes and beatings — have turned out to be false, or at least unsupported by any evidence, according to key military, law-enforcement, medical and civilian officials in positions to know. "I think 99 percent of it is [expletive]," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Lachney, who played a key role in security and humanitarian work inside the Dome. "Don't get me wrong — bad things happened. But I didn't see any killing and raping and cutting of throats or anything ... 99 percent of the people in the Dome were very well-behaved."

They just weren't given food or water...let alone massage therapists. You have to be haunted by these words from Superdome survivor Phyllis Johnson, written shortly after Katrina and well before yesterday's evacuation:

Johnson said many of the people she met inside the dome thought they were going to die there. But she didn't want to lay down and die. She escaped the shelter, slogged through chest-high water and finally caught a ride on a stolen truck. She ended up getting onto a bus headed for Houston.

Even though President Bush said today that race played no part in the botched evacuation efforts, Johnson strongly disagrees. She is sure that if the people who were stranded in New Orleans after the storm were white, they would have been rescued immediately and treated with dignity.

"They portrayed us as savages," she said.

How can you look at that picture up top from San Diego and not agree with Phyllis Johnson?

It's interesting that on both the right and the left, the natural inclination here was to make the issue one of color. The problem with both of these opinions is that they are predicated upon skin colors of black and white, and not one of tribal colors:

That has nothing to do with me being white. If the blacks and Hispanics and Jews and gays that I work with and associate with were there with me, it would have been that much better. That’s because the people I associate with – my Tribe – consists not of blacks and whites and gays and Hispanics and Asians, but of individuals who do not rape, murder, or steal. My Tribe consists of people who know that sometimes bad things happen, and that these instances are opportunities to show ourselves what we are made of. My people go into burning buildings. My Tribe consists of organizers and self-starters, proud and self-reliant people who do not need to be told what to do in a crisis. My Tribe is not fearless; they are something better. They are courageous. My Tribe is honorable, and decent, and kind, and inventive. My Tribe knows how to give orders, and how to follow them. My Tribe knows enough about how the world works to figure out ways to boil water, ration food, repair structures, build and maintain makeshift latrines, and care for the wounded and the dead with respect and compassion.

There are some things my Tribe is not good at at all. My Tribe doesn't make excuses. My Tribe will analyze failure and assign blame, but that is to make sure that we do better next time, and we never, ever waste valuable energy and time doing so while people are still in danger. My Tribe says, and in their heart completely believes that it's the other guy that's the hero. My Tribe does not believe that a single Man can cause, prevent or steer Hurricanes, and my Tribe does not and has never made someone else responsible for their own safety, and that of their loved ones.

My Tribe doesn't fire on people risking their lives, coming to help us. My Tribe doesn't curse such people because they arrived on Day Four, when we felt they should have been here before breakfast on Day One. We are grateful, not to say indebted, that they have come at all. My Tribe can't eat Nike's and we don't know how to feed seven by boiling a wide-screen TV. My Tribe doesn't give a sweet God Damn about what color the looters are, or what color the rescuers are, because we can plainly see before our very eyes that both those Tribes have colors enough to cover everyone in glory or in shame. My Tribe doesn't see black and white skins. My Tribe only sees black and white hats, and the hat we choose to wear is the most personal decision we can make.

That’s the other thing, too – the most important thing. My Tribe thinks that while you are born into a Tribe, you do not have to stay there. Good people can join bad Tribes, and bad people can choose good ones. My Tribe thinks you choose your Tribe. That, more than anything, is what makes my Tribe unique.


Let's not talk about Black and White tribes… I know too many pathetic, hateful, racists and more decent, capable and kind people of both colors for that to make any sense at all. Do you not? Do you not know corrupt, ignorant, violent people, both black and white, to cure you of this elementary idiocy? Have you not met and talked and laughed with people who were funny, decent, upright, honest and honorable of every shade so that the very idea of racial politics should just seem like a desperate and divisive and just plain evil tactic to hold power?

If such a thing is not self-evident to you, please get off my property. Right now. I should tell you I own a gun and I know how to use it. I assure you that the pleasure I would take in shooting you would be temporary, minimal, and deeply regretted later.

Now, for the rest of you, let’s get past Republican and Democrat, Red and Blue, too. Let’s talk about these two Tribes: Pink, the color of bunny ears, and Grey, the color of a mechanical pencil lead.

I live in both worlds. In entertainment, everything is Pink, the color of Angelyne's Stingray – it's exciting and dynamic and glamorous. I'm also a pilot, and I know honest-to-God rocket scientists, and combat flight crews and Special Ops guys -- stone-cold Grey, all of them -- and am proud and deeply honored to call them my friends.

The Pink Tribe is all about feeling good: feeling good about yourself! Sexually, emotionally, artistically – nothing is off limits, nothing is forbidden, convention is fossilized insanity and everybody gets to do their own thing without regard to consequences, reality, or natural law. We all have our own reality – one small personal reality is called "science," say – and we Make Our Own Luck and we Visualize Good Things and There Are No Coincidences and Everything Happens for a Reason and You Can Be Whatever You Want to Be and we all have Special Psychic Powers and if something Bad should happen it's because Someone Bad Made It Happen. A Spell, perhaps.

The Pink Tribe motto, in fact, is the ultimate Zen Koan, the sound of one hand clapping: EVERYBODY IS SPECIAL.

Then, in the other corner, there is the Grey Tribe – the grey of reinforced concrete. This is a Tribe where emotion is repressed because Emotion Clouds Judgment. This is the world of Quadratic Equations and Stress Risers and Loads Torsional, Compressive and Tensile, a place where Reality Can Ruin Your Best Day, the place where Murphy mercilessly picks off the Weak and the Incompetent, where the Speed Limit is 186,282.36 miles per second, where every bridge has a Failure Load and levees come in 50 year, 100 year and 1000 Year Flood Flavors.

The Grey Tribe motto is, near as I can tell, THINGS BREAK SOMETIMES AND PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE MY BRIDGE.

These paragraphs are from just a few brief moments of the excellent Bill Whittle essay Tribes, but it does much to help us understand the long-term differences between these two vastly different cities, and how different they will be in the weeks and months ahead.

The people of San Deigo and surrounding communities, liberal Democrats, moderates, and staunch conservatives of every color and creed, will rebuild and thrive again long before New Orleans does. They will do so because New Orleans, "The Big Easy," regardless of politics, is as Pink a city as there has ever been in the United States. It is a city of psychological poverty, and will be so until it finally falls into the Gulf in 5 or 50 years hence.

San Diego, evolving both demographically and politically, is often Pink, but is as Grey has it has to be, when it has to be.

It is about color. Just not the colors you think.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:50 AM | Comments (16)

September 14, 2007

Weather Woes

Well, thanks to this I might continue my fund-raising efforts for a few more days.

I haven't been outside to check the damage to any great degree yet, but know that the straight-line winds in my area were strong enough to damage homes under construction within view of my house, down trees, and lift my rather substantial grill into the air and toss it into my neighbor's yard. I'll retrieve it tomorrow, but my guess is that it's toast.

If anyone hasn't donated yet and could, I'd appreciate it.

grill 003

I really liked that grill.

Update: Picture added above. For us, that's all we lost, and for that I'm very thankful.

Talking to folks in the area and surveying the damage, it appears out area took a hit from a very minor tornado (there were a total of six in the area, all blessedly weak). Not a lot of damage in my neighborhood, but there was in the older neighborhood nearby where there were far more mature trees, a lot of which lost branches, and several large oaks that were totally ripped apart.

Nobody got seriously injured or killed, and that is what really matters.

The "Liberal Braintrust" Update: It seems that several lefty bloggers have seized upon this post as proof of great hypocrisy on my part, as I've stated publicly on several occasions that New Orleans should not be rebuilt in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The reasoning behind not rebuilding New Orleans is scientifically-driven and practical in nature. The Mississippi delta silt upon which the city was built is rapidly compacting, and hence the city itself is literally and inevitably sinking. This is combined with the fact that the marshlands protecting the city are eroding at a rate of 25-35 square miles/year, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with noted scientists from coastal and marine studies programs including LSU, have stated the geological inevitability of the city merging with the Gulf of Mexico prior to 2100, and quite possibly by 2050 or sooner with the landfall of any major hurricanes (which Katrina was not when it hit; New Orleans suffered category 1-2 winds), or a sudden rise in sea level, which could occur if global warming is as dramatic as some expect.

Simply put, New Orleans is a sinking hole in a swamp surrounded on three sides by hungry waters: rebuilding the city with an anemic patchwork of small levee improvements is a colossal exercise in stupidity, when relocating the population is a much more intelligent and more viable long-term option. It may also ultimately lead to a far greater loss of life the next time the city is inundated.

Liberal Logic: New Orleans = Bobs' Grill.

Somehow, this bit of scientifically-supported common sense means I'm a hypocrite because I extended my already running week-long yearly fundraising effort, mentioning specifically late Friday that that I'm going to need to replace my storm-tossed grill.

Said grill was up-ended and tossed into my neighbor's yard by what appears to be a very small tornado that spun out of a line of thunderstorms that developed quickly as a line of storms passed through Friday evening. The line of storms was the leftovers of what was Humberto, the storm that hit minimal hurricane status before it made landfall on Texas last week and quickly dissipated.

According to these esteemed liberal thinkers, asking my readership to continue a voluntary fundraiser is the exact same thing, somehow, as demanding billions of taxpayer dollars from the federal government to replace a city doomed by geology, oceanography, and hydrology.

Perhaps if I lobbied taxpayers for the funds that argument would have some merit, but I'm not applying for a grant, or demanding that taxpayers fund anything. I didn’t do that. I extended a pre-existing weeklong fundraiser where I asked for voluntary donations from my readers. My "crime" was continuing a voluntary fundraiser for a specific reason?

Heaven forbid. How do I live with myself.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:49 PM | Comments (22)

August 29, 2007

Rebuilding New Orleans: A Continuing Mistake

The remains of a Mardi Gras float pears through the wreckage of a Gretna, Louisiana warehouse, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Two years ago today, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana as a large Category 3 storm. While parts of coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama suffered the onslaught of the storm's surging waves and wind, most of the world's attention was paid, and is still being paid, to the City of New Orleans, where dozens of levee failures flooded most of the city.

More than 1,800 people were confirmed killed by Hurricane Katrina or in its wake, with 705 still missing, according to Wikipedia.

Literally millions of words have been written ascribing blame for the human failures that contributed to the loss of lives and property brought by this hurricane. The blame and blame-shifting continues to this day, and will be echoed, no doubt, long after the second-hand memories of the storm fade.

But this is not a post about past culpabilities, but those mistakes we are currently making in our all-too-human arrogance as we try to reclaim a disaster.

Goodbye, New Orleans.

This is map of what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expected the Louisiana coastline to look like in 50 years, prior to the massive erosion and seafloor damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and also before the current fervor over global warming began predicting significant sea-level rise. The effects of Katrina and Rita have obviously shortened this timeline, and any sea-level rise that occurs will only hasten the demise of the city known as the Big Easy which is being killed, not protected, by the very levees and dikes that politicians seem so eager to keep building and rebuilding. Experts at LSU predict that the delta protecting New Orleans from a hungry Gulf of Mexico will be gone by 2090.

Several days ago, Presidential candidate Barack Obama unwittingly cited an appropriate passage from the Bible, even though, like most politicians, he drew exactly the wrong conclusions from the scripture he noted:

"Getting ready to talk to you today, I recall what Jesus said at the end of the Sermon on the Mount," Obama said at New Orleans' First Emmanuel Baptist Church. "He said, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock."

"The rains descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. But it did not fall, because it was founded on the rock," he continued.

Most foundations and cities in America are built on rock, clay, or similarly durable soils, while New Orleans exemplifies the agonizing reality of the other house in that parable, the one that Obama didn't mention... that one made by foolish builders upon the sand, as noted in Matthew 7:24-27:

24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

The shattered fool's house in Matthew was built upon the sand.

New Orleans is built upon an even more unstable soil, silt, that is constantly compacting and sinking. What's more, that sinking, unstable soil is in a bowl below sea-level surrounded by the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Pontchartrain, bodies of water that are eating away the coastline at a rate of 25 square miles or more each year.

In September of 2005, I interviewed a geologist who was the former Dean of his southern university's Coastal and Marine Studies program. His closing, unsolicited recommendation was that New Orleans "should be largely abandoned as a city."

New Orleans is doomed city, a geographical mistake destined to fall to geologic and hydraulic forces beyond our control. It is sad they we are too arrogant to concede this failed city to the sea, and seem destined to waste the billions of dollars that could be spent moving the inhabitants to higher ground.

Instead we seem intent on enticing back the poor and the destitute with promises of rebuilding what should not be rebuilt, just to put their lives in danger once more.

8/31 Update: Over at Reason, Steve Chapman is on the same page:

Before the nation undertakes the extravagant project of rebuilding New Orleans and securing it from the elements, we might ask if there isn't a better option, not only for the nation but for the flood victims.

The Democratic debate over the future of New Orleans somehow passed over the instructive example of Valmeyer, Ill. In 1993, the town of 900 was swamped, not for the first time, by a rain-swollen Mississippi River. It hasn't been swamped since, because it's not there anymore. Rather than remain in a vulnerable spot, the residents voted to relocate their village to a bluff 400 feet above the river.

But no one wants to suggest similar discretion in Louisiana.

New Orleans, like Valmeyer, had long been a natural disaster waiting to happen. Most of the city lies below sea level, surrounded by water on three sides, and it's sinking. On top of that, it's steadily grown more exposed to hurricanes, thanks to the loss of coastal wetlands that once served as a buffer. It's a bathtub waiting to be filled.

As one scientist said after Katrina, "A city should never have been built there in the first place." Now that we have a chance to correct the mistake, why repeat it?

Gee, that sounds familiar.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:41 AM | Comments (34)

August 01, 2007

Prayers for Minneapolis

As you are no doubt well aware of by now, the I35W bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed during rush our this evening.

Dozens of vehicles have fallen into the river or the ground below; others have been crushed by the falling span. As I write this, authorities are stating that they can confirm seven people have died, that more than 30 are injured, and that 20 people or more are thought to be missing.

My heart goes out to those who have loved ones involved in this disaster, and I ask those readers who are religious to please consider saying prayers for those involved in this disaster, their families, the first responders, and attending medical personnel.

Update: James Lileks is continuing to update the story.

Worth noting are the stories of the heroism of ordinary people amid the disaster, as many people nearby and on the bridge rushed to aid others.

From Lileks at 10:21 PM:

I’m listening to a story on the news about a man who survived the fall – then ran to help the kids on the bus. I’d guess the fellow never considered what he might do in such a situation. Never thought about it much. Who would? But then you find yourself on a bridge that’s crashed down into the Mississippi, and you’re struggling with the seat belt buckle. It works , but your hands feel thick. You’re alive – which doesn’t seem that odd, really, you’ve always been alive, so this is just different, but you have strange thoughts about insurance and a mad swirl of panic and there’s blood in your hair but you can stand – and then you see a school bus. So you go to the bus. Of course you go the bus.

Most of us would. It’s a remarkable instinct that wells up and kicks in, and it’s something you never expected to experience. As someone said about humans: We’re at our best when things are worst.

Would you have run to the bus? I'll answer for you: yes.

And from what I'm hearing, many did exactly that.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:15 PM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2007

who i are and what this blog needs

I'm still not quite sure why CY volunteered to let me guest blog, unless he's looking for ace type posting, without teh funny, snide remarks and esoteric wit. Which if you're familiar with ace's site leaves us with poking fun at Andy "Patron Saint of the Man Pooter" Sullivan, a mutual hatred of Ice-Wops and pr0n.

If you're unfamiliar with my work, which you almost assuredly are, most recently I've been posting at agent bedhead, who was nice enough to take me in when I got too lazy busy to post at my own site. I'm also as CY mentioned part of the team at apothegm designs and responsible for the design of this site, which to those ever cleaver and uniquely refreshing liberal commenters means I'm a bigot hoping to enslave brown people so they'll pick my vast nonexistent fields of cotton and call me masta.

Anyhoo, enough about me and on with what this blog needs.

Since I've already numbed your minds enough and posted a link to an Snow Porker getting his, I'll bring on teh pr0n.

How's this news? Well the Australian lass pictured above, Kylie Minogue, is according to the bosh desperate for a man. She was engaged to a French(man?), so more than likely she's still as pure as the driven snow. Me, I'd take care of her, but I'm happily married, so I figured I'd let you guys have the first, um, crack at her. Consider yourselves warned, she's a naughty little minx, so you'd best be, "up" to the challenge, so to speak.

More of what this blog needs, food pr0n, is on the way, with pictures, just as soon as I get the ham, ribs and sausage off the smoker.

Since absolutely none of this interests 99.92735% if CY's normal readers I'll have analysis of what blind hogs, sadly no and the democratic underground have in common and how they've changed my life for the better. But first, pork.

Posted by phin at 02:22 PM | Comments (5)

May 22, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooter Had Plenty More Ammo

Seung-Hui Cho fired less than half of the 377 rounds of ammunition he brought with him into Norris Hall on April 16 before commiting suicide after killing 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech:

The gunman who killed 30 people at a Virginia Tech building was "well-prepared" to continue his shooting spree with more than 200 additional rounds of ammunition, a state panel was told Monday.

Police found 203 live rounds in Norris Hall, where Seung-Hui Cho killed 25 students and five faculty members before committing suicide on April 16, State Police Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty told a panel investigating the massacre. Cho also shot two other students elsewhere.

"He was well-prepared to continue on," Flaherty said.

Cho fired 174 shots from two handguns on the second floor in a span of nine minutes, taking his own life at 9:51 a.m. as police on the stairwell approached the floor, Flaherty said.

I suspect, but certainly cannot prove, that Cho chose to take his life when he did because he heard the sounds of police shooting through the locks on the first-floor doors he had chained shut, and he did not want to risk of being wounded by police and captured.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2007

A Little Early This Year: CY's Hurricane Survival Guide

I'd not planned on reposting this for several more weeks, but Andrea has other ideas.

WARNING: This is not comprehensive hurricane survival guide. I've only been through a few, and hardly consider myself an expert. Anyone who claims to be able to tell you everything you need to do to survive in every situation is lying. Adjust the following accordingly to your circumstances, but remember the only way to beat a hurricane is to not be there when it arrives.

Before the Storm: General

  • Listen to the radio, watch television news, or read online news sources to keep abreast of developing tropical systems. Keep close track of storms that may head in your general direction. Don't be caught flat-footed.
  • Know the hurricane evacuation routes for your area. By a state map or better yet, an atlas that can provide you with parallel routes away from an impending storm.
  • Make sure any vital medical prescriptions are filled in advance of an impending storm.
  • Make hotel reservations further inland several days in advance "just in case." Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Before the Storm: Around the House

  • Secure any lightweight objects outside the home. Bikes, toys, plants and other outdoor items can be carried away by wind and water, often at unpleasant velocities.
  • Board up your windows if possible, or tape them with duct tape in an asterisk pattern (*) if that is your only option. This serves to reinforce the glass, and in the event of a window shattering, may keep the shattered glass together so that it falls to the floor instead of spraying.

Before the Storm: Transportation

  • Fill your gas tank several days in advance, and keep it topped off.
  • Check your vehicle's fluids, and belts, making sure to top off your windshield washer fluid and coolants.
  • Make sure your tires are in good shape, and make sure your spare tire is inflated.
  • Make sure your tires have adequate tread. See manufacturers guidelines.
  • Leave when storm impact seems imminent. Do not wait for the official evacuation order if you can leave earlier.

Before the Storm: Personal

  • Create a "bug-out bag."
      This is an emergency evacuation bag of bare essentials you make need in an emergency. In this bag (preferably a backpack) include:
    1. a small battery-operated AM/FM radio, and fresh batteries for same.
    2. two waterproof flashlights and/or battery operated lanterns with fresh batteries for same.
    3. cell phone (and charger).
    4. disposable lighter and waterproof matches.
    5. personal toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, and other personal hygiene products as applicable.
    6. a first aid kit with painkillers, bandages and band aids.
    7. duct tape (min. 2 rolls)
    8. sturdy pocket knife
    9. hammer & prybar
    10. box of 8D nails
    11. blankets (multiple)
    12. clothes
    13. socks
    14. raingear
    15. study boots
    16. general-purpose leather gloves
    17. enough non-perishable, ready-to-eat food and water (1 gallon per person per day) for three days.
    18. last but not least, all insurance information, property, vehicle, life, and medical.
  • create a contacts list. Include a I.C.E. "in case of emergency" number.
  • put an I.C.E. notification with your ID and store it in your cell phone.

Before the Storm: Evacuation

  • pack bug-out bag, and supplies including food and water into vehicle.
  • make one last check to make sure outdoor items are secured.
  • cut off all electrical switches, appliances, televisions, lights, etc.
  • before you leave, contact your I.C.E. person and let them know where you are going and when you expect to arrive.
  • make sure all windows are closed tightly and locked.
  • lock all doors.
  • leave.
  • anticipate high winds and driving rain. Stay calm, drive cautiously. Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination. Beware of standing water.
  • Call your I.C.E. contact when you arrive safely.

During the Storm
Moving away from the hurricane will most likely reduce the effects of a hurricane, but it cannot eliminate risks entirely, even hundred of miles inland.

  • Duct tape windows in asterisk or "star" pattern (*). stay away from windows. draw blinds and curtains, if possible, to contain glass in the event of a window breaking.
  • stay inside, away from windows and doors especially during the eye of the storm. Winds restart again quickly with extreme velocities as the eyes passes and the wind shifts 180 degrees.
  • stay near interior walls. If the winds are very strong move into an interior bathroom where the building is likely to be strongest.
  • do not leave unless flooding is imminent or you are instructed to do so by authorities.

After the Storm

  • stay off the road and away from affected areas until authorities clear the area for your return.
  • watch for downed power lines and other debris in roads.
  • be very careful of standing pools of water and especially flowing water. It is ofnte deeper and more powerful than it appears.
  • watch for displaced wildlife. poisonous snakes, fireants, and abandoned pets. all can present hazards.
  • watch for dangerous debris.
  • lookout for injured people and animals. Call authorities if possible.
  • do not become a tourist. go home, and stay home.
  • secure your property. take stock of any damage. Catalog damage for insurance purposes.

Again, this list is hardly comprehensive, and cannot anticipate special needs or unexpected situations. It is however, a start, and can help you get ready for the 2007 storm season.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:37 AM | Comments (7)

May 07, 2007

Kathleen Sebelius' Political Disaster

Our hearts go out to those in Greensburg, Kansas who have lost family members and friends as a result of this natural disaster. If you know of displaced survivors who have yet to contact their loved ones, or wish to contribute to disaster relief, please contact the American Red Cross.

* * *

I wonder just how accurate this headline is: Iraq War Hampers Kansas Cleanup.

The rebuilding effort in tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kansas, likely will be hampered because some much-needed equipment is in Iraq, said that state’s governor.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius said much of the National Guard equipment usually positioned around the state to respond to emergencies is gone. She said not having immediate access to things like tents, trucks and semitrailers will really handicap the rebuilding effort.

The Greensburg administrator estimated that 95 percent of the town of 1500 was destroyed by Friday's tornado.

The Kansas National Guard has about 40 percent of the equipment it is allotted because much of it has been sent to Iraq.

It is true, as Marc Danziger notes, that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said just weeks ago that:

...she fears deployments of Kansas National Guard troops and equipment could hurt the state’s ability to react to disasters on the homefront.

In the same KCBS article cited above, Kansas Rep. Lee Tafanelli (R), a member of the Kansas National Guard, notes that that Kansas Army National Guard still retained 70-80 percent of its manpower.

If the figures provided by the Democratic governor and the Republican State rep and Guardsman are correct, the Army National Guard in Kansas still retains 40%-50% of their heavy equipment and 70%-80% of their manpower, which should be more than adequate to handle geographically narrow and isolated events such as the Greensburg tornado and others that hit Kansas this past Friday.

But please, don't take my word for it. Listen to what the state adjutant general had to say:

"We've been over the town twice now — all of our partners around the state, the experts from cities with technical search-and-rescue," Maj. Gen. Todd Bunting, the state's adjutant general, told CNN Monday morning. "We've done everything we can.

"Some of this rubble is 20, 30 feet deep. That's where we've spent all our efforts, and we'll do it again today."

As Maj. Gen. Bunting notes, they've already been over Greensburg twice, and they are going through the destroyed town of 1,500 again.

While it was no doubt comforting to have the additional manpower and equipment from the National Guard available, it is the state and local emergency personnel with trained search-and-rescue experts that are our best resources for this and similar situations.

Despite an inaccurate claim made by Sebelius on CNN, National Guard soldiers are not first responders, and they never have been. National Guardsmen can only be called to duty in governor-declared states of emergency, or federally, by presidential order.

Our first responders were, and remain, our local and state police, fire, and rescue units. The National Guard is now, and has always been, a reserve force.

Despite the reduction of certain kinds of National Guard equipment in state armories, I suspect that the personnel and equipment that remain at Gov. Sebelius' disposal is more than sufficient to handle the effort at hand. On some level, she seems to agree. Of thousands of National Guardsmen available, she has apparently deployed just 110.

It seems apparent that her anti-war pronouncements and appointments have as much to do with her claims as does any actually shortfall of equipment, and I suspect her words have as much to do with Sebelius' political hopes as it does the reality of Greenburg's battered ground.

Update: Reality bites... for Sebelius, that is:

Pentagon officials are disputing claims that the Iraq war has spread National Guardsmen too thin to respond to a Kansas tornado after the governor and some Democratic lawmakers complained that the Guard are not equipped to help displaced residents.

Kansas has 88 percent of its state Guard forces available, and 83,000 Guardsmen from neighboring states are also on the ready should the state request their assistance, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Tuesday, citing National Guard Bureau statistics.

According to Whitman, the Kansas Guard have available 352 Humvees, 94 cargo trucks, 72 dump trucks, 62 five-ton trucks, 13 medium-haul trucks and trailers and 152 2 1/2-ton trucks, a surplus, he noted.

How many of the Kansas National Guard's available 83,000+ men, 393 trucks and 352 Humvees would be required in a town of 1,500?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:30 PM | Comments (23)

April 26, 2007

Confirmed: Va Tech Shooter Used Standard Magazines

Virginia State Police Public Relations Manager Corinne Geller confirms via email that Cho Seung-Hui only used standard capacity magazines in a rampage last Monday at Virginia Tech that left more than 50 Virginia Tech students and faculty dead or injured.

"We are not identifying the capacity of the magazines or number of magazines purchased prior or in Cho's possession at the time of the shootings. I can tell you that the magazines were standard issue."

Numerous, immediate, and still erroneous media claims that Cho used high capacity or extended magazines containing as many as 33 rounds are patently false. Geller confirms that Cho used only standard capacity magazines, which for a Glock 19, is 15 rounds.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:17 PM | Comments (9)

April 25, 2007

Cho Still Had Ammunition When He Committed Suicide

On Deadline is reporting that Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho still had additional ammunition with him when he died in an updated to a blog entry on the shooting timeline.

The shootings at Norris Hall lasted nine minutes, and it is now apparent that the massacre would not have last much longer in any event, as Cho shot himself just after police officers shot the lock off a first floor door of Norris Hall and entered the building.

The obvious inference I'm tempted to make is that Cho heard the police gunfire and decided to take his life as a result of the perimeter being breached, not because he was low on ammunition, and not because he was out of potential targets. He apparently wanted to successfully commit suicide, rather than face the possibility of being taken alive and having to face the consequences of his murder spree.

I don’t know that the evidence supports these assumptions, but with no easily detectable motive or trigger for the largest mass shooting in American history, inferences and assumptions may be all we have.

Update: Over at Hot Air, AP makes a chilling speculation (my bold):

The theory right now is that he shot himself when he heard them shoot through their way through the front door of Norris Hall. Which makes the fact that VTech was a gun-free zone that much harder — if he'd heard a gunshot in the building earlier in his rampage, he might have turned his own gun on himself sooner thinking it was the police.

There is of course no way to know if that is what would have transpired, and it is probably pointless to wonder how many of the 59 killed or wounded by Cho might not have been shot had he suspected that he was about to come under fire or had actual aimed shots directed his way, distracting him from his attack.

When I was in grad school, I suspected that several fellow students (mostly women) were occasionally armed, and knew for a fact one person was armed almost every day I saw him.

We, too, were a "gun free" school, but I felt a bit safer knowing that we weren't quite as gun free as the administration would have liked.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:47 PM | Comments (4)

Abnormal Psychology

A psychology major has admitted to being the person who has been placing a memorial stone for Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho among those of his victims:

A senior Virginia Tech psychology major has identified herself in a letter to the editor in the Collegiate Times as the person who's been placing a stone at the memorial for Seung-Hui Cho.

The writer, Katelynn L. Johnson, wrote in the lengthy letter that she placed the stone at the memorial at 4 a.m. last Thursday morning in the dark to avoid drawing attention.

"I refuse to do what is popular and agree with everyone around me that only 32 people died on Monday. 33 died."She said in the letter that she intends to continue adding a stone whenever it is removed, as was the case earlier this week.

I somewhat suspect this student aced VT's PSYCH 3014: Abnormal Psychology, based largely upon her own head start on the subject.

The fact that Cho coldly murdered 32 others and wounded 29 more before taking his own life doesn't seem to be of much concern to Ms. Johnson, who is in the process of making herself the most unpopular living student on campus by memorializing a mass murderer.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:11 PM | Comments (10)

April 23, 2007

Facing Wolves

This is perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of the Virginia Tech massacre I've read thus far (my bold).

Police are still searching for a motive. Cho, the 23-year-old English major who was described as reclusive and extremely shy, left behind a package of videos and letters railing against privilege and wealth, but did not say how he chose his victims...

Those victims apparently did not fight back against Cho's ambush. Massello said he did not recall any injuries suggesting a struggle. Many victims had defensive wounds, indicating they tried to shield themselves from Cho's gunfire, he said.

Massello said Cho hit many of his victims several times.

The media's portrayal of the Virginia Tech massacre has been abysmal and highly inaccurate during the course of the past week. Because of their well-documented shortcomings, I've wanted to avoided commenting on certain aspects of the events of April 16 in Norris Hall at Virginia Tech, where Cho Seung-Hui shot to death 30 of his victims, and wounded 29 more.

During this time period, primarily local media accounts have started to create a patchwork of stories that are helping us piece together an image of how individual students reacted during this tragedy, one that has disturbed several people I've spoken with, both online and in person.

No one could have easily predicted that a student such as Cho would have gone on a murderous rampage, and no one knows how they would respond to an event such as this unless they're faced with a similar situation themselves.

It is because of this that I was concerned when I read John Derbyshire's NRO Blog entry The Spirit of Self Defense, posted just one day after the massacre, when so few facts were known.

He wrote:

As NRO's designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake—one of them reportedly a .22. At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren't very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can't hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage—your chances aren't bad. Yes, yes, I know it's easy to say these things: but didn't the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything? As the cliche goes—and like most cliches. It's true—none of us knows what he'd do in a dire situation like that. I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I'd at least take a run at the guy.

I think we can all agree that people react to high stress unexpected situations differently, and that how we response is influenced by our previous training and experiences. I don't think it is reasonable to expect that anyone in the situation at Norris Hall would have any previous training or experience to handle the situation of a heavily-armed student shooting up a classroom building, though oddly enough, there was a student, Regina Rohde, enrolled at Virgina Tech that was not at Norris Hall who survived the Columbine High School massacre. Even that experience would not have prepared anyone to "take a run at the guy" as Derbyshire suggested. Something else in a person's background or make-up would have to make them act in such a counterintuitive way as to attempt to attack someone with a firearm. I'll note that counterintuitive is not necessarily the same as wrong.

Arguably, it should make us re-examine the basic, emotional "fight or flight" response. Wikipedia describes the reaction to acute stress thusly:

The fight-or-flight response, also called the acute stress response, was first described by Walter Cannon in 1927. His theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing. This response was later recognized as the first stage of a general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms. provides a more useful definition:

This is the body’s response to perceived threat or danger. During this reaction, certain hormones like adrenalin and cortisol are released, speeding the heart rate, slowing digestion, shunting blood flow to major muscle groups, and changing various other autonomic nervous functions, giving the body a burst of energy and strength. Originally named for its ability to enable us to physically fight or run away when faced with danger, it’s now activated in situations where neither response is appropriate, like in traffic or during a stressful day at work.

While the massacre itself was shocking enough, the anecdotal evidence pieced together showing that many students (rightly) fled, and that at least some of those who couldn't escape simply let themselves be shot (including at least one student who curled into a ball and allowed Cho to shoot him). The corner's comments shows that he found no evidence suggesting wounds consistent with someone attempting to defend themselves when their lives were in mortal jeopardy. This is shocking in its own right.

Obviously, many of the 59 students, faculty and staff shot by Cho had a very limited chance to react, and there were students in those classrooms who were not shot at all only as a matter of chance. Why is it, though, that when the fight or flight response engaged as it undoubtedly was in Norris Hall, that it appears not a single soul did as Derbyshire asked, "take a run at the guy"?

This isn't a question of bravery by any measure, and I don't want anyone to misconstrue it as such. I am honestly curious as to why the "fight" part of the "fight or flight" response apparently never kicked in to any one of the students, faculty, and staff members who could not escape.

When a man is in the process of gunning down your classmates in a ruthless manner and obviously has the same intention of doing the same to you, you are presented with a very short list of options:

  • do nothing or attempt to hide (a passive response)
  • attempt to block the gunman from entering the classroom (an active response)
  • attempt to attack the gunman, if only to save your own life (an active response)
  • want to take on of the above options, but succumb to shock (a blocked response)

That is far from being any sort of a clinical response and may not be accurate. It is simply a layman's understanding of how someone may react in the very crudest terms to a horrible situation.

In this circumstance, the flight response is by far the best option, and for those who were able to escape before Cho started shooting in their classrooms, it paid off. But I'm not concerned with the actions of those who were able to escape, but with the actions of those who were unable to escape. What of those who were left?

While we do know that some students were successful in barricading doors and prevented Cho from entering (and that one professor and at least one student died attempting to barricade doors). Once Cho was able to enter classrooms, however, not a single person attempted to attack him according to the coroner, even though that might have been their best option for survival. I speak of this not to condemn, but only in an effort to understand why.

Mark Steyn made an admirable attempt to understand why in A Culture of Passivity. I'm not sure I agree with it, but the following bears reflecting upon:

it’s deeply damaging to portray fit fully formed adults as children who need to be protected. We should be raising them to understand that there will be moments in life when you need to protect yourself — and, in a “horrible” world, there may come moments when you have to choose between protecting yourself or others. It is a poor reflection on us that, in those first critical seconds where one has to make a decision, only an elderly Holocaust survivor, Professor Librescu, understood instinctively the obligation to act.

At the time Steyn wrote his article, not all of the facts were known. We now know that another student died trying to prevent Cho from entering his classroom and was gunned down, just as we know that several other students kept pressing against the door, even as Cho fired through. These brave men all saved lives attempting to preventing a wolf from entering among the sheep. These men are what you would recognize from Bill Whittle's seminal essay Tribes as sheepdogs. Whittle borrowed this description from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's seminar The Bulletproof Mind as Whittle was writing about the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Whittle cited Grossman as stating:

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident."

This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million total Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf." Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, "We intimidate those who intimidate others."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath--a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

He continues:

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are dozens of times more likely to be killed, and thousands of times more likely to be seriously injured, by school violence than by school fires, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard, so they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog. As Kipling said in his poem about "Tommy" the British soldier:

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that,
an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir,"
when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys,
there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir,"
when there's trouble in the wind.

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Whittle continues on his own:

Here is the Grey philosophy I try to live by:

Sometimes, Bad Things Happen. Some things are beyond my control, beyond the control of the smartest and best people we have, even beyond the awesome, subtle and unlimited control of the simpering, sub-human village idiot from Texas.

Hurricanes come. They have come for all of human history, and more are coming. Barbarians also come to steal or destroy what they cannot make themselves, and they, like human tempests, have swept a path of destruction through civilization since before history was written on clay tablets on the banks of the Euphrates.

I am not a wolf. I have never harmed a person in my life. But I am not a sheep, either. I know these forces are out there, and wishing it were not so will not only not make them go away – it will rob me of my chance to kick their ass when they show up.

And further:

It takes courage to fight oncoming storms. Courage.

Courage isn’t free. It is taught, taught by certain tribes who have been around enough and seen enough incoming storms to know what one looks like.

Tribes is an excellent essay, though perhaps imperfect to apply to the students, faculty and staff trapped inside Norris Hall last Monday. That said, I am forced to wonder why not one of those 59 people shot, nor those who were not shot, did not make an attempt to defend at least themselves, if not others. The "extreme provocation" that Grossman noted can make even sheep attack was certainly present in Norris Hall a week ago today, and yet, not one apparently acted upon it.

Have we become as a culture so adverse to the idea of conflict that we will willing surrender our lives and the lives of others to avoid fighting back?

I am trapped, and think perhaps, that we all are.

Have we become so enamored with the idea of conflict avoidance and conflict resolution at all costs, that we have forgotten that at some points, conflict is the only correct response? Do we not need to teach courage, or at least self-preservation, as well?

I can offer no answers. I don't even know if I'm asking the right questions.

I do think, however, that as a society, somebody should find the right questions to ask, and do all we can to get those answers.

If not, we give our futures to the wolves to decide.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:53 PM | Comments (14)

April 18, 2007

Return Address: Ishmael


NBC News President Steve Capus said the network received the package in Wednesday morning's mail delivery and immediately turned the material over to FBI agents in New York. The FBI is assisting Virginia State Police in the investigation.

The package included a long, "rambling, manifesto-like statement embedded with a series of photographs," Capus said. The material is "hard-to-follow ... disturbing, very disturbing — very angry, profanity-laced," he said.

It does not include any images of the shootings Monday, but it does include "vague references," including “things like 'This didn’t have to happen,'" Capus said in an interview late Wednesday afternoon.

One of the photos.


It shows Cho with the murder weapons, the Glock 19 in his right hand, the Walther P22 in his left.

And in a related article:

Among the materials are 23 QuickTime video files showing Cho talking directly to the camera, Capus said. He does not name anyone specifically, but he talks at length about religion and his hatred of the wealthy.

I'm watching the coverage on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams as they discuss the case. The return address was "Ishmael," as written on Cho's arm. Cho's comments spoke of himself in the past tense.

I'm not sure what to say about this at this point.

Update: Ace glibly notes, "It really would have been a good idea to lock the campus down after the first shootings, eh?"

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:37 PM | Comments (5)

Striking the Balance

SWAT teams wearing body armor and carrying machine guns stormed an administrative building at Virginia Tech this morning:

Virginia Tech students still on edge after the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history got another scare Wednesday morning as police in SWAT gear with weapons drawn swarmed Burruss Hall, which houses the president's office.

The threat of suspicious activity turned out to be unfounded, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said, and the building was reopened. But students were rattled.

"They were just screaming, 'Get off the sidewalks,'" said Terryn Wingler-Petty, a junior from Wisconsin. "They seemed very confused about what was going on. They were just trying to get people organized."

One officer was seen escorting a crying young woman out of Burruss Hall, telling her, "It's OK. It's OK."

To the best of my knowledge, Cho Seung-Hui killed himself with a bullet to the head on Monday morning after killing 32 innocent people and wounding many more, and he is still dead. Based upon thousands of years of human experience with one notable exception some 2,000 years ago, he is forecast to remain deceased.

So why is Virginia Tech still blanketed with heavily-armed and understandably tense police officers, many of which are dealing themselves with the aftershocks of trauma from the largest mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history, just two days ago?

Part of the reason is to provide the public perception that something is being done and that the tragic massacre of two days ago will not be repeated on this ravaged, grief-stricken campus, a campus already awash in disbelief, shock, and fear. The officers are meant to provide psychological security as much as they are to provide physical security.

But as this morning's frightening false alarm showed, sometimes an overwhelming police presence in the wake of a traumatic event can instead lead to situation that increases or extends fears.

Today, Virginia Tech may very well be the safest college campus in the United States, but the massive display of force by police comes with its own costs.

Heavily-armed and no doubt highly-stressed first responders chasing ghosts and rumors are adding trauma to still fragile students like the young woman noted in the story above.

While a heightened police presence is still warranted to deal with the inevitable false alarms and to help provide a feeling of security, it is two days too late for the need of heavy body armor, and no current reason for police to walk around campus with tactical carbines. The time for such things has passed. On this day and in days forward, badges and "Smokie the Bear" covers should be enough. Enough, but not too much.

There is a balance, an equilibrium, an illusion of normalcy that must be regained for healing to begin.

Hopefully the officials at Virginia Tech will be able to find this equilibrium sooner, rather than later.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:01 AM | Comments (2)

April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooter, Weapons Identified

Allahpundit has the story on the shooter, who has been identified as Seung Hui Cho (CNN calls him Cho Seung Hui), a Korean national, a permanent resident of the United States and a Virginia Tech student.

I'm cross-referencing this to Curt at Flopping Aces, who noted in an update a post to a firearms message board, where a gun shop employee claims (site currently down) he sold Cho the firearms used in the shooting:

"Well, I'm screwed. They found a receipt in the gunman's pocket indicating that he bought the gun from me in March. ATF is at my shop right now. See you later, I'm on my way to the shop right now."

[...]"Call BS all you like, but I just spent the last several hours with 3 ATF agents. I saw the shooter's picture. I know his name and home address. I also know that he used a Glock 19 and a Walther P-22. The serial number was ground off the Glock. Why would he do that and still keep the receipt in his pocket from when he bought the gun? ATF told me that they are going to keep this low-key and not report this to the tv news. However, they cautioned that it will leak out eventually, and that I should be ready to deal with CNN, FOX, etc. My 32 camera surveillance system recorded the event 35 days ago. This is a digital system that only keeps the video for 35 days. We got lucky. By the way, the paperwork for Mr. Cho was perfect, thank God."

I'm as disgusted as you probably are with the poster's focus on himself among all the real carnage around him, but that fact remains that he named "Mr. Cho" more than 12 hours before officials, so I think his claim that he sold these firearms to Cho is probably legitimate.


The firearms used in the shooting appear to be a Glock 19 (left, above), a 9mm pistol very popular with police agencies in many countries including the United States, and a Walther P22 (right, above), a .22 caliber pistol that is primarily used as a practice or target pistol. The Glock is typically sold with two standard 15-round factory magazines, a capacity fairly standard among comparable sized 9mm pistols. The P22 is typically sold with a pair of ten-round magazines.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:11 AM | Comments (7)

April 16, 2007

Multiple Shootings at Virginia Tech

At least one shooter eyewitnesses identified as an "Asian" male wearing military load-bearing equipment has shot between 7-17 students and faculty members at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

One fatality has been confirmed, and one shooter is in custody as the campus remains on a lockdown while police search for a second gunman. The first shootings took place in a dormitory, and a second rounds of gunfire erupted in an engineering classroom building at the opposite end of campus hours later. The campus has been shutdown and students are locked down as police scour the campus for a possible second shooter.

Collegiate Times, the Va. Tech student newspaper, is stating that there are 22 fatalities, including one shooter. The web site also states that three men were arrested and escorted from the engineering building.

I'm not sure how accurate these accounts are, and cannot find a corroborating source to support these claimed fatalities. I would therefore recommend this being regarded as rumor for now. If true, however, this may be the deadliest collegiate shooting in modern history.

Update High number of fatalities confirmed, via AP.

Update: The following is an educated guess, and may be incorrect: Based upon the high number of fatalities among those shot, and the high number of victims overall, and the description of the shooter as wearing some sort of load-bearing vest, I'm going to make an educated guess and suggest that the shooter was likely armed with a 7.62x39mm semi-automatic rifle, probably patterned on the AK-47.

There are a couple of reasons why I feel this is probably the type of weapon used.

  1. The description a shooter "wearing a vest covered in clips." The witness seems to be describing load-bearing equipment, typically made for either 5.56 NATO or 7.62x39 magazines, the two most standard assault rifle calibers. The typical standard magazine for each weapon is typically 30 rounds.
  2. Of the two calibers, the 7.62x39 is a far more lethal bullet across a wider range of conditions than the 5.56 NATO or slightly less powerful .223 Remington variant that can be fired from the same weapon. People shot with 5.56 NATO rounds often survive after even being hit with multiple shots. The high number of fatalities suggests a more lethal caliber and/or cartridge.
  3. The rifles patterned after AK-series are typically far less expensive (often less than $500) than those patterned on the AR15/M16 platform (often more than $900-1,000), and are also often more plentiful for sale.

Obviously, our prayers go out to those Virginia Tech faculty, students, staff, and family members affected by this tragedy.

Update: I'd like to make one last statement about this after reading Allah's latest update, noting that a bill to allow students to carry handguns was recently quashed in the Virginia General Assembly.

When I was a T.A. in graduate school at East Carolina University in the mid-1990s, I knew several graduate and undergraduate students that illegally carried concealed weapons on a fairly regular basis. Contrary to what you might suspect, most of these students were female liberal arts majors. One of my students in the class that I taught brought a Browning .380 to class every day. I felt safe knowing my fellow students were armed. I also felt better when the left the building at night that they could protect themselves and others from any predators that may have been about.

Would the number of students shot at Virginia Tech today have been lower if student there were allowed to take a training class, get a permit, and carry a concealed weapon on campus? There is of course not way to be sure. I do think it is obvious that an armed student or faculty member could have at least made taking their lives a far more difficult.

I'd urge a far more somber Virginia General Assembly, and the General Assembly of other states, to consider letting student who have satisfied their state requirements to carry concealed weapons also carry those weapons on campus. The lives saved may belong to someone dear to them.

Update: 32 killed, 28 wounded. NBC is citing two anonymous law enforcement officials as saying that a pair of 9mm handguns were used in the rampage. This does not seem to match up with eariler reports of the shooter wearing what sounded like military load-bearing equipment, and if accurate, means my earlier educated guess was based upon inaccurate assumptions, as I noted it could be.

A clearer picture separating the fact from rumor will begin to emerge over the coming days.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:38 AM | Comments (17)

March 27, 2007

Sewage Flood Engulfs Gaza Village

Revolting beyond description:

At least five Palestinians including two toddlers drowned in a “sewage tsunami” today, when a water treatment reservoir burst its embankment, flooding a village in the northern Gaza Strip.

The deluge, triggered by the collapse of a system aid organisations had long warned was dangerously overburdened, submerged dozens of homes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Nasr beneath a cesspool of foul-smelling effluent.

Two women in their 70s, a teenage girl and two boys aged one and two died in the flood. At least 15 people were injured and local medics say scores more are still missing.

This AFP picture pulled from Yahoo! News photos gives you an idea of how massive the sewage spill was. The waters these men are paddling in are full of bacteria and human waste. I cannot even begin to imagine the stench or the near total destruction this breach has created in the village of Umm al-Nasr.

I know from reading hurricane-related coverage that the mold and bacteria that can result from other kinds of flooding mandate that some buildings be razed as a result. I would imagine that by western standards, any structure inundated with raw sewage would almost certainly have to be destroyed, but I fear that in Umm al-Nasr, many of the residents, primarily poor Bedouin shepherds, do not have the resources to rebuild, and will endeavor to reoccupy their bacteria-infested homes. If this occurs, I suspect the death toll will sadly increase from disease.

As is so often the case involving anything in Gaza, the story's political overtones were among the foul things that quickly rose to the surface.

The Hamas movement, the leading partner in a newly formed Palestinian unity government, blamed the disaster on a foreign aid boycott slapped on the Palestinian Authority a year ago when the Islamist hardliners first came to power. Israel and the West consider Hamas a terrorist outfit.

In a statement, Hamas said: “The overflowing of the [reservoir] is one of the results of the suspension of international aid to our people, which is preventing the government from improving and developing infrastructure.”

To the credit of the Times, they deftly debunked Hamas in the immediately following paragraph.

As far back as January 2004, UN aid agencies in the Gaza Strip had warned that the sewage treatment facility was operating far beyond its capacity and posed a grave danger to nearby residents.

Also sadly stereotypical was how residents responded to the interior minister who rushed to the scene to inspect the damage. What did the residents feel? Justifiable outrage.

And recoil.

Hopefully the people of Umm al-Nasr will receive aid to help them cleanse and rebuild their village. It's too bad Hamas and other Palestinian groups let the water treatment facilities deteriorate to such a deadly condition in the first place.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:34 PM | Comments (5)

March 15, 2007

Gore Effect Hits Middle East

Ah... Lebanon in April.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:29 PM | Comments (10)

March 13, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth for Al Gore

At least he'll aways have his Oscar, even if his documentary isn't supported by the data:

"I don’t want to pick on Al Gore," Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. "But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data."

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made "the most important and salient points" about climate change, if not "some nuances and distinctions" scientists might want. "The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger," he said, adding, "I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand."

Although Mr. Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in "An Inconvenient Truth," which is why scientists are sensitive to its details and claims.

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for "getting the message out," Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were "overselling our certainty about knowing the future."

Typically, the concern is not over the existence of climate change, or the idea that the human production of heat-trapping gases is partly or largely to blame for the globe's recent warming. The question is whether Mr. Gore has gone beyond the scientific evidence.

"He's a very polarizing figure in the science community," said Roger A. Pielke Jr., an environmental scientist who is a colleague of Dr. Vranes at the University of Colorado center. "Very quickly, these discussions turn from the issue to the person, and become a referendum on Mr. Gore."

Gore's fellow global warming co-religionists will most likely discount the attempt to inject actual science into the global warming debate. As we well know, science and faith do not always go hand-in-hand.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:38 AM | Comments (2)

February 20, 2007


Am I alone in thinking that the only real apparent benefit of United Nations involvement in this project is the threat that if Apophisians don't find a way to change course away from Earth, that they might be subject to rape?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:51 PM | Comments (3)

February 02, 2007

Global Warming: The Un-Science of Fear

Long before al Gore invented the Internet, way back in 1989-90, I was an undergraduate taking a series of geology classes, and I liked them well enough that I gave serious thought to making that branch of science my vocation.

Times and majors changed, but I can still recall the long view of the earth's climate over the course of history, and so when I hear politicians like Barbara Boxer declare "The scientific debate is over," on global warming, then I know that I am hearing the words of someone scientifically incurious, politically reactionary, and/or hopelessly gullible.

The debate isn't over. For what it is worth, most of the "debate" is simply invalid. Junk science. Hype.

Humankind has very little or nothing to do with climate change, a fact that that a group of idiots assembled in Paris can't quite seem to grasp.

Let me say it very slowly: Global warming is real, but mankind has little or nothing to do with it, and it is a transitory state.

Here's a little reality check for Al Gore:

Approximately 99.72% of the "greenhouse effect" is due to natural causes -- mostly water vapor and traces of other gases, which we can do nothing at all about. Eliminating human activity altogether would have little impact on climate change.

The simple fact of the matter is that global warming began 18,000 years ago as we started leaving the Pleistocene Ice Age. We are currently on the tail end of a 20,000-year interglacial period, and do you know what that means?

If millions of years of history can be our guide—and it should— we are within a few hundred years of entering a new ice age.

Global warming advocates attempt to say that global warming can be tied to an increase of greenhouse gases they tie to the Industrial Revolution. They're confusing proximation with causation. Just because things occur at the same time doesn't mean they are related... unless, of course, you really want to believe that on this day in 1971, a groundhog seeing his shadow somehow helped the success of Idi Amin's coup in Uganda. Good luck with that.

No, the Industrial Revolution coincided with global warming, but it didn't cause it. It was merely part of a cycle already millions of years older than mankind itself.

Baby Step:


Big Picture:


(both charts from here, which will decode them for you quite nicely.)

The "science" you see from proponents of the idea that humans are behind global warming are guilty of finding precisely what they were looking for, not of promoting responsible science.

What causes global warming? Read the link above, but if your eyes start to glaze over, Jules Crittenden's take isn't far off:

Re Earth. It gets hot. It gets cold. This is what Earth does. No one knows why. Even the scientists who say its getting hot because of human activity, when pressed, have to admit it might be only heating up at a greater rate because of human activity, but even then, no one can really say for sure.

It's hotter now than it's been since the time of Jesus. What that means is, 2,000 years ago, the Earth was as hot as it is now. I'm blaming Iron Age farming practices and smelting for that New Testament uptick. Or maybe it was the righteous fire and burning passion of the age … have to go back and have another look at the ice cores. Might find some particles of faith.

By the 14th century, it was wicked cold. And I do mean wicked. Like, medieval cold. Even all those witch burnings had no effect. But not as cold as it was 10,000 years ago. We're really only just starting to warm up from that. We have a long way to go before it is as warm as it was 66 million years ago, you know, Everglades in Montana warm.

All the time in between, I'm fuzzy on the temps. But I'm going to take a wild guess. Warm, cold, warm, cold, warm, cold. You have a water view? Look out. It might come through your window. Never know. Things happen.

You would think that the Global Warming Evangelicals would have a handle on the way-cool existentialism of this, considering some are actually poets instead of scientists, but perhaps we overestimate how good they are at being poets, as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:40 PM | Comments (68)

January 22, 2007

George Bush Hates British People

Directly ignoring the pleas of police and other authorities, looters wade through debris-filled water to take away anything they could carry, despite warnings that toxic chemicals in the mix could pose a dangerous hazard.

New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina? Try England, today.

Hell of a job.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

Uranium-Laden Big Rigs Flips

I think this is generally why they prefer to ship nuclear fuels by rail:

A fully loaded tractor-trailer carrying about 6,600 pounds of powdered uranium has overturned on part of Interstate 40 in Johnston County, authorities say.

All eastbound lanes of I-40 are closed at exit 325 (N.C. Highway 242 to Benson). Traffic is being rerouted through Benson.

The accident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. when the vehicle overturned on the Interstate 95 northbound ramp to I-40 east.

Johnston County's emergency communications director says the threat level is low because the uranium is packed securely. The only threat is if the radioactive material breaks through the reinforced container it is in.

Let's hope that doesn't happen.

BTW... what color is "Carolina Green?"

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October 06, 2006

Chemical Fire Forces NC Town's Evacuation


Didn't get too much sleep last night. I was glued to the television, trying to guess how bad a chemical fire in a neighboring town was going to get and whether or not we'd need to evacuate:

Shifting winds forced Apex officials to expand an evacuation area early Friday to protect residents from a chemical gas plume that continued to spread from an industrial fire that has raged since late Thursday.

Town Manager Bruce Radford said a leak at the EQ North Carolina plant on Investment Boulevard sent several large plumes of chlorine gas into the air around 9 p.m. Thursday. A large fire broke out at the plant afterward, sending flames more than 100 feet into the night sky and setting off multiple explosions.

EQ is a licensed hazardous-waste facility that serves businesses

Apex and Wake County officials declared a state of emergency early Friday and evacuated about 16,000 people -- half of Apex -- within hours.

The fire started shortly after a chlorine gas leak was detected. As of now, the fire is still burning, and firefighters have rightly decided it would be safer to let it burn itself out. The sun is coming up and the winds going to shift, possibly forcing more evacuations.

EQ, the company that blew up, had closed and the last employee had left by 7:00 PM. The chlorine gas leak was detected around 9:00 PM and the fire came shortly afterward.

It is too early to determine a cause.

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August 29, 2006

Lesson Unlearned

A battered Mardi Gras float in a Gretna, LA, warehouse destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

One year ago today, Hurricane Katrina made its second and third landfalls as a Category 3 Hurricane. While the media continues to portray Katrina as the "perfect storm" because of the destruction it caused in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, the simple fact is that Katrina could have been far worse. New Orleans did not suffer a direct hit.

At some point in the unforeseen future, the perfect storm will hit New Orleans, and the billions of dollars we are pumping into rebuilding the city will be realized for the misallocation of funds that it is as it slides beneath the waves for a final time, perhaps with a far greater loss of life than the 1,836 souls that were lost when Katrina bypassed New Orleans.

We should have learned; you don't build a major city in a hole in a swamp surrounded by the Mighty Mississippi on the once side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other an expect it to last. Katrina should have been our wake-up call to relocate or abandon the Big Easy for higher ground; instead we are pumping millions of dollars into a city that the Army Corps of Engineers predicted would fall into the sea within 50 years even before Katrina chewed up an already receding Louisiana coastline.

A pre-Katrina map of what the Louisiana coastline may look like in less than 50 years.

We have not learned the lessons that this mighty near miss tried to teach us, and are now doomed to repeat our mistake in the future. It is arrogant and foolish to think Band-Aid solutions will resurrect a city so close to its natural death.

So what would have been the "proper" response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina? Rebuilding elsewhere. Surely, the millions of dollars flowing into the slowly drowning city of New Orleans would have been better spent in relocating it to higher ground further inland, where it could have a legitimate chance to rebuild and prosper, instead of looking forward to the dark further of The Next Time, when the futility of our efforts to combat the forces of nature will be realized on a stark day after.

But instead we rebuild New Orleans to fail, no stronger, weaker in many regards, and doomed to repeat as scene of massive tragedy. We have failed to learn from the recent past, and will be forced to live with the consequences in the future.

Update: In the comments, some folks are making the correct observation that not all of New Orleans flooded as a result of Hurricane Katrina, and that some spots are indeed above sea level. To them I say, "for now."

New Orleans, on average, is eight feet below sea level, and sinking three feet per century.

The simple fact of the matter is that all of New Orleans (and the Mississippi Delta in general) is built upon a bed of silt hundreds of feet thick, and this fine material is constantly compacting. The rate of subsidence varies from spot to spot, but all of the Mississippi delta is subsiding, and all of New Orleans is sinking along with it.

That is according to the U.S Geological Survey.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:12 AM | Comments (52) | TrackBack

June 28, 2006

Resurrecting Ghosts

"Mothball Fleet."

Just hearing those words conjures up images of worn down, obsolete rusty freighters, decrepit warships, and sepia-tone pictures of half-sunken Liberty ships whose glory days have long since past.


They are the abandoned hulks and hulls no longer wanted or needed, destined for an ignoble end at the bottom of the sea after being used as a naval target, or at the end of a scrapyard's cutting torch.

But what if some of these grizzled veterans of wars past still had a story left to tell? What if some of these salt-flecked graybeards of the fleet still have a purpose, and can be called forth once more?

Finding that purpose is the calling of Ward Brewer, CEO of a little-known and unheralded non-profit Beauchamp Tower Corporation (BTC). Operation Enduring Service, the program started to press these aging ships back into service, began with a glance at a picture on a wall. As the Operation Enduring Service web site explains:

A 1944 Will Cressy lithograph of the USS Orion, which hung on James Gulley's living room wall since he returned from the war, now hangs on his grandson's office wall. In April of 2002, while working on his company's National Emergency Urban Interface Program, a momentary glance at that picture drew Ward's attention.

Taking a break from working on the company's emergency response program, Ward began searching for the USS Orion on the Internet to find out more about her. Several sites had pictures and brief histories of the USS Orion as well as other Fulton Class Submarine Tenders. There was one site, however, that would dramatically change future events. The USS Torsk Volunteers had been aboard the USS Orion in order to obtain various parts that were needed for the continued restoration of their submarine. While searching the ship, the "Torsk Bandits" as they called themselves, took numerous pictures of the USS Orion. It was these pictures that caught Ward Brewer's eye.

The USS Orion was built like a small city, carrying with her everything she could possibly need to perform her mission. It was all there, Machine Shops, Foundry, Electronics, Utilities, Berthing, Galleys, etc. This incredible concentration of capabilities made the USS Orion and her Fulton Class sister ships efficient, effective, and one of the most versatile assets in the United States Navy. It was the versatility and unique assets of these ships that resulted in Ward Brewer considering a project design so bold and unusual that few would believe it was even possible.

Brewer's general concept was simple; save these aging ships from the scrapyard, and refit them with the most modern technologies this generation can bring to bear to create a small fleet of ultra-capable disaster response and recovery ships.

The Fulton-class of Submarine Tenders was Brewer's first choice for this mission, but as more modern ships began to retire, the Mars-class Combat Stores Ship became the most logical choice to be refitted as the very first purpose-built Fast Attack Disaster Response Ships.

The former USNS San Diego may be the very first of this new breed of ships.


Outfitted with an emergency response center, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations center and a land/sea/air communications center than can coordinate across military, law enforcement and civilian radio frequencies, this ship will be the coordinating hub of disaster response in coming hurricane seasons, working with FEMA, the Coast Guard, Salvation Army and other organizations that response to the worse storms Mother Nature can throw at Gulf and East Coast states.

Able to provide food, water, fuel and emergency supplies to an area measuring of thousands of square miles, these ships will be able to do what no agency in any country has ever been capable of doing.

The problem, of course, is securing these aging vessels and finding a way to finance their refitting and return to duty.

Operation Enduring Service has long been pushing the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) to release a substantial number of ships to Beauchamp Tower Corporation from the James River and Suisun Bay National Defense Reserve Fleets.

National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisian Bay, California

National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Ships of historical significance—particularly World War II-era ships—would be brought back to period standards and used as museum ships, providing future generations insights into how the Greatest Generation fought to preserve this nation's freedoms. A handful of vessels such as the USNS San Diego would be refitted for emergency response.

A substantial part of the operation—both museum ships and modernized disaster response vessels—would be financed by selling the salvage and scrapping rights to other vessels too far gone to be of further use except for as recycled raw materials. The total cost of this program to taxpayers?

Not one dime.

The salvage and scrapping of those vessels beyond their useful days will partially finance both the historical and rescue operations, with the rest of the costs being absorbed by the deep pockets of major corporate donors already committed to Beauchamp Tower Corporation.

As fantastic as it sounds, the operation will actually save the American taxpayer tens of millions of dollars that the Maritime Administration has been paying to companies across the Atlantic to tow away and dispose of ships as American shipyards want for work.

* * *

Long-time readers of this site know that I've been trying to do my small part to help make Operation Enduring Service a reality, as I've been writing posts advocating readers to help pressure Congressmen and Senators for support about it off and on since early November of last year.

Back in March I had something of an idea, an alternative to harassing Congressmen, and being in near daily contact with Brewer (who I have since come to regard as a long-distance friend) I passed that idea along. I then more or less stopped my public advocacy for this project, even as that idea went to the right people and things began to get a bit more interesting (to put it mildly) behind the scenes.

It pains me as a blogger to sit on a good idea, but I've done just that thus far. If things go as planned, I should be able to break that silence very, very soon.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:25 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 14, 2006

Alberto Pays a Visit

While Glenn Reynolds seems to have sailed through Tropical Storm Alberto without any problems, we're not having it quite as easy here in central North Carolina. The following pictures are pulled from from NCDOT cameras and viewer-submited photos at

Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh is, for understandable reasons, closed...


A closer look of parking near the mall shows that anchoring is more of an issue than parking.


If you want to cross Trinty Road, you'd better be able to part the waters.


A front yard in Cary (the Containment Area for Relocated Yankees, according to Wikipedia), just south of Raleigh finds itself suddenly overwatered.


With a total of 4-8 inches of rain expected to drop before Albero clears the area, the commute home promises to be entertaining, to say the least.

Aren't we lucky this wasn't a "real storm?"

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:23 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

June 01, 2006

Hurricane Season 2006 Begins

It's that time of year again.

From VOA News:

Well-known U.S. storm forecaster William Gray has predicted an active Atlantic hurricane season. Gray and his team at Colorado State University say 17 tropical storms can be expected this season, with nine of them becoming hurricanes. He added that five of the storms will be major hurricanes.

Last week, officials at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted there will be up to 16 named storms. They said they expect 10 of them to become hurricanes, and that six of them could become major hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

NOAA and Gray say the world is in a 20-year cycle that will continue to bring strong storms.
The 2005 storm season was the most destructive in recorded history, with seven major hurricanes, including Katrina, which killed some 1,300 people along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

In case you have forgotten Katrina—which I admit is unlikely—these never before released photos taken by a North Carolina church relief team should jog your memory. They were taken between September17-22, 2005 between Gretna, Louisiana (just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans), and Waveland, Mississippi.

A heavily damaged Mardi Gras float in a destroyed Louisiana warehouse.

A mobile home lot, trailer long gone, and a twisted rail bed. Mississippi.

Destroyed gas station, only the pumps are upright. Mississippi.

A home destroyed. Storm surge took away much of the first floor. Trees appear to have collapsed on the rest. Mississippi.

A tangle of vehicles including cars, motorcycles and tractors from garage crushed by the storm surge. Mississippi.

The remains of an unknown commercial building. Destroyed by storm surge. Mississippi.

If these photos are sobering, then they've served their purpose. As someone who has been through hurricanes in the past, I created a Hurricane Survival Guide last summer to try to help people prepare. It is still there, still (I hope) relevant, and you are more than welcome to use it as a rough guide for the busy season ahead.

Of course, the best hurricane survival tip is this: when it comes, be far, far away. Everything you own, no matter how much personal value it has, is just stuff.

You can't replace you.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 19, 2006

Bush Blamed for Landslides

Well, perhaps not yet, but you know it's coming:

New Orleans is at the top end of what looks like a gigantic, slow-moving landslide, according to geologists who have been carefully studying the ground movements in the area...

"Not only is southern Louisiana sinking, it's sliding," said geologist Roy Dokka of Louisiana State University.

Like a smaller landslide on the side of a hill, the huge Southern Louisiana landslide has a "headwall" where the slide is breaking away and a "toe" out in the Gulf where the debris from the slide is piling up, Dokka explained. The only difference from a traditional landslide is that this one is far, far larger and it's buried under lots of wet sediments, so it requires very accurate survey measurements to detect it.

The city and an adjoining section of Mississippi are collapsing into the Gulf of Mexico at an ever-increasing rate of speed.

Gulf Coast resident and Hurricane Katrina survivor Seawitch reveals this and other research showing a geologic disaster occurring along the Michoud Fault that runs under New Orleans, including the specific points where the levees were breached during Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 18, 2006


Glenn Reynolds has a Porkbuster's post up hammering Mississippi Senator Trent Lott for wanting to spend $700 million to relocate a rail line already rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina at a cost of $250 million dollars.

Lawhawk has a post up defending the relocation of the rail line (Reynolds has related thoughts here).

Read both entries and draw your own conclusions.

My church sent mission teams originally to Gretna, Louisiana, and has sent repeated mission teams to Waveland, Mississippi to help Gulf Coast residents recover from the storm. As they drove in and out of the area affected by Hurricane Katrina, they shot hundreds of photos showing immense devastation on a scale few can fathom.

This photo is probably that of the rail line in question. It was shot in coastal Mississippi or Louisiana (it was hard for outsiders to tell which, with all landmarks and road signs destroyed) directly after Hurricane Katrina. The massive damage to the rail bed is obvious.

I don't think that I have a problem with eventually rerouting the railroad to a safer inland path, but I have to ask: why couldn't they have done this before spending the first $250 million dollars?

No matter how you slice it, hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 31, 2006

New Orleans: Out of Time?

As they say, timing is everything:

A full recovery in New Orleans could take 25 years as homeowners, businesses and tourists are coaxed back to the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration's Gulf Coast recovery coordinator said Thursday. "We kind of want it to happen overnight, or I do, but it's going to take some time," White House coordinator Don Powell said in an interview with Associated Press reporters and editors. "This could be five to 25 years for it all to fit into place."

Powell added: "It's been a bottom-up process and it's complex."

Well, the "bottom" part is right. Guess where New Orleans will be in the next half-century or so?

Give yourself two points if you correctly answered "The Gulf of Mexico."

The original (snark-free) version of this Louisiana wetlands projection comes courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and is used at LSU's Louisiana Energy & Environmental
Resource & Information Center (LEERIC) in this article.

Back in September I interviewed the former chair of a Coastal and Marine Studies Department, and asked him the following question:

1. Are estimates that the continued rate of wetland loss in Louisiana will place New Orleans on or in the Gulf of Mexico in the 2050-2090 time frame accurate?

He responded:

The estimates are probably accurate. There are three main factors: Global sea level rise, delta subsidence, Mississippi River sedimentation. Sea level is rising, the delta is sinking and the river is depositing much less sediment on the delta now than in the past (for multiple reasons).

In other words, by the time New Orleans can recover from Hurricane Katrina, it may do so just in time to disappear under the waves of the Gulf of Mexico forever.

I don't have any problems with spending our tax dollars to rebuild New Orleans, I just don't think it wise to rebuild the city in the same nearly indefensible location.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:59 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 29, 2006

For Sale...

School Buses
Slightly damp, a total of 259. Previously used as a symbol of incompetence. Works great as anchors and fish attractors. Ask for Ray.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 23, 2006

Shall We Play a Game, Part V


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March 20, 2006

Shall We Play a Game, Part IV

...In which the ex-USNS San Diego goes to sea, and plots an intercept course for Hurricane Beryl in the continuing "Salvation Navy" narrative over at Beauchamp Tower Corporation's OES Project blog.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2006

Shall We Play a Game?

BCT/OES has Part 2 of their "Salvation Navy" disaster response narrative up.

Check it out.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 15, 2006

Pimp My Ship

I've written several times in the past about Beauchamp Tower Corporation and their plan to convert retired Navy ships into a small fleet of state-of-the-art disaster-response vessels that would greatly increase the nation's capability to respond to both major terrorist attacks and natural disasters such as hurricanes, all without costing the taxpayer a single dime. As a matter of fact, the corporate sponsor-backed program could save the government up to $100 million by taking over old ships the government is spending millions to scrap.

The BTC blog has a new/old post up called Shall...We...Play..A...Game? Part 1, which discusses the birth of what I've dubbed the "Salvation Navy" in narrative form.

If you like to see how things work, BTC will be putting up a post a day describing in both broad strokes, and in small detail, what the program will be like from it's inception and the first "Pimp My Ship" refitting process, through BTC's first hypothetical hurricane response.

I think you'll like it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2006

Smells like Mapes...

The Associated Press summary video (embedded in this Washington Post story) of a high-level videoconference made one day prior to Hurricane Katrina's landfall smells to high heaven.

The leaked video—heavily sympathetic to former FEMA director Michael Brown—relies on dramatic still image splices of a post-Katrina New Orleans for dramatic effect in a heavily edited montage of dramatic hypothetical situations, narrated by an AP voice attempting to weave together an otherwise incoherent 2 minute, 41 seconds of disjointed footage.

There is no way of telling, of course what the full video shows until it is seen in an unedited, un-spliced form. Until such a point as the unedited footage is made public, any claims made about this AP video should be regarded as highly suspect.

Jason Coleman covers some of the inaccuracies in the spliced video in more detail.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:00 PM | Comments (50) | TrackBack

March 01, 2006

Saving the Salvation Navy

Ward Brewer is tired. Exhausted. Pissed.

It took years of effort to get this far, and as it comes down to the wire, everything he's worked so hard for depends on what happens in the first tense days of March.

The former emergency responder is the CEO of Beauchamp Tower Corporation, a non-profit organization with a bold and brilliant idea: convert obsolete, scrapyard-bound military vessels into a fleet of state-of-the-art disaster response ships that can be on-site after a major natural disaster like last year's Hurricane Katrina in a matter of hours instead of days. Many of the challenges Beauchamp Tower Corporation have been document Operation Enduring Service on the OES Project Weblog.

Retired Navy veterans such as Mars-class combat stores ships and other obsolete but still-capable cargo ships will be refitted to provide complex emergency communications support that can replace cell phone and radio towers lost in a hurricane, so that on-shore first responders can answer rescue calls even if the local phone and radio systems are destroyed.

These same ships, crewed by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and supported by disaster-aid groups, can bring in hundreds of emergency-response personnel to a disaster zone and provide them housing so that lodging on-shore can be dedicated to the victims of the storm, while bringing thousands of tons of supplies. Each ship will also be capable of distilling, bottling, and shipping thousands of gallons of water and over 100 tons of ice to shore each day.

This humanitarian fleet—this Salvation Navy—will have far more disaster-response capability than anything currently in use by either FEMA or the military, and—here's the kicker—it actually saves taxpayers the tens of millions of dollars it would have taken to turn these ships into scrap.

Generous corporate sponsors will underwrite the conversion and modernization of the rescue fleet.

So why is Ward Brewer so upset? Politics.

For want of a "germaine" bill between now and the end of March to which they can attach a rider giving these obsolete ships to his non-profit Beauchamp Tower Corporation, the entire program could be sent to the bottom.

The U.S. Navy has been holding these ships, but if legislation does not come through soon, other interests and indeed other countries will be allowed to potentially scrap or salvage these ships, ships that could be saving American lives in coming hurricane seasons. We gripe about foreign nations controlling our ports, even as we give away our ships. This must not stand.

Ladies and Gentlemen, kickstart your Congress.

Save this Salvation Navy.

Update: The OES Project Web Log has a new post up today that explains the concepts and technologies involved in far more detail.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:00 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

January 16, 2006

God Hates Black People

Strange as it may seem (or not), New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, not Robert Byrd or Pat Robertson, made the following claim:

Mayor Ray Nagin suggested Monday that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and other storms were a sign that "God is mad at America" and at black communities, too, for tearing themselves apart with violence and political infighting.

"Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country," Nagin, who is black, said as he and other city leaders marked Martin Luther King Day.

"Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves."

Nagin also promised that New Orleans will be a "chocolate" city again. Many of the city's black neighborhoods were heavily damaged by Katrina.

"It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans _ the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans," the mayor said. "This city will be a majority African American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans."

Nagin went on to have an imaginary conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I'm going to be very charitable with Mayor Nagin, and simply suggest that he take some time off from his job and seek counseling for what may be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The man is starting to sound less rational than Marion Barry.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 04, 2006

Under-Mountain Miracle

The twelve missing miners feared dead in West Virginia have been found... alive.

Twelve miners caught in an explosion in a coal mine were found alive Tuesday night, more than 41 hours after the blast, family members and Gov. Joe Manchin said.

Bells at a church where relatives had been gathering rang out as family members ran out screaming in jubilation.

Relatives were yelling, "They're alive!"

Manchin said rescuers told him the miners were found.

"They told us they have 12 alive," Manchin said. "We have some people that are going to need some medical attention."

A few minutes after word came, the throng, several hundred strong, broke into a chorus of the hymn "How Great Thou Art," in a chilly, night air.

Of course he isn't safe. But he's good. *

Update: Early AM reports turned out to be false. 11 of 12 miners found were deceased. Only one miner, Randal McCloy, is clinging to life in critical condition.

The rumor started when people overheard communications between rescue team and the comand center and misunderstood calls that rescuers found 12 miners and were checking their vital signs.

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December 29, 2005

The "Ghost Coast" Is Not Forgotten

Four months after Hurrican Katrina slammed ashore, the catastrophic destruction of the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coasts have been all but forgotten by the media (and Wikipedia).

On December 14, the Sun-Herald posted an editorial, Mississippi's Invisible Coast asking for at least some media attention by focused on those outside of New Orleans.

It begins:

As Aug. 29 recedes into the conscious time of many Americans, the great storm that devastated 70 miles of Mississippi's Coast, destroying the homes and lives of hundreds of thousands, fades into a black hole of media obscurity.

Never mind that, if taken alone, the destruction in Mississippi would represent the single greatest natural disaster in 229 years of American history. The telling of Katrina by national media has created the illusion of the hurricane's impact on our Coast as something of a footnote.

The awful tragedy that befell New Orleans as a consequence of levee failures at the time of Katrina, likewise, taken by itself, also represents a monumental natural disaster. But, of course, the devastation there, and here, were not separate events, but one, wrought by the Aug. 29 storm.

There is no question that the New Orleans story, like ours, is a compelling, ongoing saga as its brave people seek to reclaim those parts of the city lost to the floods.

But it becomes more and more obvious that to national media, New Orleans is THE story - to the extent that if the Mississippi Coast is mentioned at all it is often in an add-on paragraph that mentions "and the Gulf Coast" or "and Mississippi and Alabama."

Read the whole thing.

The mainstream media has once again dropped the ball. It is up to us to tell the tale of a battered land and a proud people outside of New Orleans.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:49 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 26, 2005

Victims of the Wave

Today marking the one year anniversary of what much of the world knows as the Asian or Boxing Day Tsunami, which took over 200,000 lives in South Asia. Glenn Reynolds has a roundup of roundups on his site.

Please say a prayer for those that never returned home, and for those that were left behind to face a shattered world without them.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 19, 2005

George Bush Hates White People

Why, the next thing you'll here is that Bush didn't order the levees blown up.

Against the conventional media wisdom of the day comes this report from the L.A. Times:

New Orleans was the site of most of Katrina's fatalities; the state reported that 76% of storm deaths statewide occurred in the city. Of the 380 bodies from New Orleans that have been formally identified, a moderately disproportionate number are white. New Orleans' population was 28% white, yet 33% of the identified victims in the city are white and 67% black.

"The affected population is more multiracial, multiethnic and multicultural than one might discern from national media reports," said Richard Campanella, a Tulane University geographer who has studied which parts of the city were hit the worst by flooding. His research showed that predominantly white districts in the city were almost as likely to flood as predominantly black ones.

Many of the dead were older and were quite capable of leaving, but made the conscious decision not to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Katrina's impending landfall. They chose... poorly.

Kanye West could not immediately be reached for additional comment.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 09, 2005

One down....

several more to go.

Earlier this week Ward Brewer of Beauchamp Tower Corporation and The Mexican Navy signed the official Document of Transfer Agreement for the transfer of the USS John Rodgers(aka E-01 CUITLAHUAC).

As Ward stated "It should be noted that this is the first time in history that the Mexican Government has donated a ship to a United States organization for a museum and the Mexican Navy takes this donation very seriously--as do we."

And so Ward's transcendence to the top of the Gun Blogging world begins. Sure there are folks with "Commie Cannons" and other large guns, but does anybody have a destoyer? I think not.

With USS John Rodgers is secure, it's time to hammer MARAD for trying to scrap the USS Howard Gilmore before it can be utilized to aid in hurricane relief. YOU can stop them with a call to your Senators and Congress people.

USS Orion (AS-18) left. USS Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16) in dazzle paint on Navy Day Celebration, Hudson River, October 27, 1945.

Our first post about Operation Enduring Service was almost a month ago and the calls you've made have helped. Things are progressing. However someone is standing in the way:

...yesterday I received an overnight letter informing me that we had until January 6, 2006 to tow the USS Howard W. Gilmore out of the fleet or they were going to scrap her. That is two months ahead of our donation hold schedule and only gives us two weeks to move her due to the Christmas holidays. MARAD knows that this is impossible and only offers this time because they know it can't be done--you can't get a tow company that fast during the holidays. This way, they can look like they are "trying to work with us" and still make sure we can't perform.

Individuals at the Maritime Administration (MARAD) are intentionally speeding up the process of trying to scrap a ship earmarked to be donated to a disaster recovery mission that has the stated goal of saving American lives.

Call your Senators and Congress people today.

Be sure to tell your elected representatives. that the men responsible for this travesty at MARAD are William H. Kahill, Deputy Director, Office of Ship Operations (202-366-1875 ext. 2122), and Eugene Magee, Division of Reserve Fleet Chief (202-366-5752 ext. 2112).

Posted by phin at 10:43 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 08, 2005

Signed, Sealed...

...and with the blessings of the U.S. State Department, and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations, delivered back to the United States. The Mexican Navy's E-01 Cuitlahuac will once again become DD-574 John Rodgers, the most decorated surviving Fletcher-class destroyer of WWII in the Pacific.

DD-74 John Rodgers off Iwo Jima, Feb 15, 1945. Source

Did I mention that this entire chain of events took place becuase of the tenacity and hard work of a blogger by the name of Ward Brewer?

Go get the details of Ward's extraordinary story-in-the-making at the Operation Enduring Service weblog, and learn how you can lend a hand to help build what I've dubbed "the Salvation Navy."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 05, 2005

Good Deeds Punished

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) intends to scrap the USS Howard W. Gilmore before it can be refitted for disaster response. YOU can stop them with a call to your Senators and Congressman.

Almost a month ago, Confederate Yankee got behind Operation Enduring Service, a frankly brilliant plan to convert a small group of mothballed Navy vessels into a state-of-the-art fleet of disaster response ships at absolutely zero cost. As a matter of fact, OES would save American taxpayers roughly $100 million dollars in costs associated with scrapping dozens of ships being sent overseas to be scrapped, and create thousands of shipyard jobs by scrapping and/or refitting those same ships here in the United States.

But someone is standing in the way:

...yesterday I received an overnight letter informing me that we had until January 6, 2006 to tow the USS Howard W. Gilmore out of the fleet or they were going to scrap her. That is two months ahead of our donation hold schedule and only gives us two weeks to move her due to the Christmas holidays. MARAD knows that this is impossible and only offers this time because they know it can't be done--you can't get a tow company that fast during the holidays. This way, they can look like they are "trying to work with us" and still make sure we can't perform.

Individuals at the Maritime Adminstration (MARAD) are intentionally speeding up the process of trying to scrap a ship earmarked to be donated to a disaster recovery mission that has the stated goal of saving American lives.

Call your Senators and Congressman today.

Be sure to tell your elected representatives. that the men responsible for this travesty at MARAD are William H. Kahill, Deputy Director, Office of Ship Operations (202-366-1875 ext. 2122), and Eugene Magee, Division of Reserve Fleet Chief (202-366-5752 ext. 2112).

This must not stand.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An Accidental Moment of Honesty

The NY Times tattles on the Democratic Party:

It was Thursday, Sept. 1, three days after Hurricane Katrina had ripped across the Gulf Coast. As New Orleans descended into horror, the top aides to Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana were certain the White House was trying to blame their boss, and they were becoming increasingly furious.

"Bush's numbers are low, and they are getting pummeled by the media for their inept response to Katrina and are actively working to make us the scapegoats," Bob Mann, Ms. Blanco's communications director, wrote in an e-mail message that afternoon, outlining plans by Washington Democrats to help turn the blame back onto President Bush. [my emphasis]

Hurrican Katrina has ripped though the Gulf Coast less than 72 hours before, New Orleans was largely submerged, part so Mississippi earased, people were trapped and dying in the floodwaters and debris and the primary concern of state and national Democrats was poll numbers?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005

OES On the Air

Our friend Ward Brewer, CEO of Beauchamp Tower Corporation, was on Raleigh, NC's News-Talk 680 WPTF this morning, talking about Operation Enduring Service, a bid to build a small fleet of disaster response cargo ships from obsolete ships no longer needed by the United States Navy.

See previous posts here talking about the former USS Orion and USS Howard W. Gilmore and here starring the former USS San Diego.

Of course, I wasn't able to listen to the show, so if anyone in the Raleigh area heard it, please let me know how you think it went.

You've almost certainly heard a lot about the blog initiative Porkbusters sponsored by N.Z.Bear at The Truth Laid Bear and Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit. I haven't said much about it, not because I don't support it (I support the Fiscal Watch Team Offset Package), but because so many others have done a much better job saying what needs to be said (As a side note, that is why you don't see me offering a lot of commentary on SCOTUS nominations).

The driving idea behind Porkbusters was to cut wasteful government spending, called "pork," to help pay for the massive clean-up and recovery costs associated with the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina (and later, Hurricane Rita).

These colors don't run. Somewhere between Gretna, LA, and Waveland, MS
(Taken By a Hope Chapel Hurricane Relief Team Sept. 17-22, 2005)

While independent of the Porkbusters, Operation Enduring Service is the near-perfect execution of the Porkbusters project. Operation Enduring Service will save American taxpayers $100 million dollars spent to scrap retired American naval ships, overseas. It will efficiently use the salvage and sale of certain ships to pay for the scrapping of less desirable vessels, and will actually generate enough profits to help pay to upgrade and refit several ships to be used in future disaster relief efforts.

The project will even help teh economies of storm-tossed Gulf states by creating between 1,500-3,000 shipbuilding-related jobs.

Operation Enduring Service will save $100 million in wasteful government spending, creates thousands of jobs in the Gulf States devastated by hurricanes this past year, and will build a fleet of disaster response vessels that will greatly enhance our nation's ability to respond to future disasters, at no cost to the taxpayer.

We are literally talking about a privately-funded and self-supporting "Salvation Navy" that will greatly assist FEMA and become the most technologically advanced ships available for use by the United States Coast Guard.

The USS San Diego is but one U.S Navy veteran that looks to return to service as one of the nation's first Fast Response Emergency Cargo Vessel/Rescue Ships.

Corporate donors will pick up other costs of preparing these ships for service, and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary will crew these vessels, but we have to get them first, and time is running very, very short.

The legislation required to make this happen is dangerously close to falling by the wayside. It has to pass before Congress ends this Session, in approximately one week, or the corporate sponsors will be forced to pull out.

BTC has obtained the support of a number of Congressmen and Senators. Each of the senators has the ability to submit this legislation for Operation Enduring Service and should be contacted via phone, fax or electronically and encouraged to submit this legislation immediately.

Senator Cochran, (R-MS) (Chairman of Appropriations)
Phone: (202) 224-5054
Internet Contact Form

Senator DeWine, (R-OH)
Phone: (202) 224-2315
Fax: (202) 224-6519
Becky Watts has the legislation for his office
Internet Contact Form

Senator Shelby, (R-AL)
Phone: (202) 224-5744
Fax: (202) 224-3416
Ryan Welch has the legislation for his office

Senator Sessions, (R-AL)
Phone: 202) 224-4124
Fax: (202) 224-3149
Stephen Boyd has the legislation for his office
Internet Contact Form

Without this legislation the Corporate Donors will withdraw, the ships will no longer be available and the emergency relief program will collapse.

This is not a partisan exercise; each and every one of us has been directly affected by the recent hurricanes and will be affected again.

This requires immediate action, of the project will collapse. Contact with your House Representative and Senators, let them know the senators above have the legislation to make this happen and to support it or to submit it themselves.

Questions and comments can be directed to:

Email: info -at -

Thank you.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

Help These Veterans Return to Service

The USS San Diego is but one U.S Navy veteran that looks to return to service as one of the nation's first Fast Response Emergency Cargo Vessel/Rescue Ships.

Beauchamp Tower Corporation has created Operation Enduring Service which will rebuild and refit obsolete military ships to provide state-of-the-art emergency relief and disaster response at no cost to the taxpayers and a savings to the government of at least $100 million.

In addition, the rebuild/refit of these ships will result in the creation of approximately 3,000 jobs in the areas hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while increasing the operational capability of the United States Coast Guard.

A number of organizations and corporations are working closely with Beauchamp Tower Corporation to make this happen, including:

  • United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • Dell Computers

  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Sherwin Williams
  • Bender Shipyard
  • Alabama Shipyard
  • IPSCO Steel
  • Erikson Aircrane Heavy Lift Helicopters
  • AEPCO Shipyard
  • ERM North America
  • KME Fire Apparatus

and many, many more.

But due to time constraints, the legislation required to make this happen is dangerously close to falling by the wayside. It has to pass before Congress ends this Session, in approximately one week.

BTC has obtained the support of a number of Congressmen and Senators. Each of the senators has the ability to submit this legislation for Operation Enduring Service and should be contacted via phone, fax or electronically and encouraged to submit this legislation immediately.

Senator Cochran, (R-MS) (Chairman of Appropriations)
Phone: (202) 224-5054
Internet Contact Form
Senator DeWine, (R-OH)
Phone: (202) 224-2315
Fax: (202) 224-6519
Becky Watts has the legislation for his office
Internet Contact Form
Senator Shelby, (R-AL)
Phone: (202) 224-5744
Fax: (202) 224-3416
Ryan Welch has the legislation for his office
Senator Sessions, (R-AL)
Phone: 202) 224-4124
Fax: (202) 224-3149
Stephen Boyd has the legislation for his office
Internet Contact Form

Without this legislation the Corporate Donors will withdraw, the ships will no longer be available and the emergency relief program will collapse.

This is not a partisan exercise; each and every one of us has been directly affected by the recent hurricanes and will be affected again.

This requires immediate action from every one, contact with your House Representative and Senators, let them know the senators above have the legislation to make this happen and to support it or to submit it themselves.

Questions and comments can be directed to:

Email: info -at -

Please help these Navy veterans return to serve their nation once more.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 24, 2005

Learning From The Master

Via Yahoo!

Havana, Cuba, October 24, 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Wilma

Fidel Castro proves that he, too, can learn something from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:41 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Folks, Hurricane Wilma is makinging landfall as a 125 MPH Category 3 major hurricane near Marco Island, Florida. It is stronger than almost anyone predicted.

Please say a prayer for all the people too stupid or arrogant to get out of the way, of which there were many, (including members of my family in West Palm Beach).

After Rita and Katrina, you'd think people would learn.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

The Quake That Disappeared

When I made my guestimate on October 9 that the Pakistani quake might lead up to 100,000 dead, I'd hoped that that figure would be substantially off.

Sadly, it may not be:

The top United Nations top relief coordinator Jan Egeland, incensed by what he saw as a woefully inadequate international response to the most difficult relief operation the world has ever seen, called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to stage a massive airlift to get survivors to safety.

That would mean helicopters, the only means of getting quickly deep into the rugged Himalayan foothills of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the North West Frontier Province where 51,000 people are dead. That toll, in addition to some 1,300 who were killed in Jammu and Kashmir, is still expected to rise substantially. Pakistan said the number of injured, now 74,000, could also leap because large quake-hit areas had not yet been reached.

Our own weather woes and political scandals de jour have all but erased this from the American mind. You can keep up with the rescue and recover effort at the South Asia Quake Blog.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 20, 2005

Wilma Eyes Yucatan... For Now

Via CTV, eh?

Hurricane Wilma was downgraded to a still powerful Category Four storm on Wednesday night, but forecasters say it could regain strength as it rips across the Atlantic.

As of 11 p.m. EDT, the centre of Hurricane Wilma was about 380 kilometres south-east of Cozumel, Mexico. The storm was heading west-northwest at 13-kilometres per hour, and a turn toward the northwest was expected Thursday.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 19, 2005

WIIIILLL-MA! Monster Reaches Category 5 Overnight

...And she's rocking with enough power to scour Bedrock off the map.

Via Fox News:

Hurricane Wilma strengthened into a Category 5 monster early Wednesday packing 175 mph winds, and forecasters said a key reading of the storm's pressure showed it to be the most powerful of the year.

Wilma was dumping rain on Central America and Mexico, and forecasters warned of a "significant threat" to Florida by the weekend.

The storm's power multiplied greatly over the last day. It was only Tuesday morning that Wilma grew from a tropical storm into a weak hurricane with 80 mph winds.

Wilma's pressure readings Wednesday morning indicated that it was the strongest hurricane of the season, said Trisha Wallace, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Wilma had a reading of 892 millibars, the same reading as a devastating unnamed hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in 1935.

"We do not know how long it will maintain this Category 5 state," Wallace said.

Not long, I'd hope. Idaho sure sounds nice...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:43 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005


M.D. Patrick Cunningham sent the following email to Instapundit today regarding avian flu hype:

As a medical researcher, I want to make a gentle but sincere plea to the blogosphere to calm down this flu hysteria just a bit. The main way that flu kills is by predisposing its victims to "superinfection" by bacterial illnesses - in 1918, we had no antibiotics for these superimposed infections, but now we have plenty. Such superinfections, and the transmittal of flu itself, were aided tremendously by the crowded conditions and poor sanitation of the early 20th century - these are currently vastly improved as well. Flu hits the elderly the hardest, but the "elderly" today are healthier, stronger, and better nourished than ever before. Our medical infrastructure is vastly better off, ranging from simple things like oxygen and sterile i.v. fluids, not readily available in 1918, to complex technologies such as respirators and dialysis. Should we be concerned? Sure, better safe than sorry, and concerns about publishing the sequence are worth discussing. Should we panic? No - my apologies to the fearmongers, but we will never see another 1918.

Patrick Cunningham M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Section of Nephrology
University of Chicago

I emailed Glenn the following as my response:

I am not a doctor, nor a biologist, nor a chemist. In any way that matters, I am completely unqualified to challenge the theory of Patrick Cunningham M.D. that the avian flu is over-hyped to the point of hysteria.

I'm going to do so anyway.

I, too, thought little at first of the media-darling pandemic, because I still remember the doom and gloom of Y2K, which wasn't that long ago. Hype alone doesn't do it for me. Then I read this article in the Raleigh, NC News and Observer, and decided to do some reading. I wasn't happy with what I found, and among those unhappy surprises, was the concept of "surge capacity."

To quote Dr. David Weber, medical director of hospital epidemiology at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill:

"Wal-Mart doesn't have a three-week supply of TVs; they may have a 12-hour supply," Weber said. "We've designed our hospitals the same way. We don't have surge capacity for anything, be it a bioterrorist attack, the avian flu, whatever."

In other words, if a pandemic does hit, it will happen with such speed that it will overwhelm the medical system by sheer weight of numbers, in an extremely brief amount of time. Having 50 ventilators in a hospital is a great thing, until you need 500, along with every other hospital in the region. The hospitals will fill up quickly, and after that, people will be largely on their own, and essentially left to fend for themselves at home, where technologies aren't that different on the internal medical front where they were in -- you guessed it -- 1918.

To me (and more importantly, the North Carolina Division of Public Health, and UNC epidemiologists interviewed in the N&O article) it seems like Dr. Cunningham's premise amounts to whistling past a graveyard.

I would love to be very, very wrong.


It seems that a lot of the experts are blindly focusing on what we might have the knowledge to do, but not on the technical capability we have to execute their schemes in the compressed period of time in which a pandemic will likely occur.

What I've seen from the medical community so far (and what they've gotten wrong) makes flu pandemic planning look like Hurricane Katrina evacuations in a lab coat.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

Misunderestimating "Captain Trips"

According to an article in the 10/12 Raleigh News & Observer titled "N.C. flu plan needs checkup," reporter Amy Gardner notes in her opening paragraphs:

The potential for a catastrophic flu outbreak has public health leaders worldwide reviewing how ready they are. In North Carolina, the bottom line is the same as nearly everywhere else: A pandemic would overwhelm the state's health care system.

With a shortage of hospital beds and vaccines, the state would struggle to treat the sick in a worst-case epidemic infecting 1 million North Carolinians, hospitalizing 25,000 and killing 5,000.

Wait just a minute. 5,000 dead?

The numbers cited by Gardener came from the N.C. Division of Public Health's Pandemic Influenza Plan.

The NC DPH begins its report by admitting it was calibrated using obsolete data, basing their population data on 1999 NC population figure of 7,425,183, and readily admits that these figures are substantially off by approximately 1 million residents. This concurs with 2004 US Census Bureau estimates, which states North Carolina had an estimated population of 8,541,221. Acknowledging that your base numbers are wrong to begin with doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Based upon woefully outdated population figures, the DPH actually cites a worst case scenario (PDF) of nearly 1.4 million North Carolinians infected and requiring outpatient visits, 30,631 hospitalized, and resulting in the deaths of 6,994. The figures cited by the News and Observer story above were actually mid-range figures from the same report, not the worst case as the article claims.

With a rough calibration taking into account the 15.044-percent jump in population from 7.43 to 8.5 million, more accurate numbers are probably that same percentage (15.044%) higher.

A worst-case scenario flu pandemic based up these figures with a 35% infection rate claims to kill fewer than 11,000 North Carolinas, or something in the neighborhood of 0.129-percent of the total North Carolina population.

This is what we are afraid of?

Not quite. These are estimates based upon one software model that I am highly suspicious of, as history shows us something else entirely.

The closest-known relative of the H51N avian flu we currently fear is the H1N1 Type a Influenza virus responsible for the 1918-19 pandemic.

Overall infection rates of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic were 20-30 percent of the overall population. Global mortality rates from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic ranged from 2.5-percent to 5-percent of the infected population.

Figuring a 20-percent infection rate in a population of 8.5 million, and a minimal mortality rate of 2.5-percent of the infected population, we are looking at 42,500 dead, not 5,000.

I may be wrong on the math. It has been consistently been my worst subject throughout my educational career.

That said, I cannot understand the huge apparent discrepancy between the anemic pandemic forecast by the NC Division of Public Health, and the historical example of the last major Influenza Type A infection seen in the Spanish Flu of 1918.

Comments and a thorough debunking are encouraged. I'd be thrilled to be wrong on this one.

Note: "Captain Trips" was the nickname of a weaponized super-flu that escaped a military weapons lab and killed 99.6% of Earth's human population in the 1978 Stephen King opus, The Stand.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:23 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

October 09, 2005

Judgement Day, Update 2

Pakistani Earthquake Round-Up, Sunday Evening Edition

I want to start this post off by talking to those in "disaster shock."

Less than a year ago was the Boxing Day Tsunami, and then here in the United States we've just had Hurricanes Katrina and Rita smash their way through the Gulf states. A mudslide in Guatemala triggered by Hurricane Stan wiped out an entire Mayan village just days ago. The Pakistani quake is the latest in a series of disasters that has come one after another.

People have been generous, raising money and donating time and services. So many people have given so much of themselves that they may feel that they have nothing left. To you, I'll get Biblical for a moment and offer you this from Malachi 3:10:

10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, " and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty.

In other words, just, give baby. It will come back to you multiplied.

Now, back to the linkage.

Taking Donations
International Red Cross/Red Crescent

Getting Local
Links from India
Kashmir Times news site.
BBC coverage.
Metroblogging Karachi is still blogging from southern Pakistan.
Metroblogging Lahore is posting from near the impact zone.
South Asia Quake Help
Pakistan Earthquake 2005

Getting Political
News,Views 'n Opinions asks where relief is from other Muslim nations.
Lew Rockwell, a liberal blog, blasts Fox for mentioning Bin Laden.
Holy Coast intelligently addresses the "Does God hate _____ (group name goes here)?" question.
Daily Pundit talks building codes and corruption. On title alone, I wasn't certain if he was talking about Pakistan or New Orleans.

Getting Scientific
Geology News gets down to the science.

Bird's Eye View has his latest post up on the quake.
A new photoblog of the quake from a Pakistani-Canadian.
Powerline weighs in.
Global Voices Online blogs about the bloggers blogging the earthquake.
The Moderate Voice maintains one of the better roundups.

Judgement Day
Judgement Day, Update 1

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Judgement Day, Update 1

The death toll continues to rise:

Villagers desperate to find survivors dug with bare hands Sunday through the debris of a collapsed school where children had been heard crying beneath the rubble after a massive earthquake killed more than 30,000 people in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir alone.

"I have been informed by my department that more than 30,000 people have died in Kashmir," Tariq Mahmmod, communications minister for the Himalayan region, told The Associated Press.

Saturday's magnitude-7.6 quake also struck India and Afghanistan, which reported hundreds dead.

Using early estimates from the Boxing Day Tsunami as a guide, I'll sadly suggest that the final tally may be far higher - as high as a hundred thousand dead once disease, infection, and other factors have their say - across the affected countries. While in the west we tend to overestimate initial fatalities because of media sensationalism, deaths in the east often seem to be underestimated.

A possible silver lining?

The shared tragedy confronting India and Pakistan in disputed Kashmir could pay dividends for the fragile peace process, experts said on Sunday after a massive earthquake left thousands dead there.

"It will certainly help in furthering the peace process," former Indian foreign secretary and ambassador to Washington Lalit Mansingh told AFP.

Joint relief efforts could boost confidence, Mansingh said, noting that Indian and Pakistani civilians as well as the troops that face off across the Kashmiri border had lost their lives in Saturday morning's massive quake.

"This is a common tragedy. There is nothing political about this. It can help bring people together," Mansingh added.

Top Blog Coverage
South Asia Quake Help
Metroblogging Lahore
Metroblogging Karachi
Bird's Eye View
Gateway Pundit
The Moderate Voice
The Jawa Report

Judgement Day

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 08, 2005

Judgement Day

Brietbart is currently showing that the 7.6 magnitude earthquake centered near the Pakistan-Kashmir border may have killed thousands:

A devastating earthquake triggered landslides, toppled an apartment building and flattened villages of mud-brick homes Saturday, killing more than 18,000 people across a mountainous swath touching Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

The casualty toll from the 7.6-magnitude tremor rose sharply Sunday as rescuers struggled to dig people from the wreckage, their work made more difficult as rain and hail turned dirt and debris into sticky muck. Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan's chief army spokesman, told Pakistan's Geo TV network early Sunday that more than 18,000 had been killed _ 17,000 of them in Pakistani Kashmir, where the quake was centered. Some 41,000 people were injured, he said.

Eyewitness accounts compare the scene to Judgement Day, with many homes and buildings completely flattened. Damage spread across remote regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and disputed Kashmir.

Maps of the area show mountainous terrain, and landslides have shut down major highways, making rescue efforts very difficult. It may be days or even weeks before some regions receive substantial aid. Thousands more may die. If you are religious, please say a prayer for these people.

And while this thought briefly crossed my mind as well, now is not the time to speculate about such things.

President Bush has already offered assistance. I hope the Pakistani and Indian governments to allow American military units from Afghanistan to come in and assist with humanitarian missions.

Let's try to save as many of these people as we can. There will be plenty of time to count the dead later.

Localized Blogging:
South Asia Quake Help
Metroblogging Lahore
Metroblogging Karachi

Others Blogging
Bird's Eye View has multiple detailed posts.
Gateway Pundit has a roundup.
The Political Teen
The Moderate Voice
Clarity & Resolve
Speed of Thought has posts here and here.
PunditGuy has posts here and here.
Joe's Dartblog
Laurence Simon
In the Bullpen
The Jawa Report

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 04, 2005

The Wheels on the Bus Go "Squish, Squish, Squish."

It just gets worse for incompetent New Orleans Mayor Nagin.

Paul at Wizbang! discovered Monday (10/3) that not all New Orleans buses went swimming in the Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool. At least 60, maybe more, were above water and under Nagin's control across the Mississippi in Algiers, LA.

According to Paul's estimates, which seem reasonable, Nagin could have completely evacuated the Superdome on his own by sundown the day after the storm, just by using assets under his control.

But it doesn't end there, kids.

Via Google Maps,we have this image showing three areas of primary importance.

  • The area marked "1" is the bus parking lot in Algiers.
  • The area marked "2" is Algiers Landing on the West bank of the Mississippi river
  • the Area marked "3", as you may have guessed is the Superdome.

The unmarked bridge at the bottom of the picture is the Crescent City Connection, the bridge where civilians trying to escape downtown New Orleans were turned away by the Gretna Police Department.

Dr. Rusty Shackleford over at The Jawa Report dug up photographic evidence that these same buses in area 1 in the photo above were used to evacuate a large number of people from area 2, Algiers Landing, but we don't know at this time who was evacuated, or to where. None of these buses apparently ever made it across the Crescent City Connection to attempt an evacuation of the Superdome in area 3, even though they apparently had unobstructed, multi-lane, dry road access according to overhead the imagery.

The questions raised by Paul and Rusty are many:

  • Was Ray Nagin aware that these buses were available? If not, why not?
  • Were these buses used in an evacuation in Algiers as apparently shown by Rusty, and if so, who was evacuated, and to where?
  • Even if under Nagin's control and requested for an evacuation, would Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson have allowed these buses to pass over the bridge he had shut to pedestrians trying to get out of New Orleans?

This new information provides no answers, but it does raise even more troubling questions about the competency of the local government in New Orleans surrounding the landfall of Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 28, 2005

"Think Progress"? I Think Not

My response to a poorly-researched, dishonestly-written Think Progress posted about former FEMA Director Brown's congressional testimony yesterday.

BROWN CLAIM: "FEMA doesn't evacuate communities."

FACT: Brown Said FEMA Was Engaging In Evacuations During Katrina

If there is still floodwaters around there, they shouldn't be trying to evacuate those patients by themselves. The Coast Guard, FEMA, all of those continue to do those rescue missions and we continue to do those evacuations and we'll certainly continue to evacuate all of the hospitals. [CNN, 9/1/05]

You can't tell the fundamental difference between a pre-storm evacuation, which is a local/state issues, and the post storm rescue/recovery phase, which FEMA does get involved with. You don't know your subject matter.

BROWN CLAIM: FEMA Was Stretched Beyond It Capabilities

"Mr. Chairman, this event stretched FEMA beyond its capabilities. There's no question about that. It did it in several ways. One is FEMA, over the past several years, has lost a lot of manpower. At one point during my tenure, because of assessments by the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA has lost — at one point, we were short 500 people in an organization of about 2,500. You do the math. That's pretty significant… FEMA has suffered from the inability to grow to meet the demands."

FACT: Brown Said FEMA Had All The Manpower It Needed

BLITZER: Are you ready? Is FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ready to deal with this new hurricane?

BROWN: We absolutely are. We have all the manpower and resources we need. President Bush has been a very great supporter of FEMA. [CNN, 9/26/04]

Did you bother to even check the storm size and estimated damage from 9/26/05 to landfall? Katrina was just a weak Category 1 or Category 2 Hurricane on 9/26 depending on the time of day the question was asked. It only hit Cat 4 status on 9/28.

What a completely bogus comparison between a comment made about a weak storm, and a comment made about one of the most powerful storms to ever hit land.

BROWN CLAIM: "I can't discuss with you my conversations with the president's chief of staff and the president."

FACT: Brown Spoke to New York Times About Conversations With Chief of Staff

"Hours after Hurricane Katrina passed New Orleans on Aug. 29, as the scale of the catastrophe became clear, Michael D. Brown recalls, he placed frantic calls to his boss, Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, and to the office of the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr. … 'I am having a horrible time,' Mr. Brown said he told Mr. Chertoff and a White House official — either Mr. Card or his deputy, Joe Hagin — in a status report that evening. 'I can't get a unified command established.'" [NYT, 9/15/05]

No contradiction here, at all. Read it again. One conversation was just with the C.O.S., which he could reveal. He could not, however and for whatever reason, discuss his conversation with the C.O.S. and the President.

Think Progress is a non-partisan organization? Could have fooled me.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 27, 2005

Escape from LA

My church is just one of many organizations sending volunteers to help those communities ground away by Hurricane Katrina. Our first team of volunteers was based out of Gretna, LA, and was in and around New Orleans from Sept. 17-22. They got out ahead of Hurricane Rita.

These are some of the images they captured.

This tractor and car were flipped by the storm surge, the garage or barn they were in was completely demolished. The large body of water in the background is probably Lake Ponchartrain.

If you can ever find the carpenter who put down this hardwood floor, hire him.

This railbed buckled under the force of the storm surge.

Even the worst of disasters can't strip some people of their sense of humor.

There are no quitters here.

More pictures are on the church's Katrina Relief Blog, which we will be adding to as we make more trips down to help. Everyone has their own set of talents, and as I am marginally capable of swinging a hammer, I hope to go down with one of the construction teams in coming months.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:49 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

Common Dreams, Questionable Sources

Via sharp-eyed Lawhawk and Discarded Lies, I was alerted to this story from Human Rights Watch on the Common Dreams Newswire.

Human Rights Watch claims:

New Orleans: Prisoners Abandoned to Floodwaters
Officers Deserted a Jail Building, Leaving Inmates Locked in Cells

NEW YORK - September 23 - As Hurricane Katrina began pounding New Orleans, the sheriff's department abandoned hundreds of inmates imprisoned in the city's jail, Human Rights Watch said today.

Inmates in Templeman III, one of several buildings in the Orleans Parish Prison compound, reported that as of Monday, August 29, there were no correctional officers in the building, which held more than 600 inmates. These inmates, including some who were locked in ground-floor cells, were not evacuated until Thursday, September 1, four days after flood waters in the jail had reached chest-level.

“Of all the nightmares during Hurricane Katrina, this must be one of the worst,” said Corinne Carey, researcher from Human Rights Watch. “Prisoners were abandoned in their cells without food or water for days as floodwaters rose toward the ceiling.”

Human Rights Watch called on the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into the conduct of the Orleans Sheriff's Department, which runs the jail, and to establish the fate of the prisoners who had been locked in the jail. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, which oversaw the evacuation, and the Orleans Sheriff's Department should account for the 517 inmates who are missing from list of people evacuated from the jail.

Carey spent five days in Louisiana, conducting dozens of interviews with inmates evacuated from Orleans Parish Prison, correctional officers, state officials, lawyers and their investigators who had interviewed more than 1,000 inmates evacuated from the prison.

Read the rest.

Human Rights Watch claims that guards recklessly abandoned inmates and implied that as many as 517 prisoners are unaccounted for and possibly dead, including 130 thought to have been in Templeman 3, one of the cell blocks where flooding was worst.

While deaths may indeed have occurred in the Orleans Parish Prison, they are nowhere near what Human Rights Watch hints at, nor does there seem to be as many prisoners missing as they allege. This level of exaggeration would be on par with other Human Rights Watch reports of the recent past, and indicative of a sensationalist organizational culture.

Here is what we do know about the situation in the Orleans Parish Prison immediately before and after Hurricane Katrina.

There were indeed breakdowns in disaster planning at the Orleans Parish Prison, apparent even before Hurricane Katrina made landfall. We heard rumors of a riot in the prison on 8/30, but at the time, the riot could not be confirmed. By the next day, the prisoners had been readied for evacuation, and by September 1, all inmates and corrections officers had been evacuated with no known fatalities.

A week later, stories began leaking out about the Orleans Parish Prison riot from both inmates and guards. These were the first and only early accounts from somewhat credible named witnesses. Even then, few accounts, if any, were corroborated, while some facts were flatly preposterous, like claims by one of the guards that flooding reached the fifth floor. Only one named source in the various articles I've seen claimed to have seen bodies, and they numbered exactly two in that account.

More recent accounts, including one published 9/25, claim that while some corrections officers did fail in their duties, some performed heroically, including newly promoted Chief Deputy Bill Short, whose eyewitness testimony seem to directly contradict key points of the report from Human Rights Watch:

Chief Deputy Bill Short said Thursday that he could confirm only four escapes, but a full head count by the state Department of Corrections is still under way.

Short was promoted to his new position a week ago in acknowledgment of his steely command of the 800-inmate House of Detention during the storm and its aftermath.

Other deputies said they knew of more than a dozen escape attempts.

One thing Short said he knows for certain is that there were no deaths - not among the inmates, not among the 900 or so employees who reported to work, not among the scores of residents who floated or waded in from the surrounding neighborhood to the relative safety of the veranda of the high-rise Community Correctional Center.

"Did we know exactly what to do?" Short asked. "Nobody did. It was a wild ride, but we must have done some good things because nobody died."

According to the top on-scene official contacted so far, no inmates died as Human Rights Watch has implied, and only four escapes have been confirmed.

In addition, in their attempt to paint prison officials in the worse possible light, Human Rights Watch does not mention the fact that the prisoners were evacuated well ahead of the sick, the very young, and the elderly at the Superdome and the Convention Center. Prisoners, perhaps because of their status as wards of the State of Louisiana, actually received preferential evacuation treatment over the other citizens of New Orleans.

Corinne Carey of Human Rights Watch says of the prison, "Of all the nightmares during Hurricane Katrina, this must be one of the worst."

Not. Even. Close.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 25, 2005

Got Gas?

If you live, or know anyone who lives between Houston,TX and Lake Charles, LA, please go here and see if you can help. It will only take a few minutes, and won't even cost you a phone call.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2005

Complete Hurricane Rita Coverage

WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC has what appears to be a complete list of links to local television (including some excellent live webcasts) and newspapers in Texas and Louisiana.

So far , it is the absolute best resource I've found for covering Hurricane Rita on a local level. This torm will hit land and stall, not leaving untli after the weekend. The widespread flooding seen as a result will be on par with that of Hurricane Floyd in 1999, with more than 20 inches expected in many areas.

Please say a prayer for everyone in the storm area.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 23, 2005

Help Rita's Rescuers

If you are in southeast Texas or southwest Louisiana, especially coastal areas, and plan to try to ride out Hurricane Rita, please help recovery operations by writing your social security number and name on both of your arms and both of your legs with a permanent marker.

This may assist mortuary teams in identifying your body.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:08 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 21, 2005


Hurricane Rita has achieved sustained wind speeds of 165 mph, and is now officially a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffer-Simpson scale. This is the highest possible rating for a hurricane.

Rita is so powerful that it might be more descriptive to describe her for what she also is: A massive F3 (or “severe”) tornado on the Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity.

The thing is, most tornados aren't generally large enough to be seen from space...


If you live in South Texas, a trip north would be a good idea right about now.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 18, 2005

The City That Should Not Be

As I mentioned of a flooded New Orleans over two weeks ago, rebuilding the same city in the same spot and expecting a different result is the definition of what?

Since then, President Bush has given a speech pledging billions of dollars to rebuild a city that should not be, one built in a swamp, largely below sea level, surrounded by an unnaturally choked Mississippi River on one side, and a rapidly encroaching Gulf of Mexico on the other.

Many people have rallied behind the President for his pledge to rebuild the area "in a sensible, well-planned way."

There is nothing at all sensible about rebuilding New Orleans. It will be on, or under, the Gulf of Mexico by 2050, according to this lightly modified image from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (more here).

Of course, looking at a map is one thing: hearing from legitimate experts is another matter entirely.

Towards that end, I sent an email to some of the top coastal and marine studies scientists in the United States this past Friday, asking them to the following five questions:

  1. Are estimates that the continued rate of wetland loss in Louisiana will place New Orleans on or in the Gulf of Mexico in the 2050-2090 time frame accurate?
  2. If these estimates are not accurate in your estimation, what do you think the actual time frame will be (ballpark estimates are perfectly acceptable)?
  3. The Mississippi Delta is immensely important as a breeding ground for migratory birds and for many species of marine life. Some have suggested that allowing the Mississippi River to "go native" —that is, removing levees and other hardening structures—would allow the Delta to replenish itself with sediments that are currently be lost to the Gulf of Mexico. Is that an accurate theory in your estimation?
  4. Are other replenishment efforts more viable for the long-term?
  5. If the area of New Orleans outside the port and French Quarter (above seas level) were cleared and cleaned and returned to nature with artificial flood control structures removed, what would be the impact on the wetlands of the Mississippi Delta?
Even though I sent this out on a Friday, I was able to get a response from one senior scientist. I promised that I would not reveal his identity, but I can reveal that he is a geologist, and the former Dean of a Coastal and Marine Studies program.

Here is how he responded:

1. Are estimates that the continued rate of wetland loss in Louisiana will place New Orleans on or in the Gulf of Mexico in the 2050-2090 time frame accurate?

The estimates are probably accurate. There are three main factors: Global sea level rise, delta subsidence, Mississippi River sedimentation. Sea level is rising, the delta is sinking and the river is depositing much less sediment on the delta now than in the past (for multiple reasons).

2. If these estimates are not accurate in your estimation, what do you think the actual time frame will be (ballpark estimates are perfectly acceptable)?

They "are probably accurate" (See above)

3. The Mississippi Delta is immensely important as a breeding ground for migratory birds and for many species of marine life. Some have suggested that allowing the Mississippi River to "go native" —that is, removing levees and other hardening structures—would allow the Delta to replenish itself with sediments that are currently be lost to the Gulf of Mexico. Is that an accurate theory in your estimation?

Where the Mississippi mouth is located has shifted at least 14 times in the last 7000 years. It has now reached the point where it is over extended. There is great potential for the river to turn Southwest just south of Baton Rouge and take a short cut to the ocean. The Army Corps of Engineers has been fighting this for decades. It is natural for the river channel to significantly shift its channel. Because the river has so many dams along its course and its banks are heavily diked, sedimentation on the delta surface has been reduced. This has aggravated the problem of completely natural process of delta subsidence because little is added to the top as the bottom goes down.

Note: Here is a map showing where the Mississippi would likely change it's course, taking a sharp turn to the southwest far before it reached New Orleans. Note that if the Mississippi river does change course as suggested, then New Orleans loses much of its value as a port city, along with its only natural supply of sediment. This also means that the large area of the Mississippi Delta to the east (right) of the new course, which is over-extended into the Gulf of Mexico would erode away over time.

Are other replenishment efforts more viable for the long-term?

4. Where would the dirt come from? The natural source is the best and cheapest. [Just to be clear, he means by sedimentation –ed.] All other schemes would require enormous energy output to move the material and probably create a problem somewhere else.

If the area of New Orleans outside the port and French Quarter (above seas level) were cleared and cleaned and returned to nature with artificial flood control structures removed, what would be the impact on the wetlands of the Mississippi Delta?

There would be an immediate increase in shallow fresh to brackish water wetlands. The quality of that increase would depend on elevation (depth) and what could become established on it. If it is an increase in area of low quality wetland or a series of lakes, it may not be worth it for the gain in wetlands alone.

After answering these questions, he also volunteered the following:

If a city planner were choosing a location for a big city, it would not be where New Orleans is today. It is a location that should be largely abandoned as a city.

New Orleans is a doomed city, and even the Mississippi River it depends upon seems to want to abandon it. I'd rather we faced up to that fact now, rather than $200 billion or a trillion dollars down the road.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:30 PM | Comments (30) | TrackBack

September 15, 2005

Rhetoric vs. Environment

Hugh Hewitt was right regarding President George W. Bush' Speech tonight in Jackson Square; it was A Good Speech by a Good Man:

Perfect pitch returned tonight, and the president's looks backward and forward were on target. As Chris Matthews observed, it sounded a little LBJ/FDR-like in its vows about the underclass of the recovery region, but that is exactly why it worked so well: That is what needs to happen, and he identified the best approaches in the empowerment of entrepeneurs and the retraining of the evacuees. The enterprise zone could prove a turbo charged motor to the effort, and the promise of innovation was well delivered.

For all the heartfelt sentiment however, Bush, his speechwriters, and prognosticators both Democrat and Republican missed one key point: New Orleans is not destined to be around to celebrate it's rebirth, at least not for long.

The picture above is pulled from Louisiana State University, a school that knows quite a bit about coastal erosion. The original picture comes from an online lab, where this image portrays the future Louisiana coastline as envisioned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in just 50 years.

More conservative estimates place New Orleans on (or under) the Gulf of Mexico by 2090, and these were both pre-Katrina estimates. Once the environmental toll of Hurrican Katrina is finally measured, years are sure to be shaved from previous estimates.

It was foolish to build a city in a swamp 300 years ago. It is even more foolish now that we could rebuild a far better city, with far fewer problems, and far more potential, with far less money on a more viable location somewhere nearby.

Pouring trillions of dollars into rebuilding a temporary metropolis destined to fail is a fool's game that I would rather not play.

Note I would like to make it clear that I'm not against rebuilding as a concept, I'd just like it to occur at a more viable location than in an eternally sinking hole surrounded by massive bodies of water. Fair enough?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:22 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

September 14, 2005

Durbinizing the Superdome

Does this scene sound vaguely familiar?

"When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here -- I almost hesitate to put them in the record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

"On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a evacuee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more... On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The evacuee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the evacuee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Louisianans had done to evacuees in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Louisiana politicians in the treatment of their citizens."

When these words were uttered by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in June, he was speaking of Guantanamo Bay, and the alleged treatment of al Qaeda terrorists in the care of the American military. It is sad that by substituting a few words we could so easily capture the desperate conditions Americans forced upon Americans just last week in the Louisiana Superdome.

The allegations of torture at Guantanamo Bay turned out to be false. The desperate situation in the Superdome turned out to be all too real.

I wonder if Dick Durbin and his fellow Democrats will be able to summon the same vigor to prosecute the authorities responsible for the torturous conditions of Louisiana Superdome, as they did for those they felt were responsible for Guantanamo Bay.

Sadly, I don't see that their character will be up to the task.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:34 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Your Lyin' Eyes

John at WuzzaDem finds that it's all in the timing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 13, 2005

Nursing Home Owners Charged In Katrina Deaths


The owners of St. Rita's nursing home in St. Bernard Parish were charged with 34 counts of involuntary homicide today, announced Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti at a press conference.

Mable B. Mangano and Salvador A. Mangano, turned themselves into authorities and are in custody in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Foti said the arrests were in connection with the deaths of residents of St. Rita's during the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe.

He said it was the owners' duty to "follow reasonable practices" in safeguarding the well-being of the facility's residents.

"When accepting patients, it is their duty to provide a standard of care for them," Foti said.

"The pathetic thing is they were asked if they wanted to move them (the patients) out, and they said they did not," he said, noting that the owners of the nursing home had been repeatedly warned of the dangers of the approaching storm.

"Their inaction resulted in these deaths," Foti said.

These nursing home owners are responsible for their charges, and they failed a sacred trust, not to mention a basic human duty.

Other people also failed those that depend on them in Louisiana... we'll see if they are also charged for their ineptitude that contributed to at least some of the deaths of the 400 people recovered from Katrina's floodwater's so far.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nagin Bails?

Why has New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin moved his family to Dallas?:

Mr. Nagin was speaking from the Dallas area, where, he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, he has bought a house for his family and enrolled his young daughter in school. He said he would remain in New Orleans while his family lives for the next six months in the Dallas area and would make visits when possible.

He didn't just move his family out of the flooded area, he moved them 520 miles and 1/3 of the largest state in the Union away.

So the $64,000 question: Why?

I don't think it will take a rocket scientist to see that Nagin might be out as Mayor once his failure to follow the written New Orleans evacuation plan is widespread knowledge among his scattered constituency. As his many failures in leadership are quite arguably to blame for many of the deaths in New Orleans, moving his family might be safety issue as well.

Of course, since the people he screwed over the most didn't even have enough transportation to make it out of New Orleans to Gretna, moving his family all the way Dallas might have been overkill.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:19 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Katrina, Liberal Professors, and Other Natural Disasters

“Feel free to circulate my opinion.”

Okay dear, you asked for it.

The following section come from the words of a liberal professor at a nearby university, responding to a colleague that posted a "chain of responsibility" email that explained how the government chain of command ran in New Orleans, and how it should work.

The "chain of responsibility" as the colleague called it, ran from local responsibility to federal responsibility in this order:

  • the Mayor (Ray Nagin)
  • the New Orleans Director of Homeland Security (Terry Ebberts)
  • the Governor (Kathleen Blanco)
  • the Head of Homeland Security (Michael Chertoff)
  • the President (George W. Bush)

It is more or less accurate, though it is certainly simplified, as the colleague left out the Louisiana Homeland Security office (state level), that reports to Governor Blanco, and she left out a Michael Brown-led FEMA altogether (though as I write this, Brown has stepped down).

Still the colleague's hierarchy was more right that wrong.

Sadly, this liberal college professor, like so many ordinary, non-EdD and PhD (piled higher and deeper) types, is so wrapped up in her partisanship that she can't tell fact from fiction. Read her response first and see if you can spot her errors. I'll provide a proper Fisking on the other side:

Another valid perspective:

How about that the government was studying this (with our money) for 4 years - and cutting the budget to fix the levies [sic] (admittedly this was also cut under Clinton which was shameful)? Why were they budgeting anything at all if this was a private sector issue? And - since the levies protected an entire, extremely vulnerable city - how could anyone in good conscience say - it is the responsibility of property owners only? The buck stops with the person at the top. Always has and always will. In this situation, that happens unfortunately (for me and others) to be GW and his poor administrative choices, Chains of responsibility as a defense for the "blame game" don't make it in most crises situations. Try telling that to the homeless.
This piece sounds more like " blame the victims" but protect the government at all costs. I am glad this kind of thinking wasn't directed toward members of this community during Floyd. Granted, aspects of this article are probably true. The crime and violence in the Astrodome was absolutely horrifying. Given the blatant irresponsibility of some of New Orleans's citizens - why did the gov't issue $2,000 each worth of "get rich free cards" on Wed. (given to countless numbers to "empower them" to buy what?). Fortunately, someone caught the stupidity of that one and cancelled the program on Friday (when they fired the Fema Undersecretary) . When our Pres. visits Trent Lott's house and promises to rebuild it "bigger and better than ever - can't wait to be sitting on his front porch again..." - I think he is absolutely clueless regarding the plight of the poor and general human suffering. That truly frightens me. ...
By the way, watch out for Ophelia - because if we are affected, there will be nothing left for us. Wish we had more National Guard Troops at home to assist those in need right here in the US of A.
The fact that the Republicans feel the need to put forth something like this - which is blatantly political - lllustrates their defensiveness and concerns regarding the next election. Indeed, they need to be very worried.
Obviously, I have strong feelings about this too or would have let it go by. Feel free to circulate my opinion.

So how many mistakes did you find in our little liberal's canned argument? Let's take it from the top.

Another valid perspective

Sorry, but the good doctor (EdD) doesn't make it past the title on this one. You either have a chain of command, or you do not. The chain of command did leave out some key roles, and if the poster was going to address these missing roles, then the title may be valid. As we will soon see, though, the professor completely blows it. She does not in any way understand the hierarchy, and seeks to flatten it completely (everything is Bush's fault) in an effort to assign blame, hence even her title is wrong, as her hierarchy is invalid, making her claim to have a valid perspective incorrect.

How about that the government was studying this (with our money) for 4 years - and cutting the budget to fix the levies [sic] (admittedly this was also cut under Clinton which was shameful)?

Governments at various levels on two continents have been aware of levee problems in the Mississippi Delta at least since 1832 when English novelist Fanny Trollope wrote about New Orleans levees in 1832 (thank you, Michael Kinsley). Levee problems were not suddenly discovered during the Bush administration. They have been a constant concern for the citizens of New Orleans for well over a hundred years… as has been the corruption of New Orleans and Louisiana officials that have failed to secure matching funds, misappropriated the funds they were allocated, and were so poor in money management that they lost the ability to restructure their debt.

In addition, the state of Louisiana thought so little of levee improvements that they spent less than one tenth of one percent of their 1998 budget -- $1.98 million -- to levee improvements in the New Orleans area. In 2001, the Orleans levee board was forced to defer capital improvement project because the locals rejected a tax increase to fix the levees. The levee board did manage, however to spend $2.5 million on one restoration project—of a water fountain. That, too, was well over budget. In short, New Orleans and Louisiana bear almost all the blame for not funding their levee system They couldn't even meet the federal government halfway. Why should someone in Boise or Boston be forced to pay for a Louisiana-benefiting project that won't even sell in Baton Rouge?

It is also worth noting that under the present administration, Louisiana has received more money for Corps of Engineers construction projects ($1.9 billion) than any of the other 49 states. California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times larger.

Why were they budgeting anything at all if this was a private sector issue? And - since the levies protected an entire, extremely vulnerable city - how could anyone in good conscience say - it is the responsibility of property owners only? The buck stops with the person at the top. Always has and always will.

Simply a reading comprehension issue, proving even a EdD can be semi-literate. These lines were responding to the claim that:

…the levees that broke were the responsibility of the local landowners and the local levee board to maintain.

The original contention was never just that the landowners were responsible, but that the landowners and the levee board were responsible.

These political cronies, six of eight appointed directly by the governor are the group with primary responsibility for the levees around New Orleans, as noted here:

The Orleans Levee District, a quasi-governmental body, is responsible for 129 miles of earthen levees, floodwalls, 190 floodgates, 2 flood control structures, and 100 valves. The governor appoints six of the board's eight members, and they serve at his pleasure. When a storm approaches it is responsible for closing the hundreds of hurricane protection floodgates and valves on levees surrounding the city. All residents outside of these levees evacuate. The District's General Fund accounts for all operating funds for the daily operations of the Administrative Offices, Field Forces, Law Enforcement and support operations necessary to maintain the Board's level of services for flood protection and public safety.

The District's Special Levee Improvement Projects Fund (SLIP) accounts for the capital funds for major maintenance and/or capital improvements of all physical property and plant owned by the Board that is identified as directly related to flood protection.

So as the levee board was appointed directly be, and serves at the discretion of, the Governor. There is no higher authority for the levee board that the governor that appoints them. Period. This buck stops with Kathleen Blanco, and nowhere else.

In this situation, that happens unfortunately (for me and others) to be GW and his poor administrative choices, Chains of responsibility as a defense for the "blame game" don't make it in most crises situations. Try telling that to the homeless.

While without factual merit, this passage is worth mentioning in that it shows that even a seemingly educated person can become completely illogical when politics are involved, especially when you combine a rabid ideology with a lack of knowledge about the subject at hand. The Executive branch is not responsible in any way for a state's municipal projects. The good professor knows nothing of government, and tries to cover it with an emotional appeal.

This piece sounds more like "blame the victims" but protect the government at all costs. I am glad this kind of thinking wasn't directed toward members of this community during Floyd.

There was a simple reason state and local officials were not blamed for anything during Floyd, dear professor: they responded competently to the disaster. States and individual communities affected by Hurricane Floyd held to their disaster plans. Mayors led their communities; they did not flee to the state capitol. Governor's led their states; they did not toss up their hands and declare the situation "untenable."

In addition, citizens of North Carolina and Virginia and other states did not take advantage of Hurricane Floyd to go on a rampage throughout their cities, looting jewelry stores, pawn shops, and pharmacies of everything of value, which the community of New Orleans, including many law enforcement officers caught on tape, did. Perhaps we didn't blame the victims of Floyd, because the victims of Floyd didn't attempt to rob their cities blind.

Granted, aspects of this article are probably true. The crime and violence in the Astrodome was absolutely horrifying.

It would have been horrifying—if it happened. Luckily, Houston, Texas, home of the Astrodome, was unaffected by the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, or by the looters and gang members that apparently took over the New Orleans Superdome after the New Orleans police department fell apart. Currently, 25,000 evacuees of New Orleans have been evacuated to the Astrodome where they are now being cared-for by big-hearted Texans.

As for the horror stories of multiple murders and gang rapes inside the Superdome, none have so far been confirmed by credible sources, although there were some confirmed deaths, including a suicide. The majority of suffering endured by the people trapped in the Superdome was the direct result of actions, and inactions, in Baton Rouge.

Given the blatant irresponsibility of some of New Orlean's citizens - why did the gov't issue $2,000 each worth of "get rich free cards" on Wed. (given to countless numbers to "empower them" to buy what?). Fortunately, someone caught the stupidity of that one and cancelled the program on Friday (when they fired the Fema Undersecretary) . When our Pres. visits Trent Lott's house and promises to rebuild it "bigger and better than ever - can't wait to be sitting on his front porch again..."

Debit cards of $2,000—hardly "get rich quick cards" by any measure—were distributed as a pilot project in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio where there were plenty of things to buy. Perhaps if the good professor wee a tad bit better in geography, she wouldn't be quite as snarky?

Why were the cards cancelled? Not because there weren't places to use the cards, but because the wonderful social elements created by Johnson's "Great Society" were already abusing them.

President Bush wants Trent Lott's house to be rebuilt, as much as he wants everyone else's home to be rebuilt. Just because a liberal like the good professor hates Senator Lott, it doesn't mean that he has an less value than any other person. I'd ask the professor if she'd rather if Lott not be extended the same right to rebuild as others, but I fear that I might guess her not quite Christian response.

I think he is absolutely clueless regarding the plight of the poor and general human suffering.

Come from a tenured university professor who hasn't faced the real world outside of her sheltered academic enclave and her comfortable upper-middle class neighborhood in decades, she's got quite a bit of nerve talking about the "plight of the poor."

By the way, watch out for Ophelia - because if we are affected, there will be nothing left for us. Wish we had more National Guard Troops at home to assist those in need right here in the US of A.

The fact that the Republicans feel the need to put forth something like this - which is blatantly political - lllustrates their defensiveness and concerns regarding the next election. Indeed, they need to be very worried.

Complete and utter horsecrap, if you pardon my language.

Ophelia, which wobbles back and forth nearly in place, and in strength between a tropical storm and a marginal hurricane, is a threat for minor inland flooding and beach erosion, but no more than the nor'easters that pound the Carolina coast throughout the winter season.

Even if Ophelia came ashore a strong category three or four, there are enough law enforcement and National Guardsmen in North Carolina to take care of our own, and we have done many times before. We have seasoned disaster veterans in all levels of emergency management from the state to the local level, and a citizenry that reacts to save communities, not destroy them. Therein lies the difference.

Over 100 years of corrupt and incompetent Democratic leadership on every level, an incompetent and corrupt law enforcement system, and a gang and drug-riddled population created by Johnson's failed "Great Society" doomed New Orleans.

Mayor Nagin, who failed to follow the New Orleans disaster plan and move citizens out of the city using school and public buses, has fled to Dallas. Governor Blanco who sad the situation was "untenable" and "overwhelming," went on to prove it by refusing to let the Red Cross or Salvation Army enter the city. Other Democratic leaders like Gretna Police Chief, Arthur Lawson, refused to let New Orleans citizens escape the city, and even had officer fire shots at, or over, those who tried to escape.

North Carolina citizens do not have to worry about their leaders trying to starve them out, or trying to trap them in concentration camp-like conditions.

That you would try to coverup the massive corruption, cronyism and borderline genocide committed by the Democratic party of Louisiana and New Orleans, and actually blame it upon a federal government, that actually responded faster and in more volume than any of the past six major hurricanes, speaks ill of your motives, and your knowledge.

Obviously, I have strong feelings about this too or would have let it go by.

You probably should have, professor. You probably should have.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:20 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 12, 2005

Disasters and Choices

I'd written a post on September 2 in response to Kanye West's ignorant statements made during the NBC telethon that "George Bush hates black people." This post led to an especially spirited comment thread, that I eventually locked down at 323 comments.

After locking down the thread, I received an email from someone we'll call "Spartakus" who took exception to this comment from poster calling himself "Sean John:"

I agree that all levels of the gov't failed NO. But the Federal Gov't knew - before Katrina hit -that the city and state did not have enough resources to handle this alone. We all knew that. FEMA knew that. BTW did you know that the Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. But President Bush and Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill with 6,000 pet projects, including a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.

"Spartakus," as an government insider, had this to say in response:

I do not normally respond to blogs but found the thread on the issue of Kayne West's comments interesting. I was intending to respond to Sean John's statement "...the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million."

I work in resource allocation for a major organization of the Federal
Government ($700 billion). I wanted to point out to Sean John that cutting
funding like that is not uncommon. Why? Because (just like our own personal
lives) the total costs of government project requests are invariably always
higher than the funding available. In order to meet the limit of the annual
federal budget programs are reduced (or cut altogether) to meet the
established topline. We call this reduction/cutting of some programs as
"taking risk." What that means is that the program will take a reduction in
funding with the hope (an educated guess if you will) that it can handle its
mission utilizing a lower amount of money. Also, it is not done in an
arbitrary fashion, the reduction is usually taken where the agency requests.

An example is your own personal budget. Let's say that, rather than getting
your annual pay in 26 bi-weekly paychecks, I am going to give it all to you
up front on October 1st (the fiscal year). However, two years prior to that
you need to present me with a plan on how every single dollar is going to be
spent. You may also include items you would like to have, since I can only
give you a rough estimate of dollars you will have to spend.

Also understand you cannot "rob Peter to pay Paul." By that I mean your
"FY2007 Home Budget Plan" must be divided into many subcategories: Home Roof
Repair, Bathroom 1 Plumbing Repair, Fast Food Purchase from McD's, Fast Food
Purchase from Wendy's, Gas for Car A, Gas for Car B, Oil for Car A, New Tire
for Car A, Repair 1 flat tire for Car A.... (See how it works? This roughly
approximates the myriad of agencies vying for Federal dollars every year).

Now, since you planned for only 1 flat tire for Car A what do you do if you
have two? What you cannot do is take money out of your "Fast Food Program"
or "Home Roof Repair" because these are different agencies. You must pay
for the tire out of your Car A Repair funds. By not programming for two
flats you also took risk.

When I know how much money you can "execute" in FY2007 I will give you your
budget "topline." Invariably you will find that your topline is lower that
the available funding. So now you must cut some of your programs and in
doing so you must carefully evaluate each program and take risk when you
decrease the funding.

So the Federal Government and the Corps of Engineers took risk (the Corps
would have to show OMB what specific programs were to bet reduced/cut) when
they cut the initial request by $65 million. As we are now seeing, the
Federal Government will probably spend more than $65 million in direct and
indirect costs (indirect costs are those that we pay to our military and
governments employees who have responded. We would have paid them anyway
but we are paying them to do something in support of Katrina relief). The
government will probably pay these costs with supplemental budget
authorizations (but remember, cannot rob Peter to pay Paul usually applies)
although some of the burden of funding (FEMA, the National Guard, the
military) will be placed on agencies to fund (so they will have to find the
funds within their own organizations to pay, usually fuel costs).

Is it cut throat? Yes, it most certainly can be. But it is the reality of
government budgeting. Everybody wants a slice of the federal budget pie but
there is a limited amount of pie every year. [my emphasis -ed.]

To answer the blog threads of those who like to place blame for the slow
response I say it is too early to say. The problem with disaster response
is you do not get to really practice your plan. You usually have to execute
it in a real time situation and as Murphy's Law states: "No plan survives
initial contact with the enemy." Same is true for a disaster of this
magnitude. In the "hotwash" to come there will no doubt be enough blame
apportioned, but there will be success to highlight as well. Government
agencies usually end up learning from mistakes, it is unfortunate that
people must suffer during the learning process.

Something to think about,isn't it?

The federal government can't be there, at all times, being all things to all people. We've only got so much money to spend, folks, and we try to put it where it makes the most sense at the time. Even liberal Michael Kinsley recognizes that:

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and other Louisiana politicians, for instance, have been flashing their foresight all over the tube. They say they asked repeatedly for more money so that the Army Corps of Engineers could strengthen the levees, but repeatedly the Bush administration actually cut the corps' budget instead.

The Corps of Engineers itself is feeling pretty smug. It has long wanted money to build levees that would even survive a Category 5 hurricane, let alone a measly Category 4 like Katrina.

Sure, and if there were a Category 6 or a Category 473, there would be a dusty Corps of Engineers report in a filing cabinet somewhere, asking for money to protect against that one too. The Corps of Engineers has done many marvelous things. But it would cement over the Great Lakes and level Mt. Rainier if we would let it. Its warnings about natural disasters are like the warnings of that famous economist who has predicted 10 of the last five recessions.

Hinsight is 20/20, folks, but if Louisiana was all that interested in building additional levees, they could have raised their taxes in their states for their needs. They made the choice not to.

That was the wrong choice.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:56 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 10, 2005

Hates Black People (The Conspiracy Show)

It's time for everyone's favorite show, “Who Hates Black People?” hosted by Kanye West.

Here's how we play, audience: pick an offense, and we'll tell you which racist cracker has committed the crime!

This week, we're going to focus on Hurricane Katrina. As you know, Hurricane Katrina was a hurricane created by Republicans and aimed at New Orleans to kill black folks on welfare.

Are you ready? Let's go!

Q: Which racist Republican created Hurricane Katrina by refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol?

A: George Bush*

* Please ignore the fact that the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases (China) was completely exempted from the agreement, and ignore the fact that Russia's influential Academy of Sciences called the protocol “scientifically unfounded nonsense,” or that the Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change by 80 academics and 25 meteorologists was skeptical that global warming even exists. Also, please ignore the fact that we are currently in a 3 million year-old ice age. Hurricane Katrina is obviously Bush's fault.

Q: Which racist Republican purposefully trapped 100,000 black citizens of New Orleans by not following evacuation plans?

A: George Bush*

* Please ignore the fact that it was (Democrat) Mayor Ray Nagin who failed to follow the written disaster plan to use buses to effect an evacuation of the City of New Orleans, even though he knew 125,000 citizens didn't have personal transportation. George Bush should have bought each one of them a car.

Q: Which racist Republican blocked the escape the black citizens of New Orleans that tried to escape over the bridge known as the Crescent City Connection?

A: George Bush*

* Please ignore the fact that those orders actually came from Police Chief Arthur Lawson (Democrat), who said, "If we had opened the bridge, our city would have looked like New Orleans does now: looted, burned and pillaged." Of course, Bush forced Lawson to say that.

Q: Which racist Republican ordered the Louisiana National Guard and Louisiana Department of Homeland Security to keep the Red Cross and Salvation Army away from the tens of thousands of sick and starving people trapped at the Superdome and Convention Center?

A: George Bush

* Please ignore the fact that while President Bush is the Commander in Chief of federalized National Guard units, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco (Democrat) is Commander in Chief of Louisiana's National Guard until she decides to hand control to the federal government, which she refused then and still refuses to do, despite the problems that has caused with the relief effort. It was under Blanco's orders that the Red Cross and Salvation Army were barred from entering New Orleans with relief supplies. Bush purposefully confused her by following the law.

Q: Which racist Republican violated the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution by denying the remaining people in New Orleans the right to defend themselves from looters and thugs?

A: George Bush*

* Actually, It is New Orleans Police Chief P. Edwin Compass (Democrat) that violated and continues to violate the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, numerous provisions of the Louisiana Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and natural law. Of course, he did so because, um, ah.. oh wait, it is Democrats that hate people having a right to defend themselves, isn't it?

Well, that's all the time we have for today's show, but come back next week after Hurricane Ophelia makes landfall on Myrtle Beach to see Jeff Foxworthy Host “Who Hates Rednecks?”

Update: Via Ace of Spaces, Strange Women Lying in Ponds provides more evidence of the racial nature of Hurricane Katrina. Damn that Bush!

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:24 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

September 09, 2005

New Orleans Hurricane Prison Riot Confirmed

First reported by a local ABC affiliate and then discounted as a rumor by a lack of supporting evidence, the story Orleans Parish Prison Riot is starting to slip out in bits and pieces.

"I really didn't think we were going to get out of there alive," 52-year-old Deborah Williams said of her ordeal at the Orleans Parish Prison complex. "It really was a miracle from God." Williams, along with several other guards and the 10- to 17-year-old inmates were moved to an 8-story building at the prison from a less-secure juvenile detention center in the hours before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast because the prison was thought to be safer. By the time they were rescued, the building had flooded up to the fifth floor, a riot had broken out and been put down and most of the other inmates had been evacuated.

While flooding to the fifth floor seems to be a gross exaggeration, the rest of the story seems to match other accounts coming to light. Sadly, Williams' story also provides the first evidence of prisoners dying during the evacuation.

"Sometime Thursday morning, we heard helicopters outside," Williams said. "Then I heard someone calling my name — 'Williams! Deborah Williams!' — and I knew we were saved. We all started hugging each other, and soldiers started coming in from the roof."
Williams and the others were given life jackets and, because of the high water and the fact that many couldn't swim, they were tied together and pulled several blocks through the flooded streets of downtown New Orleans.
"It was horrible," she said. "Two of our kids drowned, and there was nothing we could do to help them. One of them was pregnant. There were bodies floating by, and the soldiers kept telling us to hurry, that it wasn't safe."

An Australian tourist, Ashley McDonald, was arrested for minor offenses and since freed, reported that prisoners were virtually abandoned in the days after Hurricane Katrina struck, and also confirmed both prisoner riots and escapes:

"They basically threw away the key to the jail for four days," he said. McDonald said he and the other prisoners were basically abandoned by authorities in the storm's aftermath. "We had no food, no water, no power, no air-conditioning, no toilets," McDonald said. "A lot of people started breaking out and escaping and that's when attention was brought to the jail."

It was only then that the jail was evacuated and the prisoners shipped out, including many with homemade weapons. McDonald himself was threatened with a screwdriver once he arrived at the prison in Baton Rouge.

Perhaps the most disturbing vision of the scene inside the prison from corrections officer Shantia Barnes:

As Katrina raged Monday outside the prison on Perdido Street, water began seeping into the building where Barnes worked. Toilets began to back up. By Tuesday, the water inside was about 3 feet high and about 320 inmates had to be moved to the second floor, she said.

As water rose 5 feet high that evening, the situation became desperate, she said. About 40 civilians, including family members of prison workers, had also taken refuge at the jail. Word spread among the inmates that the Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, where many had family, was underwater. Unfed for days, the inmates began to riot inside their cellblocks, Barnes said.

"We had no phone lines, no electricity," she said. "There was raw gas in the water ... If it wasn't for the deputies, a lot of people would have died."

She believes many drowned anyway, including inmates housed on the first floor of the Templeman 3 building, where Barnes said that in the chaos, some inmates may have remained locked inside.

"We evacuated everybody who was at the jail as far as we know once we got there," said Pam Laborde, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Corrections, which helped evacuate the prison. Laborde said she could not confirm what may have happened before rescuers from her agency arrived.

Taken together, these accounts seem to paint a picture of scared prisoners rioting in an attempt to get away from rising floodwaters. A skeleton crew of guards was unable to easily put down the uprising, and as a result, inmates may have been trapped and drowned in rising floodwaters.

The media seems unwilling, or unable to present a full picture of the events inside the Orleans Parish prison, with only these fractured accounts from two guards and one inmate presenting a fractured picture of rioting, fear and death that runs counter to official pronouncements of orderly prisoner transfers to other Louisiana prisons.

What once seemed to be a bright spot in the failed evacuation of New Orleans now appears to be just another failure to adequately prepare by Louisiana authorities.

Note: This just kind of confirmed what Dan Riehl reported almost a week ago.

Lambs Leading Wolves
Orleans Prison Riot
Hurricane Katrina's Harsh Sentence

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Grossly Overstated

A lot of folks are hyping figures tossed out by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana U.S. Sen. David Vitter that deaths in New Orleans are in the range of 10,000 dead.

I'm going on the record and saying that the actual body count will be far lower than these estimates, probably in the range of 3,000-3,500 dead. Why?

The bodies just aren't showing up as you might expect as the floodwaters recede. If deaths were on the order of 10,000 in Louisiana, Reuters photographers wouldn't have to ask to join FEMA on rescue boats to find bodies to feast on; corpses would be piling up like driftwood at chokepoints and finding bodies to exploit would be no problem at all.

But that isn't occurring, and the simplest explanation is that far fewer people died than expected. We heard grossly over-inflated estimates in the hundreds or even thousands when Hurricane Floyd came through North Carolina back in 1999 and caused extensive flooding. 47 died, not 470, or 4,700.

Thankfully, the lack of bodies recovered so far indicate that this might also be the case with Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 08, 2005

Dependence + Stupidity, Kills

Listening to WPTF Radio on the way home this afternoon, host Bill LuMaye noted that many of those poor - and now feared dead - citizens of the areas heavily flooded by the levee breaks in New Orleans had refused to leave their homes because they were afraid that if they evacuated, they would not get their government assistance checks.

The reasons they gave were that:

  • that they didn't trust their neighbors not to steal their checks, and;
  • they were afraid their checks would blow away


That the mail would not be delivered in a city under a mandatory disaster evacuation apparently never cross their minds.

Some people claim that a lot of people drown in New Orleans because of their skin color. Is it impolite to mention that their economic situation might have more to do with their intelligence and education than their melanin content? Quite frankly, many people died not because they were of a certain race, but because they were stupid.

Sorry, but there it is.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:54 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Governor Who?

Stumble across the official web site for the Louisiana Governor's mansion at, and you get a wonderful welcoming letter from the Governor—Governor Murphy J. “Mike” Foster.

It looks like levee construction isn't the only thing that is out of date and/or under construction in Louisiana.

And Mike…


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Screwing The Pooch... Again

Via Breitbart:

Recording stars Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, Paul Simon, Neil Young and the Dixie Chicks will headline a telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims slated to air this week on six major U.S. networks and around the world, producers said on Wednesday. But it was not clear whether they or any of the other celebrities booked for Friday's event, including comedian Chris Rock and movie star Jack Nicholson, will be permitted to freely express their opinions during the show or required to stick to the script. The question arose after impromptu remarks last Friday by rapper Kanye West, who used his appearance on a similar NBC network broadcast to accuse President George W. Bush of racism in the government's relief effort.

The Dixie Chicks? You've got to really wonder why they're being dragged out now, since Natalie Maines torpedoed their careers in 2003. Please note: the media didn't torpedo them, their fan base did. Are the media hoping for another celebrity meltdown?

Perhaps the media didn't learn a damn thing from the whole Kanye West episode... or perhaps they have decided that they are willing to trade the damage they do to the charity relief efforts in exchange for some hoped-for damage against President Bush.

I hope the potential "damage" is worth the loss of donations.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

Blanco Cried, New Orleans Died

Has any governor's incompetence has ever led to more deaths?

More here

NEW AND IMPROVED!: Now With 100% more FEMA!

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gutless Wonder

Via Fox News:

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco seemed at odds with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Wednesday, hours after the mayor ordered the mandatory evacuation of the crippled Crescent City by force if necessary.

As floodwaters caused by Hurricane Katrina began to slowly recede with the ruined city's first pumps returning to operation, Nagin late Tuesday authorized law enforcement officers to force the evacuation of the estimated 10,000 residents who refuse to heed orders to leave.

But in a Wednesday interview with FOX News, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said she had not signed off on the decision.

"The mayor certainly has ordered that but the governor, and that would be me, would have to enforce it or implement it. We are trying to determine whether there is an absolute justification for that," she told FOX News.

Bodies are decaying in a toxic stew of industrial chemicals, spilled sewage, and leaking natural gas. According to the CDC five people have already died from bacterial infections, and e. coli is just one of the potentially deadly biological hazards in the streets. That does not include tthe threat of disease-carrying insects, vermin, poisonous snakes, and alligators. This does not even begin to factor in two-legged predators running and gunning their way through the streets.

Kathleen Blanco is an unserious woman in serious times. Someone should start investigating the procedures for removing a Louisiana governor from office. Her incompetence, indecisiveness, and vindictiveness have led to the loss of far too many lives already.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:39 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 06, 2005

Nagin Rolls Over on Blanco

(h/t: LGF)

I have made it quite clear that I hold New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin in almost complete contempt for his failure to follow the New Orleans hurricane evacuation plan prior to Hurricane Katrina's arrival, but he has performed at least one useful role since he left 100,000 of his poorest citizens to die: he exposed Governor Kathleen Blanco as the incompetent, self-serving hack many held her to be:

From CNN:

S. O'BRIEN: There are people who say your evacuation plan, obviously in hindsight, was disastrous.


S. O'BRIEN: Your evacuation plan before -- when you put people into the Superdome. It wasn't thought out. You got 20,000 people in there. And that you bear the brunt of the blame for some of this, a large chunk of it.

NAGIN: Look, I'll take whatever responsibility that I have to take. But let me ask you this question: When you have a city of 500,000 people, and you have a category 5 storm bearing down on you, and you have the best you've ever done is evacuate 60 percent of the people out of the city, and you have never issued a mandatory evacuation in the city's history, a city that is a couple of hundred years old, I did that. I elevated the level of distress to the citizens.

And I don't know what else I could do, other than to tell them that it's a mandatory evacuation. And if they stayed, make sure you have a frigging ax in your home, where you can bust out the roof just in case the water starts flowing.

And as a last resort, once this thing is above a category 3, there are no buildings in this city to withstand a category 3, a category 4 or a category 5 storm, other than the Superdome. That's where we sent people as a shelter of last resort. When that filled up, we sent them to the Convention Center. Now, you tell me what else we could have done.

S. O'BRIEN: What has Secretary Chertoff promised you? What has Donald Rumsfeld given you and promised you?

NAGIN: Look, I've gotten promises to -- I can't stand anymore promises. I don't want to hear anymore promises. I want to see stuff done. And that's why I'm so happy that the president came down here, because I think they were feeding him a line of bull also. And they were telling him things weren't as bad as it was.

He came down and saw it, and he put a general on the field. His name is General Honore. And when he hit the field, we started to see action.

And what the state was doing, I don't frigging know. But I tell you, I am pissed. It wasn't adequate.

And then, the president and the governor sat down. We were in Air Force One. I said, 'Mr. President, Madam Governor, you two have to get in sync. If you don't get in sync, more people are going to die.'

S. O'BRIEN: What date was this? When did you say that? When did you say...

NAGIN: Whenever air Force One was here.


NAGIN: And this was after I called him on the telephone two days earlier. And I said, 'Mr. President, Madam Governor, you two need to get together on the same page, because of the lack of coordination, people are dying in my city.'

S. O'BRIEN: That's two days ago.

NAGIN: They both shook -- I don't know the exact date. They both shook their head and said yes. I said, 'Great.' I said, 'Everybody in this room is getting ready to leave.' There was senators and his cabinet people, you name it, they were there. Generals. I said, 'Everybody right now, we're leaving. These two people need to sit in a room together and make a doggone decision right now.'

S. O'BRIEN: And was that done?

NAGIN: The president looked at me. I think he was a little surprised. He said, "No, you guys stay here. We're going to another section of the plane, and we're going to make a decision."

He called me in that office after that. And he said, "Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor." I said -- and I don't remember exactly what. There were two options. I was ready to move today. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision.

S. O'BRIEN: You're telling me the president told you the governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision?


S. O'BRIEN: Regarding what? Bringing troops in?

NAGIN: Whatever they had discussed. As far as what the -- I was abdicating a clear chain of command, so that we could get resources flowing in the right places.

S. O'BRIEN: And the governor said no.

NAGIN: She said that she needed 24 hours to make a decision. It would have been great if we could of left Air Force One, walked outside, and told the world that we had this all worked out. It didn't happen, and more people died. [emphasis added]

In other words, Nagin is placing the blame for at least some of the unnecessary deaths squarely upon the head of an indecisive, posssibly incompetent Governor Kathleen Blanco. Based upon this article, Bush is still having problems getting a useful response from a governor who seems more intent on covering her own butt than saving the lives of her citizens.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:42 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

September 05, 2005

Thank You

As I type this, Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Weekend is drawing to a close. Thanks to big-hearted readers just like you, blog readers have logged more than $ 1,074,387 in donations, and that does not come close to including all blog donations.

Via Michelle Malkin, I see that Americans have donated at least $404 million dollars to help victims of Hurricane Katrina so far.

I'd also like to thank our generous foreign donors as well.

Thank you one and all.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 04, 2005

Ray Nagin's Legacy


These estimated 205 school buses drown in New Orleans, presumably along with the 364 buses of the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority.

If these estimated 569 buses were truly on hand, and if each carried 60 people, then 34,140 of New Orleans' most needy citizens could have been evacuated completely out of the city each trip.

According to NOLA's official hurricane disaster plans, these very buses should have been used to evacuate the poor and the needy. Ray Nagin couldn't follow written directions. His incompetence was lethal to thousands.

Tell me, legal eagles, how long do you get in Louisiana for 10,000 counts of negligent homicide?

Update: It just keeps getting worse. Bryan Preston of Junkyard Blog, who has done excellent work on the bus scandal, now has more as he posts temporarily at Michelle Malkin's.

He has discovered that under Mayor Nagin's leadership, the New Orleans Police Department has suffered a near-complete meltdown.

Via poster "Cylinder" in the comments:

137 flooded New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority buses in New Orleans in a lot at 2817 Canal Street, as captured from Google Maps.

Additional Update: The New Orleans Disaster Plan? Make and send out a DVD to citizens saying , "you're on your own." Only they didn't make the video in time for hurricane season.

So, screw you New Orleans, only we're not gonna tell your screwed. Thanks, Ray.

The more I hear about the extreme incompetence of the local authorities, the defensive posturing of state authorities, and a federal response which is sounding more and more like it worked as designed, the more I think that we do need a "Katrina Commission," but one that realistically and honestly evaluates the responses of local, state and federal governments to Hurricane Katrina, not just the poltical federally-targeted blame-game Hillary wants to play political football with. Hillary actually does have something of a point - FEMA may very well function better as an independent agency - but an investigation targeted at the federal-level only addresses 1/3 of the problem (perhaps far less than that, as evidence to date seems to indicate).

We need to find the most efficient way to handle a mass casualty event, whether it be weather, or terror related. Weneed this as a nation, and it should be apolitical (yeah, I know...) An investigation of all three levels of government involvement, including honest failure analysis, is needed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:33 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

NOLA Looters Killed in Return Fire

New Orleans Cops Shoot Eight.

Those looters (five or six of which were killed) were shot by NOLA police officers becuase the thugs were firing upon Army Corps of Engineers contractors brought in to try to fix the levees.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Genorosity Beyond Words

As anyone reading blogs over the past few days probably knows, many blogs have pulled together to try to raise money on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Towards that end, my real-life brother Phin and his partner Sadie at Apothegm Designs decided to hold a blog design auction. They would auction off their considerable blog design services to raise money for hurricane relief. The original idea went up and had 32 other bloggers (including yours truly) promoting it. Pixy Misa, who is the benevolent soul who owns and runs the domain, generously sweetened the deal with free hosting and a domain.

Nugget ($510) and That One Guy ($500) were the two winners, and I have to say that Phin was happy with the results.

And then something else happened. Something really, really unexpected. Let Phin tell you the rest. It will warm your heart.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Weekend Continues

$698,330 has been donated so far in the Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Weekend being promoted by at least 1,344 bloggers.

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has a long, long list of links to charities working hard to help those most in need in the wake of the near total devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

I personally made the following recommendation earlier:

My humble submission to Glenn's list is Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse is a Christian relief organization run by Franklin Graham, son of legendary minister Bill Graham.

They already have trucks rolling south, and have two disaster relief teams in Alabama. They will base in Mobile, Alabama and will work their way toward the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts, coordinating thousands of volunteers from local churches to rehabilitate as many homes as possible.

They also accept employer matching funds.

Help them help the victims if you can. Samaritan's Purse not only helps rebuild buildings, they help rebuild faith.

We'll be fundraising through Monday, so please give if you can. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of you who have opened your hearts and your wallets.

9/04/05 Update: THIS LINK goes directly to the Samaritan's Purse online donations page.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Brilliance of Kanye West

As everyone is now brutally aware, musician, record producer and conspiracy theorist Kanye West had a meltdown during NBC's Hurricane Katrina Relief Telethon last night. He claimed that "America is set up to help the poor, the black people the less well off as slow as possible," that "they've given them permission to go down and shoot us,"and top it off, that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Dan Riehl has the video.

As you may well imagine, many people were turned off by West's assertions, and the Red Cross and NBC were both inundated with rightfully outraged callers angry that West would politicize such an event, and furious that NBC chose to broadcast the footage instead of dumping it.

Of course, West's assertions are each and every one idiotic.

Hurricane Katrina like all major hurricanes, caused widespread, catastrophic destruction in every neighborhood in an area the size of Great Britain. Somehow, West was unable to reconcile the fact that predominantly white resort communities were also destroyed, or that while New Orleans is all but evacated now, these mostly-white communities are still waiting upon aid.

While authorities did call for a stiff response to rampaging looters, shoot-to-kill orders were never issued for a certain race, but only for specific actions including shooting at police officers. Those merely looking for food for survivial were never targeted. Of course, Mr. West doesn't let facts stand in his way.

As for "not caring about black people," Bush's record of appointing more minorities to key positions of power than any president in history, speaks for itself.

His comments were irrational, foolish, and lacking in any credibility, but they do fit a pattern of behavior.

West once claimed this double whammy:

"It's a man-made disease in the first place that was placed in Africa just like crack was placed in the black community to break up the Black Panther party."

Men made AIDs? God might tend to disagree, as mankind has never been able to synthesize an entirely new lifeform, even something as simple as a virus.

The Marxist-Leninist Black Panther Party subsided in power by the early 1970s and was completely disbanded by 1977. It was only after the Black Panthers were all but destroyed that crack was invented.

Of course, you don't have to bother with providing facts or even making sense if you're Kanye West, college dropout and conspiracy star, because you're JUST THAT BRILLIANT.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:47 AM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

September 03, 2005

Blogger Aid Continues

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Matthew 25:35-36

Folks, we bloggers are going to continue to ask you to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina throughout the weekend. A geographical area the size of Great Britain has been all but obliterated, and hundreds of thousands if not millions of people are:

  • without homes
  • without jobs
  • without clothes
  • without food
  • almost, almost without hope

Please help give them that hope by donating to one of the many fine charities listed here. My personal recommendation is here. Please log all donations here so that we know we're making a difference.

Thank you.

Update: Bumped to top.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Hurricane Housing

Don't let the group behind this dissuade you from participating, it is a very worthy cause. People can offer hurricane victims a place to stay, and people displaced by Katrina can search for housing in areas they've evacuated to around the country.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 02, 2005

Blog Design/Domain/Hosting Auction for Hurricane Katrina Relief Ends Tonight

Phin at Apothegm Designs has a rather unique fund-raising effort underway for Hurricane Katrina victims, and the fund-raising effort is targeted squarely at the blogging community, with a great payoff for both us, and the American Red Cross.

They are auctioning off a pair of custom blog designs to the two highest bidders through the end of today, Friday, September 2. You've seen examples of their work at the Llama Butchers, The Jawa Report, Naked Villainy and here among many others. Their designs are fast-loading, technically sound, and aesthetically pleasing.

In addition, benevolent dictator Pixy Misa of the domain has offered a free domain, free hosting (up to a million visitors a month), and entrance into the Munuvanian blogging family to the top two bidders.

That is an awesome deal, and the funds are going to a great cause.

Thank you very much for your support.

The results are in. Thanks for the generous outpouring of support from the blogging community, and for the time donated by Apothegm Designs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Red Cross Under Seige Because of NBC

See it for yourself.

NBC allowed these ignorant, hateful comments to go on-air, potentially alientating 1/2 of potential donors, just to get a political dig in at the President. I'm livid, not because of West's attack on the President, but becuase this will cost the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

I just spoke to a Red Cross call center supervisor. Call centers have been deluged with complaints. They just released the following statement:

WASHINGTON, Friday, September 02, 2005 — The American Red Cross is incredibly grateful for the support we're receiving in the wake of the catastrophic events caused by Hurricane Katrina. We want to acknowledge the ongoing support of NBC-Universal, which aired a telethon tonight on behalf of the victims of this tragedy.

During the telecast, a controversial comment was made by one of the celebrities. We would like the American public to know that our support is unwavering, regardless of political circumstances. We are a neutral and impartial organization, and support disaster victims across the country regardless of race, class, color or creed. We cannot, and we do not endorse any comments of a political nature.

NBC just hurt poor people. I hope it was worth it to get in a few cheap shots at the president.

Update: Since you asked:

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:44 PM | Comments (323) | TrackBack

In New Orleans, Criminals Get Out First


Hurricane Katrina's Harsh Sentence

Orleans Prison Riot

Several people have commented on previous posts that they are looking for relatives that were either guards or prisoners at Orleans Parish prison, the central prison in New Orleans located approximately one mile northwest of the Louisiana Superdome. I decided to try to find out what I could to help them. What I found instead made me ill.

Orleans Parish Prison

I cannot tell you about the location of individual prisoners and guards, but I can pass along the following:

  • Rumors of rioting and hostage-taking among the prisoners are false.
  • At this time, no prisoner is confirmed among the known fatalities.
  • At this time, no guard is confirmed among the known fatailties.
  • More than 7,600 OPP inmates were scheduled to be completely evacuated from New Orleans as of September 1 (yesterday).
  • Inmates are housed throughout the Louisiana Prison system, except for Washington Correctional Institute near Angie, which was damaged in Hurricane Katrina.

It is quite possible, even probable, that all prisoners have been evacuated from New Orleans by this time.

It is unexplained why these 7,600 prisoners got out well in advance of citizens a mile away who are dying by the hour at the Superdome, in beseiged hospitals, and elsewhere throughout New Orleans.

For more information:

Inmate evacuees arrive in area
Storm prompts massive transfer of inmates
South Louisiana inmates bound for lockup in Bossier Parish
Prisoners, public school students displaced by Katrina

Update: CNN's Hurricane Safe List. Those who got it out so far and who have been able to contact CNN or other agencies.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:09 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

It Ain't Just a Tagline

A wonderul compilation of Katrina-related quotes from Chrenkoff.

Der Commissar at the Politburo Diktat offers a side-by-side comparison of posts on left-of-center and right-of-center blogs.

Michelle Malkin has a compendium called The Blame Game.

Professional "nigger victim" Randall Robinson spreads the sensational lie that black in New Orleans are reduced to eating their dead becuase of white people. I would write a response to this racist, but the Huffington Post routinely censors reasonable fact-based refutations of their rhetoric, so it would be a waste of time.

Among the lowest of bottomfeeders, however, is this scum called "demgurl" (h/t LGF). Her comment in full:

I did not stop to help a * supporter today. I had no idea how deeply my hate for that man ran. My lack of an interaction, with a * supporter is still haunting me a couple of hours later.

I was on my home and was on the ramp getting off the highway. I saw a mini-van on the side of the road. There was a lady standing next to the van and in her arms she held her child. I can only assume her mini-van had broken down. I don't know, perhaps with so many gad stations being out of gas, she had also run out. I slowed down and started to pull over to offer her a ride. At the very last second I noticed a "W" sticker on the back of her vehicle and I sped up and drove off.

I feel really bad as a human being. That child is not responsible for their parent's belief system. They are innocent and do not deserve to be out in the heat. (It is warm but not so bad that they would even break a sweat) I try not to punish people for what they believe.

On the other hand, so many hateful thoughts went through my head. I wondered how a person could see what was going on in NO and still have one of those awful stickers on their car. How could they support an awful excuse for a human being that has let our country down and is letting Americans die after they have made it through the storm? How can someone be so blind and so stupid?

I thought that if she loves * so much, maybe he would come along and help her the same way he is rescuing all of those poor people in the weather stricken part of our country. Let's see what her hero can do for her.

I never did go back. I was so upset with that sticker and with the fact that someone would support an idiot who is so clearly running our country into the ground.

So why am I writing this? It is not to boast, I really feel bad about passing this child and not picking up their mother. Perhaps it is for a catharsis of sorts? That would be an educated guess. I suppose it is because I feel conflicted and I am writing this to try and sort through what I am feeling. There are two emotional sides, for me, on this incident and neither seems completely right or wrong to me. Even writing this, I am still not able to work through what happened. I feel like I am floating between right and wrong and am unable to grab either side.

Thanks for listening.

I hope she's not a nurse or a doctor.

It will come as a shock to good people, but the liberal message board this was posted on had all the compassion in the world... for her.

Liberalism is a persistent vegetative state.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 01, 2005

Disaster Guns

The original Battle of New Orleans was a victory for a mixed bag of regular Army units, frontiersmen, former slaves, and outlaws. 190 years later, gunshots echo over the same patch of ground, as their descendants of the winners fire upon one another.

Armed gangs of violent young men rape and pillage their way across a city shattered by Hurricane Katrina. National Guard units and police officers trying to evacuate trapped citizens have come under gunfire, as have ambulances and rescue helicopters. Looting prevails. Bodies lie in the street, some apparent drowning victims, some clearly victims of gunshot wounds.

This is to the Second Battle of New Orleans.

There will be no winners, only survivors

Local, state, and federal government plans seem to have failed in almost every possible way, and continue to fail those rocked by what will be likely be remembered as the most destructive hurricane in American history.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was late in issuing a mandatory evacuation order, and when one was given, he failed to provide to provide the resources to make that evacuation possible for those most in need. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, perhaps the person single most responsible for the citizens of her state, has completely failed to implement or coordinate either an evacuation or a rescue and recovery effort. The federal government failed (perhaps in an impossible bid) to conquer Mother Nature, and failing that, has been slow to marshal forces and deliver aid. The layers of government failed, and the administration of law failed as well.

There is only one law now along the Gulf Coast, and that is the law of strength, the law of the gun. It has happened before.

Glenn Reynolds:

NEW YORK TIMES: Owners Take Up Arms as Looters Press Their Advantage

If you've got a week's supplies, and a gun, you'll usually do okay after a disaster. If you don't, you're in much bigger trouble, because it generally takes that long for some sort of order to be restored. We saw that after Andrew, and we're seeing it again.

It will happen again.

It will come in the form of another hurricane, or an earthquake, an outbreak of disease, or another eventuality of which we have not dared dream, even in our darkest thoughts. When that time comes, the only thing that may preserve your life and property may be the possession of and willingness to use a firearm.

Not all firearms are suitable for civilian defense. Most, in fact, are entirely unsuitable for the kind of situation brought about in natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

A civilian defense firearm must:

  • be easy to load, unload
  • easy to make safe
  • be easy to clean
  • be rugged and tolerant of abuse
  • use common, readily available ammunition of sufficient power
  • carry a minimum of five rounds of ammunition
  • be reasonably abundant (for acquiring spare parts)

Easy to Load and Unload
Loading ammunition into a civilian defense firearm must be easy. Most civilians will not handle their firearms often in the course of an average year. They must have firearms that are designed with enough ease of use so that once the loading and unloading process is once learned, it is easy to recall even after extended amounts of time. Almost all firearms meet these minimum criteria.

Easy to Make Safe
Firearms must be able to easily store, with the ability to chamber and fire a round of ammunition blocked, to keep it safe from access by children and Howard Dean supporters—a gun lock of some sort. Firearms should also ideally have a recognizable loaded-chamber indicator and easy-to-engage and/or redundant safety systems. Most modern firearms meet the former criteria of being able to accept gunlocks, and many firearms meet the later.

Be Easy to Clean
Civilian defense firearms must be able to be field-stripped and cleaned, and reassembled with minimal tools or no tools at all in a short amount of time, with a minimal danger of losing or damaging critical parts. More difficult in some older designs, or newer designs that will not long last.

Be Rugged and Tolerant of Abuse
Civilian defense firearms in a survival setting are likely to suffer accidental abuse, face improper storage and cleaning, use less than perfect-quality ammunition—and still perform flawlessly when needed. A hard task for many firearms.

Use Common, Readily Available Ammunition of Sufficient Power
This dual criteria is essential to meet. You cache of ammunition may get damaged or lost, or in nightmare Snake Plissken scenarios, you might even shoot it all up. You should choose a caliber of ammunition common to your area. That ammunition must be capable of killing animals both wild and domestic that are common to your area, from alligators to pit bulls. It must also be capable of stopping humans quickly and lethally, but must not be overly powerful for the task at hand. This I one of the more difficult criteria to satisfy.

Carry a Minimum of Five Rounds of Ammunition
You may not always hit what you aim at, and you may have multiple targets. If you cannot hit your target with five shots, significantly more ammunition only contributes to environmental lead poisoning downrange. In addition, after five rounds, your target, if human, is not likely to stay within range. If an animal, it will either be feasting or running as well. This

While a surprising number of firearms did past these tests, a few designs stood out.

12-gauge Pump-Action Shotgun

A 12-gauge pump-action shotgun is perhaps the most common, powerful, adaptable, and useful firearm available for person defense. The unmistakable shuck-shuck sound of a pump shotgun chambering a round makes even the most thuggish brute reconsider his intentions, and should he continue down the wrong path, a simple point and squeeze will arrange an immediate consultation with the deity of his choice.

Pumps such as the Mossburg 500 series and the Remington 870 series (pictured) are used to hunt everything from birds the bears, and are in common use by police and military units worldwide. Ammunition is readily available and can be specialized to certain tasks, an advantage most other weapons lack. Pump action shotguns typically carry sufficient amounts of ammunition, and they can be fired extremely rapidly in trained hands.


The choice of the cheap, tawdry Simonov carbine might be off-putting to some, but it might be the perfect rifle for our stated purposes. It uses the universally accessible 7.62x39mm (.30 Russian) military round found almost everywhere in the world in bulk, for cheap. The round reasonably duplicates the ballistics of the lever-action .30/30s, while the rifle itself has the advantages of being easier to load, and unload that the lever guns. The simple safety can be checked by touch. It carries its own cleaning kit in the butt of the rifle, and is compact in design.

.30/30 Lever-Action Rifle

A staple of hunters for years, the .30/30 lever-actions from Marlin (pictured) and Winchester are perhaps the most common rifles in the closets of American hunters today. They are easy to load, easy to carry, have good power at reason ranges beyond what a shotgun can provide, and are quick to use. The downside is that they are a bit more difficult to fieldstrip than most pump shotguns, and while the ammunition is common, they are also harder to easily unload.

9mm Safe-Action Pistols

Any handgun is at a distinct disadvantage against shotguns and rifles for many reason starting with practical accuracy, and knock-down power. On the other hand, they are far more easily concealed. Of semi-automatic pistols, the so-called "safe-action" designs from Springfield Armory and Glock (pictured) are nearly identical in appearance and function. Both feature similar, though proprietary safety systems that prevent accidental discharges while enabling the user to get the weapon up and ready to fire quickly. They are lightweight, and having polymer frames, are extremely resistant to corrosion. They are also relatively easy to shoot, load, and clean ,The 9x19mm NATO round is also nearly universal, making it easy to obtain while still providing acceptable stopping power.

.357 Magnum Stainless Revolver

Once nearly universal among police forces, the .38 Special/.375 Magnum police type revolvers (Smith & Wesson pictured)simply refuse to fade completely away. The can use both .38 and .357 Magnum ammunition (in the .357 chambered guns only) and are very easy to load and unload. Shooting a revolver is not as intuitive as shooting a pistol, but its simple reliability and legendary stopping power, along with a reasonable amount of concealablity make it an acceptable choice.

In Review
Pump-action shotguns are the best all around personal defense weapon. Lever –action and semi-automatic carbines are the best rifles for a multitude of reasons not perhaps the least of which is a proven track record in killing other humans when the need arose. Pistols and revolvers common to police agencies are also often the best choice of handguns. And while not a conscious criteria, the rifles and shotguns mentioned in this post can all be purchased for less than $300 (often under $200), making them quite affordable as well when compared to other firearms.

If you are black and poor like most disaster victims seem to be, that is an important factor, even if nobody wants to talk about it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:18 PM | Comments (26) | TrackBack

Blog Auction for Katrina Victims

My brother Phin of phin's blog and Apothegm Designs is holding a blog auction to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. I'll let him tell you about it himself:

On Monday Hugh Hewitt suggested the blogging community band together to raise funds and awareness for the charities helping provide relief to the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Glenn Reynolds suggested the date of Thursday, September 1st and offered to provide links. The Truth Laid Bear has setup a tracking page to help keep count.

In trying to do our part we, your friendly Apothegm Designers, are auctioning off a custom blog design (within reason) to the highest bidder. Samples of our work can be seen at the Apothegm Designs Website.

The bidding starts at a bargain of $150 and the funds will be donated to The American Red Cross, or the winning bidder's charity of choice.

Bidding is open in the comments of this post until Midnight September 2nd.

They do good (very good) blog and web design work (here, The Llama Butchers, The Jawa Report, and others), and the money raised goes to the winner's charity of choice.

Besides, your blog looks like crap. ;-)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 31, 2005

Hurricane Survival Guide

Hurricane Season 2005 is far from over folks, and at least one meteorologist expects that the remaining storms this season will begin working their way from the Gulf States towards the East Coast. Forewarned is forearmed.

WARNING: This is not comprehensive hurricane survival guide. I've only been through a few, and hardly consider myself an expert. Anyone who claims to be able to tell you everything you need to do to survive in every situation is lying. Adjust accordingly to your circumstances, but remember the only way to beat a hurricane is to not be there when it arrives.

Before the Storm: General

  • Listen to the radio, watch television news, or read online news sources to keep abreast of developing tropical systems. Keep close track of storms that may head in your general direction. Don't be caught flat-footed.
  • Know the hurricane evacuation routes for your area. By a state map or better yet, an atlas that can provide you with parallel routes away from an impending storm.
  • Make sure any vital medical prescriptions are filled in advance of an impending storm.
  • Make hotel reservations several days in advance "just in case." Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Before the Storm: Around the House

  • Secure any outside objects. Bikes, toys, plants and other outdoor items can be carried away by wind and water, often at unpleasant velocities.
  • Board up your windows if possible, or tape them with duct tape in an asterisk pattern (*) if that is your only option. This serves to reinforce the glass.

Before the Storm: Transportation

  • Fill your gas tank several days in advance, and keep it topped off.
  • Check your vehicle's fluids, and belts, making sure to top off your windshield washer fluid and coolants.
  • Make sure your tires are in good shape, and make sure your spare tire is inflated.
  • Make sure your tires have adequate tread. See manufacturers guidelines.

Before the Storm: Personal

  • Create a "bug-out bag."
      This is an emergency evacuation bag of bare essentials you make need in an emergency. In this bag (preferably a backpack) include:
    1. a small battery-operated AM/FM radio. fresh batteries for same.
    2. two waterproof flashlights and/or battery operated lanterns. fresh batteries for same.
    3. cell phone (and charger).
    4. disposable lighter and waterproof matches.
    5. personal toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, and other personal hygiene products as applicable.
    6. a first aid kit with painkillers, bandages and band aids.
    7. duct tape (min. 2 rolls)
    8. sturdy pocket knife
    9. hammer & prybar
    10. box of 8D nails
    11. blankets (multiple)
    12. clothes
    13. socks
    14. raingear
    15. boots
    16. enough non-perishable, ready-to-eat food and water (1 gallon per person per day) for three days.
    17. last but not least, all insurance information, property, vehicle, life, and medical.

  • create a contacts list. Include a I.C.E. "in case of emergency" number.
  • put an I.C.E. notification with your ID and store it in your cell phone.

Before the Storm: Evacuation

  • pack bug-out bag, and supplies including food and water into vehicle.
  • make one last check to make sure outdoor items are secured.
  • cut off all electrical switches, appliances, televisions, lights, etc.
  • before you leave contact your I.C.E. person and let them know where you are going.
  • make sure all windows are closed tightly and locked.
  • lock all doors.
  • leave.
  • anticipate high winds and driving rain. Stay calm, drive slowly. Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination. Beware of standing water.
  • Call your I.C.E. contact when you arrive safely.

During the Storm
Moving away from the hurricane will most likely reduce the effects of a hurricane, but it cannot eliminate risks entirely, even hundred of miles inland.

  • Duct tape windows in asterisk or "star" pattern (*). stay away from windows. draw blinds and curtains, if possible, to contain glass in the event of a break.
  • stay inside, away from windows and doors especially during the eye of the storm. winds restart again quickly with extreme velocities as the eyes passes and the wind shifts 180 degrees.
  • stay near interior walls. If the winds are very strong move into an interior bathroom where the building is likely to be strongest.
  • do not leave unless flooding is imminent or you are instructed to do so by authorities.

After the Storm

  • stay off the road and away from affected areas until authorities clear the area for your return.
  • watch for downed power lines and other debris in roads.
  • be very careful of standing pools of water and especially flowing water.
  • watch for displaced wildlife. poisonous snakes, fireants, and abandoned pets. all can present hazards.
  • watch for dangerous debris (wear boots).
  • lookout for injured people and animals. Call authorities if possible.
  • do not become a tourist. go home, and stay home.
  • secure your property. take stock of any damage. Catalog for insurance purposes.

Again, this list is hardly comprehensive, and cannot anticipate special needs or unexpected situations such as those extraordinary circumstances currently facing those that have been hit by Hurricane Katrina. It is however, a start.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Helping Katrina's Victims: Samaritan's Purse

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit is asking bloggers to contribute to a list of relief organizations he's compiling so that we can help out those affected by Katrina. It is great to see that Glenn and other top-flight bloggers like Michelle Malkin, Little Green Footballs, the Volokh Conspiracy, the Truth Laid Bear, and many, many more are doing their part to help those impacted by this horrific storm and its aftermath.

My humble submission to Glenn's list is Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse is a Christian relief organization run by Franklin Graham, son of legendary minister Bill Graham.

They already have trucks rolling south, and have two disaster relief teams in Alabama. They will base in Mobile, Alabama and will work their way toward the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts, coordinating thousands of volunteers from local churches to rehabilitate as many homes as possible.

They also accept employer matching funds.

Help them help the victims if you can. Samaritan's Purse not only helps rebuild buildings, they help rebuild faith.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

AK-47s in the Hands of N.O. Looters? Not Likely

Let's go ahead and nip this one in the bud.

Shepard Smith is on Fox News right now telling us that looters are roaming the streets of New Orleans armed with AK-47s. Let's nip this rumour in the bud right now.

This is an AK-47. An AK-47 is a fully-automatic weapon that has a rate of fire of 600 rounds/minute. It is highly regulated under federal law, and almost impossible to obtain in the United States without extremely restrictive background checks and full registration.

This is a WASR-10. A WASR-10 is a semi-automatic rifle that has a rate of fire restricted by how fast the shooter can pull the trigger, effectively 60-100 rounds/minute. It is one of a thousand AK-47 look-a-likes available in the United States, but it is not a machine gun.

Hey, aren't these the same picture? How can you tell the two apart?

My point exactly. The fact of the matter is that untrained people, and this includes most police officers, and almost all journalists, cannot tell the two apart even, when close enough to touch them.

Don't let the media hysteria make this event any worse than it already is. They've done enough of that already.

Update: Bill O'Reilly is spreading the same ignorance.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:11 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Lambs Leading Wolves


Some 5,300 inmates in Orleans Parish Prison are awaiting evacuation, according to Pam Laborde, spokeswoman for the Louisiana Dept. of Corrections. About 1,200 OPP inmates have been evacuated to Hunt Correctional Center, the staging area to send inmates out to other facilities.

Correctional officers are on the scene in New Orleans and all inmates are being chaperoned. Laborde said no inmates have escaped to their knowledge.

As of 3 a.m., all inmates in Jefferson Parish were evacuated. St. Bernard Parish inmates were evacuated before the storm.

The decision to move the inmates was made after there was no electricity, water, etc. The inmates are afraid and hungry, but were somewhat relieved when told that the situation would approve, according to Laborde.

On the bright side: It looks like yesterday's erroneous ABC News report about prisoners taking hostages reported here was wrong. I don't blame ABC for having bad information, though; it's hard to easily get corroborating information under such circumstances.

On the down side: Authorities have done absolutely nothing to prevent a prisoner riot, and as conditions continue to deteriorate, it may well yet happen.

Church groups are now tasked with transporting starving, frightened, and desperate felons of Orleans Parish Prison. The lambs are leading the wolves.

Update: According to Lisa Carton of Fox News, New Orleans officials are unable to handle prisoners and have let them go to fend for themselves.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pumps for Punks

Not real sure about the context of this pic I Googled (from somewhere here), but the time has come for New Orleans and other areas overwhelmed by looters.

This New Orleans cop seems to be taking that consideration under advisement. A 12-gauge seems to be about the only law in the Big Easy right now.

I wonder if Remington offers a "Looter Special."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

What New Orleans Should Learn From Diamond City

Jeff Jarvis asks:

It's an indelicate question but one that needs to be asked: Should New Orleans be rebuilt? Or how much of it should be?

We've done similar work after eerily similar events here in North Carolina, though on a smaller scale. If they do decide to rebuild a city the size of New Orleans, it would take decades, and tens of billions of dollars that could once again be undone in a single storm.

To paraphrase, rebuilding the same city in the same spot and expecting a different result is the definition of what? We got it right with Diamond City 103 years ago. Sounds minds would follow suit.

Goodbye, Big Easy. It was fun while it lasted.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Hurricane Katrina Relief

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit is organizing a list of links and contact numbers for aid and relief organizations. GO THERE NOW. Do what you can.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

Goodbye, Big Easy

From meteorologist Jeff Master's blog at the Weather Underground:

The track forecast has not changed significantly, and the area from New Orleans to the Mississippi-Louisiana border is going to get a catastrophic blow. I put the odds of New Orleans getting its levees breached and the city submerged at about 70%. This scenario, which has been discussed extensively in literature I have read, could result in a death toll in the thousands, since many people will be unable or unwilling to get out of the city. I recommend that if you are trapped in New Orleans tomorrow, that you wear a life jacket and a helmet if you have them. High rise buildings may offer good refuge, but Katrina has the potential to knock down a high-rise building. A 25 foot storm surge and 30 - 40 foot high battering waves on top of that may be able to bring down a steel-reinforced high rise building. I don't believe a high rise building taller than six stories has ever been brought down by a hurricane, so this may not happen Monday, either. We are definitely in unknown waters with Katrina.

Hurricane force winds are now striking Louisiana. Katrina is 105 miles south southeast of New Orleans, and landfall is expected early Monday morning. Computer models suggest that more than 80 percent of buildings would be badly damaged or destroyed, he said.

God be with all of you within reach of Katrina's grasp, because you are beyond human help now.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina's Harsh Sentence

As of 10:50 AM eastern time, Hurricane Katrina has just be upgraded again, with sustained wind speeds of 175 MPH. Of Atlantic hurricanes, only Hurricane Camille (1969) and Hurricane Allen (1980) have higher confirmed wind speeds in the 190 MPH range.

Citizens of New Orleans have been ordered out in a mandatory evacuation, but interestingly enough, a "captive audience" doesn't seem to be factored into evacuation plan, or if they have, the mayor is not talking about them publicly.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered an immediate mandatory evacuation Sunday for all 485,000 citizens, during a press conference just broadcast on CNN, but ignored repeated questions asking whether or not they intend to evacuate prisons in the area.

This is significant: as of 2000, that state of Louisiana:

...locks up more men, women, and children than anybody else in the United States. And in a ranking of U.S. jails by an average daily population, OPP came in at No. 9.

While current data is hard to come by the situtation for Orleans Parish Prison is likely similar to this from five years ago:

...the average daily population at OPP -- 6,381 inmates -- is much lower than its booking rate. Most of his inmates are either going to or coming from a court date at Orleans Parish District Criminal Court, says Foti. He also holds 50 juveniles. The rest are people that OPP is being paid for: a few hundred federal prisoners and 2,700 Louisiana state inmates sleeping in parish prison beds until space becomes available in the state system.

Police and fire assets are dedicated to moving a half million people, including 100,000 that rely on public transportation, There may not be enough law enforcement officers available to move the prison population, and if they can be moved, it remains to be seen where they could be moved.

I sincerely hope that Mayor Nagin is just keeping prisoner transfers quiet. I fear, however, that he has been caught flat-footed, and that hundreds or thousands of prisoners may have to ride out an extremely powerful hurricane from behind bars.

8/30/05 Update: CBS News just reported that Orleans Parish Prison was forced into an emergency evacuation this afternoon as the prison was rapidly filling with water.

has more on the evacuation. Nice job, guys. It only took you 48 hours to get on this. We're damn lucky you're not reporting about 4,000 water-logged corpses.

9/2/05 Update: Prison Riot was bogus, but now it appears the convicts got out before the children, the elderly, and the ill. See here for more.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:26 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack