Friday, September 30, 2005

Incentives in Education

I have always been in favor of the government using financial incentives (usually taxes) to encourage, or discourage certain types of behavior. For example, I don't believe the government should ban you from being able to drive an SUV, but a hgher gas tax (OK, probably not the most popular idea at the moment) would encourage people to choose more fuel efficient vehicles, while still allowing them the choice, as long as they were willing to pay the price. I was thinking today about financial incentives for education. Much has been made lately about how the US is falling behind other countries, particularly Asian, in numbers of scientists and engineers. While I think the problem is somewhat exaggerated, I also believe that the country does have a vested interest in ensuring large amounts of well educated people in strategically important areas, so in this spirit I propose that we should adopt a pay scale along the following model for our public universities.

Annual Tuition:

Lawyers - $40,000 (do we really need anymore?)

English and Art majors - $20,000 (hey, it might be fun, but if my tax dollars are paying for it learn something useful)

All other liberal arts majors - $6,000 (Except those studs in Russian Studies, who should be free)

Business - $4,000 (yeah, I made fun of them as an undergrad, but business does make the world work)

Science and Engineering - $2,000 (these are the people who invent all the cool stuff, like new cancer treatments, and I-Pods)

Doctors - $10,000 (Yeah, we need them, but they make a boatload of money after they graduate, so they can survive on student loans.)

This is just an idea of course.

Much Ado About Nothing

I have been following the Bill Bennett (no relation) controversy, and think the whole thing is rather silly. Yes, he probably could have spoken a little more profoundly and sensitively, those are the perils of talk radio, but he really said nothing wrong. Even Steven Levitt, the economist whose ideas preempted the whole thing , and hardly a crazed rightwinger, defends him. If Bennett is a racist for suggesting that blacks are more likely to commit crimes, then aren't Conyers and Rangel equally racist for stating that blacks are more likely to be poor? Am I racist if I state the statistically provable fact that Asian-Americans tend to get better grades than whites? The average host on Air America says things everyday that are far more offensive, but to warp an old adage, "If a liberal talk show host falls in the forest, and there is nobody listening, does anybody care?"

Iraq: What If?

The always insightful Victor Davis Hanson has an interesting look at an alternative view of history. We must remember that the alternative to removing Saddam, was not a better and peaceful world.

Senators exasperated with Bush inaction

On the domestic scene both conservative and liberal spokesmen voiced disappointment with President Bush’s apparent vacillation and willingness to let Saddam violate the sanctions and U.N. inspections. A group of three Democratic senators — Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry — reminded the president that the Senate had voted overwhelmingly over three years ago to authorize the military removal of Saddam Hussein, and suggested that the old “Jim Baker/Frank Carlucci realpolitik” was at work again, or as Sen. Clinton put it, “Just pump that oil and it’s O.K. with us that he does pretty much what he wants to his people.”

Sen. Clinton went on to hammer the president, “We need leadership, not more of the same old, same old that we see with North Korea and Iran. Could I remind the president that three years ago we cited 23 reasons to remove Saddam Hussein and approved them all by a 77 vote, and that the House got nearly 300 votes in their similar resolution? And all this follows the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act passed by the Senate and signed by my husband.”

Sen. John Kerry recalled for President Bush that over three years ago he had been on record to remove Saddam, and recited his earlier statement in the Senate issued in 2002: "I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."

Krugman Imitates Me, and Parodies Himself

A while ago I posted what I termed the "C3PO Awards" in honor of the depressed slightly paranoid droid from Star Wars, a collection of equally depressed and paranoid quotes from Paul Krugman. Now, the good professor saves me the trouble of having to do a little research, and just throws every negative and depressing thing he could think of into one article, titled, "The Way it is". Geez, someone get him a Prozac.

According to France's finance minister, Alan Greenspan told him that the United States had ''lost control''of its budget deficit.David Safavian is a former associate of Jack Abramoff,the recently indicted lobbyist. Mr. Safavian oversawU.S. government procurement policy at the White HouseOffice of Management and Budget until his recent arrest.

When Senator James Inhofe, who has called scientificresearch on global warming ''a gigantic hoax,'' calleda hearing to attack that research, his star witnesswas Michael Crichton, the novelist.

Mr. Safavian is charged with misrepresenting hisconnections with lobbyists -- specifically, Mr.Abramoff -- while working at the General ServicesAdministration. A key event was a lavish golfing tripto Scotland in 2002, mostly paid for by a charity Mr.Abramoff controlled.
Among those who went on the tripwas Representative Bob Ney of Ohio.

It's not possible to attribute any one weather eventto global warming. But climate models show that globalwarming will lead to increased hurricane intensity,and some research indicates that this is already occurring.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The World's Lamest Conspiracy

Michelle Malkin points out this ridiculous sign that she saw at the weekend anti-war (anti-victory really) protests in D.C.

This seems to be a common theme among Krugman, and other left wing moonbats lately, that Bush is trying to kill off the federal government through starving it to death. This idea is a joke for anyone who has bothered to look at the federal budget lately. It is the conservatives, not the liberals who should be getting upset.

Shocking Moments in Higher Education

I had my first microeconomic's class today, from a teacher who self identified himself as a "libertarian". In the mostly leftist academic community I found that quite surprising. I will keep his name secret, in hopes that the politically correct crowd won't hunt him down.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Joel Connelly Misses the Point (again)

I haven't been able to pick on Floyd McKay much recently, but Joel Connelly fills the void with another left wing political screed. In the rather scarily titled editorial, "Will our Constitution Get Rolled Back?" Connelly argues:

"Let us no(t) weakly believe that one generation is not as capable as another of taking care of itself, and of ordering its own affairs," Jefferson wrote.

He was, of course, right.

Would James Madison be able to grasp "wiretapping?" Or "intelligent design" be explained to Alexander Hamilton?

The United States is vastly better off for recognition of a right of privacy, for restraints exercised on powers of the state and police, and for the expanded rights of citizens to challenge their government in court.

Such changes in American life, amazingly, get demonized.

"There is a Republican noise machine that goes on arguing that 'legal activism' is killing us," Sunstein said. "Liberal judicial activism was decades ago."

Fundamentalists are the new activists, eager to erase precedents and strike down acts of Congress.

He is, of course, getting it backwards. Legal fundamentalists, strict constructionists, are not eager to strike down acts of Congress, they are eager to strike down acts of the courts who think they are Congress. Roe v. Wade did not end some kind of Congressional move to impose abortion rights, it created a whole new right out of thin air, and pre-empted the legislative branch's rights and responsibility to pass laws as it sees fit. Legal fundamentalism isn't about imposing ideology, it is about realizing the court's role in our constitutional framework, and letting the voters through their elected representatives determine the ideology of this country, and not through a bunch of unelected judges.

The Dubious Political Icons of the Far Left

I was in Portland this weekend, which with the exception of Havana and possibly Berkeley is the most far left city in the country. Among the anti-war protestors selling bright orange anti-Bush signs, I noticed a t-shirt stand with political shirts, mostly in anarcho-black. The Bush shirts showed him, in a rather unflattering picture sneeringly portrayed next to Hitler. This was ironically juxtaposed next to flattering pictures of Mao, Lenin, and the requisite Che Guevara. Now think about this for a minute, even if you accept the dubious proposition that President Bush is somehow morally responsible for all the deaths of people in the wars he launched overthrowing the evil and oppressive Taliban and Baathist regimes, and even if you accept the rather high estimates of 100,000 dead, how can you then hold Mao and Lenin up as political icons? Those two figures alone are responsible for the deaths of 100 million people, not in wars against oppressive regimes, but liquidation of the political opposition. Yet by the far left only Bush is held up to Hitlerian ridicule. Lenin gets a statue of himself in Fremont. You would think they would notice the irony.

UPDATE: A reader claims that Havana is not technically in "the country". In the spirit of Paul Krugman, I will look into this alleged fact, and if necessary issue a halfhearted correction at some obscure part of the website that you will not be able to find. Or maybe in the future I just shouldn't post at 6:30 in the morning before I have had any coffee...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Lazy Bums

I was walking down "the Ave" in the University district yesterday and I came upon this 20 something man who was sitting on a bench reading a book, as passer-bys, well, passed by, he would give the trademark "Spare some change?" All while barely looking up from his book. While I suppose it is a good thing he is trying to further his education from reading, I found myself thinking, why should I give money to someone, who won't even bother to give me the full focus of his panhandling efforts? Where is his work ethic?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Little More Shameless Self Promotion

I was reading the Seattle Times this morning, and I noticed two articles. First, Microsoft is reorganizing. I found this interesting since I just stopped working there as a contractor last week. The second argument announced that the University of Washington, where I just started, was named as the 20th ranked university in the entire world, by the Economist. So in one week the major corporation that I leave is forced to go through the turmoil of a major reorganization, and the university that I go to is suddenly named as one of the finest in the world. Coincidence? I say not...

Monday, September 19, 2005

How Liberal Legends Spread

This is how political insinuations passed around as urban legends somehow eventually become fact.

Michelle Malkin reported over a week ago how CNN, and other media sources, were suggesting that rebuilding contracts were going to firms because of their political contacts in the administration.

At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.

One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.

Of course, as Malkin points out, the Shaw Group Inc. is lead by Jim Bernard, the Chairman of the Lousiana Democratic Party! Hardly seems a likely candidate for a White House insider.

So of course Molly Ivins, who I doubt reads Michelle Malkin, continues this insinuation one step further.

But Cheney has nothing to do with the Halliburton contracts -- that, friends, goes through none other than the noted lobbyist and former head of -- of all things -- the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Since Joe Allbaugh, who was Bush's campaign manger in 2000, left FEMA in December 2002, he has been busy making sure reconstruction contracts in Iraq go to companies that give generously to the Republican Party.

Now, aren't you ashamed of yourself for thinking there's something wrong with that? Besides, Allbaugh is now with a big-time Washington lobbying firm, where he also represents Shaw Group Inc., and -- viola -- Shaw Group, too, already has a $100 million emergency contract from FEMA for housing management and construction, and a $100 million order from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Katrina repair.

Somehow I doubt if the CEO of the Shaw Group were a Republican operative the media would fail to report that. But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

School Daze

I started grad school today. Fun, but a bit of a shock after many years out of school, and I haven't even had to pay tuition yet. I probably won't be able to post much until I get settled in, but there is only so much Hurricane Katrina coverage one person can do anyway.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Hits Bottom, Keeps Digging

This is probably all over the net by now, but upon seeing this I had to call my mother and tell her that in the event that I die in combat, if she acts like Cindy Sheehan, I am going to come back and haunt her. I am not talking about Casper the Friendly Ghost, I am talking doll head spinning, pots thrown around the kitchen, blood coming out of the faucets haunting. Now apparently since calling for the freedom fighters who blow up children to defeat the evil US is not enough, Cindy is concerned about the evil oppressive National Guard which is brutally occupying New Orleans.

George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power. The only way America will become more secure is if we have a new administration that cares about Americans even if they don't fall into the top two percent of the wealthiest.

Cindy even asks the question:

I saw soldiers walking around in patrols of 7 with their weapons slung on their backs. I wanted to ask one of them what it would take for one of them to shoot me.

I can tell you what it would take, go up to a soldier and say, "Hello, my name is Cindy Sheehan."

Bush Derangement Syndrome Poster Child

President Bush gives a rather decent speech on rescue and rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina, one that based on calls for federal programs should be equally well received among Democrats as Republicans, and within a matter of hours (probably mostly written before the speech) Paul Krugman denounces him as the "anti-FDR". I swear, tomorrow Bush could announce that he is naming Paul Krugman as the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Kruggy would immediately denounce the move as a veiled attempt to destroy Social Security.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Maybe That Adam Smith Fellow Was on to Something?

If, on the contrary, the quantity brought to market should at any time fall short of the effectual demand, some of the component parts of its price must rise above their natural rate. If it is rent, the interest of all other landlords will naturally prompt them to prepare more land for the raising of this commodity; if it is wages or profit, the interest of all other labourers and dealers will soon prompt them to employ more labour and stock in preparing and bringing it to market. The quantity brought thither will soon be sufficient to supply the effectual demand. All the different parts of its price will soon sink to their natural rate, and the whole price to its natural price.

An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations

The world's biggest oil producers have significantly boosted investment in oil exploration for the first time in nearly two decades.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the cartel controlling 75 per cent of the world's oil reserves, on Monday revealed its most important members had drilled 7.5 per cent more wells last year than in 2003 in response to the oil price boom. Opec's annual statistical bulletin also showed that the number of rigs in operation within the 11-member cartel rose 18.8 per cent last year after dropping by almost 6 per cent a year earlier.

Financial Times

Always Low Wages, Always

Will the hypocrisy of the anti-WalMart left never stop? Productive workers who provide a profitable service to the public are being taken advantage of, but those which are contributing nothing, other than to the self importance of the labor movement, well that is different.

The shade from the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market sign is minimal around noon; still, six picketers squeeze their thermoses and Dasani bottles onto the dirt below, trying to keep their water cool. They're walking five-hour shifts on this corner at Stephanie Street and American Pacific Drive in Henderson—anti-Wal-Mart signs propped lazily on their shoulders, deep suntans on their faces and arms—with two 15-minute breaks to run across the street and use the washroom at a gas station.

Periodically one of them will sit down in a slightly larger slice of shade under a giant electricity pole in the intersection. Four lanes of traffic rush by, some drivers honk in support, more than once someone has yelled, "assholes!" but mostly, they're ignored.

They're not union members; they're temp workers employed through Allied Forces/Labor Express by the union—United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). They're making $6 an hour, with no benefits; it's 104 F, and they're protesting the working conditions inside the new Wal-Mart grocery store.

"It don't make no sense, does it?" says James Greer, the line foreman and the only one who pulls down $8 an hour, as he ambles down the sidewalk, picket sign on shoulder, sweaty hat over sweaty gray hair, spitting sunflower seeds. "We're sacrificing for the people who work in there, and they don't even know it."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Rangers Lead the Way!

Brainster has a link to a rather interesting article, on a soldier who lost his eye in Iraq, re-enlisted, graduated from Ranger school (something I won't even try with two good eyes) and is now on his way back to Iraq. Something tells me this soldier is not a whiny blue state liberal.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hollywood's Vision of Reality

The Weekly Standard has an interesting article comparing the movies "The Great Raid" with "The Constant Gardner", pointing out that the former, despite being a rather accurate portrayal of a true event (I read the book "Ghost Soldiers" which it rather faithfully follows) has been criticized as unrealistic, while the latter, based entirely on a fictitious John LeCarre novel, has been praised for its realism. Ironic.

Outsource FEMA to WalMart

As I have said in the past, say what you want about WalMart, but they are an incredibly run efficient business. Their logistics system is second to none.

Over the next few days, Wal-Mart's response to Katrina -- an unrivaled $20 million in cash donations, 1,500 truckloads of free merchandise, food for 100,000 meals and the promise of a job for every one of its displaced workers -- has turned the chain into an unexpected lifeline for much of the Southeast and earned it near-universal praise at a time when the company is struggling to burnish its image.

While state and federal officials have come under harsh criticism for their handling of the storm's aftermath, Wal-Mart is being held up as a model for logistical efficiency and nimble disaster planning, which have allowed it to quickly deliver staples such as water, fuel and toilet paper to thousands of evacuees.

In Brookhaven, Miss., for example, where Wal-Mart operates a vast distribution center, the company had 45 trucks full of goods loaded and ready for delivery before Katrina made landfall. To keep operating near capacity, Wal-Mart secured a special line at a nearby gas station to ensure that its employees could make it to work.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Michael Moore is a Big Fat Idiot

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Open Letter from Michael Moore

Let me give you an overview of what military forces are doing in support of the federal response.

There are six military installations that are serving as FEMA staging areas for equipment and relief supply. More than 58,000 active duty and National Guard personnel are on the ground and in the area. More than 41,000 of that 58,000 are members of the National Guard from all 50 states and are working, of course, hurricane relief operations. Approximately 17,000 active duty personnel are on the ground in the region providing support from the 82nd Airborne Division, the 1st and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, the 1st Calvary Division, and afloat. And of the 17,000 -- of those afloat forces, nearly 7,000 are Navy personnel providing support from 21 naval ships off the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 350 Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard, and National Guard helicopters -- 350 helicopters, and more than 75 DoD and National Guard fixed-wing aircraft are assisting in the effort. Nearly 1,800 search and rescue, evacuation, and supply delivery missions have been flown by the Department of Defense, with more than 799 in the past 24 hours. Over 13,000 people have been rescued, and thousands of tons of relief supplies have been moved. More than 75,000 people have been evacuated so far. Maritime units have supplied 78,000 gallons of fuel to hospitals, law enforcement, National Guard and other critical government services. And more than 9 million meals ready to eat have been delivered to FEMA. And of course the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is performing un-watering operations in New Orleans.

Two C-130 firefighting aircraft were deployed to support the New Orleans firefighting operations, and seven helicopters are there conducting firefighting operations as well.

Military forces are providing essential medical services as well. In New Orleans alone, the DoD has transported more than 10,000 patients and treated more than 5,000 patients.

And, of course, there are 4,000 Coast Guard personnel that are also providing support.

As the secretary mentioned, many of the state and local first responders and their resources fell victim to the hurricane, and of course they're going to need help in regenerating their capability and capacity.

So to recap, there are more than 41,00 National Guard and 17,000 active-duty troops currently in the region supporting the states, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security by performing humanitarian missions such as search and rescue; evacuations; airlift of critical supplies, such as food, water and clothing; helping with communications; assisting in clearing roads of debris; airfield support operations; medical, fuel and water support; providing security; assisting in firefighting support; and assisting in recovery and reconstruction planning.

Briefing by General Richard Myers

Monday, September 05, 2005

More Lazy Servicemen

Fresh off accusing the Air Force of wasting time playing basketball while people die, Krugman is now going off on those slackers in the Navy.

Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials. I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized.

Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.

This gives the false impression that the Bataan was "never mobilized" to help the relief efforts. Now I don't claim to know specifically the status of their hospital beds, but the Bataan was mobilized on the 30th and has been operating in support of the relief since then. I guess Krugman just figures the Navy and Marine Corp are just lazy and spending their time watching pre-season football or something.

USS BATAAN, Gulf of Mexico (NNS) -- The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) was tasked Aug. 30 to assist with Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts.

Two MH-60 search and rescue helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HC) 28, based out of Norfolk, Va., launched at 5 p.m. CST Aug. 30 to assist in the search and rescue efforts that are currently ongoing in and around the New Orleans area.

At 6:30 p.m. CST, two MH-53 helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, based out of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, also flew off Bataan to assist with efforts in the New Orleans area.

Bataan is currently underway in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 100 miles South of New Orleans. The ship’s involvement in humanitarian assistance operations is an effort by the Department of Defense in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

UPDATE: Powerline has more to say on this.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Paul Krugman Discovers Basketball-gate

Once more descending into a parody of himself, Paul Krugman has now found the smoking gun behind Bush's ineptitude, Air Force personnel playing basketball.

Even military resources in the right place weren't ordered into action. "On Wednesday," said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., "reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics. Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!"

Of course what he doesn't mention is that the Air Force Base in question, Keesler Air Force Base, is a training base, and may not even have the capability of taking any meaningful action, short of giving flight lessons to New Orleans' refugees, and in fact was heavily damaged by the hurricane. In fact looking up the base's home page brings up the following:

Keesler Air Force base has survived a direct hit by a Hurricane Katrina a Category 4 hurricane. Initial assessment shows extensive damage to our industrial and housing areas. We are deploying assessment crews and are in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with commanders of many military bases who have offered assistance. The damage is severe enough that we are unable to leave our shelters until Thursday at the earliest in order to assure our recovery teams have cleared debris and made it safe for us and our families to return home.

Furthermore Krugman laments the fact that the National Guard cannot respond because "... many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment - including high-water vehicles - are in Iraq. "

Completely losing all sense of proportion, especially for an economist, Krugman fails to mention how much equipment "much" is. If you look at the actual quote from the officer.

Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem.

Considering there are over 10,000 guardsmen involved already, with tens of thousands more on the way, I think it is safe to say that they will bring more than "dozens" of vehicles.

Furthermore the officer in question continues:

Col. Schneider says the state has enough equipment to get by, and if Louisiana were to get hit by a major hurricane, the neighboring states of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have all agreed to help."

As Governor Bush did for Ivan, after they were hit so many times, he just maxed all of his resources out, he reached out to Louisiana and we sent 200 national guardsmen to help support in recovery efforts," Col. Schneider said.

Now my heart goes out to the people of Louisiana and Mississippi, and you could always make the case that we need to prepare for disasters like this better. We all need to chip in to help them. But hysterics and wild exaggerations do not help.

This helps.

Katrina Relief

Instapundit has an extensive roundup of charities and fundraisers for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Mark Steyn is donating the proceeds from all the copies of his book sold today to Mercy Corps. I just might have to get a copy. Check it out.

Why Do Our Public Schools Suck?

As I continue my "higher education week", well, I couldn't say it better myself.

There is widespread agreement that America has the best universities in the world. Foreign students enroll by the hundreds of thousands, and American college professors dominate the Nobel Prize lists.

But virtually no one says we have the best K-12 education in the world. To the contrary, many lament the poor showing of American students on international tests. What makes American universities so much better than our primary and secondary schools?

While many factors are at work, much of the explanation can be summarized in two words: "privatization" and "markets." About a third of four-year college students attend private institutions, and the proportion is growing. By contrast, only one-eighth of K-12 kids attend private schools.

Moreover, even public universities are far more independent of the political process than K-12 schools. Public universities have greater ability to hire and fire staff, pay people on the basis of merit, change curricula, and face far less interference from obstructionist labor unions.

Bring in the Apaches

Call me un-politically correct, but anyone who is stupid enough to fire at a helicopter that is busy rescuing people deserves some 20mm fire in their direction. These looters, arsonists, and general criminals are putting the lives and livelihood of the hurricane victims at risk. This is martial law, if they happen to be shot on sight, oh well.

The evacuation of the Superdome was temporarily disrupted Thursday after shots were reported fired at a military helicopter and arson fires broke out outside the arena. No injuries were immediately reported.

An air ambulance service official said that helicopter transfers of the sick and injured were suspended, but the National Guard said Thursday that able-bodied evacuees were still being moved by bus to Houston's Astrodome.

Authorities had said Wednesday that some 25,000 people who had been in the Superdome since Sunday would be taken to the Houston Astrodome. But the unrest had caused some disruptions.
The scene at the Superdome became increasingly chaotic, with thousands of people rushing from hotels and other buildings, hoping to climb onto the buses taking evacuees from the arena, officials said. Paramedics became increasingly alarmed by the sight of people with guns.

Powerline on Poverty

The press has been making a big fuss over the rise in the poverty rate (all Bush's fault obviously), Powerline has an interesting look at this. I am just mad because their charts are better looking than mine. I had better get more practice at Excel....