Supreme Court OK’s Military Recruiters

Court Upholds Campus Military Recruiting[*1]

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the court, said that the campus visits are an effective military recruiting tool.

“A military recruiter’s mere presence on campus does not violate a law school’s right to associate, regardless of how repugnant the law school considers the recruiter’s message,” he wrote.

Chicago State on NCAA’s “Death Row?”

A comment by Gregg Doyel on CBS Sportsline[*1] has set off a minor buzz on some fan bulletin boards:

Two Mid-Continent men’s basketball teams told they’ve been advised to find non-conference replacements for 2006-07 in case Chicago State gets a department-wide death penalty, which would be the first since SMU football in 1987.

Why do I care? The Mid-Continent, Chicago State’s conference, might reach out to my alma mater, South Dakota State University, to beef up the conference and fill the hole left by Chicago State’s year-long NCAA-mandated sports time-out. That would be OK with me, living here in Kansas City which is Mid-Con territory with UMKC in town.

Katrina: Blame Game Continues

I originally posted this as Special Saturday feature: Who’s to blame? on Saturday, September 3, 2005. Now, here it is, March 2, 2006, and it seems like nothing has changed, and this is still as relevant now as it was then.

Well, this will probably just piss off everyone. So be it:

Let’s start with obvious facts. It was (or should have been) common knowledge that the New Orleans levee system could not withstand a strike by anything greater than a Category 3 hurricane. The nearly hysterical National Weather Service warning issued on Sunday before Katrina hit should have been sufficient warning to everybody concerned–citizens, City, State, and Federal government–to get off their asses and take whatever steps were necessary to get everyone out of New Orleans. But this didn’t happen. Years of near-misses, lucky breaks, and false alarms lulled everyone into a mindset where “it wouldn’t be that bad.” It is this mindset that the infamous NWS warning was trying to break. Unfortunately for the thousands of dead and displaced, too many people continued to believe that “it can’t happen here.”

With that preview, let’s look at all of the parties to this disaster and Monday-Morning-Quarterback their responses:

1. The People of New Orleans.
The people of New Orleans failed in their responsibility as citizens of the United States: to take individual and personal responsibility for their own safety. The stories of individual citizens taking independent action to improve their condition and/or escape the disaster are few and far between. We know one person commandeered a school bus[*1] and took some others out of the area. While I don’t want to endorse stealing school buses, more stories like this where individuals took appropriate action to get themselves and others out of danger would be of some comfort. Instead, we’re treated to hour after hour of the TV news channels showing passive victims complaining about the horrible conditions there.

It’s not as if the people of New Orleans did not have plenty of warning. On July 24th, they were basically told “you’re on your own.”[*2]

Each time you hear a federal, state or city official explain what he or she is doing to help New Orleans, consider the opening paragraphs of a July 24 story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

“City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give the poorest of New Orleans’ poor a historically blunt message: In the event of a major hurricane, you’re on your own.”

The story continues:

“In scripted appearances being recorded now, officials such as Mayor Ray Nagin, local Red Cross Executive Director Kay Wilkins and City Council President Oliver Thomas drive home the word that the city does not have the resources to move out of harm’s way an estimated 134,000 people without transportation.”

The victims huddling on the I-10 or in and around the Superdome have some questions to answer. Why are you here? What did you do to get out, or even to prepare for this day? The level of my sympathy for the victims is in direct proportion to the quality of the victims’ answers to those critical questions. They are not completely innocent here. They were warned.

2. The New Orleans city government. As discussed above, the New Orleans city government had no plan to evacuate the city in the predictable case of levee breaks and major flooding. This is criminally irresponsible in my opinion. The City government failed in its primary responsibility–to ensure the security of its citizenry. No amount of Mayoral tantrum-throwing will change that fact.

The pictures of a huge school bus farm completely under water says volumes about the failure of the city government to plan for and react to this level of disaster.

3. The Louisiana state government.
State government knew, or should have known, that New Orleans was unprepared for major flooding. As the hurricane approached, The Governor as well as the mayor had to be prodded by President Bush to order an evacuation[*3] for which we now know that they had no plan or capability to carry out. The City of New Orleans essentially ceased to function in the aftermath of Katrina. The thousands of storm victims huddling on I-10 testify to that. Louisiana should have stepped in and aggressively took control after it became obvious that the City could not manage the situation and provide order. It did not. Like the Mayor and New Orleans city government, the Louisiana Governor and Louisiana State Government have much to answer for.

4. The Federal government.
The Federal government knew that something extremely bad was about to happen. The Corps of Engineers knew that the levees could not withstand any hurricane above Category 3. The National Weather Service was well aware of the imminent danger. President Bush pleaded with the Mayor and the Governor to order an evacuation. But it wasn’t enough. The President should have canceled his regular schedule (including a seemingly oblivious San Diego speech/photo op and some wrongheaded appearance where Bush strummed a guitar) and gone to Houston or Washington, and immediately ordered the Homeland Security and Defense departments to full disaster response readiness status.

5. The disaster reaction system.
The disaster response system in the U.S. is tiered, matching our political structure. That is, local governments have primary responsibility to manage incidents. This responsibility flows “upward” to the State and to the Federal government as the scale of emergency incidents grow. A key assumption is that disaster response will be escalated appropriately from level to level. So, Federal authorities wait for State requests, and State authorities wait for requests for local governments. It’s obvious that this system is no longer adequate. The Federal government can’t assume that the State will be able to communicate its disaster response requirements, and the State can’t assume that local governments will be able to ask for what they need.

6. God.
If you’re inclined to think that way, the hurricane was a Lesson. What should we learn?

Have I blamed everyone yet? No? Read on . . .

Modest proposals
1. Individual citizens must take real responsibility for their own lives. Victims have complained that they were “treated like cattle.” Well that’s probably because you were acting like cattle. Stop acting like cattle. You’ve got a human brain, hands, legs, and arms. You’ve got ears and a mouth. If the “authorities” aren’t handling the situation, get together with those around you, and figure out something yourself. I think my stand here is pretty clear.

2. Take warnings seriously. Humans want to sugar-coat things and tend to believe that dangerous situations are not really that bad and/or will turn out well in the end. Over and over, we see how dangerous this tendency is. The higher you are in government, the more essential it is to take warnings seriously, because the consequences of blowing off a threat get larger and larger as you move from local to State to Federal government.

3. Always be prepared–individually and at all levels of government. Having worked for a while in private industry on disaster recovery plans, I am well aware that your response plan depends primarily on your initial assumptions. Figure out what the worst-case scenario is, and then figure out how it could be worse. That’s what you plan for.

Nobody wants to think about disasters and disaster response/recovery. It goes back to the fundamental human attitude of “it can’t happen here.” If you make that assumption, you’re dead. We all, at every level, need to take time and spend money up front to ensure that our personal and our governmental disaster plans are both reasonable and are up-to-date. Maybe we need to have an annual Federal Disaster Preparedness Day, where normal activities are suspended and the entire country reviews and updates our personal, corporate, and governmental disaster plans.

The larger the disaster, the longer the list of missed opportunities, mistakes, and failures to take appropriate actions at the appropriate time. Katrina is one of the biggest. No one, not the victims huddled on I-10, not the President, nobody escapes without some responsibility.

THE Question

Chester considers The Key Strategic Question[*1] :

Is Islam compatible with a free society?

This is the key strategic question of our day.

In October, William Buckley wrote:

The moment has not come, but it is around the corner, when non-Muslims will reasonably demand to have evidence that the Muslim faith can operate within boundaries in which Christians and Jews (and many non-believers) live and work without unconstitutional distraction.

[h-t to a Belmont Club commenter]

Buckley is correct that this is a question demanding an answer, but he misjudges the timing of its asking and answering. The truth is that assumed answers to this question have been fundamental in developing our strategies in the war on terror, and that we have yet to answer it definitively.

Is Islam compatible with a free society? A ‘yes’ answer offers a far different set of strategic imperatives than a ‘no’ answer.

This is the $64,000, elephant-in-the-room question that we’re all dancing around. Can Islam be compatible with classical Western liberal society? Only Muslims themselves can answer that question.

U.S. Diplomat Killed

A car-bomb attack has killed a U.S. diplomat. [*1]

The bomber rammed the car into a vehicle carrying the U.S. diplomat, the Associated Press reported, citing an unidentified Pakistani security official. The spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Nida Emmons, didn’t immediately return calls seeking the diplomat’s identity.

It’s a civil war! A quagmire! It has nothing to do with the war on terror!

Oh, it was Pakistan, not Iraq?

Bush lied! Katrina! Halliburton! Cheney!

How about: it’s another act of barbarism from the Islamofascist barbarians. The only real difference between this and 9/11 is the body count.

In case you haven’t been paying attention (and, if your only information source is Old Media, you haven’t been allowed to pay attention) the stated goal of the Islamofascists is to convert the entire world to Taliban-like totalitarianism.




Does this sound ridiculous? Maybe as ridiculous as the thought in the 1920’s that Germany would rise again to threaten the same thing.

Same old enemy. New tactics. There are always those people who believe that they know better than you how you should live your life, and are willing to kill you to convince you that they’re right. It is the eternal battle of good versus evil. It is always fought, but is never truly won.

The “war on terror” has absolutely nothing to do with U.S. domestic politics. You need to wake up and realize that, before the Islamist scimitar is at your throat.

Rolling Roof Reaches Ridiculousness

Kansas City wants to put a rolling roof over Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums. And, get this: They want to give the naming rights money–to charity!

“This is the business community saying, ‘We’re going to pay for the roof essentially, so in return for that, we want to also deal with other issues that are important to Jackson County residents and the business community,’ ” said Pete Levi, president of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Hey, I’ve got a crazy wacky idea! How about using those millions of dollars to pay for the damned roof in the first place rather than taxing a million people who will never, ever set foot in the stadium? Hmm?

Jack Steadman, Chiefs vice chairman, concurred.

“I think it is a positive thing for the community, and it helped us get the support of the business community, because basically the business community pays the tax,” he said. “We felt it was a fair deal.”

Oh, Lord. Someone get this doofus some basic economic education. Mr. Steadman, the business community doesn’t pay taxes. AT ALL. They just pass them through to their customers. You’d know that if you were involved in a real business, not the bizarro business world of the NFL.