Friday, September 30, 2005


"Think Locally On Relief", Says Jeb

Think Locally On Relief: "In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Americans are looking to their leaders for answers to the tragedy and reassurances that the mistakes made in the response will not be repeated in their own communities. Congressional hearings on the successes and failures of the relief effort are underway.
As the governor of a state that has been hit by seven hurricanes and two tropical storms in the past 13 months, I can say with certainty that federalizing emergency response to catastrophic events would be a disaster as bad as Hurricane Katrina."

Congrats to WaPo for giving Jeb ink, the last thing they probably wanted to do. This op-ed is worth the read. If any local or state official should know about disaster response and recovery, it is him. You know, one of the arguments that was brought up on a news network the other day was that when federal officials are brought in, they often are not familiar with the lay of the land, the people in the outlying areas, etc. like local officials do. As we have seen, knowing who lives outside the population centers has been incredibly important. Knowing who the hold-outs are is something only a local would know. There is still a ton to learn about how to make responses to disaster more effective, but if I were to make a team to make those decisions, I would call Jeb first.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Insightful Letter to the NYT's

Honoring the Dead at Ground Zero (7 Letters) - New York Times: "For me, the most disturbing part of the 'freedom center' debate is the obsessive use of the word 'freedom' in every detail of the collection of projects. It is starting to sound as if we are trying to convince ourselves that we have freedoms. It rings of a project in North Korea.
Just call it a 'memorial to the fallen,' or some other accurate name.
The hijackers didn't attack us for our freedoms. They attacked us because of their hatred, and the details behind this hatred are not the topic of this memorial.
Also, I'd rather that this somewhat distasteful hyper-commercial project not smack of nationalistic propaganda. A real memorial doesn't have to prove anything; it just has to help us remember.
Daniel Newsome
New York, Sept. 23, 2005"

What Daniel says is that by merely standing there, we will feel patriotic. He also reminds us that we have not brought these attacks upon ourselves as it seems the 'freedom center' people would have us believe. (I hope to have a Hitchen's quote that proves this posted soon.) Why doesn't Daniel write a column for the NYT's? :)

Monday, September 26, 2005


A History of the Hardy Lot on the Sabine

My Mother recently shared a story about her grandmother who lived in Deweyville, Texas. With National Geographics stacked on a chest in the entryway as a semblance of decoration, this hardy woman told of reaching her hand from the bed to feel for water. If it had creeped in, she would wake her husband and make her way to the boat tied to the front porch. Given the way the story was told, it was a common way of life on the Sabine River. Her husband who was the Constable for the town for some five years, they just kept on with life without much complaint. These were the folks who followed the wealth of oil to Texas in covered wagons. They had little to show for their rough lives, a few dishes that my grandfather gave me as a teen. It is an appropriate reminder that we come from strong ancestors who had much less, lost more, and still perservered.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Listen to Grisham About The Spirit of the Gulf

The Gulf Will Rise Again - New York Times: "Those who've lost everything have nothing to give but their courage and sweat, and there is an abundance of both along the coast these days. At a school in the small town of De Lisle, the superintendent, who's living in the parking lot, gives a quick tour of the gymnasium, which is now a makeshift food dispensary where everything is free and volunteers hurriedly unpack supplies. Two nearby schools have vanished, so in three weeks she plans to open doors to any student who can get to her school. Temporary trailers have been ordered and she hopes they're on the way. Ninety-five percent of her teachers are homeless but nonetheless eager to return to the classrooms.
Though she is uncertain where she'll find the money to pay the teachers, rent the trailers and buy gas for the buses, she and her staff are excited about reopening. It's important for her students to touch and feel something normal. She's lost her home, but her primary concern is for the children. 'Could you send us some books?' she asks me. Choking back tears, my wife and I say, 'Yes, we certainly could.'...When William Faulkner accepted the Nobel Prize in 1950, he said, in part: "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion, sacrifice and endurance."
Today, Faulkner would find in his native state a resilient spirit that is amazing to behold. The people here will sacrifice and give and give until one day this storm will be behind them, and they will look back, like their parents and grandparents, and quietly say, "We prevailed."
John Grisham is the author, most recently, of "The Broker."

Hey, this author is a good writer. :) No, really this was a great piece, and perfectly representative of the kinds of things we have seen on the news. Add to that the guy from Houston I met on a conference call recently. He had been working at the Astrodome trying to help the evacuees. Donating time and money as well as helping start a charity. Then he had to evacuate Houston in preparation for a Hurricane (Rita) of his own. There was another Houstonian that the news covered. He was a Morgan Stanley guy (I think it was Morgan Stanley.). He was working at the Astrodome overnight, going home, showering, going to work, and then going back to the dome in the afternoon. Most of us need sleep, but everyone should be impressed by anyone who gives that much to anyone, especially strangers. These are two small stories in a sea of generosity, heroism, kindness, and heart. It is the saddest way to be reminded of what it truly is to be American.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Recruiters for Katrina Relief-All Volunteer

CB will be updating readers on this organization as information becomes available.


He Should be Quiet and Thankful He is Male

Rape Remarks Stain Musharraf's Reputation - Yahoo! News: "This week, Musharraf returned from a U.S. visit marred by controversy over his reportedly telling The Washington Post that many Pakistanis see rape allegations as a way for women to make money and get visas to leave the country. He later denied saying that, but the newspaper said the recorded interview proved he was correctly quoted."

It seems many people would feel differently about this issue if they were of the gender subjected to it. I realize this man has to walk a very careful political and religious line, but this was an obnoxious comment and should be brought to the fore. If he is the most progressive leader of this country, we all still have a long way to go. I also realize we can't modernize every country just because we don' like what they do, but we should at the very least be covering it, talking about it, and making sure that we leverage our political power against it when possible.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Isn't This Just Icky?

Kerry blasts Bush on federal response to Hurricane Katrina: "�This is the Katrina administration,� read prepared remarks posted on 2004 Democratic presidential nominee�s website, �Katrina is a symbol of all this administration does and doesn't do,� read Kerry�s script, portions of which were included in an e-mail to supporters that ended with a fundraising appeal."

If a Republican used a national disaster to raise campaign money, wouldn't there be an uproar the likes of which we have never seen? Wouldn't a normal people, be the staff or the candidate themselves, feel dirty doing this? Whoever did it has a lack of character. It is sick and sad. He wants campaign money, not for people to give money to aid organizations. Cashing in this way is deplorable!

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Blair "Gets It"

Mr Murdoch, a long-time critic of the BBC who controls rival Sky News, said the prime minister had recounted his feelings in a private conversation earlier this week in New York."> / US / Clinton summit - Blair shocked over BBC Katrina coverage: "Tony Blair was shocked by the BBC's coverage of Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans, describing it as "full of hatred of America", Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, revealed on Friday night.
Mr Murdoch, a long-time critic of the BBC who controls rival Sky News, said the prime minister had recounted his feelings in a private conversation earlier this week in New York."

I just thought this was particularly interesting. Enemies of America will take any opportunity to speak ill of us, but I really like Blair. I really like that he was disturbed by the BBC's coverage. One would hope that such a disgusting disregard for the human element of the story in order to play politics will work against them. They could have used that air time to encourage their viewers to help those that are now in a state of poverty, something that the BBC and other more liberal people suggest is their main concern in the world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Spark a Necessary National Debate

Judge: School Pledge Is Unconstitutional: "U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation 'under God' violates school children's right to be 'free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.'"

No one should panic. The Pledge will be there for everyone whether it says "under God" or not. What this decision has actually done is sparked the public discussion that is still needed. How we decipher what is coercive and what is merely U.S. history and tradition is something that cannot go quiet. To be frank, I could care less whether the Pledge says "under God" or not. I do, however, care how close we are to theocracy. No matter your religious beliefs, these are matters that should gain attention. Certainly, as I have noted on this blog before, Christians would not want a Hindu or Islamic theocracy here. Given that, they should understand the fear the atheists or religiously confused have about this country being too heavily religious in government, in particular.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Irony Anyone?

Las Vegas Weekly: "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.'
The union accuses Wal-Mart of dragging down wages and working conditions for other grocery-store workers across the nation. 'Whether you work or shop at Wal-Mart, the giant retailer's employment practices affect your wages. Wal-Mart leads the race to the bottom in wages and health-care,' says the UFCW's website. 'As the largest corporation in the world, Wal-Mart has a responsibility to the people who built it."

Is the union taking advantage of laborers? Isn't it their purpose to protect laborers? Don't get me wrong. I support the early need for unions. I even support the concept of protecting labor from the absolute power of corporate leaders. What this article implies, however, is that they have grown far from the union's original charters. The union leaders have now been caught doing exactly what they suggest they are there to protect against.

Monday, September 12, 2005


On Brown and Katrina

Bush Administration Full Coverage on Yahoo! News: "Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown said Monday he has resigned 'in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president,' three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. 'The focus has got to be on FEMA, what the people are trying to do down there,' Brown told The Associated Press."

Okay, while I do not have time to air all of my Katrina concerns, the news of the day, Brown's resignation, is worthy of reams of comment. It was my belief, after seeing him say that he did not know about the Convention Center, that he should be out of his position based on his lack of public relations skills alone. Knowing when to boost your image by saying that everything is going well when it isn't, and knowing when to be real is central to the public's confidence in that person and the organization as a whole. Remember that many called out CEO's of failing companies when they encouraged purchase of doomed stock. Public relations and idiocy uttered is enough for him to lose his job. Add to that his lack of experience and possible issues with his resume, we have really big problems. The President will absolutely have to answer for his poor decision making and not being more thorough in his hiring decisions. He too will deserve the problems that arise from such shoddy hiring. Not all of the issues are to be laid at the federal door. The mayor and governor will take their very public and deserved spankings as well. The mayor, in particular, tried to paint himself out of the picture of blame yesterday on "Meet the Press". He did not fool me, so I expect he fooled few others as well. He just plain sounded dopey. And, oh Blanco. She seems like a nice woman with two good daughters who have granted interviews. In this very sad case, however, it is not enough to be nice. Decisiveness, courage, and a commitment to the poorest in her state were necessary and lacking. Then there is Congress. Vitter giving all of this effort an "F" was particularly interesting given that they have known about the levy problem for forty years, and he has been in Congress for some considerable period. Landrieu, also on a Sunday morning political show sounded ignorant. That is the kindest word I have for her sad display. One lesson, not such a small one, in fact, is that we hold a greater duty in electing officials at all levels. Now we have all been reminded how important mayors, police chiefs, Congressmen, fire officials, the Coast Guard, Governors, Cabinet Secretaries, and other elected and appointed folks really are. I hope no one ever has to stand on United States soil and chant "help" like that ever again. It seems it may be up to the rest of the country to prevent it.


Enhancing Reality

DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2005�: "'The TV news networks, which only a few months ago were piously suppressing emotional fireworks by their pundits, are now piously encouraging their news anchors to break out of the emotional straitjackets and express outrage. A Los Angeles Times colleague of mine, appearing on CNN last week to talk about Katrina, was told by a producer to 'get angry.''"

It is one thing to hear about "reality TV" being less than real, but news networks requesting anger and deeper emotion is weird. I would say that of any network that behaved this way. Maybe it is for the occasional CNN viewer who flips back to MSNBC or Fox an obvious problem. CNN's ratings show some disconnect between their deep desire for eyeballs and their ability to reach hearts and minds.


Tom and Larry Join Forces Again?

Oracle Agrees to Acquire Siebel Systems for $5.85 Billion - New York Times: "The purchase is the company's seventh this year in its bid to become a one-stop source of customer databases and similar software. As tools for customer relations management, or C.R.M., the applications are designed to streamline customer interactions and to allow companies to better service and anticipate their customers' needs. Oracle put the segment's growth potential at $10 billion by 2009."

It makes me a bit nervous that these two are on the same team again. I was more comfortable with the agitation and competition between the two companies that was assumed among the software and global business community over the past several years. Maybe I am misunderstanding, but how this is not an issue for the SEC is, well, just bizarre. I was less nervous as it related to JDE, and slightly more so with PeopleSoft, but this is a really big deal. We all need to watch how this proceeds.

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