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Cry Me a River

Politicians go fishing for compliments and deficits. Also: See you in HEL. Defending California's Big Dig. Comment of the Day. Plus much more.

9.29.05

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WEEPING FOR DOLLARS
Re: George Neumayr's The Crying Game:

Since the United States is a nation of victims, and over half is taking medication for one mental disorder or another, it goes to show the rest of the people who are at least somewhat sane and not a victim of something that pity pays big bucks. It's like a child who cries and looks up to an adult with those big pitiful teary eyes and quivering lips; who can say no to such a pitiful scene? The only twist to this is that adults have now perfected this on demand emotion.

This nation has turned into a nation of jelly-kneed whining wimps, on-call clinical psychologists, 24-hour pharmacies, and crisis centers. There was a time when Americans were tough, independent, hard charging, and possessed of nothing-is-going-to-stop-me mentality, but now that Americans realize that, "Hey, this crying have pity on me thing, really does pay big bucks." The bigger the tears, the bigger the payday is now the rule of the day. Former vice Presidential candidate John Edwards from North Carolina has perfected the, "doe-eyed stare" to such a fine art there is no jury in this country that could refuse such an expression of emotional anguish, and it has paid handsomely.

Look at the Katrina soap opera; it was a complete open field to see mainstream media trying to out-victimize each other. One reporter would say that there was sporadic looting, then a different reporter would report all of downtown New Orleans was on fire, and at least 10,000 dead were stacked like cord wood along the boulevards, and then the next reporter would further report that babies who took refuge in the Super Dome were being ravaged by rapists. It is as if they were monitoring each others' broadcasts, playing the game of victimization one-upmanship.

Fox News reporters Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera were laying the crocodile tears on so thick that the viewers just needed to go to the bathroom and wretch from the pathetic made-for-TV emotions. "General Hospital" couldn't have even made this stuff up. But, we must remember that it's all about TV ratings and TV ratings mean big money.

Madison Avenue, drug manufacturers, clinical psychologists and the media have turned a private emotion into a billion dollar a year industry. Excuse me; my palm pilot is reminding me to take my Prozac now.
-- Melvin L. Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

The scenario of these Louisiana crooks and dysfunctional politicians should get the attention of Mel Brooks who might be able to fashion a very funny movie from their shenanigans. The title could be "Criers Are Liars" or maybe "Louisiana Lullaby."
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

Mr. Broussard's version of the tragedy would make a better movie. Maybe in the movie version, Sean Penn will get there in time. Condi Rice will be giving music lessons to President Bush who couldn't help because he needed more practice on his fiddle.
-- Danny Newton

IF YOU WANT IT, COME AND GET IT
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's A Flow of Free Money:

Let's see. The Federal Government passes out debit cards for $2000 to persons displaced by Katrina and we are (what? shocked, surprised, indignant?) that some of this money found its way into the Louis Vuitton store and/or Houston strip clubs? I would have been shocked if these things hadn't happened. Given the caliber of the recipients, what did we think they were going to do with the money? Buy groceries? I wonder how many of those cards were swapped on the street corner for crack, nose candy, or smack?
-- Keith Kunzler
Arnold, Missouri

Rather than $250 billion, we should give Louisiana a couple of trucks full of beads. They seem to want the things, and we would get flashed for years.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

SEE YOU IN HEL
Re: James G. Poulos's Ego Tripping at the Gates of HEL:

Your article has a good point, spending for spending's sake does not make sense. One could say the same for FEMA credit cards and Louis Vuitton handbags. But the factor you did not touch on is the effect of disruptive technology. That is a technology that is so upsetting that the entire universe before it is blown away. The airplane, lasers, a space ribbon, and possibly HEL's are all analogs of this effect.

HEL's for example have a couple of advantages if perfected. Like a $20,000 laser shot from the ground downing a $2 billion B-2 bomber. Line of sight targeting making 'see, shoot, kill' a near certainty. Deployment years in advance of use with no attendant worries about degrading contents of the artillery shells or rocket fuel tanks. Such a system essentially eliminates manned combat flight in any theatre where such a system is deployed. No commander would risk his pilots or resources in any subsequent engagement when the first strike never comes back.

If a country was able to develop HEL's for $5 billion in R&D and deploy for another $10 billion strictly for air defense the payback might be substantial. The cost of the B-2 bomber at around $50 billion dwarfs in comparison and goes in the trash heap. The new F-22 and its use cost would escalate as the sole mission left to it would be high altitude missions, not wanting to risk such craft on ground attack roles in an HEL infested environment.

For the U.S. such a development would be a disaster. Our current Air-Sea-Land concepts depend heavily on mastery of the air space early in the engagement. Made more urgent by the numerical inferiority of U.S. ground forces in some theatres. Any adversary capable of denying the U.S. airspace dominance has a fair shot of an even match slug out in a protracted ground-based battle.

As a possible disruptive technology HEL's have a lot going for it.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

James Poulos' September 27 article "Ego Tripping at the Gates of HEL" raises legitimate concerns about the development and spread of directed energy weapons (DEWs). However, Poulos overlooks the most salient feature of DEWs, which is that they are first and foremost mass blinding weapons. Such weapons will be cheap, easy to manufacture, and totally devastating in their impact. One can imagine what al Qaeda or some other terrorist group would do with such a device.

That being said, Poulos is naive to assume that we have the option to pull the plug on DEW development. Several major powers, including China, have active DEW programs, and the logic of deterrence demands that we move forward.
-- Jonathan Schlein

James G. Poulos's article provides an interesting point of view -- provided one has the time to unravel the tangled delivery. Ironic that he deplores the development of a workhorse-type space vehicle (the current shuttle) moving on to explore Mars, but then deplores the development of new weapons technology wishing instead for refinements of current systems because it would be more "stable."

It is good to debate before spending the money. The line from "Jurassic Park" reference spending millions to determine "can" you do something without spending any time debating "should" you do it comes to mind. However, after reading the article I was left wondering -- has Mr. Poulos ever humped a rucksack, carried a weapon, or even worn a uniform (Boy Scouts don't count) in his life? It may be a sad commentary, but new weapons will be designed, new technologies will be explored. Quantum advances are referred to as a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). An example of this is Precision Guided Munitions (PGM). Following Mr. Poulos's logic, these weapons would never have been developed because of their ability to "destabilize." Wars are not intended to be fair fights. The object is to win, not just participate.
-- Pat Collins

FREE MARKET HIGHWAY
Re: Bill Whalen's Tunnel Vision:

A true conservative would never have written such an article, unless they were given some bad information. As the one who developed this concept, let me first say that one of the strongest proponents of the Tri-Tunnel has been Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation, hardly a liberal or liberal/big government organization. Secondly, there was no factual information even remotely describing the pay as you go system, planned to date entirely with "private money" and designed to be financed "privately." Finally, any comparison to the "Big Dig," a government boondoggle, is purely fictitious and shows that the author did little, if any, research. If he had he would realize that the Big Dig was a government-financed project in a liberal state through a developed area and was basically a "cut and cover" project. The Tri-Tunnel goes under a mountain whose base is volcanic rock. The ground rock (ground by the use of giant boring machines similar to those that bored three tunnels 32 miles under the English Cannel in three years) is conveyored to rail cars and then sent by rail to the Los Angeles ports, sold to the ports for their planned expansion. The multitude of users that need such a tunnel (water, power, fiber optic lines, etc.) all pay rent for the capacity provided. This along with auto and truck tolls make the system feasible. The government agency that controls the parallel toll lanes on the 91 freeway charges $7.75 one way toll to cover less than nine miles of travel. Would competition be a good thing here?
-- Bill Vardoulis

WIDESPREAD IGNORANCE
Re: Ben Stein's A Big Lie Put to Rest:

I have lived in Baton Rouge for 48 of 56 years. I was born in Tangipahoa Parish. I am white. My teenagers and I worked tirelessly for almost a week in evacuation shelters, churches, and on the side of the road handing out bottled water to stranded motorists, much of it at my own expense.

However, I am now done with it. These ungrateful people have invaded our city, our stores, our restaurants, crowding up our roads so that my once 12 minute ride to work now takes 30-40 minutes, we are waiting sometimes several days just to get normal everyday prescriptions filled, waiting in lines we've never had to wait in before, can't find the make-up I've worn for 40 years and never had a problem before, they are using our resources, clogging down everything that has made this city work for years, and I gave up a week of my hard-earned vacation time to risk disease and God knows what to help these ungrateful little beggars and I AM A RACIST?!!!!!!!

I am done with them. No more time, no more money, no more resources from me or mine will they get. I only have to have my hand bitten once by the dog I'm trying to feed to realize that I don't need this. Many, many, many of my friends and acquaintances are beginning to feel the same way, and are backing off with their support. If the government is going to be stupid enough to keep giving and giving and giving with no accountability at all, these guys are never going to get off their lazy rears to do anything for themselves, except continue to have as many children out of wedlock they can sire and carry. If the media wants to paint this as racism, paint me walking away with a bloody stump of my hand that was holding out the food and water.
-- Judy Turner

The people susceptible to the Big Lie have no idea who Josef Goebbels is, which means 95% of Americans.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

Right on Ben!

Those hollering "racism" were quick to believe that the Black refugees had turned into murderers, child rapists, bloodthirsty beasts shooting at rescuers, had 200 bodies stashed in the basement, and even had regressed to cannibalism, even before using up the supply of MREs.

It was the leftist media, and the leftist Democrats who accepted these false allegations without question. What does that say about the activist's opinion of the black population? It's a sobering question.
-- G.B. Hall
Marietta, Georgia

...I know I will no longer tolerate Mr. Stein's despicable politics....
-- Elizabeth Gentry

SCANDAL-LESS
Re: Rick's letter (under "Direct Hit") in Reader Mail's Hurricanes and Race:

Rick is entirely correct in what he said concerning the President's poll numbers. But this does not contradict what Mr. Stein said in his article.

Presidents G.W. Bush and Richard Nixon share many of the same problems, the most notable being press hostility that was unprecedented either before or since Nixon. The press does shape public opinion, to a great extent, and this is reflected in polls.

It must be remembered, however, that Nixon was brought down by an internal scandal (Watergate) that has not arisen in the Bush administration, even though the MSM has gone to incredible lengths to either find one or fabricate one.

The current administration began on a historic note, but it will end on one of mediocrity. The only thing that can turn the tide is for it to regain its focus and forget the social agenda. Concentrate on what has made it great, an uncompromising approach to the physical security of the American people. It is just a bit too early to feel secure.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

AMSPECBLOG POST OF THE DAY
Re: "Right Reminders," posted by Al Regnery at 11:50 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2005 on AmSpecBlog:

It seems to be to be the case that "GOP" and "Conservatism" have less and less in common these days. Reagan was the last great Republican and conservative, in my book. And yes, I miss him. He was a statesman, instead of a politician, who saw the world in real terms, and not utopian ones (which both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of these days). Where have all the statesmen gone?
-- Mark Pettifor

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