Deals with devils

Ruth emails me appropriate outrage over this news:

President Bush decided Wednesday to waive any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Washington’s closest Arab ally in the war on terrorism, for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers.

What do we stand for?

  • http://www.alexkrupp.com Alex Krupp

    What do we stand for?

    Prostitutes, child sex workers and forced labor.

  • Marina Architect

    Economic sactions are completely ineffective and should be taken off the table permanently as an option. In fact, history has shown sactions to be deleterious and to strengthen the hand of corrupt and renagade regimes. Open trade is beautiful and necessary.

    Saudi Arabia has hideous social policies notably for their treatment of woman. Solutions need to focus purely on incentives for nations to facilitate social reforms without the threat of economic snctions or military threat. This is our current dillema with Iran. Providing incentives for social reform is the only negotiation worth pursuing. A good first move would be to clear out of the region entirely. Just being in the region creates animosity and hatred. As the Al Pacino Scarface character once said “A Mill here a mill there”; in this case, it’s collateral damage here and collateral damage there and the whole region hates your guts.

    We desperately need some thoughtful politicians in office. What we really need is to bring down the cost to run for office. Web 2.0’s ulitimate benefit may well be that through inexpensive pervasive communication, running for office will be open to our thought leaders and not just the made men/women of special interests.

  • korutenshi

    Individuals still do foster a sense of right, it is the President that does not stand for anything.

    I spent most of my life in Saudi as an expat, and I remember my parents(alongside other American/British expats) paying our houseboys 5x-10x their salary under the table because the contractor’s would steal half of the measly 3000 Saudi Riyal(less than $1000) per annum salary promised to these Indian, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi laborers. And these were the lucky ones… The others from the lower castes were usually relegated to street cleaning and other outside jobs in the Saudi heat, that usually reached 114F and 100% humidity in the seaside town where we lived. What we would do is hire as many as we could and pay them to work on our yards(which were quite small), washing cars, bartending at parties, etc. so that we could at least afford them some sort of extra income within the gates of our community. This is the way life is over there for those less fortunate, you are promised a job and whisked off to a foreign country with promises of a decent(locally subjective) salary and all most of them would end up with is two years of degrading labor and maybe a debt at the end of the contract as they were fleeced by the contractor’s that would bring them over at 3000 Riyals and force them to pay around that same amount for “travel expenses”. And heaven forbid that any get into an altercation with a local. That would be an express line run straight to jail or the gallows. I loved Saudi Arabia and it’s people, but that region’s heavy reliance on forced labor and the treatment thereof is inexcusable and barbaric, and for us to keep enabling it when we have a chance to address it is abhorant. It is a shame to see that our own President has seen it fit to excuse those practices. Unfortunately, it is what I would expect from someone like him.

  • Angelos

    Georgie’s going to need a job soon, can’t piss his sugar daddies off.

  • EverKarl

    “Saudi Arabia, Washington’s closest Arab ally in the war on terrorism…”

    In sthe spirit of Winston Churchill after Stalin’s USSR became an ally:

    “If Hitler invaded Hell I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”

    In a war, a nation is often forced to ally itself with regimes that we would otherwise treat much differently. But I’m pretty sure the US and UK were still standing for freedom in WWII, despite being allied with Stalin’s USSR.

    I don’t like the amount of slack we are cutting the Saudis, but that’s another reason to support the invasion of Iraq. If the US can help build a relatively stable, relatively democratic and relatively secular and oil-rich government in the very center of a region which is largely none of those things, the US will not need to depend nearly so much on the Saudis and will be able to help Abdullah push SA in a more classically liberal direction.

    BTW, in regard to the “collateral damage” from the US presence in the region, since the US invaded Iraq and made promoting democracy in the Mid-East a pillar of its foreign policy, support for terrorism has dropped and support for democracy has increased.

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    “for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers.”

    Are these words from a MSM article? Wholly uninformative, no specific examples given – out of the mouths of reporters who bully their interview subjects with questions like “you didn’t do enough to stop beating your wife”. Would anyone care to put that silly quoted phrase in CONTEXT?

    Where are the articles interviewing prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers in Saudi Arabia? Are we to simply imagine that they exist?

    Where are the examples of countries other than SA who DID “do enough”, and what exactly did they do, and why? No answer, hey?

    Are you telling us to “get mad”?

  • korutenshi

    “Where are the articles interviewing prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers in Saudi Arabia? Are we to simply imagine that they exist?”

    http://www.google.com/search?q=human+trafficking
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/world/slavery/default.stm
    http://www.iabolish.com/today/factsheet.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafficking_in_human_beings

    “Where are the examples of countries other than SA who DID “do enough”, and what exactly did they do, and why? No answer, hey?”

    This information is in the linked article.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/bush_human_trafficking

  • Catherine

    Insufficiently Sensitive,

    I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s the State Department that determined that Saudi Arabia didn’t do enough.

  • korutenshi

    “We must show new energy in fighting back an old evil. Nearly two centuries after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, and more than a century after slavery was officially ended in its last strongholds, the trade in human beings for any purpose must not be allowed to thrive in our time.” — President George W. Bush, Address to the U.N. General Assembly, September 2003. Part of the Administration for Children and Family’s Campaign To Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking

  • penny

    Amen, Marina.

    The article is lacking in detail but heavily laced in shallow biased innuendo. It’s really worthless.

    Financial sanctions against a wealthy country like SA that has most of the known world’s oil reserves is an oxymoron.

    “modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers”………is a much bigger problem in many Southeast Asian countries than SA.

    korutenshi, isn’t it a bit lame to hold American presidents accountable for the internal behavior of other cultures and countries as your first sentence suggests? I hardly think Bush, the person, excuses the practices you describe. Have the maturity to grasp that nations aren’t feely-touchy entities – their relationships are far more complex. So if you want to try and run your car and heat your home on Pepsi feel free to sanction/declare war/whatever on SA.

  • http://flamingflivvers.blogspot.com/ Carson Fire

    There’s not enough information in this story to condemn or defend.

    Of those 14, Bush concluded that Bolivia, Jamaica, Qatar, Sudan, Togo and the United Arab Emirates had made enough improvements to avoid any cut in U.S. aid

    It *could* be argued that a certain amount of progress should be *rewarded*, in which case a decision like this could be said to be an effective move to help continue reforms.

    Then again, Bush could be falling for promises whispered in his ear by his Arab friends… this would be nothing new, as another president was similarly hornswoggled by Kim Jong-Il’s promises.

    I’m not going to assume either, though.

    However, promoting democracy over religious theocracies in the middle east is a more promising method of fighting slavery than economic sanctions. From ex-slave Francis Bok’s book Escape from Slavery:


    When you add religious fanaticism to an ancient feeling of superiority of one people to another, you have a deadly and extremely cruel combination – as Americans found out on September 11…Before 9/11 this argument was not an easy one to make. And while Osama bin Laden strikes most Americans as a crazy terrorist from Saudi Arabia, we Sudanese remember that before he went to Afghanistan he lived in Sudan protected by the equally fanatical Islamist government that remains in power. Imagine a country filled with Osama bin Ladens…it has been the reality of Dinka life for decades.

    The world won’t change overnight, not with economic sanctions nor newly found democracy. Methods of creating these changes are debatable. But if the argument being made here is “Grrr! Bush is FOR SLAVERY!”, then you’re just being a partisan nincompoop.

  • http://usliberals.about.com Deborah White

    Apparently, tax breaks for the wealthiest among us and corporate profits, particularly for the oil & gas industry.

  • http://lonewacko.com The Lonewacko Blog

    Oddly enough, here’s a column about Bush’s plan for us: “Immigration, Saudi Style”. Of course, those of you who mostly ignored immigration before the election can feel free to skip that link.

  • korutenshi

    First off, without the WTO, SA has only limited means for international trade, and with the waiver of these sanctions – they are that much closer start their accession to the WTO. Second, it was Bush that decided to make the promise as seen in the quote to the UN, and blaming him for being the one to authorize the waiver seems logically appropriate, especially since it was he who expressly authorized the waiver, based on State Department recommendations.

    You are right that things are more complex than they seem, unfortunately you dont seem to have the slightest clue as to the makeup of that complexity. And there is nothing “touchy-feely” about the subjugation of others. So do a little reading first before attempting to dispariage another’s opinion, especially when your own is lacking in any substance.

  • korutenshi

    The previous post was in response to penny only…

  • penny

    Hey, Deborah, what do you think it costs to build a new refinery of which we are painfully short of, explore new oil fields and build gas and oil supply pipelines? Tax breaks for the O&G industry are appropriate. Tax breaks for nuclear and alternative energy are appropriate too.

    Try running your car on Pepsi. No tax break for them. Not a critical industry. Makes sense to me.

  • Angelos

    Tax breaks for companies that profit 10 billion a quarter, because they need incentive to invest capital in more profitable operations?

    Of course.

    We should just Medicare and military benefits. Soldiers don’t need hospitals!

  • penny

    SA has only limited means for international trade

    Limited??? They supply most of the WORLD’S oil!!!! We aren’t talking Pepsi. We are talking the fuel that keeps all global economies alive. The Feds raised rates Tuesday because of oil prices creating inflation.

    Ask the US, China, India, Japan and Europe how limited SA’s international trade means are.

  • korutenshi

    Penny – Oil is only one of many possible ventures for a country with, believe it or not, some very real economic woes. WTO would help garner foreign deals currently unavailable to them.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/saudi.html

  • David

    USA == Unholy Saudi Alliance

    Plain and simple.

  • Ed Poinsett

    Economic sanctions? For an exhaustive study of the benefits, see Cuba, or North Korea. Sanctions rank right up there with the UN favorite, Strongly Worded Letter.

  • David

    Sanctions just don’t work unless everyone in the world is on board. But you know what we can make these practices more expensive for individuals in SA if we made South Asia more properous. That would make it so Indians et al wouldn’t feel compelled to sell their sons and daughters. SO instead of sanctions against SA we should think of South Asia as a free trade zone.

  • Marina Architect

    Penny – FYI – The Gov’t subsidizes corn to the tune of billions so companies like Pepsi can reap windfall profits on a shit processed product. Also, giving a tax break to a company with net income of 10B is misguided big time. Do you know what net income is. Net is after all the exectuvie salaries, first class travel and every imaginable expense deducted, they still have 10B left over after just 90 days. They have adequate capital to invest in refineries, don’t cut them a break: that’s plain corrupt payback.

    Koru – FYI – I agree that WTO should be opened up to everyone regardless of social or human rights issues.

    Ed – FYI – Too true.

    Imposing sanctions based on human rights and social issues is proven to be ineffective and backwards: perpetuating a reverse effect. We imposed sanctions on Saddam for years, that achieved nothing and was mismanaged and riddled with corruption. Then after years of sanctions, we took military action, that has also now proved to a disaster. Now it’s redux with Iran. We are truly fucked with Bush/Cheney/Bolton/Rumsfeld/Chertoff as our policy and decision makers. Sometimes it amazes me how common sense is so abstract for some people.

    Lower and middle class Republicans need to defect to the Democratic Party immediately. Upper income Republicans who have any integrity already have: the others never will.

    Is a recall or RICO Rackateering charge impossible. Any attorneys want to pursue this?

  • owl 1

    Okay, I bite. It seems like a pretty horrible thing for W to do. So I go look…..yep, it’s AP (of BOO & Lovan).

    Then I wonder why and come to EverKarl’s conclusion. Shame. Would have rather had that other 40% of Americans fighting. Would have preferred a real MSM fighting for US. Would have rather had those other 40 Senators fighting to win the war. Guess you end up using what is available. If true….. I still hate it.

  • Angelos

    Right, sanctions don’t work. We should invade.

    Right after Iran and Korea.

    Saudis, we’re comin’ ta git ya!

    Freeeeeeeedom! It’s on the march, you know.

  • http://chicagozoner.blogspot.com The Zoner

    The cutting of any military benefits for vets and the lack of adequate body armor for our current soldiers makes me want to puke. Bush can talk a Texas mile about how much he cares for the soldiers and vets. How about showing it? I don’t care if you are a republican or democrat. Rich, White guys cannot understand and/or will not assuage the plight of the everyman. The sense of entitlement of the rich is disgusting. They made their money on their own perhaps, but the vets are the ones who secured their freedom. Time for some of them to step up and throw around some weight and money. Too many of our vets receive insufficient care and too many are homeless. How can you be a good American if you refuse to help your fellow citizens, especially the needy and those that fought for our freedom?

  • http://chicagozoner.blogspot.com The Zoner

    Since I already went off…

    The vast majority are single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45% suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, or the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Forty-seven percent of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam Era. More than 67% served our country for at least three years and 33% were stationed in a war zone.

    How many homeless veterans are there?

    Although accurate numbers are impossible to come by … no one keeps national records on homeless veterans … the VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And more than half a million experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless males who is sleeping in a doorway, alley, or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served our country … now they need America to remember them.

    Veteran Specific Highlights:
    23% of homeless population are veterans
    33% of male homeless population are veterans
    47% Vietnam Era
    17% post Vietnam
    15% pre Vietnam
    67% served three or more years
    33% stationed in war zone
    25% have used VA Homeless Services
    85% completed high school/GED compared to 56% of non-veterans
    89% received Honorable Discharge
    79% reside in central cities
    16% reside in suburban areas
    5% reside in rural areas
    76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
    46% white males compared to 34% non-veterans
    46% age 45 or older compared to 20% non-veterans
    Service needs:
    45% help finding job
    37% finding housing

    http://www.nchv.org/background.cfm#questions

    Hey–let’s have a $42 million dollar inaugaration!

  • Faramin

    What do we stand for?
    I don’t know. Really, I don’t. But I do know what Bush stands for: OIL.
    Don’t forget the long time relations between the two dinesties of Bush and the Saudi Royal family.

  • Angelos

    Well, whatever the Saudis do, we sure don’t have time to evacuate poor people from Texas…

    Blame Nagin! Where are the schoolbuses!?!?!?

    HOUSTON Sep 22, 2005 — Wilma Skinner would like to scream at the officials of this city. If only someone would pick up their phone.

    “I done called for a shelter, I done called for help. There ain’t none. No one answers,” she said, standing in blistering heat outside a check-cashing store that had just run out of its main commodity. “Everyone just says, ‘Get out, get out.’ I’ve got no way of getting out. And now I’ve got no money.”

    With Hurricane Rita breathing down Houston’s neck, those with cars were stuck in gridlock trying to get out. Those like Skinner poor, and with a broken-down car were simply stuck, and fuming at being abandoned, they say.

    “All the banks are closed and I just got off work,” said Thomas Visor, holding his sweaty paycheck as he, too, tried to get inside the store, where more than 100 people, all of them black or Hispanic, fretted in line. “This is crazy. How are you supposed to evacuate a hurricane if you don’t have money? Answer me that?”

  • misterbryans

    what do we stand for?

    cheap gasoline for the SUV

  • http://flamingflivvers.blogspot.com/ Carson Fire

    Blame Nagin! Where are the schoolbuses!?!?!?

    Sorry, Angelos. That one doesn’t fly. Lines of schoolbuses are being used to cart people out. Nagin’s lame excuse — “where would they go?” — somehow is crystal clear in Texas: away from the effin’ storm.

    Somebody has a great photo of a line of school buses, but I forget who. You can find other news references, though, like the buses being used to evacuate Beaumont: The mood was anxious at Smith Middle School, where a caravan of city and school buses waited to take evacuees out of town.

    Also, in Houston: METRO buses were also used to distribute water and provide some shelter to those who need it.

    I’m sure there are people who don’t know where to go for help, or are unable to. Not everything bad, unfortunate, or tragic is somebody’s “fault”.

    There’s also horrible gridlock. We’re talking massive evacuation, here. The biggest problem is a shortage of fuel — EVIL OIL!!!!!

    BTW, please, every single tedious person who parrots the “evil oil” line… pelase do us a favor and stop using it. Stop using plastics, stop running motors. But if you can’t refrain from using Evil Oil in your everyday life, then please stop being loud hypocrites.

  • http://flamingflivvers.blogspot.com/ Carson Fire

    Oh, yeah! Here it is… The right way to use buses.

  • http://ruthcalvo Ruth

    Let’s see, Houston is undergoing mass evacuation. Gas has run out. Room in North Texas is totally gone. The hurricane has a sense of humor, is heading toward Beaumont.

    As to our sanctions, as noted in the article cited, we also are judging most SE Asian allies as too friendly for sanctions, although their efforts also are not notable in the area of ending child prostitution especially. So where does State see imposing sanctions? North Korea, Myanmar … original,yes?

    What a plan.

    On the Gulf Coast “some casino companies have already declared that they plan to rebuild “bigger and better” on the Gulf Coast, but the Go-Go Zone would extend tax breaks to them anyway. This charity amazes even the casino people. A spokesman for Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. confessed to The Post: “We’re actually scratching our heads. We can’t ever remember an instance of being offered a tax credit — ever.”‘

    From WaPo editorial: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/22/AR2005092202069.html

  • Angelos

    There are still not enough buses to get people out. There are still thousands of people without the resources to get out. People are averaging approximately 4 miles an hour, running out of gas right on the highway.

    All is going right according to plan. Well, the best plan our “leaders” can come up with any any give time.

    “Uh, dudes, maybe if we all panic at the same time, we can wait this out on the highway, together.”

    [snip]
    “Jack Colley, coordinator of the state emergency operations center, said the state evacuation plan included getting fuel to stranded motorists, but that the number of people coming out of Houston was a surprise.

    “The number of people, the amount of cars, the amount of compliance with this (evacuation order), there’s some things you can predict and some things you can’t, that are unpredictable,” Colley said. “We are compensating. They may run out of gas, but we’re going to get them gas.”
    [/snip]

    Um, it’s like, you know, call the DMV to find out how many cars are registered in the Houston metro area. Let’s say, 3.6 million, for 4.7 million people. Then talk to some highway engineers, get some estimates as to how many vehicles could the highway radials out of Houston (90, 190, 290, and 59) support in a 36-hour period. Then do the math. Will this work or not? If our call to evacuate is “successful” and 80% respond, what will happen? But, like, that would involve science and stuff? And government and science, don’t like, mix, you know?

  • Angelos
  • Angelos

    But back to the topic at hand:

    [snip]
    Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he had been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war.

    “There is no dynamic now pulling the nation together,” he said in a meeting with reporters at the Saudi Embassy here. “All the dynamics are pulling the country apart.” He said he was so concerned that he was carrying this message “to everyone who will listen” in the Bush administration.
    [/snip]

    With “friends” like these…

    Don’t they know that bad news is treason? Why aren’t they “supporting the troops?” Why do they hate America?

  • penny

    Casinos have lifted a fair number of small Native American tribes out of poverty in New Mexico and other places. Casinos attract jobs, tourists and are a source of tax revenue for the state.

    The WaPo editorial is short on analysis and depth just like the Saudi Arabia article that started this thread.

  • http://www.geniusnow.com Greg Burton

    Penny, you’re mostly correct on casinos, at least in New Mexico. There are problems with them as well, but I think overall they’ve been a net benefit for the state, and a tremendous boon for some of the Pueblo tribes. They’re not a tax revenue source, though – they negotiated a compact with the state government over payments (and that was enormously complicated and a political firestorm).

    Nationally, casinos are also players in the political lobbying game. There have been many questions about contributions and lobbying fees (google Abromoff), and potential indictments, but not of the tribes.

  • John

    Off topic I know but it appears we have headed that way. Yesterday, my wife, and 5 moth old son attempted to flee Houston on the HOTEST day of the year (100+, it was fun). We live close to downton, about 1 mile from a flood prone bayou and were under a mandatory evacuation. Without the gory details in four hours we went about 30 miles and gave up. We are now at an uncles house in Spring, TX about 60 miles inland and hopefully we will be safe. There is NO gas, not a drop in the Houston metro area and we just spoke to relatives in Dallas that had to wait 1 1/2 hours in line for gas. While the mayor and governor are trumpeting the success of the evacuation about 1/3 of our friends ened up turning around. For those that know TX it took one group 32 hours to go from Pearland (s. of HOU) to Dallas and 26 Hours to go from HOU to Shreveport. There are thousands of cars abbandoned on the roads. I think the city did do their best under difficult circimstances, but their best, in my view, wasn’t well planned our thought out.

  • Angelos

    Fortunately the storm is weakening, though there is apparently still a chance it could pick up.

    Two scenarios-
    a) If it’s a dud (which we all hope), are people going to get jaded again? This “evacuation” is ONLY happening because of Katrina, after all.
    b) If it’s a 4 or 5 when it hits, and the highways are turned into giant scrapyards, and there are still tons of people in town because of the frustrations with the attempted exit, or the lack of ability to exit, then what. Just another demonstration of our inability to cope with large-scale problems. This is NOT a political comment, BTW.

  • penny

    They’re not a tax revenue source, though

    They certainly are a tax revenue source:

    It all means more money for state coffers. The state collects “revenue sharing” payments from the tribes, which range from four to eight percent of the net win from slot machines. The racetracks pay a 20 percent tax on their slots’ net win, raised to 22 percent this year. In 2004, the tribes paid more than $38 million and the tracks paid $37 million in taxes and revenue sharing fees

    New Mexico isn’t a wealthy state. That’s a nice extra source of income.

    Nationally, casinos are also players in the political lobbying game.

    Who isn’t a player in the lobbying game?

  • penny

    Just another demonstration of our inability to cope with large-scale problems

    Well, Angelo, mass evacuations by definition are large and difficult tasks unlike classroom fire drills. They are messy and not perfect.

    Maybe you should reflect on the fact that unlike 50-100 years ago people in that area didn’t have a 6-8 lane highway and as many family cars to get to safety. They died in large numbers.

    Aside from the state/federal government equiping every coastal American with a private helicopter just in case of a cat 4 hurricane, what exactly do you want done to make things better?

    You might not be coping but I think most folks are.

  • http://www.geniusnow.com Greg Burton

    Penny – difference between revenue sharing and taxes. Legal difference, because states can’t tax tribal enterprises. Of course, I just live here, and had no idea how poor the state is.

    I won’t bother agreeing with you again.

  • penny

    Come on. “Revenue sharing” versus “taxes”, whatever, the result is that the state derives income from the casinos by legal compacts agreed upon with the tribes.

    I just happen to be from New Mexico too. So your coincidental location isn’t going to win you any points without hard cold facts.

  • penny

    Sorry, Greg, I thought you were splitting hairs over tax versus revenue sharing implying that casinos don’t add revenue to the state.

  • http://flamingflivvers.blogspot.com/ Carson Fire

    There are still not enough buses to get people out.

    Right, so the answer is not to do anything.

    That’s the most brilliant plan I’ve heard yet.

  • Angelos

    ????

    On the sauce again, Carson?

    Or have your comprehension abilities finally dropped sub-zero?

  • http://flamingflivvers.blogspot.com/ Carson Fire

    Your primary complaint, Angelos, is that things don’t run smoothly in a major emergency situation. DUH. Double duh. Double freaking duh with extra freaking duhs on top.

    There are problems… a huge mass of people are on the move. Until you hand us the blueprints to the matter transporters from Star Trek, there is no way such a massive movement can be done smoothly and without major obstacles. We’re talking about cities that have difficulty moving traffic on NORMAL DAYS. If you have all of the answers, please enlighten us, and in detail.

    From the tenor of your complaints, I am assuming that you have access to or at least have some knowledge of the coordinates of the big freaking magic wand that allows an entire modern city to bug out seamlessly. Please share.

    We’ve got big traffic going through Dallas, today. I’m sure you heard about the bus that caught on fire and then blew up. There were other accidents that snarled traffic. I have witnessed some of this first-hand, and while I am angry and upset that these things happen, I know there is a reason. No amount of contingency planning can alleviate all of this. You either try to evacuate or deal with the consequences of not evacuating.

    Putting those buses into motion was at least the responsible course to take, in light of the storm; nobody ever said that makes everything all perfect and dandy. But it has a better chance of saving lives than leaving rows and rows of buses unused. Your complaint that not everybody is going to be saved by those buses is stupid and inhuman. The alternative to trying to save as many people with buses as possible? Leaving the buses sit and let *everybody* chance dying?

    Can you not recognize how insane that is? Every single bus *not* used represents many lives needlessly put at risk by the incoming storm. Your equation apparently is: can’t save all lives, so forget it and let everybody without a car be left at risk. This is simply a weird and desperate stretch in order to defend the early and erroneous position that the federal government was responsible for the incompetence of Democratic presidential front-runner Nagin.

    And, good lord, if I *was* an alcoholic instead of a teetotaler, I’d at least have an excuse to be irrational and inhuman — the only excuse on the left to be irrational and inhuman is nothing but unshakable, incurable, and self-delusional self-righteousness.

    And on another point, a minor one, but one that should be addressed, anyway:

    relatives in Dallas that had to wait 1 1/2 hours in line for gas

    This was not endemic throughout the city. Unfortunately, I had to be on the road yesterday, and it was very clear that the gas stations that were out of gas were the ones on the highways. Many gas stations away from the highway were out of regular unleaded, but did not run out of the premium grades. But not this morning, or in the afternoon, did I see any gas station with a 1 1/2 hour-style line. This run on gas must have peaked and dissipated the day before.

    This is where even better communications would help. But this strikes me as not something the government should coordinate, but media (who are patting each other on the backs because they were able to bare their teeth and GRRRR act angry about what other people were and weren’t doing). Most media reported only how rotten everything was; instead, many stations *should* be preempting their regular programming for a STREAM OF HELPFUL INFORMATION.

    For instance, the local Wal-Marts were swamped, out of water, etc. But locals who know where to go still had plentiful supplies in dollar stores, grocery stores, corner stores; people fleeing through the area don’t know where the alternatives are. Media should use its reach — a mass communications reach that the federal government simply does not have — to pass along help, but instead simply pepper short news rants throughout the regular soap operas, music, judge shows, whatever.

    Media — fourth estate — if you’ll forgive the movie analogy, is like David Niven in “Guns of Navaronne”, constantly carping about everybody else who is in a position of having to make hard, no-win decisions, but unwilling and unable to step up and take responsibility to do what they can — and should be doing. Media should be at its heart a public service, but is really only a noise machine.

  • http://ruthcalvo Ruth

    John: Thanks for your report, it gave me some good information that helped in getting somebody to DFW. Got him gassed up before he got to Dallas, especially. (I’ve done a lot of re-scheduling the past few days.)

    Although the original post kind of got lost, it’s appropriate that what’s going on at the moment should get our attention. But should mention that 6,000 sexual offenders have gotten ‘lost’ in the evacuation of NO, and are turning up in communities in shelters. Shelter residents are being advised that they need to keep close watch on their families.

    Also hearing much comment about how the excruciating exodus out of Houston seems to have been completely useless. Also, like John, so many people could have done so much better to go west than north. (Why not open a shelter in Crawford? hee hee) And next time those people who hit the road this time will not listen. Some public officials have been saying they never told EVERYONE they should leave Houston. :-}

  • Susan

    He’s a son of a bitch.

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