Wednesday, September 28

Back in the days of conversation

Tegic Communications, subsidiary of AOL, is aiming to make text input easier with a new product announcement and a new partnership that will add speech and handwriting recognition to mobile devices. Tegic today rolled out the latest edition of its T9 predictive text input software. Version 7.3 comes with "thousands of words, emoticons, and punctuation," and also has a predictive type function that helps users complete words as they type them. "However, there is certainly a potential application for the mobile AIM and ICQ services, for example speaking instant messages rather than typing them," Gifford told internetnews.com.
I'd hope somebody could clue me in here. Is there a need for a technology developing speech recognition on wireless devices? Don't we already have that? It's called a cellphone. Now, we need to be able to talk into a device to interpret what we say into text to send it to another device to translate text back to speech for the other person to hear?
Why not develop something really useful, like a device that ferrets out left-liberals from a crowd and gives 'em a 20 KVA jolt?

Morons invade New York

It's an only in New York story. A woman was given a ticket for sitting on a park bench because she doesn't have children....The city parks department says the rule is designed to keep pedophiles out of city parks, but a parks spokesman told the Daily News that the department hoped police would use some common sense when enforcing the rule.
I read about an individual in New York getting a ticket for popping a balloon before. So, I guess, the pedophile, balloon-popping problem is apparently bad enough in New York to take out laws against it. I suppose I should check out the New York state and city codes for other sorts of behaviour they've banned like walking the wrong way on a one way sidewalk or feeding pigeons on the 2nd Tuesday of the month.
I'm guessing not all New Yorkers are limited to the mental capacity of a mushroom and can understand that 1) law enforcement isn't dictated by common sense, and 2) lawmakers don't ply their trade by it either. I'm so glad I don't live in New York. Too many idiots there.

Tuesday, September 27

Honesty

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
- WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Hamlet

I consider myself a freelance student of human nature and can very often tell when someone is being dishonest with themselves. There are signs and, if given the proper attention, they reveal the designs and intents of the person behind them. Just as there are ways to tell if someone is lying about the externals, there are ways to tell if someone is being honest about their inner thoughts or desires. A paraphrased Biblical aphorism, "It's better to let people think you're smart by keeping your mouth shut than opening it and removing all doubt", expresses the axiomatic truth. The more people talk, the more opportunity for them to betray themselves, unless, of course, they're inherent liers to begin with, in which case nothing they share can be trusted to give any indication of their core sympathies. The lady doth protest too much, not because she really believes what she's saying, but because she's trying to deny to her conscience that which she really knows to be true.

On a recent particular occasion, it was disconcerting for me to have recognized the disingenuousness; it was embarrassing to have witnessed it shared with so many people. There may have been few others around who caught it as I did, but it was lost on most of those present. It suffices to say that "her" humble monologue was betrayed by the signs of "her" obvious intent. The lines of deflection, the statements of explanation, only served to beg the question, "If that's what you believe, why take the time and bother to tell us?"

Honesty is about our duty to ourselves. It is about personal integrity. To "protest too much" means to betray that integrity and to fail "to thine own self be true".

Monday, September 26

Rebuild New Orleans: Billions...Rebuild Iraq: $600

An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (£337), The Observer has learnt. Yet since the appeal was launched earlier this month, donations to rebuild New Orleans have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars....USaid's Heather Layman denied it was disappointed with the meagre sum raised after a fortnight. 'Every little helps,' she said. 'There is no financial goal. People are looking for a way to help rebuild Iraq and this is a way to facilitate that.'
What about that "every little helps" from my tax money that's going over there already? And who are these people who are looking for a way to help? Aren't they familiar with the IRS and our "contributions"? And look at it this way. $600 will buy a whole fleet of construction trucks.

Saturday, September 24

Switchfoot roxors my boxors.

This has to be one of the best bands around. Every cut on their latest CD, Nothing is Sound, is thought-provoking and rocks. The riffs on "Politicians", "Happy is a yuppy word" and "Lovely Nation" rock. Everything about this CD rocksalones my pantalones. Gonna put "Politicians" on and let it repeat over and over and over 'till their ain't no more...politicians, that is.

I pledge allegiance to a country without borders,
Without Politicians,
Watching for my sky to get torn apart

We are broken, we are bitter, we're the problem,
We're the Politicians,
Watching for our sky to get torn apart
True that, dude. I'm lookin' for Christ the Lord to come back and save us all from our ridiculous politics. Let Him establish justice, insure domestic tranquility and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. AMEN!!!!!

Friday, September 23

Don't give it to 'em

"It's all vital," said (Sen. Mary) Landrieu. "There's not anything in here that we would consider a wish list or pie in the sky. This is what we really believe is essential. We recognize that it's a very high number, but I guess part of introducing this package, and doing it unified in our delegation, is to say this is an unprecedented natural disaster and national tragedy and it's going to take an unprecedented response."
I see what legislators do. Maybe I'm a little more aware of their chicanery than the average. Many of my contemporaries, and I'm part of the tail end of the Boomer generation, don't seem as interested or informed. The Buster or Bridger generations are even less so. Perhaps their seeming indifference is due to the fact that they have grown up under an overbearing, overspending bureaucracy; it's been such an element of living in the modern age that it's expected.
Louisiana's senators upped the ante on Hurricane Katrina's reconstruction costs Thursday, introducing legislation that would provide an estimated $250 billion in federal money to rebuild flood-ravaged New Orleans and repair hurricane damage elsewhere across the state.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said the comprehensive package of direct spending and tax incentives was intended as a roadmap for Senate and House committees as they develop reconstruction legislation for the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast.
In the rush to help, people overlook "small" issues such as how the money is spent or who gets it. Also, more important than the efforts or interests in helping is the impression which is left. There must be an "appearance" of helping, even newsworthy in size.
Why stop at 62 million? Why stop at 250 million? They'll keep throwing dollar figures at the recovery until the newness wears off or until the shock goes away. The only reason it's important for legislators to throw money at it now is to make it clear that they're "helping".
I say no...nada...nein...no way...no how. No more money to the federal government, state of Louisiana or Mississippi or the cities involved therein. No more money should come from the federal government either. Nobody really has any idea of the cost. Is there any responsibility or accountability in this spending? Of course not. End it now.

Thursday, September 22

Creation for young materialists

Joe Carter over at The Evangelical Outpost has a version of the creation story for the godless. Good stuff...

In the beginning was Nothing and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it explode.

Tuesday, September 20

An oasis in a world of insanity

It may not seem like much but when a major denomination takes steps to strengthen its position against sin, it's refreshing news to me...


Pope Benedict XVI has given his approval to a new Vatican policy document that bans men with homosexual tendencies from being ordained as priests, reports Catholic World News....The text, approved by Benedict at the end of August, says that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder that detracts from their ability to serve as ministers, says the CWN report.

The Episcopals with their gay inclinations have fallen off the deep end of the pier. The Western left-liberal establishment won't like what the Catholics are doing but right is right and wrong is wrong.
Popularity isn't the point of having faith. It's knowing one is doing the right thing before a holy God Who demands it.

Friday, September 16

What not to wear.

The clerk at the Louis Vuitton store said: "There's nothing legally that prevents us from taking it, unfortunately – other than morally, it's wrong." The unnamed employee told the Daily News two women who had made purchases with the card each bought a signature monogrammed Louis Vuitton handbag in the $800 range.

Meanwhile, in Memphis, Tenn., residents told News Channel 3 they saw Hurricane Katrina survivors purchase designer jeans, high heels and purses with their $2,000 emergency debit cards. According to the report, one Katrina victim was spotted at a Cordova clothier buying stacks of $65 designer jeans. Another viewer reported spotting a survivor buying "over $700 in high heel shoes and purses" at a Memphis department store "while (her) younger children, most of them looked under the age of 3, looked like they haven't showered in weeks."
What is immoral about people taking money given to them and spending it as irresponsibly as they wish? Unethical, maybe, but this is what happens when government is allowed to hold the purse and people handle their money as if they were Paris Hilton.

Say what you mean; mean what you say

Just for the record...

From Dictionary.com:

refugee - 1) One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution. 2)an individual seeking refuge or asylum; especially : an individual who has left his or her native country and is unwilling or unable to return to it because of persecution or fear of persecution (as because of race, religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion)

evacuee - 1) A person evacuated from a dangerous area. 2)a person who has been evacuated from a dangerous place

This is directed to those journalists who don't seem to know the difference or who want to use the former term for pejorative effect.

They are evacuees. They haven't lost their country...yet.

Thursday, September 15

Who's writing the check?

Pres. Bush before the United Nations, says...

"Even with increased aid to fight disease and reform economies, many nations are held back by another heavy challenge: the burden of debt," (Pres. Bush) said. "So America and many nations have also acted to lift this burden that limits the growth of developing economies, and holds millions of people in poverty. Today, poor countries with the heaviest debt burdens are receiving more than $30 billion in debt relief. And to prevent the build-up of future debt, my country and other nations have agreed that international financial institutions should increasingly provide new aid in the form of grants, rather than loans."
The knee-jerk reaction of many individuals who have debt problems is to borrow against real property to "consolidate" the debt but the real wisdom is to change the borrowing habits of those caught in the cycle to break free. Instead of such common wisdom applied to nations, we're simply going to throw money in "relief" and grants to them to pull them out. After all, we're a huge debtor nation, and if we toss the money back and forth maybe nobody will notice the financial shell game we're playing. Maybe they could forgive the debt of those who've lost their homes in the gulf coast while they're at it. We're not overdrawn, we're just underdeposited. Can you say "US is bankrupt"?

Wednesday, September 14

Weighed, measured and found wanting

Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was declared unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge ruling in the second attempt by an atheist to have the pledge removed from classrooms. The man lost his previous battle before the U.S. Supreme Court

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." Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.
Between all the dangers of natural disasters, terrorist threats, a country rampant with crime and now the courts system it's time for people to take a stand, count the cost and risk losing everything for God and family. Judge Karlton, if we were to meet, I'd spit in your face. Freedom from a coercive requirement...indeed. Who will free us from your coercive rulings?

It is especially noteworthy that Karlton believed he was bound by precedent to rule it unconstitutional. Is there any wonder how future Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts will rule on gay rights or abortion based upon precedent. Just yesterday Roberts spoke of abortion rulings as 'settled as a precedent of the court'" The neocon sycophants over at AFA and these other pseudo-conservative activitist groups are serving up the same regurgitated pap about "we must support the president's choice." If they're still talking about the most important election in a generation during the next presidential election season I'm gonna hurl. Been there, done that, ain't doin' it no mo'.

Tuesday, September 13

Proverbs 27:15

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco lashed out at FEMA on Tuesday, complaining the agency is moving too slowly in recovering the bodies of those killed by Hurricane Katrina.
The dead "deserve more respect than they have received," she said at state police headquarters in Baton Rouge.
OK, Ms. Blanco, we'll get to that as soon as we're done cleaning the dishes, taking out the trash and putting the kids to bed in the Astrodome.
She's acting like a nagging housewife instead of a state executive. This is what happens when women are put in charge. Somebody tell this grandma to get back in the kitchen and bake a pie. Geesh.

Wrong to a fault

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts said Tuesday that the landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion was "settled as a precedent." He declined to answer specific questions about abortion and voting rights, citing cases he could face on the high court.

The heart of the abortion ruling is "settled as a precedent of the court, entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis," the concept that long-established rulings should be given extra weight, Roberts told the Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of his confirmation hearings.
I may do some research on this but my limited understanding of "stare decisis" is that it primarily applies to the appelate courts; that the Supreme Court can, and has the duty to, overrule stare decisis decisions.
Note also this comment from Mr. Roberts today...
"If particular precedents have proven to be unworkable, they don't lead to predictable results, they're difficult to apply, that's one factor supporting reconsideration..."
Essentially, the pragmatic approach to the rule of law. In the absence of absolutes, whatever works becomes the gauge by which a people can be governed. What about the fact that public opinion is against abortion. What about the fact that the abortion decision was just plain wrong, fabricated out of some non-existent, mystical right to privacy which the government routinely ignores for the sake of national security or some other whim. Isn't this "conservative judge" remarkable? All that talk yesterday about a government of laws and not of men was crap. He'll subvert what's left of the Constitution the first chance he gets.

Biting the hand that feeds

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says the hurricane-devastated city is bankrupt and is scrambling for loans to pay its employees through the end of the year.

However, Nagin was emphatic state and federal officials would not railroad through city reconstruction until it had passed city muster. "I don't want anybody outside of New Orleans planning nothing as it relates to how we're going to rebuild this city without us signing off on it," Nagin said.
What is it about beggars that people say they can't be? Take money from the Feds and be prepared to follow their guidelines and requirements. Apparently the good mayor hasn't realized that which many of his "less fortunate" constituents already know to be true.

Monday, September 12

St. Bernard Parish report grim

"When you go back to St. Bernard, the only memories you're going to have is what you left with," Parish President Henry "Junior" Rodriguez told a crowd in the House chamber that lined the walls, filled up the balcony and spilled down the stairs of the building. "When you go back, you won't recognize it," he told all residents.

For homes that may have been repairable after the waters receded, an oil spill at Murphy Oil in Meraux may have made them uninhabitable, officials warned. No one should expect to live in the parish again until next summer, according to Craig Taffaro, a parish councilman.

Despite estimates of a long recovery, officials said they hoped the community would rebuild and that residents would return. "You give us such hope. Please, please stay with us. We will come back again," said Judy Darby Hoffmeister, a member of the parish council.
My thinking is that this same sort of appeal is being played out throughout the greater New Orleans area. Those on the Mississippi gulf coast will go back. There's wasn't an environment devastated by floodwaters leaving stench and toxins on the land.
If St. Bernard is to ever get back to some semblance of the way it was before all this happened it'll take decades. I'd be curious to know how this all plays out "next summer", but for now Plaquemines, St. Bernard and Orleans parishes will see their people comfortably resigned to live elsewhere.

Sunday, September 11

N.O. water depth

This map gives approximate water depth experienced in the city. There were depths anywhere from 2 to 9 feet in the places that I'm more familiar with. It still grieves me.

Thursday, September 8

Beauvoir remembered

Then...


And now...

Patrick Hotard reacts to the distruction of Beauvoir caused by hurricane Katrina.


For all the years I lived in New Orleans and visited the gulf coast, I didn't visit Beauvoir until this past June. Maybe it was something of fate that I should visit it then. One last visit to the gulf coast and New Orleans before everything would change.
I don't believe in luck. Things happen for a reason. I'm still trying to come to grips with the reasons for this disaster. God has an eternal plan and somehow this fits into it, whether the devices of mankind cooperate with it or not. For now, it seems that Beauvoir, as well as several other cultural and historical landmarks, are gone or forever changed. Our history is left to books and memory, His-story is yet to be discovered.

Saturday, September 3

Ethnic Cleansing

“This land is your land & this land is my land—sure,but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway.” -Bob Dylan

What we're seeing in New Orleans is the ethnic cleansing of a culture. Yes, yes, I know this was an act of God; technology doesn't yet have the ability to generate and direct hurricanes, I assume. But what was allowed to happen by the hand of God was exacerbated by the hand of government. The ineptitude of Gov. Blanco and the willing delay and obstruction by FEMA and Director Brown brought about this cleansing. They all knew the levees would break and they waited for it to happen all the while knowing that an entire city would have to be relocated.

In the post 9/11 world, if we display such ineptitude and unpreparedness in response to an emergency that we know is coming, what does this say about our preparedness, or lack thereof, for an emergency we don't know is coming, such as a terrorist attack. I don't simply buy the line that these actions in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina demonstrate a bungling bureaucracy. More committees, more hearings, more accusations all to prove what. No, the timing of this "rescue" was by design just as much as the timing of the Waco seige was.

I was born and raised in New Orleans and still have, or perhaps the operative word is had, relatives who live there. I've known the community for years. The people there were a people accustomed to the area with an attachment to the culture. There was an attachment to the land. New Orleanians have a culture all their own.

They are scattered across the countryside now and many, if not most of them, will be assimilated into the societies of other cities and towns. New Orleans exists no more and it will never be the city it once was because government didn't protect its people.