Coburn amendment goes down
82 members of the US Senate decided that it was inappropriate to cut back pork spending in the face of a heavy hurricane season and rising deficits. Only 15 thought it was appropriate. Since the Republicans have 55 seats that does not sound to me like a group that wants to be thought of as fiscally conservative. Powerline has the money quote from Alaska Senator Ted Stevens:
I've been here now almost 37 years. This is the first time I have seen any attempt of any senator to treat my state in a way different from any other state.
I don't kid people. If the Senate decides ... to take money from our state, I will resign from this body.
And John's follow up point...
When Stevens talks about treating Alaska differently from any other state, he isn't referring to the astonishing amount of federal money that is spent there. No, his definition of "treating differently" is subjecting his own pork requests to any rational scrutiny.
And when Stevens talks about "taking money from" Alaska, he means deciding not to spend $220 million to build a bridge for the benefit of 50 people. This statement, by a Republican Senator, is analogous to claims by liberals that when taxes are cut, the federal government is giving money to the rich.
Now for those of you (and that presumably includes most of the Senate) who are mathematically challenged, $220M / 50 people = $4.4M / person. How about we just give each person who lives on the island $1M tax free and call it a day?
Balco Exec found guilty
The CEO of Balco, Victor Conte, pleaded guilty to selling illegal drugs to sports figures. These were "performance enhancing" drugs and not "reality altering" drugs, but controlled illegal substances none the less. He got 4 months in prison and Barry Bonds trainer got 3 months. What would they have gotten if they were selling, oh, say, heroine or cocaine or ecstasy? The feds want to put grandma in jail for longer than that for smoking a joint for her glaucoma. The Reuters article
does not make it clear if this is a problem of law or an insane judge. Remember that these idiots ruined baseball for millions of little boys (and little boys at heart).
Also not mentioned, much to my chagrin, is whether Conte and his deputy will be allowed to continue being involved in the drug business. Conte owns the company so he won't be fired. Will federal law allow a guy convicted on selling drugs illegally to continue to run a drug company?
Texas vs. Louisianna on hurricane behaviour
has a theory on TX/LA looting. I grant you that it is not an original theory, but she found an interesting picture to illustrate it (below). As a child I often saw signs in small businesses in rural areas reading "This establishment guarded 3 nights a week by a 12 guage shotgun... you guess which 3".
I also got the following in an email from a friend that I thought was worth posting and emailing to everyone I know it TX.
2 States, 22 Observations
Things noticed while watching media coverage of the recent hurricanes.
1a. Texas: Productive industrious state run by Republicans.
1b. Louisiana: Government dependent welfare state run by Democrats.
2a. Texas: Residents take responsibility to protect and evacuate themselves.
2b. Louisiana: Residents wait for government to protect and evacuate them.
3a. Texas: Local and state officials take responsibility for protecting their citizens and property.
3b. Louisiana: Local and state officials blame federal government for not protecting their citizens and property.
4a. Texas: Command and control remains in place to preserve order.
4b. Louisiana: Command and control collapses allowing lawlessness.
5a. Texas: Law enforcement officers remain on duty to protect city.
5b. Louisiana: Law enforcement officers desert their posts to protect themselves.
6a. Texas: Local police watch for looting.
6b. Louisiana: Local police participate in looting.
7a. Texas: Law and order remains in control, 8 looters tried it, 8 looters arrested.
7b. Louisiana: Anarchy and lawlessness breaks out, looters take over city, no arrests, criminals with guns have to be shot by federal troops.
8a. Texas: Considerable damage caused by hurricane.
8b. Louisiana: Considerable damage caused by looters.
9a. Texas: Flood barriers hold preventing cities from flooding.
9b. Louisiana: Flood barriers fail due to lack of maintenance allowing city to flood.
10a. Texas: Orderly evacuation away from threatened areas, few remain.
10b. Louisiana: 25,000 fail to evacuate, are relocated to another flooded area.
11a. Texas: Citizens evacuate with personal 3 day supply of food and water.
11b. Louisiana: Citizens fail to evacuate with 3 day supply of food and water, do without it for the next 4 days.
12a. Texas: FEMA brings in tons of food and water for evacuees. State officials provide accessible distribution points.
12b. Louisiana: FEMA brings in tons of food and water for evacuees. State officials prevent citizens from reaching distribution points and vice versa.
13a. Texas: Media cannot find poor blacks in need of assistance, looking for something else to blame on Bush.
13b. Louisiana: Media focuses on poor blacks in need of assistance, blames Bush.
14a. Texas: Coastal cities suffer some infrastructure damage, Mayors tell residents to stay away until ready for repopulation, no interference from federal officials.
14b. Louisiana: New Orleans is destroyed, Mayor asks residents to return home as another hurr icane approaches, has to be overruled by federal officials.
15a. Texas: 24 killed in bus accident on highway during evacuation, no storm related deaths.
15b. Louisiana: Over 400 killed by storm, flooding and crime.
16a. Texas: Jailed prisoners are relocated to other detention facilities outside the storm area.
16b. Louisiana: Jailed prisoners are set free to prey on city shops, residents, and homes.
17a. Texas: Local and state officials work with FEMA and Red Cross in recovery operations.
17b. Louisiana: Local and state officials obstruct FEMA and Red Cross from aiding in recovery operations.
18a. Texas: Local and state officials demonstrate leadership in managing disaster areas.
18b. Louisiana: Local and state officials fail to demonstrate leadership, require federal government to manage disaster areas.
19a. Texas: Fuel deliveries can't keep up with demand, some run out of gas on highway, need help from fuel tankers before storm arrives.
19b. Louisiana: Motorists wait till storm hits and electrical power fails. Cars run out of gas at gas stations that cannot pump gas. Gas in underground tanks mixes with flood waters.
20a. Texas: Mayors move citizens out of danger.
20b. Louisiana: Mayor moves himself and family to Dallas.
21a. Texas: Mayors continue public service announcements and updates on television with Governor's backing and support.
21b. Louisiana: Mayor cusses, governor cries, senator threatens president with violence on television, none of them have a clue what went wrong or who is responsible.
22a. Texas: Republican Senator says "when you call 911, the phone doesn't ring in Washington, it rings here at the local responders".
22b. Louisiana: Democratic Senator says FEMA was slow in responding to 911 calls from Louisiana citizens.