Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Further Thought on Charities Are for Suckers

So Adrienne Aldredge, guest blogger over at The Agitator, discusses the lunacy of columnist Ted Rall. Mr. Rall's latest column bemoans the generosity of Americans towards non-profit relief groups and its negative effect on government efficiency.

If there's an argument to make against giving to charity it's that it serves as a huge neon sign advertising that the American people have more money available for taxation.

Daily Banter

My comments around the blogosphere

Stop the ACLU: ACLU Upset Over Background Checks Of Hurricane Evacuees

Cao's Blog: Untitled

Houston We Have A Problem

I've tried, twice, to post a response to Cao's lengthy, yet off topic, response to my earlier question of: If Islam is the true enemy what should our policy be considering there are over one billion Muslims in the world spread across multiple nations on mutliple continents? For some reason neither response has appeared in the comments section. Perhaps my posts were too long and therefore require review and Cao simply hasn't had a chance to get to them. Nevertheless, below is the second of the two posts I attempted since I did not think to save the first one. Hopefully Cao will come to visit and we can continue our discussion.

Here is the post in its entirety:

[I tried posting a similar response last night but it simply disappeared. Perhaps it is held for review and you simply haven't had a chance to get to it. But just in case, I have rewritten my response.]

You're right, I did not listen to all three parts. They are quite long and I do not have the time right now to sit at my computer and listen to them all. I should have time this weekend but by then this post will be in your archives and, well, out of sight out of mind.

Your responses are always well supported which is unique in the blogosphere so I do applaud you for that. However, you have spent a great deal of time and effort defending yourself against an argument I have not made.

At no time have I disagreed with your position regarding the Islamic world as a clear and present danger. You have made assumptions regarding my position presumably because of my response to the red crescent and my inquiry regarding how you would deal with over one billion Muslims. But such positions and inquiries do not necessarily develop into a weak-kneed view of the danger posed by the Islamic world, or as you have charged, a politically correct agenda. You have fallen into the trap of turning assumptions into facts. As proof, I have not offered nor have you asked for my view regarding Islam and the danger it poses. Though your responses are interesting and insightful, I would prefer ones that were on point.

In the time and space you have devoted to defending a position I have not challenged you could have easily summarized Michael Graham's suggested course of action which you claim reflects your own. As I said above, I should have time to listen to the last two clips this weekend but, for the purposes of discussion, I would appreciate a summary of your own thoughts.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Daily Banter

My comments around the blogosphere.

Stop The ACLU: Court of Appeals Rules OK for Detainment of Enemy Combatant

Cao's Blog: Form Has Meaning

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Daily Banter


I've spent the last few days volunteering at various shelters around the Houston area.

Few things I've learned:

1. The Red Cross is highly skilled at "getting the word out" but they're largely unorganized when it comes to implementation. Why is this? It's because the media can be handled by a few people. How many people does it take to notify television and radio that supplies and volunteers are needed? Maybe a small handful? Implementation, on the other hand, takes an army and the Red Cross suffers from poor planning and weak leadership in its Houston chapter. Obviously the Red Cross eventually got the job done because the evacuees received the food, the shelter, the clothing, and the medical attention they needed. It is clear these goods came as a result of the Red Cross, but the chaotic setup and implementation of these goods and services did not speak well for the Red Cross's management skills. An organziation with a history of handling crisis situations should be more organized and unified. As the government learns from this tragedy, I hope the Red Cross does as well.

2. Even if race or class played a part in the government's initial missteps, it has played no part in the relief effort going on in Houston. A majority of the volunteers are middle to upper class white folks and those who aren't white are still, primarily, middle to upper class minorities.

3. Local radio talk show hosts can't help but focus on controversy. This article from the New York Times raised a few eyebrows here in Houston but I say it's right on the money. Houston will experience some financial growth due to the hurricane. So what? Would it be better that the business just evaporated? Would it be better to have foreigners come in and do this work or have the port traffic diverted from New Orleans to Los Angeles? Houstonians, especially morning radio talk show hosts with declining listenerships, should not be so easily upset by the truth.

4. I've never been more surprised by a politician than I have been by our mayor, Bill White. He is one goofy bastard but that's why we elected him. Before Bill White, we had a corrupt absentee mayor who thought it was more productive to be on goodwill missions in Australia then here in the city. Mayor White is a dork, but a dork is what we need. He's a savvy business man who knows how to manage large organizations and, most importantly, he knows when to speak up and he knows when to keep his mouth shut. Far too many politicians think it important to put their opinions out there regarding the hurricane response, or lack thereof. Mayor White has not said one word and rightfully so. He has no horse in that race and adding his opinion serves no purpose other than hearing himself repeated on the news. Bravo to our mayor who has helped orchestrate the largest evacuation effort in the history of the United States. And bravo to him for focusing on his own domain and staying out of fights that don't concern him or the city of Houston. For this alone he deserves reelection.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Daily Banter

Liberty Belles: It Was Inevitable

If This Is The Plan....

How can a city sitting on the coast, below sea-level, whose major transportation arteries all travel mere feet above water or through low areas, consider this type of situation unforeseeable?

How can the Superintendent of Police, Edwin Compass, complain that there was no contingency plan in place for an event like this? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the danger a major hurricane would have on the city. Why doesn't the New Orleans Director of Homeland Security, Col. Terry Ebberts, have water vehicles (large trucks, skimmers, boats, jet skis, etc.) at his disposal? Surely Homeland Security can access the lists of registered water vehicles and commandeer them in time of need as they commandeered those buses paid for by tourists stuck in a New Orleans hotel.

The devastation to New Orleans was not unforeseeable. What was unforeseeable is the inept response of those in charge.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


In adding Haloscan to this blog I lost all three comments from my first post. I'm sure Gribbit will be horribly upset by this so I wanted to explain the situation. If he wishes to repost his critiques he is more than welcome.

UPDATE: Okay, so I've never claimed to be a computer genius. I figured out how to implement the trackback feature while preserving those three important comments. All is well in the world.

Daily Banter

If I Don't See It Then It Must Not Have Happened

I've seen quite a few complaints on conservative blogs about the lack of foreign expressions of sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. A quick search on Google News using keywords 'Katrina', 'foreign', and 'support', resulted in 313 articles.

You can view the results here.

Similarly, a quick visit to the websites of foreign embassies and news sources revealed the following:

Britain Sends its Sympathies to the Victims of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina: Germany Ready to Help
Press article about Iranian sympathies
From Moscow News
Venezuela Offers Fuel, Food to Hurricane-hit US

I don't know if these complaints stem from pushing a particular agenda, or because these bloggers simply aren't doing their homework. Either way, I hope this helps in dismissing these false notions.

Show Me The Money

Given the Feds foolish decision on this, is there not an argument they should compensate victims for this?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Reporting from a War Zone

The most compelling writing on the ground campaign in Iraq. Period.

Michael Yon: Online Magazine

Friday, August 19, 2005

399 B.C. & Modern American Political Discourse

This post is for Gribbit at

He insists I have my own blog in order to comment on his posts. Apparently it is common for people to get outraged by Gribbit's postings and call him names (and if you read his posts you will understand the source of their passion) as that is the only reason I can think of for his stubborness on the matter. He is very firm in his dislike of anyone who puts their own minds to work to develop thoughtful responses to his musings. It can be inferred from Gribbit's last posting to me that any comment contrary to his position is a personal attack since he has failed, despite my prompting, to point to an instance of rude or disparaging comments in my first posting directed towards him or his blog. I simply challenged him with questions to clarify his position.

Apparently Gribbit, despite my attempts to point out how his zero-tolerance policy is ridiculous as most zero-tolerance policies are, is adament that a service provided by Yahoo! to SBC's DSL customers known as AddressGuard is an absolute indication of my being a troll or drive-by commenter. The fact that I do not wish to divulge my main email address to him or anyone else I do not know personally is a great offense to him. I do apologize for offending his sensibilities though a simple email sent to the address I have repeatedly provided to him, and used in other posts on the same blog (written by other contributors), would have proven that it is, in fact, a working email address that dumps into my main account. The address guard is simply a way to prevent spam on my main account which cannot be changed unless I wish to go through severe hassle -- which by the way, I don't. My comments to Gribbit's post were not the first on that blog, nor will they be the last. I have had many discussions with other contributors on the blog and I'm sure if he asked them they would tell Mr. Gribbit (I'm assuming you are a he) that I have conducted myself in an intelligent and polite way despite the fact that I may disagree with the contributor and they with me.

In conclusion, I would sympathize with Mr. Gribbit's position more if I had made inflammatory comments about him personally or if I had not provided a working email adress or if I signed my posts anonymously or with a moniker. Most trolls do not sign their posts with anything remotely related to their real name. I, on the other hand, sign all my posts Mark S. Hardly a sign of someone hiding to avoid backlash or accountability. I simply wish to hold on to some privacy -- I'm sure you can understand GRIBBIT.

But alas, I have given in to your demands and formed my own blog -- though you will notice I am still using a mailguard to help reduce spam. If that still eliminates me from conducting a rational and calm debate with you regarding your posts, then so be it. I hope you will see this as a compromise and we can begin to address your post entitled, " Communist History of the Most Dangerous Organization In America."