Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A freshman perspective

posted by Rob at 3:17 PM

Nice op-ed in today's student newspaper at Appalachian State. I'm not sure what depresses me more, though. That so many of her classmates hate this country, or that the point of her column is so obvious it shouldn't need to be written. You can read it here.

Some excerpts:
Recently in one of my classes, my professor asked, “How many students think America sucks?” I was appalled by the response: over half of the class raised their hand. ...

In Africa, more than 25 million people are living with AIDS, which is 24 million more than North America. People in most Sub-Saharan African countries do not receive any kind of health care assistance. In the United States, a hospital cannot refuse emergency care to anyone, whether they can pay or not. ...

Despite the occasional litterbug, this is one of the most sanitary countries on the planet. In India, cows roam the streets freely creating animal waste that often goes ignored. Most people do not even have running water.

We have trash collection services, proper biochemical waste disposal and water treatment plants that maintain a clean water source for all who live here.

The unemployment rate in America is under 5 percent and is actually dropping, not rising. In Germany, the rate is almost three times higher than ours.

These days, any willing person can go to college. Financial aid is available to those who cannot afford to pay tuition, meaning that if you want to, you can get a degree.
Odd that I would read this the same day Matt Laurer softballs a teacher caught preaching America hate in class, such as:
Do you see how when, you know, when you're looking at this definition, where does it say anything about capitalism is an economic system that will provide everyone in the world with the basic needs that they need? Is that a part of this system? Do you see how this economic system is at odds with humanity? At odds with caring and compassion? It's at odds with human rights.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Note to Chris Matthews

posted by Rob at 3:11 PM

Even though Bush's trip to Pakistan was little different than President Clinton's, Chris Matthews sees the former's trip as being "extraordinary." Here's how he "played" Hardball last week:
Matthews: "But he's coming in like a drug dealer. I mean, having to sneak in like that, with the lights off, with the windows slammed shut on the plane. Is this a security question, really, or is it a problem of that government? Is it a problem that within the security service in Pakistan there are people out to hurt the President?"
Then this:
Matthews then turned to Gergen to opine on "what message this sends to the people of Pakistan. They know how the President's coming in over there. Guess what, the leader of the greatest nation in the world, our ally in the war against terrorism, had to sneak into the country last night by cover of night."

Friday, March 03, 2006

The view from India

posted by Rob at 4:59 PM

My post below inspired a lengthy comment from D.Rajesh, Bangalore, India. He makes several interesting points.

An excerpt:
The point about the Indian protest was that it has got nothing to do with common Indian people.

The core protester group:

1. Communist - No comments about followers of Stalin and Lenin. Guess who their best friends are ?? Kim-Il-Sung, Castro, Iranian Mullahs, etc...
An old Tamil (my mother tongue) saying is that one is known by his friends...

2. Radical and moderate Muslims groups - Although most of the Indian Muslim population are docile a small section still live in 7th century and look towards Arabian Muslim culture for everything. The problem is that a small section of 150 million is still a big number. Do not feel ashamed or sorry if these guys burn American Flags of effigies of G.B. You cannot expect anything better from them than this.

3. Politicians - There is one huge crooked gang of politicians in India whose single agenda apart from looting the country is to try to get the Muslim votes by any method. If needed they will go to Mecca, renounce their religion (most of them are Hindus), pander to Islamic terrorists in the name of negotiations, just to get those minority votes. Mr. Bush has offered these morons a great opportunity to show to the Muslims as to how they care about them. We in India call this as Pseudo secularism.

4. General crowd – Just announce a meeting anywhere in India with a few known faces, you certainly will get a big crowd. The general crowd comes to see what’s all this about. Have some entertainment watching this entire ruckus and back home without knowing what this is all about.

5. Intellectuals – We have this unique breed in India, 99.5% of whom are communist sympathizers and who love to hate USA on just about any matter. Over the years they somehow have squeezed themselves into the media, and all other opinion making forums and sound their drum against anything that is done to help the poor by the way of liberalizing trades, cutting the red tape etc. They get angry when things start improving in a way that has not been advocated by Marx or Lenin etc. For these intellectual giants this is just not possible. They prefer to look away and blatantly spread misinformation about things that do not fall in the line of their intellectual dogma.

As one can see none of the above groups represent India. These are simply backward looking people who just give importance only to their own ego and faith. One end of the spectrum of such groups are the communists and in the other end the Islamists. Both are dogmatic and unwilling to accept anything even if the facts are spread before them.
Interesting points. I find it interesting in just how easy it is to manipulate national and international media to accept as a "national message" the beliefs of a small minority of people. I've known that was the case in the US. It's interesting to read how savy the political groups are in India.

About those Bush protests in India

posted by Rob at 10:25 AM

I got into another verbal debate with my closest friend over - as usual - President Bush. My friend is of the opinion that Bush is one of our worst presidents because the world hates us now more than ever. He quoted the day's news as evidence.

He pointed to the reported protests which greeted Bush as he visited India this week. He compared that reception to the photo of former President Clinton during his visit there in 2000, during which at one point he was showered with rose petals.

A quick Google search led me to this article by a communist publication:
At every turn in President Bill Clinton's tour of India and Bangladesh, there were protesters there to challenge him. Only in Pakistan, where the military government banned all protests, were there no demonstrations.

Days of student actions led up to Clinton's March 20 visit to Bangladesh. On March 14, protesters burned an effigy of Clinton in front of the U.S. embassy. On the day Clinton arrived, police attacked the demonstrators, injuring at least 15.
A CNN report backs up the details:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE INDIAN: We are here to burn the effigy of Bill Clinton, number one, because he represents the unholy trinity of IMF, World Bank, and WTO, he represents the domination of the multinational corporations in the world, he represents a cultural onslaught on our people and on our culture. And, therefore, we feel threatened by his arrival here in this country.

BINDRA: Most of these demonstrators are workers and farmers. They say Clinton represents the agenda of large U.S. multinationals and does not understand the poor. Others in this country of one billion people disagree. They say Clinton will bring jobs and investment to a region where more than 350 million people still live on less than one U.S. dollar a day.
Back to the present. Yes, there have been large protests against Bush in India. Guess who is behind them. Average citizens of India? Nope.

Communists (emphasis mine):
Left leaders say they are not embarrassing the Indian government, which has invited Bush. "It is the people of India who will be embarrassed because of the presence of Bush," D. Raja, deputy leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI), told IANS. ...

With the Left, which holds 62 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha, and the Samajwadi Party pledging to protest any speech by Bush, the government does not want the US president to address parliament. Unlike during Bill Clinton's visit, when the Left parties merely boycotted a joint session of parliament he addressed, the Reds are determined to make a noise if Bush speaks in the house.
So communists, a political minoirty in India, hate Bush. They also hated Clinton. They just weren't as loud then.

There's also this nugget buried in an AP report:
Dozens of protests have been planned by Islamic leaders and communist politicians.

While Bush remains more popular in India than he is in many other countries, some here object to U.S. policies, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. India, an overwhelmingly Hindu nation of more than 1 billion people, has the world's second-largest population of Muslims.
Enough about how India feels about Bush. What about Pakistan? How did Bush's visit there this week differ from Clinton's trip back in 2000? Well, for one, Bush was actually able to let people know he was there:
Bush's trip comes six years after President Clinton visited amid elaborate security: After switching planes in India, Clinton flew to Islamabad aboard an unmarked executive jet, behind another plane dressed up as Air Force One.
CNN reported this morning (I can't find a link online) that Air Force One would land in Pakistan with Bush and his wife on board.

I am not criticizing Clinton for taking prudent measures. I'm just comparing the difference in their visits. Clinton had to sneak in. Bush let everyone know he was there (must be the cowboy in him).

Another difference is that apparently there is now no ban on protests. There has also been a murder of an American:
A nationwide strike called by Islamist parties paralysed Pakistan on Friday ahead of the arrival of U.S. President George W. Bush a day after a suicide car bomber killed an American diplomat and two other people. ...

White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters in India that Bush's visit to Pakistan, a nation shown by polls to be among the most anti-American in the world, was not risk-free.
They didn't just hate Clinton or now hate Bush. They hate Americans. Doesn't matter who.

I admit there are some parts of the world less than happy with Bush for making tough and unpopular decisions. But I have yet to see much evidence that those who hate us now didn't hate us eight years ago when another guy was in office.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Shame on CNN

posted by Rob at 4:08 PM

This is just sad on so many levels. CNN.com has posted an article regarding the death of a grandfather. He died from a heartattack brought on by the news that seven of his grandchildren died in a huge vehicle wreck.

This portion of the article made me shake my head at the so-called reputable news network (emphasis mine):
William Scott, who was 62, The Associated Press reported, died at his home. (Watch as news of the deaths proved to be unbearable -- 1:18)
WTF? Would video of the 9/11 attacks be hyped as "Watch as people become emotionally devestated as thousands die -- 2:45" or video of the West Virginia miners "Watch as wife, children cry when told husband, father is dead -- :45."

Hey CNN .. how about a copyeditor with heart?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why are they surprised?

posted by Rob at 8:20 AM

Interesting article in the New York Times regarding a student "anti-war" group and the attention the may have received from the federal government. You can read it here.

Long story short, some students at the University of California weren't happy with military recruiters appearing on campus. Doing their best impersonation of a terrorist cell, they planned an attack. It included strategy sessions, spys, a communication network, threats, vandelism and possible injury. Months later, the group discovered it is on a government watch list. Now the members are mad and crying:
"One reaction was, 'Gosh, I wonder if we're doing something right?' " Professor Crosby said. "Another reaction was it's a waste of taxpayer money. What are we a threat to?"
So let me get this straight. Students audition for the role of villian in "24" season 6, then get pissed when the real CTU starts tracking them. What did they really expect?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

That's a big "IF"

posted by Rob at 8:22 AM

The Drudge Report has a red-headlined (ie. EVERY ONE OF MY MILLIONS OF READERS CLICK ON THIS NOW) report saying "NSA Whistleblower Alleges Illegal Spying; Former Employee Admits to Being a NEW YORK TIMES Source..."

The link goes to an ABCNews.com report on "Russell Tice, a longtime insider at the National Security Agency, is now a whistleblower the agency would like to keep quiet."

As expected, the report is a bit hyperactive with regard to the threat the Bush administartion has imposed on democracy via wiretaps. This portion of the report caught my eye (emphasis mine):
President Bush has admitted that he gave orders that allowed the NSA to eavesdrop on a small number of Americans without the usual requisite warrants.

But Tice disagrees. He says the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions if the full range of secret NSA programs is used.
Notice it does not say the program has been used, is being used, or is planned to be used. Complaining of the potential misuse of a program's full range seems to me to be akin to harassing General Motors for making cars with speedometers that go past 100 mph when the highest legal speed anywhere in the U.S. is 65 mph.

Tice appears to love the word "IF", as evidenced by this interview he had with the left-leaning NPR program "Democracy Now" (emphasis mine):
AMY GOODMAN: What about the telecoms, the telecommunications corporations working with the Bush administration to open up a back door to eavesdropping, to wiretapping?

RUSSELL TICE: If that was done and, you know, I use a big “if” here, and, remember, I can't tell you what I know of how N.S.A. does its business, but I can use the wiggle words like “if” and scenarios that don't incorporate specifics, but nonetheless, if U.S. gateways and junction points in the United States were used to siphon off information, I would think that the corporate executives of these companies need to be held accountable, as well, because they would certainly also know that what they're doing is wrong and illegal. And if they have some sort of court order or some sort of paper or something signed from some government official, Congress needs to look at those papers and look at the bottom line and see whose signature is there. And these corporations know that this is illegal, as well. So everyone needs to be held accountable in this mess.

So either due to ignornace or some adherence to national secuirty concerns, Tice cuts loose on a "what if" scenerio that ends in what Congress "needs" to do.

Then, later in that same interview, Tice says "they" are out to get him. Notice the use of the words "I thought":

AMY GOODMAN: Do you expect you are being monitored, surveilled, wiretapped right now?

RUSSELL TICE: Yes, I do. As a matter of fact, in – you know, sometimes you just don't know. And being, you know -- what they’ve basically accused me of, I can't just walk around thinking that everybody is looking at my heels and are following me around. But in one scenario I turned the tables on someone I thought was following me, and he ducked into a convenience store, and I just walked down there -- and I saw him out of my peripheral vision -- and I basically walked down to where he ducked into and in the store, I walked up behind him. He was buying a cup of coffee, and he had a Glock on his hip and his F.B.I. badge. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out what was going on there.

Mulder - I mean, Tice - has more rambling, and I do mean ramblings. He doesn't cite any specific cases of what he lays out (emphasis mine):

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of the term “police state”?

RUSSELL TICE: Well, anytime where you have a situation where U.S. citizens are being arrested and thrown in jail with the key being thrown away, you know, potentially being sent overseas to be tortured, U.S. citizens being spied on, you know, and it doesn't even go to the court that deals with these secret things, you know, I mean, think about it, you could have potentially somebody getting the wrong phone call from a terrorist and having him spirited away to some back-alley country to get the rubber hose treatment and who knows what else. I think that would kind of qualify as a police state, in my judgment.

I certainly hope that Congress or somebody sort of does something about this, because, you know, for Americans just to say, ‘Oh, well, we have to do this because, you know, because of terrorism,’ you know, it’s the same argument that we used with communism years ago: take away your civil liberties, but use some threat that's, you know, been out there for a long time.

Again, he says Congress should do something "about this," though he gives no concrete example of exactly what "this" is.

Back to the ABC report, toward the end there's this - "The NSA revoked Tice's security clearance in May of last year based on what it called psychological concerns and later dismissed him." He sure sounds as if he has issues with reality.

I hope he does testify before Congress. I'd be interested in his reponses in a less sympathetic setting.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Fisking another Puff Host Idiot

posted by Rob at 3:17 PM

Sorry for the harshness of the headline, but there really is no better way to describe this waste of time and eye strain written by Bob Burnett. It's beyond tasteful and quite indefensible, which is why it fits in so well at the Puff Host.

It's headline - A New Years' Resolution - Resist Facism

Let the literary bowel movement commence!
The Declaration of Independence reads, “The history of [King George 3] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” 230 years later we’re in a similar plight with would-be King George 43. It’s our turn to throw off the yoke of tyranny, to resist the rise of fascism.

The Bush Administration is inexorably becoming a totalitarian regime, where dissent is suppressed and the populace cowed by repressive controls. In Fascism Anyone? Laurence Britt lists 14 characteristics of fascist governments.
First off, a severe nitpick. Burnett's bio says he has a "second career as a journalist." Any real journalist knows that, according to the AP Stylebook, "Spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence." Geez.

It's also rather sad that Burnett goes from a founding document to a book written by an admitted Bush hater. I have no problem with Bush haters per se, but it's odd that someone who did business with the Soviet Union (until the Russian Mafia "knocked off" his customers) would suddenly hint that the U.S. is nearing fascism.

Nevertheless, Burnett begins to list the 14 characteristics and attempts to show evidence that Bush is evil.
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
President Bush gives his carefully orchestrated speeches to military audiences in arenas covered with patriotic symbols. His text is loaded with jingoistic phrases, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” “To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor.” His Administration argues that dissenters are unpatriotic, advocates of “surrender.”
I'm not sure what the phrase "carefully orchestrated speeches" is supposed to convey, other than to let the reader know that Burnett prefers ad-libbed, public access style speeches. I'm also unsure what is wrong with the "jingoistic phrases." The former is a bit heavy handed, but the latter simply underscores the value of completing the mission of helping Iraq create a peaceful government.

As for evidence that "dissenters are unpatriotic," it'd be nice is there was some ... um ... evidence presented of such. Burnett can link to a book by a Bush hater, but not an Adminstration quote saying anyone is unpatriotic.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
The Bush Administration has the worst human rights record of any Presidency in the past 100 years. Bush authorized torture and illegal eavesdropping on civilians. He abandoned the Geneva conventions and suspended basic rights for those designated as “enemy combatants.”
Bush helped free two countries from cruel dictorial powers. His policies have arguably forced Syria from Lebannon and a revolution in Ukraine. Israel - for better or for worse - has made true sacrifices for peace.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Muslims and Jews to live as they please without violence, the media celebrates movies on homosexual love, women are increasing filling college campuses, and, if I wanted, I could buy an airline tickets to almost any location in the world and go there now. (Quick - name five countries whose residents can express similar sentiments).

Burnett ignores all that and whines instead about the definition of "enemy combatants" without - again - offering no links or evidence to support his contention. Of course, for the Bush haters, no such evidence is needed because that complaint has been repeated ad naseum for years so of course everyone knows what he's talking about. (More on this phenomenon later).
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
After 9/11, President Bush used the struggle against Al Qaeda as an excuse to expand executive authority and pass the Patriot Act. The White House manufactured a climate of fear to convince Americans that the invasion of Iraq was in the national interest. For many, our “enemy” gradually changed from Al Qaeda to fundamentalist Muslims and then to “Arabs,” in general.
I'm not sure where Burnett is going with this. He neglects to mention that Congress, not Bush, passed the Patriot Act (which Democrats love to bash but fear not extending).

And did the White House really create a climate of fear? I'm pretty sure the video of tall buildings collapsing, the Pentagon smoking and a crater smoldering has power a generic 30-second political spot during "King of the Hill" does not.

As for the last senetence - again unsupported by any evidence - I remind you that "Two days after the 9/11 attacks a Washington Post poll found 78 percent of Americans thought it likely that Saddam 'was personally involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks.'"

Since polls rule the world, how can Bush be blamed for what people automatically believed?
4. Supremacy of the military/ avid militarism
While terrorism experts felt that the fight against Al Qaeda would require joint diplomatic, financial, intelligence, military, and police operations, the Bush Administration focused solely on the military. The White House painted anti-war voices as unpatriotic, appeasers.
"Solely on the military"? WTF was this - "President Freezes Terrorists' Assets"

or this - "Polish troops to stay until Iraqi polls"

or this - "Australia sending more Iraq troops"

or this - "Bush Meets With Muslim Leaders"

Does Burnett even bother researching an accusation before asserting it?
5. Rampant sexism
The Bush Administration glorifies the culture of “machismo.” Their policies treat women as second-class citizens – they intend to repeal Title IX. They are against contraception, as well as abortion. They are militantly homophobic.
WTF No. 2? Condi Rice. Karen Hughes. Harriet Meirs. His mom. Jessica Lynch.

How many more women in Afghanistan go to school now compared to 1999? How many Iraqi women have been raped openly by government officials since 2001? When was abortion prohibited by law?

Burnett ignores all that. Instead he frets over a more-than-two-year-old story regarding the forced creation of sports teams for female college students.
6. A controlled mass media
Under the direction of Karl Rove, the Bush propaganda machine has been relentless. They subscribe to the maxim, “A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.” Aided by Fox News and the ubiquitous conservative talk net the Administration has ceaselessly fed the electorate the Orwellian Party line - “war is peace”, “ignorance is strength.”
Bush lied. Bush doesn't care about black people. Bush is Hitler. War for Oil. Fahrenheit 9/11. Manchurian Candidate. Syriana. Sweet Neo-Con. Barbara Streisand. Dan Rather. MSNBC. The New York Times.

Need I say more?
7. Obsession with national security
This Administration has been the most secretive in recent memory. It hides vital information from Congress. Through executive privilege, restriction of the Freedom of Information Act, and unwarranted security classification, the White House restricts public access to vital information.
Again no evidence to what he is exactly accusing or trying to say. What exactly does he mean by "most secretive in recent memory." How would the Clinton presidency compare, with its endless court battles on executive privileges? How about Nixon? Hell, JKF was a walking drug cocktail plugging anything non-male. Did we know anything about that in real time?

Actually, Burnett begins with a assertion on national security but whines about executive privileges. I guess he's never read up on Separation of Powers.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
The Bush Administration allied with Christian Fundamentalists. Jimmy Carter characterized their creed, “Since I am aligned with God, I am superior and my beliefs should prevail, and anyone who disagrees with me is inherently wrong.”
Reagan was arguably closer to religious folk than W. Were the '80s a time of rampant facsism? And didn't I just mention that Bush met with Muslin leaders, and all escaped un-converted? And what did Clinton enjoy carrying when photographers were nearby?
9. Power of corporations protected
The Bush Administration changed tax laws to raise corporate profits and reduced oversight to increase their power. As a result, most of the proceeds from an improving economy have gone to corporations, executives, and shareholders.
And what do "corporations, executives, and shareholders" do with that money? Stuff it in mattresses? Light cigars? Or do they buy things, which creates demand for products and services, which creates jobs, which creates more taxpayers, which creates more tax revenue.

Consider what the TaxProf has to say. (Note to Burnett - this is called a link. It directs the reader to evidence or perspective on a point just made).
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
The last five years have been the most difficult for organized labor since the beginning of the U.S. labor movement. In the private sector, less than 8 percent of workers are unionized.
Yes. Bask in the glory of unions and their great deeds these past five years. All hail unions. And when you get a chance, tell me what percentage of union members are in the private sector. That'd be nice to know.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
The Bush Administration is anti-intellectual and anti-science: supporting “intelligent design”, restricting stem-cell research, and rebuking findings on Global climate change. Recently, it tried to subvert the Public Broadcast System.
So, inversely, anti-intellectuals (morons?) support "intelligent design" and are skepticial of stem-cell promises and human-created climate change. In other words, if you don't agree with Burnett you're dumb. (Hint - that's why people Burnett supports lose elections).
12. Obsession with crime and punishment
George Bush espouses a dualistic, fundamentalist view of the world – The US is good while others are evil. As a result, he has ordered harsh treatment of suspects and prisoners captured in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Compared to most countries and their policies, the U.S. sure as hell is good. Is Burnett hinting that it's not? He'd better re-read fascism characteristic No. 1!
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
In 2005, numerous instances of Bush Administration corruption were revealed: Presidential adviser Scooter Libby and House czar Tom Delay indicted. The appointment of Mike “Brownie” Brown as director of FEMA was an example of cronyism, at its worst.
Indictments are not verdicts. Delay's very well might be thrown out of court. Libby's indictment was a random byproduct of a pointless investigation. Brown oversaw many hurricane relief efforts with little complaint until Katrina, when Bush haters ravaged the coast for evidence that Bush didn't care for the poor or blacks.

And how exactly does any of these three "numerous instances" reflect on the Bush Administration? Libby may be a rotten apple, but Delay is in Congress and Brown was not accused of corruption, just incompetence.
14. Fraudulent elections
Suspicions persist that the 2000 presidential election (in particular) was stolen through a Machiavellian series of maneuvers in Florida, and other states.
Suspicions also persist that the 1960 presidential election (in particular) was stolen through a Machiavellian series of maneuvers in various counties and states. And you have to wonder about that recent gubernatorial election in Washington, where a state dominated by Democrat election workers conducted re-count after re-count until a Democrat won. (As oppossed to the Florida situation, where the Republican won every re-count.)

Of all the left-talking points and whines, I *really* wish the 2000 election would become settled history. Bush won plenty more states than Florida. He didn't steal Gore's Tennessee or Clinton's Arkansas. Apparently one can defend a Supreme Court decision which allows the killing of unborn children, but cry about another decision which ends a disputed election. Which one sounds more fascist?
In 1942, Woody Guthrie penned “All You Fascists Bound to Lose.” When Guthrie wrote the song, Americans were fighting fascists who controlled most of Europe. Times have changed and now we’re fighting them in the heartland.
Be careful. Your neighbor could be one! Or your cashier at Wal-Mart! Or even your child's teacher!! Anyone one of them could be a fascist!!! (By the way, what's that about using fear to further one's goals?)
This New Year’s eve, after you’ve toasted your friends and sung a round of Auld Lang Syne , consider singing Guthrie’s song of resistance as your segue into 2006.
I'm gonna tell all you fascists, you may be surprised,
People all over this world are getting organized,
You're bound to lose,
You fascists are bound to lose.

[One more time]
I have a better song - by the Eagles:
I turn on the tube and what do I see
A whole lotta people cryin’ ’don’t blame me’
They point their crooked little fingers ar everybody else
Spend all their time feelin’ sorry for themselves
Victim of this, victim of that
Your momma’s too thin; your daddy’s too fat

Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin’ and cryin’ and pitchin’ a fit
Get over it, get over it

Defining Katrina deaths

posted by Rob at 8:27 AM

Interesting - and unsurprising - news being reported today: the media assumptions regarding the victims of Katrina were wrong:
... a comparison of locations where 874 bodies were recovered with U.S. Census tract data indicates that the victims weren't disproportionately poor. Another database, compiled by Knight Ridder of 486 Katrina victims from Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, suggests they also weren't disproportionately African-American.
Sorry Wolf, but it appears most of the victims were not "so poor ... and ... so black."

Note that the Knight-Ridder study examined "locations where 874 bodies" were found. As of Dec. 21 (the latest report I could find), the number of deaths linked to Katrina was 1,322. So the K-R study looked at only 66 percent of the known dead.

Also note that any report of Katrina deaths is suspect given the wide definition of who constitutes being classified as such. As the AP reported last week (emphasis mine):
Officially, as of Sunday, the states counted 1,075 deaths in Louisiana, 230 in Mississippi, 14 in Florida and two each in Georgia and Alabama. But the states have different definitions for storm-related deaths. For example, Louisiana counts evacuee deaths from heart attacks or strokes before Oct. 1 as storm deaths, but Georgia doesn't.
The AP report uses the example of "a 56-year-old New Orleans woman who had a stroke two days after she was bused from the infamous storm refugee shelter in the Superdome to Texas." She's counted as a Katrina victim.

As Best of the Web noted when that report came out:
Couldn't the AP have interviewed a New Orleans evacuee who wasn't murdered in what, prestorm, was one of the most violent cities in America?