September 30, 2005

Manufacturing Atrocity

This site has analysis and film showing how certain scenes of violence in Palestine are outright fabrications.

My favorite is the helicopter footage of the funeral procession where the corpse falls off the bier several times--and climbs back in!

Journalism today is so often a fetid flow of foul floodwaters, à la New Orleans. Amazing stuff.

September 21, 2005

Zey Kann Mir Der Tokhes Kushn

Here's the story.

Pack of dhimmis.

With apologies to Yivo.

And it goes double for this guy.

September 20, 2005

The Corpse In the Apartment

The delightfully acerb Mark Steyn here expatiates on the enervating effect of too much welfare and too much government on Europe in general and Germany in particular. His column is a riff on the story of the Frenchman who kept his dead mother in his apartment for years to collect her check--a kind of Bates Welfare Motel.
That's the perfect summation of Europe: welfare addiction over demographic reality.

Think of Germany as that flat in Marseilles, and Mr Schröder's government as the stiff, and the country's many state benefits as that French bloke's dead mum's benefits. Germany is dying, demographically and economically.

* * * *

Old obdurate Leftists can argue about which system is "better", but at a certain point it becomes irrelevant: by 2050, there will be more and wealthier Americans, and fewer and poorer Europeans. In the 14th century, it took the Black Death to wipe out a third of Europe's population. In the course of the 21st century, Germany's population will fall by over 50 per cent to some 38 million or lower - killed not by disease or war but by the Eutopia to which Mr Schröder and his electorate are wedded.
Tough stuff, but it has the whiff of truth.

September 18, 2005

The Fleshpots of N'Djamena

Yet another piece has appeared on the fecklessness, nay, malevolence, of the UN confirms the uselessness of the UN bureaucracy. It is truly the Cartel of Tyrants.

It might be unwise to withdraw from the UN completely, both because some of the specialized agencies are useful and because without our heel-dragging, it could get worse.

However, the UN complains that it is outgrowing its HQ, and wants to embark on an outrageously expensive rebuilding program, that Donald Trump says he could match for a fraction of the cost. Why not take advantage of this crisis to announce that we are denouncing the Headquarters Agreement, and let the UN move to some other location, say, N'Djamena in Chad, maximum average temperature 90 to 105. How many nephews of Third World dictators would want to head there, where there's no Bloomie's?

Such a move would be a boost for the Chadian economy, and deter the time-servers who find the Apple just too attractive.

Meanwhile we can do something more sensible in the area of international organization--a league of English-speaking nations, or an association of democracies, and let the UN sink even further into the slough.

UPDATE: This site covers the U.N. with the right mix of accuracy and skepticism.

September 17, 2005

The Next Big One

Consider this:
  1. As many as one billion deaths.

  2. A sick child comes to a school at 8:30. By 3:00 pm everyone in the school is dead.

  3. Dogs devouring corpses in the streets of major cities.

  4. Complete paralysis of urban systems, travel, and trade.

  5. Total panic.
This is not a movie. This is what could happen if bird flu mutates to become infectious in humans.

Read this book. It happened less than a century ago.

I don't think we're prepared. Twenty million doses of an unproven vaccine is not enough.

This is a real, substantial risk. There are things that can be done. Do them.


Wifebear, of whom I have more than passing knowledge, accepted one of those blogosphere challenges.

Although she charitably tagged only
1. Any
2. One
3. Who
4. Hasn't
5. Done
6. This
7. Yet
I have risen to the bait.

7 things I plan (or would like) to do before I die:

1. Ride the Paris-Brest-Paris randonée.
2. Learn one or more of the following--Japanese, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Cantonese, Georgian, Hungarian.
3. Learn to dance the tango argentino.
4. Visit some new places (Chichen Itzá, Georgia [in the Caucasus], Glacier Park).
5. Sing "September Song" well enough to perform it before an audience.
6. Attend my daughters' graduations and walk them down the aisle.
7. Get some help for my unbelief, or become reconciled to it.

7 things I can do:

1. Try a case to a jury.
2. Speak Portuguese and Spanish, mutter in and read French, Italian, and German.
3. Talk to four-year-olds like people.
4. Ride a century (100 miles on a bicycle).
5. Sketch.
6. Sing baritone in a chorus.
7. Bake bread from scratch.

7 things I can't do:

1. Any but the simplest task with hand tools.
2. Tolerate TV as background noise.
3. Stay up late two days in a row.
4. Climb mountains, bungee jump, sky-dive, hang-glide.
5. Suffer fools gladly.
6. Balance a checkbook.
7. Use a hula hoop.

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:

1. Strong hands and long fingers: touch.
2. Wit.
3. Resemblance to Maillol figures.

4. A sardonic take on life, concealing a generous spirit.
5. Hair, usually dark, sometimes reddish.
6. Voice, usually on the deep side.
7. Feeds me.

7 things I say all the time:

1. "I'd rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal lobotomy."
2. "Karl Heinrich, sitz!" (to Charlie the bilingual dog).

3. "What's for dinner?"
4. "Let me check on that and I'll call you back."
5. "Where's my . . ." (fill in the blank).
6. "I apologize, Your Honor."
7. "May I see the dessert menu?"

7 celebrity crushes:

1. Sigourney Weaver2. Tonya Harding
3. Liv Tyler4. Heather Myles
5. Goldie Hawn6. Lauren Graham
7. Lauren Bacall

7 people I'd like to see do this:

1. Homer Simpson
2. My daughter Zoë
3. My sister Phoebe
4. Condi Rice
5. Anne Coulter
6. My bro-in-law Dan
7. My cuz-in-law Ronnie

What's Playin' At The Roxy?

What's playin' at the Roxy?
I'll tell ya what's playin' at the Roxy--
Story about a Minnesota man
So in love wit' a Mississippi girl
That he sacrifices everything
And moves all the way to Biloxi.
That's what's playin' at the Roxy!
George Bush has announced a $200 million program to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. This at a time of national deficit and in the face of reasoned questioning of the wisdom of building in these locations and even more, the implied federal guarantee of a bailout when the inevitable disaster strikes.

Why? I suspect three causes:
  1. A reaction to the Hive's attacks--partly but only partly deserved--on Bush's and the federal response to Katrina.

  2. Genuine compassion for those affected by the disaster.

  3. The impulse to do something big, to which this Administration is no stranger.
The cat is out of this particular bag, and only someone like me, an obscure blogger whose political career is in the past, is likely to question the concept. Nevertheless, here goes:
  1. This is a time of huge federal deficits, and the undisciplined dispensing of federal pork. To add $200M to this amount, even spread over more than one budget year, seems risky. The country is overextended: there is a federal deficit, a trade deficit, a war (however just) whose popularity is slipping, potential energy problems, a looming pandemic, out-of-control illegal immigration, and a continuing terrorist threats. To take on another huge project without looking at our limitations may be visionary, but it may also be foolhardy.

  2. There is a substantial "moral risk" in such a program. The message is the feds will override the risks of building in particular locations. As a result, fewer will take into account the risks of such construction by thinking again, building more robustly, buying insurance, or building elsewhere if the actuaries won't allow insurance to be issued. In short, are we rewarding folly, and encouraging renewed folly?

  3. Precedent. I can just see Jesse Jackson saying that the gummint has chosen to help the black poor of New Orleans, but is neglecting the black poor of Detroit, Brooklyn, and South Central L.A. The problems of the Gulf Coast run the risk of being federalized, nationwide.

  4. Incompetence. There's little sign, other than the resignation of the hapless Michael Brown, that the deficiencies of the federal apparatus have been cured. Much of the 200 mil may be stolen, wasted, or applied inefficiently. For example, buying thousands of mobile homes seems almost like seeding tornadoes.
I know this sounds Grinchy, and worthy of my nom-de-plume, Grumpy Old Man. But I do fear the federal largesse will be wasted, à  la the bridge to nowhere in Alaska, the Harley Staggers Express, and other classic boondoggles.

I also wonder what should be rebuilt. The French Quarter and the Garden District are national treasures and weren't flooded much, and as long as the Corps of Engineers keeps the Mississippi from following its natural course near Morgan City, the port is essential to the economy. The Ninth Ward, though, was a vulnerable slum, and the areas near Lake Pontchartrain pleasant but unremarkable, still-vulnerable petty-bourgeois suburbs. New Orleans was horribly run, and its population was in decline for that and other reasons. There are substantial environmental questions--erosion of the alluvial barrier islands and wetlands, toxic pollution, continued flood risk. How much thinking is going into what to rebuild, where and how?

Folly is everywhere, but nowhere more so than in gummint. I hope we are smarter, braver, and luckier with this reconstruction than we deserve to be.

September 15, 2005

Rousseau's Thin Gruel

So some silly person has challenged "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance again, and the trial court, constrained by the Newdow opinion, still good law in the Ninth Circuit because the Supreme Court dodged the bullet last time by finding Newdow lacked custody and therefore standing to raise the issue, has found the Pledge unconstitutional.

The Christian lobbies are up in arms.

Along comes Evangelical Outpost, a thoughtful Christian blog, to ask us to look a second time. Joe Carter (EO's author) points out the blandness of generalized acknowledgements of God on civic occasions, and that as long ago as the horrid Rousseau, there has been abroad a concept of "civil religion," of which "under God" is an echo. Joe, as a serious Christian, doesn't find the civil religion satisfies his soul, and I imagine no faithful believer in any monotheistic faith would find "under God" in the pledge to be anything more than a glancing nod more or less in his direction.

He's right, of course, which is one reason to argue that a formalistic "under God" in school or "In God We Trust" on coin is not what the Founders intended when they forbade "establishment of religion."

One reason I'm opposed to having the courts find a prohibition of "under God" in the pledge is that this is an expression the vast majority of Americans find quite ordinary and proper, and an acknowledgement of the majority view that does not coerce the conscience of religious minorities in any important way, and does not amount remotely to establishment of religion, as would, say, a federal law requiring citizens to tithe.

That said, the Christian lobbies are probably right that efforts to strip even these bland and vague expressions of faith from the public square are not motivated by a commitment to liberty, so much as by a militant secularism. Although couched in the language of the First Amendment, that prohibits "establishment" but privileges "free exercise," at the extreme point they have reached, these efforts are attacks on the religious beliefs, bland or not, of the majority by a militant secular minority.

That's rather sad. But to paraphrase Joe Carter, the civil religion is still thin gruel for the spiritually hungry.

September 14, 2005

A Test for the Marxopoids

This story of an independent workers' organization in Gaza and the snotty and violent treatment it has gotten from the local kleptocrats is interesting in its own right.

It's also an interesting test for all the "leftists" and "Marxists" around who have seen an opportunity in allying with militant Islam (apparently the opiate of the people is ok if they pass the pipe in the right direction) will react to what might actually be a rare spontaneous upsurge of working-class self-organizaton.

(It's amazing how that old jargon comes to the surface when you least expect it. I need a Vulcan mind meld.)

September 11, 2005

Gaza Needs a Lee Kwan Yew

The Israelis have all but completed their withdrawal from Gaza, ridding themselves of a headache and putting the Palestinians to the test of whether they can run a government, even in an area comparable to New York City.

Looking around the world, Gaza is comparable to Singapore. Gaza is 360 sq km; Singapore has 693 sq km. Gaza has about 1.4 million people; Singapore has about 4.4 million. Both are coastal territories with strategic locations.

Singapore was occupied by the Japanese in World War II; Gaza has undergone a longer and more recent occupation by Israel.

The question for Gaza, and the region, is whether Gaza (alone or with the West Bank) is to be a viable, successful society like Singapore, or as seems more and more likely, a "failed state" where contending bands of gangsters contend for power, but no one consolidates it.

For many years, Singapore was ruled by an authoritarian leader, Lee Kwan Yew, a Hakka Chinese who imposed social discipline and followed policies that have made Singapore an economic success story. Singapore's GDP per capita is just under $40,000 per year; Gaza's is a mere $448 per capita, which includes dollops of foreign aid. This is less than a tenth of Albania's GDP per capita. The aid will dry up if order is not established. For comparison, Israel's GDP per capita is about $20,000.

If Gaza is not to become a basket case, therefore, its first goal must be to establish order, and the second to adopt policies that will promote economic growth. The establishment of order seems increasingly dicey, as internecine assassinations, such as that of Moussa Arafat, armed occupations of government buildings, and the continued glorification of violence remain signs of disorder.

What Gaza needs is a Lee Kwan Yew. An authoritarian committed to social discipline and economic growth, something quite different from the ordinary clientilist Middle Eastern dictator, who will loot what's left of the economy and not create the conditions for economic growth. Perhaps under such auspices, a form of the rule of law and democracy can emerge. Whether such a figure is likely to arise is questionable. If he doesn't, and order is not established, the world will turn its back on Gaza, just as the Arab countries have long since done in everything but rhetoric.

Whether such a figure, or a movement supporting one, can emerge, is questionable. If continued low-intensity warfare against Israel remains the preoccupation, and politics is otherwise limited to dividing up a tiny pie, nothing good will happen.

With such a man, Gaza could become another Singapore, or at least another Lebanon, a small, enterprising center for trade, services and manufacturing. Because of the intifidas, Gaza can no longer look to Israel as a market for its labor. If it is to avoid becoming another failed state, it must find within itself (using the aid which may come), possibilities for growth.

September 10, 2005

Ten Erroneous Theses On Katrina

The blogosphere and the MSM have been alive with the “blame game.” Who is responisble for what happened?

In this post, I'm trying to piece together the elements of the critique, and to address each of them.

On KCRW's “Left, Right and Center” Adriana Huffington referred to this crisis as a “teachable moment” for the opposition, which should use Katrina as an example to show that radical political change is necessary.

There is no doubt that portions of the Democratic party, the left hive especially, see in Katrina and its aftermath a way to discredit the Administration and promote their own cause. Poll results are contradictory, but suggest at least some short-term damage to the President and his party.

The opposition has croaked out an indictment, which I've tried to summarize here, along with a brief evaluation of each thesis, which generally shows them to be wrong or exaggerated.

1. Global Warming substantially contributed to the disaster by increasing the intensity or frequency of hurricanes.

Not so. Studies appear to show that the number and freuency of hurricanes tends to ebb and flow over the decades. There has not been a substantial increase beyond what has been seen before, correlated with increasing CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” in the admosphere.

2. The Bush Administration's recognition of the Kyoto Treaty was a substntial contributing factor to the hurricane because Kyoto would have had an effect on global warming.

If, for the sake of argument, we accept the proposition that global warming was a factor in the hurricane, it's still true that global warming will continue to increase with or without Kyoto, whose policies won't accomplish much to reverse the course of global warming as most of the scientists who claim GW estimate it.

In short, Kyoto is a toothless tiger, and adopting or not adopting it can have had no effects of GW by 2005.

3. The failure to evacaute New Orleans completely was the Bush Administration's fault.

We have a federal government. Except in times of anarchy or insurrection, the “police power” rests with state and local government. Before Karina hit, there was no condition requiring federal intervention. The local evacuation plan called for the provision of buses for the population that lacked cars, but the pictures of dozens of school buses in flooded lots show that this part of the plan was never implemented. The local authorities were responsible for this one.

4. The failure to evacaute New Orleans completely was a product of racism.

While is is conceivable that a black-dominated administraton could be anti-black, this seems far-fetched. The failure of a fraction of blacks to evacuate voluntarily may be explained by a lack of transportation alternatives to cars, many not having cars, lack of money, lack of education and foresight, and possibly a lack of ties elsewhere.

Although some of these conditions, such as poor education, have a historical connection to racism, the failure of the black and poor to evacuate can't be explained by present racist intent on anyone's part.

5. The Bush Administration was responsible for the abysmal conditions in the Superdome and the Convention Center.

The designation of the Superdome as the shelter of last resort was probably stupid in the first place, but it it was done, one would expect that bedding, water, food, portabile toilets and basic medical care would be made available as part of the plan. Apparently none were, and there are reports that the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were refused permission to provide such amenities.

When the severity of the situation at the Superdome became apparent, at least on Fox and CNN, it appears that all authorities were slow to mobilize to move needed help in and people out.

There was also a failure of self-organization. No one seems to have mobilize the sheltered population to to things like entertain children, dig latrines, move the dead to one location, and haul away trash. It was the “Lord of the Flies” all over again.

6. People died or suffered because President Bush did not interrupt his vacation to return to DC to take charge of the situation.

Certainly the symbolism was bad, reviving the “My Pet Goat” canard. Of course, communications are fine at the ranch, so the practical effect of cutting the vacation short might not be important. The symbolism was terrible, though, for a President who flew back to Washington to sign Terry Schiavo legislation for one non-functioning person.

However, by that time the National Guard mobilizations were under way, so there's no sign that anything was held back during the delay or because of it.

7. The National Guard was too slow to arrive.

It's probably unwise to mobilize much of the guard in the disaster region, where they and their equipment could suffer. Immediately afterward, the guard becan to come in. We don't have a system like the Israelis, where the reserve army is capable of mobilizing almost instantaneously.

8. The National Guard lacked men and resources because they have been diverted to Iraq.

There seem to be plenty of guardsmen, once they got there. No one is complaining of shortages of equipment or men. It's certainly arguable that our military is now too small and stretched too thin for all the assignments that have been given it or are likely in the near future.

Nor have the feds ever been reluctant to increase the deficit in order to finance wars or boondoggles.

9. The Bush Administration is to blame for the looting and disorder that broke out in New Orleans after the disaster.

The police department in New Orleans was small, corrupt, and ineffective. They were in charge, along with some Louisiana guardsman that arrived quickly. Apparently the state and the city decided that rescues were more important than keeping order. Perhaps that was, at first, because looting consisted taking food from closed grocery stores and the like. The result, however, especially when it was announced that nothing would be done about looting, and nothing was, that anarchy began to reign. It's the familiar “broken window” theory of how a neighborhood is lost, highly accelerated.

To make the feds responsible for keeping order, as when Gov. Wilson of California asked the first Pres. Bush for troops during the most recent Los Angeles riots, requires such a request, or an independent Presidential finding that what amounts to insurrection is in process. In a free, federal country, it's understandable that the President didn't do that.

10. It is insensitive and almost sacriligeous to suggest that New Orleans should not be rebuild as it was.

The immediate impulse when a town or city is destroyed is to build it again on the same site in the same plan. When Speaker Hastert questioned whether New Orleans should be rebuilt as it was, he was pilloried. However, there are questions about whether the city can or should be rebuilt as it was.

The year or more that it will take to rebuild the city might also be a year in which both New Orleans business and New Orleans people begin to make new lives of themselves, and many may lose their nostalgia, or be reluctant to uproot themselves, their businesses and their families once again for a questionable future.

The “should we?” question has two aspects—the “Good Samaritan” question and questions specific to New Orleans's location and the attendant costs and benefits of rebuilding.

The “Good Samaritan” question is whether if the government provides disaster compensation for forseeable risks, it encourages risky behavior, such as building towns on floodplains and barrier islands.

The site-specific questions include the following (1) does it makes sense to rebuild a city below sea level where another disaster could wipe it out; (2) would it be economical to rebuild the city with a higher level of flood protection at higher cost? (3) should a smaller city with the essential port and tourism functions be rebuilt? (4) how should it be funded?

The point here is not to analyze some very complex issues— merely that the questions are legitimate ones. As wonderful as New Orleans was in many ways, the costs of building it are “sunk costs”. The question of whether the billions that would be needed to rebuild it, to the extent they come from the taxpayers, could be better spend in some other way, is surely a legitimate one.

UPDATE: Some typos corrected. See some posts and news articles that put FEMA in a bad light here. There's no denying that there was stupidity, incompetence, and pettifoggery on many sides of this thing, which was probably inevitable. But the 10 theses cited above ARE erroneous.

September 8, 2005

Hopeless Racists

This photo essay gives the lie to the race hustlers' claims, at least the most extreme of them.

Of course, there's this kind of crap, too.

Race is clearly an aspect of this thing. But it's not so simple.

And while you're at it, you should probably read this. It may make you angry, but it'll make you think.

September 4, 2005

Find Their Parents

These are some of the children--babies, really--separated from their parents in the New Orleans tragedy. No effort must be spared to find their parents--and fast. Bill O'Reilly. Aaron Brown. Diane Sawyer. This is the important story.

These children were found alone on a causeway. Michelle has clearer pictures. Follow the link.

HT: Michelle Malkin, linking to KWTX. Malkin is doing terrific work with her blog in this whole crisis.

UPDATE: Some of these children's parents were found.

Lao Tzu On Leadership


When a Master takes charge,
hardly anybody notices.
The next best leader
is obeyed out of love.
After that,
there's the leader obeyed out of fear.
The worst leader is one who is hated.

Trust and respect people.
That's how you earn
their trust and respect.

The Masters don't give orders;
they work with everybody else.
When the job's done,
people are amazed
at what they accomplished.

An Answer to Crazed Bush-Bashers

The gummint on all levels may have much to answer for. All will be sifted nine ways to Sunday.

But a lot of nutty bashing has gone on. David Frum puts it into perpective, and links to some refutations of the wilder critics.

HT: Power Line.

You Can't Blame Bush for This

These are school buses flooded in New Orleans. They belong to local government. They could have been used to evacuate those without cars, before the storm. They weren't.

This failing was not federal. it was local. It was a failure of a black-dominated local government.

Not the whole story, but an important piece.

HT: Junkyard Dog.

The Last to Go, The First to Go

Oh, they were not far from shore, when they heard a mighty roar
And the rich refused to associate with the poor
So they put them down below, where they'd be the first to go
It was sad when the great ship went down.
As discussed briefly before, the overwhelming majority of those who suffered and died in flooded New Orleans were poor and black.

The powers called for evacuation, but as far as I know provided no buses or other means for those without cars or cash to evacuate. There is a picture of dozens of school buses, sitting in a flooded parking lot, useless and probably destroyed. There is no doubt that before the fact, these people were forgotten.

This population has been left uneducated or miseducated, to an extent that has to be seen to be believed, and through decades of dependence on government, largely passive and with a family structure in tatters. Initiative would come, if at all, only sporadically and unpredictably, and much of it outside the law.

So not only did the buses not come, the people who were left were the ones least likely to take the initiative and find some way to get out, and once stranded, find some way to take care of themselves.

For these deficiencies, only state and local government, and long-term social policy, are to blame.

Afterwards, help seemed slow in coming, and bizarre events occurred, some truly harmful, like the decamping of a good portion of NOLA's notoriously corrupt and inefficient police departmenta and the failure to put a halt to looting immediately; others symbolic, like the tone-deaf failure of the President to return to Washington post-haste, something he symbolically did for an unaware Terry Schiavo. (I say symbolic because communications are no doubt fine in Crawford, and only time and inquiry will tell if help was delayed because of anything W did or failed to do). There's no evidence, to date, to support the maniacal conspiracy theories that these events were motivated by racial animosity or indifference; but post-mortems may reveal the rôle played by lassitude and incompetence.

The middle-class folk and those with family ties around the nation will no doubt do fine. They'll bunk with relatives or make good use of the kindness of strangers, and find jobs, schools and hope wherever they end up. Others won't do so well.

This is not a question of race, at least not only of race. Look at the Lost Boys of the Sudan. But resettling the uneducated and the dependent, used to living on little but having it supplied by others, may be difficult. I'd like to see some practical work from the Jacksons and the Sharptons, who are quick to cry racism.

Where the solution will come from is from competent and generous public officials (like those in Houston) and the goodness and imagination of individuals and small groups, like churches.

September 2, 2005

A Song of Hope

You may have read about this story. A professional violinist fled from his New Orleans house, bringing only the clothes on his back and his violin.

After getting settled, amid all the chaos and misery of the Superdome, he began to play. Bach. Mozart.

For some reason the story gave me hope. Then I found this picture.

I hope it gives you hope as well.

Some Good Ideas


We need imagination and courage.

The Mayor's Right: Emergency Action

In an angry interview, New Orleans Mayor Nagin said that getting volunteer school bus drivers to move people is not enough. He said they should send every Greyhound bus in the country.

That might be an exaggeration. But now that the airport is open, why not simply direct a fleet of large planes to move people out. The Israelis have moved thousands in days under terrible conditions, as in Ethiopia. The Berlin Airlift had plans landing every couple of minutes.

Why not a Presidential order to mobilize every other bus within 500 miles, and a fleet of jet planes to take off every five or ten minutes, and move these people to every major city. Let every church or synagoguue take 10 families, every town take 10 or 100 on the basis of its size. Why not a military takeover of Greyhound?

Why not divert cruise ships to go up the Mississippi, which is navigable, and load it up with people and take them to Houston or Galveston or Charleston?


Social Breakdown: 2d Amendment

The tragedy in New Orleans is staggering. We did predict some of it, although not the social breakdown.

It is evident that there is almost a "failed state" situation. It began because of a misplaced compassion--we're going to use all our resources to locate and save people, people are looting out of necessity--and ended with anarchy. It's the cliché of the "broken window" which leads to a criminal takeover.

With the exception of people who are taking food or similar items out of necessity, there should have been an implacable policy from the beginning--shoot or seize looters on the spot. It would have prevented the criminal activity which, although perhaps exaggerated by the news media, seems to be real. Now we need martial law and guys with guns.

The situation also shows the folly of gun control and the importance of an armed citizenry. Many storekeepers and others are protecting their property. Along with a supply of space blankets, bottled water, flashlights and preserved food, a disaster kit should include an appropriate weapon.

Keeping weapons out of the hands of the law-abiding will not keep them out of the hands of criminals, but it is a major deterrent. New Orleans shows that we can't always assume that law enforcement will be available.

How to Help

Here is a good place to donate. In my experience they know how to distribute aid and give good value. They don't press their religion on anyone.

In the longer run, Hugh Hewitt suggests local churches and synagogues find others to link with, avoiding the bureaucracies. In the short run, though, help the first responders.