Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lessons of Hurricane Katrina

The meaning of the disastrous Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast ten years ago, is now in clear focus.  Law professor and commentator Glenn Reynolds writes (link) that “the extremism [in the media reporting] … did real harm.  New Orleans, a city battered by disaster, was portrayed as … ‘a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning.’ ”  But, as we now know, much of the worst said was profoundly untrue.  The motive of the ultraliberals behind all their lying propaganda was to damage the Bush presidency, and they achieved their aim quite well, but once again, as it is all too clear now, they showed they have no moral scruples and that they could care less who else was damaged in the process.  As Reynolds writes, “by playing up anarchy and danger [in New Orleans], [the liberal media] may even have delayed the arrival of aid, as rescuers feared to go in without armed escort.  Overall, a horrible media performance.”  The ongoing drumbeat of lies also probably stoked some lawlessness that would not have been there otherwise if the media had told the truth.  Moreover, the distorted reporting perhaps discouraged post-Katrina business investment to an area perceived as especially prone to violence and social breakdown.

The disaster that was New Orleans after Katrina was primarily the responsibility of the gross negligence and incompetence by the Democrat black mayor and the grandmotherly-looking, deer-in-headlights female Democrat governor, whose deadly non-management and mismanagement were vigorously covered up by the liberal media.  President George Bush played a role in not directing the federal relief agencies to step in more aggressively early on in the face of local and state abdication of their primary responsibility.  Finally, Bush and his Republican brain trust showed great political incompetence as well.  Bush’s abject failure to push back against politically-motivated lies, unfortunately a theme throughout his presidency, hurt him, hurt Republicans, hurt the ongoing political cause of true American patriots, and hurt the American body politic.  Overall a very bad showing by everyone involved.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The New Diet Pepsi – No Thanks To Its “New Coke” Brain Cramp

The Pepsi company has just removed the artificial sweetener aspartame from its Diet Pepsi product and replaced it with something called sucralose.  It may have made other changes as well.  Apparently Diet Pepsi sales have been down, and the company has been worried about some old rat study wherein rodents fed aspartame by the pound for the rat-equivalent of 100 years showed some altered biochemical marker, or something.  Or maybe it was some other study, but those reports have been around for a long time and so far nothing has been proven, and other soft drink makers are still using aspartame.  Nevertheless, the Pepsi brain trust studied the New Coke fiasco and thought … hey, we can do that too!  Look at all the publicity Coke got!  

I’ve been a Diet Pepsi drinker for a long time.  The new product has lost the crisp, fresh edge to the taste, leaves a modestly unpleasant after-taste, and is noticeably less sweet.  I've heard Pepsi says focus groups went wild over this new stuff, but I don’t believe that for a moment.  It’s not for me.  Moreover, now in restaurants I can’t just order a diet cola and take whatever brand comes; I now must ask for my drink by name, as in “Diet Coke, but only Diet Coke, please.”  Or maybe I'll switch to bourbon and then I won't care what brand arrives at my table.  One more thing to complicate each passing day.   

As an aside, Pepsi’s CEO is Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi, a woman born and raised outside of the United States.  She got briefly into some hot water some years ago with an intemperate anti-American comment, an incident ignored by the liberal media, as she is a foreign-born woman of color, and thus missing from her Wikipedia page.  The media undoubtedly agreed with her anyway.  I thought I would revisit the incident but don’t want to spend the time to dig deeper to find a web site that hasn’t been Sovietized.    

Well, maybe it’s time to cut back some on soft drinks anyway, and diet Coke is all right.  And that Diet Dr. Pepper is pretty good, but its manufacturer wants to keep each can’s age a secret and so, unlike Coke or Pepsi, doesn’t date it, making a purchase a bit risky at anyplace other than a high volume supermarket.  As always, buyer beware.   

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lakeside Days

Overcast with a strong northerly wind along the southern shore of wild Lake Michigan, on August 24, 2015: (Click to enlarge photos)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lakeside Days

Finally a day hot and hazy, after that cool spring and early summer.  The full expanse of Lake Michigan spreads out before me.  Overhead, high, thin clouds buffer the sun, a bit.  The sand burns under foot.  A welcome northerly breeze barrels straight down the lake right at me.  Where are all the gulls, who love to glide the currents high above the glistening water; somewhere else is more enticing, for now. 

Out on the deep blue water are lots of cruisers, open-bow boats, and jet skis.  There’s a cigarette boat noisily zooming about a good way offshore.  A few kayakers and paddle boarders tentatively move about.

The lake has a mild chop with scattered small whitecaps.  The rollers hitting the beach are pleasantly rhythmic and surprisingly loud.  They usually break orderly-like, but now and then a rogue wave arrives and causes an odd and noisy collision. 

I float in the waves a while and wait for the gulls to return.  Later they come, having become bored wherever they had been.  

The water is clear – perhaps too clear, thanks to small mussels, the zebras and the quaggas, destructive invaders from a world away that hog too much mico-food.  The water is also warm, 72 degrees a nearby buoy says, surprisingly so given the last two extra-cold winters.

The water level is high, higher than it has been for years.  Some of the dune grass on the small bluff edging the narrowing beach struggles to maintain footing as the sand collapses beneath from the battering of the relentless waves. 

I think of waves in song.  From Hammerstein:  “You can’t hear a sound, not the turn of a leaf, Or the fall of a wave hittin’ the sand / The tide’s creeping up on the beach like a thief, Afraid to be caught stealing the land.”  From Fields:  “I won’t dance, don’t ask me, I won’t dance madam with you / But oh what you do to me, I’m like an ocean wave that’s bumped on the shore, I fell so absolutely stumped on the floor.”

A shout from somewhere down the beach cuts through the din and breaks the trance.  I look out to see the full expanse of the great lake spread out before me, this hot and hazy day.