Monday, May 24, 2010


More than two weeks ago (May 8 or 9), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal sent a plan to the Obama administration (“for quick approval”) to build up barrier islands along the coastline so that oil from the Gulf spill would be stopped before it reached the mainland. With soil obtained from dredging the Mississippi, the most ecologically-delicate estuaries and beaches could be protected from the worst of the damage. Up until now, the existing barrier islands have caught vast quantities of the crude oil, and there is substantial scientific support for Jindal’s plan, which was estimated to cost about $350 million.

As of today (May 24), the Obama Administration has provided NO response to this request.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I was born in Philadelphia, and I was raised in Philadelphia, and sometimes I think I’ve just been here too long. You can get cynical.

I remember Paul D’Ortona, for example. He was president of City Council in the 1960’s, and a very popular politician in town. On one occasion, he had to introduce a visiting African statesman to Council, with all appropriate honors. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” he said, “I give you Robert Ngulu, former President of ‘Nigger-ia.’” He didn’t mean to insult the gentleman, of course. It’s just that he wasn’t quite sure how to pronounce the country the gentleman hailed from.

I also remember the bombing of Osage Avenue. Mayor Goode did it. Bombed a city block. We never did figure out exactly why.

I even remember when Ed Rendell became a respectable person. I remember the day. It was February of the year when he was first elected Governor, nine months later. I distinctly remember opening the paper that day and reading about Ed’s “vision” and his “ideas” and how he planned to lead Pennsylvania into a new era. “Ed?” I said. “ED???” The guy who had turned buying votes with taxpayer money into an art form? The guy who had pinched the bottoms of every barmaid in the three zipcodes that are downtown Philadelphia? Ed? I mean, it’s not like these were stories I had heard from his political opponents. I had heard these stories from the barmaids themselves. But now, suddenly, he was not Fast Eddie anymore. He was Ed Rendell, Elder Statesman. Or something.

But that’s Philadelphia. It’s cute, in a way.

But of all the men who have ruled this town, Arlen Specter was the worst. Forget Bork. Forget Anita Hill and magic bullets and Scottish jurisprudence. Forget his (continuing) war against the New England Patriots. Let’s go back to the 1960’s, when District Attorney Arlen Specter prosecuted the owner of a bookstore for selling Tropic of Cancer. Let’s recall those halcyon days when Captain Frank Rizzo was busting gay bars in West Philly and leading the homosexuals off in handcuffs, and D.A. Arlen Specter always happened to be there in order to get his picture in the paper the next morning. Later, "Snarlin' Arlen" was voted “the meanest man in the Senate,” year after year, by Senate staffers.

Thank God this schmuck has finally been defeated.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


For seven days, Barack Obama knew that an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was spewing thousands of barrels of oil into the ocean each day, and he also knew this oil was heading for the American Gulf Coast. But apart from trashing Wall Street fat cats and telling jokes about Republicans at a press dinner, he did nothing. For a solid week, as the crude oil continued to gush from the wellhead and drift inexorably towards its appointment with ecological disaster, the federal government did nothing. Since 1994, federal law has required that certain oil clean-up equipment, called fire booms, be in place on the Gulf Coast to protect against such a possibility, but it was not there, and during that last week in April, the federal government did nothing to get useful equipment there.

In the fifteen months Barack Obama has been president, there have been four attacks by Islamic radicals on American soil: 1) the fatal attack on a military recruiting office in Little Rock, 2) the mass murder committed by Major Hasan, 3) the Christmas Day would-be pantybomber in Detroit, and 4) the car-bomb in Times Square. These are not “terrorists” or “jihadists” or “Islamic extremists,” of course---the Obama Administration won’t use these words. These are just isolated criminal matters. We will grant these loners and malcontents all their Miranda warnings and a nice trial, and then we’ll put them in prison for a while. Nothing to see here. Just move along. Four terror attacks in fifteen months suggests we can expect another nine attacks over the remaining thirty-three months of Obama’s term, unless the pace accelerates.

Our president’s job, in his own words, is to “transform America.” For that task, he undoubtedly has some talent. However, he doesn’t know how to run America. He has never run anything, and he doesn’t know how. The United States government has enormous resources, all of which are at Barack Obama’s disposal, but he doesn’t know how to organize them and bring them to bear upon real problems. This is why he cannot stop terrorists from attacking us. It’s also why he cannot stop a sea of oil from fouling our beaches and estuaries and fisheries even with a week’s head start.

Barack Obama is the reason legislators rarely get elected president. This is what happens when you elect an ideologue as an executive.