Saturday, September 03, 2005

Ball Catch Lose

Sat on the porch today and played catch with Rowdietta, my 3-yo daughter. I taught her to throw overhand. She can bring the heat.

I asked her if she was going to play baseball when she grows up. "No," she said,"I'm going to play Ball Catch Lose." Then she laughed a good three-year-old cackle.

I started to ask, "What is that?" But I stopped because I realized I knew the answer.

Later, I sat in a bar in my Pirates jersey with a pint of Bass. I actually barked at the bartender, some ditzy person, for serving a pint with two inches of head. She topped it off. I watched some college football but couldn't focus much on it. The football, like the beer, went down well and hit the spot. I always drink Bass when I really Need One. It has a high alcohol content. I spent the rest of the day drinking some beer from St. Mary's, PA. It was "honestly refreshing" as advertised, but I honestly can't remember the name of it. I want to say Stoudt but I know that wasn't it.

It looks the situation in New Orleans will stabilize on the death front, but I'm still sure we'll be living with bad economic consequences for years and years.

Do you know what caused the Great Depression? Callous indifference.

Open thread

If you have any notes you'd like to make or leave, here's a place for them.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Look at the news today. The last time I saw one event dominating the Yahoo! news page, wall to wall, top to bottom, left to right, was 9/11. There is no evidence to suggest this story will abate any time soon, either. If anyone thinks life in America will get back to normal tomorrow, or Monday, or a week from now, I guess they are kidding themselves.

I doubt I'll have anything to say about football or baseball for awhile. It's not like this is my job, or like I have a boss, or like I can't do whatever the hell I want to do (or not do) with this blog.

The disaster has shown that our government, at all levels, is seriously, seriously, seriously incompetent. I don't mean that as any kind of partisan political statement. In fact, I have nothing but unbridled contempt for political partisans. If I'm going to mindlessly root for one side or another, I'll root for a baseball team. If I'm going to throw myself into competition and willfully abandon reason, I'd do it for a trivial matter. Politics and government is far too important to debate like it's Michigan vs. Ohio State or Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh.

Our government failed, catastrophically, at every level, from the Mayor to the President.

The incompetence. The waste. The callous neglect. Of human life, of our national heritage, of natural resources.

I'm speechless. I have nothing else to say right now.

Still pissed

How about you?

Here's what the Mayor says. He's a little bit to blame, I think, him and every other elected official in the city, for not making hurricane preparation a required study for every public school, for every grade, in every year. But he's far more sinned against than sinning. And now is not the time to point the finger at this guy.

And the Mayor's right about this: Keep talking about it. That's the best thing you can do. Keep talking about it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

This response to Katrina disgusts me

I have a hard time with the internet this week. I'm only drawn to news that infuriates me. I am stunned, shocked, outraged, disappointed, angry about the callous neglect of the city's protection in the years and days before the storm and flooding.

No one can say "no one saw this coming." The ability of our government to accept the risk of experiencing this current situation - "hey, let's not plan for a disaster; we'll just hope it doesn't happen" - disgusts me. Here's a striking example of an unbelievably stupid and downright callous acceptance of risk. Any rational government, by the people and for the people, would have done more before and after. They had years to shore up the levees, days to schedule an airlift. We all knew on Friday night that Katrina was gathering strength and heading for the gulf coast.

Leave the behavior of the isolated refugees aside. Since there are tens of thousands, it should be no surprise that it contains a criminal element. There is nothing the people of New Orleans could have possibly done to deserve such betrayal from their state and federal government. How in the world could the government and media so callously disregard one of our nation's greatest cities? The people of New Orleans have contributed immeasurably to this nation's culture, history, and economy. And the Speaker of the House says maybe we consider not rebuilding it? Can we get him to resign tomorrow?

The incompetence of the response to this tragedy is beyond abominable. When the situation is under control, in weeks or months or years, we better see resignations, firings, and people going to jail for this. There is no excuse, not one, none, no excuse at all for this historic, record-shattering, mind-blowing display of incompetence. I don't hear any apologies from the people responsible for this incompetence - just excuses - and this makes their behavior all the more criminal and hateful.

I have a high tolerance for incompetence, as most regular readers of this blog can attest. But this is mind-numbing. No one can say we didn't see this coming. Anyone who does is either an incompetent moron or a bald-faced liar with no shred of decency.

I'm also stunned that the NFL football players and baseball players continue to play games. After 9/11, the league postponed games only after members of the New York "Jets" said "No, we won't do this, it's wrong." The New Orleans Saints will play their home opener in Texas for what good reason? What was the point of making that decision while tens of thousands of people remained trapped in the city? And today they play games and exhibition games for what reason?

The mainstream media needs to cover this story now. And non-stop until the situation is tenable. Let it the coming weeks become one long study of the problem. Let every citizen get a college seminar's worth of education on the subject. If they want something else from TV, let them turn it off and get back to work.

The question is this: How did it happen? Why did it happen? When might it happen again? We need to hear people talking about this. And talking about this.

When we're convinced we won't ever live to see such a disgusting display of governmental incompetence again, then we can talk about football and baseball and other diversions from the daily industrious routine.

Day off

Nothing to see here, move along.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Orleans

Read this email from a rescue worker.

The bad news with Hurricane Katrina

From this AP story:

Recovery will take so long, [Coordinating Director Bill Lokey] said, that some [FEMA] workers could spend their entire career working on Katrina.

No apology for the hurricane posts: even if Piracy and New Orleans go way way back (think Jean Lafitte), I don't need the excuse. This is an enormous disaster, not just for New Orleans and surrounding areas, but for the whole country. As this unfolds, in agonizing slow motion, we are all losing much, much more than the damn Superdome.

What's especially painful is the lack of preparation. Those people in the Superdome ... how exactly will they be evacuated? Where will they park the C-130s needed to carry them away?

The focus on the looting: could that be more wrong-headed? What good is the property in buildings that are soon to be immersed in contaminated flood waters?

It looks to me like we are losing the city permanently. They'll have to build much taller levees, pump the water out of the city, let it dry out, and then raze everything. How many years will it take to accomplish this? How much money? And who is paying for it?

I wonder: the next time I visit the French Quarter, will it be in some meticulously-recreated Las Vegas attraction?

Game 132: Pirates at Brewers

So what were Maholm's radar gun readings? Brian wants to know.

Red Cross needs money

I love New Orleans, one of the great cities of the USA.

If you have money, send it here.

Life in the Superdome

Story here. I wonder if dome architects won't consider such use for a stadium from now on, and especially when the stadiums are built with tax dollars.

I'd be surprised if any of these people ever set foot in the Superdome after they are allowed to leave next week.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Red Cross time

You can donate to the American Red Cross here.

New Orleans

Here's hoping for a last-minute reprieve. This is terrible.

... I know the Weather Service exaggerates sometimes. They have to get your attention, after all. But this isn't a foot of snow coming toward NO.

If those estimates are realized, we're talking 10-20 times the number of people killed on 9/11, the end of the baseball season, and no NFL games for awhile. No way the Saints will play in the Superdome on 9/18.

This is not to trivialize the likely cost of this storm - who gives a damn about sports when such things happen. But let's put things in perspective. That is serious carnage forecast by NWS. Life, all over the country, will not proceed as usual come Tuesday. The country has never experienced anything like they are forecasting. Camille did not land so near New Orleans in 1969.

Everyone, all over the country, should brace themselves. And get ready to give blood.

Game 131: Reds at Pirates

Luke Hudson and Kip Wells. One-thirty.