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Friday, September 30, 2005
I'm taking a Mulligan on my losing pick.
This week my pick is Cincinatti over Houston. Can't let a strictly beer drinking SCG'er win.
Proof of my geek credentials: I am a huge fan of the old series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
ABC has a modern version of the show in its fall lineup. There were a couple of interesting nods to the original -- including a digitized cameo by the old man himself.
I don't expect it to be a replication, but it seems to me that they took all the stuff that made the original so good and threw it out to replace it with everything that makes regular TV shows so predictable and bad.
1. The team - They teamed Kolchak up with another reporter and photographer. Ugh. Part of the fun of the original is that nobody believed him. In this one, he doesn't even try to push the monster angle -- he downplays it so that he can continue his quest to find his wife's killer. Double Ugh. What is this, the X- files meets the Fugitive? Kolchak is a loner. His only friend a dog, possibly. In the original is that only you, the viewer, saw things the way he did. Everyone else missed seeing the monster (those that did see the monster were, well, dead.) To everyone else, Carl sounded and acted like a crazy man.
2. Kolchak is no longer eccentric and odd. He is standard tv leading man guy. zzzzzz.
3. Vincenzo, his boss, is not a raving madman. He is a cookie cutter newspaper editor.
4. Kolchak works for a mainstream paper (the LA Beacon) rather than a fly by the seat of your pants rag -- that limits him. He can't write crazy things. So he writes strories straight -- and avoids the monster angle that would get him canned. What's wrong with the old, International News Service?
5. No Updyke character to serve as his foil.
6. Worst of all, there is some sense of sexual tension between Kolchak and the female reporter. Again, back to 1. Kolchak is a loner. If he does have a relationship, the woman must (a) die in the episode or (b) be a vampire or some other monster that Carl must, to save lives, kill.
I had low expectations and they were met. It was interesting... in the sense that it was about monsters and the supernatural and all that. But it was uninspired. I'll watch again, but it isn't on my don't miss list.
Let me add one more - 7. It wasn't funny. At all. That was part of the charm of the original -- and the x-files, too. This might as well be Law And Order: Monster Division.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
1. Senator Leahy and I crossed paths today at 15th & New York Avenue. It was him. He had a small entourage with him. They looked headed toward the WH...but I haven't the foggiest idea why, because nobody there would let him in. It reminded me of the last time I saw him...during mass at Holy Family Church in Georgetown. At that time I wondered if it was a double-sin wishing ill will upon someone while in church. Yes, it probably is, so I have to do a double penance.
2. Spending - lots of press lately about how Bush let's congress spend like mad. As you know, he never vetoed anything yet, much less a spending bill. Even his father wasn't afraid to use the veto numerous times. After 9/11, I was all for spending whatever it took to make the country safer, but that has nothing to do with the spending bills of the last couple of years. It's a disgrace - where is the conservative charge to cut the spending? Where are the conservative leaders to fight all the pork and have a lean government?
3. Chief Justice Roberts - overall I'm very happy. Just as I was when Souter was confirmed (it was all downhill after that). I know Roberts will be solid, but I'm still a tiny bit nervous about him.
4. Bush should nominate Bork. Or at least the most qualified candidate, and if that's a white male, so be it.
Indy over Tennessee.
Or should I say Ted Marchibroda's Baltimore team, led by Bert Jones, over Bum Phillip's Houston Oilers, with Dan Pastorini and Earl Campbell.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
TJ - Bengals. I'm really looking forward to Boomer and Icky Woods running roughshod over Houston this Sunday.
Monday, September 26, 2005
It turns out that the stories of murder, mayhem, death and cannibalism in New Orleans were greatly exaggerated.
More than ever, I believe that Katrina was a missed opportunity for black America. The image of black America that was projected to the rest of the nation will reverberate for years to come.
Just like the riots in the 60s and the LA riots, this will be a huge setback for black America. The media has projected and reinforced a frame for black Americans that puts them into two categories -- at best, poor and helpless, and at worst, lawless and violent (and even cannibalistic).
Five years from now, as we see the results of continued flight of people and capital from mostly black urban centers, we won't think of Katrina... but we should.
This was an opportunity for all Americans to come together -- a time where we could see black Americans overcoming adversity to come together, and see white Americans reaching their hands out to help. It could have been an historic, unifying moment for America.
I know, it sounds pie-in-the-sky. But shift the frame on 9/11 and you can easily imagine a day in which the story focused not on the bravery of the firefighters but the failure of federal and local systems to plan for such an event, provide adequate communication, etc... Yes, the media caught up with those stories later, but they weren't the initial focus (and rightly so).
Unfortunately, thinking of black Americans as heroes doesn't fit the frame our "best and brightest" learned in J-school (unless they are heroically suing their employers or staging a sit in or boycott against 'the man'). I'm sure they feel good about themselves - - after all, isn't everyone better off by continuing to beat the dead horse of racism and victimhood?
Saturday, September 24, 2005
IS IT TIME FOR THE PORK REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISION?
A number of conservative/libertarian bloggers are participating in "porkbusters" , an effort to press Congress to cut un-necessary federal spending in their districts to pay for the massive costs of Katrina.
Jonah Goldberg thinks it is doomed to failure, and he is probably right. The money quote:
The porkbusters fight is fun now, but not since early cave men tried to train grizzly bears to give them tongue-baths has a project seemed more obviously doomed to end in disappointment. Expecting Congress — of either party — to give back pork which has already been approved and passed into law is like expecting crack whores to give refunds days after services have been rendered.
My thinking is that this is a huge "Free Rider" problem for Congress. Everyone wants to cut "unnecessary" spending, but nobody is willing to pay the cost (of votes, support, money) for cuts to their district. How to do it, then?
Thankfully, there is already a model for success.
The military Base Realignment Closure Commission takes the individual members of Congress out of the process until the final vote. Members are forced to vote on the overall package, up or down -- there is no opportunity to cut deals or gut the bill. Also, BRAC (smartly) aims high, allowing some members to score points by saving a project or two. Plus, not every member of Congress faces a cut, so building a majority for the cuts is actually possible.
Why not do the same thing for Katrina? We can save hundreds of millions of dollars. Plus, members will be forced to make a choice -- between voting for a small special interest in their district, or voting to save taxpayers a big chunk of money. Since it is an either-or vote, and the commission would pick projects that benefit small groups at the expense of the broader population, I think members would be foolish to give their opponents a huge club to beat them over the head with come election time.
Think about it -- would you vote against a massive bill that was specifically labeled as cutting millions in pork, if it affected some small group in your district?
Yes, it's crazy, but it...just... might... work.
Thoughts? JPC can you get on this? This should be the President's proposal.
NOTE: I updated this post with a link to and quote from Jonah's post. I also made a small editing change to make it more readible and give it a punchier headline.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
SCG 2005 NFL Survivor - And then there were three....
(What was Sip thinking last week? Maybe the effects of the pregnancy are clouding his judgement?)
Week 3 Picks (picks to be added before game time on Sunday)
TJ Philly over Oakland
Scott Philly over Oakland
JPC Indy over Cleveland
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Forget the B'ars, Davy -- Kill the Pork
In light of the rush to give away stacks of money to anyone remotely affected by Katrina, I was reminded of this story about frontiersman, and Congressman, Davy Crockett -- yes, that Davy Crockett -- and a lesson he learned about spending the people's money on charitable causes.
This story was kicking around on Capitol Hill back in the halcyon days of the Republican revolution. I think Dick Armey or John Kasich may have sent it around as a "Dear Colleague." (One note-- I did try to verify it on Snopes, but they had no mention of it). The source of this story is, apparently, Edward Sylvester Ellis, who wrote an 1884 biography of the man in the racoon hat.
One day in the House, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The speaker was just about to put the question when Rep. David Crockett arose: "Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living.
"I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."
Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett said: "Several years ago, I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some members of Congress when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless. . . . The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done. A bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We rushed it through.
"The next summer, when riding one day in a part of my district. I saw a man in a field plowing. I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but rather coldly.
" 'You are Colonel Crockett. I shall not vote for you again.' "
"I begged him tell me what was the matter."
"'Well Colonel, you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. You voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by fire in Georgetown.
" 'Certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing treasury,' I replied."
"'It is not the amount, Colonel, it is the principle. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man. . . . You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'
" 'You have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people.'
"Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. . . . You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men--men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people."
I think immediate aid and assistance is important. But I think the rush to spend more than the next guy is the wrong way to approach this. I opposed the huge federal payout to victims of 9/11 and I oppose the huge federal payment to victims of Katrina. It may feel good. But it isn't our money to give away.
My point is that now, more than ever, we could use more men like Crockett.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
I listened to the President on Thursday night and thought he did a solid job. Hopefully this will help him and the administration get back where they need to be in the public's eye - providing leadership. Yes the locals and State of Louisiana screwed things up, but Bush showing reliable leadership going forward will hugely assist with public perception.
I was very concerned when he gave a huge Clintonian laundry list of what the federal government was going to do, and all the spending that went with it. Thank God he did the right thing and later explained that there will be no tax increases, but spending offsets to pay for it. Whew!
Friday, September 16, 2005
Kids – Three is the Magic Number
Scott has 3.
Jason has 3.
TIBS has 3.
TJ has 3.
Sip is about to have 3.
JPC is odd man out with 2. You need to have another to keep SCG aligned.
Yes, we’re expecting our third in March. If a girl, I’ve once again floated the name ‘Reagan Thatcher’ as the first/middle name (I’d settle for Reagan Margaret), and if a boy, I’ve floated ‘George Walker’ (maybe George Ronald? Antonin Ronald?). Wish me luck on the names - - a highly important decision.
What Republican Party?
The Terminator v. those M&M guys.
I'm all for feeding kids healthy food in schools. But can someone explain why theState of California has to make this decision and not, say, local school boards or (gasp) parents?
UM student preparing for halloween?
When FBI agents walked into Mahmoud Maawad's spartan apartment at 3557 Mynders # 5 on Sept. 9, they found a desk, chair, computer and a Koran.
They also found an airline pilot's uniform, a chart of Memphis International Airport, and instructional DVDs, including one called "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act."
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
SCG 2005 NFL Survivor - week 2
Well, wouldn't it just figure that the resident expert (that's me by the way) would go down in week one. Brutal. I'm shorting the Vikings for the rest of the season.
Week Two Picks: (picks to be added by game time Sunday)
Sip: Houston over Pittsburgh
TJ: Indy over Jacksonville
Scott: Philadelphia over San Francisco
JPC: Indy over Jacksonville
May the second best man win.
This MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD
I picked up this link from the Onion courtesy James Taranto and best of the web today. It is aweome. Suffice it to say, I'm buying the five blade razor.
If you aren't reading BOTWT every day, you are worthless and weak, by the way.
One Nation, Under Liberalism, with Judges Determining All
A judge in San Francisco ruled the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional.,
Unfortunately, it isn't this type of judicial activism that Chuck Schumer is worried about. Fortunately, the terms of this debate will not be dictated by the MSM.
Elections matter. Its time to nominate a(nother) conservative justice. Preferably one that is in his or her 30s...
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
AN OFFERING TO THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA GODS
I'm sorry, but count me out of the bash Brown festival currently underway on both right and left wing blogs. I've posted before that Brown did not handle himself well with the media and that his statements struck the wrong note because they projected an image that he was worried about CYA rather than problem solving. The problem, of course, is that image has been projected by nearly everyone in this matter -- from FEMA to the Governor to the Mayor to Senator Landrieu.
From early on, the media framed this issue as a failure to help poor black people. That fit the "World ends, women and minorities hurt most," tradition of the 3 networks, the NYT and other MSM organizations. At the end of the day, this fits with the media's agenda, and the agenda of the left. But stoking the fires of racial resentment comes at a steep price -- the social, political and cultural alienation of millions of african americans from the rest of the country.
The idea that the federal, state or local government (in this case NO) acted slowly because these were black people -- or put another way, would have acted more quickly were they white people -- is baseless. Before leveling a charge like this, don't you think some shred of evidence should be provided to support the charge?
Nope. No evidence is required because to the media and the blame America first crowd, America is guilty until proven innocent. Too bad for America, though -- cause you can't prove a negative. No amount of sacrifice on the part of rescue workers, no amount of selflessness on the part of volunteers and donors, no amount of aid from the federal coffers, will ever be enough to satisfy those who deeply and truly believe that America is a tragic, bloody mistake of a nation that has done, and continues to do, more harm than good.
The accusation of racism in the Katrina aftermath is an ignoble lie -- a pernicious, soul-stealing falsehood, that weakens our country and denies hope to millions of African Americans. Why bother to do well in school if the deck is stacked against you? Why bother to live by the rules of a society that turns its back on you?
And so it continues... the false accusations of racism feeding the hopelessness, dispair and resentments that keep the inner-city poor right where they are. Meanwhile, other groups of non-whites, many of whom speak little English when they arrive here, are succeeding despite their color and the "climate" of hatred that so obviously exists here. As their children graduate from our universities with engineering degrees, you should ask yourself why, despite government program after government program and hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars, so few inner city youth are standing on stage with them.
Then, as you spout rhetoric about how racist and unfair America is, go look in the mirror. When you repeat a lie often enough, don't be surprised that someone believes you.
I have no doubt that every level of government failed to some degree. That's why I am a conservative -- I have very little faith in government. It is a necessary evil. Sometimes, as in the case of FEMA - it is the former. Sometimes, as with the corruption and thievery that characterizes local politics in New Orleans, it is somewhat closer to the latter.
Unfortunately, in the rush to blame somebody for the most devastating natural disaster in American history (at least in terms of property damage and size of the affected area), the media missed the big picture.
Yes, we all wonder why it took so long to get people out of the convention center. Yes, we wonder why the looting was not controlled sooner. But, regardless. This was a story of survival. A story of heroism. A story of hope amid tragedy.
In all the pictures of people making their way through the water, or standing fast against the water, the vast majority of those pictures showed people helping one another.
This was an opportunity to bring people together. To cast black Americans as heroes rather than victims. But the media can't look at black people as heroes. Because heroes don't wait for government agencies. And most importantly, for them, they don't need government handouts and they don't need people like Jesse Jackson shaking down companies in their name.
It used to be said of Palestinians that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The same, unfortunately, can be said with the MSM and black America. Here was an opportunity to show African Americans as AMERICANS -- working to help the helpless and fighting together for their lives and their city.
Of course, you will be able to find lots of examples of individual heroism by black Americans lauded by the press, so don't bother to point to them. They miss the point. Just as the media has fixed the slow response frame on Michael Brown, they have fixed the "Victim" frame on African Americans.
The MSM have succeeded. They have received their sacrifice -- Michael Brown's resignation. It provides them with a sense of power -- see, they do matter after all.
Unfortunately, the continuation -- and reinforcement -- of black Americans as either immoral looters or poor, ignorant victims, is the price the media paid for Michael Brown's head.
Sleep well at night. Black people will continue to vote Democratic. And the problems of drugs, crime, poverty, ignorance and social breakdown will continue for a long, long time.
ON ANOTHER NOTE
Jack Kelly has an excellent column today. He quotes from a national guardsman, who has been through a number of disasters and concludes that FEMA's overall response to this disaster is actually BETTER than usual. Here are the key graphs:
"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."
For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.
Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.
So they libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.
It can be said that FEMA was slow during all those hurricanes. That may be true. But I don't remember anyone complaining about FEMA's response time. It sure didn't come up as a major issue in the last campaign.
Also, keep in mind, in the wake of September 11th, FEMA took four days to take control in New York City -- and that was in a city that wasn't underwater.
The reality is, in the early parts of a major disaster, individuals are largely on their own. The locals pick up some of the slack almost immediately, the state police and other agencies like national guard are there in first couple days. Federal resources don't show up for several days. They don't mobilize those resources until they know they need them -- and the system is in place to get things on the ground within 72 hours.
You may not like it, but the system appears to work as designed. Were there problems -- yep. It is a huge operation.
The D-Day landings, the largest and most meticulously planned military event in human history, is a good example that huge operations are likely to include many, many failures. The bombers hesitated a split second too long to avoid hitting their own craft and, as a result, the bombs fell behind enemy lines rather than on the enemy. The planes with airborne came in far too fast and too low for precision landings -- and airborne troops were sent scattered across the countryside in groups of twos and threes, rather than coherent units. The airborne troops had bags of equipment tied to their legs. Most men overloaded their bags, and the bags broke during the jump and fell to earth, never to be seen again. Troops at the beach were also overloaded, and, because the bombing runs missed their targets, the landing craft did not go as close to the beach as they had previously planned. As a result, many American troops entered water over their heads and drowned under the weight of their packs (there is a reason that the terms FUBAR and SNAFU are common military terms).
But, the D-Day operation was not deemed a failure, but a huge success. Why? Because, despite the problems, despite the costly failures, the soldiers never lost site of the objective -- to get a foothold established on the beach, and capture the causeways and bridges that were needed to get forces and equipment into open country to strike at the heart of the enemy.
I put the Katrina response in the same category. It was an unbelievably huge undertaking punctuated by the usual SNAFUS and screw ups that occur in any large organization working on tight deadlines with insufficient communication and constantly changing conditions/obstacles. At the end of the day, the main objective -- to get 180,000 or so people out of a flooded and dangerous American city, appears to have been successful.
Was it pretty? No. Was it flawless? No. Did people die who could have otherwise been saved if the system worked perfectly? Unquestionably. But, given the challenges involved, it seems hard to imagine any other country doing as good a job, as quickly, with the relatively small number of casualties that we are seeing thus far.
I'm proud of the work done by the rescuers. It was a tough job and they have sacrificed a great deal. I'm also proud of the residents of Louisiana and Mississippi -- there are countless examples of bravery, strength and compassion. They deserve a parade, not another lame press conference.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Flight 93 Memorial - Whoops
Apparently, the folks who designed the Flight 93 memorial in PA never considered the fact that their design looks exactly like an Islamic crescent - - the symbol of Islam.
I'm sure... well, I'm hopeful this was inadvertant. But regardless, it has to be changed. Failure to change it will lead, rightly or wrongly, to the memorial becoming a symbol of Islamic victory. I can't think of anything more inappropriate to symbolize what was, in my opinion, a victory for every day citizens who, through their actions, saved hundreds or thousands of innocent lives.
Unbelievable. You couldn't write this stuff as fiction, it would be unbelievable.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
SCG 2005 NFL Survivor
It's that time of year again, pick one game, any game, every week with no point spread. Lose once and you're out. Last man standing wins. If you fail to get your pick in by game time of the first game each week, then you will automatically receive the Monday night home team.
New stakes for 2005; we had been doing winner drinks free at the various SCG get togethers, but some of the SCG boys are well, shall we say, unreliable. So this year everyone is putting up a bottle and the winner takes all (that's five bottles for the mathematically challenged). Good luck fellas!
Week One Picks: (picks to be added by game time tomorrow night)
Jason: Minnesota over Tampa Bay
Sip: Cincinnati over Cleveland
TJ: Buffalo over Houston
Scott: New England over Oakland
JPC: Pittsburgh over Tennessee
TIBS: Carolina over New Orleans
Monday, September 05, 2005
An interesting case of CYA
For those who are interested, Brendan Loy has lots of good posts on where FEMA's public statements have been both wrong and misleading. He makes some good points. You can read them here.
WHERE WAS THE NATIONAL GUARD?
This briefing, by Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, should answer many of your questions about the National Guard's response as to why things went so poorly in New Orleans early on and what the national guard was up to during the early days of this disaster.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Where are the Guardsmen?
A great piece on this topic by James Robbins - here.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Other Countries Help
Been swamped - as you know, the Hurricane has had a devistating effect on the oil and gas industry.
The story below appeared on the AP wire late this afternoon:
In a dramatic turnabout, the United States is now on the receiving end of help from around the world as some two dozen countries offer post-hurricane assistance.
Venezuela, a target of frequent criticism by the Bush administration, offered humanitarian aid and fuel. Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. pledged a $1 million donation for hurricane aid. The United Nations informed U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton it was prepared to support the relief effort "in any way possible."
Under Secretary-General Jan Egeland said his office had offered the services of the U.N.'s disaster assistance and coordination teams to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sent a letter to President Bush offering hundreds of doctors, nurses, technicians and other experts in trauma, natural disasters and public health. "We also offer field hospitals, medical kits and equipment for temporary housing, reinforcement for hospitals, or any assistance that you may require," Sharon wrote. He said the teams and equipment could be ready in 24 hours.
With offers from the four corners of the globe pouring in, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has decided "no offer that can help alleviate the suffering of the people in the afflicted area will be refused," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday.
However, in Moscow, a Russian official said the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency had rejected a Russian offer to dispatch rescue teams and other aid. On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin sent condolences to Bush and said Russia was prepared to help if asked.
Boats, aircraft, tents, blankets, generators, cash assistance and medical teams have been offered to the U.S. government in Washington or in embassies overseas. Offers have been received from Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Honduras, Germany, Venezuela, Jamaica, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Hungary, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, China, South Korea, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, NATO and the Organization of American States, the spokesman said.
The magnitude of the devastation is hard to comprehend. As many have said already, it is hard to see these images and not think that this just doesn't look like it could be in the United States. It is telling as to the enormous size of our nation that so many of our countrymen over such a large area could be suffering such utter devastation, while the vast majority of us were completely unaffected in the most immediate and physical sense. My eight-year-old son has been watching the news coverage intently, and I try to watch and listen with him and answer his questions when he has them - and ask him questions when he doesn't. If this is difficult for me to grasp, it must be all the more so for him. There are so many aspects to this tragedy - mostly sad, but many hopeful as well - and I will do my best to help him understand them to the extent we can. Amongst the most important ideas that I will try and help him take away from this are resiliency and charity. The former I believe is a duty we have to ourselves, and the latter is a duty we have to each other. Nothing preachy or pious intended here, as I believe we all do what we can and what we feel is right. There are hundreds of charities that will help in this time of need, and each would be an excellent avenue for whatever we can all spare. We've chosen a few already, but I would like to point one that I think is fairly appropriate for this site:
Soldier's Angels has set up a special relief fund to benefit returning service people in the disaster areas. They can be found here: http://www.soldiersangels.org/heroes/index.php
Our thoughts and prayers will continue to go out to all those affected by this unimaginable tragedy.