Katrina 10 Years Later

Ten years ago hurricane Katrina slammed into Bay St. Louis and Waveland Mississippi along with St. Bernard parish and St. Tammany parish in Louisiana.  The devastation was widespread all along the Gulf coast.  Katrina was a study in contrasts of competance.  From the gross lack of preparedness to the botched rescue efforts.  From FEMA director Michael (“Heckuva Job Brownie”) Brown to General Honoré turning things around and famously yelling at a solder who had a gun:  “We’re on a rescue mission damn it!”

Some things are back, some not. Let’s hope nothing like that ever happens again.


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V-J Day 2015


August 15, 2015 marks 70 years since the Japanese surrendered in WWII.  The horror of two nuclear bomb attacks was too much.  For the last 45 years those without nukes have been trying to get them and those with them are trying to curtail everybody’s stockpile.  Which is precisely why the Iran deal is such a big deal.

Critics of the deal have a whole host of objections.  From the “Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth” to “not a good enough deal.”  The critics apparently don’t know how negotiations work.  Or maybe they just need a Bogeyman to stay in power.  Or maybe it’s just they are critical of everything this administration does, even if it’s a very good thing.  Especially if it’s a very good thing.

No nukes is good nukes.


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17 in the Clown Car

The eight of August is the first Republican debate(s).  The primary debate will have the 10 greatest polling candidates, featuring “Mr.” Trump (a.k.a. “The Donald”).  The “Happy Hour” debate will have the losers.

The pundits, the viewers and the political media are hoping for fireworks.  Specifically they’re waiting for Trump to insult someone.  The great fear is that he won’t and he’ll seem reasonable.

The kiddie-table debate may have more substance.  Or it could be a mish-mash of the standard talking points.

Will someone have a great line?  A great response?  What word or phrase will be the most popular for drinking games?

Friday will be a good time for a White House media dump as the only political coverage will be of the debate.

The image is of Sultana, a 17er in Alaska (5304m).  Also known as Mt. Foraker, named for Ohio senator Joseph Foraker (R) in 1899.


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$15/hour Minimum Wage

The latest thing to ruffle the right is the $15/hour minimum wage. University of California is doing it.  Chipolte is doing it.  New York City is considering it. They don’t realize that it’s a job killer.  Or it’s gonna make the price of your Big Mac skyrocket.  Or maybe both.

There’s two things these naysayers forget.  In Business 101 they teach you that you price things based on perceived value.  If the perceived value is less than the cost it takes you to get it to the customer you need to figure out something else.  So raising raising the minimum wage might cut into profits, but that’s about it.  And it puts all the minimum wage employers on the same playing field.

Raising the minimum wage would also help worker retention, reducing training costs for employers.  And those making minimum wage are likely to plow all that cash back into the economy on things like food and rent.

The image is Nevado de Toluca a 15,350 ft (4680 m) in Mexico.  Take that Donald Trump.


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Live by the sword, die by the sword.  The opposition right has for years received all the press coverage by saying crazy things.  Not lost on the Republican presidential candidates, they have been saying wacky things, one and all.  But none has been saying anything crazier than Donald Trump.  Not even close.  And because of that he has been getting all of the press coverage.  All of it.  And because of all the press coverage he’s been leading in the Republican polls.  Which means he’ll be prominently featured on the debate stage.  Which has Republicans worried.

Unintended consequences can be a bitch.


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Nuclear Deal with Iran

So now we have a nuclear deal with Iran in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.  Sounds pretty good.  Hell, it’s historic.

That doesn’t stop those on the right from condemning the deal.  But they should be praising the deal and here’s why:  this is the first step in normalizing relations with Iran.  Normalized relations mean trade.  Trade means jobs.  And money.  And if Iran is focused on improving its economy it’s much less likely to get involved in mischief in the region.

The image is of the Bandelier National Monument, near Los Alamos, New  Mexico, home of the Manhattan Project.


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Illegal Immigrants?

Republican presidential  candidate Donald Trump has made illegal immigrants the central focus of his campaign.  This begs the question: “Who was here first?”  The 50th Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar’s family was in the San Luis Valley of Colorado before Colorado was a state.  They were there before Colorado was a territory.  Hell, they were there before there was a United States.  So who are the illegal immigrants?

The photo is of the Great Sand Dunes  National Monument in the San Luis Valley.


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