Clueless Judges

September 8, 2005

Reviewing the work of a clueless US judge who based his decision on his misreading of a key Witness Statement made me long for the reincarnation of the legendary Brit lawyer F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead.

He had a very interesting life, even making the cover of Time in 1923. I hasten to add that I wasn’t around at the time.

(In) the opinion of Winston Churchill, who was a friend: “He had all the canine virtues in a remarkable degree – courage, fidelity, vigilance, love of chase.”

Here are three of his interactions with clueless judges – or possibly successive interactions with the same one…

Judge: “I have read your case, Mr Smith, and I am no wiser now than I was when I started.”

F. E. Smith: “Possibly not, my lord, but much better informed.”

Judge: “Are you trying to show contempt for this court, Mr Smith?”

F. E. Smith: “No, my lord. I am attempting to conceal it.”

Judge: “You are extremely offensive, young man!”

F. E. Smith: “As a matter of fact we both are; but I am trying to be, and you can’t help it.”

America Rises

September 8, 2005

Predictably, the doom mongers of the world’s lefty MSM are proving wrong, and the Gulf is coming back much faster then they’d predicted. That’s because leftys don’t understand the skill, technology, science, organization, steadfastness and courage of the engineers upon which their miserable lives depend.

To remind you of the timeline:
– Monday August 29, 6:10 AM CT. Katrina makes landfall in Louisiana.
– Tuesday August 30,. Two levees break in New Orleans and the city fills.

Remember New Orleans would never recover? Here’s its business district on Tuesday night, 7 days after the levees broke.

And that pathetic Army Corps of Engineers dropping sandbags to try to plug the gaps in those levees?

September 7: Pumps remove floodwaters through the repaired 17th Street canal levee

Or the destruction of US oil production in the Gulf and the expected recession? (WSJ, subscription, my ellipsis)?

1:21 a.m. ET Sept 8: Anglo-Australian resources group BHP Billiton said it restarted most of its oil and gas production in the Gulf, just one day after saying output was halted indefinitely. All but two of BHP’s six oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico have restarted production, it said.

2:30 a.m.ET Sept 8: The Energy Department said domestic oil production and refinery output should return to pre-hurricane levels by November, as repairs are made to damaged oil rigs and Gulf coast refineries.

And Schroder bragging last week that the disaster showed the weakness of US capitalism compared with German socialism? (WSJ, subscription):

Besides cash, companies have handed out free drugs, suspended finance payments on cars and mortgages and helped emergency personnel with equipment. As interesting, though, has been the application of corporate best practices — from supply-chain management to logistics — to a natural disaster.

The private-sector planning began before Katrina hit. Home Depot’s “war room” had transferred high-demand items — generators, flashlights, batteries and lumber — to distribution areas surrounding the strike area. Phone companies readied mobile cell towers and sent in generators and fuel. Insurers flew in special teams and set up hotlines to process claims.

This planning allowed the firms to resume serving customers in record time. Katrina shut down 126 Wal-Mart facilities; all but 14 are now open. Entergy, the power company for 1.1 million households and businesses that lost electricity, had restored electricity by Monday to 575,000 customers, including areas of flooded New Orleans.

Supply-chain management and logistics don’t get much coverage in the MSM. They’re mind-bogglingly complex, use very advanced software and clever math, and work in the real world – all areas where your average journo is challenged. However they support the global infrastructure of forecasting, planning, procurement, manufacture, shipping, warehousing and distribution that enables your local supermarket to reliably stock your favorite cereal brand, 24*7.

I’ve been tracking many more details: bridges being patched, distribution centers created, logistics neworks regrowing, and computer grids coming back.

Still a lot to do. But this is awesome.

Selfish Germany

September 8, 2005

The selfishness that’s central to German character is on display in their current election campaign. Schroeder’s opponent, Angela Merkel, is being accused by the German MSM of the crime of borrowing parts of her speech from the “cowboy”, Ronald Reagan. Selfish nations make lousy allies and the sooner our troops are out the better.

To see their selfishness at a personal level, try walking along a German sidewalk. People never give way to eachother and will walk straight into you. They don’t apologize & they don’t look at you – one time a German matron charged right into my heavily bandaged arm rather than share the sidewalk.

From the WSJ (subscription, my ellipsis):

…German media outlets are…accusing (Merkel) of borrowing the Gipper’s best lines…

The weekly Spiegel on its website tries to put down Reagan by saying he was primarily known for “massive defense spending rises, tax cuts and welfare cuts.”

Have Germans forgotten that they owe their free and united country to Reagan?

One would think that Germans ought to have fond memories of the not-insignificant role Ronald Reagan played in reuniting their country. Standing before Berlin’s Brandenburger Gate in 1987, he spoke this immortal line: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

They haven’t forgotten, they’re just selfish. We’ll never be able to rely on them, let’s complete our troop withdrawals ASAP.