I hate roaches.

I hate them.

I particularly hate them when they are in my house.

I hate them even more when they crawl up my jeans’ leg when I have my jeans on.

I hate roaches.

Did I mention that?

Great Moments in Technical Services History

4362 B.C.
First evidence (from Scythia, modern day Crimea) of a four-wheeled book cart. Within two generations this design was adopted throughout Europe and Asia, replacing the more maneuverable, but much less stable two-wheeled book cart.

Spring, 3193 B.C.
First serial title attested: “Publications of the Royal Sumerian Academy.”

Late summer, 3193 B.C.
First serial title change attested: to “Royal Sumerian Academy Publications.”

537 B.C.
The National Library of Babylon, finally switching to papyrus, ceases maintaining its clay tablet shelflist, but is unable to discard it for nostalgic reasons. Two years later, under seige by the Persians, the city finds a new use for the old tablets and manages to inflict severe losses on the beseiging army by pelting them from the ramparts with large quantities of shelflist tablets.

43 B.C.
First attested use of an ISBN (for the special collector’s edition of Caesar’s Gallic Wars with an introduction by Marc Anthony): IXIVVIIXVIIIVIIIVIVII.

81 A.D.
Second gospel of the Christian New Testament becomes the first document written in MARK format.

427 A.D.
The Library at Alexandria decides to contract out its annual weeding project; Vandal hordes are the lowest bidder.

This gave me quite a chuckle the other day.

I found it via Happy Catholic.

Today I am less happy with technical services since they chose to shut down my old password and the computer refuses to accept that any of my new choice of passwords are correct. Plus they keep changing the rules for the stupid password. I’m sick of that too.

There are some poor people, but not all of these folks.

The BBC has emails (I guess) from US folks who are tightening their belts.

Some of them are really tightening their belts. Like the man who went from making $45/hr to minimum wage. Expenses don’t drop just because wages do. He’s probably got house payments, etc, that he can’t afford.

But give me a break… The guy in Chicago who “made an uninformed decision” to be an actor? Big freaking deal. And, oh no, he and his girlfriend could barely afford two sets of tickets to two different destinations for the holidays. Waah. Nope. They’re not poor.

The last guy… “I spend within my limits.” Good for him.

Most of these folks are not poor.

You may wonder why I no longer read the news

It’s because of things like Wired’s 9/11 post in which the evil is discussed in terms of which sectors of the country made money from the disaster. That was the most important thing.


I’m not linking to it. You can go find it yourself.

In the tech world, 9/11 and President Bush’s subsequent declaration of a “war on terror” led to some nice profits in some sectors, especially among businesses involved in communications, surveillance, security and weapons technology.
More insidious is the intrusion of sophisticated surveillance technology into everyday life.

TSA seems to be a little ridiculous.

I was told last time at IAH to go through the metal detector with my arms out. This time the TSA people said I might be trying to fool the metal detector and made me go back through. (Did I miss hearing about terrorists who fooled the metal detector last time?)

At RDU we were in a long winding line for water checks. “Don’t carry on lip gloss.” “ladies, you can’t take mascara on.” (They checked bags for these but not pockets.) Then we went upstairs, after being checked again for our ticket and ID. At the top of the stairs, we were checked AGAIN for our ID and ticket. Did they think there were gremlins in the stairs who would sneak terrorists in? We had two different initial sets on our tickets. Then at the top there were six, very slow, lines with people pulling off their belts, their jackets, their shoes; putting their bags and their computers out in plastic bins.

I put the lip gloss in my pocket and didn’t have any trouble with it. If lip gloss is useful to terrorists, they’re going to have an easy time with that.

As you finish your tour through the checkpoints, there’s a Homeland Security TV. It says, “Protecting your freedoms…” Er, no. I don’t think they’re doing that. They may be attempting to protect my life, but they’re not after protecting my freedoms. Not when they’re checking everything I check on.

I am fairly sure that if it weren’t for business passengers that we might not be able to take any carry ons. But business passengers want to not have to go to baggage claim.

And I can’t imagine how long it took the family with the three little kids to get through. Pull off all their jackets. Check. Pull off their back packs. Check. Pull off their shoes. Check. Put the stroller through. Check. Take off your own jacket. Check. Take off your shoes. Check. Take off Child #1’s shoes. Check. Take off Child #2’s shoes…. You get it.

Announcing Rape Victims’ Names

The News and Observer has announced the name of the innocent lacrosse team members’ accuser. I agree with that choice. She’s been shown to be a liar and why should she be protected? They weren’t.

But now they say they aren’t sure that their standing policy of not id’ing assault survivors’ names will be under review.

Sometimes the media gives enough information that the name is known. “28 year old English professor” for instance in a small college town. I think even that is wrong.

Too often our system and our sympathies support the criminal not the victim. Rape is still considered to be a negative event that the victim caused or encouraged by many people. I’ve heard people who ought to know better espouse it in college classes and in church.

Most rape victims don’t prosecute. They feel like the hoops are too stressful. One of my friends fended off a rape attack and the DA got the guy for attempted rape. They had three rape victims who were offering to testify against the guy, but the DA said they weren’t credible because they had been raped.

Damn it.

A fair and equal example

How hard is it to not eat nightshades? What if you’re not a big ketchup fan, love Fritos, and prefer sweet potatoes to baked spuds? Then you might think that giving up nightshades would be simple.

So what would be a fair and equal example for you of how hard it is to avoid them?

Take the five foods you eat every day, whatever those are and skip them. Then add the nightshades in, since they aren’t your regular foods. Skip all of those and see how you like it.

Do you love jalapeno burgers? Go for the burger, but skip the jalapeno.

Do you want to eat Chinese food? Okay, but no peppers of any sort… That leaves the non-spicy foods and not all of those.

Oh, but one of your regular foods is bread! Well, you could eat the burger without the bread, just get a fork.

It’s an idea.

I’m very frustrated right now about attitudes towards how easy it is to avoid a food that makes me feel badly anyway. Think of it as being told you can never again indulge your sweet tooth, plus.

A “good” person

Why do people say that a murderer, a robber, a terrorist was a “good” person?

Is it because we don’t know what good means anymore?

(Note, after looking for the murderer=good thing I remembered reading, I found an article on murder in Victorian Ireland. He was a good man, his neighbors said, was a common refrain.)

Teacher’s Rant: Violence and the US

No, not mine. The left wing teacher who told his class that Bush kind of sort of equals Hitler. The one where he says capitalism leaves the bottom line at money and so that is more important to capitalists than safety or human rights. The one where he says China should bomb North Carolina because we grow tobacco there, since we drop chemicals on coca farms in Colombia. It’s an interesting rant.

You can read a transcription at Michelle Malkin.

I read about it first at Spunky Homeschool where she points out the teacher’s subject of record is geography. Well, maybe his students know where North Carolina and China are. (I have lots of students who probably don’t, but I teach English.)

Basically, you’re looking at a man who is using his place as a high school teacher as a soap box. He’s teaching against us.

I mentioned in the comments of File it Under that I thought there was a smidgen of truth in some of the things he said. And there is. If there weren’t, he’d be a clear and total wacko. But there is a smidgen.

For instance, he said that democracies are violent. He said that the US is the most violent nation in the world.

We are the US. We are currently fighting a war in two countries that are not our own. I believe that there were legitimate reasons for us to fight there. But we are definitely violent.

I believe that his implicit premise is flawed, however. The implication of saying that democracies are violent, when he is stating that we are bad, is that violence is bad.

Who is probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth?!

Unidentified brainwashed student interjects: We are.

The United States of America! And we’re a democracy. Quote-unquote.

Who has the most weapons of mass destruction in the world? The United States.

Who’s continuing to develop new weapons of mass destruction as we speak?! The United States.

But he apparently doesn’t realize that there is a point and a purpose to violence sometimes. (My college students, many of them, missed the same point in the spanking papers I wrote about earlier.) If you and I take guns and shoot him, who wins? We do. The violent people. Sometimes violence is necessary to keep people safe. Wouldn’t you want the police to be violent and shoot a hostage taker, rather than let the hostage taker be violent and kill the hostages? I would.

I think the Mudville Gazette says it best, with their motto. (And I quoted it in class last night, too.) “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

Thank God for men and women who stand ready to do violence on our behalf.

I do wonder sometimes at our having weapons of mass destruction. But I also trust our system more than I trust our bureacrats and I believe that the people of the world are safe from our WMDs, as long as they don’t attack us or ours with theirs. That may make me naive. I am certain many would think me so.

But I am all for deterrence through intimidation. It’s a lot less violent than, say, violence.

I have other points to fisk, but I’m going out to party tonight with my hubby for my bday. So come back tomorrow for Teacher’s Rant: Farmers and Chemical Weapons. Also, wait for it, Teacher’s Rant: Bush and Hitler. You might be surprised by what I say.

Women, Working, and Urinal Cakes

“I think it’s a mistake for these highly educated and capable women to make that choice [to stay home],” said law professor and working mom Linda Hirshman. “I am saying an educated, competent adult’s place is in the office.”

Whoa! I’m an educated competent adult. I should make my own choices! And I’ve chosen to stay home and educate my children, as opposed to going to work full time and educating other people’s children.

Hirshman says working is also a matter of feeling fulfilled. She doesn’t buy into the arguments of many homemakers who say taking care of the family is the most fulfilling thing they could imagine.

“I would like to see a description of their daily lives that substantiates that position,” Hirshman said. “One of the things I’ve done working on my book is to read a lot of the diaries online, and their description of their lives does not sound particularly interesting or fulfilling for a complicated person, for a complicated, educated person.”

Excuse me. What diaries online is she talking about? If she’s talking about blogs, she should call them that. There is a word for them. And I can tell you that my life is particularly interesting.

For instance, just yesterday, having heard of “urinal cakes” for the first time (My eldest asked his father what they were for.), we got into a discussion on them. Then my husband said he didn’t think eating words, like cake, and restroom words, like urinal, should be used together. My eldest was asking why not. I explained to him that it was like putting “your parents” and “sex” into the same phrase. “Eww! Let’s not talk now.”

There you have it. Urinal cakes are fine and dandy discussion words for teenage boys, but not your parents’ sex.

I said I was going to blog about it, but they didn’t want me to. (I wonder why.)

Maybe all the particularly interesting blog entries aren’t written down. Though if you’ve read Bouddica’s Voice, Daring Young Mom, Roughcut Gems, or ArmyWifeToddlerMom, you know that’s not totally true.

As for “fulfilling,” who is she to decide what is fulfilling? Which is better? To make some money, talk to grown ups, send my kids off to someone else to raise? Or to raise them myself? I vote for option number 2. I voted with my hands, my feet, my life, my money. And I’ll keep voting that way till they’re “grown up.” And maybe longer, if you look at The Common Room.

Hirshman says that’s why women should only have one child. If you have one, you can keep up in the workplace, but two makes it difficult.

So, she not only wants to decide what I, a competent educated adult, will do every day, she also wants to determine how many children I have. Maybe I should send her over to the Common Room. I’m sure the Headmistress would have some significant things to say to her about that.

One of Hirshman’s most sobering arguments is that women who leave the workplace are ensuring that the hard-won gains made by women will be undone. She asks why should business schools give advanced degrees to those who don’t use them?

How about because women paid for them and earned them? This idea about not giving people degrees is why my grandmother, educated at UC Berkeley, with a BFA and an MFA, was asked to turn down a slot for a PhD. But do you really think, in an age when MORE women than men are going to college, when more women than men are getting advanced degrees, we’re suddenly going to go back in time because some of the women aren’t using their advanced degrees for a while?

Is she crazy?

What school requires, or even considers, whether or not you are actually going to use your degree? Certainly not the one where my dad’s friend’s brother-in-law got six doctorates in a row. He was 50 when I last heard and was still going to school, still had done nothing with his advanced degrees but get another TAship. Do you think the schools are going to quit awarding him degrees just because he has them and isn’t using them? Not as long as he’s paying, they’re not.

And neither will any other school.

All the above quotes are from ABC News.

Air Force Family has a discussion up that is related to this post. Not on this woman’s view of what we women should be doing, but on the Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs mag’s discussion of “patriarchy.” It is well worth a ready.

Pappy Boyington

I grew up on “Baa, Baa Blacksheep” so I was appalled when I read about the University of Washington’s student senate meeting in which they decided not to honor this distinguished UW alumni because he killed people (during WWII, the enemy, and survived 20 months of a Japanese POW camp).

I haven’t written on it because I didn’t really have anything to add besides horror at the students’ attitudes and frustration with the left’s indoctrination that these guys can’t see that people like Boyington are the reason we have freedom. As the Mudville Gazette states, “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

I think I read it first on Michelle Malkin’s blog, but I know I read it several other places, too.

One of the things UW is trying to do, since they can’t overrule or undo their senate meeting, is get more street cred. So they’ve come up with a scholarship for Marines and their children in his name. I’m glad to see this, but it doesn’t take away from the lack of civic awareness on the part of their students.

File It Under has a link to the PDF of the minutes of the meeting, if you want to be outraged from the primary source.

Yes, he gave his time and energy for free speech. I believe the UW student senate had the right to say what they did and make this call. I have the right to say that they are foolish for doing so and show their propensity for repeating history. (Don’t know, doomed to repeat.)

Why Ask

If you are going to critique the dinner’s ingredients, don’t tell the cook you don’t care what they make.

If you want some loving, don’t diss the lover who came in because they interrupted your packing.

If you want an A in class, do the work.

It seems to me these ought to be obvious. But maybe they aren’t.

A Wrong Medical Decision

My mom was denied service at a hospital in the US back in the 60s because she’d had two miscarriages. When she came in the third time the hospital said she must be aborting and so they would not admit her. My mom had three kids at the time and wanted four. She did not abort. She miscarried. But because she was refused service she almost died from blood loss. (Thankfully she did not die and did have the fourth child.)

Thousands of people in Great Britain are going to be sentenced to pain, debilitation, and possibly death because a person decides that their problems are self-inflicted if the decision that seems likely is made.

The National Health Service in Great Britain is discussing the idea that doctors can and should refuse service to those whose injuries are self-inflicted.

It seems that the National Health Service has issued a “guidance” to physicians permitting them to refuse to treat a patient if they judge that an illness is self-inflicted. It also appears that this directive has already been an undeclared policy for some NHS physicians:
The guidelines will be introduced as a poll shows that one in five doctors admits that he or she has already denied patients treatment because they drink heavily, smoke or are obese.

from Doc Surg who read it on the Times Online.

I’m against this. Of course. You knew that from the title of the blog.

How does the doctor know it’s self-inflicted unless he’s done an exam? Don’t tell me those will be required. I know they aren’t.

There are more potential problems than that, too.

If a person lives with an abuser and won’t leave, are their injuries self-inflicted?

If a person lives with a smoker and they get lung cancer, are their injuries self-inflicted?

If I’m in a car accident because I fell asleep at the wheel, is my injury self-inflicted?

Under some understanding, all those are self-inflicted. So a doctor in Great Britian will soon be able to legally decide not to treat patients with those problems.

If you’ve read this blog much, you know that I’ve had doctors make poor decisions in my healthcare. I know that doctors are people, doing the best they can (we hope), but limited by too little knowledge. And now they’re going to be deciding treatment based on “self-inflicted.”

So if it’s a brain dysfunction, is that self-inflicted? They won’t treat ADHD because my brain did it to me?

This is a runaway train. Unfortunately it is clearly already speeding downhill because the Times says “s a poll shows that one in five doctors admits that he or she has already denied patients treatment because they drink heavily, smoke or are obese.”

So, if the doctor decides that I have a problem because I am obese, he/she won’t treat me. But how do they know I wouldn’t have the problem if I weren’t? They don’t know. And if I am obese because of a metabolism problem, but they never check me, they won’t treat me, even though it’s not “my fault.”

Forget taking your friend to the hospital when they’ve taken too much medicine or gotten carbon monoxide poisoning. They did it to themselves.

Under this treatment regimen attempted suicides won’t be helped, psychiatrically or physically, but will be left to die or not the second time around.

I am appalled that doctors are already making these decisions. I think that it is wrong.

Obviously I am in the minority.

Found on Dr. Tony

Why can’t Americans take care of themselves?

I was listening to the news today and I heard that people who were hit by Wilma were grousing and the feds came in and brought them free food, free water, free ice. I have a question. Since when should the government use my money, your money, to buy groceries for folks who weren’t forethoughtful enough to buy groceries for themselves when they decided to stay within the path of a hurricane.

When we were going to stay in Rita’s path, when it was going to hit us dead on, we had water and food for a week. We weren’t expecting the government to come in and feed us.

When did this expectation that the government should buy us food and water happen? Why did it happen? And how can we make it stop?

The nation that was founded and created by people who thought that everyone should help themselves… has become a nation of people who think that everyone else should help them.

And, no, I’m not opposed to the government helping in extreme emergencies, even if the people were stupid unprepared, but I don’t think we should all be counting on the government to buy us dinner every time a wind comes… even a heavy wind.

Boudicca’s Voice has an entry that is quite as much a rant as mine. And she was in South Floriday, so you can’t get away with saying it’s not fair to say that if I wasn’t in the situation. She was in that situation particularly.

Illegal Immigrants Rape Woman

14 of them. Dragged her from her own home at 4 a.m. Illegal immigrants. I vote we don’t put them on a plane. We just shoot them. They proved by coming in that they don’t care about our laws. What difference did it make to them? And so they had no fear of another law. They hadn’t been punished for breaking the last one.

News article here

They can be “considered” illegal immigrants. You mean they are?

They’ve been locked up for nine days. And we’re only just hearing about it now?

They face possible deportation. Yeah, that’s what happens when you break a law in the US. Possibly we’ll do something about it.

The federal government will “take them back there” to Guatemala, if they aren’t convicted. We’ll take them back.

Said at College

The things people are saying in college today. Even presidents.

Today, moralistic absolutism powers radical Islamic fundamentalism and North Korea’s paranoid self-reliance and is on the rise again in this nation in the troubling form of a cluster of unexamined moralistic concepts including “the sanctity of life,” “liberty above all,” “axis of evil,” “anti-affirmative action,” “intelligent design,” and “family values,” which are exerting increasing influence on American social attitudes, scientific and legal practice, and domestic and foreign policy.

So “liberty above all” is moralistic absolutism that is on par with terrorism. That is, after all, what radical Islamic fundamentalism means.

“Family values” equal people who blow up fathers, mothers, children. Sometimes waiting to blow up lots of children. Oh yeah. I can see the equivalence there.

“The sanctity of life,” believing that everyone should have a chance to live, is the same as “radical Islamic fundamentalism,” which believes that everyone who is not specifically one of them should die.

Unfortunately I am not surprised. When you teach that only what you believe matters, then they are equivalent. But beliefs bring about actions and while some, like the president of Swathmore, might believe that no actions are better than others, it is not true. Swathmore, and its president, don’t want students who will bomb the school. If someone did that they wouldn’t be at school anymore. So, if all actions are not equally good, neither are the beliefs from which they come.

I’m not a debater and I’m not sure that argument doesn’t have flaws, but it seems to me a reasonable argument. Which is more than I can say for Alfred Bloom’s remarks.

The time will come, and may already be upon us, when such remarks are accepted as inevitable or accurate. But they aren’t.

Once the consensus of the world was that the world was flat. Did that flatten the world? No. What we believe doesn’t change the facts.

via Ticklish Ears

[In case you think that I am not arguing persuasively about blowing up children and civilians, perhaps the word of terrorist Abu Musab Al Zarqawi will let you know that I am not mistaken. “In Islam, making the difference is not based on civilians and military, but on the basis of Muslims and infidels.” via Jihad Watch]

PC Gone Mad: UK

I read it at Absinthe and Cookies. English police have decided you can’t even own a collection of pigs IN YOUR OWN HOME because Muslims don’t like it. Mark my words, soon they’ll have to have separate butchers for the pork. Why has this never been a problem for the Jews? Or have the Jews complained but the Brits didn’t care about them?

Here’s an opinion from the Telegraph.“So these little news items that pop up every week now are significant mostly as a gauge of the progressive liberal’s urge to self-abase and Western Muslims’ ever greater boldness in flexing their political muscle.”

As Pastor Niemöller said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I’m more of an Eeyore.

NYT Disses Houston

and it lies.

Not wanting to get in trouble with Houston readers the NYT domestic article on Houston wasn’t very nice, but wasn’t horrible. Apparently they thought neither we nor anyone else in Texas would be smart enough to find their Paris version.

Here’s the domestic version:

It begins with: “Perhaps no city in the United States is in a better spot than Houston to turn Katrina’s tragedy into opportunity. And businesses here are already scrambling to profit in the hurricane’s aftermath. ”

Here’s the international version:
It begins with: “No one would accuse this city of being timid in the scramble to profit from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. ”

I haven’t seen us scrambling to profit in the hurricane’s aftermath, but I hope we are. We’ve already taken in 25,000 evacuees. We’ve got more who say they’re coming. How will we take care of them if our businesses are not profitable?

Houston wasn’t in a nosedive financially, despite what NYT says. And believe me, Houstonians know a nosedive. We had one in 1986. This is not one. Houston is 4 million people. Even Enron wasn’t big enough to destroy us. I’m not sure, but I don’t think Katrina is either.

Houston article on the two NYT stories

the domestic NYT article

the international NYT article

Go read the international NYT article. It’s ridiculous. Only a non-thinking person would see this as profiteering.

Oil services companies based here are already racing to carry out repairs to damaged offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico

I hope so. We need them to get those platforms back where they need to be and up and running. Over half the refineries in the US were in this region. Does anyone want the oil services companies to stay home? Or is it just that we want the oil services companies from somewhere else to come in? Houston is the nearest large city un-devastated by the hurricane. We’re an OIL and GAS city. (Or we were in the 80s, which is why we cratered in 86.)

The Port of Houston is preparing for an increase in traffic as shippers divert cargo away from the damaged ports of New Orleans and Pascagoula, Mississippi.

There is no port in New Orleans left. And what I’ve seen of Pascagoula shows it’s the same. Where else do you want shippers to go? Why aren’t you saying the shippers are profiteering? They’re the ones coming here. Is Port of Houston responsible for the hurricane? No. Will we lose this traffic when NO is up and running again? Yes.

With brio that might make an ambulance-chaser proud, one company, National Realty Investments is offering special financing deals “for hurricane survivors only,” with no down payments and discounted closing costs.

Let’s see. They’re offering no down payments. They’re discounting closing costs. They’re not trying to sue anyone. They don’t have to do this. Full price is what everyone else has to pay. They’re not doing this just to make money. They’re doing this, at least partially, as a service for the people who have been devastated.

“Houston is positioned for a boom.”

Well, that’s true. We’re the next largest city to the west. We’re big. We have a port. We’re oil and gas based. And we have 25,000+ Louisianans living with us. I’d say that’s a boom right there.

Perhaps no city in the United States is in a better spot to turn Katrina’s tragedy into opportunity.

This is the lead sentence in the domestic article. It is true. It is not, on the other hand, negative. What should we turn it into? More tragedy? Waste? Stupidity? Opportunity is what will keep our country growing after a major disaster. Opportunity will keep our economy afloat. Opportunity will give workers from New Orleans a job. (We didn’t have 25,000+ job openings in Houston prior to Katrina.)

Long known for its commercial fervor, Houston, the largest city in the South with a metropolitan population of more than four million, has one of the busiest ports in the United States and remains unrivaled as a center for the energy industry.

There’s the truth that makes sense out of our folks rushing off to help. What is wrong with it? Nothing. But with a lead sentence like the one in the article, people are looking at the negative.

Halliburton moved its headquarters to Houston from Dallas in 2003, joining dozens of companies based here that provide services for oil and natural gas producers.

Well, that’s where all the people with their skills are. Where else would they move?

Halliburton differs from many oil services companies in that it also does significant business with the federal government.

Halliburton also differs from many oil services companies in that it offers different types of services. Ones unique to the business.

The company’s Kellogg, Brown & Root unit was doing repairs and cleanup at three naval facilities in Mississippi last week.

Exactly. The same kind of unique services that they’re doing in Iraq.

Executives at other Houston companies said they were wasting little time in carrying out repairs in the Gulf of Mexico, where at least 20 offshore rigs and platforms are believed to be damaged or destroyed.

Fisked this already. Duh. What are you thinking? We should waste time repairing offshore rigs and platforms the companies AND this country need? Don’t think so.

“I always hate to talk about positives in a situation like this, but this is certainly a growth business over the next 6 to 12 months,” said Geoffrey Hertel, the chief executive of Tetra.

I don’t hate to talk positives. We need people making money so we can pay to clean up this disaster. We need people making money so they can employ the folks who are out of jobs. We need people making money to keep this country going. And if there are positives, then let’s talk about them. There certainly are not very many.

If the storm works to Houston’s benefit, it would not be the first time a natural disaster of extraordinary size sparked some economic dynamism here.

Yeah. We keep working with our weather creator. We’ve been creating these messes, you know. It’s so good for the economic dynamism.

What the heck? What difference does it make? Houston has certainly had huge growth spurts without any natural disasters. But the implication here is that natural disasters spur on our economy. Well they do. But they’re not the only things.

The hurricane of 1900 in nearby Galveston, which killed more than 6,000 people and almost leveled the most thriving commercial city in the Southeast, paved the way for Houston, located 50 miles, or 80 kilometers, inland, to emerge as a regional center for shipping and oil refining.

Excuse me, but we were already emerging as a regional center. And a hurricane blowing away an entire town might convince people who didn’t need to that they didn’t want to live there.

I’ll go to someone else for better input on this. Historic Houston: Boom Town offers the following:

It has been said that Houston is a flourishing trade center today because of its fortunate location. John and Augustus Allen, the enterprising pioneers, chose this spot in 1836 because it was the navigation point closest to the already established settlement of San Felipe de Austin on the Brazos, which Stephen F. Austin had established as the first Anglo-American community in Texas. …

…Houston slowly began … emerging as the commercial center for nearby towns.

…Houston built warehouses and stored cotton during the 1850’s as its brokers continue to do today. The city established, in addition, a strong agricultural and lumber trade. Houston’s first rail link was laid in 1853, a turning point in the city’s development as a national marketing center.

Major products were cotton, lumber and cattle. The Port of Houston served to aid and diversify the lumber industry, since pine and hardwood were transported by way of the ship channel. As the amount of marine traffic to the East Coast increased, the channel was expanded to an average 12 foot depth by Commander Charles Morgan, who obtained a federal grant for the project. …

Until the turn of the century, Houston’s economy was largely based on agriculture and ranching. Besides cotton, cattle and timber, rice growing and fishing gained significance. All, however, were overshadowed when oil was discovered at Spindletop in 1901. The development of this potent natural resource then became the most significant layer of Houston’s economy. “Houston” and “Texas” became synonymous with “oil.” As oil revolutionized social structures and priorities at home and abroad, it served to propel the United States toward economic and political leadership in the world.

Now, Houston did grow as a result of Galveston’s disaster.

The aftermath of this disaster served to revitalize efforts to set up Houston as a major port. Unlike Galveston, the Port of Houston is located inland and is largely immune to such disasters. Congress then invested more money in waterway improvements.

But it wasn’t the only thing that caused Houston to grow. WWI and WWII also contributed.

The other event that worked in Houston’s favor was when the United States turned to Houston for the oil and fuel needed for the World War I effort. By this time, Houston had an expanded port facility capable of handling vital overseas shipments. The first deep water vessel, in fact, arrived at the Port of Houston in August, 1915, and the first refinery was set up along the ship channel in 1918. The growth of the automobile industry– the largest manufacturing industry of all time—lead to increased demands for oil.

…World War II pushed the Port of Houston to ever greater expansion. The city became the center of the explosive development in the petrochemical industry, which used oil products to manufacture such vital materials as synthetic rubber. The industry continued to expand and went on to include plastics, besides oil tools and equipment. Food processing (coffee and rice) and high-technology industries added another dimension to Houston’s economy during this period.

And foreign trade increased in the port as well.

None of that, however, makes the point the NYT is trying to make. Which is that Houston capitalizes on other’s misfortune. If we didn’t, would their misfortune be any better? I don’t think so. And, in this case at least, it would be quite a bit worse.

The article goes on with its rampant prejudice, but I’ll just fisk a couple more points.

One company that has exchanged New Orleans for Houston is Whitney Holding, the parent company of Whitney National Bank, founded in 1883 and the oldest operating bank in New Orleans. Another New Orleans oil exploration company, Energy Partners, said in a statement last week that it was also making Houston its temporary headquarters. Other companies are following suit, according to real estate brokers.

Where else would they go? We have the nearest large port. Where should they go? Should they just sit around and watch their companies go belly up because otherwise they’re helping our economy.

This article is a great example of why people should read critically. Most don’t.

Austin Bay from our state capital points the way to these articles.