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The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

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Battleship Iowa to House Gay Museum?

Will the Battleship Iowa soon house (free registration required) a museum dedicated to "lesbian, gay, bisexual [and] transgender[ed]" veterans?

The Historic Ship Memorial at Pacific Square, a group that is trying to convince the city of San Francisco to exhibit the Iowa, hopes putting such a museum on the Iowa will attract the interest of San Francisco's board of supervisors. In July, the board voted against exhibiting the Iowa, citing (given that we are talking about San Francisco) utterly predictable political reasons.

The Iowa, which has earned 11 battle stars, was first commissioned in 1943 and most recently decommissioned in 1990. She saw significant action in World War II. She carried President Roosevelt part of the way to the Teheran Conference and then saw action in the Pacific Theatre, including in the Marshall Islands and Okinawa and the Battle for Leyte Gulf. She served as Admiral William F. Halsey's flagship during the Japanese surrender ceremony (60 years ago last Friday). She saw action in the Korean War and in the Mediterranean, and was decommissioned in 1958, only to be recommissioned in 1984 as part of President Reagan's expansion of the Navy. In 1989, the Iowa received national attention when tragedy struck: A never-fully-explained explosion in one of her nine 16-inch gun turrets killed 47 sailors.

The Iowa remains part of the U.S. Navy's Reserve Fleet.


Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act Reviewed

David Almasi and I weigh in on the "The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005" here.


NFL Hostile to Conservatives?

Michelle Malkin sees a Bush-hating trend at the NFL.

Maybe it is because of owners like this?


Black Activists on Chief Justice Rehnquist 

Several members of Project 21 are speaking out on the legacy of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.


Response to Black Caucus Criticism of Katrina Relief

Project 21 has responded to Congressional Black Caucus criticisms of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.


Ex-Liberal in Hollywood: New Orleans: Where Laid Back is Laid Bare

Clark Baker sent me a copy of a post in his new blog "Ex-Liberal in Hollywood" in response to my post about Anne Rice complaining about America. After I read the post he sent me I went to his blog and read a lot more of it, including why he became an ex-liberal.

Clark Baker has a lot to say, and he doesnt mince words saying it. I recommend this fresh new blog.


Katrina Rescues: A Military Perspective

I'm posting a letter from Joe Roche, whose wife is doing helicopter rescue missions in hurricane-affected areas, "24/7, very tired, sometimes being shot at, facing intense heat and humidity, having spartan-to-bare sleeping conditions, with sickness and disease spreading."


I want you to know that over the past days, our soldiers of the National Guard have quickly and readily made big sacrifices so they can get down to the Hurricane Katrina rescue mission. My wife, as you know, is with National Guard. I watched last week as they worked feverishly, being called in from their other jobs and away from their families, to get everything ready to go.

Tens of thousands of National Guard soldiers have mobilized all over the country like this. I know you have felt grief over the disaster and the issue some people have made of it. I want you to take heart and lift your spirits at what has happened with our military.

There is now a MASSIVE military response under way. It is moving very fast, in fact. So fast that it quickly and frequently overwhelmed the capacity to put it all in place and get it launched.

I understand the frustration, fear and sadness being felt, but it takes time to get such a thing going. Remember that it took many months for our military operations to get under way overseas when the decisions were made to do so. In fact, I think there was some controversy about that in both of the wars over Iraq, when it took from August to January to launch Operation Desert Storm, and even longer to get Operation Iraqi Freedom going. I well remember even having to assure people that we were going to respond after September 11th when some started worrying that weeks had passed and nothing had happened.

I believe that such comparisons actually will show that the military response to Hurricane Katrina's destruction is going at breath-taking fast speed.

Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, the commanding General of the Army National Guard, said that the thing to realize is that the rescuers who were there on the first day were also victims of the storm.

It takes time to organize the massive operation now under way. I watched my wife and her unit prepare to go, and I felt worried that they would become victims too if they didn't properly prepare. The vital thing the soldiers have to make sure of is that they are the solution to the problem, and not part of the problem. Therefore, what has happened is that a vast, truly amazing and powerfully inspiration-driven massive team of professionals has quickly and effectively set up a huge series of staging areas from which rescue operations can begin.

It is a fact that with the destruction of the storm, there were very few open and secure areas in which to set up huge military operations. Well, defying all the challenges, your National Guard soldiers have done that brilliantly!

Now we are seeing this massive military response making it's impact. Tens of thousands have been rescued, moving entire refugee populations hundreds of miles. I don't believe others ever have been able to do this, such as the Europeans in the Balkans. No, such massive population moves are normally the work of war and crime that last years. This time, bigger and faster than most in history, your National Guard has moved in, set up, and begun one of the largest rescue operations in history.

The thing that has affected me most, however, are the soldiers doing this. I have seen police officers, Vietnam Veterans, and other professionals from all sorts of jobs, dropping everything last week and getting airborne to get down there. And Amy, it is scary too.

My wife is my best friend and the best person I have ever met. Now she is doing helicopter rescue missions, 24/7, very tired, sometimes being shot at, facing intense heat and humidity, having spartan-to-bare sleeping conditions, with sickness and disease spreading. There are thousands of rescue operations to do, and there are dozens of air units and even more ground units working hard and sometimes bumping into each other. It is more dangerous than I think people realize.

Yet, amazingly and very inspiringly, I watched as these National Guard soldiers cancelled plans for college, jobs, their kids' plans for next week, basically everything that you can imagine, and instead jumped eagerly and with great determination to get ready and deploy to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Some of them are veterans, soldiers who have served for years in many of our wars and missions, civilian professionals who have jobs and lives and families, and all of them have set everything aside to go. Many are taking big financial hits, and their families have to make big adjustments. But you know what? They are all highly motivated and eager to get down there and do their jobs.

I know that for the victims of this storm, their suffering and tragedy is terrible and cannot be erased. I do hope we all realize, though, that the military is making a massively huge effort to rescue and help them that also involves National Guard soldiers making countless personal sacrifices.

We should have found inspiration from the determination of the people of New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to survive the long series of nightmares they have endured as a result of the hurricane. I also believe that we should now find inspiration in our great military, primarily the Army National Guard, for how they have jumped full steam ahead into this.

Be proud of your soldiers, keep your spirits and hopes high. There are some very sad and gruesome days and weeks ahead for our nation as we learn of the full scope of the disaster. Face it with the resolve, focus and determination that our military is showing us now, and we'll get through this to make a more safe future for such events and rebuild what has been lost.



Reviewing Anne Rice

Judging from her screed in the New York Times today, the writer Anne Rice apparently doesn't know the simple word "thanks."

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.
Speaking as someone who hates jazz, dislikes most of the creole food I've been introduced to, and never once went to Mardi Gras, but nonetheless sent a donation for Katrina relief, if I thought you, Anne Rice, spoke for anyone but yourself I would put a stop on the check.

Let's see what other blogs say about Anne Rice's point of view:

Flood uses the "f-word."

Michael at says:

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with you on this one, Ms. Rice. I can't think of anyone that could or did "turn their backs" on the people of New Orleans. I perceive that there was mistake after mistake made in responding to this horrible disaster, but I don't think that any of it was motivated by a disdain for the people of New Orleans in any form, on any level.
Free Thinker Slaves addresses Rice's essay at some length. A small excerpt:
Anyone who believes the America hates New Orleans or turned its back on it is either blinded or something worse. America loves New Orleans. People all around the nation turn on the TV because they care about it. They are shocked about what they see because they didn't expect people in a city such as this to turn on one other. And don't tell me it's all about a desperate search for food - people aren't being eaten they are being raped! Where is the so-called "gentleness" of these residents?
A number of bloggers posted Anne Rice's op-ed in full with no comment, which may mean that they liked it, or, like me, were agog, but one wonders if they have heard of copyright law. (And, really, if you don't have anything to say, why do you have a blog?)

I also found three bloggers who posted that they liked Rice's piece. No one was especially specific as to why, but it seemed to be a vague combination of appreciation for vampire novels combined with a dislike for President Bush.

For myself, I think Anne Rice's op-ed was inappropriately hostile and irresponsible. When someone lends you a helping hand, don't spit in it. Furthermore, while Anne Rice herself doesn't need the charitable donations, tax dollars and (perhaps) future tourist dollars of the people Rice is telling off, there are hurricane victims who do. Rice's screed is so obnoxious it could make people want to keep their dollars to themselves.

Fortunately, if blogger attention is any indication, most people seem to be ignoring Anne Rice's piece. I guess that's what I should have done, too. Certainly, the New York Times should have.

Addendum: Anne Rice should read this letter.


Tidbits on Rehnquist

A few tidbits I saw this night while reading about the late Chief Justice:

Comedian/actor Robin Williams, doing a supposed imitation of Rehnquist soon after he became Chief Justice in 1986, as quoted in People magazine's September 22, 1986 edition:
Do I have a hood on my new robe?
Senator Ted Kennedy on Rehnquist during the latter's 1986 Senate confirmation hearing (as cited in the August 25, 1986 New Republic, which added after Kennedy's quote: "A fair point."):
Imagine what America would be like if Mr. Rehnquist had been chief justice and his cramped and narrow view of the Constitution had prevailed in the critical years since World War II.
A synopsis of Rehnquist's legacy (and an answer to Kennedy), by Jan Crawford Greenburg for the Chicago Tribune:
[Justice Rehnquist's] legacy is a more overarching one, because he has, quite literally, changed the terms of the debate. His outlook on the law - that courts should strictly interpret laws, not seek to solve problems - was not embraced by some of his colleagues when he joined the bench more than three decades ago. But today, arguments are framed in terms of the law. The language in court opinions, even by the court's liberal justices, has changed.
My quibble with Rehnquist: That he didn't join the court far earlier, and stay much longer.


Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, RIP

A great man has died.


Hurricane Relief Suggestion Box

I've not blogged the Katrina aftermath much, partly because I'm so disgusted I don't trust myself around a keyboard when I'm thinking about it, and partly because I have been assuming that most decent, clear-thinking people are thinking pretty much the same thing.

I guess I was wrong on the second count, at least, because The Paragraph Farmer has posted a list of Katrina-related suggestions by people who are, as far as I know, decent and clear-thinking, and I disagree with a far amount of these suggestions. So, I'm going to have a post with my running thoughts about Katrina, and if/as I update it, I may bump this post to the top.

First, before I blather on, remember that private donations are important. Instapundit has a list; go here if you want your donation up to $100,000 automatically doubled and are willing to give to the third largest disaster relief charity in the U.S., after the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Now for the more argumentative stuff.

I wouldn't call my post, as Patrick did, "The suggestion box for Uncle Sam." (Sorry, Patrick.) I'd name it The Suggestion Box for Individuals, Followed by Organizations (Whether Non-Profit or For-Profit), Followed by Local Government, Followed by State Government, Followed - as a Last Resort and Probably Not Even Then -- by the National Government." (What's that? Patrick's theme is more concise? Well, maybe... but mine, if adopted, would save a lot of money.)

I wouldn't follow Hugh Hewitt's advice, as reported by The Paragraph Farmer, to "Establish a Center for the Study of Mass Casualty Events at Tulane University in New Orleans." If I have a long-term suggestion for Tulane University in New Orleans, it is this: Move. A "Center for the Study of Mass Casualty Events" based in a city that is a sitting duck for mass casualty events every 100-200 years (there could just as easily be another one next month as in 2017 or 2077 or 2111 or any year you pick out of a hat) is a perversity. One is either in favor of reducing mass casualty events or one is not. (If such a center were to be established, it could be entitled the "Center for the Encouragement of Mass Casualty Events.")

Hugh Hewitt's advice here however, makes 100 times more sense than Michael Savage's lunatic idea to "Impose price controls on gasoline for 90 days." Great idea, and I mean that with all the sarcasm my keyboard can muster. Let's ARTIFICALLY INFLATE THE DEMAND FOR GASOLINE as a way to deal with a gasoline supply disruption. REAL GOOD IDEA. Here's one only slightly dumber: Pray for rain in New Orleans.

Lew Rockwell's ideas, as related by the Paragraph Farmer in the post linked to above, make sense, except that the federal government, being soulless, cannot do penance.

Ed Shultz's idea for an "Adopt a Family of Hurricane Katrina Program" made sense, too - especially the fact that he appears to actually be working on making the idea a reality, instead of expecting George W. Bush to do it personally, and right now, besides.

I'll try to be nice to Patrick, since all this was his idea. I wonder, though, if his idea for a design contest for levees and pumps is needed. For all I know, Patrick has a degree in civil engineering (I sure don't), but don't we already know how to build these things? Isn't the real problem that we build in places that are dangerous while failing to ameliorate the dangers because doing so would cost money we'd rather spend on things that are not a matter of life and death?

"Relaxing the union rules" in the Gulf states makes sense, if it is necessary. (Strike that last: "Relaxing union rules" can never be unnecessary.)

Can't endorse another Civilian Conservation Corps. Federal employees don't rebuild the houses of every Tom, Dick and Harry who has a house fire... need I go on? Clearing roads of debris is an appropriate (local) government function.

Anything rebuilt in the especially dangerous hurricane zones (read: the "bowl" of New Orleans) should be built with private or local government money. If I seem harsh, remember this: Any federal money spent to rebuild New Orleans amounts to a tax-supported financial incentive to encourage people to live in a dangerous area. Such a program would be morally wrong. The French Quarter can exist without federal involvement and is small enough to be evacuated when necessary; anyone else who wants to live and work in the immediate "bowl" area can simply do it with his own resources, cognizant of the risks.

'Nuff criticism of other ideas. People making ideas are just trying to help and I should be nicer. Plus, my reactions assume a false reality; that is, one in which the federal government won't spend over $100 billion of our money on this. It will because it is expected, because it did this for the last hurricane and the one before that, so people start of expect the feds to swoop in take care of everything, the way Mommy did when we were two years old.

(Consider this: People who seem to hate George W. Bush also want him to be their Mommy. Are they twisted or what?)

Here are some ideas from me:

1) If you live in a ravaged area, and don't have financial resources (savings, employment, insurance covering losses), get a job somewhere else. Six months, a year or more elsewhere isn't the end of the world. Getting out of the devastated area for an appropriate length of time reduces demands for infrastructure there.

2) If you are elsewhere and run a business, hire a refugee (defined as "one who flees in search of refuge," yes, Americans can be refugees) if you can.

3) Those who can, which includes but is not limited to private employment services and job websites and charities, should help connect job-seekers with those who can offer employment. For example, could let businesses browse the resumes of hurricane victims free of charge. (Yes, I realize few refugees, at this stage, have Internet access, but every bit helps.) Charities can play a big role here.

4) Plan for the worst next time and don't think it can't happen because we're Americans. I'm not just talking about government, but individuals. Plan to leave town when experts recommend it. Plan enough to have a place to go, and a way to get there. And, when the time comes, don't wait until the last minute.

5) If you still don't have the resources and ability to always be prepared to get out of town, move to an area with low storm/earthquake risk. Do this as a favor for your neighbors, who may later have to risk their lives to save yours.

6) If you have morals, brains, and good impulse control, buy a gun. If you lack any one of these, get rid of any guns you have and never get any more.

7) Local and state governments should get control of street crime during non-emergency times, because that's the only time it is possible. If it is necessary to use the National Guard, and to create tent cities to have enough prison space, do so. Civilized people don't always stay civilized in times of great stress and provocation, but uncivilized people can be counted on to be what they are. Law and order can create civilization in places where it is not flourishing.

8) Keep Lawrence Guyot off TV. (Sorry, I know he's a gnat and not worthy of a suggestion, but he's on Fox right now claiming that the Katrina response would have been "perfect" if New Orleans had been a predominately white city, and, according to Guyot, everyone in America knows it.)

9) Local and state governments should have very harsh penalties for looting.

10) Local and state governments should have enhanced penalties for violent crime during states of emergency. Very enhanced.

11) Local and state governments should eliminate the statue of limitations for all crimes conducted in an area under a state of emergency. A conviction 20 years from now is better than no conviction at all.

12) No plea bargains should be accepted for anyone who shot at rescue personnel or committed any crime whatsoever that had the affect of impeding rescue operations during a state of emergency. These crimes are very serious and the message must be sent that anyone who does anything like this can kiss his or her old lifestyle goodbye for quite a long time indeed.

13) Americans: Stop thinking bad stuff can't happen to you because you are Americans.

I have more but that's enough for now. Probably more than I should have written, actually.

Addendum: Coyote Blog has a picture that is worth a thousand words.

Addendum (9/6): The website has forums for discussions of disaster relief ideas. Check it out.


The Civil War Being What?

The New Orleans mayor says Katrina is "the biggest goddam crisis in the history of this country."

The biggest crisis since the development cable TV 24/7, yes. But maybe perception becomes reality.


Congressional Action: Prayer of the House

On September 2, the Chaplain of the House of Representatives, Reverend Daniel P. Coughlin, offered the following prayer:

The Nation, Lord God, is overwhelmed today by the mournful sound that comes from the Deep South.

Like a familiar songstress who knows the fragile pain of us all, her prayer, if set to music, would hold us as an audience on suspended notes that would lift us beyond present expectations.

From New Orleans and cities, towns, and rural areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, there rises a soulful lament born of the blues now turned black.

The dreadful hurricane has swept over the South as a violent baptism. As witnesses, all of us turn to You, O Lord. You alone can renew faith and bring these people to new and promising life.

The cries of the poor over their families, their homes, their past and their future can sway any indifferent heart in America to be moved to prayer, solidarity, and generosity.

Until the South can sing again Your praises in her churches, on front porches, in the fields and the shipyards once again, we will hold onto the words of Your Song of Songs: "Deep waters cannot quench love; nor floods sweep it away."

Help us, Lord, to trust in Your faithful love and deepen our love for one another, especially those most in need of the kindness of strangers.


Note: "Congressional Action" is a blog feature highlighting an official activity undertaken by or in Congress, very often chosen at random, to provide an educational snapshot of our Congress at work. Opinions and facts represented in this feature do not necessarily represent the views of Amy Ridenour or The National Center for Public Policy Research, nor is this feature intended to express an opinion on any measure under consideration by the Congress.


Interview with Lt. Gen. Carl Strock

Reuters has an interesting interview with Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about levee-related funding cuts, hurricanes and the decisions people make.

Lt. Gen. Carl Strock strikes me as a man of good sense.


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Neo-Luddite

The National Center's Peyton Knight is not joining the Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. fan club (assuming there is one):

Hurricane Katrina has wrought tragedy and human suffering like few of us can even imagine. Disasters of this magnitude have a way of separating the good from the bad and downright ugly.

Heroes are emerging in the form of rescue teams and volunteer relief efforts. These selfless Samaritans remind us of what is inherently beautiful about human nature.

Regrettably, villains have also made their way to the scene. Looters are running rampant. Scammers are hitting the phone lines and the Internet falsely posing as representatives of legitimate charities to rob unsuspecting folks who simply want to help in any way they can.

So, it is hardly surprising that environmental opportunists are clamoring to make political hay out of death and destruction.

Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in a vain attempt to exploit tragedy and score political points, is blaming Katrina's devastation on President Bush, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and the absence of the Kyoto global warming treaty.

Citing Barbour's opposition to the Kyoto global warming treaty and mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions, Kennedy sneered: "Perhaps it was Barbour's memo that caused Katrina, at the last moment, to spare New Orleans and save its worst flailing for the Mississippi coast."


I'll add my two cents, as usual: Haley Barbour and others oppose both Kyoto and CO2 caps because of their disproportionate negative economic impact on the poor and minorities (science is another reason). We've all heard repeatedly on the news that poverty was a reason why many hurricane victims failed to evacuate as Katrina approached. So, poverty-promoting policies are not the way to avoid hurricane pain.

You know, if the Luddites always had their way, we wouldn't have satellites orbiting the Earth - and we wouldn't even have seen Katrina coming.

Addendum: Cooper Republic has a good take on this. I'm a Benny Peiser fan, too.


Gainesville, Texas

Looks like Gainesville, Texas, is a very neighborly town.

Brad Baugh, the inspirational young man in the story, is the cousin of National Center staff Sam Baugh.

We send our best wishes to Brad and his family.


Congressional Action: Senator Frist on Katrina

On September 1, Senate Majority Leader gave the first speech as the Senate reconvened on account of Hurricane Katrina:

Mr. President, on behalf of my colleagues and fellow Americans, I come to the Senate floor to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and to reassure the thousands of families suffering from this tragedy that we are committed to providing all of the relief and support necessary to get through this terrible and ongoing crisis. It is unprecedented, and it is unfolding before our eyes. Thus, this is a highly unusual emergency session we are conducting tonight.

As the President has said, our first priority is saving lives. At this very moment, relief organizations and faith-based volunteers are working valiantly to provide food, shelter, water, and medical care. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has delivered essential sustenance and supplies. It has supplied and continues to supply generators and thousands of cots and blankets and has deployed over 1,800 personnel to save lives and render medical assistance.

Our action, coupled with the House action tomorrow, will ensure that all necessary funds are immediately available to respond to this ongoing crisis.

The Army, Navy, National Guard, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Air National Guard are hard at work conducting rescue operations and providing aid. Twenty thousand guardsmen are on the ground right now. Thousands more are on the way.

Volunteers from my home State of Tennessee have been on the front lines all week. I think of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, a ministry of 3,000 Southern Baptist Tennessee churches. They are working around the clock on rescue missions, at relief stations, cooking thousands of meals and providing emergency care. And they are offering something else, something desperately needed in this time of tragedy: the hope and the love and the compassion of a Nation--of all of us pulling together as one.

As Norma Jones, a 63-year-old volunteer from Indian Mound, told a newspaper, "Most of the time, the rescue survivors just want to be hugged."

Hundreds of storm victims have found refuge in Nashville and middle Tennessee. Many are staying with relatives until it is safe to return, which, as we all know, may not be for months.

The ongoing crisis has become a crisis of refugees, a crisis of refugees the likes of which this country has never seen. In Memphis, TN, actually a long way from the gulf, there are 10,000 refugees as we speak, and over the course of tonight they are expecting 4,000 more refugees in that town alone.

On the television, we see families wading waste-high for dozens of blocks in search of food or dry land or clean water. We see those families marooned on those rooftops, as floodwaters swirl past, writing, inscribing with whatever they have available: "Need insulin." "Diabetic." "Please help" -- reaching out for hope, reaching out to be saved.

Our very own colleague and friend, Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, lost his family home in this disaster. He returned recently -- about 2 days ago -- to his family home and found nothing. Our deepest sympathies go out to him and his family as they face this difficult time and to so many others in this body and, indeed, all around this country who face these personal challenges.

Towns, cities, communities, and shorelines have been decimated and reduced to rubble, to debris. We have a public health crisis that is just beginning, an ongoing crisis, but one that will increase almost with certainty over the coming days and weeks.

New Orleans, one of America's most vibrant cities, will take years to recover. Hundreds of helpless people remain trapped on highway overpasses and in the city center with nowhere to go, no food, no water, no sanitation, and security has been tough, as we have all seen over the course of the day.

Most of Mississippi is without power, without electricity. Towns, villages have been totally destroyed.

The darkness of the night will be not just dramatic but, as we heard over the last several hours, haunting underneath those bridges, in rural areas with no lights for blocks, for miles, just human suffering.

Our rescue teams are working hard, and we see that. We are so proud of them, and they deserve our praise--our enormous praise--for their courage, for their boldness, for their dedication. People are still stranded. They are reaching their breaking point, and they need our help now. That is why at 10 o'clock tonight we are acting. That is why we are convening tonight in this urgent session for an emergency supplemental, operating by unanimous consent. FEMA needs additional funds now to continue their relief efforts and to continue the recovery.

Over the course of the last several days, we have had numerous calls with President Bush, and the Democratic leader and I just several hours ago received a call from President Bush requesting these funds. We applaud President Bush. He moved early to get emergency supplies prepared and ready to go. We have been in constant contact. He and his administration have been working tirelessly to meet this daunting challenge.

We all recognize we have much to do. There are many frustrations that have bubbled up over the course of the last several days to do more or things are not going well, and we feel those frustrations. We feel that pain. We feel that suffering. Again, that is why we are here tonight--to support, to deliver, to answer those challenges.

I also thank our State and local leaders for their tremendous dedication and commitment. We, this body, our Federal Government, stand behind them 100 percent. Helping the victims of this hurricane disaster is our highest priority.

Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath is, as we now know, one of the worst catastrophes this country has ever seen. But this is America, and in America we face our toughest challenges together as one, united and lifted up by our compassion and our strength.

Even in our darkest hour, our humanity shines through, millions of citizens, millions of Americans committed to one another, to the care and well-being of all.

Inscribed in this very Chamber just above the Presiding Officer is "E Pluribus Unum," out of many, one.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

Note: "Congressional Action" is a blog feature highlighting an official activity undertaken by or in Congress, very often chosen at random, to provide an educational snapshot of our Congress at work. Opinions and facts represented in this feature do not necessarily represent the views of Amy Ridenour or The National Center for Public Policy Research, nor is this feature intended to express an opinion on any measure under consideration by the Congress.


Congress is Returning

Thought folks might be interested in seeing the following announcement, which was put out within the last hour by a member of the U.S. House Leadership:

In the next few minutes, the President will have a conference call with the House and Senate Leadership. At that time, the President will inform the Bicameral Leadership that FEMA needs additional funds this week.

The Speaker, in consultation with the Minority Leader, and pursuant to the emergency recall authority provided in the Adjournment Resolution passed by the House in July, has decided to bring the House back into Session tomorrow.

The specific language of the bill is not yet available, but the goal is for the House to consider the legislation tomorrow afternoon. At this time, we expect the legislation to pass WITHOUT a recorded vote. Therefore, Members will not be required to return to the Capitol.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.


Katrina Relief

Go to this post on for a comprehensive list of recommendations.

You can go there now. This blog will be waiting for you when you get back. We won't delete anything. We promise.


Down With Knee-Jerk, Apoplectic Hysteria

From today's Inside the Beltway column in the Washington Times:

Martin and John

Rekindling the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., blacks in America aren't being silent about the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court -- albeit for this cause, the minority group's leaders are divided for a change.

Responding to attacks from left-wing blacks, the black leadership network Project 21 is defending its assertion that the beliefs of King are more in line with the record of Judge Roberts than with the agenda of those currently laying claim to the civil rights leader's legacy.

The debate began more than a week ago when Project 21 member Mychal Massie remarked: 'John Roberts is the type of jurist who represents the beliefs of great Americans such as James Madison and Martin Luther King Jr.'

At which point African-American Ministers In Action Chairman Tim McDonald charged that Mr. Massie sought to 'pull the wool over the eyes' of the black community, while fellow member Roger Wilkins added: 'John Roberts is no Martin Luther King Jr.'

Mr. Massie says he does not apologize 'nor shrink from my comments comparing the beliefs' of Judge Roberts and Mr. King.

'To suggest that I have in some way discredited Dr. King is simply the knee-jerk, apoplectic hysteria of those who find fault with anyone not espousing their leftist mantra of self-segregation and special rights,' he says.

Personally, I find it interesting that the left objects to Judge Roberts being compared to Martin Luther King, but not to Roberts being compared to James Madison.