Friday, February 22, 2008

Be Prepared

This caliber response is unusual for Wisconsin, but that didn't help people in 1500 vehicles:
Madison - In the midst of the snowstorm this month that stranded more than 1,500 cars south of Madison for up to 12 hours, state officials refused to shut down I-90/39, blocked snowmobilers from checking on drivers and nearly shut down the emergency response center at the height of the crisis.
I-90 is the Interstate between Chicago and Madison. It continues up to the Twin Cities, so I can understand some reluctance to shut it down, but after 1500 vehicles get stuck, what's the point of keeping it "open"?
The storm dumped 13.4 inches of snow on Madison. A crash was reported around 11:15 a.m. and later northbound trucks were unable to get up an icy hill on I-90/39 south of Madison, causing a bottleneck that blocked traffic for 12 hours. More than 1,500 vehicles were stranded for at least some of that time....

• A state trooper posted on the state Department of Transportation Web site at 5 p.m. that the freeway was impassable, but commanders had the post taken down.

• At 5:15 p.m. - 15 minutes after watching newscasts that led with the traffic backup - the Wisconsin Emergency Management timeline log says officials decided to shut the Emergency Operations Center at 6 p.m. because there were "no pressing reports of large scale accidents or blockages."
Uh huh.
• Jeff Western, the state Bureau of Highways representative at the emergency center, told his replacement not to come in and left at 5:15 p.m. Because of that, his agency did not participate in a 5:40 p.m. multiagency planning session that was set up because of the Dane County call.
In hindsight, this might be considered a mistake.
• Dane County dispatched snowmobiles to check on people in stuck vehicles. Rock County tried to do the same thing, but the incident commander, State Patrol Lt. Lauri Steeber, refused to give them access to the road around 9:20 p.m. The snowmobiles were later allowed on the road, Dunbar said.
I'd like to know why she made that decision.

This is Wisconsin's snowiest winter on record, and I think it follows quite a few years of below average snow, so a lot of people who are responsible for running things may well be out of practice. That happens, but that is exactly the point of being personally prepared: You cannot rely on others to take care of you right away.

While there are plenty of evolutionary dead enders even in Wisconsin who aren't ready for getting stuck in a snowstorm, plenty keep blankets, candles and matches for heat, candy bars, and spare winter clothes in the trunk all winter. Also a crank up radio, shovel, sand or kitty litter, a couple flashlights with fresh batteries, jumper cables, and a first aid kit. And a tow cable: if you can't get yourself out, someone who can may come along. Water/drinks are tougher given the problem with freezing (that's also a problem with first aid ointments) but if you are stuck in the snow, then snow is available.

Patrick Marley has the story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Michael Moore, Fidel Castro, and Useful Idiots

John Derbyshire gets it about right:
Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy*.
Michael Moore, of course, wants to bring the mass-murdering, librarian imprisoning, military dictator to the Academy Awards as his guest because he would be a "ratings grabber". Why not Pol Pot, Michael? Oh yeah...Pol Pot is dead. What a shame for the ratings. And Hollywood won't get to give him a standing ovation.

In a way, that is a shame: The rest of the country won't be able to watch.

*According to the jackboot's own "statistics".

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chris Matthews should Moderate all the Presidential debates.

Not that any candidates would dare attend:


I hope this is the last victim of the Civil War

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The UN, Google, Inner City Press, and whistleblowers

It looks like some people at the UN don't like their critics, and Google is willing to shut up those least until there is a bit too much publicity. Michael Y. Park at Fox News has the story:
Many of (Matthew) Lee's stories (in Inner City Press) were featured prominently whenever Web users looked for news about the U.N. using the powerful Google News search engine, a vital way for media outlets both large and small to get their articles read.

But beginning Feb. 13, Google News users could no longer find new stories from the Inner City Press....

...In November 2007,...Google announced its partnership with the UNDP...
After counter-complaints from supporters, Google claims that it will restore Lee's listing.

There are plenty of people, especiailly at the UN, who think that the UN should control the Internet.