The Common Sense Resistance

One thing is certain: I will have to go to confession this weekend for some of the things I thought and said to myself late last night once it became clear that Barack Obama had won reelection despite running the pettiest, most vindictive, most substance-free campaign in my living memory. As my family members will tell you, I’m a gal with some mood regulation issues (including a heck of a temper) — but I don’t think I have ever been angrier than I was around midnight last night. EVER. And even though some of that initial anger has now faded after a few hours of sleep, I still cannot believe that so many people fell for what Obama was selling. Like Matt, I despair over what this nation has apparently become — dominated by people who are incapable of seeing through the pop culture’s perversions and empty bumper sticker slogans. Have so many people really sacrificed their God-given brains on the altars of getting what’s coming to you, screwing the people who are not in your identity group, and congratulating yourself for your “compassion”? When did envy and divisiveness become central American values?

To single women (i.e., people in one of my “identity brackets”): Free birth control, abortion, and Daddy Government are not going to save you. For God’s sake, look around you! Poverty is becoming increasingly feminized, the objectification of the female body is becoming ever more pervasive, and decent, upstanding men (like Matt, for instance) are becoming more and more difficult to find. THINK! Use the grey matter between your ears and start seeing the connection between the radical liberalization of our sexual mores and your own struggles. As the saying goes, why should a man buy a cow when he can get the milk for free? And as for Daddy Government? Sorry, but Uncle Sam is broke. It may not seem like it now, but our government’s spending is categorically unsustainable. We can’t keep spending more than we take in. And no — if you tax the rich, the rich will eventually go away, and we still won’t have enough money to pay for your “free” birth control. If you raise taxes in general, history reveals conclusively that the government will find yet more things to spend those revenues on, and we’ll be right back to where we are today: stuck with a bloated dinosaur of a federal bureaucracy that always opts for more expensive, more inefficient means to deliver what we all consider to be genuine public goods. As Sarah Hoyt wrote the other day, we have come to the end of cake. It’s time to put on our big-girl pants and face this fact.

To the bishops and priests of the US Catholic Church: Valiant effort, guys, but it was too little, too late. You’ve lost at least one generation – and maybe two – of Catholics because you failed to explain why the sexual revolution has been so poisonous. Yes — the writings of John Paul the Great are brilliant, but they’re also impenetrable to many who lack a solid background in theology. You must popularize the message of the Theology of the Body and preach it from every pulpit in America. Further, over the years, you’ve also cozied up a little too much to the top-down, statist approach to social justice, which has handed the members of the Catholic left their excuse to flat out ignore the Magisterium when it comes to abortion, contraception and other “social” issues. It’s time to step back and reflect on what that has done to our church and our greater society. Let’s really examine the assumptions that drive the welfare state and start questioning whether this is really the best way to serve the poor and uphold the dignity of the human person.

To those conservatives who are justifiably disappointed and angry: I think Bill Whittle is largely right in his latest Stratosphere Lounge broadcast (the one entitled “A New Beginning…”). Personally, I still believe faithful Catholics should engage in civil disobedience regarding the HHS mandate up until it’s struck down. But otherwise? Frack ’em. I will still support conservative candidates come election time, but I henceforth refuse to waste any more emotional energy on the Jon Stewart dimwits, the leftist academics, and the perpetually aggrieved hatemongers who populate my Facebook feeds. I cannot convince them. They are brainwashed ideologues, and I have no use for them. Eventually, they will learn – in the school of hard knocks – that things that can’t go on won’t.

In the meantime, we must work together to build something that will be able to fill in the gaps when the top-down, centralized state finally collapses under its own weight. Matt’s worried about his future children, and frankly, so am I. But I think our answer is to opt out. Just opt out. Don’t patronize the traditional public school system. If you’re attached to sending your kids to a brick-and-mortar institution, fight hard to get them into a charter school or a Catholic school (as far as I know, parish schools offer aid packages for the financially strapped, so don’t be dissuaded by the prospect of paying tuition) — and if you’re not attached to such institutions, go for home schooling. In any case, make sure your kids are taught to think critically and to appreciate the value of hard work so they won’t be swayed by the pernicious messages sent by the media.

As Whittle argues, we conservatives need to work on building parallel institutions to bypass the government. First and foremost, we must dedicate ourselves to our families so that our kids will come to embrace the family as the central pillar of our civil society. Moreover, regardless of what the government does, we must build our own schools, our own service organizations, our own movie studios, and even our own space program using the talents and treasure we possess en mass. This course will require great sacrifice from most of us, but I think that it will ultimately be worth it.

Relegated – the only thing to do is be ourselves

Romney just ran the classiest (overall – there were sharp criticisms and not all of them were 100% factual, but in general, Romney’s campaign was positive during the heat of this cycle), most professional, and best organized campaign in recent Republican history.  He did most things right.  Some will argue that Romney should have worked harder to define himself through ad spending early on (after his nomination) instead of waiting until after the conventions.  Others will claim he should have made Obamacare a more important issue or should have fully embraced the Ryan budget or some other tactical decision they didn’t like may pop into their head.  You can bet that there will be Monday morning quarterbacking and second guessing.

But I believe that Romney did an excellent job playing to his strengths and leading a solid campaign – maximizing his chances to win.  He came very close in Ohio and Florida…close but no cigar.

There’s a lesson in this.  Conservatives have just proven that this election cannot be won by choosing a moderate – no matter how skilled that moderate may be – and talking about reaching across the isle.  There aren’t enough non-partisan players to win that way.  The only thing we have left is to be fully ourselves and act like true conservatives.  That doesn’t mean going further to the right, per say…it means being unequivocal in our beliefs and facing the reality that we must draw real distinctions to sway left-leaning partisans away from this path of destruction they’ve chosen for themselves.

In 2016, one of two things will happen – conservatives will have the balls to nominate an actual conservative…or there will be a third party candidate (Constitution Party perhaps) and the GOP will self destruct.

A Sad Day for America

I fear for a country that cannot discern the difference between a competent man and a figurehead, a practical man and a proven failure, and a reasonable man and an ideologue.

I fear for the future of my nascent family in a country that no longer has the stomach to defend itself, to face hard challenges or to accept that freedom doesn’t mean free THINGS.  I’d say I should  leave this place, but there is no where left to go.  Pray for the human race…they have lost their way.

Projection Time!

I sent this map to my sister about a month ago after Romney decimated Obama in debate #1 and the polls came around to what I’d been expecting:

Election Day Projection

That forecast still looks good to me.  We’ll see how close I get.

As for the Senate…I’m on record predicting GOP wins in AZ, NV, MT, ND, NE, MO (yes…even though it’s Todd Akin), WI, PA, IN, OH and VA…which would get us to at least 54 senate seats.  Many of those races would be very close and my own projections are of relatively low confidence…so we’ll see.  We could be anywhere from 49-49-2 (the two indies being mostly democrat-leaning) to 55-43-2

Incompetent Leadership in NYC Worsens Gas Shortage

Oh so many things have gone wrong since I left for a trip to see my fiance in MA…and many of those things are at least in some way the responsibility of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg or NY State Governor Cuomo.  While NJ Governor Chris Christie takes steps necessary to expedite the recovery of his state from the impacts of Superstorm Sandy, including, but not limited to:

  • Prior to the storm telling all coastal residents to leave whether evacuations were hoisted or not and stay out of the way
  • Authorizing the use of military assets in affected coastal communities (National Guard, Navy Reserve, Air Force, and even Marines) to deliver needed food, fuel and security to offset the loming fear of riots and violence in long gas lines – in a sense, a soft martial law where needed
  • Directing the state legislature to pass a bill authorizing additional state spending while the Feds gets the act together (IOW, spend some money now and go into debt expecting you’ll get it back when FEMA finally moves money around)
  • Setting a curfew and instructing gas providers to exclude anyone with more than half a tank of gas from obtaining gas
  • Giving priority to public transit for fuel resupply efforts
Cuomo and Bloomberg have illustrated a SPECTACULAR ineptitude and a dismal lack of respect for the power of nature, including such highlights as:
  • Prior to the storm insisting that New Yorkers send their kids to school and report for work on Monday
  • Waiting until LATE SUNDAY the 28th to issue limited evacuations – evacuations that proved entirely insufficient when the storm hit and flooded areas well inland of the restricted zones, leaving many New Yorkers with not enough time to adequately prepare before leaving.
  • Telling New Yorkers not to open their doors no matter what the circumstances (supposedly because he feared looters) – resulting in the negligent homicide of two small children in the Bronx who were, with their mother, repeatedly denied entry into homes, though the waters were rising and they had nowhere to run
  • Failing to move NYC rescue/utility/service assets out of harms way, losing some trucks and other equipment to the tide
  • Insisting, while middle class New Yorkers were eating rotting food out of dumpsters in Staten Island that the NYC Marathon should continue as scheduled until shortly before and cancelling it so late that many of the participants wound up stranded at airports anyway
  • Failing to authorize the use of military assets to bolster security (with the predictable consequence that the city, in many areas, no resembles hell on Earth)
  • diverting emergency refueling supplies for days because they couldn’t get vital infrastructure cleared for travel (not focusing on the right areas when first attacking the wreckage)
Pragmatists know what to do in the face of disaster…liberals do not.
Please vote for pragmatists.  That is all.

Violence in Tri-state Area over Gas Shortage

This won’t be a long post…but it is a little warning to anyone in the area…if you get ANY chance to get gas…you need to take it.  The lines at any place with power that is open are immense and they’re selling out of gas quickly.  The result: fist fights and weapons drawn at various stations and cops drawing weapons on customers to keep them in line as near-riot conditions develop in the desperate scramble to fill up the tank.

I am probably not going to be able to go on my planned trip to Boston this weekend – not because the ferry is grounded…not because the trains can’t pass…but because I cannot get to Port Jefferson.  Five miles away.

Frankenstorm: Final Impacts

Everything I warned about here became a reality on Monday and then some.

Let’s just list the expected impacts that I cited as early as Wednesday and confidently predicted by Friday and then compare with what actually occurred:

  • The Hurricane Center guilty of negligent homicide for not issuing hurricane warnings
    • On radar, the storm clearly presented as tropical when it made landfall, though you could see it evolving to a more extra-tropical look within an hour or two of making landfall.  The storm has killed at least 52 people in the US at last report and those numbers will rise when rescuers are able to reach Fire Island, where hundreds are missing. Hundreds who may not have evacuated because all they saw were (strongly worded) high wind warnings and coastal flood warnings.  Hurricane is a dirty word to coastal residents.  They generally take such things very seriously.  But we get high wind warnings 3-4 times a year on average and coastal flood warnings a few times per winter, and neither of those things sound as scary as this was to anyone watching with real knowledge of what was about to happen.  Those deaths – though not entirely the fault of the Hurricane Center – should weigh heavily on the souls of the forecasters at the NHC.
  • Overall: more than 10 billion in damage
    • Actual damage estimates STARTED at 20 billion and are increasing from there – total damage in the US may now be as high as 55 billion – about half the toll of Hurricane Katrina (108 billion).
  • In excess of 10 inches of rain in Virginia, the southern Delmarva Peninsula and Central Maryland and Pennsylvania possible
    • Maximum rainfall recorded in the Mid Atlantic: 11.21″ at Anapolis, MD – the town badly flooded.  I also predicted 4-8 inches of rain in DC proper and those folks got a good 6-7 inches for the most part.
  • Record storm surges in N Staten Island, NE NJ, the Western parts of Long Island, the NY Battery and the East Bronx – up to 12 feet of water – flooded subway and rail tunnels, flooding in lower Manhattan and the East Bronx
    • Water rose to 14.1 feet above MLLW at the Battery – a surge of 8.95 feet – shattering the old record by more than 3 feet.  7 subway stations, including three major hubs were indeed flooded as well as tunnels used by Amtrak for Northeast Regional service.  Manhattan flooded up to 4 feet of water by the Battery and the streets filled with water as far north as the Financial district.  The Bronx (East River) flooding has never been seen before at these levels.  Staten Island recorded record surges as well.  The surge was so bad along the South shore of Long Island that some parts of S Nassau County lost sewer service and the fecal material contaminated their water supply.  Surges along the North Shore were mercifully reduced just a bit by the timing of the storm’s arrival, but in Eastern Long Island, they still managed to overtop both forks utterly devastate places like Jamesport and Riverhead.
  • Possibly up to a foot of snow in the higher elevations of the Catskills, Poconos, and Blueridge Mountains as well as the high terrain of West Virginia
    • Bluefield, WV – elevation 750 feet – recorded over a foot of snow.  The moutainous terrain actually saw upwards of 4 feet of snow in places, and a number of low lying towns in VA, PA and NC, from Asheville, NC to Richmond, VA, to State College, PA saw wet snow as the system wound down (though not to accumulate below about 500 feet)
  • Winds gusting to hurricane force over a large area and well inland, tropical storm force wind gusts as far SW as DC and as far NE as down-east Maine
    • Newark, NJ – 75 mph top gust
    • Groton, CT – 75
    • New London, CT – 82
    • LaGuardia Apt, NY – 88
    • Islip, NY – 90
    • Montawk, NY – 92
    • Eaton’s Neck, NY – 96
    • Philadelphia, PA – 62
    • Albany, NY – 59
    • Danbury,. CT – 63
    • Boston, MA – 62
    • Worcester, MA – 52
    • Concord, NH – 55
    • Baltimore, MD – 49
    • Washington, DC – 43
  • Wind damage could include structural damage to buildings in a few hard hit places, as well as blown-out windows in NYC high rises, on top of the usual tree and tower damage you see in most high wind events
    • Many reports of blown out windows in lower Manhattan and the Bronx, and even more in Queens and Brooklyn, closer to the heart of the storm
    • Roofs torn off houses, shingles turned into projectiles, cars blown off roads and masts and sails torn from boats all over Long Island, especially in the vicinity of Western Suffolk County (Islip, Eaton’s Neck, Centereach, Huntington areas) where winds gusted to 90+ mph.
    • Downed trees, power poles, and power lines the rule, not the exception through southern New England and the tri-state area.  Upwards of 50 transformers in my home township alone exploded and became wind-driven torches.  Wind-swept fires in the Rockaways and in Queens spread out of control destroying hundreds of homes.  Nearly 6 million people lost power and nearly 4 million still do not have power as of Thursday.
I would say this qualifies as the kind of forecast you never want to be right about, but yet terribly hope to be, because perhaps, when the next big storm threatens, the people in your town will heed your warnings and prepare.  Despite a lackluster showing from the Hurricane Center (though, to the credit of the HWRF model, the center did come ashore further south than the bulk of the operational mesoscale models this time), the Weather Service tried to get the word out.  People now generally report surprise and frustration with the lack of warning for just how bad this was going to be.  The media is filled with stories of how unexpected this all was.  Next time, hopefully the Hurricane Center will issue hurricane warnings for a category 2 hurricane hitting NYC.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  But in the absence of that, it has been over 20 years since a nor’easter had this kind of devastating impact on the region – perhaps now people will remember for a little while, at least, that – whether it’s tropical or not – marine storms can kill.
My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost their homes, their loved ones or their possessions and to those who still have not had contact with loved ones in harm’s way.