Pfizer does right by Katrina survivors

Britt says:

I got an email from my friend Huw Gilbert, of the Communications Department at Pfizer. He needs our help in getting the word out on a very

generous, very temporary offer by Pfizer, the world’s largest Pharmaceutical company: Free prescriptions for everyone directly affected by Katrina.

Pfizer’s generous offer expires 9/16. Spread the word!

Pfizerfolk—Way to go. I support companies that help people in need.

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This Just In is just in with U.S. agency privacy reviews and the Katrina/Guard piece

Here’s the second installment of This Just In, my news commentary program. Today’s installment (actually produced yesterday, as I am working on process) is on U.S. government privacy findings and the role of the National Guard in times of domestic crisis.

Again, the files are available in three formats, two free untargeted Audible files, which give you a much more compact file and more control over the listening experience (bookmark support, etc.) and the big old MP3 file.

Here are the links (if anyone has a convenient way to manage multiple feeds of multiple programs, let me know):

Audible voice-optimized file (941KB)

Audible high-quality audio file (1.8MB) YOUR BEST CHOICE, IMO.

MP3 file (7.3MB)

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Our Guard is down

I was deeply struck by the images of people lined up outside the Superdome in New Orleans, hoping for shelter from Hurricane Katrina because they didn’t have the ability to escape the region.

Where is the National Guard, which used to show up with trucks to get those in greatest need out of a disaster area?

Of course, the answer is “They are in Iraq, protecting us.” The State Police are heading the evacuation, even though the state is already a Federal disaster area, which allows deployment of the National Guard. In the West, firefighting has been hampered by shortages of personnel once filled by the National Guard—it’s not a regional problem but a national one that we can see most clearly in a crisis. Unfortunately, this is a crisis that leaves hundreds of thousands of people—many of whom appear to have wanted to leave but can’t—in the path of a huge storm.

According to reports, the Guard is standing ready to help people after the storm, but many people who could have been evacuated with the appropriate resources are being left behind. This despite the fact that there is a mandatory evacuation going on.

The transformation of the Guard from homeland defense to offensive force for the first time since World War II has depleted the resources people have been able to depend on at home during a disaster. Currently almost half the Army National Guard is deployed and re-enlistment is down overall, leading to a tighter squeeze on regional disaster response. Moreover, the equipment and vehicles that would be broken out in response to a hurricane are unavailable, as they too are in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The “transformation” of U.S. military strategy has taxed local economies and, in Louisiana, among many other states, special arrangements have had to be made to keep enlistment high enough to staff a war; but the core mission of the Guard, to be available for governors’ to call upon for service in or near their home state is now neglected by Federal planners.

We have to rethink this use of the National Guard, both because of the severe consequences of having a shortage of citizen soldiers available to respond to disasters and the recognizable shortage of homeland defenses, where borders, shipping and other points of entry for would-be terrorists go unguarded. While President Bush argues this week that if we don’t fight the terrorists over there, they’ll attack us at home, we also have to take into account the consequences of his policy on people who don’t see the National Guard when they are needed at home.

I was born in Baton Rouge and have my fingers crossed for the folks down there.

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This Just In: Pat Robertson’s New Gospel of Death

My new report, This Just In, is just in with this:

…Robertson, in a startling revelation, claimed his 700 Hundred Club has come into possession of a previously unknown gospel that justifies his position as in keeping with the teaching of Christ. The Gospel of Herschel, alledgedly written by a camp follower of the Apostles, records several sermons of Jesus that apparently occurred at approximately the same time as the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

According to the Gospel of Herschel, the authenticity of which Robertson personally vouched, Jesus only a few days later delivered the “Harangue in the valley,” in which he complained about the service he received at a Galilean bakery and is said to have acknowledged both his own humanity and the difficulty of following a Godly path in life when he said: “You have heard that I was denied my discount at Bernard’s Bakery last Monday. I say to you now that those who would cheat you or withhold vital resources should be punished not by my father, but by those of us in this world with the courage to beat a man or, if need be, assassinate him. I’m not saying Bernard should be taken out, but I wouldn’t feel bad if someone did it. My father wouldn’t hesitate to drop a little rain on Bernard’s grave.”

Robertson could not explain the circumstances of the discovery of the Gospel of Herschel, nor the fact it was written with crayon in a spiral binder that was supposedly found in a jar with some IOUs and a handful of silver. But, the devout evangelist claimed, “it sure does make you think, doesn’t it? If Jesus could lose his cool, what are we mortals to do when some strongman threatens our Southern borders?”

Robertson on Thursday said he would return to his regular programming practice of praying for God to open vacancies on the Supreme Court, a course of action Robertson described as “a more peaceful approach to social change,” as justices tend to die in their sleep rather than in a hail of gunfire.

You can listen to the whole report here. RSS feeds to follow.

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Princess Leia is missing

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Our dog, Princess Leia (we have a guinea pig named “Ewok,” too) is missing. She got out of the yard, past the subterranean electronic dog fence and all, a couple days back. If you’re anywhere near Lakewood, Washington, and see a white standard poodle on the loose, drop me a line. The kids are frantic.

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Vacated, at last

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I spent the last week in the car and at Disneyland with the kids. We surprised my daughter on her birthday with a card that said “Let’s go to Disneyland, get in the car.” The car was packed and, except for a lot of calls and a meeting on the way, I actually took time off for the first time in several years.

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It’s surprising how much thinking you can get done on a 17-hour drive from Anaheim to home. My kids are amazed I took time away from the office, not to mention that Disneyland is a magical place where Dad doesn’t say “No” anywhere near as often.

Tour

If you have not watched Lance Armstrong’s masterful Tour de France, you have missed something extraordinary.

I’ve seen every stage and not been bored by a moment of it. Next year, when Lance is retired, will be spectacular.

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Now you know how most journalists feel

The Podcast as a New Podium – New York Times:

“Everyone is famous for 15 people.”

Alas, there is the truth of almost all media. The sad truth for almost anyone “famous” is that it is small and fleeting stuff.

Having heard all the damning of “mainstream media” folks, I’d just like you to know that about 15 people will recognize you once you have a big success with podcasting, blogging or a television show. That’s just how it is; there’s nothing particularly new about the “fame” associated with these emerging media, except that a whole new crop of people will learn what it is like to be poorly paid and gratified on the rare occasion someone actually recognizes you.

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