CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
I must be an incurable optimist to hope that politics would not rear its ugly head during this disaster, or at least hold off until we're over the initial hell. Instead, fingers of blame were pointed from the get-go as people were dying before our eyes. At a time when the people of New Orleans need a strong leader, their mayor, Ray Nagin (shaking hands with Bush), is cussing out others on the radio.
'GET OFF YOUR ASSES!'
"I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man," Mayor Ray Nagin said.
Sparing no one's feelings, the first-term Democrat said, "Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late.
"Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddam crisis in the history of this country."
He added, "This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."
Hells bells, if he wanted buses, why didn't he use those buses in that picture above? An aerial view of flooded school buses in a lot, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in New Orleans, LA.
I'm not implying he's at fault, but he had the buses to help evacuate the needy residents when there was still time. It's not as though there was no warning. I'll grant that for a short while people believed that New Orleans had dodged the Katrina bullet when she blew past, but then the real disaster hit as the water began to rise very quickly. However, the city was expecting a cat. 4 or 5 to hit, and an accurate description of the ensuing disaster was predicted last year.
The National Geographic channel has been running a series called Megastructures, and one of the shows deals with how the Netherlands have dealt with this very problem. North Sea Wall is a 3-minute video clip that's an excellent recap.
Rudy Giuliani stood steadfast after 9/11 in his city's worst nightmare, which helped New Yorkers to remain relatively calm, at a time when no one knew if there was more terrorism to come. Mayor Nagin is understandably frustrated, but cursing out others on the radio is not the way to help your city.
UPDATE!: Orleans Parish Prison Riot: On Scene Report
I saw, from day one, miles of charter buses come in and take out thousands of refugees, right through my checkpoint. When I finally heard the news on TV after getting home and heard Mayor Nagin complaining that he wasn't getting any help and nobody wasn't doing anything I almost got sick. I would have knocked him out if he was standing in front of me. (You have to know this man's history of running / ruining this city). There was more help and aid coming into that city from day one than you could have ever imagined.
By the third day they were setting fires to homes and businesses. It is my belief, based on experience, that a lot of fires were intentionally being set to cover up other crimes, many being capital crimes.
UPDATE!: In New Orleans, Criminals Get Out First
* Rumors of rioting and hostage-taking among the prisoners are false.
* At this time, no prisoner is confirmed among the known fatalities
* At this time, no guard is confirmed among the known fatailties.
I suppose all help is welcome, but I think money would have been a far better choice at this point.
NO RELIEF IN SIGHT
THE world's most misguided p.r. effort: "e.l.f. Cosmetics has created 10,000 special Hurricane Katrina Relief Beauty Kits that include pressed powder, shimmering facial whip, lip moisturizer, lip gloss and mascara," states a press release. "e.l.f. Cosmetics would like to do as much as they can to provide relief to this devastating situation. Thousands of people are without any of their belongings. Although makeup is a secondary need, e.l.f. hopes to get people back on track. This is a small token, but it's a start." Said one magazine editor who received the press release: "This would be terribly funny if it weren't so sad."
HELPLESSNESS & GUILT
Because I've become saturated with the flood news, I do not watch the news, and I tolerate the Weather Channel just long enough for our local report, because I just know that they'll flip to those scenes from New Orleans. You know the scenes. And the news of those scenes. Instead, I watch Judge Judy and Becker reruns. If I had ever entertained thoughts of cutting back on cable movie channels, I dismiss them now and bless their prescence, instead. Anything to block out the news of a situation over which I have no control. To block out the utter helplessness I feel. To stop myself from thinking what if? .. I feel guilty, too. Guilty because I'm trying to avoid hearing about their suffering. Terribly sorry, old girl, if our misery intrudes upon you. We'll try to suffer and starve and die more quietly. But I can't escape; there's always something there to remind me.
This is Elizabeth Becka's backstory for her book, Trace Evidence:
[S]ince my heroine is always a thinly disguised me, she became a forensic scientist.
I came up with the bizarre drowning method used in the book because I don’t want to detail terribly gory demises—yes, even though I was surrounded by such demises every day, or perhaps because of that. You survive in that environment by not having an imagination, by not thinking too hard about what this person experienced before that final oblivion, and I didn’t want to start.
See what I mean?
George Neumayr's piece in The American Spectator may make him about as popular as a skunk at a lawn party, yet it has to be said.
Masques of Death
New Orleans was ripe for collapse. Its dangerous geography, combined with a dangerous culture, made it susceptible to an unfolding catastrophe. Currents of chaos and lawlessness were running through the city long before this week, and they were bound to come to the surface under the pressure of natural disaster and explode in a scene of looting and mayhem.
Criminals have ruled New Orleans for some time, convincing many members of the middle class, long before the hurricane, that the city was unlivable. In 1994, New Orleans was the murder capital of America. It had 421 murders that year. Criminologists predicted 300 murders this year, a projection that now looks quite conservative.
Gas prices here are rising as I type. Yesterday morning my favorite station had gas for $2.99, so I filled up my tank. A little later the price was $3.19, which is still the cheapest here. Other stations are selling it for $3.29 and up. On the bright side,
Forbes predicts oil will drop to $35 within a year
He spoke as Katrina shut down almost all the flow from the Gulf of Mexico, which provides over a quarter of the United States' oil. "I'll make a bold prediction. In 12 months you're going to see oil down to $35 to $40 a barrel," he said. "It is a huge bubble, I don't know what's going to pop it but eventually it will pop - you cannot go against supply and demand, you cannot go against the fundamentals forever." …
Mr Forbes said the whole concept of the strategic reserve was pushing prices higher. "The speculators know now that no matter what happens to the price of oil Uncle Sam is there buying almost every day," he said. "Stop the buying and in fact throw some of that oil on the open market, boy that would throw it in turmoil and send the price down."
All of which reminds me of this dialogue at the very end of the 1975 movie "Three Days of the Condor":
Higgins: It's simple economics. Today it's oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. Maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?
Joe Turner: Ask them?
Higgins: Not now - then! Ask 'em when they're running out. Ask 'em when there's no heat in their homes and they're cold. Ask 'em when their engines stop. Ask 'em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won't want us to ask 'em. They'll just want us to get it for 'em!
There is some really good news: Dana and her family are okay!
I heard from Dana yesterday. They are unharmed but are on their way to stay with family out of town. Just thought that anyone waiting to hear from her would want to know.
Jennifer 09.01.05 - 11:17 pm
LEST WE FORGET
New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina h/t Blue
French Quarter Architecture Gallery Will it ever be the same?
Before and after aerial shots of New Orleans h/t LoanCat
The name Katrina means pure. In this case Katrina means pure hell.
Glenn Reynolds has a list of charities.
Water, water everywhere: We've found the focus of our hurricane relief efforts -- one of our longtime "pet" causes -- the Animal Rescue League of Boston. As part of a national network in collaboration with the American Humane Association, ARL Boston dispatched a team of four specialists in two vehicles from their Dedham facility this morning and headed for Nashville, where they will set up a base of operations and then move out from there to wherever they can do the most good in the coming days to deliver disaster relief to displaced animals.
RedState.org details the corporations which are pumping major help in the relief efforts in Corporate America: Not Evil
Lorie is reminded of another flood in Flashback -- Hurricane Floyd 1999. Great photo.
Let's clear up one lie right now. Our Guardsmen on duty in Iraq -- and at home: First, let us note that the National Guard Bureau some time ago committed to the various state governors to keep approximately 50% of Guard strength undeployed for precisely these situations. Second, let us note that of the stricken states now, roughly 60% of their Guard strength is available for disaster duty now.
And because we need to hear some good news, A Small Victory is posting stories out of NO/Mississippi. Good stories. Stories of people helping each other, people reuniting with loved ones, companies opening their wallets wide, things like that. And pictures, too. Pictures of animals being rescued or families hugging. Feel good stuff.
I guess no news is good news?
GOOD NEWS. This isn't flood news, but I couldn't let pass AnkleBitingPundits' scrutiny of the latest poll numbers on Bush. Once Again We Expose a Bogus MSM Poll: Once again, the Washington Post has taken another slanted poll, and used it to write a story about what it might mean for the 2006 mid-term elections. And once again it's up to us to point out the problems with trying to relate the poll results to what might happen come election day.
WHERE A FELLOW BLOGGER LIVES (LIVED?)
I posted earlier that fellow blogger, Dana, lives in Slidell, LA. In her last post, before Katrina hit, she said she and her family were going to wait it out, but if they were going to be without power for very long, they would go to Florida. Boy, I hope they hightailed it out of there in time! Here are some reports I've found specifically about Slidell.
Katrina pushed 15 feet of water into Slidell
Dexter Accardo, director of St. Tammany Parish, said Hurricane Katrina pushed 15 feet of water into Slidell, reaching the second level of the Hampton Inn in Slidell off of Interstate 10.
Senator: Slidell area likely hardest hit by Katrina
Much of Slidell is under water and likely sustained the worst damage from Hurricane Katrina, tate Sen. Tom Schedler, R-Mandeville, said Tuesday at 1 p.m. Calling the devastation “total”, Schedler said, only slabs remain where dozens of houses were blown down and several feet of water remain in the Slidell Memorial Hospital on Gause Boulevard as well as throughout the old town area off U.S. 11.
Dana, I hope you're able to read this, and I pray you and your family are okay!
I look at that picture of the French Quarter in New Orleans and wonder if it will ever look the same. My prayers are for those who are affected. Corning, NY, where I live, was flooded in '72. It's amazing how quickly a community can right itself after disaster. LifelikePundits, where I co-blog, is down right now. There is speculation that it has something to do with Hurricane Katrina as other sites are down, too.
If you thought I've been neglecting you, well, I've been busy writing. Trying to do both writing and blogging is not easy. Sometimes it feels as though I'm stripping gears. I've noticed that not concentrating so much on politics helps. Besides, I'm SICK TO DEATH of that Mother Sheehan Charade in Crawford. Don't get me started.
Speaking of her ... Rush's Club Gitmo Photo Gallery now includes oodles of pix of Bush supporters wearing Club Gitmo gear at Camp Casey. You won't see these reported in the MSM.
I've got a book I started writing that's been simmering on the back burner for twenty long years, and I think it's about time that I either write it or chuck it. Don't worry, I'll still blog. I can't quit cuz I'm addicted.
Dana, who blogs from Slidell, LA, last posted on Saturday, August 27th. Hello Katrina!: Yes, we are choosing to stay and ride it out. …If my house floods, then I can get new furniture. If a tree falls on the house, then I get to enlarge my bathroom. Maybe even redo the kitchen…If it looks like we won't have electricity for a while, I think that we are going to head over to Florida and go visit family and friends. Spend the rest of the week at Disney.
'Arizona Daily Star' Drops Ann Coulter's 'Shrill' Column: If you haven’t heard about this yet, this Ldotters post and their per usual priceless comments is the place to go. Don't tell them...we don't read her there. Dead tree papers are so....er...dead.
Don Boudreaux's priceless Prices: Focus instead on the (sadly) widespread notion that the prices of oil and oil products, such as gasoline, are arbitrarily set by oil companies; focus on the failure to understand that these prices overwhelmingly are market phenomena. They are the result of human action but not of human design.
Good News from Iraq: I know liberals are always looking to score points against George W. Bush … but even Iraqi pessimists must admit these are positive developments.
Scroll down a bit to watch LuckyDawgNews’ awesome VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Watch our brave Marines kick some Islamo roach ass and take names in Fallujah. Remember when the Democrats said our military couldn't fight in urban settings? They were wrong as usual.
After you’ve watched the Marines kick ass, scroll down right below that to Lucky Dawg's favorite R. Kelly video, “I Wanna Pee You.”
A brand spanking new blog, TexasMinutemanMarine: WE NEED TO FIGHT BACK: The current invasion of illegal immigrants is not something we can tolerate much longer.
Rik, my favorite American blogger in Italy, explains How to Make an Italian Espresso at Home, just like the Italians make it without that fancy-schmancy machine.
Yes, Miss Snark is back from her vacation. Like a concert pianist, she slipped behind her keyboard, wriggled her fingers and posted another one of her generous offers:
Ok...let's dust off the Crapmeter and take it out for a hayride.
Miss Snark needs to hone her snarkieness so let's see what ya'll have for her chomping pleasure.
Let's do first pages again.
To have your first page run through the Is It Crap meter, it must be:
From a novel (ie no non fiction, no memoirs, no essays, no poems)
Less than 300 words.
Emailed to me. firstname.lastname@example.org
---in the body of the email, no attachments.
---sometime during the 24 hours of Sunday, 8/285, eastern time.
Tell me what kind of novel it is in less than five words ie thriller, science fiction, women' s fiction, lugubrious self referential fiction...yanno, the usual.
You must tell me it's ok to post it and make comments about it on the blog.
All entries that miss one or more of the qualifications will be sneered at, ignored, and used as grist for future postings about people who want to be writers but can't seem to read.
OMG!, she's already up to #18! Surf over and read the work; some of it's great. Two weeks with the ever-sponge-worthy George Clooney did not dull her talents.
WARREN & ME
I used to work at a Dexter Factory Outlet Shore Store for 5+ years, from 1998 to 2003. The Dexter Shoe Company was started by Harold Alfond in Dexter, ME, in 1956. Dexter shoes were famous for being American made, right up there in Dexter, Maine. The people who actually made the shoes were proud of their work, which was evident in the product's quality. Many of our customers were fiercely loyal to the brand because the shoes were made in America. The Dexter Company stood behind their shoes and repaired and/or replaced them when customers found fault.
Harold Alfond sold the company to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate in 1993. Buffet could see that the cost of manufacturing shoes in the US had become prohibitive, so manufacturing was gradually shipped overseas as factories were closed here in the US.
We had a great labor force. Management loved the people, the people loved the management and we were making decent money and the money just went down the tubes. Because somebody else was willing to work for one-tenth of the wages of the people of Dexter, Maine. There is no domestic shoe industry as a practical matter today.We began to see shoes made in China, Romania, Brazil and Italy in our store's shipments. It was evident to everyone that the quality was inferior to the US made shoes. The customers were not happy; in fact, many were down right livid.
At the time I began working at the store in '98, there were about 90 outlet stores across the United States. Buffett didn't like the outlet stores, and so outlet stores were gradually closed. I can't recall how many were left standing when our store was closed in Nov. '03 ... maybe 40-something? ... but I do remember that closing the stores became a business itself. A core group of employees had the job of traveling across the country closing the outlets. The outlets that did remain open were morphed into Super Shoe Stores. Buffett used to refer to his Dexter acquisition as his worst mistake.
Buffett made a wise business decision to ship production overseas. Had Harold Alfond not sold his family company to Berkshire Hathaway, it's entirely concievable that the company might have gone under. Our customers complained bitterly that the shoes were no longer American made, yet these same people complained bitterly when they had to pay $30 - $40 for a pair of shoes. How often I wanted to say to them, You can't have it both ways!
None of this has much to do with this latest news on Buffett. I have never been a fan of Buffett's, which has nothing to do with Dexter Shoes. I've always suspected he's a liberal, so I was not surprised when I read the following article.
Bearish on Buffett
WARREN BUFFET IS BEARISH on the United States, and he's bullish on Europe. For the first time in his life, starting in 2002, Mr. Buffett entered the foreign exchange markets and shorted the dollar. This rare macro-economic bet was based on a belief that U.S. consumers and the U.S. government were spending beyond their means, and that the trade deficit was a sign of economic weakness.
While his short position was profitable in 2004, he has lost more than half a billion dollars so far in 2005. Some Wall Street sources suggest that his breakeven exchange rate is $1.22/euro, so with the euro trading near $1.21 in mid-June, his short position was seriously in the red.
Buffett's anti-American investment sentiment has cost Berkshire Hathaway shareholders dearly. During the 12 months ending in mid-June, his stock price was down roughly 7 percent, while the S&P 500 was up 5 percent. The stock market voted "non" on this Berkshire investment strategy, just like the French and Dutch voted against the European constitution.
It's hard to figure out why Warren Buffett is so down on the U.S. economy and so enthusiastic about Europe's. But gloom and doom forecasts about the U.S. economy are a dime-a-dozen these days. It's as if we rolled back the clock 20 years and it's the early 1980s all over again.
Protestors, a perv, punitive taxes and po’ white trash all on display.