Saturday, September 03, 2005

New Orleans photo Melissa Phillips AP Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

"What's the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?"
New Orleans Left to the Dead and Dying

By ALLEN G. BREED, Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS - Thousands more bedraggled refugees were bused and airlifted to salvation Saturday, leaving the heart of New Orleans to the dead and dying, the elderly and frail stranded too many days without food, water or medical care.

No one knows how many were killed by Hurricane Katrina's floods and how many more succumbed waiting to be rescued. But the bodies are everywhere: hidden in attics, floating among the ruined city, crumpled on wheelchairs, abandoned on highways.

And the dying goes on — at the convention center and an airport triage center, where bodies were kept in a refrigerated truck.
Criticism of Bush mounts as more than 10,000 feared dead ·
Governor threatens looters with shoot-to-kill · Relief convoys arrive after four days

Gary Younge in Mobile
Saturday September 3, 2005
The Guardian

As thousands of people sat on the streets of New Orleans, having spent their fourth day waiting to be rescued, the city fell deeper into chaos, with gangs roaming the city and corpses rotting in the sun.

Calling for the immediate deployment of regular combat troops in New Orleans, David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican senator said: "My guess is that it [the death toll] will start at 10,000, but that is only a guess." He said this estimate was not based on any official death toll or body count.

Live television broadcasts showed a queue of military vehicles loaded with crates making their way through the flooded streets. Troops with rifles rode in the convoy.

In another sign of aid finally getting through, commercial aircraft carrying supplies were arriving at an increased rate of four per hour at New Orleans international airport, the department of transport said.

But these moves did little to quell the mounting anger of the hurricane's victims and local officials, particularly in New Orleans.

At the increasingly unsanitary convention centre, the crowds swelled to about 25,000 as people sought food, water and attention, while dead bodies lay in wheelchairs or wrapped in sheets both inside and outside the centre. At the city's Charity hospital, the dead were stacked up on the stairways. New Orleans airport was transformed into a huge field hospital, with fleets of military and coastguard helicopters ferrying the sick for treatment.
“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

These were the words GW Bush had yesterday for Mike Brown, his appointed chief of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, widely seen as totally bungling the response to Hurricane Katrina.

The Political Wire reports that Brown became head of FEMA with no relevant experience before becoming deputy director in 2001. He had spent 11 years overseeing horse shows for an organization in Colorado---and was fired from that job.
Guardsmen Halt Evacuation at Superdome

By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS - National Guard members halted the evacuation of the Superdome early Saturday after buses transporting the refugees of Hurricane Katrina stopped rolling. About 2,000 people remained in the stadium and could be there until Sunday, according to the Texas Air National Guard. They had hoped to evacuate the last of the crowd before dawn Saturday.
Guard members said they were told only that the buses had stopped coming and to close down the area where the buses were loaded.

At one point Friday, the evacuation was interrupted briefly when school buses rolled up so some 700 guests and employees from the Hyatt Hotel could move to the head of the evacuation line — much to the amazement of those who had been crammed in the stinking Superdome since last Sunday.

"How does this work? They (are) clean, they are dry, they get out ahead of us?" exclaimed Howard Blue, 22, who tried to get in their line. The National Guard blocked him as other guardsmen helped the well-dressed guests with their luggage.

New Orleans at time of Bush's visit Friday AP photo Posted by Picasa

From Inside New Orleans

A report from a "refugee camp" outside New Orleans by Jordan Flaherty, editor of, begins:

"I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. [Friday] I traveled from the apartment I was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials towards the victims of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps. In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway, thousands of people(at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them -Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even people with family anda place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but to go to the shelter in Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they could not come within 17 miles of the camp.

I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, noone could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get anyinformation from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman told me as someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall."

For more reporting plus the best description of what New Orleans was like in its prime (last week), go to this post on Booman Tribune.

Friday, September 02, 2005

9/02/05 Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

"In every deliberation we must consider the impact on the seventh generation to come."
The Great Law of the Haudenosaunee

9/02/05 New Orleans Reuters photo Posted by Picasa
New Orleans in chaos, rescue plan under fire

By Mark Babineck
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - New Orleans fell deeper into chaos on Friday with gangs roaming the streets and corpses rotting in the sun a full four days after Hurricane Katrina lashed the city and exposed federal aid efforts as a failure.

A long military convoy of emergency supplies finally rolled into the flooded city on Friday morning, the first sign of significant relief after days of delays and broken promises.

Most of the victims were poor and black, largely because they have no cars and so were unable to flee the city before Katrina pounded the U.S. Gulf Coast on Monday. The disaster has highlighted the racial and class divides in a city and a country where the gap between rich and poor is vast.

The U.S. response would be a moral test, said U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings a Maryland Democrat and former head of the Congressional Black Caucus.

"Many of those now in such dire circumstances were already living in poverty and destitution even before the hurricane came. They had no ability to evacuate and now their very survival depends upon the response of this country," he said.

The scenes of destruction and mayhem resembled a major Third World refugee crisis, angering politicians and local residents who said the lack of aid was unacceptable in the world's richest country.

Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management AgencyFederal Emergency Management Agency' said 14,000 Guard troops were on the ground along the Gulf coast and he expected 30,000 there in the coming days.
Models predicted New Orleans disaster, experts say

By Alan Elsner Fri Sep 2,11:54 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Virtually everything that has happened in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina struck was predicted by experts and in computer models, so emergency management specialists wonder why authorities were so unprepared.

In comments on Thursday, President George W. Bush said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

But Louisiana State University engineer Joseph Suhayda and others have warned for years that defenses could fail. In 2002, the New Orleans Times Picayune published a five-part series on "The Big One" examining what might happen if they did.

It predicted that 200,000 people or more would be unwilling or unable to heed evacuation orders and thousands would die, that people would be housed in the Superdome, that aid workers would find it difficult to gain access to the city as roads became impassable, as well as many other of the consequences that actually unfolded after Katrina hit this week.
Forecast: Hurricane Season Far From Over

Fri Sep 2,12:54 PM ET AP
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Amid the unfolding disaster left by Hurricane Katrina, Colorado State University researchers said Friday they expect more storms over the next two months.

The very active season we have seen to this point is far from over," researcher Philip Klotzbach said. "We expect that by the time the 2005 hurricane season is over, we will witness seasonal tropical cyclone activity at near-record levels."
A Can't Do Government
by Paul Krugman
New York Times 9/02/05

"I don't think this is a simple tale of incompetence. The reason the military wasn't rushed in to help along the Gulf Coast is, I believe, the same reason nothing was done to stop looting after the fall of Baghdad. Flood control was neglected for the same reason our troops in Iraq didn't get adequate armor.

At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.

Yesterday[Thursday] Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.

So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying. "

New Orleans, the Common Good and the Future

The catastrophe of New Orleans and vicinity exposes failures not only of this particular government, but of our culture. How do we consider the common good, how do we consider the future?

New Orleans has special meaning to Star Trek fans, but you don't have to be a Trekkie to use its vocabulary to help clarify just what kind of a people we want to be.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans 9/01/05 AP Photo Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
William Butler Yeats

New Orleans, Iraq

What is the difference between New Orleans and Baghdad? Both are without electricity, though Baghdad has it some of the time, both have sewage and dead bodies in the streets, people shooting from buildings, and Halliburton looking to make a fortune. Both are populated by angry people tired of Bushcorp's empty promises.

While the situation is worse in New Orleans--no food or water or shelter to speak of--- Baghdad has been suffering longer. So what are the big differences?

So far, two come to mind. First, Iraq has alot of the US National Guard, and doesn't want them. While New Orleans desperately needs them, and doesn't have them.

Second, many other nations in the world refused to ally themselves with the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. But many nations, including Canada and Russia, have offered real, meaningful and much needed help--trained personnel, equipment, resources---that are ready to hit the ground running, and the US so far is refusing it.

What are they waiting for---Halliburton? They done such wonders in Baghdad, after all.

New Orleans. AP photo Posted by Picasa
Bodies, gunfire and chaos in New Orleans' streets
By Mark Babineck
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Rotting bodies littered New Orleans' streets on Thursday and troops headed in to control looting and violence, as thousands of desperate survivors of Hurricane Katrina pleaded to be evacuated from the flooded city, or even just fed.

No plan ever made to help New Orleans' most vulnerable
Published on: 09/01/05 Atlanta Constitution

Each time you hear a federal, state or city official explain what he or she is doing to help New Orleans, consider the opening paragraphs of a July 24 story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

"City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give the poorest of New Orleans' poor a historically blunt message: In the event of a major hurricane, you're on your own."
According to Ameriblog this afternoon:

Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

Vicepresident Cheney is still on vacation, at an undisclosed location.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Matisse Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

“I’m well aware that in troubled periods, the artist feels himself wavering and is tempted to abandon his art and place himself at the service of a specific, immediate ideal. It’s the discrepancy between the frivilousness of his task and the seriousness of history’s events that haunts the artist; he wishes he were a philosopher. When these kinds of thoughts come to my mind, I think of Matisse. He lived through three wars and served in none; he was too young in 1870, too old in 1914, a patriarch in 1940. He died in 1954, between the war in Indochina and the Algerian war, and had completed his life’s work: fish, women, flowers, landscapes, with sections of windows. The wars were the frivolous events in his life, the thousands of paintings he left were the serious events. Art for art’s sake? No. Art for beauty’s sake, art for the sake of others. Matisse began by comforting himself, then he comforted others.”
Francois Truffaut

Renoir Posted by Picasa


The strawberries in the new patch out front are waning, but the blackberries in the back are abundant, with a taste that seems influenced by nearby plants. The tomato crop was smaller this year, but there are still some ripening on the dying vines. Meanwhile, the pear tree is yielding good fruit for the first time, and an unusual taste of tartness with a sweet aftertaste. There are still lots of lettuces.

This is the immense privilege of picking parts of your meals, moments before you eat them. Strawberries and tomatoes warm from the sun—how much do I need to explain?

And please spare me the low carb diets that ban fruits. This is, according to my beliefs, sacrilegious. Life without oranges and pears is like life without hot water. Possible, but why bother?


National Guard Disappeared by Bushwar Inc

New Orleans and other Louisiana and Mississippi cities and towns now face mammoth cleanup and repair work from hurricane Katrina. Health and safety are threatened, and the entire nation’s economy may hang in the balance.

It’s the time for the National Guard. But they aren’t there. Neither is their equipment.

Over 3,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard 256th brigade is in Iraq. So is their equipment—including high water vehicles and generators, particularly important in flood disasters.