Friday, September 02, 2005


CNN: Sarah Johnson tries to save her patient.

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

I waken to a beautiful, cool September morning. Sadly turning to the internet, hoping for good news. From CNN:
Adding to the uncertainty Friday morning was a large explosion in the city's railroad district, possibly from a rail car.

Authorities were trying to get a hazardous materials team to the area, a police officer told CNN. The officer said he believed the team could reach the area by vehicle since the water there had receded.

He said he believed "several cars blew up," but it was not known what they were carrying.

No other details were immediately available.

Earlier, police officers told CNN that some of their fellow officers had simply stopped showing up for duty, cutting manpower by 20 percent or more in some precincts. Before Thursday night fell, police were stopping anyone they saw on the street and warning them that they were not safe from armed bands of young men who were attacking people and attempting to rape women.
Here is a poster at Atrios, talking about the news:
State Police Cmdr. Henry Whitehorn said some troopers had resigned rather than accept an assignment to go into New Orleans.

He was uncertain how many, "but I have heard that and I know that's a fact," Whitehorn said, noting that the officers also were coping with the impact of the storm. "They lost everything and don't feel it's worth going back and taking fire from looters."

And everywhere: the homeless, some wandering aimlessly, others massed at bridges and ferry landings waiting for boats and buses no longer in service, many of them drunk on looted liquor in a city without drinking water.
From this morning's New Orleans Times-Picayune
SteveLG | Email | 09.02.05 - 7:45 am | #
It is amazing to see the above photo of the dedicated, loving, huge hearted nurse. Racism always puzzled me. Even as a child, living in the hot desert, I was envious of my dark skinned playmates and wished I was blessed so that the searing rays of the sun wouldn't rake my flesh. I love being outdoors. This dark skin evolved in the equatorial regions and no matter what heritage a people had, even the Arayans who invaded India eons ago, they evolved darker and darker skin color because pale skinned northern people died of sun problems, mostly melanoma.

So the hatred of dark skinned people I chalked up to envy.
At the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, thousands of increasingly frustrated people waited for help amid dead bodies, feces and garbage, in 90-degree heat and rain with little food and water. (See video on the desperate conditions -- 4:36)

A National Guard helicopter finally came to drop them some supplies, and Mayor Ray Nagin advised those inside the convention center to march across a bridge to the other side of the Mississippi River for help.

Federal Emergency Management Director Michael Brown told CNN that federal officials were unaware of the crowds at the convention center until Thursday, despite the fact that city officials had been telling people for days to gather there.

"We just learned about that today, and so I have directed that we have all available resources to get to that convention center to make sure that they have the food and water, the medical care that they need," he said.
I repeat: FEMA Director Michael Brown didn't know the situation at the Super Bowl until THURSDAY. Readers of the news and this blog knew about it since Sunday. The host of Marie Antoinettes who spent the last two years snoozing at their desks in DC are a troop of Sleeping Boobies who just got kissed by a frog and woke up.

I want these people arrested. They are a hazard to life and limb. I would happily make a citizen's arrest: "Depraved indifference". He is guilty of child abuse, murder and refusal to prevent a crime.
Sgt. Mark Mix of the Louisiana State Police told CNN late Thursday that a force of police officers would be arriving in New Orleans soon to beef up the law-and-order effort.
Another official wakes up five days late. This is what racism does. You can bet, he turned on the TV five days ago, saw who was suffering, and yawned.
There were similar stories across the city. At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Canal Street, Phyllis Patrick said she and other hotel guests were in "dire straits." The hotel has been trying to bring in buses to evacuate them, but she said the Federal Emergency Management Agency "will not let them in."

"I don't believe that we have very much food left at all. We had no lunch today. All we're being given is a glass of water," she said. Off-duty police officers were guarding the hotel with shotguns to protect them from bands of looters outside, she said.

"It just amazes us to hear what is going on outside, that people don't understand the seriousness of the situation," she said.

Boat rescue teams looking for Katrina survivors told CNN they had been ordered to stand down Thursday by FEMA officials concerned about security. However, FEMA issued a statement from Washington denying that it had suspended operations, though the agency conceded that there had been "isolated incidents where security has become an issue."

However, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Carter told CNN that its rescue efforts had been suspended in some areas, although they continued in other parts of the city.

"We're having to hold off going in until we're assured that the areas are safe to transit," he said. "We're following the lead of FEMA on that."

At Armstrong airport, a field hospital set up by FEMA was overwhelmed with patients. Equipment normally used to move luggage was instead ferrying patients to a treatment center and to planes and buses for evacuation.

Ozro Henderson, a medical team commander with FEMA, said staff was "so overwhelmed, it's not funny."

"I do not have the words in my vocabulary to describe what is happening here," Henderson said. "Catastrophe and disaster don't explain it."
The Army Corp of Engineers whose budget was hit hard by Bush this year are heroically at work, as their long history has proudly hailed, fixing the dikes and dams. Back several years ago, I was enraged when the cutting began and each year, learning the worst, I snarled, "Americans will die because of this" and lo and behold, it is happening. The pay going to the top political appointees at FEMA should be reappropriated and given to these good people. Ditto Bush's salary as well as Cheney's.

Now, can you picture Colin Powell as Sec. of State? Would he have gone shopping in Manhattan, playing tennis, laughing on Broadway, not saying ONE FUCKING WORD about the tragedy now unfolding? By the way, where is he and his spawn who used to head the FCC and destroyed our media?

Gasoline prices spiked as high as $5 a gallon in some areas Thursday as consumers fearing a gas shortage raced to the pumps. The run-up in prices prompted Bush to warn against gouging and to encourage Americans to conserve. (Full story) (See video on Katrina's possible impact on you)
Wake up, Sleeping Boobies! The GOP runs America and is running America into the ground! They think they are the good guys but they are really the Evil Step Sisters.

From the NYT:

Watching the TV images of the storm approaching the Mississippi Delta on Sunday, I was sick to my stomach. Not only because I knew the hell it could unleash (I wrote an article for Scientific American in 2001 that described the very situation that was unfolding) but because I knew that a large-scale engineering plan called Coast 2050 - developed in 1998 by scientists, Army engineers, metropolitan planners and Louisiana officials - might have helped save the city, but had gone unrealized.
I knew all this for years, too. I build houses and build and design drainage systems and landscaping and when I travel or read, I examine these sorts of things. They interest me. The stubborn desire to build only one type of housing: stick frame--everywhere, robotically, amazes me. This should be stopped. If humans want to live, they have to figure out how to live in structures designed to be habitable under local problems. For example, every piece of main framing including all rafters are tied down with steel. They are all cross tied, too. and triangulation on all outside corners. And the foundation is 5' deep! And the basement floor is tied into the foundation with 3/4" rebar and the floor itself has layers of the heaviest steel mesh every 2" of thickness and is six inches deep. This sits on 2" thick blue board and 1' of gravel and sand. The sills are bolted onto rebars that run down into the cement basement walls 9' long. The top of the bolts have washers that are 6" in diameter and 1/2" thick. They occur every 2'. So there are 45 of these bolts holding the house to the foundation.

This is way above standard specifications. I built my own house, myself, so I could afford to spend the equivelent, in labor of an extra $30,000. I installed 800' of drainage around and under my house, too. It drains out in a lower pasture, 200' away from the house. I am vulnerable only to meteor strikes.

No building is safe in a flood: you can drown. This is why a complex society builds group projects like dams and levees. Nearly all of Holland, for example, is as low as New Orleans. They have many complex, well run systems. Last time it was breeched badly was in 1953 and they steadily work on it each year. To protect New Orleans, we have to extensively relandscape the area and one thing that has to change is the loss of topsoil which is killing Gulf sea life and reducing the delta.
The conceit that we can control the natural world is what made New Orleans vulnerable. For more than a century the Army Corps, with Congress's blessing, leveed the Mississippi River to prevent its annual floods, so that farms and industries could expand along its banks. Those same floods, however, had dumped huge amounts of sediment and freshwater across the Mississippi Delta, rebuilding each year what gulf tides and storms had worn away and holding back infusions of saltwater that kill marsh vegetation. These vast delta wetlands created a lush, hardy buffer that could absorb sea surges and weaken high winds.

The flooding at the river's mouth also sent great volumes of sediment west and east into the Gulf of Mexico, to a string of barrier islands that cut down surges and waves, compensating for regular ocean erosion. Stopping the Mississippi's floods starved the wetlands and the islands; both are rapidly disintegrating, leaving the city naked against the sea.

What can we do to restore these natural protections? Although the parties that devised Coast 2050, and other independent scientists and engineers who have floated rival plans, may disagree on details, they do concur on several major initiatives that would shield New Orleans, reconstitute the delta and, as a side benefit, improve ports and shipping lanes for the oil and natural gas industries in the Gulf of Mexico.
We can, and humans have for eons, interfered with nature. Before civilization, we interfered drastically so that whole ecosystems were changed, permenantly. In this case, intelligent design is called for.

First step is to be intelligent. The directors of our Federal agencies are appointed by Presidents. Intelligent Clinton appointed smart people. Bush ditched them and inserted idiots. The FEMA director had zero experience with dealing with disasters and this shows. His criminal disregard for the details of his job---why isn't the man arrested for impersonating a Federal employee?

Of course, Hastert's solution is a typical Nazi response: he wants to plow under the city and destroy it.


MORE NEWS: Fats Domino has been found. His daughter identified him being rescued in a photo but they can't find him now. We all pray for his safety and for his family.
(Note from editor: We would all look this disheveled if we were stuck in that Super Dome, too.)
From Dateline:
with two children from Calmette, La., a middle-class suburb just outside New Orleans. She saved herself and two children by climbing to the attic of her home, breaking a hole through he roof and waiting for rescuers.

But that wasn’t the worst of it: When she got to the highway on Wednesday with her two kids and her dog, she thought she’d finally be able to board a bus to get somewhere, anywhere.

Desperate survivors pushed and shoved as she was trying to board a bus. She needed help with her two-year-old son, but as she handed the child off, she got pushed to the ground in a crush by the door.

“I went to hand the baby in the bus; a lady took him from me. But when I went to get on the bus, they pushed me out. I was three people back. By the time I got back up, and the bus was gone,” says Trahan.

2-year-old Blaze, who is easily identified by his birth mark on his forehead, is now separated from his mother. For 24 hours, no one would help Lois.

We caught the attention of a police officer. With Lois, we explained the situation to Louisiana State trooper Sgt. John Childers. He helpfully put her on the next bus that arrived. “It may be crowded, but at least you can be on there to Houston and start trying to find your family,” he told her.
She still doesn't have her little one. And no one knows where she is, either, now.

And they closed the Astrodome. Weary people are now being shifted all over the place, like Mary and Joseph, seeking shelter. This is all so nauseating.

MORE: From Atrios' forums:
I sent the following e-mail to my rep, Wayne T. Gilchrest, (R, MD).

Mr. Gilchrest,

While I realize you have no personal responsibility for the continuing tragedy on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans, I am saddened and angered at the inability of the government to respond to the worst national disaster ever to fall on this country and you are my government representative.

The total breakdown if society is something I never expected to see in this country, the richest, most advenced country in the history of the world.

Instead of acting, the government makes excuses. Four days after the hurricane hit, there has still been no response from FEMA, the National Guard, or any other federal agency. Why?

The following quote is from Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, made yesterday, on Sept 1:

"Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings," Brown told CNN.

"I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans," he said.

"And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there.

"So, we've got to figure out some way to convince people that whenever warnings go out it's for their own good," Brown said. "Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them."

The above statement makes me madder than just about any response from the government could. People had just two days notice to evacuate. The vast majority of the people that are now in New Orleans did not have the means or the money to leave the town. You know that and I know that. Why is the director of FEMA, an obvious bureaucratic hack that is unqualified for his position and in way over his head, blaming the poor and the innocent for something they could not have prevented and could not have avoided?

And there is still no food, water, or order in New Orleans.

I would like to ask you why the government did not plan for this eventuality and what you plan to do to prevent this, a total breakdown of society, in the future. Two years ago, tropical storm Isabel wreaked havoc upon this area. People were without power for a week in some cases. I am interested in hearing what plans exist for reaction if a major hurricane hits this area.

Also, I would like you to respond to the above statement Michael Brown made.

I almost included a few obscenities to beter illustrate my concern, but thought better of it...
Billy B | Email | 09.02.05 - 8:17 am | #

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