"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Friday, September 30, 2005

Sept distraction

"Innocent' shot of "Chip's Ahoy" on a lift
Problem is that the lift is not where she's suppose to be.
This was after (very late in the season) launch.
Started taking on too much water, got her to the Marina "On the Narrows" where she settled in about 2ft of water.
Much horsing and straining, I got her bow on the lift.
With help from Tom, we pumped enough out to manage to get her fully on the lift.
This was on Sept 6th

Combination of taking on water and leak from the "reverser" box (transmission) led to the emulsification of the oil, later, with the oil filler spout underwater, we got this "grey goo"... filling the bilges.
Drained the water, "bailed" the goo with a puddy knife ... not fun, but avoided getting the mix into the lake.

Floated again, we got her cleaned up and to the shop

Got bottom plank of the transom off for inspection
Structuraly still pretty good (she's all of 58 yrs old), most timbers appear to be OK, but it's obvious that there had been some prior repairs and modifications.
Plan is to be pro-active and both add some reinforcements and a new "bottom" (modern materials and techniques).

Make a hole in the water, line it with wood, throw money at it...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New Orleans postmortum

Not as bad as reported on the violent crime front
Not as peaceful as reported on the looting front

Fear Exceeded Crime's Reality in New Orleans - New York Times

Seems that poor knowledge and rumors impeded relief and rescue efforts.
"A full chronicle of the week's crimes, actual and reported, may never be possible because so many basic functions of government ceased early in the week, including most public safety record-keeping. The city's 911 operators left their phones when water began to rise around their building.

To assemble a picture of crime, both real and perceived, The New York Times interviewed dozens of evacuees in four cities, police officers, medical workers and city officials. Though many provided concrete, firsthand accounts, others passed along secondhand information or rumor that after multiple tellings had ossified into what became accepted as fact.

What became clear is that the rumor of crime, as much as the reality of the public disorder, often played a powerful role in the emergency response.

Speaking of "poor knowledge"
""Not one piece of educational material was taken - the best-selling books are all sitting right where they were left," Captain Canatella said. "But every $9 watch in the store is gone.""

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Elephants want to learn to dance ...

But I have my doubts.
Failure to recognize the flexible, dynamic, multi-faceted and multidimensional nature of the web. The ability to engender two way communication and many-to-many modes.

Seems to be attempts to fit the net into the broadcast mold.
Aggregation vs. addressing audiences.

The heyday of Big Media is past.

WSJ.com - Media Firms Dig Into War Chests For Latest Assault on the Internet:

"Driven by fear of losing advertisers and audience to the Internet, large media conglomerates are spending billions in a spate of acquisitions and aggressive Internet initiatives, and are likely to keep on spending."


"In an industry that measures success by the size of the audience it can deliver to advertisers, the online audiences are already large -- and still growing. The broadcast-TV audiences have been declining for a decade, box-office sales for movies this year are lagging behind previous annual takes, the once-torrid sales of DVDs are leveling off, and circulation is falling at many newspapers and magazines.

And, so far, most of the online audience has been captured by the big Internet players, not the big media companies. In August, Yahoo attracted 122 million unique visitors to its network of Web sites, according to comScore Media Metrix. Last year Yahoo's revenue was $3.6 billion, while Google's was $3.2 billion."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Global Warming !

Could solar activity be related to Global Warming ?

Solar activity reaches new high (December 2003) - News - PhysicsWeb

"Using modelling techniques, the Finnish team was able to extend data on solar activity back to 850 AD. The researchers found that there has been a sharp increase in the number of sunspots since the beginning of the 20th century. They calculated that the average number was about 30 per year between 850 and 1900, and then increased to 60 between 1900 and 1944, and is now at its highest ever value of 76.

“We need to understand this unprecedented level of activity,” Usoskin told PhysicsWeb. “Is it is a rare event that happens once a millennium - which means that the Sun will return to normal - or is it a new dynamic state that will keep solar activity levels high?” The Finnish-German team also speculates that increased solar activity may be having an effect on the Earth’s climate, but more work is needed to clarify this."

Naw - gotta be "fossil fuels"

But from Nature

"Although climate models differ in their estimation of the Sun’s contribution to recent warming, even those that include spectrally varying changes in solar irradiance conclude that anthropogenic causes are the prime factor.The high probability that this episode will end soon is not likely to cut us much slack in controlling global warming unless we reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. But because the solar influence may be more regionally variable than the effects of greenhouse gases, model-based predictions ofregional climate change may be improved by this study.It is at the regional level that climate change will have the greatest impact on society."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Made for TV Movie ?

Is it just me or is this whole Hurricane Season like just one long "Made for TV" Disaster movie.

Great stuff for CNN (get those ratings back up)

Tragedy in New Orleans, villains, and hero’s, daring do, controversy.

Rita as Redux or sequel
Thousands fleeing the Monster Storm, will they be trapped in their cars by rising waters ?

Get those images on the screen, hold audience attention
Sell ads

Confession - I have CNN on in the morning, check the news, check the weather sites, track the storm(s).

Rita Rolls on/in

Impressive image
Sense of the scope of this storm

11:33 UT (7:33AM EDT) on Fri Sept 23rd

For updates :
0000_latest.jpg (JPEG Image, 900x750 pixels) - Scaled (60%)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Global Warming ... but on MARS!

Short snippet, but interesting.
I will make a rash assumption that any warming on Mars is not due to human intervention (spewing of greenhouse gases)

SPACE.com -- Mars Probe Finds New Gullies, Crater at Red Planet:

"The spacecraft also observed a gradual evaporation of carbon dioxide ice in one of Mars’ polar caps, pointing to a slowly changing Mars climate.

“They way these polar pits are retreating is absolutely astounding,” Mustard said.

But like the rockfalls, researchers were unable to account for the gradual climate change.

“Why is Mars warmer today that it was in the past, we really have no way of knowing why,” Malin said."

Some other observations about hurricanes and "Global Warming"
(note : from a "right wing" source)
Interview with the "Dean" of Hurricane predictions
Hurricanes and Global Warming: Interview with Meteorologist Dr. William Gray by James K. Glassman -- Capitalism Magazine

and then :
Hurricanes and Global Warming: Interview with Dr. James J. O'Brien by James K. Glassman -- Capitalism Magazine

"Glassman: Let me just pursue this as far as Katrina is concerned because we certainly heard lots of reports that the reason that Katrina intensified so much when it got into the Gulf of Mexico was that the Gulf itself was very warm, but is that a consequence of global warming?

O’Brien: No, it’s really funny.

Glassman: You’re laughing.

O’Brien: Yes, I laugh because the entire Gulf of Mexico in the summertime in August is over 90 degrees, OK. In other words, if I take the records from the last 50 years and average it out to get what people think is the normal temperature.

Glassman: Right.

O’Brien: It’s always 90 degrees in the summertime, everywhere. So, it was 90 degrees and its always 90 degrees.

Glassman: So, the real problem here was that Katrina was really timing. I mean Katrina was a storm that, unfortunately, spent time in the Gulf of Mexico during the time when the water was hot.

O’Brien: Yes. I don’t know the steering, but however it got disturbed going over the peninsula of Florida. What surprised everybody was when it came out into the Gulf of Mexico, it did this jog to the south. If you remember, it was going southwest for a while and that allowed it to get so far away from land that it had a long way to go before it was going to come back on shore.

Glassman: Sort of a running start.

O’Brien: So yes, it had a – you know, it’s a long distance. It was going about 10 to 15 miles an hour. So it had a long time to gather up, from long distances, all this moisture from this hot water.

Glassman: Now, are you saying that people who study hurricanes do not feel that the reason that Katrina, or any other recent hurricanes, have been so intense is that the surface temperature of the earth has been increasing?

O’Brien: With regard to people who work on hurricanes or are knowledgeable about the tropics – I don’t know of anybody who would think that global warming is causing Katrina."

And more on the Hurricane "Cycle"
Hurricanes and Global Warming: Interview with Dr. Roy Spencer by James K. Glassman -- Capitalism Magazine

"Glassman: You know, I was looking at the National Hurricane Center’s website and they list the 10 most intense hurricanes by barometric pressure. I know you feel we should take those numbers with a grain of salt; but still, these are clearly very intense hurricanes in American history. Now we add Katrina to that. We’ve got 11. Five of these hurricanes occurred between 1900 and 1935 and only two of them have occurred since 1969. I’m just wondering whether there is any evidence that the intensity of storms is increasing in the United States.

Spencer: Well, that brings up a good point – and that is that there is a known natural cycle in hurricane activity. We have been going through a lull in activity for about the past 20 or 30 years. Hurricane Andrew of 1992 was the early wake-up call that we were heading back into a period of greater hurricane frequency. Indeed, as you mentioned, the 1930’s, ‘40’s, ‘50’s – these were the peak periods that had some very intense hurricanes, but of course, there was very little development along the coasts back then.

We’re not seeing anything that different from what occurred 40 or 50 or 60 years ago – which is we’re back now into a more active part of the natural hurricane cycle."


Caught Governor Blanco, of Louisiana on evening network news.

With Rita moving further north, and manditory evacuation declared for New Orleans ... yet again, she commented that if you choose to ignore this one, you might as well write your Social Security Number on your arm in indeilble ink... to help the coroner ID your body.

Stay at Home Mom's

As a father of two, wonderful, daughters, and now a proud grandfather, I find the following piece interesting:

Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood - New York Times

I might take a different point of view from the feminist one:
" For many feminists, it may come as a shock to hear how unbothered many young women at the nation's top schools are by the strictures of traditional roles.

"They are still thinking of this as a private issue; they're accepting it," said Laura Wexler, a professor of American studies and women's and gender studies at Yale. "Women have been given full-time working career opportunities and encouragement with no social changes to support it.

"I really believed 25 years ago," Dr. Wexler added, "that this would be solved by now."

Maybe "this" has been solved.
Maybe these young women indeed have a choice.
Choosing motherhood ... choosing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

FEMA Forecast

Cynical observation.

Rita taking aim at Texas
There will be comparisons and contrasts made by pundits and politicans between the preparedness/relief response in Fla and Texas as opposed to Louisana.

Fla and Texas being "Bush Country"

Superior response and prepardness likely will be contrasted to NOLA debacle.
How will it all play out?

Storm Projections - long term prospects

This was from June 2004

"Nasty" Hurricane Season Seen for U.S. East and Gulf Coasts

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi of the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather weather-forecasting company thinks the Gulf Coast could really take a beating this summer. "We're in a situation similar to the late 1940s and early 1950s, when we saw several years in a row of high-intensity hurricanes forming," Bastardi said. "It's a nasty-looking situation down there."

And it can't (necessarly though it will be) blamed on "Global Warming"

"Hurricane Boom Could Last Decades

Chris Landsea, a hurricane researcher at NOAA in Miami, said more hurricanes are forming over the Atlantic Ocean because its water is a bit warmer than it was in the early 1990s.

Hurricanes draw their energy from warm ocean water. Since 1995 the temperature of the Atlantic has been, on average, one-half degree to one degree Fahrenheit (0.3 degree to 0.6 degree Celsius) warmer than was in the early 1990s, he said.

Landsen and Gray, the Colorado State University meteorologist, think the increased number of hurricanes is part of a weather cycle that's been going on for a very long time. "It does appear to be a natural cycle," Landsea said. "We see evidence for this over the last several hundred years. It doesn't seem to be related to any possible greenhouse gas forming."

Gray thinks changes in the salinity of the Atlantic are a major factor in the cycles. When the salt content is higher, the ocean is warmer and more storms form. It takes decades for this cycle to complete itself, he said.

"We see these major storms going up and down on a decadal basis," Gray said. "You can't link it to global warming. It's ridiculous to blame [an increase in hurricanes] on human-induced greenhouse gasses coming up into the atmosphere."

Researchers have used weather records to identify hurricane cycles dating back to at least the late 19th century. But new research is revealing possible clues to hurricane cycles thousands of years ago.

Kam-biu Liu, a professor of geology at Louisiana State University, has concluded that there was a "hyperactive" period of hurricanes affecting what is now the Gulf Coast, lasting from about 3,400 years ago to about 1,000 years ago.

"Since about a thousand years ago, it's gone back to a relatively quiet period," Liu said.

The current increase in hurricanes is only a small fluctuation within this longer millennial cycle, according to Liu. Forecasters can't say exactly how long the current cycle will last. During the past century periods of increased activity have lasted 25 to 30 years.

The Atlantic warmed up in 1926 and stayed warm until the late 1960s, according to Gray. There was a corresponding period of active hurricane seasons. The Atlantic was cooler from the late 1960s until 1995, when it warmed again and started spawning more storms.

Gray thinks the current warming trend could last another 10 or 20 years. That could mean trouble, because coastal development and population growth exploded during the calm summers between 1970 and 1995. "


While catching up and working foward on some projects, I'm taking time to multitask (mostly saving time) and loading up my iTunes.

Noting my choices.
Part because of what CD's are here, part my chronological order
And I seem to like the Baker to Jobim / Gilberto

Chet Baker
Gerry Mulligan
Lambert Hendricks & Ross

On deck : Jobim, Getz-Gilberto, Jim Hall, Jim Evens, Desmond, most all the Evans is north, Wes Montgomery/Jimmy Smith then on to "Classical"

Most rock and blues are north as well as more jazz (mostly the "core collection" as if Baker isn't Core!), Monk, 'Train, Miles ...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hurricane Katrina | The shaming of America | Economist.com

Op/Ed from Economist (subscription suggested)
View from afar

From constant bureacratic re-arrangements to plenty of pork.

Hurricane Katrina | The shaming of America | Economist.com:

"Hurricane Katrina has exposed both personal and structural weaknesses in America's government"

The finger-pointing is already under way, with the federal government blaming local government and local government blaming the feds. But if America is to avoid future catastrophes it needs to do more than bicker. It needs to learn the right lessons from this fortnight's debacle.

Blame for the shame

Natural disasters on this scale inevitably bring chaos and suffering. Katrina wreaked havoc over an area the size of Britain. And even the best-laid hurricane plans cannot deal with the quirks of human nature. People who live in areas prone to hurricanes tend to become blasé about storm warnings. This insouciance is native to New Orleans, where a lethal local cocktail is called The Hurricane. But none of that excuses government's failure.

Local government must shoulder some of the blame. The authorities in Louisiana have a reputation for confusion, inefficiency and worse. Different authorities are responsible for different levees, for example, and several close associates of the former mayor were recently indicted for corruption. Local incompetence exacerbated the disaster: in Orleans Parish, for instance, where 60,000 households do not own a car, hundreds of city buses which might have shipped out stranded people were left to be swamped by the rising waters.

Still, Washington is mostly at fault. The responsibility for mobilising the response to a disaster lies squarely with the federal government. And the responsibility for galvanising the federal government lies squarely with the president.


Mr Bush's personal weakness is shaming; but the structural failures in government that Katrina has revealed are perhaps more worrying. After September 11th Mr Bush poured billions into creating the Department of Homeland Security, but the department has flunked its first big test. It is a bureaucratic monstrosity that includes organisations as different as the Coast Guard and the immigration authorities and spends most of its energies in perpetual reorganisation. The department's focus on fighting terrorism has also distracted attention from coping with natural disasters, reducing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from a cabinet-level agency into a neglected stepchild. The best illustration of this is its boss: Michael Brown spent nine years at the Arabian Horse Association, before finally being eased out and joining FEMA as general counsel, brought in by its previous head, his college room-mate.

The second structural problem is Washington's addiction to pork-barrel spending. The anti-war left is keen to blame the Iraq war for depleting government's resources. The real problem, however, is not a lack of resources—Mr Bush has increased discretionary spending faster than any president since Lyndon Johnson—but the way they are allocated. The funding for New Orleans's levees, which has fallen by nearly half over the past four years, started dropping in 2001—before the Iraq war, but after Bob Livingston, a Louisiana congressman and erstwhile chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, left politics under a cloud. The recent transport bill contains some $24 billion-worth of pure pork—including $231m for a “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska. Although this sort of thing is endemic in Washington, it has got far worse since the Republicans took over both the White House and Congress.


If Mr Bush addresses America's failings with the same vigour that he addressed Islamic terrorism in the wake of September 11th, he has a chance of reinvigorating his presidency and restoring respect in his country; if he doesn't, he will go the way of his father, limping wounded into retirement.

Aurora Alert

SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

Strong odds of geomagnetic storms next 24-48hrs

More here:
Space Weather Warnings Currently in Effect

and here:
Northern Hemisphere Enlarged View

Dept of Homeland Security and FEMA

Time to rethink the organizational chart.

DHS works, at least based on the evidence that we haven't had another 9/11.
FEMA doesn't... based on Katrina

"FEMA understands disasters, and many of its programs have been in place and effective for years. Since its inception, DHS has been chasing its tail looking under every rock for the next 9/11 while ignoring the nuts and bolts issues that face our countries. Hurricane season comes every year. Long after you and I are dead, and 9/11 is a distant memory that our grandkids re-live on the history channel, Hurricane season will come. People are fleeting, Mother Nature endures."

Who is/was in charge?

Good reivew of legal aspects of Katrina.
National Guard and who calls the shots, who "owns" and controls it.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New Orleans was already "slipping"

The future of New Orleans | The way of Babylon? | Economist.com

What lies ahead for an irreplaceable city...

The deputy police chief says that New Orleans has “completely been destroyed”. He exaggerates, but not greatly: around 140,000-160,000 houses have been submerged or ruined. The 10,000 or so people who, at mid-week, were still clinging on in their homes were ordered to leave, not least for their health; three people in the region had already died from drinking water seething with viruses and bacteria. If force did not work, money might: at the shelters in Texas and elsewhere, FEMA agents were handing out $2,000 debit cards.

If the city is abandoned, how quickly can it recover? It all depends on how quickly the city's drainage system takes water out, how efficiently the 60m-90m tons of raw sewage are cleaned up, and how soon the power comes back on. And on other, longer-term, calculations.

New Orleans was already losing people before Katrina; its population peaked, at almost 630,000, in 1960. At the last census count, in 2000, 485,000 people lived there. Officials now fear that as many as 250,000 will leave for good, and that dull-but-prosperous Baton Rouge will soon become Louisiana's economic centre. New Orleanians have long disdained their state's capital. But it stands on the first high ground along the Mississippi, and its population of about 230,000 has supposedly doubled in past days. Evacuees are already buying houses in its suburbs.

New Orleans officials are busy discussing how they might lure people back. They intend to set up centres in every area where the refugees have gone, telling them how the clean-up is progressing. They might pay the poor to go back, and offer incentives to the rich. Urgently, they are hunting round for “creative legislation and ideas”.

All Warm and Fuzzy - T. Boone Pickens

I question the use of funds.
$50K charther jet to move 80 pets?
$625 per animal.
Even if they could have gotten the 200 they wanted, that would be $250 each.

If you want to be know as a deep thinker (Peak Oil, prices headed higher yet) you should be more careful how you spread your wealth.

CNN.com - New Orleans dogs go west - Sep 11, 2005

"New Orleans dogs go west
First flight of rescued pets to California homes

Monday, September 12, 2005; Posted: 7:08 a.m. EDT (11:08 GMT)
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The first major airlift of dogs from the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast left Louisiana on Sunday, carrying about 80 pets to new temporary homes in California.

The Continental Airlines flight from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was chartered for about $50,000 by Texas oil tycoon Boone Pickens and his wife, Madeleine, in a movement dubbed "Operation Pet Lift."

Monday, September 12, 2005

H5N1 in the "on deck" circle

Avian Flu Pandemic could make Katrina look like a picnic

A Hot Zone In The Heartland

"Little could be done to contain a deadly avian flu outbreak"

Reflections on Katrina

Per Brooks etc.

Federal response is not swift, but is sure.

Thought experiment - would you rather have a bulldozer or an ATV to work on construction/cleanup.

Bulldozer is slow but powerfull
ATV is light and agile ... but can't move much.

Which do you choose...

7:30AM CNN ... 70K boots on the ground doing cleanup

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Is Govenment really the answer?

Longish quote from David Brooks (NYTimes Op/Ed).
Counter to the liberal/progressive demand for more government, in the wake of Katrina.

Much like the old saw that the best-laid battle plans go to hell when the fighting actually starts, the same for natural disasters.
There is a need for leadership, from the squad to the general staff, flexible and adaptive.

The eastern (in the late 20th Century the Soviet) model was successful when you could throw masses of troops at the enemy, the democratic model succeeds when you unleash individual initiative.

The Best-Laid Plan: Too Bad It Flopped - New York Times:

"...the brutal fact is, government tends toward bureaucracy, which means elaborate paper flow but ineffective action. Government depends on planning, but planners can never really anticipate the inevitable complexity of events. And American government is inevitably divided and power is inevitably devolved.

For example, the Army Corps of Engineers had plenty of money (Louisiana received more than any other state), but that spending was carved up into little pork barrel projects. There were ample troops nearby to maintain order, but they were divided between federal and state authorities and constrained by regulations.

This preparedness plan is government as it really is. It reminds us that canning Michael Brown or appointing some tough response czar will not change the endemic failures at the heart of this institutional collapse.

So of course we need limited but energetic government. But liberals who think this disaster is going to set off a progressive revival need to explain how a comprehensive governmental failure is going to restore America's faith in big government."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Times on the Diaspora

For many "a new start..."

Uprooted and Scattered Far From the Familiar - New York Times

"Hurricane Katrina has produced a diaspora of historic proportions. Not since the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, or the end of the Civil War in the 1860's have so many Americans been on the move from a single event. Federal officials who are guiding the evacuation say 400,000 to upwards of one million people have been displaced from ruined homes, mainly in the New Orleans metropolitan area."

"Many say they will never go back, vowing to build new lives in strange lands, marked forever by the storm that forced their exodus. They seem dazed and disconnected, though happy to be alive, to be breathing clean air, to be dry. Others say they still feel utterly lost, uprooted from all that is familiar, desperate to find a missing brother or aunt."

Literature as the highest form of Art

And English as the superior language for Literature

The meaning of art | Art smarts | Economist.com:

"Far, far better is the second half of the book in which Mr Carey seeks to persuade us that the greatest of all art forms is not painting or music but literature, and English literature specifically. Uninflected and without gendered nouns, English was uniquely placed to offer Shakespeare the linguistic pliancy and suppleness he needed to turn out the epidemic of metaphors and similes that so mark his work. Here, Mr Carey turns in a bravura performance. Drawing on his great knowledge of poetry, he is able to show how literature outsmarts other art forms; how it alone is able to criticise itself, which makes it more powerful and self-aware than other forms; how only literature can comment, and therefore moralise, not by making you more moral but by giving you ideas to think with; and how by hinting rather than spelling out, it is literature's indistinctness that empowers the reader's imagination.


Change of subject - Economic Development

Interesting pieces on Economic Development in the age of Thinking.
First is a bit long, but good:
"The Rise of the Creative Class" by Richard Florida

The Rise of the Creative Class: Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race.

Then there's this by Daniel Pink: Wired so a bit breezier
Wired 13.02: Revenge of the Right Brain
"Logical and precise, left-brain thinking gave us the Information Age. Now comes the Conceptual Age - ruled by artistry, empathy, and emotion."

Talk about "Reality TV"

Inform or inflame ?
Demand to show bodies ...

While I fully believe and support the 1st Amendment and freedom of the press, I also would like to see discretion.

CNN.com - U.S. won't ban media�from New Orleans searches - Sep 10, 2005: "CNN filed suit against Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown, arguing that the officials who announced the decision were acting on FEMA's behalf.

'For an agency to unilaterally ban all coverage of a major component of its governmental function, that is, recovery of the deceased victims of the tragedy, is unprecedented,' CNN argued in its legal brief. 'Instead, the agency has made a subjective, content-based determination that publicizing the operation would be 'without dignity.''

CNN's brief argued, 'It is not the place of government to replace its own internal judgment for that of a free and independent media.'

Because of controversy about how FEMA and other agencies handled the disaster response, CNN lawyers argued, 'it is even more vitally important for the public, Congress and the administration to have an independent view of the conduct of this important phase of the operation.'"

Observations on New Orleans

Crisis Management according to Jack Welch (on Cavito on Fox)
The stages :

Subject defined by others
Blood spilled (Brown out at FEMA)
Response – better than ever (change cycle of poverty)
Note some of this by Diaspora – some will find new opportunities elsewhere.

(echos of David Brooks Katrina's Silver Lining - New York Times)

Watch for the private sector response.
Unfortunately some of this feeding on Public Funds.

The Second Storm - Pentagon's view of response to Katrina

Of note : CNN (et al) may not have covered the worst hit areas. They may have covered what they could reach (and what makes a "story")

Not to make any excuses nor "shift blame" but Television has a different role than rescue ...At it's best, it is to infom, at worst, to inflame (and sell advertising).

"Some procedural shortcomings were instituted almost immediately. In the Northcom operations center, TV coverage of disaster zones was closely monitored, prompting the dispatch of relief missions prior to the receipt of official reports or requests. During past wargames, FEMA and other agencies have been reluctant to be drawn into "the 'CNN effect' and instead rely on standard National Response Plan reporting channels, because they were afraid they'd be sucked down a rat hole," says the retired officer. Players were concerned that critical resources could be diverted by low-priority regions, only because those areas were getting media attention."

The Second Storm - aviation week, aerospace, airline industry, space technology, defense, aircraft, homeland security, articles, magazines, FAA, regulations, news: "The Second Storm
09/09/2005 01:55:55 PM
By William B. Scott, David A. Fulghum and Craig Covault/Cape Canaveral

To the list of casualties being tallied following Hurricane Katrina, at least two more will certainly be added: procedures for requesting assistance from the federal government and rules for how the military should respond to a disaster.

With images of desperate flooding victims in New Orleans still fresh, the White House, congressional committees and the Pentagon itself have already announced investigations, and 'lessons-learned' studies will probe whether the military could have done more or responded quicker "

NYTimes quotes Stratfor and more

Stratfor, Motley Fool and Murry get quoted
Stratfor : it's the Geopolitics of New Orleans

Murry : cat's out of the bag on racial issues

The Necessity of New Orleans - New York Times

AS horrible as Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath have been, the markets and pundits have concluded that the economic fallout won't be so bad.

Not so fast, writes George Friedman, chairman of Strategic Forecasting at the company's news-driven, globally oriented Web site (stratfor.com). While the river, the port and the oil infrastructure appear to be basically functional or reparable, that doesn't mean everything's jake.

"During the cold war," he writes, "a macabre topic of discussion among bored graduate students who studied such things was this: If the Soviets could destroy one city with a large nuclear device, which would it be? The usual answers were Washington or New York. For me, the answer was simple: New Orleans."

After describing how and why New Orleans is and always has been central to the economy - for reasons that go way beyond the oil industry - Mr. Friedman writes that while it's good that so much of the infrastructure is intact, the population loss could be devastating.

"The physical and business processes of a port cannot occur in a ghost town, and right now, that is what New Orleans is. It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city's population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States."

The cost of rebuilding can't help but affect the economy. But rebuild we must, Mr. Friedman says, even though "it is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist."

"Geopolitics is the stuff of permanent geographical realities and the way they interact with political life. Geopolitics created New Orleans. Geopolitics caused American presidents to obsess over its safety. And geopolitics will force the city's resurrection, even if it is in the worst imaginable place."

MICROECONOMICS The financial analyst Stephen D. Simpson, writing for the Motley Fool (fool.com), drills down to the specific effects the hurricane may have. "There will be far-reaching consequences across the entire economy," he writes. "While the region will someday recover and return to normalcy, it won't happen quickly."


Commentary - The Inequality Taboo
"Eleven years after the assumptions underlying "The Bell Curve" were rejected as bad science by many critics and academics, Charles Murray, one author of the book, has decided that now is the time for a defense on the Web site of Commentary magazine. His inspiration is Lawrence H. Summers, the Harvard University president whose remarks about women's aptitude for math and science caused a stir early this year. Despite the vast differences in what they said, how they said it, and how people reacted, Mr. Murray declares that both he and Mr. Summers are victims of "Orwellian disinformation."

Friday, September 09, 2005

Diaspora part Duex

David Brooks on hope for the hopeless.
Break the cycles of poverty.

Katrina's Silver Lining - New York Times

"As a colleague of mine says, every crisis is an opportunity. And sure enough, Hurricane Katrina has given us an amazing chance to do something serious about urban poverty."


" The Clinton administration built on Gautreaux by creating the Moving to Opportunity program, dispersing poor families to middle-class neighborhoods in five other metropolitan areas. This time the results weren't as striking, but were still generally positive. The relocated parents weren't more likely to have jobs or increase their earnings (being close to job opportunities is not enough - you need the skills and habits to get the jobs and do the work), but their children did better, especially the girls.

The lesson is that you can't expect miracles, but if you break up zones of concentrated poverty, you can see progress over time.

In the post-Katrina world, that means we ought to give people who don't want to move back to New Orleans the means to disperse into middle-class areas nationwide. (That's the kind of thing Houston is beginning to do right now.)

There may be local resistance to the new arrivals - in Baton Rouge there were three-hour lines at gun shops as locals armed themselves against the hurricane victims moving to their area - but if there has ever been a moment when people may open their hearts, this is it."

Friedman on Journalists in New Orleans

Mostly a piece about Iraq and the hopes for the new Constitution, but also a good observation of his own profession

New Orleans and Baghdad - New York Times

"...the Katrina TV drama is not going away. Hell hath no fury like journalists with a compelling TV story where they get to be the heroes and the government the fools."

Bill Mahr thought that we're "getting our journalists back" (a la Watergate?).
Maybe more like "what sells airtime"

Timeline of Katrina

Interesting, if frustrated and maybe frustrating to read compliation of the Katrina events.

Right Wing Nut House � KATRINA: RESPONSE TIMELINE: Politics served up with a smile… And a stilletto.

Rich Moran :

"If I may be allowed a personal opinion?

This has been a clusterf**k from the get go on all levels and with a few unbelievably heroic exceptions – mostly the LA Fish and Wildlife employees who were out in boats rescuing people almost before the storm passed and our selfless military who performed with their usual spectacular competence and courage. I am convinced that any Commission or Congressional investigation – if even slightly impartial – will find enough stupidity, incompetence, panic, blame shifting, lying, and bureaucratic ass covering to sate the appetite for name calling and blame assigning of even the most partisan among us.

This was a failure of leadership and competence. But it was also a failure of will. And for that, you need look no farther than the mirror in your bathroom, dearest readers. We elected this crew. We elected the Congresses over the past 25 years – Democratic and Republican – that failed to do the things necessary to make New Orleans safer.

Elections have consequences. Consider that fact the next time you pull the curtain in the booth to cast your vote. If nothing else, the aftermath of this tragedy reminds us of that, then perhaps something worthwhile will have been learned."

Response Time and Insurrection Act

Good summary of why Active Duty Federal Troops were not "First Responders"

I know very little of Gov. Blanco and either how long she has been on the job, her politics (other than party affilation) nor her background and preparation.
But if you are the Govenor of a State that is at risk of a natural disaster, shouldn't you have a "rule book" of proceedures?

I for one would preferr our Governor to make the first decisions, rather than turn the State of Michigan over the the Federal Government.

Political Issues Snarled Plans for Troop Aid - NYTimes

I would propose the title of the article be "Legal Issues Snarled Plans..."

"To seize control of the mission, Mr. Bush would have had to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows the president in times of unrest to command active-duty forces into the states to perform law enforcement duties."

Read the rest of the piece.

Also : as to the question of why CNN/NBC etc could be on the scene quicker than the National Guard/Active Duty Forces ... lawyers.

Reports job is to take/deliver pictures/information not take charge.

Emergency Prepardness and the Diaspora

Excellent summary of issues and concerns from Glenn Reynolds' on Katrina's lessons (thanks Doc)

Instapundit.com : "SOME KATRINA LESSONS: We're going to see a plethora of commissions and inquiries (most about as useful and non-partisan as the 9/11 Commission), but here are a few lessons that seem solid enough to go with now"

Suspect that there was/is/ will be plenty of blame to share.
The whole "Big Easy" lifestyle/mentality may have prevented sufficent planning, despite the obvious risk (under sea level and sinking ... hello).

With no intention of defending FEMA, but this is NOT a short term situation.
If :
1) the city will not be pumped dry for weeks or months
2) the "powers that be" want a different city in the future

(Excerpt WSJournal : Old-Line Families Escape Worst of Flood And Plot the Future : "The power elite of New Orleans -- whether they are still in the city or have moved temporarily to enclaves such as Destin, Fla., and Vail, Colo. -- insist the remade city won't simply restore the old order. New Orleans before the flood was burdened by a teeming underclass, substandard schools and a high crime rate. The city has few corporate headquarters.

The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out.")

There are going to be a lot of folks who will not be returning to New Orleans.
Housing and support for them will be a long term project.
Those who can and will find work will, doubtlessly manage. Reports are that there is already a boom in real estate and rentals throughout the surrounding communities. I would not be suprised if this doesn't spread in a swath from Arizona to Virginia.
Those who have been un/under employed will need housing and support for a long time.
This will be an added burden on communities.

How many municipal adminstrators/managers/mayors are prepared to establish whole new communities/neighborhoods that likely will be dependent on municipal support?

It's one thing when this happens organically, over time.
It's another when it happens "overnight"

Americans are a compassionate, and sharing people.
But wholesale, rapid, change brings concerns.
We already have stories like this:
In Baton Rouge, a Tinge of Evacuee Backlash - New York Times

This was not a local disaster, this was a regional one.
The Port of New Orleans and Southern Lousiana is an important one for the entire country.
Repairs/Rebuilding/Restructuring will undoubtabley take place, but not overnight.

There need to be adjustments to plans and attitudes, on all sides, for many months, and years to come. This is where long term leadership will be displayed and tested.
Is the current Administration up to the task ?
Only time (and not the press and pundits, nor politicans) will tell.

Observation, having seen Cheney surveying the scene (last night's Network News)
Maybe it's time for KB&R (Kellogg Brown & Root, division of Halliburton) to step up, do a "at cost" rebuilding job. Payback for bad PR in Iraq.

Tom Barnett: (note that this was "Pre Cheney" photo-op)
Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog:

"Speaking of spreading it around (Lolita C. Baker, 'Halliburton Subsidiary Taps Contrract for Repairs, Washington Post, 5 September), no one should be surprised to see SysAdmin conttractor supremo Kellogg, Brown & Root at the forefront of the recovery efforts with Katrina. Last July it won a big Navy contract vehicle to be the company that comes in after big natural disasters and do clean-up. SysAdmin away, SysAdmin home. Seems pretty natural because it's basically the same all over. So don't expect KB&R to go away any time soon, no matter how stinky its past associations with Cheney might seem. It simply fills too big of a niche. On the contrary, expect more KB&Rs in the future, not less, and they will all seem cozy with the government because they'll always be picking up the 3D (dirty, dangerous, difficult) jobs that the Fed wants to outsource--both at home and in the Gap."

Stay tuned.
This (the recovery) will be a long term issue.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Geopolitics of New Orleans

From Stratfor - the geography of New Orleans and how it relates to the entire US, from the Rockies to the Appalachians. River shipping is cheap, allowing our crops to reach world marekets, as well as raw materials to reach the midwest.

Stratfor: "New Orleans is not optional for the United States' commercial infrastructure. It is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist. With that as a given, a city will return there because the alternatives are too devastating. The harvest is coming, and that means that the port will have to be opened soon. As in Iraq, premiums will be paid to people prepared to endure the hardships of working in New Orleans. But in the end, the city will return because it has to.

Geopolitics is the stuff of permanent geographical realities and the way they interact with political life. Geopolitics created New Orleans. Geopolitics caused American presidents to obsess over its safety. And geopolitics will force the city's resurrection, even if it is in the worst imaginable place."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Interesting Insight about New Orleans

Apparently from consultant involved with planning issues.

Interesting read.
Esp about ingrained fatalism of the population and difficulties in creating a "vision of the future"

I still have doubts about rebuilding or restoring the city in it's present location.

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Dreaming A New New Orleans, Version 1

"What follows are very preliminary thoughts on principles for eventually creating a 'New New Orleans,' one that is more environmentally secure, more economically successful, and more socially healthy and equitable, while retaining the culture that made it world famous. As the news reports continue to create a picture of the city's horrible descent into hell, such an exercise feels a bit foolhardy; but there is so much dreaming to be done, to restore this great and wondrous city, that the dreaming must begin now."

Attributed to Einstein :"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Scientists Comb a Ruined Coastline for Clues and Lessons - New York Times

"'We have never learned that lesson,' said Abby Sallenger, a scientist with the United States Geological Survey who has studied storm effects on the East and Gulf coasts for years. Dr. Sallenger does not advocate wholesale retreat from the coast, he said, but 'the coastal research community should come together and come to some conclusions about where it is safer to go.'

'What's happened before is you come back and you not only rebuild, you rebuild bigger,' he continued, but 'there are some places where you should think twice about putting up a pup tent.'

Scientists who want this point to be heard, and who think Hurricane Katrina may be an ideal opportunity to make it, are eager to obtain as much good data as possible about the storm and its effects."

More on the sinking city

A "must read" by John McPhee, first published in 1987 on the sinking city of New Orleans. (got the lead from Doc)

Looks hopeless to me.

The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town: "ARCHIVES
Issue of 2005-09-12
Posted 2005-09-03

"Among the five hundred miles of levee deficiencies now calling for attention along the Mississippi River, the most serious happen to be in New Orleans. Among other factors, the freeboard—the amount of levee that reaches above flood levels—has to be higher in New Orleans to combat the waves of ships. Elsewhere, the deficiencies are averaging between one and two feet with respect to the computed high-water flow line, which goes on rising as runoffs continue to speed up and waters are increasingly confined. Not only is the water higher. The levees tend to sink as well. They press down on the mucks beneath them and squirt materials out to the sides. Their crowns have to be built up. “You put five feet on and three feet sink,” a Corps engineer remarked to me one day."

(From “The Control of Nature: Atchafalaya,” which ran in the issue of February 23, 1987.)

Somehow this makes me a bit uneasy

From EMS Network site

Ambulance crash photo album :

By the Book

So much for individual initative.

Sounds a bit more like the old Soviet AirForce mode of total ground control.
I'll be that the superior officer hears about this one ...

Navy Pilots Who Rescued Victims Are Reprimanded - New York Times

"PENSACOLA, Fla., Sept. 6 - Two Navy helicopter pilots and their crews returned from New Orleans on Aug. 30 expecting to be greeted as lifesavers after ferrying more than 100 hurricane victims to safety.

Instead, their superiors chided the pilots, Lt. David Shand and Lt. Matt Udkow, at a meeting the next morning for rescuing civilians when their assignment that day had been to deliver food and water to military installations along the Gulf Coast."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Rebuild or not?

Wall St. Journal Poll
Self selected sample, unscientific, but interesting
As of 1:30 Tues 9/06/05 with some 12,000 votes, it's running 70/30 no on rebuild New Orleans

Wall Street Journal #3633.1

Various comments from "you can't not rebuild" to "scale back to industrial/port complex and related housing" to "rebuild on higher ground"

Bottom line being all of using taxpayer dollars to recreate the same risk profile with the same ultimate results in the future.

The Dutch have built a nation "below sea level" but "only" exposed to the storms of the North Sea, not to Cat 3-4-5 Hurricanes.

The city is not only below sea level, but has been sinking and will continue to do so.
Quote (not sure of the accurarcy, but interesting) that Cat 5 levees would be the equiliant of 10 hoover dams.

Let's just say "don't fight Mother Nature"

While we're at it, maybe apply rules to most Hurricane prone areas, no federal "flood insurance." Limit/Prohibit building on coastal areas which are at risk.


jeffrey heer >> blog >> escher legos (heerforceone)

My title added


Watching AM Coverage on CNN (today, Tues 9/06/05)

Solidad with rescue crews.
Some folks refuse to leave their homes.
Understandable, if it is, as is likely, all they have.
But estimates on draining the neighborhoods being 30 days or more, maybe more than 60.
A long time to wait it out.

Rebuild debate will continue to grow.

Other coverage of folks moved to Houston.
Determined to rebuild their lives ... there.
Not returning.

Many may take the same path.
Time to move on.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

First Responders

Very good insight
Damnation of DHS (Department of Homeland Security) for failure but also:

"...when you absolutely positively have to reestablish order and basic services in a matter of hours, it has to be a local response. The feds simply can't (or won't) move fast enough."


Layer on the information that the Governor was resisting the legal actions required for federal assistance as late as Friday night ...

Jeff Jarvis:
"Mayor Ray Nagin said he told the governor and the president to sit down and get their acts together. This is precisely what he meant. Note also that the mayor said he’d be happy to hand over authority to Gen. Russel Honore if that would get things done."


"Without a doubt, those local officials in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were immediately overwhelmed by this disaster. So we should not heap a lot of blame on their shoulders. They were, quite literally, swamped. However, we should evaluate mechanisms (such as the 'mutual aid' agreements between municipal and county police in California) that enable local governments to cooperate and support each other's consequences management needs without any involvement from the federal government. FEMA's great for bringing in resources — especially money to rebuild. And the President decides to send them, the military can set up field hospitals and refugee camps in a hurry. But when you absolutely positively have to reestablish order and basic services in a matter of hours, it has to be a local response. The feds simply can't (or won't) move fast enough."

Let the finger pointing begin

Jeff's excerpt from Washington Post

Who's in charge?

BuzzMachine � Blog Archive � Damn them:

"Tens of thousands of people spent a fifth day awaiting evacuation from this ruined city, as Bush administration officials blamed state and local authorities for what leaders at all levels have called a failure of the country’s emergency management….

Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state’s emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law."

Should New Orleans rebuild? cont

Will the Governor demand apology from Soledad O'Brien ?
She just raised the question on CNN "American Morning"

Oh yea ... she's just a TV Personality, likely more people know her/who she is than Hastert... and she doesn't have control of the "pork strings"

ABC7Chicago.com: Should New Orleans rebuild?:

"September 2, 2005 - House Speaker Denny Hastert has gone on record saying New Orleans should not be rebuilt. The governor of Louisiana demanded an apology. What do the infrastructure experts think?
A large portion of New Orleans housing is wood frame which cannot likely survive weeks in the water. The utilities are a mess and basic infrastructure in many areas is beyond repair.

House Speaker Denny Hastert has a large say-so in the form and fashion of federal aid for New Orleans, and when a Daily Herald reporter asked him this week if billions of dollars should be spent rebuilding a city that sits largely below sea-level, he said, 'I think it's a question that certainly we should ask. And you know, it looks like a lot of that place could be bull-dozed.'

Louisiana's governor heard that remark to say that New Orleans is not worth the investment, and she demanded an immediate apology from Hastert.

'To kick us when we're down, to destroy hope when hope is the only thing we have left, is absolutely unthinkable for a leader in his position,' said Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

'Laissez les bons temps rouler'

Good resource, as always : wikipedia

New Orleans, Louisiana - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"The City has the nicknames the Crescent City, the Big Easy, and the City that Care Forgot. The city's unofficial (but commonly touted) motto is 'Laissez les bons temps rouler', translated to: 'Let the good times roll.'"

Unfortunately, the good times have rolled on...

It was a disaster waiting to happen

Gazing at Breached Levees, Critics See Years of Missed Opportunities - New York Times

Read it : the whole "it won't happen on my watch" attitude

"Alfred C. Naomi, a senior project manager in the New Orleans district of the corps, said the New Orleans protection system was a vexing mix. It met the standards that were agreed on long ago, but was known to be inadequate.

'This storm was much greater than protection we were authorized to provide,' Mr. Naomi said.

Current and former local officials expressed anger at the lack of preparedness."

"Since 1965, when the first large federal project was started to bolster New Orleans's levees and other defenses, there has been a tug of war over how sturdy, and expensive, to make a system that might, or might not, be needed.

Most aspects of the $732 million Lake Pontchartrain project have been completed, but the project remains behind schedule and underfinanced. Although Congress appropriated more than $4.7 billion for the Corps of Engineers this year, the spending on New Orleans levees was relatively small.


Watching CNN

Miles O'Brien : Hurricane coverage "template"
We go, cover the wind and destruction, then go home
This was different

Review of events from Tulane Hospital
Relief Monday that the Hurricane had pasted
Flooding Monday Night - so set your "response clock" from then, not last weekend
Katrina hit Monday AM

For Jessie Jackson (on NBC) "it's been 6 days" ... guess troops should have been ordered in last Sunday...

General Honore: on response time "if it was easy it would have been done by now"

Sanja Gupta: in Thailand (Tsunami) emergency hospitals were on high ground, New Orleans, they're flooded.

Puket vs New Orleans

No expert, but observation(s)
Willing to be corrected where I'm wrong.

Puket Thailand as well as Sri Lanka etc.
Above sea level
Mostly rural (Puket being a resort area)

Tsunami is comes very fast (up to 500mph) and low, until it hits shore.
Then the energy transforms to height and force.
Rapid wall of water which crushes structures.

New Orleans
Below sea level
Dense urban area, structures and population.
Flood ... slower, but doesn't receed.

Purely guessing here, one more "self reliant" than another ?
Here in America, rightly or wrongly, citizens have "expectations" of govenment.
This affects perceptions of what is/should be done.

Response Time

Pondering the situation in New Orleans (and throughout the coastal areas affected by Katrina).

If memory serves me right, the US Navy was criticized for being "slow" in the response to the Tsunami, but once there it was an “overwhelming force”

With Gulf War One, it took months to position the men and material for what was a war of something like 100 hours.

Federal government and US Military are not the “lighting force” that some seem to think they are. They are slow and ponderous, though powerful when they bring their full weight to bear.

Our government is slow to act, and has been designed to be exactly that … slow. It is genetically disposed to be tied up with a decision making process that does not act quickly.

Quick action/reaction lays at the state and local level.
Posse Comitatus Act, 1878 prohibits Active Service Personell from acting without being asked
Governor did not request Federal Troops until Wed.

If Bush had airlifted troops into Louisiana without being asked, there would have been hell to pay.

Not only from the states right’s side, but there would have been a convoy of ACLU lawyers hot on the trail, not to mention the whole “black helicopter” crowd going crazy.

Do you really want to let the folks in Washington to make ALL the decisions?

For now, lets take a breather, see what force is brought to bear to
1) stem the violence
2) provide aid and assistance to those in need, black/white, poor and not-poor
3) begin salvage of the town/infrastructure

There will be plenty of time to blame, and blame will come. It will come down on the heads of many politicians, likely more at the State and Local level.

Caution on Federal Blame and calls for spending on flood control.
Funds will end up in Wyoming, Utah, and elsewhere.

Some related reading:
Ben Franklin Had the Right Idea for New Orleans - New York Times
"Why is New Orleans in so much worse shape today than New York City was after the attacks on Sept. 11?

The short answer is that New York was attacked by fire, not water. But then why are urbanites so much better prepared to cope with fire than with flooding? Mostly because they learned to fight fire without any help from the Army Corps of Engineers or the Federal Emergency Management Agency."

And Bob Reich on Pork (don't think that there won't be a huge amount of pork in the "Rebuilding" of New Orleans!)

If there is anything a politician likes more than hearings, where they can point fingers (elsewhere) it's ... P-O-R-K

An Economy Raised on Pork - New York Times

"The increasing insecurity of ordinary workers also imperils our national defense by handcuffing the Pentagon. It can't shift the defense budget to fighting terrorism because of local fears that well-paying jobs will be lost. Contrast this with the comparative ease by which the Pentagon downshifted from fighting World War II to the cold war, more than 50 years ago. Its recent base-closing recommendations ignited a political firestorm, causing even the apolitical Base Closure and Realignment Commission to retreat. The commission's chairman justified its decision to save the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, for example, by noting that the base "is the second-largest employer in western New York."

Hugh's Hurricane Help wiki

Hugh (of gapingvoid) put up a wiki for Katrina help. No experience necessary

Hurrican Katrina Help Page - HughPage

Huge Thanks !

Friday, September 02, 2005

Mayor Ray Nagin is blunt.

With regard to the lawlessness in the streets of New Orleans, Mayor Nagin calls as he sees it.

BTW : the junkies likely don't stand a chance against trained National Guardsmen just back from Iraq.
Go get em.

And note the prohibition(s) against use of Federal Troops without explicit local/state request:

Posse Comitatus Act: Information From Answers.com:

"Posse Comitatus Act, 1878, U.S. federal law that makes it a crime to use the military as a domestic police force in the United States under most circumstances. The law was designed to end the use of federal troops to supervise elections in the post–Civil War South. The posse comitatus (from which the term posse derives) is the power or force of the county, and refers to citizens above the age of 15, who may be summoned by a sheriff to enforce the law. The act specifically prohibited the use of the U.S. army as a posse comitatus; the prohibition was later extended by legislation to the air force and by government directive to the marine corps and navy. The restriction does not apply to the coast guard during peacetime or the national guard when it is under state authority. There are legal exceptions to the law, particularly in aspects of drug law enforcement, in emergency situations, and in cases of rebellion."

CNN.com - Mayor to feds: 'Get off your asses' - Sep 2, 2005:

"I'm not sure if we can do that another night with the current resources.

And I am telling you right now: They're showing all these reports of people looting and doing all that weird stuff, and they are doing that, but people are desperate and they're trying to find food and water, the majority of them.

Now you got some knuckleheads out there, and they are taking advantage of this lawless -- this situation where, you know, we can't really control it, and they're doing some awful, awful things. But that's a small majority of the people. Most people are looking to try and survive.

And one of the things people -- nobody's talked about this. Drugs flowed in and out of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan area so freely it was scary to me, and that's why we were having the escalation in murders. People don't want to talk about this, but I'm going to talk about it.

You have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a fix, and that's the reason why they were breaking in hospitals and drugstores. They're looking for something to take the edge off of their jones, if you will.

And right now, they don't have anything to take the edge off. And they've probably found guns. So what you're seeing is drug-starving crazy addicts, drug addicts, that are wrecking havoc. And we don't have the manpower to adequately deal with it. We can only target certain sections of the city and form a perimeter around them and hope to God that we're not overrun."

Good insight as to Man's place in the "Natural World

From whoever "Roaring Tiger" is.
I esp like his imagery of "three-faced goddess"

With all due respect for the forces of nature, I still believe that, in the longer run, while a much smaller "Newer Orleans" maybe should be rebuilt, most folks should move to "higher ground"...

Big Cat Chronicles :: Man cannot always avoid nature -- although some folks think it's possible

"It's phenomenal to me that New Orleans succeeded in stimulating the evacuation of the bulk of the population and undertook responding as quickly as officials did. Rather than crucify officials, folks should be applauding their outstanding efforts. While I've no doubts we can learn to do better preparations for the next disaster, and there will be numerous task forces charged with doing so, the relief effort to date is incredible given the magnitude of the problem.

Somewhere along the way, too many people in modern society have come to believe that modern means zero risk. That modern means a day or two can fix problems, no matter how severe, and life will go on like normal before the disaster.

We forget Nature is like the three-faced goddess. At any given time, she wears the face of Virgin, Mother, or Destroyer. The Virgin face is her beauty, the Mother the life-giver, and the Destroyer is the eliminator who destroys so rebuilding can start again.

Hurricane’s like Katrina remind us of our arrogance. Not even modern man, with all our technology and will power, can always overcome the force of Nature. The destroyer still shows her face at times and rather than castigate folks digging in to respond, we would do better to thank our lucky stars the third face shows herself as infrequently as she does in the modern world.


More on Rebuild or not?

Big Cat Chronicles :: New Orleans' sinking problems beg question of whether city should rebuild post-Katrina

Good discussion on how New Orleans is not only below sea level (questionable place to site a major city) but is sinking. Causes both man made and natural.

Eventually, the Mississippi will likely be "caputured" by the Atchafalaya river.

Also images of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya deltas :

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dealing with increasing violence in New Orleans

My opinion : help the needy, deal with the 'outlaws

Note that my reaction to the looters, and esp. the violent thugs (there are few better terms) armed and dangerous, is likely colored by having lived in Detroit for the July '67 riots.
In that case, Detroit never recovered.

Corps of Engineers efforts to staunch the flooding hampered by armed gangs.
Hope the local "bad boys" get taught a lesson.

Shoot to kill, National Guard told ...:

A detachment of 300 National Guard troops, who have served in Iraq, have been authorised to shoot to kill "hoodlums" in the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco said.

"Three hundred of the Arkansas National Guard have landed in the city of New Orleans," Blanco said.

"These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well-trained, experienced, battle-tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets," Blanco said.

"They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded.

"These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will," said Blanco.

The military has increased the National Guard force in the US Gulf states to 30,000 amid growing lawlessness in New Orleans and mounting relief needs, officials said today.

'We will not tolerate lawlessness'

This would bring to nearly 50,000 the number of part-time Guard and active-duty military personnel committed to the biggest domestic relief and security effort in US history after Monday's onslaught by killer Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana and Mississippi were hardest hit.

"We will not tolerate lawlessness, or violence, or interference with the evacuation" of New Orleans, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff told a news conference.

"I'm satisfied that we have ... more than enough forces there and on the way."

Army Lieutenant-General Steven Blum, head of the Pentagon's National Guard Bureau, said an additional 4,200 military police troops would be moved into New Orleans over three days and would be under command of the governor and state officials.

"This is not martial law," Blum told the news conference, adding that the Guard members would only support local law enforcement officials.

Each US state has its own part-time National Guard force, which traditionally is at the command of the state's governor to mobilise for emer

Lyrics for Song: City of New Orleans

The Haunting Lyrics from years gone by
Good Morning America ... how are you?

Riding on the City of New Orleans,
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
Rolls along past houses, farms and fields.
Passin' trains that have no names,
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.

Good morning America how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

Dealin' card games with the old men in the club car.
Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score.
Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor.
And the sons of pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel.
Mothers with their babes asleep,
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.


Nighttime on The City of New Orleans,
Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee.
Half way home, we'll be there by morning
Through the Mississippi darkness
Rolling down to the sea.
And all the towns and people seem
To fade into a bad dream
And the steel rails still ain't heard the news.
The conductor sings his song again,
The passengers will please refrain
This train's got the disappearing railroad blues.

Good night, America, how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

Something more than disappearing railroad blues?

Looney Dunes: New Orleans rebuild - more

Looney Dunes: New Orleans rebuild

What about not helping folks while New Orleans is "rebuilt"?
What about helping folks re-locate.

Doesn't need to be too far, maybe just "up river" someplace above sea level.

Suggested name for a 501c3: "Higher Ground"

Rename the town ... Atlantis

Ohhh That's a good one ...

Got this in email

Good one:

A very self-important college freshman at a recent USC football game,

took it upon himself to explain to a senior citizen sitting next to him

why it was impossible for the older generation to understand his own.

"You grew up in a different, actually almost primitive, world," the

student said loud enough for the whole crowd to hear. "We young people today grew up

with television, jet planes, space travel, man walking on the moon, our

spaceships have visited Mars... We even have nuclear energy, electric

and hydrogen cars, computers with light-speed processing .... and uh.."

Taking advantage of a pause for breath in the student's litany, the "wizened" one said,

"You're right, Son. We didn't have those things when we were

young...so we invented them.. you arrogant little shithead!! Now....

what are you doing for the next generation??"

Disaster foretold : Dec 2001

Another from David

Sums it up.
Disaster waiting to happen.

Reiterates the question... should the "Big Easy" be rebuilt?

Aaron Brown on CNN wondered Sunday night if we were going to loose a major American City.

Maybe we have.

Houston Chronicle:

"New Orleans is sinking.
And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster.
So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country.
The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.
The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all.
In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city's less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston.
Economically, the toll would be shattering.
Southern Louisiana produces one-third of the country's seafood, one-fifth of its oil and one-quarter of its natural gas. The city's tourism, lifeblood of the French Quarter, would cease to exist. The Big Easy might never recover.
And, given New Orleans' precarious perch, some academics wonder if it should be rebuilt at all.
It's been 36 years since Hurricane Betsy buried New Orleans 8 feet deep. Since then a deteriorating ecosystem and increased development have left the city in an ever more precarious position. Yet the problem went unaddressed for decades by a laissez-faire government, experts said.
'To some extent, I think we've been lulled to sleep,' said Marc Levitan, director of Louisiana State University's hurricane center."

New Orleans rebuild

How about this idea.
Building code.
All inhabited structures build on "stilts"
All homes have to have "first floor" at least one full story above "ground"
Build on pillars.
Much like building code on Sanible and elsewhere on barrier islands.
Not for storm surge, but flood... if you are going to build under sea level.