I cracked today, finally had to turn off the TV. What follows is several shortish blog items, heavy on the frivolity and non-storm related. Ready?

I knew there was a reason I haven’t upgraded my cell phone nor replaced my battery-failing iPod: Apple’s finally releasing a combination phone/MP3 player, or so rumors say. I intend to set mine to play “Family Affair” when the call comes from home, “Take This Job and Shove It” when work is calling, etc.

Oh, wait. I don’t have a job. Scratch that. But you get the idea. Cool idea.

(Crickets, katydids.)

OK, I can’t stand it. Got an e-mail today from Deb in Milwaukee:

brett favre was on tv at noon. his wife and kids, friends and extended family are all living in his 2500-square-foot house in hattiesburg at the moment, because most of them have nowhere else to go. FIFTY PEOPLE are living there, with no electricity — including a woman who’s eight months pregnant and terrified she’ll go into premature labor, in a town where a hospital no longer exists. brett’s spoken to his wife a couple of times. she told him they ran out of bread yesterday and the kids are hungry. hell, i’m sure they’re ALL hungry. brett favre’s money and power mean nothing at the moment. he’s in no better position to help out his family than any of the rest of us. and this is just what’s happening to one guy’s family — can you imagine the other stories that aren’t getting told?

i am just in shock every time i turn on the tv. now they’re moving people from the superdome to the astrodome? holy fuck.

Yes, indeedy. This is what I’ve been thinking today: For the last four years, we’re supposed to have been preparing for this sort of thing. We’re supposed to be ready for a terror attack on a major U.S. city, or if not exactly ready, at least with at least one or two clues in our possession. This is what we’ve been laying in supplies of plastic and duct tape for, correct?

And yet, we’ve been caught flat-footed. This morning CNN showed video of the USS Shreveport creaking slowly out of port in Norfolk. This morning. Not yesterday morning, not yesterday afternoon, but this morning. This is why that picture of Bush playing his toy guitar sent my blood pressure up. I know he can’t wave a wand and make everything better, but do you think he could maybe muster up a little shred of urgency, of gravity, of cluefulness, if you will? Most other people in America can figure out what’s going on, what it means, and why this has dire, dire portents for the health of the rest of the country, of the economy.

Oh, but the hell with that little twerp. What about the Department of Homeland Security? FEMA? The National Guard? Why is the security of New Orleans left up to a bare handful of overstressed, freaked-out cops, many of whom likely lost their own homes? No wonder they’re waving looters through the doors — they can put things in perspective.

And now we’re moving refugees from one football stadium to another. The Texas relief coordinator was very welcoming, said their stadium offers hot showers. Wonderful! And only 300 miles away from home.

If I were Osama bin Hidin’, I’d be rubbing my hands together in glee. Don’t throw me into the briar patch, indeed.

Posted at 10:33 pm in Uncategorized |

16 responses to “Bullseye.”

  1. brian stouder said on August 31, 2005 at 11:13 pm


    More like bull%^%#%$! – but whatever.


    The USS Bataan and 5 other navy ships are on station 100 miles south of New orleans, and have been since the 29th.

    Yes – it may seem silly – but the US military cannot simply roll into a US city and take over control of events. The civil government asks them in. But the federal government was leaning forward on this.

    Has it occurred to you that the whole time from when Katrina actually turned into a live threat to the Gulf Coast, to when she struck – was only 72 hours? The ships in Norfolk might have needed to get loaded up with the proper stores and so on – plus pulling the crews aboard and so on.

    But whatever. I suppose it is only natural to transform unfocused frustration into anger – especially if one can (without TOO much trouble)focus the anger onto someone who was already disliked!

    But beware – others who do the same thing (for example, blaming the victims of Katrina because they are, conveniently enough [for their purposes] African Americans) will turn your stomache.

    Do you know – I heard an LSU professor say that if 80% of the city evacuated, that would leave 300,000 people in the city when the storm hit….and their computer models predict that up to 100,000 of that number may have been drowned?

    Suppose the professor is even 1/2 right…or even 1/4 right?

    To paraphrase the mayor of New York City – whatever ‘the number’ is – it will be unbearable.

    And it will consist mostly of people who could not evacuate, or who had no place to go, or who were too infirm to try.

    My blood pressure rises when we reduce this American tragedy to partisan bickering – but whatever. As they say – this place is governed by ‘house rules’ – so fair enough.

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  2. ashley said on August 31, 2005 at 11:34 pm

    Why does Bush want to get rid of FEMA? This is the same guy that just took a 5 week vacation (oh, he cut it 2 days short!) and when talking to people who have to have 3 jobs says how great it is, and that could only happen in America.

    Of course, instead of single handedly being responsible for all those American deaths in Iraq, he could have saved New Orleans, but where’s the legacy in that?

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  3. Grant said on August 31, 2005 at 11:49 pm

    Please, Brian, knock it off with the Bush hated = racism analogy. You may think it sounds fairminded, but it’s really obnoxious.

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  4. vince said on September 1, 2005 at 12:13 am

    If you can stand it, if you can bear to watch more, I urge you to watch my broadcast colleagues at the only New Orleans TV station to remain on the air. http://www.wwltv.com

    Watch their streaming video.

    You will see no zippy graphics.

    Sometimes they sit in front of a wall with a curtain.

    It’s fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants news gathering, being cobbled together in makeshift facilities in Baton Rouge.

    But I can guarantee you it’s some of the most compelling television you’ll ever watch.

    Today a photographer broke down several times as he described shooting video of a boat load of people arriving from a stranded parish.

    The police chief spoke directly into the camera BEGGING for help. BEGGING the President, the Governor, anyone to send help.

    “People are dying!” he said several times.

    And he had no way to save them.

    No one was sending more boats.

    I wanted to cry with the photographer.

    These are colleagues from my company. Most have lost everything except their jobs. I cannot imagine what they are going through.

    They have my admiration. My sympathy. And my heart.

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  5. Claire said on September 1, 2005 at 12:19 am

    Excellent comment, Brian. I can’t say it any better.

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  6. Claire said on September 1, 2005 at 12:21 am

    Vince, I’m crying again.

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  7. mary said on September 1, 2005 at 2:12 am


    Remember Rudy Giulani on 9/11? He wasn’t playing with any toy guitars. I didn’t even like the guy as mayor, but there is no question that he did something, he helped hold things together, he was a caring human being who obviously was going to pour everything he could into helping. His obvious compassion and grief made him everyman, and his leadership made him mayor. I still don’t like most of what he did before 9/11, but he did set a standard for how a leader should present himself in a crisis.

    Show me some evidence of Bush doing that. He can’t make ships magically get from Norfolk to NO, but he could be a leader for Christ’s sake. One of our most culturally rich cities has been reduced to worse than third world conditions and he takes time to hustle his crappy medicare prescription benefit and make an appearance with a singer. I dont’ have to justify my dislike of Bush. He proves me right every day.

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  8. Nance said on September 1, 2005 at 9:23 am

    Sorry, Brian, but all criticism of a sitting president does not equal partisan bickering. Mary has it exactly right — this is the time for Bush to assert himself not as Mr. Harvard B-School-Trained Delegator in Chief, but as a leader, and he’s simply not doing it.

    But my quibble with Bush is far smaller than with the domestic-security structure he’s supposedly been overseeing since 9/11. Is this the best we can do in a disaster? If so, we are, as the kids say, so screwed.

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  9. Jen said on September 1, 2005 at 9:33 am

    …finally got word of our friend’s brother who returned to Biloxi last Saturday. When his flight arrived, he learned the base was closed, and his C.O. told him to go ahead and leave. Which, being human, he did.

    After all, what’s one more healthy helper, more or less.

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  10. Jen said on September 1, 2005 at 9:34 am

    …finally got word of our friend’s brother who returned to Biloxi last Saturday. When his flight arrived, he learned the base was closed, and his C.O. told him to go ahead and leave. Which, being human, he did.

    After all, what’s one more healthy helper, more or less.

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  11. brian stouder said on September 1, 2005 at 10:24 am

    “all criticism of a sitting president does not equal partisan bickering.”


    “Is this the best we can do in a disaster? If so, we are, as the kids say, so screwed.”

    also agreed, although it should be noted that the overwhelming catastrophe on the gulf coast is exponentially greater – both in terms of the area affected, and the comprehensive destruction of whole segments of the local infrastructure – than the 9/11 attacks.

    If those who wish us ill could do a small fraction of what Katrina did – we would indeed be well and truly screwed.

    By way of saying – reasonable people can disagree about the things we can do now, and the choices that were made leading up to now

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  12. Joe said on September 1, 2005 at 10:30 am

    Ok, I wondered how long it would be before the libs started blaming Bush for everything that has happened in N.O. It Was Bush who build the city below sea level and I guess he also designed the levy system. I guess it was only in HIS administration that the corp of enginers gave warning that this city was in trouble, guess clinton had some sway on the weather and did not let a hurrican hit N.O. This has been a disaster waiting to happen for years. I know Busch did not go to New Orleans,but the security to get him around would be a nightmare, He already said he did not want to impeade the rescue efforts by coming in. He’s done everything he can do right now. Myself I keep waiting for the rest of the world to start sending help. Where are the French? Germans? and all the rest that whine about the stingy USA. Have not seen any help yet, guess we are on are own. Next over sea disaster I guess we wont have any money to send. Nance please do not call the Pres names, I know it really is’nt my bussiness but you seem to be doing pretty good under his administration. Stay at home mom, good house, lake retreat, sail boat, The man is far from perfect, but I think he is doing fair job in tough times.

    Anyway have a great weekend and please excuse the spelling it is a weak point.


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  13. mary said on September 1, 2005 at 10:36 am


    Did you look at the link Ashley provided regarding funding for levee improvement and repair? I read it after my previous message. Now I think Bush is an even bigger jerk.

    Of course he didn’t cause the hurricane. It isn’t out of line to question his reaction though. I don’t expect him to be superman. I expect him to be a leader.

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  14. Grant said on September 1, 2005 at 12:08 pm

    Here’s a fantastic bit of spin:

    “The great thing about this president is that he doesn’t try to use tragedy to gain immediate attention for himself,” said Bob Martinez, a former governor of Florida blah blah blah…

    But now, he said, “there needs to be a powerful message to the country to energize the help,” a message Mr. Bush plans to amplify, his aides say, when he visits the stricken areas, probably Friday or Saturday. Mr. Martinez noted that “the risk is that there is sometimes a big disconnect between you when you speak and when bottles of water end up in people’s hands.”

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  15. cc said on September 1, 2005 at 1:42 pm

    Well, on the subject of other nations helping, according to CNN, a plane load of health care workers from Vancouver TRIED to come to New Orleans to offer help, but they were denied entry.

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  16. mary said on September 1, 2005 at 4:40 pm

    For Joe:


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