Married,moved,and getting it together.

More Katrina Links

Keith Olbermann/MSNBC: Editorial comment on Katrina and failed government.
City of New Orleans, Disaster Preparedness: Hurricanes
Bush’s cynical photo ops on the Gulf Coast
New Orleans Times-Picayune keeps on keeping on.
Some Astrodome Pix
First hand hurricane account: Mayhem.
FEMA timeline: yuck
Satellite/aerial photos of Katrina damage (links from Rafe Colburn)
LiveJournal of a Nurse from N.O.
Crews Wage Five-Day Battle To Plug 17th Street Breach
Houston Chronicle: KEEPING ITS HEAD ABOVE WATER: New Orleans faces doomsday scenario, December 2001
Mark Cuban: Katrina – Disaster Relief – The Media and the Web 2.0: yes, the web can do much better
Lyrics to Good Old Boys: Louisiana 1927 by Randy Newman

What has happened down here is the winds have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
Rained real hard and it rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangelne

Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re tyrin’ to wash us away
They’re tryin’ to wash us away
Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re tryin’ to wash us away
They’re tryin’ to wash us away

President Coolidge came down in a railroad train
With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand
The President say, “Little fat man isn’t it a shame what the river has done
To this poor crackers land.”

Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re tryin’ to wash us away
They’re tryin’ to wash us away
Louisiana, Louisiana
They’re tryin’ to wash us away
They’re tryin’ to wash us away
They’re tryin’ to wash us away
They’re tryin’ to wash us away

Nice ranty Thomas PM Barnett on it all: The storm surge begins. Bolding added to the best bits by me:

So much blame to go around.

New Orleans is revealed, to no one’s surprise, as a woefully loose-ruled environment barely managed by a corrupt, incompetent government.

Support networks in the poor, rural coastal areas are revealed as meager and painfully brittle.

State governments are revealed as low-ballers on a host of long-term investments in infrastructure and network resiliency, only to be superceded by the federal government’s enduring penchant for unfunded mandates.

Federal relief agencies are revealed as surprisingly incoherent in their “coordinated response,” begging the question, How many 9/11-like shocks must there be before Washington gets its lines of authority straight?

The military, which has gone to untold lengths to brag every chance it can since 9/11 that homeland security is job #1, still seems to be under the impression that it requires an engraved invitation from a Constitutional Congress to get off its collective ass and respond rapidly to a domestic emergency.

And perhaps most damaging of all, the Bush Administration is revealed—yet again—as strangely incapable of grabbing the bull by the horn when disaster strikes, as though such leadership is only to be summoned once it becomes a public relations damage-control function.

Sad to say, the best-working aspect of the emergency response to date has been the media—the MEDIA for crying out loud!

A lot of long-held biases are likewise revealed.

The Fed’s tendency to wait until local and state resources are depleted or overwhelmed is revealed as hopelessly antiquated in this connected age. By then, too much damage is irreversible and a long-term recovery is locked-in. This is a national emergency, not some bureaucratic means test. The “I’m-with-stupid” approach to chain of command just doesn’t cut it when disaster strikes

The military’s strong bias against involving itself with civilian situations reveals itself as a weird sort of inability to take charge in situations that naturally demand it. For a culture that prizes decisiveness in challenging, austere environments, the military tends to tip-toe around whenever it’s called into action domestically–talking a big game but never leading. I mean, where’s the cigar-chomping general who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about pissing off the locals because he’s got a job to do and he doesn’t take no for an answer. Because wherever he is, he’s missing his best chance to jump-start a presidential run in 2008.

[Then I wake up this morning (3 Sept) in my hotel room to find: a) a small, strangely cuddly Chinese female in my bed; and b) a cigarette-smoking, casually “Goddam’ing” African-American Lt. Gen with a Cajun-sounding name (Honore) doing a Patton-like tirade on a street-corner (can anyone say, “Answer Man”?), screaming at soldiers to put their weapons down and ordering trucks around like he’s really pissed off, which is good, because we need a public face for “pissed off” instead of the happy-glad stuff from Laura and Bush uttering “adequate” over and over and over again. Because, you know what? Babies dying from dehydration and old women slumped dead in their wheelchairs isn’t “adequate.”]

The usual bias of the two political parties is revealed all too predictably: the Republicans look incapable of caring and the Democrats look incapable of leading—except in correctly pointing out their opponents’ odd detachment from a sense of personal responsibility. Good God, the Bush people look almost startled that the country expects them to lead!

Finger-pointing is all directions has already begun, with the vast majority of these heat-seeking missiles naturally coming round to President Bush himself, who remains white-hot from the emotional scorching put on him recently by Cindy Sheehan, in what can only be described as the revenge of Michael Moore (don’t tell me you don’t see the similarities between her quest and Moore’s breakthrough documentary “Roger and Me”). You’d think his handlers would have learned from “Fahrenheit 9/11” that silence is deadly when it comes from leaders who hesitate to lead at moments of obvious crisis.

Honestly, that crew makes Jon Stewart’s job such a frickin’ cakewalk that the man should send his Peabody’s to the White House as a thank-you.

The presidential election of 2008 began on Tuesday—for all of you who didn’t pick up on that. Bush’s second term (“Oh why does America ever bet on sequels!” the self-righteous blogger types furiously as his “vol. II” is being printed in vast numbers this very day) is now cast irretrievably as a two-and-a-half-year effort to live down its past mistakes: the systematic alienation of allies from day one, the tax cuts, the lack of peace in Iraq (and—sadly but not justifiably—the war in Iraq by extension), and now this. We are witnessing the earliest onset of post-presidency ever.

And that’s more than bad, it’s tragic. Bush’s instinct for action and leadership is his best quality, but he seems often to put it on the shelf in a strange sort of blind trust in the people he picks for positions of leadership around him. Frankly, other than Rummy and a few of his direct managers, I don’t think I’d pick any of the rest of this administration’s senior people for my team. They’re just plain mediocre, despite all the past job titles. There simply isn’t much imagination with this crowd: they know what to cut but not what to add. I don’t anticipate any initiatives worth mentioning from this bunch absent Rummy’s continued push to revamp the Pentagon. The rest, including Rice, just seem to be treading water. Rove seems lost now that he’s won Bush’s re-election. The ambition just isn’t there any more (Remember the big push on Social Security? Won’t that be a great Trivial Pursuit question years from now?). Instead, Bush looks increasingly uncomfortable, like the dog that caught the car. He has his second term, besting the old man, but all that seems to have gotten him is the resurrection of the ambivalent, rather aimless politician he was so often accused of being in the past.

American Essay: WAITING FOR THE TALKING POINTS not much word yet from conservative pundits on Katrina
The rich history of New Orleans
Definition of Force majeure:

Force majeure (French for “greater force”) is a common clause in contracts which essentially frees one or both parties from liabilities when an extraordinary event beyond the control of the parties, such as flood, war, riots, acts of God, et cetera prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

Under international law it refers to an irresistible force or unforeseen event, beyond the control of a State making it materially impossible to fulfill an international obligation. Force majeure precludes an international act from being wrongful, where it otherwise would have been.

Fire Michael Brown, to do otherwise is immoderate
Doc Searls has some great pointers to the blog-ohs-fear
Viewpoint: Has Katrina saved US media?
Broussard: “We have been abandoned by our own country.” and here:

MR. BROUSSARD: I’m telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees…

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: …that have worked 24/7. They’re burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I’ll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I’m in, emergency management, he’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” And he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you. Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday.” And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. President…

MR. BROUSSARD: Nobody’s coming to get us. Nobody’s coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody’s promised. They’ve had press conferences. I’m sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

Another NO Story from the inside on DailyKos

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