Saturday, September 10, 2005

It Was True; Terribly So

One story I remember popping up and being discounting repeatedly in the early reporting from Louisiana was of a prison riot and breakout. Turns out, it was true:
"They basically threw away the key to the jail for four days," he said. McDonald said he and the other prisoners were basically abandoned by authorities in the storm's aftermath. "We had no food, no water, no power, no air-conditioning, no toilets," McDonald said. "A lot of people started breaking out and escaping and that's when attention was brought to the jail."
Heads should roll for this one.
He's (All the Way) Back

An emailer alerted me to the continuing return of Randy Neal (aka South Knox Bubba) to full-time blogging. Neal has been guest blogging at Facing South, where he's been venting (albeit much more calmly) his political side.

Now, completing the transition, the emailer pointed me to a new photo-blog: RViews. Here Neal is returning to the nature photo posting he used to regularly do at South Knox Bubba.

You see? I told you. Once you get really into blogging, you can't just quit cold turkey. I always knew he'd fully return, and he has. He's just divested himself of all the responsibilities he'd picked up as SKB.
Comparing Hurricanes Elvis and Katrina

One of the most memorable things about the windstorm (Hurricane Elvis) that struck Memphis two years ago was seeing this major metropolis dark at night. There were islands of light (Methodist Hospital's sign was visible along Union Avenue; there was a small block along Madison near Anderton's that kept their power.) and drivers were out looking at the damage, but the whole city was otherwise swallowed up when night fell. I can vividly recall the skyline of dark towers and a dark Pyramid highlighted by a setting sun against a salmon-colored sky. It was haunting in an apocalyptic sort of way.

And later, seeing the Milky Way -- the actual Milky Way! -- from the street outside my Midtown apartment. Normally, most of the stars in the sky get blotted out by the city's light, but this one night I could see what you normally had to drive for an hour out of town to catch. It saddened me how few people I could interest in this once-in-a-lifetime, almost spiritual, moment.

I can't recall seeing any such pictures from New Orleans, of the huge skyline darkened against the setting sun. Or of the dark city lying prone in a pool of water. Or of the Milky Way backdrop against the empty buildings of downtown. Anyone know of such photos?
Don't Hit Me For This

The talk of rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina reminded me of Monty Python & the Holy Grail, the scene where the king is marry off his airy-fairy son to the daughter of a landowner:
Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp, but the fourth one... stayed up! And that's what you're gonna get, lad: the strongest castle in these islands.
That's what I'm saying.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hopefulness in NOLA

A National Guardsman returns from nearly 12 days on the ground in New Orleans with hopeful predictions about the city's future and some stern predictions about local officials.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Payback is a Bitch Named Katrina

Democrats have been howling (do they speak any other way these days?) for Bush/Rove blook, blaming them for every conceivable wrong connected to Katrina. But as time goes along, it's becoming clear that it was the incompetence of New Orleans Mayor Nagin and the inexplicable delays and rebuffs of Louisiana Governor Blanco that were the immediate, culpable problems (pork-barrel politics and "tomorrow's another day" delays were the historic problems).

Now comes some speculative evidence that Blanco's bizarre behavior may have been political payback. Hey, if it's good enough for the howlers, I can use it too.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Democrats' Problems

I had heard in passing in some weekend television show that Americans perceived the Democratic Party as inimical to religion. I did some digging today and sure enough, according to a Pew Research study on Americans' political beliefs and religion:
Yet the Democrats' strength in this area is overshadowed by a sharp erosion in the number of Americans who believe the party is friendly toward religion. Only about three-in-ten (29%) see the Democrats as friendly toward religion, down from 40% last August. Meanwhile, a solid majority (55%) continues to view the Republicans as friendly toward religion.
And, according to a new Time/CNN/Gallup poll:
13% said George W. Bush is "most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane"; 18% said "federal agencies"; 25% said "state and local officials"; 38% said "no one is to blame"; 6% had no opinion. -- 29% said that "top officials in the federal agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be fired"; 63% said they should not; 8% had no opinion.
And that after days of the MSM doing what they do best: covering the bickering in Washington over blame.

Keep workin' it, Democrats. Your strategy of the past six years is holding y'all in good stead. At least from my point of view. Maybe you should remind people about Florida, the economy, tax cuts, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the Downing Street memo, Cindy Sheehan, "no blood for oil," and all that. It's all good and something has to stick eventually. Doesn't it?

Keep it up. You've still got two more years to get an impeachment in.

Len links to a cautionary warning about the legal and insurance nightmares to come with the Katrian cleanup. The top Federal people were carefully calling the New Orleans disaster "two separate events, a hurricane and a flood" in the immediate aftermath. It sounded to my ear like lawyerball and rather inappropriate to disaster recovery at that moment. Turns out those folks in Washington were already thinking ahead.

It amazes me how ordinary people think insurance is supposed to protect them. Insurance companies are not in business to help you, but to make profits for their owners. You do that by not making payouts on policies! You do that by finding every loophole you can in the policies the insurance companies wrote and ruthlessly exploiting them.

It's why I finally started to wear seat belts. When I owned a car, I didn't care. It was my car and usually a cheap one. But when I began to rent cars, I suddenly turned hypervigilant about following the law. Why? Because if I had an accident in a rental car, but I broke any law whatsoever during that accident no matter how innocently, I would be stuck with the bills. The insurance company would use my law-breaking ("You weren't wearing your seat belt? Then we aren't responsible for your injuries.") as an excuse to dodge payment.

It's also why states have mandatory insurance laws. They got tired of drivers with no insurance costing them money.

It's all a scam designed to protect profits. Period.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Strong Bad goes to his first Con.
These 'cons?' What exactly is gonna go on here? Geeks and nerds? That doesn't sound like anything I want to be a part of. What? Ladies in skimpy sci-fi costumes? That sounds like everything I want to be a part of! Are you sure they're at the same place as the geeks and nerds? That doesn't make any sense.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Where to Get Help From Katrina

543-5600 is the phone number for the official Memphis Katrina refugee help line. If you're new to Memphis and needing help ASAP that's the number to call.

Also, River City Mud Company has an exhaustively comprehensive post with nearly every help option there is. I can't possibly improve on it (except to add that Walgreen's is matching customer donations at the register dollar for dollar), so go and benefit. Great work by autoegocrat; thanks.
Gang Refugees

Before coveragae of political bickering buried them, there were regular stories of looting and armed, organised gangs stripping homes and stores in flooded New Orleans. If you go online, you can still find plenty of these stories.

It's fairly safe to assume that NO's gangs took advantage of the opportunity to go on a shopping spree. No doubt they all have armaments, supplies and entertainment goodies stockpiled all over the place. They also likely have a lot of merchandised safely tucked away in warehouses waiting to be resold on the black market, profits going to help the gangs.

Now, I doubt the gangsters are going to remain in NO for very long. After all, you can live Escape From New York only so long. Eventually, you've picked the corpse clean and dried up the revenue streams. Eventually, you'll want to move to another city.

A city like Memphis. Are Memphis police and Shelby County cops preparing for this eventuality? I don't want to wake up a couple of months from now with television and newspaper news blaring the latest in a "string" "street gang" deaths and have the cops profess to be surprised, or worse yet to claim it's no relation to NO gang evacuees.

Does anyone know if the police are ready for the influx?

When Justice O'Connor retired the Left's mantra was that "like must replace like." That is, they demanded that President Bush appoint someone who was perceived as a moderate, consensus-building centrist.

Now that Rehnquist must be replaced, will their new demand be that "after appointing a conservative, he must now appoint a centrist (or left-leaning) justice?" It wouldn't surprise me to see such a change.

Brit Hume noted this morning he expects to hear calls for a "uniter, not a divider" based on "the national tragedy." And sure enough, on This Week with George Snuffleupagus, Bob Woodward made preciseely those arguments!

Someone wake me up when the Democrats and the Left come up with an agenda and not a position of automatic gain-saying. Watching them twitch their knees every time the hammer of events touches them is tiring, to say the least.

My guess would be that Scalia or Thomas becomes the Chief Justice; Roberts gets approved; one more solid conservative and a moderate-ish Federal Circuit Court judge get nominated. And the court moves solidly right, though still in the "supremacist" and "activist" modes. Sadly.
Ninja Ramen!

Ramen must be cooked properly. Do not disgrace your ancestors!