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August 30, 2005

Yahoo News photos
Posted by Teresa at 08:09 PM *

Jim Macdonald started it. He said, in AIM:

White people find things. Black people loot things.
This was literally just as Patrick was about to post:
Yahoo News photos:

Photo number one: “Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store”.

Photo number two: “A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store”.

Two guesses as to the relative melanin levels of “two residents” and “a young man”.

Remember, white people “find” things; black people “loot”.

(Via pecunium.)

I was about to post my own piece. While the three of us were sorting all this out, a further story turned up:
Cops Looting New Orleans.
I hadn’t yet seen the photo of the lighter-skinned couple making their way through the water. My own piece went like this:
“Looting” in New Orleans:

I keep hearing on the news about looting in New Orleans. But what I’m seeing—everybody has digital cameras these days, especially reporters—are pictures of people slogging through filthy water with stashes of food, diapers, bottled beverages, etc.

The picture I’ve seen most often is a kid in his teens, up to his chest in black muddy water, trying to carry away a not-very-substantial load of black-bagged groceries plus (I believe) some cans of soda.

First, I believe it was St. Thomas Aquinas who said that if a man’s family is going hungry, it’s no sin for him to steal a loaf of bread.

Second, anything salvageable the kid finds in a grocery store is something that won’t have to be cleaned up later. Besides, where’s the store where he can make legitimate purchases?

Third, yes, I absolutely agree that looting has to be suppressed. Some people will loot any time they think they can get away with it. Others will loot if they see those first people getting away with it. It’s a behavior that’s guaranteed to snowball (which is why I still say we were at fault for allowing the large-scale looting of Iraq to get started and perpetuate itself, right after the first wave of the invasion). Civil order is important.

Fourth, I have yet to hear one mention, one murmur of a hurricane evacuation plan, that didn’t consist of “everybody gets in their cars and drives somewhere else.” This, in a city which was guaranteed to sooner or later need evacuating, and which had something on the order of 100,000 citizens who didn’t drive cars.

New Orleans kept its light rail system during that period when other cities were going over to an all-highway system. It has streetcars. It’s a walkable city. That’s a mercy to the poor: you can live a poor but decent life, get to your job, do your shopping, without having to support a car. Until, of course, the day comes when any prudent person would get out of town.

I heard the city officials, before the storm hit, explaining that the Superdome would be a shelter for people with medical problems, people with special needs, who weren’t prepared to evacuate the city. Malarkey. It was, as they knew all along, the first last and only refuge for tens of thousands of New Orleans citizens who had no way to leave the city.

Not all of them are in the Superdome, or the other refugee centers; but no matter where they are, the majority of New Orleans’ beleaguered and flooded-out residents who’ve remained are the city’s poor.

That’s not looting. That’s plain old survival.

While I was intercollating posts at near-lightspeed, Making Light regular Adamsj was posting a comment about that same police looting story, in the comment thread following Then again—, under the heading, “It must be legal,” she said. “The police are here taking stuff, too.”

No Borg jokes, now. We’re just all being simultaneously perceptive.

Addendum: Here’s a photo with another great caption from the Associated Press:

As one person looks through their shopping bag, left, another jumps through a broken window, while leaving a convenience store on the I-10 service road south, in Metairie, La., Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The store is dark and deserted. The “shopper” and his buddy have entered and left it via a huge hole smashed in the store’s front window. What’s happening in this photo is more obviously looting than any of the photos I’ve seen of New Orleans citizens toting their plastic bags of food through the flood waters. Yet AP is calling this activity “shopping”—perhaps, because the young man with the plastic bag is patently white.

Further addendum:

Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing quotes Ned Sublette:

The poorest 20% (you can argue with the number—10%? 18%? no one knows) of the city was left behind to drown. This was the plan. Forget the sanctimonious bullshit about the bullheaded people who wouldn’t leave. The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation. The planners knew full well that the poor, who in new orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn’t be able to get out. The resources—meaning, the political will—weren’t there to get them out.

Further along in her post, she quotes Ned Sublette quoting from an email attributed to a relief worker in New Orleans, describing conditions there. You might want to have a look at it.
Comments on Yahoo News photos:
#1 ::: chris242 ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 08:33 PM:

The only rational excuse I can give for that is that it's looting if you bring a garbage bag. :P

#3 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 08:38 PM:

And, since the cops are looting, now the looters are shooting cops.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 08:45 PM:

Adamsj, there's something wrong with your link. Same story?

#5 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 08:57 PM:

I'm proud to be a member of the Group Mind.

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:00 PM:

Er. I thought we weren't supposed to ...?

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:02 PM:

Erik, there's something wonky about your link, too. Or -- no -- I'm sorry -- there's something wonky about that site's HTML.

#8 ::: Neil Rest ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:06 PM:

There was a riot in L.A. ten or twelve years ago (Rodney King verdict maybe???) where the news photos omitted the BMWs getting their trunks stuffed full at the computer stores . . .

#9 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:09 PM:

It was the NOLA story, yes. I wonder why it's broken now? By the way, this guy is doing a good job.

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:10 PM:

Erik, how can I incorporate you in the story at lightning-fast speed if I can't tell what you were trying to link to? Please advise soonest.

#11 ::: Bankrobber5000 ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:15 PM:

Damn, I missing out on some good looting! I wanna new computer!!! :( These opportunies of anarchy don't happen too often one's gotta stock up while the can!

#12 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:16 PM:

Thank you for this post.

I was listening to this guy from Lloyds', who was remarkably cool and collected and kept on saying "We insured, we pay, that's what we're here for, that's our job, if there weren't calamities people wouldn't need insurance" - and I almost felt for a moment that insurances were the good guys, and could almost forget that they're going to want positive proof you didn't breach the levee yourself before paying... then I remembered that most of those left in the city will have no insurance for what they've lost, including, probably, loved ones.

#13 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:18 PM:

have yet to hear one mention, one murmur of a hurricane evacuation plan, that didn’t consist of “everybody gets in their cars and drives somewhere else.”

I have read of seniors being evacuated by bus. But basically, you're right. And this picture leaves me feeling very sad and more than a little bit angry:

A row of school buses sits in floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005 east of New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:22 PM:

Good catch, Tom. I count sixty-eight school buses there. Not only could they have been used to ferry people out of the city; if they had, they wouldn't now be water-damaged.

#15 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:33 PM:

Yep. Wouldn't it have been cheaper to get the people out when they still had three working, water-free interstates, and access to gasoline? And they didn't have to pick said people up one by one from half-submerged rooftops?

I've just heard that the Louisiana Governor was "very disappointed" at the airlines' decision to cancel flights out of the city on Sunday morning. Well, what about declaring martial law before, and comandeering the damn planes? Come to think of it, what about saddling the airlines with the cost of caring for and evacuating all the people they left stranded?

#16 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:33 PM:

At the risk of sounding self-righteous, I'm amazed by the excuses that the looters give. Even the cops. Stuff like, "It must be legal, the cops are doing it." Or the idea that since there aren't enough cops to stop the stealing, the cops might as well steal too.

The bright side of the looting is that we won't have to look at any flapping flag graphics while they call all the victims "America's Heroes".

#17 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:45 PM:

I restrained my sense of humor when I blogged the cop looting thing earlier. If I hadn't had 8000 boingboing readers who I mostly don't know passing through, I would have juxtaposed Bush's remark "the federal, state and local governments are working side-by-side to do all we can to help people get back on their feet, and we have got a lot of work to do. " with it.

#18 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:46 PM:

I'd considered those who grabbed essential supplies only as being innocent of looting, so it was already irritating me to see certain of the reports on looting. While I was certain that a lot of the looting was inexcusable, just as much would be focused on the getting of food.

I'm wondering when its going to occur to looters that they may have to trade their loot for food and fresh water at some point. Or when other looters are going to turn on them.

#19 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:50 PM:

New Orleans may come to a Hobbesian state. Grim thoughts.

TK

#20 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:52 PM:

On DailyKos I heard that the Louisiana Attorney General said that law enforcement efforts were primarily directed towards lifesaving at this time and property damage was a secondary concern.

I'll confess, my first reaction towards the word "looting" on the evening radio was negative, but when I found out that it was primarily food rather than high ticket items, I can't be as hard-edged about it.

#21 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:59 PM:

Speaking of images, Whitehouse.gov now has its official Hurricane Relief page up, with a really snazzy graphical banner across the top involving a satellite image, Bush, and an American flag...
Nothing terribly useful, but they've got a page up.

#22 ::: Prophet ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:03 PM:

Bush is going to use New Orleans as his launch pad for nationwide marital law and world domination. RUN EVERYBODY RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!!!

#23 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:07 PM:

I'm kinda hoping some of the looters get their karmic desserts. Perhaps they'll have loaded themselves down so much with electronics and stolen merchandise that they won't be able to get food when they should. And where are they going to put their new toys? A lot of their own houses were destroyed, and they won't be able to go back to them. And well, it's going to be a couple of weeks before New Orleans has ANY power. So yer stolen DVD player ain't gonna play so well until then, and you'll have a hell of a time explaining why you're carting it around whenever you queue up for food and water rations. I hope your arms get really tired. I hope you get really tired of looking over your shoulder at your fellow looters. Frankly, I hope the lot of them are waterlogged and unusable. (I guess that doesn't really work for jewelry, but it works for electronics.)

#24 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:14 PM:

Sorry -- in too many places.

They put in anchor references, but not the anchors themselves. Text:

Police officer shot by looter
Tuesday, 4:25 p.m.

WWL -TV was reporting that a law enforcement officer was shot in the back of the head Tuesday afternoon on the west bank. The officer reportedly approached the looter near the intersection of Wall Boulevard and Gen. DeGaulle and, while talking to suspect, was shot in the back of the head by a second looter.

Information was not available on the condition of the officer. It was unclear if the suspects had been apprehended.

Search the page for the headline. I'd blame them for the bad HTML, but they're a little under the gun/fires/waves right now.

#25 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:16 PM:

Lis - That banner is so lame that the "designer" had to be trying to make it bad. All that's missing is a screaming eagle and a kitten dressed up as a fireman.

I made a contribution to the Red Cross today - they've set up a 2005 Hurricane Relief Fund. Really Big Corp, Inc. will match my donation. Now's a good time to support relief workers so that the poor people stuck in NO don't have to raid whatever's left in the corner grocery.

#26 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:27 PM:

What I wonder at, is that looking at the photos, the breach is huge -- but the entrance to the canal from Ponchartrain is quite narrow. I don't think they could have ever blocked the breach itself, but the entrance looks perfectly blockable; I know that barges have been sunk as temporary blocks in similiar situations.

And it's just unbelievable that they never *tried* anything. They talked all day and never even did a thing!

#28 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:28 PM:

Teresa, I had been about to post something similar to a private mailing list when I saw your post (and probably still will get to sending it.) I hadn't seen the picture of the other couple who had "found" food yet, but I wrote:

the last photo I saw captioned "Looter!" was a guy wading waist-deep through water with a loaf of bread under his arm and a floating tub full of some other food. Did he drop any money onto the submerged register counter? Possibly not, but I don't know and I'm pretty sure the photographer in the helicopter didn't either.

I would bet the journalist who captioned it that way would have been smugly proud to have done the same thing to grab food for himself or his family too, and would have self-righteously denied that he was "looting".


Actually, I think I'll send that right now.

By the way, I am very happy that Making Light is one place where I am not hearing "... evolution in action" parroted over and over. Grrr.

#29 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:36 PM:

Steve Gilliard too.

#30 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 10:47 PM:

And it's just unbelievable that they never *tried* anything. They talked all day and never even did a thing!
I've read the mayor of NO complaining that the helicopters that were supposed to be sandbagging the breach were redirected to other efforts.
He was saying there were "too many chiefs" giving orders, and poor communication.
So they intended to do something, but the chaos interfered

#32 ::: Stormwind ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 11:32 PM:

Good post; Thank you.

#33 ::: Jesse ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 11:33 PM:

Erik beat me to it, but yeah, the New Orleans Times-Picayune (where his link came from) is a web newspaper now, and their HTML skills are a bit lacking. Given the circumstances, I'm just very happy they're sending anything out. They're a great source of info right now, even if linking to them is somewhat difficult.

Times-Picayune web edition

#34 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:26 AM:

By the way, I am very happy that Making Light is one place where I am not hearing "... evolution in action" parroted over and over. Grrr.

Boing boing is quoting:

The poorest 20% (you can argue with the number -- 10%? 18%? no one knows) of the city was left behind to drown. This was the plan. Forget the sanctimonious bullshit about the bullheaded people who wouldn't leave. The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation. The planners knew full well that the poor, who in new orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn't be able to get out. The resources -- meaning, the political will -- weren't there to get them out.

And given this, you know - I can't get all worked up about these people looting, even if it means breaking into houses and taking away somebody's precious pearls.

#35 ::: Beth Meacham ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:37 AM:

Personally, I think that under the conditions prevailing in New Orleans right now, taking food and clothing and even medications, wherever you can find them, is sensible resupply.

Taking a wide-screen tv, though, that's just fucking stupid. Anybody who does that should be shot on sight, not for looting but for the egregious counter-survival display.

#36 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:08 AM:

The looting will have another deliterious effect. It will selectively enhance compassion fatigue:

[sanctimonious tut-tutting]
"Why should I send money there when they helped themselves to whatever they wanted the moment the law turned its back?"
[/sanctimonious tut-tutting]

In reality, the value of the stuff being looted is going to be peanuts compared to what will be needed to feed, house, and medicate tens of thousands of displaced people. But the "Left Behind" will be judged for the looting, and you can bet the media will hype it up.

#37 ::: Robert Cleave ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:11 AM:

A lot of the food will spoil anyway. There are really only two outcomes for perishables. They can rot and be covered by insurance, or they can be eaten for survival and covered by insurance. Even a lot of non-perishables would be written off with out immediate use. Life will be, and has been, cruel enough for most of these people. A pilfered case of Coke or loaf of bread under the circumstances seems like very small change.

#38 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:27 AM:

Taking a wide-screen tv, though, that's just fucking stupid. Anybody who does that should be shot on sight, not for looting but for the egregious counter-survival display.

It may well be long-term thinking. The waters will recede, the Red Cross will leave, and then people will be scratching out a living in a shattered city with few jobs for people not skilled in construction.

One of the very few useful things I learned from reading Heinlein: Trade goods are a survival tool.

#39 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:44 AM:

"Trade goods are a survival tool."

Exactly. Barter may be a necessity soon enough.

#40 ::: Jackie McComb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:02 AM:

THANK YOU for saying it better than my tired brain (this late at night) can formulate. At band practice tonight some of my less enlightened friends were going on about "shoot on sight", etc. What a bunch of buffoons. I gleefully forwarded all your succinct thoughts to them.
Maybe they can buy a clue.

#41 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:23 AM:

I have a vague memory that when Tracey levelled Darwin in 1974 there was some looting. (Darwin was, at the time, on the end of a thousand miles of two-lane blacktop miscalled a highway, without rail links, and it was hard to get supplies to it in cyclone season.) But nobody got shot. The cops patrolled the streets, and they set up roadblocks on the road out and gave cars coming through the once-over. Some people got charged with theft, where what they'd pinched was hardly survival gear, but nobody, so far as I know, bothered their heads about food or drink or genuine meds or basic supplies.

I don't believe an Australian government can order a police force - or its own military - to fire on its own residents, if all they're doing is stealing something. I could be wrong, though, and my memory may be faulty.

#42 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:00 AM:

Did you see the story about the evacuation of the county jails.

After the hurricane, and after the flooding started...

I think that was on the Times-Picayune blog.

#43 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:37 AM:

Well, I just saw my first "OMG! People are stealing FOOD! Terrible display of the WORST OF HUMAN NATURE!" news story:

Crisis Grows as Flooded New Orleans Looted

I'm about to write AP and explain to them that their hype really disappoints me.

Insomnia must be useful for something.

#44 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:59 AM:

Actually, I suppose it's not very useful, but I still did it.


In direct comment to the actual post:

I admit when I heard about 'looting', I presumed they meant stupid asshats taking TVs and stuff. Then I heard a bunch of news sources/personal accounts that mentioned most people seemed to be taking things like food, and I was like, um, okay, that's not really so much 'looting' as it is 'completely understandable needs being met any way they can be'.

And I was totally not surprised to load up Making Light and see this same basic point being made, only much more eloquently.

Too bad more people aren't going to see this post.

#45 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 04:58 AM:

basically, if to survive in your society is criminal then the smartest move is to become a criminal. At least then you have a chance.

#46 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 05:26 AM:

hey what about all those zombie movies when afterwards the survivors go looting. I always get a thrill of justice when the zombie takes a looter out.

#47 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 05:36 AM:

pandagon suggests this is the start of a major media meme that the victims are to blame
http://www.pandagon.net/archives/2005/08/busting_out_the.html

let's try it on for size with a fake winger soundbite:

I think it's clear from the events that we have seen that so many people remained behind was because they had a plan, a plan to loot and enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbors. That a lot of these people died is regrettable but in some cosmic sense just. Given that they were in New Orleans and not in the SuperDome I think there is every reason to ascribe bad motives to them. I only wish the police had been more proactive and stopped the looters before they began, preferably lethally, but I guess the Democratic leadership of the city were too concerned about the rights of criminals to protect the property of noncriminals.

wow, that's scary. I am totally expecting to see something like that in the next couple of weeks. anyone wanna take bets?

#48 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 05:39 AM:

you know, there is also a metafilter thread on this subject http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/44689

#49 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 05:50 AM:

Beth, I'm with you. There is a huge difference between steeling food/medicines and stealing electroni s. Frankly, I've never understood why grocers just don't bring the food out and leave it out once the worst of a storm is over, and once it's clear the power is going to be out for a while.

Most of the "looter" photos I saw yesterday were black people taking groceries, though one guy was carrying a tub of beer and another had about 16 pairs of blue jeans.

#50 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 06:27 AM:

Is there anything in a flooded-out store in New Orleans which is going to be worth cleaning for resale, after a couple of hot and humid weeks?

Nasty thought: there are often clauses in insurance policies which exclude whole classes of event. "war risks" is one of the terms I recall. I wonder what the martial law declarations are going to do to insurance cover against theft.

#51 ::: Gunther ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 06:32 AM:

While this is indeed regrettable phrasing, the wording on many, many pictures of both black and white looters found at http://www.nola.com/hurricane/photos/ is simply "People remove items..." or "People remove goods...", so maybe -- just maybe -- the discrepancy between black people looting and white people finding was not on purpose.

#52 ::: Gunther Schmidl ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 06:35 AM:

Interestingly, on CNN, it's "A young man drags groceries through chest-deep water in New Orleans on Tuesday."

#53 ::: Aunt Deb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 07:01 AM:

I am so heartened to see so many people responding to the ugliness of the "looting" reporting. For myself,I would very much like to see Col. Terry Eberrt, the Homeland Security person being quoted ad nauseam in the media, be made to shut up. He's the one who said that thing about the "die-hards" who wouldn't leave would soon be "dying hard" and then he said that it wasn't so bad because there weren't "thousands" of bodies floating around -- this after the breaching of the 17th St levee became clearly unrepairable by anything as tiny as never-appearing 3000-pound sandbags.

#54 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 08:02 AM:

The other thing about casualties is that the current administration -- which certainly does have cupability for both the state of the New Orleans flood defences and the inadequate evacuation plane -- is going to do everything it can to delay and obscure that this event has killed many more people than 9/11 did. (Right down to what is looking like a policy to not count the dead at all.)

Conservatively, there were 100,000 people left behind in New Orleans; all it takes is 3% not having sufficient mobility to get to a rooftop or through the flooded streets for them to be dead. Three percent is unfortunately very likely to be seriously on the low side; there are a lot more than 3% of old people, small children, and folks with mobility issues in a population of 100,000.

This is ignoring everybody else along the coast, the probable consequences of a lack of sanitation facilities and potable water, the side effects of the severe toxic contamination going on in New Orleans, and the side effects of the transportation infrastructure being severely degraded. This is just the consequences of the deliberate policy to not evacuate poor people from New Orleans.

#55 ::: jill ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 08:03 AM:

Let me explain to you how pissed off this entire situation makes me. Reading the NY Times and seeing the words "chose to stay" in regards to those who couldn't do anything but remain in their houses and hope for the best. There many have been a few residents who chose to stay rather than leave or seek shelter, but I doubt that the masses left had any choice. These were people trapped because the security plan didn't have a way out for them. I wonder how much access these people had to a shelter. Should they have been expected to walk to the Superdome if it were miles away?

#56 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 08:25 AM:

The TV reporting on Sunday included regular mention of special bus services being run in New Orleans to get people to the shelters. It wasn't a total abandon-the-poor-to-die plan. And until the levees failed it looked as if the plan had worked.

I don't know where the buses came from. I don't know what the weather was like on the routes they could have taken had their last run been carrying people out of New Orleans, but it might explain the 60-odd school buses which were reported parked up in New Orleans and flooded out.

#57 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 08:50 AM:

"Chose to stay" is often like "Chose not to continue treatment." Why? Because you couldn't afford it.

Where would they go? Many of the evacuees are in hotels. They can't afford that.

The problem is this: We don't test entire city evacuation plans, and if we did, people still wouldn't go. They may be poor. They may be proud. They may not want to. They may not be able to. They may prefer to die, rather than fight.

We can't tell.

Setting up the Superdome as a shelter of last resort was okay, insofar as it was just that. The second phase of the plan wasn't there, though -- what do we do after the storm?

As to buses: Not enough. You could make it workable by bussing people to major interchanges, then offering a simple deal: for every seat you have open for someone else, we'll give you gas. Or, in bastard mode, nobody gets on this highway until every seat in your car is filled. I'd probably use both. "Okay, 5 seats, five people. Here's eight extra gallons of gas and a small stack of MREs. Head north to exit 105, a team there will tell you where to go for the night.

Say 60 people per bus. How many buses? Six thousand people per hundred buses. How many did we need to move, and how far? Far enough, they can't come back for more.

Trains would have been better, but the scene when the last train leaves with a crowd on the platform?

There's always a better way. But you can't find that out until you've done it, and next time, enough will be different that your plan is likely to bust in different ways. Witness the disaster when they evacuated for Ivan, and the rebuild of the contraflow plan, which worked better, but was still a big problem.

I'm just meandering. I'm looking over a MetaFilter post, trying to find every plausible excuse to deny what it says. Then you look at the Gulf Coast, and the recorded storm surge, and the fact that, of course, all eyes were on New Orleans, and you realize that the post is probably exactly true. (The only hope I have left is the conspiracy bit at the end, and, of course, the ultimate source.)

There aren't hundreds lost. There are thousands. We're taking about losing New Orleans, and forgetting that Biloxi, MS, is already gone.

And it's another day in New Orleans, and the waters are still coming -- and all that rainfall is heading down. I don't think the river will be an issue -- but all that water in central MS is heading to Lake Ponchartrain, which means it won't drop for some time. Realtime streamflow data, scroll down to the Lake Ponchartrain basin. Anything here is in the lake, or heading there. The lake proper looked to have peaked, and has fallen some three feet, but the rivers are still high, and they fall by filling the lake.

It's another day. Forecast: High 95F, 40% chance of thunderstorms. New Orleans needs the pumps to handle the rainfall. They don't have them.

It's another day.


#58 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 08:56 AM:

One report I heard indicated that the authorities and such relief workers are were on-hand in New Orleans were removing food, bottled water, and other goods from stores for distribution. That's salvage, though, and not looting, right?

Last night I talked to my aunt, who was counting her blessings--a yard full of small branches and pine cones is something to be grateful for, when you can see what other people had happen to them. Her take on people going after food and other supplies "Jesus Christ Himself would not stand in their way. Besides, it would all go to waste otherwise."
Food from flooded stores, even canned goods, gets thrown away, for safety's sake--better to let people have what they need before it's ruined.

Among the other reasons why some people didn't leave, add this: if you've lived somewhere your entire life, and have never been anywhere else, it's very hard to imagine what you would do if you did leave, to consider where you would go, and what you would do when you got there. I suspect many who remained behind were trapped between competing fears--fear of staying, fear of leaving, and very likely fear that if they left, they wouldn't be able to make it to safe place in time. I realize that some of you will find it hard to understand how someone could be so afraid to leave a familiar place that they'd stay through a hurricane, but in my job, I've dealt with people for whom a two-hour drive from their home to Nashville for a doctor's appointment was as big a deal as a cross-country trip would be for most of us. It's amazing, but it does happen, and it's probably more common than we realize.

#59 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 09:12 AM:

That "poorest 20%" without cars doesn't consist of just the poor. I'm not poor and I don't have a car - I don't even have a driving license. I choose not to get one because I too live in a walkable city. I can walk to my office, the railway station, the bus station or the supermarket within half an hour, or catch one of the buses that go right past my house every ten minutes. I'm saving money, improving my health, and trying not to wreck the planet any more than I have to. And when a disaster hits my city, I want one of those buses to pick me up and take me out of there.

#60 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 09:21 AM:

I'm sorry, my last comment came out sounding more selfish than I intended. My point was that most people who live in cities shouldn't need cars. Not for disaster evacuation, not for any other purpose - at least, not if the cities are properly planned and public transport is adequate. Sooner or later when oil becomes too expensive, we're going to have to learn to live without our cars. Something tells me that the city planners of the last few decades are going to come in for a lot of flack when that happens.

#61 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 09:21 AM:

Among the pictures I've seen this morning was an entire lot of now-unusable schoolbuses. I count at least 100 buses visible, seating 50 apiece that could've made a nice contribution to the evacuation of those without private automobiles.

[The auto dealership lot was private property, but I can't help thinking of the accounts of rental car agencies running out of vehicles and wondering whether these couldn't've been put to better use.]

I find this all terribly heartbreaking.

#62 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 09:36 AM:

No question, things are getting a bit Hobbsean. From Nola.com:

In Uptown, one the few areas that remained dry, a bearded man patrolled Oak Street near the boarded-up Maple Leaf Bar, a sawed-off shotgun slung over his shoulder. The owners of a hardware store sat in folding chairs, pistols at the ready.
Uptown resident Keith Williams started his own security patrol, driving around in his Ford pickup with his newly purchased handgun. Earlier in the day, Williams said he had seen the body of a gunshot victim near the corner of Leonidas and Hickory streets.
"What I want to know is why we don’t have paratroopers with machine guns on every street," Williams said.

Well, where are they, anyway?

(And I think we can save time this year and just send the local news and public service Pulizers to the T-P and nola.com staffs, whereever they end up.)

#63 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 09:55 AM:

People lifting jewllery and plasma tv: ok, long post.

Taking a plasma tv from a shop is very stupid, yes. It shows a lamentable lack of foresight among other things. It's also theft. I agree that theft is bad.

But it seems to me that some priorities are strange here.

To me, protection of private property is important but it comes below protection of human life. (Hell, it comes below protection of animal life: I've long thought what I'd do and I'd take my cat instead of my pearls from a flooded house.)

A lot of people woulndn't leave. And they are probably regretting it now. But a lot of people are not me. They are not young, fit, adaptable. They may genuinely think that being evacuated in a refugee camp (or the Superdome for that matter) is a fate worse than death.

A lot of people did not KNOW what was barrelling towards them. I, sitting here in my comfortable house in Italy with a good net connection and satellite TV, and a morbid attraction to natural disasters, knew what was likely to happen. I knew that the deal was, you may face terrible destruction or you might just DIE. I saw Walter Maestri in TV and on the net. They didn't. They may not have had cable, they may not be news junkies, they may have had jobs and lives and not enough leisure time to surf the net to its remotest corners.

Come to think of it, a lot of them, stranded in water with no power and no phone lines, batteries for radios flat by now, still don't know what hit them. They don't know that the water isn't going away any time soon and power is not coming back for weeks and weeks. I've been in NYC during a two-days blackout. Nobody knew anything, and we weren't wading in water and dead bodies.

So they're thieves. Bad. Bad people.

But it was concievable that the real picture might have been drilled better into people's head. A lot of people acted all surprised at the fact that it wasn't the hurricane itself that was the disaster. Didn't they know? Didn't the people whose job it was to plan and provide listen to their own weathermen?

Is this better or worse than helping yourself to a nice pair of new jeans or a plasma tv you've always lusted after and is left in front of you by people bailing out from the shit you're left wading in?

And, if martial law is concievable to protect public order and private property, it was possibly concievable beforehand to save human life. Calling in the NG and having them round up people at gunpoint would not only have saved lives, it would have freed up resources to concentrate on actually reparairing the levee breaches, on actually evacuating hospitals and jails and ensuring communications and so on. So it was pretty authoritarian. OK, so barring people from flying is excusable on the grounds that there's a faint possibility of terrorists trying to hijack planes a second time, and so is deporting people to be tortured, locking them up for years without trial, and shooting them dead if they're trying to make away with your STUFF is ok, but dragging them off kicking and screaming in buses to safe ground is a bit too much?

#64 ::: The RCK ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:18 AM:

According to my parents who're in Baton Rouge, there are reports that nobody bothered to provide the Superdome with a supply of potable water when they were setting it up as a refugee center. I find myself wondering how many people that will kill...

#65 ::: Michael J. Lowrey ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:20 AM:

Yup, they obviously chose to stay, because private cars are owned by all Americans who count. The rest just didn't provide properly for themselves, and will have to pay the price for their lack of good planning. Hell, they didn't probably even have the prudence to donate to the Bush campaign.

#66 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:27 AM:

One more point regarding the Ned Sublette quote.

A commenter on Pandagon made an excellent point regarding judgmentalism against those who stayed:

What if they had fled, and the storm had spared New Orleans?

You've got no food, no shelter. And the hurricane veered away from New Orleans at the last minute, so there's no disaster relief funds to help you.
It's a tough decision with powerful risks either way if you choose wrong.

#67 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:35 AM:

Elanor, that's not selfish. That's expecting the government to do what it's supposed to do.

If the only harm the Republicans did in the world was making people believe that was selfish, that'd be enough to make it a goddam pity there isn't a hell for them to go to.

Oh, wait. It _is_ a pity, isn't it?

#68 ::: Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:51 AM:

Now we have the oil companies doing what they already planned for raising the gas prices to unbelievable high prices. They make a nice profit and we the public are now going to suffer in everyway possible. Everything will be going up; it will be a domino effect. All the taxes that the city, county and state put on a gallon of gas is very high. We are taxed to death and no sign of relief. Salaries just stay the same.

#69 ::: Rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:51 AM:

This looting, the panic, the flooded city. It all seems so familiar. I remember passages from one of Barbara Hambly's books that evoke the aftermath of such a thing. Now that I think about it, I guess with her love of NO, she would have imagined such a thing long, long ago. Wow.

-R

#70 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:54 AM:

I am duly chastised for my own hard-ass attitude towards looting. I admit, a lot of my anger yesterday was, "These people are victimizing their fellow victims! That's lower than low!" On the other hand, the reports I was hearing focussed on what sounded like opportunism: not desperate scrambling for the necessities of life, but organized expeditions to grab jewelry and electronics and such. Granted, as you all have been saying, barterable goods may well be life-savers when the opportunity to trade them arises; but it's hard to give them the benefit of the doubt when you hear about looters shooting cops in the head.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I understand that if my mother owns jewelry, left behind in a house that is miraculously still intact, and when she finally returns home it's gone, it was probably taken by people who needed its cash value more than she. On the other hand, I can't get out of my mind her laments about never having invested for the future, and the way she called her tangible possessions "my retirement fund" in a less than tongue-in-cheek fashion.

I have never been a good judge of whether my own needs outweigh someone else's. It instinctually raises my hackles to see others make that call in their own favor when the result of that decision is armloads of others' pawnables. I freely acknowledge that my hackles may not be acting in the best interest of humanity.

#71 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:55 AM:

Looking back now on Tuesday's network coverage (evening news) from New Orleans, I feel some bitterly ironic echoes of Bush's "Mission Accomplished!" declaration about the Iraqi War. Anchormen stood on dry ground, saying the city had essentially been spared. Ah, if it were only true!

The combination of callousness, fumbling and miscalculation that left so many people behind to drown or starve or shoot each other may just have been the miserable way we humans operate. When I try to picture a truly efficient evacuation plan, it seems like it might take a "benevolent dictatorship" to pull that off. (Please, I don't mean to ignite a political firestorm on this thread. That's just a dour passing thought.)

Has anyone yet compared this to the recent huge death toll from floods in India? We may think of ourselves as First World, but the so-called Third World seems to be right here right now, in the Katrina aftermath coverage.

Damn.

#72 ::: crystal ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:56 AM:

I just read that they're planning on moving the Superdome refugees to the Astrodome in Houston. Excuse me, but wtf?!? Why aren't they planning to shelter people in hotels, camps, anything but another sports stadium? I cannot imagine such a venue being anywhere near comfortable or appropriate for long-term shelter. Will the refugees be forced to stay inside the Astrodome?

I also see something sinister in the underreporting of casualties. The Metafilter comment referenced by Eric Olsen is absolutely shocking.

He got very quiet with me when I told him the numbers that have been public so far. He asked what have they said? I told him 50-80...he said "dude..we are picking up 30 at a time...thousands are dead...why aren't they saying...I guess I better shut up then...don't give my name" word for word in the call..

At first I thought it may have been because the media will only report *confirmed* casualties. But then I thought back to 9/11, when the original estimates were at 10,000, then revised downward over time to 3,000, give or take a few. Why the serious underreporting of deaths in LA and MS?

#73 ::: Obiwil ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:56 AM:

The Times Picayune is reporting that:


"the governor said Wednesday the situation was worsening and there was no choice but to abandon the flooded city."

#74 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:58 AM:

I wondered in my LJ about the so-called looting on Monday afternoon. You can see it, the drive by nastiness it got me, here.

I'm so sick at heart I don't even know where to start.

MKK

#75 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 11:26 AM:

Nicole, I don't mean that people helping themselves off my valuables were I forced to leave them behind were justifiable. I do point out that removing people from disaster zones does, among other things, keep looting down.

And when you have the luxury of knowing in advance that a disaster is coming (which is more than San Francisco can say, or Seattle for that matter) it's smart to move the people before the roads become impassable and you have to chinook them out. Granted, this time the warning wasn't much. But I still remember scratching my head before Katrina struck and wondering how come they weren't forming special trains and bussing them out and flying them out on cargo planes.

#76 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 11:38 AM:

Anna--I know you didn't mean that. It's a complex situation without the comfortable black&white morality my simplistic soul would like.

I've got the live coverage at WWLTV.com up right now, and I have to say that local news anchors and personages have seemed much more sensitive to the motives prompting some of the "looting"/"finding" going on. The... Sherriff of Baton Rouge? ...on the... State O. E. P.? I tuned in late ...responded to questions about looting with much sympathy and benefit of the doubt. Someone asked him about escalating violence, and he said it wasn't so much a climate of violence as it was of desperation, fear, frustration with the situation. I've heard that kind of generosity a lot over the past few days.

I guess this is why I haven't turned on the TV since Monday morning. I've been trying to stick with WWL, WDSU, and bloggers.

The main thrust of the press conference was the impending evacuation of the Superdome refugees to Houston.

#77 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 11:46 AM:

Crystal:

IMO the reason they're planning to use the Astrodome is simple: it's available. No team is currently using it, it's got room for the 30K or so folks (last I heard) at the Superdome, and it has services.

No, it won't be comfortable. No, it's not nearly as good a choice as splitting the folks to smaller shelters. No, it's not very dignified, nor likely to be any good kind of long-term solution.

It's a start. If they can go from there to other shelter, then things will work. If the Astrodome becomes a long-term, no-choice shelter (as I suspect and fear it will), then it will suck. Though not as badly as being in the Superdome, with a ripped roof, no A/C, no potable water or food, etc.

#78 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 11:51 AM:

Crystal, part of the problem appears to be that all the hotels, schools, parts and so forth are already full with the million or so people who left Sunday. As far away as Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

#79 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 11:59 AM:

Also, splitting a mass of refugees into smaller makeshift shelter camps means you create headaches when it comes to delivering necessities from that point on, as you will have hundreds of distribution points where before you had one.

#80 ::: neotoma ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:01 PM:

Considering I live without a car in a major metropolitan area, I'd have to have to leave with a day's notice or less. I could take the commuter rail another 30 miles north, *if* it were running the right direction and if I could get a ticket, but even if I got that far, I'd be stuck.

I can't fathom why the city and state officials didn't commandeer (or whatever the legal term is), all the city, school, and private line buses and ship people out by triage from the gathering point of the Superdrome.

Not to mention that trains would have been the best people movers possible, even if they had to ride in cargo cars and packed in like sardines.

#81 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:08 PM:

Gods. Now the NOLA forums are reporting that those people still in the Bonnabel and West Esplanade area were fearing for their lives due to looters with guns going through whatever houses are unflooded.

Granted, that's a predominately white area that may simply assume that black people in the neighborhood are armed thugs; I don't know the truth of the matter. But, if true, there's certainly a difference between cleaning out the grocery store and committing armed robbery on frightened unevacuated neighbors.

#82 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:13 PM:

Another argument for sending people to a central location first is that it's easier to get a head count and determine special needs cases, check for developing health problems (whether from lack of medication, injury, infectious disease, or what have you), vaccinate for things like hepatitis and other diseases, and so on in a central depot, and then send people to better long-term housing.

#83 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:37 PM:

Why am I getting better, more detailed reportage about New Orleans from ordinary people's blogs than I am from the NY Times, the Washington Post, and CNN put together?

I'm really starting to think this is all rooted in that 'Rotten Elites' link Patrick posted.

Most of us in this country don't live in New York or Washington, and the media simply doesn't f*cking care about us, even peripherally. Worse than that, they don't even see us.

Pardon the language, but I think the cursory coverage being given to this immense disaster is outrageous and appalling.

#84 ::: Tori ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:43 PM:

The only thing I can come up with for a rational explanation in the differences in photo captioning is that the one of the white people was from AFP and the black man was an AP photo.

#85 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:44 PM:

There's an excellent take on the socio-economics of evacuation and disaster here.

I, personally, must admit that I'm fascinated by the whole thing, but that's the researcher in me. I think I would be more horrified if I were on the ground dealing with it all.

#86 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:49 PM:

I will grant many of the points already made upstream. But I would like to point out a couple of things.

First off, we have witnessed what may be the most successful major urban evacuation ever carried out. The NOLA metro population was about 1.3 million, and most of them were under mandatory evacuation orders of one kind or another -- about a half million in NO proper. Some of the estimates released on Sunday claimed an 80% compliance, which is wildly better than the most optimistic predictions of about 60%. The core strategy of any successful evacuation plan these days is to maximize the number of people who can get out of the way of the disaster themselves -- it is simply more cost effective, saving more lives with the same base of resources.

And as reports at the time indicated, there was a lot of bussing going on:

As many as 100,000 inner-city residents didn't have the means to leave, and an untold number of tourists were stranded by the closing of the airport. The city arranged buses to take people to 10 last-resort shelters, including the Superdome.
Nagin also dispatched police and firefighters to rouse people out with sirens and bullhorns, and even gave them the authority to commandeer vehicles to aid in the evacuation.
Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard said some who have ridden out previous storms in the New Orleans area may not be so lucky this time.
"I'm expecting that some people who are die-hards will die hard," he said.

And bus transportation was arranged to evacuate rest homes and such. Some patients were left in facilities like Charity Hospital as they were considered safer there than in some bus moving north towards Baton Rouge at 2 mph.

Also, current reports make it pretty clear that what police are available are generally ignoring property crimes and even picking up the dead in favor of tying to save those who are still perched on top of their houses or trapped inside their attics.

As for all the school buses that are being commented on, it might have been difficult to use them when the available bus drivers are leaving town with their families as fast as they can -- and an underpowered school bus overloaded with frightened people in heavy traffic and bad weather is a lousy spot for OJT. And sometimes, when you only have 12 hours to move a million people, you run out of people to organize and control things.

#87 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:56 PM:

Erik V. Olsen: You could make it workable by bussing people to major interchanges, then offering a simple deal: for every seat you have open for someone else, we'll give you gas. Or, in bastard mode, nobody gets on this highway until every seat in your car is filled. I'd probably use both. "Okay, 5 seats, five people. Here's eight extra gallons of gas and a small stack of MREs. Head north to exit 105, a team there will tell you where to go for the night.

So you, your spouse, your three kids, and your grandmother will get on a bus that will take you to an unsheltered area, where you and a few thousand other people will stand around and wait as a Class 5 hurricane bears down on your city. You will be separated according to how many seats perfect strangers have available in their cars. You have no way to contact each other once you've been separated, no assurances that these strangers won't harm you or your loved ones, and no reason to think you all won't be shoved out of the cars as soon as you're out of sight of the guys with gas, MREs, and guns. You have no provisions. You have no reason to believe that the government that hasn't taken much interest in your welfare before the storm is going to think to see to it that you have the necessities now.

Yep, that would work.

#88 ::: Andrew Gray ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:00 PM:

The BBC strikes a careful distinction:

Heavily armed police have been trying to impose a form of martial law to stem looting. While some looters are stealing non-essential goods, others are simply trying to find food and water.

#89 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:06 PM:

What sends me into despair is that they'll pay for none of it. The fact that they are butchering FEMA, that they defunded the levees, it'll all be passed over by the talking heads. A few articles in the newspapers no one reads, that's all. And Bush's friends will get fat 'reconstruction' contracts that will result in crappy rebuilding. And the next election they'll scream 'the gays are going to getcha' and many of the very same people who they've fucked over will obediently come to heel and vote for them.

And another quiet voice in my head wonders if the complete military takeover of New Orleans is practice...

#90 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:09 PM:

Maybe it would be a good idea to start the evacuations with those who can't get out on their own. Not sure how it might be done, but certainly there could be some effort made to get out the handicapped people and the elderly first. And give them ID tags with name, address, and next-of-kin or contact name, so families could be put back together when it gets into long-term situations. Or so they can at least find out where the rest of their people are.

#91 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:24 PM:

The problem, as the problem always is when trying to plan the ideal way to do things, is people.

I see this problem all the time in urban studies: you can plan for the best of all possible worlds, and watch it go to hell because people are not universally good, or you can plan for the worst of all possible worlds, and watch it go to hell because people don't like living in conditions designed to contain the worst of human behavior. What you have to plan for is something somewhere in the middle, where you imply trust in people and set yourself up to accomplish your goal, while also setting up checks on those people who will exploit the goodness of others.

So, in the case of, say, an evacuation, the middle course would be to supply drivers with only enough supplies to reach the next checkpoint, where further supplies waited. The only way to obtain the supplies at the next checkpoint is to deliver the people that had been assigned to that car at the first checkpoint. Sure, some people would take the gas and food and run, leaving people behind, but most people, given incentive to get to the next stop, would follow the rules.

Once again, the motto of 'Trust, but verify' holds true.

#92 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 01:59 PM:

Teresa, I thought you might like this, if you haven't seen it already. Very well said.

For my own part, I'm finding it difficult to care about the looting of Snickers bars and Wal Mart jewelry. I've heard that there is looting in the few residential areas that haven't been flooded, and caught myself wishing, Let that be happening to my neighborhood.

Let them take my TV and stereo, if that means that my house is still standing, still dry. The looters won't bother with the photographs and the home videos, with the books, with the small stupid mementos that have no monetary value and infinite emotional worth. I can buy another TV and stereo. I can't buy back destroyed memories.

#93 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:10 PM:

Wasn't also another part of the evacuate problem not only that a number of people were poor and had no vehicles, but also didn't want to leave relatives who could not travel or pets who weren't allowed in shelters behind?

The news said in passing that at least two people died Monday in the Superdome (old, frail people, one imagines).

I'm still kind of stunned that one of the "poster families" on NBC's Today Show the last two days were some people who lived in a really old house (that had survived Camille) and tried to ride out the storm on the Mississippi coastline. The whole household wound up clinging to a large tree in the back yard as the house was swept away. One of the survivors was a man in his 80s. But why didn't they board up their homes, get in a car and go north?

When you have the means to get out of harm's way, WHY DON'T YOU?

I'd go. I don't have much of an attachment to homes, but I'd make sure my laptop and photoalbums were with me. Everything else is replaceable, but my family isn't.

#94 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:10 PM:

Just heard this in a comment thread on Cherie Priest's Live Journal: They closed the New Orleans Greyhound station on Saturday.

That's a single-source infobit, no confirmation as yet; but if true, appalling.

#95 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:28 PM:

It seems to be true Teresa (according to a fast check of Google News) -- Both Amtrak and Greyhound shut down the station Saturday. Amtrak had to shut down as the railroads that actually own the tracks had issued an absolute embargo on further travel as Katrina approached. Other reports had Greyhound cancelling all inbound routes on Sunday, keeping outbound buses running, but I'm not sure for how long.

The station is reported to be surrounded by water now, so it will remain closed for now.

#96 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 02:29 PM:

RE: Evacuations - I was talking to my friend, who lives about an hour or so north of New Orleans (but closer to Baton Rouge, I gather--not totally sure). The hurricane caused minor damage there but they had power and everything was soon functional. She notes:

Classes at LSU have been cancelled through next Tuesday. Workers have put 8 dorm beds in each of the empty apartments in my building, including the 3 next to my apartment. These apartments are only 600 square feet so the idea of it being shared by 8 people seems outrageous to me, but when you have no place to go in 95 degree heat, a tiny apartment with electricity and air conditioning must sound like heaven to someone. One of the workers told me people will start moving in tonight. I've already put aside some extra food and the two toasters I was going to donate to the thrift store. [personal info removed]....I'm going....spend the rest of the week volunteering at one of the Red Cross shelters.

#97 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:23 PM:

Teresa/Claude - Wow, that goes beyond bad planning. The weather wasn't that bad until sometime Sunday night.

Grant Kruger was reporting no power in his area of Jackson, Mississippi, but they do have water and no real house damage (though lots of tree damage). His work is open and the power is on there. He was upset about the people driving around his neighborhood and gawking, but not doing anything to help anyone. Can't say I blame him.

#98 ::: Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:25 PM:

Teresa -- an August 28th excerpt from scyllacat's livejournal:

This morning, I made sure the screens were on the store. Then I tried to make arrangements to leave. All car rentals, airlines, bus lines and the train station are now closed until further notice. They aren't even sure when they will be operating again. It's only after they are all closed that the Mayor orders evacuation -- then he orders incoming roads closed so no one can come get me out.

This is the same scyllacat who posted two brief and frightening entries from inside a collapsing building, having failed in a sincere attempt to get out of the city. Later reports on the same LJ are that she made it out, but it was ugly...

#99 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:26 PM:

Anna, the courts established long ago that US officials can't force people to evacuate. Every time a hurricane comes near the coast, emergency workers risk their lives trying to talk people into obeying the evacuation order. In the end, they just collect next of kin information and try to find shelter themselves.

#100 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:26 PM:

Related to this is the tale of the Interdictor. Which started out funny as a bunch of folks and their diesel generator keeping their ISP open during the storm, to something that's has a paramilitary, us v. them smell to it.

#101 ::: Fauxlosopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:35 PM:

Looting? So was Wall Mart etc. going to resell the groceries that were left in those flooded,wrecked buildings? It would be considered garbage not loot!!!

#103 ::: F. Brett Cox ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 03:54 PM:

A report on the CBS evening news last night (Aug. 30) made the same distinction as the BBC report noted above--namely, that some of the "looting" is just people trying to survive.

#104 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 04:01 PM:

I've been thinking: In April, a few weeks after I'd moved to San Francisco, a friend and I showed up at Lotta's Fountain at god awful o'clock on the morning of April 18th. Every year, the survivors of the 1906 Earthquake (and the subsequent fires) get together and tell people what they remember. Since next year will be the 100 year anniversary of the earthquake, you can imagine that survivors are A) very old indeed and B) remember very little that actually happened. Mostly they have memories of being snatched up by an older parents or sibling, and camping for months in Golden Gate Park. It was the camping for months, the idea of being without any home other than a tent or borrowed shelter that reminded me.

So I went to look up the earthquake again, and the first thing that caught my eye was this notice:

http://www.sfmuseum.org/1906.2/killproc.html

And yet, if I read these timelines aright, the city burned for up to four days after the initial earthquake. People couldn't stay in houses that were destroyed, and yet, they were told to remain indoors at nights, or risk getting mistaken for looters and other malfeasants.

If history is any guide, maybe folks should take a look at one of the US's other crown jewels coming to the brink of destruction and anarchy. We might find some parallels.

http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist10/06timeline.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_San_Francisco_earthquake


Compare: 1906

2005


1906

2005

At least one thing I'm taking from this: Our nation has nearly lost one of its cities before and survived and rebuilt. I hope the same fate can be salvaged for New Orleans.

#105 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 04:08 PM:

Teresa, if those had been white cops, they'd have just "found" those DVDs.

#106 ::: Ellen T. Brenner ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 04:38 PM:

Hello--just popping in (via a link from somebody-or-other's LiveJournal) to share this very provocative news story:

Headline: "Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? 'Times-Picayune' Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues"

Summary: Significant Federal funds to fix the levees so that this exact type of disaster scenario would *not* happen, were severely gutted by the Bush administration so the funds could be diverted to the Iraq war and to "homeland security" (editorial aside: which latter, apparently, does not include protecting one of the US's major shipping ports and domestic oil sources from strategic disasters).

This connection between NO and Bush Iraq policy is, IMO, devastatingly crucial. I hope all you nice people will help me keep this story from getting buried. The only reason I even know about it is that Air America, bless their lefty hearts, have been significantly camping on it. In fact, I would highly recommend Air America to all of you as an alternate source of political analysis of this disaster.

As you were. Carry on.

#107 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 06:51 PM:

just some reality check questions, cause I'm boggled by the possible range of numbers here:

about how many people couldn't get out of the danger zones?

About how many police (etc) forces could be used to force an evacuation?

Can you actually "force" an evacuation in any legal sense?

For each resource that was withheld from an evacuation plan (busses in parking lots, greyhound, airlines), about how many people could have been evacuated had they been forced into service? (i.e. revolving free bus rides out of the lowlands)

finally, at what point was it clear that this level of devastation was going to happen?

Given the unpredictability of hurricanes, you can't simply evacuate several million(?) people when clouds start swirling in the atlantic.

How much time from the point the meteorologists crapped their pants when they realized what was really going to happen to the point that the hurricane hit the shores?

#108 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 06:56 PM:

Oh, and regarding the idea of forcing the airlines into evacuation service: Jumpin gehosifat, I sure as hell wouldn't want to be the civilian airline pilot forced to fly into the sort of soup that comes before a hurricane.

#109 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 07:23 PM:

I just remembered that the TV I have in my cube is connected to outside-world* cable.

CNN ran a long segment on how the hurricane effected celebrity residents. Ughhhhhh.

Also saw my first looting footage. Nearly every person was carrying bales of diapers. Other stuff too, but those colorful shrink-wrapped bundles were the most-seen item.


* As opposed to just the little private network we use for video-on-demand testing.

#110 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 08:15 PM:

Oh, I'm sure forcing evacuation is not legally possible, but I'm still boggled over the fact that several pretty nasty things are - like, you know, in descending order, killing people, locking them up without trial, deporting them, banning them from flying and refusing to give a good reason to, sacking them from their jobs, and so on and so forth - but taking them forcibly away from the path of a Cat 5 hurricane isn't.

And Greg - there was ample warning this was going to happen. I've heard the New Orleans disaster scenario last year when Ivan missed it by a breath. Various Cassandras with a degree in metereology were shouting it from the rooftops.

Katrina was indeed swift in turning from a piffle hurricane to a monster. But that didn't come out of the blue: the temperature of the waters in the Gulf of Mexico was hardly a secret.

And if the actual warning about this particular hurricane was not much (well, two days), the fact that sometime some hurricane was likely going to hit was well-known.

There was ample time to make plans. As a matter of fact, the evacuation of NO was already known to be a total failure from, I think, Georges' time? So alternative plans might have been studied.

It seems to me that after Betsy, Camille, Georges, Hugo, Andrew and Ivan, it was pretty clear that hurricanes are a constant serious threat to the safety and lives of US citizens. If unprecedented changes in US law have been implemented under the threat of terrorism, surely it is possible to similarly provide for a danger that is, if less shocking, a whole lot more forseeable.

In fact, one of the sad facts of this tragedy is that hurricane prediction has become amazingly good - a lot of ingenuity, knowledge, study, science has gone in predicting very reliably what will happen. This should supposedly allow people to take appropriate action...

#111 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 08:27 PM:

Greg, I can't answer your numbers questions, but this one comes up every time we get a storm:

Can you actually "force" an evacuation in any legal sense?

The standard language in many (most?) emergency services FAQs:

Persons who refuse to comply with a mandatory evacuation order will not be arrested nor forcibly removed from their homes. However they should not expect rescue or other lifesaving assistance after the onset of gale force winds. (The same will hold true for persons ignoring a voluntary evacuation order.)

finally, at what point was it clear that this level of devastation was going to happen?

Jeff Masters was calling for evacuation on the morning of the 27th, before the turn north and before the storm strengthened, about 48 hours before landfall. The evacuation order came a few hours after the models converged that afternoon.

It still wouldn't have been enough time, even with a better evacuation plan. As you've pointed out, travel is hazardous long before the eye reaches land. It doesn't excuse us from making the effort to improve.

#112 ::: Genaro ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:32 PM:

All I can say is that if I lived 12 feet below sea level surrounded by a levee designed for a CAT3 hurricane, I'd be on the first transport out of town as soon as I heard a CAT5 was headed for me.

#113 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 10:40 PM:

On forcing evacuations: I saw mention on the NOLA site (Times-Picayune) that Louisiana doesn't have the notion of 'Martial Law' in their legal system. (I would guess that may be related to the residue of the Napoleonic Code still embedded in Louisiana law.)

I went and found that just now.
http://www.nola.com/newslogs/breakingtp/index.ssf?/mtlogs/nola_Times-Picayune/archives/2005_08.html#075262
(If the link doesn't get you to the right part of the page, scroll down and look for "Tuesday, 9:02 p.m.")

It actually partially explains (if not excuses) some aspects of the mayor's inaction. Here:

Under the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act of 1993, the governor and, in some cases, chief parish officials, have the right to commandeer or utilize any private property if necessary to cope with the emergency.
Authorities may also suspend any statute related to the conduct of official business, or any rule issued by a state agency, if complying would "prevent, hinder or delay necessary action'' to mitigate the emergency.
It also gives authority the right to compel evacuations, suspend alcohol and weapons sales and make provisions for the availability and use of temporary emergency housing.
The law gives mayors similar authority, except they do not have the right to commandeer private property or make provisions for emergency housing, according to a background brief prepared by the state Attorney General's office.

The governor didn't declare a state of emergency until Monday or Tuesday, I believe. The city might have done a bit better had it had a mayor who was able to say on Saturday "We're commandeering these buses and trucks to evacuate people, and screw the law if it says we can't." (No doubt that were that to save enough lives, there'd be a clamor for his prosecution.)

#114 ::: Norman ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 11:23 PM:

Okay,

Those two photos represent the underlying ignorance of our "great culture." White people are generally harmless. They "find" things. Those black people, however, are dangerous criminals who "loot" things. Well, in the United States, the white guys have been doing most of the looting throughout our history (just ask the original Americans).

Secondly, The New Orleans situation just shows that this "civilized" society in which we live is a very tentative thing. Cut the power, add a little flooding and presto, lawlessness. Just like all of those "third world" countries we make fun of all the time.

In all seriousness, my heart goes out those people trapped in the city. Will our fearless, cowboy hat wearing leader "bring 'em on" some real assistance?

#115 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 12:45 AM:

Free societies always exist because the populace wills it. As soon as the populace decides that the society around them is not desirable, they riot, loot and burn.

Look at the Rodney King riots: They didn't happen when the beating were aired on the news. They happened when the court system did not convict those police officers. Look at Iraq: The Shrub decided to create a society there, but the Iraqi people don't want what he's selling.

Can you make the people obey the rules of society without becoming a repressive police state? Can you make British football fans pay at the turnstile instead of jumping it? Can you make American football fans disperse without rioting after their team wins the Superbowl?

Not really. All you can do is arrest or shoot them until you get them under your heal? A free state exists at the sufferance of the people.

When I think about the people in flooded, ruined New Orleans, I think about people who are in an environment where everything has failed. The rich have fled. Homes and businesses are destroyed. Trash and filthy water are everwhere. The authorities allowed something terrible to happen, and now can't deal with it.

It seems to me that, trapped in such a place, the urge to rise up and break the law must be tremendous. I would feel an irresistable urge to smash windows and grab any shit I could. I'd feel like a flea whose dog has died. What would I owe to this corpse I'm standing on? Why should I care what it needs?

I'm not saying I would loot or riot. I hope not, but I've never been tested in that way. I'm a little on the timid side anyway. But I can imagine the urge, and it must be strong.

#116 ::: E.S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:01 AM:

Some of the posts here truly amaze me. The largest relief effort in the history of this country is underway. In a matter of only 48 hours, (guess that's too long for the email addicted, impatient generation) ships, boats, barges, red cross, tens of thousands of volunteers, 30k national guards, money coming in from everywhere, even countries that supposedly hate us, France, Germany, Venuzuela all have vowed to assist and donations are coming in from citizens of all countries of the world. Yet, we're not doing enough to 'save the poor'. Malarky!

Are any of you managers? Do you know what contingencies are? It's when you dream up worst possible situations and you plan for them. However, not everything is 'plannable'.

Take 9/11. Who's twisted mind would have thought that a nutcase would fly a full gassed airliner into a building? One can't plan for everything. Disasters happen and this is one of magnificent proportions. The Superdome had water, they had protection but the snowballing of events created a situation that wasn't expected. There wasn't a contingency. They thought the levies would breach, but they didn't think the 'bowl would flood or the sewers would fail. Did YOU?

In life/death situations, wealthy/poverty have nothing to do with survival. "...20% of the poor were left to die..." Bull$hit.

Survival is an instinct and it can't be bought, bartered, earned, stolen or looted. Survivors think and survivors ACT! That's why they survive. It has nothing to do with not having a car or food or money. If you get trapped by a boulder, you'll cut your arm off to survive. It's been proven.

Here's a test: Have someone drop you and your riches in the middle of a desert and we'll see how much those riches help your situation. You'll die. Have someone drop you and your riches into a hurricane which was announced DAYS earlier but you get the test of 'riding it out.' You'll probably die.

Just like many of those in the big easy will have died. Not because they were poor. Not because they didn't have a car. Not because they were crippled. Because they didn't take action.

God (or your choice of diety) save their souls.

#117 ::: Tim ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:28 AM:

Looting can never be defended regardless of whether it is done by a white person or a black. Most of these looters are thugs stealing expensive things by taking advantage of a bad situation. I am tired of people defending the looters.

#118 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:51 AM:

ES, your analogy about the desert is not germane, simply because the people in question were in a city, where money is what is useful in a situation like this.

Instead of just generalizing about survival, how about you tell us specifically what you feel the people with no money and no free transportation should have done. I'd love to hear it.

I strongly suspect you've never been dirt poor. I have been. I am. If a disaster hit Indianapolis tomorrow, I would be facing a similar decision to make, and I might well end up staying simply because of lack of ability to get anywhere else. I couldn't walk out of the range of a hurricane (or, to make it more realistic, a major storm with multiple funnel clouds) even if I were not chronically ill. Maybe you think you could.

As far as the whole "you can't plan for everything" argument, that's already been pre-refuted just by the fact that everyone and their dog was aware that someday New Orleans could in theory flood, a topic that has been referenced multiple times. Therefore, saying there should have been better contingency planning is hardly a ridiculous notion.

Tim: check your assumptions. Although there is certainly some looting of non-necessities going on, a great many of the actual news photos and reports say that people are taking food, meds, water, etc. Those are the people being excused given circumstance, the ones we understand. The ones who are taking TVs and suchlike are not being defended.

In general:

No one is saying that everyone in the affected areas made good decisions. They're simply saying that some of the problem lies in the fact that people who were in a position to make better decisions didn't.

#119 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 03:39 AM:

"Are any of you managers? Do you know what contingencies are? It's when you dream up worst possible situations and you plan for them. However, not everything is 'plannable'."

Most management at the level under discussion is by people with specific expertise in the area, not everything is plannable in theory but in practice everything is plannable by experts (of a tolerable creativity and willingness to think about their subject area, probably a requirement of expertise) - the question becomes if every plan is executable given limited resources. As an example of this the first time I ever read anyone suggest using commercial airlines as missiles against skyscrapers was in a counter-intelligence newsletter in the late 80's.

#120 ::: rbrt bnntt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 03:39 AM:

Nw y try t mk blck Ltrs lk gd, wht rcsm. Th wmn n ths pht ds nt lk "wht" t m thr...ths thngs lk mr sck nd sd vry dy...mrc ds nt wnt ths. t s tm t srt t mrcns frm ppl wh jst lv hr.

#121 ::: FNDR ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 04:18 AM:

Wht cn w sy?Ths s Lsn:-)))(Cnss cntry kpng t rl:-)))

#122 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 04:21 AM:

hmm, that spike in traffic seems to have its drawbacks. or throwbacks, not sure as to the correct terminology here.

#123 ::: Jackmormon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 04:53 AM:

ES wrote: Who's twisted mind would have thought that a nutcase would fly a full gassed airliner into a building? One can't plan for everything.

My father had thought of this possibility before 9-11. He was a fuel engineer with a major oil company.

The real problem is that we can think of so many more disasters than we can adequately prepare against. So we try to protect the many--or the wealthy and loud. Unfortunately, protecting the many isn't as politically popular as protecting the loud, as, whaddya know, the loud and wealthy have a way of commendeering the airwaves.

#124 ::: LtThrBLght ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:46 AM:

Hy, t th Znst md, ll ppl f clr r jst lwly nmls.
Whty s kshr, jst nt th sknhds.

Gntls r t stpd, nd thts why thy gt cnnd by bshrn t lv n bnn cntry styl cty (Nw Brlns).

#125 ::: Stephen(Liverpool Uk) ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:56 AM:

If I lived in New Orleans at the moment I would be a looter/survivalist.I would take food,water,jewellry,guns,clothing,electric goods and anything that I could lay my hands on.What is happening is worse than a warzone and I would want to survive.I have lost everything I own except the clothes that I am wearing.I would eat and drink what I have looted.I would wear what I have looted.I would trade other things that I have looted when my food and water have run out for more food and water.I would kill a cow if I was starving and there was nothing left to eat.I would share with others what I had till I had no more then I would try and get some more by any possible means.I would willingly stand up in court and plead not guilty to any charges against me....


I would even eat a panda burger if I was that hungry.....

#126 ::: Stphn(Lvrpl Uk) ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 06:05 AM:

P.S m jst wtng fr sm f yr crzy rght wng dts vr thr t blm th hrrcn/lvs bng brchd n Bn Ldn,Frnc,rn,Nrth Kr,Hg Chvz t l...

#127 ::: ln ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 07:02 AM:

Nw, y mrcns, spclly ppl frm Nw rlns, cn s hmntrn dsstr fr rl. Bfr, y gys jst wtchd n TV. Sch crp sd t hppn n "sb hmns", frm th thrd wrld nly.

Ys, mny wld thnk: "Ths lns d lk rts. t's bcs mrcn lf s sprr, nd wht mrcn lf s vn bttr".

S, y gys pd yr txs t bmb thr cntrs. t ws fn t wtch t n CNN. S pt crmnl mbrg n rq fr mr thn 10 yrs. 500.000 chldrn dd thr. N prblm, Sddm Hssn s "bd".

Thn, y pd mr txs t nvd rq (jst t stl thr l), t prmt mr chs nd vlnc thr. Tht ws n prblm t. "Spprt r trps", mrcns sy.

Wll, yr txs shld hv bn sd t prvnt sch dsstrs n hm. Y nd mr hlcptrs, mr ntnl grd mn, bt thy r n rq nw (stlng l fr Bsh). Wht r y gng t d nw? r y gng t vt fr wr nd trrr gn?

PS: Bsh s lr. f h ld bt rq's WMD, hs stry bt 9/11 nd Bn Ldn my b nthr drty l. Dn't b stpd, 9/11 cld b nsd jb, fls flg prtn. Bsh nd hs frnds hd grt bnfts frm tht.

#128 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 07:28 AM:

Patrick and I are about to be AFK for a while. Mike, Jim -- could one of you please disemvowel the barbarians? Thanks.

#129 ::: JD Slngr ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 07:56 AM:

Frstly, mrcns shld nt b pt dwn fr th dcsns f thr fdrl gvrnmnt. Mst mrcns my gr Sddm ws thrt bt mst wldnt chs t g thr.

sm t rmmbr shrt tm g tht gnt wv wpd t th csts lns f 10 cntrs. Dd th mrcns lr nd rjc n th strts s th msrbl rbs n th Mddl st d vrytm dsstr strks mrc. Crtnly nt. Thy snt mr mny, fd nd ssstnc thn ny thr cntry. nd thn, thvng ldrs n ths s-clld, thrd wrld cntrs tk th prfts. Th nly thng tht s thrd wrld n ths cntrs s th tttd!

s thr nybdy ls tht s sck f hrng tht Bsh s stlng th l frm rq? pprntly, th ppl f rq wr dng s wll wth thr wn l mny bfr th rrvl f th S wrnt thy? t tks lt f l t pll th wl vr th ys f n ntr cntry!

wll gr wth y n n thng, Bsh s vl, Bsh s lr bt th systm w hv fr srvvl n th wstrn wrld wll lwys b sprr bcs t ws fndd n cmmn sns nd nt Gd! Jst lk t hw thngs hv chngd n th S snc th rlgs rght hs tkn vr! Prtty sn, w wll b s bd s y, yllng, scrmng, cld shtng sb-hmns!

#130 ::: JD Salinger ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 07:59 AM:

By the way, I am a Canadian, not an American but I support the way of live of free people eveywhere, not barbarians!

#131 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 08:07 AM:

Teresa, my deep sympathies. Look what happens when you leave the door open. Anything can walk in.

#132 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 09:02 AM:

Disemvowel the barbarians? I'm in a mood to exterminate the brutes.

#133 ::: IceMelted ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 09:09 AM:

As I watched the two female cops looting at the Walmart, and trying to lie about it, I just thought, How lucky we are to have such wonderful civil servants to "protect & serve" when they are really stealing and just making the whole situation worse. It's hard for me not to just say TYPICAL.

#134 ::: DeathMan ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 09:26 AM:

You would loot too if you were hungry. Most of the looting that I saw on the media were of people looting for food.

#135 ::: Doc Oc ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 09:54 AM:

The authorities should have paid more attention the the 6P's:
Previous Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Then again, things could have been MUCH worse...they could NOT have called for a mandatory evacuation. It is, after all, a fine line between clever and stupid.

If you want to blame anyone, blame the DC bastards (Bush and Congress) who opted not to fund the Corps levee programs.

IMHO, taking perishables = foraging = common sense survival. Even the military does this (at least we did in the 82nd Airborne when we ran out of MREs in a combat zone for several days...although we did leave a "receipt" voucher for the food and trucks we appropriated).

That said, taking electronics = looting = theft. This isn't the freaking apocalypse, its a disaster zone in the United States. Things WILL get back to normal. The 'economy isn't at a barter level (although it might be soon if we keep electing Republicans). March your happy ass to the Superdome and catch a bus to Houston instead of firing at EMS. That said I wouldn't waste more resources than necessary to stop the looting (e.g. drop that s**t and get the h**l out of this area vs. shoot/arrest). You have to make some effort to stop looting or it will escalate to the next level (armed robbery) - violence tends to escalate.

*Armed* thugs stealing at gunpoint, or firing at cops? In a situation like this, shoot on site. At some point the excuses have to end. Guess that's the military in me over-riding my generally liberal tendencies.

BTW, it is interesting to contrast the photos of people looting electronics to the photos of people helping other people. Definitely shows the best and worst in people.

As far as the poster who mentioned someone stealing beer...that is actually one of the best things you can drink when the water supply goes out, its really hard to contaminate. The Germans in South Africa during WWI (under Colonel Lettow-Vorbeck http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/lettowvorbeck.htm ) survived largely untroubled by the cholera and dysentry that plagued other forces by drinking exclusively beer...although I doubt the Jefferson Parish resident carrying the overflowing case of Heinekin was aware of that ;)

High and dry in Florida,

PK

#136 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 09:54 AM:

Pardon the digression, but FWIW, under English law the taking of food, water etc from abandoned shops in this kind of disaster would probably not qualify as theft. Theft isn't just taking someone else's property: you have to take it dishonestly, and the main test for this is:

"Firstly, according to the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people, was what was done dishonest? Secondly, if it was dishonest by those standards, did the accused realise that reasonable and honest people would regard his conduct as dishonest? If the answer to either of these two questions is no, a prosecution will fail."

Given people's responses here (and making a few snap judgements on the reasonableness of the people posting), I can't see a jury getting past question #1. Anyone know how the Louisiana criminal code compares?

#137 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 10:36 AM:

It doesn't matter how many countries offer to help - and how much they want to donate.

The bottom line is that the U.S. gov. has rejected all offers of help from other countries.It states a Law referencing it - because as you can see - the U.S> believes it owns us, "the people" - and we must accept that the Fed. gov. gives, or doesn't give.

In fact, not enough is being done. It's too little too late. The people don't need money - what are they going to do with it now? - and the charities absord the main percentage anyway.
And giving clothes is ridiculous - middle class America give what they don't want. The charities converting money donated into clothes takes too much time.

The immediate need is WIDESPREAD : water, food, shelter, medicine.

Where is it? It should have been available IMMEDIATELY. All this should have been available at the snap of a finger. And people have a right to expect it.

Atter all, this is the highest tech country in the world.

But as in all cases, it is the dark skinned people that pay the piper - it is the poor that are caught in between..as to the war on terrorism - I've noticed that in every tragedy - it is We, The People that suffer and die. We pay our taxes, and provide the labor, but I've noticed that the "Law" officials, the higher echelon, never, ever pay for mistakes in bureaucracy, in shooting the wrong man, in not keepin up the levees, in the money going to the wrong Department, IN SENDING AWAY THE STATE GUARD THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE TO COVER ALL ANGLES OF AN EMERGENCY.

Who then are the one who pay at the end- and not with money?

Are the people who diverted the money that was meant for emergencies, are they paying now? Are they in New Orleans? Are the People of New Orleans not citizens, and the responsibility of the diverters?

Who ordered this diversion? Is he paying, did he even show his face, put up even a half-hearted show of helping?

And can we depend on our government now, or in the future?

AND DOES THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT EVEN HAVE THE MONEY TO HELP?

#138 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 10:58 AM:

My definition of looting:
If the answer to "Why are you taking this?" is "Because they owe me" or "Because I'm getting back at the oppressor" or something similar, its looting.
I have sympathy for people who take food, water, clothing and medicine, but not the ones taking electronics and other non-survival hardware.

Passed the book-collection idea to others. I have books I intend to prune, when I find time. They may go South.

#139 ::: Barbara ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:00 AM:

Q: What do you call it when the New Orleans Police Department put more cops on the streets?

A: A crime wave

That has been a joke here in Louisiana for years.

What is making the situation in New Orleans even a greater tragedy is the lack of the National Guard. For every previous hurricane threat that called for an evacuation of the city, the guardsmen from all over Louisiana were sent to the Superdome and throughout the city well in advance of the storm to keep order and protect the public. Now, that these Guardsmen are in Iraq, there is no one to protect the people who could not afford to flee the city. Whatever Bush does now to help can not possibly make up for the damage he caused by using the Guard as soldiers in a far off war and not protecting the homefront. If he needs soldiers, let him start a draft (then watch his poll numbers plummet). We need the National Guard here to help with disaters at home.

I have 3 people refugees and 4 dog refugees staying with me now. They do not know when they will be able go home or if they will have anything left when they are allowed to return.

Just imagine if you had to evacuate where you live, not knowing if the storm will hit or not. Every other time you evacuated nothing happened. You have to decide quickly, because traffic is going to be horrific. You pack a couple days worth of clothes and your pets. No computers, valuables, pictures, momentos, etc. It takes 11 hours to make the trip that normally takes 2 hours. Hopefully, you have friends to stay with otherwise you keep driving to the first vacancy you can find. After watching the hurricane on TV you are greatful you left. Then as you continue to watch the news, the reality sets in. What happened to my family and friends that decided to stay. After you find out that they are OK, what about your house? Then the flooding. Is my house under water? Then they are saying you may not be able to get back into the city for weeks for months. You have 2 days worth of clothes. No job. No paycheck. No valuables. The water is getting higher. Fires are breaking out. People are getting into a lawless survival mode. That is the reality thousands are now dealing with, and I can tell you, it's heartbreaking.

Please send help.

#140 ::: John Harrison ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:19 AM:

I don't want this comment to be considered in bad taste... but it's interesting to see the difference in the media coverage between the hurricane in New Orleans and the South Asian Tsunami earlier in the year. Apparently, thousands have died during the hurricane - bodies floating around etc - very similar, albeit on a far smaller scale, to the Asian disaster. However, unlike the Asian disaster - they don't seem to be showing images of the American dead...? (or at least I haven't seen any).
Dead Asians are okay to display - dead Americans aren't? What is with the double standard?

Once again, this is not intended to be a ghoulish observation, I don't particularly want to see Asian or American dead. It's just an observation on the different standards applied when the media covers natural disasters.

#141 ::: Tomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:28 AM:

Let's think down the road here.

Are we going to rebuild NO the same as before... in a lower than sea level area? As we saw in Florida last year, one state can get pounded by hurricanes over and over. Are we going to rebuild NO every few years?

Big picture. We have global warming going on folks. Glaciers melting, Arctic ocean ice thinning, and predictions of higher sea levels and increased numbers of hurricanes as the climate changes.

What is NO's fate if global sea levels go up a foot, two foot? more over the next 50 years???

How much money and resources do we rationally think we can afford to shore up a city that, if left to the natural course of events, will become a lake.

I say, let it go. We are not the Netherlands where most of the country is reclaimed from the ocean. Let it go and move the city to higher ground.

#142 ::: Chuck ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:43 AM:

Teresa, if those had been white cops, they'd have just "found" those DVDs.

Avram, that kind of crap really isn't helpful right now. There are white people looting too.

If desperate people need to break into a grocery to get food, water and diapers, I look the other way.

If people are stripping local stores of their inventory of non-essential items, wheeling away TVs (where the feck are you going to put them or plug them in?), jewelry, etc. ... all I can do is boggle.

If people are roving in armed gangs, hitting private homes (as my youngest sister's father-in-law saw and heard before he finally fled the city yesterday) and carjacking people ... that's got to be stopped by whatever means.

The New Orleans police are practically alone. They have no food and water, just like the refugees. It's Thursday. Why aren't they airdropping troops and supplies to the foot of Canal Street where it's dry.

My family's all out, but they lost everything. Now my sister, who's a nurse, is determined to go back today to help, but due to the armed anarchy I am completely sick with worry.

Oh, and Stephen in Liverpool ... you can survive without being a barbarian. You need food, get food -- that's fine. But if you were there and threatening my family, I'd hope they'd shoot you.

#143 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:55 AM:

Tomas --

There is one thing that we know absolutely about climate change; it's a point upon which all the ice core data, all the lake bed pollen counts, all the ocean sediment isotope temperature measurements, everything, agrees.

Climate change is not gradual or linear; it's abrupt. (There are indications that it took about a decade to melt the North American continental ice sheet, frex.)

So when Greenland goes, it's going to go in five to ten years; if Antarctica goes, it's going to go in about the same.

It's not a question of '2100', or '2050'; it's a question of 'is it already too late to keep Greenland from melting, and raising global sea level by seven to eight meters?'.

We don't get a 'sea level up 10 cm, better take this seriously and cut back the emissions' progression; we get 'oh, well a few hurricanes' and then we get glub.

Which is one way in which the extensive and lasting damage to the oil infrastructure in the Gulf is an opportunity; take the price spike as a spur to get off combustion tech.

Not that the Lord God Jehovah could tell Shrub to do that, but that's the opportunity we're faced with.

#144 ::: Chuck ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:55 AM:

WWL in New Orleans reported about an hour ago that National Guard troops are finally beginning to "pour" into New Orleans. This is the fourth day of the disaster.

#145 ::: marrije ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 12:18 PM:

On USA not accepting foreign help: John Bolton turned down Jan Egelund of the UN's offer of help. The article also mentions ten to twelve countries who have offered help but have been told "we're good, thanks".

I'm from Holland, and I expect Dutch assistance with remedying the levee situation would come in handy, we're rather good at this water management thing (well, some people are, I'm not). I haven't heard actual news items about this, but I imagine that president Bush could expect lots of support from Dutch organisations and experts if he asked for it.

Is it really a law that they can't ask for that help???

#146 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 12:23 PM:

Some editing down and search and replace later:

I'm sick of people defending the trolls. The trolls should had known they would had been disemboweled, and should had made provisions to bring their own vowels.

#147 ::: Tomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 12:24 PM:

Graydon,
I didn't realize that the climate change we are facing could have such sudden impact. Thanks for the info.

My point was that we as a country need to think about how hard we want to struggle against nature. New Orleans has been sinking for over a hundred years. It is built on delta silt that our strict control of the Mississpi has not allowed to replenish.

It is our first reaction to protect and preserve the lives and the wealth of the city. I understand that. But the ongoing prognosis for the area is to be a lake. We can keep pumping it out over and over again after each disaster either natural or man-made ( could a terrorist bomb a levee?).

Or we could write it off. Open up the levees, let the water come in. As a country, we are prepared to spend billions ( I have heard as much as $25 billion in insured assets alone) to return things to the way it was. Reactions like that may have their place in other locations. But in lower than sea-level New Orleans, I feel it is not money well spent.

Why should an insurance company pay to have a home rebuilt in an area where it is very likely that the home will be destroyed again and again by flooding? Doesn't it make sense to rebuild somewhere else above the flood plain?

This is where the government can step in to help. Instead of expending billions to rebuild a doomed city, invest in helping folks relocate to new areas by buying their property so that they can afford to move.

As for all those poor folks that are discussed in the notes above, they already have nothing. Frankly, they can have just as much nothing in an apartment built on higher ground than a soaking wet one in New Orleans. Affordable housing for these people would also be a government job in my view.

I hate to seem like a New Orleans basher. I really am not. I love the place and have had great times there over the years. If we bow to the inevitable and let nature take it's course, I will miss the place very much. I feel, though, that some things are really beyond us. And winning long term against Mutha Nature is one of them.

#148 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 12:33 PM:

That's a major port. Largest in the USA, fifth largest in the world. There will be a port at the mouth of the Mississippi.

The only question is exactly where -- and "where" is going to be at the mouth of the Mississippi.

#149 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 12:47 PM:

Tomas --

Y'all absolutely must have a port at the mouth of the Mississippi. The one you had just got flattened, so, yes, the question 'should we put it back just where it was?' is a good question.

If real forethought and planning is being put into it, the new port ought to be about ten meters above the present mean sea level, but that very likely presents severe logistical challenges due to the amount of river between that elevation and the sea. The other solution for when the water rises up is to build the majority of the port facilities -- which means the whole supporting city -- on big ferro-concrete pontoons that can be winched up river as the water rises, and yes, I am serious.

#150 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 12:48 PM:

In terms of legal aspects of "looting" in New Orleans -- the law in Louisiana is much more based on the Code Napolean than other legal systems in the US. It's not based on British Common Law. So references to how things work in the UK are very likely to be irrelevant.

This is one of the odd artifacts of the way our country was made.

#151 ::: Barbara ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:15 PM:

For those of you are ready to abandon New Orleans because it's current condition, I hope a natural disaster never lands near you. It was not global warming that caused New Orleans to flood. It was 100+ mph winds that pounded the levees and Lake Ponchetrain for hours as the NW part of the eye wall sat there churning up the lake and pounding the levees. When the storm surge subsided and the rivers and channels that drain into the lake increased it's volume, the added pressure to the weakened levee system cause the system to fail. Considering the bureaucracy and ineptitude of both the US Corps of Army Engineers and the Mississippi Levee Board, it is amazing the levees held for as long as they did.

Before New Orleans is rebuilt (and it will be rebuilt), some common sense and sound engineering principles must be used to guard the city from further flooding and disaster. Unfortunately, these are two areas in which the Corps and the Levee Board are deficient.

#152 ::: Joel Wideman ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:16 PM:

Hasn't anyone noticed that AFP and AP - the two agencies with the photos and seemingly biased captions - are DIFFERENT AGENCIES?
Also, the one guy isn't black, he's hispanic. Not only that, but in the photo of the "white couple", the woman is hispanic as well.
I have no tolerance for racism either, but let's not be so eager to jump down everyone's throat over a wrongly perceived injustice, especially when it's more important to help those in need.

#153 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:20 PM:

Both of the photos, whatever the source, were posted with those captions by Yahoo News. Other agencies who used those same photos had other captions.

#154 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:22 PM:

I posted earlier on this but I think the blog ate my post because it never appeared. So here goes again:

Two things on looting and on abandoning New Orleans permanently. I've been thinking: In April, a few weeks after I'd moved to San Francisco, a friend and I showed up at Lotta's Fountain at god awful o'clock on the morning of April 18th. Every year, the survivors of the 1906 Earthquake (and the subsequent fires) get together and tell people what they remember. Since next year will be the 100 year anniversary of the earthquake, you can imagine that survivors are A) very old indeed and B) remember very little that actually happened. Mostly they have memories of being snatched up by an older parents or sibling, and camping for months in Golden Gate Park. It was the camping for months, the idea of being without any home other than a tent or borrowed shelter that reminded me.

So I went to look up the earthquake again, and the first thing that caught my eye was this notice:

http://www.sfmuseum.org/1906.2/killproc.html - The city's notice to looters

And yet, if I read these timelines aright, the city burned for up to four days after the initial earthquake. People couldn't stay in houses that were destroyed, and yet, they were told to remain indoors at nights, or risk getting mistaken for looters and other malfeasants.

If history is any guide, maybe folks should take a look at one of the US's other crown jewels coming to the brink of destruction and anarchy. We might find some parallels.

http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist10/06timeline.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_San_Francisco_earthquake

#155 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:25 PM:

Compare:
San Francisco - 1906

New Orleans - 2005


San Francisco - 1906

New Orleans - 2005

At least one thing I'm taking from this: Our nation has nearly lost one of its cities before and survived and rebuilt. I hope the same fate can be salvaged for New Orleans.

#156 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:34 PM:

San Francisco isn't below sea level. (And the street layout has been, um, insane, from the time it was laid out, about 1847.)

The reason why things get rebuilt in the same place is, that's the way the property-ownership system works: you have your legal description of what you own, and it puts everything Back Where It Was Before.

#157 ::: T ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:39 PM:

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PS: Bsh s lr. f h ld bt rq's WMD, hs stry bt 9/11 nd Bn Ldn my b nthr drty l. Dn't b stpd, 9/11 cld b nsd jb, fls flg prtn. Bsh nd hs frnds hd grt bnfts frm tht.

#158 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:45 PM:

Barbara --

Global warming had quite a bit to do with the strength of the hurricane. The Gulf is shallow, and heats up faster than the Atlantic, and it was hotter than expected. (= more energy to pump into the hurricane.)

Normal, unstoppable, depositional forces build river levees up until the river is at sea level, and then, somewhere upstream, it finds a new route to the sea. (This would have happened some time ago with the Mississippi were it not for the Corps of Engineers, but there's a limit to how much they can argue with gravity.)

Plus, the ground New Orleans is on is sinking, subsiding, at a significant rate.

Common sense and sound engineering principles include "don't put cities below sea level, on subsiding ground, on a coast subject to hurricanes, when we expect the ground to go down, the river to go up, the sea to go up, and the hurricanes to get worse".

#159 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:59 PM:

Graydon- A meteorologist friend of mine pointed out that Katrina was the first hurricane to go through the center of the Gulf of Mexico all season. Usually the Gulf gets stirred up by smaller hurricanes, so that the warm surface water is mixed with with the cooler depths. This year, it wasn't. Ergo, surface water temperatures higher than usual.

#160 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 02:09 PM:

JennR --

Sure, but surface temperatures are also generally higher than usual; that's why this year's hurricane season is being so bad in general.

So while Katrina got the energy of an undisturbed Gulf, the amount of energy relative to an undisturbed Gulf twenty years ago was also greater. (This is, at least so far, the warmest year on record.)

Most inhabited land is under a pollution cloud that reflects between ten and twenty percent of the sunlight back into space; this has been termed "Global Dimming", and it's mitigating the immediate effects of global warming. (Which means that the spring gets wound much tighter before it snaps; this should not be regarded as a feature.)

There's a lot less dimming over the oceans and the Arctic/Antarctic, so they're getting more pronounced global warming effects.

#161 ::: Norman ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 02:27 PM:

E.S.,

Have you been watching Fox news? You must have been, because what I have been seeing is a disjointed, uncentralized, confused reaction from the federal government concerning this catastrophe. I've lived through a couple of big hurricanes myself and can tell you that the response (by the federal authorities) in New Orleans has been unsatisfactory. If you look at the people who are stuck in the city, you will mostly see the faces of the poor (white or black). Those who could leave did leave. Many could not afford to and were left there. I have managed people in humanitarian efforts, as a matter of fact, and I will say that the level of incompetence demonstrated by the federal government is par for the course for this administration. How could we expect the same people who have mismanaged just about everything else to get this one right? Wishful thinking, perhaps?

#162 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 02:31 PM:

Who's twisted mind would have thought that a nutcase would fly a full gassed airliner into a building?

Chris Carter? Since a Boeing being hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center was the plot of the _Lone Gunmen_ pilot.

As for abandoning New Orleans entirely -- given that the old city part is still dry, I don't doubt it will be rebuilt. There really isn't any significant higher ground at the mouth of the Mississipi to put a city that I know of; what New Orleans really needs is some Dutch engineers to build smarter flood barriers. And probably some Seattle style rebuilding higher in the lowest areas.

#163 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 02:42 PM:

It's amazing how much more successful a person's arguments can be if they get to make up what the other side is saying, too. Take a look at commenter "ES":

Some of the posts here truly amaze me. The largest relief effort in the history of this country is underway. In a matter of only 48 hours, (guess that's too long for the email addicted, impatient generation) ships, boats, barges, red cross, tens of thousands of volunteers, 30k national guards, money coming in from everywhere, even countries that supposedly hate us, France, Germany, Venuzuela all have vowed to assist and donations are coming in from citizens of all countries of the world. Yet, we're not doing enough to 'save the poor'. Malarky!

Of course no one here has been criticizing the post-hurricane relief effort. The outrage has focused on the pre-disaster evacuation, and the complete and utter failure to plan any sort of means of evacuation for the 1 in 6 New Orleans residents without a car. "Y'all gas up your SUVs and drive north until you find yourself someplace to stay" isn't an evacuation plan that makes sense for a large urban area. Additionally, people have criticized the federal government for failing to apportion funds for levee repairs which were widely recognized to be critical.

Those are hard arguments to answer. It's much, much easier for "ES" to deride us for failing to appreciate what has been a truly heroic nationwide response to the disaster, than it would be to answer our legitimate concerns about pre-Katrina governmental decisions.

Survival is an instinct and it can't be bought, bartered, earned, stolen or looted. Survivors think and survivors ACT! That's why they survive. It has nothing to do with not having a car or food or money.

Here's a test: Have someone drop you and your riches in the middle of a desert and we'll see how much those riches help your situation. You'll die. Have someone drop you and your riches into a hurricane which was announced DAYS earlier but you get the test of 'riding it out.' You'll probably die.

Wow, look at how quickly that straw man falls down! "ES" must feel like a powerful fighter.

Being rich is certainly no advantage in New Orleans now, when there's no one to buy things from and having obvious wealth would make you a target. Again, the question was never whether rich people would have an easier time riding the hurricane out in place - it's whether rich people would have an easier time evacuating. Money wouldn't do me any good if I were dropped into the eye of a hurricane, but it sure as hell would help me to provision my family in advance, transport us out of the endangered city, and pay for lodgings elsewhere. "ES" can hardly argue with that... and so he doesn't.

#164 ::: Tomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 02:49 PM:

Piscusfishe,
I liked your comparison of present day New Orleans with the Great San Francisco Earthquake . People being people and subject to stress tend to react similarly. When civil authority is removed and survival requires extreme means, chaos can erupt.

I agree that lessons can be learned from historical disasters not only in this country but around the world. There is not much that can be done about the original disaster. However, we should be able to predict and plan to meet the ongoing problems caused by the removal of infrastructure and dislocation.

Even if it was left unsaid, I did pick up on the comparison of rebuilding San Francisco after the earthquake and rebuilding New Orleans after the flood.

Earthquakes will continue to knock down buildings and we will keep rebuilding them. California is going to have more quakes. Scientists know that "THE BIG ONE" is going to happen , they just don't know when. But I have seen arial photographs of housing developments built astride obvious faultlines. When we rebuild them to higher standards and codes that will minimize the impact of the next average quake, they will still fall down when the BIG ONE arrives.

In that same vein, I am sure that people will also want to rebuild New Orleans with better technology. Better dikes and levees from Denmark. Back up generators for the water pumps. Perhaps at the ludicrous extreme even require all homes in affected areas to be built up on stilts (starting a new building fashion trend called Nuevo Orleans). Whatever. The engineering reasoning still reflect the 80/20 rule. It is cost effective to build to handle the average disaster (80%) because the huge distasters don't happen that often (20%).

#165 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 02:54 PM:

Back in the Sixties, the state of California put up roadsigns designating evacuation routes. My father (BSME, PE) referred to them as 'hysterical monuments' and said that they wouldn't be able to evacuate after the five-o'clock whistle. And that was with a much smaller population. I'm astonished they were able to get even half the people out of NO, and shocked that they couldn't have a better plan in place beforehand than 'run for your life'.

And the Shrub is still clueless.

#166 ::: Phantasmos ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 02:55 PM:

I don't know if this was mentioned earlier, but watching the looting footage, I couldn't help but notice over 70% of the looters taking Diapers with them. Those damn things are so expensive, and along with food and water, diapers add to essential items. Without adequate relief efforts so far, looting is the only method of obtaining essentials. Of course, the media is drooling and overdramatizing the event.
In conditions like that, who wouldn't loot (I'm not talking about a few people stealing clothes and watches, because even clothes can be necessary items when everything you own is gone).

#167 ::: Stphn ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 03:00 PM:

hvn't sn ths mch ltng snc th Clntn's lft th Wht Hs.

#168 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 03:16 PM:

BUSH NEWS CONFERENCE DRINKING GAME

Every time Bush says "people got to understand," or "folks," take a drink.

Um, that's it. Whoever passes out first wins.

#169 ::: Joel Wideman ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 03:18 PM:

James D. Macdonald
Both of the photos, whatever the source, were posted with those captions by Yahoo News. Other agencies who used those same photos had other captions.

Thanks, James. I wasn't aware of that. When Wonkette had this posted on her site, she blamed AP.

#170 ::: Ext ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 03:25 PM:

Cll t s s t. Yr ppl r stlng Tv's nd NFL jrsy's fr srvvl.

#171 ::: Jay Nels ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 03:40 PM:

Somebody posted of the LA riots and I want to say one thing the Media lied about. One of the reasons "why" the Marines weren't called in was because (Media said) part of the bolts or firing pins were in a locker. This was a lie. How do I know? I was a Marine then stationed at Camp Pendleton, even if they were in a armory locker, it would've added just a few minutes to get and set-up our M-16's, M-60's, etc. We all laughed at the news report when I believe Peter Jennings said that.

#172 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 03:42 PM:

Tomas: "The engineering reasoning still reflect the 80/20 rule. It is cost effective to build to handle the average disaster (80%) because the huge distasters don't happen that often (20%)."

To pick nits, with regard to engineering disasters, it's probably more like the 50-year or 100-year disaster that's not usually engineered for - engineers don't normally plan our buildings to fall down every 5 years (20% of the time.)

But more seriously, what this thinking does not allow for is when the conditions for disaster seriously change, and what was once a 50- or 100-year disaster might be an every 5 years occurrence.

Thus, if you're a Roman living on the slopes of Vesuvius, it may seem sensible to have your villa built a little more sturdily to resist those little tremors every few years - because you don't know that the big eruption is coming and your little town of Pompeii is about to become a synonym for disaster.

Of course, the big difference between us and the hypothetical Roman is that we collectively did know this was coming in general terms, if not the specifics. There were 5 or 10 years of warnings that this was going to happen, and the levees could have been reinforced over the last several years, but the money allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers to do the work was pulled away by Washington. The question of what's best to do after the fact is different from what could have been done before the fact, at a fraction of the cost. The last three hurricane seasons have been unusual in the number and intensity of storms hitting the US mainland. Three years is not a confirmed trend, but is worrisome. If that persists, maybe it will no longer make sense to live there for the rest of our lifetimes; or maybe only if the entire city can be raised 50 feet or so and the surrounding coastland restored.

#173 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 03:51 PM:

Hey, Jay,

That was a pretty silly thing to say. I wonder who told it to him? I wonder who might've had reason to make excuses? I wonder who might've been covering their own goof with a clumsy lie?

Any thoughts? I'm all ears.

#174 ::: Tomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 04:20 PM:

A short article about the relationship of global warming and frequency/strength of hurricanes.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/09/01/katrina.warming.ap/index.html

#175 ::: Vkng ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:05 PM:

fcrse y r frgttng tht thr r blcks nw wh brkn int gn str nd r nw n n-g r's bcs th wnt t sht ll th wht ppl..........

nw tht's rcst

#176 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:06 PM:

Joel W:

Wow, those are some mighty fine eyes you have there. Why, you've totally blown the whole argument by noting that the EXTREMELY LIGHT-SKINNED WOMAN might have some features that indicate a Latina background, whereas the RATHER DARK-SKINNED MAN has some features that suggest a possible Latino background. I have to squint to make out those details, of course, but since it's TOTALLY UNPRECEDENTED that people in a city ONCE OCCUPIED BY SPAIN might have a bit of Hispanic blood, your point is SO TOTALLY MADE. Why, the fact that the woman in the first picture is EXTREMELY LIGHT-SKINNED and the man in the second picture is RATHER DARK-SKINNED don't matter at all, because they're ALMOST CERTAINLY POSSIBLY BUT BOY IS IT HARD TO TELL partly of Hispanic descent.

I'm so glad we've cleared that up.

#177 ::: vkng ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:11 PM:

vn th blck plc r stlng

hr

thsnds f dd, fmly nd frnds f thm, nd wht d thy d ? stl th nwst trnd mtv grbge clths

thr s fll f sht........ thy dn't vn cr bt thr wn fml wh r fltng n th wtr bfr th str

#178 ::: Stefan Jones sees a need for disemvowelling ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:15 PM:

Nordic trolls at large.

#179 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:34 PM:

Amazing what happens to Louisiana when you disemvowel it.

I'm seeing all these people homeless out on the streets. There's been a push for practical emergency shelter for years. Some of them are designed to be shipped flat-packed and set up by two people in less than a day.

Why doesn't the US invest in some of them, cache them at regional bases, and have them delivered by helicopter?

#180 ::: Aconite seconds SJ's noted need for disemvowelling ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:37 PM:

It's always a good idea to learn:
1) local etiquette
2) grammar and spelling

#181 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 05:53 PM:

Thank goodness! There's finally some presidential leadership. What I'm seeing right now on WWL:

Jesse Jackson is with the governor of Louisiana, announcing aid from Hugo Chavez, then heading into New Orleans (it sounds) to personally aid with the rescue efforts.

Gosh, I'm glad he beat Bush! Wouldn't it be a shame not to have leadership in the White House?

#182 ::: NPCrp ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 06:11 PM:

Th pctrs dn't l! t mst f bn qt th ffrt fr Trs t fnd pctrs f wht ppl "shppng". Ths blcks hv bn stlng fr yrs, ths s n dffrnt. Jst lk th pplchn whts, thy hv rfsd t wrk fr thr fmls fr dcds nw thnks t LBJ's Grt Scty nd thr wn rfsl t ccpt prsnl rspnsblty. Ths s cncpt nt vn ndrstd by th mdrn plgsts fr wckdnss. W hv bn gvng thm fd (Fd Stmps, WC, tc.) nd shltr (prjcts, Sctn 8, tc.) fr frty yrs. Nw tht t's gn thy'r dmndng wht's "rghtflly" thrs t kp thm t by nd nt rt. Mst f ths nnr cty blcks ht whty wth vngnc bcs w hvn't gvn thm ngh n thr ys. Thy gt ths ds frm chrltn blck mnstrs, blck psd prfssrs nd glt-rddn wht lftsts bt why nd hw whty csd thr crrnt plght. Th pctrs dn't l.

#183 ::: disemvowelling on previous post please!! ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 06:14 PM:

disembowelling would also work nice. although I suppose what bowels there are have been thouroughly emptied.

#184 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 06:15 PM:

Now, now, People Have to Understand that Bush has hands-off, grown-up, lazzy-far kind of leadership that encourages self-sufficiency and indepentz, so people can learn to stand up on their own!

* * *

Pardon my language, but GOD, what a bunch of fucking putzes we have in charge. What a bunch of over-entitled, clueless, ivory collar twits.

#185 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 06:19 PM:

putzes and twits huh?
These are very similar to the gross insults I was going to use.

#186 ::: FredHampton ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 07:43 PM:

How ridiculous. People dying or dead. Millions in property destroyed. A federal state of emergency. Some folks serving their dire need, others their opportunistic appetites. And here is a viking who can only think to say that Blacks steal all the time. Real nice.

Hope you're never hungry, Uberman.

#187 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 08:11 PM:

hly crp, tk ff fr mmnt, nd lk wht hppns t ths blg! Th vkng hrd hs nvdd! rn fr yr lvs, ppl! Th gd thng s tht thr r s mny psts tht hv bn dsmvwlld tht cn nw spk dsmvwlld. Th gd thng bt tht s y nly hv t typ hlf s mny kys. my typng spd hs dbld. thnks vkng hrd!

#188 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 08:18 PM:

NPR just interviewed the secretary Chertoff of homeland security.

Denial, denial, denial, plus finger-wagging admonitions not to believe anecdotes from reporters.

By God, we have reached Soviet levels of incompetence and reality-denial. They're Working Tirelessly, yessir.

#189 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 08:20 PM:
(TNH blows smoke from barrels of both revolvers; disappears again.)
#190 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 08:42 PM:

Some of the posts here truly amaze me. The largest relief effort in the history of this country is underway. In a matter of only 48 hours, (guess that's too long for the email addicted, impatient generation) ships, boats, barges, red cross, tens of thousands of volunteers, 30k national guards, money coming in from everywhere,

48 hours? It's Wednesday evening, and the National Guard has just started to arrive... Strange, there are several -thousand- active duty military within an hour, at Keesler Air Force Base, the Navy Seabees at Gulfport, Navy people at NASA's Stennis center (hmm, I live in Massachusetts, guess where there was a NASA center back before the Nixon Reprisal, which left.... the Seabees down in Gulfport were relocated there from Rhode Island). There are other military bases around that area, and more out in the panhandle of Florida, with Pensacola, Tyndal AFB, Elgin Air Force Base, bases in Texas, etc. The storm hit on what day, and was over when? The levees didn't fail until -later-, but despite the presence of Army Corps of Engineers personnel in the area (though Schmuck's outsourced everything to contractors, and cut funding for flood control projects there)and all those military facilities and personnel within 100 miles (some closer than than), there wasn't any sort of rush and weren't people and equipment and materiel for shoring up levees, draining out water, etc., planned for in advance to be available. How long was that levee breached before the US Government started trying to patch it?

I spent three and a years of my time in the USAF with let's-play-WWIII exercises as a regular part of my life--and the year I was up at Thule, life was so boring in the Tactical Operations Room the the crews begged to have a "performance exercise" every shift to cut the tedium.

Something considered one of the three most likely bad scenarios in the country--New Orleans flooding out--there should have been disaster preparedness plans and -resources- identified for expeditious--as in near-immediately, nor four day turnaround--deployment into New Orleans to rescue people, distribute food and water and medicine, maintain civil order (that is, shoot anyone armed out and shooting, and shoot anyone out trying rape and homide), and providing personnel to keep levees intact/fix breaches/pump out flooded areas.

The response time for WWIII was NOT -days-. It wasn't -hours-, either. Four days for the US Government to get its shit together to start sending people, equipment, and supplies is fucking obscene, not including warning time before the storm hit, to send "emergency" assistance to an area where there were already THOUSANDS of active duty US military present.

First rule, it's important to get SOMETHING there. It might not be the ideal people and equipment, but SOMEONE on-site, with a fraction of clue, and whatever equipment and material can be put together quickly and deployed, is critical. (That reminds me, I DID see how fast the US military can respond under a COMPETENT CHAIN OF COMMAND and with STANDING ORDERS, to a perceived emergency. It's not 48 hours, it's not anything -close- to 48 hours. It was substantially less than an hour, plus travel time (I wasn't timing it, I just remember the emergency team showing up Really Quickly).

Getting people and equipment on site ASAP is critical, because they get to see firsthand what the status is and do a quick analysis, identify the approach based on any -training- and the PLANS written up ahead of time, and call for more assistance and provide more detail about specific equipment and people and material needed, based on their initial analysis of the situation/crisis.

That's called "crisis management." Schmuck and his minions are utterly incompetent and pathetic at it. One of the most important things for the head of an operation/the Commander to show, is that the Commander is in CHARGE, and is PAYING ATTENTION, and and dropped everything but the critical emergency management. Continuing to read to a class of kids when there is a coordinated hijacking of hundreds of passgender and the planes they are on, and the hijackers are slamming planes into the densely populated city in the country, is an utter obscenity. The PROPER thing to have done was to have said, "Excuse me," pointed at a flunky to take over the Photo-Op PR exercise, and attended to being President of the United States dealing with national emergency.

The example Schmuck set was of a shithead incompetent.

even countries that supposedly hate us, France, Germany, Venuzuela all have vowed to assist and donations are coming in from citizens of all countries of the world.

And the Schmuck is turning it all down. Good Ol' Hubris Boy.... "We don't need no steeking assistant, support, aid, or GOODWILL, or OBLIGATION to anyone else." Cretin.

Yet, we're not doing enough to 'save the poor'. Malarky!

How about saving the citizens of a large US city and preventing worse damage to what's going to be salvageable of the people and property in New Orleans, then? Or don't you care about minimizing damage and saving lives?!

Are any of you managers? I played WWIII exercises. I directed people. I did some management. But what -is- your point?

Do you know what contingencies are?

Do -you-? It doesn't sound like it.

It's when you dream up worst possible situations and you plan for them.

Uh-uh, that is NOT a contingency. Worst case planning involves "worst case scenarios." What's -your- background?! A "contingency" is what one has has -option-, that is "contingency operations" involved "based on this expectation/event and those conditions, this is what we will need to do, the people we will need to have/have available, the equipment we will need/have available..." "Contingent upon your receipt of these orders" is one of the ways the term gets used. Contingent denotes conditionality.

However, not everything is 'plannable'.

Oh, wow, Look at the intuitively obvious comment. BFD. One sets up scenarios and figures out responses to them. Big Whup. Ever hear of a checklist?! Ever hear of things like "test and evaluation?" Every hear of contingency PLANNING? One can't plan for EVERYTHING, but one can come up with lots of different possible scenarios and What ifs, and the sorts of things that are involved in dealing with each of those "contingencies." The logic involved is "If... then.. else..." -- one can diagram it in old-fashioned flowcharts. Ever do a flowchart of what ifs?!

Take 9/11. Who's twisted mind would have thought that a nutcase would fly a full gassed airliner into a building?

Lots of people. I'm pretty sure I saw scenarios in exercises going back 30 years that had that. Not my fault Schmuck wasn't interested in listening to FEMA analysis results and unmassaged intelligence analyses briefings.... not my fault that Schmuck gutted FEMA of dedicated civil servants with emergency/disaster preparedness/disaster response background and training, with lickspittle loyalist political apparatchiks, and contracts to cronies and business associates and campaign contributors and such.

One can't plan for everything. Disasters happen and this is one of magnificent proportions.

It's one that was on the list of top three likeliest disasters on US soil back where FEMA had competent management....

The Superdome had water, they had protection but the snowballing of events created a situation that wasn't expected.

Bullpuckey. Scenarios, and there WERE studies indicatin the Superdome's endurance was finite and limited and poorer than the political boobs Bush put into FEMA wanted to be apprised of.

There wasn't a contingency.

Uh-uh, but definition it's a contingency situation, if-then-else branching. "What if the levees fail and New Orleans flood?" Go to "evacuate city." "What if there are people who evacuation fails for?" Go to "evacuate within city to identified facilities, including Superdome. POSITION FOOD, MEDICINE, WATER, AND SANITARY FACILITIES, AND POWER GENERATION EQUIPMENT,IN SUPERDOME, PREPARATORY TO SHELTERING LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPE." "What if Superdome fails?" Go to "evacuate people from Superdome. Arrange transportation--identify transportation assets, routes for evacuation, support equipment and supplies, and facilities to relocate evacuees to."

Real difficult, that sort of analysis, whoo-hoo, look at me doing it on the fly here. Note that Schmuck's flunkies seemed to be incapable for Continency Planning 101.

They thought the levies would breach, but they didn't think the 'bowl would flood or the sewers would fail. Did YOU?

Of course. Ever hear of conservation laws? Or didn't you have a class in basic physics? Water comes in, it goes somewhere. Sewers work of gravity and pumps. When water pours in and floods, it can flood the sewer system, too. Anyone who pays attention in Massachusetts could tell you -that-, the state still suffers from sewage overflows during too=heavy rainstorms. And the Masschusetts Water Resources Agency for years got lots of bad press about sewage overflows into Boston Harbor because the storm drains poured into the sewer system and overloaded the sewage treatment facilities....

When water pours into an area, unless that area is uphill of a high capacity body of water or waterway with the capacity for the pouring water to go into the waterway or body and not overflow it, there's going to be flood--rather elementary math and science there. Capacity = V, if incoming volume of material comes in at a rate that exceed the outflow and evaporative rates, the and the volume of material coming in exceeds the capacity, POOF, you're going to get FLOODING!!! Not my fault Bush and his buddies are neo-Luddites and scientific ignoramus willful aliterates.

In life/death situations, wealthy/poverty have nothing to do with survival. "...20% of the poor were left to die..." Bull$hit.

Oh, really? The wealthy can usually BUY their way out, and have the resources to get out that poor people might not have. Those SUV owners can get their SUVs out through roads that someone with a regular car might get swamped in (had fun watching floating cars a few years ago at the dotcom I was working at, during a 100 year flood rainstorm combined with massive snowmelt. Some fo the roads turned into rivers, and the stream and swampwater rose to flood out the road in frton of the building. There -were- cars floating in the road....)

Survival is an instinct and it can't be bought, bartered, earned, stolen or looted. Survivors think and survivors ACT! Survival instinct doesn't help a whole lot when faced with immovable objects or if a 5' female surrounded by big male goons interested in rape and murder. There's only so much that someone can -evade- wtihout resources--read "wealth." Someone who doesn't have the money to have a well-furnisher food supply at home and lives from paycheck to paycheck, can[t stockpile food. Someone who hasn't got cab fare, only bus fare, can't afford to leave if the buses have all left town....

That's why they survive. It has nothing to do with not having a car or food or money.

It wasn't survival instinct particularly that got my grandparents out of mainland Europe long before the rise of the homicidal maniacs who eradicated any of their relatives who hadn't left...

If you get trapped by a boulder, you'll cut your arm off to survive. It's been proven. Would I? I would much prefer to avoid getting trapped by a boulder in the first place...

Here's a test:

Yawn, this isn't a classroom and you're not a teacher.

Have someone drop you and your riches in the middle of a desert

What if the "riches" are a tankfull of pressurized water and freeze-dried food, silk fabric, shovels, etc.?!

and we'll see how much those riches help your situation. You'll die.

Not if my "riches" are survival equipment and rations and shelter....

Have someone drop you and your riches into a hurricane which was announced DAYS earlier but you get the test of 'riding it out.' You'll probably die.

I probably wouldn't actually. I'd want the survival equipment again, as my "riches."

Just like many of those in the big easy will have died. Not because they were poor. Not because they didn't have a car. Not because they were crippled. Because they didn't take action.

That's BS--they don't have the necessary -resources- to survive.

On the Kankamagus Highway in New Hampshire, is a rock providing an overhang. The is a historical marker by the rock. Long ago a Euro-descent fellow was riding his horse on what today is the Kankamagus Highway. The weather suddenly turned massively nasty, into a horrible blizzard. The rider got to the boulder. He butchered his horse, and took shelter using the dead horse's hide unde the overhang, and survived the blizzard. Had ne not had the horse to butcher and use the hide from, he would have died.

God (or your choice of diety) save their souls.

It would have been infinitely preferable for someone more competent and on the ball than Schmuck to have been President of the USA, who would not have gone on an ill-conceived and based-on-misinformation-perhaps-intentionally-disseminated-bad-intelligence-and-fraudulent-analysis war in Iraq, who would not have cut the funding of programs initiated by Congress in 1995 for preventing Lake Ponchartrain and the Mississippi River from inundating New Orleans in storms, who would have kept FEMA staffed with knowledgeable disaster planning and responser people, who would have presided over an active duty military and reserves and National Guard with disaster preparedness training and immediate available and clear direction and plans for respoinding to national emergencie and mobilizing as soon as a hurricane hit Cat 3 strength, ready for deployment before the storm hit and with more personnel on call mobilized to travel to the area once the storm intensity decreased.

There are all sorts of things that -could- have been done. It doesn[t take three days to move helicopters and boats and troops around. It takes time for Navy capital ships to large distances, but boats for rescue can be loaded on short-runway cargo planes. If runways are bad, military specialists can BUILD a temp runway in less than 24 hours from being airdropped, and flight time to the Gulf Coast from most anywhere in the continental USA is at most three or so hours...


What's necessary to do such things include the will, the PLANNING for such resrouces to be ALERTED to be available, and the competence to CONTINGENCY planning. The Bush misadministration flunks on all counts.

#191 ::: Josi ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 09:26 PM:

FEMA has known for years that when they mean mandatory evacuation, that only means a percentage of up to 50% in any large american city or coastal city. FEMA and other emergency management systems know that american highways and transportation systems cannot handle complete evacuation. People will always, always be left behind and there will always be deaths when catastrophe's hit. That is why so many cities are reluctant to declare mandatory full evacuation, because the evacuation routes will get severly clogged and perhaps a higher number of deaths will occur. It's not a pretty thought. Homeland security is a joke. NO full evacuation, using current modes of transporation, can accomodate this.

josi

#192 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 10:33 PM:

Erg. My friend in Louisiana, who attends LSU, just got back from a day at the Red Cross training class. They were told that they can't be sent to shelters because of looting and violence downtown. I assumed at first that she meant in New Orleans, but it seems that there have been incidents near the LSU campus and in the heart of Baton Rouge. Her father told her that an outlet mall in Gonzales, Louisiana, was being looted. (Gonzales is on the outskirts of Baton Rouge, I gather.) Students were advised to leave LSU campus (although I gather that they had planned on using some of the dorms for refugee barracks, since C says they put in a lot of bunks in all the empty dorms.)

She also reported that there had been five carjackings on the Airline Beltway (?). This is all hearsay, but it seems that the looting and violence is spreading.


(As far as I understand, Baton Rouge has power and sewer and all that.)

#193 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:03 PM:

I'm pretty sure your friend has been misinformed (and by the Red Cross? Hard to believe, but):

http://www.2theadvocate.com/livepages4/846.shtml

Baton Rouge is talking. Rumors are flying.

The problem is, a lot of them aren’t true, for instance, ones circulating today.

The Tanger Outlet Mall in Gonzales has not been looted.

...
The mall has changed its closing time from 9 p.m. to 6 p.m. because a number of employees are without electricity, Tullos said, and the stores are trying to accommodate them.

Rebecca Rainer, spokeswoman for the Mall at Cortana, another subject of closure rumors, said some stores in the Mall at Cortana are closed because they don’t have phone service and can’t run credit cards. But the mall is open for business, she said.

...

After hearing the state had closed all their downtown offices, Rhorer called the state Office of Facility Planning, which told him they had simply begun locking their doors...

...and so on.

#194 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:25 PM:

They thought the levies would breach, but they didn't think the 'bowl would flood or the sewers would fail. Did YOU?

Of course. Ever hear of conservation laws? Or didn't you have a class in basic physics? Water comes in, it goes somewhere.

When water pours into an area, unless that area is uphill of a high capacity body of water or waterway with the capacity for the pouring water to go into the waterway or body and not overflow it, there's going to be flood--rather elementary math and science there. Capacity = V, if incoming volume of material comes in at a rate that exceed the outflow and evaporative rates, the and the volume of material coming in exceeds the capacity, POOF, you're going to get FLOODING!!! Not my fault Bush and his buddies are neo-Luddites and scientific ignoramus willful aliterates.

We get this sort of dimness in LA: "what part of 'flood control basin' do you not understand?" And it gets twenty feet deep there, too. Flash floods, sometimes. Ask the fire crew that had to be airlifted out when the water rose a lot faster than they expected. But we don't have lots of valuable buildings there; it's park and wildlife area. Cleanup is mostly letting it dry out afterward.

Yes, the Shrub has a lot to answer for. I hope this is remembered next year, and in '08. Incompetence should be rewarded by lack of success in that field. Better yet, I'm kind of hoping that when he does visit the disaster area, there are lots of nice soft vegetables handy to the crowd. (One of my friends keeps mumbling that he's the 20-year Prez. Implications left to the readers.)

#195 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:36 PM:

Adamsj: To be fair that bit of info came from her father, I think, and that's what he heard. The Red Cross told them that there was violence close to the shelters in Baton Rouge, I believe.

I wasn't certain if that was all true, hence the qualifier on it being hearsay.

#196 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:36 PM:

"Being kept from these American people also by their Military Rulers have been the uncounted offers of assistance from Nations all around the world, including: Venezuela has offered their Medical Airlift Command for the evacuation of peoples trapped in these devastated regions; Holland has offered the resources of their Public Works Ministry (and who are the acknowledged World Experts for below sea level water evacuation procedures); Russia has offered over 100,000 temporary living structures, along with Military Personal to assist their American counterparts; Iran has offered 1 Billion US Dollars in immediate assistance and guaranteed 5,000,000 barrels of oil at $35.00 US Dollars; China has offered their Military Rescue Forces (Who are acknowledged as one of the best in the world for rescuing peoples in flood ravaged areas.)

All of these offers, and more, the Military Leaders of the United States have declined, and for the their previously stated reason: “The United States Government and its People Respectfully Decline your offer of assistance and refer you to our previous State Department Bulletin (NCO:13788) in which we had stated that this remains an internal action.” "


#197 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:55 PM:

All of these offers, and more, the Military Leaders of the United States have declined, and for the their previously stated reason: “The United States Government and its People Respectfully Decline your offer of assistance and refer you to our previous State Department Bulletin (NCO:13788) in which we had stated that this remains an internal action.”

This part of the People thinks we should accepot wtih great pleasure and get all the help the rest of the world is willing to give. It's an old tradition: in 1906 San Franciso accepted aid from outside the country (and rendered it in return to other countries), or so I've heard. In 1989 supplies were accepted from other states, and given back to help with Hugo. And we helped after the tsunami. What goes around, will come back around. "Whatsoever you do to the least of these..."

#198 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 11:57 PM:

I had a good laugh at the discussion of the photos whether the woman was Hispanic - or the man Black. How can anyone tell with all the shadows and the man is wearing a cap.

I guess the reporters aren't aware that the people the people in LA and NO are all mixed - on all levels from way back when- I mean African, French ( which is considered Caucasian), Hispania.

The woman in the photo may very well be a descendant from several hundred years of people living there - a light-skinned Black woman that would be very unhappy, if you called her "white." THe days of "passing" are over.

#199 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:17 AM:

BTW, the photographer who took the "finding" photo has commented on the matter here [If the bookmark doesn't work, search the page for "I wrote the caption"]

#200 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:19 AM:

I don't remember which post - but the guy that thought up the idea about the city being bult on some sort of steel platform (?) or pontoons had a brilliant idea. Be movable. That way it would also, ride storm surges and earthquakes.

To advance it it - the city cold be supported on separate pontoon-type supports - and connect with the same typte of bridges - of steel that would flex- bend with slight pressures.

An inventor or archetect for sure will come up with something like that very soon, I bet.

For sure, I did know how vital NO was to commerce - coming up from the Southern Hemisphere.

Yes, a city is very important there. I do believe the only industry that is there being tourism - is because so many of our jobs have been sent overseas by the greedy New WOrld Odor.

They say it so spread the wealth around and give opportunities to over countries - but what a lie! It would be justified if the corporations paid the same money as here, but the bastards pay the other countries peoples, pennies. SAME AS THEIR OWN COUNTRY MEN AND COMPANIES DO.

ANd slavery- child slavery - does still exist there - from India to Saudi Arabia to Mexico. Greedy bastards!

#201 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:21 AM:

And Yahoo have finally caught up with it:

The link now goes to a blank photospace with this caption:
"To our readers: This photo was removed from Yahoo! News at the request of AFP.
Yahoo! News statement on photo language controversy."
which links to this:
http://news.yahoo.com/page/photostatement

#202 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:17 AM:

I cant find any hard information, any good maps, anything specific. all I got was this.

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/fullMaps_Am.nsf/luFullMap/F9709F43351D26568525706E00510244/$File/rw_TC_usa300805.pdf?OpenElement

http://msnbc.com/modules/mapview/katrina_no.asp

I was never good at google.

#203 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:17 AM:

Hey Allat, where's that from? (I may have missed an earlier repetition of it.)


Um, I mean the rejection of the offer of help from, among other places, Holland.

#204 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:33 AM:

WHATDOESITMEAN.COM

Take what you want and leave the rest. Yeah, Sorcha (strange name) demoralizes- she's supposed to be a sort of Siberian Shamaness - (they've made a come back). So what? It least here you will get a glimpse of what's going on in the rest of the world.

Anyway, she puts forward some kind of picture of how bad the present admin. here is.

Consult with other sites.

#205 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:34 AM:

For the record, I have no problem with the word "found" for folks picking up supplies in a situation like that. (When I was doing an independent post on the subject, a post that was subsumed into this one, the title I had was "Survival Shopping.")

But the same act being called "looting" -- it does make a comment on one of the filters we Americans use when we're looking at the world.

#206 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:40 AM:

The our gal Sorcha's report on NO:

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index815.htm

Love her or hate her - for what it's worth.

It'll stir up the chili pepper juices, one way or the other. :}

#207 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:12 AM:

Paula commented on the military forces available in-region.

Somebody has to set priorities on this stuff, but, just to take one example, the Seabees at Gulfport are in a place which got hit pretty bad. The communication routes along the coast are wrecked.

They can't just load up and move out.

But if they have to clear a road out of Gulfport, that could do more to help Gulfport than getting bogged down in local operations.

#208 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:59 AM:

One of the many things on the web said that troops at Keesler were busily playing volleyball as opposed to being mobilized as any sort of work detail doing disaster assistance... and Keesler in in Biloxi, which has lots of matchsticks and boards which used to be houses.

One of the traditional ways military operations gets handled is that people nearby get put into relief operations and then people from bases further away get sent to the base which sent people to the immediate relief operations. It delivers people to the most critical need the fastesst and the incoming troops provide a 'sustaining" force. Again, the basic doctrine at least used to be, to get people on-site ASAP. Large number of troop five days laters are a lot less worthwhile than getting fewer troops to a crisis area -fast-.

As for communications... the military has mobile and portable comm systems that go from "DC to daylight." There are unattended air vehicles--the Predator is one example--that can be fitted with communications payloads for communications restoration--the payload serves as a communications repeater, and the high the thing is in the are, the great the "footpritn" for communications.

There are military communications satellites. The only things on the ground that could affect them much tend to be destruction or inimical takover of their control terminals, jamming technologies, and misadminstation of the "control segment" (someone authorized to control the bird who screws up, can be as much of a problem as someone with hostile intent...).

Other communications -- send an AWACS or Hawkeye or JSTARS in or two, get good comm connectivity, AWACS and JSTARS particularly have all sorts of comm gear on them and can talk to commercial networks if any are even around working to talk to, along with many different bands of military and civilian radios.

The failures aren't of technology or capability or equipment, it's failure of competence, it's failure of planning, it's a lack of the intelligence and imagination and judgment and lack of utter CLUE, that "there are national resources paid for the the US taxpayer,

"FEMA has been there for three days, yet there is no command and control...." [accusation levels against the government, writ in large letters and spoke by Ted Koppel to Mr Brown, mentioned by Mr Koppel at the only federal representative available to demand answers from regarding why the people in the convention center have been without food and attention and in squalor for three days]

There is command and control and communications equipment--what the failure is the the PEOPLE who are supposed to be EXECUTING the operations, who are supposed to be running this country, who haven't got a clue in a bucket about effective leadership, management, emergency operations, deployment of national forces, utilizations of resources and assets... and have proven themselves totally incompetent in 9/11 and in this latest disaster, to take any sort of prompt, competent, decisive action, to provide -leadership-, to mobilize the people and equipment paid for by trillions of taxpayer dollars over decades and put in place supposedly in support of the national well-being and interest, to protect and to defend and to deal responsibly with crises and work recovery operations and minimize as much as possible dire consequences

#209 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:00 AM:

Here's a pointer regarding Keesler:

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001052870

"Biloxi Newspaper Rips Relief Effort, Begs for Help

"By Greg Mitchell

"Published: August 31, 2005 10:15 PM ET

"NEW YORK The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., in an editorial today, criticized the relief effort in its ravaged area so far, and told officials and the nation-at-large: "South Mississippi needs your help."

"People are hurting and people are being vandalized.

"Yet where is the National Guard, why hasn't every able-bodied member of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?

"On Wednesday reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics.

"Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!..."


===================

Miscellaneous sarcastic comments....

Sandbagged by Bush -- a ton and a half of missing dirtbag....

I wonder when the cholera epidemic starts.

[forgot what else I was going to put here... oh-- The Astrodome is full. Our Disesteemable FEMA incompetents somehow failed to taking into account that people take up floor space when sleping....

WWII and the reconstruction after it had George Marshall in charge of planning. Obviously there is no mind like his anywhere to be found in the Schmuck Misadminstration in any position of authority and responsibility. Hmm, there was the Berlin Airlift, seems that something done all those years ago, with less capable equipment, can't be done today for a city on sovereign US territory....

Going back through history there are all sorts of massive operations involving planning and execution on an enormous scale, with much mroe primitive and unreliable communications technology than available even on the ravished Gulf Coast. Mobile satellite termials and satellite phones don't require commercial power and don't depend on land communications equipment for connectivity. There are other options, as I noted in a different post to Making Light--providing one has more intelligence and clue that a turnip. I'd bet on the turnip against Gag Order Gorge and his buddies. And in an emergency I could eat the turnip...


#210 ::: John Harrison ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:04 AM:

Well... it's obviously a case of 'faith based' emergency planning.

I don't understand how the US government can be so completely incompetant. It boggles the mind - I've been looking at fox news... they just keep repeating lines about focussing on the living. Fair enough, but unless something starts to get done about the dead - disease will start to take it's toll among the living.

Just strange to see a first world country's govenmental apparatus fail so totally. My advice, take the foreign aid. When a nation fails so _utterly_ in helping its own citizens - better to allow people from other countries to come to assistance. This disaster is simply too big for the US government.

#211 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 04:23 AM:

And another one:

Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas where there are persons displaced from New Orleans, are all Red States. I wonder how this debacle is affecting their political allegiances and perceptions.

======

What does it take to get the Bush supporters to open their minds and ends and let in something besides Credo and True Believer channelvision? Close to 2000 US military dead in Iraq, sectarian civil warfare threatening in Iraq and the status of women in reduction down near to chattel, all the lies about WMD, 9/11, no Osama bin Laden (whatever happened to the capture of Osama bin Ladedn dead or alive?...), gag orders, sex and religion scandals at least one miltary academy

http://yahoo.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-08-25-academies-women_x.htm?csp=1

Abuse found in military schools
By Steven Komarow, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — A culture that devalues the role of women in uniform makes it easier for rape and sexual harassment to occur at the Army and Navy academies, according to a Pentagon task force report released Thursday.

"When women are devalued, the likelihood of harassing and even abusive behavior increases," said the panel of 12 military officers and civilian experts. It proposed wide-ranging action, from better admissions screening to revamping antiquated military rape laws.

The report cited 2004 Pentagon data showing 50% of women at all three academies were harassed, mostly verbally but dozens suffering physical abuse. Tolerance of "hostile attitudes and inappropriate actions toward women" continues "to hinder the establishment of a safe and professional environment," it said...

promotion of particular religions and the particular agendas/sectarianism in federal legislation favoring particular religions and branches of religions over others regarding marriage and reproduction and medical treatment, environmental deterioration and destructon, healthcare services deterioration, termination of data collection which provided the data for the basis of enforcing laws against gender and other varieties of discimination, etc. etc. And now, the debacle of levees that failed because Bush's budgets chopped the funding for maintaining them, and a FEMA reminiscent of Breslin's Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight incompetent gangsters.

What does it take to turn someone from a gormless loyalist?

#212 ::: Fist_Of_Freedom ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:56 AM:

"If the coalition simply imposed control on the population, that wouldn't achieve the desired effect. We wouldn't be everywhere and we might also alienate a population that doesn't need to have another regime with a grip around its neck,"

#213 ::: Fist_Of_Freedom ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 06:58 AM:

Looting is transition to freedom


http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030411-010551-6382r

#214 ::: Allat ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 10:32 AM:

You must know by now that the gov. doesn't have any real intention to help these people - or any other. Haven't you seen that?


I think the gov's broke- they're just not saying it. Any oil supplies left - is going to be held back - as all the oil supplies have been accummulated in the last few years - for the use of the military. Not civilians.

I woke up this morning with the realization - and that in this era - NO is no more.

In truth we are on our own. That Bush's speech yesterday was a form of washing of hands.

You don't really want a military control - not now - not EVER. Ever read "The Gulag Archipelago?"


Anyone here - with or without children - start developing plans on how to get out cities.
With and/or without a car. Get a walking stick and backpacks for each of you. Find out how to survive in the wilderness - there are books.

Learn First Aid, and any other type of healing - and teach it to others. Any type of Reiki Healing,whether with herbs or hands-on healing or vibrational healing. This will be worth MORE THAN GOLD.

Get Emoto's " Secret Message of Water" - wherein he tells how water is influenced. Water purifying tablets are fine, but they are used up, and you can purify water by thought vibrations.

You can also take it, that one can avoid trouble in emergencies, by sending out thought vibrations.

I say, we have brains enough to depend on our selves for survival - not the gov. or the military (shudder).

#215 ::: Gulf Resident ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 11:43 AM:

Every television channel outside of Mississippi shows only the looting and lawlessness occurring in New Orleans. They don't see the citizen's of the Mississippi Gulf Coast coming together getting the rebuilding process going. They don't see the hot meals being prepared in Gulfport by the good Christian volunteers. They don't see the casino's laying wide open with thousand's of dollars available that no one seems to be interested in. The reason they don't see it is because doing good isn't television worthy material to them. I just wanted to let the world know not to paint us with the same brush as New Orleans. We are Mississippians and this is how it's done.

#216 ::: John Harrison ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:47 PM:

Have they withheld aid to New Orleans to co-incide with the Bush fly-past??? Just astonishing how everything seems to be happening right now! How cynical these advisors have become - simply beggars belief.

#217 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 01:12 PM:

Anyone have a confirmation or debunking of the claim that we've turned aid down flat? I can't find any such State Department Bulletin.

#218 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 02:32 PM:

Allat: Your message starts intelligently, if hysterically, then it just ggoes weird.

You can try and use thought waves to purify water. But in your place, I'd consider building a rudimentary still instead. It won't provide much water, but it will be clean.

Nothing much else to say others haven't said more coherently. Fury at your administration, gratitude for those who are doing their best to help, prayers for those trapped or homeless, money to Red Cross.

#219 ::: dausualsuspect ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 07:08 PM:

I was wondering if anyone knows where i can find the first picture as it seems that it has been removed. or if someone could e mail it to me.
thx.

#220 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 12:15 AM:

One of the people I work with says that if they handle the NO looting (the real stuff, not the survival-needs stuff) the way they did the looting in Baghdad, we could have a full-fledged insurgency movement there in six months.

#221 ::: Lin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 01:29 AM:

Every television channel outside of Mississippi shows only the looting and lawlessness occurring in New Orleans. They don't see the citizen's of the Mississippi Gulf Coast coming together getting the rebuilding process going. They don't see ... They don't see....

No they don't. Remember, news stations are supported by advertisers. Advertisers are supported by viewers. Viewers are gathered by sensationalism, not by good works. It may not be the best method, but you need to keep this payment-by-advertising in mind when you filter your information.

So thank you for telling us of those good works. We need to hear about them.

#222 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:39 AM:

dausualsuspect: Snopes has a screenshot of both photos with captions.

#223 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 05:44 AM:

Every television channel outside of Mississippi shows only the looting and lawlessness occurring in New Orleans. They don't see the citizen's of the Mississippi Gulf Coast coming together getting the rebuilding process going. They don't see ... They don't see....

That was changing as of last night. I'm not sure what channel(s), though; I didn't have control of the remote. :P

#224 ::: mGoLos ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:21 AM:

What you are seeing in New Orleans is a grizzly prophecy of what will soon be everyday life for all of us. With the loss of 20 oil-rigs in the mexican gulf and 83 percent of gas-production in the same area, Peak Oil just got jump started. How long? A few months .. a year at most before it's get personal. Good Luck to you all.

#225 ::: Shame for demon-cracy ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 04:24 PM:

The Hurricane 'Katrina' tragedy the best impression of our layer world – we always tell one and act otherwise…

The example of the Democracy, USA has divided its citizens by their skin color at the terrible time – the black people became the main victims of the catastrophe…

The powerful USA expresses a great comical weakness in real time… So, that the legend of a power, democracy, and racial liberality of USA stays just good scenarios of Hollywood's moves…

When we talk about loot by the blacks we must remember why those people became in looters, who influenced on them to be looter… and if we 'the grate white race' are 'so kind', my be we allow to our brain to recall about our fathers and grandfathers – who did they acquire their estate and kindness… and I'll tell you that it happened by the looting and killing of aborigines of the American land…

If somebody takes in serious this particular case of unproved 'looting' by the black child may be we'll recall about great positive donation by this race in American and world progress.

The Hurricane 'Katrina' has uncovered a racist America…

Shame for this demon-cratic racism…

#226 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 05:16 AM:

2 photos taken by 2 different photgraphers. 2 captions written by 2 different writters. Both photos were NOT posted at the same time nor were they published in the newspaper at the same time. It is very easy to make any news story racist if you examine every news article for an opposite angle and do a cut & paste. I saw the photos up close and it is true the white people have food in their hands and the black person has a box of Sketcher shoes. Now I will do a search for a caption of a white person looting and a black person looking for food. Come on people, this is not about black and white!!!
That damn New Orleans mayor and Governor are to blame first. Are you telling me that they did not have a prior plan to evacuate New Orleans? They have known about this flooding problem for over a hundred years. There has been several articles published by scientists detailing the effects of such a disaster with many solutions. What happens if New Orleans were bombed by terrorists, what was their plan for that? I can't believe the mayor did not have a plan of evacuation. The first job of any Governor should be to speak with all the mayors and have them submit a plan for evacuating their cities. And in the future tweak it as new mayors get elected and intelligence & technology changes. I'm sure they must have considered their city a target for terrorists, since Mardi Gras brings on a lot of tourists. What the hell is with that mayor to blame the Federal government, he should take responsibility. HE IS DEFINITELY NO Rudolph Giuliani.

#227 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 11:38 PM:

Regarding the much screeched about "looting vs finding" photos. The photos and captions were from two different news sources! How about look at other pics/captions of each agency? The "finding" group might just be plain PC to the max and might have other examples that include blacks, etc. The OTHER agency might also show some whites and call them "looters". If each group does show a bias, then that's just wrong. I say, though, that to call it "finding" regardless of race is wrong.

#228 ::: Robert ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 11:33 AM:

On the issue of New Orlens disaster plan, and those buses sitting in the water...

http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx?portal=46&tabid=26

The section on hurricanes is an interesting read...especially the part about "* Supply transportation as needed in accordance with the current Standard Operating Procedures."

#229 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2005, 06:28 AM:

"I think it's clear from the events that we have seen that so many people remained behind was because they had a plan, a plan to loot and enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbors."

Hey, I just thought I should pop in and point out that I had Bill O'Reilly's theory figured out long before he even thought about it. You know why that is? Because I have true insight into the heart of American Evil. SSSSSSSSSSSS. Fear me. Respect. All that stuff.

#230 ::: OnyxAngel2005 ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2005, 01:53 PM:

We have lots of people brought here by the RedCross who have been provided with homes while the local people who have been waiting for housing assistance have been told they have to wait.

#231 ::: Mig-O ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 06:20 AM:

For those who wonder, what the black man loots: Its an upside down shrink-wrapped bag of pepsi cola. See here.

#232 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 09:12 AM:

The photos and captions were from two different news sources!

The "looting" vs. "shopping" pictures (the latter referred to in the main post here) were both from AP.

Sorry, that spin doesn't work.

And it was Pepsi, not shoes. Sorry again.

With the slow and incompetent Federal response: Anyone who didn't "find," "loot," or "shop" food and water ... died.

#233 ::: Fernmonkey ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 09:21 AM:

Even it had been shoes rather than Pepsi, I'd think that taking a pair of clean dry shoes would be a perfectly rational and reasonable thing to do under the circumstances.

#234 ::: Jss ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2005, 10:16 PM:

Ll sht! Wht th fck s th bg dl wth ll ths? f th Yh nws wld hv sd Blcks wr fndng nd Whts wr ltng thr prbbl wldn't hv vn bn mrmr f ppstn. Ppl nd t qt mkng bg dl t f t. vrthng s fckng "rcst" tdy. Stpd sht hds.

#235 ::: Graydon finds loathesome comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 11:13 AM:

Although it looks rather manual as such things go.

#237 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 02:56 PM:

The spammers have a new tactic: Repost an earlier post, with the name and the link behind the name pointing to a (for example) porno site.

This thread's closed.

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