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About minew

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    Veteran Groover

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  • Location new orleans
  • Interests jazz, gourmandise, sailing
  1. Art Ensemble 1967/68

    Just bought the last one off the shelf from JRM. #2276
  2. Thing with Joe McPhee US TOUR

    Just bought my tickets to the Empty Bottle show. Will be a farewell-for-now to Chicago but what a sendoff.
  3. 2005 World Series

    The amazing thing about that run was that, except for the first two against Detroit, it came against some of the best teams in baseball: Tribe, Bosox, LAA, and Stros.
  4. I feel shame. The toddler/infant team got the best of me again. We wrangled them into bed around 9:30 and were lulling them to sleep.... the next thing I knew I was waking up on the floor next to them at 11:45. Happens a lot. To make amends, I'm going to go buy those Org. CDs I've always been planning to buy. Sorry to have missed the band and to have missed you, Mark. Hope we can catch up again while I'm here.
  5. Still in exile here in Chicago but making the most of it musically. Will walk around the corner, literally, to catch tonight's show. Anyone else plan from here plan to be there?
  6. from the Times Picayune Suffering and semantics There may be no more ridiculous pairing of words than "voluntary evacuation." Letting people know they can leave if they want to leave does nothing more than remind them that they live in a free country. But looking back at the events leading up to Hurricane Katrina, it's clear that the phrase "mandatory evacuation" doesn't mean anything either. At least not in New Orleans. The phrase is meaninglessness on two levels: According to a television interview Mayor Ray Nagin gave the Saturday night before the storm, he didn't think he had the legal authority to order a mandatory evacuation or the ability to enforce it. City attorneys were scrambling to find out whether he could order everybody out, he said, and if doing so would make him liable for the many thousands of people who had no means of escape. The next morning he issued New Orleans' first-ever order of evacuation. Next door, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard maintained that despite his desire to do so, he didn't have the legal authority to require his residents to leave. To Mayor Nagin's credit, he made it clear on that Saturday that everybody needed to get out and that citizens shouldn't wait around to hear the word "mandatory" before deciding to leave. They might never hear it. He urged those who could to check on their neighbors, especially the elderly and infirm, and to use every conveyance possible to escape the wrath of the approaching storm. The mayor was a voice of calm when others around him were succumbing to hysteria. But when it came time to get pushy, he did that, too. Even so, Mayor Nagin should have had his legal questions answered long before a storm was in the Gulf of Mexico. A mandatory evacuation had never been ordered, but the question of its legality should have been asked and answered years ago. What a mayor can do as a hurricane approaches should have been institutional knowledge, passed like a baton from one administration to the next. It ought to have been passed down from governor to governor, too. The mayor's powers may have been limited, but as the chief executive of the state, Gov. Kathleen Blanco had more muscle. State law allows her to not only "direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state," but also to utilize "all available resources of the state government and of each political subdivision of the state as reasonably necessary to cope with the disaster or emergency." The Friday before the storm Gov. Blanco declared a state of emergency, and that could have served as a prerequisite for more forceful action. Imagine every school bus in South Louisiana packed with evacuees and heading to higher ground. Imagine the vans, SUVs and cars owned by state and local agencies being devoted to the same purpose. In retrospect, the mayor should have used his bully pulpit to demand more action from the state. But he ultimately didn't have the authority to take control of all those vehicles. The governor did. Elected officials assumed that when the big one hit New Orleans, it would catch thousands upon thousands of people still in the city. Some wouldn't be able to afford a way out. Others who could afford to do so wouldn't either. Not a whole lot could have been done for that second group. The fact that even now there are people vowing to stay in their flooded homes is proof that some deaths were inevitable. Louisiana was never going to be able to handle a disaster of Katrina’s scale without substantial outside help. If the federal response had not been so woefully inadequate, the storm would not have exacted such a horrific toll on New Orleans. But that doesn't absolve anyone at any level of government from neglecting the poor. The assumption that poor people would be trapped was met with inaction, when it should have been met with a determination to save as many as possible. The words "mandatory evacuation" mean nothing when state and local officials won’t or can’t deploy the resources necessary to make the mandate stick. Not only could the mayor not order an evacuation, and not only could he not enforce it, but there were those who couldn't or wouldn’t leave. The corpses floating in the water attest to that.
  7. Anyone catch Cheney's appearance today on the Gulf Coast? While he was blathering on about what a great job everybody was doing, a local passerby, off camera, shouted clearly and audibly, "Go fuck yourself Mr. Cheney. Go fuck yourself." You reap what you sow.
  8. MEMO TO BUSH: FIRE MICHAEL BROWN By Michelle Malkin (!) · September 04, 2005 08:17 AM During his visit to Mobile, Ala., on Friday, President Bush singled out Michael D. Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for praise: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." Really? "Brownie's" job is to direct the federal response to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Let's review his public statements during the past week: - He admitted that he didn't act more aggressively because as late as last Sunday he expected Katrina to be a "standard hurricane" even though the National Weather Service in New Orleans was already predicting "human suffering incredible by modern standards." - He proved himself utterly clueless about the disaster unfolding in New Orleans. He claimed that the federal relief effort was "going relatively well" and that the security situation in New Orleans was "pretty darn good." - He blamed the flood victims in New Orleans for failing to evacuate on time, even though local authorities failed to make municipal vehicles available to residents who could not drive or did not own their own cars. "It took four days to begin a large-scale evacuation of people stranded in the Superdome stadium and to bring in significant amounts of food and water to an American city easily accessible by motorway," the Observer notes. "Relief agencies took half that time to reach Indonesia after the Boxing Day tsunami. " Although the delay was not entirely the fault of the Bush Administration, Brown's complacency clearly didn't help. And his bumbling statements after the hurricane struck have not inspired confidence. This is not the time to give a weak performer the benefit of the doubt. The FEMA director's role in the ongoing recovery effort is too important to be entrusted to a clueless political hack with such poor judgment. Rather than praise Michael Brown, Bush should fire him.
  9. NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- The Times-Picayune of New Orleans printed this editorial in its Sunday edition, criticizing the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina and calling on every FEMA official to be fired: An open letter to the President Dear Mr. President: We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, "What is not working, we're going to make it right." Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism. Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason: It's accessible. The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718. How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks. Despite the city's multiple points of entry, our nation's bureaucrats spent days after last week's hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city's stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies. Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city. Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a "Today" show story Friday morning. Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach. We're angry, Mr. President, and we'll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That's to the government's shame. Mayor Ray Nagin did the right thing Sunday when he allowed those with no other alternative to seek shelter from the storm inside the Louisiana Superdome. We still don't know what the death toll is, but one thing is certain: Had the Superdome not been opened, the city's death toll would have been higher. The toll may even have been exponentially higher. It was clear to us by late morning Monday that many people inside the Superdome would not be returning home. It should have been clear to our government, Mr. President. So why weren't they evacuated out of the city immediately? We learned seven years ago, when Hurricane Georges threatened, that the Dome isn't suitable as a long-term shelter. So what did state and national officials think would happen to tens of thousands of people trapped inside with no air conditioning, overflowing toilets and dwindling amounts of food, water and other essentials? State Rep. Karen Carter was right Friday when she said the city didn't have but two urgent needs: "Buses! And gas!" Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially. In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn't known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, "We've provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they've gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day." Lies don't get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President. Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, "You're doing a heck of a job." That's unbelievable. There were thousands of people at the Convention Center because the riverfront is high ground. The fact that so many people had reached there on foot is proof that rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too. We, who are from New Orleans, are no less American than those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard. We're no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued. No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn't be reached. Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill your promise to make our beloved communities work right once again. When you do, we will be the first to applaud.
  10. Death toll numbers begin to trickle in Forensic team faces challenge identifying victims of hurricane By Laura Maggi Staff Writer BATON ROUGE - In the first announcement of what will undoubtedly be a growing tally of the people killed by Hurricane Katrina and its devastating aftermath, officials said Sunday that 59 bodies were in a state morgue and had been confirmed to have died from storm-related causes. Health officials would not say how high they expected the death toll to go, but Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin have both said repeatedly that they expect it to be in the thousands. Local officials have said there are about 100 bodies at a wharf in St. Bernard Parish, but the state has not confirmed those deaths, said Louis Cataldie, medical director for emergency operations for the state Department of Health and Hospitals. Cataldie said any death that investigators determine would not have occurred if not for Hurricane Katrina will be attributed to the storm. "If you are on a respirator at home and the electricity goes out, you are a hurricane death," he said. But people whose deaths are classified as murder - even if it occurred during the storm or the chaotic following days - will not be identified as hurricane deaths. Local coroners will be brought in to investigate those deaths, said Cataldie. People who had identification on them when they died - such as most hospitable patients - will be easy for state officials to identify and notify family members, he said. But others, such as bodies that have been fished out of the floodwaters, could prove to be more of a challenge. Because dental records and other key medical information may also have been lost during the storm, the process could rely heavily on the more technologically sophisticated methods used by the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, an agency brought in by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. For example, the mortuary team, which is often known by its acronym DMORT, can take a hairbrush brought in by a family member to see if the DNA matches any of the unidentified bodies at the morgue. The morgue, which will be run by the federal team, has been set up at St. Gabriel, a town near Baton Rouge. Three DMORT teams were brought in to deal with the aftermath of the hurricane, including various forensic experts, funeral directors, death investigators and coroners, said Todd Ellis, the leader of the local regional unit. Local emergency workers will be charged with collecting dead bodies and bringing them to a collection point, where team members will collect preliminary information, such as any identification records, and gather personal effects. "From that point, we as DMORT teams will treat each of these individuals with the highest level of dignity and respect that they all deserve," Ellis said. The teams will begin collecting forensic information as soon as the bodies arrive at the morgue site, including fingerprinting and DNA sampling, he said. Once the facility is up and running, it can identify - or at least attempt to identify - 144 bodies a day, Cataldie said. Cataldie said 10 bodies being held by the state were those of people who died while at the Superdome, most from respiratory failure. Nine more died at a temporary hospital set up at Louis Armstrong International Airport. "There were a lot of sick folks who couldn't make a journey," he said. Twenty-six bodies were in refrigeration trucks at the morgue facility in St. Gabriel on Sunday, while another 22 were at a collection point at the split of Interstate 10 and the I-610. Another 11 bodies were identified by the Jefferson Parish coroner as being caused by the storm, Cataldie said. Laura Maggi can be reached at laura_maggi@yahoo.com or (225) 342-5590.
  11. from Times Picayune Officials were told Katrina posed serious danger to city, one says By Mark Schleifstein Staff writer Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, said Sunday that officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, including FEMA Director Mike Brown and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, listened in on electronic briefings given by his staff in advance of Hurricane Katrina slamming Louisiana and Mississippi and were advised of the storm's potential deadly effects. Mayfield said the strength of the storm and the potential disaster it could bring were made clear during both the briefings and in formal advisories, which warned of a storm surge capable of overtopping levees in New Orleans and winds strong enough to blow out windows of high-rise buildings. He said the briefings included information on expected wind speed, storm surge, rainfall and the potential for tornadoes to accompany the storm as it came ashore. "We were briefing them way before landfall," Mayfield said. "It's not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped. "I keep looking back to see if there was anything else we could have done, and I just don't know what it would be," he said. Chertoff told reporters Saturday that government officials had not expected the damaging combination of a powerful hurricane levee breaches that flooded New Orleans. Brown, Mayfield said, is a dedicated public servant. "The question is why he couldn't shake loose the resources that were needed,'' he said. Brown and Chertoff could not be reached for comment on Sunday afternoon. In the days before Katrina hit, Mayfield said, his staff also briefed FEMA, which under the Department of Homeland Security, at FEMA's headquarters in Washington, D.C., its Region 6 office in Dallas and the Region 4 office in Atlanta about the potential effects of the storm. He said all of those briefings were logged in the hurricane center's records. And Mayfield said his staff also participated in the five-day "Hurricane Pam" exercise sponsored by FEMA and the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in July 2004 that assumed a similar storm would hit the city. FEMA's own July 23, 2004, news release announcing the end of that exercise summed up the assumptions they used, which were eerily close to what Katrina delivered: "Hurricane Pam brought sustained winds of 120 mph, up to 20 inches of rain in parts of southeast Louisiana and storm surge that topped levees in the New Orleans area. More than one million residents evacuated and Hurricane Pam destroyed 500,000-600,000 buildings. Emergency officials from 50 parish, state, federal and volunteer organizations faced this scenario during a five-day exercise held this week at the State Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge. "The exercise used realistic weather and damage information developed by the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the LSU Hurricane Center and other state and federal agencies to help officials develop joint response plans for a catastrophic hurricane in Louisiana." That plan assumed such a hurricane would result in the opening of 1,000 evacuee shelters that would have to be staffed for 100 days, and a search and rescue operation using 800 people. The storm would create 30 million tons of debris, including 237,000 cubic yards of household hazardous waste. Mayfield said his concern now is that another named storm could hit either New Orleans or the Mississippi Gulf coast, as September is the most active month of the annual hurricane season. "This is like the fourth inning in a nine-inning ballgame," he said. "We know that another one would cause extreme stress on the people who have been hurt by Katrina."
  12. What can one say to this except, "Fuck you, too, asshole."
  13. vCity must overcome disaster, mayor says Nagin: Response still isn't enough from today By Doug MacCash Staff writer Viewed from the windows of a low-flying Blackhawk helicopter, the scope of Hurricane Katrina's destruction becomes clearer. The Causeway is like a broken spine, large sections of roadway listing disconcertingly into the brown water of Lake Pontchartrain. The modest homes in the Lower 9th Ward have been uprooted and are crushed together in clots like bumper cars. Pyramid-shaped rooftops are all that can be seen of many suburban-style houses in the Lakeview neighborhood. And the expanses of small trees that line the coastal wetlands of eastern New Orleans have been bent to the ground and combed precisely in one direction that marks the path of last week's ferocious wind. Nothing is right. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin knew that's what he would find when he conducted a helicopter survey Saturday of the city, a grim tour that graphically exposed members the national and local press to the destruction he's come to know well. The copter turned slow circles over the sky like a buzzard over the still-breached 17th St. Canal levee and twice paused in flight over New Orleanians who were still stranded. Nagin dropped water and a ready-to-eat meal to one of them. Preparing for the flight, Nagin was in a more sedate mood than he was during an expletive-ridden television interview Thursday, when he railed against the plodding federal and state relief efforts, accused President Bush and Gov. Kathleen Blanco of posturing for political advantage at a time of acute need, and burst into tears -- not that the situation in the drowning, crippled city had much improved. "When I woke up this morning," Nagin said, "I turned my radio off. I just couldn't digest any more bad news." Bush was forgiving of Nagin's tirade when they met Friday, Nagin said. "He said, 'Look, I know you said lots of things. We could have done better. I can't argue. Let's deal with the future.' ... Mr. Bush was really, really concerned." Blanco, too, understood his anger, Nagin said. "I told the president and her, 'I kind of lost it. But put yourselves in my shoes. If I said anything offensive, I apologize.' ... But then I immediately went on to tell them what I need." Nagin may have mended his fences politically, but he said he still believes the situation is being poorly handled. "We're still fighting over authority," he said. "A bunch of people are the boss. The state and the federal government are doing a two-step dance. "I told the president, 'I'm into solutions. If the state government can't take responsibility, then you take it.' ... I think it's getting better, but the pace is still not sufficient.'" Some observers have said that because the majority of storm evacuees are black, the lethargic disaster response has a racist component. But Nagin cast the color issue in another light. "I think it's more a class issue than race," he said. "The Superdome had mostly poor people in distress. The rich have resources the poor don't. The Convention Center was different. There the poor were mixed with people from hotels and predators. You had blacks, Hispanics, Asians. The predators in there didn't care. When those stories come out, like children raped, with their throats cut, then somebody's got to answer." Nagin's ire began to rise anew as he recalled a foiled strategy to send able-bodied refugees over the Crescent City Connection to the high ground of the West Bank. "We were taking in people from St. Bernard Parish," he said. "If we had a bottle of water, we shared it. Then when we were going to let people cross the bridge, they were met with frigging dogs and guns at the Gretna parish line. They said, 'We're going to protect Jefferson Parish assets.' "Some people value homes, cars and jewelry more than human life. The only escape route was cut off. They turned them back at the parish line." Nagin said that in order to cope with the always frustrating, sometimes overwhelming situation he has tried to "stay in the moment," dealing as best he can with each individual issue as it arises: a police officer's report that a large number of elderly people were stranded near Lee Circle; the sight of refugees continuing to gather on the city's raised highways. Nagin recalled with special dismay having recently been told that a New Orleans police officer committed suicide during the storm's aftermath. "I asked my people to get in touch with the LSU department of psychiatry," he said. "The police are holding the situation together with Band-Aids. We have to let them get three to five days off." As the Blackhawk coursed over the city, Nagin and the other passengers pointed out familiar landmarks made unfamiliar by the storm. The city was largely ruined. It would be as difficult to restart as the thousands of automobiles submerged in the murky water below. But Nagin insisted it must be restarted, no matter what. "I think I'm here for a reason: to rebuild," he said. "New Orleans is the soul of the country. It's the place jazz comes from. It has Mardi Gras Indians that nobody else has. It's a place where a chef can take a piece of fish and make it into a masterpiece. We don't even think about not rebuilding Miami. We don't think about rebuilding Los Angeles, and they're on a fault line. We just do it. We don't talk about it. I don't want to talk about that foolishness."
  14. The right wing blogoshpere's (the source of that bus picture) attempt to turn this into Nagin-gate (blame the black democrat) is laughable, that is if anything about this could be humorous. I do fault Nagin and other local officials for the Superdome plan because they knew it wouldn't work. It was used in the same way in 98 (Georges) and failed utterly, even though the storm didn't even hit. But the idea that New Orleans had the means to bus out everyone without cars or maintain its own levees is ridiculous. New Orleans is the poorest big city in the country - both in terms of people and government. The school system alone, the worst in the country, was 48 million dollars in debt this year. There is no tax base. What tax base there is isn't taxed due to the sacred homestead exemption. Oh, sure there's corruption and graft - lots of it. Mainly, there's just no money. Back to the busses: according to the same site that posts the bus pictures (linked from Instapundit) the busses in the picture would have transported 13,000 people out of the city. That still leaves you with 100,000. Moreover, who gets on the busses? Who stands there with guns telling people who can get on and who can't? The levee wall broke late Monday and people called the one working radio station (WWL870AM) to report that water was rising in Mid City, the lowest part of the city. Then someone from the station reported that there was a levee breach. From that point, it would have been clear to every official, federal, state, and local, who has looked at this problem what was going to happen. From that point, it should have been clear, that only a massive and swift federal response would help. It was announced about 11pm monday that there would be a 10AM Corps of Engineers meeting the next day. Guess even the Corps is infected by our manana culture. As of Tuesday, locals began to say to each other and on the radio, including the mayor, that the army has to come in now, the feds have to do this. Most NOPD had already worked 36 and 48 hour shifts. 1500 police officers and 1000 firefighters were responsible for round-the-clock rescue and security needs of 150,000 stranded hurricane victims. People would remain stranded on interstates, in the Dome, and at the convention center UNTIL SUNDAY MORNING. This despite the fact that media and even ordinary local citizens could easily reach these locations via the Miss. River bridge (aka Crescent City Connection). One final note about the evacuation and preparation: there was no time. As of Friday morning, Katrina was a minor storm headed for the Florida panhandle, according to the NWS. I checked a local news site at about noon and noticed that N.O. was suddenly in the western edge of the cone (even though 4 or 5 computer models had shifed over us). I made reservations in Baton Rouge, where we had planned to go anyway Sat morning to visit friends. Six hours later (Friday @6pm), the track had Katrina pointed at the Miss Gulf Coast as a 4. Most people I talked to hadn't even heard. It was Friday, they had been at work, they were going out. When we got up Sat. we saw that it was still coming at us. We left at about 10 AM and there was hardly any traffic on the road. The local evacuation plan was enacted. It is a 50-hr staged evacuation. The storm made landfall 45 hours later. The fact that 80% of the population got out with basically no notice, many just hours before the storm hit, is amazing. In terms of telling people to get out, I do not fault local officials. They did it as clearly and urgently and as soon as possible, period.
  15. I always thought the GOP was out to weaken federal power by bankrupting the government with tax cuts and profligate spending. Turns out, the strategy is to turn the entire federal government over to the Keystone Kops. Speaking of FEMA, I just completed the 25 minute online registration process entering every conceivable datum about my life. The result: they're mailing me a brochure It's probably on its way to my home address. Fraud Alert: FEMA Items Stolen Thieves Pretend To Be ‘Procurement Officers’ POSTED: 11:32 am CDT September 3, 2005 UPDATED: 11:46 am CDT September 3, 2005 Email This Story | Print This Story The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Saturday that many FEMA uniforms, badges and letterheads have been stolen in the New Orleans area are being used as fake identification by robbers. FEMA leaders said the crooks are referring to themselves as "FEMA Procurement Officers," even though no such officers exist. The agency said that the robbers are using the phony status to steal vehicles, fuel and valuables. In some cases, the robbers are armed. FEMA said its agents are never armed. FEMA officials said that if an armed person claiming to be from the agency approaches you, ask for photo identification, but also cooperate with their demands to avoid being hurt. Anyone with information about people who may be claiming to be FEMA personnel, call the offices in Baton Rouge at (225) 296-3421 or (225) 296-3335.