Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This is GREAT [very SAD but a great commentary!]

The "city" of Louisiana (Keith Olbermann)

SECAUCUS — Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it all, starting his news briefing Saturday afternoon: "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater..."

Well there's your problem right there.

If ever a slip-of-the-tongue defined a government's response to a crisis, this was it.

The seeming definition of our time and our leaders had been their insistence on slashing federal budgets for projects that might’ve saved New Orleans. The seeming characterization of our government that it was on vacation when the city was lost, and could barely tear itself away from commemorating V.J. Day and watching Monty Python's Flying Circus, to at least pretend to get back to work. The seeming identification of these hapless bureaucrats: their pathetic use of the future tense in terms of relief they could’ve brought last Monday and Tuesday — like the President, whose statements have looked like they’re being transmitted to us by some kind of four-day tape-delay.

But no. The incompetence and the ludicrous prioritization will forever be symbolized by one gaffe by of the head of what is ironically called “The Department of Homeland Security”: “Louisiana is a city…”

Politician after politician — Republican and Democrat alike — has paraded before us, unwilling or unable to shut off the "I-Me" switch in their heads, condescendingly telling us about how moved they were or how devastated they were — congenitally incapable of telling the difference between the destruction of a city and the opening of a supermarket.

And as that sorry recital of self-absorption dragged on, I have resisted editorial comment. The focus needed to be on the efforts to save the stranded — even the internet's meager powers were correctly devoted to telling the stories of the twin disasters, natural... and government-made.

But now, at least, it is has stopped getting exponentially worse in Mississippi and Alabama and New Orleans and Louisiana (the state, not the city). And, having given our leaders what we know now is the week or so they need to get their act together, that period of editorial silence I mentioned, should come to an end.

No one is suggesting that mayors or governors in the afflicted areas, nor the federal government, should be able to stop hurricanes. Lord knows, no one is suggesting that we should ever prioritize levee improvement for a below-sea-level city, ahead of $454 million worth of trophy bridges for the politicians of Alaska.

But, nationally, these are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping the country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq, and defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer. Yet they couldn't even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans — even though the government had heard all the "chatter" from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn't quite discern... a group called The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection — or at least amelioration — against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.

It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.

Mr. Bush has now twice insisted that, "we are not satisfied," with the response to the manifold tragedies along the Gulf Coast. I wonder which "we" he thinks he's speaking for on this point. Perhaps it's the administration, although we still don't know where some of them are. Anybody seen the Vice President lately? The man whose message this time last year was, 'I'll Protect You, The Other Guy Will Let You Die'?

I don't know which 'we' Mr. Bush meant.

For many of this country's citizens, the mantra has been — as we were taught in Social Studies it should always be — whether or not I voted for this President — he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week. I suspect a lot of his supporters, looking ahead to '08, are wondering how they can distance themselves from the two words which will define his government — our government — "New Orleans."

For him, it is a shame — in all senses of the word. A few changes of pronouns in there, and he might not have looked so much like a 21st Century Marie Antoinette. All that was needed was just a quick "I'm not satisfied with my government's response." Instead of hiding behind phrases like "no one could have foreseen," had he only remembered Winston Churchill's quote from the 1930's. "The responsibility," of government, Churchill told the British Parliament "for the public safety is absolute and requires no mandate. It is in fact, the prime object for which governments come into existence."

In forgetting that, the current administration did not merely damage itself — it damaged our confidence in our ability to rely on whoever is in the White House.

As we emphasized to you here all last week, the realities of the region are such that New Orleans is going to be largely uninhabitable for a lot longer than anybody is yet willing to recognize. Lord knows when the last body will be found, or the last artifact of the levee break, dug up. Could be next March. Could be 2100. By then, in the muck and toxic mire of New Orleans, they may even find our government's credibility.

Somewhere, in the City of Louisiana.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Greed, stupidity, or both?

Philadelphia looks into some of the stupidest proposal in the world! Car racing on the Parkway would be terrible!

Champ Car World Series Paul Newman and his colleagues still want to hold a high-speed auto race on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. My god in heaven are these people that arrogant that they can think this would be a good idea. I don't mind car races but there is a place for them RACE TRACKS, not city streets. Give me a break! "They" fuck the Parkway with every event known to man and now they want to endanger the buildings, the residents, with something like this. Stop with all the money grabbing and do some positive things for the beautification of the Parkway.

Some of the recommendations needed for the race are at least four pedestrian bridges and the widening of some of the roads to meet Champ Car World Series minimum requirements. These enhancements would do "irreparable damage to all the parkway institutions as well as the parkway itself."

Stewart Graham, a spokesman for Councilman Frank Rizzo, one of the supporters of a Champ Car race, said he thought an agreement could be reached because of the dramatic visual appeal of the parkway. "I think it might be possible to adjust these plans," Graham said. "If it's that attractive, maybe they'll just make adjustments in their proposal."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Please help if you can...

Here are more resources to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina:

Habitat for Humanity Help Hurricane Victims Rebuild Their Lives. The situation on the Gulf Coast is grave. Reports of devastation are staggering. Thousands of families are left homeless or with homes that are severely damaged. Katrina was nothing short of catastrophic--especially for families in low-income housing and mobile home parks. In a disaster like this, families who were hanging on by a thread before the hurricane will sadly suffer the most in its aftermath. They have lost so much. We must help them piece their lives back together.

ACORN the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities. Since 1970, ACORN has grown to more than 175,000 member families, organized in 850 neighborhood chapters in 75 cities across the U.S. and in cities in Canada, the Dominican Republic and Peru.

NAACP Disaster Relief Fund In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the NAACP has launched the Disaster Relief Fund to raise monies through its members and those citizens of good will who want to help. The funds raised will be used to: 1) provide immediate assistance to the worst affected victims, 2) mobilize resources to feed, cloth and shelter displaced victims, and 3) to ensure the equitable distribution of money and resources from Federal, state and local government and other relief agencies.

Great work by a "blogger"!
Katrina - IF YOU WANT TO HELP :: Where to send goods/supplies.

An online resource to help architects and students resume work and school until New Orleans' infrastructure is stable enough for its citizens to return. This resource also contains updated disaster news and related discussions, targeted primarily toward the architecture and design industry.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

You can help those who can not help themselves Noah's Wish dedicated to sheltering and rescuing animals in disasters throughout the United States.

I have so little respect for the current administration and then I read this and feel all the more frustrated. It is so terrible that billions of dollars are wasted everyday to fight a war and the infrastructure of the U.S. is failing because of mismanagement, egotism and poor judgment.

and if that isn't enough... Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? 'Times-Picayune' Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues.

Let's toast New Orleans:

My favorite and a truly quintessential "old" New Orleans cocktail: The Sazerac Cocktail
1 teaspoon of simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar)
3 - 4 dashes Peychaud's bitters
2 ounces rye whiskey (most New Orleans bars use Old Overholt)
1/4 teaspoon Herbsaint, a New Orleans brand of anise liqueur
(You may use Pernod, or some other pastis or absinthe substitute)
Strip of lemon peel

Of course there is the Pimms Cup (never one of my favorites)
Ice cubes
2 ounces Pimms Number 1 Cup
6 ounces ginger ale
2 ounces lemon lime soda or club soda
1/4 cup cucumber pieces or 1 cucumber spear
Put ice in a highball glass or mug. Add the Pimms and then the ginger ale and soda. Stir and garnish with cucumber. Serve.

And ever tourists favorite -- The Hurricane (I don't like these either)
1.5 ounces light rum
1.5 ounces dark rum
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice (NOT Rose's or RealLime)
1/4 cup passion fruit juice, or 1 tablespoon passion fruit syrup
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 teaspoon grenadine
Cherries with stems, and orange slice to garnish
Ice cubes
In a cocktail shaker, mix the rum, passion fruit juice or syrup, the other juices and the sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add the grenadine, and stir to combine, then add ice and shake. Half-fill a hurricane glass with ice, then strain drink into glass; add ice to fill. Garnish with orange slice and cherries.

And if this isn't enough check out the following page and remember and enjoy New Orleans.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Can we recover? I really have to wonder with George W. Bush running this county. This blog expresses it so well -- listen to the music playing in your head Economically speaking, the Bush administration has depleted our resources in the Iraq war with an eye towards its own imperialist agenda. The war was waged by a group of men seeking to benefit financially on an individual level, exercising an inhumanitarian version of free market capitalism that bred international scrutiny, fueled domestic distrust, and most notably from an economic standpoint, cost quite a lot of money.

More ways to help...

Operation USA assists developing communities here and abroad in addressing problems relating to natural and man-made disasters and chronic poverty through the creation of sustainable health, nutrition and disaster response programs. We provide essential materials, training, advocacy and financial support for such programs.

Bnai Brith International Disaster Relief Donations Form In response to the tremendous devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, B’nai B’rith is activating its disaster relief fund. The fund will collect funds that will be used to provide assistance to victims of this vicious storm.

AmeriCares: Humanitarian lifeline to the world.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I have no idea what to do…

Hurricane Katrina is overwhelming and I just wish I could go there and help. Since that would be unrealistic here are some ways to help:

Network for Good: Resources for non-profit organizations.

Architecture for Humanity Our thoughts are with all those left stranded without food or water, those coping with the loss of loved ones and those left homeless by the disaster. Over the course of the next several weeks we will be evaluating ways that we can help locally-based architects and community groups rebuild their homes and communities.

Animal Evacuation and Recovery Plan for New Orleans The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LA/SPCA), the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA), the Louisiana Animal Control Association (LACA), and the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) are managing animal evacuations and recovery plans for New Orleans pets and displaced animals.


What a great use for all those old audio cassette tapes SONIC FABRIC