Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Gay Gay Gay --
Larry's piece on the homosexuality of David Dreier.
(2:50 PM) 0 comments

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sociologists Question the New Orleans Gone Wild Meme --
From my diary at DailyKos:

"I don't think I've ever seen such an egregious example of victim blaming as I have in this disaster." - Kathleen Tierney, sociologist and director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder

This story shows how academics feel that news coverage on Hurricane Katrina is probably misleading.

For those uninclined to read the full article, the gist is that disasters tend to be followed by misinformation and rumor-mongering and that people tend to interpret crowd behavior as worse than it actually is.

Tierney says that it would be extraordinarily counterproductive if officials, inspired by what they think of as the New Orleans example, militarized disaster operations--focusing more on restoring "order" via the National Guard than on getting food and water to needy residents and organizing residents, who know the area, into rescue parties. The dawn-to-dusk curfew imposed in New Orleans, she said, was exactly the wrong idea. "By putting them in lockdown, [federal officials] are preventing the people in New Orleans from helping each other," she says.

My own personal theory of human behavior posits that there are both formal and informal layers to society. A rules-oriented prioritization of order and security tends to over-concentrate on formal society and tends to ignore informal society that actually governs much of daily life. Which this seems to confirm. The boogeyman of the nanny state which conservatives bring out to scare people would be wrong, but so too is the minimal state because both extremes fail to recognize and support society in both its formal and informal natures.
(5:00 PM) 0 comments

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Buying a Computer --
I am in the market for a new desktop and this article seems mildly useful.
(1:15 AM) 0 comments

I Love Grid Lock --
Can you beat this game just like I did?
(12:57 AM) 2 comments

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Poker Player Describes New Orleans --
From The 2 2 Forums

The situation is grim. I took 50 cases of water to the suburb of Algiers, on the westbank from New Orleans, yesterday afternoon. Its only enough water for 1 bottle apiece for 1,200 people. Tens of thousands are still without water/food.

The load I took saturday was donated by citizens and store owners from Lafayette. After seeing the devestation, I've decided to buy more water myself and bring it on sunday.

New Orleans is an armed camp. I dropped the water off at the command post for the Algiers area, a toll booth building, and everyone was armed, including myself. Guns, shotguns, and M-16's were everywhere. Not a single person was unarmed, it looked like Beruit in the 80's.

The efforts of the resuce workers is nothing short of heroic. Some have not slept more than a few hours at a time in 5 days. Nerves are frayed and tempers are short, and yet they continue to rescue people from certain death.

The federal presence is minimal. While we did see some Guard units moving in, but the majority (90%) were local law enforcement or police from other jurisdictions doing the work. I met a boat captain and his 1st mate who had been ferrrying people from New Orleans to Algiers, across the MIssissippi river, non-stop frm sun up to sun down for 5 days straight. At a checkpoint, I met a local cop who had been maning her post almost non-stop for 5 days. He face was burned red from being outside, exposed to the sun all that time.

I know of one State Senator who has been driving into the city with his boat every morning at 5am, rescuing people, and not returning home til midnight. Tomorrow will be day 6 that he's been doing these rescues.

2 men who live in the 9th ward single handidly rescued 400 people trapped in their attics. No one else has appeared in the 9th ward to help. These 2 men have been living on a roof for 5 days, rescuing people from sunrise to sunset. The Coast Guard dropped them a package of MRE's and water, otherwise they would have had to abandoned their efforts.

If you live anywhere near New Orleans, your help is desperatly needed. Please call Congressman Charles Melancon's office in Washington D.C. His people are directing volunteers to sites where desperate help is needed.

If you live anywhere else in the United States, please call your United States Senators and Congressmen. Tell them that the federal response is unacceptable and more needs to be done immediatly. Call the White House, tell them that more help needs to be sent now, not 2 or 3 days from now when the "paperwork" is correct, but right now.

Please donate anything you can.
(11:08 PM) 1 comments

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Rant of New Orleans --
Posted as a comment to this thread:

I'll be honest. I'm rather pissed about all this. If I were still trapped in New Orleans and had a gun and knew everything I know, I'd be rather tempted to take out my frustration by putting a bullet through the first government representative I see, whether it be a politician, an administrator in a suit, or a soldier in uniform. And if things continue to be botched and misdirected, I may go all Pat Robertson in advocating what needs to be done to counter-productive leadership to make things, well, not better but rather less horrific. How the hell does FEMA not know thousands are at the Convention Center?

I can't help but think that there are decision makers out there who watched the news and thought, "That's what poor people normally look like, anyways. What's the big deal?" I am certain that if terrorists had blow up the levees instead, George W. Bush would have already logged plenty of photo op time.

I have this image in my mind of various decision makers seeing pictures on TV and thinking that nothing was wrong because it looked like pictures of "normal poor people."

I was watching CNN earlier today. I was struck by the words of Jack Cafferty:
"And a lot about calling Congress back. Wolf, you remember when they ordered the feeding tube disconnected from Terri Schiavo? Congress returned to Washington on a Sunday night in order a pass some sort of a piece of legislation that was calling on them to reconnect the feeding tube. In a matter of hours, they came back on holiday. This hurricane happened on Monday, they may show up in Washington tomorrow, Friday, to work on a resolution to appropriate some money for these people in New Orleans. I guess it's all about what's important to you, isn't it?"

I'll stop ranting now.
(3:32 AM) 0 comments