Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Encours et Toujours XVI

1) The Onion gets it right again:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/40525

Halliburton Gets Contract To Pry Gold Fillings From New Orleans Corpses' Teeth
September 14, 2005 Issue 41•37

HOUSTON—On Tuesday, Halliburton received a $110 million no-bid government contract to pry the gold fillings from the mouths of deceased disaster victims in the New Orleans-Gulf Coast area. "We are proud to serve the government in this time of crisis by recovering valuable resources from the wreckage of this deadly storm," said David J. Lesar, Halliburton's president. "The gold we recover from the human rubble of Katrina can be used to make fighter-jet electronics, supercomputer chips, inflation-proof A-grade investments, and luxury yachting watches."



2) Today all MS, AL, and TX senators (each Republican) voted against setting up an independent Katrina commission, and David Vitter sat it out. It seems to me that they should get some heat on this:

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00229#position

Here's a daily kos posting concerning that same vote:

www.dailykos.com

Senate Republicans Kill Independent Katrina ResponseInvestigation by DavidNYC Wed Sep 14th, 2005 at 13:09:57 PDT

Bastards. Not that I'm surprised - but I'm alwaysangry. Every Republican but LA's Vitter voted "no" (hedidn't vote at all) - including that scumbag allegedmoderate Chaffee. Every Dem plus Jeffords voted "yes."(Corzine, presumably, was absent.)

Once again, the Peter Pan Syndrome - or should I sayTinkerbell Syndrome - kicks in for the GOP.

Whensomething goes wrong, they don't even want to knowabout it. Just clap harder, assholes.

P.S. This is why it's so important to hold the caucustogether - a straight party-line vote makes framingmuch easier. And boy have the Republicans setthemselves up to get whooped on this one. Now it'sjust up to our side to make sure the whoopin' getsdone.



3) Blanco vindicated by Congressional report:

www.dailykos.com

The actual report:http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/crskatrinarept91205.pdf

Blanco didn't goof on state of emergency by kos Tue Sep 13th, 2005 at 21:10:49 PDT

Non-partisan Congressional report (PDF) clears Blancoagainst (ridiculous) charges that she did not call astate of emergency in time. From a Rep. Conyers pressrelease (PDF):

"This report closes the book on the BushAdministration's attempts to evade accountability byshifting the blame to the Governor of Louisiana forthe Administration's tragically sluggish response toKatrina. It confirms that the Governor did everythingshe could to secure relief for the people of Louisianaand the Bush Administration was caught napping at acritical time."

In addition to finding that "...it would appear thatthe Governor did take the steps necessary to requestemergency and major disaster declarations for theState of Louisiana in anticipation of HurricaneKatrina. (p.11)" The report found that:

All necessary conditions for federal relief were meton August 28. Pursuant to Section 502 of the StaffordAct, "[t]he declaration of an emergency by thePresident makes Federal emergency assistanceavailable," and the President made such a declarationon August 28. The public record indicates that severaladditional days passed before such assistance wasactually made available to the State;

The Governor must make a timely request for suchassistance, which meets the requirements of federallaw. The report states that "[e]xcept to the extentthat an emergency involves primarily Federalinterests, both declarations of major disaster anddeclarations of emergency must be triggered by arequest to the President from the Governor of theaffected state";

The Governor did indeed make such a request, which wasboth timely and in compliance with federal law. Thereport finds that "Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blancorequested by letter dated August 27, 2005...that thePresident declare an emergency for the State ofLouisiana due to Hurricane Katrina for the time periodfrom August 26, 2005 and continuing pursuant to[applicable Federal statute]" and "Governor Blanco'sAugust 27, 2005 request for an emergency declarationalso included her determination...that `the incidentis of such severity and magnitude that effectiveresponse is beyond the capabilities of the State andaffected local governments and that supplementaryFederal assistance is necessary to save lives, protectproperty, public health, and safety, or to lessen oravert the threat of disaster."

Hang the people responsible for this mess, be theyDemocrat, Republican, or whatever else. I don't care.But if Republicans are going to smear and claim it'ssomeone else's fault, they might want to make surereality backs them up. Aren't they the supposedlygodly ones? What's that 9th Commandment say again?




4) Charmaine Neville's testimony:

Video:

http://www.wafb.com/Global/SearchResults.asp?qu=charmaine+neville&x=13&y=

Transcript on DailyKos:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/9/7/182431/8610

NEVILLE: MY SOUL IS NEW ORLEANS

Advocate staff photo by MARK SALTZDamion Neville, left, hugs his mother, New Orleans jazz and blues singer Charmaine Neville, who survived Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The two were reunited on Saturday in Baton Rouge after Damion arrived from Houston.Resting Saturday at a friend's quiet home in Southdowns, Charmaine Neville was a world away from the despair and desperation that surrounded her New Orleans home last week.Before Hurricane Katrina and breaks in the city's levee system brought a great city to its knees, Neville lived on Pauline Street in the city's Ninth Ward.A singer, Neville is a member of one of New Orleans' great musical families. Her father, Charles Neville, performs with uncles Aaron, Art and Cyril in the Neville Brothers band. She estimates the musicians in her family number well over 100. In New Orleans, she said, every neighborhood and every family has musicians.

http://www.2theadvocate.com/stories/090405/new_soul001.shtml



5) Here's a link to a superfund site near in the 9th Ward, that might be affected by the flooding:

http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/la.htm#Agriculture_Street_Landfill




6) Here's an eyewitness account / letter from a St. Bernard resident:

Today I went to the the Capitol with Bill Hyland for a called meeting at 2:00 p.m. for St. Bernard Parish residents. Some people arrived at 10:00 a.m. and when we arrived the crowd circled the whole building and up the front steps. We were able to enter on the ground level and enter the House Chamber. The crowd was in the thousands and it was pandemonium. The only mention of the St. Bernard courthouse was by one speaker who said the water had come up on the first floor. I think, but have no way of knowing, that speakers were set up for the hundreds who could not get into the building. The trauma of these people is unbelievable. They have no answers - they were told to settle in where they are for at least 4 months. No house was without damage. They think tornadoes hit in more than one place. All state and parish officials were present with unbelievable stories. These people all stayed in the parish during the Hurricane and are still there with the help of Murphy Oil and their facilities. They took over their own parish and without help from anywhere they protected their people and the parish. With a solid plan they will allow people to go back to check for any belongings and then leave, after the polluted oil spill is cleaned up. Many teachers need jobs but will get checks until the money runs out. No one is talking about "old records" (documents) only day to day survival right now. There is some interesting work going on state wide to prevent historic buildings such as the remains of the Islenos Museum from being dozed until some assessment can be done. The all purpose build stands as do the houses which have been moved to the complex. The Ducros house stood with ruined interior. A ssessments were given by all parish departments, the major concern is dealing with the insurance companies who, once again in Louisiana, will declare that the damage is from rising water and not wind. Charlie Melancon is working on this with Congress. I was able to greet many of our Islenos friends and all of the Parish officials. They are tired but no one spoke of slowing down until the job is done. They do have a Colorado National Guard Unit helping now. These are some of my thoughts and experiences and if you want to ask about anything I have not included please let me know. Bill will continue to be with me part of each day handling messages from the Islands and other places. His house stands, has damage, and had about10 feet of water inside. His plans, as others, are uncertain at this point. The US Post Office is now setting up a system where peope can receive mail where ever they are, this is a massive undertaking as is everything else.



7) Animal rescues in NO:

Adam Parascandola is an animal control officer in Washington, D.C. He is in New Orleans rescuing animals.
Aside from the public health and safety necessity (imagine the potential for the spread of disease by sick and abandoned animals), animal rescue efforts are aiding in the rescues of humans. Many poor and elderly people consider their pets to be their closest companions. Adam has encountered several New Orleans residents who were reluctant to leave their homes without their pets but became willing after they learned their animal companions would be rescued and cared for.

Here is a link to Adam's blog:

http://www.washhumane.org/hurricane%20index.htm




8) New Yorker article on Mississippi Gulf Coast gaming, EPA regulations, and Trent Lott's interventions:

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/050919ta_talk_mayer

WIND ON CAPITOL HILLHIGH STAKESIssue of 2005-09-19Posted 2005-09-12

Among the blown-off rooftops, upended pine trees, and other detritus that Katrina scattered along the Gulf Coast were a good number of twisted and bashed-in slot machines. The storm had hurled them ashore as it ripped casino barges from their moorings in Biloxi, Gulfport, and Bay St. Louis.

Carol Browner was the head of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton Administration, when many casinos in Mississippi were constructed. Last week, speaking from her office at the Washington consulting firm where she now works, she recalled the difficulties that her department experienced years ago when they tried to persuade legislators, including Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, that building on wetlands was environmentally risky. Developers, and the politicians who supported them, argued that gambling would attract commerce to the state.

The proposed casinos, Browner said, “were supposed to be in the water because the state didn’t want them on the solid land.” (To accommodate the moral qualms of conservative locals, the legislature relegated gambling to “navigable waters.”) She went on, “But they were huge, and they were right up against the shore. If you put structures this big into an estuary, you’re disrupting the aquatic life and changing the habitat and eradicating the wetlands, which has a huge effect on drainage. The wetlands act like a sponge in a storm. They’re an incredibly smart and helpful part of nature. But they have to be kept moist, like a sponge on your kitchen counter. If they’re dried out, and developed, they don’t work. The shoreline’s a very important buffer in a storm.”

Browner said that Lott was not alone among politicians in his disregard for the environment. “For fifty years,” she pointed out, “there’s been significant inattention to the environmental consequences of developing the wetlands.” But Lott was particularly single-minded in his support of casino development. “I had barely taken office,” Browner said, “when I discovered there was a ‘hold’ on a department nominee.” (Placing a hold, which is a common maneuver in the Senate, can keep a nominee’s name from moving forward to a vote.) “I didn’t have a clue who put the hold on the nominee. Then Trent Lott called me up and said that he had done it. He told me, ‘I figured I’d have a problem with the E.P.A. I don’t have one yet. But this is a warning to you.’ Then he lifted the hold. But the message was clear.

“A few years later, in 1997, Clinton nominated someone else to a job in the E.P.A. that needed Senate confirmation,” she recalled. Browner learned that a hold had been placed on this person, too. “It was a person who was perfectly qualified,” she said. “So the hold seemed odd.

“We called around to see what was the matter,” she went on. “And I found out that Lott had put a hold on this person. I then spoke with him about it, and he said, ‘It’s not about the nominee.’ He said, ‘It’s because I want you to fire another employee, because he’s standing in the way of wetlands permits needed for casinos.’
“He wanted me to fire this guy who was handling the wetlands permits down in our regional office in Atlanta,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it if I’d wanted to. I told him I wasn’t going to. It’s the job of the E.P.A. to enforce Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which covers all wetlands permits, and this guy was doing his job.” Browner said that she did not tell the employee in Atlanta, because she didn’t want him to feel pressured. “Lott thought the guy was working with the Army Corps of Engineers to hold up the casino permits, and he was determined to get rid of him.”

Browner said that Lott kept the hold on the nominee for several months. “We couldn’t get the confirmation through,” she said. “Then finally, one day, I heard that the Atlanta wetlands-permit officer was no longer in the job.” (A person close to the agency says that the Atlanta officer, whose name was Mike Wylie, was transferred to another job within the E.P.A., where he still works.)

“I called Lott,” Browner said, “and I told him that I didn’t fire the guy but that he was gone. That very night, the E.P.A. nominee was confirmed.” (Both Lott and Wylie declined to comment.)

For years Lott has had a house on the Gulf, in Pascagoula, a hundred-and-fifty-four-year-old cottage built on stilts. It was obliterated by Hurricane Katrina. When President Bush toured the blighted coastline with Lott, he said, “Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house—he’s lost his entire house—there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.”




9) Cheney's heckler identified:

The doctor is in

The heckler who cursed Vice-President Dick Cheney on live television has become a bit of a hero among foes of the Bush administration.

The man, who had just visited his hurricane-destroyed home at the time he told the veep to "Go [bleep] yourself Mr. Cheney," has been identified as Dr. Ben Marble, a young emergency-room physician who plays in alternative rock bands.

He has been lauded on various Web sites and blogs, has set up his own Web site that discusses the incident, has been attempting to sell a tape of the incident on eBay, and even links to a line of "Go [Bleep] Yourself Mr. Cheney" merchandise, including T-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, a baby bib, and a dog shirt, emblazoned with the now-infamous line.

"So we survived the worst disaster in the history of our nation," Marble writes on his Web site, "Only to have a politician come to our neighborhood to try to score some brownie points after totally screwing up the rescue efforts????"

Merchandise Link:

http://www.cafepress.com/benmarblemd



10) Katrina activism announcement, from "Working Assets":

ACTIVISM UPDATE: September 14, 2005

Political Justice for Hurricane Families

Shame on America. The horror of Katrina has revealed, not just to this nation but to the world, the growing fissures between the working poor and the ultra rich, between African American and white citizens, between those who had the resources to get out of New Orleans -- and those who were left to drown.

You've given to relief. Now it's time to stand with those who were left behind to ensure that when the next Katrina hits, America does not fail the least among us. There are three ways to give.

Tell Washington: The common good depends on good government

Give now: $5 will help us put this billboard up in Grover Norquist's neighborhood.

After you've given money to help evacuees with basic human needs, make a $5 donation to send a message to Washington, D.C. Our lawmakers need to know that the common good depends upon good government. Your token contribution of $5 will help us put this shocking graphic on a billboard outside of Grover Norquist's office at Americans for Tax Reform where 100 influential conservative leaders hold a weekly strategy session each Wednesday.

------------------------------------------------------
Reunite families brutally separated by the haphazard and too-late evacuation

Give now: If you act now, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar -- and a $49.50, $99.50 or $149.50 contribution buys a $99, $199 or $299 one-way ticket to reunite a family.

During the evacuation, mothers -- almost exclusively African American-- had to choose between remaining with older children and carrying infants to safety. Extended families boarded separate buses, unsure of their fate, only to find themselves separated by thousands of miles and trapped in shelters with no way out. Husbands and wives, parents and children, now in shelters, have to endure the continuing trauma of separation. You can reunite a family today by helping us buy one-way tickets which we are providing, without bureaucratic red tape, to families in shelters identified by our friends at the NAACP, ACORN and other groups on the ground.

-----------------------------------------------------
Help evacuees organize to demand a say in relief funds and reconstruction efforts

Give now: Don't let the government leave evacuees behind again.

As Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center puts it, the governing philosophy of the people who run our government is sink or swim for almost everybody unless you are a crony, and then different rules apply. We must act now to ensure that evacuees have a say in how resources are allocated to survivors and to protect the long-term redevelopment of New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities from opportunistic cronyism. Corporations with close ties to those in power -- like Halliburton -- cannot be allowed to treat disaster recovery efforts as a corporate ATM. Humane treatment of survivors demands more than a handout -- it demands a sea change in politics as usual.

Make one donation to our Political Justice for Survivors fund and we'll support a range of local community-based organizations who won't pack up and leave once the media spotlight goes away. These groups include:
ACORN supports the political organizing of evacuees to get the respect they deserve from local and national political representatives and fight for humane treatment. A national network of community organizations, ACORN is headquartered in New Orleans and has been particularly hit hard by this tragedy.

New Orleans People's Committee was convened by Black community activists and organizers of color from Community Labor United. The goal of the committee is to unite evacuees to demand a role in reviewing and influencing how resources are allocated on behalf of survivors and to fight for decision-making power in the long-term redevelopment of New Orleans.

Long after the aid agencies and relief volunteers have gone, the New Orleans Network, Sparkplug Foundation, Biloxi-based Gulf Coast Community Foundation, and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation will still be working on the ground to help evacuees and the families of hurricane survivors as they forge new lives in the wake of Katrina.

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Please forward this newsletter to your friends, mailing lists and bloggers you know to help spread the word about this important campaign!

Please give generously to reunite families and help us build a better, more humane Gulf Coast.

Michael KieschnickPresidentWorking Assets If you do not wish to receive updates about ways you can make your voice heard:

Please click on the following link to unsubscribe to this newsletter.

http://www.workingforchange.com/unsub/wa_unsub.cfm?emailaddr=naltikriti@yahoo.com
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PLEASE SEND QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS TO:
katrina@workingassets.com.
www.workingassets.com




11) Another eyewitness account, one from a perspective many wish didn't exist -- but does:

An interesting insight from a man who "rode it out" (as opposed to the talking heads and others who got there later). The following report is from a USNA, who left the Navy four years after graduation, got a PhD in astronautics and went to work for NASA for 35 years. He now owns a B&B in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and was brought up in New Orleans. He has been missing for a week but finally surfaced today and this is his first report. for my money, you can forget everything anyone else has written or broadcast -- these are the straight facts, or as close as you can get to them. Gentlemen:

Thanks to you all for kind thoughts and prayers for those impacted by this disaster of biblical size.
We are back at home after almost a week in a local motel room after we lost power (I have to sleep with a machine, I fear).

Prior to power loss, we had a house full (one or two who even offered to pay me - most were freebies). Slowly after power loss the temperature finally got too hot (and even our freebies left us) for comfort (above 100 degrees one day).

One of our refugee families (It's OK to call them refugees - as they are white!) started their careers at Martin in Baltimore and ended up in New Orleans on the Shuttle External Tank. Their home was on Emerald Street in a high end neighborhood near the 17th Street canal. They left here for Baltimore - where they have relatives.
Another "guest" family was trying to decide between family in Michigan or Houston. Another just lost some shingles.

One lived on the Beach Road in Pass Christian. Their home is so many splinters. I don't think I was able to relieve their shock enough - but did get them past the zombie stage before they left for family in Alabama.
A bunch (7-8) went and stayed with my brother-in-law in the huge metropolis of Valley Park, Mississippi - so even with no power, our "guests" got taken care of before we departed for cooler, if smaller quarters for ourselves.

Our burglar alarm eventually lost even backup power - and Vicksburg appears to have inherited at least one gang of looters (victims to Vic P.) who - while breaking in - mistook some of our high end electronics for food and water for their starving families. Hopefully the internal heat forced them out once their arms were full. I don't know if these "victims" were at the Superdome or not. They tried again when the alarm was up and were defeated by it - but not caught.

Only other personal loss of any consequence is four freezers of frozen food.

So we will survive - and the house is getting cool - I just have not figured out how to get the trees cut up and disposed of (one guy wanted $500! - I'll watch them rot in place before I pay that). Hopefully, a cousin will help do that tomorrow.

OK. Katrina.

First - The worst storm I have ever seen (and I saw a lot from New Orleans and elsewhere). The worst.

NASA used to loan me to the Corps of Engineers, the FEMA folks, the city and state, the Weather Bureau et al to help them plan for storm and flooding (Mississippi River, too) disasters.

Never. Never. Never did we see - nor contemplate - a category 5 storm 1300 miles wide!

Never did we figure 4 breaches of the levees.

We figured a storm surge overtopping one of the levees - or a single breach - but never four breaches.

We never figured losing the Mississippi Gulf Coast and even parts of New Orleans at the same time - nor part of Alabama.

We never figured storm damage the size of Minnesota!

We never figured losing principal bridges and highways for entry.

The size of the storm and the extent of the damage is unprecedented. Far beyond anything anyone has ever seen or contemplated.

Un-damned-believable!

So I am not surprised at all that the initial response was "inadequate."

Use of the Superdome was to protect you from the wind and rain until they were gone - you were supposed to go back home soon as the worst passed - not make it your home. The pumps would handle the worst of the rain water.

Food and drink?

They had enough for a few (less than 2000) folks for two-three hours.

Baby formula? Dialysis? Special medicines?

Get real!!!

So the true answer to "Who is responsible?" is that Katrina is - no person.

Because there has never been a storm like this any time in our known past - no one did nor could have predicted any storm this big - let alone what to do about it.

For you California boys, think of an earthquake that knocks out from north of Napa to the Mexican border - from the ocean to Phoenix.

Were there mistakes made?

You bet!
The mayor did not have anyone competent to plan nor execute big storm actions. HE waited too late (or didn't know) to ask for things. No curfew. No city transit nor school buses used to take people to shelter or out. No food, water, etc. No police plan (2/3 police force vanished - now they lie about it). New Orleans police robbing a crime scene is not unheard of. (There are some clean NOLA police officers, but they are unusual.)
The governor was not much better ("stupid" comes to mind). Wanted to keep personal control so bad - she forget that you had to do the right things at the right time. Did not have the National Guard ready. Did not have competent staff for this (had nice young men who campaigned for her). Did not ask for the right stuff at the right time. I called the State "Emergency Operations Center" the night of the landfall and the next day several times and they couldn't even tell me which roads were closed - couldn't even give me local law enforcement phone numbers! Big salary; nice offices; crap for brains.

The state (governor) even blocked the Red Cross from New Orleans (as in food, water, and medical care.......)! Go figure. [THIS IS NOT TRUE, FEMA BLOCKED THE RED CROSS FROM NO. I GOT THIS WHILE THERE - NABIL]

As much as Baker and Vic P. might dislike it, George Bush did the right thing before it was necessary - he declared the emergency before the storm came ashore! That made the federal assets available then - but the city and state had to ask for them - and didn't - until too late.

Contrast that with Mississippi and Alabama - where the governors (and mayors) DID ask for help as the law requires. Worst destruction, but less than expected loss of life - and without the stupid handling of "refugees" and "Afro-American citizens."

The bureaucracy? Lord!

Congress - who said levee improvements were "Pork!" Those good liberal NY Senators, for example - maybe even Californian's!

Enough blame for everyone - if you are so inclined - blame your favorite. But if you do or must blame, you are less than intelligent.

The storm is to blame. Never before one so big and strong.

Keep your "Yeah, but's" to yourselves. I'm tired of them. It is stupid politics - not facts.

Constraints

I-10 east of New Orleans (and US90 East of Biloxi) were closed - the bridges were gone!

The causeway north of New Orleans was closed.

I-10 on the West side of New Orleans was(is) under water.

Only state Hwy 1/ US90 west were open (once debris was removed) at all - not a main nor well known route.
Legal and admin constraints (you gotta know to ask - and ask).
TV

For the most part, TV reporters and "experts" were full of crap. Note that most of them (until the last couple of days) were seen in front of the Superdome, Convention Center, their hotel, Bourbon street, or the I-10 next to the dome - all nice and dry areas near their hotel rooms. With only the occasional helicopter ride - and even then they couldn't identify where they were.

In other words - they didn't cover "New Orleans"- just a very small area near the dome.
Their "experts" are also mostly full of it - not all, but most.

Personal

One friend of our son just called us. He was thought dead until two days ago when he surfaced in time for his memorial service! He went five days without a meal. He was to come stay with us - but the FEMA powers flew him to Salt Lake City (no choice) instead. Doing well now. Mormons are great hosts.

Our granddaughter has a friend at school who has still not heard from her parents from Bay St. Louis. By now, I think you can connect those dots. We plan to do something to help her keep her scholarship without the state getting in it - to mess her up.

Fritz, we are delighted you found your sister. We are still searching (and praying) for a lot of friends.

New Orleans

Bill P. posted an article that sums it up pretty well.

The nation has no choice but to rebuild it. New Orleans is the single, most important port in the nation.
Agriculture, energy, chemicals, imports. Two thirds of the continent's production flows through New Orleans - and always has. Jefferson foresaw it; Andy Jackson secured it for us; and Lincoln understood its importance to us all. No corner of this country is without something that passed through that port. And we need those special skills in that location. Those people need some place to live.

When your house floods - You don't bulldoze it!

You cut out and remove all sheet rock or plaster and insulation below the max water level. Let it dry out.

Lliberally spray straight Clorox on all studs and outside wall from the inside. Let it dry out. (This kills bacteria and mold spores.)

Spray and saturate lumber with Zintox or Coppertox (if you can find it) to kill future bugs and preserve the wood ( or a long lasting insecticide and wood preservative).

Install insulation (after checking/cleaning electrical, plumbing, etc.) with about 1/3 small box of baking soda loose on top of insulation (fire protection).

Put up sheet rock, tape it, float it, texture it, and paint it.

Pass out the beer.

Light up a Cuban cigar.

New Orleans is bad geology, but manageable. Those who say not to rebuild are full of it - they just want publicity - or for us to pay them a consulting fee for their worthless opinions (like so many "talking heads"). Existing technology will do it (ask the Dutch).

Restoring the wetlands can be done with silt from the river (that's how they were formed before the levees). Ever heard of a siphon? Yet Congress killed the funding to even try it.

As far as the politics - or socio-economic underclass of New Orleans - that may have no solution - that is practical nor solvable - in this forum.

I'm too tired tonight to even think about it. It has been building up for a long time - and it ain't pleasant to fix - but too many black poor in too small a space.

We are on the third generation of New Orleans welfare poor.

Did anyone besides me notice the Viet-Namese/Americans waiting to evacuate?

The Viets waited quietly - no whining to TV - and left New Orleans last - as a group - cleaning up the trash around them before departure.

The Effort

I think we can all agree that those who did show up to help - did a great, unselfish job. We even had a fire truck from Los Angeles, doctors from Wisconsin, boat rescuers from Kentucky, help from everywhere - even West Virginia. Those Coast Guard kids were great rescued 1,700 the first night. The National Guards from so many states are wonderful. A great national effort.

Here in Vicksburg, we have over 700 new citizens we are trying to adsorb above the initial surge. 220 new kids in our public schools today. Even quite a few in the private schools. The (white) Baptist churches are truly leading the way here - almost makes me ashamed to be a Methodist - all denominations are helping the Baptists.

South Mississippi recovery will be slow but will happen. The National Guard from other states may be released to go back to their homes in a few days - the effort there is going better than expected.

What can you do?

The Red Cross, Salvation Army, the Navy and Marine Corps
relief groups, Air Force Aid Society all need help with this.

Contact your elected representatives and ask them to speed the rebuilding.
You'll be doing yourselves a favor.

"It is a gift that is twice blessed."

Thank you,Bill Smollen, USNA'57 (15), Past President, Bed and Breakfast Association ofMississippi (BBAM)Bill and Shirley Smollen, Proprietors1902-8 Stained Glass Manor - Oak Hall2430 Drummond Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180



12) Musician Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown Dies:

See also his own website
http://www.gatemouth.com/

where donations are invited to help pay for the costs of the funeral...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050911/ap_en_mu/obit_gatemouth_brown
By DOUG SIMPSON, Associated Press WriterSun Sep 11,11:51 AM ET

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, the singer and guitarist who built a 50-year career playing blues, country, jazz and Cajun music, died Saturday in his hometown of Orange, Texas, where he had gone to escape Hurricane Katrina. He was 81.



13) Here's another conservative website out to smear Ray Nagin and the locals, from Nashville. Another out of town "expert" pointing to NO school buses, and now for the first time saying that an empty Amtrak train left town because Nagin wouldn't let them evacuate people. I will leave it to others to fight these points out:

http://www.billhobbs.com/

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