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Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

Date:2005-09-03 05:26
Subject:Preparation and response.

For the last few days, lots of folks have been writing prolifically about the hurricane, but i've been silent. I really didn't know what to say. What's going on down there is just awful.

I'm starting to feel that i can no longer be silent, though. Although the hurricane itself is no one's fault, some of the responsibility for the enormity of this disaster must fall upon:

The hurricane was a natural disaster. But the horrible conditions under which tens of thousands of people have suffered for the past four days, and continue to suffer, are a man-made disaster.

At 4:01 in this video of President Bush's interview with Diane Sawyer:
Bush: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
False. Absurd. They've been talking about it for years.

New Orleans mayor Roy Nagin expressed his frustration in a radio interview on Friday.
Nagin: "I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count. Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country."

The situation at the Convention Center is horrific, and getting worse. And yet Michael Brown, head of FEMA, remained clueless about the problem until the fourth day after the hurricane.

Zahn: "Sir, you aren't just telling me you just learned that the folks at the Convention Center didn't have food and water until today, are you? You had no idea they were completely cut off?"

Brown: "Paula, the federal government did not even know about the Convention Center people until today [September 1]." (full transcript)
Michael Moore's open letter to Bush does a decent job of expressing some of what i feel right now.

*        *        *

A certain Reverend Bill Shanks believes that God brought the hurricane to purge New Orleans of sin. "New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free," he says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff." But the same article notes that "Shanks heeded warnings to evacuate New Orleans, and is currently staying with friends in the Jackson, Mississippi, area."

Okay, here's what i want to know: If he has so much faith in the mercy of God, why didn't he stay in New Orleans?

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Date:2005-09-03 16:32
Subject:Red Cross kept out of New Orleans.

This is unbelievable. The National Guard has been ordered to prevent the Red Cross from entering New Orleans.

And military personnel are actually preventing people from leaving the Convention Center to seek food and safer living conditions (5:28). What the hell is going on?

In The Observer, Jamie Doward reports on the shortcomings of the relief effort and the anger of New Orleans residents.

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Date:2005-09-03 17:28
Subject:Diving in.

Well, i've managed to get myself involved in another project. I spent yesterday evening and the last five hours or so discussing and designing an interchange format for sharing and gathering data about missing people. It was a post on Joi Ito's blog that got me started. I'm pretty anxious about this because i remember the survivor database effort after September 11 and how much of a toll that took on me, but i hope that we can do better this time. We have some more experience this time and more people working together.

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