Friday, September 30, 2005

A drug-addled apologia for Bill Bennett

Rush Limbaugh pines for the days of whites-only water fountains:

We have various minority groups who, by their very definition of being minority, are losers -- and they are losers not because they are losers. They're losers because the powerful have determined that they're going to be losers. And no matter what those losers do they will never escape the bonds of loserdom. They will never escape the bonds of minority status. They will never escape the bonds of economic inequality, because there are too many obstacles set in their way. The deck is stacked against them. This is the foundation of the civil rights movement, folks. The foundation of the civil rights movement is that this country is unfair and unjust by its very structure! By its very existence as put together and assembled by the Founding Fathers. This country is essentially unfair and unjust, and the civil rights movement will never ever proclaim that we have made amends for whatever past transgressions or that there is equality because they would go out of business. They'll never believe it possible anyway because they don't like the structure of this country. As a result -- I'll move forward here a number of years...

I don't suppose this should be a surprise to anyone, but look at what he said. The entire civil rights movement (and we're talking starting, what circa 1955?) is illegitimate? That should tell you how much of a racist troglodyte this guy is.

And in case you were wondering, yes, Rush was referring to the entire civil rights movement, starting from the beginning. How do we know? After this discourse on the history of "the movement," he states "I'll move forward here a number of years..."

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:47 PM

Now where did I put my body?

John Hinderaker successfully disappears a human being:

The source of the documents was Bill Burkett, a notorious Bush-hating crank with a personal vendetta against the National Guard. He lied about where he got the documents. First he said they were given to him by someone named"Conn" who promptly left for Europe. (CBS never made any attempt to locate Mr. Conn, who turned out to be fictitious, to verify Burkett's story or, more important, find out where Conn got them.) After the 60 Minutes story blew up, Burkett admitted that Conn didn't exist.

He's talking about George O. Conn, of course. This fictitous George Conn. Who apparently doesn't exist. Hey, the Boston Globe was speaking to a phantom!

I'm glad we have the diligent fact-checkers at Powerline, who apparently live by the credo that it's better to be loud than accurate.

UPDATE: Welcome, Political Animals. And what he said about the fact that these documents are non-authentic.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:51 AM

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Desperately Seeking NYT opinion-mongers

Did you see the Technorati "top searches" for the hour?

1. “Find The Brownie”
2. “Paul Krugman”
3. “Bring Back Warren Hardi...”
4. “Bob Herbert”
5. Krugman
6. “A Waking Nightmare”
7. “Maureen Dowd”
8. Nickleback
9. “Demi Moore”
10. “Don Adams”

Five of ten are for Times columnists now behind the TimesSelect wall. Interesting.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 5:15 PM

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Anti-Iraqi Forces

Here's the headline ABC News's website puts on an AP story, displayed prominently at Google News.

Iraq Supporters to Rebut Anti-War Rallies

Huh. So erego, if you're demonstrating against the war, you are against the people of Iraq. Is Karl Rove a copy editor at ABC?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:59 AM

Friday, September 23, 2005

Why won't the press report on the good news in Iraq that they've already reported on?

Really, now, I have read Arthur Chrenkoff's blog and WindsOfChange, and all these other blogs that the right wing of the blogosphere tells me are reporting all the "good news" from Iraq that just isn't getting reported by that evil mainstream press. Of course, the only problem is that it HAS been reported by the press most of the time. So what's the beef? Here's the finesse by Jeff Jacoby:
The ‘‘good news’’ format was straightforward. It briefly described the latest positive developments and linked to a source providing more complete information. Typically these were published news stories, but they could also be government releases, military reports, industry Web pages, opinion polls, or accounts by Iraqi civilians.

See? The problem is the press reported on the good news, but didn't package it in a way that pleases the Right Wing. Ergo, the press are traitors:
‘‘The war on terrorism and the effort to bring democratic reform to the Middle East is the most important enterprise in which America is involved,’’ says James Taranto, the editor of, who early on recognized the importance of Chrenkoff’s work. ‘‘But you don’t get the sense that the mainstream media appreciate this. You get the sense that they’re rooting for America to lose — or at least that they wouldn’t be upset if America lost.’’

Right. By reporting the good news that Taranto and Chrenkoff link to and highlight, the press is rooting for us to fail. Can't argue with that logic.

A side note. Just what kind of freedom-loving, First Amendment-embracing employer has Chrenkoff signed up with that stops him from publishing his blog?
Last week, Chrenkoff posted ‘‘Good news from Iraq, Part 35.’’ It was 44 inspiring pages long — and the last of the series. (He has accepted a position with an employer whose rules won’t permit him to keep blogging.)

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:56 AM

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hugh Hewitt doesn't have time to read Hugh Hewitt

Hugh today:
Yes, I know he's dead. And his essay, "The Eye of Edna," is dated September 15, 1954. But reading it today, as folks refuse to evacuate again, makes me wonder if 50 years of hype hasn't persuaded far too many people that reports of imminent disaster are just not to be believed.

Hugh two weeks ago:

...Because they [reporters] did not do their homework, because they did not understand the levees were the threat, they ended up killing hundreds of Americans. I'm not going to say thousands, because I don't know the number. But I know hundreds are dead, that they did not communicate the severity of this storm.

Ok. Now I get it. Reporters, in not reporting non-hysterically on storms previous, were derelict in their duty and are therefore directly responsible for the deaths of thousands. And even though this conclusion is demonstrably false, moreover, these same reporters will be responsible for the deaths of hundreds or thousands this time around because they accurately reported the severity of the storm.

I totally get it now. Hewitt is a madman.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:51 PM

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Stuck on Authoritarianism

I know the right side of the blogosphere has gone all gooey on Gen. Honore for his now-legendary "You're stuck on stupid, reporters" remark. But to what was he responding? Here's one part of the exchange on why people were being told to go the convention center in New Orleans this time around:
Male reporter: General, a little bit more about why that's happening this time, though, and did not happen that last time...

Honore: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. This is public information that people are depending on the government to put out. This is the way we've got to do it. So please. I apologize to you, but let's talk about the future. Rita is happening. And right now, we need to get good, clean information out to the people that they can use. And we can have a conversation on the side about the past, in a couple of months.

I'm not saying this is a great question (it has a 'gotcha' flavor to it), but just look at the out-of-scale response: We are not accountable. We don't like that question, so we won't answer it. We have all the answers. We know best, just trust us. And so on.

This is supposed to warm the hearts of practical, can-do, forward-looking Americans everywhere. And I guess it should, if warms your heart to live under an authoritarian regime.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:49 PM

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Props for his honesty

Rod Dreher, on blindly supporting Bush:

I don't at all get this attitude among many on the right that our sworn duty is to back anything President Bush and the GOP choose to do. We are conservatives before we are Republicans, are we not? Facts are better than dreams, and the fact is, the president is acting like the second coming of Lyndon B. Johnson with his spending proposals on Katrina thing, and it is past time for the grassroots to have hit the wall on the spendthrift Republican president and the spendthrift Republican Congress. What is the point of electing Republicans if they're going to spend worse than Democrats? Moreover, I'm absolutely with Michelle Malkin on this outrageous Bush cronyism regarding the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief over at the Department of Homeland Security. I find it impossible to believe that this administration or their GOP Congressional enablers care about enforcing the immigration laws of this country. And I find it impossible to believe that this doesn't matter. A lot.

At some point, we conservatives have got to ask ourselves if we stand for principles, or merely maintaining power. We have got to ask ourselves just which conservative goals are being served by the Republican governing status quo. We have got to ask ourselves if our conservatism stands for much more than The Democrats Must Lose. I was having a beer with a fellow religious and social conservative that first Friday after Katrina, and we were both just livid about the administration's response. We both agreed that we'd vote in a heartbeat in 2008 for a social liberal like Rudy Giuliani, who inspires confidence in his competence and judgment, over the present crowd that we both helped vote into power. I hope next year brings forth a raft of primary challengers to GOP Congressional incumbents. If we go on like this for much longer, it will be a long time before the American people trust the government to our side again. The Democrats aren't going to remain more hapless than the Republicans forever, and the denial in which too many Republicans wish to live in right now does the cause of conservatism no good.

Remarkable for its candor. Seems like there are a growing number of people who've had it with this administration. Not to be missed, though, is John Podhohertz's childish whine of a response:
No question that conservatives shouldn't offer blind support to Republican politicians, but I have to dissent strongly from my dear friend Rod Dreher's
post, which is hysterical and unjust, and does the president a profound disservice.

Read that above post above again. Does that sound hysterical? And a profound disservice? Do the terrorists win if we criticize cronyistic immigrations appointments? Silly.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:42 PM

Don't know much about mathematics

Whomever was writing captions for the major league baseball website last night needed a quickie re-education in addition and subtraction.

The Phils, Marlins and Nats are off and can't gain ground on Houston.

If, of course, by "can't gain ground" you mean "gain a half-game on Houston" by virtue of the Astros' 7-0 loss to the Pirates.

Today, though, the mlb'ers seem to have gotten their facts straighter.

The Phils, Marlins and Nats all return from their day off closer to the Astros than before. Houston enters its game against the Pirates with a one-game lead over the Phillies, who face the Braves. Florida, at two games back, plays the Mets, while the Giants are in D.C.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:19 PM

Limousine Red-Stater

Unusually revealing back-to-back postings from the chronically self-unaware K-Lo:

Last night at an Irish pub in Manhattan Beach, I swear I hit the red-state town hall in the heart of the golden blue state--the local volunteer firemen, older couples who looked so in sync they'd been together their whole lives--and Monday Night Football. No Renee and Kenny there.

I knew I was in California though when we stepped outside to a truck blanketed in anti-Bush/Kerry for Prez bumper stickers.
Posted at 06:03 AM

HEH [K-Lo, Back East]
It was under 30 seconds after I stepped out of JFK airport this morning when an angry limo driver threw the f-bomb at me--I had not jumped to answer his "Yo Lady, You Commin from L.A.?!" fast enough.Home sweet home! There really is
no more appropriate Big Apple welcome.
Posted at 05:31 AM

Oh, dearest Kate, it's true. Those foul-mouthed chauffeurs from the outer boroughs can be just simply dreadful. See you at Sardi's.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:52 AM

Monday, September 19, 2005

President Kerry names Bob Shrum Katrina reconstruction czar

Don't you think that announcement would've raised an eyebrow or two?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:52 PM

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The body count

Had meant to post something on this earlier, but then Jeff Jarvis beat me to the punch the other day. The nub? With all the axes to grind over the Katrina coverage, is there no duller a blade than the promotion of the "scandal" (Limbaugh's words) or "major media embarrassment" (the estimable Prof. Reynolds) of the initial estimate that some 10,000 may have died from the Hurricane. See the body count is now only (ONLY!) 800. And we all know what's driving it, right? Bush-hatred! Because, as the thinking goes, the more dead, the worse for Bush. See? It's just like on 9/11, when initial estimates were in the tens of thousands, they really wanted to nail that Bush guy hard.

Or maybe the media's biased against the living.

As I said over in Mr. Jarvis's comments, the harping over this is puzzling and those doing the harping, deeply silly. If, instead of the mayor of New Orleans, Bush had gotten up and declared, "the count may be as high as 10,000," don't you think people would have reported such comments? And assumed that he probably knew something you didn't? Do you think these same finger-waggers would be expressing as much outrage now? I doubt it. I'm concerned that the finger-waggers are motivated by reflexive media-hatred.

And, by the way, for those of you like Prof. Reynolds who are anxiously watching those body count numbers ("So they were off by 9700, so far." Heh. Indeed.) here's a couple digits for you: 5,000 missing.

As for how many bodies have been recovered, here's the New Orleans coroner:

Dr. Frank Minyard, the New Orleans coroner, who is working out of the temporary morgue in St. Gabriel, said, "I think we have a long way to go."

He added, "They have all of those wet areas in the city that they haven't really started yet."

Let's all hope that count remains low.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:33 AM

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rove firmly in charge, dirt being dug

From the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., here's an article on a remarkable intercepted email from the Department of Justice:

Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show.

The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Everything is going according to plan. [via Americablog]

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:58 AM

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I get press releases

This is one of the more intriguing things I've seen in a while. It was in my email:

(PISCATAWAY, NJ, 9/13/2005) – On September 16, 2005, the New Jersey theme park, Six Flags Great Adventure, is set to be transformed as 'The Great Muslim Adventure Day', organized by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). This
multi-ethnic event will bring Muslims together in a fun-filled, culturally Islamic environment providing family entertainment for the entire family.

Throughout the day, organizers will be holding special programs for the community. There will be special arrangements for prayer calls throughout the park. Friday is the holy day for Muslims and a special sermon will be delivered at 1pm by the popular and influential Imam Zaid Shakir.

The Muslim community, together with the rest of the nation, will be declaring this day as one of prayer & remembrance. This will be addressed in the Friday sermon together with fundraising for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Halal food vendors will be serving quality ethnic food from 11 AM to 11 PM. A large Islamic goods bazaar will also be setup. There will be special presentations by renowned speakers including Imam Zaid Shakir and others. Live performances will be given by Native Deen, a popular Muslim rap group.

All this is, of course, in addition to the regular thrills Six Flags Great Adventure is known for, including what is claimed to be the largest safari outside Africa. All in all, September 16, 2005, promises to be a joyful day of Muslim community unity, God Willing.

Last year, more than 15,000 Muslims participated in daylong festivities at Six Flags location in Jackson, NJ, making it the largest Muslim gathering in the North East.

WHERE: Six Flags Great Adventure Park, Jackson, NJ

WHEN: Friday September 16th 2005, All day

Popular muslim rap group? The mind reels.

Here are audio clips from their website. Oy.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:24 AM

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Shorter kooks on Flight 93 memorial

A fitting tribute to the Heroes of Flight 93 would be to scatter their disintegrated corpses around the field in which they crashed.

P.S. I think the memorial looks like a vagina. But then, everything looks like a vagina to me.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 6:15 PM

Monday, September 12, 2005

How to support your thesis with anecdotal, fouth-hand hearsay

Courtesy of Michael Ledeen:

ON NOLA: [Michael Ledeen]
Since early on, I've been trying to make two points with regard to the looting/shooting/rampant criminality. First, that some of these people are real
criminals, who will have escaped from prison. Second, that others are/were drug
addicts deprived of narcotics and thus mad, very dangerous, out of control.

This seemed intuitively obvious, but no one has paid much attention to it.
But now there is some interesting anecdotal support. I got this email from a
friend, forwarding a message from a relative in Kansas City:

A friend that we know have a family restaurant. They had a lot of people from New Orleans come and buy food. They did not realize how many people were here already in Kansas City. On the way to work the friend was listening to the Radio and they were saying that a woman called in and said she saw her brother that had 2 life sentences for committing 7 murders, and now he is out on the street. (He was in prison in New Orleans). My friend Robert went down to Louisiana about 2 weeks ago to visit his brother who was in prison for stabbing his lawyer in the neck came by the restaurant to let us know that he made it back safe and he was not injured in the storm, but the problem was his brother was in the car with him as well. (The convicted murderer).

So let's see if we have this straight. An anonymous email relative tells Ledeen that a friend of a friend was listening to the radio and heard someone say something about a murderer loose on the street. Then the emailer says he has a friend who has a brother was was in prison for stabbing someone. And that he was in the car with him.

I suppose all of this could be true, but really, now -- "interesting anecdotal support"? Sounds like fourth-hand hearsay to me. On the other hand, this is the same kind of method of evidence-gathering that was deemed good enough for invading a country, so maybe we should all heed it.

And one last thing: All the looters were either criminals or crazy junkies suffering withdrawl? Where do the police fit into this?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 2:46 PM

The Kook Strikes Back

Hugh Hewitt sees bigotry in the NYT:

The graf in question?

Bishop Jakes, a multimillionaire and best-selling author, is to deliver the
sermon this Friday at the Washington National Cathedral, his office said, where
Mr. Bush will mark a national day of prayer for Hurricane Katrina's

Hugh's take?

Is there any reason for describing Bishop T.D. Jakes as a "multimillionaire" other than to convey Ms. Bumiller's message that he is not really representative of African-Americans and may not even be legit as a preacher?

Does the Times routinely --or ever-- inject the economic status of Anglo religious leaders into its coverage? If as I suspect it does not, why did Bumiller do so in this piece, and why did her editors not catch it?


Bumiller... probably didn't have much interaction with African Americans, and her interest in Bishop Jakes' wealth may simply reflect a papmpered elitist's marvel at how a black man could accumulate such coin.

One apparently accurate mention of the man's wealth warrants this kind of response? Idiocy. I marvel that anyone takes this guy seriously anymore.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:01 PM

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Andrew Ferguson, writing in the 10th anniversary edition of The Weekly Standard, surveys modern conservativm, and is pretty unimpressed with what he sees.

Conservative institutions, conceived for combat, have in power become self-perpetuating, churning their direct-mail lists in pursuit of cash from the orthodontist in Wichita and the Little Old Lady in Dubuque, so the activists can continue to fund the all-important work of . . . churning their direct-mail lists. The current story of Jack Abramoff's lucrative self-dealing, involving as it does such movement stalwarts as Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist, may seem lunatic in its excesses, but the excesses aren't the point. The point is the ease with which the stalwarts commandeered the greasy machinery of Washington power. Conservative activists came to Washington to do good and stayed to do well. The grease rubbed off, too.

Under the circumstances, it's not much of a surprise that the threshold Buckley tried to maintain has collapsed. I suppose any philosophical tendency, as it acquires power and popularity, will simplify itself, define itself downward. That's democratic politics for you. But something more corrosive is also at work. Marshall McLuhan was righter than anyone ever would have guessed. The medium really is the message. Conservatism nowadays is increasingly a creature of its technology. It is shaped--if I were a Marxist I might even say determined--by cable television and talk radio, with their absurd promotion of caricature and conflict, and by blogs, where the content ranges from Jesuitical disputes among hollow-cheeked obsessives to feats of self-advertisement and professional narcissism (Everyone's been asking what I think about . . . You won't want to miss my appearance tonight on . . . Be sure to click here for my latest . . . ) that would have been unthinkable in polite company as recently as a decade ago. Most conservative books are pseudo-books: ghostwritten pastiches whose primary purpose seems to be the photo of the "author" on the cover. What a tumble! From The Conservative Mind to Savage Nation; from Clifton White to Dick Morris; from Willmoore Kendall and Harry Jaffa to Sean Hannity and Mark Fuhrman--all in little more than a generation's time. Whatever this is, it isn't progress.

A grim assessment.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:22 AM

Friday, September 09, 2005

Reporters killed New Orleanians, of course

The king of the kooks, Hugh Hewitt, says that reporters are directly responsible for the deaths of New Orleanians because they did not convey the severity of the hurricane before it hit. This is part of an interview with NYU's Jay Rosen:

Again, I've got a proposition for you, because they [reporters] did not do their homework, because they did not understand the levees were the threat, they ended up killing hundreds of Americans. I'm not going to say thousands, because I don't know the number. But I know hundreds are dead, that they did not communicate the severity of this storm.

What a sickening display. What an astonishing boob. What a hack. What a disgrace. And, by the way, wrong.

Here is just a selection of stories I culled from the day before Katrina hit. I found 22 hits on Lexis-Nexis matching "Katrina" and "levee" from broadcast media alone:

CNN: August 28, 2005 Sunday
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: The city is preparing for up to 15 inches of rain and a storm surge of up to 28 feet, a wall of water that would overwhelming the city's levee system. Worst case scenarios predict the bowl-shaped city could be submerged under as much as 30 feet of water.

ABC News: Good Morning America: August 28, 2005 Sunday
DAVID KERLEY, ABC NEWS(Off Camera) Good morning, Kate. New Orleans is waking up on this Sunday, realizing it is still the bull's eye for hurricane Katrina. This is Lake Pontchartrain. This is the north side of New Orleans. And this is one of the big concerns, as well as the Mississippi on the south, is that when the storm surge comes, a lot of water and the winds is going to push the water over the dikes and levees and flood New Orleans. That's why residents are being told to leave town.

CBS NEWS: August 28, 2005 Sunday
LEE COWAN: (Voiceover) Now the main worry, Charlie, of course, is the water. The storm surge from Katrina is expected to be anywhere between 15 and 20 feet, with waves on top of that. The levees that were built around this city after Betsy in 1965 are only 13 feet high.

NBC NEWS: August 28, 2005 Sunday
SAVIDGE: For New Orleans, Katrina is the nightmare that's haunted officials for decades.

Mayor C. RAY NAGIN (New Orleans): This is not a test.

SAVIDGE: The "Big Easy" is a giant bowl below sea level, dependent on levees and pumps to keep dry, and water isn't the only thing the city can trap. There are over 100,000 people with no car and no real way out.

NPR: August 28, 2005 Sunday
Dr. SUHAYDA: The reason the Red Cross has elected not to open shelters in the city is that there are hurricane conditions, such as the one we're facing, that everyone knows would overtop the levee, that is the levees are only designed--or are designed--for about a Category 3 storm. This is a Category 5. It's not going to be any surprise if you put 10 tons on a bridge that tells you it can only hold five tons, you know.

So the broadcast media completely failed to warn anyone about the levees and the danger of the storm, with the exception of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and NPR (even Fox! Geraldo discussed the levee problem on Saturday). Of course, this search excludes local New Orleans and Gulf Coast-area stations, the stations that many of the residents would likely be watching, and who would almost certainly be telling their citizens of the levee danger.

Hugh Hewitt is a classic idiot. An ignorant one.

UPDATE: Welcome, Political Animals.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:09 PM

A memorial to their lunacy

Expect this to become a battle anthem for the kooks. The proposed memorial for the downed 9/11 flight in Pennsyvlania is a -- gasp! -- crescent! And you know what crescents mean, doncha? Well, doncha?

The red crescent moon is the symbol of the The Red Crescent Society, the arm of the International Federation of The Red Cross dedicated to serving Islamic countries and the crescent moon with a star is the internationally-recognized symbol of the faith of Islam. It is featured prominently in some variation on the flags of most Islamic states.

Luckily for us, Michelle Malkin has rounded up only the craziest comments from the most respected members of the loon-o-sphere. My favorite comes from everyone's favorite call center manager/children's clown/fake sailor, who taps this gem out:

Can you imagine the outcry from the multiculturalists and the ACLU had the design incorporated a cross or a Star of David in honor of the victims? Why should we tolerate the Crescent that, inadvertently or deliberately, honors the terrorists?

As long as that crescent remains in the design, I'm not donating a red cent to the memorial. I urge you to tell the National Parks Service and the Secretary of the Interior to rethink their plans.

Read that through a couple of times just to get a flavor of how absolutely nuts these people are.

Interestingly, none of the victims' families seemed upset about this, indeed they seemed to love the memorial. Guess they just haven't received their nutball talking points yet.

And the AP picks it up.

"This is a memorial to the terrorists who killed those people, not a memorial to the folks who died there innocently," said the Rev. Ron McRae, leader of the Bible Anabaptist Church near Jerome, about 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

"The crescent is as much connected to Islam as the cross is to Christianity," said McRae of Conemaugh Township, also listed as director and founder on the Web site of the Lancaster-based Street Preachers Fellowship.

Here's what the designer told them:

Murdoch, however, said his crescent has no religious significance, but was created to add formality to the bowl-shaped valley surrounding the crash site.

"This is not about any religion per se," Murdoch said in a telephone interview with the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown. "It's a spiritual space, and a sacred place, but it's open to anyone."

The word "crescent," he said, was used as a generic architectural term for a curved line. "Sure, there is an Islamic crescent," Murdoch said. "Theirs is a lunar crescent. Ours isn't based on that."

Expect Rush to go wall-to-wall on this in about 15 minutes.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:18 AM

No water for Iraqis

This doesn't seem good:

The United States will halt construction work on some water and power plants in Iraq because it is running out of money for projects, officials said yesterday.

Security costs have cut into the funds available to complete some major infrastructure projects that were started under the $18.4 billion U.S. plan to rebuild Iraq. As a result, the United States has had to pare back some projects to only those deemed essential by the Iraqi government.

While no overall figures are yet available, one contractor has stopped work on six of eight water-treatment plants it was assigned.

"We have scaled back our projects in many areas," James Jeffrey, a senior adviser on Iraq for the State Department, told lawmakers at a hearing of the House Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee. "We do not have the money."

Read it all. And note the Republicans laying the hammer down in this hearing; blasting the president. Here's the chairman of the subcommitte:

Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., who has previously criticized the Iraq rebuilding effort, said the Bush administration's vision for using reconstruction funds to stabilize Iraq "was largely a chimera, a castle built of sand."

"Reconstruction in Iraq has been slower, more painful, more complex, more fragmented and more inefficient than anyone in Washington or Baghdad could have imagined a couple of years ago," said Kolbe, chairman of the subcommittee.

Interesting stuff. [via The Blue State Review]

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:03 AM

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Did state authorities block Red Cross?

Fox News seemed to think so. The Red Cross themselves said so on their website. And yet, here's a piece from Saturday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that seems to level the finger at FEMA and the federal DHS (as well as locals).

As the National Guard delivered food to the New Orleans convention center yesterday, American Red Cross officials said that federal emergency management authorities would not allow them to do the same.


"The Homeland Security Department has requested and continues to request that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans," said Renita Hosler, spokeswoman for the Red Cross.

"Right now access is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities. We have been at the table every single day [asking for access]. We cannot get into New Orleans against their orders."

So here, I think is the question: Are the local people who are blocking the Red Cross following orders from FEMA and DHS or are they doing this on their own? Who was blocking the Red Cross? Who gave the order? State or local? That would be a good thing to find out.

Also, after watching the Fox broadcast, I noticed that there's no one from the governor's office to offer any type of explanation. Not even a mention of "we tried to contact Blanco's office but..." The comments offered by the National Guard fellow did not directly address the question of who was in charge and why the aid was blocked. An intriguing, but incomplete report.

UPDATE: CNN and other organizations confirm it was state Homeland Security that blocked the Red Cross. A lovely excuse, too. They didn't want to hamper rescue efforts. Great thinking. Because if they're dead from starvation and dehydration, you have fewer people to rescue.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:33 PM


There's been a quite a bit of hurrahing being heard in some quarters following the revelation that the Red Cross, in fact, was turned back by the state of Louisiana's homeland security department. Obviously, this is pretty bad stuff. Red Cross people, set to deliver water and food to those holed up in the Superdome and Convention Center, never got there. Here's the Red Cross's explanation:

Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

But just click on the links above and notice the glee (and, I'm sensing, relief) with which this news is being delivered. Rush read the news at the top of his show, and he sounded like he'd just won the lottery. Fox News's Major Garrett looked as though he going to give Brit Hume a virtual high-five when he delivered his report, noting the "State" yes "The state, not federal" authorities turned away the Red Cross. I don't get it. It's hideous incompetence whomever is responsible.

THE STRATEGY UNFOLDS: "I don't think that Major Garrett story can be talked about enough," so says a Cornerite.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 1:31 PM

On lying eyes

See, people just aren't accepting this crap anymore:

Administration officials and Democrats at the briefing agreed that Mr. Chertoff and other speakers emphasized that news images showing horrendous conditions for evacuees in shelters did not reflect the totality of the federal government's response.


For instance, one administration official who was at the briefing said it was Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon, not Mr. Chertoff, who told House members that television images of sparse relief efforts for evacuees sheltered at the Superdome offered "a small soda-straw view of what was going on."

Still, much of the Democrats' criticism was directed at Mr. Chertoff himself. Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, said the message he took from Mr. Chertoff's comments regarding the relief effort was that "what you see is not really what is."

"People just looked at him," Mr. Thompson said. "He was the first speaker, and it sort of went downhill after that. People felt we are not going to get the truth here."

A few Democrats were so upset by the tone of Mr. Chertoff's remarks that they walked out of the briefing, said Representative Elijah Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who said he stayed for all of the remarks but became increasingly frustrated by what he heard.

"The picture was being painted that things were not as bad as they appeared to be" in news reports, Mr. Cummings said in an interview. "It reached the point where the answers didn't add up."

That stuff used to work. It doesn't anymore.

But that won't stop them from trying.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:21 AM

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Your leaders have everything under control

Frightening if true:

Now comes this post from Brian Williams, which suggests a general effort to bar reporters from access to many of the key points in the city. [Superdome, Convention

Take a moment to note what's happening here: these are the marks of repressive government, which mixes inefficiency with authoritarianism. The crew that couldn't get key aid on the scene last week is coming in in force now and taking as one of its key missions cutting public information about what's happening in the city.

This is a domestic, natural disaster. Absent specific cases where members of the press would interfere or get in the way of some particular clean up operation or perhaps demolition work there is simply no reason why credentialed members of the press should not be able to cover everything that is happening in that city.

Again. Frightening. And appalling.

Previous thoughts here.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum is noting additional media ban threads along this line.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:43 PM

New Blame Game: The Welfare State

Huh. Thought we weren't supposed to be blaming anyone for Hurrican Katrina. And yet here's a cogent idea running through the idiot-o-sphere:

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to speed away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Superdome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?


There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit—but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals—and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their ack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep—on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.


But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining
that other people aren't doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at
those who come to rescue them—this is not just a description of the chaos at the
Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state
and its public housing projects.

There is seriously something wrong with someone who writes stuff like this. Ladies and gentlemen, Rush Limbaugh:
"Oh, look how poor the population --" Well, what do you expect when you have a welfare state mentality as your city government? I mean, I'm not even being critical. I'm just trying to point out something obvious here! That -- talking about this for 18 years, folks -- socialism versus capitalism; entrepreneurialism and self-reliance versus the entitlement mentality -- so much on display here. That's what nobody's got the guts to say.

Guts to be an idiot.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:24 PM

Fr yr own good

As some of you may know by now, FEMA has instituted what looks like a ban [how they'd it enforce it, I have no idea] on photographing dead bodies during recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast. Hideous, but par for the course for this bunch. In this Reuters article, I was struck by these silly last two grafs, obviously inserted for "balance."
Mark Tapscott, a former editor at the Washington Times newspaper who now deals with media issues at the Heritage Foundation, said the FEMA decision did not amount to censorship.

"Let's not make a common decency issue into a censorship issue," Tapscott said. "Nobody wants to wake up in the morning and see their dead uncle on the front page. That's just common decency."

Not censorship. Just government-sanctioned image-crafting. Oh yeah, and common decency.

Remind me again who coined the term "Nanny State"?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 5:40 PM

President C. Montgomery Burns

Lots of talk out there on the character of the man, George W. Bush. ["Man-child"; "Cocooned"; "Bart-like" ; "America's Deadbeat Dad"]

I, for one think it's clear that our Dubya is a younger, hairier version of Springfield's favorite Nuclear Power Plant owner, Mr. Burns. All right, Bush is not inherently evil and Burns has only one lackey boot-lick to cocoon him, tend for him, cover for him, distort the reality that is occuring in front of his face. But still, To wit:
Audience: Boo! Boo!
Burns: Smithers...are they booing me?
Smithers: Uh, no, they're saying "Boo-urns! Boo-urns!"
Burns: Are you saying "boo" or "Boo-urns"?
Audience: Boo! Boo!
Hans: I was saying "Boo-urns"

Any other Simpsons or pop-culture analogies will be accepted.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 4:30 PM

House cancels Katrina hearings

They suddenly remembered that the accountability moment passed after election.

The House majority leader late Tuesday tried to deflect criticism of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina by saying "the emergency response system was set up to work from the bottom up," then announced a short time later that House hearings examining that response had been canceled.

Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said House Republican leaders instead want a joint House-Senate panel set up to conduct a "congressional review" of the issue.

Hmm. But the Senate hearings seem to be going forward:

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said Tuesday it has begun an investigation into the government's response to the tragedy. Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she expects public hearings to start next week.

I wonder if the cancelled hearings were those arranged -- without the blessings of higher-ups -- by Tom Davis?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:24 PM

It's all Al Gore's fault

He just can't help himself, can he?

WAIT A SECOND [Jonah Goldberg]
Bush is blaming the bureaucracy? That just won't fly. Everyone knows that government was "reinvented" and streamlined by then-Vice President Al Gore. It's been humming along like a well-oiled (no pun intended Haliburton obsessives)machine.


Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:41 AM

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Myers and Chertoff read same fake paper

Now that both Gen. Richard Myers and DHS Chief Michael Chertoff have both been heard spewing the same fake Mumbling Point ("We picked up the paper on Tuesday, and it, like said 'New Orleans Dodges Bullet' and stuff!"), there's only one conclusion to reach:
It's simple, really. The White House, weary of the malicious falsehoods of the liberal media, now prints its own newspapers. Other sample headlines from last Tuesday's edition: Baghdad Citizens Endorse Constitution and Personal Retirement Accounts"; "Sean Hannity Win Nobel Prize for Literature"; "Clint Black Coldcocks Seymour Hersh"

More trenchant commentary over at Wonkette.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 5:44 PM


Can anyone tell me what the point of this Malkin post is?

I guess next up for Michelle is a side-by-side comparison of Bush to Rin Tin Tin. The dog looks strong.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:32 PM

Call them "Temporarily Dislocated Patriots"

Bush doesn't like the word 'refugee':
In the debate about how to describe those displaced by Hurricane Katrina, President Bush is joining those who don't like the word "refugees."

The president tells reporters, "The people we're talking about are not refugees, they are Americans."

And he adds, "They need the help and love and compassion of our fellow citizens."

He's probably half-right:

ref u gee -- One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.

Seeks refuge. Like, say in the Astrodome, where you can find Barbara "Let Them Eat Cots" Bush.

UPDATE. The Washington Post has an interesting story about how the term is being perceived -- negatively, apparently, by those who have been displaced. Many news organizations have stopped using it. I thought this was an interesting take:

The term has been the subject of much discussion on the Internet among members of the American Copy Editors Society, a professional group of media wordsmiths. Brian Throckmorton, copy desk chief at the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, says his paper has stopped using the word in headlines and display type "to avoid provoking those who object to it, but our policy is that it is not a tarnished word and we're allowing it in body copy."

He added, "I do not agree with those who see it as an insult. In fact, I think they are insulting the world's asylum seekers by implying that it's shameful to be lumped under the word 'refugee' with people whose refuge is from other people instead of from nature. Sure, many of the world's refugees are poor and come from Third World conditions, but . . . there's no shame in being poor and Third World anyway."

I agree.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 2:33 PM

Thousands of soldiers in La. prevented from responding

Because they were going to deploy to Afghanistan. From the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. Army has a large facility, Fort Polk, in Leesville, La., about 270 miles northwest of New Orleans. Officials at Fort Polk, which has nearly 8,000 active-duty soldiers, said their contribution so far has consisted of a few dozen soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division manning purification equipment and driving half-ton trucks filled with supplies and equipment. The first contingent of soldiers didn't receive orders until Saturday afternoon.

A spokeswoman at Fort Polk said she did not know why the base received its deployment orders so late in the game. "You'd have to ask the Pentagon," she said. A senior Army official said the service was reluctant to commit the 4th brigade of the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Polk, because the unit, which numbers several thousand soldiers, is in the midst of preparing for an Afghanistan deployment in January.

January? Four months from now? They couldn't respond because of that? Oh my.

[via Rich Lowry, National Review Online.]

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:51 AM

I spit on your corpse, I piss on your grave

From the inimitable Mark Steyn:
New Orleans is a party town in the middle of a welfare swamp and, like many parties, it doesn't look so good when someone puts the lights up. I'll always be grateful to a burg that gave us Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima, and I'll always love Satch's great record of Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? But, after this last week, I'm not sure I would.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Mark Steyn, a man minus a soul. [via Chrenkoff]

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:28 AM

"We couldn't rush to failure"

Very interesting comments made by Lt. General Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard, from a press conference on Saturday. First speaker is a reporter:

Q: Across the disaster zone our reporters have consistently run into people over the past week, victims who have asked where's the National Guard, why aren't they here, why aren't they helping us? I know it's not your job to decide where and when aid is delivered. You have to provide these forces. But as a general who's been there and a commander with a can-do reputation, I just wanted to ask your opinion. Do you think in retrospect that more creativity, more ingenuity could have been employed early on to use the military to deliver more aid to people sooner?

GEN. BLUM: It would be easy to draw that conclusion, Jamie, but if you've ever been to Gulfport, remember the highway that runs along the coast was a four lane super highway. It was impassable. So where you could -- if a normal infrastructure existed, no question, you could have saturated the area with more, faster. But we were putting forces in in very degraded infrastructure. Airports had reduced capability. Roads, in some cases we had only one road in because of lack of bridges, flooding, loss of infrastructure, or the structures were too unsafe to cross or we would become casualties ourselves.

So we couldn't rush to failure on this thing and we had to take a more measured approach than any of us wanted. But to call this response late to need, if you're talking about the National Guard response, that would be a low blow to some incredible individuals who were on watch before the storm, harbored during the storm, on the scene immediately after the storm cleared. Just think about, when was the storm? When did it hit? How many days ago?

Q: Early Monday.

GEN. BLUM: And today is what?

Q: Saturday.

GEN. BLUM: In that short time we're talking numbers of 40,000. This is just military. You're talking about being able to provide food, fuel, water for an unknown number of people that we have to first fine and discover in lots of cases, and then immediately care for with extremely high expectations.

I think the response of the National Guard is nothing less than unbelievably sensational. It's actually better than any planner could ever expect.

You really need to read the whole thing to get a sense of the hackery on display. Also note his praise for Bush's "tough and courageous decision" to allow the governor of Louisiana to continue governing. Stunning.

[Via American Digest]

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:09 AM

Monday, September 05, 2005

Alex Chilton officially safe

Just got the word:
To a list of people I've been keeping in touch with: You may or may not already know but alex chilton's sister reports she heard from him sunday night on the phone and he is officially safe now. I do not know details about how he made it to safety or if he has been safe all along.

all i know is terry manning is saying something elsewhere about the coast guard rescuing him. If that is true, which is a detail his sister said she had no details on or else didn't know, then I'm glad because I phoned the coast guard Tuesday (what took them so long) and then again Wed. and then filed an online Coast Guard report around Friday and called the state police on Saturday. But for all I know he's been safe all along and just eventually was ready to leave. I have no idea.

he's ok now.

Sounds like good news to me.

Earlier reports here and here.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 2:06 PM

Sunday, September 04, 2005

You've got to hand it to her

Kathryn Jean Lopez may be the worst denizen of The Corner, but at least she posts great emails like this

I'm writing to comment on your statements this evening in the Corner.

They are, with a few exceptions, petty, derivative, adolescent, thumb-sucking idiocy.

While people die of thirst, disease, hunger, stress, gastrointestinal distress, and murder, your comments (in reverse order) have centered on:

* Manchester Online, apparently some brand of British newspaper that has offended you
* Idiotic ruminations on Jesse Jackson's conspicuous absence from Mississippi, as if it matters one iota
* An absolutely assinine suggestion that the GOP announce RIGHT NOW that they will hold their 2008 convention in New Orleans. It boggles the mind why you think New Orleans residents would give a sh*t
. * Complaints about an anti-anti-estate-tax-cut email from People for the American Way, as if you think anybody in New Orleans would give a sh*t. From a purely political perspective, if you think this is the moment to pass tax cuts for the wealthy (as overwhelmingly poor and black residents expire by the thousand), you are an idiot
* Chipper updates on National Guard movements, as if the number of troops "deployed" can somehow make up for the number of Louisianians and Missippians dead
* Complaints about Reuters bias against the word "terrorist," as if you think hurricane refugees give a sh*t
* Snarky comments about Eleanor Smeal, as if you think it matters
* Promotion of a piece supporting price-gouging in New Orleans. Here, you have me. New Orleans residents (those who have access to cars) probably do give a sh*t, but not in the way you'd like.

Your cavalier pettiness, your comprehensive repulsiveness, amazes me. I defy you to say something else - anything else - of less significance or materiality than these examples. I do not think it's possible. Judging from these comments, you are simply sub-human. For your sake I hope these comments are the product of high fever or temporary mental illness, and not representative of your qualities as a supposed human being. These comments will trail you forever. Congratulations. You are a moral predator.

Again, I'm stunned that Lopez would post it, but then, maybe I'm not.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:40 PM

Alex Chilton found?

Just got this email from Lisa, Alex's friend:

The owner of Molly's [a bar in the French Quater] saw Alex on Decatur St. on Wednesday, so I will stop worrying now. He likely only can call numbers he knows by memory when he was out at a bar if they let him use the phone. Molly's bar hasn't seen him since Wednesday. Since we know he's alive we do not need to worry any more; he is fine and should be left alone, so I'm going to stop worrying about it. I wish I had known he was fine so I wouldn't have been trying to make sure he was ok and would have dropped it.

Well, this sounds like good news, but Wednesday is a long way from Sunday and with the widespread lawlessness that gripped the city between Wed. and Fri., I wouldn't be as sanguine. But let's hope all is well.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:37 PM

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Statements vs. reality

CNN has a handy rundown of statements from government officials on the situation in New Orleans vs. the actual reality on the ground. Interesting reading. Here's my favorite, from FEMA Chief Mike Brown:

Brown: I actually think the security is pretty darn good. There's some really bad people out there that are causing some problems, and it seems to me that every time a bad person wants to scream or cause a problem, there's somebody there with a camera to stick it in their face.

Do I smell a Medal of Freedom?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:42 AM

Friday, September 02, 2005

Alex Chilton is missing


The former Box Tops and Big Star frontman (and inspiration to countless bands, from REM to the Posies) has not been heard from in New Orleans since late Monday. Here's a post from

Alex Chilton Missing

Family and friends of musician Alex Chilton (lead singer for 1970s powerpop band Big Star and 1960s rock group the Box Tops) have not been able to locate him since late Monday when he was last heard from alive at his house in NewOrleans after the initial storm before the phones in the area went down. His sister in Memphis and friends are very worried because people are now dying in New Orleans from exposure and he has still not been able to get to a place to
contact his family and friends. It is believed he may possibly be waiting to be evacuated in the French Quarter, which was within walking distance of his home. Please contact with any information about his condition.

I emailed the individual, and got a response from a former Box Topper:

Statement by Bill Cunningham, Box Tops
New Orleans is world famous for its contributions to music and art. Artists who have reportedly been caught up in the New Orleans hurricane disaster include Allen Toussaint, The Nevilles, Big Star and Box Tops lead singer Alex Chilton, Irma Thomas, Chuck Carbo, Clarence Henry, Frankie Ford, Harold Battiste, Cosimo Matassa and numerous others.
Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew were reported to have made it to safety, but many other outstanding artists known to have been in the city during the disaster have not been heard from. The chaos and the degradation of the situation should concern us all, and a swift response restoring order is needed at once.
Claims of communication and logistical difficulties by governmental representatives are not acceptable excuses. Our National Guard is trained to handle such situations, equipped with its AWACS planes, technology and troops. If these troops are not being allowed to do their work to maintain order, this shortcoming speaks of bureaucratic red tape and a lack of planning.
This situation could arise in any metropolitan area due to natural disaster or terrorist attack, and our inability to effectively manage the crisis does not speak well of our current homeland security capabilities. These management failures are a deadly mistake and a national disgrace.
Disaster plans are made years in advance, and are executed speedily. Since the United States is not executing a disaster plan effectively in the current emergency, one has to question our readiness in the future. Inefficient handling of this emergency has brought about a sense of false hope regarding homeland security, given the apparent inability to evacuate our citizens to safety from a major disaster.
The government's slowness to act creates an unfortunate impression to some members of the public that racism may be a factor in the inadequate response. There is no reason why this country, with its vast resources, should not be able to effectively evacuate everyone from New Orleans. Imposing order and structure to stabilize the situation promptly will build public confidence in our nation's ability to manage future disasters.
We need troops, supplies and evacuations now; we need immediate action from the federal government to save lives. Besides letting down the people of New Orleans who are dying and in misery, the United States also stands to lose a major part of its cultural heritage by the loss of many artists and cultural icons currently trapped in that great city.
Thought you might be interested. I got to meet Chilton a few years ago after a show in Hoboken and asked him how to play "When My Baby's Beside Me." He told me it was classic Stones DADGAD. That was a pretty great moment. My friend Louise also did one of the all-time great interviews with the notoriously media shy man a few years ago. Let's hope for the best.
UPDATE: The New York Times has a brief article that essentially recaps what I have here.
Also, I am emailing a woman who has been friends with Chilton since 1985. Here is part of her email to me:
Alex was fine as of Monday afternoon, but then the floods came and the phones went down.

He has not been heard from since. The Box Tops website is a good contact on this situation. Cecelia, I, Bill Cunningham and Jody have been in touch about this. Also, Peggy and Dan Rose, who evacuated to Memphis, are who last spoke with alex on the phone Monday after the storm and so that is why we know he is alive.

Some friends and family think this screen capture [above] from CNN might be Chilton
Here's the Box Tops website:
More from the friend named Lisa [via rant-a-bit]

What I've heard is this-

He loaned his car to a friend, to drive several people to Memphis, but refused to go with them. He boarded up his house and stayed there.

The following day he spoke on the phone to the friend he loaned his car to. And some people were able to get in touch with other friends there in his neighborhood who also stayed in town, and they said they saw him that next morning.

Then the other levies broke. Apparently his neighborhood was flooded badly.

Everyone was worried again. Then a girl in Memphis said she also heard from him, but nobody seems to know whether that was before or after or the same time as the friend with his car.

Next the friends from his neighborhood got a message out (apparently people cannot use cell phones to talk, but are able to send text messages) that they had a group who were apprantly going to try find their way out of town. Alex was not with them.

Somehow some of these people seem to have actually made it out of town, and called friends in Memphis from somewhere in Mississippi. Alex was not with them.

Now his friends in Memphis are starting to ask what happened to Alex. There was contact, but then he seemed to have seperated from people there who knew him and nobody has heard from his since.

His friend in Memphis who has his car still has no knowledge of his status.

There is a rumor that he walked to the French Quarter.

The general consesus is that he is in the French Quarter but nobody has heard from him. That shouldn't be surprising, many people are alive there, and nobody knows where they are.

Everyone should assume he's OK for now.

I just spoke on the phone to an old friend of Alex's who lives here in NY. He's making phone calls down to Memphis to see if he can learn anymore info.

Later Chilton's Daughter Added:

Not likely he'd be "getting drunk in the French Quarter" all of a sudden when doesn't drink (hasn't for 25 years) and is likely dodging armed looters. I do think he might be in the French Quarter because it's near his house and he may not have been able to walk to the Superdome due to water levels and distance.

He waited till the last minute thinking that the storm would go east of N.O. and let two close friends from New Orleans take the car, while he continued boarding up the house all night long. They helped him board up a bit before they left at the last minute possible. At least now he still has a car, thanks to them, since it would have done him no good after things flooded after the storm. He got through the winds shaken but ok, but then the floods came and the phones went down. Nobody knows what happened after that except people with him in New Orleans, possibly these people you mention went around "with shotguns" although that bit about "three shotguns" sounds a bit exaggerated by the source you found it at, somewhat like an urban legend thought up after people saw all the gun chaos via cable news tv. But that's not your fault someone wrote that wherever you found it.

If everyone will hang tight and wait for alex to get to a phone, we'll all know soon enough. I just wish someone would find him and get him out of there. I tend to think he's still walking around there. I made sure I had the Coast Guard check his house. I think he's probably just stuck in a big mess with thousands of others, but this is a mess that can lead to death and dehydration (another reason I doubt he's "getting drunk" anywhere). He had some big water bottles with him for the storm, but likely now he is without water or food. I'm really worried. There is no reason to be assuming he's just fine at this point after being forced out of his house without food for 5 days even though he was fine on Monday.

i hope someone finds him soon.

Chilton lives near the French Quarter, which was not as hard hit as other parts of the city (i.e., it did not flood). It is still worrisome that he and so many others have not been heard from. Any tips, send to:

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:25 PM

But what about all the good news from New Orleans?

I guess this was inevitable:

HIGHT HEWITT: You know, Mark D. Roberts, I also think it’s important to appreciate what people have done. This amazing transfer of the neo-nates from New Orleans’ childrens hospital. That’s a very difficult, dangerous thing. Hundreds of thousands of people doing difficult, dangerous things. And carping, I think, diminishes what ought to be gratitude to them.

ROBERTS: Well, indeed. And you know, the problem is that we don’t see on the news a lot of that stuff. And I’m not really following the news, either. You know, the pictures of looting and all that? Those need to be shown, but much of the good that’s being done is being done quietly, and it’s not making the headlines. And so you get a little bit out of balance, in terms of really what’s going on there. Not to mention the fact that the vast majority of the people in that area are not looting, who might have very little, but they’re not doing it.

What else is there to say about this nonsense?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 2:40 PM

Blame the dead

Glenn Reynolds is doing fine work in helping out the victims of the disaster unfolding in the Gulf, but good Lord, he's just an idiot.

[M]any commentators have looked at the images of people without food, water, or much of anything and announced that this shouldn't be happening in America -- as if we enjoy some sort of supernatural immunity to natural disaster, or some sort of superhuman ability to make things better. It doesn't work that way.

The reason why people like FEMA and the Red Cross recommend that you stockpile enough emergency supplies to get through at least a week without food, water, or electricity is that it generally takes at least that long after a major disaster to get aid flowing. Roads are blocked, bridges are down, power plants -- and lines -- are wrecked, and communications are interrupted. For at least a week (and you're much better off to be prepared for two) you may be on your own.

Really, what's wrong with these desperately poor people living paycheck to paycheck who didn't have the foresight to come across hundreds of dollars to buy food, medicine and other essentials? I suppose they deserve to die.

And on those response times? Does it really take a week to get "aid flowing." Well, here's what the WSJ had to say about the hurricane spate of 2004.

The scene was starkly different in Florida a year ago, after Hurricanes Charley and Frances roared in. Then, federal agencies pulled off a tour-de-force rescue, quickly pouring in billions of dollars to help distressed residents and more still after two more storms, Ivan and Jeanne, followed. President Bush visited the scene within 48 hours. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, took personal responsibility for managing much of the relief effort. While Floridians experienced delays and frustrations, FEMA generally received high marks.

Tractor-trailers with ice, water and other supplies waited at the state border until the storms passed and then rushed to the hardest-hit areas. National Guard troops were on the scene quickly directing traffic, keeping looters out of damaged neighborhoods and throwing ice in people's car trunks. Aid stations opened to serve food and take applications for cash grants.

New talking points, please.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:41 AM

Credibility: Shot

Is there any bigger hack than Austin Bay?

We’ve a million people dispossessed and they are suffering. Critics grouse that the response to Katrina’s devestation has been abysmally slow. Compared to what? Slow compared to our expectations is the correct answer. Compared to every other nation on the planet, we’re moving at warp speed to address a natural disaster of extraordinary magnitude.

Watch what happens over the next week, as American aid organizations, religious groups, and willing individuals act. America’s great wealth is matched by its generosity. America is responding decisively to Katrina’s tragedy.

Yeah, decisively. See, these whiny poor people in New Orleans who are dying in the street just need to shut up because we'll get to them eventually. With toe tags.

It's our finest hour.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:09 AM

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