You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for September, 2005.


September 7th, 2005

I overheard a really funny thing at the bagel shop this morning.

There were a bunch of cops from Montgomery County, Maryland having breakfast in the shop, and one of them was telling the others about someone they all knew who is part of a caravan from Montgomery County to the Gulf Coast. He said there were about 30-40 cop cars and paramedics from this area headed down there.

But that’s not the funny part.

The funny part is that all these cars are caravaning through Virginia, and a Virginia state trooper stopped them. All of them. He told them that they were driving too slow — that they couldn’t drive 58 in the left lane in a 65 speed zone. Apparently, there was a bit of an argument, and the Maryland cops just all got in their cars and left.

Then when they got to Tennessee, a Tennessee state trooper contacted them by radio, learned what they were doing, and escorted them all the way through the state.

Tiny details

September 6th, 2005

I have started and discarded 2 posts today. One was about the phrase “science based” and the other was about substance use in the wake of Katrina.

I abandoned both because they seemed too trivial.

For my own peace of mind I must say this: just because I natter on about language or cosmopolitans, do not think my anger or hurt is gone. I am outraged about the Federal “response” to the Gulf Coast disaster. I am also curious about how the disaster has impacted substance use among those glued to various news sources. The two are not mutually exclusive.

(I know, dear reader, that you knew that. But I had to make sure.)


September 6th, 2005

I was so glad to wake up this morning and learn that two of the breaches in New Orleans’ levees have been repaired. A brief bit of good news in an ocean of hurt.

I’m so worried about our country. Between our incompetent leaders, and the huge rebuilding task before us, I fear we are lost.


September 3rd, 2005

My eyes cannot cry anymore. My soul cannot ache anymore. My heart cannot pray anymore. I’ve reached the limit of my ability to absorb or understand information about New Orleans. All I have left is a blind pit of stinking rage inside me, rage at the huge calamity our government has created. The horror of New Orleans is a manmade disaster — it is not a natural disaster. And we, as a people, need to find the people responsible and bring them to justice.

I don’t have anymore to say or think or write about New Orleans right now. It hurts too much.


September 2nd, 2005

Now that New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong Airport is operating again (on a limited basis) several airlines are beginning airlifts to the city, carrying supplies in and people out. They think they’ll be able to transport about 25,000 people out of the city, but are seeking to secure promises of federal reimbursement for expenses before beginning a large-scale effort.

Given all we American tax-payers have done for the airline industry, I personally think they should donate this effort, but whatever. That’s not what bothers me the most.

What bothers me this most is how the 25,000 people are supposed to get to the airport. Given all the fires, lawlessness and threats that rescue workers are facing, will the rescue workers be able to get people there?


September 2nd, 2005

Here’s a picture of the fire in New Orleans from A Guardian story about the inferno


Fire and hazmat crews cannot reach the area. It’s likely to burn out of control for some time.

Update: Reports are now saying that the fires are the result of a chemical plant explosion.

What the hell?

September 2nd, 2005

As if the city hasn’t been through enough, now it appears that several railroad cars have exploded sending flames (and god knows what else) shooting far up into the air in New Orleans. I keep thinking it can’t get any worse — and yet, it keeps getting worse.


September 2nd, 2005

If you have the stomach for it, Disaster in the Making, printed in Independent Weekly in September 2004, is worth reading . It details the way FEMA has been systematically gutted.

[t]he White House has pushed for privatization of essential government services, including disaster management, and merged FEMA into the Department of Homeland Security, where natural disaster programs are often sidelined by counter-terrorism programs. Along the way, morale at FEMA has plummeted, and many of the agency’s most experienced personnel have left for work in other government agencies or private corporations.

It’s difficult to imagine a more short-sighted policy, and I hold George W. Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress personally responsible for the unnecessary deaths that are taking place in the Gulf Coast right now. Join me, won’t you?

Looking Forward

September 1st, 2005

As we rebuild New Orleans, I think we ought to look into hiring a few Dutch engineers. They know a few things about keeping water out of populated areas that are below sea level. What I particularly admire about the Delta Works is the way they have been built so as to minimize damaze to salt water estuaries. It is possible to control flooding without totally mucking up the natural ebb and flow of water and silt across the land the way the Army Corps of Engineers has done on the Mississippi.


September 1st, 2005

Here’s the thought that kept me up last night: You know all those bussess that are being bused from the Superdome to the Astrodome? The newstories are saying that FEMA chartered about 500 of them to shuttle people to the Astrodome.

Where were those busses on Saturday? Bush declared New Orleans a disaster area before Katrina hit. That gave FEMA the power to act. I know time was short, but why couldn’t some sort of bus (or military) convoy have been used to get the poor, the desperate, and the just plain stuck, out of harm’s way before the worst happened? Why was the evacuation — a public emergency of epic proportions — handled by purely private means?