September 12, 2005

The Horse Whisperer leaves FEMA

From Associated Press: FEMA head Michael Brown resigns his post.

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Roberts confirmation hearings underway

Confirmation hearings for SCOTUS Chief Justice nominee John Roberts got underway last hour on Capitol Hill.

The Senate Judiciary Committee began with members each giving opening statements -- which are expected to take most of the remainder of this afternoon.

A number of Democratic members of the committee, including Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Joe Biden of Delaware, insisted that right-wing nominees -- implying without naming Roberts directly -- had no place on the Supreme Court, let alone in a position to lead the court for thirty or more years.

Many pundits, who believed that Roberts would win the nomination in a veritable cake-walk prior to the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and the subsequent nomination of Roberts to the vacant CJ slot, are now saying that some measure of a verbal battle will take place as Democrats attempt to prevent Roberts' confirmation to the high court.

Once the committee members finish their opening statements, Judge Roberts will have fifteen minutes to provide his own opening statement; this will conclude today's hearing. Tomorrow, the questioning begins at 9:30A ET -- that's where the expected heat will kick in.

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September 09, 2005

Gretna, LA Police Chief says NOLA evacuation route closed to keep people away

Gretna, Louisiana is a self-described "bedroom community" in Jefferson Parish, LA, that lies on the opposite bank of the Mississippi River from a portion of the city of New Orleans.

New Orleans residents get to Gretna by way of the US 90 bridge - The Crescent City Connection - and the Westbank Expressway.

In a recent interview, the Gretna Police Chief, Arthur Lawson, admitted that the bridge was closed to foot and vehicle traffic to prevent people from using it to escape the hell that downtown New Orleans had become.

"We shut down the bridge," Arthur Lawson, chief of the City of Gretna Police Department, confirmed to United Press International, adding that his jurisdiction had been "a closed and secure location" since before the storm hit.

"All our people had evacuated and we locked the city down," he said.

Lawson said that once the storm itself had passed Monday, police from Gretna City, Jefferson Parrish and the Louisiana State Crescent City Connection Police Department closed to foot traffic the three access points to the bridge closest to the West Bank of the river.

He added that the small town, which he called "a bedroom community" for the city of New Orleans, would have been overwhelmed by the influx.

"There was no food, water or shelter" in Gretna City, Lawson said. "We did not have the wherewithal to deal with these people.

If we had opened the bridge, our city would have looked like New Orleans does now: looted, burned and pillaged."

Not only that, but police officers stationed themselves at the foot of the Crescent City Connection-US 90 bridge and actually fired at (or at least over the heads of) people who attempted to use the bridge to escape New Orleans. A web posting on WDSU-TV's web page tells the story.
two paramedics, who were trapped in the city while attending a convention, joined a group of people who had been turned out by the hotels that they were staying in on Wednesday. When the group attempted to get to the Superdome -- designated by city authorities as a shelter for those unable to evacuate -- they were turned away by the National Guard.

"Quite naturally, we asked ... 'What was our alternative?' The guards told us that that was our problem, and no, they did not have extra water to give to us.

"This would be the start of our numerous encounters with callous and hostile law enforcement."

As they made their way to the bridge in order to leave the city "armed Gretna sheriffs (sic) formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads."

Members of the group nonetheless approached the police lines, and "questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge ... They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City.

two paramedics, who were trapped in the city while attending a convention, joined a group of people who had been turned out by the hotels that they were staying in on Wednesday. When the group attempted to get to the Superdome -- designated by city authorities as a shelter for those unable to evacuate -- they were turned away by the National Guard.

"Quite naturally, we asked ... 'What was our alternative?' The guards told us that that was our problem, and no, they did not have extra water to give to us.

"This would be the start of our numerous encounters with callous and hostile law enforcement."

As they made their way to the bridge in order to leave the city "armed Gretna sheriffs (sic) formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads."

Members of the group nonetheless approached the police lines, and "questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge ... They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City.

This means that in addition to the continued and constant carping belonging to Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin, Chief Lawson and the officials in Gretna are also to blame for the deaths in New Orleans.

As I pointed out earlier, US 90 was available to allow traffic to completely leave the New Orleans area; the vast majority of those escaping New Orleans had no desire, need or means to remain in Gretna -- after all, if Mayor Nagin's buses had been employed, their destination would have most certainly be somewhere other than Gretna's "bedroom community."

I could very easily raise the spectre of conspiracy regarding a desire on the part of Chief Lawson that poor blacks be allowed to die in the Superdome...but I won't.

However, I do add Chief Lawson's name to that of Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin, and renew my call that he be arrested and charged with any number of crimes from manslaugter to reckless homicide. I feel he, too, should be jailed and held by federal authorities until an investigation and trial is able to convict or exonerate him.

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Five-day track on Hurricane Maria puts it near ICELAND!

The five-day track from the National Hurricane Center of Tropical Storm Maria, which is presently in the central Atlantic Ocean and no threat to North America, puts the storm -- still as a tropical system -- near Iceland by Tuesday morning, as shown below.

Image hosted by TinyPic.com

Unbelievable!

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ABCNews: FEMA Director Brown out soon

ABCNews is reporting that embattled FEMA Director Michael Brown, the subject of a number of scathing reprisals (including my own) for his mishandling of the Katrina relief effort, is going to be removed from his post shortly.

Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown, under criticism due to his management of Hurricane Katrina as well as reported discrepancies on his resume, is expected to be out as head of the agency very soon, informed sources have told ABC News.

Brown had virtually no experience with emergency management when he was appointed to the position by President Bush two years ago.

Brown was a college roommate of Joseph Allbaugh, a former Bush campaign manager who directed FEMA from March 2001 to March 2003. Brown was the deputy chief of FEMA in 2001 aand moved up when Allbaugh left.

Before becoming part of the agency, Brown was a top official of an Arabian Horse Association. The secretary of that association says it asked him to resign in 2001.

As this story comes up and out, the AP is reporting that Brown is being removed from direct oversight of Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

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Why aren't Blanco & Nagin under arrest?

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ignored information he received from officials with the National Hurricane Center as early as Friday, 8/26, regarding the ferocity of Hurricane Katrina. Nagin had the capability to commandeer municipal buses and school buses to evacuate those who could not afford to leave the city. Yet the buses he did use, took people to "shelters of last resort," including the New Orleans Convention Center and the Louisiana Superdome, both of which became virtual representations of hell on earth in the ensuing days.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco was also warned well in advance of Katrina's landfall about the power of the storm. She was asked by the Bush Administration if she needed aid -- in advance of the storm's arrival, an unprecedented move in this nation's history. Blanco demurred, saying that the help would not be necessary.

Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, actually telephoned Blanco and Nagin -- at home in Nagin's case -- Saturday night, imploring them to evacuate New Orleans, and once again, emphasizing the power of this storm.

Still the two did not go on the air until Sunday morning, advising people to evacuate -- yet neither one made provisions outside the city for those who could not afford to leave. Both Blanco and Nagin, when questioned on the air that Sunday morning, said that those who could not afford to leave should go to the Superdome or several other "shelters of last resort."

As Katrina cut a swath across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on that Monday morning, water began to breach the seawall and levee system protecting New Orleans from the waters of Lake Pontchartrain to the north. The waters undermined the 17th Street Canal's seawall, sending water cascading into the city. The water ultimately began to overwhelm the massive pumps used to pump out water, prompting a warning from Nagin that the city would flood to a depth of up to 12 feet or more.

Yet, nothing was done to evacuate those in the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center.

Hundreds of buses were in the city, yet were not used to evacuate those people.

Additionally, the city's own disaster plan calls for the use of school and city buses to evacute those who could not afford to leave the city on their own -- yet it was apparently ignored.

Governor Blanco denied access to the city by the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, both of whom were prepared to bring relief supplies, including food and water, to the people ensconced in the Superdome and 'Convention Center.

Even more damning, the Crescent City Connection, a high-span bridge carrying US 90 across the Mississippi River, remained unobstructed. The bridge goes from downtown New Orleans to the West Bank area of the city, and westward into the Airline Highway, and from there westward away from New Orleans. US 90 remained as an access route for the press and ultimately for rescue vehicles that finally arrived in New Orleans.

There are other issues: President Bush, on arrival in Louisiana, met with Nagin and Blanco. Blanco asked for a 24-hour period to consider Bush's offer of additional aid and resources.

When asked about the buses, Nagin's staffers have refused comment.

Nagin and Blanco have both pointed the finger at each other regarding blame for the disaster.

All of this points toward one overriding question: Why aren't Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin under arrest? They deserve to be charged with multiple counts of manslaughter at the very least -- through their ineptness, malfeasance and incompetence, the pair of them are directly responsible for the deaths of literally hundreds, if not thousands of men, women and children in Orleans Parish and the city of New Orleans.

As opposed to permitting them to continue to posture and play partisan games with each other and with the press (fueling fanatic assertions of blame against the Bush administration in the process), they both should be arrested and detained pending an arraignment hearing and trial.

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Red Cross confirms they were denied access to New Orleans

Finally silencing those who pooh-poohed what Fox News Channel has reported for the past two days, the Red Cross revealed that Louisiana officials denied them access to the city of New Orleans in the early hours and days of the disaster brought about by Hurricane Katrina.

Louisiana officials rebuffed American Red Cross requests to enter New Orleans with relief supplies last week because of concerns over logistical difficulties, Red Cross and state officials said Thursday.
This points toward a failure of monumental proportions -- not of federal authorities (though there have been mistakes made by DHS and FEMA in their early handling of the disaster), but of Louisiana state officials and city officials in New Orleans.

On an unrelated note, please continue to give to relief organizations like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the United Way and others. All those organizations need your ongoing help during this difficult time in American history.

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Political cartoonists can still be counted on to give perspective

Some political cartoonists can be counted on to show what most would think absurd, but then again be so close to reality that it's truly sad.

This is from the print edition of yesterday's San Jose Mercury News.

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September 08, 2005

FNC's Major Garrett learns Blanco's Guard kept Salvation Army out of NOLA

New word tonight from Fox News Channel's Major Garrett on the ongoing fiasco surrounding the prevention of food and supplies last week from reaching people trapped at the New Orleans Convention Center and the Louisiana Superdome.

Last night, Garrett talked to a Red Cross official who confirmed the story regarding Red Cross workers; tonight Garrett talked to officials with the Salvation Army, who also were prevented -- by Louisiana state officials -- from bringing supplies to those who needed them in New Orleans.

The Fox News Channel's Major Garrett made another appearance on the program this evening, following up on his blockbuster story yesterday. Among other things, Garrett got confirmation from the head of the Red cross --on camera-- of the Louisiana State Department of Homeland Security's blocking of the delivery of relief supplies to the Superdome and the Convention Center. In addition, Garrett received confirmation from senior Salvation Army officials in Washington, D.C. that the Salvation Army's efforts at supplying the evacuees were also repeatedly blocked. Radioblogger will have the transcript up later, but the key takeaway was when I asked Garrett if characterizing Louisian's preparation for the storm as "abysmal" was accurate and he confirmed that indeed it was. Read the whole thing.

I also asked Garrett why no other network is on this story. He can't offer an answer for that, event hough he points out that this isn't a hard story to get, and Fox News needn't be credited. All CNN has to do (or MSNBC or CBS) is call the Red Cross and get a camera over there.

I've been getting nastygrams from leftists all day who are calling last night's reports fradulent. I'm sure this will be no different.

Many refuse to accept the facts: that Kathleen Blanco is at best an incompetent fool who has no business supervising a restaurant cleaning crew, much less an entire state -- at worst, she's just plain evil.

In either event, both she and her cohort, N.O. Mayor Ray Nagin should be brought up on manslaughter charges at the very least.

(Video available from The Political Teen)

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CNN's Soledad O'Brien given the verbal smackdown by NOLA resident

American Morning co-host Soledad O'Brien has had this holier-than-thou on-air attitude throughout the entire crisis following Hurricane Katrina. The past few mornings, she has been broadcasting from New Orleans to show the magnitude of the disaster.

Well...this morning, a New Orleans resident whose house is high and dry came on the CNN morning program and...let's just say that Soledad got the smackdown.

S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

We've been talking about some of the residents who refuse to go, even though there's a mandatory evacuation order.

Well, Delia Labarre is one of them.

She joins us this morning after riding her bike to our interview.

Good morning.

DELIA LABARRE, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: Good morning.

S. O'BRIEN: Is this pretty much how you're getting around?

LABARRE: Yes, when I go out. Someone loaned it to me, actually. But -- so I found my way here.

S. O'BRIEN: Do you go out a lot?

LABARRE: Yes, I do.

S. O'BRIEN: What's your day like?

LABARRE: I've been staying in the past couple of days doing household things, taking care of business around there. But I -- before, when the refugees were still here, I was making calls for them, trying to get rides for them, getting -- letting relatives know they were OK...

S. O'BRIEN: Where do you live?

LABARRE: ... cooking for them, because I have access to a gas stove. I live over in the Arts Warehouse District and...

S. O'BRIEN: And what's the condition of your house?

LABARRE: Well, it's high and dry and...

S. O'BRIEN: No damage?

LABARRE: No damage. A few shingles that got blown off during the wind, during the storm and a few panes of glass, window panes broken.

S. O'BRIEN: So when you hear about these forced evacuations, when the mayor says and the police chief says...

LABARRE: I'm hearing about this forced evacuations. I'm horrified. It's -- I don't quite understand it. They're not giving us much information. I talked to some state troopers just now and they say they're trying to get the bad elements out. But I, you know, and they said we don't know the difference, so we're just trying to get everyone out. So now they're looking... S. O'BRIEN: But even...

LABARRE: ... they're looking at all of us as criminals.

S. O'BRIEN: But even if you're not talking about bad elements or good elements in the population, I mean smell this water. It's horrible.

LABARRE: You're the one who chose to be here. I don't choose -- I didn't choose to be here. I just came to visit you (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

S. O'BRIEN: But this is an indication of what it's like.

LABARRE: This is where you're camping out and this is what you're showing the world. You have everybody in the world believing that the whole city looks like it. I would suggest that you go over there and start -- and film a little bit where it's not flooded.

S. O'BRIEN: But even if your neighborhood is good this is toxic. I mean everyone...

LABARRE: Well...

S. O'BRIEN: ... agree it's a (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

LABARRE: And why are you breathing it, you know? I mean how many days have you been here?

S. O'BRIEN: That's an excellent question.

LABARRE: I think it is.

S. O'BRIEN: We should wrap up our studio...

LABARRE: I think it is, you know?

S. O'BRIEN: But -- and I get your point. But I'm not going to live here. And I'm...

LABARRE: Well...

S. O'BRIEN: And some people would...

LABARRE: I mean the water is going down and I would not, I would go, I would have gone before the storm hit if I had been living in a low lying area. I know enough about how the city lies, the elevations at various points. I knew I was on one of the highest points in the city. I was above ground. And I had placed my fate with the city. My ancestors were original colonists of the city and they didn't tuck their tail between their legs and run.

S. O'BRIEN: You have electricity yet?

LABARRE: Not yet. It should be on any day.

S. O'BRIEN: Do you have water?

LABARRE: I have running water now. I have lots of bottled water. And lots of other people are in the same way.

S. O'BRIEN: There's no stores. Where do you get your supplies from?

LABARRE: We have plenty. We stocked up, you know? I mean, you know, this is -- people in this country, the majority, are so used to real conveniences, lots of conveniences, and they just -- they can't imagine how to exist. But, you know, some of us are, you know, take it or leave it. But we have, you know, we can exist with far less.

S. O'BRIEN: When you see pictures of people who are surrounded by water and sloshing through that dirty water...

LABARRE: Yes, well...

S. O'BRIEN: ... and they are saying a lot of the same things you're saying...

LABARRE: I understand.

S. O'BRIEN: ... which is I live here, this is my home, I don't want to leave...

LABARRE: I understand.

S. O'BRIEN: ... should they be evacuated?

LABARRE: But, you know, the alternatives that they've been offered have not been humane. And I sympathize with them.

S. O'BRIEN: What do you mean?

LABARRE: Well, I mean I saw where they were putting them. They promised them a bus. They promised them a nice place to live and they put them at -- in hellacious conditions at the Superdome, at the convention center. I talked to those people. They were made promises and they didn't come through with them. And they -- I'm sure they're making promises to them now that they're not -- if they don't come through, you know?

So, and I think that there's a lot of media hype right now. I'm questioning whether or not there's not a little bit of a manipulation of the media so that when the death toll starts coming in, that the mayor and other officials can say see, you've been reporting it for all this time. People refused to leave and that's why there's so many dead.

That is not true.

S. O'BRIEN: That's an interesting...

LABARRE: They did not offer these people a way out to begin with. They offered them a ride to Superdome. They never offered them transportation out of the city.

S. O'BRIEN: Do you have a working shower?

LABARRE: Well, we have a -- the water is on.

S. O'BRIEN: All right.

LABARRE: Yes.

S. O'BRIEN: So can we come and see where you're living?

LABARRE: Yes.

S. O'BRIEN: Open up?

LABARRE: Yes, you could, if you like.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. We'll talk about that afterward.

LABARRE: OK.

S. O'BRIEN: We would like it.

LABARRE: Oh, wait. Could I just ask one more thing?

S. O'BRIEN: Absolutely.

LABARRE: We would like to ask the mayor to meet with us, those who are here, instead of just this forced evacuation, which I understand is actually illegal, according to our attorneys. We would like to ask him to meet with us, those who are here and would like to stay, and those who are wanting to come in. They're all over the country. They will come in. They will drive to sit down and talk with them about rebuilding the city.

S. O'BRIEN: We'll see what the mayor says to that request.

LABARRE: Thank you very much.

S. O'BRIEN: Delia Labarre, it's so nice to meet you.

LABARRE: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Good luck to you.

LABARRE: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: And we're going to take you up on your offer.

LABARRE: Yes, you're welcome.

S. O'BRIEN: We haven't showered for a long time by (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and we'd like to just come and see how you're living.

LABARRE: OK. I'll fix you a cup of coffee.

S. O'BRIEN: I'll take that, too.

LABARRE: Thanks.

S. O'BRIEN: Karen, thank you.

Let's get right back to Miles.

LABARRE: Don't touch me.

Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark...
(video available at The Political Teen)

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Jesse Lee Peterson blames Nagin & Blanco for NOLA disaster

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of the Los Angeles-based Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND) has suggested that both New Orleans Mayor
Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco as the culprits in the ongoing blame-game in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"This is a terrible situation and we need to have compassion. The truth is Black people died not because of President Bush or racism, they died because of their unhealthy dependence on the government and the incompetence of Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco," said Rev. Peterson.

Peterson [continued], "If Black folks want to blame someone for this tragedy they only need to look in the mirror. Mayor Nagin has blamed everyone else except himself. The Mayor failed in his duty to evacuate and protect the people of New Orleans. Our prayers go out to the families of the deceased. Hopefully this will help Black people realize the folly of depending on the government or leaders and serve as a notice to avert future tragedies in other cities."

This is behind the accusations of malfeasance by Nagin directed toward Blanco, and similar charges levied in the other direction by Blanco.

Some sources in Louisiana point toward an ongoing animosity between the two officials, stemming from Nagin's support of Republican Congressional candidate (and ultimately the winner of the US Congressional race from Louisiana) Bobby Jindal. But could political infighting end up being the cause of so many deaths in New Orleans?

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Woe unto any black conservative who speaks out

Bob Parks, a fellow member of Project 21 and the writer of the regular column/blog Black & Right, appeared this week on CNN's Daybreak regarding a piece last week where he took the looters to task for their actions last week in New Orleans.

Afterward, the e-mail began to roll in. Of course, much of it was negative. After all, many of them in effect were saying, if you dare to chastize blacks or if you say something critical of the Jesse Jacksons of the world, you must be an Uncle Tom...or worse...

Saw you on C-span. I guess the neo-cons must keep you on retainer for whenever George needs a Nigger in the woodpile. I am lily white and what I saw in New Orleans made me ashamed to be an American. People starving and dying of thirst, right in front of the cameras. The old and very young laying in shit while George plays golf or Condi shops on 5th Av. While FEMA is turning away relief workers, supplies, and rescuers from the city. FEMA also cut emergency phone lines to the city. What we saw was attempted genocide of the poor people of New Orleans, their only crime is that they were squatting on some very, expensive and desirable land.
When I asked the same question last night -- but regarding the actions of Louisiana's Democratic Governor, I was soundly dismissed as a lunatic. After all, a Democratic woman couldn't do such a thing. But it's easy to paint George W. Bush with the same paint brush for many people.
I didn't think modern day Uncle Toms exsisted in such a prevalent form.

*****

I saw you on CNN and was disgusted at what an Uncle Tom you are. I found your comments laughable in that they had no basis in reality.

*****

I was listening to you this morning on CNN and I wanted to know what is wrong with you. I cant believe you have the nerves to question to Rev Jesse Jackson motives. How can you a Black man sit there and dont think this has something to do with Race and Class. Of course, nothing surprises me, you are a black republican.

*****

Bob, you are a sad sad man. You sit the confort of you home and office and write such hateful things about people who have lost everything. God is watching you Bob and I'm sure he doesn't like what he sees. You obvious hate you own race and are using this to your advantage like Justice Clarence Thomas.

*****

Having just listened to your so-called “debate” on CNN Daybreak I feel sorry for you. Why is it that blacks such as yourself who have fled the grips of poverty are so quick to judge those less fortunate? You should be ashamed of yourself f for the comments that you made on national tv just moments ago about blacks in New Orleans who are undoubtedly going through some form of post traumatic stress.

*****

Your opinions are without merit. You speak about African-Americans as if you are wearing a mask; with another face under it.

*****

You are the prime "white on the inside, black on the outside" kind of nigger.

*****

Your opinions are dangerous and lack insight, history and compassion.

*****

You Bob Parks in my opinion are in every sence of the word a NIGAR,how dare you!!!!!!! You even sound white,how far up the Bushes asses do you need to get?? You are a digrace to anyone with a suntan much less black!

You get the picture.

God forbid anyone with an alternative view make their statements in the open.

Those in the mainstream will do their level best to stomp those alternative opinions, along with those expressing those opinions, into the pavement like so many ants underfoot.

Just damn.

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Steve's been busy: iPod mano, iPhone revealed

 
Apple revealed their next two iPod innovations yesterday.

First up is the tiny iPod nano which replaces the iPod mini. The color-screened nano is much smaller than the mini, thanks to the 2GB and 4GB flash drives within, as opposed to the hard-drive-based mini. This will increase battery life tremendously.

The other innovation is the iPhone, a combination iPod-cell phone from Apple, Cingular and Motorola (who is calling the phone the ROKR). The iPhone is a full-featured telephone that includes the capability to store roughly about six hours worth of music, podcasts or any other MP3-based files and to, of course, listen to them on the fly.

Apple says that the iPod nano will retail for $199 (for 2 GB) and $249 (for 4 GB). The iPhone (Motorola ROKR) retails for $249, and is available from Cingular Wireless dealers now. The nano -- you can get it in white or black -- is available from Apple's stores, or from any retailer where iPod's are sold.

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September 07, 2005

Did Blanco attempt genocide at Superdome?

The Red Cross has confirmed to Fox News Channel's Major Garrett that they had requested permission to take food and medical supplies to the Louisiana Superdome in the hours immediately after Hurricane Katrina's landfall. That request was denied by none other than Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco.

Garrett appeared on Hugh Hewitt's syndicated radio program this evening to discuss the shocking revelation.

MG: Well, the Red Cross, Hugh, had pre-positioned a literal vanguard of trucks with water, food, blankets and hygiene items. They're not really big into medical response items, but those are the three biggies that we saw people at the New Orleans Superdom, and the convention center, needing most accutely. And all of us in America, I think, reasonably asked ourselves, geez. You know, I watch hurricanes all the time. And I see correspondents standing among rubble and refugees and evacuaees. But I always either see that Red Cross or Salvation Army truck nearby. Why don't I see that?

HH: And the answer is?

MG: The answer is the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, that is the state agency responsible for that state's homeland security, told the Red Cross explicitly, you cannot come.

HH: Now Major Garrett, on what day did they block the delivery? Do you know specifically?

MG: I am told by the Red Cross, immediately after the storm passed.

The Louisiana Department of Homeland Security is directly under the command and direction of Governor Kathleen Blanco. The same Kathleen Blanco who has whined and blamed the federal government from her perch in Baton Rouge throughout this entire crisis. The same Kathleen Blanco who has stared at cameras with deer-in-headlight-glazed eyes since Hurricane Katrina made landfall. The same Kathleen Blanco who, after being asked about federal help prior to landfall said, "No." The same Kathleen Blanco who rescinded Mayor Ray Nagin's order to completely evacuate the city due to dangerous conditions just today.

Was Kathleen Blanco's goal the death of as many of those in the Superdome as possible?

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You mean they could have gotten out four days sooner!?

Un-freakin-believable.

The Crescent City Connection is the tall bridge over the Mississippi River. The bridge and the access ramps to the bridge have remained accessable from downtown New Orleans. That is how the rescue vehicles accessed New Orleans once they arrived.

This overhead shot shows buses that were NOT underwater, yet were not used to evacuate people in the Superdome or in the Convention Center.

The magic question: why!?

(Click photo to enlarge)

(More coverage at Protein Wisdom & others)

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Day By Day: Playin' the blame game...

(Courtesy Day By Day)

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Nagin slams Blanco for stalling

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is slamming Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco for her delays in requesting federal help (free registration required for link) for the survivors of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin told CNN's "American Morning" Monday that he met with Mr. Bush and Mrs. Blanco on Air Force One on Friday and implored the two to "get in sync."

"If you don't get in sync, more people are going to die," Mr. Nagin said.

Mr. Bush met privately first with Mrs. Blanco, then called Mr. Nagin in for a meeting.

"He called me in that office," Mr. Nagin said. "And he said, 'Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor.' I was ready to move. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision."

That decision was a request by Mr. Bush to allow the federal government to take over the evacuation of New Orleans, which had been marked by chaos for days. The Democratic governor, who has clashed behind the scenes with the Bush administration since the storm hit, refused.

Governor Blanco was aware of the gravity of the situation surrounding Hurricane Katrina well before landfall. She was asked by the Bush White House whether or not Louisiana needed federal assistance, and Blanco demurred.

This doesn't negate Mayor Nagin's malfeasance here either -- more than 400 buses are underwater today in the Crescent City, 400 buses that could have been used to evacuate those in the Superdome prior to the disaster. Nagin was also made aware more than three days before landfall, but did not push for an evacuation until a day and a half before landfall, and Nagin never did push for total evacuation of those who did not have the resources to leave on their own.

Please keep in mind that the federal authorities did not have the legal jurisdiction to force an evacuation. That power lay with the state and local authorities -- in other words, with Nagin and Blanco. The two of them clearly did not act in the best interest of their constituents, despite their statements to the contrary on television and in various media over the past week.

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September 06, 2005

TD #16 soon to be TS Ophelia off Florida

Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued from Jupiter Inlet to Titusville in Florida. Loosely organized Tropical Depression #16 is (as of 2P ET today) about 180 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, with max sustained winds of 30 miles per hour. The depression is stationary, but expected to begin a slow northwestward motion later today.

The National Hurricane Center expects it to become a tropical storm sometime tonight and to begin to bring rains to Florida's east coast sometime tomorrow.

Forecast tracks show TD#16 moving northwesterly along the Florida east coast, making landfall as a tropical storm sometime Saturday near St. Augustine, FL.

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By definition, "refugee" isn't racist, but it is not descriptive enough

C0y1n1IxTYJ:www.henrylim.org/Dictionary.jpg" align=left hspace=3>Jesse Jackson and others are jumping up and down about the use of the term "refugees" to describe those displaced from the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's fury last week. They claim the word to be racist.

This is not true when you look at the etymology and the definition of the word.

Personally, I think Jackson and the others would actually gravitate back toward the word if they stopped and looked at the true dictionary definition of the word.

One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.
After all, Jackson and plenty on the left feel those evacuated from areas damaged or destroyed by Katrina are political refugees.

The common term being used by many however, both politically correct and otherwise -- and correctly so, is evacuee.

A person evacuated from a dangerous area.
Indeed, that is what the people are.

But I have found a better word for them: Survivors. They have survived by the grace of God. And mark my words, most of them have taken to bended knee to thank God for His grace.

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September 05, 2005

Blog Relief: Helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina

Hundreds of blogs across the blogosphere are taking time out this weekend to focus on the victims of Hurricane Katrina and to ask for your help.

The American Red Cross is coordinating efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and all across the nation to help those affected by the disaster. They are coordinating the use of the facilities at the Astrodome in Houston, where so many refugees are being taken; they are working with the military and other agencies to get those in need of medical help to hospitals across the Southeast. They need your help.

The Salvation Army is also providing support and you be certain that donations there will help also.

You can help by volunteering your time, your money, your blood or your prayers. All will be appreciated.

More details can be found from TTLB, Instapundit and literally hundreds of other blogs around the world.

Thank you and God bless you.

UPDATE: In addition to the resources I've linked to here, DarkStar has an excellent list of black resources and charities over at Vision Circle that are also providing services and relief to victims of Katrina's wrath.

(Pinning this to the top of the page)

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