Friday, September 01, 2006

Don't Mourn, Link 

Michael Tisserand writes an article in the Nation discussing the role of the internet in New Orleans' recovery. It's not long, and mentions Rising Tide and quotes several of the participants.

Thanks to Morwen for finding this first.


Also, Jeffrey links to a web-only Nation article listing some of the "most insightful" Nola bloggers.
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How can a site with posts this funny average 3 hits per day (at last check)?
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Job creation 

Another ho-hum jobs number came out today, but it did mark a significant milestone for the Bush administration. During Bush's 5 2/3 years in office, THREE million net payroll jobs have been created! Sounds impressive, huh?

For context, let's review some historical employment data as categorized by recent Presidential administrations. It's good to have some historical perspective when others proudly chirp about the alleged "Bush Boom". The following numbers are from total nonfarm seasonally adjusted data available at the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Net Jobs Created (* = 2 term president):

Clinton*: 22.75 million

Reagan*: 16.1 million

Carter: 10.33 million

Bush "43"*: 3 million (thru August '06)

Bush "41": 2.6 million


More net jobs were created during the Clinton Administration than in the Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 terms, combined.

More jobs were created during Carter's term than in either Reagan's first or second terms.

Dubya will see far fewer net jobs created in eight years than were created during Carter's four years.
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I need illumination, bright stars 

Say that a deadly storm is approaching and a mandatory evacuation is called.

Why is it deemed acceptable (if not honorable) to risk one's life to defend the homestead against potential looting after a storm, but it's stupid to stay and ride out the storm for any other reason?
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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thanks, Houston 

Via the Dead Pelican we learn:
Katrina fatigue erupted into anger and frustration Wednesday night, as more than 1,700 west Houston residents urged Mayor Bill White to send evacuees home to New Orleans. One year after the city of Houston welcomed at least 250,000 evacuees, more than 100,000 New Orleans natives still remain. West Houston residents who gathered Wednesday at Grace Presbyterian Church to address increases in violent crime over the past year in their community said evacuees are to blame.

But, but, but... I thought former First Lady Babs Bush said things were going to "work out well" for the evacuees. The famous Texan hospitality was so overhwhelming... that many evacuees were going to move there.

I guess the "welcome" has been worn out. I wonder what the bible says about "hospitality" towards afflicted sojourners?

Update: Oh, and "Thanks Allstate", as well, for being snivelling little greedheads to the Homans. Their story makes it to CNN.
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President speaks to a "part of the world" 

President Bush speaking in Biloxi (8/28/06) [background here]:

Listen, thank you all for coming. I'm glad to be back here in Biloxi. I'm glad Laura came with me. (Applause.) I've been to this neighborhood before. As a matter of fact, I was here a couple of days after Katrina hit. It's amazing, isn't it? It's amazing what the world looked like and the way it looks like now.

The "world"?

I also met Sandy and Lynn Patterson from -- walking down the street, your neighbor. They -- (applause) -- well, just about everybody here, they've lost everything they own. People can't imagine what the world looked like then. I went by their homes -- just came out of their homes. It's got air-conditioning -- (laughter) -- electricity. You can see the reconstruction effort beginning here in this part of the world.
Indeed, the Gulf Coast is a wonderful "part of the world".

I feel the quiet sense of determination that's going to shape the future of Mississippi. And so I've come back on this anniversary to thank you for your courage, and to let you know the federal government stands with you still.
One of the people that has intrigued me the most is Mayor Tommy Longo of Waveland. Mayor, good to see you, buddy. Thanks for coming (Applause.) I'm always asking about you, Tommy.

Q [Mayor Longo]: I'm always asking about you --

THE PRESIDENT: That's right. (Laughter.) Check is in the mail. (Laughter.)
Heh. I would so love to have a beer with that kind and decent man.

I'd rather listen to local mayors and county commissioners than folks sitting in Washington, D.C. about what this part of Mississippi wants. (Applause.)

"Part of... Mississippi"! Now that's more like it!

Sandy Patterson -- she can tell you how important it is to feel reconnected. She says, "My house is my home again, and it's good to be home." And that's what we want: people to help people here in this part of the world. (Applause.)

Aw nuts! He's saying it again.

Bobby Mahoney is with us. He showed the same spirit when he opened Mary Mahoney's. That's a restaurant he named for his mother. That's a smart thing to do if you have a restaurant. (Laughter.) Within two months of Hurricane Katrina, Mary Mahoney's was once again serving its world famous, gourmet seafood gumbo.
That's a smart man who understands that as this part of the world flourishes and businesses grow, people are going to find work and have the where with all to help rebuild the communities in their lives.
Optimism is the only option. (Applause.)

Thank you, Mr. President.

The remarkable things about this part of the world that was so affected by the storms was what happened to the schools.
Catch this... in the past school year, every district closed after Katrina was reopened. It's a remarkable accomplishment by the good folks in this part of the world.
I "caught" it!

See, back in 1969, Hurricane Camille destroyed everything but the steeple and the old church bell. This time, nothing was left standing, and so the congregation had to ring the old bell from its new place in the rubble. On that first Sunday after Katrina, Father Harold Roberts read from the Book of Romans. Here's what he said. He said, "Rejoice in hope. Be patient in suffering. Persevere in prayer" -- precisely what the people in this part of the world have done. (Applause.)


One of the amazing groups was Hands On Gulf Coast. (Applause.)

Hands On Gulf Coast is a group of volunteers, total strangers to the people of this part of the world, in large part.
It's like different "worlds" were colliding!

When the Coastal Family Health Center lost three buildings and more than 60 staff members, Hands On offered to help. They worked with nurses who came from the Gulf Coast. They got FedEx to supply funding for airfare. They provided food and housing. And as a result, the Coastal Family Health Center was able to provide critical help for good people in this part of the world.
God bless 'em. It's almost like they were doing relief work in a faraway land.
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Rising Tide Workday Part Deux 

When: September 1st through 4th

Where: At the remains of Senator Trent Lott's Beach House

Why: Because the President keeps mentioning it as a hallmark of the Katrina devastation, and we want to help.

Who: Everyone who wants to rebuild the Gulf Coast. (Note: Attendance is Mandatory for all Rising Tide organizers).
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Suspect Device does "terlets" 

1. The Honorable "explanation" dollar BILL "Cold Cash" JEFFERSON ets allegedly sabotaged a corruption-informant's commode. Perhaps Bill has a "plumber".

2. Free Republican equates N.O. to a toilet needing a cleansing double-flush.
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The original "Rising Tider" 

Boyd Blundell at After the Levees directs us to this absolutely perfect USA TODAY opinion piece by author John Barry, entitled "A City Worth Saving".

Every Louisianan should know the information contained in the essay. Barry summarizes why Louisiana's current vulnerability stems, in large part, from its service to the nation as a port and an oil-deliverer. Then he clearly lays out the main steps to solving our flood protection problems, which includes wetlands restoration.

Despite the media attention after Katrina, most Americans still don't understand why New Orleans and South Louisiana are indispensable. They don't understand why it's in everyone's best interest to afford us Category 5 hurricane/flood protection, which will include investments in coastal wetlands restoration.

The best part of the deal is that the Pelican State is willing to do most of this restoration work by itself if it merely gets its fair share of off-shore oil royalties! Think about it: we are a poor state facing a monumental environmental crisis (if not utter extinction!), and we are willing to commit our fair share of oil-royalties to protect our cities and coasts so that every other state can enjoy their oil-dependent lifestyles. In a way, we are once again "giving away the farm". We are desperately clinging to survival here, and are willing to guarantee that a huge potential influx of revenue is invested in, basically... spreading dirt. Dirt to strengthen vital swamps, and dirt to build protective hills.... that's what we're going to do with our oil money, so that a national economic and environmental crisis is averted.

The rest of the country doesn't realize the risks that South Louisianans continue to take on their behalf. They don't understand why oil revenue sharing is such a great deal... for them! South Louisiana is in desperate straits, and doesn't have many cards left to play; so if, say, the mediocre Landrieu Energy bill is scuttled at the last minute... then... I believe we must consider other means to get the country's attention. Gov. Blanco's lawsuit is one good step, and there are others. Even now, the rest of the country is either skeptical or blissfully unaware about this growing coastal crisis. What should we do?

Try to imagine the following scenario: Imagine that South Tejas was devastated by a natural disaster, and their citizens got FEMA'd, and that a Louisianan President made sure Louisiana companies like Cajunburton and Fleur Inc. and CH2Monkey Hill got no-bid contracts to "rebuild" the state. Imagine that the rest of the country wasn't terribly concerned with Tejas' slow recovery, because that "part of the world" has a history of corruption, and a different "culture", and does things "differently" there. Imagine if Tejas had a weak congressional delegation, and Louisiana had a stranglehold on the federal government. (I know it's clearly a "bizarro-world" scenario, but try to imagine those things.)

Now, does anyone think for a second that the state of Texas-- if it thought its survival was at stake and felt it was being continually mistreated and rooked-- wouldn't raise the threat of "secession", or other extreme measures?

Anyone? (Perhaps more on that alarming "Texas scenario" later. Shane Landry could do a guest post. Update: More here.)


Ok, for now let's remember that storm protection and coastal restoration are unifying issues for Louisianans of all political stripes, and we should be thankful that a New Orleanian like Barry can make our case so clearly and forcefully to the other United States. Let's follow his lead.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Whoopsy poopers! 

Today, in New Orleans, the President said something important about wetlands restoration and the pending Energy Bill, but I couldn't quite make it out.

(That could've been much, much worse-- I mean... much, much better. I'm thinking: blowing out an o-ring, taking breakfast on a mirror, having a "no squares to spare" spat... etc.).
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Smith Magazine rates YRHT one of the top 10 blogs "by, from and about" N.O. 

There's so many good NOLA blogs right now, I think I'd have trouble selecting a top 30, much less a top 10.

But it's flattering to be recognized by SMITH mag, and it was very nice to see Rising Tide get a mention, as well.
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Perhaps "Fess" was smiling down 

Ray told me about a block party down at Tipitina's, so Lovely and I brought Pearlgirl to see what was going on. Near the intersection of Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas, there were school marching bands playing, and food booths and a pretty decent neighborhood crowd. Then Rebirth performed on an outdoor stage, and Fats Domino received an award. Later, Tips donated $500,000 of new instruments to New Orleans schools that had been flooded.

Pearlgirl jumped around and grooved to Rebirth's blaring brass horns, and everyone felt loose and relaxed, clapping and dancing. Just as it should be. I got some Yakamein to go and felt more confident that vital elements of New Orleans culture had not been extinguished during the past 365 days.

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We are not Okay.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

I believe a Nevil brother sang "C'est Levee, C'est Levee!" 

I have a new After the Levees post that is up, should you be inclined to click here.

Programming note: Tomorrow's post will be concise.

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Adrastos recaps the RT 

Adrastos, who never gives me the verbal ribbing I deserve, writes an excellent, "impressionistic" piece that has some inside juice about the organizers of Rising Tide.

By the way, when reading Adrastos, I recommend using Shecky Greene as your "internal voice".

Or perhaps Stokely Carmichael.
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For 15 minutes I was euphoric... 

Oh. Apparently it's a hoax by the Yes Men. I'm glad I wasn't the only one incredulous over this announcement.
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Rising Tide Workday with Arabi Wrecking Krewe 

Huge thanks to Scout Prime for putting this splendid video document together. If nothing else, you can enjoy seeing me try to gracefully recover after falling through the floor.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wait a 60 minute, what did he just say? 

I'm tired from the workday, so perhaps my eyes are deceiving me, but I thought I saw the following things last night on the 60 Minutes segment with OUR MAYOR, C. Ray Nagin.

1. An introductory comment from the host saying that Katrina was a "direct hit" on New Orleans.

2. Mayor Nagin knocking on a rebuilt (Category 3?) levee with his fist like it was the rock of Gibraltar.

3. Photos of New Orleans debutantes with hooded krewe members standing behind them. Trust me, tens of thousands of Americans are still wondering whether those guys were Klan members rather than masked Carnival float riders.

4. A blanket statement by an LSU prof that all New Orleans culture producers are gone.

5. Ray Nagin stating that 600 people died in New Orleans in the Katrina aftermath. (Did you hear that too, or did he say 1600?)

6. No mention of the exact mission of the National Guard in NO when they were discussing crime and the murder rate.

7. No reference to the staged evacuation plan (in which coastal parishes leave prior to Orleans parish) which attempts to maintain an orderly flow on the interstates so they aren't jammed like they were in Tejas during Rita. In fact, the contraflow worked so efficiently that it made Nagin's delay in calling for a mandatory evacuation much, much less costly. (My family left about 7am Sunday morning; purchased some gas, got breakfast at a BK, and then drove to Jackson, MS in 4.5 hours. Normally it takes 3. Now, unlike most, I did bypass traffic jams on the interstate in MS by taking parallel roads... but still.) If our evacuation routes were clogged with 24 hour traffic jams like in Houston, then Nagin's tardiness would've been a huge issue.

But is it really true that if Nagin had called for a mandatory evacuation (18-24 hours sooner) that more people would have left? Possibly-- but surely not as much as 60 minutes implied. The overwhelming majority of those that stayed didn't have the means or the wherewithal or the desire to evacuate. It wasn't a matter of having insufficient advanced warning.

8. I heard about NYC's unfixed "hole" the other day, and I (along with the rest of the nation) heard it again tonight. That's Naturally Ray Nagin. And Councilman Oliver Thomas says this is our "political father".

Again, I must tell you that I'm tired and a bit muddled. But that's what I thought I just saw.
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Rising to the Occasion 

Scout Prime has several posts on the Rising Tide conference, which was, by all accounts, a success. Thanks to all attendees, panelists, exhibitors and organizers. There was content, there was substance, there was humor... and there was delicious chicken and red beans 'n rice.

Special thanks to Scout for the idea of a NOLA blogger conference. her continued advocacy is a tremedous inspiration. We were extremely fortunate to get "Disaster" authors Chris Cooper and Bobby Block, who weren't afraid to participate in an event put together at the last minute by amateurs bloggers. Thanks to the New Orleans Yacht Club for hosting Rising Tide, and to Celestine Dunbar for providing us lunch just prior to opening up a new Dunbar's Creole Cooking location on the Loyola campus. People traveled from as far away as Seattle, WA and Canada to attend the event.

Thanks to Dirty Coast, Hurricane Digital Memory Bank and House Raising for being exhibitors, and to and Ashley Morris for getting all the technical details straight, and to Dangerblond for the afterparty.

Rising Tiders will be gutting a house today with the Arabi Wrecking Krewe.
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