Friday, September 02, 2005
Charles Smith, of the foodie forum, Opinionated About, pointed me to this CNN story showing the TOTAL disconnect between the Federal government and the happenings in New Orleans. Must read. It's a start, but maybe I'll take back all the bad stuff I've said about CNN...
I do not get many comments in my comment boxes, so I should not take the one or two people who comment to task. Yet, this Bill chided me for questioning where were the Democrats. This entry by Steve Soto makes the same point (and then some):
Watching the disaster that started with Katrina unfold over the past few days, I have been filled with a rage. A rage that makes it difficult for me to think. Leaves me inarticulate and unable to express it in more than a simple sentence or two. A rage that encompasses every aspect of our government, every elected official and a large swatch of my fellow citizens.
Hundreds of thousands of people have lost everything. And what Katrina didn’t destroy, the sheer incompetence, neglect and indifference of this country will. Either in body or spirit. People are dying while Condi Rice shops for a new wardrobe. Congress remains on holiday. GWB talks about destroying Social Security and attends a birthday party for McCain. The communication systems among first responders failed just as they did on 9/11 – four years and billions of dollars later and we can’t even get this one right for one of only three identified locations that were at the highest risk for a disaster. See Krugman. Thirteen years after Andrew struck and FEMA is no more, and maybe less, effective than it was back then.
Please read the whole thing. Also read the Krugman piece embedded.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Hey, I hate the way it is being covered, a bunch of "them" stranded, people more interested (and disgusted) with the looting and security. I think if the media covered a bit more of those "real" 'mericans too, perhaps there would be more understanding.
Dewey, 23, of Washington, is one of countless tourists trapped in the city amid the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Dewey said she has no idea when or how she'll be able to leave, her best chance lost Wednesday night when she learned the buses would never come. "No one really knows what to do," Dewey said. "The people who are left are just going and breaking into stores. ... ( Read the whole article link)
At least some of these things will happen
- Drudge, the Washington Times, or other useful tools will start the character assasination of Governor Blanco or Mayor Nagin -- After they start blaming the Feds.
- New Orleans will turn into some kinda Mad Max land. Left to those looters and shooters. The city will essentially be given to them.
- Bush will use the coming disorder and collapse to seize power.
- That it will be as long for a major Democrat in Washington to step up and show some leadership. I saw Clinton on TV namby-pamby. This is not the time to rally around der leader. This is the time to seize leadership.
I had a bit of a chat with me Mum this afternoon. She questioned where was the plan in New Orleans for the hurricane. There was a plan. Get out. For those that could not get out, they said get to the Superdome. Now, some question the latter, but what else could they have done. How could they have gotten people with no other means outta of the city? That plan was ok.
Here's what really (really) bothers me. I turned on the TV on Tuesday morning to see what was happening. I saw the bridges from New Orleans to the east completely destroyed and I heard the levees were being breached. I knew then and there that things were fucked. Like 7:30 Tuesday morning. They say that they could not have known the magnitude of the after-effect, but it takes no degree in civil engineering to know once you got the facts. When the levees break (any levee), New Orleans will flood. Not maybe. Surely. It will flood. That's why there are levees. So, I can accept the plan up until 8 or so Tuesday morning, but what was the plan from then on. That is where leadership really failed.
I have been hypnotized by Katrina and spend gobs of time searching for news. This may be one of the few pieces of good news I found.
From the Time-Picayune (a/k/a NOLA.com):
Robert Eckels, who as judge of Harris County presides over the Astrodome, said he knew about the “renegade’’ bus and that the indoor stadium wasn’t ready for evacuees – particularly the unexpected arrivals.“
That bus that arrived earlier was a young man who had loaded up a bunch of kids and just gotten into the bus and driven here,’’ Eckels said. “It was not one of those (official) buses. At this point, our plan, our agreement, is to take the Superdome buses.’’
But shortly after Eckels left, the judge was overruled.
Margaret O’Brien-Molina, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, discovered the school bus sitting outside the entrance and gave the orders: Let them in.
Really the best source for news outta New Orleans is the venerable Times-Picayune. (I take back every bad thing I ever said about you!).
Maybe I can draw some mental attention to write more, but I so caught up in the destruction and failed leadership.
Anyways, because we missed Saturday's Oak Park Farmer's Market, we got the chance to try out two other markets, Sunday's Wicker Park and Tuesday's downtown Federal Plaza. I got to say that I was especially impressed with the downtown market. Both Nicholl's and Green Acres are there and the amount of things between these two vendors was incredible. Six kinds of eggplants, Asian greens, all sizes and colors of tomatoes, watercress sprouts, fresh soybeans and fresh sunflower seeds (in flower!). I just wish some local restaurants, ethnic restaurants, would shop at these stands.
Some interesting things in the markets now. Nicholl's had strawberries (!), a second planting strawberry I never knew about. Really weird, but last night I ate a bunch of delicious sweet, real strawberries...on the last day of August. On the other hand, local grapes seem a bit early. Nicholl's had a variety called champagne--no not the grapes used for Champagne which is mostly Chardonay and Pinot Noir grapes. My daughter Hannah had the idea to freeze these grapes, and this is an awesome treat. The iced grape balls taste nearly like ice cream. We also got regular ol' Concord grapes, seeds and all. These grapes may make awful wine, but outta hand, they one of the all time great things. It is the grape flavor, not just sweetness or juiciness that makes this fruit. I know back in Wisconsin I was leaning towards sour cherries, but the difference is sour cherries need to be cooked/sugared. Concord grapes are best raw. In fact, they loose a lot of their specialness when cooked. See grape jelly. Tons of great tomatoes still as well as plenty of summer veg like sweet corn, peppers, and eggplants.
Well, everything begins as tragedy and ends as politics. All the
greater is the burden on the press to blow every whistle in sight and keep
blowing. Others at tpmcafe.com have been sounding this horn and rightly
so. This is a time for journalism to shine--or go dark.
Anyone remember this from Sunday (top story on Drudge that day):
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005
..DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED
A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT. AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION.
PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK. POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS. THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE...OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE...ARE CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS. ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET...DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE!
The "MainstreamMedia" is noticing (via Kevin Drum). As is the "librul" New York Times*.
*Although I got to say this "news" story from the Grey Lady: News Analysis: Hard New Test for President is pretty pathetic. It starts out fairly strong, with some veiled digs at W, but then denigrates into a series of quotes from "longtime aids and friends". For balance, should not they asked a few longtime opponents and enemies?
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I know I should not copy the whole column, but I have the feeling he won't mind. (link)
Chris Rose column
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
By Chris Rose
I got out.I’m mystified by the notion that so many people didn’t even try,
but that’s another story for another time.We left Saturday, my wife, kids and
me. We went first to Picayune, Miss., thinking that a Category 3 storm would
flood New Orleans and knock out power, but that we’d be dry and relatively
comfortable in the piney woods while the city dried out.Sunday morning, of
course, Katrina was massive red blob on our TV screens – now a Cat 5 – so we
packed up and left again.
We left my in-laws behind in Picayune. They wouldn’t come with us.
Self-sufficient country folk; sometimes you can’t tell ‘em nothing.We don’t know
what happened to them. My wife’s dad and her brother and their families: No
word. Only hope.Like so many people around the country wondering what happened
to those still unaccounted for; we just don’t know. That’s the hardest
If you take the images you’ve seen on TV and picked up off the radio and
internet, and you try to apply what you know to the people and places you don’t
know about, well, the mind starts racing, assumptions are made and well … it
consumes you.The kids ask you questions. You don’t have answers. Sometimes they
look at me and though they don’t say it, I can see they’re wondering: Daddy,
where are you?
My 6-year-old daughter, she’s onto this thing. What is she thinking?We
spent Sunday night in a no-tell motel in a forgotten part of downtown Vicksburg;
a neighborhood teetering between a familiar antiquated charm and hopeless decay.
Truth is, it called to mind my beloved New Orleans.Most of the folks in the
hotel seem to live there permanently and it had a hard-luck feel to it. It was
the kind of place where your legs start itching in the bed and you think the
worst and you don’t want your kids to touch the carpet or the tub and we huddled
together and I read them to sleep.Monday morning, my wife’s aunt told us they
had a generator in Baton Rouge. As Katrina marched north and east, we bailed on
our sullen little hotel and drove down along he western ridge of the storm,
mostly alone on the road.
Gas was no problem. We had catfish and pulled pork in a barbeque joint in
Natchez and the folks there - everyone we have met along our three-day journey –
has said the same thing: Good luck, folks. We love your city. Take care of it
for us.Oh, my city. We have spent hours and hours listening to the radio. Image
upon image piling up in your head.What about school? What about everyone’s jobs?
Did all our friends get out? Are there still trees on the streetcar line? What
will our economy be like with no visitors? How many are dead? Do I have a roof?
Have the looters found me yet? When can we go home?Like I said, it consumes you
as you sit helplessly miles from home, unable to help anyone, unable to do
anything. If I could, what I’d do first is hurt the looters. I’d hurt them
bad.But you have to forget all that. You have to focus on what is at hand, what
you can reach and when you have three little kids lost at sea, they are what’s
at hand and what you can reach. I brought them to a playground in Baton Rouge
Tuesday afternoon. They’d been bottled up for days.Finally unleashed, they ran,
they climbed, they fell down, they fought, they cried, they made me laugh, they
drove me crazy; they did the things that makes them kids. It grounds you. You
take a breath. You count to ten. Maybe - under the circumstances - you go to
twenty or thirty this time.
And tonight, we’ll just read them to sleep again.We have several books with
us because – and this is rich – we brought on our evacuation all the clothes and
things we planned to bring on a long-weekend trip that we were going to take
over Labor Day weekend.To the beach. To Fort Morgan, right at the mouth of
Mobile Bay. Man.
Instead of that, I put on my sun tan lotion and went out in the yard of the
house where we’re staying in Baton Rouge and I raked a massive pile of leaves
and limbs from the yard and swept the driveway.Doing yard work and hitting the
jungle gym on the Day After. Pretending life goes on. Just trying to stay busy.
Just trying not to think. Just trying not to fail, really. Gotta keep
I know this sounds flippant, but I am serious (also, I lived in New Orleans for a few years, so I really take to heart what is happening to the city). So, my suggestion to anyone who is looking for a suggestion is send some cruise ships up the Mississippi to New Orleans. Why not? Food, water, shelter, hospitals. It's all there. Ships are like the only things that can really access New Orleans. New Orleans has wharves big enough for cruise ships. Get some there. Now.
CORONADO, California (AP) -- President Bush will cut short his vacation to return to Washington on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned, to help monitor federal efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina, the White House said Tuesday.
Wednesday? Cut short? Certain Republicans could not understand the popularity of Bill Clinton, but I can almost tell you (fer sure) that he'd be down there right now doing whatever it took.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Oak Oak Park Farmer's Markert 8/27/05
When I recruited Ann Fisher to write the market report this week--I attended a bat mitzvah--I did not realize she would REALLY put me to shame with the quality of her report. A little put to shame I could stand, but this. Perhaps I will count on Ann all weeks.
Corn from The Farm* continues to be terrific. Makes you proud to be from Illinois. The ears weren’t quite as big as last week, but still plenty large. In my experience, good corn continues until almost the middle of September, so we should have a few good weeks left. I was intrigued to find that the Angelic Organics CSA corn wasn’t nearly as good. I suspect The Farm is growing sweeter varieties and Angelic is growing more pest-resistant ones.
Tomatoes everywhere, in every color. I bought some beautiful little “garden peach” tomatoes from Scotch Hill Farms. In the bowl on my windowsill they’re almost indistinguishable from the shiro plums from Skibee. Nichols says they have 80 varieties. I wouldn’t doubt it. Sandhill Organics continues to offer tastings of its heirloom varieties, and this week was also selling bags of tomato puree, suggesting it be used a soup base. They also seduced me with Swiss chard that looked like it belonged in a Rembrandt painting. Nichols also had the most beautiful “exotic eggplant” display–red, purple, green–and made me really regret I didn’t have my camera with me. They and the place at the northeast outside corner of the market were selling lemon cucumbers, pictured here. Since they were the size of lemons, and cost 75 and 50 cents respectively, and I heard the woman at Nichols say they really just tasted like cucumbers, I passed them by.
I’m loyal to Skibee for my apples. I love to be able to mix and match from all their crates. In addition to the Paula Reds that they had last week, the first real Macintosh were in. A sign, of course, that fall is on its way.
Barry’s Berries blueberries continue to be excellent and they were selling a lot of raspberries as well. We’re seem to be past the Red Haven peaches, to my regret, but they and everyone else still had a lot of choices of peaches, plums, and nectarines.
I spent some time talking to the man from Scotch Hill Farms. The scent of their pet soaps, while not unpleasant, makes it harder to appreciate their produce. But when I moved a little way off to taste the yellow tomatoes, I was glad I’d stopped. They’re still offering CSA shares, this week down to seven weeks. It’s $27.50 a week, pesticide- free but not organic. They always have a couple of sample bags available for $25. If I hadn’t felt compelled to check out a variety of vendors to fulfill my guest blogging responsibilities I might have been tempted. Maybe next week.
*Surely I can’t be the only person who thinks of Spriritual Midwifery every time they see the name of that vendor.