Saturday, September 10, 2005

Al Gore & FasterCures Airlift New Orleans Victims

Al Gore helps airlift New Orleans victims

The FasterCures Airlift from New Orleans

What was I saying about needing a can-do President?

And, just to pull something out of the play-by-play (the FasterCures article),

At this point Catherine Berger pulled up a story from the DOD saying they had two medical teams evacuating people from the hospitals and the airport and that the ship COMFORT was sailing to New Orleans from Baltimore. That did not sound like it was going to help that many people for at least another day or two. We carried on. (As it happens, the COMFORT never reached New Orleans).

Why didn't the Comfort reach New Orleans?

And more,

We were now desperate to find a contact on the ground at the New Orleans airport to help triage ambulatory medical patients into these planes. FEMA in Washington was non responsive. We spoke to the aide to one of the deputies at FEMA and was told they did not need or want our help since the hospital evacuation was going fine. We looked at the reports from CNN about the conditions at the field hospital at the airport and discounted that opinion immediately. [Emphasis added -- sid]

...Gore said that on the second trip to New Orleans, the doctors at the airport told him that the evacuation of the first 90 ambulatory patients had been the tipping point in their ability to adequately care for the other bedridden patients. They also noted that the military evacuations did not really pick up steam until after we “motivated” them with our private effort.
Of note:

Throughout the entire operation in Tennessee, EMS operations in Chicago had stayed prepared to handle patients or evacuees. None ever arrived because the military did not want us to use Chicago. The volunteers in Chicago were amazing in their desire to help. Mayor Daly had been rebuffed earlier when he offered a complete mobile hospital unit for the airport and a tent city as well. Sen. Barack Obama called Gore and asked how had Gore managed to land in New Orleans when the Senator had been refused landing rights to help.
None of the airlines involved required a contract or any written guarantee of payment before sending their planes and volunteer crews – the first time Steve Davison had ever witnessed that in 15 years of chartering planes for political campaigns and other events. One official said if Gore promised to pay, that was good enough for them.

I know who the real Americans are in this story.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Downing Street Update

Rep. Lee Introduces Resolution of Inquiry into Iraq War Planning

Great article on computer security

The Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security

Around the time I was learning to walk, Donn Parker was researching the behavioral aspects of hacking and computer security. He says it better than I ever could:

"Remote computing freed criminals from the historic requirement of proximity to their crimes. Anonymity and freedom from personal victim confrontation increased the emotional ease of crime, i.e., the victim was only an inanimate computer, not a real person or enterprise. Timid people could become criminals. [Emphasis added -- sid.] The proliferation of identical systems and means of use and the automation of business made possible and improved the economics of automating crimes and constructing powerful criminal tools and scripts with great leverage."
Hidden in Parker's observation is the awareness that hacking is a social problem. It's not a technology problem, at all. "Timid people could become criminals." The Internet has given a whole new form of elbow-room to the badly socialized borderline personality.

Beautiful. That's *so* incredibly accurate. Absolutely brilliant.

Needing a Leader

Fuck yeah. I agree with every single word. Where's my "can-do" President?

My problem with Bush -- and here, I do indeed address Bush individually, as a guy -- is that during the time that the crisis was developing, from Monday to Friday, he never seemed to experience any actual sense of urgency as a result of the simple fact that people were, minute by minute and hour by hour, dying.
Let's give him the benefit of the doubt that he was being prevented from acting by bureaucracy and the sheer magnitude of the situation. Where are the stories of how he was in his office freaking the fuck out because there were tens of thousands of Americans trapped without food and water? Where's the story of how he ripped a strip off of somebody, demanding to know what the holy hell the holdup is getting water and food to those people?
I want to hear about how he was demanding that extraordinary steps be taken. I want to hear about how he sent his lawyers into a room -- he had four days, you know -- and demanded that they come back in an hour with a plan for him to send the Marines into New Orleans with 100 trucks of food and water, posse comitatus or not.

Say what you want about the mayor and governor -- those people were in pain. They saw people suffering and dying and took it as a given that it couldn't go on that way, and that if it did, government's response would be a failure. The mayor cried at the top of his lungs for help. I want to hear that Bush cried at the top of his lungs for help. I want to hear that he called every corporate hotshot he's befriended in the last twenty years and told them that if they ever wanted another invitation to the White House for dinner, they were going to pony up a fat wad of cash to the Red Cross, and they were going to do it yesterday.

No matter whose fault the slow relief effort was, the fact of the matter is that these are Americans, and this is their president, and the fact that they were homeless, starving, dying
of thirst, and deprived of medication never once seemed to actually bother him.

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

President Oblivious and CYA

Dems Assail White House on Katrina Effort

At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of the
Federal Emergency Management Agency had "absolutely no credentials."
She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown.
"He said 'Why would I do that?'" Pelosi said.
"'I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'"
"Oblivious, in denial, dangerous," she added.

Great Scott.

The press are being banned from New Orleans. Why? What national security interest is threatened here?

Bush banning media from New Orleans

It's censorship, it is. DON'T LET IT HAPPEN.

FEMA accused of censorship

When U.S. officials asked the media not to take pictures of those killed by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, they were censoring a key part of the disaster story, free speech watchdogs said on Wednesday.
The move by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in line with the Bush administration's ban on images of flag-draped U.S. military coffins returning from the Iraq war, media monitors said in separate telephone interviews.

Katrina Timeline

Katrina Timeline

Note that the Gov of La declared a state of emergency on Aug 26th, and a federal state of emergency was declared on Aug 27th.

Just heard the Barbara Bush broadcast on NPR

The various quotes of her remarks I've read appear correct:

"Almost everyone I’ve talked to wants to move to Houston."

"What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed with the hospitality."

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle)--this is working very well for them."

Translation: those people have nothing to go home for, and look, we're giving them free stuff. Their lives are better now, thanks to Hurricane Katrina.

These people lost their homes, their communities, and in many cases, family members. They lost their entire lives. But because their lives were apparently meaningless -- it's not like they're real people or anything, handouts and a cot are a "step up".

I'm afraid I must given in to penchant for the obvious: W.T.F.?

We as a species have a long way to go.

FEMA just told Massachusetts our help's not needed

NPR tells me that FEMA has said our help -- housing evacuees at Camp Edwards in Cape Cod -- is "not needed at this time".

You know, I know the program is saying people don't want to go so far away from Louisiana, but gee, that really kinda sounds like what FEMA's said all along to people chomping at the bit ready to help. To the Red Cross, to volunteers, to everybody. Browneyedgirl's got a list.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Al Gore *Rules*

Haven from fury: Mercy Flight Brings Evacuees to ET[*]

Former Vice President Al Gore arranged the flight and was on board, but he declined to take credit for the airlift, fearing it would be "politicized."
The patients and evacuees arrived aboard an American Airlines MD-80 about 3:15 p.m. The unloading process took almost two hours, as some walked hesitantly down a staircase beneath the rear of the aircraft. Others were rolled down a ramp from the front of the plane to waiting wheelchairs. Personnel from Rural/Metro and the Tennessee Air National Guard volunteered their services, as did others, to get the patients and evacuees loaded onto buses or ambulances for the ride to area hospitals to be assessed medically before going to a Red Cross shelter.

One of the doctors on board the flight was Dr. Anderson Spickard of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, who said he had a "personal and professional" relationship with Gore.
Spickard said Gore called him about 11 p.m. Friday to ask him to participate in the flight.

Portrait of a hero, folks.

[*] Registration required, use BugMeNot's.

Link Roundup

Climate change raises risk of hunger

Hurricane Katrina Analysis - CFR Global Health Program

Bush to New Orleans -- Drop Dead Really, it should be 'Bush to Poor People -- Fuck off'. It amazes me, sometimes, that the leader of the free world only considers himself beholden to *some* of the citizens of the US, as opposed to ALL of the citizens of the US.

Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever by a president during a dire national emergency. What we witnessed, as clearly as the overwhelming agony of the city of New Orleans, was the dangerous incompetence and the staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration.