2005/09/30

Ponderosa Stomp?


I hadn't heard of this one. Does this have anything to do with Hoss, Little Joe, Adam and Ben? Didn't think so. Ponderosa Stomp is another Nawlins' music festival. Make that another "displaced" Nawlins' music festival. Or, a "formerly displaced" Nawlins' music festival. This two day music festival will be held in Memphis this Spring.

Ponderosa Stomp, the annual New Orleans roots music romp that draws music fans from all over the world, will change its location to Memphis next year. The festival will take place May 2 & May 3 in a venue to be announced. The money raised will be split between the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and a special fund to be administered by the Mystic Knights of the Mau-Mau — producers of the Stomp — to directly help New Orleans and Gulf Coast musicians. Due to the economic damage of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Mystic Knight of the Mau Mau want to try to help musicians rendered homeless and jobless by these disasters.

According to Ponderosa Stomp ringmaster Dr. Ike, “New Orleans and Louisiana musicians have played a major role in the development of American music. Without them, such musical forms as jazz, blues, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, Zydeco and Cajun music would not exist as we know them. Katrina and Rita have greatly affected the ability of these musicians to make a living and continue the rich traditions of Louisiana music. The Mystic Knights of the Mau Mau seek to raise money to help out the musicians so they can keep the tradition alive.”

For more info >>

Say what?

Former Education Secretary William Bennett said,


"If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.

"That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down," he said.
Either this was a case of “open mouth and insert foot” or “these are my true colors.” Either way, it was a stupid thing to say.

Read the complete article.

2005/09/28

Bidness as usual II

Unless you’ve been living off planet for the past three months you know that democrat Ophelia Ford defeated republican Terry Roland in a special election to fill the seat of former State Senator John Ford. Furthermore, Ophelia Ford beat Roland by thirteen votes. Thirteen. Ophelia Ford’s slim margin of victory says volumns about the Ford machine’s dwindling hold on local politics and the small turnout for this special election. More on that later.

Roland filed suit to contest the September 15 special election. Wouldn’t you contest losing by a mere 13 votes? Local attorney Richard B. Fields, a Democrat, represented Roland. This puts Fields in an awkward position.

Fields has outraged some Democrats by representing Terry Roland, a Republican who on Friday filed suit to contest the Sept. 15 special election that Ophelia Ford, the Democrat, won by 13 votes. Since July, Fields has been one of 67 members elected to serve two-year terms on the Shelby County Democratic Party's executive committee, which leads the local party.

On Oct. 6, the committee will consider a resolution giving Fields three options: Repudiate his support for Republicans and remain on the committee, resign and remain a Democrat, or be expelled and branded a "non bona fide Democrat."


Like Fields, many of us want “political honesty” and would run the risk of being labeled a "non bona fide Democrat" to find out what really happened. The certification of Ophelia Ford as the victor by 13 votes is too much like bidness as usual.

Go read the complete article.

River City Mud Company

What happened to Autoegocrat? PeskyFly asked the same question. For the explanation in Autoegocrat’s own words read the comments section at PeskyFly.

Bidness as usual

2005/09/27

Brownie resurfaces

That's right. Ex-FEMA chief and all around fuck-up Michael Brown is back. And, he has a new job.

Thanks for the heads up Len.

Then there's this ...

In an Associated Press article today Brown actually tries to defend FEMA’s lapses in Nawlins’. His attempts at defense sound lot like your average bureaucrat trying to shift blame to protect his own ass.

Embattled former FEMA director Michael Brown says he was initially unaware of desperate conditions at the New Orleans Convention Center because it was not a planned Hurricane Katrina evacuation site, according to a congressional memo.

After learning from television about the thousands of evacuees who gathered at the center, Brown ordered food and water be delivered there. But Brown, who on Tuesday faces a House inquiry into the government's slow response to the Aug. 29 disaster, told congressional aides that "there is no reason FEMA would have known about it beforehand."
Why didn’t he just ask? Never assume.

Brown did not take any official notes during conference calls he ran with state and federal authorities and "just assumed that agencies would follow up on taskings resulting from the calls."
Never assume. Read the complete article.

WTF

What's happened to autoegocrat?

2005/09/22

Probably just a rumor

It's probably just a rumor. But, what if it isn't?

Tip of the hat to autoegocrat for this one.

Did I hear that right?

I just heard on WMCTV5's noon news that Ford is planning to build 250,000 hybrids in the next five years while Toyota is planning to come out with hybrids on all their models next year. That's a start.

Bless Tivo.

Rock on

The following was in today's email.

Hey all! Here's something on a little lighter note.

I just heard about this on the radio today. I think it's very exciting. It looks like Memphis is going to be event central, between our own efforts and this being temporarily transplanted here.

The New Orleans Voodoo Musicfest is moving to Memphis the weekend of the 29th and 30th of October. The proceeds, of course, are going straight back to New Orleans to help Katrina victims.

I think that this is awesome. In a way, it's not only showing that the people of New Orleans are not helpless, but also it keeps the spirit of the city alive by giving the rest of us a reminder of what the city has to offer and will continue to offer.

Here's a partial list of who will be there...

Nine Inch Nails
Foo Fighters
Flaming Lips
Queens of the Stonage
Billy Idol
The Secret Machines
New York Dolls
Cake
Mickey Hart's Voodoo Drum Circle
The Bravery
Louis XIV
Carl Cox
Brazilian Girls
30 Seconds to Mars
Dan Dyer
Red Rockers Reunion
Noomoon Tribe
Joss Stone
Neville Brothers
Dr. John
Big Sam's Funky Nation
Michael Tolcher

http://www.voodoomusicfest.com/

Keep on rockin' in the free world!

2005/09/20

Nazi hunter dies

2005/09/19

Win-win

The city's prevailing wage ordinance is about to expire. That's bad. The Memphis City Council needs to extend it. This ordinance insures that construction workers are paid a fair wage. If nothing is done the ordinance will auto-destruct (automatically real) in October. Read on to find out the importance of this ordinance.
When the council passed this groundbreaking legislation in 1999, it required contractors on city construction projects to pay their workers no less than the average hourly wage that is paid on similar construction projects in our region.

Two years ago, the City Council extended prevailing wage requirements to include providing health care and retirement benefits. The council understood that paying fair wages without such benefits did only so much good to workers. Council members also understood that without health insurance, construction workers would have to rely on public resources such as the Regional Medical Center at Memphis and TennCare to get the health care they need.

Extending this ordinance is a win-win for everyone except contractors that don't pay the prevailing wage or offer benefits.

Read the complete column. Then write or call your city councilperson. Don't let this ordinance dissapear.

Now go read.

I know this dude

Okay. I'm reading the Commercial Appeal this morning. I pick up the appeal section and what do I see? This guy. That's Scotty! He's one of our "kids". We've known him since he was in high school. Scotty's a great guy. He may also be the most fantastic bass player I've ever known. (No offense to My Loving Wife, a sister bass player.) He may even be more fantastic than Petey Vescova (another one of our kids). I'd hate to have to live on the difference between those two. MLW and I are god parents to his two sons, Shelby and Spencer.

Go read about Scotty.

2005/09/18

Update from the coast V

Number One Son and his wife left Memphis for Biloxi Thursday afternoon. They were eager to survey the damage to their apartment.

We talked to NOS yesterday. The apartment wasn’t as bad as expected. The ceiling had fallen in the living and dining rooms, but not the roof. In addition, there was no water damage and their belongings were undamaged.

He tried to describe the level of destruction he saw in the Biloxi/Gulfport area, but he just didn’t have the words. I’ve never known him to be at a loss for words.

NOS called again this morning. He and the wife have decided to stay in Biloxi for the time being. There's so much to do there. He's found a job there already. He could find a job on a deserted island.

They don't want to live on the Gulf Coast anymore. He's only been there for five years but he's certain that he's tired of running from hurricanes. He and the wife have discussed where they want to settle. Memphis is out of the question. Northern California, Reno and Vegas are possibilities though.

Mike (of Mike and Barb) also called this morning. They’re doing fine. They haven’t moved yet because they haven’t found a place to move to. The landlords have given everyone extentions. Electricity and phones (landlines) are still down. Tap water is still undrinkable but there's plenty of bottled water. Food and Barb's meds are not a problem. Right now Mike has more work than he can handle.

And that's the news from the south coast.

From Shep Fargotstein

Fargotstein learned three lessons from the tragedy of Katrina. We would all do well to learn these.

I can't depend on any government entity to "be there" in a situation similar to what happened in New Orleans. It is my responsibility to be able to take care of my loved ones and myself for at least two weeks, if not longer.

I must be more involved in working against bad government (local, state and federal) policy and those who promote it. If left to their devices, the "system" could sell me out as easily as it sold out the poor of New Orleans.
As much as we pride ourselves on being civilized and "above it all," the glue that binds our civil society together is extremely fragile. I must be prepared for the worst and hope for the best as it relates to looting and lawlessness.
Read the rest of the Commercial Appeal article.

Must read must read mus ...

You've got to read this.

Rebuilding Nawlins

There’s an article on rebuilding New Orleans in the latest edition of the Memphis Flyer. Like many I have mixed feelings on this. I’d like to see the city return to its pre-Katrina elegance but I’m not sure that can happen. I would also like to see a better city in its place. I’m not sure that can happen either.

My mama (actually, my granmama) often said, “When one door closes, another door opens.” Katrina has all but closed the door on New Orleans. Moreover, she just might have opened another door; one leading to an opportunity to reduce the city’s poverty.
Overwhelmingly black and poor, if one were to look up "areas of centralized poverty" in a dictionary of sociology terms, there would be a picture of New Orleans. The 80% of the city that was flooded overlays neatly with a demographic map that illustrates the bleakness of the neighborhoods that are now awash in befouled water. Neighborhoods where 27% of its residents lived below the poverty line, and only 25% of its adults had a high school diploma. Neighborhoods that contained 73% of New Orleans' schools considered "academically unacceptable" or "under academic warning."
This is isn’t something we didn’t already know, is it? Johnson's Great Society programs made this a priority in the sixties. So how do we fix it?

Go read the article. If we can come up with a solution for poverty in New Orleans, maybe we can come up with a solution for Memphis. Go read.

From the email

Friday I received this email from Matt Kuhn , Shelby County Democratic Party Chair.
To Shelby County Democrats

I've been at the Election Commission all morning acting as an official observer of the counting of the provisional ballots. There were 7 provisional ballots and after researching the provisional ballots the official tally was Ophelia Ford by 13 votes.

The State Republican Party has asked the Attorney General to seize and impound the county's election machines. The Attorney General has no authority to do such a thing, but I guess the Republicans don't really care. The State Republican Party intends to contest the elections alleging voter improprieties, such as felons voting.

I have asked Attorney Jim Strickland to be prepared to issue a legal statement on behalf of the party in the event we will be involved in any challenges. The Democratic Party of Shelby County will support the elective process and has full faith in the Shelby County Election Commission.

It is unfortunate that the Republican party has chosen to not accept defeat graciously and cast needless dispersions on our Election institutions.

Matt Kuhn, Chair, Democratic Party of Shelby County

According to today’s Commercial Appeal, Ophelia Ford isn’t worried about a recount of Thursday’s ballots.

"I don't want to talk about this at the Cooper-Young Festival," she said Saturday afternoon. "I have victory. I am a senator now."

But Terry Roland, her Republican opponent in the District 29 race, said Ford should enjoy her win while she can.

"We don't want to tip our hand, but we have a team of attorneys who are looking at this thing," he said Saturday. "We're going to get to the bottom of this."
Go read the CA article.

From a September 7, 2005 Philadelphia Daily News blog post

Reversing an eight-year crusade to rid the now-embattled Federal Emegency Management Agency of political patronage, a newly elected George W. Bush in 2001 named two key players in his Florida recount fight to important FEMA posts.

"FEMA is widely viewed as a 'dumping ground,' a turkey farm, if you will, where large numbers of positions exist that can be conveniently and quietly filled by political appointment," the preliminary report said. "This has led to a situation where top officials, having little or no experience in disaster or emergency management, are creating substantial morale problems among careerists and professionals. "
Dumping ground? Turkey farm? We deserve better.

Now read the complete post.

2005/09/16

Another Katrina blog

I realize that we've all been wading (no pun) through a ton of info on Katrina and and her aftermath, but Eye of the Storm is one blog you may not have seen yet. Josh Norman and MKeller are two Sun Herald reporters that rode out Katrina in their newsroom. Interesting reading. Go look.

Attention must be paid

We all need to read Molly Ivins. We also need to heed what she says.

Many a time in the past six years I have bit my tongue so I wouldn't annoy people with the always obnoxious observation, "I told you so." But, dammit it all to hell, I did tell you, and I've been telling you since 1994, and I am so sick of this man and everything he represents -- all the sleazy, smug, self-righteous graft and corruption and "Christian" moralizing and cynicism and tax cuts for all his smug, rich buddies.

Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.

The Boondocks


I couldn't resist this.

Heroic response?

Look for these Freedom Medal presentations at a Presidential Photo Op near you. Or maybe they'll do it from a Mardi Gras float this February. In Nawlins. You think?

Just how high was that horse you rode in on?

I found this lettter in today's Commercial Appeal. Feel free to insert your own joke.
The Germantown way
I hope "you all" understand that if an earthquake or tornado rips Germantown in half, we do not want any messy deliveries of food and water. Please make sure they are dropped at the rear entrance, only during normal business hours. And, please, no noisy emergency helicopters after dark.
We only accept brand-new, name-brand clothes "on hanger." Please, no tacky "help us" signs, and apply for proper sign permits two weeks in advance to allow Germantown officials to approve color choices. Cash transfers from FEMA, etc., directly to our money market accounts are OK.
A special thanks to our code enforcement department and Germantown city government that make us look like idiots.
Harassing Kelly Hopper for her Katrina relief efforts at the Germantown El Porton restaurant is a disgrace (Sept. 14 article, "G'town questions relief site's neatness/Restaurant parks trailer to collect donated goods for Gulf Coast victims").
Edwin Landshof

In case you had forgotten ...

One of the best things about Memphis happens this Saturday; the annual Cooper-Young Festival.

In it's eighteenth year, this event has grown tremendously and is one of Memphis' most highly attended Festivals. This year over 50,000 guests will enjoy an appealing mix of art, music and crafts presented by over 300
artisans from around the country. This Festival is a true celebration of the arts, people, culture and Memphis heritage.
Click the poster for more info. Be there, or be ...

Ophelia

She won. Now our job begins.

2005/09/13

From today’s email

Go to www.conyersblog.us <http://www.conyersblog.us/> for the list of Congressmen that co-sponsored John Conyers Katrina Bankruptcy Relief Bill to protect the victims of Katrina. Congressman Ford, Jr. is not on the list of 31 co sponsors.

As of last week, Congressman Ford has not co-sponsored House Resolution 375 the Resolution of Inquiry by Congresswoman Barbara Lee regarding theDowning Street Memo.

E. J. Dionne in a recent op-ed stated "If there is a line for the opposition (Democrats) to draw in politics now, it concerns whether government will defend the interests of the few or the interests of the many."

Howard Dean had this to say: "And I must just say that it's not enough just to put the Democrats back in power. I don't want the same old Democratic Party that sat around on its butt and thought that if it was like the Republicans it might win an election once in a while. We've got to have real change in this country."

Please encourage Congressman Ford to get on board with the DEMOCRAT agenda.

You can contact Congressman Ford at: http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/50

Then there's this

When I first saw this article I thought it was a joke. It turns out that our fearless leader is the joke.
“I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch,”Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!”

Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again is they can’t keep their members under control.”

Read the complete article.

Bush and company blew it

Bush did not know the extent of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina until the Thursday after the storm hit. Amazing isn’t it? He didn’t know and he couldn’t imagine.

How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.
The war in Iraq was a failure of intelligence. The government's response to Katrina—like the failure to anticipate that terrorists would fly into buildings on 9/11—was a failure of imagination. On Tuesday, within 24 hours of the storm's arrival, Bush needed to be able to imagine the scenes of disorder and misery that would, two days later, shock him when he watched the evening news. He needed to be able to see that New Orleans would spin into violence and chaos very quickly if the U.S. government did not take charge—and, in effect, send in the cavalry, which in this case probably meant sending in a brigade from a combat outfit, like the 82nd Airborne, based in Fort Bragg, N.C., and prepared to deploy anywhere in the world in 18 hours.

Read the Newsweek article.

New Madrid Fault

It’s good to see that a local elected official is thinking about what will happen “when” we get the big one. Will we be ready?
"I will tell you that having watched this, it has raised in my mind a hundred questions about what happens if the New Madrid Fault slips and we have 50,000 people homeless," Bredesen said during a Cabinet meeting Sept. 2 to plan Tennessee's aid for Katrina evacuees.
Read the complete article.

Found in CA's Daybreak

And they call it house arrest.
Ask and ye shall receive

If your name is John Ford, that is: In August, former state senator John Ford - charged with taking bribes and threatening witnesses -- asked a judge to let up on his house-arrest curfew. The judge said OK.

Last week, Ford asked the judge to let him go to Washington this month for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual legislative conference, so he can scare up clients for his consulting business. Federal Judge Daniel Breen again said OK.

Wonder how many others who get put on house arrest when charged with serious
crimes then get to fly around the country to schmooze at fancy conferences?

2005/09/12

Is this true?

If things weren’t bad enough in New Orleans, now there are stories of mercenaries patrolling the city. And, they’re claiming they have a contract from the Department of Homeland Security and the State of Louisiana.
Heavily armed paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for their work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans. Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force. Several mercenaries we spoke with said they had served in Iraq on the personal security details of the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer and the former US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte.
That right. Blackwater is patrolling the streets of New Orleans.
As the threat of forced evictions now looms in New Orleans and the city confiscates even legally registered weapons from civilians, the private mercenaries of Blackwater patrol the streets openly wielding M-16s and other assault weapons. This despite Police Commissioner Eddie Compass' claim that "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons.
Officially, Blackwater says it forces are in New Orleans to "join the Hurricane Relief Effort." A statement on the company's website, dated September 1, advertises airlift services, security services and crowd control. The company, according to news reports, has since begun taking private contracts to guard hotels, businesses and other properties. But what has not been publicly acknowledged is the claim, made to us by 2 Blackwater mercenaries, that they are actually engaged in general law enforcement activities including "securing neighborhoods" and "confronting criminals."
Read the complete article.

Thanks to Chris Kromm at Facing South.

Doonesbury weighs in

McGruder gets it right

Passage: 'Gatemouth' Brown, 81

Singer and guitarist Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, who built a 50-year career playing blues, country, jazz and Cajun music, has died. He had fled to his hometown of Orange, Texas, to escape Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed his New Orleans home. His career first took off in the 1940s with blues hits "Okie Dokie Stomp" and "Ain't That Dandy," but Brown didn't want to be labeled a bluesman. He played a half-dozen instruments and culled his style from jazz, country, Texas blues, and the zydeco and Cajun music of his native Louisiana. By the end of his career, Brown had more than 30 recordings, including some with Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton. He won a Grammy in 1982. His versatility came partly from a childhood spent in the musical mishmash of southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas. Brown named his father, a railroad worker who sang and played fiddle in a Cajun band, as his greatest musical influence. "If I can make my guitar sound like his fiddle, then I know I've got it right," Brown said. -- Associated Press

2005/09/11

Finally

I wondered how long it would take the Commercial Appeal to begin running New Madrid Fault stories. Mid-Southerners need reminding. Now is the time to prepare.

When the Big One hits Memphis, there will be no warning.

Centuries in the making, the massive earthquake will ripple out of the New Madrid fault and convulse the ground for hundreds of miles in every direction.

The earth will heave and buckle, rolling in waves and shaking violently. The noise will be deafening as thousands of tons of rock and stone scrape and grind.

Adding to the din will be the shattering windows and cascading furniture, the car and house alarms and the screams.


Go read the rest of the article. It's not pretty. In addition, the CA has five other earthquake related stories. Lesson one: 'They are not coming!' , What you might need , Earthquake facts , Earthquake hazards , and Are we prepared? . Read them. Read them all.

Rolling Stones donate $1 million for Katrina

Somehow I missed this. Thanks Sharon.

2005/09/10

Go look

You may not have seen this yet. Thanks to Egalia for the heads up.

Update from the coast V

Number One Son and wife have been bunking in with us for almost a week now. The wife starts working on Monday while NOS has another job interview on Monday. Last night though he worked the coliseum’s rap concert. It’s a start.

Heard from Mike and Barb yesterday. They’re fine. Mike’s back working security at Gulfport’s power company. The pick-up is still dead and he hasn’t been able to contact the insurance company yet. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they (and all the other resident’s of their apartment complex) have been told that they need to vacate by September 16th. The hurricane damage has caused a health hazard; mold. They’re looking but if they can’t find a place by the 16th they will probably return to Memphis. That would add two more to our household.

This just in ...

Not 10 minutes after I published this Mike called. They're confident that the apartment complex owners will give them more time to find a new place. I hope he's right.

Time for history

The Great Mississippi Flood in 1927 was the most destructive flood in United States history.

In the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 the Mississippi River broke out of its levee system in 145 places and flooded 27,000 square miles or about 16,570,627 acres (70,000 km²). The area was inundated up to a depth of 30 feet (10 m). The flood caused over $400 million in damages and killed 246 people in seven states.

The flood affected Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee with Arkansas being hardest hit with 13% of its territory covered by floodwaters.


The flood began when heavy rains pounded the central basin of the Mississippi in the summer of 1926. By September the Mississippi's tributaries in Kansas and Iowa were swollen to capacity. On New Year's day of 1927 the Cumberland River at Nashville topped levees at 56.2 feet (17 m).

By May of 1927 the Mississippi River below Memphis, Tennessee
was a watery oval up to 60 miles wide (100 km).


There's more.

Be prepared

WATER

A three-day supply of water for everyone in your home. The Red Cross recommends one gallon per person per day. Don't forget your pets. Store the water in opaque plastic containers such as soft drink bottles and put it somewhere easy to reach after the shaking stops. Change this water every six months and treat with chlorine bleach when you use it.

FOOD

Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables.
Canned juices, milk, soup
Sugar, salt, pepper
High energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix; foods that will not increase thirst.
Vitamins
Foods for infants, elderly, persons with special dietary needs
Comfort/stress foods: cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags.
Pet food, at least one ounce per animal pound per day.
Avoid foods like rice, pasta and dry beans that require a great deal of water to prepare. Remember to restock your food once a year.


There's more.

New Madrid

The troubles on the Gulf Coast should be motivating Memphians to rethink preparedness for our own “disaster waiting to happen”. In case you’ve forgotten we live on the New Madrid Fault. Those in the know have predicted that someday we’ll get the BIG ONE. And, it will be bad. Below is a brief description of the 1811 New Madrid quake.
The 400 terrified residents in the town of New Madrid (Missouri) were abruptly awakened by violent shaking and a tremendous roar. It was December 16, 1811, and a powerful earthquake had just struck. This was the first of three magnitude-8 earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks to rock the region that winter.

Survivors reported that the earthquakes caused cracks to open in the earth's surface, the ground to roll in visible waves, and large areas of land to sink or rise. The crew of the New Orleans (the first steamboat on the Mississippi, which was on her maiden voyage) reported mooring to an island only to awake in the morning and find that the island had disappeared below the waters of the Mississippi River. Damage was reported as far away as Charleston, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C.

Read the complete article.

For what to do in case of disaster go here.

State Senate District 29

The Commercial Appeal’s endorsement for State Senate District 29 is republican Terry Roland. Are we surprised? Did you really think the CA would endorse democrat Ophelia Ford, or independent Robert 'Prince Mongo' Hodges? Ford no way, Mongo ... ummm ...
The Commercial Appeal believes that Millington businessman Terry Roland, 44, is best prepared to give this district the kind of representation it has needed for years.
I hate to admit it but the CA is right. Roland is the best prepared. A vote for Ophelia Ford is just a vote for the name Ford. And you know where that’s gotten us. And just what is her experience?

Ford cites her experience as a former insurance company administrator and funeral director as preparations for public service.
Go read the editorial.

2005/09/08

The Twilight Zone

I was just watching an interview MSNBC’s Rita Crosby did yesterday with a couple of New Orleanians who refused to leave the bridge where they took refuse when Katrina hit. When asked why they hadn’t gone to one of the shelters of last resort, one replied that the shelters were “the Twilight Zone”. He was right.

2005/09/07

It's been two years

I found this the day after Warren Zevon died. How could I have forgotten? Thanks Sharon. I wonder if there's a full moon tonight?

Warren Zevon was dying, and everybody in the werewolf community was pretty broken up about it. I know because my paper sent me out to get their reaction to the news.

"He's our Elvis," one werewolf said. We were in a werewolf bar in the Northern Liberties. There's a lot of night-life thereabouts, and most people are too involved in their own stories to hassle minorities. "He's like a god to us. But fuck you if you don't get it."

Everyone in the bar growled when he said that. The little hairs at the base of my neck stood on end.

"This is because of his song Werewolves of London, isn't it? I've heard that's kind of like your national anthem."

A sharp-looking bitch with spectacular breasts jabbed me in the chest with one red-painted claw. "Yeah, sure, we like that song and Splendid Isolation and Excitable Boy and Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner. But it's not the subject, it's - "

"The growl," somebody said.

"No, it's not! It's the sensibility. It's the voice. It's the perspective. We're talking a guy who was so far out of the consensus that he saw things as they are. We're talking someone who was angry at the shit that the people in charge are trying to force down our throats and wasn't willing to call it chocolate."

More growls.

"He was one of us," the first werewolf said. "Whether he knew it or not. He was one of the victims who decided to fight back. He never forgot whose side he was on."

Somebody threw back his head and howled.

"The night he dies," the werewolf said, "you know what I"m going to do? I"m gonna find the smuggest, most complacent record company executive I can and tear him limb from limb!"

"Yeah! Me too!"

"Fuck, yeah!"

"Amen, brother!"

And while they were all howling and slapping hands, I slipped out. I had my quotes. I knew when to cut and run.

I'm not a werewolf myself, and I'm too old to pretend otherwise. But when my main man dies, I'm probably going to get roaring drunk. Maybe I'll break things. Maybe I'll go out and start a few fights. I might throw somebody through a plate-glass window.

Or maybe I'll just sit down and try to write more, tougher, truer, better. Maybe I'll do my tiny bit to carry on the fight.

© Michael Swanwick

Nicholas D. Kristof

… Hurricane Katrina also underscores a much larger problem: the growing number of Americans trapped in a never-ending cyclone of poverty. And while it may be too early to apportion blame definitively for the mishandling of the hurricane, even President Bush's own administration acknowledges that America's poverty is worsening on his watch.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported a few days ago that the poverty rate rose again last year, with 1.1 million more Americans living in poverty in 2004 than a year earlier. After declining sharply under Bill Clinton, the number of poor people has now risen 17 percent under Mr. Bush.

Go read his complete column.

Fun and games in city government

"If you were to ask me if I had confidence in my current numbers, my answer to you would be no. I can't manage the city and not have confidence in my baseline financial data," he told council members.
So, Big Willie is confused. What else is new? And, he’s lost confidence. He’s right about not being able to manage the city though.

Effective today, Robert Lipscomb begins his new job as the city’s Chief Financial Officer in addition to his current posts as director of the Memphis Housing Authority.
Lipscomb, who had been paid about $187,000 by the city and the housing authority, will retain his duties as director of Memphis Housing Authority until a national search is conducted.
His new combined salary as chief financial officer and housing authority director is $188,673 -- $133,673 from the city and $55,000 from MHA.

Then there’s the rehiring of former finance director Roland McElrath.

McElrath, who will earn $115,706 annually, was approved 10-3 with Chumney, Scott McCormick and Janet Hooks voting against it. Hooks complained McElrath had not been open with the council during his previous stint.


And they rehired him?

Go read the complete article.

2005/09/06

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Gulf Coast. Or as Bubba would call it, “the northern edge of the Caribbean”. It all seems like a dream now.

On Monday August 15, My Loving Wife (MLW), Number One Daughter (NOD) and I left Memphis heading south. Eight hours (no hurry) and less than a tank of gas later, we were turning east onto U.S. Highway 90, or Beach Boulevard.

MLW and I were familiar with the Mississippi coast. We’d been down quite a few times to visit Number One Son (NOS) and friends who had relocated there. NOD had visited the Mississippi only once before. It was last summer in fact. Not a long visit by any means but she did enjoy the visit.

While there, we got our tourist thing on. We walked the beach, ate seafood, drank fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas sticking out of the glasses (i.e. boat drinks), and did some gambling. I played the penny slots. Don’t laugh. I won forty dollars playing those penny slots. Everything was perfect, or at the very least, it was close enough for rock and roll.

The three of us enjoyed Gulfport/Biloxi for two days. Early Wednesday morning, the three of us with Number One Son headed for New Orleans. This would be NOD’s last day with us. She was scheduled for flight out of Louie Armstrong International back to Anchorage and home around noon.

Since we had to go through New Orleans to get to the airport “we were forced” to make a stop in the French Quarter. (That’s right, forced!) Because we were “forced to stop”, we headed for Café du Monde for beignets and coffee. By the time, we headed back to the vehicles we were all covered with powdered sugar, especially MLW. (Hummm, maybe here is where the photos should go. No she would frakin’ …)

We got NOD to the airport and she left on time. NOS headed back to Biloxi while MLW and I headed back to our hotel in Biloxi. By Thursday afternoon, we would be in Memphis. Little did any of us suspect what was in store for the Gulf Coast less than a month later.

This just in ...

Bob Denver dead at 70.

Perspective

Of the last twenty-eight posts I’ve published, only two are concerned with politics. All the others have to do with Hurricane Katrina. Is there anything else happening in Memphis and the world? What’s happening with the Tennessee Waltz? What about Tarnished Blue? How’s the war in Iraq going? Isn’t there an election coming up soon? (It’s local, right?) What’s happening with Herenton and the Memphis City Council? (Are they still bickering, or what?) Do we still have parks named after Confederate Heroes? (Didn’t we rename them? I forget.) Didn't whatshisname come to town and speak at a rally, or something?

Time was we thought all those issues were really important. Didn’t we though? Now they seem …

From Nicholas Kristof

It has also underscored the Bush administration's ongoing reluctance or ineptitude in helping the poorest Americans. The scenes in New Orleans reminded me of the suffering I saw after a similar storm killed 130,000 people in Bangladesh in 1991 - except that Bangladesh's government showed more urgency in trying to save its most vulnerable citizens.
But Hurricane Katrina also underscores a much larger problem: the growing number of Americans trapped in a never-ending cyclone of poverty. And while it may be too early to apportion blame definitively for the mishandling of the hurricane, even President Bush's own administration acknowledges that America's poverty is worsening on his watch.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported a few days ago that the poverty rate rose again last year, with 1.1 million more Americans living in poverty in 2004 than a yearearlier. After declining sharply under Bill Clinton, the number of poor people has now risen 17 percent under Mr. Bush.

Go read the complete column >>

NO and Hollywood

I know this is fluff but I needed a break.

Big Easy holds a special place in Hollywood's heart
by Margaret McGurk
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The devastation from Hurricane Katrina reminds Americans of the special place New Orleans holds in the nation's heart, even for those who have seen it only in movies. The city has long been a magnet for moviemakers, who raised it to iconic status in films such as:

New Orleans (1947) — This silly but rollicking musical tale about a high-society girl hooked on jazz showcased the music of the great Louis Armstrong, plus Billie Holliday, Woody Herman and many more.

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) — Marlon Brando brought the heat to this now classic American story from Tennessee Williams, the playwright who made the city his muse.

King Creole (1958) — By many reckonings, this dark-toned story about a street kid scrapping for respect was Elvis Presley's best film. Co-stars Carolyn Jones and Walter Matthau, plus director Michael Curtiz, definitely helped.

The Big Easy (1987) — The definitive New Orleans movie of the last 20 years stirred up a spicy gumbo of music, politics, crime, corruption and romance; with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) — Novelist Anne Rice set her steamy vampire tale in her beloved hometown, and director Neil Jordan caught her spirit in the movie version starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and a young Kirsten Dunst.
Double Jeopardy (1999) — Passion and intrigue rule the polite circles of New Orleans where Ashley Judd seeks revenge after she is falsely convicted of murder.

Shamelessly lifted from Tennessean.com.

On N.O. music history

Good article but a bit dated thank God. Fats is alive and well.

This loss is a human one first and foremost. But as word spreads that (among others) New Orleans R&B legend Fats Domino remains unaccounted for after the storm, media is more mindful this is cultural devastation too--destruction of primary information about the beginnings of American music, and of a currently thriving community of jazz and rap and everything betwixt.
To better understand the enormity of the situation from that perspective, we spoke with musicologist Ned Sublette. Last year Sublette, musician, label co-founder, and much-applauded author of Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo, spent time in New Orleans as a Rockefeller Humanities Fellow at Tulane University, doing hands-on research for a book about the city and its fundamental relationship to American musical history.

Go read the complete article >>

2005/09/05

Update from the coast IV

Number One Son and his wife arrived from the coast (via Grayson Louisiana) Saturday night. They have no idea the condition their Biloxi apartment or the status of any of the possessions they left behind. They do know that their jobs are gone. They’ll stay here in Memphis at least temporarily, find jobs and make some money. They’ll check out their Biloxi apartment later. They do know that they no longer want to live on the coast.

Yesterday (Sunday) we finally heard from Mike and Barb in Gulfport. They are still without power and running water, but things are looking up for them. They and their neighbors pooled their resources and took care of each other. In addition, some cell phone service provider came through and distributed free prepaid phones. Mike is even back at work. He’s armed security so there is plenty of work. His pick-up still isn’t running but his supervisor comes for him.

I guess we can say that everything is going well. Or, everything is going as well as it can at the moment. Or, everything is good under the circumstances. Ah hell. Let’s just say that it is what it is.

Louisiana 2005

Rained real hard and rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
The river have busted through clear’d down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

President Bush came down in a big ol' jet plane
With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand
The President say, "Little fat man isn't it a shame what the river has done
To this poor crackers land."

Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tyrin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away
Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tryin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away

With respects to Randy Newman

2005/09/04

Transcript for September 4 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC - MSNBC.com

Transcript for September 4 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC - MSNBC.com:

This edition of Meet the Press will be rebroadcast at 10 PM on MSNBC. You need to watch this.

"MR. BROUSSARD: I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees...

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: ...that have worked 24/7. They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, 'Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?' And he said, 'Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get
you on Friday.' And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. President...


MR. BROUSSARD: Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody. "

New Orleans

"WHAT do people really know about New Orleans?"-- Anne Rice

Thanks to Len.

2005/09/03

Somebody dropped the frakin’ ball

I realize that now is not the time to place blame. Molly Ivins says that would be tacky. But there are too many elected officials who should have known what was up who have been declaring that they were surprised by the situation in New Orleans or that they didn’t realize the severity of the situation. They are either lying, incompetent or possibly both. If they hold an elected position they are a danger to those citizens they are suppose to represent.
As a former Congressman, I understand how difficult some of these situations are. But don't you believe in the coming days that this storm caught people by surprise. We knew in Pensacola, Florida, that this was going to be a killer storm. It was going to be a Category 4. We were saying on Friday, it would be a historic storm.

So, any politician in Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi that tells you they were surprised, they don't deserve your trust or your vote next time.
The above is from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough blog. For the rest >>

Bad policies

Molly Ivins thinks bad policies caused the flooding in New Orleans, not Shrub. Well, maybe both.
Like many of you who love New Orleans, I find myself taking short mental walks there today, turning a familiar corner, glimpsing a favorite scene, square or vista. And worrying about the beloved friends and the city, and how they are now.

To use a fine Southern word, it's tacky to start playing the blame game before the dead are even counted. It is not too soon, however, to make a point that needs to be hammered home again and again, and that is that government policies have real consequences in people's lives. This is not "just politics" or blaming for political advantage. This is about the real consequences of what governments do and do not do about their responsibilities. And about who winds up paying the price for those policies.

For Molly Ivins’ complete posting >>

2005/09/02

Simply amazing

This morning, the wife and I were up and out early. We wanted to get to the Southaven Sam’s gas station and fill up before the long lines. It worked; it cost $36 and change to top off my truck’s tank. And I only needed half a tank! Incredible.

Number One Son and wife are on their way. They should arrive sometime today, tomorrow at the latest. They will be staying with us until they decide what they want to do. We’ve already been able to line up temporary jobs for them while they are here. That’ll keep them going for a while.

Our friends Mike and Barb may also be coming north. Maybe. We haven’t heard from them in three days. We do have a mutual friend who has been making runs south with supplies who says on his next run he’ll try to get into Gulfport and bring them out. Hope he can.

This morning at the Southaven Wal-Mart, we were able to talk to a utility crew from Indianapolis. They were heading south. Indianapolis? Amazing. They thought they could do some good so they saddled up and headed south. These same guys were in Florida last Fall. Crews are heading out from all across the country. In addition, as we were heading back to Memphis a convoy of utility trucks heading south passed us. We all know this happens, but only when you see them heading south do you fully appreciate these guys . They're simply amazing.
Posted by Picasa

Anderson Cooper’s interview with Sen. Mary Landrieu

Landrieu put on a happy face and thanked all the wonderful politicians for showing their support. I mean WTF? Everyone is worried about their own asses and doing little if anything for the people on the ground.
Thanks to Crooks and Liars.

Miles O'Brien's interview with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour

Interesting interview. Haley seems to be in denial at some points.

Here’s just a little tease.
O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the response and what was put into position in advance of this storm. ... Do you have the sense that the federal government has dropped the ball here, sir?

BARBOUR: I really don't. And I think it's very unfair for the federal government, for you to say we knew this was a great powerful storm. This was a Category 1 hurricane when it hit Florida. Now that's the truth.
Does that mean that just because it was a 1 when it hit Florida you don’t prepare for the fact that it may turn more deadly? The federal government wasn’t the only one that dropped the ball.

Just go read it.

“They don't have a clue what's going on down here.”

Those are the words of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. “They” are the Bush administration and those federal officials in charge. FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security dropped the (insert your own epithet) ball.
“They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn — excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed,” Mr. Nagin said.

Mr. Nagin said he told Mr. Bush in a recent conversation that “we had an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice ... I have been all around this city and that I am very frustrated because we are not able to marshal resources and we are outmanned in just about every respect.”

Full story >>

Ophelia

Last night the Shelby County Executive Committee held it’s monthly meeting at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers headquarters in Midtown. The meeting was scheduled for seven but just prior to it there was a fund-raiser for Ophelia Ford. In case you’ve forgotten, Ophelia is the sister of John Ford and is running for the District 29 senate seat that Brother John recently resigned. In less than two weeks, she’ll face the republican contender for the District 29 seat.

My problem; I live in District 29. So far, most of us haven’t a clue as to why we should vote for her other than the fact that she’s a democrat and the party is backing her. Who is she? What has she done?

One of her pieces of campaign literature features pictures of Edmund Ford (Memphis City Council, Joe Ford (Shelby County Commission) and Harold Ford Jr. (U.S. Representative) under the caption, “FORD … A Tradition of Public Service”. (No picture of Brother John?) But let’s not forget the real point here. What has Ophelia Ford done?

2005/09/01

Do what you can

Like many Memphians, the wife and I have people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Number One Son, his wife and her parents are from Gulfport/Biloxi. Then there are our friends (extended family) Mike and Barb. In addition, we cannot leave out those we’ve met during frequent trips to the coast.

NOS et al are fine, though displaced. When the evacuation order was given, they had the means to get out. Right now, they’re in Grayson Louisiana with his wife’s grandparents. Grayson is near Monroe.

They’re safe, but of course, they can’t stay there forever. It may be weeks (or months) before they can get home and even if they could, their jobs are gone. They all worked for casinos. The last we heard of Beau Rivage, the wife’s casino, its first level was under 7-8 feet of water. Treasure Bay, her mom’s is beached several miles from where it was supposed to be. Her dad’s, The Imperial Palace hasn’t been mentioned at all. The Palace, NOS’s old place of employment is just plain missing. Last night was to be his first night at the Hard Rock Casino. It could be up to 2 years before it is rebuilt. When NOS saw what was left of it, he joked that the giant guitar was still there but the back-up band was missing. That’s probably the only humor that I’ve heard from this catastrophe.

Then there’s Mike and Barb. They’re also fine. And hopefully they are soon to be displaced, or relocated. You see, they didn’t evacuate when the order was given. They (Mike) figured they could ride it out. No power, no running water, no phones. Apartment’s first floor flooded. All the furniture and appliances on that level lost. Pick-up is not running. That’s the bad news.

The good news. First things first; they are alive and unhurt. Seems that many of those in their apartment complex didn’t bugout when the order was given. So, they’re pooling their resources and looking out for each other. Somebody has a couple of cases of bottled water. Somebody else has a propane and a charcoal grill. Others have propane, charcoal, flashlights and batteries. Food from freezers is being shared. Cellphones are being passed around. Someone has a vehicle that still runs, though there’s no place to go. There are even a couple of nurses in the complex. They’ll make it. They’re watching each other’s backs. That’s the way it should be.

And, the owners of the complex know they are there. So does the Salvation Army. The cavalry’s arrival has been promised for sometime today, no later than tomorrow.

What can we do? Don’t say you can do nothing, or that you’re helpless. I began this post with a feeling of complete and utter helplessness. We all wish (me included) that we could saddle-up and head South to help, but we all can’t. Tennessee Task Force One is there and others like it are headed there including what’s left of the National Guard. So again, what can we do? Donate money and supplies. Open your homes to the refugees. Who you gonna call? There are plenty of postings on the web telling you what’s available. Watch TV, read the Commercial Appeal. They aren’t hard to find.

And pray for the survivors. Pray to whatever Gods you have.

Count your blessings

This from Wendi …

Feeling powerless to help, grateful to be alive and dry, and overwhelmed by the what ifs.

That probably sums up the mental state of all of us who were spared the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.

Yes, our backs may be sore from bending over to pick up branches from our yards. There may be some residual annoyance from the hours we sat around in a dark, humid house without access to TiVo. I'm still not sure who will get the leaves out of my clogged gutters.

Most of our problems will be handled in hours. The poor souls on the Gulf Coast,their lives won't return to normal for months, and even then, life will be a new sort of normal. Full column >>

Found at The Flypaper Theory

Today a friend, who I know for a fact has a deep and abiding love for NOLA, made a snarky comment that seemed to cross some sort of line...

"Hmmm...'Memphis Saints'... always thought that had a nice ring to it."

At first it made me mad, then--as it sunk in--made me laugh, and almost cry. Because my friend spoke an ugly, undeniable truth. The city of New Orleans may not be gone forever, but "N'AWLINS" is gone for a long, long time time--maybe forever.


Full post >>