walked right out of an early Neal Stephenson novel, into a data center
in a building in the Central Business District of New Orleans, which,
for the past week, he's been running as a military camp, while setting
up a webcam and reporting on the devolution of the city around him
into chaos. Earlier in the week, I was one of the people wondering if
there wasn't some kind of psychotic aspect to the "Mad Max beyond
Superdome" tone of his reportage, but it seems he was just a day or so
ahead of the major media in reporting the chaos --- and, in
particular, the predatory armed bands which have since been widely
reported to be hindering rescue operations and preying on the weak.
For that reason, I'm less critical than a lot of lefty bloggers about
the diversion of the city police from rescue work to anti-looting. If
it were just
looting we were talking about, that would be
wholly inappropriate. But if rescue workers are being fired on, that
must be dealt with.
And that will be the last kind thing I have to say about government
management of this situation. I got some momentary amusement from
watching Ted Koppel fillet the politically connected estate lawyer
that Dubya installed as the head of FEMA, but it did nothing for the
sick feeling in my gut.
They couldn't figure
out how many beds fit in the Astrodome?!?! That's grade
I trust no one needs me for a list of ways to
contribute. But there is one which deserves a little more
publicity. Given the lack of shelter capacity, MoveOn.org has set up
a web site for people
with spare space to volunteer for putting up refugees. As I write,
they're advertising more than 20,000 beds volunteered, about the
same as the advertised capacity of the Astrodome --- but more than
double the number of people that actually fit.
More: They privatized disaster relief. And the company they
hired has responded so far by taking the press release off their