Archive for August, 2005

August 31, 2005

A BAD REVIEW for New Orleans’ Mayor Nagin:

During the last interview with the Mayor – I did not hear one word of ANY plan for the people who can not drive to get out of New Orleans. I assume there are some on the ground plans, but they certainly are not being adequately communicated to the press,

And just now a WDSU reporter is reporting seeing kids, as young as six and seven year old – on their own – with all their belongings in a plastic bag – begging drivers to take them out of the city. And when his news team left on the one bridge still open, there saw a line of the very old and the very young – people in wheel chairs – even more incredible – people being pushed on hospital gurneys – fleeing for their lives over the last bridge out of New Orleans.

The same reporter also gave an account of the gangs roaming and terrorizing the city.

We should all be asking – after all this time – why have buses and trucks not been commandeered to get the poor out of the city?

Why are the residents of New Orleans not being told HOW to get out of the city instead of just being told that they must get out of the city?

I’ve been wondering about this myself. The City’s response has seemed too-late and too-weak from the beginning.

UPDATE: FreeWillBlog: “I’m not ready to jump on Nagin just yet.”

August 31, 2005

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE offers a caution about donations to charity. And remember that you can — and should — check out any unknown charities at the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving site, Give.org.

August 31, 2005

MOXIE READS THE HUFFINGTON POST on Katrina, so you don’t have to! Thanks, Moxie!

UPDATE: Related post here. I want one of those flying cars. And they’d have been handy for people trying to escape the flooding, too . . . .

August 31, 2005

GAS PANIC IN ATLANTA: We’re seeing some of that here, too. Remember — even when supply isn’t under pressure, if everyone rushes to top off their tanks it’ll exhaust the supplies at stations.

UPDATE: Here’s a report that bogus rumors led to gas lines in Columbus, Georgia.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This, on the other hand, is not a rumor:

The price of regular-grade gasoline soared as much as 50 cents a gallon overnight as Hurricane Katrina forced suppliers to ration the fuel sent to filling stations and convenience stores. . . . “I would hope that all consumers recognize the really catastrophic event that occurred with Hurricane Katrina,” said Dan Gilligan, president of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, in an interview yesterday. The Arlington, Virginia-based group represents about 8,000 marketers across the U.S.

“If consumers want to help, they need to find a way to conserve if they can,” he said. “Find a way to carpool for the next couple of weeks. If everyone would just decide to conserve a little bit, I think the industry can cope. If people are going way for Labor Day, maybe try to cut back the travel by 100 miles.”

Dartblog notes that high prices will encourage that. And reader Gerald Dearing reports from Atlanta:

Just returned from a short drive around the neighborhood (Norcross). EVERY gas station has lines out into the street, even the stations on the back roads. Except the Chevron (Peachtree Industrial & Medlock Bridge), which has shut it’s pumps down. Out, most likely. But I didn’t ask. Wasn’t anything like this at lunchtime when I stopped in for a fishwrapper.

WSB-am is devoting it’s programming to the crisis, mostly rumor control. Trying to calm the panic.

Governor Sunny has declared a “Gas Emergency”, whatever the hell that is. Radio said “State of Emergency”, radio reporters aren’t good at subtle distinctions.

Me? I think the panic is silly. But then I don’t need gas today. Or even diesel. I’m in for time off, and doing as little driving as possible.

Who knows what set off the rumors? But they spread quickly. Oh, well.

Things should settle down by next week, but gas will be expensive for a while. Glad I didn’t buy that SUV!

August 31, 2005

TERRY TEACHOUT HAS LOADS OF NEW KATRINA LINKS: Just keep scrolling.

August 31, 2005

JAMES JOYNER is publishing at his backup site because of the same sort of problems that InstaPundit has been having.

August 31, 2005

FROM SUPERDOME TO ASTRODOME? I guess that’s an improvement, but only a temporary one. People need to be spread out to real housing, not concentrated in temporary quarters.

August 31, 2005

BAD NEWS ON HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF:

But mainstream Web sites that had jumped to pull in money for the tsunami victims showed no evidence of repeating it here in the U.S. for Katrina’s. Amazon.com, which raised more than $14 million for the American Red Cross in January via a donation link on its home page, didn’t have one as of mid-day Monday. Nor did Google, Yahoo, MSN, or eBay, all of which hustled earlier in the year to put up donation links on their portals. (Google slapped up an “Information about Hurricane Katrina” link on its Spartan home page, but that led to news sources and stories.)

An Amazon spokesperson said that the online retailer had no plans to post a donation link on its site. “Each case is different,” she said. “The Red Cross has essentially given over its entire site to donations. The tsunami came out of the blue, so it was an ‘all hands on deck’ situation, but the Red Cross has been getting ready for this and getting its message out there for several days.”

Maybe they’ll change their minds.

UPDATE: Yahoo now has an aid link on its page.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some readers are emailing them. That’s fine, but be polite. This is a bad decision that they can make right easily. Encourage them to do so, but also give them the chance to do the right thing. Name-calling, in my experience, seldom encourages people to do the right thing.

MORE: From Hugh Hewitt: “At 2:45 Pacific, we heard from Amazon that the company has changed its mind. Some one must have gotten around to asking Jeff Bezos.”

Bravo.

August 31, 2005

JAMES GLASSMAN looks at people who are exploiting Katrina for political purposes.

They’re also scientific illiterates. More here.

UPDATE: Steven St. Onge isn’t so sure that Glassman has the numbers right, though (see the link above) experts do seem to share Glassman’s view. Mark Kleiman also sends a link to this letter in Nature, though it seems to be a bit speculative, and conflicts with the New York Times article quoted earlier. On the other hand, it’s not like a NYT article is the last word.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Nick Gillespie is siding with Glassman and offers more links in support.

August 31, 2005

USING THE MILITARY in cases of civil disturbance and looting. Donald Sensing has an interesting post.

August 31, 2005

I’VE BEEN THE VICTIM OF A MASS DE-LINKING because I said that “demonizing the ACLU is a bit silly.” So much for suggesting that the critics lack perspective. That’ll show me!

Here, by the way, is the brief I worked on with them last. Related background here.

UPDATE: As in New Orleans, it doesn’t take long for the vultures to appear! Is this “link-looting?” Heh.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh. And this is funny, too.

August 31, 2005

BEYOND CHARITY: Wizbang has some suggestions for bloggers.

August 31, 2005

MICHELLE MALKIN HAS A ROUNDUP ON LOOTING: I agree with Jonah Goldberg that it’s one thing for desperate people to help themselves to bottled water, food, or diapers from abandoned stores, and another to just sack those places for valuables. People doing the latter should be shot.

August 31, 2005

IT’S LIKE A BIG RX-8: The Ford Iosis Concept Car. (Via Autoblog). Hey, Ford could do worse — and has!

August 31, 2005

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE has a massive roundup on the military response to Katrina, which is quite extensive.

August 31, 2005

THE DEMOCRATIC SURGE continues.

August 31, 2005

RON BAILEY ON BIOTECHNOLOGY: “How Europe starves the world’s poor.”

August 31, 2005

GAS RATIONING AT THE WHOLESALE LEVEL, due to Katrina-related shortages.

August 31, 2005

LEGAL AFFAIRS has a number of interesting items on national security law.

August 31, 2005

DISASTER KITS: Reader Brian Cook emails: “Prof. Reynolds, you mentioned that everyone should have a battery-operated radio in his emergency kit. I submit that one of these is an even better idea.”

Actually, I have one. So does reader Andrew Centofani, who writes: “For emergencies I like the Grundig FR200. I just bought one a couple of months ago and thankfully haven’t had to use it for anything emergency wise, but it works great — about an hour with two minutes of cranking — and has an emergency light built in. If I could add anything to it I would have some sort of DC out plug as so I could power/charge other small electronics and add Weather / Emergency frequencies.” I agree.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Brian King emails:

have that same Grundig dynamo-powered radio, and I love it.

My wife has this one in her car: it’s got a “mobile phone charger” outlet. Her phone cord doesn’t fit the jack, but it is a DC out.

The Grundig FR-300 has a similar mobile phone charging jack.

Cool.

August 31, 2005

LEGAL PROBLEMS WITH SPACE ELEVATORS: My TechCentralStation column is up.

UPDATE: In the comments to that piece, reader J.T. Wenting observes:

Message: Space elevators most likely will be built from space down towards earth rather than from the surface up.

Would they still be an extension of the country they’re anchored to or would they be space structures reaching the surface?

I’d say the latter, similar to a ship mooring in a harbour not being real estate of the country that harbour is located in, as technically the space elevator would be moored to the ground rather than being built on it.

Interesting argument.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Rand Simberg has more thoughts:

The problems associated with anchoring such a beast in an unstable and/or corrupt equatorial country has caused many of those planning such things to put them instead on floating ocean platforms, in international waters. This raises some new issues, because now, instead of (as Glenn notes) the structure simply being a very high tower, it would now be a tall ship that would put to shame all of the previous false claimants to that designation, with their puny little sticks for masts.

Indeed.

August 30, 2005

FEDERAL RELIEF EFFORTS, including a Naval flotilla and 125,000 National Guardsmen, are on the way to afflicted areas, reports CNN.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

What most of these poor folks need right now is information on where they can go to seek shelter. I’m in Tuscaloosa right now and you wouldn’t believe the overflow of people seeking hotel rooms. Maybe the blogosphere can help get the word out to the relief agencies they need to get the word out to the victims. The University recreation center is offering shelter for now, but what happens when that overflows? How are these people going to continue to pay for hotel rooms weeks after this disaster?

I don’t know how to handle this problem, but I hope that somebody does. Ideas?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Kathy Childre emails:

I was thinking that there should be a way to set up a fund just for that. An hotel fund. I know in Baton Rouge some apartment managers are offering month to month leases for displaced persons and trying to find free furnture for them. Donating used furniture for the apartments would be nice to. If there were some way to set up a fund to pay for those leases as well it would be great. I’m just not sure of the logistics of it.

It’s a thought.

August 30, 2005

KAYE TRAMMELL has an open comment thread for people looking for news and information about survivors.

Also, here’s the Hurricane Katrina help Wiki.

Craigslist is running a lost and found list for friends and relatives. It also includes posts from people who want to help.

I’m not sure why, exactly, but more than anything else, reading the entries brought tears to my eyes.

Read this, too.

UPDATE: Here’s another Katrina missing persons board.

August 30, 2005

THE SLIDELL HURRICANE BLOG is gathering information about conditions in and around Slidell.

August 30, 2005

MICHAEL SILENCE HAS A ROUNDUP on misconduct by the ATF.

August 30, 2005

VARIOUS PEOPLE ARE CLAIMING THAT GLOBAL WARMING CAUSED KATRINA: EU Rota looks at the historical record and finds this argument wanting.

Here’s more from The New York Times:

Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming.

But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught “is very much natural,” said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.

From 1970 to 1994, the Atlantic was relatively quiet, with no more than three major hurricanes in any year and none at all in three of those years. Cooler water in the North Atlantic strengthened wind shear, which tends to tear storms apart before they turn into hurricanes.

In 1995, hurricane patterns reverted to the active mode of the 1950′s and 60′s.

It’s sad to see such lame political opportunism at a time like this.

UPDATE: Another response to lame, opportunistic, politically motivated claims.

August 30, 2005

THINGS SEEM TO BE GETTING WORSE IN NEW ORLEANS:

New Orleans resembled a war zone more than a modern American metropolis on Tuesday, as Gulf Coast communities struggled to deal with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Deteriorating conditions in New Orleans will force authorities to evacuate the tens of thousands of people at city shelters, including the Superdome, where a policeman told CNN unrest was escalating.

The officer expressed concern that the situation could worsen overnight after three shootings, looting and a number of attempted carjackings during the afternoon.

They need to get these people out of the city as soon as possible.

August 30, 2005

NEW REPORTS FROM COASTAL ALABAMA look bad, too.

August 30, 2005

IAN SCHWARTZ has video from Biloxi, and it doesn’t look good.

August 30, 2005

SLATE WRITES ON DELL’S PROBLEMS, and Jeff Jarvis is mentioned.

My experiences with Dell, I note, have been good.

August 30, 2005

HERE’S A COAST GUARD BLOGGER, Tidewater Musings, who’s reporting on the Coast Guard’s rescue and recovery efforts.

August 30, 2005

READER DAVID BROADUS WRITES:

This is from the Baton Rouge Advocate about a good thing done in Houston for the refugees from AL, LA, and MS. I am going to contact other area restaurants and suggest they follow suit:

“Yesterday, we went to the IKEA in Houston. There were signs all over telling Louisiana residents that they could eat for free in the restaurant because of the hurricane. We enjoyed dessert and coffee, but we could have had a full meal for all of us if we’d chosen to. This morning, the local paper has a list of things to do in the city for people from LA, MS, and AL. Everything is free. All museums and the zoo are letting residents of those states in for free, and many of them will do so until the end of October. I guess that’s because they know that people may be stuck here for quite some time.

Sadly, yes.

August 30, 2005

IN PRAISE OF OLD MEDIA: I’ve watched the TV coverage today, and I think they’ve done a very good job; a story like this tends to bring out their best.

And you’ve got to admire the grit and determination of the Times Picayune, which isn’t letting the destruction of its city stop it from publishing:

The Times-Picayune was forced to evacuate our Howard Avenue newsroom Tuesday. We are setting up bureaus in Houma and in Baton Rouge to continue to provide coverage of this disaster. We will continue to publish the newspaper each day without interruption. We will make it available in PDF form on nola.com each morning around midnight.

Their web publication has also been excellent, and I suspect that quite a few newspapers will find themselves publishing this way, even without a hurricane, in the not-too-distant future. Likewise WWL TV which is still reporting (blog here, and streaming live video.

UPDATE: Reader Andrew Lee emails:

You should mention the radio broadcasters in the area too – I know the staff at WWL-AM (and their sister stations) have been trapped inside their building next to the Superdome for since Sunday night, and truly heroic measures were taken to get them back on the air after Katrina took them out. Imagine working on a 50,000 watt tower in chest deep water – dangerous! Right now they’re the only source of information for a lot of people in the area without power, television, or internet, and they really are performing like heroes.

What’s going to be interesting in the coming days is the cooperation between rivals in the radio business, as they combine their resources and available technologies to provide information – I predict they’ll be simulcasting on a lot of frequencies, owned by different companies soon.

Radio often gets overlooked, but it’s as vital and pervasive today as it has ever been… and there are still aspects of it that the satellite radio providers will never be able to compete with, despite all the hype.

Yes, and everyone should have a battery-powered radio in their disaster kit.

August 30, 2005

AUSTIN BAY on disaster relief, recovery, and development.

August 30, 2005

COUNTERPROGRAMMING: Michele Catalano has decided to focus on good news out of the hurricane area, letting everyone else report the bad. Good choice.

August 30, 2005

CHRIS NOLAN on Nick Lemann.

August 30, 2005

HOW BAD ARE THINGS IN JEFFERSON PARISH? THIS BAD:

If you live there you can go home next Monday, but only with photo identification, and only for a short time to collect clothes and other essentials. After that, you’ve got to leave again.

For a month.

There’s no way to spin this. That’s just horrible, horrible news. It’s so bad there, Parish officials have asked the public to donate boats to help with the rescue and clean-up efforts.

More reasons to think about hardening systems against disaster, though in truth I don’t know how much you could do about this. I hope, though, that people will be thinking about it.

August 30, 2005

HUGH HEWITT is suggesting a day of concerted blogging for hurricane relief efforts. It’s a good idea. How about Thursday, to give people a chance to organize? I’ll link blog posts — and in the meantime, send me suggestions for aid organizations worth mentioning. Put “flood aid” in the subject line.

UPDATE: Reader Loren Rueter emails: “Any foreign governments offering aid?”

None that I’ve heard of. Should we call ‘em stingy?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Less snarkily, The Anchoress emails:

Glenn, remember how Amazon put together the Honor System for donations after the Tsunami? Couldn’t something like that be done?

It certainly could. Will it? I guess somebody should ask Jeff Bezos!

August 30, 2005

WELL, THIS SUCKS: A broken levee means that New Orleans is flooding. Slower and without the fatalities we’d have seen if it had happened during the storm surge, but with similar effects on property and infrastructure. Are the pumps just too big to have backup power?

August 30, 2005

AN INTERVIEW WITH MILBLOGGER BALDILOCKS: Over at the PJ Media site.

August 30, 2005

IN THE MAIL: Jason Hartley’s Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq. It looks very interesting and well-written.

August 30, 2005

THERE’S A NEW FAMILY LAW BLOG as part of Paul Caron’s ever-expanding blog empire.

August 30, 2005

MICHAEL YOUNG looks at the Harriri investigation and asks what if Syria is found guilty?

Meanwhile, here’s a report of Baathist henchmen being arrested in Lebanon.

August 30, 2005

IRAQI CONSTITUTION UPDATE: Interesting translation from the Iraqi newspaper Alhayat, reporting widespread support for taking the proposed Iraqi Constitution to a vote.

August 30, 2005

GRAND ROUNDS is up!

August 30, 2005

CZECH PRESIDENT VACLAV KLAUS ISSUES A WARNING:

President Klaus spoke last Monday, warning for the new “substitute ideologies of socialism” such as “Europeanism” and “NGOism.” These “isms” are currently threatening Europe. “In the first decade of the 21st century we should not concentrate exclusively on socialism,” he said. . . .

As substitutes of socialism, Václav Klaus cited “environmentalism (with its Earth First, not Freedom First principle), radical humanrightism (based – as de Jasay precisely argues – on not distinguishing rights and rightism), the ideology of ‘civic society’ (or communitarism), which is nothing less than one version of post-Marxist collectivism which wants privileges for organized groups, and in consequence, a refeudalization of society […], multiculturalism, feminism, apolitical technocratism (based on the resentment against politics and politicians), internationalism (and especially its European variant called Europeanism) and a rapidly growing phenomenon I call NGOism.”. . .

He also opposed “excessive government regulation” and “huge subsidies to privileged or protected industries and firms.” He warned that Europe’s social system “must not be wrecked by all imaginable kinds of disincentives, by more than generous welfare payments, by large scale redistribution, by many forms of government paternalism.” Instead, Europe has to “be based on freedom, personal responsibility, individualism, natural caring for others and genuine moral conduct of life.”

Read the whole thing.

August 30, 2005

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS:

While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are “scientifically savvy and alert,” he said in an interview. Most of the rest “don’t have a clue.” At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people’s inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process. . . .

Dr. Miller’s data reveal some yawning gaps in basic knowledge. American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.

What do they teach them in schools these days?

August 30, 2005

AGGREGATED CARBON NANORODS: A new substance that’s harder than diamonds. Get used to stuff like this.

August 30, 2005

MORE ON BRITISH DENTISTRY, from Chicagoboyz.

August 29, 2005

IN RESPONSE TO MY EARLIER POST ON THE ACLU, a reader emails:

From your website:
regarding the ACLU — “I’ve worked with them in the past, on the New Orleans rave case for example, and will probably do so again.”

Well, You lost another reader. Just now disappeared from my Bookmarks.

That’s okay — there are plenty of blogs out there, and this guy would clearly be happier somewhere else. Eric Scheie, on the other hand, takes a somewhat more nuanced approach. As, for that matter, does Allen Thorpe.

August 29, 2005

MEGHAN O’ROURKE criticizes censorious bloggers.

August 29, 2005

DANIEL DREZNER WRITES ON “HURRICANE PORN:” I think that complaints about that are misplaced with regard to Katrina, which was quite a dreadful storm, and which — on the strength of a last minute shift — just barely escaped being much worse. But the phenomenon in general is quite real and as I mentioned over at GlennReynolds.com yesterday it may also make it harder to get people to evacuate when a storm is really bad.

August 29, 2005

BILL QUICK ON JUDITH MILLER: “I expect the NYT is quite puzzled as to why there is no groundswell for the ‘plight’ of one of their reporters. Probably the notion that half the country thinks their entire staff should be in jail hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

That kind of reminds me of Hugh Hewitt’s interview with Tim Rutten.

August 29, 2005

BRENDAN LOY IS ON HUGH HEWITT right now. He’s also got an impressive collection of photos from New Orleans on his site.

August 29, 2005

HURRICANE-PHOTOBLOGGING, using a laptop on battery power and a free AOL CD for dialup to bypass dead DSL. (Via Josh Britton).

Rex Hammock has thoughts and links on local emergency blogging. And it’s worth something — I’ve had folks evacuated from the Mississippi Gulf Coast begging me for links to blogs in their area because they can’t get enough news from the regular media. (Via Kaye Trammell).

August 29, 2005

THE MIAMI HERALD says that the New Orleans city government was slow to learn from Hurricane Andrew.

UPDATE: Michele Catalano says the media folks haven’t learned much, either.

ANOTHER UPDATE: N.Z. Bear notes previous problems in New Orleans. Let’s iron out all the kinks before next time, okay?

August 29, 2005

KATRINA UPDATE: Calder Lorenz emails:

NowPublic.com is providing a public service for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. We have set up a website that lets people send in photographs of those who go missing during the storm. We are asking others to contribute by posting a link to tool on their sites. Your assistance in this effort is greatly appreciated.

Here’s the link.

August 29, 2005

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS is up!

So is this week’s Carnival of Cordite.

UPDATE: Here’s an especially long and detailed Carnival of the Revolutions, with links to posts on pro-democracy activity in all sorts of countries.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Don’t miss The Blawg Review, a carnival of lawbloggers!

August 29, 2005

YES, BLOGGING WAS LIGHT: Classes have started here, and I was also having trouble reaching the server until the Hosting Matters folks worked their magic.

August 29, 2005

DAVID CORN: “Clinton Lied…and Hundreds of Thousands Died.”

No protests to speak of, though.

August 29, 2005

ANDREW MARCUS, the blog-documentarian I’ve mentioned before, has been in Crawford, Texas and has posted reports, photos, and video of what he saw.

UPDATE: Here’s another report.

August 29, 2005

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF PERSONAL FINANCE is up!

August 29, 2005

NOLA.COM’S HURRICANE BLOGGER has a picture of the Superdome with the roof peeling off.

There’s another picture here, along with a report that there are 10,000 people (not the 40,000 other outlets are reporting) inside.

UPDATE: Here’s a photo from Biloxi, via Flickr. Note roof damage. Still, it seems that things haven’t turned out as badly as they might have.

August 29, 2005

BOOKS LIKE THIS ONE ON THE ACLU, which I just got in the mail, are probably no worse than the myriad of hatchet jobs done in the past on, say, the NRA or (more recently) the Federalist Society. But I think that demonizing the ACLU is a bit silly. I do feel that they’ve become overly partisan in recent years, but they still do good work (I’ve worked with them in the past, on the New Orleans rave case for example, and will probably do so again.)

August 29, 2005

HERE’S A WEBCAM ON THE L.S.U. CAMPUS. (Via Baton Rouge local-blogger Josh Britton).

August 29, 2005

GLORIA SALT has a new URL. Make note of it.

August 29, 2005

SUPERDOME ROOF DAMAGE: The WDSU Hurricane Blog reports:

A 3-by-5-foot chunk is missing, and people are being ushered off the field of the stadium. Although the roof has been breached, those inside are remaining calm. A heavy mist is reported inside, and some are now wearing raincoats.

I’m really glad not to be there. I guess this headline will have to change . . . .

August 29, 2005

SUSAN DUDLEY offers some depressing news:

Before leaving town earlier this month, Congress approved nearly $300 billion in increased spending. But spending, supported through taxes, is not the only way the federal government diverts resources from the private sector to accomplish its goals. The other is through regulation and, in recent years, that too has increased at an impressive rate. . . .

The FY 2006 Budget requests that Congress allocate $41.4 billion for regulatory activities, up from $39.5 billion in 2005. This reflects a 4.8 percent increase in outlays directed at writing, administering, and enforcing federal regulations. The regulators’ budget is growing at a faster rate than other nondiscretionary spending, which the President’s budget held to only 2.1 percent in 2006. Since 2000, the regulators’ budget has grown an amazing 46 percent, after adjusting for inflation.

Jeez. My expectations that Bush would shrink the government were modest enough, given the realities of American politics. But it’s fair to say that, modest as they were, they’ve still been disappointed.

August 29, 2005

TERRY TEACHOUT has updated his list of hurricane-bloggers.

August 29, 2005

THE IRAQI PARLIAMENT has accepted the constitution over Sunni objections. Mohammed at Iraq the Model has a number of thoughts, including the suggestion that Shiite clergy have overplayed their hand.

August 29, 2005

MICKEY KAUS and Arnold Kling are unimpressed with Malcolm Gladwell’s latest on health insurance. I found the opening unpersuasive — is Gladwell suggesting that we should aspire to British standards of dentistry?

August 29, 2005

KATRINA has weakened a bit to Category 4. It seems to have veered eastward a bit, too. Let’s hope that will make a difference.

August 29, 2005

OLD MEDIA VS. NEW MEDIA: An interesting transcript of an interview between Hugh Hewitt and Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times.

August 28, 2005

HERE’S A NEW ORLEANS WEBCAM — at the corner of St. Charles & Napoleon — that’s still working.

UPDATE: Some unpleasant thoughts about quality of life in the Superdome.

If the worst happens -and at this point it seems implausible that it won’t- the bottom 2 stories will fill with water. Dirty nasty foul water full of chemicals and raw sewerage. Further the bathroom facilities are only expected to function for the first day.

So in rough terms, 40,000+ people will be trapped in a building with no plumbing, little light and no air conditioning. The temps after the storm rolls thru will probably be in the low 90s. Considerably hotter in the building.

Let’s just hope that people are in a position to worry about that. Heck, let’s hope that the “implausible” happens and New Orleans doesn’t flood.

UPDATE: As of 6:16 Eastern time, the webcam is still working.

August 28, 2005

LOCAL NEWS reports that Knoxville hotels are filling with refugees from the Gulf coast.

August 28, 2005

IT’S A HEALTH BONANZA:

If your hand is trembling over your third coffee of the morning, do not despair. You could be getting more healthy antioxidants from your liquid fix than are from the fruit or vegetables you eat, according to a study of US diets. . . .

Helping to rid the body of free radicals, destructive molecules that damage cells and DNA, antioxidants have been linked to a number of benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer.

The research is the latest in a number of studies to suggest coffee could be beneficial, with consumption linked to a reduced risk of liver and colon cancer, type two diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

“Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source – nothing else comes close,” said Joe Vinson from Scranton University in Pennsylvania, who led the research.

You should still eat fruits and vegetables, though.

August 28, 2005

REUNITING THE UNITED STATES: Advice from Australia.

August 28, 2005

STREAMING VIDEO from WWL-TV in New Orleans. (Via Jordan Golson).

There’s lots of news at Storm Digest, too, and at the Nola.com breaking news blog. And Terry Teachout has updated the post I mentioned earlier with a big list of hurricane bloggers.

Michele Catalano, meanwhile, is pretty unimpressed with the people who decided to stay in New Orleans and party through the hurricane. And Rob A. notes that Katrina is a Cat 5 while Andrew was only a 4: “Since I work in insurance, I can assure you that Andrew still scares the crap out of the entire industry.” [LATER: Several readers email to note that subsequent analysis led to Andrew being upgraded to a Cat 5.]

Jeff Masters at Weather Underground is worried. (Via SciGuy).

UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch emails: “Michele is on the money. Evil Knevil wouldn’t stay in New Orleans right now. Everyone that prays should offer one for the gulf coast right now.”

Except for James Wolcott, I guess, who presumably is praying to Gaia as usual for an increase in wind speeds and storm surge. Me, I’m not as big a fan of “Mother Nature’s fist of fury.” Either as reality, or as really cheesy writing . . ..

MORE: Evacuations in coastal Alabama and Mississippi.

STILL MORE: A million left homeless? Gaia-worshippers will be ecstatic.

More here, from Bill Hennessy.

Huge Katrina link roundup over at Pundit Guy.

MORE STILL: Wolcott has pulled the roooting for hurricanes / fist of fury post, and is receiving praise from some quarters: “Some bloggers will no doubt criticize Wolcott for pulling the post, but it was the right move, and a classy one. It’s easy to make a bad joke. It’s a lot harder to admit it was bad.”

LATER: Hmm. Wolcott says he pulled the post, but it’s still there.

August 28, 2005

FRITZ HOLLINGS CONNECTS IRAQ TO 9/11 — Ed Morrissey notices something interesting.

August 28, 2005

A COUNTER-PROTEST at Walter Reed. More here.

August 28, 2005

DAVE KOPEL says that the press isn’t treating Cindy Sheehan’s actual views with respect.

August 28, 2005

JIM LINDGREN HAS THOUGHTS on law schools’ diversity problems.

UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge has much more.

August 28, 2005

KATRINA HAS AN IMPACT and it hasn’t even made landfall yet:

U.S. crude oil futures surged more than $4 in opening trade on Monday, hitting a new record high above $70 a barrel after Hurricane Katrina forced Gulf of Mexico producers to shut in more than a third of their output. Katrina, which strengthened into a rare, maximum power Category 5 hurricane as it spun through key oil and gas fields toward New Orleans, shut in a total 633,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to company figures on Sunday. It also forced the closure of seven refineries and a major U.S. crude import terminal.

The refinery damage may be the bigger issue, if the storm performs as feared.

UPDATE: Here’s more on economic damage, including a map of refineries in Louisiana.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Comic relief via Shepard Smith. Crooks & Liars has the video.

MORE: TigerHawk has more on the economic impact of Katrina.

How do you know it’s time to evacuate? When The Weather Channel reporter bugs out.

BREAKING NEWS: It’s all Bush’s fault.

August 28, 2005

HERE’S A REPORT that Calorie Restriction won’t do much to make people live longer. Not that I was planning on trying it. . . .

August 28, 2005

SOME IMPORTANT PROGRESS in regenerative medicine. Even better, it’s likely to work for humans.

August 28, 2005

causewaycam_320x240.jpg
THE BBC is running reader reports on Katrina.

More blogging here and here.

Watching the TV footage of backed-up traffic trying to escape New Orleans, I’m surprised that they haven’t switched the inbound lanes over to outbound as well. And listening to interviews of people stuck in New Orleans I’m struck by how many people don’t understand that if you wait for orders to evacuate, by then everyone else will be trying to evacuate too and it will be much harder. I suspect, however, that part of people’s slowness to respond stems from the overhyping of previous hurricanes.

UPDATE: Reader Clifford Grout emails:

The inbound lanes of ALL major roads out of New Orleans have been switched to outbound. Called “contraflow”, it’s been going on for about 18 hours now. Working much better this time than the cock-up we had during Ivan.

I am in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and we are battening down the hatches here, too. My parents and in-laws, both living in New Orleans, left yesterday for parts north and west. As a child, I survived both Betsy and Camille, many more since then. This one scares me.

That’s not what I’m seeing on the TV feeds, but perhaps they’re not representative. There’s been so much hurricane hype in the past that I’m reluctant to make too much of this, but I certainly would have gotten out already.

Joe Gandelman has a roundup.

MORE: Reader Mark Hessey emails regarding the contraflow:

I did see a couple of clips where they had done it, but it appears to be piecemeal rather than universal policy. Yet the media keeps reporting that it’s been done, even as they show that it hasn’t on screen.

I hope the New Jersey OEM people are watching for future reference — they do have plans in place for taking that action in a number of shore communities, but if it’s not implemented in a timely fashion it does no good.

I’ve just posted an image from the WDSU webcam showing outbound lanes packed and inbound lanes empty. Doesn’t look like contraflow there. Listening to the reports on cable, it doesn’t sound as if the city of New Orleans has done a very good job of responding so far. The evacuation should have been ordered earlier, efforts to get people out of the city seem to have been inadequate, and the huge lines at the Superdome while people are searched for alcohol and weapons seem like a bad idea to me. I hope that it all works out.

Terry Teachout is rounding up links to webcams, etc.

And here’s an article that makes for sobering reading.

Also Brendan Loy is back.

STILL MORE: Reader Tom Nally emails:

In the New Orleans region, the state and the munipalities did activate plans for flowing people out of the city in both the inbound and outbound lanes of the interstates.

This is formally known as “Contraflow”.

My family escaped by taking I-55 north, and we are now in Memphis. On I-55, both the northbound and southbound lanes were used for northbound traffic, not only in the parishes immediately bordering Orleans Parish, but also going a good 60 miles or so into Mississippi. In fact, I-55 did not revert to its normal traffic flow until we were 62 miles south of Jackson, MS. I was stunned by this demonstration of interstate cooperation.

The problems evacuating New Orleans are due to the fact that too many evacuees have chose to evacuate to the west, going to Houston and points westward. Had they chosen to evacuate north, they would have had few problems. We had zero problems.

Interesting; I don’t know what accounts for these pictures. Enjoy Memphis!

Hog on Ice, meanwhile, has unfortunate information about the likely impact of Katrina on the petroleum industry. And here’s the NWS storm advisory, which doesn’t mince words.

MORE STILL: Stormtrack has a lot of useful links, too.

EVEN MORE: Mel Park emails from Memphis with a positive take on the evacuation:

Friends of ours from New Orleans made it safely to our home in Memphis. Who knows how long they will be here, however. As they said getting out of their car, they may be homeless in a few hours.

As your readers are pointing out, the evacuation planning that has occured since Hurricane Ivan has turned an impossible situation into a bearable one. During Hurricane Ivan our friends had tried to evacuate up I-55 to Memphis but that was impossible. Gridlock forced them west on secondary highways westward and they ended up weathering the storm in Lafayette, LA. This time they tried to repeat the shorter treck to Layfayette but this time gridlock forced them north. They left New Orleans at 6:00am this morning. One lane of I-10 leaving the city was designated for westbound traffic and it was not moving at all. Thousands of drivers were adding to the gridlock by speeding past on the right and cutting off drivers in that one lane. By the time they gave up and switched into the lanes designated for I-55, that is, for Mississippi and Memphis, traffic was surging. They had lost the advantage of their early start but traffic still moved at a reliable 40-50 mph. Traffic control was everywhere. For example, the I-12, I-55 intersection had been a practically unnegotiable choke point last summer during Ivan. Today it has been a well-controlled flow where the authorities are directing traffic along parallel routes in order to distribute the entry of merging traffic onto 1-55 over several intersections.

Besides the contraflow system lasting well into Mississippi, as a reader pointed out, forethought was evident by the signs already out at off ramps designating those where public shelters were being set up. This means that evacuees with not planned destination will be able to find shelter. Good planning.

Sounds like we’ll probably need it. I have to say, though, that from what I’ve seen New Orleans hasn’t been on the ball. The evacuation was too late, there don’t seem to have been many efforts to get people out of the city or to shelter, and whenever I see city officials on TV I get an unpleasant vibe, like in the first half-hour of a disaster flick. I hope that I’m wrong about this, and that everything goes as well as possible, which I’m afraid will still mean “not that well, really.”

August 28, 2005

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS about the Rolling Stones, from John Leo.

Brian Jones was the real talent in that band anyway; they’ve just been coasting since he died.

August 28, 2005

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE notes that the Associated Press is spinning the Southern Illinois phony-Iraq-war story.

August 28, 2005

KATRINA UPDATE:

Coastal residents jammed freeways and gas stations as they rushed to get out of the way of Hurricane Katrina, which grew into a dangerous Category 4 storm early Sunday as it headed for New Orleans and the Louisiana coast.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a test. This is the real deal,” New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said at a news conference. “Board up your homes, make sure you have enough medicine, make sure the car has enough gas. Do all things you normally do for a hurricane but treat this one differently because it is pointed towards New Orleans.”

Let’s hope for a last-minute veer. Meanwhile here’s the TTLB Katrina aggregator page for links to lots of other blog posts. And this guy says he’s staying put, which strikes me as deeply unwise if true.

UPDATE: Via Terry Teachout, here’s a transcript of a report on how a major hurricane could affect New Orleans.

August 28, 2005

MICHAEL BARONE thinks that the age of polarization is coming to an end, and cites, among other things, the strong support for Giuliani in Patrick Ruffini’s straw poll.

August 28, 2005

THE BRITBLOG ROUNDUP — now renamed the Carnival of the Britblog Roundup — is up.

August 28, 2005

OUTSOURCING UPDATE:

The rural town of Sebeka, population 710, is not exactly Silicon Valley. It’s hardly the place computer programmer Dave La Reau expected to find employment.

La Reau, who had been job hunting for years, answered a help wanted ad from CrossUSA — one of a half dozen companies actively recruiting workers to small towns in at least eight states. . . .

The workers are part of a growing backlash against the thousands of white-collar jobs sent offshore to places such as India. High-speed computer lines now make it possible for farm country to compete with foreign countries.

Comment from Slashdot: ” I think the idea of moving to a larger house that costs less in a town with no traffic is a much better option than flying to Bangalore to train your replacement.”

Add to this the new ruralism created by boomers cashing out their urban/suburban homes (via NewsAlert) and you may have the beginnings of a rural renaissance. At least if someone can do something about the mountain lions. That’s been a problem before. And I can’t recommend David Baron’s book, The Beast in the Garden: The True Story of a Predator’s Deadly Return to Suburban America highly enough. And in light of the above, predator control might even turn out to have an important impact on rural economic development. Nobody’s going to want to settle in a place where they’re worried about kids being eaten.

UPDATE: Michael Totten was on top of the rural gentrification phenomenon months ago.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Frank Martin (better known as Varifrank) emails:

The phenomenon you are talking about is called “homesourcing”, the migration of workers from expensive centralized coastal cities to a distribution of small towns and cities throughout the US Homeland. Silicon valley companies have been going through this phenomenon for several years now, as a direct result of the effort to outsource work to India since 2000.

One thing that is not often discussed is how this movement of workers is a huge benefit to the employee. As a result of “Homesourcing”, Employees are often allowed to take their existing salaries and home equity to other parts of the country where they can have a far greater quality of life at no increase in cost to the company, this is the ultimate win-win for employer and employee. The employer gets a happy employee, and the employee gets a huge increase in real income by moving to a place where their money has more value at no cost to the employer except for the implementation of a VPN system.

The lesson to all small towns across America in regards to the internet is as clear as it was to small towns in the last century in regards to trains and highways, if you want people to come to your town, you need to have high speed internet. If you have it, you are part of the world, if not, your days are numbered.

The cable modem is the most liberating device to humanity since the automobile and its impact will be just as large. Once company management teams understand that they don’t have to be physically with their workers to determine their output, this phenomenon will grow.

One other benefit which is important is that there is no better gas saving device than the cable modem. Workers who are homesourced need very little gas on which to get to work, and as a result, their personal “cost of working” also goes down dramatically.

( full disclosure – I’ve been doing it for 5 years. On the cul-de-sac where I live, there’s only 2 out of 8 people actually drive to work, the rest of us work from our home offices for most of the day to day work. People ask us about how much gas costs and we just laugh.)

Yes, encouraging this sort of thing might well save more gas than an increase in CAFE standards.

UPDATE: Eric Scheie writes: “Not only are we going to reintroduce predators, but there’s a new movement: people belong in zoos.

Read the whole thing. A few people write that fear of predators is overstated. That’s probably true — but the scenario in the story linked above is eerily similar to the one in Baron’s book, where people were eaten shortly thereafter. The bottom line is that predators used to avoid people because the alternative was being shot. Now that they’re protected, their behavior is different.

MORE: More perspective here:

Craig Packer, a University of Minnesota biologist who conducted the Tanzanian research, said attacks in North America are rare now, but that wasn’t always the case. “Our ancestors dealt with this problem in the 1800′s,” killing off large carnivores en masse, he said. Today, “we just aren’t used to it,” he added.

In Tanzania, by contrast, because of all the attacks on people, lions outside of the national parks are barely tolerated any more.

“A lot of people, especially the more dewy-eyed conservationists, think predators are cute and cuddly,” Mr. Packer said. “They’re not.”

“They’re territorial animals, and can breed rather quickly,” he added. The ultimate goal of his study is to reduce lion attacks on people, which would have the benefit of reducing the number of retaliatory killings of the animals.

In North America, with mountain lions roaming subdivisions all over the West, and black bears scaring suburbanites in New Jersey, Mr. Packer said, “You’re going to see a lot more hard-nosed attitudes about what to do with these animals.”

Here, Mr. Packer said, “the problem will probably be solved by the property owner, with a gun.”

Indeed.

August 27, 2005

BRENDAN LOY has lots more Katrina-blogging, and observes:

Traffic isn’t terribly bad on the roads leading out of New Orleans right now, according to Jeff Morrow on The Weather Channel. Specifically, he says the road to Baton Rouge is pretty clear. So now is still a good time to evacuate. When the idiot mayor finally announces the mandatory evacuation order tomorrow morning, that will change.

If I lived in New Orleans, I’d be gone by now, even before hearing Brendan warn of “another Camille.” More here.

August 27, 2005

BILL QUICK HAS A NEW NOVEL OUT: Follow the link for details.

August 27, 2005

FRED PHELPS MEETS A TENNESSEE EDITORIALIST:

Small, pitiful groups of perverse traitors cloaked in a warped, hate-filled and degraded version of Christianity are tirelessly traveling across America, cruelly protesting at the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq.

They are scheduled to stop in Middle Tennessee today, in Smyrna and Ashland City, to dishonor the solemn services and add to the horror and grief of those who mourn Staff Sgt. Asbury F. Hawn of Lebanon and Spc. Gary Reese Jr. of Ashland City. The Army National Guardsmen served together in the 278th Regimental Combat Team and died in an enemy attack Aug. 13 in Iraq.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., will be there, not to spread the comforting Gospel of Jesus Christ, but to spew a disgustingly vulgar and crude message of gay hatred while celebrating the death of U.S. soldiers.

“Pitiful groups of perverse traitors.” Sounds about right. Michael Silence has more.

August 27, 2005

TODAY’S MY BIRTHDAY, so blogging is likely to be light. For all of you emailing me about Able Danger, the story’s gotten complicated enough that I’m not sure I have a handle on it. But you can find updates at Kausfiles, The Strata-Sphere, Tom Maguire, and Ed Morrissey’s.

August 27, 2005

EVAN COYNE MALONEY IS INTERVIEWED at the new (temporary) PJ Media site.

August 27, 2005

SKEPTICISM REGARDING THE “METH EPIDEMIC:”

I’m going on the record now: Meth has peaked. For an epidemic to grow, more new people have to come in–of the current users, some will die or stop using. Just like being a heavy crack user (the “crack whore” phrase has persisted as a slang term), being a heavy meth user seems obviously and extremely unpleasant, so non-users looking for a drug will go elsewhere.

I think that’s right.

August 27, 2005

BLOGGER SUED OVER COMMENTS: This suit is probably a loser, but . . . .

UPDATE: Googling the name of the company filing the lawsuit suggests that suing bloggers won’t be enough to restore its reputation. Sheesh.

August 26, 2005

LUCKY IS THIRSTY: Some Friday cat-vlogging.