Lisa, girlfriend of 4 1/2 years to Brendansphere blogger Charles Chambers, has been blogging up a storm over at Izotzaeche while Charles has been busy delivering supplies to the stricken Gulf Coast. In a particularly moving post, she writes:
What I WILL tell you is about a guy named Charles. My hero, and someone I have acquired a new admiration for when I thought I knew his character through and through. Tirelessly this man has devoted every waking hour to gathering resources to give to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, leaving every single thought of reality behind. Every waking hour means that I know he did not lay his head down one time in a 40-hour time span. Not only did he not rest, he did not stop thinking about his mission.
He would never call himself a hero, but I do and I thank God that I have been able to be a witness to his strength and show of character that I have never seen in another human being in my lifetime. When we got back to our truck in Atlanta, we had a flat tire. After not sleeping for 2 days, driving thousands of miles, getting much-needed supplies to the people of the Gulf Coast, the man changed the tire . Through sweat dripping and all his clothing dirty and soiled thru and thru, he never once stopped until he crawled his lifeless body in the bed last night at 2 am.
I’ve never seen someone work as hard as he has and he loves every minute of it. I will say when I thought I didn’t have another energy cell left in my body to give, I saw him giving more, and I found new strength. When someone needed a hand, he was there, when there was a time to sit and “take a breather” he was organizing our truck that held supplies, or he was seeing if someone needed supplies, he reloaded his palettes of food, cans, water that were 10, 20 lbs, over and over again to make more room in the overloaded truck for more red cross supplies.
A tip of the cap to Charles and Lisa, true heroes in this crisis.
NBC’s Brian Williams admitted on The Daily Show tonight that when the National Weather Service predicted 24 hours before landfall that Katrina would produce catastrophic damage resulting in “human suffering incredible by modern standards,” the folks at NBC were skeptical that the prediction was real, and weren’t sure at first whether to air it. This echoes the sentiments of one commenter on this blog, who asked at the time, “Sure it is not a hoax?”
NBC’s highly skeptical reaction just goes to show that the media — like local, state and federal officials — simply wasn’t taking this storm seriously enough, considering how obviously grave the threat was. If NBC and the rest of the MSM had just listened to what their own reports had been saying for years about the threat to New Orleans from a storm just like Katrina, they would have found nothing at all unbelievable about the sort of alarmist statements that the NWS was making on that Sunday. Water shortages and human suffering were a key element of all the hypothetical scenarios that had been reported on so extensively. Yet journalists, even good ones, were predisposed not to believe their own hype, it seems; all science and logic to the contrary, I guess they just didn’t think the worst was possible.
I told Tucker Carlson last night that “the real story here, frankly, isn’t that I ‘called’ it. … I don’t think I said anything extraordinary. What I was saying was pretty obvious: ‘this thing is coming toward New Orleans, if the forecast comes true,’ and we’ve always known that a storm heading towards New Orleans would be an absolute disaster. And I frankly don’t quite understand why more people weren’t as alarmed as I was.” Carlson sagely replied, “That’s something America, collectively, doesn’t understand.” But as Williams’s comments tonight make clear, Carlson’s own network, NBC, was just as oblivious as the rest of the government and media to the full extent of Katrina’s potential for utter devastation (a potential that, remember, was nowhere near fully realized in New Orleans, which was actually spared the brunt of the storm). All the facts were there for the pundits and politicians to draw the correct conclusion; they just couldn’t bring themselves to believe it.
The 10:00 PM NHC discussion on Hurricane Ophelia doesn’t add much new information about the track; that portion of the forecast is virtually identical to what the NHC was saying this morning, that Ophelia is expected to move east, then loop back west, with a great deal of uncertainty over how fast she’ll go and how far she’ll get in either direction. What’s more interesting in the new advisory is the discussion of how strong she’ll get:
The intensity forecast is problematic. On the side favoring strengthening…Ophelia has a good low-level structure…is over the warm Gulf Stream…and is generating convective tops near -80c. On the side inhibiting strengthening…water vapor imagery indicates dry air surrounding Ophelia…and data from the NOAA G4 jet shows 20-30 kt of southerly flow at 250 mb blowing right through the hurricane. Additionally…the slow motion introduces the possibility that Ophelia will upwell colder water underneath it if it moves out of the Gulf Stream. SHIPS and the GFDL both call for strengthening…although SHIPS may be underestimating the westerly shear near the storm after 48 hr. Indeed…most large-scale models show an upper-level trough near the southeast U.S. Coast at 72 hr…which is an another complication. Given the uncertainty…the intensity forecast will be unchanged from the previous package…and a somewhat lower intensity than forecast by SHIPS and the GFDL.
The forecast has Ophelia at 90 mph winds in three days, and not strengthening beyond that. It will be interesting to see how accurate that proves to be.
Apparently the Mexican Army is sending a convoy north to help with relief efforts. In addition to supplies, medical personnel are accompanying the unit. It is being escorted by U.S. military personnel — presumably not to alarm the locals?
(Special Note: The last time the Mexican Army came north of the Rio Grande was 1846, just before the Mexican-American War. Ahem.)
I think we may be using the backup site for a while. Hopefully Charles’s server can handle the stress. Next step: finding a good dedicated server host with CPanel.
Officials have 25,000 body bags at the ready for the New Orleans clean-up.
Doubtless, they want to make sure they have more than they need… but still. That’s a lot.
“The world-renowned New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas has lost almost all of its fish after Hurricane Katrina knocked out the facility’s electrical power,” UPI reports. But “the sea otters, penguins, macaws and raptors, leafy and weedy sea dragons, some fishes, and Midas, a 250 lb. green sea turtle all survived thanks to the care of staff who remained at the aquarium through the hurricane, flooding and civil unrest,” according to this site, which also has information on various other affected zoos and aquariums.
Ophelia is now a hurricane, the seventh of the season. She’s still “trapped between two mid-level high pressure areas…and remains nearly stationary,” according to the discussion. The official forecast track calls for Ophelia to move east for three days, then make a clockwise loop and head back west. Computer models here and here.
Disturbed weather over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is associated with a broad and weak surface low pressure area. There has been little change in the organization of this system over the past several hours. However some slow development is possible over the next couple of days…as long as the system remains over water.
Has incompetent FEMA director Michael Brown been fired “in effect though not in name”? Michael Barone thinks so. He might be right, but that’s not enough. If Bush wants to truly demonstrate that he understands the extent to which unforgiveable failures have occurred — to show that he gets it — Brown needs to be fired “in name,” too. But being fired “in effect” is much better than nothing; at least now there’s a chance of actual leadership in the federal portion of the relief effort.
IMPORTANT: Please bookmark the following two sites:
It looks like I’ve come to the end of the road with Total Choice Hosting. They have no dedicated servers available, and they’re kicking me off the shared server due to unmanagably high traffic. I’m temporarily unsuspended, but may get suspended again at any moment, so please bookmark the above sites, and if this site goes offline again, check them for updates.
[posted on backup site]
I’m not sure why my main site has been “suspended.” I’m looking into it. Stay tuned.
P.S. I realize the link sidebar at left is outdated. Sorry about that. If I’m going to be on the backup site for an extended period of time, I’ll fix it, but right now I’m hoping to back up at the main site soon. I’m on IM with one of the hosting company’s best techies right now.
UPDATE: The problem is not simply a bandwidth overage. That would be easy to solve. The problem is that something on my site somehow crashed the shared server. I don’t think it could have been regular HTML traffic, because that’s been at roughly the same level as the last two weeks — MSNBC didn’t give me that much of a traffic boost. And the video clip was hosted on another server, so it wasn’t that, either. I think maybe something happened with phpBB (which runs the message boards) or MediaWiki (which runs the Katrina Link Wiki), in the same way that MovableType sometimes used to “hang” and crash the server.
This is immensely frustrating because I requested an upgrade to a dedicated server on August 31, knowing that I had gotten too “big” for a shared server, and if that request had been followed up upon in a timely manner, we wouldn’t be having this problem. But my host, Total Choice Hosting, has been dragging their feet on the dedicated server thing, and now I’m screwed by this, which never would happened if they’d be on the ball.
If they want my $149/month for the dedicated server, they’d better be willing to make this right, and quickly. We’ll see what happens. Right now, it’s been almost two hours, and the “Abuse” department is still mum. I’m waiting.
In other news, not too many people are here. My pleas to “bookmark my backup site” fell on mostly deaf ears, I guess. :(
Here’s a great photo gallery of animals in the Katrina-ravaged areas. (Hat tip: Briandot.)
I’ve been cancelled again by Fox News. No interview with them tomorrow, after all. So I guess yesterday was it, as far as Brendan Loy’s national TV career goes. :)
Well, unless somebody else calls, that is. Personally, I’m holding out hope for the Daily Show. I mean, they gotta have somebody watching Tucker Carlson’s show every night, right? You know, looking for clips of him doing stupid stuff that they can make fun of. :) So maybe they saw me and decided they’d like to have me on the show. Hey, it could happen! Daily Show producers, if you’re reading this, I will totally accept free plane tickets to New York to be on your show… I know, I’m so magnanimous… :)
The New York Times’s Dan Barry paints a picture of the scene on the streets of post-Katrina New Orleans:
That a corpse lies on Union Street may not shock; in the wake of last week’s hurricane, there are surely hundreds, probably thousands. What is remarkable is that on a downtown street in a major American city, a corpse can decompose for days, like carrion, and that is acceptable.
Welcome to New Orleans in the post-apocalypse, half baked and half deluged: pestilent, eerie, unnaturally quiet.
Scraggly residents emerge from waterlogged wood to say strange things, and then return into the rot. Cars drive the wrong way on the Interstate and no one cares. Fires burn, dogs scavenge, and old signs from les bons temps have been replaced with hand-scrawled threats that looters will be shot dead.
The incomprehensible has become so routine here that it tends to lull you into acceptance.