Midweek/Weekend Open Thread

I’m too sorrowful to come up with a clever name. Talk amongst yourselves. Mourn if you are so inclined…

The Discussion: 117 Comments

What’s with all this whinging on PD? Other Lisa is ruining this site. What the hell is that New Orleans post all about? Isn’t this a China blog?

September 2, 2005 @ 7:31 am | Comment

It’s a China blog ran by Americans you fuckwad.

September 2, 2005 @ 8:14 am | Comment

i can not understand why it is this:


September 2, 2005 @ 8:23 am | Comment

What part of Nagin’s straight talking did you not understand, Bingfeng? Or do you mean you don’t understand how things got so f’d up?

Hey Gordon… I’m still trying to find that online Red Cross training you mentioned. Got a link?

September 2, 2005 @ 8:54 am | Comment

I have a question for many of the people who visit here who have treked China. I will be returning soon and I thought I would use the opportunity to get in a grand sojourn to remember. However it’s been a while since I’ve been in China and the rising gas prices would probably not help transportation costs. For anyone in China right now, can anyone tell me how much the average train ticket prices are and hostel rates (nothing fancy). I had wanted to cirumnavigate China’s borders beginning at Beijing, then to Jinzhou, and from there maybe Dalian, and afterwards cutting west through Mongolia to Xinjiang and heading counter-clockwise through the rest of China. I am planning on spending roughly 20,000 rmb on this trip, but I am not sure if it will be enough for the entire planned length. If so, how far do you think I could get before my funds run out? Keep in mind that I plan to keep things fairly austere (backpacker style) and am not planning on spending much if anything on extras. The main cost will be in travel and hotels, which is why I ask if I have enough money for those two things alone.

September 2, 2005 @ 9:41 am | Comment

Anon, I guess you haven’t noticed the many US related posts on this blog? Like, always?

As I said in my disclaimer, what I wrote about New Orleans isn’t something I would generally post here. But I’m in the US, I’m upset, I’m grieving. I don’t know where you’re from, and I’m too lazy to look up your IP number right now. But these are my countrymen who are suffering and dying, beyond that, they are PEOPLE, and we are watching the death of what was one of the most wonderful cities in the world.

So, f*ck off, okay?

September 2, 2005 @ 10:02 am | Comment

Can’t say 20,000rmb will get you all the way through, but if you stay at unrated hotels, maybe 60 to 100 rmb a night and take trains and buses and perhaps hitchhike you would make a big dent in that itinerary.

September 2, 2005 @ 10:31 am | Comment

Other Lisa: I, for one, am touched to read your post. I hope that relief and aid will come to these people soon, though the emotional and psychological trauma will take a long time to recover from.

And as I told a friend, this is not an American problem. It is a humanity problem. Like you said, these are people. Whatever their nationality, whatever their race.

As fellow humans, I hope we can find it in our heart to care even a little.

September 2, 2005 @ 10:46 am | Comment

It seems almost indecent to change the tenor of these comments when the US is struggling with such a monumental disaster.

However, I just concluded dinner and beers at a bar with Richard, as his pan-China blitz blazes its way through Shanghai, and felt that an immediate report was required. ๐Ÿ™‚

Unlike the Beijing mob, I was fortunate enough to have Richard all to myself, and I’m afraid I nearly chatted his ear off! We covered vast territories of topics, and I especially enjoyed getting his take on what the he11 is going on back in the US, comparing notes on China, music, and certain other topics of mutual interest … ๐Ÿ˜‰

Richard is really a very humorous guy, and as you’d expect, an excellent conversationalist. Hope the next “ducksters” to meet him have as much fun!

September 2, 2005 @ 11:38 am | Comment

Thanks Kats. Believe it or not, your kind words mean a lot right now.

All of my coworkers and I are here at the office in varying states of shock, anger and sorrow.

If you’ve never been to New Orleans, it’s hard to appreciate what’s been lost. But that place was a cultural treasure. Unique. And people are still dying there, right now.

Slidell, LA, Biloxi MS, Gulfport MS, all those places too., so many deaths and devastated lives.

September 2, 2005 @ 11:40 am | Comment

There’s a very disturbing article here. It sounds like some very nasty gang activity going on now. This could have been prevented very easily if the feds had been paying attention.
Other Lisa, that was a great post.

September 2, 2005 @ 12:23 pm | Comment

China goes through several katrinas in a normal year. Please look up how many ‘people’ were killed in natural disasters last year.

Bangladesh lost more than 130,000 people in 1991 from cyclone-induced flooding.

Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras and Nicaragua kiling more than 10,000 people and leaving 2 million homeless

Venezuela, 1999, 30,000 deaths. Last December in Asia, 200,000 deaths.

Is America charmed? Are American deaths more devastating than other countries?

Put your mourning in perspective other lisa. When the world encounters real natural disasters, your claims that “new orleans was a unique city” ring kind of hollow.

September 2, 2005 @ 12:32 pm | Comment

Agree with the above comments.

1) I want to send my utmost sympathies to those who were affected in the Katrina Tragedy.

2) I want to send my utmost contempt to Bush and the US gov’t who does not have enough National Reserves guardsmen to help the relief efforts due to most of them being in Iraq.

And finally, I think with these gas prices rising, it is NOT NECESSARILY a bad thing. Only when circumstances are dire are people forced to act. What do I mean by “act”? Well:

1) Scientific community will be pushed to search for/accelerate the use of alternative energies

2) US Gov’t will be pushed to fund and build a better public transportation for the US

3) Car companies will be pushed to accelerate research on hybrid/less gas demanding cars, and SUV’s will be totally unpopular.

4) American themselves will be pushed to reflect on their profligate use of energy, and perhaps even rednecks will be pushed to buy smaller, leaner cars instead of big “hummers”. (Exactly why do people by hummers or giant SUV’s, I still don’t quite understand)

September 2, 2005 @ 12:54 pm | Comment

China’s commerce minister said on Friday he was confident of solving a trade row with the European Union that has led to the pile-up of 75 million Chinese garments and cast a shadow over a bilateral summit next week.

What’s the Chinese media saying about this? Do they think it’s a big deal?

September 2, 2005 @ 1:12 pm | Comment

RC, it is a natural response to be more emotionally affected by events that are closer to home. I recall that in China, the outrage over the Shulan school disaster was palpable and widespread. The tsunami was something that was widely felt here. But this is my country, my government and my people, and what I and a lot of other Americans are feeling right now is a combination of grief and outrage, and for many of us it’s the culmination of 5 years of rage against the Bush Administration and its policies.

I can’t necessarily do that much about the government in China or Bangladesh or Indonesia. But this is the government in my country.

Shanghai Dumplings, I agree with everything you say. You know, I’m one of those “bleeding-heart” liberals who thinks that we never should have gone into Iraq, who thinks we need to drastically reorder our priorities regarding energy, the environment and global poverty, blah, blah, blah. It sounds so stupid to say it.

To me, what’s happened in New Orleans shows me how far the US has moved away from our best ideals and most deeply held values. It’s a horrible price to pay for a wake-up call, but maybe that’s what this is.

September 2, 2005 @ 1:21 pm | Comment

Your post is very, very meaningful. If this happened in China or Europe or elsewhere, we’d all be very upset, and clamoring to know what’s going on and to find out how best we can help.

As we learned from the tsunami, there’s nothing like a crisis to help people forget their differences and politics, and pitch in — even if all they can do is send their best wishes. It all helps.

September 2, 2005 @ 1:40 pm | Comment

On the blog I work on, we have ONE RULE:

“Don’t be a prick.”

It says it all. And such people as anon are beneath contempt, and really not worthy of response.

September 2, 2005 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

Anon, this is NOT a China blog. It is a Richard blog (and presently a Richard, Lisa and Martyn blog). I posted the story about the hurricane, not Lisa. It’s about whatever we choose to discuss, with an eye on China, a country in which we are all interested.

Slim, I had the tiome of my life last night. Thanks so much for the help and the meal and the great conversation. If I werren’t so stressed for time I’d post all about it, but that will have to come later. Now I’m off to meet yet another PD reader. It’s so cool, to have a whole community of people with similar interests and superior intelligence.

September 2, 2005 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

New Orleans is NOT a unique city? Sir, American cuisine and music have been forever changed by New Orleans, and, musically at least, New Orleans has influenced the world. In happier times, Louisiana wasn’t just a place, it was a state of mind.

September 2, 2005 @ 10:12 pm | Comment

Most of the people here (except for white people who have been here for several generations) are simpy looking for a better life, in other words, looking after their self-interests, very much like the pirates on a pirate ship. When that pirate ship is nice and good and profitting, people are contend and peace. But, when that pirate ship is sinking, the kind of disunity and centrifugal force will be unbelievably high. Why? Most people (immigrants) who live here do not see America as their first-home, and have no deep loyalty to this nation, most people have families in their home country! You expect them to fight for USA before they take care of their families and interest back home? You are dreaming.

This hurricane has totally made the American gov’t lose its face in front of the world. It broke that facade and made people around the world realize “You know, the American gov’t is not so capable as I thought, and perhaps America’s strength is all inflated”.

How sad those Amelikanese in New Orleans are, most of them are poor negroids who are floating in those floods. People are shooting, looting, raping, and it looks not much better than in Iraq. Hell, it looks worse than Iraq!

Of all the Amelikan cities I travelled to, New Orleans, San Antonio, and Kansas City are the most poor and backwards places. The hopelessness and dilapidation in those cities remind me of certain poor villages in China in the 60’s. Fortunately, this hurricane finally told the world that Amelika can be just as shitty as other shitty places. And perhaps people around the world will lose confidence in this nation (the US dollar, the American military, the American political influence are all based on human confidence, much like the stock market). So when people lose confidence, less and less people want to immigrate here, less and less students apply to schools here, countries look for other places for allies, etc etc etc.

When my mom back in China saw the pictures of New Orleans, she could not believe her eyes. She told me on the phone “I thought USA is the most powerful and rich nation in the world! Now perhaps I need to re-evaluate the image of the USA in my mind”. And I bet a lot of people around the world are thinking the same things….

This is sad, as I used to have a very beautiful image of America, but what I saw is too ugly. It’s almost like you are dreaming about a very beautiful and pure girl, and when you get to bed with her, you find that her pussy is odorous just like many other girls.

September 2, 2005 @ 10:15 pm | Comment


How many days do you plan on travelling in China? 200 rmb a day will comfortably cover room, food, sightseeing, and local transportation in even the more expensive places like Shanghai. For train tickets, you will pay about 350rmb for an hard sleeper ticket on a fast air-conditioned train between Beijing and Shanghai. Price is based on distance, so you can roughly estimate how much other trips cost. Of course, hard seat is much cheaper than hard sleeper, and tickets on slower trains without AC are even cheaper. 20,000 rmb should be enough to cover you for at least 2 months for most itineraries.

September 2, 2005 @ 10:48 pm | Comment

Have fun at your next stops, Richard!

Lirelou is right, New Orleans remains a special and unique city, even as other American cities homogenize into chain store blandness.

For non-American readers, New Orleans, has a unique French heritage and culture, it’s the city of jazz, the Mardi Gras festival, cajun cuisine, and it’s own unique architecture. It’s also a city reknown for rampant corruption, 1930s populist politican Huey Long, and one of the highest murder rates in the US. It’s an unusual, colorful, romantic city, and it’s d@mn hard for Americans to square all that with the fact that it’s now … uninhabitable!

One of my best friend’s back home grew up in a house about one block from the main levee break. His mother lost her every possession (at least she’s alive!).

And as Other Lisa made so clear, for many Americans, it’s the latest and most galling outrage in a time of what I would call criminal mismanagement of the USA. There are so many things so wrong with how this disaster has played out.

In case other readers here are not aware, contrary to the President’s statement that no one could see this coming, the flooding of New Orleans was one of the most anticipated disasters gov’t planners considered, in the same category as a major California earthquake. Yet FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), appeared to be hopelessly ill-prepared. For instance, there seems to have been no plan at all for evacuating people who had no car or enough money to relocate themselves to another city.

Every American city has large numbers of people like this, how could there be no plan?

This seems inconceivable after the nation has for years been constantly reminded of the grave threats faced by the “homeland”. Four years after 9-11 the US is apparently still woefully unprepared to face a major disaster in one of its cities. How was this different from some sort of major terrorist attack?

People are dead all across the south, cities like Biloxi flattened, New Orleans ruined, the economic consequences are anyone’s guess. But don’t worry, the President took time off from his vacation to say the nation will be stronger because of this.


September 2, 2005 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

And Shanghai, he also mentioned that they were going to rebuild Trent Lott’s house and it would be even more beautiful than before, and he was looking forward to sitting on the porch.

I swear to god, that’s what he said.

And also that he understood now, how bad things were, and that he realized, “it’s gonna take more than one day of attention” to fix.

I am not kidding.

September 2, 2005 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

Shanghai dumplings, I can see you have tried hard to be a less informed village ass here.
Open your mind, man!

September 3, 2005 @ 12:09 am | Comment


He really said those things? It’s almost unbelievable, even for Bush.

September 3, 2005 @ 12:23 am | Comment

Hui Mao, would that I were joking. He said it. I heard him. And these snippets are being rebroadcast repeatedly on NPR.

September 3, 2005 @ 12:26 am | Comment

Just for the record, the Chinese media aren’t really giving the New Orleans stuff any prominence. As a check on Danwei will show, the whole country is being exhorted to remember the anniversary of beating the Japs and liberating Tibet right now.
It’s hard to follow what’s happening because there is so little coverage. The few Chinese I have spoken to about it are a bit baffled by it all. The US is grudgingly respected here as this rich superpower that can do anything. I was told by one guy he didn’t realise the US could be so luhuo [backward] and luan [chaotic].

September 3, 2005 @ 12:45 am | Comment

Them and me both, Zhuanjia.

There’s simply no excuse for this.

September 3, 2005 @ 12:47 am | Comment

Okay, I have just seen something that absolutely shocked me. It’s a clip from Fox News…yes, Fox News! Shepherd Smith and Geraldo Rivera in New Orleans. Shepherd Smith goes off on Sean Hannity like…well, you just have to see it. And Geraldo, well, I’ve never liked him much. But…

I can’t believe this was broadcast. Go watch it.


September 3, 2005 @ 1:11 am | Comment


Sorry I didn’t catch your previous inquiry.

If you want to get involved with the Red Cross volunteer relief, call your local chapter of the Red Cross to see if they are mobilizing volunteers for this program. It’s a regional initiative.

Also, someone else told me the Salvation Army was sending people as well. Again, the best way to find out is to call the agencies in your area.

I’m not a big fan of the Red Cross myself, especially after 9/11. People donated blood and thousand upon thousands of dollars to help the affected families with the belief that that’s where their donations were going, but as they later found out it was going to a variety of international relief programs.

Also, here’s a report a report on some issues arising with the Red Cross on this relief mission:

I’m sad to have to report that yesterday, the political infighting became an issue. It became very unclear who was in charge (the city, which owns the building, or the Red Cross). Both groups became snitty and the Red Cross “reassigned” the two nurses who were supposed to be stationed at the shelter. Before they left, the Red Cross chased off an ER doc who had come to volunteer, saying that having a physician on-site was not “our protocol.”

So several local docs, EMTs, and nurses are setting up an impromptu clinic across from the shelter. They are meeting a real need as the Red Cross can only issue vouchers for drugs if the refugees have their prescriptions or med bottles with them– which means that many people are unable to get needed medication through that route. The volunteer docs can at least do a history (and superficial physical if needed) and write new prescriptions.

Also, Red Cross aid is not always free to the recipients either.

September 3, 2005 @ 1:36 am | Comment

Gordon, I deleted the duplicate post – hope that’s okay – meaning I hope it really was a duplicate…

September 3, 2005 @ 1:46 am | Comment

FYI, you might think twice about the Salvation Army, especially if you are not religious. It is a charity, but it is also an aggressive religious cult that uses its humanitarian services for co-oerced prostelitizing.

Believe me, I know. I witnessed a roommate and her sister get sucked into it. It was really shocking, and a wake-up call for me. I had no idea the Salvation Army was that kind of organization.

My roommate was a really cute pierced, tattooed Filipina rocker chick who sang in a band. Then one day she was wearing a kind of army uniform, and was on her way to a Salvation Army bible study class. She soon signed her “Articles of War” foreswearing, among other things, alchohol and cigarettes. Her sister ended up marrying a Salvation Army missionary and moving to Africa to prostelitize there.

I once knew some people who were vacuumed up into Seventh Day Adventism, the pattern was quite similar.

When this happened I read up on the Salvation Army and discovered, besides the predatory cult-like operation that ensnares people like my roommate and her sister, people who accept charitable services at their shelters may be pressured into atttending “voluntary” bible classes.

Something to think about next time you see the bell-ringing folks with the kettles.

September 3, 2005 @ 2:09 am | Comment

I’ve donated to Oxfam before and have heard good things about them.

And oh, I hope you watch that Fox News clip. I have never seen anything like it on network news.

September 3, 2005 @ 2:18 am | Comment

I’m still marvelling at “it’s gonna take more than one day of attention” to fix.


September 3, 2005 @ 3:24 am | Comment

Yikes Slim!

I knew the Salvation Army was religious, but I didn’t know they were anything like that.

I’m not religious at all, but I don’t mind donating to religious organizations that provide free relief to those in need – as long as they are just providing relief and not forcing a religious agenda on people.

My mom is a big Catholic whoo hoo and when I mentioned that I would see about volunteering to help distribute aid for the Red Cross to those suffering from Katrina’s wrath, she kept trying to convince me to go with the Salvation Army instead.

Not gonna happen. I don’t mind donating things for them to distribute, but I don’t want to surround myself with a bunch of religious coots either. I’m quite happy living my life of “sin”.

September 3, 2005 @ 3:42 am | Comment

Trust America’s liberals to come out and blame the govt for hurricane Katrina. Typical.

One difference between America’s republicans and liberals is that at least the republicans offer solutions and ideas. liberals simply moan and complain about everything.

Thanks god we still have martyn posting on this site.

September 3, 2005 @ 7:47 am | Comment

Republicans offer solutions?!?! I can’t think of a single one! At least come up with one for that mess you needlessly created in Iraq, a result of which you now have few reserves to fall back on to help your own citizens. That after Republicans found gutting necessary agencies and cutting out money for river management and selling off wetlands as apropriate solutions.

September 3, 2005 @ 9:14 am | Comment

I agree with other commentors about Katrina, the Bush-haters are jumping on this catastrophe to slag him and his government off. They have no shame.

New Orleans is built within a big bowl. It’s that simple folks.

I also agree with RC’s comment above. The rest of the world has been going through natural disasters 100 times worse than Katrina as a matter of course and yet, some Americans are now not able to function because of a few hundred or a thousand dead.

September 3, 2005 @ 10:04 am | Comment

Agree with RC and Shanghai Dumps. Americans want the moon on a necklace. The argument that this happened in your country is stupid. We are all people in this world. Where were the tears when Bangladesh lost 130,000 people? Or when the natural disasters wiped out entire communities since then?

Now you are tearfully hoping that sandwiches be dropped on the stadium? Give us all a break, please. Your sorrow is very very selective.

September 3, 2005 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

Well, given that the right has been blaming the government for all of America’s woes since the time of Reagan, shouldn’t you be happy that we’re just joining your anti-government chorus?

Yes, that was sarcasm.

Why don’t you have a look at what Fox News has to say?


September 3, 2005 @ 12:42 pm | Comment

You know what, Ron, I’m still the one who’s taking the time to format and put up all the posts, Martyn’s too. So I suggest if you enjoy those posts, you’d better cut me a little slack and maybe even show some appreciation, if that’s not completely ouside of your emotional vocabulary.

September 3, 2005 @ 12:55 pm | Comment

Let’s listen to someone who’s really on the ground following Katrina:

“I haven’t had much chance to watch TV or read the papers, because even here in central Mississippi, there is just too doggone much to do, trying to cope with refugees and track down missing family on the Coast and wait in line for gasoline, etc., etc. But the little I have seen, especially on national TV, is weird and bizarre, with all the fingerpointing and self-righteous pontificating going on from the talking heads.

These guys and gals need to get a clue. Today’s story is not: “What went wrong and who can we blame?” — that story can wait for tomorrow. Today the story is: “What are the obstacles preventing help from arriving and what can we do to solve them?” Some of these people are reporting like they’ve never been through a natural disaster, like they have no idea of the logistical nightmares that occur when power, water, communications systems and transportation systems literally disappear overnight. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who are disgusted with much of the national TV coverage. For God’s sake, please tell them to save the finger-pointing and blame game for when the immediate disaster is over.”

From InstaPundit.

September 3, 2005 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

Funny, it wasn’t finger-pointing when Clinton had an intern in the Oval office – no, that was a national crisis.

It’s about accountability. Even Republicans like Newt Gingrich are saying the Federal effort has been horribly mismanaged.

On a “positive contribution” note, Moveon.org (those horrid leftist traitors) have organized a housing drive. they prefer housing within 350 miles of the disaster area, if anyone fits that criteria.

BTW, Al Gore just went to New Orleans and is personally evacuating 100 sick people to Tennessee.

I know a ranch in Crawford that might have some extra room…

September 3, 2005 @ 1:34 pm | Comment

And another thing. God bless the press. How much worse would the situation be if they weren’t there on the ground, given the lack of communication? Given things like the FEMA chief claiming he “didn’t know” about the thousands of refugees at the NO Convention Center, without food and water (I mean, Paula Zahn knew!). If the press wasn’t able to report on this, dollars to donuts the scope of the catastrophe would be covered up, and we’d never hear about it.

Again, if you only get your TV news from Fox, check out Shepherd Smith on the clip I mention above. You can’t tell me he’s some librul bent on destroying America.

September 3, 2005 @ 1:52 pm | Comment

BTW, Al Gore just went to New Orleans and is personally evacuating 100 sick people to Tennessee.

WOW! By himself? Is he carrying them on his back? First he invents the Internet, and now this. Those Dems are amazing.

I know a ranch in Crawford that might have some extra room…

Me too. Probably alot of houses in California as well.

September 3, 2005 @ 2:06 pm | Comment

They cut funding for FEMA
They cut disaster relief training for FEMA workers
The head of FEMA’s last job was bankrupting an Arabian Horse Association
Homeland Security runs 222 disaster training scenarios…only 2 of them are involving hurricanes and those 2 are what happens if terrorists strike during a hurricane
Homeland Security blocks the Red Cross from going to the Superdome and the Convention Center
Relief rescues are halted while Bush visits
The Feds refuse aid workers from New Mexico before the storm and only accept one firetruck offered from Chicago.
700 Hyatt employees and hotel guests are shuffled out on buses before thousands who had been out in the heat for 4 days.

May the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau come back to curse the members of this administration who have cared more for photo ops than peoples lives.

September 3, 2005 @ 2:55 pm | Comment

To those who say that “This is not the time for finger pointing”. I want to say “This is exactly the time for finger pointing, and there’s no better time for finger pointing”. Only when situations are dire will finger pointing have any effect, otherwise people will just let your words come in one ear and come out the other.

You may say “can’t we wait till the disaster is over to point fingers?”. I say “NO! We absolutely absolutely cannot wait till the disaster is over to point figners, we absolutely absolutely must point fingers NOW, when people can see how bad things are”. When this is over, you are not going to listen to any finger pointing, so NO, we can’t wait.”

Pointing fingers does not take that much effort, so I don’t our relief efforts are in any way affected by finger pointing. Exactly how will finger pointing affect the relief efforts? Does finger pointing cost millions and millions of dollars, take money from FEMA, take personnel from the national guard, take food from the food banks? Hmm?

Like Bush said regarding Iraq and this natural disaster,” We can do both at the same time”.

September 3, 2005 @ 3:55 pm | Comment

China’s government on Saturday offered $5 million in aid to Katrina survivors and said it would send medical personnel if necessary.

“At a time when the American people face the difficulty of a serious natural disaster, the Chinese people stand steadfastly with them,” the Foreign Ministry statement quoted Hu as saying.

See: http://tinyurl.com/cq3nq

September 3, 2005 @ 5:58 pm | Comment

Is that all you got, Verity? “Al Gore invented the internet”? He never said that. It’s been proven that he never said it time and time again. You resort to the same tired insults because you don’t have anything else to say.

And by the way – I already offered a bed for a hurricane victim. I started to say it earlier and deleted because I didn’t want to do the “chui niu bi” if you have a clue what that means. I live in a one bedroom cottage. I don’t have a lot of room. but if someone needs a place to stay I’ll take up a collection for the airplane ticket if that’s what it takes.

Remember how Grover Norquist used to brag they’d shrink government down till it was so small and weak you could drown it in the bathtub? Well, looks like they’ve managed it. Only they’ve drowned an entire American city instead.

Utterly, morally bankrupt. But I guess I should be grateful, now that our President realizes “this will take more than a day of attention to fix.” Hard work, that…

September 3, 2005 @ 7:36 pm | Comment

The filth in New Orleans is the dogshit of the Bush Administration and all who voted for them. If it were feasible, I’d like to take every single Republican voter by the collar and rub their noses in the shit of New Orleans and reprimand them, in a firm voice:
“BAD! Bad dog! Noooo, no! No! No! BAD dog!”

September 3, 2005 @ 8:01 pm | Comment

5 million USD, that could do a lot of things in china, we just got another typhoon in Fujian province and 54 people dead of that

September 3, 2005 @ 8:35 pm | Comment

Cool for China to offer aid, that kind of gesture is meaningful.

The State Department is coordinating the internationalaid coming in. However, the head of the State Dept, Condi Rice, was vacationing in New York City, taking in Broadway musicals until bloggers shamed her into scurrying back to DC. That’s what we have for leadership these days.

I can certainly understand why Republicans would be more than a little reluctant to deal with the tough questions people are asking, like just what kind of terrorist attack did we spend four years planning for that didn’t involve evacuating a city.

Much easier to instead attempt to trivialize criticisms as “finger pointing” to deflect attention from the real issues.

September 3, 2005 @ 9:20 pm | Comment

Renquist just died. Get ready for Chief Justice Clarence Thomas. Ouch.

September 3, 2005 @ 9:24 pm | Comment

Bill Frist took off his senatorโ€™s coat on Saturday and flew for New Orleans as a medical volunteer.

…Frist left Washington around 4:30 a.m. Saturday on his private plane. He spent most of the day helping to treat thousands of victims at Louis Armstrong International Airport and the New Orleans Convention Center.

…The senator spent the day treating diabetics for low blood sugar and dealing with cases of high blood pressure and dehydration. Though he is a surgeon by training, there was no need to perform surgery on Saturday, he said.

September 3, 2005 @ 9:27 pm | Comment

Lisa said:

Funny, it wasn’t finger-pointing when Clinton had an intern in the Oval office – no, that was a national crisis.

I realize that must have been an emotional knee-jerk comment because it’s completely irrelevant.

Apples – Oranges.

September 3, 2005 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

Good for Frist. He gets it. God knows he’s needed there. Another great story I heard was about a convention of doctors at the French Quarter – a bunch of them elected to stay and do what they could to help out in the aftermath.

And by the way, they, um, “liberated” a whole bunch of drugs and supplies from a flooded drugstore…hope they don’t face charges…

September 3, 2005 @ 9:33 pm | Comment

Gordon, maybe just a little bit.

Shanghai, did you know that Condi was shopping for shoes before her show, at Ferragamo? (I think. one of those thousand dollar shoe places) Apparently she was accosted by another shopper, who started harranging her for being out shopping instead of working during this crisis.

The woman was “escorted” from the premises.

September 3, 2005 @ 9:39 pm | Comment

Chief Justice Rehnquist just died at home.

September 3, 2005 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

I agree with you bingfeng. It’s nice the Chinese are offering such assistance but when Taiwan suffers from the SARS epidemic they do everything they can to ensure they suffer. How much did they offer all the countries that were in the path of the tsunami? I see their offer as a cynical investment, not as humanitarian concern.
As for this response domestically, it clearly shows the racist nature of the Republican plutarchy. I am amazed that in this media age the people aren’t converging on the White House with burning torches. I mean you Yanks are at war, right? OK, you didn’t bother to declare it so you can get away with all sorts of things you wouldn’t be premittted to do otherwise, but your boys are over there. How do you allow Bush to survine politically? How do you allow him to take the longest vacation in history? AND WHY THE HELL DOES HE NOT AT LEAST PRETEND HE’S WORKING?!??! It boggles my mind- he could at least make up appearances, but he doesn’t even bother to do that.

September 3, 2005 @ 9:55 pm | Comment


It is the nature of American politics these days. For starters, about 50% of the country lives in a hermetically-sealed media bubble, which consists of 24-hour flag waving, ideological cant, spin, and “talking points” put out by the administration. You probably think I’m describing the Chinese media, but no; I’m describing FOX and the world of AM radio. (I’m not describing other conservative media outlets like the Wall Street Journal).

Of course, there is a “liberal media” in the country, as well, and there are those on the left who have created their own bubble that consists of Mother Jones, Michael Moore, the Nation, and most of the academic world.

Sanity and rational debate have mostly evaporated in the US media. “Traitors” and “appeasers,” “racists” and “fascists” are everywhere. Anyone who doesn’t toe the party line is smeared.

In this environment, I’m sure that 40% of the country think Bush stopped the hurricane cold, but then looting “Negroes” (and other Democrats) ruined his triumph. Another 30% think Bush caused the hurricane as part of some corporate plot for oil.

The rest of us just say, “wow, wtf is up these days?”

September 3, 2005 @ 10:27 pm | Comment

Hmmm, I don’t think Bush caused the hurricane. I think that the severity of the crisis and the ineptitude of the Federal response are directly attributable to the administration’s policies and fiscal priorities. And sheer, staggering incompetence (Michael Brown, head of FEMA, estate lawyer with no disaster or government experience, former head of…an Arabian Horse-breeding Association! A job from which he was fired! Yee-haw!).

Okay, I am sorry to inflict all of this on you, it’s been a long and very stressful week, and I pray things will start getting better soon…but I’m very afraid of the long term impact of this on the economy to boot…

September 3, 2005 @ 10:39 pm | Comment

Chief Justice Rehnquist dies. “His death creates the second court opening within four months after the announced retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.”
BBC Link:

September 3, 2005 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

Agree with RC and Shanghai Dumps. Americans want the moon on a necklace. The argument that this happened in your country is stupid. We are all people in this world. Where were the tears when Bangladesh lost 130,000 people? Or when the natural disasters wiped out entire communities since then?

Now you are tearfully hoping that sandwiches be dropped on the stadium? Give us all a break, please. Your sorrow is very very selective.

Posted by: Rick at September 3, 2005 12:33 PM

When not busy being a total prick, alliteratively named Rick almost made a reasonable point. I’d just make it a completely different way:

a) if this is how we feel about US relief in New Orleans, how did people in tsunami affected countries feel about our relief efforts there?

b) does this mean that we (the American public) might actually see ourselves as having more in common with other parts of the world when they suffer a tragedy? Or will our growing kneejerk nationalism make us feel more and more special and less and less like everybody else?

September 3, 2005 @ 11:15 pm | Comment


September 4, 2005 @ 12:14 am | Comment

But lisa what about all those buses?

What about the Mayor not implementing his own disaster plan?

What about President BushHitler initiating the evacuation, not the mayor?

What about the NO head of FEMA, appointed by Mayor Nagin, complaining of no command and control in New Orleans, when he IS the command and control.

And why is Richard such an intellectual coward that he feels the need to delete my posts, which pointed all this out and were well documented? I mean really. Talk about the mob.

September 4, 2005 @ 12:20 am | Comment


You know, it’s midnight here. I don’t want to get into this with you. The mayor could very well have been negligent in this. I expect we’ll find that the local governments will receive their share of the blame. But the ultimate responsibility for a disaster on this scale rests with the Federal Government and the Department of Homeland Security. And personally, I expect a President faced with a national disaster, involving three states and with economic consequences that affect us all, to exhibit some leadership instead of yucking it up with his buddies on a golf course.

There is so much documentation to disprove what you are saying here that I want to throw up my hands and go, why bother? It’s late, and I’ve got other things to do. And I’m learning that it’s just pointless to spend too much time arguing in forums like this. Life’s too short. You’re either going to have your “learning moment” or you’re not. But nothing I say is going to change your mind.

For form’s sake, I’m going to cut and paste a lovely round-up that I found elsewhere. Take from it what you will.

I didn’t read the post that Richard apparently deleted, so I don’t know what you said. I do know that, though I’ve gotten pretty heated here lately (and if you’ve followed my participation on this blog you know that this typically isn’t my style), I haven’t insulted anyone or called them names. On the other hand, it seems to be fine for some of those who disagree with me to attack me personally. Now you’ve just called Richard a “moral coward.”

Here’s what I think: this is Richard’s blog. Some of you act like you own the place, you come in here with muddy shoes and track shit all over and insult the hosts and expect us to just grin and bear it and clean up after you. You cross the line. You’re guests here. This isn’t your house.

September 4, 2005 @ 1:15 am | Comment

Oh, and by the way, Senator Mary Landrieu, normally one of those bipartisan, “Democratic In Name Only” types, has accused the Bush Administration of staging a photo op at the infamous 17th St. levee. Her statement:

“I understand that the U.S. Forest Service had water-tanker aircraft available to help douse the fires raging on our riverfront, but FEMA has yet to accept the aid. When Amtrak offered trains to evacuate significant numbers of victims — far more efficiently than buses — FEMA again dragged its feet. Offers of medicine, communications equipment and other desperately needed items continue to flow in, only to be ignored by the agency.

“But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast — black and white, rich and poor, young and old — deserve far better from their national government.

September 4, 2005 @ 1:33 am | Comment

Okay, here. From Washington Monthly, a moderate Dem blog with a lot of dissenting opinions. The poster is responding to one of them. I keep trying to blockquote it but it’s not working so I’m just going to do a cut and paste. And then I’m going to sleep.

So the words below are not mine….

Steve White is playing fast and loose with the facts. If you take his points at face value they might sound compelling, but I am afraid that the facts he is using to back up his position are not true.

“Where was the Louisiana National Guard? Hint, only 20% of it is in Iraq today. Where was the rest?”

35% of forces were overseas:

“And the governor should have had the National Guard activated and in the streets Tuesday.”

The Guard that were left were deployed to the site immediately, and were there on Mon., but were left without the equipment to do their jobs, that equipment being in Iraq:


Finally, last Sun., other states tried to help and move their Nat’l Guard and (more importantly) equipment into LA, but the White House needed to sign off on it. They signed off on it on Thurs:

The evacuation wasn’t handled especially well, but Nagin did more than Steve White claims:


“The city arranged buses to take people to 10 last-resort shelters, including the Superdome.

Nagin also dispatched police and firefighters to rouse people out with sirens and bullhorns, and even gave them the authority to commandeer vehicles to aid in the evacuation.”

from washington monthly – http://tinyurl.com/94thv

September 4, 2005 @ 1:43 am | Comment

Thanks very much for fixing zhj’s nightmare-long link Lisa. Monster links like that make reading the comments really inconvenient when the link is longer than the entire page!

Zhj: Try using tinyurl.com mate, it’s very convenient.

September 4, 2005 @ 2:43 am | Comment

Also, thanks for the katrina links, I’ll check them out now. CCTV coverage of katrina has been very low key although part of the reason’s probalby that we also got bashed by Typhoon Talin the other day. 50 dead and rising.

September 4, 2005 @ 2:45 am | Comment

I haven’t even heard about that typhoon, Martyn.

The death toll from Katrina looks to be 10,000 plus.

September 4, 2005 @ 2:50 am | Comment

Martyn, there are many, many other good Katrina sources. The one I posted above is primarily a refutation of some of the current administration “talking points.” Check out the first Katrina post I wrote for some other good links – the best one comes courtesy of Gordon.

And Gordon, I meant to thank you for calling that guy a fuckwad. I really appreciated it. I can’t remember if you’re back in the States or not, but from my perspective, being here, this really is one of the most dreadful things I can remember happening in this country in my lifetime (hope that is enough disclaimers for those of you who feel that because other tragedies in the world are worse, this one doesn’t count. I mourn them all, but this one’s been on my TV set 24/7, in a place I know, in a language I can understand. And btw, if something dreadful happened in Beijing, I’d probably be reacting similarly. I know that place, I have friends there, Beijing holds many of my memories and it’s a cultural treasure. So there).

And “fuckwad” is a great expression. I’m going to start using it way more often.

September 4, 2005 @ 2:56 am | Comment

davesgonechina raises an interesting point:
a) if this is how we feel about US relief in New Orleans, how did people in tsunami affected countries feel about our relief efforts there?

b) does this mean that we (the American public) might actually see ourselves as having more in common with other parts of the world when they suffer a tragedy? Or will our growing kneejerk nationalism make us feel more and more special and less and less like everybody else?
The US response to the Tsunami did a hell of lot of good for American PR (I should know, I was living in Thailand at the time). However, already several Chinese people have commented that the Katrina reaction is typically over-the-top and smacks of US-arrogance. It confirms their suspicions that Americans rate American lives far more highly than Sri Lankan or Indonesian lives. These are their comments, not mine.

One Chinese person asked me yesterday about how many Americans do not know the name of the typoon that slammed into Taiwan and China the other day? He also pointed out that Chinese people don’t have insurance and little in the way of govt help.

Imagethief wrote about this very topic in his usual eloquent style:

“I don’t know if you have been as amazed as I have by the stories coming out of New Orleans, Biloxi and the other areas in the path of Hurricane Katrina. Looking at the photos, and reading coverage of the looting, violence and widespread misery it’s hard to imagine that this could happen in the United States.

And that’s a kind of arrogance. Even as an expatriate for ten years, I think of America as a somehow different and charmed place. It doesn’t matter what I think of the current administration, or of the war, or of the multitude of things about American society that I find disagreeable. It’s still home; the country from which I am made; and the country with which I identify.

The washing away of an entire city…that’s something for the Indus River delta or the shores of Aceh or Sri Lanka. It’s not something for America. We are so rich, so powerful, so well organized as to be impervious.”

September 4, 2005 @ 3:03 am | Comment

Like I’ve said before, it’s human nature to react more strongly to something that is closer to you. I totally agree, there have been so many times where there’s been an incident in the US that is really not that big a deal (can you say, Natalee Holloway?)l, and it gets totally blown out of proportion. This, however, is a really big deal. Period. We are talking about a historic city, something that can rightly be considered a “world heritage site,” that has just been drowned and is sitting in a bath of sewage, rotting corpses and god knows what chemical stew. The home of jazz. Of a vibrant, unique culture. All that.

And the thing is, the US really doesn’t have an excuse for a major portion of this destruction. Definitely some if it is a natural disaster, and none of us on this earth are immune to that. But when you have the wealthiest country on this planet that can’t get its act together to minimize the damage, where some of the human toll is due to an appalling disparity between the rich and the poor…

Well, forgive us for engaging in some national soul-searching and hand-wringing. We should be, and if as Dave suggests, this leads people here to more deeply empathize with what life is like for far too many people on this planet…well, it’s a hard lesson, and I’d never say that it would be worth it, because I’m not one of those poor folks who couldn’t get out of the city in time and drowned in filth, abandoned.

So if “average Americans” learn a lesson from this, that’s all very well and good. But I’m never going to claim that sacrificing all those poverty-stricken peoples’ lives was a worthy exchange. Because that’s the worst kind of self-centeredness and narcisissm.

I guess the only way I can frame that whole issue is to say, we’d better honor those folks’ sacrifice and start doing a better job taking care of each other. It’s a poor consolation for their loved ones, and it doesn’t measure up to the loss of their lives…but we’d better.

September 4, 2005 @ 3:12 am | Comment

From the Southeast Lousiana Evac Plan Supplement.

The overall strategy for dealing with a catastrophic hurricane is to evacuate as much of the at risk population as possible from the path of the storm and relocate them to a place of relative safety outside the projected high water mark of the storm surge flooding and hurricane force winds.

The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating.

The definition of a staging area is a central location, easily accessible to those ambulatory people who are in need of transportation to a shelter.
1. Residents who have no means of transportation will be directed to the staging areas.
2. Transportation vehicles will be pre-positioned to transport residents to shelters.
3. Once the evacuation routes are closed, the staging areas will become Last Resort Refuges.

And shelters are locate OUTSIDE the area of risk. All those buses that were sitting idle 72 hours before the hurricane hit could have ferried minimally 25,000 people out of harms way. So what Nagin did, wasn’t enough.


September 4, 2005 @ 3:26 am | Comment

Er, okay, James, but this diminishes the incompetence of the Federal government response how, exactly? And the absence of the President? And the defunding of the levee repairs? And the emasculation of FEMA?

Sorry. It’s like the headline in the Washington Post today – “White House Shifts Blame.”

They’ve changed the original headline a bit, but here’s a link to a screen-shot.

I mean, you can dance around this all you want. You can blame the mayor and the governor and all those poor people who couldn’t get out of town. But you can’t keep pretending like the Bush Administration had nothing to do with it.

You had a disaster that crossed state lines. That means that it’s a federal responsibility. Period.

And no matter what…are you honestly saying that you expect the same standards of leadership and competence from the Mayor of New Orleans that you do from the President of the United States? If both are culpable in this tragedy, who has more power and more responsibilities entrusted in him?

September 4, 2005 @ 3:36 am | Comment

By the way, I’m going to add to that “localism affects perceptions of tragedy” thought. During the tsunami, an awful lot of Swedes died. As a percentage of the total victims, their numbers were insignificant. But to Sweden, a country with a relatively small population, this was a huge tragedy.

I would hope that the day will come when we can mourn all tragic deaths equally, when we can all truly be citizens of the world. But until that day, we mourn most fiercely our own friends and family. After that, we mourn those with whom we can most easily identify. This doesn’t make people bad or callous, necessarily. It’s a natural human reaction.

Martyn, you say that some Chinese people you talked to are upset that Americans don’t know the name of the typhoon that recently struck Taiwan and China. I’m one of them (and I am a compulsive newsreader). But you have to filter things somehow. Like I said above, if something happened in Beijing, you’d better believe I’d know all the details. Beijing is a place with which I have a personal connection. If it’s a huge tragedy like the tsunami – I follow that too. And Sudan and Niger.

But the other thing is, I can’t necessarily impact all that much what happens in other countries as a result of poor government policies. To your Chinese friends, I’d say, do you really want me criticising your government, lobbying for better construction standards, flood protections and so on?

I didn’t think so.

September 4, 2005 @ 3:43 am | Comment

James, would you mind emailing the post Richard deleted of yours?


Unless you were attacking Richard for something, I can’t imagine why in the world he would have deleted it.

At any rate, I’m interested in checking it out.

I also think a lot of the blame here goes to Nagin. He sure as isn’t any Rudolph Giuliani.

September 4, 2005 @ 3:52 am | Comment

But you can’t keep pretending like the Bush Administration had nothing to do with it.

But I’ve never done that! My point has always been that this is a failure across the board. It starts with the local and state governments and ends with the Feds, although I’m still reserving judgement until the facts of the case are more fully laid out.

And your blame scale seems backwards. Who is more responsible for their own city, their own people? Who knows them better and how best to get them out of harms way? Clearly, it would seem to be the citizens of New Orleans and Lousiana. That is why for disasters, such as hurricanes, authority to deal with them is placed with the states. If they need it, they ask the feds for help. It’s the whole concept of federalism for Christ sake! I expect MORE out of the locals than I would from the President.

And lastly, I think it’s just common sense that if these people had gotten out of New Orleans on those buses, they wouldn’t have died in the following flood. I would think that’s indisputable. Therefore, that’s where the bulk of the blame should be. You prepare for disasters so you don’t have to live with them and their consequences. If you immediately jump to the Federal failures, your guaranteed to repeat these disasters again and again, because you aren’t dealing with the root problems.

September 4, 2005 @ 3:56 am | Comment

Strange report this. It appeared in today’s UK Observer newspaper:
British families trapped in New Orleans last night claimed that US authorities had refused to evacuate them as Hurricane Katrina approached the city.

Although assistance was offered to US residents, British nationals were told they would have to fend for themselves. According to those who remain stranded in the stricken city, police had visited hotels and guest houses on the eve of the hurricane offering to evacuate Americans, but not Britons.

The order meant UK holidaymakers without cars were left helpless in the face of the hurricane.

‘Some telephone operators are just hanging up even after they have explained they are trapped in New Orleans. It’s like – what emergency?’ said Scott. He added that conditions in the lobby were described as atrocious, with sewage up to knee level last night.

September 4, 2005 @ 4:00 am | Comment


Glad to, but I have to do it in the morning. I’m sleepy.

September 4, 2005 @ 4:02 am | Comment

Thanks James, and I agree with your last post whole-heartedly.

September 4, 2005 @ 4:48 am | Comment

Martyn, that is a strange report.

I’ve still got my mind wrapped around the fact that they cleared out the Hyatt Hotel and placed those 700 well-preserved guests in front of the thousands who were waiting in line to be evacuated.

I realize they were travelers and if provided the means they could just get the hell out of the area and escape being a burden to the relief work, but something just doesn’t seem right about it.

September 4, 2005 @ 4:50 am | Comment

i don’t think americans over-reacted

some american officials are criminals towards their own people

beijing is amazing, combining the best of a developed country and the ugliest of a fourth-world country

September 4, 2005 @ 5:02 am | Comment

“It confirms their suspicions that Americans rate American lives far more highly than Sri Lankan or Indonesian lives. ”
Yes. And? I rate British and Canadian lives higher than unnamed other nationals for no other reason than being a citizen of both countries and having family in both.
Thanks for all those links, otherlisa. Must have taken you a lot of time and patience to get them all…

September 4, 2005 @ 5:10 am | Comment

I don’t think most Americans are completely overreacting but reading this blog, I think other lisa most certainly is. I also think the left are using this tragedy to score points against the US government and that’s very low indeed.

September 4, 2005 @ 6:33 am | Comment

I don’t believe I deleted any comment of James’. I deleted some from Verity who I had warned multiple times about trolling and getting personal in his attacks. I never delete comments that oppose my point of view, and will do so only if the commenter is clearly taunting and trying actively to make trouble (using multiple handles, etc.). And I will warn them first. Some comments have been deleted accidentally in the past due to cleaning out comment spam, but that is quite rare.

September 4, 2005 @ 7:23 am | Comment

Oh, this just in…

George Bush Hates Black People

September 4, 2005 @ 7:40 am | Comment

James, if you believe Other Lisa is over-reacting to how the Federal government handled this, I strongly urge you to google around to see what conservatives Shepherd Smith (Fox News), Andrew Sullivan, John Podhoretz and others are saying. This is no liberal echo chamber – Bush is taking it hard from his own party and many red-state politicians and conservative coimmentators. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are right, but it does indicate there is more to this than partisan bickering and that Other Lisa’s arguments are actually mainstream.

September 4, 2005 @ 7:43 am | Comment

Hi everyone, I came over via the New Economist site. It linked to several of Martyn’s China economy posts today.

Nice site. I’m surprised to see that a China site can have enough comments to have an open thread. Great stuff.

Keep up the good work guys.

September 4, 2005 @ 7:49 am | Comment

Sanity and rational debate have mostly evaporated in the US media. “Traitors” and “appeasers,” “racists” and “fascists” are everywhere. Anyone who doesn’t toe the party line is smeared.

Amen to whoever said that. Cut it out, people.

Here’s what I think: this is Richard’s blog. Some of you act like you own the place, you come in here with muddy shoes and track shit all over and insult the hosts and expect us to just grin and bear it and clean up after you. You cross the line. You’re guests here. This isn’t your house.

Whoo! I love it when you stand tall, Lisa. We can disagree bitterly later.

Speaking of tall, I just met a certain travel-weary Duck on his whirlwind China tour. Not the pudgy, baby-faced nerd I expected, and I wasn’t able to take him mano-a-mano. MAJ stepped in to throw him for a loop, though, and I managed to get a free dinner out of him.

A surreal, but satisfying experience, overall.

September 4, 2005 @ 8:36 am | Comment

How could you sit down at the same table as that twisted fu*k MAJ? After all the lies, bile, slander and childish freak-show games he’s dished out to Richard and TPD commenters?

That sad case should be sent to the nearest luntaic asylum. He’s a nothing, a nobody, with a very inflated ego. No, I’d have killed him had I even set eyes on him.

September 4, 2005 @ 8:54 am | Comment

Well you’re suddenly seven feet tall, now aren’t you? I’ll let R tell the strange tale himself if he wants.

September 4, 2005 @ 9:07 am | Comment


Live webcam here of a New Orleans street. Eerie. Seeing the mostly empty city is a strange feeling.

September 4, 2005 @ 9:23 am | Comment

Oh this is gonna be good…

September 4, 2005 @ 9:24 am | Comment

I still don’t understand why the people in NO who were to poor to get themselves out of the city weren’t evacuated by the city or state authorities. Was there not enough time before the storm hit the city or whatelse reason could be there? There were reports that the levees could break before the storm, weren’t there?

September 4, 2005 @ 9:50 am | Comment

Shulan, the United States has the best weather forcast in the world, there is absolutely no reason why the city or the state couldn’t have evacuated everyone in a timely manner.

Blame goes to the Mayor, not Bush.

September 4, 2005 @ 10:03 am | Comment

Gordon, yes I’m with you on this the evacuation most likely is the responsibility of the mayor, perhaps also of the Louisiana authorities.
Still I don’t understand why they didn’t do it.

September 4, 2005 @ 10:47 am | Comment

I am reminded of 9/11, when the mayor of NY took charge in a very heroic manner. For New Orleans, it seems to be a combination of the feds trying to take charge and being more incompetent than anyone could ever have imagined, combined with a distinct lack of local leadership on the municipal and state level. Just my opinion, watching this horrible scenario from far away.

September 4, 2005 @ 10:55 am | Comment

Here are some amazing quotes from the American media on Katrina:

Taken from CNN, between anchor Jack Cafferty and Wolf Blitzer

Cafferty: Do you suppose, Wolf, that the arrival of the relief convoys and the political photo ops on the Gulf Coast happening at the same time were a coincidence today?

Wolf: ……., Jack, a final thought before I go.

Cafferty: It’s embarrassing.


Taken from Fox News:

Sean Hannity: “Let’s get this in perspective,”
Shephard Smith (yelling): “This is perspective! This is all the perspective you need!!!”


George Bush, in Mississippi

We’ve got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we’re going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we’re going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is — and it’s hard for some to see it now — that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house — there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Prolonged Laughter.)

September 4, 2005 @ 1:01 pm | Comment

You can watch some of these clips on crooksandliars.com. The one with Shepard is one of the most amazing pieces of television I’ve ever seen. I was stunned.

September 4, 2005 @ 1:15 pm | Comment

James, if you want to hold a mayor responsible for the deaths across an entire region due to lack of timely federal response, go right ahead. It flies in the face of any logic, but I’m not going to try and stop you. Storm survivors all through Louisiana and Mississsippi are asking, where is Federal assistance, where is food, water, troops, medical aid. I guess they should call the Mayor of New Orleans and ask him.

I mean, look. If this were a terrorist attack, with no warning, would you be satisfied with the Federal response? With the management of DHS and FEMA?

It’s my understanding, by the way, that American cities in general are sadly lacking in any evacuation plans. Which makes a certain amount of sense. How would one even begin to evacuate a city the size of Los Angeles? Who handles the evacuation? You’re telling me the LAPD has sufficient manpower to do it? Where would the people go, once they left town? Come on! Large cities simply don’t have the resources on their own to execute something that complex. And any “local” problem quickly becomes a “regional” problem in such a situation, and a national problem shortly thereafter.

September 4, 2005 @ 1:27 pm | Comment

I’m still thinking about our feeling of “specialness”… because I’m an American and I, personally, kinda like it. I realize, and partly agree with Martyn’s Chinese friends, that it can be over-the-top and arrogant… but I also think that its important to preserve our illusion of innocence and uniqueness. I mean, if we lose that, if we stop believing that our country can do things that the world has never seen before, then we may not be confident enough to do anything great again… we might slip into some kind of malaise.

It’s a fine line… I’m happy to see Shepard Smith yelling at Sean Hannity and I hope he kicks Bill O’Reilly in the sac, but I bet Shep’s anger is mostly driven by that sense that “this doesn’t happen in America!” What a loaded statement… I think it’s an illusion, both dangerous and necessary. Dangerous because it does happen in America but it is often ignored. Dangerous because it implicitly denigrates other parts of the world, suggesting they are backwards. And yet necessary, because we need to believe that our country is held to a higher standard. To hold other countries to that standard is the same gamble. When I criticize, say, corruption in China, I’m holding another country to my standards. This is dangerous because I believe I know what’s best for a bunch of people on the other side of the world. This is necessary because without that belief I risk slipping into cynical amorality.

September 4, 2005 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

Also, on the issue of local vs. federal response: I’m seeing more and more local officials saying they never received support. The governor of Louisiana wrote the White House requesting FEMA aid August 28th. The mayor of New Orleans had his infamous radio interview. A leader of Jefferson County talked on CNN about how the local FEMA leader lost his mother in a nursing home, telling her day after day “Yes Mom, help is on the way”. She drowned because the help didn’t arrive fast enough. The mayor of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was just on CNN echoing exactly what Nagin said, albeit with more restraint (Southern gentlemanly).

September 4, 2005 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

Hattiesburg Mayor angry at FEMA

September 4, 2005 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

Dave, I just read about the Parrish president you reference above. It is heartbreaking. Here is an excerpt from an interview with him on “Meet the Press” (includes links to full transcript and video):

MR. RUSSERT: Hold on. Hold on, sir. Shouldn’t the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn’t they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?
MR. BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told like me, every single day, “The cavalry’s coming,” on a federal level, “The cavalry’s coming, the cavalry’s coming, the cavalry’s coming.” I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry. The cavalry’s still not here yet, but I’ve begun to hear the hoofs, and we’re almost a week out.

Let me give you just three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA–we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, “Come get the fuel right away.” When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. “FEMA says don’t give you the fuel.” Yesterday–yesterday–FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, “No one is getting near these lines.” Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America–American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn’t be in this crisis.

September 4, 2005 @ 2:00 pm | Comment

Other Lisa

Can’t you go somewhere else with this? What do you think the other 95% of the world thinks when they read your overblown, hysterical and shrill reactions to the hurricane?

Never mind the name of the hurricane that just hit China are you even AWARE that another strong hurricane is heading straight for China as I write?!

You didn’t know did you?!

That should tell you something. Get a grip and get a life beyond your own little insular and supremist all-American world.

September 4, 2005 @ 2:16 pm | Comment

Robert, if you really cared about the hurricane heading for China, perhaps you’d provide information instead of attacking me.

At the risk of restating the obvious, this is a blog run by Americans, in America. The majority of posts here are about China. Many are about American politics.

And this right here is the open thread. It is not the main page. If you look on the main page, you will see that, surprise, most of the posts are about China.

So this “concern” of yours strikes me as, how to put it? Utter bullshit, maybe?

September 4, 2005 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

Robert, I’m one out of the 95% of the rest of the world and I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with Lisa’s reaction. What’s wrong with getting emotional when your own country is hit by such a catastrophy and you and a lot of other people have the impression that the governmets response was not accuarate in any way. What’s wrong in asking questions and beeing critical?

That there are other disaters happening in other parts of the world is no reason not to care about what is happening in your own county.

September 4, 2005 @ 2:35 pm | Comment

And I have to say…I’m helping out and adminstering a blog that’s focused on China. Go look at my own blog. It’s focused on….China! And if I might characterize my own stance on China, I’d say I’m fair-minded and supportive, and that my affection for a country that is not my own comes across in nearly everything I write about China. I spend my spare time studying Chinese. I also speak some German and some Spanish. I’m probably better informed about world politics than a majority of people you’ll meet.

And you have the fucking brass balls to call me “insular” and “supremist”?

September 4, 2005 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

that American cities in general are sadly lacking in any evacuation plans. Which makes a certain amount of sense.

Hopefully, you will never go into politics. It makes no sense at all for a place like New Orleans not to have a disaster plan, which is exactly why they HAVE one. It simply wasn’t executed.

Dave, I just read about the Parrish president you reference above. It is heartbreaking. Here is an excerpt from an interview with him on “Meet the Press” (includes links to full transcript and video):

But Mr Broussard didn’t answer the question:

MR. RUSSERT: Hold on. Hold on, sir. Shouldn’t the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn’t they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?

Now we will never know that if they had actually tried to execute their own disaster plan if it would have worked. It raises a lot of questions. Would they have had enough drivers and fuel? How many citizens would have taken seriously an evacuation out of the city? But the fact is, it wasn’t tried. People were brought to the Superdome, instead of out of the city, which their own plan clearly says isn’t sufficient. Those buses were not 2 miles away from the Superdome. If one can-do kid can take a bus post hurricane and fill it with 100 people and take them to safety, I would assume properly prepared authorities could do the same. At the least they could have taken them to Baton Rouge.

September 4, 2005 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

Because something makes a certain amount of sense does not impy that it is a good thing. Stop twisting my words.

James, you are a one-note singer. Blame the mayor. If that’s what you need to do so that you can still believe the people in the White House are up to the job of leading this country, okay.

Me, I’m hoping we get through the rest of his term without any other significant “challenges.”

That kid should get a medal, by the way.

September 4, 2005 @ 3:03 pm | Comment

This incident is now well under control, thanks to a fast moving emergency response team and FEMA, and most of all our great commander in chief G.W.! Hundreds of New Orlean residents have thanked our great president for his visit and the amazing relief efforts down there, and our hearts and preyers are with those affected.

Some ugly demoncats and liberals try to use this issue to attack Bush, how disgusting they are!

This is a time we unite behind our President, and be sure that our nation is strong and will only get stronger!

God Bless America!

September 4, 2005 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

Very funny, God! I’ll keep that in mind…

September 4, 2005 @ 3:59 pm | Comment

Robert- If I remember correctly it is you who continually post comments, not about anything particulalry related to China, but to the overall good chap that is Bush. Now that he’s on the ropes you want to use another tragedy to deflect attention to his callous incompetence and indifference that sets him apart from others. Typical GOP strategy!
I would like to know more about this typhoon hitting China, that is more than what this regime allows to get out. But the fact is, otherlisa is responding to others’ concern and not driving the agenda against the wishes of other readers. Noone’s stopping you from commenting on anything you want (this is an open thread) but your choice to suddenly attack otherlisa for her dismay and anger at what’s going on in her country is disgusting. How typical of the rightwing when they attack anyone questioning the leader rather than consider answering the questions themselves.

September 4, 2005 @ 4:36 pm | Comment

Thanks, Keir.

Shorter James: 100 yellow school buses in New Orleans would have solved everything.

Tell that to the folks in Gulfport.

September 4, 2005 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

Closing this thread. Get in the yellow school bus and migrate up top, please.

September 4, 2005 @ 4:57 pm | Comment

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