Wednesday, September 28, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 7:35 am

Billions of dollars of reconstruction contracts awarded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are being investigated amid concerns of cronyism and abuse.

More than 80 per cent of the $US1.5 billion ($1.98 billion) in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency were awarded without bidding or with only limited competition, including enormous deals with Kellog, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton - the former employer of the Vice-President, Dick Cheney - and the Shaw Group. The lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, former campaign manager of the President, George Bush, and a former head of the agency, has represented both companies.

The inspector-general for the Department of Homeland Security, Richard Skinner, told The New York Times that 60 members of his staff were examining Hurricane Katrina contracts.

"We are very apprehensive about what we are seeing," he said. "When you do something like this you do increase the vulnerability for fraud, plain waste, abuse and mismanagement."
Saturday, September 24, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 3:16 pm
Suspicious behaviour on the tube

David Mery
Thursday September 22, 2005
The Guardian

A London underground station was evacuated and part of a main east-west line closed in a security alert on Thursday, three weeks after suicide bombers killed 52 people on the transport network, police said. (Reuters)

This Reuters story was written while the police were detaining me in Southwark tube station and the bomb squad was checking my rucksack. When they were through, the two explosive specialists walked out of the tube station smiling and commenting: "Nice laptop." The officers offered apologies on behalf of the Metropolitan police. Then they arrested me.
posted by @netwurker at 7:11 am

"From September 23-26, tens of thousands of anti-war and global justice activists will flock to Washington, DC for the largest mobilization since last year's RNC protests. will serve as an information clearinghouse for that weekend. Read our call to action.

On this website you can find or post local and national groups participating in the mobilization, a calendar of events, legal information, posters, materials, and housing and transportation resources."
Thursday, September 22, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 6:28 am
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 7:22 pm

What Has Happened to Iraq's Missing $1bn?
By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent UK

Monday 19 September 2005

One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defense ministry in one of
the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's
army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.

The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing
security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion,
was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared.

"It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's
Finance Minister, told The Independent.

"Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps
of metal."

The carefully planned theft has so weakened the army that it cannot hold
Baghdad against insurgent attack without American military support, Iraqi
officials say, making it difficult for the US to withdraw its 135,000- strong army
from Iraq, as Washington says it wishes to do.

Most of the money was supposedly spent buying arms from Poland and Pakistan.
The contracts were peculiar in four ways. According to Mr. Allawi, they were
awarded without bidding, and were signed with a Baghdad-based company, and not
directly with the foreign supplier. The money was paid up front, and, surprisingly
for Iraq, it was paid at great speed out of the ministry's account with the
Central Bank. Military equipment purchased in Poland included 28-year-old
Soviet-made helicopters. The manufacturers said they should have been scrapped
after 25 years of service. Armored cars purchased by Iraq turned out to be so
poorly made that even a bullet from an elderly AK-47 machine-gun could penetrate
their armor. A shipment of the latest MP5 American machine-guns, at a cost of
$3,500 (=A31,900) each, consisted in reality of Egyptian copies worth only $200 a
gun. Other armored cars leaked so much oil that they had to be abandoned. A deal
was struck to buy 7.62mm machine-gun bullets for 16 cents each, although they
should have cost between 4 and 6 cents.

Many Iraqi soldiers and police have died because they were not properly
equipped. In Baghdad they often ride in civilian pick-up trucks vulnerable to
gunfire, rocket- propelled grenades or roadside bombs. For months even men
defusing bombs had no protection against blast because they worked without
bullet-proof vests. These were often promised but never turned up.

The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government
that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defense ministry allegedly presided over
these dubious transactions.

Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the
disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed
unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the
defense ministry.

Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the
robbery was organized suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and
"rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a
decisive role behind the scenes.

Given that building up an Iraqi army to replace American and British troops
is a priority for Washington and London, the failure to notice that so much money
was being siphoned off at the very least argues a high degree of negligence on the
part of US officials and officers in Baghdad.

The report of the Board of Supreme Audit on the defense ministry contracts
was presented to the office of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Prime Minister, in May. But
the extent of the losses has become apparent only gradually. The sum missing was
first reported as $300m and then $500m, but in fact it is at least twice as large.
"If you compare the amount that was allegedly stolen of about $1bn compared with
the budget of the ministry of defense, it is nearly 100 per cent of the ministry's
[procurement] budget that has gone Awol," said Mr. Allawi.

The money missing from all ministries under the interim Iraqi government
appointed by the US in June 2004 may turn out to be close to $2bn. Of a military
procurement budget of $1.3bn, some $200m may have been spent on usable equipment,
though this is a charitable view, say officials. As a result the Iraqi army has
had to rely on cast-offs from the US military, and even these have been slow in

Mr. Allawi says a further $500m to $600m has allegedly disappeared from the
electricity, transport, interior and other ministries. This helps to explain why
the supply of electricity in Baghdad has been so poor since the fall of Saddam
Hussein 29 months ago despite claims by the US and subsequent Iraqi governments
that they are doing everything to improve power generation.

The sum missing over an eight-month period in 2004 and 2005 is the equivalent
of the $1.8bn that Saddam allegedly received in kick- backs under the UN's
oil-for-food program between 1997 and 2003. The UN was pilloried for not stopping
this corruption. The US military is likely to be criticized over the latest
scandal because it was far better placed than the UN to monitor corruption.

The fraud took place between 28 June 2004 and 28 February this year under the
government of Iyad Allawi, who was interim prime minister. His ministers were
appointed by the US envoy Robert Blackwell and his UN counterpart, Lakhdar

Among those whom the US promoted was a man who was previously a small
businessman in London before the war, called Hazem Shaalan, who became Defense

Mr. Shalaan says that Paul Bremer, then US viceroy in Iraq, signed off the
appointment of Ziyad Cattan as the defense ministry's procurement chief. Mr.
Cattan, of joint Polish-Iraqi nationality, spent 27 years in Europe, returning to
Iraq two days before the war in 2003. He was hired by the US-led Coalition
Provisional Authority and became a district councilor before moving to the defense

For eight months the ministry spent money without restraint. Contracts worth
more than $5m should have been reviewed by a cabinet committee, but Mr. Shalaan
asked for and received from the cabinet an exemption for the defense ministry.
Missions abroad to acquire arms were generally led by Mr. Cattan. Contracts for
large sums were short scribbles on a single piece of paper. Auditors have had
difficulty working out with whom Iraq has a contract in Pakistan.

Authorities in Baghdad have issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Cattan. Neither
he nor Mr. Shalaan, both believed to be in Jordan, could be reached for further
comment. Mr. Bremer says he has never heard of Mr. Cattan.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 2:24 pm
Friday, September 16, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 8:17 am
Begin forwarded message:

If you are looking for ways to contribute to the relief effort this might interest you.

New Orleans native Ross Zietz works at skinnyCorp here in Chciago and asked his boss if he could design a T-shirt to aid relief efforts in the south through their t-shirt site. The bosses said hell yeah and told him that for every $10 a person spends on a shirt their company will donate $20.

Threadless will donate up to $50,000.00 to relief efforts in New Orleans.
Buy one now.
Spread the word.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 7:27 am

Emmanuel Todd: The Specter of a Soviet-Style Crisis

By Marie-Laure Germon and Alexis Lacroix
Le Figaro

Monday 12 September 2005

According to this demographer, Hurricane Katrina has revealed the decline of the
American system.

Le Figaro. - What is the first moral and political lesson we can learn from
the catastrophe Katrina provoked? The necessity for a "global" change in our
relationship with nature?

Emmanuel Todd . - Let us be wary of over-interpretation. Let's not lose
sight of the fact that we're talking about a hurricane of extraordinary scope that
would have produced monstrous damage anywhere. An element that surprised a great
many people - the eruption of the black population, a supermajority in this
disaster - did not really surprise me personally, since I have done a great deal
of work on the mechanisms of racial segregation in the United States. I have
known for a long time that the map of infant mortality in the United States is
always an exact copy of the map of the density of black populations. On the other
hand, I was surprised that spectators to this catastrophe should appear to have
suddenly discovered that Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell are not particularly
representative icons of the conditions of black America. What really resonates
with my representation of the United States - as developed in April'empire -
is the fact that the United States was disabled and ineffectual. The myth of the
efficiency and super-dynamism of the American economy is in danger.

We were able to observe the inadequacy of the technical resources, of the
engineers, of the military forces on the scene to confront the crisis. That lifted
the veil on an American economy globally perceived as very dynamic, benefiting
from a low unemployment rate, credited with a strong GDP growth rate. As opposed
to the United States, Europe is supposed to be rather pathetic, clobbered with
endemic unemployment and stricken with anemic growth. But what people have not
wanted to see is that the dynamism of the United States is essentially a dynamism
of consumption.

Is American household consumption artificially stimulated?

The American economy is at the heart of a globalized economic system, and the
United States acts as a remarkable financial pump, importing capital to the tune
of 700 to 800 billion dollars a year. These funds, after redistribution, finance
the consumption of imported goods - a truly dynamic sector. What has characterized
the United States for years is the tendency to swell the monstrous trade deficit,
which is now close to 700 billion dollars. The great weakness of this economic
system is that it does not rest on a foundation of real domestic industrial

American industry has been bled dry and it's the industrial decline that
above all explains the negligence of a nation confronted with a crisis situation:
to manage a natural catastrophe, you don't need sophisticated financial
techniques, call options that fall due on such and such a date, tax consultants,
or lawyers specialized in funds extortion at a global level, but you do need
materiel, engineers, and technicians, as well as a feeling of collective
solidarity. A natural catastrophe on national territory confronts a country with
its deepest identity, with its capacities for technical and social response. Now,
if the American population can very well agree to consume together - the rate of
household savings being virtually nil - in terms of material production, of
long-term prevention and planning, it has proven itself to be disastrous. The
storm has shown the limits of a virtual economy that identifies the world as a
vast video game.

Is it fair to link the American system's profit-margin orientation - that
"neo-liberalism" denounced by European commentators - and the catastrophe that
struck New Orleans?

Management of the catastrophe would have been much better in the United
States of old. After the Second World War, the United States assured the
production of half the goods produced on the planet. Today, the United States
shows itself to be at loose ends, bogged down in a devastated Iraq that it doesn't
manage to reconstruct. The Americans took a long time to armor their vehicles, to
protect their own troops. They had to import light ammunition. What a difference
from the United States of the Second World War that simultaneously crushed the
Japanese Army with its fleet of aircraft carriers, organized the Normandy landing,
re-equipped the Russian army in light materiel, contributed magisterially to
Europe's liberations, and kept the European and German populations liberated from
Hitler alive. The Americans knew how to dominate the Nazi storm with a mastery
they show themselves incapable of today in just a single one of their regions. The
explanation is simple: American capitalism of that era was an industrial
capitalism based on the production of goods, in short, a world of engineers and

Isn't it more pertinent to acknowledge that there are virtually no more
purely natural disasters, rigorously defined, by virtue of the immoderation of
human activities? Isn't it the case that the "American Way of Life" must reform
itself? By, for example, agreeing to the constraints of the Kyoto Protocol?

The societies and ecological incorporations of Europe and the United States
differ radically. Europe is part of a very ancient peasant economy, accustomed to
draw its subsistence from the soil with difficulty in a relatively temperate
climate, spared from natural catastrophes. The United States is a brand new
society that began by working a very fertile virgin soil in the heart of a more
threatening natural environment. Its continental climate, much more violent, did
not constitute a problem for the United States as long as it enjoyed a real
economic advantage, that is, as long as it had the technical means to master
nature. At present, the hypothesis of man's dramatization of nature is not even
necessary. The simple deterioration in the technical capacities of a
no-longer-productive American economy created the threat of a Nature that would do
no more than take back its [natural] rights.

Americans need more heating in the winter and more air-conditioning in the
summer. If we are one day confronted with an absolute and no longer relative
penury, Europeans will adapt to it better because their transportation system is
much more concentrated and economical. The United States was conceived with regard
to energy expenditures and space in a rather fanciful, not well-thought out,

Let's not point our fingers at the aggravation of natural conditions, but
rather at the economic deterioration of a society that must confront a much more
violent nature! Europeans, like the Japanese, have proven their excellence with
regard to energy economization during the preceding oil shocks. It's to be
expected: European and Asian societies developed by managing scarcity and, in the
end, several decades of energetic abundance will perhaps appear as a parenthesis
in their history one day. The United States was constructed in abundance and
doesn't know how to manage scarcity. So here it is now confronted with an unknown.
The beginnings of adaptation have not shown themselves to be very promising:
Europeans have gasoline stocks, Americans crude oil stocks - they haven't built a
refinery since 1971.

So it's not only the economic system you blame?

I'm not making a moral judgment. I focus my analysis on the rot of the whole
system. Apr=E8s l'empire developed theses that in aggregate were quite moderate
and which I am tempted to radicalize today. I predicted the collapse of the Soviet
system on the basis of the increases in the rates of infant mortality during the
1970-1974 period. Now, the latest figures published on this theme by the United
States - those of 2002 - demonstrated the beginning of an upturn in the rates of
infant mortality for all the so-called American "races." What is to be deduced
from that? First of all, that we should avoid "over-racializing" the
interpretation of the Katrina catastrophe and bringing everything back to the
Black problem, in particular the disintegration of local society and the problem
of looting. That would constitute an ideological game of peek-a-boo. The sacking
of supermarkets is only a repetition at the lower echelons of society of the
predation scheme that is at the heart of the American social system today.

The predation scheme?

This social system no longer rests on the 'Founding Fathers' Calvinist work
ethic and taste for saving - but, on the contrary, on a new ideal (I don't dare
speak of ethics or morals): the quest for the biggest payoff for the least effort.
Money speedily acquired, by speculation and why not theft. The gang of black
unemployed who loot a supermarket and the group of oligarchs who try to organize
the "heist" of the century of Iraq's hydrocarbon reserves have a common principle
of action: predation. The dysfunctions in New Orleans reflect certain central
elements of present American culture.

You postulate that the management of Katrina reveals a worrying territorial
fragmentation joined to the carelessness of the military apparatus. What must we
then fear for the future?

The hypothesis of decline developed in Apr=E8s l'empire evokes the
possibility of a simple return of the United States to normal, certainly
associated with a 15-20% decrease in the standard of living, but guaranteeing the
population a level of consumption and power "standard" in the developed world. I
was only attacking the myth of hyper-power. Today, I am afraid I was too
optimistic. The United States' inability to respond to industrial competition,
their heavy deficit in high-technology goods, the upturn in infant mortality
rates, the military apparatus' desuetude and practical ineffectiveness, the
elites' persistent negligence incite me to consider the possibility in the medium
term of a real Soviet-style crisis in the United States.

Would such a crisis be the consequence of Bush Administration policy, which
you stigmatize for its paternalistic and social Darwinism aspects? Or would its
causes be more structural?

American neo-conservatism is not alone to blame. What seems to me more
striking is the way this America that incarnates the absolute opposite of the
Soviet Union is on the point of producing the same catastrophe by the opposite
route. Communism, in its madness, supposed that society was everything and that
the individual was nothing, an ideological basis that caused its own ruin. Today,
the United States assures us, with a blind faith as intense as Stalin's, that the
individual is everything, that the market is enough and that the state is hateful.
The intensity of the ideological fixation is altogether comparable to the
Communist delirium. This individualist and inequalitarian posture disorganizes
American capacity for action. The real mystery to me is situated there: how can a
society renounce common sense and pragmatism to such an extent and enter into such
a process of ideological self-destruction? It's a historical aporia to which I
have no answer and the problem with which cannot be abstracted from the present
administration's policies alone. It's all of American society that seems to be
launched into a scorpion policy, a sick system that ends up injecting itself with
its own venom. Such behavior is not rational, but it does not all the same
contradict the logic of history. The post-war generations have lost acquaintance
with the tragic and with the spectacle of self-destroying systems. But the
empirical reality of human history is that it is not rational.


Emmanuel Todd reviews for Le Figaro the serious failures revealed by the
storm. He is also a research engineer at the National Institute of Demographic
Studies, historian, author of After the Empire, published by
Gallimard in 2002 - an essay in which he predicted the "breakdown" of the American
posted by @netwurker at 7:23 am
Begin forwarded message:

From: (Hannah Sassaman)
Date: September 9, 2005 3:00:26 PM PDT
Cc: Subject: [MediaAct] statement from Houston Indymedia:Houston
Radio Update

they've handed out thousands of radios already and plan to do more over the
weekend.a local station, KPFT, has already dedicated a number of hours a week to
programming made by, for, and about the needs, affairs, and stories of displaced
people and families.with 8600 people confirmed today by harris county officials
still in the astrodome shelter complex, we're exploring a few other options for
the LPFM with the FCC and in other locations too, so we'll let you know if there
is suddenly a reason to celebrate.

non-astrodome reasons to celebrate:other groups are getting permits to build
stations in the hurricane affected regions, including bay st. louis and new
orleans itself.and wireless networks are flourishing, allowing families to make
VOIP phonecalls and research housing and job options online.

more when we know more!

hannah s.

For Immediate Release:Contact: Jim Ellinger (512) 796-4332

Friday, September 9, 2005 Tish Stringer (713) 478-4559

Renee Feltz (713) 906-0407


Rebuffed by Harris County officials to provide radio services to the thousands of
Louisiana residents staying in the Reliant Center and the Astrodome, low power and
community radio activists will hand out thousands of free radios and batteries
today at 2:00pm at or near the Reliant City complex.

On September 4, the Mass Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission
granted emergency authorization to install and operate three low-power FM (LPFM)
station inside the buildings. The stations were to be used to provide vital
information to the evacuees.FEMA and other government agencies have publicly
stated that they were have difficulty in getting timely, accurate information to
the evacuees, and were spending considerable time dispelling rumors.

Despite the FCC authority and considerable support from elected officials ranging
from Texas Governor Rick Perry to Houston City Council member Ada Edwards and
Houston Mayor Bill White, officials with Harris County, which owns and operates
the Astrodome, twice refused to grant access to the radio group.

Harris County's spokeswoman claimed to reporters that the radio group was asking
for "banks of telephones, 5000 square feet of space, unlimited access to and from
the building..."

This is not true. Only a small secure space and utilities were requested. When the
group applied a second time, they offered to park a mobile unit outside the
Astrodome and run a single wire into the building. That too was denied.

"We did everything we could to give these poor folks something they vitally
needed...information. Harris County officials appear to be in lock step with the
FEMA PR Machine, more concerned with image than getting out information to

The radios will be distributed today at 2pm at or near the Astrodome. Film crews
are urged to wear comfortable footwear and be able to move quickly.There will be
plenty of dramatic action.

For more information call 713-526-4000, log on to or tune in to 90.1
FM in Houston or 89.5 FM in Galveston.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 6:11 pm
Bush Cohorts Profiteering at all levels

As Donna reported yesterday, inept FEMA director Mike Brown told a reporter on
Studio B that the removal of bodies from New Orleans was being handled by a
company called "Kenyon". Kenyon International bills itself as "Worldwide
Disaster Management." How convenient for GWBush to have a disaster management
company that enriches his friends and supporters to clean up after him as he
spreads disasters worldwide.

Kenyon is a wholly owned subsidiary of SCI Corp., "the largest provider of
funeral, cremation, and cemetery services in North America." SCI Corp is owned
by major Bush contributor and friend Robert Waltrip, who was at the center of
the scandal known as "Funeralgate".

Current FEMA Director Michael Brown was initially appointed to the position of
FEMA General Counsel by his chum, former FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh, who was
GWBush's Chief of Staff when Bush was governor of Texas. Allbaugh, in turn, was
appointed head of FEMA by Bush after the 2000 campaign, of which Allbaugh was
Campaign Manager. Along with Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, Allbaugh was part of
the Iron Triangle.

According to Jon Elliston's must-read A Disaster Waiting To Happen, published
9/28/04, Bush's

White House quickly launched a government-wide effort to privatize public
services, including key elements of disaster management. Bush's first budget
director, Mitch Daniels, spelled out the philosophy in remarks at an April 2001
conference: "The general idea -- that the business of government is not to
provide services, but to make sure that they are provided -- seems self-evident
to me," he said.
In a May 15, 2001, appearance before a Senate appropriations subcommittee,
Allbaugh signaled that the new, stripped-down approach would be applied at FEMA
as well. "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved
into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective
state and local risk management," he said. "Expectations of when the federal
government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned
beyond what is an appropriate level."

As a result, says a disaster program administrator who insists on anonymity, "We
have to compete for our jobs -- we have to prove that we can do it cheaper than
a contractor." And when it comes to handling disasters, the FEMA employee
stresses, cheaper is not necessarily better, and the new outsourcing
requirements sometimes slow the agency's operations.

William Waugh, a disaster expert at Georgia State University who has written
training programs for FEMA, warns that the rise of a "consultant culture" has
not served emergency programs well. "It's part of a widespread problem of
government contracting out capabilities," he says. "Pretty soon governments
can't do things because they've given up those capabilities to the private
sector. And private corporations don't necessarily maintain those

" At the same time, Allbaugh gave off contradictory signals on the value of
mitigation (the measures taken in advance to minimize the damage caused by
natural disasters), on one occasion chastising a community for doing too little
to prepare in advance for disaster. In April 2001, he caused a stir when he
asked Iowans, then in the midst of massive flood recovery efforts, "How many
times will the American taxpayer have to step in and take care of this
flooding, which could be easily prevented by building levees and dikes?"

A month later, the Washington Post reported that the Bush administration's moves
against mitigation programs were causing worries in disaster-prone states.
"Statehouse critics of the proposed cuts contend that in the long run they
would cost the government more because many communities will be unable to
afford preventative measures and as a result will require more relief money
when disasters strike," the newspaper noted. "

Kenyon was in NYC for clean-up after the attack on the World Trade Center, and
they're in Iraq cleaning up mass graves. Now they're in NOLA cleaning up after
Bush's shrunken and incompetent FEMA. One could wonder if the "no hurry"
attitude exhibited by Michael Brown in getting help to the victims ensured a
bigger, longer contract for them.

Bush's old chums and cronies, placed in positions of enormous responsibility and
trust, have reduced a critically important American agency to a channel through
which they can funnel lucrative contracts to other old friends. This is a
scandal and a disgrace and the parties involved, all the way to the top, should
be removed immediately.
Friday, September 09, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 10:29 am
Thursday, September 08, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 7:42 am
A benefit for New Orleans SEPT. 13TH at Chi Art Gallery

New Orleans Relief Benefit
100% of all funds raised go to Red Cross NOLA

Place: Chi Contemporary Fine Art, 293 Grand St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Event date: Tuesday Sept. 13, 6 to 9 pm
DROP OFF for art:
CHI gallery: Fri 9/9, Sat 9/10, Sun 9/11 11:30 am to 8 pm
Mon 9/12 9am to 6pm
Coney Island Museum: Fri 9/2, Sat 9/3, Sun 9/4, Mon 9/5 1 to 4 pm

MAILING: send work to:
Chi Contemporary Fine Art, 293 Grand Street, Bklyn, NY 11211

Idea: Art benefit sale, small works starting at $50. (priced to move)
larger, more expensive work if you want
Carrie Skoczek, 917 604 0607 info
Marie Roberts 347 733 2934 (i know way less than Carri does)

Gala on Tues, Food, drink, fun /a way for us artists to help

Thank you all. Marie


>>INFO: listen to the people

“Listen To The People”

We will go to the shelters and far-flung communities where significant numbers of exiled New Orleanians are now residing. We will collect their stories—not simply their memories of escaping our flooded city, but also a social profile of who they are, what their day to day lives were, what were their hopes and dreams, their challenges and struggles.

Too often when major historic events take place, those who are live at the margins of the mainstream are ignored. We know what the presidents and generals did, we know what the business leaders and major cultural figures thought, but do we know anything about the poor, the disenfranchised, the people of the Dome, the overpass, as well as those who left the city on Sunday and as of Tuesday night had no city to return to?

During the Great Depression the WPA collected the stories of people who had experienced slavery. Today we will collect the stories of people who survived a defining moment in American and World History.

We are neo-griots. Griot refers to the traditional West African historians/story-tellers/musicians. Neo refers to digital technology. Our goal is to write, to record, to photograph and video the stories of survival, and to share these stories with the world via the internet.

The project will be led by Kalama ya Salaam, a New Orleans native, internationally recognized as a cultural historian and creative writer. Among his many accomplishments, he was the Executive Director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation from 1983 to 1987, and was serving as the co-director of Students at the Center, a creative writing program in the New Orleans public schools. Salaam taught writing and digital video. As the editor of the Black Collegian magazine (1970 - 1983) Salaam published over a hundred interviews. He was also a member of the Free Southern Theatre, which toured the deep south. For the last ten years, Salaam has been leading the Neo-Griot Workshop, a weekly gathering of New Orleans writers of color.

In 1998 Salaam founded E-Drum, a daily listserv built around the interests of Black writers and diverse supporters of Black literature worldwide. In June of 2005, Salaam and his son, Mtume ya Salaam, began Breath of Life (, a website conversation about Black music.

Salaam is uniquely prepared to lead this project. Moreover, he has identified New Orleans writers and artists who are prepared to enter the field and interface with the thousands of New Orleanians in exile.

The objective is:

1. to put the words and images of the people on the internet via a New Orleans Project website.

2. to teach the respondents how to access the internet, so that they can continue sharing their views after the neo-griots leave.

3. to archive the resulting information so that it can be researched and accessed worldwide.

We invite your support of our project.

Kalama ya Salaam
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 7:41 am
----- Original Message -----
From: Elisabeth Shippey
To: Alex Delgado
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 8:38 PM
Subject: The Two Americas: Cuba and US and Hurricanes

One of the numerous reasons we love what Fidel is doing for Cuba. Too bad the U.S. government has Americans brainwashed against Fidel.

Saturday 03 September 2005

Last September, a Category 5 hurricane battered the small island of Cuba with 160-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated to higher ground ahead of the storm. Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, no one died.

What is Cuban President Fidel Castro's secret? According to Dr. Nelson Valdes, a sociology professor at the University of New Mexico, and specialist in Latin America, "the whole civil defense is embedded in the community to begin with. People know ahead of time where they are to go."

"Cuba's leaders go on TV and take charge," said Valdes. Contrast this with George W. Bush's reaction to Hurricane Katrina. The day after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Bush was playing golf. He waited three days to make a TV appearance and five days before visiting the disaster site. In a scathing editorial on Thursday, the New York Times said, "nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis."

"Merely sticking people in a stadium is unthinkable" in Cuba, Valdes said. "Shelters all have medical personnel, from the neighborhood. They have family doctors in Cuba, who evacuate together with the neighborhood, and already know, for example, who needs insulin."

They also evacuate animals and veterinarians, TV sets and refrigerators, "so that people aren't reluctant to leave because people might steal their stuff," Valdes observed.

After Hurricane Ivan, the United Nations International Secretariat for Disaster Reduction cited Cuba as a model for hurricane preparation. ISDR director Salvano Briceno said, "The Cuban way could easily be applied to other countries with similar economic conditions and even in countries with greater resources that do not manage to protect their population as well as Cuba does."

Our federal and local governments had more than ample warning that hurricanes, which are growing in intensity thanks to global warming, could destroy New Orleans. Yet, instead of heeding those warnings, Bush set about to prevent states from controlling global warming, weaken FEMA, and cut the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for levee construction in New Orleans by $71.2 million, a 44 percent reduction.

Bush sent nearly half our National Guard troops and high-water Humvees to fight in an unnecessary war in Iraq. Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Paris in New Orleans, noted a year ago, "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq."

An Editor and Publisher article Wednesday said the Army Corps of Engineers "never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security - coming at the same time as federal tax cuts - was the reason for the strain," which caused a slowdown of work on flood control and sinking levees.

"This storm was much greater than protection we were authorized to provide," said Alfred C. Naomi, a senior project manager in the New Orleans district of the corps.

Unlike in Cuba, where homeland security means keeping the country secure from deadly natural disasters as well as foreign invasions, Bush has failed to keep our people safe. "On a fundamental level," Paul Krugman wrote in yesterday's New York Times, "our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on prevention measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice."

During the 2004 election campaign, vice presidential candidate John Edwards spoke of "the two Americas." It seems unfathomable how people can shoot at rescue workers. Yet, after the beating of Rodney King aired on televisions across the country, poor, desperate, hungry people in Watts took over their neighborhoods, burning and looting. Their anger, which had seethed below the surface for so long, erupted. That's what's happening now in New Orleans. And we, mostly white, people of privilege, rarely catch a glimpse of this other America.

"I think a lot of it has to do with race and class," said Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. "The people affected were largely poor people. Poor, black people."

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reached a breaking point Thursday night. "You mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources we need? Come on, man!"

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had boasted earlier in the day that FEMA and other federal agencies have done a "magnificent job" under the circumstances.

But, said, Nagin, "They're feeding the people a line of bull, and they are spinning and people are dying. Get off your asses and let's do something!"

When asked about the looting, the mayor said that except for a few "knuckleheads," it is the result of desperate people trying to find food and water to survive.

Nagin blamed the outbreak of violence and crime on drug addicts who have been cut off from their drug supplies, wandering the city, "looking to take the edge off their jones."

When Hurricane Ivan hit Cuba, no curfew was imposed; yet, no looting or violence took place. Everyone was in the same boat.

Fidel Castro, who has compared his government's preparations for Hurricane Ivan to the island's long-standing preparations for an invasion by the United States, said, "We've been preparing for this for 45 years."

On Thursday, Cuba's National Assembly sent a message of solidarity to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It says the Cuban people have followed closely the news of the hurricane damage in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and the news has caused pain and sadness. The message notes that the hardest hit are African-Americans, Latino workers, and the poor, who still wait to be rescued and taken to secure places, and who have suffered the most fatalities and homelessness. The message concludes by saying that the entire world must feel this tragedy as its own.

Marjorie Cohn, a contributing editor to t r u t h o u t, is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, and the US representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 6:36 pm

It should be evident by now that Katrina is Bush's Monica, except the stained blue
dress this time is spread across an area the size of Great Britain, the denial
extends far deeper, and the now familiar lie is that "no one could have

But this time much, much more is at stake than a presidency. How America reacts to
this infidelity --this utter lack of faith with our fellow citizens-- will
determine our future for years to come. Progressives cannot remain silent. Nor can
we afford the luxury of merely criticizing. We must make plain in the most
concrete terms what we would do now. Further, we must begin to find ways to
accomplish some of that, to use our progressive networks to influence what happens
win the spreading crisis from this point out.

Katrina and its aftermath represent what happens when a national leadership buries
its head in the sand -- when it lives on fantasies -- such as: the inevitable
triumph of the market in all situations; the inevitable triumph of democracy
wherever our troops land; the inevitable superiority of one country; the
impossibility that we will be affected adversely by global warming; that global
warming is a liberal fiction; that it won't matter if the President staffs his
high offices with incompetent cronies; that we don't have to worry about = the
fate of the earth because the Rapture will come; or that lowering taxes and aiding
the rich is the best policy for everything.

Katrina exposes much longer-standing scandals too. The Civil War of the 1860's and
the civil rights movement of the 1960's did not end the mistreatment of Americans
of African descent. They didn't end the third-world level poverty in the very
heart of the South. They did not even end vicious racism. One look at New Orleans
in the aftermath puts the lie to all claims that affirmative action is no longer
necessary. The Gulf area, the main source of the US's oil and natural gas, has
been exploited for its resources like part of the third world., with the same
squalid and inhuman results.

One look puts the lie to the both real and metaphorical claims that a rising tide
lifts all boats. Economic growth that is not distributed is a hoax and a lie.
Bush's policies merely exacerbated what is still the shame of both parties --
Republican and Democratic alike.

Katrina has lain all that bare.

It is a terrible irony that the oil and gas extracted from the Gulf not only
hasn't helped most of the Gulf states' citizens as it ahs been taken out, but its
burning has helped heat the Gulf to spawn the intensified hurricanes that ensure
disaster, and at the same time, increase the dangers from tropical diseases as the
area warms.

Global warming from fossil fuel combustion is no myth, and it must be fought, and
fought at an accelerated rate, if we are not to have still worse disasters
resulting from the uneven heating of the planet. We must reduce fossil fuels and
also, most likely, find ways to reduce average temperatures by making the planet
less absorbent of the sun's rays. We must find alternatives to automotive and
truck travel, to oil, coal and natural gas, and we must do that quickly. We
already have years of catching up to do.

We cannot be safe in a world where most people are getting poorer, whether in the
US or out of it. While we must work hardest to bring about equality at home, we
cannot neglect the growing poverty in countries to our south, poverty further
exacerbated by global warming and global trade alike. The answer to that cannot be
military-related jobs, which would plunge the world into further unnecessary

Finally, one reason for our current problems is the utter failure of the US system
of education, which has failed to reach, interest or challenge most of our
citizens. We have to find ways to make education available to all, captivating,
and rigorous enough so that our citizens are capable of understanding the kinds of
challenges we face, capable of global thinking and understanding, not afraid to
tackle hard problems, not afraid to seem smart, less susceptible to lies and spin.

Our nation is now at a crucial turning point. It is a moment of heightened
consciousness. The inadequacies of our current course may never be plainer. If
progressives fail now to point us most clearly in a new and better direction, what
can we expect? Drift, despondency, and myopia may remove all hope of an equal
future. Rising cynicism, selfishness and drawing inward, may take over. Or
fundamentalist fascism that rationalizes the carelessness already prevailing may
win out.

The progressive movement today is still weak, fragmented and overburdened. Still
we have little choice but to rise to the challenge. We must find ways to band
together, to propose enlightened principles and methods for this new
reconstruction, to hold officials and corporations to a tighter accountability. We
must seek out and propose capable new leaders for the parts of the endeavor we can
already foresee. We must find ways to continue to be heard and to monitor

What must our immediate demands be? We can only arrive at that by swift networking
to develop consensus, but the following seems a minimum we should aspire to

* The poor must be rapidly and humanely compensated for their losses, receive
adequate medical attention, and be reunited with their families and friends;

* The levees must be restored much stronger, adequate for a much more intense

* All citizens of New Orleans and neighboring areas must be restored to their
homes, with those of the poor adequately cleaned up, made safe and sanitary
according to the occupants needs;

* The damage must not be used as an excuse for re-development schemes that deprive
previous residents of their homes;

* The Mississippi must be ecologically restored in a more sustainable manner;

* Emergency measures to equitably reduce oil and gas use must begin at once;

* The US must at once sign onto and ratify the Kyoto accords, and immediately seek
to go beyond them to start crash international programs of research into not only
lowering carbon emissions but reversing current greenhouse effects;

* Tax cuts for the rich must be rescinded at once to help pay for this and other

* FEMA and other federal agencies must be strengthened and made effective in
fulfilling their intended missions, which must include detailed protection and
evacuation plans that take into account the needs and limitations of all citizens;

* Cronyism in government offices must be firmly opposed;

* We must stop wasting our nation's and the world's resources on military
adventures that cannot succeed;

* Specifically, we should bring the troops home from Iraq at once.

Michael H. Goldhaber
Monday, September 5, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 7:22 am
This Isn't the Last Dance

By Rick Bragg
Friday, September 2, 2005

It has always had my heart in a box.

In the clip-joint souvenir shops in the gaudiest blocks of the Quarter, with canned Cajun music drilling rock-concert-loud into my ears, I could never resist opening the toy wooden coffins to see what was inside. I knew it would be just a cut-rate voodoo doll -- a wad of rags, cheap plastic beads and blind, button eyes. But every time, it made me smile. What a place, what a city, that can make you laugh at coffins and believe in magic -- all the way to the cash register.

What a place, where old women sit beside you on outbound planes complaining about their diabetes while eating caramel-covered popcorn a fistful at a time. "It's hard, so hard, sweet baby," they will say of their disease, then go home and slick an iron skillet with bacon grease, because what good is there in a life without hot cornbread?

What a place, where in the poorest cemeteries the poorest men and women build tin-foil monuments to lost children in a potter's field, while just a few blocks over, the better-off lay out oyster po' boys and cold root beer and dine in the shade of the family crypt, doing lunch with their ancestors and the cement angels in cities of the dead.

What a place, so at ease here at the elbow of death, where I once marched and was almost compelled to dance in a jazz funeral for a street-corner conjurer named Chicken Man, who was carried to his resting place by a hot-stepping brass band and a procession of mourners who drank long-neck beers and laughed out loud as his hearse rolled past doorways filled with men and women who clapped in time.

Now, for those of us who borrowed that spirit and used that love and then moved away, these past few awful days have seemed like a hospital death watch -- and, in fact, for so many people it has been. And we stare deep into the television screen, at the water that had always seemed like just one more witch, one more story to scare ourselves into a warmer, deeper sleep, and we wonder if there is just too much water and too much death this time.

Ever since I was barely in my twenties, I have loved the way some men love women, if that means unreasonably. I fell in love with the city and a Louisiana State University sophomore on the same night, eating shrimp cooked seven ways in the Quarter, riding the ferry across the black, black river where fireworks burned the air at Algiers Point. I drank so much rum I could sleep standing up against a wall. The sophomore left me, smiling, but the city never did.

There is no way to explain to someone who has never lived here why every day seemed like parole. Every time I would swing my legs from under the quilt and ease my toes onto the pine floors of my shotgun double, I would think, I am getting away with something here.

How long now before the streetcar rattles down St. Charles Avenue and beads swing into the 200-year-old trees? How long before Dunbar's puts the chicken and stewed cabbage on the stove, or the overworked ladies at Domilisie's dress a po' boy on Annunciation Street, or the midday drinkers find their way back to Frankie and Johnny's on Arabella Street? Does my old house still stand on Joseph? It was high, high ground, on the lip of the bowl, and you could hit the Mississippi River with a silver dollar if you threw it twice.

I cannot stand the idea that it is broken, unfixable. I look at the men using axes to hack their way into 100-year-old houses to save people trapped there by the suffocating water. I know there is life and death to be fought out for a long, long time. But I can't help but wonder what will come, later.

My wife, as wives do, voiced what most of us are afraid to say.

"I'm glad you took me there," she said. "Before."

We went there on our honeymoon.

Just a few weeks ago, I spent a week there, walking along Magazine, walking the Quarter, not minding the heat because that is what the devil sends, heat and water, to make you appreciate the smell of crushed cherries and whiskey on the balcony at the Columns Hotel, to make you savor the barbecued shrimp, to make you hear, really hear, the sound of a 12-year-old boy blowing his own heart out into a battered trumpet by a ragged cardboard box full of pocket change.

How long, before that city reforms. Some people say it never will.

But I have seen these people dance, laughing, to the edge of a grave.

I believe that, now, they will dance back from it.

Rick Bragg is an author and journalist.
posted by @netwurker at 7:14 pm



Hi Monica,

I'm OK. I escaped on Wednesday and am in Baton Rouge. Yes, the cell phone towers were all knocked out by the hurricane. The hurricane itself, though, caused only about 20% of the horror. The government is not letting people in to bring supplies. They are not bringing supplies. The hospitals and even the convention center where people are gathering are full of corpses- people who have died of dehydration when there are people with truckloads of water in Baton Rouge, ready and willing to deliver them, but the National Guard won't let them in to New Orleans.

It's so good to hear from you. I'm pasting the story of how I got out below. Please do forward this around and tell everyone what is really going on in New Orleans so they can urge the government to LET PEOPLE IN so they can help their friends and families. That is the only thing we can do right now.



They have shut off the tap water. They want to stem disease from drinking contaminated water, but at least if they gave us contaminated water, we could boil it. I feel panic welling up- why didn't I fill up more jugs when we had tap water? Since the water has been on a few days, we have grown complacent. We have been taking showers, so the bathtub is empty. I feel so stupid.

Also, we sense that the situation in the streets has deteriorated. Fewer and fewer of our bohemian friends, and people in general, are left. Sinister young men walk down these mostly deserted streets. There is an ominous sense of abandonment.

We decide we must get out, and try to contact everyone we know who owns a car, by telephone and walking. No one with a car is left in the city. We decide at least to relocate to Jimmy's apartment, which is more secure. We then see our new friends/neighbors, Niko, Melissa, and Rarig. They propose bicycling out of the city to Baton Rouge. It seems a ludicrous idea at first, but on second thought, sounds feasible. The distance is 80 miles, and if we bring a very large amount of water, we could leave early in the morning and arrive in Baton Rouge by nightfall. We plan to meet at Molly's at 7am the next morning to depart, a bicycle tribe.

Back at Jimmy's, we tell him of our intentions, and he says he has heard of buses departing from major hotels. Jose and Jimmy set off in search of these chartered buses, and find that the Hotel Monteleone has chartered a fleet of 10 buses with state trooper escort to come in and evacuate their guests to Houston. There are 200 extra seats that they are selling to residents at $45 a seat (at cost). Jose on his way to pick up his forgotten green card and passport passes Niko, Melissa, and Rarig. He tells them about the buses and to get down there. Back at his apartment, Jimmy packs up in 15 minutes, taking mostly gold. They get in line. I'm completely tense. Then, victory! They have gotten tickets. Everyone is happy. I'm relieved, but still tense. I won't be able to relax until we are physically on the bus. The buses are scheduled to arrive at 6:30pm. Teddy, Jimmy's neighbor who decided to stay, will securely bar the front door to their building from the inside at 8pm. At that point, we won't be able to get back in.

Waiting. 6:30pm comes and goes. 7:30pm. 8:30pm. 9:30pm . waiting for the fleet of 10 buses. It's getting dark, and scary. We have police with double barrel shotguns to guard us, and protect against a rush on the buses, but there are only four of them. The French Quarter is ominous at night; terrifying if away from the police escort with their double barrel shotguns. At this point, a cheer goes up, but instead of a fleet of ten chartered buses, a single Jefferson Parish school bus shows up. The driver gets out & talks with the hotel organizer. Jose hovers around nearby, discreetly listening. The buses have been commandeered by the police- the Monteleone paid for them, but they have been stolen by the state. (The state says they need them to evacuate the sick and elderly, but why can't the state get ahold of its own buses??? They should have a fleet of 100 buses taking people out, and should have had that fleet by Monday night, but instead they do nothing until a private party takes action to help itself, and then they steal the buses.) The hotel manager is livid & angrily but quietly decides to try to "negotiate" with the state. He is not letting on to the guests that the buses have been confiscated- no one knows except those like Jose that are discreetly but actively gathering information. Allan Toussaint and his wife coolly gather their bags and get on the school bus.

Jose speaks to the bus driver. For $50 cash each, he will take us to Baton Rouge. I have $61, Jose has $14, Kip (Jimmy's neighbor, a transplant patient who needs regular dialysis and is already overdue) has $20, and Jimmy has $50. I ask desperately and ridiculously if they take credit cards or checks. Of course they don't, and in fact they say that no one in the state is taking credit cards, because of all the possibility of theft. Jose turns to me and says "baby, if you want to take this bus. good luck to you" and I turn back "I won't leave without you." It's as simple as that. Then, I beg. I plead with the bus driver to take us- that our friend needs dialysis and that this is all the cash we have. I explain that we've already given $45 for the Monteleone ticket. He agrees to take what we have and we scramble on board. I love the feel of sitting on the hard metal floor of the stripped out bus. But I'm not relaxed yet. This bus, too, could be confiscated. (The police have tried twice to confiscate his bus, but he managed to escape.) I hold my knees close, and pray that we make it to Baton Rouge. The bus creeps along, silently taking back-streets out of New Orleans, over the Crescent City Connection (slight release of tension- we're officially out of the city) and out, through back roads, looping towards Donaldsville then over the Sunshine Bridge and then finally onto the I-10 just before Baton Rouge. At the city, I can hardly believe the familiar yet strange sight of lighted signs and streetlights. It has been pitch black in New Orleans since Sunday night. You can see the stars in the sky.

We are dropped off at the airport. I ask the bus driver for his address, so I can send him the difference. He declines (of course; this is obviously a pirated bus), and I thank him profusely. He will return to New Orleans throughout the night to rescue people wanting to escape.

Finally believing that we have really escaped, I can sigh in exhausted relief. The airport, full of refugees sleeping on the floor, is a wonderful place. We plug in our cell phones, and call Andre & Laura. They are there in minutes with their car to pick us up. Their house is luxurious, and Andre even cooks up some eggs and toast, with sliced tomatoes, for us. It is like heaven to be here, truly heavenly.

As the stories come spilling out of us, my happiness is marred only by a terrible sense of sadness for the others left behind, in the terror of a city steadily evacuated by bohemians and working class people and taken over by criminals and soldiers. The worst are the people still on their roofs, sitting there without food or water for days on end, or drowning. Also, the animals. Our neighbors, in a move of supremely cruel irresponsibility, left their dog in their apartment, locked in there. They told us nothing when they evacuated, did not give us a key, and we had no way of getting in. We heard the dog desperately scratching against the wall on Tuesday night, but were afraid to go outside to do anything about it. Wednesday, we heard no more sound from him. I feel incredibly guilty for not breaking a barred window to at least give him a chance to get out, in case he was still alive. I only hope that perhaps they left a long term supply of food and water, and that he is alive and only quiet, and will survive until they get back. I wish that I could go back, in an official vehicle loaded with water and supplies, to just drop off supplies and pick up people, taking them back and forth to Baton Rouge. But they are letting no one in to help. People outside the city want desperately to come in and rescue their friends and family members, and I'm sure many are willing to drive in supplies. If the government were competent to take care of the situation, then they could indeed take over. But they are NOT. (It is just one example that they can't get their shit together to get their own buses, just confiscating the buses of those who are more competent than they.) They NEED to LET PEOPLE BACK IN so they can help the residents trapped in the city.

Postscript: The day after writing this, Jose talked with an NPR reporter who told him what happened after we left. It is too horrific to believe, but this is what the reporter said. After unsuccessfully negotiating with the State, the Hotel Monteleone told the 500 people waiting that the buses would in fact never come. Then, they closed their doors! They left the people outside, on the streets in the dead of night in the dead-black lawless French Quarter! Some of the people cowered in Jackson Square in terror, while others tried to walk across the Crescent City Connection. They were, according to this source, then shot at by the police! They were not allowed to leave. Jose and I just broke down into wracking sobs, so tremendously helpless are we to help these others. I'm hoping this is untrue, I'm praying that this is not true and that those other waiting people eventually got out OK. How could it be true? Andre Codrescu, who we are staying with, assures me that it is true, and not a rumor, but I am still praying that there has been some mistake. How could it be true? How could it?
posted by @netwurker at 7:37 am

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Here are some great resources for giving money or volunteering in the
relief and recovery efforts:

The Sparkplug Foundation
has a great list of funding and volunteering options with
organizations that doing grassroots relief work that focuses on
people of color and poor people, especially groups that are run by,
or accountable to people of color and economically devastated

Tides Foundation
has a Rapid Response Disaster Relief Fund that specializes in
relief projects that serve those most in need and most forgotten or
disenfranchised from traditional relief organizations:

The League of Pissed Off Voters
has a New Orleans Fund, of which 100% of the money donated goes to
their work of building a team of media, organizing and advocacy-savvy
Nawleans refugees who are ready to write op-eds, fight, advocate,
support their displaced neighbors during this crisis, and work for
New Orleans to be restored in a way that includes the input of
ordinary people! donate_page_KEY=80

has a site where you can offer space for refugees to stay:

New Orleans Network
: In about 24-36 hours, the website that I'm working on with Shana
Sassoon and a whole team of volunteer techies will be functional as a
way for people to connect with and support the New Orleans refugees
in their area, It will also be a way for New Orleans refugees to find
each other in their exile communities and organize to take back their
city and make sure that it is rebuilt in ways that serve ALL New
Orleans residents. There will be exile community bulletin boards,
discussion boards, resource listings, advocacy how-to sheets, events
calendars, etc.

Finally, as the Neighborhood Story Project
, Abram and Rachel will spend the next 4 months working with refugee
high school students to document the stories of people living in the
Astrodome. They are in the process of reprinting the original
Neighborhood Story Project Books at a printshop in Houson. The
original books, each written by a highschool student about their
neighborhood in New Orleans, were the best-selling books in New
Orleans over the summer, behind Harry Potter 6. All remaining copies
were destroyed in the flooding.

Anyone who wants to help get their local independent bookstore to
take a box of these incredible books to sell as a way to raise money
for relief and recovery, and as a way to get out the amazing stories
of the people and neighborhoods of New Orleans, please contact me at

Abram and Rachel will need to raise thousands of dollars to reprint
the books and get them shipped out to bookstores. Information about
how to help will come soon, when they can get some sort of bank
accounts and 501c3 organization in Houston ­ after the holiday

Thanks for all that you are all doing, and for all of the kind words
and well wishes.

Sunday, September 04, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 5:17 pm
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: nina felshin
Date: Sep 3, 2005 9:03 PM
Subject: New Orleans-style Jazz Funeral March this Sunday!


New Orleans Jazz Funeral March
Sunday, Sep 4, 2:30 pm
Leaving 208 W. 13th Street

The new national organization called The World Can't
Wait--Drive Out the Bush Regime is calling on the
people of the city of New York to come together Sunday
afternoon at 2:30pm in a New Orleans-style Jazz
Funeral March in support of the people of New Orleans.
Our theme is Stop The Mass Murder Through Negligence
Now Going On In New Orleans And The Gulf Coast!
Rescue, Not Repression! The World Can't Wait-Drive
Out the Bush Regime. Horns will blow with sadness,
anger and determination to stop the suffering and
death caused by government negligence. The people
should be housed in decent places and their needs must
be immediately met.

Our March will start at 2:30 Sunday afternoon at the
Gay and Lesbian Center at 208 W. 13th in Manhattan. We
will march to the West Village and up to the Theater
District in midtown. Musicians and artists and every
human being who is sick at heart sitting on their
couch watching the mass destruction of lives in New
Orleans, come out with your instruments, drums,
homemade signs, your voices, yourselves. 2:30pm,
Sunday, tomorrow, September 4. Join the Drive Out the
Bush Regime New Orleans style Jazz Funeral March.
Call 347-693-3319. Call 347-693-3319. The world
can't wait.
posted by @netwurker at 11:12 am

From: "{-- lo_y. }"

(lots of stories like this on

State Police in Lafayette, Louisiana, have been accussed of hindering attempts by private citizens to rescue people trapped by floodwaters in New Orleans. The accusations were contained in an unconfirmed report received via email by Jason Robideaux, an attorney from Lafayette.

The email was written by a person who claimed to be part of "a group of approximately 1,000 citizens pulling 500 boats" heading into New Orleans to rescue people still stranded in places such as hospitals. The email claimed that the members of the flotilla were ".. experienced boaters, licensed fishermen and hunters, people who have spent their entire adult life and teenage years on the waterways of Louisiana."

The email reports that a Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries (DWF) agent ordered them to turn around and go home.

"We then specifically asked the DWF agent that we (and other citizens in the flotillia) be allowed to go to the hospitals and help evacuate the sick and the doctors and nurses stranded there. We offered to bring these people back to Lafayette, in our own vehicles, in order to ensure that they received proper and prompt medical care," the email said.

"The DWF agent did not want to hear this and ordered us home. We complied with the DWF agent's orders, turned around and headed back to Lafayette along with half of the flotillia. However, two of my friends were pulling my other boat, a smaller 15ft alumaweld with a 25 hp. The DWF agents let them through to proceed to the rescue operation launch site," the email continued.

The email also reported hundreds of DWF agents who were not being utilised.

"My two friends were allowed to drive to the launch site where the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were launching their rescue operations (via boat). They reported to me that there were over 200 DWF agents just standing around and doing nothing. My friends were kept there for approximately 3 hours. During that time they observed a large number of DWF agents doing nothing. After three hours had passed they were told that they were not needed and should go home. They complied with the DWF's orders and turned around and went home to Lafayette," the email said.

The accusations are yet to be confirmed.
Friday, September 02, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 3:22 pm

Sender: "Invention list, Florida Media Arts Center"

From: Greg Ulmer
Subject: WMD

I asked Mr. Mentality for his comments on how the Bush administration
would respond to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Some of his more
relevant remarks follow


It took me some while to get up to speed. I entered "katrina" in Google
image search and had to sort through quite a few irrelevant pics, plus
getting around the child-filter at the public library etc.

I expect Dick Cheney will test the phrase Weather of Mass Destruction
(WMD) and float a scenario for invading Nigeria or one of the other West
Coast African nations, in order to begin a "weather building" initiative.
The logic is that what worked against terrorism should work equally
well against nature. The links between al Qaeda and the storms originating
in Africa are clear and proven. Meanwhile, the president will use the
occasion to recall the troops from Iraq, to help with the recovery efforts
along the Gulf Coast. His press secretary will insist that we are still
staying the course in the "Gulf".

----------------------------end fwd


From: Craig Saper
Subject: WMD, finger pointing

Spirit Finger and Angry is Mounting in N.O.

The Bush administration has said now is not the time for finger pointing
(refering perhaps to the fact that Bush cut funding to fix the specific levees
that gave way and reversed a Clinton-era plan to address the general flooding
problems in N.O.). Bush said that no one could have predicted the levees would
break (FEMA said before the storm that it was one of the MOST LIKELY disasters
to occur in the US). Bush has appointed Bill Clinton to handle the situation.
One wonders what Mr. Mentality might say about FINGER POINTING and KEEPING
SPIRITS UP. Mr. Mentality has discussed (predicted) that FINGER POINTING with
spirit hands in football stadiums would play a role.

The Gulf flooding, Gulf wars, Gulfport, and Golfing Vacation may be a grande

Keep pointing your fingers.