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Sunday, September 04, 2005

A voice from New Orleans

the Survival of New Orleans blog

Sig and I went down to the street to head over to Baronne to check out some tenant housing the company owns and make sure the building is still secure. The water down Poydras has receded about one and 1/2 block as you head toward the Dome. Baronne street the water has receded to about 2 blocks down from Poydras as you head to Canal. Still very significant flooding that way and the water is absolutely nasty. The surface is a rust-covered gunk that is difficult to describe; luckily, Sig took some pictures. We saw some signs of looting and there was a car there which had been completely crushed under a wall of bricks which fell down from the 3rd floor of a now-exposed condo. Law enforcement have absolutely lost their minds. Some guy wearing khaki fatigues and black vests which say Police on them have their faces covered in black ski masks and are touting M4-A1s with front hand grips -- like they're some kind of Delta Force operators waiting to hit the tire house. They're guarding the four corners around the Bell South building for crying out loud. And what, they need secret identities? Come on. You can just tell some of these guys have never gotten out before. Now's their big chance to play Army. The police presence is growing and it consists of non-stop driving around the CBD. Dozens and dozens of cars just driving up one street and down the other. We're safe from civil unrest now, that much is certain.

A blog from the City of New Orleans with first hand accounts of what is happening in that suffering city

the Survival of New Orleans blog
'They're not giving us what we need to survive'
The Observer

Only now, a week after Hurricane Katrina roared across the Deep South, leaving a trail of devastation across America's psyche, is the true story of the Battle of New Orleans emerging. As convoys of commandeered school buses and Greyhound coaches transported tens of thousands of refugees out of the submerged city yesterday, in a belated and much-criticised relief operation, each vehicle brought with it new tales of horror.

Those trapped inside the two main shelters, the Superdome and the Convention Centre, paint a picture of a city that was subsumed beneath waves of violence, rape and death and accuse the police and National Guard of standing by, ignoring their pleas for help. The claims are rejected by the federal and state authorities, who instead suggest the looting and lawlessness which followed the extensive flooding of the city was the result of a series of isolated incidents perpetrated by a few. But it is clear from talking to survivors that what happened in New Orleans last week was far more extensive, bloody and terrifying than the authorities have admitted so far.

'We had to wrap dead people in white sheets and throw them outside while the police stood by and did nothing,' said Correll Williams, a 19-year-old meat cutter from the Crowder Road district in the east of the city, who waded two miles through waist-high water to make it to the Convention Centre after hearing on the radio it was being turned into a refuge.

'The police were in boats watching us. They were just laughing at us. Five of them to a boat, not trying to help nobody. Helicopters were riding by just looking at us. They weren't helping. We were pulling people on bits of wood, and the National Guard would come driving by in their empty military trucks.'


If this is the way that the World's superpower deals with a disaster, then God help us all.

What country is really prepared for a disaster of this size?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

London hit again

- London was shaken but not bloodied by bus
and train blasts that clearly echoed those two weeks ago in the choice of
targets but not in their deadliness. Three strikes hit the British capital's
underground rail network and a fourth device went off on a red double-decker
bus, just as on July 7 when more than 50 people died, but this time only one
person was hurt. As anxiety eased, Londoners wondered if luck had spared them
fresh carnage or if they had been victims of copycat attacks just aimed to
scare, but the city police chief was in no doubt. "The intention must have been
to kill," Ian Blair said.

Passengers on at least two of the "Tube" trains told of would-be bombers
fleeing after the small, near-simultaneous lunchtime explosions, which police
said might have been detonators going off but failing to trigger a bomb. Friday
newspapers focused on the fact the perpetrators appeared to have got away. "Four
suicide bombers on the loose," was the tabloid Sun's headline. "I was sitting on
the Tube not paying much attention to anything and I heard a pop, like a really
big balloon had burst, then I saw a little smoke," passenger Kate Reid told the
BBC. "I saw a bag on the floor next to a young man who looked really scared. We
pulled into the Oval station and he just sprinted away as soon as the doors

Monday, March 14, 2005

E.P. Ode Pour L'election De Son Sepulchre

by Ezra Pound


For three years, out of key with his time,
He strove to resuscitate the dead art
Of poetry; to maintain "the sublime"
In the old sense. Wrong from the start--

No, hardly, but seeing he had been born
In a half savage country, out of date;
Bent resolutely on wringing lilies from the acorn;
Capaneus; trout for factitious bait;

Idmen gar toi panth, hos eni troie
Caught in the unstopped ear;
Giving the rocks small lee-way
The chopped seas held him, therefore, that year.

His true Penelope was Flaubert,
He fished by obstinate isles;
Observed the elegance of Circe's hair
Rather than the mottoes on sun-dials.

Unaffected by "the march of events,"
He passed from men's memory in l'an trentuniesme
de son eage;the case presents
No adjunct to the Muses' diadem.


The age demanded an image
Of its accelerated grimace,
Something for the modern stage
Not, at any rate, an Attic grace;

Not, certainly, the obscure reveries
Of the inward gaze;
Better mendacities
Than the classics in paraphrase!

The "age demanded" chiefly a mould in plaster,
Made with no loss of time,
A prose kinema, not, not assuredly, alabaster
Or the "sculpture" of rhyme.


The tea-rose tea-gown, etc.
Supplants the mousseline of Cos,
The pianola "replaces"
Sappho's barbitos.

Christ follows Dionysus,
Phallic and ambrosial
Made way for macerations;
Caliban casts out Ariel.

All things are a flowing
Sage Heracleitus say;
But a tawdry cheapness
Shall outlast our days.

Even the Christian beauty
Defects--after Samothrace;
We see to kalon
Decreed in the market place.

Faun's flesh is not to us,
Nor the saint's vision.
We have the press for wafer;
Franchise for circumcision.

All men, in law, are equals.
Free of Pisistratus,
We choose a knave or an eunuch
To rule over us.

O bright Apollo,
Tin andra, tin heroa, tina theon,
What god, man or hero
Shall I place a tin wreath upon!


These fought in any case,
And some believing,
pro domo, in any case...

Some quick to arm,
some for adventure,
some from fear of weakness,
some from fear of censure,
some for love of slaughter, in imagination,
learning later...
some in fear, learning love of slaughter;

Died some, pro patria,
non "dulce" not "et decor"...
walked eye-deep in hell
believing old men's lies, then unbelieving
came home, home to a lie,
home to many deceits,
home to old lies and new infamy;
usury age-old and age-thick
and liars in public places.

Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
Young blood and high blood,
fair cheeks, and fine bodies;

fortitude as never before

frankness as never before,
disillusions as never told in the old days,
hysterias, trench confessions,
laughter out of dead bellies.


There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization,

Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
Quick eyes gone under earth's lid,

For two gross of broken statues,
For a few thousand battered books.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

THIS is a Test

THIS is a Test
THIS is a Test
THIS is a Test
THIS is a Test


To me, dear steeds,
The hour is fast approaching.
The world of our deeds, it needs.
Moon from her litter is hurriedly retreating.

My chariot is fit
For another day is writ.
Across the heavens, arching,
Shall once more we be marching.

My bed is full of uncomfortable dreams
While she was abroad, to me, it seems
I lay in the shadows of visions and men
Trying to escape for four score and ten.

That miserable hag has vanished once more,
Once more it is time to even the score.
Destinies game, I hope, is not endless.
For here in the heavens I am eternally friendless.

No Hercules to aide, to lighten my load.
If just for a moment, to soften the blow,
Of eons spent living this unenviable show,
From high in the firmament, I follow this road.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Friday, February 18, 2005