Monday, October 03, 2005

how sad, only after a month people have basically forgotten about Katrina and it's victims. In the end this will help my and my site but it is sad that we have such a short attention span as a nation. Granted my life has gotten back to "normal" but what is even normal these days, I will have to do some digging for posts but not to fear I will try and updaet this site 3-7 times a week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Courtesy of Fox
Helping Katrina Victims
Friday, September 02, 2005
By Gail Buckner, CFP

Click image to enlarge
•Relief Comes to New Orleans in Full Force
Dear Friends,
The tragic loss and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina are truly overwhelming. The pictures we’re seeing and personal stories we’re hearing don’t begin to describe the scope of the destruction — not only of property, but more importantly, of lives. It’s as if a tsunami hit our country’s Gulf Coast.

The human reflex is to want to reach out and help. For most of us, this will take the form of financial assistance. But before you write that check, take a moment to investigate out the organization you’re giving it to. As we’ve seen in previous natural disasters, like swamp snakes, scam artists slither out of the woodwork during times like these.

GuideStar is a clearinghouse for information about nonprofit organizations. Its Web site, , only lists bona fide charities, i.e. organizations that are either registered with the I.R.S. or have provided proof that they meet I.R.S. criteria for tax-exempt entities. If an organization isn’t listed, there’s a chance your donation will not be tax-deductible.

"The only way a charitable deduction will decrease your income tax bill is if you itemize," according to John Battaglia, Tax Director at Deloitte Private Client Advisors. This means that instead of taking the standard deduction allowed, you fill out Schedule A of your federal tax return. In addition to charitable contributions, other items you can include on Schedule A are state and local taxes, real estate taxes, and mortgage interest.

For instance, the standard deduction in 2004 for a couple filing married/joint was $9,700. “You get this whether you give or not,” says Battaglia. However, if your charitable donations and other Schedule A deductions exceed this amount, you’re better off itemizing.

Unlike other deductions, such as business expenses, you don’t have to meet a certain level of charitable contributions before they start to reduce your taxable income. For every dollar you donate, you can subtract a dollar. There is also no “phase-out” for higher income tax payers.

This should give you an idea of how much the government wants to encourage us to be generous: charitable contributions are fully deductible even if you are subject to the alternative minimum tax.

However, “there is a limit on how much you can deduct in a given year,” says Battaglia. But few people are going to find this a problem: the maximum deduction for cash contributions, which is 50 percent of your adjusted gross income. Any excess is carried forward and deducted in future tax years.

If you are considering donating a used vehicle, keep in mind the rules got much stricter this year. If you volunteer your time and services, these are never deductible. However, any travel, food, or lodging expenses you incur because of your volunteer work are deductible, so save these receipts.

While you don’t need a receipt for a contribution of under $250, if you’re donating property, you can only deduct the current fair market value. The I.R.S. cautions that “you should claim only what the item would sell for at a garage sale, a flea market, or second hand or thrift store.” In addition, if your total non-cash contributions for the year exceeds $500 you have to attach Form 8283 to your tax return. If you donate any single item worth more than $5,000, you’ll probably need to justify your deduction with an appraisal.

I.R.S. Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, answers a lot of questions about this topic. If you’re looking for guidance about how to put a value on donated property, check out I.R.S. Publication 561.

But, again, even if you fill out your tax return properly, you won’t get a deduction if your donation wasn’t made to a “qualified” organization. Remember, crooks won’t hesitate to claim a religious affiliation if it makes it easier to take your money. According to GuideStar, if a faith-based organization is asking for a donation and isn’t listed on their website, “ask to see its official listing in a directory for its denomination.”

“The greatest portion of charitable giving in this country goes to religious institutions,” says GuideStar spokesperson Suzanne Coffman. Many faith-based groups, such as the Salvation Army, also provide disaster relief. The best approach is to donate to these organizations either directly by check or credit card, or through your place of worship. Coffman advises caution about giving to someone who knocks on your door, “even if they claim to represent that organization.

Before you donate, take a moment to think about how you want to help Katrina victims. Some nonprofits have very specific missions, such as providing food to disaster victims; others, such as the American Red Cross, have broader mandates and provide a wide range of help. Many organizations have secure links that enable you to donate by credit card over the Internet (see below).

To be certain your contribution will be well spent, spend a few minutes on the GuideStar website to compare charities. A few clicks of your mouse will tell you how much of the money a collected is actually used for a nonprofit’s “mission” compared to paying staff, overhead, and soliciting contributions.

Trust your gut instincts. For the sake of the people you’re trying to help as well as your own, don’t give money to any organization you have doubts about. “There are nearly a million charities in this country,” says Coffman. “If you don’t feel comfortable giving to one, you’ll find another you [will] be comfortable giving to.”

After speaking with a number of individuals at various disaster relief organizations, I’ve come away with two things to keep in mind: 1. Before donating ask the folks who are experts in disaster aid what is most needed. 2. Don’t just write a check and forget them; it’s going to take months and possibly years for the victims of Katrina to put their lives back together.

Thoughts from the Disaster Relief Experts

The first charity we think of when we hear the word “disaster” is the American Red Cross. While you might want to help Katrina victims by collecting clothing, blankets, and other household goods, a spokesperson in the Washington, D.C. headquarters says, “At this point, the best thing individuals can do is support us with funds.”

A major effort is underway onsite to coordinate the distribution of basic necessities and, as you can imagine, the situation is very confusing at this point. Right now, sending a truckload of jackets, kitchen appliances, or mattresses to the area will only make things worse. The time will come for these things in the weeks and months ahead. The holidays are going to be particularly bleak for the hundreds of thousands of people left homeless.

Right now Hurricane Katrina is the disaster that’s on our minds. Unfortunately, there will be others. For the sake of your loved ones, visit and follow the “Six Steps to Prepare for Disaster,” which involves everything from making a plan to volunteering through your local Red Cross Chapter.

Make sure your furry and feathered family members are included in your plans. Pet owners can find a disaster preparedness checklist at the website of the Humane Society of the United States ( ).

The HSUS is sending Disaster Animal Response Teams (DART) to the hurricane-affected areas to search for animals that may have been left behind because of the hurricane. “People have been calling us with exact locations for their stranded animals,” says HSUS Public Relations Manager Belinda Mager. Once these sites are checked, the teams will start searching building-by-building.

Like the Red Cross, the Humane Society has received calls from people volunteering to help. “You have to understand it’s a very dangerous situation,” says Mager. “You can’t just drive down with a bag of dog food.” But you can help the next time disaster strikes by becoming trained as a DART volunteer. At this point, she says, money is what is needed most as “it’s very expensive” to send in these animal rescue teams.

Both the American Red Cross and Humane Society of the United States, as well as other relief organizations, will allow you to specify that your donation be used to help Katrina victims simply by writing this on your check.

Give what you can. You never know when you might be on the receiving end.


To Donate to the American Red Cross:

By U.S. Mail:

American Red Cross

Disaster Relief Fund

P.O. Box 37243

Washington, D.C. 20013

By phone:


Via the Internet:

To Donate to the Humane Society of the U.S.:

By U.S. Mail:


2100 L St., NW

Washington, DC 20037

Via the Internet:

or go to and click on the link to the Disaster Relief Fund

If you have a question for Gail Buckner and the Your $ Matters column, send them to: , along with your name and phone number.

Gail Buckner and regret that all letters cannot be addressed and that some might be combined in order to more completely address a topic.

To access Gail's past columns, simply use our new "Search" function: type in "Buckner" and you'll be able to get all Your $ Matters columns since April 2001.

The views expressed in this article are those of Ms. Buckner or the individual commentator. You should consult your own financial adviser for advice regarding your particular financial circumstances. This article is for information only and is not an offer of the sale of any mutual fund or other investment.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Red Cross seeks 40,000 volunteers
The American Red Cross made an urgent plea Saturday for 40,000 new volunteers to help feed, house and comfort Hurricane Katrina victims. Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers estimated New Orleans could be drained in about three weeks instead of the earlier estimate of 80 days.

Let's make it happen people!

Friday, September 09, 2005 is the most informative website out there. Alex Jones could be a friend of mine. He is wrong about 9/11 but is right about everything that is going on there now.

look at these articles:
Evacuees Treated as Internees by FEMA
Foreign mercenaries killing US citizens?
Wayne Madsen | September 9 2005

Reports continue to come into WMR that evacuees from New Orleans and Acadiana who have been scattered across the United States are being treated as "internees" and not dislocated American citizens from a catastrophe. Some FEMA facilities are preventing these internees from leaving on their own. Reports of mandatory registration and the issuing of FEMA ID cards suggest that FEMA, an agency that is rife with right-wing security goons and severely lacking in humanitarian workers, has other motives in treating poor and destitute American citizens as prisoners in their own country.

Meanwhile, WMR is receiving reports that mercenary private military contractors (PMCs) are now operating in the New Orleans metropolitan area. These may include foreign nationals with questionable human rights records in their native South Africa, Israel, Colombia, El Salvador, Britain, and Australia. PMCs have been extremely active in occupied Iraq, especially under the aegis of massive Pentagon omnibus contracts awarded to Halliburton and its Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiary. Joseph Allbaugh, the former FEMA director under Bush and current FEMA director Michael "Brownie" Brown's college roommate, is currently a registered lobbyist for disaster relief business for Kellogg Brown & Root. Allbaugh's lobbying firm is called the Allbaugh Group. Halliburton has recently been awarded lucrative contracts to repair U.S. Naval bases damaged by Katrina.

The presence of PMCs is worrisome. There are unconfirmed reports of mercenaries shooting residents of New Orleans and that mercenaries are involved in burning the bodies of victims in makeshift crematoria set up throughout the city. Three mercenary companies have been reported to be in the Nedw Orleans area: Blackwater USA, Steele Foundation, and Wackenhut. The reported burning of bodies could be an attempt by the White House to suppress the total death count to an "acceptable," "manageable," and "spinnable" level.

FEMA is anything but a humanitarian rescue and recovery organization. It is once again a hotbed of security goons as it was under Reagan and GHW Bush. The past is prologue.

A little history on FEMA: " When Ronald Reagan took over the presidency in 1981 he named his old California National Guard chief, retired General Louis Giuffrida as his emergency czar. Giuffrida had a tainted image as California's National Guard commander. He drew up lists of 'militant negroes' who were to be rounded up in emergencies. He designed 'Operation Cable Splicer,' which kept track of political dissidents in California, especially anti-Vietnam War protestors. When Giuffrida took over at FEMA, he began to embark on similar projects. FEMA began to store some 12,000 names it had obtained from the FBI's domestic intelligence files. FBI Director William Webster was so outraged at this interference in FBI matters he forced FEMA to turn the list back to the FBI. FEMA's surveillance lists may have included at least 100,000 U.S.A. citizens that were assumed to be potential threats to security. These included the names of survivalists and tax protestors." -- Wayne Madsen, Handbook of Personal Data Protection, Stockton Press (NY) and Macmillan (London), 1992.

Meanwhile, ABC News has reported that National Guard troops and police are arresting and confiscating the weapons of those in New Orleans who have refused to leave their homes. These include residents of some of the more affluent areas of New Orleans. What say you now National Rifle Association? You helped put these people in power and now your members are being arrested and having their weapons taken by the military and police. Does the NRA still support the Bush regime?

Locals believe Levees were Intentionally blown
Evidence suggests there were "cracks" in levees that were intentionally ignored, questions over how they failed.

Prisonplanet | September 9 2005
By Steve Watson

Could the levees in New Orleans have been INTENTIONALLY blown out in order to save sections of the city deemed to be more important?

The locals certainly seem to think so, yet, as usual, the mainstream media is barely picking up on this wave of opinion, so it is left to us once again to bring the issue into the open.
FEMA Deliberately Sabotaging Hurricane Relief Efforts

Government Sabotage Of Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts

When Katrina hit, it drifted 15 miles to the east of where forecasters said it would strike. Therfore it wasn't quite the monster described. The storm passed through with relatively minor damage, it was the the storm surge from the Gulf that caused Lake Pontchartrain to rise three feet and the subsequent flooding. Katrina hit early on Monday 29th August, the levees broke in three places - along the Industrial Canal, the 17th Street Canal, and the London Street Canal.

The main storm surge from Hurricane Katrina washed into Lake Pontchartrain at around 7AM on August 29th when the counterclockwise motion of Katrina was pushing water from the Gulf of Mexico into the lake.

Some are questioning the timeline of the levee failures, suggesting that there was a 21 hour discrepancy between the storm surge and the collapse of the levees . This is not the case. The first levee broke just a few hours after the hurricane hit on the same morning.

This confusion may have arisen due to the fact that Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff has said that the levees broke overnight between Monday-Tuesday, and theat he was not informed of this til midday Tuesday.

The breach of the 17th Street Canal levee resulted in the failure of a crucial pumping station nearby, according to a statement made by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

However, it seems that this exact scenario was expected and ignored. In an interview with New Orleans radio station local radio station WWL-AM, Nagin revealed how irate he was that this had been allowed to happen:

Nagin: You know what really upsets me, Garland? We told everybody the importance of the 17th Street Canal issue. We said, "Please, please take care of this. We don't care what you do. Figure it out."

WWL: Who'd you say that to?

Nagin: Everybody: the governor, Homeland Security, FEMA. You name it, we said it. And they allowed that pumping station next to Pumping Station 6 to go under water. Our sewage and water board people ... stayed there and endangered their lives. And what happened when that pumping station went down, the water started flowing again in the city, and it starting getting to levels that probably killed more people. In addition to that, we had water flowing through the pipes in the city. That's a power station over there. So there's no water flowing anywhere on the east bank of Orleans Parish. So our critical water supply was destroyed because of lack of action.

It has emerged though that some kind of work was carried out on the 17th Street Canal levee. Reports have suggested that the funding was not there to complete the job, but some work had been done:

"The Senate was seeking to restore some of the SELA funding cuts for 2006. But now it's too late. One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer was a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday."

Of course we know that it was the White House that slashed funding for such projects in order to pump more money into the war in Iraq.

According to the New York Times, Dr. Shea Penland of the Pontchartrain Institute was surprised because the break was "along a section that was just upgraded. It did not have an earthen levee, it had a vertical concrete wall several feet thick."

It also seems that the broken section of the Industrial Canal levee was having "construction" work done on it recently.

New York Times science reporter Dr. Andrew Revkin has stated of the 17th Street Canal that "officials and [Army Corps] engineers said that after they had found the widening gap in the concrete wall on the eastern side of the canal, they had no quick-response plan to repair it."

Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, commander of the corps, said "plugging the gap was a lower priority." The corps is directed by FEMA. "It is FEMA who is really calling the shots and setting priorities here,"

Alfred C. Naomi, a senior project manager for the corps, was quoted in the same article as saying "there were still no clear hints why the main breach in the flood barriers occurred along the 17th Street Canal, normally a conduit for vast streams of water pumped out of the perpetually waterlogged city each day and which did not take the main force of the waves roiling the lake. He said that a low spot marked on survey charts of the levees near the spot that ruptured was unrelated and that the depression was where a new bridge crossed the narrow canal near the lakefront."

This would refute the speculation that a dip in the retaining levee or walls might have allowed water to slop over and start the collapse. So we have an unexplained crack in several feet of concrete. FEMA decided not to plug it and let the water flow until a US city was flooded and thousands had drowned.

Dynamite? History repeating itself?

Many locals have come forward to suggest that the levees were breached on purpose by the authorities. Resident Andrea Garland, now re-located to Texas, wrote in her blog:

"Also heard that part of the reason our house flooded is they dynamited part of the levee after the first section broke - they did this to prevent Uptown (the rich part of town) from being flooded. Apparently they used too much dynamite, thus flooding part of the Bywater. So now I know who is responsible for flooding my house - not Katrina, but our government."

This scenario is not so crazy as it sounds, in fact this exact thing has happened before in the same city. In 1927, the Mississippi River broke its banks in 145 places, depositing water at depths of up to 30ft over 27,000 square miles of land.

The disaster changed American society, shifting hundreds of thousands of delta-dwelling blacks into northern cities and cementing the divisions and suspicions that benign neglect has ensured remain today. New Orleans’ (mainly white) business class pressurised the state to dynamite a levee upstream, releasing water into (mainly black) areas of the delta. Black workers were forced to work on flood relief at gunpoint, like slaves.

Two parishes, St. Bernard and Plaquemines, which had a combined population of 10,000, were destroyed. Just before Katrina, these parishes had about 10 times the 1927 population. Both parishes are now under many feet of water.

This information is covered in depth in a book by John M. Barry entitled Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and how it Changed America, 1997 which has incidentally become heavily in demand after Katrina.

Furthermore, levees were also intentionally broke after Hurricane Betsy struck New Orleans in 1965, admittedly with less of an impact. The tactic of breaking the dikes is not uncommon, as this CNN report on China's floodplains highlights.

Engineers have now punched holes in several levees in parts of New Orleans where flood levels were higher than the water in drainage canals leading to Pontchartrain, in order to let water flow out.

Did the authorities decide to sacrifice the poor folks and blow the levees in order to save the French Quarter of New Orleans which houses the richer residents, the lucrative historical buildings and thousands of businesses?


There were reports of many explosions heard in New Orleans, officials say they were transformers blowing up. Total Information Analysis has reported a claim by intelligence expert Tom Heneghen that 25 earwitnesses cited explosions immediately before the levee breach.

Similar reports are now appearing in many web blogs:

"He also mentioned that right before the mass flood there was a loud sound like an explosion." - News from St. Bernard

"I'll tell you the worst thing I've heard and I heard it from my mother. She said she heard several blasts - big booms - right before the levees broke. Several blasts and then all the water came pouring in." - aangirfan

Although these are obviously not authoritative sources of information, it is interesting to note how many local people are reporting this. So interesting in fact that the mainstream has picked up on it in places.

The Washington Post reported on the comments of a retired school teacher:

"Mullen has a schoolteacher's kindly demeanor, so it was jarring to hear him say he suspected that the levee breaks had somehow been engineered to keep the wealthy French Quarter and Garden District dry at the expense of poor black neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth Ward -- a suspicion I heard from many other black survivors."

The Globe and Mail is also carrying a similar story.

ABC World News Tonight carried a report which contained an interview with a local, who described how a flloating barge had rammed the levee. The man seemed convined that the levee was purposefully broken. A transcript of which has appeared on the net:

David Muir: “Was it solely the water that broke the levee? Or was it the force of this barge that now sits where homes once did? Joe Edwards says neither. People are so bitter, so disenfranchised in this neighborhood, they actually think the city did it, blowing up the levee to save richer neighborhoods, like the French Quarter.”
Muir to Edwards as they stand on a bridge: “So you're convinced-”
Edwards: “I knows it happened.”
Muir: “-that they broke the levee on purpose?”
Edwards: “They blew it.”
Muir: “New Orleans’ Mayor says there's no credence to this.”
Mayor Ray Nagin: “That storm was so powerful and it pushed so much water -- there's no way anyone could have calculated -- would dynamite the levee to have the kind of impact to save the French Quarter.”
Muir concluded: “An LSU expert who looked at the video today, says that while the barge may have caused it, it was most likely the sheer force of the water that brought the levee, along the lower 9th ward, down.”

The mysterious barge story has also been reported by many other local residents. "The evacuees who witnessed the barge striking the levee also want to know why the major media is not covering this story."

The London Observer carried an intriguing story of a man named Correll Williams, a 19-year-old meat cutter. The article states that:

"Williams only left his apartment after the authorities took the decision to flood his district in an apparent attempt to sluice out some of the water that had submerged a neighbouring district. Like hundreds of others he had heard the news of the decision to flood his district on the radio. The authorities had given people in the district until 5pm on Tuesday to get out - after that they would open the floodgates."

So it's clear that barriers WERE being broken in an attempt to protect areas of the city.

Some final intruiging footage reveals a journalist questioning former President Bill Clinton as to why many locals feel that the levees were purposefully broken. This was during the press conference with Clinton and George Bush Snr announcing their combined "relief effort" for New Orleans. Ignore the first 15 minutes of sickening joking and backslapping between the two and skip to the last minute of footage. Upon hearing the question Clinton appears to be surprised and then simply walks off.

Total Gun Confiscation of Law Abiding Citizens Begins
Federal forces lead criminal gangs of police in America-killing gun grab

“The balloon has gone up, the shoe has dropped. Anyone doubting the criminal intentions of the social engineer control-freaks in Washington need only look at middle-class neighborhoods being stormed by black-masked wearing jackboots on a mission to steal guns.

This is a precedent setting case for national gun confiscation. This is a clear declaration of war by the Federal Government against the American people. This is exactly how Lexington and Concord started the Revolutionary War in 1775.”

– Alex Jones| September 9, 2005
By Alex Jones

The federal government has been chomping at the bit for decades to disarm the American people, and now an amalgamation of state and local police led by the BATF are having their deepest desire fulfilled in New Orleans.

Major newspapers are reporting that in middle-class neighborhoods undamaged by floodwaters paramilitary police are going door-to-door demanding citizens’ firearms.
Federalized State Guard, National Guard and Police Train to Dominate American Citizens, Take Over Local Governments

Roanoke emergency officials participate in mock terror drill

The New York Times even admitted that this is so that the citizenry cannot resist when they are physically forced to leave their homes.

Most of the residents are contentious nurses and power plant employees who are currently working in key areas of infrastructure. Others refuse to leave because early on they were told they would have to break up their families to do so. Still more refuse to leave and give up beloved family pets.

Hold outs, many of whom have a year’s supply of food and water filters, tell the police, “We’re the people who stopped the looters when you guys were nowhere to be seen in the first six days.”

So the Federal Government does a horrible job delivering food and water to people they told to go to the Superdome, and now, almost two weeks later, they say the city is under their control. Their main mission: going door-to-door and confiscating American citizens’ lawfully owned firearms. This is treason. This is sedition against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and our way of life.

I have been to over 10 urban warfare training drills where the military and the police work together. The national news always reports that it’s disaster relief training, when the truth is that they greedily train to subdue peaceful populations, disarm them and break up families.

Remember back in 1993, when Bill Clinton announced weapon sweeps of public housing without warrants. They did it to the disadvantaged then, and most people didn’t care. Now, they are doing it to the middle-class in plain view of the world.

They’re setting a precedent to take your property, to take your children, to take your guns. The courts have ruled over and over again that the police have no obligation to protect the public. At the same time, police have been trained that there really isn’t a Second Amendment and that Americans really don’t have a right to protect themselves.

This unfolding gun confiscation tragedy stands as a monument to the true intentions of this parasitic government. It wants you disarmed and under heel. It wants slaves – subjects, not citizens.

The law-abiding gun owning citizens of New Orleans are having their life line severed and the American people are witnessing a giant gun confiscation drill.

There should be a howling, screaming the likes of which has never been heard against the Bush administration that is in control of New Orleans. If we let them legitimize gun confiscation for security, they are going to use this all over the country.

Lord Bush is already licking his lips and talking about making Gonzalez, a person who is adamantly anti-gun, his pick to succeed Rehnquist.

All Americans can now count on this: when you're in trouble or when you're in crisis, the "authorities" aren't going to come with aid. They're going to send a squad of goons to take advantage of the situation, take your guns and drag you off to a FEMA camp. This is what we pay taxes for.


New Orleans Begins Confiscating Firearms as Water Recedes

New York Times | September 8 2005

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 8 - Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here.

No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.

But that order apparently does not apply to hundreds of security guards hired by businesses and some wealthy individuals to protect property. The guards, employees of private security companies like Blackwater, openly carry M-16's and other assault rifles. Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards, but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.

Nearly two weeks after the floods began, New Orleans has turned into an armed camp, patrolled by thousands of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, as well as National Guard troops and active-duty soldiers. While armed looters roamed unchecked last week, the city is now calm. No arrests were made on Wednesday night or this morning, and the police received only 10 calls for service, a police spokesman said.

The city's slow recovery is continuing on other fronts as well, local officials said at a news conference. Pumping stations are now operating across much of the city, and many taps and fire hydrants have water pressure. Tests have shown no evidence of cholera or other dangerous diseases in flooded areas, though health officials have said the waters contain unsafe levels of E. coli bacteria and lead.

Efforts to recover corpses have also started.

But there were still signs of confusion and uncertainty over government plans. FEMA's director, Michael D. Brown, had said his agency would begin issuing debit cards, worth at least $2,000 each, to allow hurricane victims to buy supplies for immediate needs. More than 319,000 people have already applied for federal disaster relief, and many evacuees began lining up at the Astrodome, in Houston, early today in hope of getting cards.

"The concept is to get them some cash in hand," Mr. Brown had said, "which allows them, empowers them, to make their own decisions about what they need to have to restart their lives."

But this afternoon, FEMA announced that it no longer planned to issue the cards. An agency spokesman, David G. Passey, said that he did not know why the program was scrapped but that now "we believe that our normal methods of delivery - checks and electronic funds transfer - will suffice."

In Washington, the House an Senate overwhelmingly approved $51.8 billion for relief efforts, the second disbursement since the storm devastated the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29. The funds include $50 billion for FEMA, $1.4 billion for the Department of Defense and an additional $400 million for the Army Corps of Engineers. The request follows a $10.5 billion package that President Bush signed on Friday and that is intended to address the immediate needs of survivors.

Hundreds of miles to the east, Ophelia, a tropical storm off the Florida coast, was upgraded to hurricane status this afternoon after its winds reached speeds of 75 miles per hour. Forecasters have predicted that Ophelia will turn east into the Atlantic Ocean during the next few days, although its path remains unclear.

With pumps running and the weather here remaining hot and dry, water has receded across much of New Orleans. Formerly flooded streets are now passable, although covered with leaves, tree branches and mud.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, Dan Hitchings, said 37 of the city's 174 permanent pumps were working this afternoon, removing about 11,000 cubic feet of flood water per second. The city's 174 pumps have the capacity to remove about 81,000 cubic feet of water each second when they are all operational.

While Mr. Hitchings would not try to quantify how much the water level in the city had dropped, he did say that "it's going down."

The Army Corps of Engineers continues to try to plug two levee breaks, Mr. Hitchings said, on London Avenue, and at the end of the Harbor Navigation Canal.

Many neighborhoods in the northern half of New Orleans remain under 10 feet of water, and Mr. Compass said today that the city's plans for a forced evacuation remained in effect because of the danger of disease and fires.

Mr. Compass said he could not disclose when New Orleans residents might be forced to leave en masse, but other police officers and law enforcement officials said the city planned to start as early as tonight.

The city's Police Department and federal law enforcement officers from agencies like the United States Marshals Service will lead the evacuation, Mr. Compass said. Officers will search houses in both dry and flooded neighborhoods, and no one will be allowed to stay, he said.

Many of the residents still in the city said they did not understand why the city remained intent on forcing them out.

"I know the risks," said Renee de Pontchieux, as she sat on a stool outside Kajun's Pub in the working-class Bywater neighborhood east of downtown. "We used to think we lived in America - now we're not so sure. Why should we allow this government to chase us out and allow people from outside to rebuild our homes? We want to rebuild our homes."

But Ms. De Pontchieux said she was resigned to being evacuated if the police insisted. "It would be foolish" to fight, she said.

This afternoon, President Bush announced a series of measures intended to make it easier for evacuees to receive state and federal assistance, like Medicaid and food stamps, to make the aid as "simple as possible to collect."

"There will be many difficult days ahead, especially as we recover those who did not survive the storm," he said, adding that he was declaring Sept. 16, next Friday, a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance.

Vice President Dick Cheney, accompanied by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, surveyed damaged neighborhoods in the Gulf Coast region today, and pledged that the federal government would help rebuild the devastated area.

Mr. Cheney visited Gulfport, Miss., and New Orleans, where flood waters are growing increasingly fetid and thousands of people are still insisting on staying, despite the evacuation order.

"The president asked me to come down to take a look at things, and to begin to focus on the longer term, in terms of making certain obviously that we're getting the search-and-rescue missions done and all those other immediate things," Mr. Cheney said after touring a neighborhood in Gulfport. "The progress we're making is significant."

Mr. Cheney's visit follows a visit earlier this week by President Bush, his second since the storm hit, following much criticism last week that the administration and federal agencies had been slow in responding to the disaster.

An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 people remain inside New Orleans more than a week after Hurricane Katrina hit, many in neighborhoods that are on high ground near the Mississippi River.

But the number of dead still remained a looming and disturbing question.

In the first indication of how many deaths Louisiana alone might expect, a spokesman for the State Department of Health and Hospitals, Robert Johannessen, said on Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had ordered 25,000 body bags. The official death toll remains under 100.

In Washington, House and Senate leaders announced a joint investigation into the government's response to the crisis. "Americans deserve answers," said a statement by the two top-ranking Republicans, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader. "We must do all we can to learn from this tragedy, improve the system and protect all of our citizens."

Democratic leaders, however, said they would not participate, citing a preference for an independent inquiry.

The government continued its efforts to help evacuees. At the Astrodome in Houston, where an estimated 15,000 New Orleans evacuees found shelter over the weekend, the number had dwindled to only about 3,000 on Wednesday as people were rapidly placed in apartments, volunteers' homes and hotels that had been promised reimbursement by FEMA.

With the overall death toll highly uncertain, Mr. Brown, the FEMA director, said in Baton Rouge that the formal house-to-house search for bodies had begun at midmorning. He said the temporary mortuary set up in St. Gabriel, La., was prepared to receive 500 to 1,000 bodies a day, with refrigeration trucks on site to hold the corpses.

"They will be processed as rapidly as possible," Mr. Brown said.

As it worked to remove the water inundating the city, the Corps of Engineers said that one additional pumping station, No. 6, at the head of the 17th Street Canal, had started up, and that about 10 percent of the city's total pumping capacity was in operation. But the corps added that it was dealing with a new problem: how to prevent corpses from being sucked to the grates at the pump inlets.

"We're expending every effort to try to ensure that we protect the integrity of remains as we get this water out of the city," said John S. Rickey, chief of public affairs for the corps. "We're taking this very personally. This is a very deep emotional aspect of our work down there."

Officials emphasized that as testing of the flood waters continued, substances in addition to E. coli bacteria and lead were likely to be found at harmful levels, especially from water taken near industrial sites.

"Human contact with the floodwater should be avoided as much as possible," the environmental agency's administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, said.

A spokesman for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said state and local officials had reported three deaths in Mississippi and one in Texas from exposure to Vibrio vulnificus, a choleralike bacterium found in salt water, which poses special risks for people with chronic liver problems.

At a news conference this morning, officials in New Orleans cautioned people to decontaminate themselves as best as possible when entering homes after wading through the floodwater.

Among the authorities, though, some confusion lingered about how a widespread evacuation by force would work, and how much support it would get at the federal and state level. Mayor C. Ray Nagin told the police and the military on Tuesday to remove all residents for their own safety, and on Wednesday, the police superintendent, Mr. Compass, said state laws give the mayor the authority to declare martial law and order the evacuations.

"There's a martial law declaration in place that gives us legal authority for mandatory evacuations," Mr. Compass said. "We'll use the minimum amount of force necessary."

But because the New Orleans Police Department has only about 1,000 working officers, the city is largely in the hands of National Guard troops and active-duty soldiers.

State officials said Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco could tell the Guard to carry out the forced removals, but they stopped short of a commitment to do so. In Washington, Lt. Gen. Joseph R. Inge, deputy commander of the United States Northern Command, said regular troops "would not be used" in any forced evacuation.

The state disaster law does not supersede either the state or federal Constitutions, said Kenneth M. Murchison, a law professor at Louisiana State University. But even so, Mr. Nagin's decision could be a smart strategy that does not violate fundamental rights, Professor Murchison said.

When police officers came to Billie Moore's 3,000 square foot Victorian to warn her of the health risks of remaining in the city, she pushed her identification tag from the hospital where she works as a nurse through slats in the door.

"I guess you know the health risks then," the officer said as he walked away.

Ms. Moore and her husband, Richard Robinson, who do not drive and use bicycles for the 5-mile ride to their jobs at the still-functioning Ochsner Hospital in suburban Jefferson Parish, have no plans to leave. Their circa-1895 home, on the city's southwest flank, suffered virtually no damage in the hurricane or its aftermath. They have been lighting an old gas stove with a match to cook pasta and rice, dumping cans of peas on top for flavor.

"We try to be normal and sit down and eat," Ms. Moore, 52, explained as she showed off the expansive, well-kept home where they have lived for 10 years. "I think that's how we'll stay healthy is if I keep the house clean."

Ms. Moore said she had not worked since the hurricane because there are few babies left at the hospital, but that she remains on standby; her husband has been on duty the past five days.

"I don't want to go, I don't want to lose my job," she said. "Who's going to take care of the patients if all the nurses go away?"

Alex Berenson reported from New Orleans for this article, and Timothy Williams from New York. Reporting was contributed by John Broder from New Orleans, Sewell Chan from Baton Rouge, La; Christine Hauser from New York, and Matthew L. Wald from Vicksburg, Miss.

Armed Mexican Troops Invade US
Eyewitnesses: Under cover of aid, combat ready soldiers roll into Texas

Alex Jones & Paul Joseph Watson | September 8 2005

This is absolutely a conditioning exercise to get the American people to accept the presence of foreign troops on American soil. The Globalists who are hell-bent on destroying this country are exploiting the horrible tragedy on the Gulf Coast to finally do what they've wanted to do for years: crush American soverignty. For years Alex Jones has been investigating the joint exercises held by US and foreign troops and has witnessed these forces training and preparing for this moment when they would be able to invade by invitation.

Two separate credible sources known to Alex Jones have reported that armed combat ready Mexican troops have entered Texas.

The Associated Press reported today that unarmed Mexican troops were being escorted by the US army to help relief efforts for hurricane Katrina.

However, the report was only specific to one convoy. The convoys reported to Alex Jones are said to be fully armed with Heckler & Koch German assault rifles.

The first sighting occurred at 12:30 on Highway 183 traveling towards Austin. The eyewitness described at least ten vehicles, four jeeps (other witnesses described them as Humvees) and six combat trucks brimming with armed Mexican troops wearing body armor, helmets and rifles. The troops riding in the jeeps were wearing holstered hand guns.

The vehicles were not being escorted by the US army or any other government vehicles and the vehicles were festooned with insignia reading 'Mexico MP's' and the Mexican flag.
Ongoing Desensitization: USJFCOM and U.S. Marine Corps Co-sponsor Joint Urban Warrior 05

The Nazification of America--Step Three

Mexican military enters Texas for first time since 1846

Pact would allow U.S. troops into Canada during emergency

Exclusive Photos from Operation Urban Warrior

More Exclusive Photos from Operation Urban Warrior

Mexican Troops Aid Katrina Efforts

The second sighting of a similar nature occurred north of Austin on I35 near Georgetown Texas.

Prison Planet contacted Congressman Ron Paul's office whose district is in Texas and the Congressman's response was, "any Mexican troops here period is illegal and unconstitutional.

Another source known to Alex Jones called the Austin Police Department and they said that they knew about the armed troops. The police asked if the troops had threatened the caller. The caller said they threaten the sovereignty of the country and the police laughed and hung up.

DPS Spokeswoman Lisa Block was the only person to answer any questions on the issue and she said that the main convoy of 45 vehicles, that was escorted by the Us Army and Texas state police, arrived in San Antonio at around 4:30pm on Thursday at the San Antonio Air Force Base formerly known as Old Kelly, now known as Kelly USA.

Alex Jones stated that there were multiple convoys scheduled to enter Texas today. Block stated that she had no knowledge of that. Regardless of how many Mexican troops are here or whether they are indeed armed as witnesses have stated, there's absolutely no need for them. Aid is literally cramming warehouses in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. The problem is that FEMA will not deliver it to the estimated 10,000 victims of Katrina, who have refused to leave New Orleans. FEMA already stated three days ago that these people would not receive any food or water. Many of these residents are middle class homeowners who would not have their families broken up in the first days of the rescue as the authorities demanded or more often they refused to leave their beloved pets behind. A small percentage are opportunistic criminals who want to continue looting.

Subsequently Prison Planet contacted the Larado border patrol station and asked the officer who answered the phone what his name was. He would only say that it was 'Robbie'. We asked if the Mexican troops that entered the US today were armed and he said "of course they are, what's the big deal." We then asked for his superior and were transferred to deputy chief Bill Jenkins and asked him if any of the convoys crossing into the US from Nuervo Larado were armed and he, in an agitated tone, said, "negative, negative, negative."

The bottom line is that we need answers and we need them now. We are in the process of contacting the Mexican consulate in Austin, FEMA and the FBI. Everyone else should contact them until we get some answers.

The amount of energy being expended in shepherding and handling the Mexican troops is greater than any aid they can render. We don't need their help.

The very notion that these troops are entering Texas to provide aid directly contradicts the fact that Alex Jones personally visited Austin Convention Center and saw piles of food and clothes lined up for refugees.

In other areas, aid is desperately required because FEMA has been deliberately sabotaging relief efforts. The LA Times reported today that "scores of police and volunteer firefighters from around the nation, as well as trucks loaded with donated water, were even now being prevented from entering New Orleans while troops conduct house-to-house searches."

FEMA has also been cutting communication lines. Sheriffs in several counties of New Orleans have set up armed guard patrols to prevent FEMA from further actions of sabotage.

FEMA has therefore intentionally created the climate for the justification of foreign troops entering the US.

Regarding the convoys, the Associated Press article stated,

"Army press office employee Francisco Aguilar said he did not have details of the convoy's precise location. It originally was scheduled to arrive in Houston to provide food for evacuees, but apparently had been rerouted to Dallas."

If the army does not know the location of the convoys or why they are heading for Dallas, beside the fact that they are armed, isn't that an issue of national security?

The fact that the Mexican soldiers are armed reminds us of a July 2004 incident where Mexican soldiers interrupted the funeral in Mexico of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq (pictured).

Mexican soldiers confronted US marines and blocked their path because the Marines were carrying two replica ceremonial rifles.

The Mexicans won't allow Marines to carry toy guns in their country and yet have the audacity to cruise through Texas armed to the teeth with assault weapons and nothing is done.

Mexican troops have also been caught on numerous occasions firing on US border patrol agents and civilians.

This is part of a steady conditioning process to make Americans accept foreign troops. Alex Jones has attended numerous urban warfare drills where US Marines are made to train with foreign troops.

Scottish residents complained in September 2003 after armed Ukrainian soldiers under NATO set up checkpoints and pulled families out of their cars during an exercise.

Security agreements have been signed allowing foreign troops to enter the US and vice versa. This is part of the incremental push to use foreign troops on US soil to order US citizens around in times of emergency.

The US has today asked NATO to provide a bigger response in the relief effort, opening the doorway for many more foreign troops to enter the US.

Today's Associated Press article is wrong in stating that this is the first time Mexican troops have entered the US since 1846. Alex Jones has personally attended urban warfare training drills across the country where Mexican troops have been present.

This is the only photo currently being carried by AP/Reuters showing the Mexican convoys. This is a convoy near Laredo, heading to San Antonio. it is important to make the distinction that some conveys such as this one are not armed but some, according to our eyewtinesses, are armed with assault rifles.

Why do the Mexican troops need guns? What message does that send?

If the troops are only going to Dallas and San Antonio, and not New Orleans, then why do they need to be armed?

Our sources were alarmed and frightened to witness the movement of armed Mexican soldiers in America with one stating, "Alex, we are in trouble."

Despite this, Reuters is currently running an article which claims that people are honking car horns, cheering and waving as the convoy makes its way along the border.

The convoys entered via the border city of Nuevo Laredo last night, an area that has seen violent running battles between Mexican police and the brutal los Zetas gang that has killed officers and kidnapped US citizens. The town of Nuevo Laredo is basically under a state of siege, causing the US to close their consulate in the city on August 8th, after bazookas, grenades and machine guns bombarded nearby buildings. Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona declared a state of emergency and the death toll just in the last few months has reached 600 but the mainstream media is largely ignoring the story.

We are asking people to call the state police to interdict and determine if these forces are indeed armed and if their guns have ammunition or if their weapons are ceremonial (which is doubtful).

We have already tried calling the contact number in the AP story, the Governor's office, the Pentagon and Northcom with absolutely no response. The AP article admits that the army does not know where the convoys are. It is important that we pinpoint the exact locations of these convoys and demand immediate disarmament of the Mexican soldiers.

Please spread this information far and wide. To all people in Texas or Louisiana, please try and get photos of the Mexican troops and e mail them to


Mexican Troops On US Soil

Associated Press | September 8 2005
By Olga R. Rodriguez

Mexican army convoys and a navy ship laden with food, supplies and specialists traveled to the United States Wednesday to help in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. It was a highly symbolic journey marking the first time Mexico's military has aided its northern neighbor.

A convoy of 45 vehicles and 196 soldiers arrived at the border city of Nuevo Laredo Wednesday night. It was to cross into U.S. territory early today, Gen. Francisco Ortiz Valadez told reporters as his men refueled at a local gas station.

He said the troops would help evacuee operations in San Antonio.

"Our mission is to give aid to the civilian population affected by the disaster," Ortiz said.

Federal police briefly blocked the highway in both directions as the convoy arrived at the gasoline station.

Radio talk shows and newspapers in Mexico buzzed with excitement over news that this country, long on the receiving end of U.S. disaster relief, was sending a hurricane aid convoy north.

The convoy represents the first Mexican military unit to operate on U.S. soil since 1846, when Mexican troops briefly marched into Texas, which had separated from Mexico and joined the United States.

The effort includes military specialists, doctors, nurses and engineers carrying water treatment plants, mobile kitchens, food and blankets.

"This is just an act of solidarity between two peoples who are brothers," said Ruben Aguilar, a spokesman for Mexican President Vicente Fox.

Army press office employee Francisco Aguilar said he did not have details of the convoy's precise location. It originally was scheduled to arrive in Houston to provide food for evacuees, but apparently had been rerouted to Dallas.

All of the convoy's partici pants will be unarmed. In July 2004, Mexican troops interrupted the funeral of a Mexican- born Marine killed in Iraq. They objected to the nonworking, ceremonial rifles carried by two Marines who came from the United States for the ceremony.

Mexico later apologized but said it has an obligation to enforce a ban on foreign troops carrying weapons in its territory.

The convoy has "a very high symbolic content," said Javier Oliva, a political scientist at Mexico's National Autonomous University. "This is a very sensitive subject, for historic and political reasons."

The relief mission was controversial for some Mexican lawmakers, who said the president should have sought Senate approval before sending troops abroad. But the Fox administration said no such approval was needed for aid missions. But it nevertheless later asked permission and the Senate approved it.

The government was planning to send a second, 12-vehicle aid convoy to the United States sometime this week and has sent a Mexican navy ship equipped with rescue vehicles and helicopters to the Mississippi coast.
I told you all!!! Argh, everything that was considered fringe 2 months ago is now mainstream.

Hurricane Simulation Predicted 61,290 Dead Wires
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2005
WASHINGTON -- As Katrina roared into the Gulf of Mexico, emergency planners pored over maps and charts of a hurricane simulation that projected 61,290 dead and 384,257 injured or sick in a catastrophic flood that would leave swaths of southeast Louisiana uninhabitable for more than a year.

These planners were not involved in the frantic preparations for Katrina. By coincidence, they were working on a yearlong project to prepare federal and state officials for a Category 3 hurricane striking New Orleans.
Story Continues Below

Their fictitious storm eerily foreshadowed the havoc wrought by Category 4 Katrina a few days later, raising questions about whether government leaders did everything possible - as early as possible - to protect New Orleans residents from a well-documented threat.
After watching many of their predictions prove grimly accurate, "Hurricane Pam" planners now hope they were wrong about one detail _ the death toll. The 61,290 estimate is six times what New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has warned people to expect.

"I pray to God we don't see those numbers," Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "My gut is ... we don't. But we just don't know."

The known Katrina death toll was less than 400 on Friday, but officials expect it to skyrocket once emergency teams comb through 90,000 square miles of Gulf Coast debris. Fears are particularly acute in New Orleans, where countless corpses lie submerged beneath a toxic gumbo that engulfed the city after levees gave way.

The death toll is just one of the many chilling details in a 412-page report obtained by the AP from a government official involved in the Hurricane Pam project. Written in ominous present-tense language, the report predicts that:

Flood waters would surge over levees, creating "a catastrophic mass casualty/mass evacuation" and leaving drainage pumps crippled for up to six months. "It will take over one year to re-enter areas most heavily impacted," the report estimated.

More than 600,000 houses and 6,000 businesses would be affected, more than two-thirds of them destroyed. Nearly a quarter-million children would be out of school. "All 40 medical facilities in the impacted area (are) isolated and useless," it says.

Local officials would be quickly overwhelmed with the five-digit death toll, 187,862 people injured and 196,395 falling ill. A half million people would be homeless.
The report calls evacuees "refugees" - a term now derided by the Bush administration - and says they could be housed at college campuses, military barracks, hotels, travel trailers, recreational vehicles, private homes, cottages, churches, Boy Scout camps and cruise ships.

"Federal support must be provided in a timely manner to save lives, prevent human suffering and mitigate severe damage," the report says. "This may require mobilizing and deploying assets before they are requested via normal (National Response Plan) protocols."

On the defensive, White House officials have said Louisiana and New Orleans officials did not give FEMA full control over disaster relief. The so-called Hurricane Pam plan, which was never put into effect, envisions giving the federal government authority to act without waiting for an SOS from local officials.

Under FEMA's direction, federal and state officials began working on the $1 million Hurricane Pam project in July 2004, when 270 experts gathered in Baton Rouge, La., for an eight-day simulation. The so-called "tabletop" exercise focused planners on a mock hurricane that produced more than 20 inches of rain and 14 tornadoes. The drill included computer graphic simulations projected on large screens of the hurricane slamming directly into New Orleans.

"We designed this to be a worst-case but plausible storm," said Madhu Beriwal, chief executive of Innovative Emergency Management Inc. of Baton Rouge, hired by FEMA to conduct the exercise.

The experts completed their first draft report in December 2004.

A follow-up workshop on potential medical needs took place in Carville, La., on Aug. 23-24 of this year, bringing together 80 state and federal emergency planning officials as well as Beriwal's team.

They produced an update on dealing with the dead and injured, and submitted it to FEMA's headquarters in Washington on Sept. 3. By then, Katrina had hit and the Bush administration, state and city officials were under heavy criticism for a sluggish response.

The report was designed to be the first step toward producing a comprehensive hurricane response plan, jointly approved and implemented by federal, state and city officials. But a lack of funding prohibited planners from quickly following up on the 2004 simulation.

"Money was not available to do the follow-up," Brown said.

Hurricane Pam planning was prescient in many ways, predicting the flooding would exceed 10 feet and create a putrid mix of corpses, chemicals and human waste.

The report is remarkably detailed in spots. It includes diagrams for makeshift loading docks to distribute water, ice and food to storm victims - color-coded to show where pallets, traffic cones and trash bins would be placed.

In other places it's obvious that the report is a working document; it doesn't specify what hospitals or airports would be used.

The report missed the mark in some cases. Planning for a weaker but slower-moving storm than Katrina, the Hurricane Pam report did not predict that levees would break as happened in real life. However, state and federal official have long known that the levees were not built to withstand a Category 4 storm or higher.

Hurricane Pam slammed into New Orleans. Katrina's eye hit to the east.

The report did not mention looting and lawlessness, which was rampant in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. It did call for at least one security guard at each shelter.

In another burst of foresight, the planners sought creative ways to house evacuees. Among other ideas, they instructed Louisiana parishes to find large vacant lots that could house makeshift trailer parks at a moment's notice.

The deadline for doing so: Next month.

This was the worst case scenario, look at my August 28-29 posts on my hard rock conservative blog.
a sort of Katrina related post

eptember 9, 2005
Katrina Is a Warning: U.S. Still Unprepared For Terrorist Attacks
By Mort Kondracke

Instead of turning the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina into a new opportunity for partisan finger-pointing, Congress ought to be working to make sure that government agencies can handle the next disaster, possibly a major terrorist attack. This may have been the worst natural disaster in American history, but it might not be the worst that al Qaeda could unleash if it got its hands on nuclear or biological weapons.

The Gulf Coast and Washington, D.C., had days of warning that a Category 5 hurricane was approaching. A terrorist group would strike without notice. The consequences could be just as great, or even worse: panicky efforts to evacuate large numbers of people, a breakdown in communications and authority, a public health nightmare, mass casualties, looting and violence.

And, if Katrina shows that the country is unprepared for a massive terrorist attack, then it is even more unprepared for a pandemic like avian flu, which might kill tens of millions of people and leave more millions deathly ill, overwhelming the health system.

Certainly there's every reason for Congressional committees and a national commission to investigate all that went wrong with governmental responses to Katrina. But the emphasis ought to be on how better to prepare for "the next one."

Because there will be a next one.

Instead, the first response of politicians has been to foist blame on somebody of the other party - Republicans blaming state and local Democrats in Louisiana, Democrats everywhere blaming the Bush administration. Fortunately, a few people are emerging who have it right.

One of them is Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who said that "governments at all levels failed" to protect their citizens.She might have specifically included Congress, whose responsibility is to oversee and fund the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In an interview, former Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), co-chairman of two national commissions on terrorism preparedness, said the federal government has allocated about only a fifth of the recommended $100 billion extra over five years for homeland security. Moreover, he said, much of that money has been misallocated. "A town of 300 people does not need a SWAT team or HAZMAT equipment," he said. "There has to be a risk-based priority system put in place."

Still, Collins has the right attitude about the oversight hearings she is calling on a bipartisan basis with Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), ranking member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. They will be "fair, constructive and bipartisan," she said. "It does not serve our country well to fix blame when we should be fixing problems."

Still, she added, "we would be remiss if we did not ask the hard questions needed to understand what went so wrong and what our country needs to do to improve our ability to respond to future crises - whether they are natural disasters or terrorist attacks."

Collins raised the specter of a terrorist attack, and so did Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, who said that Katrina "resembles a detonation of a weapon of mass destruction in an American city." "We witnessed a complete breakdown of America's consequence management system," Harman said. "We need to fix this problem urgently. I have no doubt that the terrorists have watched this unfold and they understand how vulnerable we are."

One proposed corrective that Rudman thinks would be wrong would be to remove FEMA from the DHS. "It belongs there," he said, "although with more authority and priority and strong leadership, top to bottom." He did not say that FEMA Director Michael Brown or Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff should be replaced, but he said, "I've always thought the person in charge should be a retired four-star general."

Rudman said the U.S. military should be elevated to the role of a first responder in huge disaster situations. "Only the military has the manpower, the equipment and the communications to handle something this big.

"I don't understand why the 82nd Airborne Division wasn't called in to pre-position supplies beforehand and move in right afterward to provide security. As it was, it was patrolling without ammunition. It could also have dropped in communications equipment."

Rudman said that, if necessary, Congress should amend the 19th Century Posse Comitatus law, which forbids federal troops from performing law enforcement functions. But he said the law can be waived in emergencies.

The lesson of Katrina is that all levels of government should be reviewing and upgrading their disaster planning - urgently. Responsibility for failures needs to be assessed, but blame-mongering is a waste of precious energy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Fox News (and my blog) are the only places you will see these sad and inspiring pictures.

well Fox News is owning all, it's only a matter of time before CNN has to declare bankruptcy.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

700 kids missing now in NO, lets find them people!
Wow, N Z Bear is a great guy. I have come up with some idea and then he plays off them because he has more press than me, for now... Look out NZ ;) I'm not doing this for press, I'm doing this because I have a soul. Some people do and some don't, it's not too hard to figure it out now, this has brought out the worst and best in people.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A picture is worth a 1000 words...

Well, I just donated all of my dress clothes outside the Vikings training facility, I left them my number, I don't expect them to call back but if they do good for them.
Citing to make sure I don't get my ass sued. All Pictures courtesy of Disclamer, DO NOT VIEW IF YOUR SENSITIVE, some pictures are hard to see but must be seen.

The Long Road to Recovery

Hey, CNN isn't bashing Bush, I'm stunned. Finally good news


Levee patched, streets secure

Repair crews patch ruptured 17th Street levee
Pumps restart, but full drainage three months away
Troops help bring order back to streets
Some insist on staying in squalid city
Thanks for taking my idea and running with it NZ, I will continue to do it but I'm glad I am having a positive influence on you, besides your the one getting all the press, for now ;)