I'll try the beta, but I'm skeptical for several reasons. There is magic in a well crafted playlist. I'm not terribly keen on algorithmic music and I suspect algorithmic playlists will be about as satisfying.
In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.
Drowning New Orleans; October 2001; by Mark Fischetti; 10 page(s)
THE BOXES are stacked eight feet high and line the walls of the large, windowless room. Inside them are new body bags, 10,000 in all. If a big, slow-moving hurricane crossed the Gulf of Mexico on the right track, it would drive a sea surge that would drown New Orleans under 20 feet of water. "As the water recedes," says Walter Maestri, a local emergency management director, "we expect to find a lot of dead bodies."
New Orleans is a disaster waiting to happen. The city lies below sea level, in a bowl bordered by levees that fend off Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the Mississippi River to the south and west. And because of a damning confluence of factors, the city is sinking further, putting it at increasing flood risk after even minor storms. The low-lying Mississippi Delta, which buffers the city from the gulf, is also rapidly disappearing. A year from now another 25 to 30 square miles of delta marsh-an area the size of Manhattan-will have vanished. An acre disappears every 24 minutes. Each loss gives a storm surge a clearer path to wash over the delta and pour into the bowl, trapping one million people inside and another million in surrounding communities. Extensive evacuation would be impossible because the surging water would cut off the few escape routes. Scientists at Louisiana State University (L.S.U.), who have modeled hundreds of possible storm tracks on advanced computers, predict that more than 100,000 people could die. The body bags wouldn't go very far.
DANIEL ZWERDLIG: We've tried to find scientists who'd say that these predictions of doom could never really come true and we haven't been able to find them. The main debate seems to be, when the country is facing different kinds of threats, which ones should get the most attention? The federal government has been cutting money from hurricane protection projects. Partly to pay for the war against terrorists.
DANIEL ZWERDLING: Do you think that the President of the United States and Congress understand that people like you and the scientists studying this think the city of New Orleans could very possibly disappear?
WALTER MAESTRI: I think they know that, I think that they've been told that. I don't know that anybody, though, psychologically, you know has come to grips with that as-- as a-- a potential real situation. Just like none of us could possibly come to grips with the loss of the World Trade Center. And it's still hard for me to envision that it's gone. You know and it's impossible for someone like me to think that the French Quarter of New Orleans could be gone
This is completely disturbing ... a press release from a group called Repent America. If there is a hell,"people" like this are excellent candidates for increasing its population.
ACT OF GOD DESTROYS NEW ORLEANS
DAYS BEFORE "SOUTHERN DECADENCE" 8/31/05
PHILADELPHIA - Just days before "Southern Decadence", an annual homosexual celebration attracting tens of thousands of people to the French Quarters section of New Orleans, an act of God destroys the city.
"Southern Decadence" has a history of filling the French Quarters section of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars. Last year, a local pastor sent video footage of sex acts being performed in front of police to the mayor, city council, and the media. City officials simply ignored the footage and continued to welcome and praise the weeklong celebration as being an "exciting event". However, Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin.
On the official "Southern Decadence" website (www.SouthernDecadence.com), it states that the annual event brought in "125,000 revelers" to New Orleans last year, increasing by thousands each year, and up from "over 50,000 revelers" in 1997. This year’s 34th annual "Southern Decadence" was set for Wednesday, August 31, 2005 through Monday, September 5, 2005, but due to massive flooding and the damage left by the hurricane, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has ordered everyone to evacuate the city.
The past three mayors of New Orleans, including Sidney Barthelomew, Marc H. Morial, and C. Ray Nagin, issued official proclamations welcoming visitors to "Southern Decadence". Additionally, New Orleans City Council made other proclamations recognizing the annual homosexual celebration.
"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence’, New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same," he continued.
New Orleans is also known for its Mardi Gras parties where thousands of drunken men revel in the streets to exchange plastic jewelry for drunken women to expose their breasts. This annual event sparked the creation of the "Girls Gone Wild" video series.
"Let us pray for those ravaged by this disaster. However, we must not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long," Marcavage said. "May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God," Marcavage concluded.
"[God] sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:45)
Amateur (Ham) radio is frequently one of the only forms of communication that works in times of disaster. The service is under attack by efforts like Broadband over Powerline (BPL) and thirst for frequency space, but these people have shown their worth in disasters for decades.
A note from the Amateur Radio Relay League
Amateur Radio Volunteers Involved in Katrina Recovery
NEWINGTON, CT, Aug 30, 2005--Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers in Louisiana are engaged in the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, and more are waiting in the wings to help as soon as they can enter storm-ravaged zones. Winds and flooding from the huge storm wreaked havoc in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama after Katrina came ashore early Monday, August 29. Louisiana ARES Section Emergency Coordinator Gary Stratton, K5GLS, told ARRL that some 250 ARES members have been working with the Red Cross and the state's Office of Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness. Much of the affected areas remain flooded and dangerous, however. As a result, state officials have not allowed emergency or other units to enter the flooded zones, and there is still no communication with many coastal areas.
The West Gulf ARES Emergency Net remains active (7.285 MHz days/3.873 MHz nights), and radio amateurs not involved in emergency communication have been asked to keep these frequencies clear when the net is in session.
A high volume of health-and-welfare requests reportedly is slowing the passage of critical tactical and emergency traffic. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) on 14.265 MHz has been accepting and handling health-and-welfare inquiries on the air and via its Web site.
Hurricane Katrina's fierce winds and heavy rains are being blamed for upward of 70 deaths as well as the destruction of homes and businesses. Many trees uprooted, taking down power lines and blocking highways, hampering emergency and repair crews. Rescue personnel worked through the night to save stranded residents, some floating on rooftops or simply swimming for their lives. An estimated two million people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are without power.
ARES volunteers from outside the directly affected areas have been mustering to assist, but, Stratton says, until units can enter the flooded disaster areas "there's no place they can go yet." Cox told ARRL that at least some Louisiana ARES teams also are in a holding pattern, awaiting word from relief agencies as to what they need in terms of communication support and where, before they can officially activate.
Louisiana Section Manager Mickey Cox, K5MC, reports Richard Webb, NF5B, from New Orleans was on the air from the Louisiana State University Hospital as of Monday afternoon during the storm. Sections of New Orleans now are under water. Louisiana Assistant SM Mike King, W5MP, of Slidell, also was on the air Monday helping provide communication from a hospital on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
Long-Distance Ham Radio Rescue
A call for help that involved a combination of cell telephone calls and Amateur Radio was instrumental in saving 15 people stranded by floodwaters on the roof of a house in New Orleans. Unable to get through an overloaded 911 system, one of those stranded called a relative in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That individual, in turn, called another relative, Sybil Hayes in Broken Arrow , Oklahoma, whose 81-year-old aunt Helen Lelzx was among those clinging to the roof along with other family members.
Hayes called the American Red Cross chapter, which contacted the Tulsa Repeater Organization. Using the Red Cross chapter's well-equipped amateur station, TRO member Ben Joplin, WB5VST, was able to relay a request for help on the 20-meter SATERN net via stations in Oregon and Idaho to Louisiana, where the ARES net contacted emergency personnel who rescued the 15 people.
"When all else fails, Amateur Radio works is more than a catchy tag line," says TRO's Mark Conklin, N7XYO. "It's a lifeline." He said as of late Monday evening, Lelxz and the others on the roof were safe at a Red Cross shelter.
Alabama SM Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, reports sporadic power outages in the northern part of the state where he lives. Katrina moved through the region Monday evening, bringing flooding rains and high winds. Amateur Radio SKYWARN nets were active Monday, reporting the severe weather conditions to the National Weather Service. Sarratt himself handled a volunteer shift at the Huntsville NWS office Monday evening. He told ARRL Headquarters that ARES groups throughout the state--and especially in central and southern Alabama--have been supporting communication for local emergency management agencies and the Red Cross.
Because telephone circuits are out or overloaded, ARRL has received little firsthand information so far from Mississippi on Amateur Radio emergency response activities there. Mississippi Section Manager Malcolm Keown, W5XX, in Vicksburg, was reported on the air using generator power. His area has no electrical power or telephone service.
Sarratt will be among about a half dozen radio amateurs from Alabama preparing to head to Jackson, Mississippi, to provide communication and other assistance for the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team. Another group from Alabama will be heading on to southern Mississippi or Louisiana once they get their assignments confirmed, Sarratt said.
ARRL Northern Florida SM Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP, reports his section is putting together a team of Amateur Radio operators to assist in neighboring Mississippi, once they get clearance to go there. The Florida mutual assistance team will be coordinated through the Florida State Emergency Operations Center.
Hurricane Watch Net, WX4NHC Stand Down
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) secured operation on 14.325 MHz for Hurricane Katrina at 0115 UTC today. "Thanks to all for your support for what has been a very exhaustive 48 hours of extensive effort as Hurricane Katrina caused extreme damage along the Louisiana and Mississippi shores and surrounding area," said HWN Manager Mike Pilgrim, K5MP. The net works in cooperation with WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to gather real-time, ground-level weather data during storms. NHC forecasters use the reports to help fine-tune their predictions of a storm's behavior.
I'm sure Karl Rove saw Katrina as an opportunity to make his president appear more presidential as well as a good diversion from the disaster that is Iraq. Presidents, even those that claim to have a close communication with God, can't control natural disasters, but they can impact rebuilding and national mood.
A question that will probably come up as things get very tough in the South ...
what if we only had 50,000 National Guard and Army people pitching in on the rebuilding effort for three to six months...?
I wouldn't want to be Karl Rove now - at some level the concept of protecting the homeland may be taking a different direction.