Ruth emails me appropriate outrage over this news:
President Bush decided Wednesday to waive any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Washington’s closest Arab ally in the war on terrorism, for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers.
What do we stand for?
Deutsche Welle says (in English):
Americans take heart: the United States is apparently not the only major western democracy unable to pull off an election. Germany’s vote on Sunday has been a disaster from the get-go…
I linked to at least two stories out of New Orleans that now seem to have been exaggerated. One was the emotional Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard’s emotional story about a friend’s mother who died in a nursing home. MSNBC now reports that Broussard did not get the details and timing of this right and that the death was, tragically, among those that allegedly came when residents of a nursing home were not evacuated and the owners of that home have since been indicted. The other story was of the murder of at least one child in the Convention Center as reported in the Times-Picayune; David Carr in The Times said there is no verification of that story.
Carr also points out that such exaggerations often occur in such tragedies. He recounts hearing similarly amplified horrors after September 11th. In both cases, it is not as if there is the slightest reason to add to the horrifying truth.
So Yahoo hired Kevin Sites to report on war for them. On the one hand, sure, that’s cool: multimedia man hired by the thoroughly modern media company. But does anyone else think it’s strange to have a site and a reporter who covers just war? Yahoo emphasizes that this doesn’t mean they are “building any kind of news organization.” So that means, instead, that they’re just going for the bloody bits?
Glenn Reynolds has a good roundup of charities working in Katrina’s wake.
In response to a call from Hugh Hewitt, Truth Laid Bear put up a great resource to direct bloggers’ and blog readers’ charity here. This is aimed at a big push tomorrow. Keep an eye on those sites.
And also, here’s the Red Cross.
It’s an indelicate question but one that needs to be asked: Should New Orleans be rebuilt? Or how much of it should be?
At a press conference with the governor and legislators just now, vows were made: “We’re going to be reinventing New Orleans…. Can and will New Orleans be rebuilt? Absolutely!”
But… Having visited the city often in my last job, I was always struck by its poverty and its lack of a workable economy. Tourism is pretty much the only industry. The food is great. The attitude is fun. But big companies had left.
And… Does it make sense to rebuild homes and offices in a place that can be destroyed all too easily, putting thousands of lives at risk? Is that the right thing to do?
And… Is that the best use of our tax and insurance dollars? Everytime the Mississippi floods up river, there are those who say that we should stop paying to rebuild that which has been destroyed before. And, in fact, we have invested government money in moving people away from certain danger so we can stop paying to rebuild. It’s an investment in their safety.
I’m not suggesting that what’s left of New Orleans should be bulldozed and abandoned. But I will suggest that, indeed, the city may need to be reinvented. How?
Perhaps it should go with its strengths and be rebuilt as a tourist destination before all its restaurants have branches in Vegas. Perhaps it should be smaller and rather than investing in rebuilding, the money should in some cases be spent on relocation.
What should become of New Orleans?
My former colleagues at Nola.com and the Times-Picayune have evacuated the hurricane bunker in the newspaper’s building.
: So the TV reports were wrong twice: They said this was going to be catastrophic. Then they said it wasn’t. Now it is.
On WWL’s stream, they just had on scientists from LSU’s hurricane center showing computer models that demonstrate just how the water from a breached levee will take over the city.
They also quoted a tourist from Philadelphia who watched looting comparing New Orleans to Baghdad (which means it won’t be long before someone compares it to Saigon).
: LATER: I’m watching incredible live coverage right now of helicopter rescues inside New Orleans on the WDSU stream.
WWL is reporting martial law in Jefferson Parish; people will be allowed back into their homes only to get essentials in a week and then will not be allowed back in again for at least another week.
WDSU is reporting that the streets around the stadium are now flooded and without electricity or working plumbing inside, it is “fetid.” But the thousands there are not allowed to leave.
: LATER: Just saw Sen. Mary Landrieu after a ride over New Orleans begging people who’ve been evacuated to stay away as officials try to save those who are still there. She said those who are outside should “get on your knees” and thank God for being alive.
: Found this New Orleans blog sending updates while his laptop battery holds out [via Houston Chronicle tech blogger Eric Berger]:
Well. The looting is getting pretty bad here now. Almost all the grocery stores are being looted. Some kids across the street came up carring tons of stuff. I asked if they found a place open. SOrta…THey were just coming back from stealing cigarrettes and soda and beer from Roberts. GOod job scum-bags.
THey are now saying it will be about a month to two months before power is restored all over. I think I might need to leave town for a while. I’ll have to see.
Again, thanks for caring guys. It’s heart-warming. If I don’t find a way to recharge my laptop, there won’t be many updates coming. But I’m alive and in one piece. Everything else is gravy, yes?
: LATER: Here’s the demonstration that LiveJournal is, indeed, a community where people know and care for each other: Look at the updates from and about friends in the hurricane.
We’re only beginning to hear the real stories of tragedy from the hurricane.
This morning on Good Morning America, a reporter stopped a man in the street just to ask how he was and she heard how his home split in half and he lost his wife when she told him to stop holding her so he could save their children and grandchildren. The reporter could not stop from crying. I don’t think anyone could.
And then a reporter — Robin; I lost her last name — went to her hometown, Gulfport, and the shock was clear. The anchor in New York asked whether he family was OK and she could not stop from crying. Who could? They were safe. She said that in other cases, she would have brought her cameas with her, but she did not; this was too private, too difficult.
Reporters are human, too.