Katrina Headlines XXII

Okay, we’re doing our best to balance the tragic with the comic (one of the reasons we extended the photo contest). Apologies for the inconsistency in tone, but it keeps us sane. So here’s the latest rundown.

Naughty Reading Contest Deadline Extended to Sept. 2

Because you folks have been sending us some fantastic photos and because we (among several others) await an entry from a certain literary hunk in Oakland (there have in fact been private requests sent to us!), we’ve decided to extend the Naughty Reading Photo Contest until this Friday. In particular, we’d like to see more men submit photos to even the gender playing field (as well as provide polymorphous opportunities for folks of varying levels of naughtiness).

So have at it, shutterbugs! You’ve got two more days after tonight and then you, the readers, will get to vote among the three finalists. Who will be the lucky person to win the $20 Powell’s Gift Card? Could it be you?

To see all entries submitted thus far, we’ve categorized them all under “Naughty Reading” for you.

Miéville Alert

It’s out, it’s here, and it’s in my hands. Sui generis fantasist China Miéville has a new collection of stories called Looking for Jake out. Some previously collected stories, such as the excellent “Reports of Certain Events in London” (which originally appeared in one of the Chabon-edited McSweeney’s compilations) are here. Others are quite new to me. This collection even includes a comic called “On the Way to the Front.”

The book has been issued here in the States in trade paperback, but don’t let that stop you from sampling the goods.

Break in the Storm

Okay, like you, I haven’t been sleeping. This Katrina thing depresses the hell out of me. And yet I am drawn to these horrible events because I have been obsessed with apocalypse since the age of four, which was when, I believe, I first learned about the Holocaust. Perhaps the much beloved churchgoer who once told my mother, “There’s something of the devil in that boy” (when I was five, no less) had a point. Although in my defense, I suppose this was probably because I dared to bring up the concept of reincarnation in a Sunday school classroom.

But I don’t want to become some fearmonger like Lileks or a warmonger like Reynolds or a hatemonger like Malkin or LGF. And I also don’t want this devastation, as severe as it is, to transform this blog into a place without humor or hope. So I’m going to limit “Katrina Headlines” to a once-a-day offering so that I can maintain my sanity. There are several other fine places to go if you really need the goods.

Because it boils down to this: Like B, I feel like the luckiest bastard on Earth. And you should too. Just be sure to donate to the Red Cross while you’re at it.

Katrina Headlines XXI

  • Daily Kos performs crazed self-immolation of credibility.
  • Strategic oil reserves opened; economists fear major gas crisis.
  • Some good news in light of lootings and price gouging and general displacement: Millions have been contributed in relief.
  • Interesting info about Bush: “Bush cut short his working vacation in Texas by two days — even though aides have long contended that his duties are uninterrupted when he spends time at his ranch in nearby Crawford, which has White House-level communications capability.”
  • Death toll in Miss. remains unknown.
  • More info on Miss.: “A 30-foot (10-meter) storm surge in Mississippi wiped away 90 percent of the buildings along the coast at Biloxi and Gulfport.”
  • Current estimate of people trapped in New Orleans: 80,000.
  • More: Dozens of carjackings overnight, with people firing at rescue helicopters.
  • The name of the oil company that will be receiving the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is unknown. Anybody have a good guess?
  • In the Glenn Reynolds universe, you shoot first and ask questions later. Apparently, Reynolds doesn’t understand that a major disaster often causes people to resort to crazy behavior, both authorities and looters.

Katrina Headlines XX

Non-Katrina Roundup

  • Earlier in the year, Jenny McCarthy, one of the finest anthropologists of our time, sold a book for $1 million called Marriage Laughs. It was a book offering marriage advice. Unfortunately, it appears that Ms. McCarthy has had to go back to the drawing board. You see, she couldn’t follow her own advice. She’s divorcing husband John Asher. Perhaps she can successfully retool her book. After all, how many self-help books are out there that offer a winning formula for short-term marriage. Here’s a potential title for Ms. McCarthy: Short-Attention Span Marriage: A Modern Woman’s Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Man for a Few Years.
  • Is Christopher Paolini the new J.K. Rowlng? He’s just 21 years old and Eldest, the sequel to Eragon, has sold more than 425,000 hardcover copies. If movies are involved, we only ask that Mr. Paolini hold out against offering the film rights to Chris Columbus.
  • The Rake believes that John Updike’s review of Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown is a pot/kettle/black situation.
  • And speaking of Rushdie, he’ll be part of a new History Channel series called The Write Stuff. Each episode will “reveal the trials and tribulations of these writers on their journey to literary success.” Why not a series dedicated to the struggling freelancer? Surely, the History Channel is interested in portraying a fair and accurate depiction of history (which does after all include losers), rather than recruiting big names to perpetuate the myth that one can actually make a living from writing, right?
  • For now, despite an impending move and a sartorial dilemma, David Kipen’s still banging out a column for the Chronicle. This time, perhaps alluding to his forthcoming departure, he writes that San Francisco Noir is “the perfect sadistic gift for somebody getting ready to miss the Bay Area like crazy.”
  • Like book reviews, scientific papers are about settling scores.
  • The Bay Guardian chats with cartoonist Justin Hall.
  • The Book Standard talks with newspaper editors about their bookloads. (via Haggis)
  • And if you’re in San Francisco, please note that tickets are now on sale for this year’s San Francisco Fringe Festival. How can you go wrong with Cervis with a Smile performed at Original Joe’s?

Huzzahs to the Times-Picayune

The Times-Picayune must be commended for their remarkable journalism under the circumstances. Remarkable photos, first-hand accounts and solid information to draw conclusions from. These folks are still putting out a newspaper despite having to capitulate their building and despite a paper edition precluded by the rising waters. In today’s edition, there are the following details:

  • Terry Ebert, director of New Orleans Homeland Security: “Truth to tell, we’re not too far from filling in the bowl.”
  • The waters are rising at about 3 inches per hour.
  • There are apparently gangs of armed men moving around the city, having obtained their weapons stock from a brand new Wal-Mart in the Lower Garden District.
  • The silver lining of a slow surge is that the death toll is considerably lesser than what might have happened, had the eye passed directly over New Orleans.
  • Plans are in place to stop the flooding through 800 tons of concrete. There are about 108 15,000 pound concrete barriers that the Army Corps of Engineers hopes to drop into place by air.

Katrina Headlines XIX

Katrina Headlines XVIII

  • Goddam. I thought we were going to win this. The latest from WWL: “Efforts to stop the levee break at the 17th Street Canal have ended unsuccessfully and the water is expected to soon overwhelm the pumps in that area, allowing water to pour into the east bank of Metairie and Orleans to an expected height of 12-15 feet.”
  • Times-Picayune: “Homes in West End, Bucktown and at the Orleans-Jefferson Parish line are nearly underwater, with residents being plucked from the water and rooftops by passing boats, WWL-TV video shows.”
  • Biloxi appears devastated from air.
  • Hurricanes from space.
  • Long-form feature from the L.A. Times.
  • All people are urged to evacuate. Efforts to beat the levee are over.
  • Main public hospital no longer functioning.
  • What’s the word on the Superdome evacuation?

Katrina Headlines XVII

Katrina Headlines XVI

  • The big question: is there any confirmation that the water is still rising or have the sandbags dropped in the levee somehow managed to halt the waterflow from the lake?
  • WWL is now reporting that state officials are trying to figure out how to transfer 4,000 inmates from the New Orleans jail and 1,000 inmates from the Jefferson Parish jail. Both prisons face flooding.
  • Now all hotel guests are going to the Superdome.
  • Now here’s where Republican self-sufficient state policy gets interesting: Louisiana is begging the White House to waive federal rules that push a sizable chunk of the financial burden of the cleanup onto the state. They want the federal government to help pick up the tab. Here’s where things get interesting: During the Florida hurricanes, FEMA picked up 100% of the costs after the first 72 hours. Will there be a quid pro quo, a deal with the devil, or a poltical favor to ensure that FEMA picks up 100% of the tab for Louisiana after three days? I sincerely hope political reporters are paying attention to this. Josh Marshall, will you keep this issue alive?
  • Katrina in Louisiana.

Katrina Headlines XV

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Katrina Headlines XII

  • Big Three automakers allow for deferred car loans.
  • Video link: Mayor describes status of New Orleans.
  • WWL blog now reports that widespread looting is going down, people grabbing racks of clothes, electronics, whatever they can.
  • Another resource from Michelle (if I haven’t mentioned it already): Eyes on Katrina.
  • The figure now for people in the Superdome is 20,000.
  • From Joshua Marshall: “Jeff Parish President. Residents will probably be allowed back in town in a week, with identification only, but only to get essentials and clothing. You will then be asked to leave and not come back for one month.”
  • What’s the airport situation? According to the Times-Picayune, it’s only open for emergency power and rescue-related efforts. And even this may stop. Also, as widely reported, the Times-Picayune Building has been evacuated.

Katrina Headlines XI

Post-Katrina Update

I didn’t realize that the fantastic Susannah Breslin had moved to New Orleans, but I’m thankful to learn from Xeni Jardin that she’s safe. As suggested here repeatedly, donating to the Red Cross is among the best things you can do right now to help out.

At the present time, the French Quarter is battered but not broken. But as Rory notes, one of BT’s friend has reported that a levee has burst and water from Lake Pontchartrain is causing the flooding to rise. With the machinery to pump out this water now out of commission, it appears that what we all feared is now, in fact, happening. CNN reports that 80% of the city is flooded and some areas are now under 20 feet of water — much higher than the initial Katrina strike. Not good at all.

[UPDATE: Kathryn Cramer has several before-and-after photos up.]

An Announcement from Apple

Apple Computer is preparing to make an important announcement next week. This announcement will be bigger than all other announcements. It is very important that you pay attention and that you clear your front page and social obligations that day. You must not live even obliquely, because this is Apple talking. Not some johnny come lately, but FUCKING APPLE, if you catch the drift.

It is very likely that this announcement will be the biggest announcement in the history of Apple, if not the whole of human history. This announcement is so enormous and so earth-shattering that we will see an instant continental shift and a substantial change in average global temperature within a week of the announcement being unfurled. When the first words come from Steve Jobs’ mouth, at least six hundred humans will die of cardiac arrest at the shock and import of what Apple has to say. Yes, it is that huge.

This announcement is critical to Apple’s future. It is critical to your future. If this announcement is somehow halted or postponed, if it is not allowed to go forth as planned next week, then several people will be disappointed. Heads will roll. Humanity’s ability to function will be compromised. If the announcement does not go down, several small and cute animals will die. All because some marketing bozo wanted to perpetuate more suspense.

So let’s be absolutely clear about this. This is an important announcement. We’re not pussy-footing around here. This is fucking huge. It is not a stunt. It is not hype. It is A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT, perhaps on par with the Human Genome Project or the Dead Sea Scrolls.

We therefore ask you to stay nervous until such time that the announcement has been made.

Thank you for your cooperation.

The Bat Segundo Show #6

Approximate Date: An evening in the Mission in mid-August, 2005

Author: Norman Solomon

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Lonely, wistful, about as romantic as Mr. Segundo is capable of.

Subjects Discussed: The relationship between government policy and media, the U.S. government as advertising model, war as product, Charlotte Beers, the element of casualties, use of the flag, “We’re Number 1,” criticizing government without having access to national security documents, the relationship between raw war coverage and antiwar sentiment, transformation of media and propaganda over the past forty years, new media vs. old media, bloggers, Matt Drudge, journalists who face retaliation for war coverage, Laurie Garrett’s resignation letter, wild reactions to Solomon’s work, examples of good journalism, the American public’s interest in foreign affairs, Jim Hightower and Disney, Donald Rumsfeld and Esquire, 9/11 and “Fortunate Son.”