Saturday, September 03, 2005

Open Letter to Dave Winer & the Community Blogosphere

Dave ..

If you're reading this email ... PLEASE READ THIS!

We thought 9/11 was an event where blogging and podcasting could and did serve a great need, well, Katrina is the REAL PROVING GROUND. There are needs .. HUGE needs .. and they are NOT ALL centered in New Orleans !!!


As you well know - the Media is a one-sided, cycloptic monster. It only sees - all at once we must admit !! - in one direction. There are many stories of pain and suffering - atrocities we thought we'd never see in this country. But one of the most troubling, new development - is that the US Government Military is STOPPING and not allowing help to enter the areas, coming from family members and other citizens of the US. These are caravans of supplies needed - by those in the affected areas - to sustain life and rebuild their communities so life can struggle to its feet and make a lunge for some semblance of normalcy. People in these hardly accessible areas - such as Gulfport, MS - are DEPENDING on these supply lines getting through. It has become obvious that the lack of leadership from the highest levels of the US government to the local level are NOT going to do all that is needed to be done.

The WORD must go out to LET THE AMERICAN people help. And those who DO HAVE the connections - so well developed through their business contacts and many years of experience - DO NOT HINDER their actions to move forward in their - and their neighbors - struggle to recover.

I am in contact with a young lady - now in Atlanta - whose parents are still in Gulfport. They were very fortunate to have ridden out the hurricane and survived with their house to remain standing; scathed, but standing. If this were not bad enough, they now must take up 24-hr vigils to keep the thieves and vandals out of their home (read her entries 1 2 3). Understand, this is NOT about food and water - it is about property abduction .. shear theft: nothing else. This is NOT an isolated incident and it is NOT happening ONLY in New Orleans - it is happening all over Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis. Hell look at it, it's all the way from Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans (just do a Google on Gulfport - go to the Google Map and back OUT 3-cliks and you'll see the area of devastation - not just destruction - but DEVASTATION!) - this WHOLE area has been devastated and is becoming a wasteland overrun by thieves and thugs preying upon the survivors of Katrina's wake of destruction !

You're the KING of the Blogosphere .. like it or not. When 'Dave speaks' the blogging community and the blogosphere LISTENS! Speak out! Speak out now! Get the blogosphere humming with the news of this GROWING disaster. Katrina is gone from the map .. but SHE IS NOT GONE! Her wake is still reeling from the pummeling she gave this entire region.


If the WORD is not gotten out .. and I do mean the TRUE WORD .. the HONEST comments and stories of WHAT IS happening on the ground and in the backgrounds of humanity in these areas --- the fallout will reach from sea-to-not-so-shining-sea, from border-to-tenuous-border !!! This is an IMMENSE NATIONAL DISASTER that is STILL IN THE MAKING. But we CAN yet STOP the 2nd Wave of Katrina's Disaster .. the Human Reaction to the obvious, Inactive Leadership Vacuum, found at every level of government in this country.


I am sad to say it... but this is NOT a UNITED States of America ... it IS a very troubled and perilously close to dis-United States of America! A continuous line of communication MUST BE opened and the MEDIA must - ONCE AGAIN be moved off their hype position and MOVE the government to do what they are in-place to do .. SERVE THE PEOPLE OF the USA!! ALL THE PEOPLE!


Yes .. I am blogging this on two blogs:


The O'fieldstream Blog
http://ofieldstream.blogspot.com
http://www.ofieldstream.com/ofsblog

and

Weather & Outdoor Heritage .. It's Life
http://www.wunderground.com/blog/ofieldstream/show.htm

I'm working with Doug Kaye as
'mentored junior editor' on his IT Conversations and I'm sending him this email as well. I'm also sending it to all the major bloggers I know and know of. I am hoping - PRAYING - that the blogging and podcasting communities join together to Become the FORCE for ACTION - not revolt - ACTION to get the wheels of bureaucracy freed up and turning for the good of the American people who PAY to have it work for them.

I'm listening right now to Geraldo Rivera claiming the wonders of the chopper FINALLY arriving to take the 25,000! people - they are NOT REFUGEES! - they are SURVIVORS - Human Beings - Citizens of the USA - out of that fetid hell-hole to a place that is cleaner, safer and a chance to make a new start. The logistics of this entire Event .. is a nightmare. But we are NOT going to be able to wakeup from it ... it IS REAL! And IT IS NOW!


Thanks for your help. Let's hope, pray and work our asses off to get this moving. If we don't WE ALL WILL LOOSE .. and LOOSE B I G !!


les booth
aka, O'fieldstream


Friday, September 02, 2005

In for the LONG HAUL

Here we are - Thursday Sept 1, 2005 .. just now 4 days into the aftermath of hurricane Katrina ... and we are seeing the signs of our fragile social fabric - tearing under the stress. These were the same words used last night on the CBS Evening News - when veteran reporter, Harry Smith - stationed in Gulfport, MS - gave the wrap-up on his report for the day.

FOUR DAYS!! Only 4 days. Let's picture this. Yes, it's a very short time in considering the rebuild scale that will be needed. But on the human level .. that means - for those who do NOT have food - even if healthy - it's 1/5 of the way to starvation. For those without water .. it's already half-way to dying of thirst! So .. it's a far more dangerous number than we first imagine. And that is the ONLY perspective that it should be viewed from. People are dying in the streets of New Orleans and the devasted regions not yet even seen by anyone but those who are suffering in seemingly their own lone positions. This is a human tragedy... not an economc one. That will come later.

Remember NONE of this takes into consideration the likelyhood of disease from the decaying corspes littering the area; the fetid waters filled with chemicals, fecal matter, and decay. The animals that will either be dying - are dead - or who will begin feeding on both the dead, dying and living. This is a very grim condition. And we do NOT have time to play 'government games'. If people are to be rescued and given a chance at survival there is no place for buracracy. But we all know it will happen - it is happening - and it will continue to happen.

So the big question we need to address is " IF we are seeing this kind of meltdown now .. What are we going to be seeing/doing at 4-Weeks .. 4-Months ... 4-YEARS !! ???

Yes - there are hundreds of acts of heroism, selfless service to those in dire need, and the most needed 'acts of kindness' - that go unreported. But all of us have -at one time or another- been in need. We've been on the receiving end of the kindness of friends, relatives and neighbors. And we've also seen 'them disappear' as the days - weeks and yes, years - drug on.

A care-giver - no matter at what level - or at what task, must be IN IT for the LONG HAUL. Once a person is in the need of 'care' - true, honest, life-sustaining care ... they need help and a helping hand then - and will need it for some time to come. Also, many will need that help a lot longer than others. Then there are those who will take advantage of the kindess - and 'bleed' the care-giver to death - if left unchecked.

Unfortunately we have and we will continue to see this dispicable behavior: it's all part of the human canvas we call life. It's not pretty - but it's still there. And unless we are ALL in the effort for the LONG HAUL - we will only look at the ingreats, the despicable and the seemingly 'down the rathole' efforts poured forth. And NOT ONE of us can afford to walk that path. Because IF we do - we will ALL LOOSE.

So ... from the 'get go' .. let's all realize this is a NATIONAL DISASTER - of scale that only Hollywood could show us. It is not apocolyptic ... but it is of the size and scope that will leave this country changed forever. It is NOT just a local problem. I do not live on the Gulf Coast - for a very specific reason - I personally know the damage nature's fury can inflict and I do NOT want to be the recipient of that onslaught. Therefore I chose not to live there.

HOWEVER ... the misery and the pain being felt there at this very moment IS MY PROBLEM, TOO. And I'm not talking about the price increase at the gas pump. I'm talking about the suffering of the people who have survived this natural disaster is MY SUFFERING, too.

Those affected,are PEOPLE I personally know. They are parents, grandparents, wives, husbands, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters .. all elements of the human family. They are citizens of the United States - but more importantly - they are ALL citizens of the Human Race! They are all my fellow human beings. I cannot - therefore - with a clear conscience .. because I do have one .. just toss my $5 or $500 into the Red Cross cauffers and say, "There, I've done my part." and let it be at that.

NO!!

The problems - and make no mistake about it - these are EXTREMELY serious PROBLEMS! - are not going to be fixed in a month - or even in a year. It will take years ... even our President had to come that conclusion - and probably to the horror of his policy advisors - said so on national TV yesterday at a press conference. It will be Y E A R S before the stretch of the Gulf Coast blasted, by Katrina, will be viable. And, too, we have to remember that there are hundereds - if not thousands - of square miles of devastation that has not yet been shown.

So - as individuals - and as a collective nation - when we reach our hands out to those in need - had better be ready to maintain that position for many months to come.

If you don't understand WHY we need to do this .. then I am truly sorry for you. Your upbringing was sorely shortchanged! In case you still don't know WHY .. well, it's nothing complicated .. it's just the right thing to do. Nothing more gand than that ... and yet knowing that and acting upon it is the most powerful force in humanity. Let's hope and pray we never loose sight of it.

And yes .. this IS what the Outdoor Heritage is all about. It's about knowing our roll in the scheme of life. One of those rolls is that we cannot take the position of 'Sole Survivor' .. for if we do, we may well find ourselves the 'Sole Survivor' and that would - in true REALITY - not be a place to aspire to.

Just to give both sides of the coin a good look ... there's a 'selfish' reason one could take for helping out: One never knows when he or she will be on the needy-side looking up for help. There is an old, old saying that is every bit as viable today as it was the first time it was uttered - whenever that was : "What goes around, comes around." Let's not ever forget this either.

These are hard words. Hard questions. And these are much harder times. As much money as is poured into the preparations for disasters - why was there not put into place - ready to move in a moments notice - from a major military base well out of the reach of the hurricane's path - that could be brought to bare on the immediate needs within hours of assessment. We may not have seen the pictures of the devastation on TV for hours or until the next day -but there were helicopters and airplanes who DID see it and could have started the immediate responders in-motion THEN: not 4-days later.

What are we going to do WHEN - we get hit with another big one like this - say into Miami - and then hours or days later an earthquake hits LA or SanFran or Seattle? No, we sure don't want to think about that do we? Well - the REALITY is this - nature doesn't care whether we want to think about - it's just doing it's thing: day-in-and-day-out. And IF the earth mantle makes a sudden movement that results in an 8.0 in the LA basin, just hours after a hurricane Cat 4 takes on Miami and all surrounding counties - hey, that's tough. You all know the saying, "Shit happens." The only question that is viable is - 'How well can you dance to the music?" In other words - are we - as individuals - prepared to fend for ourselves AND our neighbors?

If nothing else has been shown by this calamity is has been this: "We are not a cohesive unit of people - at the ground level - when we need to be." There are pockets of those who DO function well - with anyone around them - as best they can - but this quality of character is becoming a rare commodity in our soceity. IF we do not recognize this and take immediate steps to correct it - then we are digging a hole and setting in it - waiting for when the 'dikes' will break and swamp us. Then it will be too, late.

I am not being negative. Never confuse the courage to face the facts of reality for negativism. My comments here are made in the hope that we see where we need to make changes. Changes that will prevent the exacerbation of pain, misery and death in the face of huge natural calamities that we as humans have absolutely no control over. But we do have control over US - and how we deal, individualy and collectively with the 'morning after'.

There are answers - we, as a the human-community- just need to grasp hold of those answers and put them back into force in our society ... and we must do it NOW.

God speed to all who are providing the services needed and let's all be sure we are NOT doing anything to jeapordize or hinder that one bit.

ofieldstream

Weather Underground Photos of New Orleans

If y'all haven't looked at the Wunder Photos Very Important Photos, then you need to. SmithFarm Photos, a Fish & Wildlife employee, has uploaded an extensive gallery of photos of the condtions - on-th-ground - in New Orleans. SFP did not label each photo extensively - the Captions are a repeat - but the photos are very descriptive. As well - I find the Caption itself very telling.

Take a look ... this is what 'one of our own' ... IS doing on-the-ground in the ravaged New Orleans area.

These are but a few of the many ...

O'fieldstream


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Links in Previous Post ...

I apologize that the links in the previous post did not come through ... here are the URLs:

CNN interview w/Dr. Ivor van Heerden
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WEATHER/08/28/katrina.doomsday/ (posted on 29 Aug 2005)

CNN video interview w/ Mr. Walter Maestri [click link after 1st paragraph in at the link above] (this is from a 2004 interview! ) -- this IS a chilling commentary. We ARE NOW seeing it - it has happened!

Sorry for the technical clitch ...

ofieldstream

They Knew, Did Nothing: Tip of Many such 'icebergs'

I know - professionally- the director of Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center, Dr. Ivor van Heerden; he's also the director fo the Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes, located in Baton Rouge. He gave .. and has been GIVING a report on the impending disaster - for the past 20 years - we're are now deep into with New Orleans.

I will make a comment on his studies - that of several others - and what I've been involved in myself, later.

But for now ... I want to pass along this CNN interview report with Dr. van Heerden and a video interview with Mr. Walter Maestri, Director of Emergency Management for Jefferson Parish; nearly a 500,000 populace-part of New Orleans.

To say, "I told you so."- may be too painful for people to hear, but once you view this video and read the article - you will come to no other conclusion that just that.

CNN interview w/Dr. Ivor van Heerden (posted on 29 Aug 2005)
CNN video interview w/ Mr. Walter Maestri [click link after 1st paragraph] (this is from a 2004 interview! ) -- this IS a chilling commentary. We ARE NOW seeing it - it has happened!

[NOTE: I don't know when the interview with Dr. van Heerden was 'actually' conducted, but I DO know this information has been around for over 30 years ..and, at this level of seriousness! Hurricane Betsy in 1965 - killed 61 people and forced the levee system constructed - and ever since then EVERYONE knew they were were NOT enough. The computer models showed a Cat 4 direct hit would kill no fewer than 44,000 people in New Orleans - ALONE! ]

This is incredibly sad. And we are in no way seeing the 'only' such case of this level of 'osteriching'. This is one .. of many 'icebergs' floating around in the ocean of our society. We are in danger.. from so many fronts. And we've played osterich for so long. We are 'over due'.

I think we can say ... 'stike two'. We all know the next call ...

ofieldstream

Bureaucracy Kills ...

I've been listening - like may of you - to all the news channels - CNN,FOX, MSNBC and all of them have reporters saying the same thing: We hear that help in on the way - but no one has seen it!

Grains of sand can totally immobalize a 60 ton tank. And just like those grains of sand, the grains of bureacracy are immobalizing an entire country: OURS If we don't stem this flow of confidence degradation in our own government - then we are in for a whole lot more trouble than Katrina could ever bring!

If you don't think this would happen to you .. then you're just as vulnerable as those poor souls sweltering in the fetid humidity of the former urban center known as New Orleans.

The majority of the folks stranded in that hell-hole are regular - law abiding, tax-paying, everyday citizens .. just like you, me and our neighbors. So, WHY are they being ignored?

We were all hearing the 'flooding of the streets of NO' were the problem, 2-days ago. Then we heard the Army Corp were not able to make the repairs ??? So, what happened to the great ability of our armed forces? We are still hearing the 'level' explantion today .. 48 hours later. Why?

OK .. they are struggling with a huge problem, so WHY is this stopping helicopters from air-lifting aid to those on roof tops when they pass over them to help others .. and to those who are stranded at the Superdome??

The fact that the real problem is that the location of New Orleans should NEVER have been allowed to grow to the size it is. When you can stand anywhere and look UP to see a huge 200' barge going by at 40' ABOVE you .. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that is NOT a place to be in for an extended period of time.

But regardless of this .. what does this have to do with air-lifting drinking water and food to people who are in dire need of it - in a central location designated by the authorities?

WHY?

I have yet to hear any kind of reasonable answer.

In one report - a very lucid reporter for NBC news (sorry did not get his name - but he was reporting during Mike Regans show on Fox TV) stated that when he left last night - he came upon no fewer than 60 buses just setting there - on the highway a few miles away from the Superdome. He stopped; they did not want to be on camera - so he asked them WHY they were not heading to the Superdome? The answer he got was, 'it was unsafe and the drivers would not drive into the area'. The reporter told them he just came from there and it was not pleasant -but it was not unsafe, either!! They did NOT move: and still have not! It's Thursday afternoon for goodness sakes!

Mike Brown, Dir of FEMA says help is on the way - in huge amounts. But that help is being held up by individuals who have no real authority to do so. Communiations breakdown. Hmm, signs of bureaucratic BS rearing its ugly head all over the place.

I can tell you that if I were that reporter I would have given those bus drivers two choices .. 1. get in their buses and believe it to be unsafe or 2. remain where they were and know for certain they were unsafe in doing that.

As usual ... it is a breakdown in communications at the lowest level that messes up the whole works. Bureaucracy working at it's very best pace: DEAD STILL!

Just like those grains of sand .. it only takes a few in the wrong place - at the right time - and even a giant will come to a grinding halt.

Oh ... if there isn't a massive 'calvalry ride over the hill' .. and REAL SOON .. then the spill-over of this injustice ... real or otherwise ... is going to be felt from sea-to-not-so-shining-sea, border to border and it will not be good. It WILL cripple our nation. Talk about a national security problem. We won't need to worry about terrorists .. we're in the beginning throws of doing to ourselves !

This is quickly turning into a real PR-nightmare. And I do believe a number of before 'hidden problems' .. or not-so-hidden depending ones level of naivite .. within our governments leaders is really beginning to show itself. The first sign - as my mother used to tell me when I began screaming, '...it's not my fault!', that the sign of a guilty person is the speed of which the assure you they are perfectly right in what they did. There have been a whole lot of quick-draw artists plying their spin-craft all day today in that other fetid wasteland, known as Washington, DC.

Let's not loose hope or breakdown to anarchy- that will do NO ONE any good. But when the polls open up again in November - let's not forget we need some serious changes. Let's remember the role bureauracracy played in this unecessary -totally preventable- disaster-of-its-own-making ... and say with voice, pen and lever ... ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Let's bring people into office who are REAL and know how to be REAL. Real people can admit error - take responsibility for their actions.. good or bad. They admit it and get on with doing the right thing at the right time.

Do we still have anyone like that who WILL serve the American public? Will our country even accept them IF they show up? I don't know the answers to this .. but I sure know what I would like. How about you?

Frustrated - but hopeful - in brokenheart Hoosierland,

O'fieldstream

FEMA in action ??

I have just been listening to FEMA director Mike Brown giving a press conference on just WHAT FEMA is doing in the face of this disaster.

I would NOT want his job. But I can tell you that he is the first public official I've listened to today that speaks straight forward -without policy-speak. He is doing all he can do at this time.

If we want to really help .. then, regardless of your religious affiliation or belief - PRAY that the current operations under way do NOT encounter insumountable barriers. Also pray that the people who are in the midst of the suffering KEEP AS CALM AS POSSIBLE and not allow the hot-heads and intolerant spread their poison.

As I stated in most previous post .. this is ONLY DAY 4. We cannot afford to loose temper, hope or purpose so early on. We are either going to Part of the Solution or we'll be The Problem. Let's not make this any worse than it is .. 'cause it's all the 'worse' it needs to be.

O'fieldstream

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Downtown New Orleans .. from DirectNIC.com

In all the chaos of Katrina I completely failed to remember that my Domain Hosting company, DirectNIC.com is located in New Orleans .. I didn't know 'where' exactly until a few minutes ago when I went to their site to check on a Domain. BOOM! Right there in front of me was the announcement of how they were dealing with Katrina's aftermath.

Plaza across street from DirectNIC.com offices - dwntwn NO

DirectNIC is on the 11th floor of an office building right in the downtown district. They are running on diesel double-drop power backup - so they have gone - so far - without a drop in service. And they have NO intension of evacuating NO.

They have an active webcam - looking down on 'whatever street' is below them - I have no idea where it is as I am totally unfamiliar with NO. This webcam feed is to MS Media Player.

They are also running a blog on LiveJournal. It's an interesting read - to be sure. They also have a series of stills - presumably from the webcam and some obviously from still digital shots, too.

They also sustained damage to their offices.

DirectNIC.com office damage

There is NO WATER in this portion of the downtown. I'm looking at a 'real-time' video (webcam) of the street below - and it is totally dry. But the activity below is quite interesting. They report on the blog all kinds of looting going on and wholesale 'street vending' of the stolen goods !!

I've been so intent on getting info from my online source - but failed to realize that dependance was so tied to the dedicated staff of DirectNIC keeping the servers running.

My sites are all hosted here in the midwest - but if the DirectNIC hosting services go down - my websites are off-line and I'm out of business. So my thanks are to those employees and owners who are protecting their investment and mine!

ofieldstream