September 9, 2005 | 4:18 PM ET

It must be officially time for finger pointing because we're suddenly up to our ears in polls (for what that's worth):

Taken with the ABC poll from the other day, I think we can safely say that there is a poll result to support every opinion.

This blogger would have liked to have seen a more emotional, impassioned reaction from President Bush.  I had a similar thought about his 9/11 reaction.  I have interviewed Karen Hughes twice and every time I ask her if he flew off the handle and punched a wall or kicked the dog or had to be held back from pushing the big red button, she insisted no, he was cool and level headed through the whole thing.  (I was not.)  I guess that's the image they want to project, but the drawback is that it can make the president appear as though he doesn't care (when surely he does).

Today's big story, as it turns out while I'm writing this, is FEMA's embattled Mike Brown and, among other things, Time's research on his biography.  Bill the Pundit guy points out that biographical embellishments are not uncommon, but I would have thought this type of scandal impossible after the Bernard Kerik fiasco.

A lengthy slide show of one local's photos from New Orleans' Katrina preparations to his eventual evacuation/escape.

Armed private security in New Orleans?  Folks making Baghdad comparisons will likely pick up on this.

I'm a little less ready than others to be high-fiving the TV media for Katrina coverage, particularly because of how confusing the facts of the story actually are.  They managed to point a camera at an obvious situation and they managed to must human emotion (outrage) at what they were seeing, but I don't see them doing the difficult work of sorting rumor from fact, and I don't see them doing the even more difficult work that bloggers are doing of trying to figure out who did what when and who was supposed to do what when.  Coverage already appears to be slipping back into he said/he said pundit mode.  That said, my commuter click today will be Jay Rosen to see what he has to say on the matter.

What it was like in the Superdome — Mostly critical of treatment by security.  Notably absent are mentions of rapes, dead bodies and murders.

Speaking of first hand accounts, Boing Boing continues to feature individual reports:

Speaking of Boing Boing, they're also popularizing a remix of Kanye's comments from last week's fundraiser.  (Note:  Contains pretty distinct cursing.)

... Which has in turn elevated the linkrank of " FWMJ presents 'Rappers I Know' month."

Speaking of musical tributes to Katrina, lots of folks are pointing to TV on the Radio.

Buy a t-shirt for ten bucks and have 20 donated to Katrina relief.

"Hurricane Katrina Survivors:  Visit a nearby pharmacy to receive an emergency supply of your Pfizer medicines."  ( further explanation)

Josh Marshall is suspicious of the administration's motives in trying to restrain the media coverage of the situation in New Orleans.

Speaking of media restrictions, The Anchoress makes the argument against photographing dead bodies.

The 82nd Airborne visits the Interdictor

Glenn lists some lessons learned from Katrina.  Lots of good reader comments there.  Have you asked yourself what you would do?  Do your loved ones know?

PayPal freeze out Katrina aid — There's been a lot of buzz about this story online this week, but it was a little hard to follow so it's nice to have this summary.

By now you've probably heard of the "Go F yourself" incident with Vice President Cheney yesterday.  In case you missed it, psychic Tivo has again recorded what you wish you saw.

Cost-benefit analysis of rebuilding New Orleans

Related:  The case against rebuilding the sunken city of New Orleans.

Speaking of Slate, How race shaped Bush's response to Katrina.

Brian Williams re-tours the French Quarter and has some sharp criticism of how security measures are changing.

How much pre-existing bad blood was there between Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco?

Speaking of Nagin and Blanco, Stop blaming FEMA

Firefighters: We Were Misused In Katrina Rescue Efforts

" Only the parishes shown in red were mentioned in George Bush's pre-Katrina declaration of emergency."  (May not be as inflammatory as it sounds.  As you read through the updates, you can see the author trying to figure out what the deal is.)

Team Hate America — It took me a few minutes to figure out why I was seeing the home pages of so many members of Congress popping up on blog link lists.  It turns out there's a movement to shame legislators who didn't vote for Katrina aid.

Making a go bag from commodity parts for under $66

What else I clicked

How to build one of those lightning balls

The Flying Spaghetti Monster game is actually pretty difficult.

Speaking of games, Cubeoban — This game will definitely kill the rest of your Friday work day.

If I dig a hole right here, straight through the Earth, where would I come out?  (Disproves the expectation that any hole through the planet will put you in China.)

The Toast Leaner's Club site looks like it's been around a while.  I traced its link-resurrection to Presurfer.  Note:  Site automatically plays annoying music.

Dictionaraoke: They took the word pronunciation audio files from online dictionaries and applied them to song lyrics and Karaoke music.

The coolest things from this year's siggraph conference

Million dollar home page — Selling a million tiny ads for a buck a piece.

Stonehenge pocket watch — If Fred Flintstone was a gadget head.

WWII photos on Flickr

I found Leo Burnett on Delicious, so it's hard to know what people are pointing to specifically, but I know I'm not alone in simply admiring the cool navigation.

Bulletproof Fatigues?  "The secret is a liquid dip that fortifies thin sheets of Kevlar, rendering them nearly impenetrable."

Spider Man 3 bad guys named — Um... well, maybe the guy from "That 70's Show" will surprise me.

Joi Ito describes a funeral in a Japanese village

Anil Dash takes a look at Web Development Trends for 2006.  This is more technical than we usually see here (because it's more technical than I understand) but insofar as we are constantly running into technical buzzwords, this is a handy list of definitions and explanations.

Find-a-human — What and when to push on your phone to get a real person when you call a business.

Getting things done with dashes — A "dash" being a short burst of productivity.

Is Islam compatible with the West?

Fish inspired car — Doesn't work underwater (but that would be cool).

How Europe fails its young (uncompetitive colleges)

The Fall '05 issue of Knitty is out.

"I do not think anyone can possibly understand how boring a general election in the world's best country really is."  (That would be Norway.)

Since the anniversary of 9/11 is Sunday, this is my story from that day.

September 8, 2005 | 1:41 PM ET

Yet another Katrina timeline

The question of who did what when is definitely going to form the basis of the "what went wrong" inquiry.  In that vein, I clicked FEMA director waited to seek Homeland help and also saw the related memo.

Speaking of memos, the much discussed "when" of the Louisiana governor's actions are documented in this press release.

And speaking of who did what when, Why Now Is Precisely the Time for Finger-Pointing

And speaking of fingerpointing, yesterday I pointed to Captain's Quarters' case against Mayor Nagin.  Also in the category of the case against local authorities I find Brad DeLong's reprint of a very recent Times-Picayune story which explains the official policy of you're-on-your-own.  I especially like the typo that removed the spaces to form "primarilyresponsibleforthemselves" like some kind of new German political philosophy.  UPDATE:  From the mailbag:

You may want to take a look at the disaster plans of Louisiana and New Orleans. The web links for the plans are as follows:


Speaking of political philosophy.  Liberals are arguing that this storm is an example of small government philosophies leaving the public stranded The Agitator does not agree that we've seen a small government philosophy in practice.

And while on political philosophy, Austin Bay points out different versions of the same New York Times story, the international version being generally derogatory toward capitalism it seems.

Create your own hurricane — It's step 7.  You don't really get to customize the storm, but still a nice interactive.

Did the rumor mill help kill Katrina victims?

Speaking of rumors, Boing Boing gives a look at what the rumor mill was reporting in the Astrodome.  Be sure to read all the way to the end.

I'm not sure how we're supposed to distinguish between what is overblown rumor and what is real when this woman's first hand account sounds about as bad as any rumor I've read.

Weatherman Claims Japanese Mafia Behind Hurricane Katrina — Just as I suspected.

Yesterday I linked to the story of the frustrated firemen having to undergo hours of training.  Apparently I misunderstood why so many bloggers had focused on that story.  Now I see everyone talking about the firefighters being assigned to stand next to President Bush for a photo op.  Billmon has the (a?) photo and characteristic reaction.

Public Skeptical New Orleans Will Recover — I don't understand this one.

Speaking of thinking the city will recover:  New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize — "New Orleans is not optional for the United States' commercial infrastructure. It is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist."

God Outdoes Terrorists Yet Again

Administration's figures on response don't appear to add up — a comedy of math.

Katrina - the landline - Telecom's Response

While there see Skypku.

New Orleans flood map — "Click upon your area of interest and a marker will appear showing the estimated water depth at that location."

FEMA rap

Update note:  I added this link below to the story of the German TV broadcast about President Bush's flight over the disaster area.  Further info here.

Mailbag!  Links from readers. has news and photos and updates about the status of New Orleans' leading flamenco dancers and performers, and info about the flamenco scene in New Orleans.

PlanetFlamenco is coordinating a nationwide flamenco benefit for Katrina victims on nov 4, 5, & 6. for questions, or to post a benefit:

Muchas gracias, amigo!!!
—Ed Young, Editor

I've seen this story reposted in a couple of places, but so far as I can tell it hasn't been picked up by the MSM.  Quite possibly because of the affiliation of the writers, although their day jobs are as paramedics.

Any way to get corroboration on this?
—Constance, in Oakland

Dear Constance,
I clicked the same story at this link, which at least doesn't carry quite the stigma of the Socialist Worker, and I googled Larry Bradshaw and he seems real.  Other media reports have confirmed that people weren't allowed to cross the bridge.  Some of the more dramatic parts of the story, along with the editorializing is up to you believe or doubt.

A friend e-mailed me this link, but I've been unable to find mention of it in the news media.  Just wondering if you know anything more about it?

Dear Tracy,
That story is definitely present in the blogosphere.  I haven't seen it on TV, but I'm not sure why they'd bother.  What I clicked:


Hey Will,
Just a thought, our leaders responded to the loss of of 2900 on 911 with the WOT....

Will President W now respond to Katrina with a WOW... Oh wait...

With the utter devastation in New Orleans, it was even more shocking to read the Weekly Message of the American mystic and sage, Bishop Daniel Clay

Whereas in 1996, Daniel Clay gave warning, in an indirect manner, as to the terrorist attack known as "9/11" in his book The Prophecies, this warning is extremely direct and cannot be given in clearer terms.
— Frederique Schreuder

Hello Will,
I just wanted to inform you that some Microsoft employees have also put together a CD of music to benefit the families affected by Hurricane Katrina.
The URL is, and all proceeds go to the relief effort.
Thanks for your time,
Sean Gephardt

Hey bud,
Heres a very interesting industrial link for the solution to the clean-up and meet EPA standards thru this recycling technology.
Have a better day,
Scott T

Please let your listeners know that high-resolution Aug31 photos of the areas in LA and MS hit by Katrina are available here.

In the set of images I downloaded for Northwest New Orleans, I was able to find my Aunt's house.  Objects as small as 1 foot were visible in these high-res photos.

My Aunt (who evacuated pre-Katrina to Reston, LA) was glad to hear that there was no sign of flooding, most houses had all their shingles, and trees were not uprooted in her neighborhood and at her address.
—Paul Stewart

Hi Will,
I follow your column daily and I like the gems you find for me during normal times.  During the last week your page is the first one outside of the main news sites I check.

There was one thing I must say bothered me a bit.  And that was the “Some international Perspective” 2 of the 3 posts were about the lack of international empathy.  I agree with Der Spiegel’s commentary that the words of ONE green mp are stupid.  But you must remember that Der Spiegel is a conservative magazine, which supports the CDU that is fighting an election.

I think they are likely to make a mountain out of a molehill because of the hurt they can cause Schröder.

Here is another side of the story.

Belgium actually offered aid earlier but was turned down by the U.S. gouvernement.

I looked for other articles about Dutch, French and german aid offers, but didn't find any in English.  But the offers are there.

My main point is that the world does care and is stunned by the magnitude of the disaster.
Philippe De Schutter
Halle, Belgium

(Will's Note: The above mail is from 9/3, and I think the status of international aid may have changed since it was written.)

Will -
Please share.
Thank you.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE has designated this site to help aid the relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Meetups have proven to be fundraising machines -- and the objective of Hurricane Meetups is to help people pool resources and raise money.  Meetup has waived all fees for anyone organizing Hurricane Meetups.



Thank you.

What else I clicked...

American hostage rescued in Iraq

Life worse for the world's poorest

Asteroid may have more water than Earth

Yahoo now a social software powerhouse — Which makes them a solid bet for future greatness.

Speaking of future greatness, if Jesus Christ returned on the same day as a new Apple product, I think the blogosphere would still link to the Apple product more.  Frenzy of the day: the iPod Nano .  Photos and buzz here, here and here.

10 Reasons to Eat Local Food

How 'Spontaneous Order' Applies to Economics and Evolution — I know we've done the I.D. discussion to death here, but the economic analogy is interesting.

Nerd TV launches

DNA evidence traps spitter

Hilarious Domain Name Mispronouncings

Video of the Day:  "These are 20 of the most awesome trick shots I have created and learned over this summer."  Note:  If you look around this host site you'll probably find some NSFW material.

Microsoft's Bill Gates: 'We've been f---ed by China'  — This is the second day in a row someone from the mother ship has been quoted with the F-bomb.

Speaking of getting F-ed by China, Information supplied by Yahoo! helped journalist Shi Tao get 10 years in prison

September 7, 2005 | 11:42 AM ET

Reading through the NOLA blog today, this line stood out: 

"That's a kid," he said. "There's another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut."

Why would there be a 7-year-old girl with her throat cut?  I mean that literally.  I can't imagine what course of events could have brought that outcome.

Murder and rape - fact or fiction? mentions the (a?) 7-year-old.  What's funny is that this link diminishes the violent crime aspect of Katrina's aftermath, the one below explains it in the context of the regular crime rate.  Believe what you want, I'm sure you'll find support for your position out there somewhere.

New Orleans myths: The numbers tell a different story — This should be called "New Orleans realities" instead of myths.  He's got seven of them.  (Along the way he points out that a lot of people actually did evacuate before the storm.  When people ask what good online databases of aid are to victims of the storm, I'm thinking it's this considerable number of evacuees who are best able to take advantage.)

"In the War on Error, people will need to take the lead. Governments will need to follow or get out of the way."

In the fingerpointing frenzy, you can pretty much have your pick of demons.

Speaking of timelines.  Right Wing Nuthouse has put together a pretty detailed recounting.  (He's having hosting problems.  I had to start at the home page and scroll down to the timeline.)

155 and one reasons why the government should stay out of disaster recovery.  A bureaucracy comparison.  (I'm sure there's some internal bureaucracy at the Red Cross, but the point is pretty clear.)

"How can journalists produce coverage of looters (and more) that restores the social contract that binds us together?"

Help process survivor data for missing-persons network People Finder Volunteer wiki

Flickr folks are auctioning photos to raise money for Katrina victims.

Why FEMA turned away help

As far as I know, this ABC/Washington Post poll is the first one to follow the Hurricane.  The post leads with " 72% Say Gas Scalping Is Tied to Storm" but it's the presidential approval numbers (not much change really) most bloggers are looking at.

" I survived Hurricane Katrina, but it transformed me. I am a different person."

By now you've heard the fuss over Mike Brown's qualifications to run FEMA, but what about the deputies?

BBC: Why does the U.S. need our money?

The headline Photojournalists Covering Katrina Fall Victim To Growing Violence, Chaos made me think to click over and see what BAG News Notes has been saying about Katrina photos.

It's always exciting to see some home players show up on "most linked" lists. 

  • My colleague Mike Brunker popped up for his explanation of the shortcomings of the FEMA hotline.
  • Keith Olbermann's " " editorial the other night is all over the place.  The clip even showed up in the Putfile top ten.
  • And Brian Williams' " Notes on the eve of destruction " has drawn a lot of links as well.

Putting the Walmart donation into perspective — I don't understand corporate "worth" well enough to know if this is fair, but it's an interesting perspective.

The story of firemen stuck in training instead of helping in New Orleans borders on comedy if the stakes weren't so high.

Drive in, pick up some people, drive out, repeat.

What else I clicked...

As the flood waters recede, so is the blog saturation coverage of Katrina. Looking through the "most-linked" lists I am beginning click more non-Katrina content.

Fans mourning the loss of Gilligan will want to check out the Bob Denver fan club.

The Intergenerational Effect of Worker Displacement — The paper is pretty lengthy, but the conclusions are in the abstract.  "[W]e find that children whose fathers were displaced have annual earnings about 9% lower than similar children whose fathers did not experience an employment shock."

Dinosaurs may have been a fluffy lot

Fan made movie teasers for the new Superman movie.  Looks like that'll be the subject of next summer's movie hype.

Speaking of Superman, I also ran into this piece about All Star Superman.

Most popular podcasts at a glance - I try to keep track of most popular links, but podcasts are harder to round up, so this is a handy resource.

100-square-mile bulge keeps getting bigger

S. 517: A bill to establish a Weather Modification Operations and Research Board, and for other purposes — Why not?  What could possibly go wrong?

Speaking of eBooks, Digital Library of India — Yes, you can read the books online.  I was able to look through the collected poems of Robert Frost, which reminded me of my promise to read The Waste Land.  Sure enough, it's there too.

Early SCOTUS speculation at Volokh

Speaking of SCOTUS, First Thoughts on the Tactics of Nominating John Roberts for Chief

Very weird pro-piracy commercial — Actually it's only weird because I wasn't expecting it.  It's not weird to realize that filmmakers get ripped off by the movie business.  Note:  Some cursing out loud.  Check your volume before you play this in the office or around your kids.

English as she is spoke — Portuguese to English, with a brief stop at French

How I failed the Turing test — Could you prove you're human?  ( What's a Turing test?)

Who's There?  Seth Godin's Incomplete Guide to Blogs and the New Web

Ballmer Throws A Chair At "F*ing Google"

Related: Google to MS:  Watch your desktop

September 5, 2005 | 1:22 p.m. ET

"I am so angry, I am shaking as I write this, and I find myself almost at a loss for words."  Brendan Loy's rage is echoed in many corners of the blogosphere.

Updated satellite images are popping up all over.  This is an interesting interface.  And more here.

Speaking of the view from above, Junkyard Blog has been pursuing the story of whether New Orleans used all of the buses at its disposal.  I clicked three posts, here, here, and here in the series, but I get the impression this will be a continuing line of query.

Speaking of photos, " Pass Christian After" is an amazing photo.  There are a few others in that photostream.

A lot of bloggers are pointing to yesterday's powerful Meet the Press., particularly Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish who broke down on the air.  (Note that we podcast MTP now, so you can listen to the whole show.)

Speaking of breaking down on the air, I went to C&L looking for the clips of Shepard Smith that has a lot of folks talking, but that link didn't work for me, so instead I caught Celine Dion's moving Larry King appearance.

A blog from the Astrodome (I had heard through co-workers that they were going to be setting up computers there, and it seems there is also wireless service.  Note the request for Wifi laptop donations.)

Newsweek's comprehensive package on what went wrong is seeing a lot of interest.

And Glenn's got a round-up of some early blogosphere efforts at what went wrong.

Most of the religion related items I've seen have not been worth linking to, quite frankly.  (This morning I deleted a comment on our "Reconnect" list from some jerk who wrote that the Hurricane is what happens to people who worship voodoo.)  But I found this perspective about using the opportunities we're given interesting.

A funny response to " Why do people live there?"

Too much media criticism can be annoying, but it's hard to ignore that the media has played a significant role, not just in covering, but participating in the Katrina story.  It's even a little funny to see the blogosphere writing about the TV media in the same tone the TV media has been reporting on the blog media.  What I clicked:

The Moderate Voice has a really broad round-up.  If you aren't familiar enough with the blogosphere to look around on your own, this is a nice tour.

There are a lot of "X is not able to get aid to Y" stories.  Thankfully, this blogger has made an effort to put them all in one place.  ( Similar)

18-year-old "pirates" a school bus, rescues 100 from NOLA

On being poor

Commuter Click: Since today is a day off for most people, including me, I'm taking some fiction from the New Yorker out into the sunshine.

September 2, 2005 | Updating

Spending 18 hours a day for the last five days immersed in cable news and Internet coverage of Katrina has left me half crazy, half angry and half sad.  Running on 150% emotional capacity is never a good state for blogging, but this is what I clicked:


Truth Laid Bear reports blogosphere fundraising efforts coming up on half a million dollars.

Liberal Blogs for Hurricane Relief is approaching $120,000 with a million as the goal.

Strengthen the Good is matching readers' donations.

" Here's a timeline that outlines the fate of both FEMA and flood control projects in New Orleans under the Bush administration."

Measuring the merits of shooting looters.  Follow his links to further debate on the matter.

I've seen more outrage from media desk sitters today, but a lot of bloggers are finding their rage well represente by Anderson Cooper in his interview with Senator Landrieu the other day.  Recorded before you knew you missed it by psychic Tivo at C&L.

Non-Katrina:  Libelous Claims About Large Corporations


I've been working on lists of missing persons resources and housing resources.  If you know of any sites (not individuals) I don't have on the lists so far, let me know.

In that vein I'd like to highlight this mail for folks who know of people who are stranded down there:

In order to assist the United States Coast Guard in Hurricane Katrina Search and Rescue efforts, submit a missing/stranded person request at
— Monika Foster


Don't forget my friend CrazyJoe and his gamer charity site!

You were kind enough to mention him during the tsunami relief; I know you're probably extremely busy, but a link in your column would be much appreciated. He rocks, as do you.

Dear Jane,
Flattery will get you everywhere. :)
Good luck,


**There is a ton of mail in the box.  I'm going to pop these links up real quick and then dive into that, so I'll have those posted below shortly.

Some resource pages I don't think I've mentioned yet:

Here's one of those angles I hadn't considered.  Say what you will about lawyers and disasters, they're integral to the functioning of society and in Louisiana they're facing a crisis.

Here's another:  If you've ever lived paycheck to paycheck, you'll recognize right away what a problem it is for this to have happened on the 29th.

Some international perspective:

Lots of anger and criticism of the government:

High gas price solution:  Little cars  (NOTE: Other Skoopy content is NOT safe for work, stray beyond this page at your own risk.)

What else I clicked:

Google announces plan to destroy all information it can't index

Print your Flickr photos in a book

Anti-rape condom aims to stop sexual assaults — That's right, "hooks and barbs."

Breath of the dragon: ERS-2 and Envisat reveal impact of economic growth on China's air quality — Amazing to see that one chart that shows the global map.

The Resource Shelf - It's like a raw information blog.  I mentioned this to a friend of mine here who is a research librarian for NBC and she knew of it right away and mentioned Gary Price as being on the forefront of something they call "specialty libraries." 

September 1, 2005 | Updating

I'll begin with today's updates shortly.  The amount of information and activity online is positively dizzying.  I'm presently engaged in updating the list of Missing Persons forums on this page.

Just a reminder, Glenn is cataloguing the participants in the Flood Relief Blogburst.  The Truth Laid Bear is also keeping an index.

Katrina Phishing Scams Begin — Since I've been working on lists of Missing Persons resources, I'd like to also point out that there are bad people out there who may use information from those lists for bad purposes.  Be aware of what information you're saying about yourself and the person you're looking for.

I don't know what Scipionus means but this site is a brilliant idea that should be managed by a government agency with official information.

This is not about red states v. blue states...

The master list of Craigslist resources for Katrina

New Katrina sat pics from NASA; more coming via Google

Global Security has lots of toggling before/after sat images

Here's an angle I hadn't thought of: Airlines Cancel More Flights, Prepare for Possible Fuel Shortages

The Interdictor site has become an amazing online outpost.  Amazing content plus web cam and IRC chat.

Do it yourself fundraisng ideas


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