September 30, 2005

Metaphorophoto Extraordinaire - Flag in Tatters


we know
not who

left our

out in

and now
just look

Photo note: Never one to pass up an opportunity, this was the best I could do under the circumstances (glare, high altitude, long distance, digital zoom, out the car window). Would that the colors weren't faded, but maybe that just adds to the metaphor.

Posted by Dakota at 07:48 PM

Toward Perfect Preparedness


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Here it is folks, the creme de la creme, the ultimate disaster supply list. A must read for the perfectly prepared.

The author, AlphaGeek, of Daily Kos, lives up to the promise of his name. He is a "Silicon Valley technical executive with both professsional and personal experience in risk assessment and disaster readiness planning", who has obviously considered this subject from multiple angles . He also has a sense of humor-- as fine a one that anyone could hope for under the circumstances. Be certain to read the commentsafter the entry. They include more helpful hints, and a scrappy exchange with a carless-by-choice city dweller that is very useful for the urbane.

Wisely, AlphaG does not begin his five part series with this list of supplies, but, as is my inclination, I went for that part first. One never knows how long one's attention will span. I have now begun to read the series from the beginning, because he has so much excellent information. I figured he wouldn't have written three parts for no reason, before he got to the only part that interests me. A few tidbits to whet your appetite:

"When faced with a life-threatening situation, a great many people will simply freeze, unable to process events effectively and respond appropriately. A person who reacts in this manner may attempt to continue normal life at great risk to themselves and others, or may simply subside into shock and denial.

Another significantly large group will react by making a reasonable effort at ensuring their own survival and helping others, but may not be terribly effective at either. In many cases, these folks may take actions which increase risk to themselves and others. A significant percentage of this second group will, depending on the severity and duration of the emergency, go into shock and denial. In a group situation, good leadership can keep this to a minimum.

All the cool kids, though, fall into a third category. Whether by training or innate nature, members of this group are mentally prepared to overcome the challenges at hand. They have decided that dammit, they're not going to give up and die, and that's final.

Making the decision that you, personally, are going to survive makes all the difference in the world.

Now, dear reader, you may think upon your fears and insecurities, and fret that you will surely react like the people in that middle group, blundering about making (potentially deadly) mistakes. Or, horror of horrors, you may even freeze up under stress and fail to cope with the situation at all. These are normal reactions, but they are not helpful in a disaster situation, to put it mildly.

So how do you avoid joining the ranks of the ineffective masses, waiting passively for help? It comes down to minimizing FUD -- Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. If you have a solid basic emergency plan, you are well on your way to avoiding paralysis due to FUD. Like the smart man said, chance favors the prepared mind.

The principal means, however, of getting FUD under control and improving the chances that you'll respond effectively in an emergency is simple: practice, practice, practice. Until you have actually attempted to execute a plan which looks good on paper, you have no guarantees that the plan works or that you will be ready to use it. A critical part of any preparedness program is periodic review and practice of your survival-critical plans."

Here, he recommends the American Red Cross Get Prepared list, which has detailed plans for more disasters than you've probably ever thought about. The rest you will have to read yourself.

As a Painstakingly Preparing Person, I performed three pertinent preparedness projects today.

I learned to text message on my cellie -- a most important PPP skill, since the text part often works, even when the speaking part doesn't.

I had a chat with my town's public health officer. She assured me that my town was working on the avian flu issue, though just what it is doing is still "not public information". We do have a preparedness plan, and a committee, chaired by the fire chief. She assured me that avian flu is on her "radar screen", and she's part of the plan to distribute tamiflu when the time comes. I reminded her that there are only 2 million doses of tamiflu in the US of A and said that I doubted we would receive any in our fair city. "Oh right." she said. I asked her if she had ordered hers yet. "No", she said,"Don't you need a prescription?". This response did not give me great hopes for the effectiveness of the scanner on her "radar screen". I referred her to her a website, told her how to order, and said I hoped they had some left. I asked when information would be issued publically to residents, (since I hate to introduce myself to my two new neighbors carrying copies of "Preparing for the Coming Influenza Pandemic", with the Grim Reaper cover- maybe I'll bake a bird cake). I asked her if she would like me to forward any articles to her. She said that she was innundated. She told me that the preparedness plan was on the town website, so I went to find it when I hung up. Guess what? It took me right to FEMAs terrorism site, -- George W., arms outstretched, was on the frontispiece. Not reassuring.

I looked for a local source for those 55 gallon blue plastic barrels in which you can store waterfor five years, if you use the right preservative. I was trying to find a nearby dealer, since the postage on the monstronsity is huge.

Photo note: This is part of both my white on white and garbage series. You may find something familiar about the shape.

Posted by Dakota at 07:09 AM

September 28, 2005



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As I was jamming my camera through the crisscrosses in the hurricane fence, spending an inordinate amount of time trying to capture the shadow of the stairway on the oil tank, it occurred to me that, in this day and age, I had better watch where I poke my lens. Since this little oil tank is right behind the Coast Guard Station (I won't mention the exact location, for security reasons), my chances of being caught and questioned were considerable.

I thought about the consequences. First, my camera could be confiscated -- it only took me a year to get used to it. I know I would be pushed to upgrade if I had to replace it. That prospect, alone, chilled my heart, and my wallet. Second, I could be interrogated and held without trial indefinitely, under the Patriot Act. Should they discover during their interrogation that I am just a suburban matron (see why my blog is anonymous?). and not a subversive, my name would be placed on a list forever anyway. Then, everytime I tried to fly, I would be searched and detained for questioning.

This is the last oil tank photo you will see on my blog.

Posted by Dakota at 11:21 AM

September 27, 2005

So Far, and Yet So Near


in the pink light
of early dawn

at the apex
of a triangle

stands the
blue heron

barely visible

and then
the avian

flu away

into the mist.


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Photo note: Really, just above those three rocks on the right, you will see the heron in flight, if you feel inclined to strain. She is flanked by four ducks. While we're on the subject of strain, how's your preparation going?

Posted by Dakota at 12:43 PM

September 26, 2005



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On Saturday, while stalking my blue heron at sunrise on the beach, I saw clouds in the sky that looked like birds to me.

Later, astride my bike on the canal, I saw a white cloud that looked exactly like a feather.

"Oh look!" said I, "Doesn't that cloud look just like a feather?"

"All the clouds look like feathers." replied the Voice of Reason . "In fact, isn't that a cloud with the face of the Virgin Mary in it over there?"

So I didn't take a photo

I wondered all day if I was making too much of the clouds, and, Sunday morning there was rickrack - a trim from my childhood.


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Posted by Dakota at 06:35 AM

September 23, 2005

What's going on here?


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Just in case you were lulled into complaisancy by The New York Times, Revere, over at Effect Measure, criticizing WHO, says this, and much more (be sure to read the comments)::

"But the World Reassurance Organization doggedly refuses to say out loud what everyone else can see. This virus has gone human to human and is spreading in Indonesia. The fact that it may (or may not) be as efficiently transmitted as current endemic strains of human influenza doesn't mean things have not changed. They obviously have, and to say there is no evidence the virus has mutated because they haven't sequenced it completely, just a lie. "

Fluwiki has declared October 3-9 National Pandemic Flu Awareness Week. Not a moment too soon in my book.

I may have mentioned my idea of chicken shaped magnets for the back of cars, (slapped right over those ubiquitous yellow ribbons) - that say " be aware, prepare ......avian flu information @ fluwiki" or something equally catchy. THIS, I would buy.

As the bearer of bad tidings, I have been getting some interesting responses to my gentle interventions. The friend with whom I dined today made me promise not to mention the avian flu because it "freaks her out". Several others, who were able to listen beyond their anxiety, have been told their primary care physician that there is no need to worry about this issue, at all, and have been refused prescriptions. Another was given a prescription for ten capsules of Tamiflu (the only successful plea, so far), and was told that was all she needed -(she wanted the recommended thirty). Her doctor assured her that he knows about this issue, and he cannot understand why she's being so insistent.

So in spite of my considerable charms, my attempts to raise awareness among those near and dear, have not been met with enthusiasm. If I keep this up, I shall ruin my social life entirely. Then, again, a quarantine would do the same.

Posted by Dakota at 06:04 PM

September 21, 2005



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Higher Self: Dakota, my dear, we haven't touched upon sacred geometry in many months. In fact we seem to have left the esoteric behind entirely, to focus on the mundane. Sometimes, when viewing the mundane, one can forget that there is higher purpose.

Dakota: Yes, Your Majesty, but someone must speak out against evil, tell the truth.

Higher Self: John Stewart does it so much better than you can, my dear. Besides, as your friend said last week, the truth has a way of effervescing to the surface. Shouldn't you pay a little more attention to the transcendence of the soul?

Dakota: There's going to be alot of transcendence around here if the avian flu hits. Maybe I'll get a chance to finish reading the "DaVinci Code" if I'm quarantined. I can carve pencils into sacred shapes.

Higher Self: Now just look at all those delicious double triangles and six pointed stars in your picture. Don't you think they mean something?

Dakota: No


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Photo note: As is my wont, I took 40 views of this display in Great Barrington, then I couldn't decide which one to publish. I have spared you by only chosing two.

Posted by Dakota at 12:24 PM

New and Improved List for Surviving the Avian Flu


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Bijou: Waddya think Petey, are they ready for this again?
Petey: Well the Pres did mention us at the UN the other day, and we're making the front page more often.
Bijou: Got your Tamiflu yet?
Petey: No, but I'm spending alot of time in the elderberry bushes.

Enough frivolity - at the risk of beating a dead ..... errrr - I am repeating a previous entry . If you overwhelm easily, best start with the list that keeps its simple.

As we have learned from our experience with a Katrina, preparation is a good thing. A pandemic of avian flu may or may not be on its way, so here's my new and improved prep list for a voluntary quarantine to save you some research. The clickies are just there to facilitate ordering for the busy. They're places I've purchased stuff, but not necessarily the best. Feel free to do your own research.

If it really gets bad, those that provide essential services will be too sick to do so, or as the experience of SARS in Canada showed us, people just won't show up to do their jobs, thus the camping equipment.

. READ FLUWIKI a most reliable source of information about the avian flu. Begun as a cooperative venture by a variety of experts, it will tell you everything you need to know about this issue, and more.

. KEEP YOUR CAR FILLED WITH GAS at all times - maybe store some extra fuel in lawn mower gas carriers.

. KEEP CASH on hand, though it may not do you any good. Think of barterables.

. ESTABLISH AN EMAIL ACCOUNT AT GMAIL OR YAHOO that can be remotely accessed

. PREPARE A LIST OF IMPORTANT FINANCIAL AND MEDICAL DATA AND STORE IT ON A USB CARD that you can grab quickly if you have to leave your house suddenly

Probably the worst place to visit during a pandemic is the drugstore, since relatives of the sick are most likely to be there. So, along with supplies to keep your symptoms at bay if you catch the flu, keep your good grooming stuff on hand -- soap, deodorant, kleenex, toilet paper, razors (shave beards so that face masks can seal properly)

. WATER - This is essential. You will be dead in a week without it, whereas you can live quite sometime without food, (some of us longer than others). The rule of thumb seems to be a gallon of water per person per day. Some experts are saying that a flu seige could last as long as three months, though I doubt that the water supply will be cut off for that long. Order collapsible containers from the net - bottled water is treated for bacteria and may last longer in storage. You will need to refill the collapsibles regularly, or just wait until it looks like water might be in short supply before filling them. I have ordered two 55 gallon water barrels , which, with the proper preservatives, will, ostensibly, keep water safe for five years without having to replenish it. The shipping cost as much as the barrels, but I figured time is money.
A friend who lives in earthquake country says she was told to fill old bleach bottles with water, after they're empty - just enough chlorine left for purification. This water purification aficionado has a number of different systems for gathering and purifying water, have cotton, white socks, charcoal and coffee filters on hand for homemade solutions. Consider having a water filtration system in place, small or large.

. goggles that seal, like swim goggles
. safety goggles (found in hardware stores) will fit over glasses and, at least, stop you from rubbing your eyes
. face masks - nanomasks are supposedly virus proof, others recommend 3M 95N PC2000 respirators, I have some of both .
. large garbage bags
. smallish garbage bags
. bleach - a primary viricidal - have many gallons on hand, but don't buy it until the last minute, since it loses potency when stored
. laundry detergent
. baby wipes - for personal cleanup without water
. latex gloves --large supply disposable
. household rubber gloves
. batteries
. flashlights and lanterns (LED preferably) a shakeable sort or the crank kind (as clickied) so you won't have to worry about running out of batteries
. candles
. matches
. charcoal briquettes
. fill BBQ propane tanks
. campstove + fuel or
. a hurricane stove that connects to a BBQ butane tank - you will need a special hookup tube too.
. a Big Green Egg or a little one-- uses very little charcoal, but a hibachi and a big bucket with which to quench its fire would probably be a decent alternative
. a solar oven, download plans to build your own, if it comes to that
. water purification tabs
. a wind-up radio that doesn't depend on
. denatured alcohol
. TWO can openers, just in case one breaks
.empty spray bottles to use for spraying self, clothing, cars, outerwear shoes with 10% bleach solution if you have to go out and come in
. PRINT OUT Dr. Grattan Woodson's preparation manual , so that you will have it on hand if your computer doesn't work. Make extra copies and distribute them. Put them in your waiting room, libraries,


.. Be sure to have at least a month's supply of all the prescription drugs you and your family take for existing conditions

. Tamiflu - be sure to check the expiration date. It's very expensive - maybe your doctor will write you a prescription (though most doctors don't think there's a problem, but they're not epidemiologists, who definitely do), or you can get them on the net for a premium without a scrip. NOTE: Tamiflu is in VERY short supply, if you do nothing else, order it now. If you cannot get Tamiflu, try to order Relenza, an antiviral inhalant, which is also supposed to be effective in preventing the lethal symptoms of H5N1. There is no vaccine at this time. Alternative medicine - see below -- is certainly worth a try, since there definitely won't be enough Tamiflu for all those affected if H5N1 becomes a pandemic

. you might want to order some amantadine (another antiviral) too

. antibiotics for secondary infections - I personally ordered tetracycline (Doxine 100mg, 250 tabs) and erythromycin (E-mycin 400mg, 200 tabs), without a prescription on line from a pharmacy in New Zealand. You might not want to do this, or maybe your doctor would prescribe it for you.

. Have your hepatitus, typhoid and tetanus shots updated.

. get your regular flu shots this fall, as well as a pneumonia shot

Sambucol elderberry syrup - a proven viricidal that comes in sugarless too. (on a somewhat chilling note, I noticed that they are limiting orders to 3 bottles per person)--some additional information on elderberry syrup read befor ordering
. red wine - a viricidal for its ingredient resveratrol - evidently New York State Pinot Noir has the highest resveratrol levels, but it isn't available, because it doesn't taste very good. -- Trader Joes has Charles Shaw red for @ $3.00/ bottle, not bad for medicinal purposes
. if you cannot drink wine, you can get the anitviral ingredient resveratrol in capsule form at health food stores or on line - however, there is something about grape skins soaked in alcohol that cannot be matched

. IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOSTERS - the clerk at Whole Foods told me to alternate between a bottle of elderberry, then astragalus, then reishi mushrooms. Do you really want to stimulate your immune system?

. kombucha tea - Yoga tea makes it
. fresh garlic - get a string
. miso
. onions - get a sack
. shitake mushrooms (come dried in big bags at Costco)
. more about herbs for avian flu

. Omega 3 fatty acids and flax seed oil protect lungs
. Gaterade for electrolyte replacement - it comes in powdered form for easier storage
. vitamins to make up for the lack of fresh fruit and vegies
. Theraflu, Nyquil, Sudafed or the generic, for symptom relief
. aspirin, ibuprofen, tylenol
. No Salt, for potassium replacement
. peptobismal
. cough medicine

. colloidal sovereign silver
. Croalus Horridus? (rattlesnake venom, what can I say-- it was recommended by a commentator on Fluwiki)
. the homeopathic remedies Arsenicum and Gelsemium were used successfully in the 1918 flu pandemic

I went to Ocean State Joblot, a local surplus store, and roamed the aisles for bargains. Lobster bisque, olives and jarred artichokes were plentiful. I could choke these down in a pinch. Got a case of canned salmon. All this can be donated to your local shelter if you don't use it.

coffee and tea - and a non electric way of making/ grinding them
parmalot- real milk preserved for the shelf for milk drinkers
coffeemate/powdered milk
bouillion cubes

Some of us could learn to bake, if our ovens work.

baking powder
baking soda
powdered milk
olive oil
crisco (does anyone use it for anything anymore?)

dried fruit
power/granola bars

canned fish or meat (salmon, tuna, sardines, chicken, spam or ham [Plumrose makes one that needs no refrigeration til it's open])
huge bag of rice (I got jasmine at Costco)-remember, however, it needs cooking
dried or canned beans
canned chili
canned soups
canned stew
canned veggies (yuck, except for corn and beets)
chick peas
dried mushrooms, shitake are good for the immune system
sun dried tomatoes

a sack of onions
a sack of potatoes
a string of garlic
blue hubbard squash will last the winter

peanut butter
soy sauce

Think of things you can eat with little prep, because you may not have any power, or you may be ill.
ramen noodles
instant hot cereals
cold cereals
pasta and sauce
power bars
MREs army issued meals
I would say rice bowls etc, but if something has to be microwaved, you might not have the facilities

You could try stock piling frozen foods, especially if you are a meat or vegie fancier, but you may lose them all if the power fails. I decided to get some bags of frozen vegetables -- if my freezer goes, I can always make vegetable soup over the campfire

Cheese, butter ( canned is available - good for barter) and bread can be frozen, and refrozen if thawed, according to the hurricane clean up folks -- if you're into any of that

Lettuce, mesclun, parsley, herbs, beans, nasturtium and radishes (I think) can be grown inside on sunny window sills if you have seeds, and you're shut in for a spell. Sprouts can be sprouted

Boredom could be your worst enemy
demold your grout
organize your photo albums
clean your closets
reupholster your furniture
reread Dakota

. a portable toilet with enzymes (this may not be luxury if flushing is impossible) or considera nifty portable ensemble
. a generator or inverter
. battery powered TV, with DVD or video player
. good red wine instead of swill
. a laptop computer with supplemental battery pack
. satellite telephone with handcranked recharger
. a hand cranked cellphone recharger
. a nifty combo
. a carbon monoxide detector
. a bicycle with a basket or paniers
. no rinse shampoo and body wash
I'll add to this list as I think of stuff.

If you aren't overwhelmed yet, here are some lessons to be learned from Sarajevo.

Photo note: Petey and Bijou live in the big birdcage in the center of Petco. They move around too much for the dim lighting of their habitat, thus all the sweet pictures of them kissing are blurry. Those aren't their real names either. I looked up bird names on the net and picked two, arbitrarily.

Posted by Dakota at 06:46 AM

September 20, 2005

Heirloom Tomatoes


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A home grown gift
heirloom tomatoes
arranged upon an
heirloom teatowel

black cherries
earls of edgecomb
box car willies
green zebras
purple calabashes
garden peaches

a succulent
begging to be
sliced and shot


with balsamic
basil garlic
from a buffalo


eaten waspy
on white
with mayo


like a


or tossed
like popcorn
the hatch

so many
so little


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Posted by Dakota at 03:18 PM

September 19, 2005

# 2 in The Oval Office Series - Revelation


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"Oh my god, my god, what have I done?"

"Calm down there W - remember you're just a Christian for Convenience."

"NO no no! I haven't been paying attention, because I really don't like this job very much, I'd rather be doing REAL hard work, choppin and mowin -- plantin brush so I have somethin to chop. With this New Orleans thing, and all, they made me start thinkin about my legacy --- my legacy (moaning head in hands. elbows on knees, rocking to and fro), . I wasn't paying attention, and a lotta folks DIED. They're gonna blame me, I just know "

Don't worry W,, as soon as we get evolution out of the textbooks, we're going after history, and you can have any legacy you want, honey. Karl will write you a nice one, just like he did for Reagan, won't you Karl?.

"No No No! Folks really DIED because of me, you don't understand. It's good you cut me off the drugs when I ad libbed so bad in New Orleans. I woke up. I don't like what I see. I'm the President, right? And I get to do what I want."

"Well I wouldn't put it exactly that way."

(Worried looks pass through the gathering - a voice is heard, soto voce)

"Call his dealer, and get some of the good shit over here pronto."

"That apartheid guy from South Africa, what's his name Tofu Adams? I wanna talk to him. He's got a helluva legacy. I want one like his."

"You mean Nelson Mandala? Honey, he'll want Truth and Reconcilation Hearings where people will have to recognize their hideous misdeeds and apologize to their victims, with awareness. ... I don't think so."

"Yeh, yeh -- might be a good job for Brownie, now he's out of work. Oops, I forgot, he's an incompetent, and we're through with incompetence around here. No, we gotta have someone competent, moral, respected, running this show. Elder statesmen. We COULD ask HW and Bill, but they're kinda busy raising money for the levees. Let's see..... we trashed most of those guys. McCain's out... Colin... who's that Southern cripple, Max something?

"Hold it, hold it. YOU might be ready for something like that, but some of us are still revelling in absolute power."

"When I'm in DC, so far away from my chain saw, I miss my power too. "

"W., honey, that's alot of thinking for one day.

(a knock on the door is heard)

"Mr. President, your supplies have arrived. Have some, it'll help you relax."

"No, I don't want any. I want to straighten things out. I want a nice legacy. I need to manage my anger better, without that chain saw. Get me an appointment with Dr. Phil. I'm going to an AA meeting. Call Jenna and tell her we're pickin her up on the way. Where's Osama, anyway?"

Note: I would like to thank my Abraham-Hicks Discussion and Manifestation Group for inspiring this piece. We met last night,and, over a pear tart that some of us polished off rather compulsively, others of us (I will not mention names) were confronted with our negative vibratory states with regard to this administration. One of us felt that if we could just believe that W. has the best of intentions, he would live up to our belief in him. Another did point out that 38% of the populace still think he's the prince of the north, and that hasn't helped much. In that context, I thought it would be a good idea to start writing about what I want, rather than what I don't want.

Photo note: I published this once already, on the Fourth of July, but, in my opinion, you simply cannot overdo a great patriotic shot.

# 1 in the Oval Office Series

Posted by Dakota at 06:05 AM

September 18, 2005

Hand over hand


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simply by
raising the
subject of
clean hands

a little
with kid gloves
of the same

reached out
from white
right before
the camera

to applaud
the effort

Photo note: Shot at the Geoffrey Young Gallery in Great Barrington MA. I think the artist is Joan Griswold, and they're for sale, just in case you want one.

Posted by Dakota at 12:49 PM

September 17, 2005

Practicing Hygiene with Avian Flu on the Mind


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Early this summer I had the sniffles, and had to spend five hours in a car with a dear and close 92 year old, driving to a celebration. It was then, trying not to expose her to my germs, that I realized just how difficult it can be to practice good hygiene. I was able to be conscious about disposing my dirty kleenex, sneezing properly and washing alot, but I simply could not remember not to touch the car door handles with my snotty hands. (They weren't really snotty, they were germy, but snotty is soooo much more graphic, and inspires handwashing)

Since then, I have been thinking and gathering little tips here and there that might be helpful, should a small, very small, mutating virus enter our lives unexpectedly.

A short list of good habits I'm trying to develop - in the hygiene area, that is

Note: Some of these are published on the school policy/peanut allergy sites, since anaphylatic shock can be a lethal result of poor peanut hygiene. Peanut butter is stickier and more visible than a virus, but that's probably obvious. I just read an account of an allergic basketball player who almost died when his teammate didn't wash his hands after a midgame peanut butter snack, which left peanut butter detrius on the ball in play. Because of the severity of the peanut problem, many teachers and school children are already well trained to be scrupulous about hygiene - truly a blessing.

Making the unconscious conscious is the task at hand. A dear and close personal dentist told me that the hardest hygiene habit he had to break, personally, was learning not to blow away the dust from the area he had just drilled. Don't think too hard about it, if you didn't get it the first time.

So I am practicing washing my hands- alot - with plain bar soap -- increasing both the frequency and intensity of said a activity. I try to do it ...
* Before, during, and after preparing food
* Before eating food
* After using the restroom (studies show that 33% of the population don't, yuck)
* After coughing or sneezing (no mean feat for the allergic)
* After changing diapers (not that I have much occasion)
* After handling money (or credit cards)
* After visiting a public place
* After handling trash or taking out garbage (not my job, fortunately)
* After petting an animal (which, sadly, I do infrequently in an attempt to avoid sneezing and coughing)
* After work or play (sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, these days)
* Whenever my hands come in contact with bodily fluids (i.e. runny nose, watery eyes, saliva)
* More frequently when someone is sick
* When my hands are dirty

Here's how I'm doing it - I am certain that you are eager to know. I moisten my hands and wash vigorously with warm, soapy water while counting to 20, remembering to rub the tips of my fingers along the soapy palm of my other hand or use a nail brush (disinfected regularly, well, maybe, not yet) to get the germs that inhabit the nether regions of my fingernails. Then I rinse thoroughly, because I don't want to be soapy all day. I try not to touch the water taps, or any door handles, with my clean hands after I finish. I turn off the water with my elbow, the back of my hand or the paper towel I use to dry them.

I'm planning to keep a spray bottle of dilute bleach solution next to all sinks and use it to disinfect the handles of the water spigots and the sink area each and every time I use the sink.

I'm training myself to sneeze into my elbow.

I'm trying never to touch my face. Those of you who wear heavy makeup or false eyelashes are way ahead of the game, since you have already learned not to touch your face for fear of smudging. I think I will wear a mask just to remind me not to, should avian flu visit. Nanomasks supposedly protect you from viruses, but plain old paper masks obstruct enough to make nose scratching inconvenient.

I am learning to say "No" to the question, "May I have a sip of your latte?"

Photo note: This is the window of a shop called London Lace, which is always arranged so metaphorophotogenically. Thank you.

preparedness list with ordering information
Fluwiki - the ultimate source for avian flu information

Posted by Dakota at 07:25 AM

September 16, 2005

A Fiction


Behind the scenes at the OO - Planning the Speech:

"Oh my God, what if they wake up before we get it all in place. What are we gonna do? We have Jeb and the Dynasty to think of."

"Money, throw em cash."

"Didn't we try that? How much do we have left anyway? Paris Hilton is expecting her tax cut, no matter what."

"How about throwing in some houses, federal property. I'd vote for someone who gave me a new house."

"Hold it , hold it. We'll have to dust off the wire we used for the debates-- he's gonna need more than five canned lines for this. Anyone here remember how to write a real speech? "

" Let's hire a democratic consultant."

"What would Jimmy Carter do? "

"Beautiful. Toss in Habitat, ride the Carter credibility."

"Better go God Lite -- some of those folks who've lost everything aren't buying God this week."

"But what about the Fundamentalist Christian Empire?"

"They just got Roberts, and people are throwing big bucks at the Faith Based DoGoods. With that ad on FEMA's website, Pat Robertson's real happy with his take. "

"I did my part. I told them Jesus was coming from the shoe store."

" They're used to listening for the secret code , we'll just slip it in like we usually do."

"The oil companies are on board. They dropped prices back to $2.99, but that's as low as they can go. Their stockholders are counting on cleaning up in the clean up. "

" We can't afford to piss off Big Business."

"Relax, Halliburton and the private armies are doing great, this is land office business for them. Even the private prison system might get a boost out of this, once we start to prosecute the looters and the murderers."

"Yeh and we'll give em some fine real estate, and relax a few environmental laws. No one will ever notice. "

"What are we gonna do about the media -- shit, they're out of line, the traitors. They're taking pictures again. Even though he's looking good in this shirtsleeves in the middle of a bunch of rescue workers -- they just shoot around him. "

"Scott's feeling the heat ."

"Let's see of we can get em off the subject."

"Can't afford to take the risk, they might start focusing on Iraq again."

"How about a sex scandal? Condi will you go down for the Pres?."

"Don't be ridiculous, he needs my consul now, more than ever."

"So it's a concensus. Desperate measures are in order. We're in such deep shit that we actually might have to do something decent."

"It'll have to happen soon -- on location,of course, no comfy Oval Office, no suit. Here's the visual, let's have him standing on the rubble with rolled up sleeves and blue back lighting. That halo thing knocks em dead everytime"

"And W., if we build you a decent, democratic speech, for Christsake, don't ad lib, and don't mention mint juleps. The NICEST thing they'll think about you is that you're an alcoholic. "

Fade out

Personal Commentary: I was shocked. The speech was very good - just like the olden days when we had a president who could string two or three words together in a coherent sentence that meant something other than obfiscation, and you didn't think your government was out to screw you, democracy, the constitution, women and minorities. To what do we owe this sudden change of heart? Deus ex machina?

Addendum: For the first time in months, I turned on the TV to watch the speech commentary on ABC. Primetime followed with three impending national disaster scenarios for which we are also ill prepared. Guess what? Avian flu was right up there with a nuclear bomb in a big American city. They made it clear that there is only one drug that is effective and it's in short, short supply. Tamiflu. I hope you have yours. Actually that's not true, Relenza, an antiviral inhalant, also works, as does Sambucol elderberry syrup.

Apologies from doubters were graciously accepted after the broadcast, even though they were extracted rather than humbly offered.

Photo note: the top of a local gas station

Posted by Dakota at 05:47 AM

September 14, 2005

Pleasant Place Perspective


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Photo note: The vista at the beach, looking very sweet. It's about time

Posted by Dakota at 11:51 AM

September 13, 2005

Can You Find It?


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Okay folks, ready to play the metaphorophoto, metaphysiphoto (metafizzyphoto) game? Here's a shining example I took on Saturday, which is not as pretty as I would like it to be -- sometimes, that's how it is. It's easier to see details if you have one of those little magnifying glasses on your browser that allows you to enlarge parts of the picture. I have one on my laptop, but absolutely no idea how it got there. Here goes. Can you find ...

. The clock, what time is it?
. The avian, I mean, the chicken (actually there are two, one is long and skinny and almost unrecognizable going up through the flag)
. George Bush's ears
. The farmyard animal to which the ears are attached
. "Leave as Friends" (the second half of the saying "Enter as Strangers") Whatchya mean "leave"?
. The SUV glued behind the clock
. The spotlights on you
. The flag of the spirit of 1776 - not our distorted version
. Red berries (a personal favorite)
. A white house

Here's a different view. This one has a woman in it, piercing the spirit of '76, the rest of the quotation, and a larger clock with a later time. -- I couldn't get the chicken and the woman in the same shot. Probably a good sign.

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Posted by Dakota at 08:41 PM

The Blue Heron Remains


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She's still around, right here in river city -- I pursue her each morning at dawn, catch her posing in different silhouettes, munching (a much as one can munch with a bill) on seaweed and fishes, scrapping with the gulls and geese, hoping to catch her digitally in flight -- no mean trick. I forget to look at the sunrise. This could get to be a bore. The hard drive on my laptop is heron glutted.

In addition there are wooden, and metal blue herons in familiar places that I never noticed before.

I have the message. I'm actually fairly far along in my disaster preparations, but I really don't have a great way of boiling water yet, which is a must. It looks like it would take hours to boil a pot of water on one of those little camp stoves. The BBQ heat is too dispersed, and I doubt we'll have anything grillable -- grilled canned salmon with grilled dried shitakes? A cord of wood has been vetoed by those who think I am a hysterical doomsayer, and it wouldn't be easy to hide, should I purchase it myself. "I'll eat cold food", I was told. When it comes to that fifty pound bag of jasmine rice, it's not only going to be cold, but very crunchy.

Photo note: Looks like two, doesn't it

Posted by Dakota at 11:30 AM

September 12, 2005

Trauma and Mass Victimology - A Psychologist's Views the Aftermath of Katrina


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I received this first hand account of the aftermath of Katrina (I assume it is written from Houston) in an email from a colleague.

Anne Gervasi is a licensed psychologist. She donated her time and her talent working with Katrina refuges at first, Reunion Arena and then, the Civic Center.This is her first hand account and reaction to what she had to deal with. If you blog, please put this outthere. We want everyone in the country to read this first-hand account of the horror that is Dallas. If you have an extensive mailing list like I do, please forward it, too.

First-hand reaction to Katrina refugees

There are so many words that come to mind. As a scholar I am thinking Diaspora, social displacement, systemic disruption, mass trauma, pandemic and unbelievable chaos. As a clinician, I am looking at something that we have never been trained to handle in this country—a level of victimization and its resultant psycho-social ripples that mandate a whole new field of clinical practice-mass victimology. Katrina kicked the top off of a racist and social termite's nest that has been growing beneath the ground since Reconstruction. These were deeply religious people who have lost God and for that matter, faith and hope. Hope has been replaced by magical thinking that augurs a second and more terrible level of social disruption and anger not far down the road.

Over and over, I kept hearing a framing of self that puzzled me until I realized that this is how it must have been for blacks after Reconstruction. Over and over, people said, "everyone has been so wonderful, thank you, thank you." When I said, "there is no need to thank us, you are our fellow citizens and we want to help you—American to American," there would be a long pause as if the idea of being the same never struck them before.

They are angry and it is growing. The system failed them. For that matter, there is no system because all the safeguards and preparations that we thought were in place aren't there. I have been begging anyone who would listen over the past two years for a program in mass victimology to prepare for the next tragedy after 9/11. Now it is here and the lack of organization, science, and preparation are going to result in terrible consequences for us as a nation.

Imagine sending people who have been assimilated into the most stable demographic population in America into cities and towns all over the US who are as unprepared as the victims to understand their sense of dislocation and their support needs. The lower Gulf States have a language, a history, a social dynamic, a faith, a societal structure, and a ritual system unlike any other in America. These people have lived in and been acculturated to this system for generations. When the dust settles and the mud dries, we are going to see all over America, a nation that will lose patience with the needs of a foreign refugee population. Abandoned once again, the fury and the trauma that have been momentarily quieted by the outpouring of empathy and support post-crisis, will arise larger and more terrible than we have been equipped as a nation to handle. I hear it now, over and over, in the survivor stories, in the loss of self, and the need to reclaim dignity and power.

Right now, numbness is being replaced by magical thinking. "People want me here—here is better. I think I'll stay here." What is going to happen when reality sets in? The bulk of people who are planning to stay don't understand the system here. Even though we abut borders, we are a vastly different nation. At least we are southerners. What is going to happen to the thousands being sent to Connecticut or Illinois or New Jersey? They are being offered free apartments, furniture etc., by generous and well meaning people who haven't thought the long term consequences through very well. A lot of the apartments are in areas where they won't have transportation or jobs. What is going to happen six months down the road when the magic wears off and the help slowly fades? How about the holidays for a people who thrive on ritual, tradition, and celebration?

The trauma they are experiencing is so profound that we have no cultural term or machinery set up for it. The dead and nameless bodies by the thousands rotting in the water, arriving dead on the buses with them, or dying next to them in the shelters are a huge festering wound that no one dares mention. This is a true Diaspora the likes of which we haven't seen since Reconstruction. The immediate needs that are being addressed ignore the greater traumas yet to be spoken. No governmental system can survive the number of wounded and disillusioned people that we are going to see sprouting up all over America. Something far greater and more organized has to be done.

Then to the helpers and what is happening there. Turf wars have already sprung up. In the name of "I know better than you do," chaos and wasted energy are multiplying. The Red Cross was initially in charge of certifying the credentials of the helping therapists. After Oklahoma City and the pretenders who arrived there, this seemed like a wonderful clearing house. Everyone who wanted to help had to go through a brief orientation and a thorough checking of credentials. Only licensed professionals were allowed. Driver's licenses were checked for criminal records. This seemed to be a common sense excellent approach to the question of rapists, pedophiles, and other thugs being denied access to a vulnerable population. Actually, things ran better than I expected at the beginning. Then in came the physicians who I guess felt that their non-existent coursework in this area qualified them to better run things. Immediate chaos, disorganization, and all sorts of ersatz "helpers" began running around. They grabbed our current Red Cross badges and then stopped us from going back on the floor to finish seeing our patients without the new badges, which they just happened to be out of. We had an optometrist with prescriptive lenses but no glasses or readers and no idea when he'd ever see any. We had a deaf booth but no deaf helpers. In the midst of all this chaos, thousands and thousands of the walking wounded mixing with the powerless well-intentioned came the whispered word, pandemic. Lots of people are suddenly getting sick, and we have to have precautions. Don't eat or drink or touch the patients. We only have one bottle of disinfectant in the mental health section, so come back here—the length of the Convention Center—after each patient. "What of the people who are being cycled out of here?" "What are we sending into the population?" If people are sick and contagious, where are the precautions to separate the vulnerable? What of precautions such as masks and gloves to keep the medical professionals and first responders safe? All the here and now is suspended in the hope that maybe tomorrow will take care of itself and the worst won't happen. Those are the question we asked on the first day. NO ONE IS IN CHARGE.

Therefore, there is no consistent answer or approach or forethought. I am no infection guru but as soon as I heard on day one that people with no water were forced to drink water with bloated bodies, feces, and rats in it, the thought of cholera, typhoid, and delayed disease immediately occurred to me. What if the fears of disease are correct? People are fanning out throughout America. Where is the CDC?

In the age of computers, we are doing worse than the pencil squibs and the rolls of paper to log in the displaced after World War II. Literacy and computer access seems to be considered as a given for people who have lost it all. Accessing FEMA is through a website. People are in shelters waiting for FEMA to come "in a few days." "Be patient." The Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana pumped my hand and replied to my desperate queries about how to help people find their parents and babies, "Be patient—give us a few days."

The mothers who have lost their children, and there are many, and the children who have lost their parents, have had it with the "be patient" response. The shelters are surprisingly silent. It is hard to find the traumatized mothers because they cry silently. One mother asked how patient I would be if my five-month-old was somewhere unknown for over a week. Over and over, others would ask, "Do you think my baby has milk and diapers?" "Do you think they are being kind to my baby?" And then, so softly that I would have to ask them to repeat, "Do you think my baby is okay?" My response—the convenient lie. Every time I said, "of course," I prayed to God that it was true.

I am sure that there is a special ring of hell for the media: The survivor stories end-on-end for the titillation of the public. I heard Soledad O'Brien say something about the still unrecognized need to address the psychological trauma. I sent a response to the CNN tip-line that there were hordes of every manner of mental health professional working 24/7. CNN's response? Dr. Phil and the stories of the survivors" on Larry King. They went to the guy who lost his clinical license for serious professional infractions to tell the stories? I could see the "entertainer" down there gathering tales of the already exploited so that he and Larry could both pimp their ratings. The real unsung mental health heroes, the counselors, psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists dealing with un-medicated sychosis and severe traumatic responses were represented by Dr. "Keep-It-Real"? We don't need tabloid help from the media. Scream about accountability and point fingers for those who can't. Where is the real help from the media? Help us find those babies and parents and missing family. We have a man in one of the shelters who is caring for four kids. They call him uncle. He is actually the cousin of the fiancé of the mother who is probably dead. The children are silent. They sit and play and weep with open mouths that can't scream. Where is the media to scream for them?

Finally, to hell with this "no blame game." The stories that I know to be true are enough to make me boil. The compassionate foreign doctors who can't find anyone to validate their credentials, the expensive mobile hospital still sitting parked waiting for federal paperwork to move into Louisiana, the five C130s sitting on the Tarmac in San Diego since the night of Katrina, still waiting for orders to move. Where the hell are the beds? We have some old people sleeping on hot plastic pool floats with no sheets. They are still no showers for people who have walked for hours through fetid waters. Their skin is breaking out in rashes. Still no showers. Where the hell are the DeCon showers bought with Homeland Security money that can shower 30 people at a time. The convention centers have no bathing facilities so the filth and skin reactions are getting worse. What of lice? There are no clothes for the really heavy and large. I was reduced to writing the women I knew who went to Weight Watchers to comb their attics for "before" outfits. When I arrived with the sack of my gatherings, I had to engage in a full scale battle and puff myself up to all my red-headed doctor fury to get them distributed to the women still sitting there in their stinking clothes.

The survivors are like the Mayor of New Orleans who apologized to George Bush for his anger. "If we tell the way we feel, maybe help will stop." All the apologists on the air distancing George and his co-vacationers and idiot appointees should be impeached. I liked Nagin when he called it all bullshit. He was right. How about Haley Barbour complaining about the lack of support for his state? Did he so soon forget his past life and what he did to set up this government of spin artists? If they had acted like a government the body count would be less. The aid would be better managed. The days of filth, and feces, and death would have been ended sooner. God help all of the poseurs in charge when these folks finally get in touch with their justifiable rage. Did you see the White House's logo for the hurricane? George and some asshole in a ball cap against a background of Katrina waving the flag. They had the energy and time for a nice logo but no time to get the elements of help in gear?

The tragedy is leavened by some moments of farce, the guy who arrived with a case of Gucci shoes in various sizes that he "saved" from his closet. The man wearing twelve expensive watches up his arm. I guess he is a punctual sort. There are the too-poignant-for-words vignettes. I saw a lady sitting on a blanket holding a photo of two children that she had pulled from the water. She kept crying and looking at it. I thought they were her children. She didn't know whose they were. They were just losses and she mourned them.

Of course there were the criminals, thugs, and mobsters. One of the greatest indictments of the "spin machine" that is going to come from this situation will be the repeated characterizations of the victims as lawless and criminal. Over and over I heard people tell me about how ashamed they were to be portrayed that way. Ninety-nine percent of these people never were characterized as anything but lawful and good citizens. In their most desperate hours to be reduced to taking food and water to survive and then to be lumped with the television thieves and the shooters is too shameful for most of them to bear. I heard from hospital employees that survived on a cup of watered grits so that the patients could make it. And then I heard had they had to hide the ones that didn't in closets to keep up the morale of the others.

The people that survived this tragedy and the people who help them all know one truth. The help and the love and the care that has been extended to them have been on a citizen-to-citizen basis. The churches, doctors, therapists, and ordinary citizens who are giving all they can in time and resources are managing to band-aid at the most elementary level-neighbor to neighbor. The government has failed. We are more vulnerable now than before 9/11 because faith in the system is gone. No system can sustain itself as a viable entity when the citizenry are the walking wounded. Victims implode a system from within and expose its decay. This is the beginning of the end unless we can get a drastic change of philosophy and restore the government to a system "by the people for the people." Right now nobody down here believes we have that.

Ann Gervasi
September 11, 2005

Photo note: Repercussions and waves, or sunrise on a plexiglass window with venetian blinds

Posted by Dakota at 05:41 AM

September 09, 2005



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I am deeply suspicious of the motives of our current administration when it comes to the city of New Orleans. The press, who were finally horrified enough to report honestly for a few days, is now unwelcome. I think we have reason to suspect Dirty Business.

It is my belief that opportunism is rearing it's ugly head. We already know that Exxon/Mobil showed a 32% profit this quarter, and, in light of Katrina, has taken the opportunity to raise their prices just a bit more. Pat Robertson is out there "helping" (himself) with the assistance of FEMA website advertising. Betcha, in the end, Halliburton will get enormous, no bid contracts to rebuild the city, once again looting the national treasury. Perhaps they will subcontract a small piece of the action to Disney for a pristine restoration of the French Quarter, since they did such a great job on Times Square.

From Christopher Cooper of the Wall Street Journal

"The power elite of New Orleans -- whether they are still in the city or have moved temporarily to enclaves such as Destin, Fla., and Vail, Colo. -- insist the remade city won't simply restore the old order. New Orleans before the flood was burdened by a teeming underclass, substandard schools and a high crime rate. The city has few corporate headquarters.

"The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out."... or maybe we can just kill off the poor and put the survivors in internment camps.

Have we heard ANYTHING about building new and beautiful housing for the displaced poor, where they could have gardens, and improve their standard of living? Or would it serve the corporatocracy better if we just killed off half of "them" and put the other half in internment camps spread out around the country? I suspect that has already happened. When this administraton is properly motivated they can take swift action.

Photo note: Salvaged railings
and a Katrina Slide Show not to miss.

Posted by Dakota at 06:33 AM

September 07, 2005

I think I got a sign


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I was just about to drop the subject of avian flu for awhile, even though my photo archives, in preparation, are overflowing with unattractive shots of seagulls swarming blurrily, when, Saturday morning, right in the middle of the impending sunrise, there stood a blue heron. I have frequented this beach for thirty five years, and never before have I seen a blue heron. Little Miss Synchronicity naturally took it as a sign. Not particularly a symbol of self determination and self reliance, though that's what the totem means -- more directly, here was one big migratory bird right in my neighborhood trying to tell me something.

My Saturday heron shots were taken just before sunrise, and I had to brutalize them with photoshop in order to get a shadow in beachgrass. But on Sunday, when I took an unusual stroll across the bridge, there she was again, in full light, posing on a well shaped rock, just for me

The rest of the week:

On Monday, I decided to replace my stock of N95 masks with nanomasks, which resulted in a brief, but highly informative email correspondence with John Hart, of Oregon Digital, who turns out to be the author of an excellent ebook of some 90 pages on the subject of H5N1, the avian flu, yours for only $8.95, or free with a nanomask order.

Today I asked my obsessive, goofily sweet, orthodox opthamologist if he had his tamiflu, even though he was touching my cornea with his machine at that moment.
"Doesn't work," he said.
" Have you read about it?" I inquired carefully
" No."
"It isn't pretty," I countered, once the machine was out of my eye
" No end of the world scenario is pretty." he replied

Since he had ask-for-a-mask-don't-sneeze-in-our- face-if- you-have- the-flu signs all over his office, I told him about nanomasks and elderberry syrup, which he dictated into his little machine, for his secretary to look into.

When he left the examining room, his assistant took me aside to inquire about the spelling of Sambucol, and I told her about The Fluwki. Why are doctors so resistant?

For the past few days I have been in such a rage about the Bush Administration's response to Katrina, and FEMA's incompetence and sabotage, that I think I have been attracting that energy into my space. At least avian flu has a "think about what you want, rather than what you don't want" aspect to it.

Photo note: My fine feathered friend

Posted by Dakota at 06:52 AM

September 06, 2005

Yet Another Disaster


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This morning, I heard a conservative interviewed on NPR, proudly say that John Roberts' views on affirmitive action are very clear, (with a smirk in his voice), they are just not in agreement with the liberal left. This statement comes right in the aftermath of the worst example this country has ever seen of victimization of the disenfranchised. When did it become acceptable to gloat about one's racism?

Folks, we are about to get a youthful, (and might I add, from the tone of his memos, arrogant and elitist) Chief Justice, with absolutely NO EXPERIENCE, (as in "Brownie's" appointment over at FEMA -- yet another unlearned lesson) who has spent his career fighting the scourges of affirmative action for women and minorities. A Supreme Court Chief Justice who is a former member of the Federalist Society , even though he had the good sense to "forget" it.

Lack of education and opportunity for miniorities is unlikely to improve the horrendous problems we have just witnessed for a week. Neither will having unwanted children, but we really can't say how the good Mr. Roberts feels about this issue, can we?.

This nomination stands out against the background of Katrina, and the clarity that it brings to the issue of disparities of privilege in this country. Why the Queen Mother, Barbara Bush, said it herself -- many of the homeless folks at the Houston Astrodome are living in better conditions than they do at home. She, of course, is worried that they will get used to the luxury of living on cots in a public building, and want to stay in her backyard. W. must have developed his capacity for compassion at his mother's bosom/knee.

I am eagerly awaiting the spectacle of yet another state funeral complete with the Lincoln Catafalque -- like Reagan's and the Pope's-- this time for William Rehnquist. I wonder if he had any red robes in his judicial wardrobe to wear for the for the occasion, maybe purple.

Ten thousand corpses are floating in their watery graves in New Orleans, and the folks responsible are putting on a show in hopes that the airwaves will fill with dignitaries marching past the corpse of a dead white man, who doesn't deserve any homage in my book.

Photo note: The withering cosmos and the American flag - take it from there, all ye metaphorophoto phanciers.

Posted by Dakota at 06:26 AM

September 02, 2005

Aftermath and Lessons


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I just heard that Hillary Clinton has called for a Katrina Commission, a group like the 9/11 Commission, to investigate, once again, why things have gone so badly.

I apologize for my absence over the weekend. I have not been at my post due to the long weekend. But the media is FINALLY doing its job, and not just swallowing the spin whole, for all of us to gag on.

Have you noticed that George W.'s affect is most peculiar? Some mental health professionals would say that his lack of understanding and sympathy, under the circumstances, is a cardinal symptom of sociopathy. He needed someone to flip his compassion switch this week, but they were all on vacation, except for Dick Cheney, who has been noticeably absent. Cheney is probably having a heart transplant. There's no one that needs one more urgentlly.

Here are some things I learned from the devastation of New Orleans.

- The federal government is morally and spiritually bankrupt.

- The real looters are not the starving, not the poor black kids who took VCRs from Walmart. No -- it is the administration who would not repair the levees because they were in quest of someone else's oil, or supporting tax cuts for Paris Hilton, and the oil companies who have taken advantage of the crisis and raised gas prices almost a dollar a gallon overnight

(I actually think it's good to have high gas prices, since it makes consumers think twice about buying SUVs. However, It would have been nice to have had a dollar tax on gas before this point, and used it to fund alternative energy research).

- Reporters, for the first time since lying became the modus operandi in government, FINALLY confronted the administration. Some of the press saw the horrifying reality and were outraged, at last, by hearing the same four canned untruths about conditions in New Orleans. They actually reported the truth, even some on FOX News. Look for heads to roll. Also look for embedded reporters to go in with teams trying to impose martial law -- that's one way to select and shut em upl

- It took about 10,000 deaths to get our president to admit that this disaster was mishandled. His lies didn't fly for the first time. I think he was shocked..

- Depending on fossil fuel as a primary energy resource is risky business.

- In a national crisis, oil companies, and their distributors are opportunistic and should not be trusted to behave in an ethical manner, and we cannot look to this administration to stop their looting.

- There are terrible class and race inequities in this country which are invisible, or unimportant to the powers that be. When an evacuation plan counts on everyone driving out of town and half the population doesn't have a car, it's clearly not a plan.

- When the poor and desperate are abandoned, many die, and some get angry and violent.

- There is a huge pot of resentment boiling among the disenfrancised members of our society, and civil unrest is not can overtake us easily

- That having a functional goverment that maintains important intrastructures, and plans ahead is crucial. Even rich people, who don't want to pay taxes would have benefited from better levees. There are things government must do that simply cannot be done by an individual, no matter how wealthy.

- That the government ihelped oil companies before people

- That faith based organizations seem to make up the the majority of the relief efforts (look at FEMA's list) They simply cannot do the job - however meglomanical their leaders might be. In addition, victims should not have to listen to a sermon when getting supplies.

- When people have nothing to lose, anarchy seems like a good idea

- That seeing reality clearly, working to prevent disaster, and being prepared in case it comes, is crucial - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. What would have cost millions, will now cost tens of millions. Mor3e traagically lives have been lost and shattered. There is no way to determine the cost of that kind of devastation,

- Storms are getting worse -- this is just the beginning of hurricane season

- We could not even get resources into a disaster area which was circumscribed and surrounded by areas that remained functional. What if the entire nation or the world is afflicted with something like bird flu?

- The more guns that are available, the more people will use them in a crisis.

- Our coastal areas are vulnerable.

- A hurricane or a natural disaster does not discriminate -- the prosperous have a better chance of saving their lives by outrunning it, but not their worldly goods

- Attachment to your stuff can cause you to lose your life or make dangerous decisions. That goes for the hurricane victims, as well as for our administration.

Photo note: The best I could do. Here are Psyche's excellent links, which should be assigned reading for the Katrina Commission..

Posted by Dakota at 08:56 AM

September 01, 2005

Mourning New Orleans


Big Easy's gone
so many dead
and lost forever

blown away
washed to sea

Bourbon Street
Mardi Gras

and in it's place

the task again
to find
the meaning
and the hope

to value life
not goods

to restore
the spirit
in the face
of devastation

and most of all
to do no harm
with human hatred
wars and greed

when nature
is enough

Posted by Dakota at 06:05 AM