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Dispatches from the Crisis

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Editorializing feels pointless at this moment, while things get progressively worse, and the most important thing is getting people help. Just had to share some of the more stunning things I've read over the past 24 hours.

"The evacuation plan was strictly laissez-faire. It depended on privately owned vehicles, and on having ready cash to fund an evacuation. The planners knew full well that the poor, who in new orleans are overwhelmingly black, wouldn't be able to get out. The resources -- meaning, the political will -- weren't there to get them out."
from an email message attributed to a New Orleans rescue worker, published on BoingBoing Tuesday.

"There is not enough money in the gross national product of the United States to dispose of the amount of hazardous material in the area."
Hugh B. Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, in an article about the challenges of returning to New Orleans, where contamination could linger in the area for more than a decade.

"There was no crowd control. People were swarming. It was a near riot situation. The authorities have got to get some military down here to get control of the situation."
New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter Gordon Russell, exploring the Lower Garden District and Convention Center areas and finding "a landscape of lawlessness" where "he felt his safety was threatened at nearly every turn."

"Americans' hearts go out to the people in Katrina's path... But if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property."
from a Waterbury, Conn., Republican-American newspaper editorial Wednesday, echoed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in the Chicago Daily Herald Thursday, who said rebuilding New Orleans "doesn't make sense to me."

"That's like saying we should shut down Los Angeles because it's built in an earthquake zone... Or like saying that after the Great Chicago fire of 1871, the U.S. government should have just abandoned the city."
former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., responding to Hastert's comments.

"Water dropping. Gunshots. Not safe."
Text message reportedly from a person inside University Hospital, where 1300 patients and staff were reportedly trapped and awaiting help, amid many dead.