Katrina – Broussard Water caused over $1B in damage in 2005.
Metairie, Louisiana: flooding on Veterans Boulevard near Clearview after Hurricane Katrina. 30 Aug 2005, via Commons user LSUSoccerbum
We monitored Hurricane Katrina in the days before the storm’s landfall. As a family, we were weren’t the people who evacuate regularly. Between small children and pets, the process of putting everything in the car and leaving seemed more of a challenge than staying. So, it was a Big Deal on the morning of 28-August-2005, when we decided to leave the house in Metairie. I texted a friend in Shreveport and they welcomed us with open arms. That first night was fitful. The next day was just horrible, since we were 300 miles away.
The news focused on the water coming into the city, particularly from the breach in the 17th Street Canal floodwall. It was an ugly sight. Before moving to Metairie, we lived in Gentilly. Hearing that Lakeview and Gentilly was filling up with ten to fiften feet of water was heartbreaking. The one consolation, though, was that canal breach was on the eastern side. The water wasn’t going to our house.
I should have been more concerned when I heard Parish President Aaron Broussard on the radio on 28-August. Like most New Orleanians during a crisis, we had the radio tuned to WWL-AM (870) as we made our way North. Thing is, bumper to bumper traffic, stressed-out kids, and a cat full of anxiety tend to be distractions. Still, I heard the red flags.
Aaron Broussard had lost it. He melted down right there on the phone with the radio station, telling the feds to bring down 10.000 body bags for the aftermath of the storm. He begged folks to leave. It was, well, unhinged is an overused word, but it’s a good description. Fucking crazy would be better.
I’m not sure if Broussard said he was evacuating the crews for the pumping stations at the outfall canals in the parish on the radio. The guy who wanted those body bags ordered the crews that manned those stations onto trucks. They bailed north, heading to Washington Parish.
After the storm
The levees held in Metairie. While water drowned the city, the suburbs held together. That’s when things went wrong. Catch basins in the streets channeled water into drainage pipes which led to the canals. When they got to the canals, though, the mechanism to get the water out of the streets and into the lake shut down. Nobody was at the pumping stations to turn the pumps back on. Those crews were in Washington Parish. The water filled the canals, then backed up into the pipe, into the streets, up the lawns of houses. The water didn’t stop in the street, or on the front lawn. It went inside houses. Some folks got inches, others got several feet of water.
The only reason those homes flooded was because nobody was there to start the pumps. All that flooding gets traced right back to Aaron Broussard.
Our home accounted for about $150,000 of the $1B total damage incurred in Metairie. While homeowners tried to sue Broussard, the courts ruled that, as a public official, he could not be held personally accountable for his ineptitude.
Threads isn’t ready for primetime.
Meta’s Treads isn’t worth the bother…yet
Like a zillion other folks, I installed Threads from Meta last weekend. I lasted about thirty-six hours before taking it off my phone. As the list of things about the platform I didn’t like grew, I gave up. Some items I didn’t like, below.
While it made sense for Meta to tie their Twittah buster to Instagram, Meta made a poor choice in featuring Instagram “influencers” so prominently in the home feed of Threads. If I want to see Instagram Performers, I can go to IG. if I want Mr. Beast. I come to Da Twittah to talk to people.
The home feed’s a mess with all the Perfrormers. The “notifications” section is also problematic. When you follow someone on Threads, you see posts from folks they reply to, before you see the reply. So, I’m reading something that the person I follow thinks is interesting, but it might not be to me. I don’t even know how that post got in my feed until I scroll past it. That increases my temptation to shitpost someone spouting nonsense. Oh, I know, that “nonsense” might not be viewed as such by my realtor, human resource, and social media friends, but context is important. If I see their posts first, I know to move along.
The other UI goofy “feature” I found amusing is the “Tweet this” button. While one Performer thought this was the height of petty on part of Meta, it’s a good example of an unfinished package. You make a post on Threads and want to share it on the other platform. So, you click the button, and it brings you over to Da Twittah. You share your post, but now you’re back on Twitter. There’s no return to the original platform! Not sure that’s what Meta wants.
The lack of an API at this time is inconvenient. I use Dlvr It to post to multiple platforms simultaneously. I can hit Twitter, Facebook, IG, and Mastodon from a single posting. It also picks up the RSS feeds of my blogs and shares those. To get something over to Meta’s new platform, I have to manually go back for it.
The bottom line is, I’m out, but may be back when it becomes a usable platform.
AP Style Guide thinks TERF is too vague.
TERF as a descriptive term
AP Style issued a recommendation on the term TERF. The term is an an acronym for “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” The term appeared on the social media radar in 2008, with a limited definition. Over time, however, folks applied TERF to more than just a specific subset of anti-trans people.
Now, transgender activists and supporters use TERF to describe anti-trans people in general. It’s a logical progression, since it’s short and recognizable. Many people apply TERF to Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, for her incredible bigoted views on transgender people.
AP are correct
Thing is, the AP recommendation is correct. Most people described as TERFs don’t fit the term. For openers, they’re not feminists of any stripe, much less “radical feminists.” For example, the Times-Picayune editor who published an incredibly anti-trans letter to the editor in the 14-June-2023 edition of the paper isn’t a TERF. They’re a bigot, certainly, but that’s as specific as one can get. Until the paper comes out and identifies the individual, that is. So, a writer striving for accuracy should re-consider the use of the term in such an instance. From an @APStylebook tweet:
On our updated Transgender Topical Guide: trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
We recommend avoiding the vague and politicized term to describe cisgender women or others who object to the inclusion of transgender women in women’s spaces.
The term is both vague and politicized. If a writer wants to include the acronym, a better approach might be to quote someone who uses the term. Still, that’s not perfect, either.
Some of my preferred alternatives to TERF:
- Member of the Louisiana Republican Party
- Member of Moms for Liberty
- bigoted shitgibbon
There is also a great deal of overlap between anti-transgender and others on the conservative side of the political horseshoe. Groups advocating the banning of books from public libraries often include titles that address transgender people on their lists. Rather than use a vague term, it’s easy to nail down who and what these people really are.
I should have read up on the mission and structure of Louisiana Illuminator.
Independent news from Louisiana Illuminator
Count me as one of those excited when Louisiana Illuminator (LAI) started up. The folks writing for them are all top-notch. Even if they don’t align exactly with my take on the state’s issues, they’re smart people I respect. So, imagine my frustration as the 2023 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature (#lalege on Da Twittah) progressed, and LAI wasn’t offering much in the way of opinion. Lots of facts, but no commentary/opinion.
I live on a steady diet of “librul news,” particularly from Slate and Slate Podcasts. Oh, I follow other sources and commentary, particularly old-school locals like Clancy Dubos. I couldn’t make sense of what I saw as a disconnect between the LAI philosophy/mission and this lack of commentary.
From their “About Us” page:
The Louisiana Illuminator is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization driven by its mission to cast light on how decisions are made in Baton Rouge and how they affect the lives of everyday Louisianians, particularly those who are poor or otherwise marginalized. Here readers will find in-depth investigations and news stories, news briefs and commentary, all of which is intended to help them make sense of how state policy is crafted, how it helps or hurts them and how it helps or hurts their neighbors across the state.
OK, the part about casting light on issues that affect the poor and marginalized is what I came for. In terms of factual presentation, LAI hits this on the head.
It took a message from Editor Greg Larose messaged me, explaining the part I didn’t get. It’s the “nonprofit” part:
An affiliate of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers like you, the Louisiana Illuminator retains editorial independence and is presented to readers free of charge and without advertising.
It’s the 501(c)(3) part that limits LAI’s ability to offer opinions. The reporters can offer personal opinions, but the publication can’t. As I told Greg, Now that I understand, I’ll try to be less of a dick to them on Da Twittah.
The temptation to cringe when a writer/writers declare they are “nonpartisan” is strong. That’s because all to many outlets equate “both sides” writing with “nonpartisan.” In truth, “nonpartisan” has nothing to do with both sides. It has to be with an ethical presentation of the facts.
And that’s something that’s lacking in The Media of late. LAI tells the truth.
LAI facts, my opinions
And that’s the bottom line for me. Going forward, I’ll be using this blog to expound on the facts offered by LAI, using them to offer calls to action. Progressive/Democratic/Liberal Louisiana needs this. It’s the trailer that the truck full of facts needs to pull behind it. Sometimes with a large sound system blaring the call to action as loudly as possible.
Happy Gotcha Day 2020 to the #YatCats!
Breakfast, Gotcha + 1
Gotcha Day 2020!
A year ago today, we brought the YatCats home from the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter. When we lost Amber, our 18yo ginger familiar, last year, I pushed hard to not be long without a cat in the house. Wife wanted an indoor cat this time. So, we agreed that two cats was a good idea. One would be a ginger, the other, a black cat.
Meeting the cats
We went to the shelter on a Saturday. After looking at the “new intakes,” we couldn’t find a female ginger. The volunteer took us to the “older cat” room, where the one female ginger was supposed to be. She was there, but a black cat was sleeping on her! I picked up the black cat, and she started purring like crazy. Wife and the volunteer checked out the ginger. When we put the cats down again, it was clear that the two were buddies. Both were about four months old.
That made the decisions easy! The volunteer pulled the paperwork. We went back up front and got the process started. We couldn’t take the kittehs home right away, since they had to be fixed. So, we made arrangements to pick them up the following Monday, 26-August-2019.
That itty bitty kitteh in the top photo became a chonk! She moves fast, though, when you shake the food bag. While she isn’t as much of a purr-kitty as Arwen, she’s loveable. She’s claimed that bed as her own. Arwen will come up and sit next to the bed, but she won’t sleep in it.
I always felt that Nala was like a little sister to Arwen, even back at the shelter. The two of them still sleep close, and groom each other. They don’t have a lot of boundaries. Nala’s favorite spots in the house are the back bathtub, particularly right after we get out, and the garage.
Arwen is a week or two older than Nala. She’s definitely very protective of the ginger. Arwen didn’t have the breed traits of a Maine Coon when we gotcha’d her, but those traits came out here. She chirps rather than meows. Turn on a faucet and she jumps to it, pawing the water. She’s totally willing to get her head wet.
Arwen purrs so much! She reminds us more of Amber in that regard. While Nala is equally curious, Arwen takes her protective detail duties very seriously.
It’s been a wonderful year!