September 1st, 2005

Boss Coffee

Our own waterlogged Mogadishu

Things are severely fucked up in what's left of New Orleans. Law and order has pretty much disappeared in the city, and the consensus seems to be that we should quit trying to salvage the place for now and just concentrate on getting the remaining people out of the city, especially the sick, the old, and the poor folks that can't just hop in their cars and drive away on the few unflooded roads. As you know if you've been reading interdictor's LJ, there are gangs of looters going around in boats pillaging because what's left of the NOPD is just overwhelmed and there're not enough helicopter gunships or airmobile forces in the area yet to even try and restore order at this point. Some idiots were apparently shooting at the choppers trying to plug the levee holes!

Aaron makes a good point in the above post - there was no real way to prepare for something like this. No amount of FEMA money would have had enough helicopters and boats in place, regardless of what the tinfoil hat brigade thinks. The levees weren't built to sustain this kind of damage, and couldn't be without displacing a lot of the city they were supposed to preserve...even supposing the effort didn't get tied up in court by the EPA or the Sierra Club. So bashing anyone for this disaster is the worst kind of Monday morning quarterbacking, and I'm not going to do it.

We haven't even begun to talk about Biloxi or the rest of the shattered Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, I see that the Evil Banking Neighbor will be matching contributions to the Red Cross and a couple of other agencies once the United Way drive is underway. I'll be kicking some cash life kinda sucks at the moment, but I can spare some cash for folks who are a lot worse off than I am.

Commuting blues

Given that gas prices are $2.95 or worse pretty much everywhere around here, I figured I better take the bus in. Unfortunately, I missed the 597A I was going to catch at 82nd & Lyndale, and the 535 I was going to catch at 76th Street, and wound up riding to Southdale where I finally caught a 6 downtown. An hour late. I can make it up, but I would rather not have been late to start with. I need to do a few experimental rides to see how best to transfer between the various 4, 535, 538, 539, and 576 lines that run through this area; I also need to check out the MVTA buses that run through the 82nd Street Transit Center across the freeway. Most of all, I need to get some shoes that fit me better, because the ones I have are just too damn small now that my feet are swollen from the lymphedema.

Unpacking is going slowly. I got my stereo set up in the living room on the fancy dresser (the one with the mirror & tchotchke shelves), unpacked some more kitchen stuff, and went to bed around 10 after unpacking and setting up the other compression sleeve. We'd planned to unpack my stuff from Scott's van last night, but I guess he had to work late, since I didn't hear from him. Just as well, since I have plenty of stuff to deal with anyway.
  • Current Mood
    disappointed resigned

Katrina hits Minnesota, part 2

I linked here to a post on how national gasoline & oil supplies would be affected by the impact of Katrina, but I was thinking too small. Today's Wall Street Journal had a slew of articles on how this is going to impact the ag sector (wheat prices are already down $0.15/bushel because elevators can't book barge space) since the Port of New Orleans is one of the two major ports through which grain flows from the Midwest to the world. King at SCSU Scholars doesn't think gas is going to hit $4/gallon, especially now that W has released oil from the Strategic Reserve and the EPA has waived the regulations that force refineries to make a bunch of "boutique" blends for particular regions, which should even out the prices by making the markets more flexible. I think the ready availability of ethanol in the Midwest will help, too: a lot of the larger SUVs can be tweaked to run on E85, which is widely available throughout the Upper Midwest. In fact, you can get E85 just about everywhere in the US except for Washington, Oregon, the Deep South, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New England. Most of those can import gasoline from South America and Europe, anyway.

So look for the state's economy to take a hit. We don't depend on the ag sector as much as we used to, and certainly Duluth will benefit some from New Orleans being offline for a few weeks, but I wouldn't be surprised if the recent economic growth in the state didn't stall out.