Re: Mother Of All Storms

1

They really have a better plan?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 9:49 PM
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They appear to have a better plan.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 9:52 PM
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A direct hit from a Category 5 means no more New Orleans. Hell, a direct hit from a Category 3 probably means no more New Orleans. (Remember, Katrina was not a direct hit.) But it's not so likely to be a direct hit.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 9:57 PM
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They have a better plan. Whether they can execute it is another story. Also, it's not going to hit New Orleans. And it won't be a Cat 5 when it makes landfall. The northern Gulf of Mexico is much, much colder than the southern portion, and that will sap the storm of energy.

Please read all of the above knowing that, in 2005, on August 27, a reporter from the Times contacted me to ask about this huge storm named Katrina swirling around the Gulf. He wondered about the implications for New Orleans. I told him not to worry about it. He gave me a do-over the next day. I'm an idiot. He's a pretty nice guy.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 9:59 PM
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3: No, a direct hit from a Category 5 storm does not mean "no more New Orleans." Unless, that is, the river levee fails. And that's only going to happen if a hurricane drives directly up the Mississippi from the Gulf, pushing a huge storm surge up the river. Even then, the river levees are pretty damn good. Still, see above for how much faith you should put in me.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:01 PM
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I have a possibly irrational fear that Gustav is going to be good for the Republicans. Like, the storm will barely hit New Orleans and they will somehow spin it as a second Katrina that has been successfully managed by their brilliant plans.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:03 PM
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The business about hitting west or east of the city, and the resulting effects, makes me very nervous. I'm glad that my brother isn't hanging out doing relief work in St. Bernard parish any more.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:03 PM
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The Times piece was mostly Nagin going "It's the apocalypse!", the weather guys going "Uh, what?", and the RNC people hoping the storm would be big enough to incorporate into a convention photo-op while not being so big as to bring back any unpleasant memories.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:03 PM
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5: Thanks for the correction, then. Apparently you know what you're talking about, and I don't recall details. But I thought I had read an argument to this effect in Chris Mooney's book (or his blog?).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:05 PM
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They have a much better plan: they're making everybody evacuate. Mandatory. A friend was ordered out of the Houston-area around noon, even though she was going to wait until tomorrow. So far fewer deaths when there is nobody there, which is what they should've done last time.

New Orleans is probably toast, if it gets hit. They really should've started moving it across the lake in 2005.

max
['Someday, someone will see these things as an opportunity to build better houses.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:07 PM
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10: uh, wasn't Katrina also a mandatory evacuation? It doesn't mean they force everyone to leave, it means people who are outside can be arrested.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:09 PM
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I honestly have no idea what people mean when they say that New Orleans will be toast if it gets hit. The low-lying parts of the city have barely been rebuilt, for the most part, since Katrina. The high ground will be just fine, as always, unless the river levees give out. As for moving the city, max, what are you talking about?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:11 PM
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11: The problem was, as I understand it, that if you had a car to get out of town, you could get out. Everyone else was left to fend for themselves. Someone very close to me was in a hotel down there, without a car, and they were trapped the whole time.

This time, they have buses taking people to the train station and helping them get on trains. It's something, at least.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:18 PM
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I also think the order for evacuation last time came after the trains and buses had already stopped running. (And, of course, they told people if they couldn't leave, to go to the Superdome.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:43 PM
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aren't most of the poor people not returned though?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:43 PM
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13: 11: The problem was, as I understand it, that if you had a car to get out of town, you could get out. Everyone else was left to fend for themselves. Someone very close to me was in a hotel down there, without a car, and they were trapped the whole time.

True. I distinctly recall feeling like a complete ass after making some comment to a friend at the time of Katrina about how anyone who didn't evacuate the city was a fool. The difficulty people would have in getting out didn't even cross my mind at first.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 10:48 PM
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16: I think they worked pretty hard to make it look like a typical Republican story on the news. "Poor black folks too lazy/proud/gambling to leave like sensible white folks." My mom kept going on about how dumb they were, even as I was telling her that news on the ground from the people I knew said if you didn't have a car, you were fucked. They weren't even letting people walk out of the city.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-30-08 11:00 PM
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Wait, wait, wait. I though tall the welfare mothers drove Cadillacs. None of this makes any sense at all.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 12:12 AM
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Nagin was on CNN during the convention - just before flying back to New Orleans - saying that their preparations included having thousands of cages available for people's pets. Apparently a lot of people in 2005 didn't leave because they couldn't take their pets and didn't want to abandon them. That at least suggests that the planning for this year has paid a lot of attention to detail. (And yes, he did list other preparations.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 12:37 AM
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According to the Daily Telegraph, this time they're also evacuating people's pets.

I know it makes me sound like a crazy person, but three years ago I had just had to have my cat put to sleep and when I thought of having to make the choice between getting out to save my life (I don't have a car) while leaving my cat behind to die, or staying behind and hoping to stay alive/keep my cat alive, well... I was a little crazy, but I think I might have stayed behind. The worst stories of all for me to read were of frantic people showing up at the evacuation buses with a cat in a box or a dog on a leash, and being forced by federal guards to leave their pet behind then and there.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 4:18 AM
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Well, looks like the storm's been downgraded as of this morning.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 6:33 AM
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Ari's right that it's not that likely to hit New Orleans, and that it seems likely to be downgraded to a Category 2 or below. On the other hand, I have pretty much zero faith in the reconstructed levees to handle any kind of surge. Here's hoping.

My favorite hurricane blog.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 6:37 AM
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Yeah, sure, Canadians know all about hurricanes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 7:13 AM
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What force of storm was Katrina? Category 4?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 7:46 AM
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24: it was Cat 5 briefly in the gulf, but had weakened to a 3 by the time it made landfall. Betsy, the other super-destructive storm in New Orleans in the past hundred years or so, was also a Category 3. Thus far, Gustav looks very similar to Betsy, which might be good, as the levees were designed against a Betsy-level storm, or might be bad, as the levees are junk.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 7:51 AM
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Betsy-level storm

I have to say, I love the fact that hurricanes give us phrases like these.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:06 AM
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25: However, it weakened only at the very last, so the storm surge was much larger than you normally would get with a Cat 3. And most of the destruction in fact played out south of New Orleans in the delta itself and on the Mississippi coast. It really was a "relatively" mild storm in New Orleans itself. Really it was all about how underbuilt the levees were on the backside of town (as opposed to the ones on the river itself).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:24 AM
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Well, I just looked over the maps with two friends I'm visiting who are from NOLA and moved out after Katrina and they, at least, think this optimistic talk is unwarranted. The peak storm surge is currently predicted for one of the worst possible locations.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:56 AM
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Optimism is pretty much always unwarranted when it comes to New Orleans and hurricanes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 9:18 AM
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Betsy-level storm

I have to say, I love the fact that hurricanes give us phrases like these.

And volcanoes. The Mount Rainier Hazards Map linked to in the arguing-about-solar-energy thread refers to an 'Electron Mudflow-sized event.'

Electron? An infinitesimally small mudflow? Turns out it refers to a specific event on Rainier, and it was huge.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 9:38 AM
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22:I just use NOAA for quick updates, but McMasters & WU are very good.

Bush is skipping the convention.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 9:54 AM
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The city will not offer emergency services to those who choose stay behind, Nagin said, and there will be no "last resort" shelter as there was during Katrina, when thousands suffered inside a squalid Superdome. The city said in a news release that those not on their property after the mandatory evacuation started would be subject to arrest.

Someone explain to me why this isn't suicidally stupid.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 11:07 AM
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Ari, why did you get Katrina calls?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 11:19 AM
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He's Canadian, like I said.

Mary Catherine gets the bear calls. My brother gets the curling calls. Sarah Palin has horned in on the moose franchise.

Two days ago on my bike ride I saw two bushy, enormously fat raccoons standing on a hummock and washing their food in the water of a marsh, just like they're supposed to do. I'd never seen that before.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 11:22 AM
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This might have something to do with reporters' calls.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 12:16 PM
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eb's right, Wrongshore. It was my crappy book that brought the attention. And after I showed up in the Times, having been granted my do-over, an editor asked me to write this*, which, you'll remember, appeared pretty early in the news cycle. From there, things spiraled.

Also, the levees are typically in relatively decent shape; poorly constructed floodwalls were and are the bigger problem. And I'll say again: the parts of the city that are actually in jeopardy are those that occupy the lowest ground. Those same swaths of the city, for the most part, have not been rebuilt from the last go-round with negligent homicide. In other words, there's not going to be another Katrina, because the most dangerous parts of the city have been depopulated.

* The story behind that story includes having three hours to produce that essay. So please read it, if you're going to, in a very forgiving mood. I have other Katrina-era essays that embarrass me much less.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 12:35 PM
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I'm sorry you wrote a crappy book. It seems as though if you were able to write that very good article in three hours, maybe the problem is that you had too much time to write your book.

Or perhaps you're falsely modest. Anyway, that article was very topographically vivid and historically succinct. And even a little bit funny, though not more than the situation* allowed.

*The situation could take a joke. It's the site that has no sense of humor.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 1:11 PM
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38

Who's responsible for naming the hurricanes?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 1:58 PM
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38: The National Hurricane Center. Here's a preview of the names they'll be using through 2013. Preparedness is everything.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 2:06 PM
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You just know that Hurricane Chantal is going to be sexy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 2:47 PM
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There's a Mindy and Wendy, but no Windy, which would be awesome, like a hurricane stripper name. Misty would also be good, but kind of tame for a drenching storm.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 3:00 PM
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The naming of storms is a difficult matter.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 3:08 PM
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Huh. I hadn't read through the entire link in 39; those six lists represent all the names, and they'll just rotate back to the 2008 list in 2014. It's safe to say that Gustav will be among the retired names after this year. I wonder if NOAA has jerseys hanging somewhere with those names on them.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 3:23 PM
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For each storm must have three different names.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 3:27 PM
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As a hurricane purist I must really protest several of the selections for retirement. 1999 & 2000 were particularly egregious, Hurricanes Lenny and Keith? WTF? Did they get in on the old-timers ballot or what? And do you notice how the numbers have soared since the onset of the Global Warming era? You can just tell by the shape of the eye of some of these storms that somethings not right, too perfect, too round, too much symmetry. No standards. I'll take the 1900 Galveston hurricane any day, killed 6,000 and didn't even have a real name.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 3:44 PM
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I'm outraged as well (and on my parents computer).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 3:46 PM
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And in their basement eating cheetos.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 3:48 PM
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Recently, there was a southern politician bitching about how the hurricane names are too white bread . To think, NO could have been fucked up by Hurricane Kanye. What a blow for racial justice that would have landed!


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 3:49 PM
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When I lived in Lubbock, the mayor was named Windy. Seemed appropriate. It would have been better if there were other city officials named "Dusty" and "Flat."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 4:11 PM
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Perhaps even "Bleak"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 4:17 PM
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Man. This is sucky. I wish I could be sanguine, like Ari, but I'd be utterly unsurprised by a city full of water and no shortage of people in it by tomorrow afternoon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 4:24 PM
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Isn't "Cheny" from an ancient Mesopotamian dialect and means "Death, Despair, and Desecration"?

I come back from a 40-mile bike ride and you're still talking about the name of a wind? I may be a few of something behind.


Posted by: ehj2 | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 4:27 PM
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-


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 4:30 PM
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The police in Minneapolic confiscated a bucket of piss. They didn'y recognize that if moderately heated it would become a rebus for the Vice President. No sense of humor, those guys.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 4:53 PM
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Hurricanes Lenny and Keith? WTF?

I know. Keith instead of Karl?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 5:03 PM
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51, Sifu,

Oh, now go serious on me. One of the real troubles of this medium is how quickly the mood can change, and comments (posted out of order) seem inappropriate.

54, John,

Thanks for the redirect and post on police harassment; it needs to be everywhere. It bears repeating (because smart folks tend to avoid even the appearance of being redundant) that one of the most valuable uses of the Internet for the essentially powerless progressive movement is the echo-chamber spotlight we can put on these activities.


Posted by: ehj2 | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 5:05 PM
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Not to go serious again, but I found a link to a page of New Orleans webcams. It looks deserted. Both creepy and compelling.


Posted by: The Virginian | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 5:16 PM
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54: Hey wait, you weren't kidding. The police confiscated a bucket of urine.

We know these things were going to be used as weapons," Fletcher said, a charge protesters and their advocates vigorously disputed.
Other weapons the confiscated included rocks. And shit check this out
The raids began Friday night when Ramsey County sheriff's deputies, guns drawn, used a battering ram to get through a door and into the former Smith Theater on St. Paul's West Side that was being used as a gathering space by a protest group. About 60 people were inside 627 Smith Av. S. watching a movie and eating when the raid began. No one was arrested, but everyone inside was handcuffed and interviewed.
. They raided a movie theater with a battering ram and guns drawn, found people watching a movie, handcuffed them, interviewed them, and let them go. WTF?!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 6:43 PM
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Also, the post John was responding to when talks about this police raid seems to have been deleted.

The context: Police in Minnesota raided anyone they thought was a potential protester of the Republican National Convention.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 6:45 PM
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On the other thread John suggested making this a front page post, and stormcrow worried whether Minneapolitan was all right.

I endorse both these sentiments.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 7:02 PM
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Based and my Googling and a phone call, I'm pretty sure that Minneapolitan and Frowner are OK. The police presence is intimidating and excessive, but it's been targetted in a fairly limited way so far.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 7:06 PM
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61: Likewise.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 7:06 PM
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I just scanned through the weekend's comments after having been away (the Palin thing can't be true -- no one could possibly have thought that was a secret that could be kept -- but certainly stopped me in my tracks.) I missed the details of the desired RNC policing/bailfund post -- I'll put something up, but can Emerson or someone repeat what it should say, or give me the number of the comment that spells it out?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 7:57 PM
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64: I think it started with this one.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:05 PM
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At this time the bailfund thing is unnecessary. It's a future option.

This post has everything I know. The gist of the story is at the Greenwald links and the FDL links. Basically, six houses and a bus have been raided, 50 or so people detained, and 6 arrested for conspiracy and not yet charged. It's all pre-emptive, no actual crimes are alleged. The people detained aren't arrested but won't be released until Tue because of the weekend; they're detained for "probable cause" (?).

There were 9 or so others arrested, but that was for civil disobedience.

The FBI and the Ramsey county sheriff are doing the dirty work.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:05 PM
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Greetings and salutations!
Where I am we're okay but it's pretty nuts in general.

For those of you who haven't been following too much: on Friday the activist convergance space in St Paul for "fire code violations". It was reopened after calls to the City Council and a reinspection, but the cops seized all the protest guides that had been printed up and stored there, as well as laptops, wallets, cell phones, etc from the people who were there. Those things have not been returned as far as I know. The most visible organizers of the protests are either in jail (four left in jail now) or staying at an undisclosed location so they won't get caught up in a sweep.

At the moment, the convergence center is surrounded by cops. We're afraid there's going to be a second raid, although seriously they've really screwed it up. They've intimidated people but they haven't stopped us. Communication and solidarity have been awesome here (Twitter!) and it's too late for them barring mass sweeps through the city during the night. And even our sharply mediocre City Council people have had our backs as far as keeping stuff open.

You're all aware, no doubt, that they raided four houses where activists lived and also broke into someone's garage and searched her papers. One of the Communities United Against Police Brutality organizers has been stopped by the cops on a near daily basis in the past few weeks too.

It's unpleasant and aggressive (and it's been terribly hard for some of my friends who are caught up in the more violent stuff--honestly, I have friends who were held at gunpoint, hit, called terrorists, etc plus losing money and possessions) but the cops aren't winning. Honestly the raids have been badly planned and executed, and I almost wonder whether sending in the fibbies and Homeland Security was a mistake on the government's part--not only do regular cops not like being pre-empted but we're a democratic town and (as much as we have an unusually brutal police force, don't get me wrong) the popular response to the house raids has been shock and anger.

I'm working at the bookstore where I volunteer--we have extended hours and are doing what we can to facilitate information sharing.

The trials will be a huge PITA though--there are conspiracy charges, it sounds like. They'll be dropped or people will be found innocent but it will take a lot of time and energy.

Do you know what our glorious, glorious UMN has done? Sent an email to all the students saying that if they're arrested off campus for anything involving property damage (or anything more serious) they will also be up before the student conduct board. Which will be absolutely fucking hilarious when they discipline someone and then he/she gets his charges dropped and sues everyone in sight. And that's what will happen, mark my words.

The RNC Welcoming Committee has done an absolutely amazing job here. It's been a privilege to work with them. If anyone is actually in MPLS and wants to meet up to march tomorrow with the Immigrants' Rights group, they should email, That's where I'll be--the other stuff we'd planned (none of which was illegal) won't work because the main coordinator is in hiding.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:14 PM
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Good to hear from you, Frowner. Be well and keep us posted.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:23 PM
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Good to hear from you, F. I've been gathering links and posting them -- see my URL. I'll be updating as time goes on. Anything you want to add, tell me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:23 PM
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There's a post up now -- I just linked to Emerson's, and cut&pasted Frowner's comment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:29 PM
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Wow! Everyone can see my hurried, ungrammatical and poorly 'graphed report in a post all its own! This is in certain respects the most flattering thing that's happened to me during the RNC so far.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:42 PM
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Frowner, I'm pretty sure we could fundraise for the legal effort here. We'd need a Paypal or other link.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:44 PM
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Seriously, say the word if we can do anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-08 8:56 PM
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