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Katrina plus five

I was in Toyko, my first and only trip to Asia, when Katrina hit, and rather than wander that exotic place I spent many hours in the hotel room, watching CNN and monitoring Web sites, rapt and horrified like everyone else. The hurricane was awful enough, but the aftermath was shattering -- the incompetent response, the rapidly deteriorating conditions at the Superdome, the people dying in wheelchairs. Bush looking out the window of Air Force One, a politically fatal fly-over. There were those rumors (untrue) of roving gangs of rapists, as ugly racial fears surfaced. We all saw poverty and desperation like we hadn't seen before. This can't be America, is what a lot of people thought.

I remember we had a lot of great commentary on the Achenblog during the crisis. Unfortunately, they're no longer live on The Post's Web site, though maybe they're stored somewhere. Here's what I wrote, filing from Japan, one week into the crisis:

Katrina has become a story about race in America. Most affluent and semi-affluent Americans rarely see poor people -- they live on the other side of town. The poor of the Deep South, largely black, haven't been front and center in American consciousness since the 1960s. Katrina has changed that. Even though it's a painful and rancorous issue, maybe some good will come out of it (predictable upbeat happy note). [A minute ago I caught myself on the verge of using the phrase "well-meaning whites" and had a Dave B. thought: "The Well-Meaning Whites" would make a great name for a rock band.]

There are many types of racism, including the type that says there's no racism in America anymore, and the situation would be precisely the same if the victims all looked like Macauley Culkin. Then there's institutional racism: We have to ask whether the government would have been better prepared for this sort of situation in New Orleans if the most vulnerable communities hadn't been, for the most part, black neighborhoods. (Like, were the levees considered good enough for "the black part of town?") [The Chicago Tribune ran a graphic showing elevation and demographics in New Orleans; to a striking degree the areas below sea level are predominantly African American.] This will likely wind up in congressional hearings -- full-blown postmortems, with testimony from folks high and low, the rescuers and the not-quickly-rescued, that will be far more dramatic than the Supreme Court confirmation hearings (now plural).

In the meantime, there are a couple of good stories in The Post today on the racial dimension of Katrina and the slow response by the government. One is by Wil Haygood, who has been filing daily from the scene of the disaster, and who explains today why so many poor people didn't evacuate before the storm hit. The second is an essay by Lynne Duke and Teresa Wiltz in the Style section, and one passage jumps out:

"In the Chicago Fire of 1871, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, minority groups (Germans, African Americans and Chinese) were rumored to be preying on white women by chewing on their fingers to steal their jewelry. It's not such a stretch to see parallels in the unconfirmed reports of roving bands of rapists in New Orleans."

In Japan, at the Memorial Hall for the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, there is a separate monument to the Koreans who were killed because of rumors that they had caused the quake and were poisoning the water supply. There was no truth to it, of course. But in times of crisis, people turn on minorities. It will be interesting to see if some of the early news reports about gangs of armed thugs, about people shooting on rescue helicopters, hold up. Rumors are thick in a whirlwind.

I've been to New Orleans a few times this summer, and it still shows the effects of the Big One. At least that's my impression, for what it's worth. Bourbon Street is as rowdy as ever (the destiny of all iconic American locales is to become parodies of themselves), and the Garden District has charm to burn, but I still had the sense of a place damaged not just by water but by an exodus of people and capital.

One lesson of Katrina is that worst-case scenarios really do happen, sometimes. The New Orleans Times-Picayune predicted the disaster in 2002, and The Washington Post predicted it in 2004. Consider Joel Bourne's October 2004 article in National Geographic:

It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV "storm teams" warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday.

But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however--the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.

The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level--more than eight feet below in places--so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

When did this calamity happen? It hasn't--yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 29, 2010; 8:18 AM ET
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Wow. Five years. I remember this very well. I've never believed that overt racism had anything to do with the response. I mean, the notion that "the government" would consciously slow-roll things because it just affected black folks is fundamentally inconsistent with the way bureaucracies operate.

But the notion of unintentional or structural racism is an entirely different manner. And this is certainly rooted in the notion that some parts and some citizens of America are somehow more Authentically American than others.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 29, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Still an unprecedented tragedy and all too likely to happen again.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

WOW - give me breath!

That a vast majority of our fellows are constained by economic necessity in cities so obviously vulnerable - around the world - is horrifying to me. Governments can't protect large concentrations of people, haven't made preparations to do so adequetely, or willfully don't care. We can hope for sustainable energy until we're green in the face, but I know that tragedies of major impact will occur before the comfortable among us truly seize the reality. (I count myself among the comfortable and myopic.)

And Congressmen (congresses around the world) fiddle while we hold out hope beyond hope.

Sister, can you spare a ________?

Posted by: talitha1 | August 29, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

scc: constrained

Posted by: talitha1 | August 29, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

NBC News did a story the other day about Brad Pitt's efforts to get homes built in New Orleans' 9th Ward. I like the designs - which include safe access to rooftops, a sobering thought. To me, this is what government should be promoting. It's great that a wealthy individual came along to do this, but what if he hadn't?

And in case you haven't read it yet, here is the link to the New Yorker story about the Koch brothers, who fund Americans for Prosperity, which funds the Tea Party -

Posted by: seasea1 | August 29, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Seasea, thanks for the link. Great work and much more to do.

Posted by: --dr-- | August 29, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Parts of Tokyo are as inherently vulnerable to storm surges and flooding as New Orleans. They have vastly better defenses than the improved system that New Orleans will have next year.

Vulnerable Tokyo is the "Low City" or Shitamachi, historically the densely populated poor part of Edo. The Shogun and the feudal lords were up in the high city, to the west.

We need to do much better.

I haven't been to New Orleans for many years, so much so that I probably have no notion of how tourism must have transformed the charming portions of the old city into a theme-park version of itself, presumably just like Key West, maybe Charleston. Perhaps Beaufort SC, which used to be a quiet place. To judge from flying up the coast, it might now be a gigantic retirement community for affluent, mostly white people.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 29, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

ftb, Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a glorious day.

Now to go read the Kit.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse


The Park Service no longer gives estimates of crowd size. The only estimate I saw was between 300,000 and 600,000. Based on the pictures I've seen, I'd go with the low end.

Posted by: -pj- | August 29, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Awww, thanks to boodleville for the lovely birthday greetings. Jag tackar så hjärtligt till Mudge för den svenska födelsedagssången. Und danke schön auf Deutsch to Snuke [remember, I'm thinking in Swedish now, and I couldn't get to the rest of the sentence in German, but you know what I mean].

My friend took me to a lovely brunch at the Irish Inn in Glen Echo. We sat outside (under a roof of sorts) and it got awfully hot (to me, anyway), but the food was lovely and the company was terrific, as she is one of my dearest friends. My Friday dinner has been moved back to Tuesday, and the rest of the gang will help me celebrate "sometime" in September. We do take our time and stretch things out, our gang.

I refuse (je *refuse*!!!) to pay attention to Beck and the others. I will not waste my emotional energy on them.

seasea, I also saw that interview with Brad Pitt. He's quite remarkable, really, in what he's accomplished down there. And he's done it quietly and responsibly. Good for him.

Time for a mug of tea, methinks.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 29, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

WaPo has a pretty good gallery of photos from yesterday's Whitestock. Picture 10 is probably the only offensive tee shirt shown, but the sartorial choices of some of the others are fairly amusing.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The Miami Herald has a story today on an archaeological survey and the possibility of creating a state historic site for Rosewood, a lumber mill town that thrived from 1845 until it was destroyed by a white mob in 1823. The town was almost entirely black. Its destruction was one of the worst episodes in Florida's sorry history of racism.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 29, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Interesting caption on #19, yello...

"three hours of programming" indeed.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 29, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

One tee shirt reminded me of a notorious tattoo from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".
My bare memory of Button Gwinett was that died in a duel. I guess if Alexander Hamilton was dumb enough to die that way, it was OK for Mr. Gwinett.
Whatever happened for the old respect for the Flag? Once hippies started putting flags on their behinds, standards collapsed.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 29, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Because he died so young, Button Gwinett is also the most valuable autograph of any of the signers of the Declaration.

Posted by: -pj- | August 29, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

They may not be people with whom I'd wish to hold extended political conversations, but Sharyn Auger, 64, left, and Deani Jordan, 61, both of Lakeland, Fla., (picture #4 from the above link) are holding up pretty well. Must be something about that conservative attitude and/or the central Florida water.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Happy, Happy, Birthday, ftb. Enjoy your day, and may you have many more birthdays.

There were many hurtful things about Katrina, but the one that stuck in my mind had to do with the people on the roof of those houses, begging for help. Now that tore the heart out of me. And then, the people at the arena, old people in wheelchairs looking just awful with no food or water, and little babies on their mother's arm crying for milk. Dead bodies laying in the streets, and talking heads at major stations talking about race and fear. It was not pretty and did not show our best character.

And the most insulting name floating at that time, refugee. I was highly offended with the use of that word. The people lived in New Orleans. They didn't arrive on a boat! The use of the word seemed to me an awful attempt to distance one's self from the whole situation, yet how do you do that when all these folks were Americans?

A lot going on at the time, and much of it not good. When electricity goes, all bets are off. We revert to our natural selves, and boy, that can be ugly. In the case of New Orleans and Katrina, it was so much more.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 29, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm not just a Georgia boy, but specifically one who grew up in Savannah near Thunderbolt, and didn't know until today that Button Gwinnett died from wounds suffered in a duel there.

As long as I learn something new every day and refrain from repeating at least a few of my past mistakes, I consider it a good day. So today's looking good.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all. I remember being horrified by the plight of the people at the New Orleans convention center, since I had been there in 2004. Inexcusible, that's what it was. FEMA can't afford to screw another one up like that, ever again. Of course, we have to remember that the inadequate response by local authorities before and during the storm contributed a great deal to the mess.

The good thing about the response to Katrina is that was when I found Achenblog, and I've been addicted ever since.

Mr. T is home from Chicago and had a successful convention. Hope it translates into attendees for our conferences coming up in November and next May.

Cassandra, glad the young one had a happy birthday. I don't even want to contemplate the form of the hatred you encountered. The saddest thing is that it will poison that person for the rest of his/her life.

I went with Thirddottir and her better half to pick up the boyz after Sunday School. P looked up and wanted to know where Mr. T was. Good kid!

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Several good Katrina stories in WaPo today. Here is the one from the front page:

And in WaPoMag, there is one of the 'you can't go home again' variety:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

CBS News commissioned a professional service to estimate the size of the Glenn Beck crowd. The returned a number of 87,000 with a 10% uncertainty. Which is a goodly number of people, but, obviously, not the hundreds of thousands claimed by Beck.

The thing is, after reading the speech and the coverage, I'm still not sure exactly what this was all about. It just seemed like a big amorphous prayer meeting in favor of good things like liberty and, you know, honor and stuff.

And who, exactly, is against these things? The implication is that somebody must be. But there were certainly no details as to who, specifically, these liberty-hating, Godless dishonorable folks might be.

And perish the thought that anyone might think Beck is referring to the political left, because that would make this a political thing, which he specifically claims it was not.

Indeed, the only topic that lends itself to meaningful discussion is just how big the rally actually was.

Which means that the Beck Rally is something of an inkblot upon which one can impose any number of narratives. Sort of like Katrina.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 29, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Like so many words, "refugee" can have as much emotional content as one wishes to invest. I once read a letter-to-the-editor in the San Antonio Express-News expressing disdain for the use (referring to government accounting practitioners) of the term "bean counter" because of its supposed theoretical linkage to disparagement of Hispanics.

I'm not sure that I can see anything terribly wrong with referring to people who were literally seeking refuge from (the aftermath of) a storm as "refugees". Seems like precisely the correct word to me.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra - Despite my linguistic point, I must say that I completely agree with your point that much of the coverage of that disaster, and many others, ends up using language that has the effect of distancing us from the people dealing with the tragedy.

I'd imagine that part of that is an instinct to put a bit of space between ourselves and pain that is vast and not immediately remediable. I have to admit that I sometimes share the "classically male" behavior trait of needing either to try to solve a painful situation, or withdraw from it while I process it internally. That's not a matter of not caring, but a matter of only being able to handle so much helplessness at once, I guess.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Good'ay, humanitarians, mostly all, really a pathetic bunch.

Poor men, without a Country,

"Admiral halsey notified me,
He had to have a berth or he couldn't get to sea.
I had another look and i had a cup of tea and a butter pie.

"couldn't put it in something else
So i pulled it in the pie, alright!"

Hands across the water, heads across the sky,
Hands across the water, heads across the sky.

Live a little, be a gypsy, get around,
Get your feet up off the ground,
Live a little, get around.

Live a little, be a gypsy, get around,
Get your feet up off the ground,
Live a little, get around.........

Uh-uh - ....."


"I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year
All of the faces and all of the places
Wonderin' where they all disappeared
I didn't ponder the question too long
I was hungry and went out for a bite
Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum
And we wound up drinkin all night.....

It's these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of our running and all of our cunning
If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane..."

Not hot enough fur y'a Uncle gord? Try being a polar bear floatin' around up there, lookin' for global warmin' hopein' for the change, waitin' for them ski lifts so he can grab a meal, maybe he'll get lucky and score a stupid jogger, or maybe even dine upon a brilliant artiste, a quintessential blogger.....

Who exactly makes a debate ugly and emotional?

History shows, as does any sustainable religious activity, that those who are offended, attempt to supress the truth (knowlege that sets the Hearer free), and call the speaking of such, 'hate', are in fact the architechs and enablers of that hate.

WE prefer to remain anonymous

...offering an(sic) open post is a good least somebody at the Compost has a(sic) instinct that is speech as a concept is an important part of an(sic) sustainable Republic....concept>precept>principle>preamble>bill-of-rights>constitution>beautifull(sic)

Posted by: RichNomore | August 29, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

As I said in the previous Boodle, I remember going around angry as h3ll for a week after Katrina. The government was doing nothing useful (when they were doing anything at all) and the sight of all the bodies and all the people suffering in *this* country, was infuriating.

I've never been to NO, and would like to get there some day. It is sad that after five years there is still so much to do. And the levees they are rebuilding are only good for a 'hundred year' storm, which is in no way good enough.

The day has turned into one of gardening, reseeding the really bad spots on the lawn, and contemplating a nap.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the 2nd alert pj, I missed the first one for a few minutes.

This article contradicts the other one. Says some Beck & Beckites state huge crowds.

War on Terra and international effects on finance. Very interesting.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 29, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Aahhh, the always helpful Rich! (Speaking of anonymous...)

Good call, though. History does, in fact, show that those who are offended (particularly if they hold anything resembling power) are the architects of much unpleasantness. There's another word for this taking of offense. It's "fear". It, as opposed to money or the love thereof, is the root of all evil.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse


That's h*ll(o)? to you, infuriated is a more or less paralyzing emotion...has it led to any postive action to improve the country?

Posted by: RichNomore | August 29, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Bachman was claiming there were a million people at the Beck rally, as she was there and I suppose personally counted them. She seems to have trouble putting 2 and 2 together, though, so I don't put much faith in her crowd estimating ability.

What gets me about Beck and others of his ilk is that he proposes no solutions, gives no evidence that he has helped anyone ever, or cares about anything beyond himself. Just blabber and smoke.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 29, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

You bet, RichNomore -- women's rights (women were tortured and many died on behalf of obtaining the right to vote), civil rights and voting rights for minorities, the reversal of child labor laws, and much, much more.

Of course, if you do not identify (directly or indirectly) with any of those groups, and if you do not ordinarily have or exercise the capability of empathizing with anyone (directly or indirectly) in those groups, then you will continue to believe that being infuriated is a more or less paralyzing emotion. It will continue to be that way until and unless you show the courage *not* to feel paralyzed by the level of your anger. Courage is tough and it can be scary, but facing your fears and dealing with them is not only the *adult* thing to do, it is the most positive thing to do, both for yourself and those you love (should there be any of the latter).

Besides, the so-called "Founding Fathers", for all their faults (e.g., the perpetuation of slavery and the lack of women's rights) were infuriated by King George III (among other things), and look what they did . . . . .

Ahhhh, nothin' like a birthday to soar like an eagle rhetorically, eh?

Posted by: ftb3 | August 29, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

SCC -- didn't mean the reversal of child labor laws, so take out "reversal" please.

Carry on. . .

Posted by: ftb3 | August 29, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for the reversal of child labor laws. Let the little tykes earn their nappy time and snacks.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I would like to interrupt this Boodle for a special announcement:

For our English friends, Bob S. is not actually suggesting that small children should have to earn their diapers. They should be granted as a matter of course by their parents.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Thank you.

Posted by: -pj- | August 29, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Appeals to childish fantasies of the "pure" justice of anarchy always ultimately favor the despotic oligarchs. As is happening right now.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 29, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

True enough. And when I say that I love the look of ladies wearing garters, I actually mean suspenders, not to be confused with braces.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Many people are no so much paralyzed by their fears as by their refusal to acknowledge that they are afraid. I can speak from experience.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 29, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Bob's a lumberjack and he's okay.

Posted by: -pj- | August 29, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

[Posted by: ftb3 | August 29, 2010 4:46 PM
You bet, RichNomore -- ]

So you advise becoming infuriated, gathering your courage (maybe the -rage supplies the motivation), get scared, challenge the fear brought on by being scared, overcome all this struggle, honor yourself for your victory (for your love for yourself and others, significant and otherwise), then look for somebody else to blame for what you perceive as injustice in the world (current and/or historical). Phew! How do you have any energy left to actually do something about the fix WE are in? Ghosts of Katrina past, a really safe crusade, is it not?

Posted by: RichNomore | August 29, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - In my better moments, I'd be not-so-quick to call these fears "childish". Anybody who feels like their rug has been jerked from underneath them may well lack the tools to deal with it gracefully and effectively.

It would be a great thing if everybody had dealt (at least somewhat successfully) with great misfortune in the past and carried with them the coping skills, optimism and/or fatalistic stoicism, and "we're all in this together" big picture that leads away from Cassandra's aforementioned ugliness when the power goes out. But alas, too many folks don't have that experience. And their raw fearful instincts lead them in a different direction.

As tiresome as it becomes, it is incumbent upon us who know better to give such guidance as we're able.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Richnomore -- please relax, and don't put words in my mouth. It takes more than one person (a village, perhaps?) to accomplish stuff, and it's important that the majority of the participants are not constipated by fear -- especially fear exacerbated by others whose sole aim appears to be engendering fear in others (especially irrational fear) and making a whole lot of money off doing that.

The kind of fear I respect and respond to is the canary in the mine kind of fear. It's good to feel that kind of fear, as it can save my life and that of others. Irrational fear, which flies in the face of proven facts (i.e., facts of the moment -- note the scientific method of reasoning, where when facts change, so does the process of dealing with change and which sometimes changes the goal(s), but, well, I digress . . . .), is not of interest to me personally, so long as I know I can get out of the way of the irrationality. I do not have the screaming abdabs in the face of change, generally. I look at the proposed change, I decide whether it's good for me and mine and, if not, I deal with it.

For those who state emphatically that health care is not in the Constitution, I would remind them that neither is indoor plumbing.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 29, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

ftb - Well, there are several references to the"Seat of the Government".

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Richnomore, may I respectfully ask what you are doing to improve the country?

I will gladly share some of my activities. In July, I was privileged to donate peripheral blood stem cells to a person with leukemia, and I'm happy to report that the cells engrafted and he has been discharged from the hospital. I have made donations to MADD, SADD, and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. I made a large (for me) donation to a local group working with underprivileged children and their parents in a low-income neighborhood. Of course, I contribute to my church and lead a weekly Bible study for women.

All this fear stuff makes no sense to me.

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Too many bears in Florida? The reliable David Fleshler's story at the Sun-Sentinel in the Ft. Lauderdale area:,0,5398130.story

Traditional hunting with dogs in the Big Gum Swamp area of Osceola National Forest (almost part of Okefenokee Swamp) was a big deal. The Swamp was absolutely not a place for casual hiking. Or strenuous hiking.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 29, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Aw, man, is that guy back again? I was looking forward to a quiet evening. Ah, well.

Debut World Premiere First-Time Ever Brand New Recipe!! Only about 3 hours old!! You heard it here first, Boodle!

Five Guys French Fry Hash

Serves four


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 bag, REGULAR-SIZE, Five Guys French Fries, No Salt (!) (one regular bag/serving is enough for four people), preferably fresh and still warm although not necessarily still hot, and diced to 1/2-inch size
1 medium onion, chopped and fine diced
2 stalks celery, fine diced
3 tablespoons McCormick's Salad Supreme (


Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet or frying pan; when butter is melted add onions and celery and sauté on medium-high heat. When onions and celery are well sautéed, add french fries, mixing and stirring thoroughly. Reduce heat to medium, cook about 8 minutes with lid on. Remove lid, sprinkle three tablespoons of Salad Supreme all over, stir thoroughly. Cook about 3 minutes, lid off, until mixture is nicely browned and caramelized. Serve hot, let guests season with salt and/or pepper to taste.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 29, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Awww, slyness, that's not quite fair. Asking a bomb-thrower what they've built lately is a little silly. Just because that's not what they do, doesn't mean that some things don't need to be blown up.

The only niggles I've ever had with RichNomore were a certain lack of humor and a prose style that occasionally approaches incoherency. Given that I could justifiably be accused of both faults myself, I've generally trod easily on those grounds.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'm glad he's destitute.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 29, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Boodle, we're about five minutes out on the Emmy red Carpet pre-game show on NBC. CqP, have you finished your warm-ups? Voice in tune? Done your stretches? I don't think I can get through these kinds of shows without your guidance. TBG, you there? Yoki? dbG? Who else?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 29, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

BobS, 'occasionally' incoherent! I never understood anything he said so I stopped reading anything he posted. Life is too short.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

You will note that Curmudgeon specifies "1 bag" of regular-size "Five Guys" fries. For those who've never gone to the joint, this is a bit of inside joke.

In theory, Five Guys' fries are served in a cup. In practice, a cup is filled, put in a bag, and the cup and bag are then filled with more fried 'taters.

The entire concept of a large order of fries at Five Guys is amusing. Pretty much the only people who ever order a "large" are folks who've never been to Five Guys before. (OK, I'm exaggerating. But the large order is freakishly large. Imagine an appetizer that was intended to feed four. Bigger than that.)

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

You are right, Bob, but I really want to know. I'm curious that way.

Richnomore, are you still here?

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Bob's commentary on the 5-Guys fries is perspicacious, as always.

Jane Lynch in purple taffeta. Very nice, Clare Danes. Wowsers.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 29, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

The first time I went to Five Guys, I ordered a double hamburger and regular fries. When they handed me the bag, I listed severely to starboard as I walked out the door. I now order the kiddie burger with the regular fries.

I think Gen. Petraeus placed an order of large fries to feed the troops in Afghanistan.

Posted by: -pj- | August 29, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

And they had 12 baskets left over, right, pj?

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

The first time I went to "Five Guys" I asked my coworkers if they thought a single large order would be enough. The disdainful laughter haunts me still. The large fries are, I suspect, underwritten by the American Association of Cardiac Surgeons.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 29, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse


Which means that the Beck Rally is something of an inkblot upon which one can impose any number of narratives. Sort of like Katrina.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 29, 2010 2:40 PM

RD, you are on a role, that is exactly right. Someone asked me about the request that the Koch brother team made that Beck people shouldn't bring signs. I told them that the rationale was to be able to control the message and manipulate in the past tense. I think that we are on the same page.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 29, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Turned on the Emmy thing in time to see Tina Fey. Her dress looked nice and I like her hair, simple but slightly poofy ponytail.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm here, but of little fashion commentary use.

I can tell you a great deal about removing skunk scent, though.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 29, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Jewel looked rather voluptuous. And she gets to sing the Death Parade song.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I can continue to watch this stuff. That Billy Bush person is horrible and there's a commercial every two minutes. Plus I don't know who most of these people are because I don't watch much TV (except for news). The mute button is helping some.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

badsneaks - Don't let the folks at the Celebritology blog know that you thought Tina Fey looked OK in a ponytail. One of the regulars there is convinced that Sandra Bullock is insipid and evil because no self-respecting professional woman over thirty would wear a ponytail. It's been a while, but Yellojkt might even remember that comment string.

My observation that more than fifty percent of the self-respecting professional women of my acquaintance (and in that age range) at least occasionally wear some variation of a ponytail was met with a deafening silence.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

At some point I'll backboodle, but if you've got a receptive (or bored) teen around TCM is running "Young Mr. Lincoln" (1939), the John Ford/Henry Fonda movie that uses the device of a jury trial to portray Lincoln's character.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 29, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Out. Standing. Opening.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 29, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I *could* be of use in running snark on the Emmy fashions. It ain't happening in my house tonight, so I'll look at the stills tomorrow.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 29, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

The opening was very cute and well done.

BobS, guess I missed that string. I confess to wearing one myself, but only around the backyard.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Probably true, Slyness.

By the way, just in case anyone is wondering, the Five Guys fries are delicious!

Posted by: -pj- | August 29, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, BobS., I never said "childish fears."

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 29, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

pj is right! I like the burgers, but it's the fries that keep me going back.

Loved the Emmy opener, and find the show thus far has been consistently funny-setting a high bar for awards shows generally.

Just got back to MN from Tampa and it is freakishly hot here-over 90 when I arrived. Anyone in need of plague and pestilence? I'll schedule a trip to your town.

Jane Lynch wins!!! So great.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Jane Lynch. Absolutely.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 29, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Modern Family - 2, Glee - 1 in case you are keeping score.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Nerds rule!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - I shouldn't, but do occasionally, assume that my playing fast and loose with the details works out OK in the service of making broader points. Sometimes, unfortunately, it not only doesn't work, but actively gets in the way. I'm basically just a clown.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Where is CqP? We need her expertise in clothing. I have seen very few dresses that have impressed me at all. A lot are in the category of 'did she look in a mirror before she left the house?'

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

First time any show other than Amazing Race has won in the Top Reality category. Go Colicchio. And Padma.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Top Chef brings up half the theater to accept the award. All I have to say about the dresses is that better foundation garments were needed.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe this entire category. Time for a break, stretch the legs, go find something to snack on.

Read a book.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 29, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, since 'mudge is taking a break, I'll chuckle at the fact that the current #1 headline on the WashPost website homepage reads:
"U.S. officials intensify efforts in Sudan"

This is laudable, but not entirely unlike my promise to concentrate harder on my dart game. There was a time when I was quite good, and I'm not bad now. But nobody is concerned that I'm going to be able to take any championship titles anytime soon.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 29, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling that there is confusion about fear versus anxiety in earlier posts:

Posted by: gmbka | August 29, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The fewer foundation garments Padma wears, the better.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

That *is* a pretty funny headline, Bob, considering how Sudan has been on everyone's mind lately. Oh, and by the way, people, WE HAVE A FREAKING HURRICANE COMING THIS WAY FOR THE LABOR DAY WEEKEND!!!

Just thought I'd mention it. Sorry my caps lock key got stuck there for a minute.

Poor Edie Falco. She was really miffed, and in a way I don't blame her.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 29, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Telling stories

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 29, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I was losing interest but saw that George Clooney is going to be on - I guess I'll have to keep watching.

Earl is a weird name for a hurricane. Coincidentally, it also sounds like the way they pronounce 'oil' in those awful BP ads. (Not that they're awful because of that...)

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, that Reich op-ed is depressing. The Dems should be shouting from the rooftops.

My sis-in-law made a crack about healthcare reform at family reunion last night. I didn't bite. It was a picnic, not the place to argue politics.

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I clearly need to be watching more shows about drug dealers/addicts. Weeds and Nurse Jackie don't seem to be enough.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Love Ricky Gervais. Who wants beer? These move so quick, hard to keep up, plus I'm not set up to live blog. I missed Jim Parsons and Jane Lynch. What show is Claire Danes on? On a premium channel no doubt, which does not help me.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 29, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Begin your sighing over George Clooney.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Ah, George Clooney...

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh, nothin' like a birthday to soar like an eagle rhetorically, eh?

Posted by: ftb3 | August 29, 2010 4:46 PM


Tell it, lady! Yee Hah!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 29, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

What is it with the women's hair tonight. They all look like they just got out of the shower, ran their hands thru it and left the house. Geez.

Great timing on that Clooney thing, Yello.

Hate January Jones' dress.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I missed Archie Panjabi too - love her on The Good Wife. Oh wait - they're repeating out here, so I can see them again.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 29, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Backboodlin' is hazardous to continuity, but what the hey!

Richnomore, you are a carbuncle on the ass of humanity while most folks try to live somewhere north of your vicinity. Just one woman's opinion.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 29, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Viewing "12 Angry Men" is my defense.
I'll swear by it.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 29, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Nice one, Talitha ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

seasea, Clare Danes had the lead in Temple Grandin, a true story about the autistic woman zoologist who invented the hug machine to calm autistics.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 29, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge, what do I do if I can't get Five Guys french fries?

Oh, and btw, we lost to Japan, 4-1 in the LLWS World Championship. Still the Hawaii boys are champs in my book!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | August 29, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

MoftheP, sorry about that, but what an accomplishment for the team anyway!

I think I've about had it with the awards.

Gee, Al Pacino is short!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all - a quick hello on the way to sleep. Thanks for the live-boodling Emmys. I'd never see it otherwise. Loved Clare Danes in the Temple Grandin movie. Excellent job.

Happy almost-belated birthday to ftb! Mine is tomorrow - a half century. My present: an accordion will be acquired. Sometime.

The Boy has turned my cursor into a dinosaur. It is kind of cute.

Thanks for the thought-provoking Kit, Joel. I wonder if the Beckinator thought about the anniversary when he planned the date of Whitestock (excellent, Yellojkt)?

Till tomorrow, buenos gnocchis, vaya con queso and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 29, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Poor quality WiFi at the hotel has prevented me from live boodling or more importantly wishing ftb a happy birthday. We celebrated elder daughters today visiting the Narnia exhibit (she loved it), a museum and way too much walking downtown Montreal - shopping.

Great day but I am tired, and who knew there was a Nascar race in town - ahh no I did not go :-).

Posted by: dmd3 | August 29, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Forgot at the museum today was an exhibit on the costumes of Cirque du Soleil - with detail on how they are made and the technology they incorporate.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 29, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

The nominees for best comedy series read like my DVR schedule. There couldn't be a bad winner in the bunch. I guess I have to go catch up on Modern Family.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Okay Kids, that's it for me. Tomorrow they rebuild my foot in a three-hour operation. Then a few days in the hospital, then who-knows-how-long-in rehab in a place to be named later, then home for two months in a wheel chair.

See you on the other side!

Ms JS: Any tips?

Posted by: rickoshea11 | August 29, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Hope all goes well, ros. Do you have a pile of books to read, DVDs to watch? I'm sure in a few months you'll be glad you did it.

Turns out my local NBC station is not rebroadcasting the Emmys, so I'm not getting to see all the ones I missed. I suppose they're online somewhere.

Happy Birthdays, Boodlers! My sister's is on Tuesday.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 30, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

For Ivansmom on her day of birth ----- Not a real birthday song but one from an Oklahoma boy and some friends.

Happiest of days to you!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 30, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Fairly depressing article from the ombudsman (psst - hire more copy editors):

Posted by: seasea1 | August 30, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. I didn't watch the Emmy, I recognize a tenth of these people and no more than a quarter of the shows. But I'm sure everybody was well dressed.
There were 3 different Nascar races dmd...old Jacques Villeneuve did well in the main event and finished third.
The heat and humidity are back for a few days, yuck.

Beck is really a glassbowl. He's commenting on the President's faith now. Is he a frikking expert on the matter? Does he have a diploma in theology? Sheesh.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 30, 2010 5:55 AM | Report abuse

Good luck with the foot. Hope the recovery is quick.

Didn't need the ombudsman to tell us how bad the QC has gotten.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 5:56 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Happy, Happy, Birthday, Ivansmom. Here's hoping for many more. Enjoy your day!

Time to get started, although hugging the bed would still be nice. Have some errands to run this morning, and got to get mind frame on the after-school program too. It is that time again.

I would like to give the children some school supplies this year, they run out of everything so fast and it's all poor parents can do to get uniforms and keep the home fires buring.

If any of you here at the boodle would like to help me with this endeavor, please send your contributions to me. And when I say contributions, I mean pencils, papers, notebooks, etc. I would love the help and so would the children. I really hope this isn't asking too much. Thanks again.

Time to get cracking. Have a fantastic day, and love to all.

Slyness, I agree and I don't like seeing people hurt that way. I'm praying as always.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 30, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Posting a link to Obama's interview by Brian Williams. I didn't notice any teleprompters around.

Happy Monday. 8-]

Posted by: talitha1 | August 30, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Shriek, you so right...

I'm tempted to start referring to Pat Beck-ertson or Glenn Swaggert, but then I'd end up referring to Father Beck-ghlin.

And that would be wrong. *eye roll*

*doing-my-absolute-best-to-stay-upbeat-as-that-particular-day-approaches Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 30, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Back to the kit... Joel touched on the equity issues with the recovery. There was a great segment on Rachel Maddow's show where she spoke with Tracie Washington who is with the Louisiana Justice Institute. They had spoken right after the disaster strike on Rachel's radio show. Here is a link to the segment.

Here is a link to the LJI, if you want to know more; get onto their mailing list; or even donate.

Behind the disaster in the 9th ward and the poorer areas of Louisiana is the lack of interest to re-institute services for those less advantaged citizens. Buses are not running in certain areas. Schools have taken forever to be rebuilt or replaced and even the famous/infamous Mercy Hospital is (or was still closed).

It takes a group like LJI to exercise the rights of those poorer individuals who, just on their own, can do little to ask for justice and basic fairness.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 30, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Button Gwinnett carried the name of "Button" because that was his mother's maiden name.

Cotton Mather had the same affliction, in spades. "Mather was named after his maternal grandfather, John Cotton." (wiki)

Women will pass on their legacies in peculiar ways, eh? I know from buttons and cotton. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | August 30, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Happy birthday, Ivansmom! Welcome to the wise side (at least I think that's what it is...). Rickoshea, you'll be in my prayers for a quick and uneventful recovery.

Man, I need to make a list of the sick folks so I don't forget anybody when I pray. It's awful how my mind goes blank...

Ham biscuits and warm/cold beverages on the ready room table, so enjoy, folks.

Posted by: slyness | August 30, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday Ivansmom! Fifty was a great year for me, hope it will be for you also.

Another beautiful day here and another doctor appointment (another checkup). My only day off this week and I'll spend most of it in the waiting room as this doctor is notorious for being behind on her appointments. I have a book to read, so I won't be bored.

Have a great day everyone. Best of luck richoshea!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 30, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Is it permissible to wax emotional regarding the boodle community? Happy birthdays and folks facing health issues (richoshea, thinking of you) and just plain fun'o'rama give me comfort in the storms of life. I'm facing one myself right now that was inevitable. You folks make it bearable (Bears!) Love you all!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 30, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Has NOBODY mentioned Joel's epic article from yesterday? [insert complaint about having to do all the work around here]

He really gives a You Are There feel to the last 24 hours on the Deepwater Horizon.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I read it, yello.
Part and parcel, beautifully wrapped and written.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 30, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I have no objection to all the bears on the Boodle. The more bears the better. Just no Mama Grizzlies, thank you very much. I'm waaaay over Mama Grizzlied already. One in the world is more than enough. (An excess of Mama Grizzly references is called a Palindrone.)

Hippy Birdy, Ivansmom. Look at it like this: you're only half a centenarian. Got an entire 'nuther half to go. (Trust me: by the time you get to your third or fourth centennial, it pretty much loses its glam.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Rick'oshea, best to you today, and I'm sure you'll be back up and around before you know it. Thoughts are with you.

I-mom - Happy Birthday, ma'am. I hope you get the accordion of your dreams, perhaps with your name or Boodle handle inlaid with mother of pearl.

yello, I read Joel and David's piece from yesterday and was glad I was sitting down when I did. Good reporting about a terrible situation.


Posted by: -bc- | August 30, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday I-mom!!! *faxin' confetti & party horns & a tall, cool birthday drink* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 30, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: MsJS | August 30, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

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