Fingers Crossed


Some minor lucky breaks for New Orleans occurred last night. The storm has weakened to a category 4, and has shifted to the east. It looks like the eye will pass to the east of New Orleans. The city will get pounded and it could be a catastrophe, but the worst wins east of Katrina’s eye will avoid the Big Easy.

It’s not much, but I’m sure the people there will take everything they can get.

NPR says that 80% of New Orleans successfully evacuated. That’s good news.

But it’s not over yet.

Oil is now over $70 a barrel thanks to this hurricane. You know, we’re approaching the inflation adjusted maximum that oil ever achieved. A number of people have pointed to this fact in order to downplay concerns over high oil prices, but these individuals gloss over the fact that oil achieved this high when the Shah fell in Iran — a remarkable, some would say catastrophic, event.

With much of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil about now unavailable for the next few weeks, at least, I think you may see oil spiking in similar ways. So, now we have a comparison point. When oil prices head back to $60 per barrel, what period from the 1970s will those prices be comparable to?

Because, when comparing oil prices, you should compare normal conditions to normal conditions and catastrophes to catastrophes. Now that we have catastrophes to compare, what normal conditions will we subside to?

In other news, it looks as though Toronto and Ottawa should expect to get very wet this Wednesday. Fun!


(09:58) Crud. The roof of the Superdome has been breached.

(11:45) Hat tip to Jordon Cooer, Wikipedia has the best up-to-the-minute information on Katrina

(12:56) One thing I wondered, last night when they were reporting that stranded tourists and residents were partying in the French Quarter: why, after the airports closed and all the rental cars left, didn’t the authorities command the railways to start loading people onto boxcars and high-tail them out of the city? The stranded tourists alone could have been taken to, say, Shreveport and left to make alternate travel arrangements.

(18:33) It looks as though New Orleans has been spared the worst of the storm. I don’t think we’ve fully assessed the extent of the damage, however. There will still be a long clean-up. But we can still thank our lucky stars that the disaster was not nearly as bad as it could have been.

Any Chance We Could Move the Pro-War Demonstration from Crawford to Westboro?

Cindy Sheehan manages to rile enough individuals to receive a protest of around 1000 strong outside of Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. Why? Because they believe it’s important to support the troops.

Now, if Ms. Sheehan is somehow demeaning the sacrifices of soldiers fighting in Iraq simply because she’s sitting outside of Bush’s ranch in Crawford, trying to ask the President some hard questions, just what describes “Reverend” Fred Phelps’ decision to organize “God Hates Fags” demonstrations outside of the funerals of military personnel who have died in Iraq?

SMYRNA, Tenn. (AP) — Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq — .

The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination, is made up mostly of Phelps — children, grandchildren and in-laws.

The church members carried signs and shouted things such as “God hates fags” and “God hates you.”

About 10 church members protested near Smyrna United Methodist Church and nearly 20 stood outside the National Guard Armory in Ashland City. Members have demonstrated at other soldier funerals across the nation.

The funerals were for Staff Sgt. Asbury Fred Hawn II, 35, in Smyrna and Spc. Gary Reese Jr., 22, in Ashland City. Both were members of the Tennessee National Guard.

Hundreds of Smyrna and Ashland City residents and families of other soldiers turned out at both sites to counter the message the Westboro Baptist members brought — . counterprotesters in Smyrna turned their backs to Westboro Baptist members until time expired on the protest permits.

I, for one, would love it if the 1,000 individuals that went to Crawford (some coming from as far as California), took a side trip to Westboro, Kansas on their way back and showed up in front of Phelp’s door instead and told him that he was a disappointment in the eyes of the Lord.

Hat tip to the People’s Republic of Seabrook.

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