Thursday, June 28, 2007

"The Best Laid Plans: The Story of How the Goverment Ignored Its Own Gulf Coast Hurricane Plans


Contact: Naomi Seligman Steiner 202.408.5565

27 Jun 2007 // Washington, DC – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a new report, The Best Laid Plans: The Story of How the Government Ignored Its Own Gulf Coast Hurricane Plans, detailing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) plan to respond to a hurricane of Katrina’s magnitude and its subsequent failure to implement that plan.

On September 7, 2005, CREW sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), of which FEMA is a component, seeking records related to the federal government’s long-term planning for a hurricane on the Gulf Coast as well as its immediate preparations for and response to Hurricane Katrina. In January 2006, CREW sued to force DHS to comply with the FOIA. The Best Laid Plans is based on the 7,500 records DHS provided in response to CREW’s lawsuit.

Critically, CREW found that FEMA had created a “Southeast Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Plan” (SLCHP), which forecast a range of specific consequences, including:

  • New Orleans would be flooded with 14-17 feet of water, the levee system inundated with at least 10 feet of water and the hurricane would move into Mississippi;
  • One million people would evacuate, but flooding would trap at least 250-350,000; and
  • Each hurricane victim would require a minimum of two Meals Ready to Eat, one gallon of water and eight pounds of ice per day.

The SLCHP included plans to:

  • Evacuate residents and position resources pre-hurricane;
  • Provide power, water and ice to hurricane victims; and
  • Provide short-term shelter and longer-term temporary housing.

Nevertheless, despite the comprehensive SLCHP, post-Katrina FEMA documents demonstrate that the plan was never implemented. On August 28, 2005, the day before Katrina hit, FEMA Deputy Director Patrick Rhode sent an email to Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks Altshuler and Michael Heath, Special Assistant to FEMA Director Michael Brown, with the subject line, “copy of New Orleans cat plan” stating, “I never got one – I think Brown got my copy – did you get one?”

CREW also found that the catastrophe was impacted by:

  • Significant funding cuts to federal flood control and the Army Corps of Engineers budget for hurricane protection for the Lake Pontchartrain region;
  • Communications problems between key personnel that impeded coordination of overall relief efforts; and
  • Lack of a mechanism for fielding and distributing donations and offers of assistance.

Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director said, “CREW’s report catalogues the government’s failures in responding to the most significant natural disaster ever faced by the United States.” Sloan continued, “The next national emergency -- whether another natural disaster or a terrorist attack -- undoubtedly will require both adequate preparation and competent execution; based on the findings in this report, what confidence can the American people have that our government will be ready to face those challenges?”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.

For more information, please visit or contact Naomi Seligman Steiner at 202.408.5565/


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Thursday, June 21, 2007 "Net SOLIDARITY, June 26, 2007"

Press Release

The Head-On Radio Network (The H.O.R.N.), America’s Liberal Voice, will go dark on Tuesday, 26 June, in solidarity with other internet radio operations from across the internet radio format spectrum.

The H.O.R.N. is an independent, liberal, progressive “conversation radio” operation that operates primarily in the spoken word segment of the internet radio medium. We take the position, however, that an attack on one segment of internet radio constitutes an attack on all internet radio. Consequently, we will shut down our stream for the entirety of the June 26 broadcast day, running nothing but a loop encouraging people to go to in order to learn more about the issue.

In the days leading up to the stand-down, as well as after it, we invite people to join us to discuss the issue. We’re available in a live 24/7 stream at, as well as archives and podcasts at and invite listener participation calls to (304) 658-5453. Because we are geared toward conversation participation, we might actually be able to provide an outlet for peoples’ creative energies that other, more music-oriented fora aren’t able.

On the day of the stand down, we will open our chatroom at as an activist center where folks can compare notes and get links and phone numbers for contacting their elected representatives. We invite internet broadcasters and internet radio listeners to stop by to exchange ideas and strategies.

It’s our sincere hope, here at the H.O.R.N., that we can, indeed, save this vital medium and continue to expansion of both information and entertainment.

Best regards.
The H.O.R.N.

Take action — click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Help Save Internet Radio

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday Topic "...what do you think the overall impact of foreign invasion is on a country?"

Fourteenth Tuesday Topic from One Million Blogs for Peace Blog by

According to this report by the Fund for Peace, Iraq ranks as the second least stable country in their Failed States Index (Afghanistan ranks eighth).

Given this fact (and Somalia's presence at third), what do you think the overall impact of foreign invasion is on a country?

Has the era of invading a nation to install a new government been exposed as a failure?

If not, can you provide an example of a country that has stablized as the result of invasion since World War II?

Got any answers ? Please blog away AND send me the link to pass on!

Monday, June 18, 2007

One Million Blogs for Peace To End the Iraq War

The Concept
Between 20 March 2007 and 20 March 2008 (the fifth year of the war), we will attempt to sign up One Million Blogs for Peace. By signing up, a blogger is stating his or her agreement with The Pledge below. They will then be able to participate in various challenges launched by One Million Blogs for Peace. They will also be listed on this website with a link to their blog.
The Pledge
I believe in the immediate withdrawal of all foreign combat troops from the nation of Iraq. I believe in using my blog, in whole or in part, as a tool toward this end.

Who's Eligible
There will be two counts (toward 1,000,000). For one, a blog must be based in the home country of a nation currently engaged in the Iraq War. As of now, those nations are: Albania, Australia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

The second count will include all bloggers worldwide, whether or not their countries are involved in the conflict. The importance of keeping separate counts is explained here. Sign Up!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"World Environment Day" G8 Update & Action Call

Please take a moment to add your name on behalf of the earth and our future! G8 leaders are watching as the email shows. Thanks!
Dear climate-saver,
Our campaign against global warming is on fire! World leaders meet at the G8+5 summit this week--and they're listening to us. Friday morning, we banged boxes of 265,000 names down on the top German negotiator's table in Berlin. Taken aback, he promised to bring our voice into the negotiations, and said he'd track how fast our petition grows. On Saturday, with another 10,000 signatures overnight, we marched at the head of the climate march in Rostock, with tens of thousands peacefully demanding urgent action. Now we're in touch with top officials from France, the UK and Brazil, all following our campaign as they decide on a strong stand.

Let's turn the heat up even higher. Can you help us get to 333,333 voices for change--the biggest global climate petition ever--before the summit decision? One last push, together, to avert a planetary catastrophe. Take a moment and tell five friends to go to this page--

The energy here in Germany is electric. Every few hours, new reports come in as governments manoeuvre. Amidst the politics, our campaign draws a clear line: a swift global agreement with binding emissions targets.

When we met with Chancellor Angela Merkel's top representative who chairs the talks, he promised us Germany wouldn't compromise-- then on Sunday Merkel came through for us, the Brits followed suit, and now Brazil and China have joined the call for a global UN-led process. Bush has started to move but his proposals would be a step back, the US people and Congress are already way ahead of him.

The summit leaders can tell a global movement is brewing. Our petition, this simple list of names from every corner of the globe, is a sign politicians can see and touch. These talks always come down to the wire-- so it's crucial for world leaders to know how much the global public wants them to stop the climate crisis.

The summit opens Wednesday, ends Friday. This is crunch time. So just for a moment, put aside whatever you're doing and help us get to a third of a million signatures-- urge your friends and family to sign the petition here:

We know leaders are watching. Let's make their jaws drop.

With hope,

Ricken, Paul, Ben, Graziela, Iain, Hannah, Galit and the whole Avaaz team

PS: For more information about the G8 summit and the climate change negotiations, see here:

And for more about Avaaz's work on climate change at the G8 see:

___________________________________ 260 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001 U.S.A. is also in Washington DC, London, Rio de Janeiro, and the world

World Environment Day

by Bonnie Alter, London on 06. 5.07

Poster3_.JPG Today is World Environment Day, initiated by the United Nations to stimulate debate about environmental issues around the world. This year's theme is "Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?" in support of International Polar Year. The focus is on the effect of climate change on polar bears and their ecosystem. The earth's climate is changing; in the Arctic the average temperature has risen at twice the rate of the rest of the world during the past few decades. Sea ice is melting and this affects polar bears and seals (dependent on ice) as well as the native communities which rely on them for food. Fittingly, celebrations will be hosted by the city of Tromsø, Norway's most northerly city and home to the Norwegian Polar Institute. An art exhibition will be held in the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo featuring the work of 40 different artists and it will travel to Chicago next year. Included in their materials is a terrifying meltdown poster of the melting ice areas around the world; from Peru to Indonesia to East Africa the rate of shrinking, and retreating is proceeding faster than ever before. Thirty mountain glaciers lost more than a metre of thickness in 2005, resulting in a 0.6 degree rise in temperature this century. There are activities taking place around the world to educate and inform: art, music, seminars, Al Gore, and Town Hall meetings. Find one in your area and walk, don't drive to it. :: World Environment Day