Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
November 24, 2006 - November 17, 2006

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina Miscellany

THE LIBERAL FAITH. We'd love to play the blame game like everyone else, but we put in our two cents about it while everyone else was still setting up the gameboard and laying out the pieces. So we'll stand on what we think is still a winner of a preemptive strike.

Besides, so much is happening, and everyone else is so determined to be dour and depressed that we thought we'd try to concentrate on more positive stories. For example, the U.S. House of Representatives' Video Services Department -- unlike other parts of the federal government -- has moved at lightning speed to produce this dramatization of Dennis Hastert's much ballyhooed redevelopment plan for New Orleans. The Speaker has proposed that while flood waters are still high, U.S. Air Force bombers should release millions of tons of powdered cement over the city. When it joins with the water and hardens, Presto! New Orleans will have brand new streets and plenty of seating space.

That Hastert guy sure has vision.

There's especially good news from the American Red Cross, which has already taken in more than $200 million in donations since Katrina struck. Provided giving continues at the current pace for a few more weeks, the organization is confident it will be able to fund a six-month cruise around the world for all its managing directors -- on the glorious new Queen Mary 2. I'm sure we're all pulling for them to make their goal.

ALL ABOARD!!! The Red Cross has struck it rich this time!

We're also pleased to report that our spate of worry about Greta van Susteren is at an end. When the hurricane pushed every other news story out of the headlines, we feared that Greta would become as invisible as, say, Chris Matthews at MSNBC. A sorry fate for such a plucky wench. We should have had more faith. Greta has already made the big expedition to Louisiana, where she is covering an angle no one else seems to have thought of -- the missing white women of New Orleans. There must be some of those anyway, and if there are, we're certain Greta will not find hem as surely as she has not found Natalie Holloway.

Look behind you, Greta! Someone's taking a white woman away!

And finally, we must admit that apart from his doomed attempt to make blogs useful to someone other than charity executives, InstaPunk is still incommunicado. We did receive this photo via email yesterday, but it might as easily be one of the Bush twins touring the scene as InstaPunk.

It COULD be InstaPunk, we suppose.

Until he returns, we will keep on being our callow, unhelpful selves.

UPDATE. Gosh, Michelle Malkin was up early. The blame game has a way of causing insomnia for the guilty and the innocent. Something about that bad taste in the mouth.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Just an Idea

NASA's new Cruise Phone. Six inches long, 600 mph.
We can send it anywhere... not. But we can do SOMEthing.

PSAYINGS.5D. I know that bloggers are casting around for a way to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I'm aware, for example, that some of the big blogs are planning to become clearinghouses for contributions to charities. This will undoubtedly do some good; however, it appears to leave a lot of the blogosphere's real strengths on the table. So I'd like to propose the outline of an idea -- still hazy, to be sure -- but perhaps sufficient to generate more specific action items.

What are the blogosphere's strengths? It is literally everywhere, a vast network that takes in all geographical regions and dozens if not hundreds of capabilities. The short history of this medium has also shown that it is most effective when its resources are sharply focused on a specific task or objective. And the one attribute that practically all bloggers share is an awareness of the prime importance of communications.

The difficulty to date in applying effective help to the stricken areas is that communications have been crippled. Land lines are down, cell phone batteries are dead, and, probably, many cells are dead. Some repairs will be made in weeks to come, but the communication problems are likely to continue for a long time afterwards. Families who do not yet know if their friends and relatives are alive or suffering may continue in this state for much longer than anyone imagines. That's why my suggestion is that the blogosphere focus its efforts on the communication problems.

Blog email addresses can be depots for those who wish to get word to their families in other parts of the country. Bloggers with the right long distance plans can accept phone numbers and messages by email and place the phone calls.

Bloggers can also join together to secure prepaid cell phones in bulk, satellite phones, etc, and, via bloggers close to the scene, establish distribution centers and delivery systems. This mission is to get communication devices into the hands of ordinary people and keep the supply of batteries, etc, flowing.

Waiting for all the existing bureaucracies to provide real help to ordinary folks will be tedious, wasteful, and frustrating. This is a situation that cries out for entrepreneurial initiatives. Being way stations for charities seems like too low a bar to set for ourselves.

Please take the time to record any suggestions, criticisms, or useful information in the Comments section, or email this website.

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