August 13th, 2004


And who is to know how the chips will fall...

Papers are reporting over 165 Iraqis dead and more than 600 wounded in the last 24 hours, with huge numbers of civilian wounded flooding local hospitals throughout the effected areas. Moqtada al-Sadr was reportedly wounded in a U.S. bombardment of the city of Najaf, according to a spokesman, sustaining three shrapnel wounds. He is reported in stable condition, though his whereabouts are not publically known.

In Amara, hundreds of Iraqi National Guardsmen rallied in protest, saying that they will join al-Sadr's Mahdi Army until the Americans leave Najaf. Approximately 5,000 al-Sadr sympathizers took to the streets in Basra, demanding U.S. troops withdraw from Najaf and condemning Allawi for working with the Americans. In Baghdad, there are plans for a large sit-down protest in front of the Green Zone. There is also talk of thousands of Shi'ites converging on Najaf, and even of a desire by leaders in Southern Iraq to break off from the Alllawi government.

The gutsiest bit of reporting came from Rory McCarthy at the Guardian, who is reporting from the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf, at the heart of the battle. Ironically, Rory McCarthy is extremely lucky... he could be James Brandon of the Sunday Telegraph. Mr. Brandon has been kidnapped and apparently will be executed in 24 hours unless the U.S. leave Najaf.

Libertarians for Kerry.

John Perry Barlow is a smart guy... and he just gave yet another thought-provoking interview for people to chew on.

...but I still don't get it why it took him of all people so long to switch from becoming a Libertarian Republican to a Libertarian Democrat.

Why is he switching?

"An unwillingness (of the Bush administration) to engage in any kind of mitigation of the free market . . . The multinationals have reached the point where they are essentially replacing the nation-state . . . From a multinational's standpoint, the best thing that can happen is the best thing that can happen right now. They have to deliver maximum shareholder value today, next quarter, which means that they don't worry about whether there are going to be resources for them to exploit in 10 years.

We need them. We have a deeply symbiotic relationship with large corporations . . . But we need something -- and I think it's governmental -- to re-regulate the market and make it free, because the multinationals have taken it away.

So I'm becoming an active Democrat."

*nods* The Democrats can stand to gain with a healthy influx of Libertarian values... not Randroid values, mind you, but real, honest-to-goodness, leave me alone and let me live in peace Libertarian values.

Hurricane Charlie Update.

Hurricane Charlie is heading towards the Florida coast, and should start doing a bit of damage in a few hours. It has been upgraded to a Cat-4 hurricane. Key West lucked out. Tampa is lucking out, too, and probably won't find its entire downtown under water as a result of the hurricane turning east earlier than expected. That's bad news for Fort Myers / Port Charlotte, however.

Journals to check out in Fort Myers:
draiven836 - "I'm gonna die. thats it. we're ALL gonna die. hurricane is a cat. 4 now.. and Im scared out of my mind. I want to talk to Drew. My parents had me pack up some stuff. I'm still scared..I did a protection spell.. for everything I could thing I could think of.."

__iamcaptivated - "This is crazy, its going to be one bad hurricane, & its headed here . . . i feel so nauseous . . . iloveyouall. so very much. God Bless you all, ill be praying. i left things unsaid, & im sorry. just know i care. leslie"

roninsaint - "So here we are at Waterman Broadcasting, in the midst of Hurricane Mode. I'll be here until at least two this afternoon, and then we'll have to be back at two in the morning. The option to camp out in the break room is there but i think i'll pass... even if it does get really bad outside, my buddy Chris lives less than a minute away and we'll brave the damned storm to sleep somewhere other than at fucking work"

xalptraum - "i take back the previous entry. i still dont find it a big deal what-so-ever, but the huracane is not a CAT 4, (Insomnia comment: actually, yes it is...) and it's pretty much heading right for us. i think its goin straight for sanibel, but im not sure. hahahahahaha yeah. fun shit."

serenedream19 - "its so noisy... the rain is pounding -- my mom is cooking to take the stress away..i can smell the cookies . . . i must say goodbye to my house forever -- we're about to lose power... i'm so scared-hurricane charley is about to hit -- if something terrible happens for all of those who are reading this..i love you all!! the wind is building up speed... you should see the river..i'm going to take pictures and post them in my live journal -- its so foggy yet you can see it so cleary -- i hear metal banging on my roof...waves crashing on my dock and the rocks -- thunder is building up! coming closer -- we did not prepare for this hurricane..our windows are completely clear... all we can do now it wait -- its kind of like waiting for the death of something you know you'll miss -- my house is about to blow away!"

brett0182 - "My house is a whole foot above sea level and 30 and 80 feet from the canal and bay, respectively. the outside is mostly windows and sliding glass doors. the roof leaks during thunderstorms. don't forget about the condo. this hurricane is ruining my life...GOSH"

rusticcyan_27 - "Category 4. Storm Surge 18 feet.
Stay safe everybody. this is history for fort misery."

appleyardskater - "I tried the rollerblades and sheet idea...ME AND SAM WERE FLYING!!! We hit at least 20-30 MPH!!! It was so awesome. Now my entire family is flipping out. I wish I could say I'm afraid it is now a category 4, but a category 5 would really stoke me. I would hit at least 50-60 MPH by then!!!"

aarssweetie05 - "MY baby brother Charles Russell Hanley was born August 12, 2004 at 6:40 pm! 8 pounds 10 ounces and 21 1/2 inches long! a great experience on my part! i love him hes soo cute the best brother i could ever have!! now just to get through this hurricane! im scared but i think we will be fine! i love you all! ttyl bye!"

mo_squishy - "we're definitely about to feel the wrath of charlie. the storm's coming to kick us in the ass and all we have are little straight edge windows...meaning, we're keeping the storm out with X's of tape. i'm gonna try to get some pictures...this should be interesting."

tellxtale_heart - "im hearing all these crazy noises outside and pieces of the roof are falling off. rain is entering my room. this is not good . . . im taking lots of pics tho"

slowlyfading509 - "My sister just called me and told me "hey your gonna die". What a bitch. Charley of course is comin towards us which sucks ass its to late to evacuate"

vixi - "The storm has knocked power out.. and we are barely into it. Safari seems to not like my battery. So no more web browser. Just xjournal and ichat and irc. If you want to keep me company through this storm.. I am reclusivevixi. I hope our windows don't blow in. Pray."

The News-Press out of Southwest Florida is reporting winds up to 145 mph, and that Cape Coral hospital has lost part of its roof, as well as its power. Tornadoes and power outages are widespread.

Update #1: Very few posts out of Fort Myers now, although there were plenty up until a few hours ago. I assume that power is down. I got this post from vixi a few mins ago, though:
"I saw my neighbors roof blow off. We are ok.. Some trees are blown down.. and 3 of my neighbors have only a 1/2 a roof between them. It is blowing like crazy still. I went outside to peek out. The wind is so fast.. the rain is like little tiny mist like droplets.. but they are really hard. A lot of gulf water must be in the air, because it smells like sea spray at the beach. It's blowing so much I wouldn't venture beyond our little walkaway. That's the update for now. On Ichat as reclusivevixi and on #slashdot as Juliet."

Update #2: Posts out of Fort Myers have been quiet for awhile, but we just got one very detailed one in from thepheenixeyri. Not great news, perhaps, but it does indicate that the worst appears to have passed for the Fort Myers area and that things are better than they could've been. It might've been a lot worse, had the hurricane come in slower with more time to build up steam, and had hit Tampa instead. The storm surge was 8 feet, which is considerably less than the 14' - 20' they predicted. The worst damage appears to have focused on the Sanibel / Pine Island / Cape Coral region, where flooding and numerous tornadoes were reported.

Update #3: A few updates are coming in from LJers near the center of the storm, though everyone seems to be working off of battery power so far.

genroxmysoks says: "I SURVIVED THE HURRICANE!! YEAY! Is anyone's house all messed up? My trampoline and basketball goal is gone and my trees are torn down and my roof is messed up, but my window's didn't break or anything. well i g2g b/c the computer is being run by a generator and we have no power."

sewerxxxangel says: "some would say the worst is over... HA we have no power, no air conditioning... crap all over the streets... its horrid... my laptop has its battery and so i can get online... my phone has no signal and the battery on it is dead... but the heat in my house is going to be miserable... and we may have to go with out it for days... this is really going to piss me off... i stink of sweat lol... so gross... cold showers can only do so much and then you stink again..."

On the plus side, Sinfidel has some nice pictures of the greatly diminished hurricane going over Orlando.

Update #4: Disturbing news coverage over at WBBH. By daylight, the damage is a lot worse than initially suspected. Apparently there has been a considerable loss of life in a mobile home park, apparently located in Port Charlotte -- "stacks of bodies". A member of the media mentioned reports of 60 dead in the mobile home park, with hundreds of people reported missing. I don't know what they mean by that, as a lot of those people could have evacuated, but the suspicion appears to be that some people have either been buried under damaged property or washed out to sea. 160 homes have been reported destroyed on Upper Captiva Island, with an additional 160 homes damaged -- the island has been split in two, with a new 400 foot pass. All three major hospitals near where the hurricane hit have been damaged and are closed.

Update #5: I monitored all of today's traffic for LJ posts in the most effected region, and made a new post with all the latest stories from LJers, several of which appear to have either lost homes or who have had significant damage to their homes. Power returned to some places in Fort Myers, but most people who are posting at this point are posting on battery power, or have relocated for the time being.

Update#6: Just saw the saddest post yet on the hurricane from kekori, a resident of Punta Gorda, near the center of the storm. :

"Right now I feel like breaking down into tears. I found out that three of my friends have been hospitalized, and one of my friends did die. I still haven't heard from Veronica, Jason, and Lewie... I can't wait to leave for NC.. fuck, I feel lucky.. but then.. I feel at a loss, like, if I was there with them.. I could have pushed them out of the way or something.. They deserve better than what happened to them...

I would give my life instantly for any friend, at anytime.

So why they fuck did it happen to them! I want to trade places with everyone in Pt.Charlotte right now, that has either lost their life, homes, or are just seriously hurt! They deserve a 2nd chance, and I have had way too many.. I've got $78.. it's not much, but I hope it helps somebody...

Sorry.. I just feel.. it should have happened to me, than to someone else. Just....fuck..."

I'd also suggest reading virgin_politics journal, as she has a particularly good post on the difficulties she faces having a house on Sanibel Island, one of the hardest hit regions.

contributions can be sent to:

Lee County Red Cross
Attn: Hurricane Charley relief fund
2516 Colonial Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33907

Charlotte County Red Cross
Attn: Hurricane Charley relief fund
1300-D Enterprise Drive
Port Charlotte, FL 33953

Sanibel-Captiva Community Foundation
Attn: Hurricane Charley relief fund
8260 College Pkwy, suite 101
Fort Myers, FL 33919

Volunteer Florida