Bill Frist responds

Bill Frist responds: (AP story) “Bill Frist took off his senator’s coat on Saturday and flew for New Orleans as a medical volunteer. But what he found among the thousands needing treatment from Hurricane Katrina was a rescue effort in chaos: patients sleeping on luggage conveyors, teams of nurses who didn’t know each other’s names and a total communication breakdown.”…”I’m not going to get into finger-pointing now. I did call for oversight hearings — I wouldn’t have done that if I weren’t concerned. We’ve got to do better.” The senator spent the day treating diabetics for low blood sugar and dealing with cases of high blood pressure and dehydration. Though he is a surgeon by training, there was no need to perform surgery on Saturday, he said. After overnighting in Nashville, Tenn., following his day in New Orleans, Frist planned to return to the Gulf Coast on Sunday to work in storm-ravaged areas of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as returning with supplies to New Orleans.”

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An amazing map/wiki

An amazing map/wiki: Mash-up Google maps and a wiki and you have Scipionus.com, an incredible effort that is allowing people to explain block-by-block what they’ve seen in the Katrina-affected areas.

(via: Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics, who observes: “Surfing around (the map), the devastation doesn’t seem as bad on the wiki as it does on TV. Houses a block or two from Lake Pontchartrain with no flooding, for instance. This shouldn’t be surprising. TV is only showing us the worst. The people in good enough shape to be entering info on the website are probably heavily selected towards those who fared well. The truth is probably somewhere in between.”)

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Nashville reponds

Nashville responds: There are specific requests for help now posted at the Nashville Helps Weblog and from the OpenChurches.com website, I learned that the 150 Nashville-area churches that are involved with Room in the Inn, a program that uses church facilities and volunteers to provide over-night lodging for the homeless during the winter months, are being contacted to assist in re-settling evacuees as the need develops.

This afternoon, I received an email from some folks at Hammock Publishing who learned of several families staying at an area motel who have lots of kids among them. We’ve already rounded up books and toys for them, but it suggests to me that (in addition to the 100,000+ people in Red Cross shelters) you can probably find similar situations at any motel within 400 miles of the Katrina-affected area.

Here’s a suggestion: Tomorrow, why not move your Labor Day cookout to the parking lot of one of these motels and get to know some of these families.

Insurgency

Insurgency: Police shot eight people carrying guns on a New Orleans bridge Sunday, killing five or six of them. The shootings took place on the Danziger Bridge, which connects Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River.

Update: The Army Corps of Engineers told AP that 14 contractors escorted by police were fired upon while crossing the Danziger Bridge, which spans a canal connecting Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Corps spokesman John Hall told AP the contractors were on their way to launch barges into Lake Pontchartrain to help fix a breech in the 17th Street Canal.

Update II: Adding to the surreal battlefield nature of the what’s on the ground in New Orleans, CNN is reporting, “a rescue helicopter crashed northwest of downtown New Orleans Sunday evening. The pilot and crew were rescued, said those aboard another helicopter hovering above just after the crash. The mangled Eurocopter AS 332 Super Puma was lying on its side about four miles from downtown. The Coast Guard carried the crew from the scene on another helicopter.”