Hurricane Katrina: Blog Relief Day Begins

The day is here, and I would ask bloggers everyone to join in today and encourage your readers to give, give, and give some more to the Katrina relief charity of your choice.
If you are a blogger and want to participate, here’s what you should do:
1) Select a charity you’d like to support from this list here, or add your own.
2) Register your blog here
3) Post at least once on your blog about the charity of your choice. Make sure to include a link to Instapundit’s roundup page and the TTLB Katrina Relief page, and e-mail Instapundit the URL of your post.
4) Encourage your readers to donate to your recommended charity, and send them to the contribution logging page at TTLB to record their donations.
And yes, I am trying to encourage some friendly competition here. Tomorrow morning I will be publishing “leader boards” which show which charities are receiving the most donations, and which bloggers have been most successful in encouraging their readers to donate. So get your readership fired up!
Everything above is just my suggestion: the important thing is just to devote your energies today to doing something that will help those who have been affected by the storm. Thanks to everyone for the overwhelming interest and support: now let’s see if we can do some good…

Katrina Blog Relief Day

As promised, I’ve created a page for bloggers to sign up to participate in the Katrina blog relief day proposed by Hugh and seconded by Glenn. TTLB’s Katrina Relief page can now be found here.
If you are planning on supporting the effort this Thursday, here’s what I would ask you to do:
– Select a charity you’d like to recommend your readers donate to, and check if it is already listed in the TTLB database here.
– If your charity isn’t yet listed, add it by using the form here
– Register your blog using the form here
It has been a real rush job for me to hack together the code to support this stuff, so please bear with me if things aren’t quite as perfect and elegant as we all might wish.
On that note: there are a load of charities which have already indicated they will be supporting the Katrina relief effort. If someone (or someones) would start combing the blogosphere for good charities and adding them to the database, that would be wonderful. I’m focusing my time/energy on ensuring the infrastructure works, so if others could take on the data-entry work, that would be most helpful.
And for the record: I’m not in charge of this project. Nobody is. I’m stepping in to provide a way for bloggers to indicate their support for the effort because, well, I can. This is what I can do, and I encourage everyone to think about what they can do to support the goal we all share: to raise as much money and support for relief efforts to aid those effected by Katrina as we possibly can.
I’m a little fried, so I have not yet created any automated way to share the weblog and charity data with other sites that may want to create aggregators or otherwise use the information I’m collecting. I’ll try to get that done in the morning, but for now, if you want to leverage this info, please e-mail me and we’ll figure it out.
Thanks, all. Now let’s do some good…

Hurricane Relief Blog Day: 9/1/05

Hugh Hewitt suggests “perhaps the bloggers could agree to set a day for a unified blog beg” and Glenn suggests this Thursday, September 1.
I’m in. Here’s what I’ll do here at TTLB:
1) Set up a registration page where bloggers planning to join in can say so, including providing information (if they like) about where they are blogging from and the charity they suggest donations to.
2) Make the database as publicly accessible and available as I can, so that anybody else who wants to create an aggregation page or otherwise use the list can do so.
3) On the day of the event, I’ll create a dedicated community page for it, and run that as TTLB’s front page.
Other suggestions are welcome, and I’ll try to think of how else I can help during the day today. I should have the registration page up and running tonight…
Update: The registration page is now available

Poor Planning as Habit

Fox News, reporting on the problems resulting from last-minute use of the Lousiana SuperDome as an emergency shelter — in September 2004:

“While this building certainly can accommodate a large crowd for a four-hour event, we’re not equipped to handle 30,000 or 40,000 people for three or four days,” said Superdome general manager Doug Thornton.
In 1998, people showed up with insufficient or no food, and complained when the Dome served them hot dogs and orange juice. When kept from leaving after the storm because of a curfew, shouting matches erupted with security and police. Some occupants hauled off televisions and furniture.
“I’d say 99 percent of the people were fine,” Thornton said. “But we didn’t have enough security people to handle the crowd and prevent problems.”
The Superdome can withstand most catastrophes; the roof is built to stand up to 200 mph wind and even deep flood water wouldn’t reach the second level 35 feet from the ground.
There are potential problems nonetheless. Although the building has its own generators, they would not provide lights or air conditioning for the entire area if electricity went out. Nor would pumps providing water to second-level bathrooms function.
Just as during Georges, the Dome has only a small work crew for Ivan, which means providing security and services gets even harder, Thornton said.
“The office of Emergency Preparedness and the city decided that the Dome would not be operated as a shelter,” he said. “That means we are not equipped as one.”
The city previously provided shelters for those unable to leave when storms threaten. Now, the Red Cross will not set up shelters for a storm larger than a Category 2, saying New Orleans — much of which is below sea level — is not safe in bigger storms. Because of that, the city concentrates on evacuation first.
From a planning standpoint, Nagin said he did not regret keeping the Superdome from use until the last minute. “As far as an empathy standpoint,” he conceded, “we could have moved a little quicker.”

I’d certainly like to know whether any of the lessons learned from last year (and the years before) were applied and if the SuperDome is better prepared this time around. In particular: how much fuel does the emergency generator have, and how long can it run?
And yes, that’s the same mayor Nagin who waited until the very last minute to declare an evacuation this time around.

New Topic Pages: Katrina & Able Danger

I’ve added two new topic pages this morning: one for the Able Danger story, and one for Hurricane Katrina.
Regarding Katrina: please, if you are in the area expected to be hit, do not think that it would be cool to “liveblog a hurricane.” It would be, in fact, very stupid. Get out of the danger area, help your friends and family do the same, and then and only then, blog away about your experiences…

Ecosystem Updates Underway

Folks:
You’re not crazy: I’m in the process of making some adjustments to the algorithm used to count Ecosystem links, and as a result, there have been some wild swings in total link counts. This will continue for a few days more but should then settle down.
Please remain calm…
NZ

Kaysar Returns to Big Brother!

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: mess not with the power o’ the blogosphere!
Well, ok, who knows how much my post and others from folks like Omar had to do with Kaysar winning the right to return to CBS’s goofball reality show ‘Big Brother’. But it makes me happy, anyway…

Keep an Iraqi-American on TV!

Did you know that there’s a national, network television show with an Iraqi-American central character?
It’s true: the CBS reality show Big Brother, a guilty pleasure of mine, has as a contestant Kaysar, an Iraqi-American graphics designer from Irvine, CA. He’s proven to be a formidable competitor in the game during the first few weeks, and seems like a genuinely intelligent and decent fellow.
There’s only one problem: he lost last week and was “evicted” from the house.
So why should you care? Because CBS is holding a public poll to determine whether Kaysar or one of two other evicted players will be allowed back in the house. And you can vote, for free, right here.
I, for one, want him back. And so I figure I’ll spread the word, and ask my fellow citizens of the blogosphere: click that link, give Kaysar a vote, and keep a positive example of an Iraqi-turned-American in front of the television viewing public.
It’s a little thing, but sometimes those actually do count…

New ways to add Carnivals

Folks:
I’ve just completed work to make it easier to ensure that Carnival entries are added to the TTLB ÜberCarnival.
If your blog is registered in the Ecosystem, you can tag your Carnival entry post to be picked up automatically by including the following exact phrase in your post’s text, replacing [Carnival Name] with the name of the carnival:
“[Carnival Name] can also be found at The Truth Laid Bear’s ÜberCarnival.”

The Ecosystem scans will notice this text and the link to TTLB and automagically add your Carnival entry to the ÜberCarnival.
For this method to work, the blog hosting the Carnival must be registered in the Ecosystem with a working RSS feed. In addition, if the blog doesn’t publish full entries to the RSS feed, the Ecosystem may not be able to detect the Carnival tag (because it may not appear in the truncated version of the post presented via the RSS feed).
If the automatic method doesn’t work, you can now also add a Carnival entry manually via the submission form here.
Try ’em out, and let me know if you have any difficulties…
NZ