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Amygdala will move to an entirely new and far better blog template ASAP, aka RSN, aka incrementally/badly punctuated evolution.
Tagging posts, posts by category, next/previous post indicators, and other post-2003 design innovations are incrementally being tweaked/kludged/melting.
Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
you are welcome to do so via the PayPal buttons.
"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
Joining us now over at the Convention Center is our CNN producer Jim Spellman. And he has got the latest developments on the scene for us.
Jim, what do you know?
JIM SPELLMAN, CNN PRODUCER: Wolf, just minutes ago, for the first time in five days, food was delivered here. A National Guard helicopter got just low enough to drop some MRE's, some ready to eat food, and some bottles of water, not nearly enough. Maybe a couple dozen people got some, which, of course, made the other people more angry.
It's been raining here now, the last thing New Orleans needs. It's been raining here for about two hours. So, people now are forced off of the street and off of the median to the underpasses at the Convention Center. They're even more cramped than they were when last we were here.
BLITZER: So, are people walking out of that Convention Center -- they're now authorized -- they're allowed to do so -- and simply marching, trying to get out of New Orleans in any way they possibly can?
SPELLMAN: Wolf, we're going to head down there very soon. And we should be able to get back to you very shortly with that Information.
Here, though, most of the people here are -- I mean, it's still jampacked as far as you can see. And the Convention Center is several blocks long. The interior is jammed and all of the area underneath the overhangs outside are full. And people have started to try to gain shelter underneath any sort of awning over a doorway and inside the parking garages in the area.
BLITZER: So, just for our viewers who weren't paying very close attention, there were thousands, thousands of New Orleans residents, refugees, if you will, there have been and still remain holed up in the Superdome. But there are many thousands of others who went over to the Convention Center. And they are the ones now in desperate need for help, the mayor issuing this desperate SOS appeal, get help to those people.
And you're saying that, within the past few minutes, a little bit of help, a very little bit of help, has arrived?
SPELLMAN: A very little bit.
And things have grown so desperate here, we saw maybe an half-an- hour ago police pulling over a car and handcuffing the driver. They had stolen the car. I'm not sure exactly, in this situation, if that's the right word. They had taken a car. They had four adults and four children crammed in and they were desperately trying to get out because there's no -- there's been no buses for them.
And the police had them get out. And the police have them -- Wolf, I'm sorry. I have to jump into our car. Go.
BLITZER: All right. Go ahead, Jim. Jim Spellman is one of our producers. He's at the Convention Center.
It's a source of grave concern, Mayor Ray Nagin issuing the statement, saying, this is a desperate SOS, a desperate appeal he's making, that they need buses, they need food, they need medicine, they need help to deal with 15,000 to 20,000 people who are stranded inside.
Another of our producers, Kim Segal, is on the phone. She's in New Orleans as well.
Kim, where are you?
KIM SEGAL, CNN PRODUCER: I'm actually a few blocks from the Convention Center. I just came from there. Jim went back to see if there was any kind of help or assistance arriving, because let me tell you, people have been there since Monday.
They have had no food, no water. There was a convenience store nearby. They did -- were able -- they were able to break in. But we're talking thousands and thousands of sick, elderly, children, everybody, just down in there desperate need of help. It's quite a situation, Wolf.
BLITZER: Were there first-responders, whether police, firefighters, FEMA officials, U.S. military personnel? Kim, who was there?
SEGAL: No one. We were there. And they were glad to see us. It was chaos. There was nobody there, nobody in charge. And there was nobody giving even water. The worst thing also they say is, at night, you know, it's pitch-dark there. And a lot of things are happening at night. They were asking for, at the very least, let's get some light into that area, so it's not pitch-dark at night.
The children, you should see them, they're all just in tears. There are sick people. We saw -- I'm telling you Wolf, we are looking at people who are dying in front of you. It's sick.
BLITZER: And we have heard from some of our other colleagues, Kim, that, as you walk around that Convention Center, you see bodies, dead bodies around the Convention Center. Have you seen any?
SEGAL: Yes, unfortunately.
We saw one body. A person is in a wheelchair and someone had pushed them off to the side and draped just like a blanket over this person in the wheelchair. And then there is another body next to that. There were others they were willing to show us. We didn't want to see.
BLITZER: I assume, Kim, that these people are starving, if they have had no food over these past two, three days, and they're dehydrated as well, if they've had no clean water to drink. Is that the picture you're painting for us?
SEGAL: Yes, most -- for most of these people. Like I said, there are a few stores that still have things in them that are in the vicinity. And they were able to break in and get some juice and water, but not for everyone. We're talking thousands and thousands of people.
BLITZER: And these are mostly the poorest of the poor, those who couldn't get out of New Orleans or didn't want to get out of New Orleans. These are very poor people to begin with, who don't have much. SEGAL: Yes. And these are -- you know, a lot of the people we spoke to, Wolf, you know, these are people who work for a living. They're making minimum wage. Their families -- they're supporting families.
And they don't have a car. They wanted to evacuate before the storm came, but they couldn't evacuate because they tell us that they just didn't have transportation.
BLITZER: Kim, hold on for a second. I don't want you to go away.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our CNN medical correspondent, is joining us now as well with information about one of the major hospitals in New Orleans and what's going on there.
Sanjay, what are you hearing?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Really remarkable story, Wolf, a story that you don't anticipate with hospitals, sniper fire at Charity Hospital in downtown New Orleans as they were trying to evacuate some of the most critically ill patients there.
We have been hearing about these evacuations for some time now. They were trying specifically to evacuate those patients who were in intensive care units, in need of a ventilator or in need of dialysis. They're evacuating these papers into these amphibious vehicles that are parked in front of the hospital.
One of the doctors, Dr. Tyler Kureels (ph), one of the doctors at Charity Hospital, was actually physically helping evacuate the patients himself. Two vehicles, the back vehicle, as they started to drive off, came under fire. They were able to get all but one of the patients out of the hospital. But some significant fire was exchanged, as there were armed guards in the amphibious vehicles as well.
I asked the doctor, well, who was doing this? Why were they doing that? Do they have any idea? Really no idea as to why they were being fired upon, what was specifically being done there. But a person in a white shirt from a high building close to Charity Hospital started firing upon those two vehicles as they were trying to evacuate these patients, Wolf.
BLITZER: We have been hearing now, for the past couple days, that there's been extensive looting going on, Sanjay, in New Orleans, including a lot of guns that have been stolen from stores, rifles, automatic weapons, all sorts of weaponry that people have just been going in and taking.
And we have been getting reports that there have been snipers elsewhere in New Orleans. But what you're hearing now is that, at Charity Hospital, one of the major medical facilities in New Orleans, that people have been trying to leave, but they have had to stop leaving because of sniper fire. Is that right? GUPTA: That is absolutely correct. And it's one of the bigger hospitals in downtown New Orleans. It's sort of county hospital, Wolf. Think of it like that, responsible for taking care of a lot of patients there. They do a lot of trauma there. They do take care of a lot of insurgent patients as well in that area.
This hospital overflowing, as the doctors were describing it to me, under I guess the conditions we have all been hearing about now for a couple of days, lots of water in the hallways, poor electricity, poor resources overall. But now add on this, Wolf, actually taking fire as they're trying to move some of the patients.
In this case, they were trying to move them down to Tulane University Hospital. Again, they were able to get this particular group of patients out, all but one of them at least, but are very concerned. And one of the comments made to me was, there was absolutely no protection, except for the own armed guards in these amphibious vehicles. There was no military presence at all, as they were trying to evacuate these patients. These doctors called me very concerned about that, Wolf.
BLITZER: These are your colleagues, your medical professional colleagues, Sanjay.
And what you're hearing from them, I just want to make sure we're precise now, is that they don't see any police, law enforcement, any National Guard or military presence that can protect them at Charity Hospital? Is that right?
GUPTA: They were very clear with me on this point, Wolf. They said they looked around. They were obviously frightened for their lives as they were taking fire. Dr. Ruth Bergeron (ph) specifically, who I just got off the phone with, said that specifically was no -- no presence, no protective presence, except for the armed guards that were in the amphibious vehicles, the private armed guards in those vehicles, but no U.S. military presence.
And they actually asked me to make a point of that, to point out that they -- they were concerned about this and they're concerned about being able to continue to move these patients from Charity Hospital, which has a continuing dwindling supply of resources, to other hospitals. So, you're sort of getting a situation getting compounded by the fact they can't move these patients to other hospitals, Wolf.
BLITZER: Because we have -- this comes in the backdrop of this desperate SOS that the mayor has just issued, an SOS saying they can't get the job done. They need help over at the Convention Center.
And you heard our eyewitness account from our producer, Kim Segal, who is there saying there's no evidence of National Guard personnel or law enforcement, police, over there, and now a second eyewitness account that you're picking up, Sanjay, from Charity Hospital, saying they're desperately in need of help and they don't have the help. And, as we have been hearing over the past couple days, Sanjay -- and just reinforce this for our viewers -- some of those young infants, some of the elderly, some people who need dialysis or need special critical care equipment, they are going to die pretty soon unless help is on the way.
GUPTA: That's absolutely right, Wolf.
And this is shocking as a doctor, as a human being. This is unbelievable. I'm sitting in this airstrip here in Baton Rouge waiting for a helicopter that is supposed to be flying out of New Orleans. I am going to join that helicopter as they go to Houston Children's Hospital. This is for premature babies. This is what this particular chopper is supposed to be picking up.
I have just been called saying they are definitely delayed right now, because they -- they just think it's too unsafe. It's too dangerous at this point to go in there, land a helicopter, actually pick up these premature babies and bring them to Houston. It's just a remarkable, remarkable thing here.
Again, at hospitals -- and, Wolf, as you know, I have been in Iraq Sri Lanka and several places around the world. What these doctors are describing to me is just really remarkable. Again, this is happening at hospitals, as patients, injured, critically ill patients, are trying to be evacuated.
BLITZER: Well, we're told, Sanjay, the cavalry is on the way, but they're not there yet, clearly. And people are going to die unless they hurry and get there, Sanjay Gupta reporting for us.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, and the thing that's most glaring in all of this is that the conditions continue to deteriorate for the people who are victims in this are and the efforts to do something about it don't seem to be anywhere in sight.
I want to read you something, Wolf. This is a quote from an editorial: "A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource. The cool, confident, intuitive leadership Bush exhibited in his first term, particularly in the months following 9/11, has vanished." Now that's not from some liberal rag. That is an editorial from one of the most conservative newspapers in the country, New Hampshire's "Union Leader."
"The New York Times," not unexpectedly, kind of chimed in. They said the President showed up a day later than he was needed, and they excoriated him for appearing casual to the point of carelessness. Harsh words coming from FEMA's former Disaster Response Chief Eric Tolbert who says the government was not ready and shifted its attention from natural disasters to fighting the war on terror.
The questions that we ask on THE SITUATION ROOM every afternoon, Wolf, are posted on the website two or three hours before we go on the air. And people who read the website often begin to respond before the show actually starts. The questions this hour is how would you rate the response of the federal government to Hurricane Katrina? I got to tell you something. We got 5 or 600 letters, before the show even went on the air. No one, no one says the federal government is doing a good job in handling one of the most atrocious and embarrassing and far reaching and calamitous things that has come along in this country in my lifetime. I'm 62. I don't remember -- I remember the riots in Watts. I remember the earthquake in San Francisco. I remember a lot of things.
I have never ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans. Where the hell is the water for these people? Why can't sandwiches be dropped to those people that are in that Superdome down there? I mean what is going -- this is Thursday. This is Thursday. This storm happened five days ago. It's a disgrace. And don't think the world isn't watching. This is the government the taxpayers are paying for, and it's fallen right flat on its face, as far as I can see, in the way it's handled this thing.
We're going to talk about something else before the show is over, too, and that's the big elephant in the room. The race and economic class of most of the victims, which the media hasn't discussed much at all, but we will a bit later -- Wolf.
PHYLISS PETRICH, STRANDED IN NEW ORLEANS: I'm at the Ritz Carlton on Canal Street in the French Quarter.
BLITZER: How long have you been there?
PETRICH: We arrived here actually for holiday on Thursday evening and we were evacuated to the Grand Ballroom by the middle of the night Sunday. We have been on rations since then. They have evacuated some of the hotel. There are about 300 people left. The Ritz is trying to get buses in here. FEMA will not let them in. They got a group out last night. And of the three buses that got out, FEMA commandeered one of them. We have no idea where they've taken those people. We're in dire straits here. There is no electricity. The sewage is backing up. As I said, the water supply is running low.
We do have a team here of infection diseases doctors that were here for a conference who have set up a small infirmary to care for the cases of dysentery and vomiting that have come up, as well as other people who have had some illnesses. But all of those medications are now being depleted, and I don't know that anyone is aware that we're here. I realize we're not top priority on anyone's list, but we are here and we are in dire straits, and we need someone to know that we're here, to come in and help to get us out of here.
BLITZER: Do you have enough food and water right now, Phyllis?
PETRICH: Well I don't believe we have very much food left at all. I know that we didn't have any lunch today. We had just a little biscuit or a cookie for breakfast and all we're each being given is a glass of water.
BLITZER: And it's impossible for you simply to leave the hotel and walk out. Not only are there floodwaters there, but it's dangerous, the violence, the looting, the snipers. It's a very dangerous situation.
PETRICH: It is a very dangerous situation. Fortunately, the Ritz has been wonderful. Apparently they have a lot of off-duty policemen that they have access to, that are guarding the hotel with shotguns. They themselves are afraid to go outside, because policemen are being shot at. And it is very, very difficult situation here. And I just don't know how we can impress upon people what is really going on here. I think people just don't have a concept, and it's being glossed over, it's being handled so poorly, it just amazes us to hear what's going on outside. That people just don't understand just the seriousness of the situation.
BLITZER: One final question, Phyllis, before I let you go. Are there any law enforcement authorities, National Guard, police, first responders, FEMA officials, anyone at the Ritz Carlton Hotel trying to help any of you.
PETRICH: Not that we have seen. No. Not at all.
BLITZER: They're invisible right now.
PETRICH: They are invisible. We have no idea where they are. We hear bits and pieces who can get information in that the National Guard is around, but where? We have not seen them. We have not seen FEMA officials. We have seen no one.
There was much more, including details about Charity Hospital and the sniper, and also a plan to try to walk people out from the Convention Center over unflooded roads, but this meant trying to walk out infants and extremely old people.