September 12th, 2005


Get your library books by mail

Because motteditor was asking about just this sort of thing...

Books by Mail--My Kind of Library Service

I think the main reasons this program is actually cost-effective for the library in question are the sheer size of the library district, the number of library users who live in rural areas, and comparing the cost of mailing books to the alternative cost of rebuilding most of their library branch buildings and building new ones; some of those factors might not offset the costs as much in a smaller, more densely-populated urban area. It also helps that they've been doing this for decades, so the costs are already factored into their budget.

(It may be cheaper to mail books than to build a new building, but for a library to start doing this, the money to pay the outgoing postage still has to come from somewhere--donations to cover a service usually aren't enough to entirely cover all of the service's costs, and most public library budgets are so tight that this would mean either cutting staff, cutting hours open, or cutting back on the number of new books that the library can purchase.)

Feudalism: Serf & Turf

Hurricane Katrina federal response analysis

Some paraphrased and summarized points from a lengthy front-page article in Sunday's Chicago Tribune.

(Paraphrased from: "Blueprint for disaster : flawed storm plans, timing errors doomed New Orleans" by Andrew Martin, Cam Simpson and Frank James. Chicago Tribune, Sept. 11, 2005, Sec. 1, p. 1 & 6.)

  • The Hurricane Pam exercise estimated there would be a bit over 61,000 deaths from a catastrophic hurricane. The plan that resulted from the exercise supposedly provided for 800 search & rescue personnel to quickly find & evacuate anyone stranded by a hurricane.

  • In July, New Orleans officials announced that they would be unable to transport residents who lacked transportation out of town before a hurricane. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that that month, city officials also produced DVDs that would warn residents of this fact, to be distributed in low-income neighborhoods.

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The Bush Administration would hand-wave the above away by calling it a useless exercise in fingerpointing, but that doesn't make it so. Even if you discount all quotes from local officials as complete lies, there's still too much that's easily corroborated. (And even Bush has said that the federal response was unacceptable.) So you'll know that any eventual bipartisan or independent commission that studies the Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort that ignores the above is a whitewash job at best.

Feudalism: Serf & Turf