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September 2017

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In the midst of administering chest compressions to a dying woman several days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ordered to stop by a federal official because he wasn't registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Then, the Coast Guard official informed the group that he could not credential them or guarantee tort coverage and that they should return to Baton Rouge. "That shocked me, that those would be his concerns in a time of emergency," Gerhart said.

They most certainly could have credentialed him. BoardCertifiedDocs: "In support of the emergency response efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, Elsevier is working with the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to provide free, urgent credentials verifications. As authorities respond to the emergency in the Gulf Area, there may be a need to access board certification information for disaster credentialing purposes.

For assistance with verifications, please email our team directly at You can also contact our editorial team at (866) 352-5001."

It takes less than a minute to check a physician's credentials, once you are given a username and password. FEMA is worse than useless.
Sep. 14th, 2005 12:58 pm


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“SEPARATE BUT EQUAL” EDUCATION: The Wall Street Journal reports that Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will ask Congress to waive a federal law that bans educational segregation for homeless children. The Bush administration is arguing, along with states like Utah and Texas, that providing schooling for evacuees – who, in this case, are likened to homeless children — will be disruptive to public school systems, so they want to have sound legal backing for creating separate educational facilities for the 372,000 schoolchildren displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The State of Mississippi is opposed to waiving the Act because they argue the law helps evacuees enroll in schools without red tape. [WSJ, “Schooling Evacuees Provokes Debate,” 9/14/05]
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Read Rivka - I'm too horrified and disgusted to post any more.
Aug. 30th, 2005 11:07 pm


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I am trying to pry myself away from the news stories about New Orleans. How depressing to think that everything we saw only a month ago is now under water, and how fucked up it is that the only plan New Orleans had was to "get in your cars and leave" when 100,000 residents don't have cars. Ugh.

I finished two books this week - Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. You wouldn't think these books had anything in common, but they do. Both are memoirs of obsessive passions.

I've been slightly obsessed with Bourdain and his travel shows. He does everything I want to do - travel, write, eat, cook for a living. His writing style is engaging, show-offish, and compassionate. I like his rough humor, his obsession with gangster and samurai movies, and he finally got me to understand why some people are willing to pay a month's rent for a meal cooked by Thomas Keller. It also made me understand the chefs are like engineers - they are food geeks, with the same single-mindedness, the same passion, and the same inability to deal with normal people except with anal sex jokes.

Reading Lolita in Tehran is heartbreaking, not least for the oppressive atmosphere, but also because all the talk about revolution reminds me of the Cultural Revolution in China. It's so depressing. The Chinese also prosecuted their teachers for "insubordination", for "corrupting the youth", and also got the revolution they asked for, without realizing exactly what "revolution" entailed.

I had this all eloquently written in my head, but it's late, and I really need to sleep. I guess what these books reinforced for me was the value of the imagination, and my frustration that most people seem to waste it here.

All right, sleep.
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I didn't really take note of this food trend until I had a "deconstructed" salad in New Orleans. Simply put, it is a salad where the presentation is pretty, but it forces you do cut the lettuce yourself. I had it again yesterday at a restaurant right next to work. I hadn't realized; otherwise I wouldn't have ordered it.

The trend was annoying as an English major; most of my T.A.s were young and strongly believed in the magic of Derrida, and thought it could be used for every book that was assigned. It can't. I admit, I still don't entirely "get" deconstruction, but I'm pretty sure that it does not mean that every novel I read has homosexual undertones.

In the fashion world, deconstruction took place alongside minimalism and grunge. Things were torn, seams were ripped, colors were drab, etc. It was ugly. Thankfully, they grew out of it and made things look better.

In the food world, deconstruction takes a classic dish, such as the Caesar salad I ordered, and separates the parts. So what I got was a couple of romaine leaves, uncut, layered with croutons and anchovies. The dressing was very light.

Did I tell you that I am terrible with a fork and knife? I can't even cut steak properly. Once when I was a kid, I had dinner at a white friend's house. I took so long using the knife and fork that her parents asked me if I hated their food. I replied, "No, I'm just more used to chopsticks."

This is why Asian food is so much easier for me. Everything is ALREADY cut for me.

So, to end this rant, I conclude: I DO NOT want to have to work on my meal while I'm having it. Especially on my lunch hour.
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Overheard on Canal Street: "I'm from Minnesota. You don't tell me to shut up, you ASK me to HUSH!"

In reference to the "wireless" stuff below, I actually had a dream about that. The day before we ordered the "high-speed Internet access", I dreamed that they fixed our lack of access by bringing in a network cable. As they entered the room, I whined, "But that's not wireless!" Then I woke up, and freaked out, thinking, why am I turning into Mark?

The swamp tour was awesome. The guide told us a bunch of stories about how he gets bit every month, the type of personalities among the alligators, commentary about failed government environmental management, how he fell down in a marsh and got bit by a snake and almost had his arm amputated, etc. I kept thinking, "Damn, dude, you better have really good insurance."

The random bars in the French Quarter mostly sucked. When asked what beers they had on tap, they inevitably said, "Miller, Coors." Even I know that's crappy-ass beer. It was better when we went into the restaurants and ordered from the bars there, because you could see their selection of alcohol. I couldn't even get a buzz from my daiquiri, and I usually am tipsy from the first few sips.

Beignets are really yummy.

We saw this homeless woman get up from her wheelchair and run over to someone else. It was so surreal.

New Orleans is full of crazy and sketchy people. Several men said to us, "Hey man, I know where you got your shoes." I kept trying to figure out what that meant. Were they trying to steal from us? That would have been a dumb way to do it, though. What does it matter if they know where I get my shoes? The driver who drove us to our swamp tour seemed nice enough, but had a glazed look in his eyes and kept cracking jokes that he laughed at silently, banging his fist on the wheel at the same time.

Harrah's has an okay buffet. Don't get the chocolate-dipped strawberries. It's dipped in cheap chocolate.
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Mark is in the bathroom right now, and I am taking advantage of our hotel's "wireless" Internet (I put wireless in quotes because they apparently don't understand that wireless means that you don't need network cables) to catch up a little. New Orleans has been fun, hot, and humid. Every time we leave the hotel for a even short walk we come back sopping wet. It's so gross.

We are staying in the French Quarter, which is probably the San Francisco equivalent of staying in Fisherman's Wharf - really touristy. San Franciscans are notorious about never venturing to places like Fisherman's Wharf, because it's where they "cordone off all the tourists", but I kind of like Fisherman's Wharf, and I like the French Quarter, mostly because underneath all the tacky knick-knacks and postcards and strip clubs and bars, are remnants of the historical past, in the architecture, in some of the preserved buildings, etc. In New Orleans, this is more true, where every street seems to be named after some general or other who once lived there or made an impact on the place.

I forgot to mention - my dad actually used to work in New Orleans. I don't know what he did here, but maybe it had something to do with the dried shrimp. My dad considered moving us to New Orleans, but my mom put her foot down and refused to move somewhere where there were no Chinese people. So for a while he worked here while we stayed in San Francisco, and he would come back every so often. This explains why I was terrified of him when I was a kid, because I hardly ever saw him.

They requested dried shrimp because my mom says "that's where it comes from." I had no idea. I bought them two half-pound bags of large ones.

In playing "spot-the-Asian", which I automatically do every time I travel, it turned out not to be too bad. There were actually a couple of cute guys, who I suspect were from the local college.

We decided not to rent a car, which turned out to be a wise of us, since nobody here seems to know what brakes are for. You heard of a California "rolling stop"? We got nothing on the New Orleans people, as they would just kind of roll into you, even if you were walking directly in front of them. The drivers would just kind of look off into the side, not on the side they were turning into, but the other way.

We ate really well. The saying that "you can't get bad food in New Orleans" is apparently true. Some places were better than others. I loved the fried chicken at Mother's, every gumbo I had except for the one at the Harrah's buffet, which was too salty, and there was catfish, oysters, steak, etc., etc. After a while it got to be too much and I ordered soup and salad for one of my dinners. Oh, and beignets, which are like fried Chinese donuts that you dip in powdered sugar. Fried bread and sugar is one of the greatest inventions ever.

I gotta pack. Be back later.
toastykitten: (Default)
It is hot here. I've been wondering why, if New Orleans is so hot and humid, do the locals eat so much spicy and fried stuff?

The food here so far has been good, if somewhat the same. Oysters, gumbo, crab, catfish, etc. on every menu.

My mom asked me to bring back some dried shrimp ("ha mai") back to her. She said to find the Chinese people.
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