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My whole dissertation (at this stage) in sixteen pages

I'm working diligently on this thing all the time, improving and clarifying it a bit each day, but I figure now's as good a time as any to ask for some feedback. This paper was published in the conference proceedings of the New Media Research at UMN conference (well, really it was just a spiral-bound collection of the papers presented, distributed only to conference attendees). They might be publishing the papers online as part of a white paper about the state of new media research at the University of Minnesota, but I'm not 100% certain of that. My writing sample for the job market will probably look a bit like this, so I welcome your comments. Leave them here or feel free to email me: clancyATculturecat.net. Also, please shoot me an email if you decide to use this paper in any classes you're teaching; I like to keep track of that information.

Where Are the Women? Rhetoric and Gender on Weblogs (PDF)

Children in cages? So what's the problem?

WTF? Eleven children in Ohio, all special needs kids apparently, were found in cages:

The children were found in nine cages built into the walls of the house near this small city in northern Ohio, according to the Huron County Sheriff's Office. They had no blankets or pillows, and the cages were rigged with alarms that sounded if opened, Lt. Randy Sommers said.

The children told authorities they slept in the cages - 40 inches high and 40 inches deep - at night. Doors to some of the cages were blocked with heavy furniture.

Sharen and Mike Gravelle are adoptive or foster parents for all 11 children, officials said. Prosecutors were reviewing the case, but no charges had been filed as of Monday night.

And then (my emphasis):

Appearing with a lawyer at the hearing, the Gravelles denied they had abused or neglected the children.

County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said the Gravelles claimed a psychiatrist recommended they place the children in cages.

Hello, screening for adoption and foster care? HOW could this couple possibly have been found suitable to raise children? Making children sleep in cages is okay? Didn't social workers ever visit the house? This just makes me sick.

Houston MAC Location Accepting Donations

A good friend of mine who manages a MAC store in Nashville told me that one of the MAC stores in Houston is accepting goods for hurricane survivors if anyone wants to send stuff (she mentioned clothes, shoes, accessories, and toiletries). The address is:

Houston Galleria/Training Room
5015 Westheimer Rd #3325
Houston TX 77056

And I know I'm late in responding to those Barbara Bush remarks, but still: Yeah, this kind of living arrangement is probably what they've always dreamed about; I know I would LOVE IT!

Look at the whole set.

More News from Baton Rouge

UPDATE: An email from a professor/administrator at LSU.

UPDATE: It's not about Baton Rouge specifically, but you MUST READ this post by Miss Alli at This Is Not Over. Exactly, yes, perfect, precisely, eloquently put. Please read it now. Via a comment at blackfeminism.org.

Last night I received another update from Baton Rouge (here's the first). Brief excerpts removed to protect my friend's privacy:

Well, things have sort of gotten back to normal here (I use the term loosely). BR has doubled in size and roads the grocery stores can't keep up with the demand. I had a choice of lemons or cucumbers in the produce section yesterday. But classes did resume today. Everybody tried to pretend that the largest field hospital ever wasn't in the assembly center and that there weren't bodies filling the makeshift morgue in the gym. No one mentions the many missing students who filled the desks 2 weeks ago, but rather try to welcome the 1200 new students from NO schools who are now at LSU. It's weird trying to go on as if the devastation didn't happen.

On another note, I learned yesterday just how much the people from BR and NO dislike one another. The people from NO think BR is a small conservative town with little to offer and bars that close at 2 am instead of staying open 24/7. The BR folks see those from NO as bohemians from a dirty city and were not in the least surprised by the violence that took place last week. For most locals here, NO is a place to visit and wash off as soon as you leave. As the living situation isn't likely to change anytime soon, the tension is sure to increase.

My houseguests took off for San Diego today and plan to fly back here when people are allowed back in NO. Both lost their homes and have no intention of returning to Louisiana to live.

[. . .]

Thanks to all of you for your warm wishes. With I-10 pretty much destroyed from Mississippi east, looks like I'll make it back to [a state in the east] for the holidays at the earliest. And phone service is still pretty crazy, so I'll return those calls when I can get a line out.

Interview with Michael Barnett (The Interdictor)

Probably some of you have been reading The Interdictor by Michael Barnett (if not, you should; he's blogging from New Orleans). Via digg, I found a podcast featuring an interview with Barnett. If you want to go straight to the interview, it starts at nineteen minutes, thirty seconds, so fast forward to there.

Email from a friend in Houston

Got this today from a friend in Houston:

Houston has about 25,000 additional residents now, thanks to Hurricane Katrina. I am sure the official # is much much higher, but this is what the media has reported. I am sure most of you have been watching the news and seeing the footage of the evacuees, and it is incredibly depressing.

Being RIGHT HERE, I felt that I had to do something. In addition to all of the Shelters and the Astrodome, there is not a single hotel vacancy in the area. As you drive around the city, you see Louisian plates everywhere. Some families are just hanging out in the hotel parking lots waiting for other families to check out. Friday, some of us from work pitched in to buy pet food for the SPCA, which is housing roughly an additional 1000 animals.

Yesterday I went to drop of donations of all of [her 2-year-old boy's] old clothes and Volunteer at the Astrodome. The Police were turning away volunteers and sending us to other shelters, which is probably best because the stomach problems and diarrhea are epidemic in the astrodome now. Apparently, whatever is in the water in N.O. takes a few days to start messing up your system.

We ended up spending the day at the George R Brown Convention Center, setting up the shelter there and helping with the evacuees. I have to say it was amazing to see how many people showed up to help.

We spent the first few hours sorting all the donations and setting up the "store" so that the evacuees could get fresh clothing in the right size as they arrived. The amount of clothing donated is phenomenal, we barely made a dent (there were probably 100-150 of us sorting clothing), and they were still receiving donations when we left last night.

After that, I went to serve food, and I have to say that everyone I met was so gracious and nice, and just thankful for everything that was being done for them. No one really was talking much, for the most part I imagine everyone is just exhausted at this point. But every single person made a point of saying "thank you for helping us."

The Convention Cetner set up is really cool. They have created activity areas with all the stuff that has been donated for all of the children that are displaced. The parents bring them up, sign them in, and then mom or dad can go take a nap or have a hot shower or adult conversation and know that there children are safe.

I spent some time in the "Library/Quiet Activities Center" to be with the kids. They told us that alot of these children are extremely angry and may or may not want to talk about what has happened, but most of them i saw did not want to talk AT ALL. I played a few games of Connect Four and colored in some coloring books, and generally got to play with the kids. I think it's good for them to finally interact with people that aren't stealing from them, or hurting them and God knows what else, or sticking a microphone in their faces and asking, "Johnnny, your 7. How do you feel about all this?"

I think the children will have the most problems emotionally and health wise in the long term. But it did feel good to at least help start that recovery, and begin to teach them its okay to trust again.

Anyway, I hope all of you are happy and healthy and safe. Please do what ever you can to help. I didn't have money, so I gave my time and what things I already had that these people need. Which is EVERYTHING. As I volunteer more, I will post pictures so you can see what I have seen first hand, and that these people are not all the bad things you are seeing on tv.

I'll post the pictures when she uploads them to MySpace.

Anne Rice in the NYT

22 reasons America needs New Orleans, plus Anne Rice's criticism of the government's slow response:

I know that New Orleans will win its fight in the end. I was born in the city and lived there for many years. It shaped who and what I am. Never have I experienced a place where people knew more about love, about family, about loyalty and about getting along than the people of New Orleans. It is perhaps their very gentleness that gives them their endurance.

They will rebuild as they have after storms of the past; and they will stay in New Orleans because it is where they have always lived, where their mothers and their fathers lived, where their churches were built by their ancestors, where their family graves carry names that go back 200 years. They will stay in New Orleans where they can enjoy a sweetness of family life that other communities lost long ago.

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.

Well, we are a lot more than all that. And though we may seem the most exotic, the most atmospheric and, at times, the most downtrodden part of this land, we are still part of it. We are Americans. We are you.

Email from friend at LSU

Got this from a friend in Baton Rouge:

Here's an update from Baton Rouge. While we suffered very little damage from the hurricane here, the aftermath of what happened in New Orleans has hit us pretty hard. In less than 48 hours the city doubled in size; BR is now the largest city in the state! Services are still out in a large portion of the parish and things are getting a little crazy. The refugees who arrived without anything have bought out most of the grocery stores in town. Even cellular phone service is questionable, but I've made it through a few times to Mama and Daddy back in [location omitted].

The university has been turned into the search and rescue headquarters and the campus buildings are being used by both refugees and various relocated NO organizations. The dorms are packed with students' family members with nowhere else to go. Classes at the university are supposed to start up again on Tuesday, but it's possible that the semester may be cancelled completely like those at the NO schools. We still aren't sure how many students or faculty will be returning and as of now, classroom space is limited. Many of us have considered heading back to our respective home states, but the gas stations are now out of gas and having trouble getting shipments in.

I live between campus and downtown and there is the almost constant sound of sirens. The looting and civil unrest you've seen and heard about in NO is now happening here as the city continues to swell. A group has apparently started pillaging in the downtown area and we have been advised to stay inside with doors and windows locked after 7pm.

Of course, tensions are extremely high all around as we try to figure out what to do. Right now I'm housing a friend and her boyfriend who both lost homes in NO and don't know when/if they will be allowed back in. As of tomorrow, I'm devoting my time to volunteering with the hundreds of displaced animals; there are too many volunteering with the human shelters already.

Thanks to all of you who e-mailed to check on me. I'm hanging in there and would very much appreciate your prayers!

Terrible. I have a friend in Houston who's going to send pictures this weekend if she's able to volunteer at the Astrodome; she wants me to post them here.

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