Tag Archives: Jen Doll

Yes, We Know That Hammer And Slammer Rhyme

John Hudson at The Atlantic with the round-up:

In a long fall from grace, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison for “conspiring to direct laundered corporate money” to seven state house candidates in 2002. In his prime, DeLay was one of the most powerful men in Congress, holding the second highest spot in the House of Representatives. “What we feel is that justice was served,” said lead prosecutor Gary Cobb in the aftermath of the ruling. Meanwhile, DeLay firmly maintained his innocence. “I can’t be remorseful for something I don’t think I did,” he said. He promised to appeal the ruling. Did the former House majority leader get off easy?

Jen Doll at The Village Voice:

DeLay was taken into custody, but will be released on a $10,000 bond pending appeal after he’s processed, which means he could remain free for months or years as his appeal goes through.

National Review:

The man who should be on trial in Texas is Ronnie Earle, the unethical Travis County prosecutor who went after DeLay as part of a political vendetta fueled by his bizarre belief that business owners’ political activities are “every bit as insidious as terrorism.” (Tell that to the almost 3,000 Americans who were murdered on 9/11.) How do we know Earle believes that? Because he had a documentary film crew follow him around as he pursued the indictment of DeLay, producing a film called The Big Buy that Earle used to try to win higher office in Texas. He used the same unprofessional and unethical tactics to prosecute Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (her case was thrown out by a judge) and former Texas attorney general Jim Mattox, who was acquitted and won reelection.

This was a phony prosecution from the very beginning. It took Earle three separate attempts before he could get a case that a grand jury or a judge would not throw out. Then he got DeLay indicted for behavior that was perfectly legitimate under campaign-finance laws, identical to the kind of fundraising done by practically every campaign committee and candidate in the country.

DeLay solicited $155,000 in contributions for a political-action committee he headed and contributed $190,000 to the Republican National State Election Committee (RNSEC); the RNSEC then contributed $877,000 to 42 state and local candidates in Texas in the final two months of the 2002 campaign, including seven recommended by DeLay. For this routine act of campaign financing, DeLay was charged with and convicted of criminal money laundering, a crime defined by knowingly using the proceeds of criminal activity. Since these contributions were all legal, the most basic element of this supposed crime could not be met; nonetheless, Earle drove the case forward in one of the most outrageous prosecutorial abuses of criminal law that we have seen in decades. Meanwhile Earle indicted a number of companies, including Sears, that had made perfectly legal contributions to DeLay’s PAC, and then sold those companies dismissals in exchange for donations to one of his favorite charities.

Government prosecutors have a duty and an obligation to enforce the law judiciously and fairly. The power they are given by society is immense, and so is the damage they can do when they abuse that power. Ronnie Earle has showed in case after case that he is a self-serving ideologue, a crass opportunist who uses his power as a prosecutor to pursue his own political and ideological agenda.

Jonathan Chait at TNR:

I bet he comes out of this advocating prison reform. It’s a cause that badly needs more high-profile conservative advocates.

David Frum at FrumForum:

I won’t pretend to any expertise on this question but … Doesn’t Citizens United raise at least some question about the campaign finance laws on which Tom DeLay was convicted? Seems an obvious challenge on appeal and at the Supreme Court. What do readers think?

David Dayen at Firedoglake:

He spoke to the court prior to sentencing, saying “I fought the fight. I ran the race. I kept the faith.” Former Speaker Denny Hastert also testified as a character witness on behalf of DeLay. Prosecutors showed a tape in court of DeLay’s comments after conviction, when he said, “Maybe we can get it before people who understand the law.”

I’d expect an appeal, so whether or not DeLay sees jail time right away depends on the judge’s decision to allow his release on bond.

Brian Doherty at Reason:

Undoubtedly DeLay as a former leading congressman is a criminal. Whether this particular interpretation of a law blocking free support and expression in politics is a proper bludgeon, I’d say no.

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It’s A Bird… It’s A Plane… It’s A Tweet From Cory Booker!

Cory Booker’s twitter feed

Juli Weiner at Vanity Fair:

Newark mayor Cory Booker is now taking requests from snowed-in constituents. Since the East Coast blizzard hit on Sunday, residents of Newark have been tweeting appeals for Booker to dispatch snowplows and rescue vehicles to specific streets and neighborhoods. “I need street names and patience,” he told one cold and concerned tweeter. We simply cannot wait for the graphic-novelization (and subsequent Zack Snyder movie!) of Booker’s post-blizzard Twitter feed. (@CoryBooker, can you make this happen?) Let’s review his 10 most heroic moments thus far.

10. “will get someone to your mom’s street, tell her to stay put RT @sexylp40 my mom stuck on 9th ave and 12th that whole block wasn’t plowed”

9. “Can u DM me his phone #?RT @NewNewark: @corybooker rec this text Tell mayor, Mr Lou Jones 224 Richileu ter. He’s disabled needs help.”

8. “I seriously had that fantasy today RT @papistorz: wouldn’t it b easier 2 get a flame thrower n melt the snow?”

7. “God Bless the 5 guys who just stopped to help me dig a van out. I am so grateful for all of Newark’s heroes today.”

6. “I’m coming on the scene now RT @Cutiepie27: come on orange st. and help this truck get out the snow he been stuck for like 30 minutes now”

5. “Sending team immediately back there 2 ensure hospital is clear RT @Babihead: still has yet to clean my street & I live across from hospital!”

4. “I just doug out ur car. All the best RT @MsXmasBaby: Is there NE city volunteers 2 dig some1 out? I’m going 2 have medical procedure done”

3. “Just doug a car out on Springfield Ave and broke the cardinal rule: ‘Lift with your Knees!!’ I think I left part of my back back there”

2. “Just freed a med transport van here at Cottage Place in Central Ward. Private contractor needs 2 be arrested 4 leaving these folks stranded”

1. “Thanks 4 asking, back killing me: Breakfast: Advil and diet coke RT @itsmywayRob Hows ur back from lifting car last night? I hope u’re OK”

Jen Doll at The Village Voice:

A hero has emerged from all the snowflake rubble and ice, and that hero is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Yesterday Myles (who’s out shoveling as we speak!) mentioned that Booker had been delivering diapers to babies, patroling the streets with his trusty shovel, and even helping kids understand the strength-in-numbers beauty of a snowflake, all the while Tweeting his aid to those who need it

Sam Gustin at Wired:

But Booker’s Twitter clinic wasn’t the only innovative use of social and web-based media during the Snowmageddon of December 2010.

By Tuesday morning, tech-savvy citizens were using Ushahidi, a crowdsourced mapping tool, to collect reports of various problems around New York.

Snowmageddon Clean-Up: New York had more than 100 reports by midday Tuesday, detailing such issues as: “Multiple elders on this block as well as a disabled young adult. Should an emergency arise, the City will have a lawsuit on their hands.” And: “Entire apartment complex snowed in. We cant get out. running out of food…” (That one’s from Highlands, New Jersey, but you get the, uh, drift.)

David Freedlander at The New York Observer:

At Mayor Bloomberg’s Bronx news conference today, The Politicker asked Hizzoner if he had been peering over the river to check out his friend Cory Booker’s efforts to deal with the snow clean-up. Bloomberg after all has been swamped by criticism for suggesting that New Yorkers take advantage of being unable to get out of their homes the Snow Day by checking out Broadway shows.

Booker, on the other hand, earned the nickname “Mayor Plow” for delivering diapers to a housebound mother, digging out snowbound seniors, and for responding to residents’ pleas for snowplows personally via Twitter.

In response to our question, the mayor replied, “I think Cory Booker is a great mayor. And what’s appropriate for Newark and for his people, I am certainly going to take a look and see what he is doing. I am going to call him this afternoon and say, ‘Hey, you know, what are you doing?'”

When pressed by another reporter if Booker was being lauded for presenting an image of working hard to help his constituents deal with the blizzard, Bloomberg said, “I’d like to think that we have that image as well. I can’t work much harder.”

Now Booker has weighed in (via Twitter, of course) writing, “People far 2 rough on @mikebloomberg – still fighting 2 clear snow in NWK & we are 1/29th size of NYC.”

Doug Mataconis:

Nonetheless, Booker’s hands-on approach to digging his city out of the snow has garnered international attention. It’s not a gimmick either. Since becoming Mayor, Booker has been active in turning Newark around after decades of being governed by mostly corrupt Mayors, and he’s allied himself with Governor Christie on issues like education reform even though the two of them come from different political parties. And on that note, there has already been talk among New Jersey Democrats of nominating Booker for Governor in 2013, although nobody seems to know if he’s actually interested in running for that office. If he does run, though, Booker may find that just as snowstorms have been the downfall of politicians like New York Mayor John Lindsey,Chicago Mayor Michael Blandic and D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, Cory Booker could be proof that actively responding to constituents and helping them through a crisis works to a politicians benefits.

Credit for The Simpsons reference must go to Jake Tapper. But everyone would have thought if it eventually.

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And He Was Installing The Alarm System, Too…

Melissa Bell at WaPo:

One oft-told tale of Pablo Picasso is that when presented with a bill at a bar, he’d whip off a sketch on a napkin, sign and date it, and the bill would be considered paid. The artist produced some 20,000 pieces of work in his long life, the Metropolitan Museum of Art told the Associated Press. And 271 of those pieces have just been discovered in a trunk at a retired French electrician’s home.

Jeff Neumann at Gawker:

A retired French electrician, Pierre Le Guennecsays he has “hundreds” of Picasso paintings, notebooks, lithographs and a watercolor believed to be worth around 60 million euros, which he claims Picasso gave him as a gift. Picasso’s son disagrees.

Tyler Cowen

Kate Deimling at Art Info:

Including lithographs, paintings, drawings, and a Blue Period watercolor — none of which appears in the inventory of Picasso’s estate — the trove is valued at €60 million ($79 million), according to French paper Libération, which broke the story. Experts estimate the nine Cubist collages alone to be worth €40 million ($53 million). The 71-year-old electrician managed to have the works authenticated by the artist’s estate in September, but the estate subsequently sued for possession of stolen goods and the works were seized last month by the Office Central de Lutte contre le Trafic de Biens Culturels, the French art-trafficking squad.

Jonathan Turley:

The very notion of 271 new Picasso paintings is amazing. The man worked for Picasso in the 1970s and this could create a fascinating contest over credibility if has no written record. The absence of any prior disclosure certainly makes the claim somewhat suspicious. Such cases can become the ultimate jury question — with members looking at the practices of the artist. It is quite common for many artists to give away their works, even as payment for services. This number of paintings, however, would represent a lot of work or a lot of friendship. It is also striking that the paintings were not previously known to be missing.

Picasso died a few years later and was already an international superstar in the art field. This was not some starving painter trading paintings for baguettes. Moreover, it is hard to see how much of a friendship could have developed over the course of the installation of a security system. Of course, there is always the possibility that Picasso was simply eccentric and a bit daffy in his final years. Anyway it goes, it should make for an interesting tort or criminal case or both.

Jen Doll at Village Voice:

Aspiring screenwriters, take note. This is a plot goldmine.

Let the art ownership battle begin.

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Those Burgers Obama And Medvedev Were Chomping Down On? Made Of Moose And Squirrel

David Knowles at Politics Daily:

After an FBI investigation spanning several years, ten people were taken into custody on Sunday across the northeastern United States and have been charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release.

According to the D.O.J., eight of the accused were involved in what it termed as “long-term, deep-cover assignments” for the Russian government. Two of the defendants were arrested for participating in the covert Russian operation. Nine of those picked up were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The defendants, some of whom may go by and assumed alias, include: “Richard Murphy” and “Cynthia Murphy” of Montclair, N.J., Vicky Plaez and “Juan Lazaro” of Yonkers, N.Y. Anna Chapman of New York City, “Michael Zottoli,” “Patricia Mills,” and Mikhail Smenko of Arlington, Va., and “Tracey Lee Ann Foley” and “Donald Howard Heathfield” of Boston, Ma.

“Christopher R. Mestos” remains at large, the D.O.J. said.

Daniel Foster at The Corner:

This on the heels of President Obama’s happy-go-lucky meeting with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in D.C.

[…]

Five years for conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government? What’s going on here — Mr. McCarthy?

The Jawa Report:

The details are still a little fuzzy. It’s not clear if these are Americans who were recruited by the Russians, or if these were Russians living in America, or a mixture of both.

The story seems to indicate that at least some of them were Russian. This may explain why all those hot Russian chicks willing to marry dumpy, balding, middle-aged American men. They’re all Russian spies!

As some of you know, I spent a year studying in Russia under the theory that the Cold War would be back, and when it does — job security, baby! Is it time for Rusty to break out the old resume?

Marc Ambinder:

When it comes to human intelligence, the Russian Federation has a leg up on the U.S. in terms of the vestiges of the Cold War great game. The arrest today of 10 Russians for spying is a case in point: none of them were diplomats or had official cover. All of them were what the old Soviet Union used to call “illegals” — regular folks living and doing regular jobs, but serving as cutouts and go-betweens for other case officers and agents.

The CIA still spies on Russia, but/and I’m not exactly revealing secrets here, most of them have some sort of official cover — usually, the more bland sounding title in the embassy, the better.

Russian counterintelligence services have known this for decades. And for decades, the CIA has made efforts to field its version of illegals — NOCs — spies operating under “non official cover,” but fewer than one in ten of its case officers are NOCs, according to current and former officials. This makes the job of a case officer difficult. It’s even more difficult to establish a NOC — a cover story must be provided — a “legend” — that is trackable and verifiable. These days, it’s easy to Google someone and discover whether they are who they say they are, so if a Mr. Leonard Panerta were to become a teacher in Moscow, the Russian FSB, which does counteintelligence, can check pretty quickly.
What type of information is valuable to Russia these days? It’s no longer nuclear weapons information, really, or war plans: it’s proprietary information, trade secrets, technical specifications of satellite and ballistic missile technology…also political intelligence and economic intelligence. The FBI still has squads of counterintelligence (CI) agents that follow Russian embassy officials in Washington, but it does much less CI work than it did before the age of terrorism. The US has much better signals intelligence capabilities than the Russians, but Russia also quietly outsources some of its spying to other countries, including countries that are ostensibly friendly to the U.S.

Noah Shachtman at Dangerroom at Wired:

Moscow communicated with a ring of alleged spies in America by encoding instructions in otherwise innocent-looking images on public websites. It’s a process called steganography. And it’s one of a slew of high-tech and time-tested methods that the deep-cover agents and their Russian handlers used to pass information — from private Wi-Fi networks to buried paper bags.

Steganography is simultaneously one of the oldest methods for secret communications, and one of the more advanced. The process dates back to the fifth century B.C., when the Greek tyrant Histiaeus shaved the head of one of his servants, tattooed a message on his head, and waited for his hair to grow back before sending the messenger out. When the courier arrived, his head was shaved and the missive was read, giving information about upcoming Persian attacks. Later on, secret inks were used on couriers’ backs. Morse code messages were woven into a sweater that was worn by a courier.

As information went digital, steganography changed. Messages could be hidden in the 1s and 0s of electronic files — pictures, audio, video, executables, whatever. The hidden communications could even be slowly dribbled into the torrent of IP traffic. Compression schemes — like JPEG for images or MP3 for audio — introduce errors into the files, making a message even easier to hide. New colors or tones can be subtly added or removed, to cover up for the changes. According to the FBI, the image above contains a hidden map of the Burlington, Vermont, airport.

Both before and after Sept. 11, there were rumors in the media that al-Qaida had begun hiding messages in digital porn. That speculation was never confirmed, as far as I can tell.

The accused Russian spy network started using steganography as early as 2005, according to the Justice Department’s criminal complaint against the conspirators, unsealed yesterday in Manhattan. In 2005, law enforcement agents raided the home of one of the alleged spies. There, they found a set of password-protected disks and a piece of paper, marked with “alt,” “control,” “e,” and a string of 27 characters. When they used that as a password, the G-Men found a program that allowed the spies “to encrypt data, and then clandestinely to embed the data in images on publicly available websites.”

The G-Men also found a hard drive. On it was an address book with website URLs, as well as the user’s web traffic history. “These addresses, in turn, had links to other websites,” the complaint notes. “Law-enforcement agents visited some of the referenced websites, and many others as well, and have downloaded images from them. These images appear wholly unremarkable to the naked eye. But these images (and others) have been analyzed using the Steganography Program. As a result of this analysis, some of the images have been revealed as containing readable text files.”

These messages were used to arrange meetings, cash drops, deliveries of laptops and further information exchanges. One of the steganographically hidden messages also directed the conspirators to use radiograms — a decades-old method to pass information, long discredited in spooky circles.

Jen Doll at Village Voice:

The FBI obtained the following decrypted message from Russia’s intelligence headquarters in Moscow:

Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. — all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e. to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US and send intels to the Moscow center.

CBS News reports that agents would have been highly trained in “foreign languages; agent-to-agent communications, including the use of brush-passes (covert hand-offs of secret information); short-wave radio operation and invisible writing; the use of codes and ciphers, including the use of encrypted Morse code messages; the creation and use of a cover profession; counter-surveillance measures” and more.

This is creepy, but we’re suddenly less afraid of spies because we knew they did all of that stuff already! Really, short-wave radio? Invisible writing? Morse Code? Guys, that went out with magic decoder rings and camera cigarette lighters. Come on, even China is onto the hacking game.

Still, maybe in some small way, it’s nice to hear that Russia still considers us worthy of being spied on. And it’s good to know the FBI is on this shit. Let’s not go getting all Cold War or anything.

John Hinderaker at Powerline:

News accounts don’t make clear when Russia first placed these agents. But from today’s perspective we can say: what a waste! The Russians thought they needed spies with “ties in policymaking circles” to gain intelligence about American policy, or, best case, possibly even influence it in a direction adverse to American interests. Those were the good old days. In today’s America, our “policymaking circles” are as antipathetic to American interests as the Russians could possibly have hoped to make them through spycraft.

Jim Newell at Gawker:

Hooray, the Cold War is back and awesome.

Daniel Drezner:

There are many things that confuse me in life — Manhattan parking rituals, the proliferation of rotaries in Massachusetts, the appeal of most reality television, and so forth.  I think I’m going to have to add the Russian spy ring to this list.

Less than a week after Russian President Dmitri Medevedev’s burger date with U.S. President Barack Obama, the U.S. Justice Department has busted eight Russkies in an espionage ring so heinous, they’ve been charged with….  “conspiracy to act as unregistered agents of a foreign government.”

Um…. so, in other words, the Russians are accused of some combination of illegal immigration and impersonating Jack Abramoff?

Seriously, this story is the most bizarre foreign policy/international relations episode I’ve seen since the Sandy-Berger-let’s-stuff–classified-documents-down-my-pants episode.

UPDATE: Daniel Drezner and Megan McArdle at Bloggingheads

UPDATE #2: Marc Ambinder

Benjamin Weiser, Colin Moynihan and Ellen Barry at NYT

UPDATE #3: Bruce Bartlett

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Here I Thought BP Just Had An Intense Case Of Gallows Humor

Capture from Huffington Post

Craig Kanalley at Huffington Post:

A fake BP Twitter account tweeting its “public relations” response to the oil spill now has five times more followers than the official BP Twitter feed, and it continues to grow.

Just today, @BPGlobalPR passed the 25,000-follower mark, compared to the less than the 5,000 accumulated by the real account @BP_America.

The @BPGlobalPR Twitter account gives users no indications it’s a fake account. Its bio reads, “This page exists to get BP’s message and mission statement out into the twitterverse!” and its location says “Global.”

But according to AdAge, BP officials are aware of the account, and so far have seen it as people’s right to express their opinions. Twitter is unlikely to take the account down without an objection from BP.

The account began on May 19 with this tweet: “We regretfully admit that something has happened off of the Gulf Coast. More to come.” It has enjoyed a boost in attention due to hundreds of retweets, including from celebrities.

Caroline McCarthy at Wired:

Update 4 p.m. PDT: Wired magazine writer Mat Honan outed Mike Monteiro as the author of @BP_America on Wednesday, which Monteiro initially denied via Twitter until he obliquely admitted it later in the day with an “I give up.” The headline of this story has been changed to reflect the update.

Along the beleaguered Gulf Coast, the emergency measure known as “top kill” appears to have halted the flow of oil from a ruptured offshore BP well–but the bogus Twitter sensation known as @BPGlobalPR continues to gush out black comedy gold.

“Just got the concession call from Exxon Valdez. They were great competitors and remarkably evil about everything,” the account, which claims to be written by the British oil giant’s public relations department, tweeted shortly after the unfortunate revelation that the recent Gulf Coast disaster had surpassed the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in volume. “They want to fine us $4,300 for every barrel of oil spilled? Umm, we’re not spilling barrels, the oil is going directly into the gulf. DUH,” @BPGlobalPR asserted irreverently on Wednesday.

Chris in Paris at AmericaBlog:

I might add a few more.

A lot of people are asking if we could have prevented this mess. Honestly, we have no clue. Our hindsight is 20/80.

They want to fine us $4,300 for every barrel of oil spilled? Umm, we’re not spilling barrels, the oil is going directly into the gulf. DUH

Lots of people blaming this on Bush or Obama. Pph, we wish. The truth is Presidents don’t have any control over what we do.

Just saw new satellite images of the spill. Actually, it kinda looks like the Earth has a beauty mark! Ooolala!

Please help us with rebranding. We’re not calling it an “oil spill” anymore, now it’s a “Southern Fun Party”.

Bernhard Warner at Big Money:

What is really hard to understand is why BP, with its well-paid crisis PR team working round-the-clock, is allowing someone to completely hijack its message so thoroughly. What could it have done better? Well, for starters, it could have had its Twitter accounts “verified” so the public would know at least that its own tweets are legit and that others are not to be trusted. And BP has done nothing that we can see to distance itself from the fake tweeter. Not a single alert to say don’t trust the person behind the @BPGlobalPR curtain.

Maybe BP really doesn’t care.

Jen Doll at Village Voice:

Mark Smith of the Free Press says “BP has a strong case to ask Twitter to remove the account, which will surely happen any moment now. Take a look while the account is still valid; it won’t be around for much longer.”

Do, because fake BP Twitter is amusing. But what’s not amusing is that the leak is still going, and that no one seems to have more than the barest of inklings of how to actually fix it. (By the way, that hair boom thing didn’t work.) Oh, yeah, and BP has continued spraying the hilariously named but rather toxic chemical dispersant “Corexit” into the Gulf despite the EPA’s demand that they use something less toxic.

Andrew Leonard at Salon:

It must be more than a little crazy-making to watch people make mean jokes about your nonexistent attempt to quash a source of mean jokes about you. But BP is making the right call by not making a big deal of the parody. Social media networks are the adult playgrounds of the 21st century — better to let the masses let off steam there than, oh, filing class action suits, or chaining themselves to dead pelicans. Besides, the company obviously has more important things to focus on at the moment — the latest news from the New York Times suggests that the “top kill” effort to plug the leak isn’t working quite as well as some reports indicated earlier Thursday.

With each day that the leak continues, frustration swells, from the White House on down to the Twitter masses. But on Twitter, at least, there is some humor to be found, even if most of it is the same color as the oil.

UPDATE: Leroy Stick, the guy behind the twitter account

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Tear Your Eyes Away From The Gulf Coast And Times Square For Just One Moment

Ron Hogan at Popular Fidelity:

In one of the most shamefully underreported stories so far, the fatal flooding in Nashville, Tennessee, continues to get worse as the river approaches its crest.  The entirety of downtown Nashville had to be evacuated, including 1500 people from the Opryland Hotel.  The flood waters from the storm system have caused the deaths of 17 people in Tennessee alone, plus more in Mississippi and Kentucky (fortunately there’s been little flooding in Louisville, just storms).  The entire Middle Tennessee area is paralyzed by massive flooding, mud slides, and general destruction.  It’s awful.  The best coverage, though, is the local coverage, as compiled by Nashvillest.

When riots for democracy hit Iran, Twitter was an invaluable resource.  Over the last day, as I struggled to slay the technical demons besieging PopFi, Twitter was the most useful resource for all my friends and family in Music City to keep abreast of the situation in real time. Fortunately, they’ve all made it out safely, though I had a couple of sleepless nights in the process.

Jen Doll at Village Voice:

Add to our End Times Watch record rains and 50-feet-high-and-rising waters in Tennessee. The flooding has led to evacuations of downtown Nashville, including some-1,500 guests at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, and caused 21 or more deaths in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

The Cumberland River was expected to crest Monday afternoon at more than 11 feet above flood stage, and officials worried they may find more bodies in the rising floodwaters, reports the AP.

Electric power has been cut off to about 14,000 customers, and one of the city’s two sewage treatment plants has been submerged, requiring residents to minimize water use except for drinking and cooking. One shopping center employed boats to do rescues in the parking lot yesterday.

Many homes were flooded to the rooftops, and although the rain has ended, officials anticipate weeks of cleanup.

“The news accounts of the Cumberland River rising today, with such bright blue skies, are quite disturbing,” reports one Nashville resident. “We’re watching on television as the huge Opryland mall and convention center (plus the Grand Ole Opry house) become flooded by the rising river. It’s that eerie Katrina-like sunny day after the storm where the rising waters cause even bigger problems.”

Claire O’Neill at NPR:

On Facebook I’ve seen an outpouring of photos from friends and family, and it really is unbelievable. Weekend storms poured more than 13 inches of rain in two days, resulting in a swift rise in the Cumberland River. By Tuesday, the death toll has reached 18 in Tennessee.

People have lost cars and homes – and Nashvillians watched waters inundate their beloved Grand Ole Opry. Fortunately, the Ryman Auditorium and the Station Inn were not flooded. But as Nashvillian RJ Witherell wrote on Morning Edition‘s Facebook page, “Doubt Bob Dylan ever thought Nashville’s Skyline would look like this.”

A flooded Nashville skyline

Randy Lewis at The LA Times:

I just rang up country musician Marty Stuart, one of the mainstays of the Grand Ole Opry, to find out how bad the flooding in Nashville is to the Opry’s home of the last 36 years. He had two words:  “It’s biblical.”

An Opry member since 1992, Stuart said he hasn’t been through the facility yet — “The river just crested last night” — but was told by Opry officials that water is chest deep. “They’ve just been through it in a canoe. I think that tells you all  you need to know.”

“It’s a profound sense of loss,” said Stuart, who took over the dressing room assigned to Porter Wagoner after the longtime Opry star died in 2007. He said he doesn’t have high hopes for recovering a rhinestone-bedecked tapestry he kept in that dressing room. The tapestry was fashioned out of what was to have been a new Nudie Cohn-style suit that was being made for Wagoner when he died.

“There was plenty of artwork, lyrics, artifacts, Nudie paraphernalia, Nudie boots and belts — we will test the power of the rhinestone against the mighty waters,” Stuart said.

OpryStageDoor

“We’ve all been affected by it,” singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley told the Associated Press on Tuesday, after canceling performances over the weekend to deal with less-serious flooding at his own house. “There’s devastation all over the city. But to see the Grand Ole Opry affected, that just really hit home for me, even more than having water in my house.”

The Grand Ole Opry show itself, however, “will go on,” Stuart said. Tuesday night’s performance is being shifted to Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium, a former home of the Opry, and on the weekend, it will move to its historic home at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, where the show originated for decades before the current Opry House opened in 1974.

Huffington Post:

Nashville is struggling to recover from a massive flood that has inundated historic areas of that historic city. A record-breaking storm caused flash floods, forcing residents to flee the city as quickly as possible. They are now returning to survey the devastation and look for survivors. So far there have been at least 29 fatalities. Read more on the flood here.

One YouTube user made a montage of photos of the destruction throughout the city, overlaying the Johnny Cash song “Five Feet High and and Rising” on the montage. It’s quite moving.

UPDATE: Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters

Andrew Romano at Newsweek

Ed Morrissey

Michelle Malkin

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