bottom & links
The Dept of Homeland Security brings you . . .

Dear Residents of New Orleans, wherever you are,

On behalf of the Dept. of  Homeland Security, I am writing to inform you that the Homeland Security Dept. kicked off  National Preparedness Month on Thursday, 1 September.

We urge everyone to keep their fear of terrorist attacks alive by purchasing one of our protection kits with what you need to survive -- a flashlight and batteries, even a portable transistor radio so that you can benefit from our leadership during Incidents of National Significance

Tell me,
Tell me.
Who you gonna call?
Homeland, y'all !!

Karen Hughes, Bush's newly named Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, will be contacting you with tips on how to stage your 911 Anniversary Celebrations.

You may not be able to afford our kits, but our advice is free:

In a Nuclear Blast,
" . . . close windows and doors, turn off air conditioners, heaters or other ventilation systems. Stay where you are, watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news . . . "
In a Flood
Listen to the radio or television for information . . . If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture . . . Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
In a Hurricane
Moor your boat if time permits . . . [and then] . . . lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
Every day in September there's a "Tip of the Day." Today's tip says
. . . remember to practice your tornado, fire escape or other disaster plans.

With thanks to David Isenberg, who didn't make this up.

Corpses at New Orleans Superdome

The corpses of two people who waited for help at the New Orleans Superdome.
25,000 body bags were ordered by 8 Sept, as the floodwaters of 29 August receded.

POSTSCRIPT,   August 2011

The silly warnings above from a 2005 Dept of Homeland Security Webpage were taken down long ago in response to withering criticism.  New Orlean's slow-motion catastrophe that very same month made the flood and hurricane warnings all the more ludicrous (Katrina's landfall was 29Aug2005).   Nevertheless, the silly advice is repeated straight-faced on civic, local and state government pages all over the country today. The information is all but useless; its  value is to create the illusion of doing something.  Like some of what we do at airports, it is security theater for the masses.

Here is the full nuclear blast advice from our nation's Department of Homeland Security, followed by a nuclear blast description that is grounded in reality.

Department of Homeland Security, September, 2005, on the now-defunct page,


If there is advanced warning of an attack: Take cover immediately, as far below ground as possible, though any shield or shelter will help protect you from the immediate effects of the blast and the pressure wave.

If there is no warning: Quickly assess the situation.

Consider if you can get out of the area or if it would be better to go inside a building to limit the amount of radioactive material you are exposed to.

If you take shelter go as far below ground as possible, close windows and doors, turn off air conditioners, heaters or other ventilation systems. Stay where you are, watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news as it becomes available.

To limit the amount of radiation you are exposed to, think about shielding, distance and time.
  • Shielding: If you have a thick shield between yourself and the radioactive materials more of the radiation will be absorbed, and you will be exposed to less.
  • Distance: The farther away you are away from the blast and the fallout the lower your exposure.
  • Time: Minimizing time spent exposed will also reduce your risk.

Use available information to assess the situation. If there is a significant radiation threat, health care authorities may or may not advise you to take potassium iodide. Potassium iodide is the same stuff added to your table salt to make it iodized. It may or may not protect your thyroid gland, which is particularly vulnerable, from radioactive iodine exposure. Plan to speak with your health care provider in advance about what makes sense for your family.


Robert S. McNamara, Foreign Policy magazine, 5 May 2005 

Robert S. McNamara was U.S. secretary of defense from 1961 to 1968 and president of the World Bank from 1968 to 1981.

The destructive power of nuclear weapons is well known, but given the United States’ continued reliance on them, it’s worth remembering the danger they present. A 2000 report by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War describes the likely effects of a single 1 megaton weapon—dozens of which are contained in the Russian and U.S. inventories. At ground zero, the explosion creates a crater 300 feet deep and 1,200 feet in diameter. Within one second, the atmosphere itself ignites into a fireball more than a half-mile in diameter. The surface of the fireball radiates nearly three times the light and heat of a comparable area of the surface of the sun, extinguishing in seconds all life below and radiating outward at the speed of light, causing instantaneous severe burns to people within one to three miles. A blast wave of compressed air reaches a distance of three miles in about 12 seconds, flattening factories and commercial buildings. Debris carried by winds of 250 mph inflicts lethal injuries throughout the area. At least 50 percent of people in the area die immediately, prior to any injuries from radiation or the developing firestorm.


home for the politics section
home for all  Katrina photos  
home for this Website

Rev 13Aug2011 better links