I have had a few
complaints indirect requests for lj-cuts, and since we're beyond the first few crucial days where I could argue that you could suck it up because this was important, I will comply. At this point, you're either interested or you're not.
First off, the FEMA saga as it played out over my collection of links:
lederhosen: "Washington Post article here gives another explanation for why the federal response was so badly delayed: Washington was trying to blackmail Blanco into giving them full authority over the evacuation. Commenters elsewhere have noted that this would've given Shrubco the power to award contracts for the rebuilding in NOLA afterwards. Also, Chertoff's "we couldn't do anything because the governor hadn't asked us" excuses are bullshit. As per page 43 of HomSec's National Response Plan, "Standard procedures regarding requests for assistance may be expedited or, under extreme circumstances, suspended in the immediate aftermath of an event of catastrophic magnitude. Identified Federal response resources will deploy and begin necessary operations as required to commence life-safety activities. Notification and full coordination with States will occur, but the coordination process must not delay or impede the rapid deployment and use of critical resources. States are urged to notify and coordinate with local governments regarding a proactive Federal response." They weren't waiting on a request for assistance, they were waiting on authority to take over, which Blanco didn't trust them with."
FEMA head bears brunt of Katrina anger.
Dems Assail White House on Katrina Effort:
At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had "absolutely no credentials." She related that she urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Brown.
"He said 'Why would I do that?'" Pelosi said.
"'I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'"
"Oblivious, in denial, dangerous," she added.
Tabby: "There was a story on NPR's Morning Edition this morning about how the Coast Guard got themselves to New Orleans right away and saved lots of people. You can hear the story here. There was a Massachusetts group that sent a chopper down the coast so that it was right behind Katrina when it made landfall on the Gulf Coast. The motto of the Coast Guard is "Semper Paratus" (Always Prepared). To bad FEMA and Homeland Security can't make the same claim. ETA: Mike Brown, the inept FEMA chief, has been canned. At least, he's been taken off Katrina relief, if not fired completely."
Michael Brown ("Brownie") has been removed as head of FEMA but "doesn't know why."
More links. Fairly unorganized, but my eye is bothering me again:
cesare: "A French tourist is saying that soldiers threw glass bottles into the Superdome crowds for fun."
arpeggiodreams: "Those of us here on the </a></b></a>alchemylab raised over $2000 dollars during a Monday night charity BPAL auction."
jettcat: one more horror story as told by paramedics.
Snopes... kind of confirms a lot of stuff. About buses and articles that foretold disaster and food stamps--not about any of the rape and murder controversies, I mean.
Fire rages in uptown New Orleans.
Hurricane Katrina Erases Job Gains.
Open season on Bush.
Mexico sends aid convoy.
No unified reunion database.
Newsweek: On patrol.
Police, soldiers help willing leave New Orleans first; putrid floodwaters present serious health risk.
"I went to New Orleans and all I looted was this lousy T-shirt".
Zoo Animals Survive Hurricane Katrina. The only casualties? Two... otters. Quote: “I was this close to building the ark.”
German Social Minister: Bush must be 'shot down'. (Okay, simmer down there. The minister later says, "I meant in a political sense.")
String of Delta Villages 'Gone'.
Subject: *half dead wave*
I'm working twelve hour shifts as the dormitory management coordinator for a shelter in San Antonio.... I'm going to leave pretty soon, I work nine to nine. I'll post something meaningful when I have brain synapses that fire properly again.
jenza: From the 9/7/05 Charlotte Observer Editorials:
Working as a volunteer at the Coliseum, I heard amazing stories all day long from hurricane survivors, but no one surprised me more than a 69-year-old man from New Orleans. While registering, he revealed to me he had no living relatives, no house, no car and only a few possessions in a battered suitcase. He then asked if I worked for the Red Cross. When I replied, "Today, I do," he reached into his pocket and said, "Where do I make a donation?"
skullbutt: "Hiya! I don't know if you've been sent this article or not, but it actually contains some good news about evacuees being helped in Phoenix. It's nice to know that the local officials and businesses are setting people up here with jobs, work tools, and housing. Hopefully they will all be able to leave the Coliseum soon. (Not that we want to kick them all out, of course, but I've been to the Coliseum and it's not really a place I would want to spend the night, so I can only imagine how it is for them.)"
chasmofmyself: "Our little college-town community of Champaign, IL, has astounded me these past few days. Not only are we taking in Tulane law and med students, but people here have also donated a total of $175,000 to the local TV station (WCIA 3) and $43,000 to a local radio station (MIX 94.5)...within 48 hours. And the calls are still, they report, coming in. It has been incredible to watch."
marcusisabadass: "hey, here is an article by my friend Joseph. I don't think you met him or his wife when you guys visited, I HIGHLY recommend his book Three Day Road (NBC Today Show Book of the Month Club selection for June) and his wife Amanda, who was on my thesis committee, has an amazing book coming out in the Spring 2006. Anyways, here's an article he wrote for Canadian Magazine MacLean's about the crisis. maybe add it if you do more katrina links."
lesbiassparrow: "This is a rather disturbing story; an ems worker tells of his experience in New Orleans after the hurricane hit. Warning: it is not terribly kind to the police or the authorities who seem to have done their best to make matters worse at times according to this. Katrina Experiences."
I linked to this yesterday (?) on someone else's recommendation but didn't really read it (I can't read everything, you know--sometimes I skim the first paragraph just to verify what it's about. It's how I stay sane). But... yeah. Read this. And send the article to everyone you know.
We decided we had to save ourselves. So we pooled our money and came up with $25,000 to have ten buses come and take us out of the City. Those who did not have the requisite $45.00 for a ticket were subsidized by those who did have extra money. We waited for 48 hours for the buses, spending the last 12 hours standing outside, sharing the limited water, food, and clothes we had. We created a priority boarding area for the sick, elderly and new born babies. We waited late into the night for the "imminent" arrival of the buses. The buses never arrived. We later learned that the minute the arrived to the City limits, they were commandeered by the military.
As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander's assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.
We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.
All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot. Meanwhile, the only two City shelters sank further into squalor and disrepair. The only way across the bridge was by vehicle. We saw workers stealing trucks, buses, moving vans, semi-trucks and any car that could be hotwired. All were packed with people trying to escape the misery New Orleans had become.
Unfortunately, our sinking feeling (along with the sinking City) was correct. Just as dusk set in, a Gretna Sheriff showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun at our faces, screaming, "Get off the fucking freeway". A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water.
And then, if you can imagine, it gets worse.
Popbitch: Christian nutters claim Hurricane Katrina is God's judgment against New Orleans for holding the annual gay Southern Decadence party:
Americans give record amounts of aid to Katrina victims. Includes mentions of celebrity and corporate donations.
FEMA vs. Xenu: Scientologists "swoop in" to prey on disaster victims. Okay, that's a bit harsh. But I firmly believe that Scientology is a scam, so... yeah.
curverex: "Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney. Go fuck yourself." With news video.
FEMA accused of censorship.
House OKs $51B for relief.
Has Snowball been found? "Dog taken from sobbing boy at Superdome located, newspaper reports. [..] When the police took the dog during the Superdome evacuation, the boy cried "Snowball! Snowball!" until he vomited. At the time authorities said they didn't know where the boy or his dog ended up."
Evacuees' stories are moving, but fence isn't.
Poll: Most Say Abandon Flooded New Orleans.
More links from nardasarmy on why people didn't leave before the hurricane started, and conditions down there:
Whoopsi Gras. Animation. Funny, but then really unpleasant at the end, with the Aaron Broussard voice clip--I mean, it's to make a point, but still.
boutros boutros kitty: "Have y'all seen these pictures? They are pretty amazing. And then, today's Mark Morford column can get your blood to boiling. You did a heckuva job, Brownie, but we're going to let you be in charge of latte and mochachino acquisition for the Washington office for a while, and let someone else handle this Gulf Coast stuff. It's not a demotion! A lateral move, so you can focus on the big picture!"
So maybe it's time to stop with the savaging of poor Dubya. He is, after all, doing a simply beautiful job of kowtowing to his wealthiest supporters while slamming the poor and running the nation into a deep hole and creating the largest deficit in American history, all while his cronies in oil and industry and military supply and Big Energy gain immense and staggering wealth and pay less and less tax on it. This is what he was hired to do. This is why he is in office. Hell, the day after Katrina, Bush flew right by Louisiana and headed straight to San Diego to party with his Greatest Generation cronies. Reassure the masters, first and foremost, eh Shrub? Understood.
"That's right, Mr. President just suspended minimum wage to protect the interest of the insurance companies. Wow. That was quick. What a guy."
Oh, and totally unrelated but important nonetheless: Schwarzenegger will veto gay marriage bill.