lurkitty: (Default)
It seems the chickens have finally come home to roost for this administration. The national policy debate some of us have been calling for has finally begun. Words are being flung by folks on both sides of the political divide, and for once, it isn't at each other, it's at the ineptitude of an administration that appears to care more for photo ops than citizens in peril.

Yet, in the middle of this punditfest, there are tens of thousands of displaced persons who need aid, including, most probably, thousands, of children. While we have heard about the political volleyball game going on this week trying to place a few hundred evacuees here in Oregon, the far less publicized story is that some evacuees are already here.

As of last week, The Oregonian reported that there were six school age children already preparing to begin school. I am especially proud of one tireless worker involved in this effort. She coordinates homeless education for the State of Oregon, and is quoted in the article. She has brought millions of dollars in grant money to Oregon to help homeless families get the education and other services they need. She dealt with homeless and displaced persons long before Katrina, and will still be there long after the limelight has moved off to another crisis.

Who is this lady? My sister, Dona Bolt. Nice to have someone around who'll just get the job done and doesn't need a photo op to do it.
lurkitty: (Default)
I know I said I'd put this issue down, but I got a bit testy today listening to Barbara Bush's comments about the evacuees in the Astrodome. Apparently she's scared that they're going to stay in Texas. But that's not what's irking me. She actually said they were better off now because they were "underprivileged" before the storm.

Are you suggesting, Mrs. Bush, that we sort out those who were poor before the storm and toss them out on the street? Or are you simply saying this is less of a tragedy for someone of lesser means who lost their family and friends than the rich family that packed up and evacuated in their SUV?

Well, Babs, I'm glad you're scared. Because fear is a great motivator for change. Maybe you'll see the example of your fellow Texans in front of you welcoming those people...yes...*people* into the community and realize just how callous your remarks were in the first place.
lurkitty: (Default)
The past couple of posts have been made from my soapbox about Katrina, I have one more and I promise I'll shut up. I have to say this because I don't hear anyone talking about this.

FEMA director Michael Brown is being set up to take the fall for really messing up the relief efforts here. Yes, it's a mess, and someone will have to be called to account for it. But before we go piling the blame on his shoulders, let us consider a few other factors.

Ever since 911, the government has been bracing itself for a massive terrorist act. We have plans for what to do about terrorists. We have speeches about terrorists. We have a Homeland Security Agency. Under the USA Patriot Act, we put FEMA under Homeland Security, because we could only conceive of Federal emergencies that threatened our security.

Think about it. These guys are scrambling, trying to figure out how to respond to this thing because Katrina *isn't* a terrorist! Plus, we are as slow to accept international help as the Russians!

Just think about it.

Fatted calf

Sep. 1st, 2005 08:30 pm
lurkitty: (Default)
This evening I heard one of the best pieces of journalism I have heard in ages. NPR's Robert Siegal held Homeland Security Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's feet to the fire about people stranded in the New Orleans Convention Center. Go to the link and listen. Siegal is brilliant.

Why are people looting in New Orleans? Because they haven't any food and water -- even at designated sites. Why aren't the sites stocked? Because there aren't enough National Guard to distribute food and water. Where are the National Guard? Oh, come on, you know where they are.

The other thing I heard today was obscene. The blogger Attytood tells the story the best. the danger posed to New Orleans by even a small hurricane has been known for years. The funds meant to strengthen those levees were eaten by the COW.

The people of New Orleans are starving. The COW is getting fat.
lurkitty: (Default)
The term "Historic Event" gets pinned on a great many occasions nowadays; from sofa sales to television shows. "Historic Event! First male on male prime time kiss on Stargate Atlantis!!! It would have been more interesting if the characters had actually been gay. Fact is, most so-called historic events are forgotten within hours.

I have had the fortune, good or ill, to be around for several genuinely historic events: The death of JFK, the first man on the moon, the building and tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the Vietnam War, the fall of the Soviet Union, Jonestown, Shuttle Columbia, Kosovo, 911.... There are more, but you get the point.

An historic event is one by which people mark time. "I haven't had Koolaid since Jonestown...", "She's been protesting since Vietnam." People play the "where were you when..." game with historic events.

A few years from now, people will be saying, "You should have seen New Orleans before the flood of 2005". "I haven't had a decent night's sleep since the flood." "I lost everything in the flood...."

Hundreds, probably thousands are dead. Best thing is to give. I prefer the Red Cross. I'd also like a word about earmarking donations. Even though the Katrina disaster is extraordinary, the Red Cross still has to run the local bloodmobile to get blood to replace all the units it's using right now. The whole organization runs better when secretaries have enough paper to fill copy machines and staples to fill staplers.... Again, you get the point. The Red Cross deals with historic events all the time. Why make any distinctions?

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