Sunday, September 11, 2005

A taste of New Orleans to share with the people who still back this failed administration

Today, I found out that one of my blacksheep Republican relatives (who, by the way, is poor and without transportation, much the same as the people stranded on rooftops after the hurricane) forwarded a message she received from her daughter (who would be penniless had it not been for the Pell Grants that paid for her schooling during the Clinton administration) about how Hurricane Katrina was a man-made disaster: a welfare state. This article is far too obscene to be republished here, so I will spare you the details. Obviously from one of those faux journalists.
I, on the other hand, am an accredited journalist, but opt to use blogs and editorials to express opinions rather than a news page.
I am mad as hell, but have been advised not to write, email or call these family members because there is no getting through to them. But where words fail, perhaps a little care package can do the trick. And here is my suggestion:
Take one box of Zatarain's Dirty Rice. Add one steaming dog turd. Reseal the box. Package and send via priority mail (and yes, you can send feces through the mail, as I have done this to break up with a former beau-yeah, you don't want to mess with me), and for the return address, use the name and whereabouts of another equally hated Bush backer (not Republican-there are some good ones out there). In the bottom of the box, place a note saying the following:
"Thought you might enjoy this taste of New Orleans. This is all that the citizens of this city were left with for five days as incompetent government officials finished up their vacations. They waded through it and drank it as it was their only option. These people were good people; the kind of people Jesus died on the cross to save. Since you feel they deserved to have their city flooded and families die, I think I am justified in saying that you are the kind of person whom Lucifer was rejected for and he has a nice warm place waiting for you. So get used to eating this Dirty Rice. And by the way, that isn't sausage."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

What you can do to help

To help victims of Hurricane Katrina, please visit and click on the "link of the week," which will link you to the Coalition for Rebuilding Louisiana's Coastline Web site. Here you will find a listing of several reputable organizations to donate to. You may also donate clothing and supplies locally at Baker IGA in Wisconsin Rapids or through the Salvation Army in Stevens Point. When shopping for items to donate, I urge you to think beyond water and food, and include baby formula, baby food, diapers and personal care products for adults.
If you want to assist in the pet rescue, please follow the link on to the Humane Society of the United States. For many of the elderly victims of Katrina, their pets are all they have left. Without the rescue efforts of the HSUS and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (, the health risks would be exacerbated as stray dogs would continue to form packs and pose a danger to other rescue and recovery workers in the region.
Please post an information about area businesses and organizations who may be collecting supplies for Katrina victims. In the next few days, there will be an area blood drive for hurricane victims. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

What we have here is a failure to communicate...

...And on so many levels of government! The federal government failed to respond fast enough and I will make no excuse for Bush, Chertoff or FEMA, but local government is not without fault either. People should have been given evacuation notice sooner, but aside from that, people outside of New Orleans had no concept of the amount of people without transportation, people who were trapped while the city flooded. I would like to think that local and state officials would have a better understanding of their area's demographics. Someone should have contacted the Department of Homeland Security right away to make sure they were on their way. Meteorologists told us that this hurricane was coming, so all the planning should have been done before it hit. But apparently, that did not happen.
There is one consolation and that is that private citizens have more on the ball than their elected officials. The outpouring of generousity from people around the world is truly touching. Even Afghanistan, a nation that has experienced plenty of hardship, has pledged $100,000 in aid. Germany, Great Britain and Russia have pledged money outside of their NATO contributions for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.
Perhaps it is because the leaders of these nations realize that the rebuilding efforts will require serious environmental protections, ones that began to be implemented in 1995 under the leadership of President Clinton, but have been significantly cut under the Bush administration. To find out more about the need to rebuild Louisiana's coast, visit
This site is also functioning to further relief efforts in the region devastated by Katrina.
As someone who teaches communication, I understand that listening is vital. The greatest failure in communication was that of the Bush administration, failing to listen to scientists who warned that New Orleans would would be covered in water if action was not taken to restore the Louisiana coastline. It is too bad that a disaster has to serve as a wake-up call.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Rage over Refugees

As if the unjust war, tax cuts for the wealthy, ruination of the environment, messing with Medicare, and threatening to privatize Social Security were not enough to set my teeth on edge, now we have the utter chaos, breakdown of security, and needless loss of lives in the Gulf region to fret about. If anyone should wonder why security is a problem in Iraq, let's take a look at this week's news in our own country. The hurricane hit the New Orleans area on Monday. On the FIFTH day following this huge catastrophe, our president finally did a walk through tour. As I write, thousands of mostly poor, black people are languishing at the New Orleans Convention Center and at the Superdome. Looting has been rampant, shots have been fired, and people have feared for what little is left of their lives. At times, evacuation efforts were halted due to anarchy in the streets. This is NOT supposed to be a third-world nation; this is America.

Let's examine the facts: For years, the officials and others in New Orleans have known that the system of levees that keeps the water out is adequate only for a force 3 hurricane. Katrina just happened to be at least a force 4 when it hit. The Bush administration cut many of the funds needed and suggested by congress to fix this problem. There is also the current administrative scorn for scientific facts. Of course, even a bit of global warming will change weather patterns and if huge bodies of water become warmer over years, the hurricanes will progressively become stronger. Removing protective marshlands from the Gulf area has also added to the problem. Then there is the whole issue of FEMA which President Clinton actually made a cabinet agency. Under the Homeland Security overhaul, FEMA was removed from the cabinet and placed under the oversight of the Homeland Security bureau. The last 2 heads of FEMA did not come to their jobs with resumes rich in expertise on how to accomplish rescues on a vast scale. Quite the opposite. Both were Bush cronies (evidently a prerequisite for any important post in this administration) who were uninitiated in the art of widespread evacuation in emergencies. Now we see the results: Perhaps thousands dead; poor desperate folks suffering for days from lack of food, water, and toilet facilities; police walking off the job and evacuation efforts held up because of looting and shooting; almost no communication with families split up and going all directions; and total chaos for at least 4 days. All of this in a nation which prides itself on solving any difficulty, and on quickly fixing any problem. All of this in an area which is predominantly black and poor and in which many of the same problems existed BEFORE the hurricane and subsequent flood. People in New Orleans did know beforehand that their city could be destroyed. The local press had done a series on the levee problem recently. People also must have known that many of the poorest folks could not evacuate before the storm because they had no car or could not afford the trip. Problems with crime were not news here, either. Problems with looting, drugs, rape, and murder have existed for years. This whole disaster points up yet another unfortunate example by this present administration of lack of planning, lack of compassion, and gross ineptitude in managing catastrophic events. Most of all, it clarifies the notion that we have an underclass, a "hidden" population that again suffers untold misery while more privileged people like me can sit here at our keyboards in comfort and gripe about it all!

Thanks for being my sounding board today! I am in a rage about all of this as you can tell. Even 2 reporters on Fox news were at their wits end last night. Geraldo Rivera was at the Convention Center holding up a baby and begging the government to come in and save it. Shepherd Smith, who was absolutely irate over the lack of care for the people he was witnessing, was told by Hannity to get some perspective on the situation. Smith snapped back that this suffering indeed was the perspective! Normally, I am not a Fox News junkie, but I was really curious to see how they were handing this latest government gaffe.