Hurricane Dawn

I have absolutely refused up until now to blog about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Seriously, I have shut the TV off because the real horror wasn’t the fact that there was this horrific storm that claimed lives and livelihoods en masse — rather, it’s the fact that Americans lay dying in one of the most accessible cities in the country due to our government’s proclaimed inability to actually enter the city for a week.

It’s been said before, and I’m saying it here — I saw a faster response to the Tsunami in Asia. ASIA!!! We could haul ass over there and create public service announcements and send volunteers halfway across the world but we couldn’t get the slack-jawed imbecile of a president on a plane or a truck or what the fuck EVER any sooner than we did?

If this were Boston or Georgetown, D.C., or fucking Crawford, Texas, you can bet your sweet ass that your tax dollars would have been hard at work saving your fellow (affluent) Americans. In this day and age of instant communications and prosperity, I am appalled at the images I am seeing on my television. Fuck Tom Ridge and his stupid terror-alert system too. Had this been a terrorist attack, what would have been different in the response? Huh? I’m waiting. Other than exchanging the floods for fires, what would our country have done differently, if anything?

I was reading Editor & Publisher yesterday and thank god I was at home, because I spit out my Diet Pepsi straight at my screen when I came across this article.

I’ll spare you the click-through:

Barbara Bush — the former first lady, not the dipshit first daughter, although you would expect this kind of stupidity from one of those “Twins Gone Wild” — toured the Houston Astrodome, where hurricane survivors, after a week of wandering the streets, were dumped because they had nowhere else to go. And the old, crusty bitch had the AUDACITY to muse that “they were underprivileged anyway, so this (arrangement of being camped out in Houston) is working very well for them.”

Argue if you wish that I’ve taken (or that the original reporter has taken) the quote out of context — she was saying that folks are so grateful for the so-called hospitality and that they supposedly love being in Texas, so these “underprivileged” people are having a ball.

For fuck’s sake Barbara, you’ve been married into the Clampett clan for way too fucking long. Either that or you’re the cumb dunt I always believed you were. Stupid, stupid bitch. They are HOMELESS and DIRECTIONLESS and have lost EVERYTHING and have been forced by Mother Nature to be GRATEFUL to have a roof over their heads and dry clothes on their bodies. And that’s IT.

When I wasn’t working and six million job applications/interviews were failing to yield a break for me, I actually tried to get help from the government — I wasn’t planning to be a welfare baby or anything, but I just wanted some kind of meager assistance to pay the rent for another month while I kept on trying to find a job — I was laughed at. And I told everyone that your country does NOT care about you. Your country will NOT come through for the sake of humanity.

However, if you happen to be a fascist dictator, my country’s leader will swoop in supposedly for the freedom of your people and park his ass there until he feels like pulling out.

(And every man hates pulling out prematurely, no? Bush PROMISED he’d only put it in for a few minutes!!!)

And yet the people whose tax dollars have been siphoned to fund this post-modern Vietnam no longer have JOBS or HOMES or even EMPLOYMENT ESTABLISHMENTS because their city is in RUINS.

Now, I’m not saying we should leave Iraq right this very second. We can’t — Slack-Jawed Imbecile saw to it that we cannot extricate ourselves from there. Fine. Fuck it. What the fuck ever. Speed up the transition and pull the fuck out before it’s too late.


We have plenty of time to work on overturning abortion rights. We will drop everything to put a stop to gay marriage and domestic partner benefits. We have all the funds in the worlds to pursue the conservative agenda in general (yes, argue that I’m a liberal. And then go fuck off). But we cannot take a coupla truckloads/planeloads of clean water into one of the most popular cities in the WORLD?!?!

My grandfather is a trained paratrooper (World War II) — I know there are soldiers just like him who have flown over worse terrain than a sunken city (that’s a goddamned 90-minute plane ride away) to get supplies to civilians. Why should our own receive any less than the citizens of the world? It’s like buying dinner for your estranged cousin and his or her family but then making your own kid go hungry because he can’t pay for his own.

When all the celebrities crawled out of their holes and started throwing benefits (and making accusations), I snarked to myself that those people don’t miss an opportunity to show their faces into a television camera. But then it occurred to me that it doesn’t matter WHO is calling attention to the travesty — just as long as SOMEONE is doing something about it. Look around the blogosphere — folks are donating money and having fundraisers and whatnot. Even I made a donation out of my moving fund — because my fuckhead of a president isn’t doing shit, so I trust that the American Red Cross will.

OH … what was this I read about us refusing to ask other nations for help? If we are truly the freedom-fighting empire that we claim to be, shouldn’t we have some grateful nations helping us out? It’s one thing that I *personally* have a very hard time asking people for favors, but when human LIVES are at stake, let’s suck up the cajones to admit that we spent our arsenal of resources elsewhere and now that our own people are in need, we need some favors to be returned. NOW.

Yeah, yeah, we’re getting some oil out of reserves. Thank you. I appreciate that. Not that it’s going to help with my fuel bill (unless prices go down from fucking $3.42/gallon. Hah), but I appreciate the unsolicited donations. Keep ’em coming, please. Don’t listen to the blithering idiot that we will take care of our own — we aren’t and we can’t do it by ourselves.

Unrelated, I saw a bumper sticker on the PA Turnpike on Sunday — “Blue Person, Red State.” The car had an Ohio plate. The driver saw my “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kerry” sticker and we both honked and waved in approval at each other.

And I wondered, briefly, whether we need two presidents — one from each political wing. You know, to make a cumulative, reasonable candidate — take two half-men and maybe output a whole, functioning brain. And say what you will about Teresa Heinz Kerry not being classy enough to be a first lady — I’ve always respected her and I doubt she’d be making me as fucking angry as the Beverly Hillbillies in the first family have.

In way better (and certainly more intelligent) news, I heard from my friend who lived in N’Orleans (*whew*) and I owe her an e-mail back. But she said she cannot even go home for at least two months to even see what she has left of a home. Jesus H. Can you IMAGINE? I am grateful that she had a place to go and that she’s safe and warm and clothed and fed and clean. Not everyone was so fortunate. And that’s why our country is supposed to have social programs (yes, us damn liberals, always looking after our fellow man. Curses!) for when rich bitches like Barbara Bush look at temporary shelters like they are zoo exhibits of poor people.

8 Responses to Hurricane Dawn

  1. Amy :

    Beats all, don’t it?

    A former colleague of mine moved to NOLA for a new job. She’s now back up here staying with her folks. She has no idea what she’s lost, all she’s sure of now is that she at least got out with her jewelry, dog and four outfits.

    She dropped by today. I’ve never seen such a haunted look on a person’s face. When I left to come home, I had to sit in the Jeep and cry for a long while. I simply can’t wrap my mind around the fact our government failed these people so horribly.

  2. Luna_C :

    That quote of Bab’s is not out of context. I heard it on NPR myself. However, one part was left out of more print reports: She also said it was “kind of scary” that so many of the evacuees were planning to stay in Houston.
    May she rot in hell.

  3. Ted :

    I hope you feel better now, because everyone needs a good rant now and then. Just realize that you have no clue whatsoever about how the National Disaster Response system works, nor how logistics operates, so that most of what you said was pure nonsense.

    If you’re arguing that we need to make the Federal Government into the first response for a disaster, then you’re asking for higher taxes and even more buracracy to manage it. As it was, FEMA, the military, the Red Cross, and the National Guards in Mississippi and Alabama all had elements prepositioned and ready to roll. Notice who’s missing.

    What you’re saying is that since the local government of New Orleans and Louisiana proved to be completely incompetent and unable to protect the people that elected them (which *is* part of their jobs) that Uncle Sam should’ve swept in and taken over.

    Too bad we have a Constitution that prevents just that.

    Of course, anecdotally (sp?), what you don’t hear enough about is how the USS Bataan, in the gulf, rode out the storm, followed it in to shore, and within hours – as soon as winds died down enough for helicopters – began rescue operations in New Orleans. Nor did you hear that they delivered several hundred thousands of gallons of drinking water to the ravaged coasts of Mississippi and Alabama. Who happened to take the worst of the hurricane damage, yet still managed to have their emergency plans operational, instead of herding the homeless and helpless into a stadium and fucking abandoning them.

    The damage from the hurricane affected some 90,000 square miles. New Orleans is a tiny part of that, and “the most accessable city in the world” was more than 3/4ths underwater, full of assholes shooting at relief workers, and completely out-of-control thanks to the instant collapse of the NO police department. Where were the National Guard? Ask the Governor of Louisiana, she has control over them, not the Federal government.

    Bush and family are inarticulate and piss-poor communicators. That doesn’t make them stupid, nor does that make them insensitive and uncaring. Context counts, and although it wouldn’t surprise me if BB said that, we don’t know what all was said or under what circumstances.

    As for abortion rights and gay marriage, you’re on both sides of the battlefield there. A majority of Americans are currently pro-choice, but not so overwhelmingly that the pro-lifers can’t try and try again to push their MINORITY opinion into law. Gay marriage is the same way, but in reverse. A wide majority of Americans are against it, and that’s all there is to it. Ranting and railing and name calling won’t convince a single person that your view is correct, and the same goes for the pro-lifers and their methods, which aren’t really any different.

    Ahhh, I do feel better. 😉

  4. Tiff :

    Yeah, I’m going to agree with Ted. The problem in Louisiana was that Governor Blanco engaged in a political power struggle for fucking DAYS before she would permit any outside help at all. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. For days, Louisiana has been turning aid away at its borders for some unknown reason- three truckloads of bottled water from Wal-Mart, a contingent of police officers from Virginia who had taken vacation time to come help, US Navy ships with hospital facilities, all turned away.

    Meanwhile, the Mayor of New Orleans had over 300 public transportation and school buses at his disposal, and yet instead of loading them up full of poor New Orleans residents, he dumped them all at the Superdome.

    There are very strict rules about the Federal government’s ability to deploy troops internally to control a civilian population. And there’s a GOOD REASON for that. You don’t want to give any President the ability to deploy the 82nd Fucking Airborne into your backyard anytime he thinks it’s necessary, do you? That’s a civil liberties nightmare. I don’t want a government big enough to solve all my problems- a government with that kind of power is big enough to decide that it knows what’s best for me better than I do. FUCK THAT.

    The fact is, the failure in this situation started squarely in Louisiana and New Orleans, and no amount of finger-pointing at FEMA (which deserves a share of the blame, to be sure) is going to change that. Quite simply, a government based in Washington that tries to design a consistent disaster-recovery plan that’s supposed to work in every metropolis in the country will come up with nothing but a one-size-fits-none plan. New Orleans needed a plan devised by competent people who are familiar with the particular risks and requirements of New Orleans, because NO’s situation is different than that of Pittsburgh or LA or Washington, DC. New Orleans’ biggest risk is hurricanes and flooding, LA’s is earthquakes, DC’s is terrorism. The only way out of NO is I-10, but DC has the Beltway to contend with. They’re different situations and require different, customized solutions. The feds aren’t good at that. To quote one of the foundational principles of my employer: “Local people, local decisions.” Why should New Orleans wait for some federal bureaucrat who has never even been to New Orleans make decisions for it? Allow me to repeat myself: FUCK THAT.

    This is a shining example of why we have a federalist system in which certain powers are reserved to the Several States. The states ought to step the fuck up and USE them.

  5. Helen :

    I read that article yesterday and noted it in my blog today. I was utterly disgusted and appalled by her comments, frankly. Politics aside, I think she was out of order.

  6. Goddess Dawn :

    I’m well aware of states’ rights. I am just angry that at least a third of our State National Guards are out fighting a war abroad when it’s clear that we don’t have enough hands on deck on our country. I simply do not have enough bandwidth to criticize everyone who’s on my shit list. 😉

    I know it’s easy to throw rocks at the Slack-Jawed Imbecile even though, let’s face it, I wouldn’t expect him to get his pretty widdle hands dirty by helping to pull carcasses out of the excrement-infested waters of the Gulf. What angers me is that we are supposed to be SO ready for attacks of terrorism and other natural disasters in this country, and yet, we’re still vulnerable, four years to the day that our country was rocked to its foundation by the surprise of our lifetimes. Natural disasters should come as no surprise.

    Honestly? It was that stupid Babs comment that set me off into, as Ron White would say, a dimension of pissed off that even I couldn’t believe. The body count in the South is nearly triple the casualty rate of 9/11, and given that the head honchos in the local and state government couldn’t get it right, I believe we need a strong leader to step in and tell them what the fuck to do. It’s like when you work for a company where all the workers need guidance and none of the managers have leadership abilities — sometimes, ya gots to bring in an outside consultant (think “Office Space”) whose cooler head can prevail and help the minions to allocate their resources effectively while determining what else they might need and how to help them to get it.

    It’s all about empowerment, even if those supposedly at the helm were empowered all along. I probably wouldn’t have known whether to shit or go sailing, had I been in charge down there. I would probably have made the same number of mistakes. I probably would have driven myself insane if the situation hadn’t done it to me first. I am grateful to the private citizens who are doing fundraising and other forms of outreach. And my donation buys me my ability to toss in my two cents. Which is that we’ve demonstrated that our emergency response system in that area is pretty piss-poor and that we need some top-down leadership to fix this mess and to really, truly put this country on the offense, going forward, in preparation of natural and man-made disasters.

  7. Ted :

    Check these stories out. In the first, the President declared Louisiana, Florida and Alabama emergencies *before* the storm hit. In the second, it’s now coming out that the State Police refused to let Red Cross and supplies into NO to deliver supplies to the superdome, and now the Governor of Louisiana is refusing to allow the State Police or National Guard to assist in the mandatory evacuation (third story).


    Now her citizens are dying from bacterial diarhea caused by the floodwaters, and she won’t allow the troops to assist evacuations? Morale in the Louisiana National Guard and State Police must be rock bottom right now.

    What the former first lady said was monumentally stupid, and she should have known better. But in reality, those few ignorant sentences are a fart in a windstorm compared to the maliscious incompetence being displayed by the local government in Louisiana.

    There is always room to improve emergency response, but in this case the major failures were at the local level, and that made everything exponentially more difficult for everyone when they got there to assist. The locals didn’t even implement their own damn emergency plans! So much for the talk about “the ones who know best are all in Iraq”. Almost 70% of the Louisiana National Guard is still in Louisiana, and weren’t effectively used by the Governor. Some weren’t used at all.

    A Cat4 or Cat5 storm is gonna fuck things up. All the prep in the world isn’t gonna prevent it, all it can do is make recovery easier and faster. We’ve got plans out the wazoo for things like this, developed by the people who know their home areas best. But for God’s sake you’ve got to follow the plan!!!!! And don’t forget the scale of this storm, I believe emergencies were called in no less than seven states.

    There was an interview yesterday with the disaster authorities from the Virginia coast, and they were astounded that Louisiana screwed up that badly. The quote that was repeated in the later ad sound-bites went something like: “I don’t care how close to Washington we are, in an emergency, our job is to handle things locally for the first 48 to 72 hours.”

    Those people get it. I’m sure 90% of local authorities do. And the ones who didn’t just got one helluva wakeup call.

  8. Ted :

    The editor in you must’ve nearly broke a tooth when you read “maliscious”. 😉