Kudos to my fellow bloggers who have done a hell of a better job than I in covering the tragedy and disaster of Hurricane Katrina and urging people to donate. Of course for the passed few days in which I have spent observing CNN’s coverage of the disaster and tragedy, I’ve noticed all the things I’m sure many of you have. One which is irking me, and certainly and rightfully so the locals and survivors in New Orleans–especially those in the Superdome–, is “why the fuck is it taking so long to get these people some serious help and aid?” And I sympathize with the mayor of New Orleans and his anger directed towards the Federal government and their apparent ‘slowness’ to respond.
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 2 – Fires and explosions jolted an area south of the French Quarter this morning, and the city’s mayor, by turns angry and sad, blasted Washington for what he said was its lack of response to the storm disaster.
An exasperated-sounding Mayor C. Ray Nagin did not hold back his anger in an interview with a New Orleans radio station.
“I keep hearing that this is coming, that is coming,” he said in reference to federal aid. “And my answer to that today is b.s. – where is the beef?”
“Let’s figure out the biggest crisis in the history of our country,” he added. After Sept. 11, he said, the president was given “unprecedented powers” to send aid to New York. The same response should be applied in this case, too, he said.
President Bush was scheduled to leave the White House this morning, and, after meetings in Alabama, and a walking tour of Biloxi, to take part in aerial tours of Mississipi, New Orleans and the Gulf state coastline.
This afternoon he was to make a statement on the hurricane recovery efforts at the Louis Armstrong international airport in New Orleans.[...]
And David Corn of The Nation has a few things to say about the Federal government’s response, the warning signs that were pretty much ignored, and the Bush Administration.
I just spotted Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, on CNN arguing with anchor Miles O’Brien. O’Brien was suggesting that the federal government dropped the ball in terms of preparing for Hurricane Katrina. Barbour kept defending the federal government–that is, the Bush Administration. He seemed to suggest that the hurricane was not that powerful when it first approached land and that there had not been enough time to do more preparation. Of course, Barbour did not note that before becoming governor of Mississippi he was head of the Republican Party and, therefore, not of a disposition to speak critically of an Administration that has gutted FEMA, slashed funding for flood control and sent many National Guard reserves to Iraq. (By one estimate, about one-third of the Louisiana National Guard is in Iraq now.) O’Brien pushed his point about as hard as is permitted on cable television. But he neglected to raise these specifics or to question Barbour about his previous work as a corporate lobbyist who, on behalf of his well-paying clients, fought fiercely against the Kyoto accords. (Recent scientific research suggests that global warming has led to more destructive hurricanes.) And, as I noted previously (click here), Barbour led the GOP when it was waging war on Big Government. Now he’s all for it. O’Brien didn’t query him on this conversion.
[...]I mean, isn’t the real threat the terrorists in Iraq who want to destroy America because they hate our freedom (even though they don’t seem to mind the freedoms enjoyed by people in, say, Finland)? Hurricane Katrina illuminates bad choices and bad policies. It may have been an act of God. But its devastating impact was also determined by the folly of our leaders.
It also makes me wonder, Can this government deal with one of the nightmare scenarios? A biological weapon? A nuclear detonation? The Bush Administration, according to numerous studies, has not fully funded first responders. Hurricane Katrina shows why this is foolishness. [...]
Corn also calls on bloggers to encourage donations to relief organizations. However it should also be noted that last night the U.S. Senate convened an emergency session and passed a bill that would authorize $10.5 billion in relief funds. It’s a start. Also former Presidents Clinton and Bush Senior have also re-joined forces again to raise funds for the relief effort, and by the time this is posted Dubya will have arrived in Alabama.
Another unavoidable issue brought to light by the coverage of the devastation and those hardest-hit by Katrina, is the race plus socioeconomic status issue. Once again the media has whether intentionally or unintentionally cited how much race tied in with socioeconomic status plays a roll in our society and *still matters*, especially when it comes to such disasters as hurricanes that devastates certain segments of our society more so than others. Of course this brought the bigots out of the woodwork (especially with the media showing tons of images of looting done byAfrican-Americans 99% of the time on screen, as if Whites don’t loot or the cameras are never present when they do, or don’t phrase it as “looting” when they do it–how very interesting) and I have heard vicious insults directed towards those who remained in New Orleans during the storm, never mind that there are many of them who had no means of leaving (ie: a vehicle, with enough money to stay the night in a hotel/motel some where up north), or could not leave due to the needs of elderly or ill loved-ones. Oh well how nice, let’s piss on those who are poor and according to our society’s racist stereotypes regarding specific groups of people, who supposedly “fit the profile” of being “lazy” and “lacking common sense,” and have now lost everything because of the storm. Disgusting. It’s almost as if some of the willfully ignorant people making these bigoted-laden insults just couldn’t wait to find some excuse and opportunity to spout their racism and classism. What bullshit, but what more can I expect from our culture and society, with its notions about race and those of lower socioeconomic standing? And meanwhile people continue to die and suffer in the city of New Orleans, certainly in the Superdome where the people are practically being ignored and left to live like animals, and be treated as such. More disgust. Oh and see Brown of FEMA cover his and the organization’s asses and their failures, and even do some victim-blaming of his own.
There have been numerous reports of rapes (Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas is offering free contraception and emergency contraception), beatings, horribly unsanitary conditions, shootings, fires, bodies floating in what used to be streets in New Orleans and obviously in the Superdome, parents being separated from their newborns, and other terrible incidents and situations one would never expect of ever occuring in our country. Yeah well, it has, so we and especially our government (who now more than ever needs to get their shit together and their priorities straight) need to do all that we can to help in the relief effort. If at all possible, **please donate to the Red Cross** and other organizations who are helping the cause to aid the victims of this disaster and the states–especially Louisiana–devastated by Katrina.