The poor are left behind

1-800-HELP-NOW

Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden have posted some remarkable stuff this week on the unfolding tragedy. Go read it all, but see especially their Katrina info page.

Patrick includes a link to a rant from Tenn.-based Cherie Priest, who dissects the class-based cluelessness of much of the reporting on the destruction of New Orleans:

Look at the reporters who are "incensed" by the rampant looting. Look at the smugness from those distant from the situation who chastise the dumb southerners for not evacuating when they had the chance. It blows their minds how many idiots stayed to wait it out. It makes them shake their heads and make "tsk-tsk" noises into their shiny microphones.

Well, fuck the lot of them.

New Orleans and Biloxi are not rich cities. They are poor southern cities disproportionately filled with poor southern people — people who may not have reliable transportation, people who live hand-to-mouth, people who have nowhere else to go, even if they had the means to get there.

And the evacuation was little more than a vague order to get the hell out — under your own power and at your own expense. If you have, at your immediate disposal, reliable transportation, money for gas, and either distant family OR money for shelter, then this isn't a big deal. Of course you leave. You pack up everything you can and you head for higher ground. But it is somewhat less easy to do if you are lacking any one of these things, AND you have been informed that what little earthly lot you may claim is about to be destroyed. Do you hang on and try to save what you can? Do you let it go and return to less than nothing?

What the hell do you do?

… If every single person in New Orleans had a spare $300 and a car, most of them could have run. Now turn on the TV again and look at how many stayed.

If I ran the zoo, I would hire Ms. Priest to edit our paper's Health section, and maybe also the Business section, just on the basis of those few paragraphs.

Echidne of the Snakes points out that — despite President Bush's claim that ""I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" — this calamity was predictable, foreseeable and avoidable.

It was, in fact, predicted and foreseen. It just wasn't avoided. There were, as Will Bunch points out in Editor & Publisher, other priorities:

After 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle. The [Army Corps of Engineers] never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security — coming at the same time as federal tax cuts — was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars. …

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. …"

Digby lists the ways this latest disaster creates a sense of deja vu as the predictable results of "free-market magical thinking":

This event … encompasses every fuck-up they've perpetrated since they took over the entire national governament — failure to plan, embracing only the best-case scenario, lagging response, ignoring the experts, slashing funds and endless, endless happy talk that we can SEE WITH OUR OWN EYES is bullshit. (They are already saying that nobody is reporting all the "good news.")

The fact that most of these refugees (a word that I can hardly believe I'm typing) are black and poor residents who were unable to leave and were therefore, left to die, is emblematic also.

No, this is all about politics. It is about a GOP era of massive tax breaks for very rich Americans, billion dollar a week elective wars that we are losing while more and more people fall into poverty and the infrastructure of this country crumbles around our ears.

Here's the link for Liberal Blogs for Hurricane Relief.

Do what you can. Give, pray, demand accountability. Repeat as needed.

  • Donald Johnson

    I just heard Scott McClellan (speaking yesterday, I think) questioned about the zero tolerance for looting policy. (This was broadcast on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now). Did that apply to people who took water and food to survive, he was asked. Yes, he said, because the massive relief effort underway means looting is unnecessary.

  • cm

    I’ve given. I’m still praying. I want to cry.

  • mecki

    ‘They are already saying that nobody is reporting all the “good news.”‘ The only news that I would call ‘good’ about NO is if Bush and his entire gov’t were to resign.
    God, I wish Bill Clinton were president.
    God, I wish Al Gore were president.
    God, I wish John Kerry were president.
    God, I wish we lived in a parliamentary democracy, where a quick vote of no-confidence would put us all out of this Bush-caused misery.

  • Dave Lartigue

    People are saying, “Look, we don’t need to be blaming others while there are still folks that need rescuing.” True. There are folks that need rescuing and priority should be getting them to safety.
    On the other hand, if the ship hit the iceberg because the pilot was blind, drunk, and a monkey, then maybe we shouldn’t have him driving the lifeboat as well. And it seems like there are a lot of monkeys who are blind and/or drunk “coordinating” operations there.
    Personally, I invite Mr. Bush to shut up about the Hurricane completely. Unless he is sending help or helping out himself, and doing so quickly, he needs to shut up and get out of the way so that the people who are actually good for somethign can get the job done.

  • Ray

    “People are saying, “Look, we don’t need to be blaming others while there are still folks that need rescuing.” ”
    And while there are still people who need rescuing, wouldn’t it be a good idea to focus on that rather than institute a zero-tolerance*, shoot-to-kill policy on looting?
    *though I’m betting there’ll be a little more tolerance shown to the white people who are just ‘finding’ things.

  • Jack Grey

    “I just heard Scott McClellan (speaking yesterday, I think) questioned about the zero tolerance for looting policy. (This was broadcast on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now). Did that apply to people who took water and food to survive, he was asked. Yes, he said, because the massive relief effort underway means looting is unnecessary.”
    Dear G-d. Not according to this guy, who is blogging from downtown New Orleans:
    http://www.livejournal.com/users/interdictor/

  • Beth

    Please excuse the long excerpt but this is simply too freaky to ignore:
    It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV “storm teams” warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday.
    But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however—the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.
    The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it…..
    And now the kicker:
    When did this calamity happen? It hasn’t—yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great.
    No, nobody could have predicted this, except maybe FEMA, the Red Cross, and of course, National Geographic. When we think about major enviornmental disasters, we usually think about global warming doomsday scenarios: terrifying, but distant, something that will (or won’t, depending on your opinion of enviornmentalism) happen someday if we don’t make some changes, but nothing we really need to worry about any time soon. We forget the other, more immediate disasters that can occur when you make enviornmental regulations “business friendly” enough and enviornmental spending low enough priority.
    Krugman’s got quite a piece on this, too.
    Donald Johnson,
    Do you have a source for that McClellan quote? It’s not that I don’t take your word for it, but I want to pass it on to a few people who I’m sure won’t take mine.

  • Lucia

    McClellan said:
    Q Scott, do you cited the President’s zero tolerance for insurance fraud, looting, price gouging. Does he make any allowance for people who have yet to receive aid who are taking things like water or food or shoes to walk among the debris?
    MR. McCLELLAN: I think you heard from the President earlier today about his zero tolerance. We understand the need for food and water and supplies of that nature. That’s why we have a massive effort underway to continue getting food and water and ice to those who are in need. There are ways for them to get that help. Looting is not the way for them to do it.
    Straight from the horse’s mouth.
    I want to cry too.

  • Michael “Vendor X” Heaney

    People are saying, “Look, we don’t need to be blaming others while there are still folks that need rescuing.”
    Why the hell not? I live in Los Angeles, and I’ve been officially requested to stay away from New Orleans. The aid I contribute is in the form of dollars sent or resources gathered and contributed, and that leaves me plenty of time to point out the failures of those who should have been on top of something like this.
    Let’s not mince words, here. All the evidence is clear and available. Any idiot was already aware of what could happen if a hurricane hit New Orleans, and Bush and the executive branch stated quite clearly that they didn’t care. No, they didn’t take a ‘risk’. No, they weren’t unaware or uninformed. No, this isn’t just a tragic mistake. Bush and pals consciously decided that they valued the lives of the citizens of New Orleans less than they did their little war and the benefits it was reaping for them. That’s the bottom line.
    But when someone actually points out a failing like this, there is always some apologist out there to say, “Now is not the time to be placing blame,” or, “We need to be looking forward, not backward,” or some such meaningless platitude which translates into, “let the people I support commit whatever crimes they want without recrimination.” Screw those people and their willingness to place their political loyalties over social safety or improvement.
    Next time I’m pulled over by a cop, I know how I’m going to respond, “Yes, office, I did plow through that group of pedestrians, but it’s time to put the past behind us and look to the future. Now is not the time to be assigning blame.”

  • Beth

    Thanks, Lucia. I agree that’s pretty heartbreaking, but let’s look on the bright side. At least he didn’t actually come out and say, “Let them eat cake,” but merely implied it.

  • Lucia

    And at least the people who are actually there, right up to the governor, have a clue. She has said that no one will be hassled for taking necessities. Let’s hope the feds respect that.

  • Bob

    Perhaps I’m naive (and I’ll welcome criticism if so) but why are we importing food/water/supplies when we should focus on EXPORTING people? Every available bus within 250 miles (Greyhond, school buses, transit buses, 15 passenger vans) should be commandeered and deployed to New Orleans. Why is there no federal policy to make this happen? Pre-9/11 would be understandable, but shouldn’t we be prepared for this?

  • kevin

    “Perhaps I’m naive (and I’ll welcome criticism if so) but why are we importing food/water/supplies when we should focus on EXPORTING people?”
    Time. Those people haven been without food and water for days. Some of them are, as speak, dying of dehydrtion, starting with old people and young children. If we don’t get food to them, they wont live to be evacuated. We should have been droppign supplies on Monday night, and we should have had Army and ant. Guard trucks loaded and ready to roll just outside the Hurricane zone.

  • Lucia

    Bob, your first question: Because many people will otherwise die before they can be exported to a place where their needs can be met.
    Your second and third questions, however, are unanswerable, as is the question of why no buses were commandeered to export people before the hurricane. Expensive, sure, but cheaper and a hell of a lot prettier than what’s happening now.

  • eriol

    Yes, the buses should’ve evacuated New Orleans, but the local government said it was every man for himself. The poor and black were willfuly ignored. Same in MS. Newspapers are full of the destruction of whole communities, but they don’t mention those homes were double-wides. The sort of “housing” “rednecks” are condemned to use. These slums are threatened anytime a breeze turns into wind.
    But no one cares, and the country is ready to cross the Styx. And anytime a pol says America is going to Hell, people cheer, and he’ll smile, ’cause he knows their votes are his. No one cries.
    >
    Well maybe someone will make him eat grass.

  • B-W

    Just quickly, most of the emergency response organizations are recommending that people wishing to help NOT send material donations (like food, soap, etc.) to the disaster areas, as there are simply no receiving organizations currently in place to take them, and these donations could actually pile up and create an additional health risk. For now, send cash donations to a trusted organization or, if you go yourself, make sure you’re trained to be able to handle the situation through one of the emergency assistance organizations.

  • Beth

    Every available bus within 250 miles (Greyhond, school buses, transit buses, 15 passenger vans) should be commandeered and deployed to New Orleans. Why is there no federal policy to make this happen?
    The mayor of NO asked pretty much the same question, though he used much harsher language. He’s outraged at how little’s been done to help the city, and who can blame him?
    BTW, terrific post Fred, but I hope you realize that working “Left Behind” into the title still doesn’t get you out of your LB Friday obligation.

  • Isabeau

    DO NOT BUILD ON A FLOOD PLAIN.
    I’m not blaming the victims. The victims weren’t collecting the rent.

  • erin

    Forget class-based ignorance. Some of this (as pointed out here
    http://www.mspmedia.net/looting.gif) is the not terribly subtle racist nature of 21st century North American culture.

  • D. Sidhe

    Last I looked we were an awfully big country, apparently more than capable of focusing on a bunch of different things at once, like, say, Iraq, New Orleans, and shoe-shopping and fundraising.
    I think now is a perfect time to demand accountability. To start, anyway. I’ve given, and I’m praying to deities I’m not sure I believe in, and beyond that, there’s little enough for me to do but demand that my congresspeople figure out why this happened and make sure it never happens again.
    To say “Well, you know, accidents happen” seems to be the worst possible way to respect the deaths and suffering of the victims.
    No one is saying we shouldn’t do everything we can to help people while finding out how it happened.
    And putting off the discussion for a better time, as though there is such a thing, seems to overlook the evident-to-me-by-now point that there’ll be another disaster or problem or distraction a month down the line.
    We can possibly put off the discussion for two weeks until everybody’s either saved or dead, and begin to talk about it. Except that then, of course, we’ll be into the big Freedom March, and talking about who screwed up in NO will just be “trying to divide the country when we should be showing respect for the 9/11 dead and support for our troops” or something.
    Is there *ever* a time when we could talk honestly about what happened here and not be accused of partisan politics?
    Look, if the guys responsible for this were my employees, I’d want them fired, and possibly jailed. I wouldn’t care who they vote for, or what religion they are, or what their view on the UN is. I’d want them held responsible for their incompetence.
    Why is that supposed to be evidence of bias or hatred or partisanship or gamesmanship because the people responsible are the government?

  • Penny

    > Forget class-based ignorance. Some of this (as pointed out here
    > http://www.mspmedia.net/looting.gif) is the not terribly subtle racist
    > nature of 21st century North American culture.
    Before people jump onto the racism accusation bandwagon, it’s not quite as simple as it appears:
    http://www.snopes.com/photos/katrina/looters.asp
    To summarise… the photographer of the bloke saw him enter a shop and take goods, which is why he used the term “looting”. The photographer of the couple saw them pick up the items – outside the shop – as they were floating away in the current. Hence the use of the term “finding”.

  • Lila

    Heard two amazing things on NPR this evening. First, on BBC’s “The World Today” an interview with (IIRC) a FEMA official, which contained one of the longest, most agonizing silences I’ve ever heard, when the reporter asked, “If FEMA is really doing its job, why are there still thousands of people in the Superdome without food or medical attention?”
    Second, the mayor of Houston TX explaining why two large convention centers had been commandeered to house refugees, and saying that, “It’s possible somebody will sue us. And then they can explain to the American people why money is more important than lives.”

  • Harv

    Sorry if this seems like nit-picky Bush-bashing, but does anyone else pick up on his overuse of military terminology when responding to natural disasters? He likened the destruction on the Gulf Coast to someone exploding a terrible weapon; he spoke of taking on the tsunami damage as if nature were the enemy.
    It’s a little disturbing to me that Bush has military-action on the brain so much. Mr. President, maybe you need to start heeding some of the warnings of those Darwin-loving scientists you seem bent on marginalizing. You don’t combat nature like it is an enemy army – you seek to understand it and live in concert with it; it is a bit bigger than you are.

  • Linkmeister

    “Look, if the guys responsible for this were my employees, I’d want them fired, and possibly jailed.”
    Trouble is, they are our employees, and the only way to fire them is through elections. We’ve had two shots at keeping them out and haven’t done it. Unless there’s a huge turnaround in the House and Senate, we can’t fire them; they’re supposed to leave voluntarily in 2008.

  • R. Mildred

    DO NOT BUILD ON A FLOOD PLAIN.
    I’m not blaming the victims. The victims weren’t collecting the rent.
    New Orleans is situated where it is so that it can be the largest port in the country, if new orleans hadn’t been built where it is, then some other major metropolitan city would have, DO NOT LET AN EVERYMAN FOR THEMSELF POLICY DICTATE THE EVACUATION would be more sensible, MAINTAIN THE UP-KEEP OF THE LEVEES would be another one DO NOT WEAKEN THIS COUNTRY’S ABILITY TO RESPOND TO DISASTER SITUATIONS BY STAGING A POINTLESS IMMORAL WAR ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PLANET would be yet another one, any of those three would have stopped alot of the deaths, all three wouldn’t have made this into to such a circus of disaster.

  • cjmr’s husband

    A quick report from the Red States:
    I’m visiting my excruciatingly conservative parents.
    They handed my kids “Choose Life” baloons about half an hour after pontificating on how stupid the denizens of NOLA were for not leaving when evacuated. “But at least it got what’s-her-name off the news.”

  • blah
  • blah

    The only real solution is to house a refugee family in your private home. Please consider this, and spread the word to your fellow generous neighbors. Real Americans can step forward at these sites and register. Read some of the listings, there are ride-offers across the country, homes in some of the best school districts, job offers.
    At least some of the McMansion crowd, from the sounds of the listings are stepping up. It will say something like having 4BR with two available and a private bath for the guest area. These people are putting up rather than talking, I admire that. I hope some are Christians, I will regain a lot of respect for faith that I have lost over the last 5 years since walking away from fundamentalism.
    No I have not registered yet, I am dragging my feet,while preaching to myself at the same time. Please go easy on me, the guilt does hurt.
    Please everyone, be part of the solution, not just send money. These people need a loving home and safety from these hellish shelters.

  • wayoutwest

    We can hardly expect people who’ve been “looked after” by the state with welfare and housing projects to fend for themselves in a disaster, any more than we’d expect fido and fluffy to know when and how to get the hell out of dodge.
    We need to stop treating the poor as “pets”, and allow them to succeed, fail, and learn from their experiences, to develop self reliance and survivle skills. Just the way we expect everyone else who doesn’t fit one of the left’s categories of “oppressed people”. We oppress people when we single them out and hold them non-accountable for anything and everything they may do that’s against their own best interests.

  • Edward Liu

    “We oppress people when we single them out and hold them non-accountable for anything and everything they may do that’s against their own best interests.”
    So, by that standard, George Bush and his entire Administration have been deeply, deeply oppressed because NOBODY has held them accountable for a SINGLE THING that they’ve screwed up in the 5 years that they’ve been in office.
    No wonder there’s so much talk about being the oppressed miniority from sectors of the Republican right. We’re OPPRESSING them by not holding them accountable for their inability to recognize and learn from their own mistakes.
    OK, no problem. I’m ready to start holding them accountable for all the times they’ve done things “against their own best interests,” like, RIGHT NOW.

  • cjmr

    I really like how most of the people on the right seem to be assuming that the people who were unable/unwilling to leave New Orleans were clearly “welfare queens” who were so dependent on handouts that they couldn’t fend for themselves rather than working poor who might have been holding down 2-3 part time jobs just to be able to keep a roof over their kids’ heads and food on the table. Hello, folks! People are people. They are equally deserving of our help no matter what.

  • Merlin Missy

    We can hardly expect people who’ve been “looked after” by the state with welfare and housing projects to fend for themselves in a disaster, any more than we’d expect fido and fluffy to know when and how to get the hell out of dodge.
    At the risk of baiting the troll further, I just gotta say, nice work. Not just an assumption that people who are primarily poor and black must be on Welfare or receiving other government assistance, but also an implication that said people have the same intelligence as housepets.
    I mean, wow.
    At least the white sheet won’t clash with the rest of your wardrobe.

  • Beth

    We can hardly expect people who’ve been “looked after” by the state with welfare and housing projects to fend for themselves in a disaster
    So tell us, wayoutwest what would you be doing in their situation, having lost your home to the floodwaters, and with no more supplies than you could carry out with you? You sound like a decent law abiding person, so I’m sure you wouldn’t have replenished your supplies by looting abandoned stores like that welfare scum’s been doing, but what would you do? Would you have built a water purification plant on the roof of some building? Designed and built an amphibious craft perhaps, that you could have sailed through the flood and then driven down the highway to safety? Or maybe you would have made yourself one of those jet packs that you could have strapped to your back and used to rocket to safety.
    These people are stranded in a city with no electricity, no water supply and limited food and transportation. They’re waiting for outside help, not because they’ve been so coddled that they don’t know how to fend for themselves, but because THEY HAVE NO CHOICE. I can’t imagine you would have done any better in their situation, and in fact, from the little I know about you from your post, you would have done much worse than many. Your contemptuous, blame-the-victim mentality makes it unlikely that you would have been among those scrounging food and water for the children, helping wheelchair-bound nursing home residents get to a little shade, joining with the lowlifes, who’ve been dragging corpses of the streets and into makeshift morgues, or handing supplies around to strangers.
    But none of that counts, does it? It’s so much more satisfying to focus only on the criminals among them, and ignore the acts of quiet heroism. It’s easier to mock them for sitting around waiting for handouts, than to think about how helpless this situation has really made them. (And of course it protects you from the pangs of conscience you might have otherwise felt over your failure to lend a hand to a brother or sister in need.) Finally, it’s a great deal more comfortable to blame the refugees themselves for their dire thirst and hunger, than to blame the government which failed in its obligation to help the victims of a natural disaster.
    Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you? Then he will answer them, saying, Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

  • wayoutwest

    People choose their lifestyles, even if the choices seem distant to the consequences. You can be born poor but that doesn’t mean you have to stay poor. This is America, after all — liberal whining aside, the class into which you’re born does not dictate every step your life will take, as it does / has in much of Europe, Asia and Africa. For that matter, you can be born white and upper class, and can end up poor too. This is a free country.
    Clarence Thomas grew up in poverty, and now sits on the US Supreme Court. Don’t tell me there’s no way out of poverty “just” because of your race.
    http://www.oyez.org/oyez/resource/legal_entity/106/biography
    Choices:
    Have kids when you’re too young and uneducated to support them properly. Result: you end up working three or more jobs to support them, and keep a roof over your head.
    Keep having kids when you’re too poor to support the ones you already have, thanks to previous “poor deciisions”. Result: none of the kids get the parental attention and guidance they’re entitled to because you’re already working three jobs, so the kids run wild and drop out of school and start having kids they can’t support either.
    Keep having kids even though the ones you already have don’t have fathers that were more than sperm donors. Result: Your kids are in extreme danger of being abused or killed by whatever male is currently shacking up with you. Statistics prove that live in boyfriends are far more likely to abuse their girlfriend’s kids than the natural father in a married relationship.
    Never learn to speak standard English, so that the people in a position to hire and train you can’t understand what the fuck you’re saying. Result: the only people you can communicate with are underclass losers like yourself.
    Deliberately blow off school and any other outward manifestations of intellectual curiosity, out of scorn for “oreos” who “act white”. Result: your dirtball friends might respect you (or kill you, depending on the weather), and nobody in the world would accuse you of having anything in common with whitey. Like an education, a job, a stable household in which to raise a family you can afford to feed and clothe and educate, a lifestyle that does not revolve around gangbanging, pimping, drug dealing, mugging, armed holdups, and rape. Hint: most crime against African Americans is committed by other African Americans.
    Blame racism, classism, bad luck, god, whitey, the Man, and whatever else, for being a victim of everything bad that happens to you. Result: Lots of fawning liberals pat you on the head and say “there, there”, and reinforce your “victim” mentality and lifestyle with handouts and infantilizing treatment.

  • dr ngo

    Do Not Feed The Troll

  • Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    To echo the post from “blah”,
    http://www.moveon.org/
    …has organized a housing drive. Enter your details, and your post will display what city you’re in and how many people you can house. Someone seeking shelter can email you through the web site.

  • Linkmeister

    It might be impossible to penetrate wayoutwest’s mindset, but he really ought to read John Scalzi’s Being Poor. Read the comments as well.
    Oh, and if wayoutwest is geographically where his/her nom de blog implies, has he/she moved from the earthquake/wildfire zones?

  • R. Mildred

    Fixed!
    “People choose their lifestyles, even if the choices seem distant to the consequences. You can be born poor but that doesn’t mean you have to stay poor. This is America, after all — jewish intelligentsia whining aside, the class into which you’re born does not dictate every step your life will take, as it doesn’t / hasn’t in much of Europe, Asia and Africa, though my belief that america is the new jerusalem where I fart rose petals and piss champagne assures me otherwise. For that matter, you can be born an elder of zion, and can end up poor too. This is a free country, except for when you’re poor and / or non-white male, in which case you’ll be smacked down as hard as possible if you step out of line you uppity little pleb. Where is that servent wench with my caviar?
    Adolf Hitler grew up in poverty, and almost took over the world. So don’t tell me there’s no way out of poverty “just” because you’re oppressed by a grand conspiracy perpetrated by the untermenschen.
    Choices:
    I do my best to illegalise and stigmatise abortion and contraceptive choice. Result: I end up creating a working class that needs to work 3 or more jobs at dirt poor wages just to make ends meet, who I can then exploit to further myself, as the great and holy freemarket Cthulu demands.
    I encourage people to keep having kids when they’re too poor to support the ones they already have, thanks to previous “poor decisions”. Result: none of the kids get the parental attention and guidance they’re entitled to because my under class is already working three jobs, so the kids run wild and drop out of school and start having kids they can’t support either, thus enshrining a class and race of poor and over worked workers who I can continue exploiting even if my god aweful working conditions slowly begin to kill them off.
    You women are all whores. Result: Your kids are in extreme danger of being abused or killed by whatever male is currently shacking up with you, you stupid slut. Statistics prove that live in boyfriends are far more likely to abuse their girlfriend’s kids than the natural father in a married relationship, as are also your relatives and any husbands you do manage to trap with your vagina of evilness. But always remember that it’s your fault if anyone you know abuses your children, you may not be able to spot them, you may be under a huge overwhelming pressure to get hitched up with someone (anyone) rather than live in sin, but no matter how little power you actually have to stop someone you know abusing your child, it is inevitably your fault, because you have a vagina.
    Escape the godawful conditions and horrors in your own country to the holy land of prosperity that is supposedly america Result: Libertarians will exploit you as a form of slave labor, but fortunatly they have no moral responsibility to pay you well or treat you like a human being because you are racially inferior, and thus ensure that even if you wanted to learn the local language, you are unable to.
    Portray your presidential opponent as an effeminate college educated elittist who’s upper class education and speech patterns laeve him unable to connnect with the average redneckin the street, regardless of him and large numbers of lobotomised chimpanzees being better qualified to be president than you. Result: Get elected president despite having gone to the exact same elitist liberal college as your opponent, been part of the same elititst liberal secret societies and never having worked a day in your life, but you look and sound retarded so you’re packaged as “average” and “working class friendly”
    Spout off endlessly about how easy poor people’s lives are and firmly believe that given all the various disadvantages, lack of capital, lack of credit and out right institutional handicaps that the people I hate for being either poor or not white, have to live with and deal with while I piss all overthem and do a job that produces absolutly nothing worthwhile to society, I’d totally florish Result: No idea, but I believe last time jews were burned in ovens, though I’m obivously not implying we should start burning blacks in ovens or jsut letting htem be killed off in natural disasters, which the blakcs no doubt caused, I’m just saying that as an elitist, classist, “I got mine, screw you”, ladder pulling, racist, inhuman and amoral randian loony, I must pontificate endlessly about subjects that are neither here nor there but in fact reach a higher plain of enlightened self interest where by I get to feel guiltless for other people’s misery and can therefore feel no compulsion to help out the disadvantaged and poor, who are of course scum who deserve to die and only have themselves to blame anyway.”

  • Kim

    Here is part of a bulletin we sent out. the sources are good.
    Bush Fakes relief effort in Biloxi for Photo-Op.
    Mr. George Bush toured Biloxi Missippi Yesterday with and entourage of US Press Aides and media advisors. He travelled in bullet-proof air conditioned limosines, stopping along the way to hug storm survivors for the cameras. Preceding his caravan were bulldozers and rescue vehicles removing dead bodies and clearing storm debris. After Mr. Bush left the scene the rescue workers disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. Katrina survivors were once again left to fend for themselves.
    -ANS Summary by Kate Cooper
    Supporting sources appear below:
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    09/03/2005
    Landrieu Implores President to “Relieve Unmitigated Suffering;” End FEMA’s “Abject Failures”
    WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., issued the following statement this afternoon regarding her call yesterday for President Bush to appoint a cabinet-level official to oversee Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery efforts within 24 hours.
    Sen. Landrieu said:
    “Yesterday, I was hoping President Bush would come away from his tour of the regional devastation triggered by Hurricane Katrina with a new understanding for the magnitude of the suffering and for the abject failures of the current Federal Emergency Management Agency. 24 hours later, the President has yet to answer my call for a cabinet-level official to lead our efforts. Meanwhile, FEMA, now a shell of what it once was, continues to be overwhelmed by the task at hand.
    “I understand that the U.S. Forest Service had water-tanker aircraft available to help douse the fires raging on our riverfront, but FEMA has yet to accept the aid. When Amtrak offered trains to evacuate significant numbers of victims — far more efficiently than buses — FEMA again dragged its feet. Offers of medicine, communications equipment and other desperately needed items continue to flow in, only to be ignored by the agency.
    “But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast — black and white, rich and poor, young and old — deserve far better from their national government.
    “Mr. President, I’m imploring you once again to get a cabinet-level official stood up as soon as possible to get this entire operation moving forward regionwide with all the resources — military and otherwise — necessary to relieve the unmitigated suffering and economic damage that is unfolding.”
    Today’s aerial tour of the 17th Street levee will be featured tomorrow on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Later, Sen. Landrieu will also appear on CBS’s 60 Minutes.
    German TV reports. Thanks to readers FD and DZ for the links and translations. From DZ:
    German TV channel “ZDF” video (in German):
    http://www.heute.de/ZDFmediathek/inhalt/23/0,4070,2370903-5,00.html
    It´s the video called “Verzweiflung in der Anarchie” (“Desperation in Anarchy”). Bush visit coverage in Biloxi starts around 3:15.
    A short summary of her comments are also mentioned in this ZDF article:
    http://www.heute.de/ZDFheute/inhalt/23/0,3672,2370967,00.html
    starting with: “Raeumarbeiten nur für Bush?”
    [My translation:] “Clean-up operation only for Bush?
    Where the US President visited the disaster area, aid units cleaned up the area. But only there. Reporting from Biloxi, ZDF correspondent Claudia Rueggeberg cited desperate inhabitants [of Biloxi telling her] Bush should have transported aid materials inside his limousines instead of a bunch of body guards and media correspondents.
    [Now citing Claudia Rueggeberg directly from the video:]
    Along his [Bush's] travel route aid units removed debris and recovered corpses. Then Bush left and along with him, all aid troops left too. The situation in Biloxi remains unchanged, nothing has arrived, everything is still needed.”
    (I don´t know if aid units is the right term. The German word “Hilfstruppen” could be literally translated as “aid troops” or “recovery or support troops/units”. It means here units trying to help after a disaster.)
    ——-
    German TV channel “ARD” video (in German):
    http://www.tagesschau.de/video/0,1315,OID4700936_RESreal256_PLYinternal_NAV_BAB,00.html
    with a good translation here:
    http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2005/9/3/22494/85287/77#77:

  • Cherie Priest

    Why thank you — I do appreciate the linkage and the understanding.

  • Harv

    More Bush/Republican fear-spinning for election time:
    1) “We still live in an unsettled world. We want to make sure we can respond properly if there is a WMD (weapons of mass destruction) attack or another major storm.”
    Note the reference to WMDs used in this country – again equating natural disasters with terrorism. They really are not the same thing; maybe in consequence but as has been pointed out many times, everyone should have known what nature was capable of in this instance. Not a surprise attack – but let’s use this moment to remind every voter that the terrorists are still out there.
    2) “The people we’re talking about are not refugees,” he said. “They are Americans and they need the help and love and compassion of our fellow citizens.”
    Uh no George, they sort of are refugees, according to Webster’s dictionary:
    Source: http://www.m-w.com
    Main Entry: ref·u·gee
    Pronunciation: “re-fyu-’jE, ‘re-fyu-”
    Function: noun
    Etymology: French réfugié, past participle of (se) réfugier to take refuge, from Latin refugium
    : one that flees; especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution
    Maybe it’s confusing for POTUS due to that last part, but the root is “one who flees” – that seems the most apt way to interpret the word in this case. But I guess you want to be clear – these are NOT free-loading immigrants, these are Americans. Would not want to be soft on immigration (see quote 1).
    3) “He said it was important to get people’s Social Security checks delivered to them.”
    Ah another hot button issue! Got to get those private accounts started.. (OK that one was a stretch.. sorry)
    4)Earlier, McClellan rejected suggestions that the poor, and particularly blacks, had been abandoned when New Orleans was evacuated. “I think most Americans dismiss that and know that there’s just no basis for making such suggestions,” McClellan said.
    No basis????

  • Harv

    Hmm – seems the use of the word “refugee” is NOT a Bush problem – the uproar is coming from the
    African-American community?
    Please – can we start teaching the proper use of the English language in ALL schools again? This is getting ridiculous when you can’t use the proper term to describe someone or something, because of politics.


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