Tuesday, September 27, 2005.
Today was my second day back at work. I've gotten to talk to a number of people in my office building, and a number of my clients as well. It's interesting to hear all of the different stories. I found a list of personal stories today. You can get it at www.wwltv.com . Look for the Tell us your stories from Katrina section. Everybody has a story, some good, some bad. I had a fairly productive day. I actually got some work done, and I managed to contact the Louisiana Department of Labor and get my unemployment benefits. Andrea managed to get scheduled with our insurance adjuster. One day at a time...
Larry was good enough to lend me his chain saw, so I went over and picked it up. Then I had to go out to a client and review their backup procedure with them. They have hired some new people, and everybody will need a lot of training in the coming weeks. That's the hardest part for most businesses. They've lost so many employees - either because they haven't come back yet, or because they're never coming back. Signs are springing up everywhere of people trying to sell their houses here and move out. Signs like this one. Believe me, 299 thousand dollars is more than a 3 bedroom is worth in the area - by about 100 thousand. I have no doubt, though, that they'll get their asking price. There are so many people - even rich people - who have no homes to go back to right now.
Andrea wanted to pick up dinner tonight, and I agreed because we kind of need the break - but nothing was open. So, we had sandwiches, which is just as well.
There was some news today, and the biggest piece of news is that Eddie Compass - NOPD Police Chief - resigned today. He didn't make any real comment, just said he was leaving, then asked the press to 'respect my privacy', and then left the podium. Personally, I'd like to see the man in prison for human rights violations. I really thought he was a good police chief before Katrina, but after he just proved himself to be any other thug with a badge, IMO. Maybe some folks will think that harsh...
On Sept. 1, with desperate Hurricane Katrina evacuees crammed into the convention center, Police Chief Eddie Compass reported: "We have individuals who are getting raped; we have individuals who are getting beaten."
But now, a month after the chaos subsided, police are re-examining the reports and finding that many of them have little or no basis in fact.
And so the public whitewash begins. We're going to hear about how it really wasn't so bad. In a few months we'll hear that the death toll is highly exaggerated too. In a few years, Katrina will just have been a little water and nobody will remember what it was really like because nobody will want to remember...
I've been listening to the media again, and taking it all in. Someone sent me this the other day, and I have something to say about it. It's a little long, but worth the read.
In 1927, a major unnamed hurricane struck the city
of New Orleans. It was actually more powerful than Katrina. The scope of
damage was much more severe because this particular hurricane actually hit
the city. Katrina missed it by 25 miles.
The interesting difference is the response the government gave in 1927 to those hurricane refugees, compared to the refugees of Katrina, err- I meant "survivors" ---(sorry Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson). How much aid did the government dispense at that time? Zero, nada, not one dime. And you know how much aid the army offered? The only aid from the army came in the form of loaning the city of New Orleans tents and camp stoves. Ironically, later, the army sued the city for reimbursement. So what was the big difference here?
It was the attitude the people had towards the government at that time, compared to the attitude that Katrina's victims have. The 1927 "survivors" expected nothing from the government. 80 years ago, people understood that the government was there to "protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Today, Americans expect the government to "provide life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That's a major difference. And now, a week later, when the government failed on all three levels of local, state, and federal to provide for their needs, Americans were sorely disappointed.
Reverend Jackson and reverend Sharpton spend their opportunities arguing about semantics. "They shouldn't be called refugees, they should be called survivors" Unfortunately, they missed the boat. It was a perfect opportunity to deliver a very basic message to their people.
Fact, if you are poor and uneducated in America, this is what happens. Fact, if you depend on the government, you will be sorely disappointed. Fact, if you are poor in America, there is no reason for you to be uneducated. Its free! 12 grades. And if you really apply yourself, there is enough grants and assistance out there for higher education, which will raise you above the poverty level. And no longer will you depend on the government and be disappointed. Its unfortunate that this lesson will be missed by most of the "survivors".
A couple of other points should be brought to light. G. W. has asked the congress for 50 billion dollars worth of aid for the "survivors" and clean up of the city. Interesting isn't it? one million people displaced and out of work in that city, sitting all day in shelters, waiting for the next handout. Of course, the thought never occurred to anyone that just maybe, "hey, we should give all these folks jobs filling sand bags to plug the levees and clearing trees." (Wonder how many of them would want government aid if they had to work for it?)
And finally, they haven't hardly begun the task of picking up dead bodies, and already the finger pointing has started. The congressional hearings and probes will go forever. Millions will be spent on a wasted diatribe of a bipartisan "witch hunting expedition"- all of which will be nonsense. If you're a democrat, you are going to blame the president. If you are a republican, you are going to blame the mayor and the governor. This is another case in point of how the government will once again fail its people, they could have spent the millions educating the poor and misplaced citizens of New Orleans so that they could go out and get a new and better life, instead of wasting it on useless blame investigations.
That's a pretty insightful piece, in my opinion. The other thing that really bothers me is that these Democrats are all going about it the wrong way. The Mayor has locked everyone out of the city, but wants business to come back in and start operations. How can you run a business with no employees? How can you run a business with no customers!? Let the people back in. Let them clean up their city. Let them build it again with their own hands! Common sense has totally escaped these 'leaders'. Let people come in and pick themselves back up. Yes, it's going to be long, hard, nasty work - but I'd much rather see New Orleanians rebuilding New Orleans than Halliburton or some other Yankee contractor with no more sense of New Orleans than a Mardi Gras or two.
Got this from Tracy in Idaho:
Went to Home Depot over the weekend to get some 2x4's to start furring out the basement. There was a sign on each stack of plywood (any thickness/type) explaining that due to heavy usage of plywood for Katrina any household can only purchase 10 sheets of plywood because Home Depot is experiencing nation-wide shortages.
I'm just blown away that a disaster in basically one city in this entire nation can do that to a market. I am not belittling how major this disaster is but I didn't expect to see that sort of ripple effect all the way to Idaho. Because of a single city. I wouldn't have been surprised to see higher plywood prices but I'm amazed that we are forced into *rationing* materials. My sister and her husband sold their house a few weeks ago. They will not be able to start construction on a new home until this gets sorted out.
From my friend Helen
I saw people being rescued from rooftops
I saw people dying
I saw people fearful
I saw people looting
I saw people shooting
I saw a city ruined
I saw families scattered
I saw families reunited
I saw people make excuses
I saw people passing blame
I saw people praise themselves
I saw people in denial
I saw people angry
I saw people crying in LA
I saw people crying in CA
I saw reporters cry
I saw people work selflessly in LA
I saw people work selflessly in CA
I saw white help black
I saw black help white
I saw Atheist help Christian
I saw Christian help Atheist
I saw the poor help the rich
I saw the rich help the poor
I saw the country unite
"There is enough light in the world when it is so bright that anyone can look in the face of anyone else and see in that face the face of a brother or a sister."
I thought this was funny.
US Trained 'Armed Dolphins' Might Be Loose
Mark Townsend Houston | Septemer 25
It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and
pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.
This is in Chalmette, right off Paris Road. The flood water stood the car up, set it against the house, and then slowly left... Try explaining that to your insurance company...
Hey! Can somebody lend me a hand!? OK, so maybe that's macabre or something. I'm not entirely sure that's a real hand sticking up out of the muck, but it could be...all right...probably is... Now I'm going to go to hell for being disrespectful of the dead...
Another looter sign in Algiers. That's on the Westbank of Orleans, in case you didn't know. Folks are allowed back there now.
NYPD in NO. The storm is bad enough, but then we get invaded by Yankees! Well, I guess we did it to them for 9-11, so turnabout is fair play... ;)
Here's a really good one. (Becky, don't look at this one...)