Wednesday, September 07, 2005

On horror - and hope

Okay, so an Irish prayer says, "May those who love us, love us; and those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles, so we'll know them by their limping." As this disaster continues and people begin to show their true colors, it's heartening to see how the goodness in this country ultimately overpowers the badness.

Monday morning, nearly 100 people -- most of them from four Phenix City churches -- organized piles of clothes and supplies they will begin to distribute to evacuees from Hurricane Katrina.

"We started calling everybody we know, and all this stuff started showing up," said Terry Shaughnessy, one of the organizers.

The stuff includes used clothes, socks, diapers, pots, pans and other essentials.


Shaughnessy said his group is just ordinary people trying to help.

"There are a lot of people willing to help," he said. "But there is really no organization to get the people who are willing to help together with the people who need help."

- Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer
I guess I'm one of those "closet racists" noticing that it seems to be almost exclusively black people who are doing the looting. [...] I guess we're supposed to ignore the evidence of our eyes and continue repeating the mantra that race has nothing to do with behavior. But what if there really IS a correlation between race and a tendency to amoral, selfish, violent behavior?


I just feel sorry for any white people left in that city. I saw video of some white tourists walking aimlessly, dragging their suitcases behind them, looking for help. [...] What a nightmare...white people abandoned in a lawless city full of black people with no police in sight, and no firearms to protect themselves. You can talk all you want about how awful it is to be a racist, but they are the ones who are finding out firsthand the brutal realities of race in this country."
- Mark J

The big yellow school bus wasn't expected or approved to pass through the stadium's gates. Randy Nathan, who was on the bus, said they were desperate to get out of town.

"If it werent for him right there," he said, "we'd still be in New Orleans underwater. He got the bus for us."

Eighteen-year-old Jabbor Gibson [sic]jumped aboard the bus as it sat abandoned on a street in New Orleans and took control.

"I just took the bus and drove all the way hours straight,' Gibson admitted. "I hadn't ever drove a bus."

The teen packed it full of complete strangers and drove to Houston. He beat thousands of evacuees slated to arrive there.

- thanks Sadly, No!
When the wealthy evacuate, they leave behind nice houses, expensive cars, possibly pets that they treat as members of the family, valuable jewelry, family heirlooms, etc. This makes it emotionally difficult for wealthy people to leave. But by definition, the poor do not have this burden: they either rent their homes, or they are in public housing; their cars are practically junk anyway; and they don't have any valuable possessions. This is what it means to be poor. These people could just pick up their few belongings, buy a one-way bus ticket to any city and be poor there. Supposing they even had jobs in NO, it's not like minimum wage jobs are hard to come by.

As Janis Joplin sang, "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose." The poor are the most free in situations like this; they don't need to worry about coming back and rebuilding. They can just start over from scratch and still be in the same shape they were in before the disaster.
- sdb510

Maureen Griffin wishes she had 1,000 empty apartments for the hurricane victims.

As it is, she has one.

“I actually feel lucky that I have the space to offer,” Griffin said yesterday.

She offered her two-bedroom Beacon Street apartment in Lowell to hurricane victims on Craig's List, an online classified page, on Sunday.


Griffin said she isn't concerned about offering her home to strangers.

“I'm just putting myself in their place,” Griffin said.

- Lowell (MA) Sun
Speaking purely in economic terms, the situation in New Orleans is actually quite positive, long-term. Yes there is the destruction of the port and that's bad, but consider: 80% of the population evacuated. The remaining 20% stayed, either because they didn't have the means to leave, or because they were just foolish; how much of each is a guess.

But in EITHER case, you have to consider that these people were essentially surplus. In other words, the least-functional 20% of the population of New Orleans has been eliminated. That obviously INCREASES the overall functionality of the New Orleans population.


But of course you can NEVER get people to see things this way. It's all Boo hoo hoo look at that baby that Geraldo is holding, let's get the Government to Save That Baby.
- Floyd Alvis Cooper

THE HOMELESS men of St. John's Hospice don't have much. But they are gathering their pennies - literally - to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"They've already filled up two jars with coins, dollar bills, whatever they have," said Matthew Gambino, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Catholic Social Services runs the Race Street shelter, which houses about 40 men and feeds hundreds more each day.

The shelter's food service manager, Anthony Willoughby, helped come up with the idea, Gambino said, after the men said they desperately wanted to help in any way they could.

"They know what it's like, going without," said Donna Farrell, director of the archdiocese's Office for Communications.

- thanks Attytood
If you have no means of transportation - maybe it isn't wise to live in a shallow bowl surrounded by water that is targeted by mother natures fury. Personal responsibility and common sense go along way. - kc

Four men from the Kalispell [MT] Fire Department left last weekend to help out in New Orleans.

They are Jeremy Jackson, Dan Wagner, Ken Gerhard and David Telfar, according to Chief Randy Brodehl.

For the next 30 days, they will work up to 16-hour days, seven days a week, he said.


Brodehl said his department will feel the absence of the four firefighters for the next month, but those remaining here are willing to cover for them so they can go.

"The community is bigger than just Flathead County," Brodehl said. Other departments around the county "would have the same response to us if we had a major disaster. It is our country and it is a national emergency."

- Daily Inter Lake
Is it just me, or is something seriously screwed up here?

If news guys can get in and out Ok, why cant at least drinking water and food be delivered? (Yes, even if they DO shoot at the choppers.)

As for the "sleeping on the streets", etc... Big deal. Its warm out, and they oughta be used to the heat by now.

And as for the "people are starting to die": ?? What? How many sick and elderly can their be? For others, WTF? You've had to live outside for a few days, so its literally killing you? What's up w/ that?
- Pessimist

Refugees lined the tables at a Parkview Baptist Church fellowship hall, enjoying a free meal of fried chicken, submarine sandwiches, baked beans, chips, drinks and an array of fruit and cookies.

"We normally have a meal on Wednesday night, and it just sort lent itself to this on this particular evening. ... We bought additional food to accommodate the 60 additional people," said Pastor Todd Evans.


Antoinne Sanson, 22, who suffers from diabetes, grew concerned when he realized he was running low on insulin. Sanson said he didn't have a prescription with him, but he thought that with a receipt and a bottle he might have enough evidence to obtain the drug.

Sanson was one of the refugees who met with a local woman who asked not to be named as she moved about the fellowship hall, trying to console people and taking notes on their needs. She said she believed she could help people get the medicine they need.

"Obviously, they are supposed to get a prescription transferred, but (a local pharmacist) said he doesn't know anyone who would turn them down," she said.

- Decature (AL) Daily News
I'm trying to figure this out-this whole seen(sic) does not make sense to me. A town of 1 million people is down to 100,000 and there is not enough food- especially a tourist town that caters to tourist (read lots of restaruants etc???

The place should be full of food. Seems like some people are spending more time stealing tv's and jewelery when they should be going on planned food runs.
- superiorslots

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, "you can handle being in dirty clothes, but you can't handle being in dirty underwear," said Vicky Brouwer, of Holland, who donated 16 packages of new underwear Monday in sizes children's through adults at a semi-trailer parked at the Holland Alano Club, 201 E. 39th St.

This drive is organized by friends of the father of a Holland airman who a week ago was stationed in Biloxi, Miss. As the base was being evacuated, the airman was among 100 people who volunteered to stay behind and help with the cleanup.

"Watching the news, you feel like not enough is being done to help these people," said Tina Lyttaker, who helped the father of the airman organize this drive. "We wanted to help, and found sponsors who were willing to help us."

J-MAX Transportation, of Zeeland, donated a 45-foot trailer, and Holland Special Delivery, of Spring Lake, donated a tractor and a driver to haul the trailer to International Aid, in Spring Lake, which already has coordinated the distribution of eight truckloads of supplies to Mississippi.

"The team reports being first responders wherever they have gone," IA President Myles Fish wrote in his online newsletter. "On Friday, the team arrived in the small village of Tylertown, Miss., to distribute three truckloads of food donated by Meijer Corp. and two truckloads of hygiene products. One woman, holding her infant daughter, cried as she was handed a supply of baby food."

- Grand Rapids (MI) Press
The critical thing was to get people out of there before the disaster. Some people chose not to obey that order. That was a mistake on their part. - DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff

[Paula] Russell, 45, and her partner, Kirk Woods, 42, will live rent-free in a two-bedroom apartment owned by Nadine and Warren Heaps and furnished by locals. Nadine, president of Ashland's Business Association, and Warren Heaps contacted the couple through a shelter in Baton Rouge, La.


Local organizations are working to find Woods, a security guard, and Russell, a casino worker, new jobs. Heaps said the couple could live rent-free as long as it took for them to get back on their feet.

``Why do we have to give to the Red Cross to help them out? The Constitution says, `We the people.' The sooner people can start over, the sooner people can start feeling safe, the sooner our country will heal,'' she said.

- Boston Herald help those who are stranded, who chose not to evacuate, who chose not to leave the city... - FEMA director Michael Brown

Some York County residents are hoping to create a database of people willing to take in those who have lost their homes and jobs because of Hurricane Katrina who are willing to relocate to York County.

Jim Greenberg, a local attorney, said he's already been contacted by local people interested in helping in this way.

At this time, they are approaching the idea of relocating people with open minds, Greenberg said.

"All it takes is people who want to help other people in the right spirit, and people who want to help themselves," he said.

- York (PA) Daily Record
Yes, the poor will have special hardships. Obviously so. But what I objected to, and still object to, is the reflexive playing of the class card. Is it really true that some middle class retirees who heeded the advice of the government to leave town, only to watch their homes be looted after a lifetime of hardwork for a better life are suffering less than a poor person who lost his rented apartment? What's the metric for measuring this sort of suffering? What about the small businessman who worked his entire life to build something he's proud of? What about the families who lost loved ones, but had the poor taste to make more money than the poverty line?

Whatever happened to the idea that unity in the face of a calamity is an important value? We're all in it together, I guess, except for the poor who are extra-special.
- Jonah Goldberg

Youngsters sold lemonade to raise money, families offered spare rooms, groups packed donated goods into trucks that volunteers will drive to the Gulf region and government agencies sought to cut red tape as people in the Pikes Peak region found ways to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

About 100 hurricane refugees have been helped by the local branch of the American Red Cross and others have been taken in by family, friends and strangers.


More than 400 people packed the City Auditorium on Tuesday night for a town-hall style meeting to find out what’s been done and what is needed. Dozens signed up to offer their homes, time or money.

“We might not have a lot to give, but we have a lot more than these folks,” said Michelle Ray, who offered to open up her Woodland Park home to evacuees.

- Colorado Springs Gazette
Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.
- American Red Cross

Our PayPal account is currently showing over $1,600. We've got another GRAND coming in the mail. We've gotten over $1,600 from Western Union.


We spent $300+ on the first load, to the St. Francisville shelter, and over $100 on the first load part B, to Second Harvest Food Bank's truck convoy.

Today, we spent over $1,200 at Wally World [...] today, on non-perishable food, baby food, cereals, baby formula, juices, diapers, baby supplies, first aid supplies, toiletries, Tylenol & Aleve & Advil, feminine needs, dog & cat food, and a few D-cell batteries for flashlights.


We dumped the entire load (except for the pet stuff) at Second Harvest tonight. Met a great guy named Freddy, and his little son, Little Freddy, who were evacuated from New Orleans East. Their apartment complex was under water up to the THIRD FLOOR. They were so kind, and so wonderful, it's amazing how people's true natures shine in situations like this, if I don't sound too condescending or trite there.

- thanks Joanna, aka Anntichrist S. Coulter

Give until it hurts:
American Red Cross
Salvation Army
America's Second Harvest
Convoy of Hope

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