Katrina’s [America’s] Hidden Race War

Katrina’s Hidden Race War: In Aftermath of Katrina, Vigilantes Shot 11 Blacks in New Orelans (1 of 2)

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Racism, in reality, is fear of the unknown.  It is apprehension for what is alien to us.  A bigot is often one who claims to be colorblind.  However, indeed, he or she is more likely colormute.  Rarely do persons who think themselves tolerant speak of the scorn they feel for those who differ from them.  Often the intolerant are not aware of the rigidity that rules their lives.  Few amongst Anglos in America, since most appear as they do, consider what the life of one whose complexion is cause for rejection experience.  However, in an exposé, A.C. Thompson muses of what most rather not mention.  The author addresses “Katrina’s Hidden Race War.”  

Through the tales told, after a tumultuous tempest, readers learn of what they may know, and just not discuss freely.  In this land of the free and home of the brave, few people of color are truly free.  Yet, these same individuals are genuinely brave.  They have to be.

It is common to hear Caucasians say, “Some of my best friends are Black, Brown, Yellow, or Red.” People hope to create an impression.  Most wish to prove they willingly accept those unlike themselves.  However, the acquaintance they speak of may be the one and only person of color that they know.   People may think the person that they associate with is the exception to the rule.  He or she is a good gal or gent.  All other folks who do not don a pinkish hue are not to be trusted.

In this country, to publicly proclaim a hatred for a person whose complexion is dark is just not done.  That is unless a person can conceive of a circumstance that allows for a reasonable abhorrence.  Hurricane Katrina afforded such an opportunity for white residents of Algiers Point, Louisiana.

Algiers Point has always been somewhat isolated: it’s perched on the west bank of the Mississippi River, linked to the core of the city only by a ferry line and twin gray steel bridges. When the hurricane descended on Louisiana, Algiers Point got off relatively easy. While wide swaths of New Orleans were deluged, the levees ringing Algiers Point withstood the Mississippi’s surging currents, preventing flooding; most homes and businesses in the area survived intact. As word spread that the area was dry, desperate people began heading toward the west bank, some walking over bridges, others traveling by boat. The National Guard soon designated the Algiers Point ferry landing an official evacuation site. Rescuers from the Coast Guard and other agencies brought flood victims to the ferry terminal, where soldiers loaded them onto buses headed for Texas.

Facing an influx of refugees, the residents of Algiers Point could have pulled together food, water, and medical supplies for the flood victims. Instead, a group of white residents, convinced that crime would arrive with the human exodus, sought to seal off the area, blocking the roads in and out of the neighborhood by dragging lumber and downed trees into the streets. They stockpiled handguns, assault rifles, shotguns, and at least one Uzi and began patrolling the streets in pickup trucks and SUVs.

The newly formed militia, a loose band of about fifteen to thirty residents, most of them men, all of them white, was looking for thieves, outlaws or, as one member put it, anyone who simply “didn’t belong.”

The Nation Magazine, in the January 5, 2009 issue, recounts tales as told by those foreign elements who, while residents of the broader community, were shot as though they were criminals.  Their crime was perhaps only their skin color.  

The way Donnell Herrington tells it, there was no warning. One second he was trudging through the heat. The next he was lying prostrate on the pavement, his life spilling out of a hole in his throat, his body racked with pain, his vision blurred and distorted.

It was September 1, 2005, some three days after Hurricane Katrina crashed into New Orleans, and somebody had just blasted Herrington, who is African-American, with a shotgun. “I just hit the ground. I didn’t even know what happened,” recalls Herrington, a burly 32-year-old with a soft drawl.

The sudden eruption of gunfire horrified Herrington’s companions–his cousin Marcel Alexander, then 17, and friend Chris Collins, then 18, who are also black. “I looked at Donnell and he had this big old hole in his neck,” Alexander recalls. “I tried to help him up, and they started shooting again.” Herrington says he was staggering to his feet when a second shotgun blast struck him from behind; the spray of lead pellets also caught Collins and Alexander. The buckshot peppered Alexander’s back, arm, and buttocks.

Herrington shouted at the other men to run and turned to face his attackers: three armed white males. Herrington says he hadn’t even seen the men or their weapons before the shooting began. As Alexander and Collins fled, Herrington ran in the opposite direction, his hand pressed to the bleeding wound on his throat. Behind him, he says, the gunmen yelled, “Get him! Get that n*gg*r!”

Persons who were presumed guilty, merely by their presence, were neighbors from another section of town.  The poorer people sought safety and shelter after the storm placed them in a precarious situation.  Contrary to reports, the Black population did not loot or engage in thievery.  African-Americans did as the Anglos who were also chest-deep in floodwaters.  They “found” food and fluids to drink from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina destroyed all they had.  However, trepidation distorts perception.  Frequently, white Americans are apprehensive when they consider African-Americans.  

From birth, children are taught not to talk to strangers.  Little ones are cautioned to beware.  Different is dangerous.  Perchance, the Associated Press Reporters or Editors who covered the Katrina story were Anglos.  Hence, when Journalists, just as the residents of Algiers Point, saw persons who look as they do, they defined their actions as honorable.  However, the sight of a Black individual in a similar situation was not viewed through a clear lens.  The question might be asked, in America will it ever be.

Please ponder the images.  Then, consider the captions.


Shared By Dustin

Some, of every complexion, did take possession of life’s littlest necessities.  In a few neighborhoods, not Algiers Point, white persons were benevolent towards those “others” of color.  However, Caucasian citizens might contemplate the reality that, before Katrina, the plight of Black Americans was hidden, and it is again.  

The depth of poverty experienced by many African-Americans, the people whose ancestors physically built this nation, was not realized until a natural storm churned up a crisis so critical.

White Americans acknowledge that in some areas, a bridge was built.  Yet, few wish to admit this association only appears in a time of crisis.  While a scant few channels were opened another, many more were closed.  In other locales, where dark skinned persons were presumably welcome, the Anglo inhabitants roared with resentment.  Reports offered the rationale for what in America is the conventional wisdom of an apprehensive Anglo populace. Karina victims are to blame for an increase in Houston crime.  Certainly, these same “undesirables” would propagate misdeeds wherever they may be; hence, we have Algiers Point.

Granted, pinkish persons in other neighborhoods, even in New Orleans, opened their hearts.  A restaurant proprietor, aware of the depth of destruction, 80 percent of the city was under water, opened their eateries to anyone in need.

Tommy Cvitanovich, co-owner of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, is but one of what might be many.  This sympathetic fellow spoke of the reason he, his family, and his staff felt they must serve all survivors.  For the entrepreneur, there was no reason to fear.  Mister Cvitanovich, when confronted with the circumstances of his fellow man, felt he could not turn away.  Nor could he, his kin, and the folks they worked with grab a gun and shot at persons who sought food and a safer shelter.  The tale is beautiful and worth a peek.

“For eight weeks we gave away meals.  People were waiting in line,” he says.

For five weeks, the meals were given outside the restaurant.  When the restaurant reopened, Drago’s moved the effort to Lakeview where the need was greater.

“There were no fast food restaurants, no convenience stores or grocery stores open,” he says.  “Most people brought food (from outside the area) Food sources were non-existent.”

In a moment of horror, what is often hidden, good, and bad is revealed.  Honorable Americans such as Tommy Cvitanovich are to be thanked for what their endeavors can teach.  Some persons pale of skin felt the pain of the poorer, less protected population.  However, when the waters receded, might residents of the United States inquire; would benevolence still prosper.  

Several, such a Tommy Cvitanovich might show compassion as they had done in the past.  Yet, we cannot be certain.

In America, sweetness is often subdued by racism.  Much is restrained, not realized, or hidden from view when consternation is prevalent.  When people react to anxiety, rather than act and discover we are not that different, we have what we had in Algiers Point, guns ablaze

Inside and outside of a New Orleans enclave, Caucasians are challenged to conceive that persons of color did not seek to violate the law.  Indeed, white vigilantes victimized those who have, for centuries, been casualties in a civilized American society.

What received less attention from the press and from the paler people is Whites Sought More Katrina Aid Than Blacks.  African-Americans, too often buried by the burden of bigotry, did not know that they might be able to apply or appeal a decision for inadequate assistance.  Nor did some have the means before the tempest to secure property or proper insurance.  What also was and remains out of sight are the financial abuses brownish-purplish persons are victim to.  Credit is not colorblind.

In America, privilege is a white man’s prerogative.  Prosecution is reserved for “other” races.

Tulane University Historian Lance Hill, who runs Tulane’s Southern Institute for Education and Research, has studied the city’s racial divide.  He understands why Algiers Point gunmen have avoided arrest.  “By and large, I think the white mentality is that these people [the Anglo lawbreakers] are exempt–that even if they committed these crimes, they’re really exempt from any kind of legal repercussion.” People of color only commit crime, in the mind of many.

Professor Hill ponders and proclaims; “It’s sad to say, but I think that if any of these cases went to trial, and none of them have, I can’t see a white person being convicted of any kind of crime against an African-American during that period.”  Such is the sound of silence.  When people are blind, or white, racism becomes a more colorful spectrum.

The stories of Algiers Point, and the plight of Katrina, tell a tale too terrible to imagine.  Perchance, that is why in America people prefer to remain colormute.  To report as The Nation did is to attest to what most prefer to hide.  Racism remains rampant in the land of opportunity.  In a country considered great, bigotry is not criminal.  Fear is not a felony.  Trepidation, even with a gun in hand, and shots fired, is fine in United States.  

Apparently, as long as Caucasian citizens transgress only against the unfamiliar, the supposed unruly, persons whose only crime is that his or her skin color is not white will suffer fates so ghastly, even storm waters will not wash the stain away.

Please peruse the portrait of America, “Katrina’s Hidden Race War.”  Ponder what might be too true.  If Americans do not love thy neighbor, if fright rules, no one is authentically free and fewer are brave.

References for Racism . . .

Let The People Awaken

copyright © 2007 Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

Copyright 2007, Paul Kane.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

For the past few years the Bush administration in concert with Congress has led America down a path based on fear backed with little in terms of real facts.  As the truth begins to be seen over time we find much of what we were assured was factual in nature was in honest truth distorted or fabricated in many instances.  We, the people, were misled into a war of aggression in Iraq.  Today we find our military stretched to the limits as the situation collapses before our eyes.  Violence within the country continues with attacks against civilian populations on a near daily basis.  American deaths are increasing and now exceed 3800.  Death of and injury to military contractors are increasing in numbers, too, even though those numbers are not in the news these days.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans more than 2 years ago.  At the time the administration promised real and rapid restoration of the city.  Instead today we hear tales of displaced persons not allowed any return to their homes and communities while developers salivate at the prospect of new properties to build for profit.  Much of New Orleans city once was occupied by low income housing in which there was a sense of real community.  Today those doors are padlocked, the residents not allowed to return, and are being displaced from the FEMA trailers given as temporary housing.  The plan is to build condiminiums that may sell for as much as $400,000 and up.

Park land and open federal lands are being sold to the highest bidder around the country.  Once again we see new housing and commercial development taking the place of once reserved open lands.

The president’s most recent budget requires the US Forest Service to sell 300,000 acres and the Bureau of Land Management to raise $350 million from auctioning some of its holdings.

The Veterans’ Administration is struggling with the healthcare needs of veterans returning in increasing numbers from Iraq with both mental and physical needs.  All we hear from the administration is about how well we support our troops.  The news tells a different story in many instances as our veterans sent to war by Uncle Sam are finding Uncle Scrooge to be their new host.

America must awaken from its slumber.  The strength of America is in its people.  We have shown our resilience and strength over the years as a variety of foes were presented.  Today the real foe is in our own government.  The administration is failing to offer real leadership and real solutions to national problems while continuing to promote the occupation of Iraq.  We can no longer afford to continue this course.  The costs in both manpower and dollars exceed our ability to pay.

Polls demonstrate an increasing disconnect between the desires of the voting public and the actions of elected officials.  Who are those officials representing these days?  Many are working to see themselves continue a career in office.  To that end support goes to the highest bidders from the corporate world or the military industrial complex.  Others may only hear from the loudest voices.  In either case the public is not being well served.

For the people of America it is important to take on our responsibility as citizens.  We must accept our part in the actions of our nation.  We as voters and as citizens are the first line of any political action in our country.  We must take action and take action today.  We cannot be sure what our actions will bring as a result.  Uncertainty and doubt will always be part of any decision making process.  We must not allow these feelings to reign.  But we CAN be sure that if we

do not take responsibility for the future of our Nation, others will.   If we do not lead, we will be led.

Political leaders all across the landscape today talk to us, the voting public of the country, as though we cannot understand the issues of the day, as if we are not able to grasp complex ideas and formulate solutions.  Instead of real leadership we are treated to a pep rally rather than national conversation.

We are strong in our inner beings.  The time has come to shed our sheep skin use our strength to benefit the nation.  We can no longer sit quietly by and allow ourselves to be led like sheep (sheeple, really) to the slaughter.  We are better than that.

I urge each and ever one to stand up today, right now, and take action.  Fear, uncertainty, doubt, and hesitation will take your life away if you allow that to happen.  Let these feelings prod you to seek greater knowledge and involvement and always remember action is the antidote to all our woes.  Action will change the world IF we get moving.  

Let the world see real Citizens in action.  Let the world once again see real leadership as we begin to move the globe to a new status of security and economic development.  We can shed our sheep’s clothing and lose our fears along the way.  Together we can move the world once we get up and get ourselves moving.

What Price Victory

copyright © 2007 Possum Ponders.  Sedalia Tales

Victory is defined as

the overcoming of an enemy or an antagonist.

President Bush and members of the administration continue to say America must stay the course in Iraq until victory is achieved.  At what cost will that victory be gained one should be moved to ask.  As of this morning 3665 American casualties have been reported.  Recent reports put the cost of the continuing occupation of Iraq at near $12 billion per month.  In addition there are cultural costs with

the disappearance of some of the most important archaeological pieces of all time

and the displacement of various populations within Iraq. 

The human costs of the Iraqi invasion and occupation continue to rise.  Recent reports tell of the exodus of as many as 3000 Iraqis per day.  Many of these folk are of ancient cultures, some of the oldest communities in the world.  Christians  have lived in Iraq for more than 2,000 years coexisting with various other groups.  A small Jewish community is all but gone as a result of ongoing persecution.  Other groups including Mandaeans exist only in Iraq and Iran.  Yazidis are primarily ethnic Kurds.  Given the relative size of some of these minor groups, extinction is a real threat.  Even Palestinian and Turkoman populations which are significantly larger are at relative risk as the war escalates.  Being in the minority, adherents to these religious groups are easily targeted by kidnappers and death squads.

In a country of approximately 25 million the UN High Commissioner for Refugees gives estimates as many as 1.6 million Iraqis displaced within the country and as many as 1.8 million displaced outside the country.  Inside Iraq estimates suggest as many as 50,000 people are leaving their homes each year.  The internal strife and dislocation of people is a basic human rights issue.  Violence leads to conditions which are no longer acceptable for families.  People leave their homes in search of better conditions.  Most refugees find themselves in camps rather than finding settled living.  Violence and unrest often follow as these populations are so vulnerable.

So long as wartime conditions continue in Iraq and other countries around the world, the refugee issue will continue.  The solution is not easy without peace being restored.  Ancient cultures as well as more modern cultures will cease to exist if their members cannot find places to coexist with their neighbors in tolerance.  When those old cultures are gone, we as a race will have lost a valuable part of our heritage.  The human costs of war must be considered when we total the investment.

The cultural cost to the American people as a result of the endless playing of the fear card by the administration is very high.  We have seen passage of the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act,(MCA)  both of which limit the freedoms of all Americans.  The MCA takes many rights considered basic to the Founding Fathers away from detainees held in Guantanamo Bay and other secret detention centers around the world.  Habeus corpus is all but dead in America today.  Faith in government has been lost to the lies and half-truths put out so often by the administration speakers.  The moral standing of the United States has reached an all time low in the eyes of the world.  How long will we need to recover our sense of pride and our basic freedoms in this country? 

Education, rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina, and infrastructure repair and maintenance are suffering as result of the monetary drain on the US economy as a direct result of military spending.  Monies spent in Iraq and Afghanistan are not available for schools, highways, and bridges (just look at Minnesota recently).

The real question becomes just how much are we as a country willing to sacrifice for a “victory” in Iraq.  Even more to the point, how do we define that victory?  Does victory mean a peaceful Iraq with a stable government and a rebuilt infrastructure?  Or does victory mean we simply claim to be victorious and leave the country to end our losses.  In so many instances the victor is not a real winner, but the one who manages to lose least in the battle.  How much are we as a nation willing to lose to count ourselves winners?

President Bush. Katrina Aftermath; Tornado in Alabama

© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Please view the scene in Huge Storm Slams Midwest

Pardon the commercial prologue.  Please observe Tornado Tears Up New Orleans  March 1, 2007

Today ravaging tempests are wreaking havoc in the Southeast.  Tornadoes Kill at Least 14 in 2 States.  Eighteen months after another deadly storm, Hurricane Katrina, President Bush travels to New Orleans reassuring the public that he all is well.  The Midwest is reeling; devastating snowstorms hit the heartland.  The ground is giving way in California.  A San Francisco landslide displaced sleepy residents. A wide swath of the North Beach hillside came thundering down on buildings below.  Unusual tornadoes are swirling in the skies above Southern Florida.  Hail and freezing rains are falling in many regions.  America is not alone.  Severe weather is everywhere!

Humans waited too long to heed the gentle warnings of Mother Nature.  She has been speaking to us for years.  Now she is screaming; “Help me!  Help yourselves!”  Our sweet Mother is no longer politely asking us to care for her.  She is demanding we do so.  This gracious, gentle, and loving spirit hoped we would treat her with reverence.  We did not.  She gave and we took.  Mother Nature can bequeath no more.  She is depleted and desperate.

We have a lesson to learn, as does the Bush Administration.  When we do not attend to the needs of nature, or do so belatedly and half-heartedly we pay the price.  People worldwide are realizing the cost of defiance.  Citizens had ignored the harm they did to this planet for decades.  Only late in the last century were people beginning to clean their globe. The Bush Administration took office in 2001 and reversed the trend.  The President, the Vice, and their Energy Commission denied that humans had a substantial effect on the environment.  They declared global warming a myth.  Industry was once again allowed to reap it’s bounty more recklessly.  Now we sow and see what was always evident.  Nature can only take so much abuse before it reacts.  Witness the winter storms everywhere on Earth.

Weeks ago our President relented, perhaps, humans are responsible for climate change. His proclamation was feeble.  George W. Bush states there is a problem.  Pretends to have a plan and then, does nothing.  The President turns his projects over to private industry, passes his work onto government agencies, and then declares he is done.  He has done all he can, and life is good.  Perchance life is good for Mister Bush; however, common citizens are struggling to survive.

Facts continue to elude this “environmental” President and “compassionate conservative.”  We witness this again today,  March 1, 2007. Weather continues to rape the land; red tape rankles the residents.  Nothing has changed. Yet, our President says, it has.

“Times are changing for the better.  People’s lives are improving.  And there is hope.”
~ George W. Bush [March 1, 2007]

There is so much pretense and more posturing.  Today President George W. Bush is traveling to New Orleans.  He is looking over the wasteland, explaining how he contributed to the cleanup.  He sent Billions of dollars.  He decrees the people need to do their part; they need to bring the area back to life.

In an interview on National Public Radio, when asked why he neglected to mention Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast region, President Bush stated . . .

Well, I gave a speech that I thought was necessary to give. On the other hand, I had been talking a lot about Katrina and about the fact that I worked with the Congress to get about $110 billion sent down to both Mississippi and Louisiana to help them on their reconstruction efforts. Obviously, there is more work to be done. But to take the housing issue, for example, we have sent money down to the Louisiana folks, Louisiana Recovery Authority, to fund their plan. And the money is there and the money is available. And now it’s up to the folks down there to get this plan implemented so people can start rebuilding their houses.

If there’s bureaucratic slowdowns in Washington, we’ve got a man named Don Powell who is working to address them. But no, our response to the Katrina recovery has been very robust.

Robust; perhaps for a few.  The President only observes what he wishes to, hopeful circumstances.

Bush Tours Katrina-Ravaged Areas
President Reassures Victims And Taxpayers Of Commitment To Rebuild
Long Beach, Mississippi, March, 1, 2007

AP) President Bush on Thursday returned to the battered Gulf Coast, declaring “there is hope” for the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged region where his administration was widely accused of botching the initial recovery efforts.

Mr. Bush toured five homes in a neighborhood still recovering from the devastating hurricane 18 months earlier and is scheduled to meet with Mississippi officials before continuing on to New Orleans, a city whose population dropped by about 50 percent in the wake of Katrina and which is reeling from a surge in crime and a lack of social services.  Large numbers of New Orleans residents are so frustrated they are thinking of leaving for good.

“I want the taxpayers of the United States to see firsthand what their money has done to help revitalize a series of communities that were literally wiped out,” Bush said.

The taxpayers do see what the President again purposely avoids.  Mister Bush is not traveling to areas still untouched eighteen long and miserable months later.  George W. continues to ignore what he chooses not to know.  He paints a Presidential picture; it pretty.  Yet . . .

The Katrina Index, a monthly report by the Brookings Institution research group, says many indicators suggest the recovery effort is moving slowly.  The report for February [2007] says demand for essential services continues to overwhelm supply, with overfilled emergency rooms and waiting lists of students for public schools.

The report said 56 percent of public schools remain closed in New Orleans.  It called on decision-makers at all levels to remove excessive bureaucracy that hinders repairs to housing and infrastructure.

Democratic leaders of the U.S. Congress are pushing for legislation to help get federal aid money to residents faster.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement that Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster compounded by a man-made disaster.

Mister Bush, if there is hope to be found it will not flourish as long as your Administration disregards reality.  Anticipation and eagerness are not gifts from a government that tells the citizens all is well when they know it is not.  I beg and plead.  Please venture out.  Travel to the areas still in ruin.  Then listen to us.  Let us know that you feel our pain.  We cannot continue to pretend all is well.  The weather outside tells us it is not.  As you visit homes rebuilt, more are being buried under the weight of snow, winds, and water.

The stormy weather and the strident Mister Bush . . .

  • Tornadoes Kill at Least 14 in 2 States, By Brenda Goodman. The New York Times.  March 1, 2007
  • pdf Tornadoes Kill at Least 14 in 2 States, By Brenda Goodman. The New York Times.  March 1, 2007
  • San Francisco landslide displaces residents.  Associated Press.  MSNBC News.  February 27, 2007
  • Snow, ice create chaos for the holiday, By Andrea Stone.  USA Today.  February 18, 2007
  • Hail damage delays next US shuttle launch.  ABC News Online.
  • Tornadoes kill at least 19 in Florida.  Cable News Network.  February 3, 2007
  • Ice storm prompts emergency in Oklahoma. Cable News Network.  January 12,2007
  • England in grip of severe weather.  BBC News.  February 8, 2007
  • Bush Vows to Speed Up Aid for Gulf Coast, By Robert Pear and David Stout.  The New York Times.  March 1, 2007
  • pdf Bush Vows to Speed Up Aid for Gulf Coast, By Robert Pear and David Stout.  The New York Times.  March 1, 2007
  • Agency Affirms Human Influence on Climate, By Andrew C. Revkin.  The New York Times.  January 10, 2007
  • pdf Agency Affirms Human Influence on Climate, By Andrew C. Revkin.  The New York Times.  January 10, 2007
  • Bush attacks environment ‘scare stories’,  By Antony Barnett. The Guardian  April 4, 2004
  • Hurricane Preparedness.  The White house.  March 1, 2007
  • President Bush Meets with Gulf Coast Grant Recipients  The White house.  March 1, 2007
  • President Bush Visits Hurricane-Battered US Gulf Coast By Voice Of America News. 01 March 2007
  • The Katrina Index,  Brookings Institute.
  • Mother Earth Is Not Well. Her Climate Changed. Did Your Notice?

    (As the ice melts, and animals struggle to survive in polluted waterways, the climate changes and we celebrate Earth Day. Mother nature may not have psychically lost weight; nevertheless, her profile is altered. We, her children, are just beginning to notice. Perhaps, we did not treat her well. – promoted by Betsy L. Angert)

    © copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Please Ponder the Inconvenient Truth Trailer.  As you view this video, reflect on the trauma of today’s tornado in Florida.

    Please indulge me, allow me to make a comparison that may seem obscure to some.  Surely, the Bush/Cheney clan has yet to grasp what others and I have said for years.  Humans are harming the balance of nature!  We can choose to deny this.  Citizen of the world can see them selves as separate from nature; however, we are one.  A report released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, validates this “claim.”  I offer this analogy in hopes that a personal realization may make the point more profoundly. 

    Weight loss may be equated with global warming.  Those of us that have lost tonnage know that for years, months, or weeks few notice the pounds dropping away.  We are aware of the subtle changes because we choose to be.  When we work to be sensitive to the mind/body connection, when we work to honor each of these separate entities as one, we become aware of the nuances that surround change. 

    Long after we have lost substantial poundage, people begin to perceive what was occurring for quite some time.  They hesitantly say, ‘Haven’t you lost weight?’  They ask for they are still not certain.  They wonder if what they think they see is what is truly happening.  Meanwhile, those of us that are aware wonder, what took them so long?  Twenty of forty pails of blubber are gone and they are just beginning to notice.  The same is true of global warming.  I feel certain, for decades, the glaciers understood they were shrinking.  Polar bears were attuned; there was a definite reduction in resources.  All entities that live off the land grasped the Earth was in crisis.  Only those confined to their cushy, comfy lives had no complaint.  The self-aggrandized humans remained calm as all other beings suffered feeling the planet’s pain.

    Finally, when the world can wait no longer humans are beginning to acknowledge that maybe they are part of the planet.  Mankind has an effect on the Earth; in fact, s/he is ‘very likely,’ the cause of global warming!

    Today, the airwaves are flooded.  Two stories are on the minds of many, the tornado in Central Florida and the newly established “fact,” long denied by the Bush/Cheney clan, humans ‘very likely’ the cause of climate change and the ever increasing storms.  Conveniently, for the neoconservative tribe, confirmation is not certain.  The term ‘very likely’ allows polluting corporations, the public in their massive Sports Utility machines, and homeowners, ensconced in lifestyles dependent on burning fossil fuels to dismiss the claims that they might be responsible for the devastation we witness all around us.

    Those that want to believe the onus is on Mother Nature still can.  Humankind can continue to claim they are not to blame for the havoc we see throughout the planet.  Weather conditions ebb and flow; this is simply part of the natural cycle.  Nevertheless, I think today’s news may take us closer to the Inconvenient Truth Humans have a hand in what occurs in their habitat.

    Granted, we can continue to live as we have done and deny the certain correlations.  The Bush/Cheney clique has done so since they were first given the opportunity to do so.  Their subtle shifts in policy accelerated the deficit on a massive scale.  Companies were condoned for carelessly ignoring environmental needs.  However, just as with weigh loss, if we allow the process to continue much damage will be done.  Some of it cannot be corrected.  If we choose to be unaware and accept what we do not wish to detect all will worsen.  When a thin person becomes dangerously thin, eventually, they die, just as our planet is.

    While many have shared such facts before, me among them, little has improved.  Nevertheless, I wish to write to our Administrators again.  I doubt they care what the common man such as I thinks or feels.  They have expressed as much when speaking of “surge.”  They will “move forward” with little regard for the thoughts of others.  Bush/Cheney declare control is in their command.  Protests from Congress and citizenry fall on deaf ears.  Still, one can try.

    Dear Perpetrators, President George W. Bush, and Vice President Richard [Dick] Cheney . . .

    I struggle to begin.  While I think every human is to blame, as executors of the largest superpower, I place much of the onus on the two of you and of course, on your cronies.  I acknowledge and accept that the lifestyle sustained by Western cultures did not begin with the Bush/Cheney conglomerate; nevertheless, prior to your taking office, gains were made to restore a natural balance.  Since this Administration took the rein, that is what we have seen, torrential rains, winds, hale storms, and hurricanes.

    Flooding has devastated many parts of the country.  Snowstorms are abundant.  Icy downpours deluge the terrain.  Ice caps are melting.  Tornadoes are the tempest that awaits homeowners everywhere.  Today, there is Florida.

    On Christmas Day Florida felt nature’s surge and unlike the policy that “protects” Iraq, troops and dollars were not sent here.  The newly placed governor of this state, Charlie Crist, not your brother Jeb, wrote you of his concern only two days ago.  Cable News Network journalists spoke of this as they hurriedly rushed to report on the current conditions in Florida.  Just after the February 2, 2007, tornado tumult struck Central Florida the nation learned of your priorities.

    Tony Harris: Jeanne, I think that’s interesting.  We take a look at these pictures in the air, and we can see quite clearly, and, in our own mind, it certainly is a federal disaster that we are witnessing.  But you are right to point out that there is a whole process that has to play out here before the federal government declares it as such and makes funds available. 

    Jeanne Meserve, CNN Homeland Security Correspondent: That’s absolutely right.  There’s a very clear-cut process, which has to be followed.  There is a great anxiety on the part of federal officials not to step on the feet of Florida, but, on the other hand, if Florida is saying this is a major disaster, we want your help, they hope that the federal government will then apply it.  That doesn’t always happen.  apparently.  Someone handed me a letter written by the governor of Florida to the president on January 30th of this month, appealing the fact that after four — excuse me, tornadoes hit Florida on Christmas Day, the governor had requested a major disaster declaration for the state, and they haven’t gotten that yet.  So, they’re still waiting for that.

    Life was no better under Jeb; perhaps it was worse.  Hurricane Wilma came and Florida was virtually ignored.

    It seems that victims of Katrina received all the money and attention.  However, that too proved to be untrue.  Corporations capitalized on this catastrophe.  Oh, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, I know you have friends in high places.  I would not wish to think that you catered to their needs and denied compassionate concern for the people you swore to represent.

    Katrina Watch
    September 19, 2006
    A state judge in Baton Rouge has determined that Bourget’s, the politically connected custom motorcycle shop that has sold almost $120 million of trailers to FEMA, does not have to pay a fine for selling travel trailers without a license, according to attorneys who have read the judge’s unsigned ruling.  The Times-Picayune reports that the decision also appears to let Bourget’s off the hook for potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in Louisiana sales tax, the attorneys said.

    May 9, 2006
    Through a partnership with a smaller, minority-owned company, a multinational firm with ties to the Federal Emergency Management Agency has landed four re-bid deals that could be worth $400 million, federal records show.  The Times-Picayune reports that the contracts were awarded to PRI/DJI, a joint venture between Del-Jen Industries and the Asian-American-owned PRI Inc., therefore qualifying under the terms of a federal program for disadvantaged businesses.  However, Del-Jen is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fluor Corp., which held a mammoth FEMA disaster relief work contract that was up for re-bidding when Katrina hit.  FEMA then broke that contract up and awarded four $500 million deals for temporary housing work, but later agreed under pressure to re-bid them.  PRI/DJI’s success has angered competitors who say it’s outrageous that one partnership – especially one linked to the disaster relief giant – would win four of the 36 contracts awarded when no other company appears to have landed two.  FEMA insists the process has been aboveboard.

    George and Dick, if I may be so bold to speak to you simply.  I recall plain speaking is your preference.  It began with what is still not fully disclosed.  The Energy Task Force committee chaired by you, Dick.  An influential magnate, such as yourself, might be expected to have powerful connections, and you do Mister Vice President.  Many of your friends and followers are found in the energy field.  As Vice President, Mister “helpful” Halliburton Richard Cheney realized he could make friends and influence enemies.  Thus,

    In the spring of 2002, under order from a federal judge, the U.S. Department of Energy released to National Resources Defense Council [NRDC] roughly 13,500 pages relating to previously secret proceedings of the Bush administration’s energy task force.  (President Bush formed the task force in early 2001 to develop a national energy policy, with Vice President Cheney at the helm.)  Even though the government heavily censored the documents before supplying them to NRDC, they [the papers still] reveal that Bush administration officials sought extensive advice from utility companies and the oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy industries.  [Then they] incorporated their recommendations, often word for word, into the energy plan.

    It is a challenge to accept that those that profit from exploitive practices will serve our environment well.  When businesses speak on behalf of the public the policy must be questioned.  Economics 101 dictates, when corporations benefit the consumer likely suffers.  It would be nice to imagine that these two groups would or could work in tandem; however, rarely does this occur. 

    Thus, you may recall from your studies at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Wyoming, supposedly a system of checks and balances was established in this nation.  The government is an institute working in the people’s interest.  It is designed to function of, by, and for the people.  Commoners are considered the foundation.  However, this principle is often ignored.  Companies, in a Capitalist society, work on their own behalf.  Consumers are only a means to a lucrative end for entrepreneurs.

    Perhaps, this is where America went wrong.  We hired, elected, or more accurately selected a businessman such as the two of you to serve us.  Citizens might have known that commerce and Corporate moguls supply only what meets their demand.  Too often, the interests of the Band of Bush Renegades, conflicts with the wellbeing of others, the masses.  What works well for the Super-Rich frequently leaves those of lesser means behind.  Such is the current situation.  The abundantly affluent are ruling the infinitely impoverished.

    Nevertheless, that is our circumstance.  The results are revealing.  Immediately after the George W. Gang came into power changes were made.  Less than two months after taking office you, Misters Bush and Cheney saw fit to alter environmentally friendly policies.

    Bush withdraws new arsenic-in-drinking-water standard
    March 20, 2001

    The Bush administration announced it would withdraw a new standard for arsenic in drinking water, choosing the interests of the mining industry and some small water suppliers over protecting the health of millions of Americans.  EPA’s final arsenic standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb) would have lowered allowable levels of arsenic in tap water from the current standard of 50 ppb, an outdated standard established in 1942.  The 10 ppb standard was the result of more than a decade of public hearings, scientific reviews, and planning with health experts and industry representatives.  A few years ago, the World Health Organization and the European Union implemented a 10 ppb standard.  It would cost 90 percent of Americans living in areas with high levels of arsenic less than $3 per month to clean up the contaminant in their water supplies.

    On April 18, the Bush administration called for new studies on the impacts of arsenic standards ranging from 3 ppb to 20 ppb.  The move will mean at least a year’s delay in reducing levels of this cancer-causing poison, and may mean EPA will seek an unacceptably weak new standard.

    This proposal was quickly retracted; however, it was one of many blunders never rescinded, only strengthened.  For a time, globally countries were working together to reduce toxins in the air, the water, and on land.  The Kyoto treaty was signed.  The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated and signed in accordance with the principles established by the United Nations Framework Convention.  In 1992, Climate Change was considered a vital issue.  Former President and father to the current, George Herbert Walker Bush signed said treaty and the senate ratified the plan.

    The Climate Convention requires all countries, including developing countries, to establish programs to address greenhouse gas emissions and to report on progress.  The 1992 treaty also requires developed countries such as the United States to take the lead in limiting greenhouse gas emissions.  In particular, the 1992 treaty commits the United States and other developed countries to establish programs designed to return greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.  Current U.S. emissions are about 15 percent greater than they were in 1990.

    It makes sense that a nation that comprises one sixth of the world population; yet uses one quarter of the resources would work to set an example.  However, President Bush we know that you do not wish to enforce suffering.  I recall you also stated this is why you do not want Americans to sacrifice during a time of war.  You prefer that people prosper.  Therefore, the nation plunges into debt as billions are spent each week on a protracted war.  Mister Bush, I have heard of your benevolent desire to put money into people’s pockets.  You passed tax cuts to empower individuals.  However, sadly, the infrastructure crumbles.

    Perchance, more is effected, as we, in the United States cause great climate change.  Chaos abounds.

    Bush Administration Errs on Kyoto Global Warming Agreement  Opposing the international climate treaty the Unites States signed in 1997, President Bush and members of his administration have made misleading and erroneous comments.

    In March 2001, after reneging on a campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, President George W. Bush announced his administration’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 international accord setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions.  In renouncing the protocol, the president and members of his administration have used a number of seriously flawed arguments.

      Please refer to this article for a detailed accounting of the fallacies that pass for facts.  Misters Bush and Cheney I cannot help but notices that the economic needs of entrepreneurs play a major role in your rulings and reactions.  Might I introduce you to the concerns of citizen and of the creatures that inhabit this planet.  People, the little plants, animals, and us make your life possible.  Without us, there would be no one to buy the products you and your friends produce.  Without the plants and animals there are no resources.

    Effects of global warming already being felt on plants and animals worldwide

    Global warming is having a significant impact on hundreds of plant and animal species around the world — although the most dramatic effects may not be felt for decades, according to a new study in the journal Nature.

    “Birds are laying eggs earlier than usual, plants are flowering earlier and mammals are breaking hibernation sooner,” said Terry L. Root, a senior fellow with Stanford’s Institute for International Studies (IIS) and lead author of the Jan. 2 Nature study.

    “Clearly, if such ecological changes are now being detected when the globe has warmed by an estimated average of only 1 degree F (0.6 C) over the past 100 years, then many more far-reaching effects on species and ecosystems will probably occur by 2100, when temperatures could increase as much as 11 F (6 C),” Root concluded.

    Climatic and biological changes
    In their Nature paper, Root and her colleagues analyzed 143 scientific studies involving a total of 1,473 species of animals and plants.  Each study found a direct correlation between global warming and biological change somewhere in the world.  For example, several studies revealed that, as temperatures increased in recent decades, certain species began breeding and migrating earlier than expected.  Other studies found that the geographical range of numerous species had shifted poleward or moved to a higher elevation — indicating that some plants and animals are occupying areas that were previously too cold for survival.

    Were these biological and behavioral changes isolated events, or did they reflect a worldwide pattern consistent with global warming?  After exhaustive statistical analyses of all 143 studies, Root and her co-authors concluded that global warming is, in fact, having a significant impact on animal and plant populations around the world.

    “Our study shows that recent temperature change has apparently already had a marked influence on many species,” they wrote, noting that a rapid temperature rise in combination with other environmental pressures “could easily disrupt the connectedness among species” and possibly lead to numerous extinctions.

    Then there is the study released only this morning.  Certainty for the influence of humans seems a foregone conclusion.

    Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change
    By Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew C. Revkin

    PARIS, Feb. 2 – In a bleak and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate change scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is “unequivocal” and that human activity is the main driver, “very likely” causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950.

    They said the world is already committed to centuries of warming, shifting weather patterns and rising seas, resulting from the buildup of gases in the atmosphere that trap heat.  But the warming can be substantially blunted by prompt action, the panel of scientists said in a report released here today.

    The report summarized the fourth assessment since 1990 by the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, sizing up the causes and consequences of climate change.  But it is the first in which the group asserts with near certainty – more than 90 percent confidence – that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities have been the main causes of warming since 1950.

    In its last report, in 2001, the panel, consisting of hundreds of scientists and reviewers, put the confidence level at between 66 and 90 percent.  Both reports are online at http://www.ipcc.ch.

    If carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reach twice their pre-industrial levels, the report said, the global climate will probably warm by 3.5 to 8 degrees.  But there would be more than a 1-in-10 chance of much greater warming, a situation many earth scientists say poses an unacceptable risk.

    Many energy and environment experts see such a doubling as a foregone conclusion sometime after mid-century unless there is a prompt and sustained shift away from the 20th-century pattern of unfettered burning of coal and oil, the main sources of carbon dioxide, and an aggressive quest for expanded and improved nonpolluting energy options.

    Even an increased level of warming that falls in the middle of the group’s range of projections would likely cause significant stress to ecosystems and alter longstanding climate patterns that shape water supplies and agricultural production, according to many climate experts and biologists.

    My fear is now that we are noticing what is, the speed of the slide will be far faster than predicted.  Consider the person loosing weight.  The progression from pleasingly plump to perfect is slow.  However, if a person continues to lose weight once they have reached an optimal mass, the transformation is swift.  A healthy hunk can become thin as a rail in no time.  Glaciers and ice caps are as people.  The decent from a firm and full frozen landscape to a terrain mapped by racing rivers and streams is rapid.

    Therefore, I plead; I beg.  Mister Bush you may not have ever struggled with a weight problem.  My dieting analogy may be beyond you.  Perchance Mister Cheney knows of where I speak.  Might the heavier persons in your life assist in your understanding?  President Bush, Vice President Cheney before it is too late, please look at what has happened, what occurs today.  Remember the devastation of yesterday and yester year.  Please begin to acknowledge your role and forego openings such as “humans ‘very likely’ cause climate change.”  Accept that we do. 

    Before it is too late, let us act together as one.  I ask you to acknowledge that what we refuse to see will not serve us well.  Let us look at our environment as a whole.  We are part of the world we inhibit.  May we honor it.  If we do, I trust it will respect us.  We are reaping as we sowed.  Let us propagate practices that help the Earth to grow and we with it.

    People in central Florida, our hearts are with you.  I only wish we had helped you before there was Massive Damage in Central Florida from Tornado(s)

    References for Global Climate Change . . .

  • Storms Hit Florida, Killing at Least 19, By Bill Brubaker.  Washington Post.?Friday, February 2, 2007; 5:42 PM
  • pdf Storms Hit Florida, Killing at Least 19, By Bill Brubaker.  Washington Post.?Friday, February 2, 2007; 5:42 PM
  • Panel Says Humans `Very Likely’ Cause of Global Warming. By The Associated Press. February 2, 2007.  Filed at 8:43 a.m. ET
  • pdf Panel Says Humans `Very Likely’ Cause of Global Warming. By The Associated Press. February 2, 2007.  Filed at 8:43 a.m. ET
  • Report: Humans ‘very likely’ cause global warming.  Cable News Network.  February 2, 2007
  • The Cheney Energy Task Force .  Natural Resources Defense Council.
  • Bush Administration Errs on Kyoto Global Warming Agreement  Natural Resources Defense Council.
  • Jeb Bush accepts blame for slow aid efforts, Some relief centers out of supplies; `don’t blame FEMA,’ governor says.  MSNBC News.
  • Florida Victims of Wilma Largely Forgotten.  National Low Income Housing Coalition.
  • CNN NEWSROOM, Jackson Place Center Evacuated; Florida Hit By Storms.  Cable News Network.  Aired February 2, 2007 – 10:00  ET
  • An Inconvenient Truth
  • An Inconvenient Truth – Trailer.  YouTube.
  • Katrina Watch.  The Center for Public Integrity.
  • Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change, By Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew C. Revkin.  The New York Times.  February 2, 2007
  • pdf Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change, By Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew C. Revkin.  The New York Times.  February 2, 2007
  • FEMA 2006, Failure Everywhere, Management Absent ©

    The history of the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] is long and varied.  Now, it may end; a Renaissance is proposed.  There are formal recommendations; this agency must be abolished. Co-chairs of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senators Susan Collins and Joseph Liebermann held a press conference this morning declaring FEMA a disaster.

    Chairwoman Susan Collins told reporters today in Washington “FEMA is discredited, disorganized, demoralized and dysfunctional.”  She continued, “It is beyond repair. Just tweaking the organizational chart will not solve the problem.”

    Senators Collins, Liebermann, and the Senate committee submitted a plan to ‘key senators this week, the details of which will be released publicly next week.’  In this, there are 86 recommendations.  These would undo what our current President did to change the structure of FEMA.

    The 800-plus-page accounting is titled, “Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared.”  This text is a summation of three government studies.  Earlier House and White House evaluations are present in this report; however, they are cursory in contrast.  This final record is far more comprehensive; its assertions are less delicate.

    Katrina survivors and those lost in this storm, deservedly required this attention. The 2005 hurricane killed an estimated 1,460 people.  Seven hundred and seventy thousand individuals were forced to flea their homes.  Many are still not able to return some eight months later.

    In earlier hearings Congressional committees realized blame was simply being bandied about; nothing of substance was concluded.  As of today, a report has been filed.  Recommendations are pending; however, there is no certainty that things will change.

    FEMA was officially established in 1979.  The idea for such an organization was developing for more than a century.  The Congressional Act of 1803 was considered ??the first piece of disaster legislation.’  This bill was enacted after a New Hampshire town experienced extensive damage in a fire.  People needed to be rescued; rebuilding was important.  However, the community was paralyzed.  They desperately required help.

    For years after, haphazardly, emergency efforts throughout this land continued.  Attempts to organize a unified front for disaster relief were numerous, yet, disjointed.  Ironically, some might say the state of affairs then, is similar to the one we now have. However, I digress.

    Ultimately, the nation’s governors came together and requested a centralized endeavor.  The Governors wanted to be certain that we, as a country, were prepared for a crisis.  These state and local leaders knew planning, in advance, was important.  Procedure must be set in place. Coordinating clean-ups is vital; no community could do it alone.  Thus, the National Governor’s Association sought the help of Former President Jimmy Carter.  They asked for a federalized emergency agency.

    Mr. Carter created the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  The mission was and supposedly is, “to lead America to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from disasters with a vision of “A Nation Prepared.”

    FEMA grew and was improving.  During the Clinton years, Director, James Witt was appointed. All was going well.  Many marveled at what this man, with the support of Bill Clinton, was able to produce.  James Witt received “bi-partisan praise for his leadership.”  There was a consensus; this man has taken the agency in the right direction.

    However, under the guidance of a quivering King George II, the institution has taken a fall.  It stumbled.  During Katrina, and likely years before, operations were bumbled, repeatedly.  After September 11, 2001, the agency was placed under the auspices of the Homeland Security office and that, some believe, is when troubles began.

    Former Director, James Witt spoke of this in 2004 at a Congressional hearing. He said, “I am extremely concerned that the ability of our nation to prepare for and respond to disasters has been sharply eroded. I hear from emergency managers, local and state leaders, and first responders nearly every day that the FEMA they knew and worked well with has now disappeared.”  It had and would have continued to; then, there was a hurricane.  It hit New Orleans hard; the gulf coast was crippled.  As predicted many years earlier, the region, the nation, and FEMA, were unprepared.

    The situation, post-Katrina was bad.  It got worse.  Though the weather had been rough, the internal departmental storms of dissent, for some seemed, rougher.  Questions were raised, people [Michael Brown specifically] were excused or resigned from their posts.  The “blame-game” was banded about.

    The circumstances could not be ignored.  Congress chose to act.  Now it is done, or possibly, it has just begun.  We will not know for a time.

    There are recommendations and reports, as there often are in situations such as this.  However, it is said, this time is different.  Instead of the hype and hoopla, post-Andrew, the actions now being proposed are looked upon more seriously.  Senators Collins and Liebermann are asking for the total abolishment  of the existing Emergency Management Agency.  They are requesting a new organization, one that would be “better equipped with the tools [needed] to prepare for and respond to a disaster.”

    According to a draft of the proposal, the new agency will remain under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. The organization needs to be more powerful than the older model. Additional mechanism for support must be put into place.  The committee advises that this novel organization receive a budget twice as large as the current FEMA.

    The current Emergency Management Agency has a budget of $4.8 billion. There are 2,600 full-time employees.  However, after careful study it has been decided these are not enough.  The money was inadequate or misused.  Employees were over worked; the organization understaffed.  Effective systems were non-existent.  Awareness was absent and communication was just a concept.

    Hurricane Katrina brought the tragedy, otherwise known as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to light.  Actually, that debacle brought more to the surface. On television and in newspapers throughout the globe, America was seen for what it is, a nation of “un-equals.”  The display was quite disturbing, even for those at home.  Worldwide people saw that “Federal Preparedness” and equal opportunities were an illusion.

    Plans were not executed.  Disaster relief was nonexistent.  Operations were inefficient.  People professed empathy, and yet; they were without it.  Barbara Bush welcomed the lost and hopeless, as long as they did not stay in her neighborhood for too long.

    Promises went by the wayside; proposals remained only that.  Execution of these has yet to occur.  The Gulf coast poor were homeless, helpless, and hurting. There was little regard for the impoverished. For days, the administration was absent.  Our country was righteously embarrassed.  Leadership was little; compassion short-lived.  The world wondered, was America simply being conservative in its approach? The middle class felt the pressure; however, they have no real power.  They lost theirs long ago.

    Fortunately, during this calamity, the affluent were also affected and that made a difference. The wealthy were injured and offended.  They were upset. Senator Trent Lott was a casualty of the storm. His oceanfront house in Pascagoula, Mississippi, was destroyed. The Senator’s 154-year old home was completely awash.  There was nothing left to call home.  After twenty plus years of living in this graceful abode, the Lott family was left with only memories.

    Democratic Representative Gene Taylor of Mississippi was also victim of this tempest.  His Bay St. Louis home was ruined.  He, as an individual, was so deeply pained by the “Emergency” process that he asked about it later during a congressional investigation.

    Congressman Taylor was able to query Former FEMA Director Michael Brown.  The Representative asked, “What part of the FEMA plan envisioned that the first responders in Hancock County and in much of the Mississippi Gulf Coast would have to loot the local grocery store and loot the local Wal-mart in order to feed themselves, would have to loot the local Wal-mart in order to have a change of clothes? What part of your plan was that?”

    Dissatisfied with the Directors answer, Taylor respectfully replied offering, “I hope you’ll admit your mistakes. That’s the best way to learn from them.”

    The Representative spoke for many.  Hurricane Katrina, then Rita, and ultimately Wilma affected thousands.  Many pleaded forcefully; they want answers and relief for their friends, families, and themselves.  Thankfully, the voices had influence, ability, and they were able to reach the public’s eyes, and ears and that made a difference.

    CNN correspondent Kathleen Koch, did an in-depth assessment of her hometown after the storm. Ms. Koch returned to the city where she was raised, Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi.  She found friends, family members, and herself devastated.  Koch realized as did residents, recovery was not forthcoming.  Promises were not kept.  Relief was little.

    Nine months later, families are still waiting for trailers, a home to call their own.  Insurance companies had no compassion; they merely dismissed and denied homeowners claims, [even those of Senator Trent Lott.]  Frustration filled the hearts, souls, and minds of those effected by the storm.  An ineffective agency made all matters worse.

    “”Saving My Town” The Fight for Bay Saint Louis,” aired continuously on the Turner Cable News Network. This documentary was calculated and deliberate.  Ms. Koch covered this story with heart felt and heart warming finesse.  Her personal narrative may have had an impact on today’s reported decision, Let us “abolish FEMA.”

    Before Katrina, we as citizens saw the inattentiveness of the President, his Cabinet, and appointees.  We knew this was standard.  The nation long ago recognized that the Emperor of Errors could not or would not separate himself from a Crawford vacation.  His associates and subordinates would not disturb their fair leader.  These behaviors were expected.  We as a country had become complacent.  After Katrina, mercifully, all this changed.  Every storm, perhaps, does hold a silver lining.

    On this occasion, after this incident, Big-Man Bush had no ground zero to stand on.  There was no war to instigate.  The invisible force truly was.  Mr. Bush could not claim Katrina was a terrorist.  The weather could not be classified as the enemy.  In fact, the foe was he, his organization, his ineptness, and his inadequacies.  When he quipped emphatically, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” He knew, the bell tolled for he and his idea of a Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    ?¢ Mark Thoma, at Economist View offers another pertinent Paul Krugman article.  This one also addresses the FEMA dilemma, the debacle of cronyism.  Please indulge yourself.  May you enjoy . . .

    Paul Krugman: The Crony Fairy

    References . . .
    Senate Panel Urge FEMA Dismantling, By ERIC LIPTON. New York Times. April 27, 2006
    Senate Report Urges Dismantling of FEMA, By Spencer S. Hsu. Washington Post.  April 27, 2006
    A Short History of FEMA Public Broadcasting, Frontline
    Barbara Bush on Hurricane Katrina Refugees About Thursday September 8, 2005
    Sen. Lott’s home destroyed by Katrina, From Joe Johns. CNN Washington Bureau. Sunday, September 4, 2005
    Cut the red tape, Lott says CNN. Monday, September 5, 2005
    Trent Lott Sues State Farm over Katrina Damage ConsumerAffairs.Com. December 16, 2005
    9/29/05 Senators Lott’s Katrina Airport Repair Bill Clears Senate Office of Senator Trent Lott
    How Reliable Is Brown’s Resume? By Daren Fonda and Rita Healy. Time Magazine September 08, 2005
    Congress Questions Brown, PBS Online News Hour. September 27, 2005
    Did the Bush administration destroy FEMA’s effectiveness? A Can’t-Do Government,By Paul Krugman. New York Times Friday, September 2, 2005
    The latest on Katrina’s aftermath CNN News. Tuesday, September 13, 2005
    Katrina Archives CNN News
    CNN Presents Classroom: Saving my town: The fight for Bay St. Louis. CNN News. Monday, April 10, 2006
    President Arrives in Alabama, Briefed on Hurricane Katrina, [“Brownie, You’re doing . . .] September 2005