QUILTS FOR KATRINA
SO MUCH, SO MUCH, SO MUCH
7 September 2005
In years to come, it will be interesting to read in history books what role the Internet played in the handling of the whole Kristina disaster.
Gone are the days when politicians could control the media. With an army of Internet-savvy people with video cameras and Internet access, anybody who wants to dig can find pretty much anything.
I just finished watching the tale of Charlene Neville of The Charlene Neville Band in New Orleans. She tells of her harrowing ordeal--of alligators eating people, of dead babies floating in the streets, of men breaking into homes and raping women. Stories that haven't made it to NBC or CNN (though this film clip is from a TV station in Baton Rouge. I discovered the clip won't play on firefox, but will play in Internet Explorer).
Clip after clip after clip of scenes that will bring you to tears, many of which have been shown on major media, such as the emotional video of Geraldo Rivera and Shepherd Smith at the Convention Center, reporting for FOX news. I downloaded this clip when I found it, and when I went back to put a link to it, the clip was gone. I don't know if that removal was accidental or deliberate, so I uploaded my copy to YouTube, which seems to be rather cavalier about copyrighted material posted by people who don't own the copyright. I feel bad about posting copyrighted material, but I felt that the situation warranted it.
(As someone commented, after seeing the video, "If they are saying that on rightwing nutball shows like Hannity and Coombs, you know shit's gonna get worse.")
There are also the wonderful sound bytes from major television programs, like Meet the Press...
I have nothing but praise for the people who are down there in New Orleans, up to their tuchas in toxic waste, trying to alleviate the misery of the people, trying to find a way to move them out to somewhere clean and safe, doing the Herculean work of bringing aid and comfort, working long hours without sleep. I have nothing but praise for the people in helicopters who have rescued thousands of stranded people from porches or rooftops, or people in boats who are roaming the flooded streets looking for survivors.
I have no praise at all for those in authority who dragged their feet, for a president who didn't even mention the disaster until two days after it happened, and didn't get his butt down there until it was safe to take a photo hugging a black child, for a vice president who seems to have disappeared (it's rumored he's vacationing in Wyoming), for a FEMA director who "didn't know" that help was needed until Thursday, when all you had to do was turn on any television station to see that the situation was critical.
(And what is the FEMA director's background to make him fit for his job? He ran for Congress in 1988 and won 27 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent Glenn English. He spent the 1990s as judges and stewards commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. His job was to ensure that horse-show judges followed the rules and to investigate allegations against those suspected of cheating. [He was also asked to resign from this job after a number of lawsuits alleging supervision failures.] This is the man Bush has put in charge of crisis management throughout the United States--and we see how effective he has been! Oh--but Bush says he's doing "a heck of a job."
An exchange between brown and Ted Koppel on ABC's Nightline:
Does the man even WATCH television?????)
If there is any positive spin to be put on this whole debacle it is that the criticism of the administration and its departments seems to be bi-partisan. There are as many Republicans crying for something to be done as there are Democrats.
Already there is spin coming out--Bush has "leaped into action" directing every single department to do everything they can to help people in need. Glad he finally realized that this is needed.
Nice. But a week late, isn't it? How many more lives would have been saved if he had "leaped into action" on the first day, instead of waiting nearly a week?
"So long as any life is in danger, we have work to do," Bush said. Yeah? So why did take him 2 days to acknowledge the crisis? Why did it take a week for him to "leap into action"? He said yesterday that he had gone back into the area to let people know that "there's a lot of work to be done." Like they didn't know already?
Perhaps this will be the moment that defines the Bush presidency and is his legacy to try to live with--the thought of alligators munching on dead babies in the toxic swill of what was once the streets of New Orleans--for the rest of his life.
Whatever is the aftermath of Katrina, whatever happy face spin the administration is going to put on it to try to whitewash their role in the deaths of thousands of people along the Gulf Coast, at least they won't be able to hide from the truth, because the truth is out there all over the Internet, vloggers in the trenches speaking with the affected people, filming the deplorable conditions, getting first hand accounts of how many people died at their feet or how they have begged for water for five days before it actually arrived.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
It was just about a year ago when I was