Friday, September 02, 2005


Photos from

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

I watched the news tonight. It was a frightful affair but one has to pay attention when people are in need....ABC news hit Homeland Security very hard tonight for the proper reasons: we are not secure, we spend literally billions of our precious funds and got worse security than ever. This is a significant development, as I have noted over and over, they are closing National Guard and Army and Air bases all over, stripping our nation of all defenses. This crass and TRAITOROUS activity must not only stop now, we must get our own troops back home where they belong, in their communities, with their families!

As ABC noted tonight, some of the real heroes besides those people in hospitals and helping the displaced people survive, are the wonderful COAST GUARD men and women.

Bush has sought to cut their budget, you know! Amazing, isn't it? The GOP doesn't care.

I had a boyfriend who was Coast Guard in NY harbor. He was faithful and hard working and brave. I noticed all the guys in his unit were of the same mold. I remember him telling me during Desert Storm I that Bush was trying to eliminate his unit...and did! They are gone! He had to relocate but what if something happens to NYC? Like a fricking hurricane? This rapid withdrawl of needed services is sheer insanity. He and his crew might sit idle for two years and then, say, the Andrea Doria, a famous passenger ship, catches fire and sinks?

Who rescued many of the poor people? My friend's unit! I don't mind bankrolling his unit so they are there when you need them. When the Andrea Doria sank, they had less than three to four hours to save people! What if you had to wait two or three days???


My fire department sits around, idle 95% of the time. But the 5% that sees activity is literally life and death.

You don't want them to mosey on by two weeks later! Duh! The helicopters we have been watching doing the extremely hazardous work of plucking people off of roofs were our wonderful Coast Guard. They did this without losing a single copter crew despite all the many hazards of electrical lines, debrie, slippery surfaces. They used axes to free trapped people from certain death in attics. They carried off the disabled, evacuated hospitals. Worked tirelessly and quickly. We need more, not fewer of them.

Write to Congress and demand they fund full Coast Guard services not to mention Army Corps of Engineers...and on and on. the civilized stuff.

One Hurricane Katrina evacuee died and 17 others were injured when a bus carrying them from the Superdome swerved across a highway median and overturned Friday.

The accident happened when the driver lost control of the bus, but other details about what caused the wreck were not immediately known, said Trooper Willie Williams, spokesman for the state police.

Between 45 and 50 people were on the bus; every one was transported to a hospital, he said.

"We have multiple critical injuries and multiple serious injuries and some minor injuries," Williams said.

The bus overturned about 130 miles west of New Orleans.
Shaking my head. This reminds me of Vietnam. Remember the planes carrying orphans out? One crashed. The helicopters on the roof of the embassy....It isn't just the Super Dome people, there are hundreds of thousands of stranded people in all the parishes and villages all around the Gulf and they are deteriorating fast. From CNN:
When we arrived here Sunday night, we knew that people were well aware this was going to be a big hurricane.

Monday was devastating. We were out doing live reports all day. I've been in a lot of hurricanes, but this lasted longer and was more powerful than any I had seen before.

At one point, the van we were in was demolished by a 200 pound chunk of fence.
It is hot. In most neighborhoods, people haven't seen anyone of any authority. People are angry. They are wandering, in many cases aimlessly. That's what strikes me about this hurricane.

While there are some people who are optimistic, there are many more people than I've ever seen before who are getting more hopeless.

They don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Their kids don't have schools. They don't have jobs or houses. They have to restart their lives. I think many people just realize how big this could be.
They are still in shock. Soon it will become rage and fear. The time to save people is while they are in shock. The lasting psychological and physical damage grows with each day of abandonment. Right now, they can't spend money or do business but soon the reality of being stripped of all resources will set in. From the Guardian:
Walking from her informal checkpoint to the crowd across the road was like crossing a boundary between the first and third world. On the other side, many people were clearly too ill to walk and several seemed close to starving.

Inside the centre, no one could understand why they were being treated in this way. "If you can drive in like that, how come they can't come and get us?" Henry Carr, a 38-year-old furniture salesman, said.

Everyone was frantic to know whether the buses would turn up. For days, they had been told to stay in the centre so they could be picked up, but the promised transport had failed to materialise. Buses had arrived for the people trapped at the Louisiana Superdome stadium, a mile to the north, but it seemed the convention centre, a lesser landmark, had been forgotten. The latest rumour was that the buses would come later that afternoon, but that would already be too late for up to a dozen people who had died waiting.

Two of the bodies had been dumped by an employees' entrance. They were both old and frail women. One had died in her wheelchair; a blanket had been thrown over her face. The other woman had been wrapped in a sheet.

A man walked past the bodies dragging a pallet loaded with big bottles of ginger ale, some plates and a frying pan. To the rest of America watching the tragedy unfold on their televisions, he was one of the looters, denounced by President Bush.

But to the people inside the convention centre, he was one of a band of heroes keeping them alive. "The people who were going into the stores would give us water and food, said Edna Harris, Henry Carr's aunt. "There would be ladies with babies and they had no milk, and these guys would break in and bring them milk."

I know what that is like. It has happened to me before. It is a terrible experience. I lived in a tent for ten years while we had no money while suing for damages when my husband was injured at work! So I know all about living hand to mouth with literally no roof over the head!

These people are facing the possiblity of living the same way!

My heart goes out to them all.

From CNN:
Hattiesburg, 30 miles to the north, has some. But the lines to get it have stopped traffic on Highway 49 for 5 miles in either direction. Even if residents had enough gas to reach Hattiesburg, it is unlikely they would have enough to sustain the hours-long wait at the pumps.

Eula Richard, a cafeteria worker at Stone Elementary School near Bond, drove 5 miles to a Chevron station to get water out of the thin hose normally used to fill car radiators.

"We carried it back in jugs," she said, and there's very little left.

She has other worries, including how to get her paycheck and how to cash it when she does. The nearest banks are in Hattiesburg, and they've yet to reopen. She doesn't know when she will be able to work again. The school is closed.

"I haven't heard a word from them," she said.

She isn't able to. Though there is sporadic telephone and cellular service in Hattiesburg, there is none here. But this is low on the list of priorities in Bond.
One thing southerners must learn is that when they gleefully cut the social safety net to punish minorities and don't pretend to me that this isn't the motivation for cutting the government's ability to service people!---it has a back side: it isn't there when white people need it! DUH. I have explained this until blue in the face when I lived down there and once again, they have to learn the harsh lesson: you need everyone sometimes. You never know when you might need this net! When my husband was sick, out of work, and waiting on the creeping snails of the courts, we had to visit soup kitchens and depend on charity of the neighbors because you can no longer get financial help if you own your own home! And I was not going to sell my property (had no house, just our tent at the time!) unless forced.

So much for that.

One can't pick and choose when to have a functioning social system. Either seriously build one that keeps people alive or understand, Darwinian survivalism means death's scythe will swing freely at one's own head. Florida, Texas, California, Virginia, Georgia, the Carolinas, just for example, can be wiped off the map in an eye-blink. This is why we have to have a nation!

I was recently chewed out by a Texan politician who screamed at me that no Texan ever wins a Congressional or Senate seat by talking about the NATION! I was agast.

Well, the deep south better reconsider this matter. Texas is going to be drowning in refugees and they will want federal help and of course, get it! And the refugees are Americans no matter where they end up and we are all in this boat together and we need to rebuild the social contract and the safety net to save these poor souls and this includes all the middle class people who are in the process of being plunged into bankruptcy and poverty!

We are all just one bad event away from poverty.

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