When I read reports like this...
Three babies died at the New Orleans Convention Center from heat exhaustion, said Mark Kyle, a medical relief provider.
...I don't feel much like writing about polls or the history of levee funding or the stupidity of celebrities.
I feel, instead, like weeping and screaming and holding on extra-tight to my own two kids and praying, praying, praying for the souls of the smallest victims of natural disaster and deadly bureaucratic myopia who were left to die in a hellhole.
This is intolerable:
In the rush to evacuate people from the storm-ravaged New Orleans area, at least two dozen children have been separated from their parents in Louisiana, according to the state social services department.
Some children and parents also have been separated and sent to neighboring states in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and as the evacuation continues officials expect that number to grow larger, according to Marketa Garner Gautreau, an assistant secretary with the social services office.
"As people have been pushed onto buses and jumped onto buses, they've gotten separated from their families," Gautreau said.
Other children needed medical care and their parents couldn't get airlifted with them, she said, pledging that all children separated from parents are being well-taken care of with about five social services volunteers to each child.
As anyone who has been paying attention to the social services nightmares of the past few years knows, the line about "five social services volunteers" is bound to make parents more fearful and worried about their children, not less.
Go to Michelle's post for photos of lost children. Michelle also says that Bush should fire FEMA's Michael Brown:
During his visit to Mobile, Ala., on Friday, President Bush singled out Michael D. Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for praise:
"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
Really? "Brownie's" job is to direct the federal response to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Let's review his public statements during the past week:
- He admitted that he didn't act more aggressively because as late as last Sunday he expected Katrina to be a "standard hurricane" even though the National Weather Service in New Orleans was already predicting "human suffering incredible by modern standards."
- He proved himself utterly clueless about the disaster unfolding in New Orleans. He claimed that the federal relief effort was "going relatively well" and that the security situation in New Orleans was "pretty darn good."
- He blamed the flood victims in New Orleans for failing to evacuate on time, even though local authorities failed to make municipal vehicles available to residents who could not drive or did not own their own cars.
"It took four days to begin a large-scale evacuation of people stranded in the Superdome stadium and to bring in significant amounts of food and water to an American city easily accessible by motorway," the Observer notes. "Relief agencies took half that time to reach Indonesia after the Boxing Day tsunami. "
Although the delay was not entirely the fault of the Bush Administration, Brown's complacency clearly didn't help. And his bumbling statements after the hurricane struck have not inspired confidence.
Grace Davis has some on-the-spot reporting from a correspondent:
Caption excerpt and important message from Katya, a gifted citizen photojournalist currently volunteering at the Astrodome in Houston:
"Emma Green talks to a new friend in the parking lot of Toys-R-Us, a makeshift collection and distribution center for relief supplies. She was overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone she had met. She is in Houston with her daughter, two grand-daughters and two grandsons. They were about to head to Humble, Texas to try to find shelter. I loved this family. I gave them my number... just in case.
My second promise was to mention her sisters names, sisters, also from New Orleans, whom she has no idea how to contact, nor does she know where they are.
Again, if anyone has any information regarding these individuals, please contact me. I know it is a longshot, but stranger things have happened."
Mamamontezz has a post from a message board:
we got power back to the hospital last night so i get to see my first real pictures the ones you all are seeing to see what eyes you are seeing us through its sad that what you get to see is all the bad thats going on its heartbreaking that it is but times are so hard for so many the poorest of the area mostly stayed and like wild animals so fight for their lives and like animals some distroy for no reason seems the fact that you should thank whom ever you wish that you live and try to change to something better i dont know how to feel .. we all were lucky it made a small turn to the east and as my heart goes out to them im glad we didnt get hit worse i have family/ friends we cant find both here and in Mississippi some foolishly chose to stay thinking they were high enough thinking that like so many other times we would somehow be passed over once again some neglecting to think that the place had changed so much sence the last " bad one " that concrete covered more and new groups of housing were built over the flood planes . some choose to stay with family to sick to make the trip out and wishing that if it ends it would be in their own home ...
MJ is going on deployment:
I completed my Red Cross DAT (disaster action team) training today - three 3 hour training sessions (DAT Intro, Mass Care and Shelter Operations) crammed into one day. I was told that the class was full, but I showed up anyway. It was a helluva lot to absorb in one day but I feel reasonably mentally prepared for what’s to come. The people in my class and the instructor were just amazing folks. I feel honored to stand among them. I am excited and anxious about what lies ahead.
I have no idea where I am headed or how long I’ll be gone. Could be Houston, or Baton Rouge, or Memphis - who knows - and frankly I don’t give a rip as long as I can be of service. ...
DJ Mags writes:
Its been a day since I evacuated from New Orleans, my home, the city I love. Today I saw Governor Blanco proudly speak of troops coming in with orders to shoot to kill. Is she trying to help New Orleans, or has she declared war?
I feel like the world isn’t seeing the truth about the city I love. People outside know about Jazz Fest and Bourbon Street and beads, and now they know about looters and armed gangs and helicopter rescue.
What's missing is the story of a city and people who have created a culture of liberation and resistance. A city where people have stood up against centuries of racism and white supremacy....
The Interdictor says a few words about politics:
Let me address the political situation for a moment. I noticed that the responses I've been getting on the blog and the stuff I've been reading in the mainstream media has become very politicized. I'm not going to get into politics here -- I'm just going to do my work and then report what I see and hear throughout the day. If you guys want to play Democrat vs Republican vs Independent, go right ahead, but I'm really weary of the permanent election season this country's turned into. Honestly, these are politicians you guys are getting so excited about. Politicians. As far as I'm concerned, I don't trust people who want to tell other people how to spend their money and what they can read or see on television and what they can do in the privacy of their own homes. There's no way I'm going to feel comfortable supporting someone who thinks he knows what's best for the rest of "society" and is willing to use force and the threat of force to make others fall into line.
The American Red Cross would like you to donate as generously as possible to help those in need. If you haven't yet done so, here is yet another opportunity. Please avail yourself of it.