Wednesday, October 31, 2007


From the Archives

(September 2005)

Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans, after reporting that armed thugs now control the city and are raping and assaulting stranded tourists and other survivors, looting and hijacking vehicles, said
the whole recovery operation had been carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days. The rest of the goddamn nation can’t get us any resources for security. ...We are like little birds with our mouths open and you don’t have to be very smart to know where to drop the worm... It’s criminal within the confines of the United States that within one hour of the hurricane they weren’t force-deeding us. It’s like FEMA has never been to a hurricane.—New York Times

The whole coastal area of the state has been destroyed, virtually destroyed. It was quiet. It was eerie. It was horrible to behold.—Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)

I’ll say it again, after pointing out that Sen. Cochranm, who used the word “behold,” definitely grew up hearing the King James version of the Bible read aloud: I just LOVE how southerners string words together.

Stan Goodenough describes Katrina as The Fist of God:

What America is about to experience is the lifting of God's hand of protection; the implementation of His judgment on the nation most responsible for endangering the land and people of Israel. The Bible talks about Him shaking His fist over bodies of water, and striking them.—Deborah Caldwell, “Did God Send the Hurricane?” BELIEFNET 9.1.2005

On Sunday, Bridgett Magee of Slidell, LA told the Christian website Jerusalem Newswire that she saw the hurricane as a direct coming back on us [for] what we did to Israel: a home for a home. (Deborah Caldwell, “Did God Send the Hurricane?” BELIEFNET 9.1.2005)

Interestingly, the White House is referring to the hurricane and flooding as a catastrophe of biblical proportions too.

And here’s a nice twist on the standard specious reasoning: God brought the hurricane to punish America for its homophobia and for not burning Pat Robertson at the stake.—SSEGALLMD (ALTERNET)

"It was not enough for the president to bank his plane and look at the window and say 'O, what a devastating site,'” Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) said in a statement on Thursday. "Instead of looking out the window of an airplane, he should have been on the ground giving the people devastated by this hurricane hope." (The New York Times).

I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who had noticed that, for days now, we have been inundated with discomforting noblesse oblige images of white people either rescuing black people from the flooded waters or white people describing thoseblack people in need of rescue as savages. Well, today, the New York Times finally reports that there has been a growing sense that race and class are the unspoken markers of who got out and who got stuck. Just as in developing countries where the failures of rural development policies become glaringly clear at times of natural disasters like floods or drought, many national leaders said, some of the United States’ poorest cities have been left vulnerable by federal policies.

In New Orleans,

the disaster’s impact underscores the intersection of race and class in a city where fully two-thirds of its residents are black and more than a quarter of the city lives in poverty. In the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, which was inundated by the floodwaters, more than 98 percent of the residents are black and more than a third live in poverty.

No one would have checked on a lot of the black people in these parishes while the sun shined, said Mayor Milton D. Tutwiler of Winstonville, MS. So am I surprised that no one has come to help us now? No.

"I assume the president is going to say he got bad intelligence"—Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), who noted that the danger to the levees was clear. "Wherever you see poverty, whether it’s in the white rural community or the black urban community, you see that the resources have been sucked up into the war and tax cuts for the rich."

Is this what the pioneers of the civil rights movement fought to achieve, a society where many black people are as trapped and isolated by their poverty as they were by segregation laws? Prof. Mark Maison asked. If Sept. 11 showed the power of a nation united in response to a devastating attack, Hurricane Katrina reveals the fault lines of a region and a nation, rent by profound social divisions.

"Most of the people that live in the neighborhoods that were most vulnerable are black and poor, so it comes down to a lack of sensitivity on the part of people in Washington that you need to help poor folks. It’s as simple as that."—Charles Steele Jr, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is really enjoying the US Open and those Broadway shows.

Meanwhile, concerned citizens are paddling their own canoes down to New Orleans in throngs and going building to building to rescue people. A volunteer citizen navy with its very own flotilla!

People can be so cool sometimes.

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