Cynthia's Interests


The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Evil Continues...

Former Republican Education Secretary, Bill Bennett stated "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down"

Other blogs discussing this ignorance:

Ous Ceesay
John Conyers

Link to Audio at MediaMatters.org
Bill Bennett's Morning in America Sponsors.
Contact Salem Radio Network.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

A Break From Blogging

If anyone cares, I'm in the last year of my Ph.D. program and I know I've been spending too much time blogging, therefore, I think it would be wise to stop until the beginning of 2006. I've learned a lot through this process, but I must prepare myself for the next phase of my life.

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Political Test

I’m not back yet, but I wanted to let the readers of my blog know my political leaning. The content of this blog reflects this political ideology. You have been warned.

You are a

Social Liberal
(73% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(10% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Socialist

You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.











Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

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EXPLOSIVE RESIDUE FOUND ON FAILED LEVEE DEBRIS!

This isn't the first time I've heard this news and this would be the second time that the levees were deliberately broken to allow water to flood neighborhoods in the poor areas sparing those in the more affluent neighborhoods.

Ruptured New Orleans Levee had help failing
By: Hal Turner September 9, 2005 - 3:36 PM EDT
New Orleans, LA --

Divers inspecting the ruptured levee walls surrounding New Orleans found something that piqued their interest: Burn marks on underwater debris chunks from the broken levee wall ! One diver, a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, saw the burn marks and knew immediately what caused them. He secreted a small chunk of the cement inside his diving suit and later arranged for it to be sent to trusted military friends at a The U.S. Army Forensic Laboratory at Fort Gillem, Georgia for testing. According to well placed sources, a military forensic specialist determined the burn marks on the cement chunks did, in fact, come from high explosives. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity said "We found traces of boron-enhanced fluoronitramino explosives as well as PBXN-111.

This would indicate at least two separate types of explosive devices." The levee ruptures in New Orleans did not take place during Hurricane Katrina, but rather a day after the hurricane struck. Several residents of New Orleans and many Emergency Workers reported hearing what sounded like large, muffled explosions from the area of the levee, but those were initially discounted as gas explosions from homes with leaking gas lines.

If these allegations prove true, the ruptured levee which flooded New Orleans was a deliberate act of mass destruction perpetrated by someone with access to military-grade UNDERWATER high explosives. More details as they become available . .

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FEMA is hindering aide from reaching survivors of Katrina

Apparently, FEMA is hindering efforts in Baton Rouge to help the evacuees. FEMA told Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club not to open their doors until they give them the word. The Sheriff ordered the stores to open their doors and said if any FEMA representatives interfered they will be arrested and thrown in jail.

Under the direction of FEMA, truck drivers who are making $900 day to deliver aide to victims of Hurricane Katrina are driving in circles. After driving to one designation, FEMA would instruct them to go to another location without delivering any of the goods.


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Police Trapped Thousands in New Orleans

Rogers Cadenhead at the Workbench explains why people just didn't walk out of New Orleans instead of waiting to be rescued. The article also shed some light on why some people were found dead on the bridge trying to leave NOLA.

As the situation grew steadily worse in New Orleans last week, you might have wondered why people didn't just leave on foot. The Louisiana Superdome is less than two miles from a bridge that leads over the Mississippi River out of the city.

The answer: Any crowd that tried to do so was met by suburban police, some of whom fired guns to disperse the group and seized their water.

Around 500 people stuck in downtown New Orleans after the storm banded together for self-preservation, making sure the oldest and youngest among them were taken care of before looking after their own needs.

Full article


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How Bush Blew It

Why the government was so slow to respond to catastrophe.

The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.

How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina evokes questions in Africa over racism, refugees in U.S.

This article is interesting because many Africans I've talked to over the years always thought that America was the land of the free and everybody had access to the same types of opportunities. Most of them always echoed the same sentiment, that African Americans were wasting their opportunities. If there is a silver lining in this Katrina catastrophe as this article suggests, it is this - the world got a chance to see some of the obstacles that African Americans are still facing in this country and that not everyone have access to the same opportunities.

This is my favorite part:

Charles Onyango-Obbo, a managing editor of Kenya's Nation newspaper group, wrote for Thursday's editions: "Thanks to Katrina, I now know that some places of America have never seen schools and electricity just like in rural Africa."

Although this statement isn't totally correct because people do have electricity, and they do go to schools, the living conditions on the other hand for many darker skinned blacks in Louisiana are deplorable. In addition, the school systems don’t adequately prepare many to even take the exit exam in their senior year to obtain their high school diploma. There is a lot wrong with Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina just magnified some of the horrors and indignities that blacks, and poor people are suffering at the hands of this society and the world now knows about America's best kept secret.

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Insurers balk at paying out to 1 million Katrina flood victims

Millions of New Orleans residents may not be insured for the damage to their homes. More than half of the properties may be insured for hurricane damage, but not flood damage. The insurance companies are insisting it was the flood that forced the evacuation of the city and caused the damage to the homes. If the US courts agree, the insurance industry could save as much as $10 billion dollars, leaving more than a million people destitute.

What recourse will these people have? They will not be able to seek assistance from the Federal Government because the Republicans are going ahead with their plan to cut programs that can aid the poor.


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Refusal of Outside Aide

A German plane with 15 tons of aid turned back from U.S.

The plane was turned away Thursday because it did not have the required authorization, a German government spokesman said.

The spokesman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, declined to comment on a report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel that U.S. authorities refused the delivery on the grounds that the NATO military rations could carry mad cow disease.


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U.S. won't ban media from New Orleans searches

Rather than fight a lawsuit by CNN, the federal government abandoned its effort Saturday to prevent the media from reporting on the recovery of the dead in New Orleans.

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Cover-up: toxic waters 'will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade'

Toxic chemicals in the New Orleans flood waters will make the city unsafe for full human habitation for a decade, a US government official has told The Independent on Sunday. And, he added, the Bush administration is covering up the danger.

Full Story


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Saturday, September 10, 2005

It Just Keep Getting Worst For NOLA Residents

Heavily armed paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for their work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans. Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force. Several mercenaries we spoke with said they had served in Iraq on the personal security details of the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer and the former US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte.

"This is a totally new thing to have guys like us working CONUS (Continental United States)," a heavily armed Blackwater mercenary told us as we stood on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. "We're much better equipped to deal with the situation in Iraq."

Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Link

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Friday, September 09, 2005

This is so typical...

I wonder if the amount given to Halliburton and Co. will be reduced accordingly.

The firms with White House ties get Katrina contracts and President Bush signs executive order allowing contractors to pay below prevailing wage in affected areas.

Excerpt:

President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The Davis-Bacon law requires federal contractors to pay workers at least the prevailing wages in the area where the work is conducted. It applies to federally funded construction projects such as highways and bridges.

Bush's executive order suspends the requirements of the Davis-Bacon law for designated areas hit by the storm.

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Good News - FEMA Directory Off Katrina Duty

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown, under criticism due to his management of Hurricane Katrina as well as reported discrepancies on his resume, has been ousted from disaster relief efforts.

And sources have told ABC News that Brown is also expected to be out as head of the agency very soon.


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FEMA TO SCRAP DEBIT CARD PROGRAM FOR KATRINA EVACUEES

I just received this news. I was trying to determine why the debit cards were scrapped, but I can't find the link. If anyone knows why these cards were scrapped, I would appreciate the link.

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Quote of the Year...

What we are seeing as of late, is that previous actions taken by the GOP are coming back to bite them, often illustrated by their votes on amendments. For example, when the Homeland Security bill was approved three years ago, Democrats tried to keep FEMA as a cabinet level agency, but the Republicans voted no. When the bankruptcy bill was approved earlier this year, Democrats offered amendments to protect victims of natural disasters, but again, the GOP voted no.

Congressman John Conyers

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NEW ORLEANS - Alive & Well For Some...

On a sultry morning earlier this week, Ashton O'Dwyer stepped out of his home on this city's grandest street and made a beeline for his neighbor's pool. Wearing nothing but a pair of blue swim trunks and carrying two milk jugs, he drew enough pool water to flush the toilet in his home.

The mostly African-American neighborhoods of New Orleans are largely underwater, and the people who lived there have scattered across the country. But in many of the predominantly white and more affluent areas, streets are dry and passable. Gracious homes are mostly intact and powered by generators. Full Link

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The World Watching America

Chaos a Portent of America's Decline

Are we entering a period in history without a dominant power? This op-ed from Chile's El Universo laments the loss of New Orleans, and what it may tell us about America's - and the world's - future.

The greatest world power has aged, it is in decline, and at the moment we do not know who will replace it.

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This Is Reprehensible (What ism is this?)

From Ous Cessay's Blog

Priorities?
Approximately $2 billion US with much of the money coming in the form of U.S. government assistance. Each settler family will receive between $200,000 to $300,000 US and the opportunity to relocate to other communities being created for them inside Israel proper. Most of the houses, synagogues, buildings and military infrastructure in the settlements will be destroyed before the land is handed over to the Palestinians.

And now this:

But the bulk of the money would go into a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief fund that is offering debit cards of $2,000 per household to victims evacuated from homes in Louisiana and Mississippi. FEMA anticipates handing out 320,000 cards, at a cost of $640 million, to help displaced residents buy clothing, pay for transportation and other "emergency supplies they need," Director Michael Brown said.

That is right our government is paying Gaza settlers a hundred times more to vacate land they shouldn’t be on in the first place as opposed to helping citizens displaced by Katrina.

The Jewish settlers are getting $2 billion dollars distributed amongst 8000 families while the administration is touting the spending of only $640 million in the form of $2000 debit cards to American citizens displaced by the worst natural disaster that ever hit this shores. This is an outrage.

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The worst is yet to come

After the water is pumped out of New Orleans, warns Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff: “It will be worse than anything we have had in this country, perhaps with the exception of September 11. I believe we need to prepare the country for what's coming." Chertoff himself continues to refuse to guess at the number of deaths, but a member of Congress said it could exceed 10,000. Anxious to make people forget his initial indifference, George W. Bush decreed a 48-hour period of mourning. "If you want to help this country recover, please give money to the Red Cross," beseeched the president, while visiting the headquarters of the institution in Washington.

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The real costs of a culture of greed

WHAT THE WORLD has witnessed this past week is an image of poverty and social disarray that tears away the affluent mask of the United States. Instead of the much-celebrated American can-do machine that promises to bring freedom and prosperity to less fortunate people abroad, we have seen a callous official incompetence that puts even Third World rulers to shame. The well-reported litany of mistakes by the Bush administration in failing to prevent and respond to Katrina's destruction grew longer with each hour's grim revelation from the streets of an apocalyptic New Orleans.

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The future of New Orleans - What lies ahead for an irreplaceable city

New Orleans was already losing people before Katrina; its population peaked, at almost 630,000, in 1960. At the last census count, in 2000, 485,000 people lived there. Officials now fear that as many as 250,000 will leave for good, and that dull-but-prosperous Baton Rouge will soon become Louisiana's economic centre. New Orleanians have long disdained their state's capital. But it stands on the first high ground along the Mississippi, and its population of about 230,000 has supposedly doubled in past days. Evacuees are already buying houses in its suburbs.

New Orleans officials are busy discussing how they might lure people back.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

The World Finally Knows America's Dirty Little Secret...

UN hits back at US in report saying parts of America are as poor as Third World

Parts of the United States are as poor as the Third World, according to a shocking United Nations report on global inequality.

Claims that the New Orleans floods have laid bare a growing racial and economic divide in the US have, until now, been rejected by the American political establishment as emotional rhetoric. But yesterday's UN report provides statistical proof that for many - well beyond those affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina - the great American Dream is an ongoing nightmare.

The document constitutes a stinging attack on US policies at home and abroad in a fightback against moves by Washington to undermine next week's UN 60th anniversary conference which will be the biggest gathering of world leaders in history.

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Edwards, Pelosi, Kennedy, Kerry, Dean Step Up Criticism of White House

After 10 days of often uncertain responses to the Bush administration's management of Hurricane Katrina, Democratic leaders unleashed a burst of attacks on the White House on Wednesday, saying the wreckage in New Orleans raised doubts about the country's readiness to endure a terrorist attack and exposed ominous economic rifts that they said had worsened under five years of Republican rule.

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Incompetence of FEMA

FEMA flew evacuees to the right city, but wrong state.

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Blasphemy About NOLA: A God With Whom I Am Not Familiar

By Tim Wise

IT ISN'T GOD THAT KEPT ME FROM TURNING AROUND AND BEATING YOUR LILY WHITE PRIVILEGED ASS...

This is an open letter to the man sitting behind me at La Paz today, in Nashville, at lunchtime, with the Brooks Brothers shirt:

You don't know me. But I know you.

I watched you as you held hands with your tablemates at the restaurant where we both ate this afternoon. I listened as you prayed, and thanked God for the food you were about to eat, and for your own safety, several hundred miles away from the unfolding catastrophe in New Orleans.

You blessed your chimichanga in the name of Jesus Christ, and then proceeded to spend the better part of your meal – and mine, since I was too near your table to avoid hearing every word – morally scolding the people of that devastated city, heaping scorn on them for not heeding the warnings to leave before disaster struck. Then you attacked them – all of them, without distinction it seemed – for the behavior of a relative handful: those who have looted items like guns, or big screen TVs.

Continue reading...

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Bush Picks Roberts to Keep Conservatives in Charge of Court; Roberts Chided for ‘Consistent Opposition’ to Civil Rights

President Bush quickly nominated John Roberts to become Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to avoid having liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, the court’s senior judge, take over the administrative duties of the court and possibly influencing the outcome of some cases, court observers say.

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The She Lap Dog Barks For Her Master


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Aftermath of Hurricane Sweeps through Congress

Conyers introduced s price gouging bill -- joined by 32 other Members. If the president was really serious about his "zero tolerance" for price gougers, he would support this bill which gives the federal government enforcement authority, unfortunately, as of yet, we have not a single Republican cosponsor.
Co-sponsors to Conyers Price-Gouging Bill:

Representatives Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Linda Sanchez, Jerrold Nadler, Martin Meehan, Sheila Jackson Lee, Bennie Thompson, William Jefferson, Adam Schiff, Joe Crowley, William Delahunt, Zoe Lofgren, Gene Taylor, Chris Van Hollen, Diane Watson, Bobby Scott, Ed Case, Bernie Sanders, Mike Capuano, Dennis Kucinich, Bob Filner, Dan Boren, Jim McDermott, George Miller, John Larson, Al Green, Julia Carson, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Carolyn Maloney, Emanuel Cleaver, Barbara Lee, Betty McCollum, Anthony Weiner

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Toxic Water Being Pumped Back Into The Mighty Mississippi and Lake Ponchartrain

Chemicals leaking from cars and factories will cause one of the costliest environmental cleanups ever.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Dean: Race Played a Role in Katrina Deaths

Race was a factor in the death toll from Hurricane Katrina, Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic party, told members of the National Baptist Convention of America on Wednesday at the group's annual meeting.

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FEMA blocks photos of the dead from Katrina

FEMA rejected requests from journalists to accompany rescue boats as they went out to search for storm victims.

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Katrina Time Line & Petition from MoveOn.Org

Tell Bush: "Don't blame Hurricane victims, help them!"

MoveOn will begin to deliver the earliest signatures to the White House tomorrow, Thursday, when a delegation of MoveOn members from New Orleans, who are now homeless and will come to Washington and join other MoveOn members outside the White House at a petition delivery and protest. The petition is one important way to demonstrate that the public wants more action to help hurricane victims and is getting angry about this blame-shifting game the Bush administration is playing.

It is important that the Bush administration not get away with shifting their responsibility to local officials. Here is what actually happened.

Timeline


  • Friday, Aug. 26: Gov. Kathleen Blanco declares a state of emergency in Louisiana and requests troop assistance.


  • Saturday, Aug. 27: Gov. Blanco asks for federal state of emergency. A federal emergency is declared giving federal officials the authority to get involved.


  • Sunday, Aug. 28: Mayor Ray Nagin orders mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. President Bush warned of Levee failure by National Hurricane Center. National Weather Service predicts area will be "uninhabitable" after Hurricane arrives. First reports of water toppling over the levee appear in local paper.


  • Monday, Aug. 29: Levee breaches and New Orleans begins to fill with water, Bush travels to Arizona and California to discuss Medicare. FEMA chief finally responds to federal emergency, dispatching employees but giving them two days to arrive on site.


  • Tuesday, Aug. 30: Mass looting reported, security shortage cited in New Orleans. Pentagon says that local authorities have adequate National Guard units to handle hurricane needs despite governor's earlier request. Bush returns to Crawford for final day of vacation. TV coverage is around-the-clock Hurricane news.


  • Wednesday, Aug. 31: Tens of thousands trapped in New Orleans including at Convention Center and Superdome in "medieval" conditions. President Bush finally returns to Washington to establish a task force to coordinate federal response. Local authorities run out of food and water supplies.


  • Thursday, Sept. 1: New Orleans descends into anarchy. New Orleans Mayor issues a "Desperate SOS" to federal government. Bush claims nobody predicted the breach of the levees despite multiple warnings and his earlier briefing.


  • Friday, Sept. 2: Karl Rove begins Bush administration campaign to blame state and local officials—despite their repeated requests for help. Bush stages a photo-op—diverting Coast Guard helicopters and crew to act as backdrop for cameras. Levee repair work orchestrated for president's visit and White House press corps.


  • Saturday, Sept. 3: Bush blames state and local officials. Senior administration official (possibly Rove) caught in a lie claiming Gov. Blanco had not declared a state of emergency or asked for help.


  • Monday, Sept. 5: New Orleans officials begin to collect their dead


(Adapted from: Katrina Time Line)

Those are the facts. State and local officials BEGGED for help as people in their city suffered. The Bush administration didn't get the job done and when their failure became an embarrassment they attacked those asking for help.

The New York Times reported on Friday that Karl Rove and White House communications director Dan Bartlett "rolled out a plan...to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina." The core of the strategy is "to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana."

This is the same pattern of smearing that the Bush political machine has used for a decade. John McCain and John Kerry had their war records smeared. The CIA cover of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife was blown after he criticized the Bush Iraq policy. Now, Hurricane victims are attacked when the Bush administration failed to do their duty to help them.

It isn't just the Bush administration. Republican Senator Rick Santorum blamed victims in a TV interview and House Speaker Dennis Hastert suggested New Orleans should not be rebuilt.

We can't let them get away with this.

Please sign the petition today and do your part.


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A statement from an out of touch and insensitive old_______ (you fill in the blank)

Hurricane Katrina victims in Houston, Texas were "underprivileged anyway" and life in the Astrodome sports arena is "working very well for them," former first lady Barbara Bush said.

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," she said.

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this is working very well for them."

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Talking About Corruption

Can you believe FEMA asked people to donate to Pat Robertson immediately following the devastation by Katrina? Yes, this is the same man that called for the assassination of Chavez.

Details at Conyers' blog.

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Who Is To Blame For This Fiasco?

The big question I have is why didn't Mayor Nagin evacuate the poor?

The City of New Orleans has a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, why wasn't it implemented? Especially since Katrina was expected to hit land as a Category 5. According to this article, had it not been for a puff of dry air that came out of the Midwest, weakening the hurricane to a 4 just before it reached land and pushing it slightly to the east (an act of God I would say) off its original trajectory to New Orleans, the damage would have been extensive. For this reason, I think Mayor Nagin should be held accountable for not evacuating those who were too poor to leave.

According to the NBC news today, there were enough school buses to evacuated at least 13,000 people and 200 of those buses were left in the path of Katrina. We all know that Bush said the whole region affected would be eligible for disaster relief before the storm even hit the gulf coast, therefore we can't use the argument that Nagin didn't have the resources. So again I must ask, why were these people left to die? The monies would have been reimbursed.

Even though Katrina was downgraded to a 4, New Orleans would have still been devastated. Neither the levees nor the Superdome could withstand the force of a storm the size of Katrina. Before, the trajectory shifted to the east by that act of God from the Midwest, New Orleans instead of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi would have been submerged underwater because of the 28 - 30ft storm surged from Katrina, which would have killed most, if not all the people left in the city. In that case, Mayor Nagin would have been completely responsible and that would have been the end of the story. We would have watched in horror, as the superdome would have been a floating morgue (so to speak) and everyone remained would have perished. Since the severity of the storm was known in ample time to evacuate everyone, you really have to wonder why anyone was left behind to die.

If I hadn't found this site about FEMA devising an evacuation plan in 2004 for New Orleans, which also states they had intentions on leaving New Orleans' poor behind too, I would have said Mayor Nagin dropped the ball by himself. However, if you couple Mayor Nagin's and FEMA's actions with the ineptitude and slow response of the Bush Administration after the storm, then it becomes clearer to many that the poor were intentionally left to die. There is no way that America is this unprepared to handle a disaster of any kind.
.


Excerpt from FEMA's evacuation exercise...

During the five-day exercise, FEMA envisioned that the fictitious category 3 "Hurricane Pam" slammed into New Orleans, deluging the area in enough water to top the levees and flood the city. Groups representing approximately 50 government agencies worked out action plans in July 2004 to deal with search and rescue, establishing shelters, debris clean-up, pumping water out of the city and even getting schools back up and running after the storm.

Though officials involved in the scenario acknowledged that tens of thousands of residents would be without the means to evacuate New Orleans in the absence of government help, the Hurricane Pam scenario teams did not determine strategies for evacuating people ahead of time. Instead, officials predicted that only one-third of the city’s residents would make it out in time and designed their response plan around that assumption.

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FEMA Deliberately Sabotaging Hurricane Relief Efforts

FEMA told first responders to not respond
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), today urged all fire and emergency services departments not to respond to counties and states affected by Hurricane Katrina without being requested and lawfully dispatched by state and local authorities under mutual aid agreements and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

FEMA chief waited until after storm hit
The government's disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina had already struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the region - and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents.

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New Orleans police chief defends force where up to 200 'cowards' have deserted

Not since The Spartans at Thermopylae have a group of people displayed such courage under pressure as the New Orleans police department, the force's chief said last night at an emotional press conference. Only a few cowards, Eddie Compass said, had quit and run.

The outburst invoking loyal heroism, delivered with Jesse Jackson at his side, came in the wake of news that two of his officers had killed themselves and up to another 200 had apparently gone absent without leave. They were said to have been alarmed and dismayed at becoming a target of snipers and looters. One of their number had been shot, not fatally, in the head last week. Full Link...

Rumor has it that the police officers that quit were all white. They said I'm not going to risk my life for those black people.

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The Uncertain Future of New Orleans, LA

This is a case that NOLA should not be rebuilt...

Hurricane Destroys Last of Nature's Speed Bumps

As scientists review aerial photographs of devastation, the evidence of the next huge challenge facing the Gulf Coast jumps out at them: Katrina ripped through the coastline's few remaining barrier islands, and with the hurricane season half over, New Orleans lies naked to the ravages of future storms.

"The entire delta is gone, destroyed," said James B. Johnston, a biologist who coordinates the study of Louisiana's coastline at the National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, La.


This is a case that NOLA should be rebuilt

New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize
A simple way to think about the New Orleans port complex is that it is where the bulk commodities of agriculture go out to the world and the bulk commodities of industrialism come in. The commodity chain of the global food industry starts here, as does that of American industrialism.

With the Delta gone to protect New Orleans, I suspect when it is rebuilt, it will be significantly different and who knows it maybe be modeled after the man-made islands off Kobe, Japan or in Tokyo Bay...

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What Happens to a Race Deferred

THE white people got out. Most of them, anyway.
What a shocked world saw exposed in New Orleans last week wasn't just a broken levee. It was a cleavage of race and class, at once familiar and startlingly new, laid bare in a setting where they suddenly amounted to matters of life and death. Hydrology joined sociology throughout the story line, from the settling of the flood-prone city, where well-to-do white people lived on the high ground, to its frantic abandonment.

Even people who had spent a lifetime studying race and class found themselves slack-jawed.

"This is a pretty graphic illustration of who gets left behind in this society - in a literal way," said Christopher Jencks, a sociologist glued to the televised images from his office at Harvard. Surprised to have found himself surprised, Mr. Jencks took to thinking out loud. "Maybe it's just an in-the-face version of something I already knew," he said. "All the people who don't get out, or don't have the resources, or don't believe the warning are African-American."

More

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One man's heroic deeds in the aftermath of Katrina...

The news media only focused on the lawless aspect of the trauma from people stranded after Katrina hit never emphasizing the heroic acts by those forsaken by the system. This is a story of courage, compassion, love, and friendship that is a part of the legacy and history of blacks living in the south.


A Roughneck on a Mercy Mission
Excerpt:

Thomas Sterling steered his skiff around the top of a submerged SUV and under a dangling power line, navigating his flooded 9th Ward neighborhood like a champion gondolier.

"Would you believe I've been up since 5 this morning paddling this boat?" Sterling asked.

"I ain't never seen so many dead people, and I ain't never saved so many people," Sterling said. "I must have rescued over 200 people."

The former dockworker, 53, on disability with a nerve condition, had never given a thought to evacuating."I knew I would survive, so I wanted to stay here and help other people who wouldn't leave or couldn't get out," said Sterling, whose chest tattoo says, "All Eyes on Me, Me Against the World."

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An ugly truth that African Americans is avoiding...

Mayor Ray Nagin is ultimately responsible for leaving those people behind. This is a reality that we can no longer let slip under the radar. Below is a post that talks briefly about Nagan's role in this unfortunate ordeal. I will revisit the role Nagin played from the politics of colorism among African Americans.

Excerpt from the Captain's Quarter:

The issues of evacuation had come to light before in New Orleans, almost exactly a year ago, in the advance of Hurrican Ivan through the Gulf. This report demonstrates that the problem experienced this week in The Big Easy did not arise from ignorance or a failure of imagination, but directly from incompetence in the city administration and specifically by Mayor Ray Nagin:

Those who had the money to flee Hurricane Ivan ran into hours-long traffic jams. Those too poor to leave the city had to find their own shelter - a policy that was eventually reversed, but only a few hours before the deadly storm struck land.

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Finally, Water Is Being Pumped Out of New Orleans

Although this may be good news, I've read that pumping water out of the City will cause it to sink further below sea level.

The floodwaters that caused so much misery and death in New Orleans were being pumped back into Lake Pontchartrain and authorities braced for what the receding deluge would reveal. "It's going to wake the nation up again," Mayor Ray Nagin said Tuesday.

Continue reading

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Third World Scenes

The wretched shelters at the Superdome and the convention center were finally emptied this weekend, so the last place you could really grasp the enormity of what happened here was the airport. You thought you were in Haiti or Angola, not the United States, and you understood why so many of the people who survived the past week are filled with exhausted rage. More...

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Public Outcry

Poll: Bush Not Taking Brunt of Katrina Criticism
Americans are broadly critical of government preparedness in the Hurricane Katrina disaster — but far fewer take George W. Bush personally to task for the problems, and public anger about the response is less widespread than some critics would suggest.

I'm not surprised that the public outcry in America for the loss of black lives isn't higher. However, it is comforting to know there are still many decent people in America that realizes Bush could have done more...

Bush Faces Rising Complaints About Handling of Disaster
President Bush faced increasingly bitter complaints today from local and state officials in the battered Gulf Coast region as he struggled to exert control over a disaster that almost surely claimed thousands of lives.

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Killed by Contempt

Lives could have been saved.

Each day since Katrina brings more evidence of the lethal ineptitude of federal officials. I'm not letting state and local officials off the hook, but federal officials had access to resources that could have made all the difference, but were never mobilized.

Here's one of many examples: The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S.S. Bataan, equipped with six operating rooms, hundreds of hospital beds and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of fresh water a day, has been sitting off the Gulf Coast since last Monday - without patients.

Experts say that the first 72 hours after a natural disaster are the crucial window during which prompt action can save many lives. Yet action after Katrina was anything but prompt. Newsweek reports that a "strange paralysis" set in among Bush administration officials, who debated lines of authority while thousands died.

What caused that paralysis? Continue...


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Katrina tragedy is an absolutely perfect storm for oil companies

The rich is still getting richer...

Pumping Us Dry

The very first thing George W. Bush did in response to Hurricane Katrina was to offer a helping hand—not to the people stranded on rooftops in New Orleans, but to his friends in the oil industry. These were the same people who gave him $52 million in his last campaign.

Pouring more oil into the marketplace didn't reduce gasoline prices, which kept on going up, hitting $4 a gallon in some places.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Are we surprised? Guess who got the contracts to clean-up behind Katrina?

HALLIBURTON GETS KATRINA CONTRACT, HIRES FORMER FEMA DIRECTOR.
In this country, it is always safe to say that the rich will get richer while the poor gets poorer. Welcome to the good ole US of A.

The US Navy asked Halliburton to repair naval facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina,the Houston Chronicle reported today.

The work was assigned to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary under the Navy's $500 million CONCAP tract awarded to KBR in 2001 and renewed in 2004. The repairs will take place in Louisiana and Mississippi.

KBR has not been asked to repair the levees destroyed in New Orleans which became the primary cause of most of the damage.

Since 1989, governments worldwide have awarded $3 billion emergency Response.jsp contracts to KBR's Government and Infrastructure Division to clean up damage caused by natural and man-made disasters.

Earlier this year, the Navy awarded $350 million in contracts to KBR and three other companies to repair naval facilities in northwest Florida damaged by Hurricane Ivan, which struck in September 2004. The ongoing repair work involves aircraft support facilities, medium industrial buildings, marine construction, mechanical and electrical improvements, civil construction, and family housing renovation.

In March, the former director of the Federal Emergency ManagementAgency (FEMA), which is tasked with responding to hurricane disasters, became a lobbyist for KBR. Joe Allbaugh director of FEMA during the first two years of the Bush administration.

Today, FEMA is widely criticized for its slow response to the victimsof Hurricane Katrina. Allbaugh managed Bush's campaign for Texas governor in 1994, served as Gov. Bush's chief of staff and was the national campaign manager for the Bush campaign in 2000. Along with Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, Allbaugh was one of Bush's closest advisers.

"This is a perfect example of someone cashing in on a cozy political relationship," said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington watchdog group. "Allbaugh's former placement as a senior government official and his new lobbying position with KBR strengthens the company's already tight ties to the administration, and I hope that contractor accountability is not lost as a result."

Source: http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/

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Despite Warnings, Washington Failed to Fund Levee Projects

As recently as three months ago, the alarms were sounding — and being brushed aside.

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Living Paycheck to Paycheck Made Leaving Impossible

To those who wonder why so many stayed behind when push came to water's mighty shove here, those who were trapped have a simple explanation: Their nickels and dimes and dollar bills simply didn't add up to stage a quick evacuation mission.

"Me and my wife, we were living paycheck to paycheck, like most everybody else in New Orleans," Eric Dunbar, 54, said Saturday.

"I don't own a car. Me and my wife, we travel by bus, public transportation. The most money I ever have on me is $400. And that goes to pay the rent. And that $400 is between me and my wife."

Dunbar estimated his annual income to be about $20,000, which comes from doing graphic design work when he can get it. Before the storm, when he and his wife estimated how much money they needed to flee the city, he was saddened by the reality that he could not come up with anywhere near the several thousand dollars he might need for a rental car and airfare.

"If I took my wife out to dinner, it was once a month," he said, sounding as if even those modest good times had come to an abrupt end. "We'd go to Piccadilly's. Never any movies. Really, it's a simple life. I go to work, come home, talk to my wife, go to bed, then back to work again. A basic existence."

He was rolling two quarters around in his hand, short 50 cents to make a long-distance call to his son. As his eyes began to water, he repeated himself: "Just a basic existence."

Continue reading...

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Katrina Death Toll in Thousands

Mayor Nagin estimates that approximately 50 - 60,000 could be dead in New Orleans...

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New Orleans police kill looters in shoot-out

New Orleans police killed four looters who had opened fire on them on Sunday as rescue teams scoured homes and toxic waters flooding streets to find survivors and recover thousands of bloated corpses.

Looters, who are they kidding. The majority of the people were only trying to survive. Calling these people looters the media is trying to desensitize us to the pain and suffering these people are experiencing. They want us to accept that these people deserve to die. Well, I’m not buying this crap. I know the governmental officials and the news media knew this would be one of the outcomes after leaving people in a flooded city that is built upon a swamp for 7 days without food and water. Any reasonable person knows that peoples' survival instincts will kick in and the result will be anarchy.

Isn’t America supposed to be this great bastion of Democracy, and the epitome of everything that is good and right? If Castro and Chavez are so evil, why don’t you see them treating their citizens the same way America treated the victims of Katrina (mostly black) in New Orleans. Does anyone really believe America possess the moral authority to call anyone evil after all the blood that is on her hands?

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Orleans Begins Grisly Cleanup

With the last weary refugees rescued from the Superdome and convention center, New Orleans turned its attention Sunday to gathering up and counting the dead across a ghastly landscape awash in perhaps thousands of corpses.

No one knows how many people were killed by Hurricane Katrina and how many more succumbed waiting to be rescued. But the bodies are everywhere: hidden in attics, floating in the ruined city, crumpled in wheelchairs, abandoned on highways.

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"They've Got to Open the Base"

Louisiana black leaders, along with Maxine Waters and Jesse Jackson, want to take Katrina victims to a shuttered Air Force base instead of shelters. And I'm going with them said Stephen Elliott.

"My soul wouldn't let me sit and watch this on TV," says Waters, who represents South Central Los Angeles. "I'm just shocked that people have been living for five days, and dying, on the streets of this country. So I came down here, and my friend Cleo Fields came up with this wonderful possibility."

That wonderful possibility, hatched by state Sen. Cleo Fields and the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, is to house the displaced residents at the Air Force base instead of shelters and sports stadiums like the Astrodome, many of which are full anyway. They haven't gotten permission to do that, but that's not stopping them. The black leaders say racism is behind both the late response to the emergency and the dispersal of rescued residents far away from New Orleans.

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The ugly truth - Why we couldn’t save the people of New Orleans...

So far, this is the only article I've found that discusses the poverty on this level about blacks in New Orleans and what is driving that poverty. It is being driven by the corruption and the systemic racist practices against blacks through out the years.

If you adjust Louisiana for it’s population size, then Louisiana ranks third in the number of elected officials convicted of crimes, Mississippi is No. 1. Recent scandals include the conviction of 14 state judges and an FBI raid on the business and personal files of a Louisiana congressman.

It's interesting to note that Bush has allocated ten billion dollars to the relief effort, however, the author and many others believe these funds are about to be passed into the sticky hands of the politicians in the No. 1 (Mississippi) and No. 3 (Louisiana) most corrupt states in America. If you are worried about looting, you ain't seen nothing yet. This money will disappear without benefiting those who were the most vulnerable (the poor)...

Most of these black people will never see New Orleans again. Some people have already predicted that the flavor of the city will be different once it is rebuilt. What a shame...

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The Two Americas

America has always been divided based upon racial lines.

Everything is affected by politics. This is why blacks overwhelmingly embraced the Democratic Party. Although we realize that America's politics is still black and white, in the absence of a viable third party, we simply decided to vote for the lesser of two evils. Those blacks that have embraced the Republican Party it was always understood by everyone that these people were trying to disassociate from the black community and identify with the larger community. In many cases, these people were stepping on other blacks to obtain their goal. If you talk to them or visit their sites, the hatred they feel towards other blacks will be apparent. Historically, they have always blamed the victims for their outcome instead of looking at the larger picture to determine what is driving the outcome. In light of this blatant disregard for black life, they still can't bring themselves to accept the truth and they are still blaming the victims for being victimized by this system. Katrina has shown the rest of the world what black people have known for centuries, "racism is alive and well in the U.S".

Recently, some of the black Republicans were talking about Castro and Valdez as if they are evil dictators. At least both of these leaders are trying to help their people, but the U.S. has a total disregard for millions of its citizens. .

In fact, last September, a Category 5 hurricane battered the small island of Cuba with 160-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated to higher ground ahead of the storm. Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, no one died. America would do well to pay Cuban's President Fidel Castro to ascertain his secret. Full link..

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Troops begin combat operations in New Orleans

They are calling the situation in New Orleans an "insurgency"...

This place is going to look like Little Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. “We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.”

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Missing People in New Orleans

I just read an email where someone saw on the news that the military is saying they can not account for around 45,000 people in NOLA. Where are they? Does anyone know how many people are dead?

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Crisis raises questions of race

A black woman stood outside the city's convention center, surrounded by thousands of hungry, sick and frustrated residents. Javelin Coleman, 20, arrived at the center by canoe. Now, several days later, and with no car, she and her 3-month-old son had no way to escape. "I got stuck here," she said.

Some 600 miles away in Tampa, a white man, Dave Dickson, enjoyed a Diet Coke and a muffin. He and his wife, Barbara, evacuated their $300,000 home in New Orleans and drove to Florida. "I feel very fortunate that my friends and family are safe," said Dickson, 56.

In Hurricane Katrina's baneful aftermath, the dichotomy of New Orleans has become increasingly apparent. In image after image, the victims left to suffer appear to be mostly poor and black.

Why? Part of the answer is that two-thirds of New Orleans' population is black.

But history suggests an uglier explanation:

Black residents long ago were pushed into the swampy, low-lying lands of New Orleans, while rich white residents built on higher plots.

Full Link


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New Orleans Left to the Dead and Dying

Thousands more bedraggled refugees were bused and airlifted to salvation Saturday, leaving the heart of New Orleans to the dead and dying, the elderly and frail stranded too many days without food, water or medical care.

No one knows how many were killed by Hurricane Katrina's floods and how many more succumbed waiting to be rescued. But the bodies are everywhere: hidden in attics, floating among the ruined city, crumpled on wheelchairs, abandoned on highways.

Link

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An Eyewitness Account...

I found this post on Izzy Mo's blog. She is a hurricane survivor. Most of her family is now in Georgia. This is an eyewitness account that was sent to her from one of her friends and this is his story of what is happening to the people that have been displaced by Katrina. The tragedy continues...

Jordan Speaks

I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I traveled from the apartment I was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials towards the victims of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps.In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway, thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them - Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations.

I was told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but to go to the shelter in Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they could not come within 17 miles of the camp.

I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman told me “as someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don’t want to be here at night.”

There was also no visible attempt by any of those running the camp to set up any sort of transparent and consistent system, for instance a line to get on buses, a way to register contact information or find family members, special needs services for children and infirm, phone services, treatment for possible disease exposure, nor even a single trash can.

To understand the dimensions of this tragedy, its important to look at New Orleans itself. For those who have not lived in New Orleans, you have missed a incredible, glorious, vital, city. A place with a culture and energy unlike anywhere else in the world. A 70% African-American city where resistance to white supremacy has supported a generous, subversive and unique culture of vivid beauty. From jazz, blues and hiphop, to secondlines, Mardi Gras Indians, Parades, Beads, Jazz Funerals, and red beans and rice on Monday nights, New Orleans is a place of art and music and dance and sexuality and liberation unlike anywhere else in the world.

It is a city of kindness and hospitality, where walking down the block can take two hours because you stop and talk to someone on every porch, and where a community pulls together when someone is in need. It is a city of extended families and social networks filling the gaps left by city, state and federal governments that have abdicated their responsibility for the public welfare. It is a city where someone you walk past on the street not only asks how you are, they wait for an answer.

It is also a city of exploitation and segregation and fear. Continue reading

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This should be good news...

Airlines ferrying hurricane victims out - but the article doesn't mention when they are going to implement this plan. These people have already been trapped in the City for five days now. I don't know how they are going to survive much longer with the high heat and humidity without adequate food, water, and medical care.

Excerpt:
U.S. commercial airlines plan to ferry more than 25,000 New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina from the city to safer locations, the airline industry and the U.S. government said on Friday.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Blames War for Slow Response to Katrina

On this post, Soul asked where are the Democrats? Below is a reponse from one of them.

Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) lambasted the Administration's slow response and lack of action to help the Gulf Coast communities destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

"The slow response to the needs of the people in the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina is inexcusable. We had several days advance notice that the Hurricane was coming, but where was the preparedness? Why weren't the hospitals, schools, and seniors evacuated immediately? Is this is an example of the Administration's idea of homeland security? If so, we are in trouble.

"If ever anyone doubted that there were two Americas, this disaster has made this division clear. The victims have largely been poor and black. The devastation from Hurricane Katrina only underscores the disastrous consequences of the Administration's failure to take even the most basic steps to alleviate poverty in the United States. The Administration can not ignore this reality.

Where are the black Republicans? Do they still think that the Republican Party care about black people and this is a Party that we should support? This catastrophe shows that there is such a thing as the lesser of two evils...


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This is the message that is sent to New Orleans and echoed around the US and the world by the Bush administration...

Harry Wasserman

George W. Bush is in New Orleans today to deliver a clear and unmistakable message: Drop Dead.

Little in our history can match his administration's astounding non-response to this excruciating human catastrophe.

Before Katrina, even Bush's harshest critics might have found non-credible his leaving tens of thousands of American citizens to suffer and die in utterly gratuitous squalor, disease, hunger and thirst.

These words are so true. Although I criticized this administration, I never thought they would have left this many Americans to die in such a callous and heartless manner while the world watched in horror.

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Mayor Ray Nagin Curses Gov. Blanco, Pres. Bush

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin exploded in frustration last night as his city spun further out of control, saying that Gov. Kathleen Blanco and President Bush need to stop holding "goddman press conferences" and "get their ass[es] on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now."

"I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem," Nagin said during an interview with a local New Orleans radio.

"But somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now," he erupted.

"I don't want to see anybody hold anymore goddamn press conferences," Nagin railed. "Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come to this city and stand with us, when their are [so many] military trucks and troops that we can't even count."

An exasperated Nagin continued:

"Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. . . . I'm at the point now where it don't matter. People are dying. They don't have homes. They don't have jobs. The city of New Orleans will never be the same in this time."

Before launching into his radio tirade, Nagin explained: "You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly."

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Personal knowledge of an openly hostile environment to blacks

I've been telling people about the living condition of black people in New Orleans for years and everyone have a very difficult time believing how the average black person is living in Louisiana. Can you believe you can distinguish where blacks and whites live by the condition of their homes? One woman came to Chicago for the African Festival before Katrina hit, she went on the radio saying I’m surprise that you can’t tell the difference in the houses that white people live in compared to black people. They look the same. In New Orleans, the houses look different. I’ve been telling people this for years.

Most people remember how bad black people used to live in Mississippi, but none of my friends realized that blacks in Louisiana are living like they are in a third world country. The hostility towards dark skinned people is systemic. It’s so bad that many light skinned black people display the same open hostility to their darker skinned brothers and sisters. The contempt for blacks by the City's affluent has always disturbed me. I suspect this is what we are observing. The white people evacuated before Katrina, the officials (state or federal) just don’t care enough about the people that couldn't evacuate before Katrina to remove them now in a timely fashion, if they are planning on evacuating the rest of them at all.

America should be ashamed of itself. The people who were trying to come to its rescue the Bush administration refused help. They refused help from Russia, China, Japan, Iran, and Venezuela saying we have everything under control - this is an internal matter. In other words, mind your own Damn business - we have our own plan. I guess that plan includes killing desperate people (the so-called looters) while leaving helpless survivors to die in despair.

What we are witnessing in New Orleans is the effects of racism in America in 2005...

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Will the ‘New’ New Orleans be Black?

One of the premiere Black cities in the nation faces catastrophe. There is no doubt in my mind that New Orleans will one day rise again from its below sea level foundations. The question is, will the new New Orleans remain the two-thirds Black city it was before the levees crumbled?

Some would say it is unseemly to speak of politics and race in the presence of a massive calamity that has destroyed the lives and prospects of so many people from all backgrounds. But I beg to differ. As we have witnessed, over and over again, the rich and powerful are very quick to reward themselves as soon as disaster presents the opportunity. Remember that within days of 9/11, the Bush regime executed a multi-billion dollar bailout for the airline industry. By the time you hear this commentary, they may have already used the New Orleans disaster to bail out the insurance industry – one of the richest businesses on the planet. But what of the people of New Orleans, 67 percent of whom are Black?

Full Link

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POOR BLACKS WORSE HIT

It's almost as if the planning stopped at the flooding," said Craig E. Colton, a geography professor at Louisiana State University, wondering as many have at the lack of foresight.
Compounding the problem in New Orleans is that those with the least means to evacuate happen to live in the most flood-prone neighborhoods.

Colton - an expert on environmental justice - said that, historically, the poorest groups have lived in the low-lying areas, starting in the 1830s when well-off whites - and their slaves in some cases - built homes on higher ground near Mississippi River levees, while Irish immigrants lived near Lake Pontchartrain at sea level.

Since the 1890s, those lower areas have been largely African-American - most notably the 9th Ward, where the worst flooding occurred this week. Overall, the city is 67 percent black.
"There's a saying out West that water flows toward money, but in New Orleans it's really the reverse, that water flows away from money," Colton said.

And New Orleans is one of the nation's poorest cities, with some 30 percent below the poverty rate.


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A City's Open Wounds

Scott Gold - A walk through New Orleans is an assault on the senses: distressing sights and smells, an odd quiet in a water-choked urban wasteland.

I wandered out of the hotel Thursday afternoon, plunging into the warm floodwaters as bottles of medicine and pieces of insulation floated by. My high boots filled with water. I walked through the business district, down Loyola Avenue, and ran into John Love, 47, and Rita Burbin, 45.
They are engaged and live in the 9th Ward, a largely African American neighborhood on the east side of the city, site of some of the worst flooding. Love and Burbin stayed home for the storm. They wanted to leave, but they had little money and an aging pickup. So they hunkered down.

They were awakened Sunday morning by the whimpering of their dog, Pup, who had crawled under the house as the storm approached. "That poor dog died," Love said.
In the next two days, the water rose — to ankles, to knees and, finally, to their chins. They made themselves a fort, stacking a sofa on top of two end tables, a futon on top of the sofa and a rubber mattress on top of the futon. The ceiling was a foot from their face when they climbed up the furniture.

Snakes came. Dead squirrels floated by. Love tried to rescue the neighbor's dog that was chained to a nearby fence, but the animal tried to bite him. The dog died, and his carcass, draped over the fence under the blazing sun, began to rot. A body was also drifting nearby. The smell became unbearable.

On Thursday, fire ants floated in and attacked Love and Burbin, crawling onto their legs, into their hair. That was the last straw. They grabbed their last pack of hot dogs and a package of dry ramen noodles and made a run for it, slogging through the water for four hours before reaching downtown.

"This place will never be the same," Burbin said. "It might look the same one day. But it will never be the same."

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I'm having a hard time dealing with the devastation

Inside New Orleans - Sneaking past the police lines, we find a surreal scene where tourists are sleeping on bridges, restaurateurs are eating high on the hog, and looters lurk on every corner.

Surrounding this slice of passable streets are scenes of grim destruction. Smoldering ruins, twisted pieces of corrugated metal, hundreds of downed and uprooted live oak trees litter the streets. On the outskirts of downtown, clusters of shellshocked survivors wander down empty thoroughfares, pushing what's left of their belongings in shopping carts and strollers.

"I don't really know where I'm going," says Kendall, a woman from the Ninth Ward neighborhood, who declines to give her last name. "Wherever they take me, I'm going. Anywhere with electricity. At the Ninth Ward, the water is 20 feet. The water ain't draining. We have got to start all over." She rejoins a long, aimless caravan of New Orleanians from the eastern side of the city, who are congregating in the business district.

The Ninth Ward is one of the most flood-devastated neighborhoods. Lying to the east of the French Quarter, the Ninth Ward, which is predominantly African-American, is one of the poorest parts of New Orleans, and was also the area that sustained the most damage from Hurricane Betsy in 1965, in which 200 residents died...

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Public Policy and Katrina

by Congressman John Conyers

The devastation along the Gulf Coast caused by Katrina and the ripple effects throughout the entire nation are tragic beyond description. What we are witnessing in Louisiana and Mississippi is the truism that when disaster strikes, the gap between rich and poor becomes a chasm.

In today's lagging economy, far too many hardworking Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, just barely getting by. In that tenuous financial condition, many families are only one tragedy away from being devastated by debt. Many of the families who have now lost their homes, livelihoods, and personal possessions will soon be contacted by credit collection agencies demanding the next minimum payment on a credit card.

Unfortunately, the bankruptcy bill recently passed by Congress makes matters far worse for these families. Continue reading...

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Response to Hurricane Katrina Exposes Racism & Inequality...

A photo of two white residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans, Louisiana.

A photo of a young black man walking through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage when it made landfall on Monday.

It appears someone is trying to cover their behinds with the white photo. Here are more controversial photos.

Notice the description of the same acts committed by whites and blacks. This is why you can't believe the news media in America. It is always skewed in a negative way when they are reporting what blacks are doing. You simply can't trust American reporting when it comes to the portrayal of blacks.

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Update from the devastation by Katrina...

Some of the people left in New Orleans have broken into gun shops and are shooting people. Today I heard that these people are shooting at the rescue helicopters and this is one of the reasons why rescue efforts have been suspended. I don't want to advocate violence, but in this case, should these people be shot to death for the sake of saving others who deserve to be saved? Someone just called into WVON and said that there are 500 people still held up in buildings. I still wonder why don't the officials in New Orleans evacuate all these people at once. That would certainly solve the New Orleans crisis.

This morning I received an email from Val in Baton Rouge, and thing are terrible there from the refugees from New Orleans. They are creating quite a disturbance in the city. Val took in one of her friends and her family into her house. This act reflects the general generosity of many people in Louisiana. This is what I grew up around. But the rest of this turmoil may be a result of the trauma experienced because of the hurricane.

Val just posted on her blog the following...
Just a couple hours ago I posted that entry. I work in the downtown area of Baton Rouge. And we were just told that our building is on lock down. Refugees are rioting in the streets outside. The first thing I thought of was OMG please let me leave to be with my son. I cannot leave. My car is on the street and I am wondering if I'll even have a car once this is over. I've called my sister and told her where to find my son if anything were to happen b/c I can't leave. I have so many things going through my mind right now and I just can't even think straight. Please pray for us
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In other parts of Louisiana things are not so bleak. Can you believe that Larose/Cut Off (these cities are approximately 30 miles from Grand Isle) are untouched. My family is back at home. The only thing they saw was some debris on the streets. They made their way from Texas through back roads. They don't have electricity, but they do have telephone service. We are sending them some money today. I'm so happy right now for my family but my heart goes out to the people in New Orleans and in other places affected by Katrina. Things are only going to get worst.

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NEW ORLEANS MAYOR ORDERS 1,500 POLICE TO STOP SEARCHING FOR SURVIVORS

The number of officers called off the search-and-rescue mission amounts to virtually the entire police force in New Orleans

I think this is shameful. You mean to tell me that these stores are more important than people. But this is New Orleans...

The people are taking food... Where are they going to go with anything else? This has gotten ridiculous.

I just heard that doctors are not expecting many of those who walked through the floodwaters to survive because of all the toxic chemicals, bacteria, and parasites that will come in contact with their skin.

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If Carter beat Reagan in 1980, would New Orleans have flooded?

By Russell Shaw

Still I am wondering if those voters in Louisiana and Mississippi who helped polluter-allied Reagan win in 1980 would have found themselves fated differently under a second Carter term. If Carter came in, we could have had an alternative fuels program and tighter auto emission standards in effect by now.

Sparked by his prodding, we might have had decades of global warming controls in place.

Whose to say if those steps might not have rendered the waters of the Atlantic and Gulf even 1/100th of a degree cooler than they are now?

Then tonight, comes this report from Salon.com:

"In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans' levees, but it was too late."


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Victims of Hurricane Katrina Need Your Help

American Red Cross or 1-800-HELP-NOW

Network for Good: Hurricane Katrina

NSALA: Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue

Catholic Charities: or 1-800-919-9338


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Should New Orleans be re-built?

Confusion over sinking coasts in Gulf

A new federal report states that land in Louisiana and probably throughout the Gulf Coast has been sinking at a relative rate of more than 1.5 meters (5 feet) per century for at least the last 100 years — a rate significantly higher than previous reports have shown. If that rate is correct and continues, it means much of the coastline, including New Orleans, could be underwater by the end of this century.

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