Mid-Life Ramblings; Sanity Optional

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Louisiana - Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional

I have had it with this current administration (like I hadn't long before today). I am sick of the good ol' boys club running this freakin' country. Just yesterday Michael "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" Brown, ex-director of FEMA, called Louisiana dysfunctional.

"My biggest mistake was not recognizing, by Saturday (before the storm made landfall), that Louisiana was dysfunctional," Michael Brown told a House panel looking into the aftermath of the catastrophic storm.

"I have overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I am doing. And I think I do a pretty darn good job of it," he said.

Well, let's see, Brownie. Screwed up Florida after they had four storms last year? Check. Sent millions of dollars to Miami for some of that storm relief when they were never touched by those storms? Check. Waited to get supplies into Louisiana for five days after Katrina hit? Check.

Yeah, heckuva job, Brownie. What was I thinking?

My sister, the diehard conservative, has recently had an epiphany about this current administration (and may I say how very proud I am of her!). Yesterday she remarked that when other countries have had natural disasters, the U.S. goes rushing in and throws all sorts of money around for relief efforts (as well we should). But never, not even once, have we ever called one of those countries "dysfunctional" and never once have we suggested that they rebuild somewhere else because, after all, this could happen again. In other words, we don't sit and kick folks in other countries while they're down. Instead we do what a true compassionate nation should do - we send money and volunteers and supplies and help them rebuild.

How dare this country treat their own like second class citizens!

I expect Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and now Texas to be treated with at the very least the same respect we treat third world countries that need our help (although Louisiana seems to be catching the brunt of the criticism and Monday morning quarterbacking). In fact, it was mentioned yesterday that things with FEMA went so much better in Mississippi and Alabama where they have REPUBLICAN governors.

Oh yeah? How come Mississippians were all over the TV wondering where FEMA was during the days after the storm? I don't think they believe they were treated any better.

You know what - it might just cost that whole $250 billion that our Congressmen and Congresswomen have requested and so what if it does??? The New Orleans metro area is quite large and, as this entire country has seen since Katrina, is an area that supplies more than a good drunk and some cheap Bourbon Street strippers to the rest of the country. This is a state that on a good day loses a football field of coastland every freakin' hour. Do they have any clue as to how much we lost thanks to these two storms??? We have no barrier islands left now. So what if we need $250 billion dollars? How much have we thrown away each day on a war based on lies??? How much has this country lost annually thanks to Scooter's tax cuts for the rich???

I'm about done with folks trying to tell Louisiana how to rebuild. Back the hell off and watch us. We are a hardy bunch of folks who have survived much worse than this. I am a Cajun and my roots go back to through the first ethnical cleansing experienced on this continent. My people were pushed out of their homes, not by a natural disaster, but by the English, who decided they couldn't keep their land if they didn't choose sides in their ridiculous war. We were thrown to the wind then and yet we survived. Now over 300 years later we will rebuild New Orleans and it will be back exactly where Bienville put it. It may take us a while but it will be back and the rest of this state will be back as well.

It's time for Brownie, Scooter, and all their cronies to learn it isn't ever wise to cross a Coonass and it's suicide to cross the whole damn bunch.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Eat at Chili's today for St. Jude

With all the hurricane drama down here, I forgot to post this with more advance notice.

Today is the day that Chili's restaurants donate all their profits to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Children from all over the world, including my nephew Tyler who has ALL leukemia, benefit greatly from the wonderful things St. Jude does. They are the world's leading resource for children's diseases, especially cancer.

Tyler was diagnosed at age 5 on July 1, 2003. My sister and brother-in-law immediately took him to St. Jude. He has been cancer-free since September of 2003. BTW, Ty and my sister were at St. Jude when Jeff Probst was there shooting the Chili's promo, including the photo above.

The other wonderful thing about St. Jude is that the families never see a bill. The hospital bills the family's insurance company, if they have insurance, but never, ever bills the family. This is achieved by donations and was the brain child of actor Danny Thomas.

So if you can, have some dinner at Chili's tonight and think about my nephew and all those other great kids you're helping. I'll be at the Chili's on Siegen here in Baton Rouge with my nephew, celebrating his life and the miracle of St. Jude.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Not-so-lovely Rita

I come from a family of hurricane nuts. Let a storm cross into the Gulf of Mexico and the telephones start ringing. My sister is usually the first one to call.

"Do you know there's a hurricane in the gulf?"

"Yeah, I heard something about that."

"Have you gotten your water and supplies yet?"

"No. I'm waiting to see what it does."

"Well, you'd better hurry. I'm driving up at Wal Mart now and it's packed already. There won't be anything left soon."

"It's too soon. We don't know where it will head."

"You'll be sorry."

And so it begins. Now, we pick at my sister a lot about being the hurricane worry wart but she's been spot on twice this year. I was smart enough to listen to her and sent E to the store right away for Katrina but I drug my feet a bit this time. I waited until Thursday and karma bit me in the butt. I wound up having to work until 8:30 pm that night. When I left the office I had to gas up the car, shop for supplies, and pick up prescriptions. I got home at 10:45 pm. Wal Mart was a nightmare. I was there an hour and a half. It only took me half an hour to gather the supplies into the basket. The last hour was spent waiting in the checkout line. :(

My parents hate to evacuate for any storm. In fact, I don't think they ever have. My sister started calling them on Tuesday to ask when they were going to head this way. I think she called them twice that day and three times on Wednesday. Mom was pretty adament about not leaving but they promised they were watching the weather. Wednesday afternoon my sister called me to tell me to call them and ask them when they were coming to Baton Rouge. I did and got the same response. But by Thursday they were singing a different tune. During the night Rita made a northerly turn and it looked like the west side of the state was going to get a hard hit. So Thursday afternoon my parents did something I'd never seen them do - they evacuated and they were right to do so. A neighbor of their reports that the big oak tree in the back yard went down but didn't hit the house. Unfortunately, the way it fell it took out the electrical and cable connections to the house. They will be out of power for a number of days. Other than that they think the only other damage is some missing shingles from the roof. My brother-in-law is going to take them down there tomorrow to assess the damage. It's killing my mother to not know exactly what the damage is.

I've twice spoken to the Sheriff's Office down there as I worked there for 17 years. In times like these I get such a feeling of needing to be there to help. I've been gone 7 years now but I know that if I were there it would be as if I'd never left. The new 911 director is a girl that worked for me back when. When I told her that I wished I were there she said she wished the same. She's understaffed and it's very busy. Those guys don't get to leave in hurricanes. They've all been at the court house, some with their families since before the storm started. A said she'd not had any sleep and it didn't look like she was going to get any anytime soon. It took all I had not to get in the car and head west.

We have fared well yet again. We never lost power although it blinked several times. My sister lost power early on and was without it all night. It came back up for several hours but I just learned they are down again.

The wind is starting to subside. Baton Rouge is right in the line of the feeder bands coming in from the gulf. We've had storms and tornado watches all day. As I type this I hear it kicking up again and I hear another warning being broadcast on television. Maybe it's not over yet. They are telling us that we will likely see this sort of weather through tomorrow evening because Rita is going to stall out to the north west of us. We've already had eight inches of rain. Blah!

So we are safe, much safer than folks back in my hometown area. Maybe E and I will be able to get a good night's sleep tonight for a change. ;-)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Ok, y'all, I'm back.

I was gone for longer than I expected because I've been sick this week. A sinus infection decided to move into my head Tuesday and I'm only beginning to feel somewhat human today. I was at home for two days taking Nyquil and Mucinex round the clock with a few of ABB's pseudofeds - complete with real fed - mixed in for luck.

Life is still busy around the house. M and Megs are still with us. D got to come in for the weekend. M was so happy to spend some time with him as they hadn't really seen each other since the day before the storm. Megs has started school locally. M is having to go back next week because Jefferson Parish is starting up their schools. This means that Megs is probably going to stay with us for another couple of months, possibly through January. It'll be interesting being a surrogate mom to a 16 year old. Megs is a great kid, though, so she'll be no trouble.

Keith is doing well. He's been staying at our house along with Nero, his pug. It took a Cat 5 hurricane to finally make us clean out the extra bedroom so Keith could stay there. How sad that it took us nearly a year to finish unpacking all the boxes!

Keith is in New Orleans today and will be bringing his car home. He was able to spend several hours in the city last week. Their house is fine. He emptied out the refrigerator and checked on the garden. He checked on the car and found it was fine. The military and FEMA are using that parking garage to park some of their equipment so it's being guarded round the clock. He was also able to make it back into the paper's downtown office and retrieve all the things he'd had to leave behind. He is a member of the vestry at his church and was able to get in to check on it. He found that the church is in perfect condition. He said it smelled of incense as if they'd had mass just that morning. It was wonderful to see my brother so excited to know that his little corner of the world had not suffered. It has given him hope that the city may not be lost afterall.

E has had two job interviews in the past two days. He also has a business opportunity that he is just thrilled about. He's got a guy willing to put up the capital for an outdoor lighting company. E was involved in such a company when he lived in California and he's been dying to get one going here. Looks like that's getting off the ground quickly. He'll have to work a regular job for a year or so until the business can support him but it looks like a great opportunity. The sparkle in his eyes when he talks about it is priceless.

We're looking forward to a quiet weekend. I'm planning to spend most of it in the pool if the weather cooperates. :-D

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sorry, y'all

I haven't posted in a few days but I wanted to let you all know that we are ok. Everyone is adjusting to living under one roof and trying to get a bit of normal back, whatever that is.

I'm taking a short blog break. I'm still so very raw from this emotionally that I'm trying to stay away from most of it. I have to closely monitor what I watch in the way of coverage because it just gets to me.

I'm planning on spending some time at some shelters this weekend - both those housing humans and pets. I feel I need to help folks find each other. I'm going to try to get information from folks at shelters and try to located their other loved ones. At the animal shelter on campus I just want to help take care of all those pets that are missing their people. I cannot imagine having to leave my pets behind as they are such a part of my life. I just know I'd be one of those folks refusing to leave because I couldn't take them with me. Which reminds me - we have to change that mindset in this country. Pets are family, too. In times of tragedy like this, folks who have their pets with them probably do better.

Anyway, don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for another few days. I'm just taking some healing time. I'm still trying to keep up with all the blogs I read daily so y'all keep writing. :-)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Some truth about the response

The pressure is continuing to build in New Orleans.

The U.S. President decided to show up today - five, count them, FIVE - days after the storm. To say the response has been slow is the understatement of the century. People are dying every minute in that city.

My friend, ABB, told it like it was in a post this morning. It's downright sickening, people. I have to say that ABB had me in tears when I read
While you sank time, money and energy into campaigning for a man who has more money than Gawd, Gawd’s children lived in a city with a f*****g ticking time bomb otherwise known as a levee in need of some fixing. How many chil'ren could you feed with the dollars you spent on those W'04 stickers?

I would like anyone reading this to take the time and go to this CNN page. Don't just read the article. Go to the link in the middle of the page that says (See the mayor's demand for national leaders to 'get off their asses' -- 12:09)
and listen to New Orleans' Mayor Ray Nagin speak from his heart about what has and hasn't been happening in that city. Both he and the reporter doing the interview end up in tears in the end.

Now we get to see what this president is made of (of course, some of us have known all along). He appointed a totally inexperienced man to lead FEMA as a political move and now we're paying for it. He initially refused any aid from the U.N. but (and I can't believe I'm about to say something positive about her) Condescending Rice saved the day by overriding Scooter's idiotic decision.

How secure do you feel now, folks? Got any confidence in our Department of Homeland Security? I sure don't.

I'm sick, just sick over all of this, people. I'm sick of monkey-faced Scooter's famous deer-in-the-headlights expression whenever something goes wrong in this country and neither Rove nor Chaney are there with their hands up his ass telling him what to say. I'm sick of folks who drool all over themselves when they tell me how wrong I am about him and what a wonderful job he's doing running this country. I'm sick of seeing dead bodies floating in the floodwaters of New Orleans while Scooter does a flyover in Air Force I with an oh-this-is-so-very-sad-but-what-can-I-do expression on his face. I'm sick of him showing up five freakin' days late just so he can get a couple of photo ops with his shirtsleeves rolled up. I want to see some action NOW, dammit. I wanted to see some action four days ago. As Ray Nagin said in his interview, how could FEMA say they didn't know that there were 20,000 people in the Convention Center starving and dying? Aren't they watching the same freakin' news channels that I'm watching??? Where are the 40,000 troops that have promised? They're certainly not in New Orleans because that city is now under siege by drug-dealing warlords. Somebody needs to get their shit together yesterday. Every life lost is blood on Scooter's hands. Add those to the ones from Iraq. God is watching us and I don't think he's pleased.

My Brother's Blog

Keith finally has a blog of his own. You can read his words here.

If you’re reading this in other states, get on your phone right now and call your U.S. senators and representatives, call the White House. SCREAM AT THEM!!!!! My friends are dying in the city. The city is blown apart, flooded and now burning. Every plague imaginable. This is criminal. DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW TO HELP US!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!

It's bad, folks, really bad.