Saturday, September 10, 2005

The many, many reasons Katrina victims can now feel reassured

Tom Delay as Roberto Benigni

No worries:
Tom Delay is now on the scene!... According to this blog entry on the Houston Post website, headlined, "Delay to evacuees: `Is this kind of fun?'", House Majority Leader Tom Delay has descended on Houston to provide solace and comfort for Katrina victims:

U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's visit to Reliant Park this morning offered him a glimpse of what it's like to be living in shelter.
While on the tour with top administration officials from Washington, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, DeLay stopped to chat with three young boys resting on cots.
The congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"
They nodded yes, but looked perplexed.

And it's not entirely all that bad for the grown-ups either!... according to former First Lady Barbara Bush, who noted that many of the evacuees who she has visited with "were underprivileged anyway."

According to this NYT report:

As President Bush battled criticism over the response to Hurricane Katrina, his mother declared it a success for evacuees who "were underprivileged anyway," saying on Monday that many of the poor people she had seen while touring a Houston relocation site were faring better than before the storm hit.
"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas," Barbara Bush said in an interview on Monday with the radio program "Marketplace." "Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality."
"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway," she said, "so this is working very well for them."
Mrs. Bush toured the Astrodome complex with her husband, former President George Bush, as part of an administration campaign throughout the Gulf Coast region to counter criticism of the response to the storm.
And even though he has been ordered out of New Orleans, and back to Washington D.C., embattled FEMA director (at least for the time being) Michael Brown told the A.P.: "I'm going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife, and maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff magarita and a full night's sleep. And then I'm going to go right back to FEMA and continue to do all I can to help these victims."

And this particular factoid buried in this NYT story:

President Bush noted... that Afghanistan has offered to send $100,000 to aid victims, and that Kuwait had volunteered to provide $400 million in oil and $100 million in humanitarian aid.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bone chilling.... CNN is reporting this afternoon that shrimp fisherman have taken out fourteen bodies from New Orleans Parkland hospital. Nobody knows just as now as to whether the deceased were patients, physicians, or simply people who simply were at the hospital at the wrong time.

Meanwhile, on its website, CNN is also reporting that authorities removed the bodies of more than 30 people from a nursing home in a suburban New Orleans parish.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- In a grim indicator of what may lie ahead, authorities were removing the remains of more than 30 people from a flooded nursing home in a suburban New Orleans parish.
The discovery at St. Rita's Nursing Home in lower St. Bernard Parish came as 25,000 body bags arrived at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
Early Thursday, the official death toll along from Hurricane Katrina stood at 294, but that number is expected to rise dramatically.
Mortuary teams with refrigerated trucks began arriving Wednesday at the nursing home, where St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stevens said "30-plus" bodies were found. Between 40 and 50 other people were rescued from the facility, Stevens said. (See video on the gruesome discovery -- 2:02)
The parish is east of New Orleans, where between 10,000 and 15,000 people are believed to remain in the flooded city, and thousands are feared dead.
Deputies reported that floodwaters had reached a height of eight feet in some parts of St. Bernard. The nursing home was still surrounded by about three feet of water on Wednesday, as authorities began removing bodies.
Throughout New Orleans and its surrounding parishes, National Guard troops were going house to house to search for survivors and recover the dead -- marking the houses they searched with an "X" to avoid duplication, said Brig. Gen. Michael Fleming, commander of a Florida unit dispatched to New Orleans. (See video of soldiers aiding recovery -- 3:16)
FEMA set up a temporary morgue in the town of St. Gabriel, about 70 miles west of New Orleans...

Now come the grifters...

If the loss of love ones, their homes, and everything else in their lives was not enough, the vulnerable now face an influx of grifters. At least the grifters made it to the scene more quickly than FEMA, or Vice President Cheney, who finally agreed to cut short his vacation. Perhaps New Orleans took on a new importance of sorts for the V.P. after former Louisiana Senator John Breaux referred to the city as "Baghdad under water." Anything Iraqi, rather than domestic, always draws Cheney's attention.

And Michael Brown, the ever intrepid director of FEMA, is now also apparently on the case! He announced that a "temporary mortuary been set up in St. Gabriel, La, was prepared to receive 500 to 1,000 bodies a day, with refrigeration on site to hold the corpses." He was quoted by the New York Times as saying: "They will be processed as rapidly as possible."

If Brown couldn't display leadership of any kind to save lives, at least he can make sure there is an orderly process in place to assure the handling of the corpses! It is time for all the carping and criticism to end!

Meanwhile, a Washington Post reporter critiques his newspaper's own coverage of Katrina, telling Eric Wemple and Jason Cherkis of the Washington City Paper: "We were late to realize how unbelievably catastrophic this was. We were the FEMA of newspapers on this one."