photo op, part five, or Marie, your cow is ready

I think for the sake of actually getting getting the refugees (displaced Americans, because I hear they don't like that "refugee" Perfectly good name, if you ask me.) Anyway to get the DAs real help, from henceforth all politicians must be banned from disaster zones.

Why do stories like this make me want to SCREAM?
This is from here. Part of a report from a volunteer worker:

"It goes to show how overwhelming things are here right now that I encountered the First Lady yesterday and I almost forgot to put it in this e-mail. It actually couldn't have been a worse experience; a team of us were working to put up a website with directions to every Red Cross shelter in the region when we were evicted from the computer room by the Secret Service.

There's only one room in the Cajundome with telephones and internet access for refugees, and Laura Bush shut it down for eight hours (along with the food service rooms to the side and the women's showers). You may have seen it on CNN; apparently seven refugees were allowed back so Laura could help them in front of the cameras. If you saw that footage, that's where I put in half my volunteer hours. Not knowing Bush was still back there later I tried to insist on being allowed back into the room to a "Red Cross" guy who must have been a Secret Service agent undercover.

A hint for future Secret Service agents: The real Red Cross guys don't look like they want to break your legs for walking too close to the barricade, because they're too busy passing out food and helping people. They're also less likely to use phrases like "Stand fast, sir!" Now, I know this is the sort of thing that happens whenever a VIP tours a disaster site, and maybe Laura Bush handing out that loaf of bread really will lead to an increase in donations**. All I can say is, to have paralyzed a third of a day of operations at this stage of the game, it fucking well better
. And I tried to position myself to say this to her in front of the television cameras too, but instead I only got a wave and a smile as she hurried past me. Looks like I'm going to have to become nationally infamous another day.

The Cajundome seems to have enough volunteers now but I'm still scared to death about it. We have to get people out of there as fast as possible so we can move new folks in from the Superdome and the Convention Center, where, unbelievably, they are still dying. A bus came by last night and tried to unload; when they heard we were over capacity and couldn't take any more, they began to riot. When I went in this morning the Cajundome was in such lockdown that it took me a half hour to get in, and couldn't have at all if I hadn't been recognized by a Red Cross official. An increasing amount of attention is having to go into keeping people happy and feeling that things are moving along so we don't get a Superdome kind of violence all of the sudden.

The truth is that I don't know what's happening down here, and nobody does. Any time I remember that they haven't even counted the dead yet I want to sit down and cry. Statistically, most of the people we're talking to will find their familiies. Statistically, some of them won't. I can't imagine what that dome will look like when that list is released. I also hope heads will roll in the government for what's happened here this week. I agree that now's not the time for that, but there is no conceivable excuse for having let thousands of people preventably die on our shores. You can't imagine the shock in people's eyes as we explain again and again that there's still no federal agency here to help them, no state agency, only a handful of Red Cross workers and a bunch of utterly untrained volunteers. . . . . To sum up, hurricanes suck, give more money if you can, and I hate Laura Bush."

It reminds me of Marie Antoinette--she used to enjoy playing farm girl. She and her ladies-in-waiting would dress up in Kate Spade farm girl outfits (well, not really Kate Spade. Whoever was the hot designer back then) and the real dairy farmer would bring in well-scrubbed prettily decorated cows for them to pretend to milk.

Okay that's it. The vitriol is still oozing from every pore--time to move to the next stage. Time to post about writing or the dog or the kids again. I hope I can.


** since donations are already pouring in, hmmm. What could the other reason be? Saving someone's butt, perhaps?


  1. I should stop reading all that stuff. It makes me angry, and that isn't good for my blood pressure.

    We've got an election next week and when it's not Katrina, it's our fuckwits of politicians telling lies all over the place. I'm so fed up with the whole worldwide mess.

    Anyone got a ticket to the Mars for me?

  2. I don't understand part of this post about their not being any help there but a handful of Red Cross. Didn't we see (yesterday) dozens of huge trucks driven by the Nat'l Guardmen and directed by a General bringing in food and water? Didn't we see dozens of school and commercial busses lined up to carry people out of N.O.?

    Maybe it's a drop in the bucket, but let's not perpetuate that there's no help there at all. That negates all the efforts of many who are struggling against terrible odds.

    I agree the photo ops thing is utterly ridiculous and the Bush's should dig in and get their hands dirty if they're gonna be there - certainly not stand in the way of people getting the basics like food and water. I'm no fan of Bush even in the best of times, but let's at least not add to the growing frustration.

    I think the author of this post had it right when he said, "The truth is that I don't know what's happening down here, and nobody does." He's just reacting to what he knows is happening in his immediate area.

  3. actually if they're setting up phone banks and giving people showers, it's pretty clear things are getting done. The lastest news makes it sound like they're down to removing the dead from the horrible dome.

    My frustration isn't with the people who are doing the work--god, that would be so inappropriate. It's with anyone who gets in their way--for *any* reason. At least with THIS particular post.

    I'd feel the same way about any emergency--this one or a pile up on a highway. If someone wandered into a triage center and made the doctors stop working on the patients for a while, wouldn't that make you think maybe they really don't get the point?

    And the argument that she's lending comfort doesn't fly either. Say you've been rolling around in feces for days and you can't locate your family. What you want is a shower and a phone connection to help you find the people you love.

    Hell, there is not a living soul on the planet who could make me feel better unless they were helping me reach those primary goals. I sure don't want some rich person--not even Antonio Bandaras--patting my arm and telling he or she shares my pain.

  4. Well, from over here in Europe it looks like a fiasco.
    France sent aid yesterday - everything was ready to go since Aug. 28th, but Bush has been turning down all offers of help claiming he wanted to 'assess the situation'. Yestersay he called the UN and asked for help. The French team jumped on their planes an hour later. We saw that on the news.
    I guess there is an ass in assess.

  5. Oh now I read the comments over there. Harsh Harsh Harsh!!!! It's not Laura's fault if the only thing she's good at is planning dinner parties. *rolling eyes*

  6. Anonymous7:09 PM

    If the President or the First Lady DON'T show up to visit those made homeless by the hurricane, they are callous and racist. If they DO show up and try to help or get a handle on what the situation is first hand, they are in the way.

    How else is the President and his wife supposed to tour this type of facility and still remain protected as the Secret Service requires? Do you think it was Laura Bush who personally booted people out of the computer room for 8 hours? No, it was most likely her Secret Service detail who goes in ahead of time to make sure there is some type of security in place.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  7. Good point, anonymous (although I hate it when people post anonymously) . . .But I think I would have been fine with a president who looked like he was in charge whilst sitting in the white house and addressing the whole country laying out the plans that other people would carry out. It's called delegating work and it's what chief executives are supposed to do.

    I was most impressed by Guiliani not when he wandered through the rubble but when he stood at that podium and answered tough questions from reporters and families.

    Actually I didn't think twice about the Bush photo ops (I did roll my eyes when he hugged people, but that's what politicians do) until I read about how they stopped emergency, important work for *hours*.

    Wait a sec. Starving people kept from food? People desparate for news of their loved ones kept from the information? No. That's when I grew outraged and the argument of "Poor Bush" or "He must Look Presidential" isn't going to sway me from that outrage.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

what I'm talking about above--the letter in RWR

My Writing Day with an Unproductive Brain