Tuesday, June 17, 2008

When the Waters Recede

The flood waters in Iowa have begun to recede and people in small towns like Palo, Iowa can finally go in and assess the flood damage. The clean-up will be hard and arduous. Food in refrigerators and freezers will have to be thrown out and in some cases, the refrigerators and freezers as well. Carpets and flooring will have to be replaced. Furniture will have to be thrown out. Photo albums can be salvaged and after Hurricane Katrina, there were a few photographers that offered that service for free. Cherished mementos may have been lost. The very sheet rock may have to ripped from the walls. After the sheet rock has been ripped out, in some cases the wood in the walls may have to be replaced. It will not be an easy task, the sifting through the water-sogged remains and looking for all those things that make your house a home. These scenes will be repeated up and down the areas that were flooded in Iowa. It is heart-rending to see a life-time of hard work gone in just a short period of time.

Those scenes were repeated hundreds of thousands of times in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina hit. For those in Mississippi, many of those 65,000 homeowners only found the slabs. Hours were spent trying to find the precious photos of children growing up, of weddings, of graduations, of grandparents and parents.

It is no easy task to rebuild communities. In Louisiana and Mississippi, we are faced with the prospect of rebuilding close to 200,000 homes. The largest city in Iowa is Des Moines. It has a population(194,000) near to the number of homes Hurricane Katrina destroyed. Try to imagine having to rebuild a city that size and then maybe you can grasp the scope of the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

This from Tigerhawk still upsets me. It did touch a nerve.

Katrina has become a metaphor for many things beyond natural disaster, including governmental and individual incompetence (depending on your point of view). In Iowa there is a 500 year flood, but the people are not paralyzed, whining, or looting. There will be no massive relief effort from around the world, and nobody will step up to help Iowans except for other Iowans. Yet years from now, there will be no Iowans still in FEMA camps.

The difference is not in the severity of the flood, but in the people who confront the flood.

UPDATE (late Sunday afternoon): This post obviously touched a nerve. Oops. I certainly could have chosen my words more carefully. Sorry if I ruined Father's Day for any of you.


I guess we in Mississippi and Louisiana will have to wave our magic wands and poof, 200,000 homes will have magically been rebuilt in 2 1/2 years. I keep giving the numbers for houses destroyed. The 200,000 doesn't even begin to include the number of homes damaged. Look at it this way, in the six coastal counties directly affected by Hurricane Katrina, there were only 3,000 homeowners who did not have to file an insurance claim.

We in Mississippi and Louisiana have made great strides to rebuild our homes and communities. Hurricane Katrina, even though only a Catagory 3 storm as measured by NOAA, was a 500 year storm for us. The massive storm surge has been guestimated by NOAA to have been 28 feet in Bay St Louis. I believe that is wrong. It was 24 feet in Biloxi's Back Bay, 20-25 miles from bay St Louis. The storm surge extended into Alabama as well. It was 10 feet there.

The severity of the flood does matter. I take exception to Tigerhawk and his remarks about the 6,384 Mississippians still living in FEMA trailers. Considering that there used to be 40,000 of the FEMA trailers, we've hardly been "paralyzed". Instead of denigrating us, Tigerhawk and others of his ilk should be celebrating with us in Mississippi and Louisiana that we have confronted the flood and are making great progress in rebuilding our streets, our homes, our communities, and our lives. There are some who are taking advantage. It is telling that the vast majority of those prosecuted for Katrina aid fraud did not even live in Mississippi or Louisiana.

It doesn't matter were you live when a disaster strikes. There will always be those few who take advantage of the situation. Photos of looters in Louisiana were splashed across the airwaves. Mississippi had looters as well. Even Iowa has had its looters. Are to judge every Iowan by these two? No, of course not. Just as those in Louisiana and Mississippi should not be judged by its looters and those who are taking advantage of the generosity of Americans citizens and the Federal government.

Not only have we in Mississippi and Louisiana confronted the flood and begun the task of rebuilding, we've done so while being hampered by insurance issues. Many of the destroyed homes in Mississippi were not covered by flood insurance because those homes were in areas that have never been flooded in 100 years. Many are paying mortgages on concrete slabs. Government aid has been given to those homeowners. SBA homeowner loans have been given. The farmers in Iowa and other Mid-Western states are fortunate in that they disaster coverage as well as crop insurance. In Mississippi and Louisiana, homeowners are not so fortunate. Any disaster aid first is deducted by any insurance proceeds received. Farmers in Iowa and other Mid-Western receive many subsidies vie the Farm Bills that pass like clock-work in Congress.


Federal disaster aid will start coming in to help our fellow Americans in Iowa. The severity of the floods in Iowa affected many lives. I wish them well in rebuilding their lives. The floods of Katrina were massive and wide-ranging. It is that severity which dictates that some here are still in FEMA trailers 2 1/2 years later. It is that severity which dictates that some are still living with family or friends 2 1/2 years later. It is that severity which dictates that some who evacuated will never be able to return to the place they called home. The severity of the flood does dictate the rate of recovery. The Mississippi Gulf Coast alone lost 25% of its homes and a further 20% of its rental housing.

I know that the majority of those in Iowa will rebuild with the same determination as those in Mississippi and Louisiana. They will be able to get the job done much sooner because the severity of the floods in Iowa do not even come close to the severity of damage we in Louisiana and Mississippi suffered.

Update: Thank you Instapundit for linking.

Update 2: I wished I would have thought to post the following links earlier:

Chabad Flood Relief

Iowa Salvation Army

Iowa Red Cross

Humane Society Disaster Relief

39 comments:

Unknown said...

Shira, this article recently appeared in the Cornell U. alumni magazine. Thought it would interest you. I pretty much mirrors what you've been saying.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking to that article. I appreciated how it stated that when cities such as New York look to revitalize an area, it takes 7-10 years for completion. The damage here is massive.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mz. Shira,
ya'know, you do some great blogging. I hung you onto today's Ladda.
We are all over this puppy. You'll see. Please do fang back through the week go give today's sh*t'fan some perspective.

Thanks again,
Editilla

Anonymous said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Don't mean to be didactic, but think you mean "assess" below:

like Palo, Iowa can finally go in and asses the flood

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It is also a genuinely sad commentary on the state of partisan conflict in thisi country that those with some axe to grind, can take an unprecedented natural disaster and devolve into an orgy of misinformation, finger pointing,

You mean like Bush was blamed for Katrina? Nah, I didn't think so.

Roger J. said...

Excellent post--I think it underscores the point that most Americans are hard working people who confront disaster and deal with it as best they can and usually with some sense of humor. Are there bad apples? most certainly; and regretably these become the focus for the media stories.

It is also a genuinely sad commentary on the state of partisan conflict in this country that those with some axe to grind, can take an unprecedented natural disaster and devolve into an orgy of misinformation, finger pointing, blame laying and all the other dysfunctional behaviors that permeate the national discourse. Fortunately, our citizens are made of better stuff than are our politicians

Anonymous said...

anonymous,

Thanks for pointing out the typo.

Anonymous said...

I see this issue best resolved/played out the next time the Hawkeyes play Ole Miss or LSU on the gridiron.

Anonymous said...

rogerj,

US citizens are some of the hardest working and most generous people on the planet. I think most of the reaction that came from Hurricane Katrina is because we as a country do not like to see people suffer. We want everything done quickly and when it isn't, criticism abounds.

It doesn't help our endeavors to rebuild when we constantly hear how "paralyzed and whiny" we are.

Anonymous said...

eduardo said...
It is also a genuinely sad commentary on the state of partisan conflict in thisi country that those with some axe to grind, can take an unprecedented natural disaster and devolve into an orgy of misinformation, finger pointing,

You mean like Bush was blamed for Katrina? Nah, I didn't think so.
.

Mistakes were made at the individual, city, county, state and federal levels. Hopefully, we can learn from them.

Unknown said...

I'm in Cedar Rapids.

Any attempt to compare Katrina and the Iowa floods is ridiculous because Iowa didn't suffer a hurricane beforehand, just one of the snowiest and coldest winters ever and above-average spring rains.

I believe any comparison should be posed as to how the lamestream media covered both events.

You don't see Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran running on Oprah, yelling and lying about how babies are being raped in shelters.

In Cedar Rapids you didn't see an incompetent city government failing to evacuate people.

In Cedar Rapids (and Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Mason City, Palo, Vinton, Iowa City, Coralville, Columbus Junction, Oakville, etc) you didn't see live video of people looting flat screen TVs.

You didn't see Shep Smith and Anderson Vanderbilt in Cedar Rapids yelling about where the government was.

You didn't see race hustlers on TV, trying to suggest some crackpot theory as to why the flood happened.

You didn't see politicians getting favorable treatment (William Jefferson boated in to get something out of his freezer).

THAT'S some of the differences. They are worthy of mentioning. Too bad if you don't like it.

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: The 500-Year Event

I look at what happened with the levees in New Orleans and Iowa and I have to wonder about those a half-mile from my place; a grand old 1901 4 level brick contender for historical landmarking.

What spec were they built to contend with? 100-year? Or 500-year?

I asked that question on my local-oriented blog last week.

I'm going to ask it of the local Area Council Of Government's Environmental Policy Advisory Committee, on which I sit, next meeting.

I recommend anyone who lives on what could could be a 500-year flood plan to ask the same of their county emergency management people.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance, a.k.a. The Six Ps. -- Army Staff Puke Axiom]

Anonymous said...

I think Tigerhawk's rancor goes toward New Orleans' response to Katrina, rather than that of the whole Gulf Coast. Because Mississippi's and Alabama's emergency management professionals actually did their jobs, few Americans know of the damage to those states. New Orleans' idiot mayor and Louisiana's incompetent governor got all of the press and are, unfortunately, the face of Katrina for most Americans

Victor Erimita said...

Perhaps Tigerhawk's words were a bit over broad. But the main point is that the Iowa floods will not become a shorthand metaphor for the global Left for all that is wrong with Americans, George Bush and the evil Right Wing. Why is that?

Where is Spike Lee, alleging that the levees that were breached on the Mississippi River are evidence of a white racist plot to kill persons of color? Will the Rev. Jeremiah Wright invoke Iowa in his next "God damn America" speech? Will the legions of enraged BDS sufferers all nod sagely around the council fire when the word "Iowa" is spoken, in silent recognition that the very word is res ipsa loquitur "proof" of the perfidy of "neocons?"

I think not. Why is that? Because it doesn't fit into the identity politics, America-as-perennial-oppressor template, does it?

Dan said...

I won't say that I fully back Tigerhawk's take on this, but I definitely see his point.

In the spring of 1997, a "500-year flood" (some at the time called it a 1000-year flood) hit my hometown on the Red River of the North on the border between Minnesota and North Dakota. My parents still lived there at the time. Their basement was filled, and if the water had gone even 2 inches higher, their house likely would have had to be demolished, as the main floor would have been destroyed beyond repair.

We spent weeks and weeks cleaning up and throwing out destroyed stuff. There were a lot of tears. And my parents were the lucky ones. My cousins on the south side of town lost their house. So did many/most of the people there. Many people left town in those first months. Many did not come back.

I've heard about the massive amounts of aid that reached the Katrina victims, or at least the towns and cities affected. My parents received a check from FEMA for about $2,000. That probably covered the equipment rental and chemicals for cleanup, plus meals for a few days. That, plus a feel-good visit from Al Gore so he could tut-tut about how horrible it all was, was the extent of government involvement.

The country quickly forgot about our predicament. And that's as it should be. Our problems were our problems, and we dealt with them. That small town is still there, better than it was before the flood. I'm guessing the grand total of federal dollars spent was WELL under $1000 per capita of the affected areas.

And nobody made a huge political issue out of it, because it wasn't a political issue. It was simply a time when we had to band together as fellow townsmen and friends and take pride in how we dealt with our mutual adversity.

Unknown said...

I mostly agree with Tigerhawk, however I must stress that I'M talking about NO and not the whole gulf coast that got hit.

NO got an unprecedented level of assistence before, during and after Katrina. 100K emergency workers poured into NO within 72 hours and performed the largest, fastest, most successful rescue in American history. Donations and gov't assistance have been staggering...and what do we get for it? We get @$$holes like Nagin, and Spike telling us we forgot about them. That we don't care about them. That we ignored them or that we *meant* to do it because they were mostly black.

Texas took in some 200K displaced residents...and what did we get for it? Gang violence, sky-high murder and crime rates and trashed residences.

We aren't expecting pats on the back or eternal gratitude, but when you try to help someone, you don't expect to get slapped in the face for your troubles.

Anonymous said...

albert,

I responded to one of your fellow Iowans who made the comparisons. He didn't say anything about the news coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Look at his words. This is what I'm responding too.

chuck,

That is a very good point. I checked the flood plain maps where I live and I'm an X zone. No hints of floods for a hundred years.

anonymous 11:59am,

Tigerhawk may have meant New Orleans but he didn't specify. And even if he did just mean New Orleans, he is denigrating the efforts of hundreds of people who are putting their lives back together.

Anonymous said...

"...even Iowa had its looters..."

Yes, but the (2) Iowa looters you pointed to were being ARRESTED by people in police uniform, not JOINED by them in looting a Walmart while TV reporters filmed.

Perhaps you don't see that as a difference, but I do: a cultural difference.

In Iowa, the rule of law did not collapse into anarchy. In New Orleans, it did.

Anonymous said...

Oh - my give me a break - all we read about is how the poor people of New Orleans that migrated to Houston and have destroyed the school system, welfare system, etc. There are many stories of people not even in New Orleans still living in taxpayer paid hotels, without a job, and without any personal responsibility to take care of themselves.

The problem with this blog post is that it tries to equate "Katrina New Orleans" and "Katrina Mississippi" - no way - I'm not going for it - two separate instances - just compare the actions of the Governor of Louisiana (now out of office) and the Governor of Mississippi.

The taxpayers of this country are not buying this BS any longer - what happened in New Orleans was in large part caused by the inept leadership in city, parish and state government.

Anonymous said...

"...what happened in New Orleans was in large part caused by the inept leadership in city, parish and state government."

Which is to say, itwas in large part caused by the PEOPLE of New Orleans and Louisiana.

Or are we still supposed to buy into the Marxist pretense that city, county, and state elected officials arrive from some other planet, rather than arising from the very people they represent?

New Orleans RE-elected Nagin after Katrina... so, is Nagin to be blamed for New Orleans, or vice versa?

One finger pointing out, leaves three pointing back, in a democracy.

Anonymous said...

I have no criticism of the people of MS. It is the actions or rather inaction of the people of New Orleans who dominate the news and get all of the big celebrities coming down to speak bad about the rest of America while holding up these residents as some sort oppressed class.
My real beef is with New Orleans not the other areas who pulled up their bootstraps and got to work and haven't been everywhere on tv and in the news with a constant litany of whining and begging.

Anonymous said...

Please don't equivocate between two kids looting in Iowa and New Orleans (along with rescuers) being paralyzed by looters, murderers, etc. This is an evil smear against Iowans. Further, you have wrongly brought low Mississipians by conflating them with those in New Orleans. Yes, it's embarrassing that, in an age when we want to believe nobody is more virtuous, smarter, etc. than anybody else, many of the people left behind in New Orleans behaved atrociously while those in Iowa were quite the opposite. Iowans don't deserve to have their integrity and reputation besmirched because their good behavior shows we are different. That is why there is little coverage; some may believe their lying eyes. Also, the incompetent leadership in New Orleans, the parish, etc. were voted in by these people. Leaders, for better or worse, mostly reflect their constituents.

Anonymous said...

But you didn't answer the question about why Bush hates white people.

Anonymous said...

I think it is very important that when we talk about the people of N.O. and Katrina, we make a distinction between a. all of the original inhabitants and b. the population left to confront the hurricane (I don't know whether there is a similar situation in Iowa). Pre-Katrina, New Orleans was a crime ridden, corruption filled city with many on welfare. At the time it was either the murder capital or in the top five. When the hurricane was bearing down, those with the foresight and ability to leave did. Thus the poorest, slowest, and unfortunately, most criminal element were left behind. People shouldn't have to suffer violence because their sin was being poor and slow. The biggest tragic mistake is that we didn't foresee what would happen and expected these folks to behave like, well, Iowans. The criminals were thus left to prey on the helpless because our hands-off approach was ill-suited to this group.

Anonymous said...

I think Tigerhawk's rancor goes toward New Orleans' response to Katrina, rather than that of the whole Gulf Coast. Because Mississippi's and Alabama's emergency management professionals actually did their jobs, few Americans know of the damage to those states. New Orleans' idiot mayor and Louisiana's incompetent governor got all of the press and are, unfortunately, the face of Katrina for most Americans

This is almost verbatim what I was going to say.

I personally haven't really heard much about what's happened to Mississippi or Alabama... which leads me to believe that the goings on there have been far too positive to make Bush look bad.

Louisiana (and New Orleans even more) dropped the ball BIG time, and that's what people are usually referring to in these cases.

Anonymous said...

I agree you can distinguish Katrina-New Orleans from the rest of Louisiana and Mississippi (and for that matter Rita-Texas gulf coast). The former got all the coverage, so it easily became the face of Katrina. The latter groups -- more self-reliant -- were ignored.

That said, my first image of the Iowa flooding was the townspeople turning out to fill sandbags to save their town. Everybody from children to the elderly working all night -- not looting, not sitting on their ass waiting for the government, not whining about getting MREs instead of hot meals -- but volunteering to do the right thing.

We had a number of Katrina victims housed in Austin, and the locals turned out en mass with food, money, clothing, luggage and their time to coordinate housing and food. Some were grateful, but there was a lot of complaining, not to mention vandalism and crime. Not as bad as Houston, but it still left a bad taste with a lot of the Samaritans.

submandave said...

"When the hurricane was bearing down, those with the foresight and ability to leave did. Thus the poorest, slowest, and unfortunately, most criminal element were left behind. People shouldn't have to suffer violence because their sin was being poor and slow. The biggest tragic mistake is that we didn't foresee what would happen."

You mean like how the President personally called and urged an evacuation of N.O. prior to the storm hitting? Or how the N.O. emergency plan called for using the school busses to perform just such an evacuation, but that plan was never actually implemented and followed? Claiming that those who were left to fend for themselves in a flooded city were victims of a lack of foresight or fate is simply revisionism. N.O. and LA officials had the warning, plan and capability but they simply failed to act and then had the audacity to blame their failures on a man who had urged them to act while there was still time.

Anonymous said...

Shira, first and foremost - I have lived through a tragedy or two and I am sincere when I say, I hope and pray fervently that your efforts to build back are successful and swift, and that you have all that you need to do so. My heart does go out to all who try and never give up.

Our country was built by people like you, and those hardy Iowans, and it will be torn down by those who insist on receiving hand outs rather than a hand up. Our nation's biggest ailment, other than being led about the nose by the MSM and believing the pap they publish, is the pervasive sense of entitlement we saw from many in N.O.

submandave is right. We cannot afford to have history rewritten or revised. If everybody (left and right and all shades in between) are held accountable for their actions and words as they ***really*** happened, you won't see the divisiveness in the country that we have now.

Instead we have somebody asking for the job of President who wants to raise taxes based on what is "fair" (look up the reason for taxes as declared by our forefathers - it wasn't as an equalizer) and feeding the sense of entitlement that is destroying our country.

Not change *I* believe in for sure.

Anonymous said...

One should also not overlook the attitudes expressed by the two groups. Iowans not only stepped up confront their predicament, they spoke with pride about coming together to help each other. Folks in NO did nothing and then complained when outside help did not solve their immediate problems. Circumstances may differ in each case, but attitudes expressed in each case speak volumes.

Unknown said...

Nice try, Shira.

Either blame is placed upon the generational shifts in the concept of self-reliance, or the people specific to N.O. are deficient.

Iowans and other Midwest/Great Plains folks have manifestly demonstrated a greater ability to handle adversity than those in N.O. Care to argue there is no different ethos in these regions?
Be sure to tell me how "different" does not result in "better." Everything is relative, isn't it?

N.O. and Louisiana were begged by federal officials, from the president on down, to map out a recovery program. To this day, there is none. Internecine fighting prevails.

Haley Barbour demanded accountability from DC and from within MS. He acknowledged that there is no perfect right to live wherever one may choose at the expense of others. If a given area is uninhabitable, or too risky to inhabit, tough. Cry me a river.

When The Big One hits here in L.A., I shudder to think of the expectations of all the "innocent" victims. None of whom understood that faults give way. Yeah, right.

Those folks made their bed by re-electing a chocolate milk fool, and Congressman Jefferson, and their ilk, time after time after time. They can enjoy the consequences.

Rabbi Jesus Christ taught that we must be responsible stewards for what we are given. If you aren't? You lose.

Celia Hayes said...

My parents lost their home in the San Diego fires in 2003; everything went up in flames but those things that they were able to throw into the car, or put into a bathtub full of water, or what the firemen grabbed off the walls as the fire began to explode the windows inwards.

It took them four years to rebuild the house to something approximating what it had been before. My mother says it took about four days for the Federal authorities to get organised and begoin offering aid and assistance. And that everyone was very kind and professional and effecient, after all that official stuff kicked in.

But what still really moves my mother, was a local charitable group that just gave out a small check to each family that had been burned out. No questions,no complications - just here's a check to use for whatever you need.
That, and the local upscale department store, where my sister took Mom, the afternoon where Sis had located Mom and all the pets in the evacuation center. She had no clothes, other than what she stood up in (very dirty clothes and reeking of smoke) - and the store management quietly gave her a substantial discount on things like neccessary underwear, pajamas, etc.
All these things were very much appreciated - and nothing that would make a news story out of, at the time.

But there were people and establishments prepared to to the good and charitable thing, which was much appreciated at the time. I can only hope that such will happen in Iowa.

Gordon Scott said...

I was living in Fargo at the time of the 1997 floods. I spent many hours sandbagging other people's houses and walking the dikes in the middle of the night, watching for signs of imminent failure. Fargo was lucky; a lot of smaller nearby towns weren't.

Then the crest passed, and headed for Grand Forks. But there was just too much water, going too fast, for the dikes there, and they failed. Most of the town headed south to Fargo; we were ready to take them in.

I made a hot spaghetti dinner for eight, with all of the trimmings. I thought the evacuees could use a hot homemade meal. When I got to the intake center, there was already a kitchen set up by local volunteer women--(Lutheran and Catholic church basement women! heh) and it was running full speed. Hundreds of people were being fed per hour--and yet they had so much food--all donated--that they froze my offering for later.

They set up trailer cities on both sides of the river. A year later they closed them; the last residents had cleaned up and/or rebuilt.

FEMA had one problem; the trailers were in nearly new condition. Some folks had even rented carpet cleaners to make sure everything was spic and span. Usually FEMA junked such trailers, because they were worn out. These were too good to junk. But FEMA had no place to store them, and they couldn't just sell them off locally without killing local dealers.

There is a difference.

Anonymous said...

Over a decade ago I attended a talk by the former head of the National Hurricane Center. He said that NO was doomed to flood, with lots of deaths. It was hardly a secret. His greatest worry was a hurricane hitting NO.

New Orleans presents a great example of irresponsibility on the part of the citizenry and the local officials they elected. It didn't require a record storm surge to flood it, although that is what they got. The town was going to drown anyway.

When you build in an area guaranteed to be flooded, don't think you are entitled to other peoples' money when it happens. Sympathy - sure. Volunteer help? Yes. But government handouts - no way.

What is so amazing is how the press narrative turned Katrina into another "we hate the incompetent Bush" narrative, when it was really an object lesson in the failure of local Democratic government and the idea that the government will solve all your problems.

Gordon Scott said...

I also think there is a lot of frustration at the media for jumping into a 'blame the fed' mode--in the midst of the most successful rescue operation in history.

They got nearly every major fact wrong in those first few days--and Anderson Cooper still gives speeches patting himself on the back.

We need to not let our frustration get in the way of recognizing the enormous efforts of those who are rebuilding.

Richard said...

Everyone understands that much of the Katrina mess was self-inflicted by the "the people who confronted the flood." In your gut, you know it's true. The population in New Orleans had been taught dependence, not independence.

Ralph Thayer said...

Please. Allow me to be the first in this thread to recognize the competence, indeed excellence under pressure, of the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Guard, the officers of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, as well as police, firefighters, and volunteers in rescuing by helicopter and by boat about 60,000 souls.

The response of city and state "political leaders" (emphasis on political -- on leadership, not so much) was appalling; and -- thank goodness -- not essential to the effectiveness of the actual rescue operation. As Lou Dolinar wrote in "Katrina: What the Media Missed" (RealClearPolitics.com, May 23, 2006):

"The biggest story everyone missed was that the guys in charge ... weren't out-of-touch FEMA bureaucrats, or a president somewhere fund-raising, or a paralyzed governor in Baton Rouge, or a mayor hanging out with his crew at a posh hotel a block away... Except for the Coast Guard's brilliant performance, which saved up to 30,000 lives, most of the rescue operation was run by local National Guard middle management, combat tested in Iraq, accustomed to hardship, and intimately familiar with the city."

In other words: red-blooded Americans. Neighbors. Realists. Not pompous politicians.

In God We Trust, and He does not work through the government. He works through His people.

Anonymous said...

From soggy Cedar Rapids - thank you
to all of you who are donating time
money and effort. It is going to
be a mess here for a while. Your
efforts are much appreciated.
Our home is well away from the
flooded area (mutters another
silent prayer of thanks).

I hope the residents of Mississippi
and Louisiana have considered this
unhappy thought - all of this
record amount of water is dumping
into the Mississippi river. Which
is headed your way. I'm no expert
on predicting river levels, but you
might want to prod your local
officials to find out - you have
some time yet to shore up the
levees and get prepared.

Thanks again.