Bad Weather Makes People Say Funny Things…

From a story in last Friday’s New York Times, In Galveston, Some Await Storm With Faith and Hope:

On Thursday, Mr. Shumake and his nephew, Russell Cavender, 17, walked along the sea wall holding an American flag and another flag saying, “We Support Our Troops.” Mr. Shumake, a stout man with a bushy goatee and a ponytail, said: “The Lord doesn’t want us going. He wants me carrying this flag.”

There were other scattered holdouts. Walking along the sea wall on Thursday morning, John Benson, a nine-foot purple surfboard in hand, said he expected the storm would generate 15- to 17-foot waves.

“This is a freebie right here courtesy of Rita,” said Mr. Benson, 47, a Galveston native, who said the allure of the waves and television images of gridlocked traffic on Interstate 45 would keep him here through the storm.

Bob Faris, the owner of Bob’s Grocery, perhaps the only food store left open in the city, said he had worked too hard over the preceding years to leave his establishment.

“I checked with the Sheriff’s Department to see if I could use my gun, and they said if I do, make sure he’s dead,” said Mr. Faris, 48, brandishing a 9-millimeter pistol…


This one is not funny. From an editorial in the New Orleans Times-Picayune of September 4, entitled “An Open Letter to The President” (which I finally read in last week’s Village Voice)

“We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry…. Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.

“In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, ‘We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day.’

“Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President. Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, ‘You’re doing a heck of a job.’ That’s unbelievable.”

The paper got its wish and Brown was removed. But he’s not going quietly. His defense would be hilarious if only it was a laughing matter. Here he is at today’s special Congressional Panel (set up by House Republican Leaders) to investigate the failings in government reaction to Hurricane Katrina.

“My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional… I very strongly personally regret that I was unable to persuade Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down, get over their differences, and work together. I just couldn’t pull that off.”

What was that the White House said about the “blame game”?
Oh, and…

“Brown also said he was “just tired and misspoke” when a television interviewer appeared to be the first to tell him that there were desperate residents at the New Orleans Convention Center.

Brown testified that he had already learned, one day before the interview, that people were flocking to the center.”

Which is why I heard Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff sounding equally uninformed about the Convention Center nightmare that same Thursday, in an interview with NPR. Or will he also suddenly remember that he was merely ‘just tired and misspoke’?


And are we meant to even understand this one? From ExxonMobil’s full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times:

“As we did with Katrina, we will act responsibly as we reflect changes in the marketplace in our pricing to our branded dealers and distributors and company-operated service stations.”

Does that mean Exxon is NOT raising prices? No, it just means its acting responsibly – to its bottom line.

To be fair, Exxon is not one of the four oil companies charged in New Jersey State Court Monday 26 with price-gouging in the immediate aftermath of Katrina.

“Complaints were filed against stations selling Citgo, Hess, Shell and Sunoco brands, as well as their suppliers. In some cases, (attorney General) Mr. Harvey said, stations were said to have raised prices four or five times in one day as the commodities markets raged because of Hurricane Katrina. They were charged with defrauding consumers by raising the prices in violation of state law. New Jersey is the only state to have a law barring multiple price increases on gasoline in a 24-hour period.”


Finally, talking of the blame game, where would we be without good old-fashioned conspiracy theories? Scott Stevens was a weatherman at News Channel 6 in Pocatello, Idaho, until a week or so ago when he left his job to pursue his theories via his web site Weather Wars. Stevens has gone on record as stating that “the Japanese Yakuza Mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina.” He has subsequently posted the following at his site.

“This nation has not faced an economic crisis like the one that Katrina will spark in the days and months ahead. But that is one of the reasons Katrina was guided along the path that we all watched. This path has resulted in maximum damage to the energy infrastructure, transportation infrastructure and to the psyche of those that are susceptible to further storms this year and in the years to follow. Oh New Orleans!

I fully expect one more ‘event’ this year to impact the United States. My gut feeling is that it will be an earthquake >7.7 in magnitude with insured losses to exceed $25 billion. That number should have been less but presently real estate is far overvalued.

Protect your family’s wealth with precious metals as the cascading effects from this disaster and from poor government fiscal management, will have just begun to be felt.”

Stevens does not clarify whether this Earthquake will also be part of the Japanese-Russian mafia conspiracy.

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5 Comment(s)

  1. Kevin

    28 September, 2005 at 10:47 am

    I was in Germany, visiting friends and family, when Katrina hit. At the time Europe was experiencing its own misery — the Danube was flooding and wild fires in Portugal were causing nightmare scenarios…

    Anyway, due to my limited German skills I was not able to follow much of the talking heads…BUT…as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The photos coming in made the USA look like a Third World Nation — just goes to show you the power of nature…

    So my mother-in-law (fluent in English, thank God) asked me what I thought about the mess — I told her, I could not believe that the local government was so inept — The State of Louisiana and the local government of New Orleans really let the people down…then…she told me that the media was blaming Bush…I told her, “I think the EuroMedia does not understand that the USA is a Federal Republic, and that the Fed was not supposed to act as a nanny-state — the Fed is supposed to be a last resort.” Then she dropped the hammer, “No this is coming from the US-Media.”

    Then I come home, and I am too busy to follow any events due to the chaos encountered of moving-in and settling-in to a new place to call home…

    Last night, found me relaxing in the family room with a cup of tea getting accustomed to the new television channels — I was bopping around the grid when I came across CNN — they had a photo of Farrakhan in the corner of the screen — apparently, Mr. Farrakhan believes the levies were blown up by the Bush administration during a covert operation to further oppress the black-man…thought to myself, does this man know any other tune…

    Then I thought to myself, wonder why Mississippi was successful at administering some form of responsibility through the chaos…maybe there should be a Congressional hearing into discovering how the State and Local Goverments of Mississippi managed to not blunder the evacuation and rescue missions…

    Then I drifted down history lane — San Francisco was able to rebuild without Federal Aid, and when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow burnt Chicago to a cinder — if I recollect correctly, the Feds did not get involved in rescuing or rebuilding…

    Which got me thinking about my grandparents — they struggled through a global depression, a world war, seasons that brought pain at the dinner table (they were farmers), and I began to remember stories from my youth about how my Dad and his siblings went without shoes during the summer months, and the one good pair of shoes that they had were shared on an hourly basis so they could each attend Sunday Mass…tough old timers, huh?!? — maybe as Tom Brokaw stated, they were the “Greatest Generation” — and their offspring was right up there with them…

    Be well and stay safe,
    – Kevin –

  2. 28 September, 2005 at 1:02 pm

    Parts of America are a Third World Country. Many people are rich. Many more people are very poor. It takes a disaster to show them on TV.

    PS- Isn’t the Danube always flooding? — Natch.

  3. Kevin

    28 September, 2005 at 2:10 pm


    So many parts of the USA resemble nations of the Third World status…take a two-minute trip outside of JFK and it beggars belief…but that comes with the open immigration policy…when the Irish arrived they had their shanty towns — the Italians replaced them — and so on — and so on…for the most part, all the newbies move into the middle-class — right now the Mexicans are doing a superb job of jumping up…just wonder who will be next in line to take their place at the bottom…

    Many regions in the South are still very poor — talk about taking generations upon generations to recover from a war — the Civil War that is…coupled with 60 years of failed social engineering programs, and you would not believe such poverty existed in the USA…

    Thomas Sowell has a fairly interesting book on the subject — I believe it is called Black Rednecks…he is allowed to get away with such a title since he is a distinguished man with African-American roots…he spent part of his childhood growing up poor in the south — his parents moved the family to Harlem — where a strong emphais was placed upon education — he remembers going into the third grade (I think) at a just above Kindergarten standard — he said it was a rude culture shock…he places the blame on culture as opposed to money…

    He talks about standardized tests that they had to take — turns out the blacks in North were scoring higher than the whites down South…interesting stuff…

    Anyway, I look at the South and I wonder why they don’t adopt a flat-tax rate similar to what Ireland has done to jump out of the Third World Nation status and into an economic mini-power…BUT…imagine a poor class that cannot be exploited by both sides of the political spectrum…

    Of course, you wonder about all of the foreign aid — what is the old saying “charity begins at home.” Would like to see some incentives to encourage private industry down South, and not only down South but in the Dakotas as well…

    As for the Danube — don’t remember where it was flooding — think it was in Hungary — not quite sure…but yes…recently, it has become major news…

    – Kevin –

  4. 29 September, 2005 at 4:07 pm


    Hey. I know you mean well, but your initial reply about New Orleans and responsibility suggests to me one of two things:

    1) You still haven’t caught up on what actually happened in the days following the Hurricane. I’m sure that if you had been in the States, you would not feel this is a partisan political issue and you might have felt similarly affronted by the Government leaders off buying fancy shoes and vacationing while New Orleans drowned… (To make no comment there whatsoever of FEMA – which IS meant to be there in a crisis, and was found appallingly lacking.)
    2) You just playing the provocateur.


  5. Kevin

    30 September, 2005 at 11:22 am

    Hi Tony,

    It certainly reads like a partison issue…I have not read any comments condemning the local, county, and state governments…

    There are laws that prohibit the Federal Government from administering aid ’til the STATE not only requests it but grants permission…had the Federal Government usurped the power of the Governor then we would no longer be considered a Republic and our Constition would be branded null and void…

    Which makes the response of the firemen during 9/11 and mayor Guilliani’s direction even more impressive…the firemen took responsibility and the mayor gave direction and the people of the Tri-State Area conducted themselves in a civil manner while all bridges and tunnels and ferries were shut down — and they managed all of this without intervention from the FED…

    To contrast the crisis, what I have learnt from newspapers, blogs, and television interviews, is that Nagin panicked and seemed clueless while Blanco cried, cried, and cried…

    [I also learnt that Governor Barbour (Mississippi) and Mayor Halloway (Biloxi) did a splendid job of taking care of business.]

    Anyway, Mayor Nagin is inept and Governor Blanco is useless but somehow it is solely the Federal Government’s fault?!?

    Now grant you, I am not exonerating FEMA’s slow response — they too need to be hung, drawn, and quartered — but first things first, the mayor should be sent packing and the Governor should be sent to the nearest psychiatric ward…

    What bothers me most about all of this is the lack of responsibility coming from ALL branches — the mayor blames the Fed, the Governor blames the Fed, and FEMA blames the mayor and the Governor — now there are calls and demands for the FED to have more “authority” and “control” to administer “order.”


    What happened to responsibility? I happen to believe that a government that is supposed to be BIG enough to give you everything you want is also BIG enough to take away everything you have — whether it is money through taxation, or personal freedom through so-called “authority.”

    It seems to me the people in “authority” sent the masses to the Superdome, blocked bridges that were leading out of town, and confiscated weapons after the looting had taken place…and that is the authority that managed to show-up to work — yes, those wonderful Local and State Government Employees called in sick when they were needed on the streets…amazing, yet it was all the FED’s fault…

    It is high time, people assume personal responsibility — I understand it will be tough considering we live in a blame somebody else first culture — and it is about time we demand responsibility from our elected representatives…you know, I have an unpleasant suspicion that Nagin and Blanco will be re-elected…along with all the Senators that voted for another BLOATED Government Taxpayer Funded Department better known as FEMA, and the other waste of tax coffers known as Homeland Security…

    No…I am not going to take the fashionable route of blaming President Bush and the FED first for a disaster caused by nature — but I will be the first in line to bash him and Congress on their mismangement of Iraq, mismanagement of the borders, mismanagement of immigration, mismangement of fiscal responsibility, etc…and…I will cut through the partison bickering and call it as I see it — the local (first line of defense), the county (second line of defense), and the State (third line of defense) governments failed the people of New Orleans, Garret County, and Louisiana…and then FEMA, the House, The Senate, and President Bush need to be held accountable…

    As always, be well and stay safe…

    – Kevin –


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