I was sent an e-mail by a reader today. That e-mail linked me to an amazing piece of video from a website called Crooks and Liars. That video has changed my opinion of the man once known simply as "Captain Facetime".
Somewhere in the three days between Tuesday and Friday, Shep became a reporter again. He realized that there was a story. There were people that weren't getting help. There were people dying in front of him. Families trapped on a damn bridge, because they weren't allowed to go anywhere. And they were going hungry.
The light went on. Shep (and Geraldo Rivera) had a story to tell. Rivera was on camera, holding a ten-month-old baby, and he lost it. Calling the convention center in New Orleans "hell on Earth", Rivera made it clear.
Look in the face of the baby. This is it. No sugarcoating. No political spin. No Republicans or Democrats. People suffering. Let them go. Let them out of here. Let them go. Let them walk over this damn interstate and let them out of here.
Earlier in the piece, Sean Hannity tried to corral Shep.
Sean: Alright, Shep. I wanna get some perspective here, because earlier today, the images...
Shep: That is all the perspective you need!
Sean: Hang...hang on...
Full credit to both. They've taken their fair share of abuse over the years, because they've done some terrible work, and Shep, no matter what he did on Friday, still did a really stupid thing on Tuesday (read a couple posts down for details). Hell, Geraldo got kicked out of Iraq for revealing a sensitive location on live TV...so we know he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But both did a great job late last week of 1) conveying the suffering, which was the big story that came out of the latter part of the week, and 2) standing up to morons like Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, who had no clue how to handle the information they were being given.
I'm glad the vacationing president cut his vacation short. Too bad he was too busy trying to crack jokes on Friday, and he didn't have time to actually be a leader. You know, a leader? That's what the hell we're paying this buffoon to do.
Six days after the storm hit, we still had people in New Orleans who were going hungry. This storm hit with about 48 hours notice. The city needed three days for a full evacuation, according to various reports. That's 72 hours, 24 more than they had to get people out of there. Yet the geniuses at FEMA and at the Department of "Homeland Security" sat on their hands. This was an official Hurricane Statement from the New Orleans National Weather Service office, dated last Sunday afternoon. I apologize for the all-caps nature of this statement, but I'm too lazy to convert it. I highlighted a few key points:
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOODFRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE. HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT. AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK. POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS. THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
What's "unexpected" about this? Sounds like the weathercasters pretty much nailed the effects to me. Was the flooding worse than anticipated? Probably. But no one should have been surprised by the destruction. This storm was among the worst to ever hit the United States. And the federal government knew it was coming. They knew it was coming, and they knew what it could do. Their response?
The troops should have been in there on Monday. Tuesday at the latest. Instead, they're just being sent, or they just got there. The suffering is unspeakable. The images are heart-wrenching. The whole thing is surreal. We can take care of Iraqis that don't want to be taken care of, but we can't take care of our own in times of need?
Our leaders dropped the ball. As a nation, we're left with some of the worst images we'll ever see out of our own country.
My message? Nothing, really. Just wanted to convey my thoughts and feelings, and send one more message.
Do what you can. No one is expecting you to give $1 million, or to fly down there and volunteer. That would be great, but if you can't do these things, it doesn't mean you can't help.
Go here. Or here.
When they say that no amount is too small, they mean it. I'm not usually about telling people to donate to charity, but I am right now.
Give what you can.
If this happened where you live, you know they would help you out.