Friday, September 02, 2005

Water Water Everywhere



A friend sent me this tonight. It was the last radar sweep before the radar went down. His e mail was entitled Buzzsaw.

Earlier, I was watching MSNBC while I was running on the treadmill in the gym. That is pretty much the only time I ever watch television. There was this report about the people who were at the Convention Center, not the Super whatever, but the Convention Center.

The Convention Center is over close to the River, not that far away from the Aquarium. It is just a few blocks from the French Quarter. I remember it well because I bought some magic tricks in a store there perhaps 17 years ago. I can still make a handkerchief disappear and I can stick a cigarette in your shirt without burning it because of the knowledge I learned and the prop that I bought there that day.

The pictures were horrific. There were old old people, some dead, others about to be. One had left a message for his kin. It was resting on his lap with his dead fingers resting on top of the paper. There was an almost lifeless baby in the arms of an almost serenely resigned mother.

These people still don't have water.

Why do they not have water?

As I watched the pictures, the tears began to shoot out of my eyes. Surely the most powerful military on earth could drop Evian bombs from airplanes to these people. We could shoot it out of cannons from the Wendy's in Baton Rouge. This is not the middle of the Sahara. This is not some war front where bullets are zinging around, even though, if I didn't have any water after 5 days, I would go down to the local Wallmart and maybe find me something, and I hate guns and bullets.

Why do they not have water?

Why aren't the buses that pick the people up at the super shack whatever loaded with food and medical supplies? Why didn't the camerman ask everyone who was watching to go to the nearest grocery store and bring some water to these people? Why isn't a giant bladder of water air lifted to all the needy areas. Why can't a giant tanker of fresh water be dropped in. Why aren't their cheap plastic gravity fed portable showers that hang up like IV bags available in the thousands to keep the germs and sickness down?

Why do they not have water?

For the last three days since I learned from the Security Guard who works in my office building that the levee broke, I have not understood why there were no troops, why there were no satellite phones, why there were no amphibious craft cruising around like the ones we send when we invade poor countries in the Carribbean. I wondered why the communication system for the emergency personel did not have emergency back up? I wondered why the Super whatever it is didn't have lots of food and water waiting when the poor people who were fished out off the tops of their roofs were delivered there. Out of the cesspool into the cesspot.

Whey do they not have water?

The Security Guard that I pass by every day has 60 relatives living in 10 rooms at 29.95 a night. He probably makes that in a half a week or so. He's glad these 60 are safe, but there are lots of his extended family still missing. They may be at the Convention Center. They may be in the attic of their house, totally dehydrated by now.

Why do they not have water?

I told the story about the Napoleon Bar where you could go into the Quarter and get a moufalata and a stiff drink from a stuffy snooty waiter in a white shirt and black tie to the tune of Beethoven or Brahms. Upstairs on the third floor was the super deluxe suite that the owner built in 18 o' something, so he could invite the dethroned Emperor to New Orleans, to live out his days in relatively modest splendour on the third floor of his restaurant. He never came.

Why do they not have water?

I told the story about the day I waited for the St Charles trolley over in front of the Columns Hotel. I had to give a presentation at Loyola. The air was thick and the early morning mist was rising through the warming air. The light came through the giant trees in speckles and it illuminated the street and my heart and my mind. The trolley was cheap and efficient. It took you through the Garden District from Carolton to the Quarter.

Whey do they not have water?

I asked the clerk at the film buff video rental store why this was happening? She said that maybe they, and she quickly qualified herself, maybe they are doing this by design. You mean on purpose? I could not accept this kind of cruel torture from my unelected leaders. I suggested that since the Doctors in the hospitals were having to watch their patients die without air conditioning, without pumps, without food, that maybe this was just incredible incompetence. We agreed we weren't sure which was worse.

Why do they not have water.?

Another friend called me and I told him what I had seen.

Why do they not have water?

What color are they? he said.

"That has nothing to do with it," I said

Are they poor? he said.

"That has nothing to do with it."

It can't have anything to do with it.

That would be worse than bombing innocent people in a foreign land,

just to get their oil.

Yes, that would be worse.

Yes, that would be worse.

I guess.

Why do they not have water?


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13 Comments:

Blogger head lem said...

They have no water because they are "agents of their own destiny"

Re-read the inagural speech of the compassionate one:

http://www.detnews.com/2005/politics/0501/24/A01-66376.htm

2:36 AM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

I have a hard time believing that this country is this "f****d up" that it can't deliver water to people?

Michael "Jerkoff" the head of FEMA and Mike Brown are not leading. Bush is calling for patience. Ok we will wait patiently to die of thirst. Don't these dopes have television sets? If CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc and so forth can reach the Convention Center why of why can't the National Guard?

"It is too dangerous", was one excuse. The mayor of NO calls this a national disgrace. The governor of LA, Kathleen Babineaux-Blanco said it is a bureaucratic nightmare with no one in charge. She has been begging for help and getting promises and excuses. The local FEMA is hamstrung by Washington and what the heck has Homeland Security to do with this. Did terrorists send the hurricane or was it God?

The city is being run by thugs.

The president and his people are totally out of touch. He just said this AM from the Rose Garden.
"Ahhh, lots of aid on the way... we are making progress...convention center...trying to get in...meet with govs.... lots of people WORKING HARD... (ah hah that is good.) ...results not acceptable... I'm heading down there...beginning long term planning as well as long term planning...I am looking forward to my trip...we will get on top of the situation.." Who writes these speeches... "Looking forward to the trip like it is just a jaunt?"

ABC last night talked at length about black and white. NO has 40% poor. These are people who live on the edge. They have no cars and live in teeny houses. These are the people who listened to their city leaders and state leaders and walked, waded and swam to areas that were designated as refuges. Then they sat and waited, the great unwashed, the great ignored. For a great many it is too late. The frail and infirm will die. The robust and healthy will become sick if they aren't already. They have lived in a soup of chemicals and feces for five days. They aren't Republicans and they are poor so they don't get any of that comapsionate conservatism.

The govenor today gave the "Shoot to Kill." order to her police and the soldiers. The LA national guard troops from NO by the way are in Iraq.

One hospital in Lafayette was visited by ABC. they were out of water. Out of food and surrounded by a mob. The head doctor said the Coasties and Navy were helping but couldn't land. They would be mobbed if they did. They were lowering people to the ground. He asked why the military couldn't secure the area. He asked for a SWAT team on Monday. He called FEMA, he called the White House and got "help is on the way but by Friday they were about to capitulate out of everything.

This is a temporary disruption of social order was what one Republican pundit said on the O'Reily show. O'Reily, whom I dislike was actually asking good questions. "Why not ask the oil comapnies to take a 20% cut for the good of the country?" Do it voluntarily. Not very free market that. He even asked what the White House was doing?

The New Orleans police at one police station said they were defending the station. The police are running out of gas.

"There is no place to go, I have nothing left but the clothes on my back, nothing to go back to. the government is oblivious to my pain." said one middle class NO resident.

And Bush said that the disaster could not have been predicted. Duh? The Army Corps of Engineers have been saying this would or could happen for three decades now and each year they get their funds cut.
He also said not to buy gas if you don't need it.

The only guy who seems to have his act together is the Gov. of Mississippi who talks like a football coach and seems to be able to wade through the mud and at least keep Mississippi moving forward out of the disaster bit by bit.

And lastly kudoos to Texas' Gov. for stepping up.

And my own cousin is still missing.

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I flipped on CNN this morning to hear the little shrub say that "lots of people are working hard" - "looking forward to his trip to the Gulf coast". Jeeeez, It is hard to believe the incredible ineptitude, carelessness, and apparent disinterest. "The results of the relief effort are unacceptable". I wonder who's fault that is? I guess vacation is over.

Now, there is this young air force officer saying that they are bringing in more resources - commercial planes. The reporter is asking - you mean to say that the military has to use commercial planes because there aren't enough? At least the tough questions are being asked.

Brings up such sadness and anger at the same time. There is no question that something has changed - again.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yesterday I saw people drinking and dining and laughing and carrying on, while their neighbors just a few hundred miles waited for water.

as were the days of Noah.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I owe an apology to earthfamilyalpha for their stand on peace and
brotherhood for after all I also stormed Sather Gates with Mario Savio in
Bezerkly and walked with Martin Luther King in the streets of Chicago. In my
old age, I remember my fathers stand, "My country, may she always be right.
But my country, right or wrong."

I know some of you Austin ladies are novel lovers, so here is the quote of
the day, least you think Louisiana is full of noble savages.


From a Dave Robcheiaux novel:

"A love affair with Louisiana is in some ways like falling in love with the
biblical whore of Babylon. We try to smile at its carnival-like politics,
its sweaty, whiskey-soaked demagogues, the ignorance bred by its poverty and
the insularity of its Cajun and Afro-Caribbean culture. But our
self-deprecating manner is a poor disguise for the realities that hover on
the edges of one's vision like dirty smudges on a family portrait.

The state roadsides and parking lots of discount stores are strewn, if not
actually layered, with mind-numbing amounts of litter, thrown there by the
poor and the uneducated, and the revelers for whom a self-congratulatory
hedonism is a way of life. With regularity, land developers who are
accountable to no one bulldoze out stands of virgin cypress and
two-hundred-year-old live oaks, often at night, so the irrevocable nature of
their work cannot be seen until daylight, when it is too late to stop it.
The petrochemical industry poisons waterways with impunity and even trucks
in waste from out of state and dumps it in open sludge pits, usually in
rural black communities.

Rather than fight monied interests, most of the state's politicians give
their constituency casinos and Powerball lotteries and drive-by daiquiri
windows, along with low income taxes for the wealthy and an eight and one
quarter percent sales tax on food for the poor."

James Lee Burke
Jolie Blon's Bounce
2002, p 177

8:14 AM  
Blogger austinmuse said...

Thanks, OZ, for expressing so eloquently what many of us think and feel. It's hard to stay positive when I'm crying and want to scream at the clueless people our country elected. Am supporting the Red Cross, putting donation buttons on my Web sites, passing on requests to friends with resources, and whatever else as it comes to mind. Saw the black ribbon on Google; am going to make one today and wear it.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Susan said...

Or WHY when the Corps of Engineers KNEW that the levees could not withstand even a category 4 storm much less a 5, and KNEW these areas would soon lie under the same water level as Lake Pontchartrain - WHY didn't they have buses lined up to take people without transportation to safety???? And of course - WHY once they knew they would all be stranded - WHY can't they get them food, medical care and most amazingly WATER???? Is it because they consider these our nation's most vulnerable and poorest - EXPENDIBLE?????? (as they do of the people of Iraq, the people of the 3rd world) The response of the world's wealthiest, most 'powerful' nation has been absolutely unforgivable.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is rally at noon to demand our government to respond to this disaster. Weird, really wierd that people have to petition their govenment to save its own citizens.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you see how purposeful this all is? Florida, now New Orleans and the rest of the impoverished, black south...CLEAN SWEEP.

When the water subsides, rich white developers will happily sieze the now vacated land so they can benefit rich white people while the rest of us go to fuck in a handbasket.

Saves the trouble of Diebolding future elections.

Oh, and check out project H.A.A.R.P. a massive scalar wave antennae array in the arctic and how such waves can affect a lot of even natural events. Like, for example, theorectically one could cause a hurricane to change course. Or, one could cause a building to collapse through liquefaction, generated by a scalar wave at the right frequency. One might even be able to amplify the after-effects of an earthquake so as to trigger a tusinami of unusually large proportions.

Here's my prediction: Detroit is next.

Look out poor America...(that's most of us). Woe betide us all.

4:59 PM  
Blogger hwait said...

Whether by lucky accident or evil design, the end result of this flood will be the same...a Disney theme park Mardi Gras "New Orleans" with casinos and the permanent exclusion and marginalization of the REAL new Orleanians--who shall be scattered to the four winds as pompous philanthropic charlatans give each other award dinners for their "generosity."

Witness the urban redevelopment in New York, Chicago and elsewhere, tens of thousands of poor public housing tenants driven to homelessness and despair WRIT LARGE this time in the New Gulf pleasuredrome.

Welcome to your fucked up future.

7:10 PM  
Blogger OZ said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments,

I'm afraid that hwait and his white bread disney scenario rings true in my view..

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very strong posting OZ.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they didn't have water because the National Guard wouldn't let the Red
Cross in. just search red cross and new orleans.

http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html...

4:40 PM  

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