Balance Amidst the California Wildfires

Welcome to the "On Balance" guest blog. Every Tuesday (or in special cases like this one, on other days), "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Your essay will be published using your full name. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Barbara A. Rose

I've never faced the typical home and work balancing act, as I don't have children and am not married. But I know what balance is now.

In southern California where I live, starting this past Monday every television channel dumped its regular programming to broadcast about the wildfire emergency caused by the Santa Ana winds. Calls went out for volunteers and materiel at Qualcomm Stadium. Requests were made for hay for horses (this is horse country). Calls in English and Spanish to evacuate NOW. EVACUATE. NOW.

I went home early on Monday to check on my condo, which I suspected probably wasn't in the fire zone. I knew the evacuation orders would keep some of our staff from making it to work during the night shift in the ICU at the San Diego Veteran Administration Hospital, where I am the Clinical Nurse Specialist. I told my boss I would be available. I live alone so it would be no problem.

I went home, e-mailed my computer files to myself at work, and packed up the essentials: financial documents, my Rolodex, medication, scrubs, underwear, and ... my knitting. A few pictures and the only doll I've ever been even remotely liked, a figurine dressed in traditional Polish costume. A little more yarn. My journal and rosaries.

When I got the call Monday night to come in and work the night shift, I wasn't surprised. Driving to work Tuesday at 1:30 am on the deserted freeways, I passed a convoy of firetrucks headed west toward the fires - a continuous line of firefighters coming to the rescue. I couldn't make out either the beginning or the end of the line, there were so many. What I found at work astounded me even more. Four of the nurses who had started work at 7:30 a.m Monday morning were still caring for patients at 2:00 a.m. Tuesday. They had decided to stay until midnight, and then, as one said, "I figured, why not, I can sleep later...so I stayed." All of these nurses are married. Most have kids. All of them were worried about their homes and loved ones. Several more nurses called in to volunteer for work -- after settling their families in evacuation centers .

What's balance? That's balance.


Barbara A. Rose lives and works in southern California.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  October 26, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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This is a great story. When you're in the midst of a crisis, what's most important rises to the top. I'm grateful for the dedication of the fire fighters, police officers, and medical staff we have in this country. We're so lucky!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | October 26, 2007 8:11 AM

What a great post! It really highlights something we tend to forget: What kind of balance would we have without the dedicated work of nurses, doctors, and emergency personnel?

In an emergency, we can all give up some of our balance to help people who need what we can give.

On the lighter side, I am in awe of doctors and nurses who frequently work 12 hour and longer shifts. I can barely drive a car when I'm sleep deprived. It takes a lot of training and a great amount of dedication to learn to function with little sleep. Thanks for all you do!

Posted by: Meesh | October 26, 2007 8:28 AM

Great guest blog! Thanks to Barbara and all those like her for their dedication. Those of us who can whine when asked to do just a little bit more than our "fair share" would do well to keep this in mind.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 26, 2007 8:48 AM

Thanks to Barbara and all of the other people helping with the California wildfires!!

Posted by: karen_janos | October 26, 2007 9:05 AM

I am the writer of today's blog, and a former Washingtonian. I still get my news from the Post, and its coverage of the fires has been...reassuring. None of my nurses lost their houses. Some have returned to their neighborhoods. We've been eating, sleeping, and especially BREATHING the fires all week. Today on my drive in to work, it seemed normal. The usual number of cars, when the roads had been deserted. A white moon, instead of an angry orange one. Fog, and only a trace of smokey odor. And yesterday, an ashy but discernable blue sky. The fires are still here, still threatening. But things look better.

Posted by: babsy1 | October 26, 2007 9:09 AM

Frieda and I have been watching about the fires all week. Not only from the aspect of losing a home but also from the fact that I used to live in SoCal and am familiar with many of the cities which are burning.

We watch with sadness and pain for the individuals who have lost their home and rejoice for those individuals who have come back to find that most all is alright for them. We know the fight that lays ahead for those who have lost everything. Their lives will be unbalanced for years to come.

Probably the most chilling thought for me is that many in the SoCal area had just minutes to leave. At least we had a few hours to prepare to leave and gather what is most meaningful to us.

For us effected by Katrina, the first symbol of recovery was the long lines of power company trucks that swooped down from all parts of the country starting the day after the hurricane. The second symbol was that of the many volunteer who streamed into the area to help rebuild.

We wish all in SoCal a speedy recovery.

Posted by: Fred | October 26, 2007 9:21 AM

Welcome back Fred.

Posted by: sharonw | October 26, 2007 10:20 AM

Hi Fred, as someone one went through Katrina, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the response, both federal and state, to Katrina and So. Cal fires. It seems like So. Cal has it a lot better. Why?Affulence/race or something else?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 26, 2007 10:22 AM

affluence - duh.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 26, 2007 10:23 AM

I don't discount the influence of money, but I know that plenty of the people who evacuated are just working stiffs like you and me. I've often told friends that Californians are different, and not meant that kindly. But the city's response to this fire astonished me. People I work with like housekeepers and ancillary medical personnel, who don't make money, spent alot of time volunteering or donated what they could. We talk about the San Diego effect out here - how the weather mellows you out. Perhaps that has played a part.

Posted by: babsy1 | October 26, 2007 10:29 AM

I don't mean to discount affluence, etc., but, really, do you think the next college who has a shooter on campus is going to make the same mistakes Virginia Tech made? It's always better to be the one who has the benefit of learning from the mistakes of others than it is to be the first one to take on a certain problem. California government officials saw what happened Louisiana, learned from it, tweaked its disaster plan and, voila, now we get to see it done right. Had these fires occurred BEFORE Katrina, does anyone honestly think it would have gone this smoothly? Don't you think there's a teensy bit of additional pressure on Mr. Bush and FEMA to show they've learned from Katrina, too?

Posted by: MN | October 26, 2007 10:34 AM

In the interest of "balance" Moxiemom, here are some plausible explanations I have heard to explain better response time on So. Cal vs. Katrina:

1) Existence of electric power - makes just about every cleanup task easier (This is the best explanation, IMHO)
2) Scrutiny - the notion that the country is watching what is happening to see if emergency response has improved
3) State resources - Cali is much "richer" than Louisiana. Arnold the Terminator has more resources at his disposal than did Nagin and what's-her-name.

The other side of the coin: The most reprehensible explanation I've heard thus far is courtesy of "Dr." Laura. To paraphrase she said the main difference was that the people of San Diego were helping each other without the goverment, which the New Orleans people prefered to loot and complain and wait for help from Bush. She's a tool.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | October 26, 2007 10:34 AM

To paraphrase she said the main difference was that the people of San Diego were helping each other without the goverment, which the New Orleans people prefered to loot and complain and wait for help from Bush. She's a tool.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | October 26, 2007 10:34 AM

Dear God. Your description of Dr. Laura is most kind.

Posted by: MN | October 26, 2007 10:35 AM

Frankly, I can't imagine anyone EXCEPT Californians volunteering the way they did: The evaucation centers had roving clowns for the kids, mariachi bands, yoga and massage - someone local called it Qualcomm Spa. But they also had insurance help and counselors, because people were just barely keeping themselves together.

Posted by: babsy1 | October 26, 2007 10:45 AM

Having lived in Louisiana (New Orleans suburbs) for 9 years, this is a terrible thing to say, but my conclusion as to why the fires are being handled better than Katrina is simply more efficient state and local governments, and less corruption.

(I love the place, and still have family there - my sister in Slidell is finally back in her house after 14 months in a FEMA trailer.)


You can say all you want about the Federal Government response, but the bottom line is that the response in New Orleans itself from the state and local government was atrocious. Nagin was more interested in preserving his own power in "Chocolate City" (his words, not mine), and Kathleen Babineaux Blanco was simply incompetent. The Louisiana National Guard didn't do anything except guard itself (and it kills me to say that, since I still have friends from college in that organization). And when the Arkansas National Guard, just back from Iraq, was sent in, Blanco was simply thrilled that these "trained killers" would shoot-to-kill to end looting, rather than thinking "oh boy, now we finally have the manpower to save people."

(Thank heavens Blanco had the good sense to not run for re-election; I'm afraid she would have won.)

It's politically popular in the DC area to blame Bush and "Brownie" for everything and there's certainly blame for them, but compare the response in Mississippi under Haley Barbour to that in Louisiana under Blanco; compare the response on the North Shore under Kevin Davis to the recently re-elected Ray Nagin in New Orleans.

Fred, I'm willing to listen to any rebuttal you may want to make, but I sat through two years of Louisiana History and there's not too many times in that history where un-corrupt, effective government was actually in place.

(And BTW, welcome back, Fred.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 26, 2007 10:46 AM

ArmyBrat-

There is truth to the notion that the Federal Government could have stepped in promptly (or done more proactive planning) but did not.

At the State and Local levels, I certainly have no particular insights and so your explanations seem perfectly plausible to me. But here in DC, some of us certainly hold this administration PARTIALLY responsible for the poor treatment that the citizens received during the disaster and in the months since (e.g., processing of benefits, rebuilding of Levies).

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | October 26, 2007 10:55 AM

The Reverse 911 System was instituted here after Katrina, and is credited with helping save so many lives.

Posted by: babsy1 | October 26, 2007 10:56 AM

Wow!

1. Barbara thanks for the most excellent column today.

2. The reason I commented today is this one is just too close to my heart. I am still a bit flummoxed about what I can to do help. (Other than send money.)

3. I do have strong opinions on what went right vs. wrong concerning Katrina vs. the SoCal fires. I will have to think about this for a while before I write.

4. There is a bit of truth in how the attitudes of the people in NO vs SoCal handled the initial emergency and the continuing response to it. Denial for decades on the part of individuals, the city government, the parish (county) government and the state government that the "Big One" would hit here resulted in the lack of an effective emergency plan and
the flawed response that an ad hoc plan brought.

Maybe more on this later...

Posted by: Fred | October 26, 2007 11:08 AM

California applied some lessons learned from Katrina concerning pet issues and evacuations.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 26, 2007 11:08 AM

It's a new On Balance Record! It took only 7 posts before the race card was introduced. Dr. Laura was out of line but the looting was disgusting in New Orleans. Watching policemen on camera looting was revolting.The justifications and excuses were even worse.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 11:26 AM

Looting is always disgusting. So what's your point, pATRICK? You seem to keen on labeling disfavored speech as "playing the race card". How 'bout some substance rather than squelching the conversation?

Posted by: MN | October 26, 2007 11:37 AM

Has discourse in this country degenerated to the point where ASKING if Race played a part in a societal event is EQUATED with playing "the race card?"

That is truly a sad state of affairs.

Wikipedia's entry on this particular subject seems On Point. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_card

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | October 26, 2007 11:39 AM

If I'm counting correctly, pATRICK counts moxiemom's "It seems like So. Cal has it a lot better. Why?Affulence/race or something else?" as "playing the race card." I don't think I'd read that the same way - I don't think it was moxiemom's intent.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 26, 2007 11:42 AM

Fred et al,
The Red Cross and Salvation Army are desperately in need of MONEY! (And they have too many diapers - is there such a thing?) If you would like to donate, they would be happy to receive.

Posted by: babsy1 | October 26, 2007 11:43 AM

"they have too many diapers - is there such a thing?) "

Yeah, baby! The groovy California babies are waay too cool to need diapers!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 26, 2007 11:47 AM

Looting is always disgusting. So what's your point, pATRICK? You seem to keen on labeling disfavored speech as "playing the race card". How 'bout some substance rather than squelching the conversation?

No, race is a valid point to make. My gripe is that it comes out so soon and as a written in stone given.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Has discourse in this country degenerated to the point where ASKING if Race played a part in a societal event is EQUATED with playing "the race card?"

Has discourse in this country degenerated to the point where govenment incompetence is instantly translated to George Bush hates black people?

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 11:52 AM

Proud Papa, i was disgusted and incensed by watching black women with small children crying and thirsty standing around waiting for help from an inept bureacracy and will NEVER defend Bush's handling of Katrina but to equate the bungling of that with racism infuriated me too.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 11:55 AM

Yeah...nurses! Who else gives you 3X the work for 1/3 the cost? (Firefighters too, of course.)

Don't forget donating blood. Will it wind up in SoCal? Not necessarily.

But it WILL get you out of autumn house cleaning, and colourful vet wrap is ALWAYS in fashion!

I suspect that many things were learned from the devastation of Katrina. Perhaps people are more afraid of fire than floods too?

As Fred pointed out, having more than 10" to grab your kids, pets and Very Important Papers is something of a luxury in a firestorm. I am not trying to diminish the ferocity of Katrina, or the aftermath.

Posted by: maryland_mother | October 26, 2007 11:56 AM

Please give blood. It really DOESN'T hurt, and its always needed. And people treat you like a saint when you have your "I gave blood" sticker on your coat!

Posted by: babsy1 | October 26, 2007 12:10 PM

There have been weeks when my ICU nurses ALONE hung more than 150 units of blood for patients in need. C'mon, you can spare some - they'll give you cookies afterwards!

Posted by: babsy1 | October 26, 2007 12:12 PM

I love giving blood. makes me feel like I'm getting some fresh new blood made after (I know that technically this isn't true, but I like the thought anyway). I also have a more rare blood type so I feel like I ought to and finally, I can't always volunteer as much as I would like, but I do have an hour every 56 days - the challenge is finding a place to give out in suburbia. When I was in the city I just went to the blood center on my lunch hour. The holidays is a very important timve to give!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 26, 2007 12:30 PM

Barbara

Not all of us can donate blood because of various reasons. But I see on the Salvation Army website that you can even specify the counties that you want you money to go towards. Or you can specify "the most needed." (Although, I lived in LA county, I checked off to the most needed.)

As a matter of personal preference I give to the Salvation Army over the Red Cross as my experience has been that the Salvation Army is more effective and has lower overhead.

Posted by: Fred | October 26, 2007 12:33 PM

I have a lot I could say about things that didn't go right with the fire-fighting. My dad worked for the Federal Forest Service for 30 years, and every summer he was gone for weeks at a time during fire season. I grew up with fires and firefighters, and there are *always* things that could have been done better. I've heard a fair amount about lack of air support this time. But the most important thing was that loss of life was so limited.

Looking for charities with low overhead? I received this email this morning. I've checked, and Avalon Cares truly is zero overhead, 100% of donations goes to helping with the disaster.

> Dear Friends:
>
> 23 fires have charred more than 460,000 acres in California this
> month. More than 1,400 homes have been destroyed and at least 3 people
> that we know of have died. At one point, almost 1 million people were
> under evacuation orders as several fires burned from the Mexican
> border to northern Los Angeles County. Governor Schwarzenegger has
> declared a state of emergency. Overnight Wednesday about 76,000
> people were forced to stay in 42 shelters.
> The number of people involved is similar to the Katrina hurricane
> disaster which Avalon Cares, the disaster relief arm of Officers of
> Avalon, helped with back in September 2005.
> Many people have written in the past expressing concerns about large
> NGOs that have large overhead costs that eat up much of the money sent
> in. Some have written to tell me that in the past, when they've tried
> to forward funds and goods from their organization's fund raising
> efforts to Christian aid organizations, these things have been turned
> away as the recipients refused to accept anything from Pagans. This
> is especially frustrating in light of several churches and government
> officials recently claiming that Pagans don't do anything for their
> communities.
>
> Officers of Avalon is an organization made up of Pagan emergency
> services personnel that is incorporated in Nevada and has 501 (c)
> status.
> Avalon Cares is a relief fund created and run by our Chancellor
> General as part of our commitment to
> serve the community. Officer of Avalon's operating
> costs are modest and entirely covered by the dues of our members.
> None of the Grand Preceptory (our board of directors) receive
> remuneration of any sort for the work that we do for Officers of
> Avalon.
> We're all volunteers. 100% of the money collected by our Avalon Cares
> project is going to the relief effort. We are endeavoring to give the
> funds collected directly to those who need them.
>
> As our members are Pagan professionals in the emergency services,
> we've had a lot of people on the ground in the affected areas from the
> start. I'm starting to get reports on what has been affected and
> where help might be needed. I encourage you to do the same. If you
> know any one who has needs as a result of this disaster, please write
> to us and let us know.
>
> Avalon Cares provided tens of thousands of dollars to the Katrina
> relief effort. We were the first people into Prentiss, Mississippi
> with a convoy of relief supplies. It was Avalon Cares that paid for
> replacement uniforms to be shipped to the New Orleans police. We've
> helped with lots of other little projects since then. This is an
> opportunity for you to show the world what Pagans can do.
> Projects like this show the world what Pagans are really like.
>
> Once again, we're showing the world what Pagans can do. Yet we must
> stick with it. We need you all to continue to donate what you can.
> If you can't donate money, donate your time to volunteer efforts.
> Do your own fund raising events to help us in this disaster relief
> effort. Open your doors to the displaced. Give blood. If you're a
> Pagan in the emergency services or related fields, join us at Officers
> of Avalon and help us help Pagans.
>
> Kerr Cuhulain
> Preceptor General
> Officers of Avalon
>
> Officers of Avalon
> PO Box 9932
> Daytona Beach, FL 32120
> www.officersofavalon.com

Posted by: sue | October 26, 2007 12:50 PM

Can I jump on the giving blood band wagon?

Giving blood is the absolute easiest thing you can do to help in an emergency. It's free, it only takes a couple hours, it doesn't even hurt, and you can go back to your normal life when it's over.

You're able to give blood every 56 days. Because there are so many rescrictions, it's even more vital for the few people who can give blood to do it as often as possible.

Posted by: Meesh | October 26, 2007 12:51 PM

Has discourse in this country degenerated to the point where govenment incompetence is instantly translated to George Bush hates black people?

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 11:52 AM

Actually, Kanye's quote what "George Bush doesn't care about black people." But, don't let accuracy get in the way of a good knee-jerk. The fact is, when Bush does, actively care about something, it gets addressed proactively. Immunizing the telcos for warrantless wiretapping, for example. We're seeing that stuff get pushed through before any court rules against them.

My gripe is that it comes out so soon and as a written in stone given.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Now, pATRICK, you can see perfectly well that Moxiemom asked it as a question. Not a "written in stone given." Why would you blatantly mischaracterize her even though you can easily see what she's written?

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | October 26, 2007 1:21 PM

Thanks for the defense ProudPapa - I wasn't bothered. I know how I meant it. I wish we could have more frank discussions about race and its implications, perceived or real - but its such a deep issue that I find it nearly impossible. I don't know much about katrina or S. Cal aside from the news, so I'm enjoying hearing what others who are more informed have to say about things.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 26, 2007 1:39 PM

George Bush doesn't care about black people

I stand corrected. BUT interestingly you didn't repudiate the idea that the katrina bungling was race related, which proves my point. The race card is alive and well and taken as given by many. Your telco is example is weak at best.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 1:44 PM

Okay, rather than griping, let's hear what someone has done to help?

I wandered over to the blood bank and bled today.

I have now been tapped for apharesis. I did that once, years ago, and if you think donating blood gets you goodies & perks, you have GOT to go give platelets! I wasn't treated half so well after giving birth!

Posted by: maryland_mother | October 26, 2007 1:57 PM

"I stand corrected. BUT interestingly you didn't repudiate the idea that the katrina bungling was race related, which proves my point. The race card is alive and well and taken as given by many."

Does this psycho ever can it?

I'm starting to believe there is a hell...

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 26, 2007 2:14 PM

Chitty/Hillary for you to call anyone a psycho is beyond laughable............

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 2:18 PM

This goes along with Maryland Mother's point about what we can do to help. If you want to help New Orleans and environs rebuild, call or write your US representative. Ask him (her) his position on fully funding the CDBG's for Louisiana. These funds are commonly called the Louisiana Road Home Program which is about $5 billion short right now. The program gives grants directly to homeowners to rebuild.

Posted by: Fred | October 26, 2007 2:20 PM

Fred, can I ask - what ever happened to the millions that Americans donated in the immediate wake of Katrina. To whom did those funds go? Did anyone keep track? I wonder the same thing about the tsunami funds as well. Just curious?

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 26, 2007 2:26 PM

Moxiemom,

I can't give you a complete answer on that. I would think that you would have to ask each group or organization helping out to account for the money.

I know that the Salvation Army, the Red Cross(after 2 months) and other organizations were going up and down all the streets in my city handing out cleaning supplies, shovels, water, ice and meals.

In fact, I have a bucket from the Salvation Army Disaster Service and a shovel from the Red Cross in my garage right now!

We also received some cash assistance from some local organizations and prescription medicine. (Yes we took our meds with us but they do run out after awhile.) Also the Travelers Aid Society aided us in the first few awful days.

Posted by: Fred | October 26, 2007 2:37 PM

I stand corrected. BUT interestingly you didn't repudiate the idea that the katrina bungling was race related, which proves my point. The race card is alive and well and taken as given by many. Your telco is example is weak at best.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 01:44 PM

Wow. If the posters on this board are a family (of sorts) you are cementing your way into "crazy uncle pATRICK" status. ;-)

That I did not repudiate your statement proves nothing, other than at that moment I didn't tackle that particular topic. You can't (logically) take my statement on "A", then say well since you didn't address "B", "B" is therefore fact. How is that a rational, logical argument?

If you want to ask directly whether I feel "the Katrina bungling was race related", my answer is simple. I don't know.

I have some knowledge of Government and I don't believe there is any way to legislate or execute a race-specific policy decision. The government does not work that way in this era, thankfully. If we ask whether, knowing that bureaucracy is a factor in government efficiency, would the humans who make up bureaucracy have moved heaven and earth more swiftly to help Katrina victims if they, themselves were able to empathize more easily with the victims (whom in the immediate aftermath shown on the TeeVee largely appeared poor and minority)....

Well, I think that is a much more difficult question and one that I struggle with because the answer involves subjectivity.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | October 26, 2007 2:58 PM

PP, now that was a good answer. I never think that the govenment formulates a response based on race. Why? Because the governmnet regardless of who is in charge is an inept, bungling bureaucracy and to coordinate any far ranging comprehensive strategy based on anything includning race is a joke. As far as being "crazy", coming from a leftie like yourself, I consider that a compliment and would worry if you thought anything else. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 3:14 PM

Well, ProudPapa, the feds were unable to step in until the state asked them to. Which is why they waited. They were following the constitution.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 26, 2007 3:15 PM

George Bush doesn't care about black people

I stand corrected. BUT interestingly you didn't repudiate the idea that the katrina bungling was race related, which proves my point. The race card is alive and well and taken as given by many. Your telco is example is weak at best.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 01:44 PM

What the heck does it mean to say, "the race card is . . .taken as a given by many"? Seriously, I have no idea what point you intended to communicate.

Just to bring logic into this, the only way that raising the issue of whether the federal response to Katrina (or any disaster) was race-related is not "playing the race card" unless you apply that perjorative, dismissive label to ANY comment that identifies race as a reason why entity X behaves in a certain manner. I don't understand how one can debate any issues of substance of the very raising of certain possibilities is prohibited under the guise of "playing the race card".

If you really are a fan of free speech, there's not explanation that shouldn't be able to be raised.

Finally, come on, pATRICK, LOL. George Bush DOESN'T care about black people. Do you disagree? or do you just dislike the original source of the comment? or do you think that the federal response to Katrina would have been as glacially slow, and that Brownie would have been deemed to be going a heckuva job, if a city filled with white voters, let's say Cleveland, had been flooded? Let's disagree on the substance and not squelch comments that make us uncomfortable. Deal?

Posted by: MN | October 26, 2007 3:17 PM

Again, the response from the Feds was due to the STATE and LOCAL govts ineptitude. The feds were standing by, waiting, ASKING TO BE ALLOWED TO HELP and told NO.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | October 26, 2007 3:25 PM

MN, first off, NO I do not think George Bush would intentionally be slow to send troops to rescue black men, black women or black babies. I do think that the government was unprepared and had a lackey in charge with Brownie. Your post is an example of what i was saying about racism being a given. You take it as a given that he would have moved faster if they were white. You take that as a given fact. Which it is not, it is your OPINION based on your politics. I never think you should not raise a point, so i am puzzled by your squelching remark.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 3:28 PM

I will probably have more to say on this late this evening (just hoping I will not turn into Matt from Aberdeen).

I agree with Army Brat on his with most all he said at 10:46. Proud Papa has some excellent points on the failure of the federal government which as MN says have been partially rectified as evidenced by the current disaster.

I think about those flooded city buses which still sit in NO East. They belong to the government and could have been used for evacuation. But no plan was in place, at that time, to use them.

I see that the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority now has a City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP) on file.

Posted by: Fred | October 26, 2007 3:29 PM

Proud Papa has some excellent points on the failure of the federal government which as MN says have been partially rectified as evidenced by the current disaster.

I don't know, seems like the fires were something they were more prepared to deal with normally. Katrina seemed to me a much bigger disaster (not discounting San Diego)and harder to handle IMO

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 3:43 PM

and they do have these fires every year, not of this magnitude, but they do have the fires and Santa Ana winds together. They have been working on that disaster plan for a LONG time.

Posted by: robinwfcva | October 26, 2007 4:11 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you! to everyone who donates blood. You have saved a life today. Bless you!

Blood donation is one of my hobby-horses. My last donation was in late Sept. so I won't be eligible to donate again until around the new year. Yes, normal people can donate every 8 weeks, but my iron levels are slightly abnormal and I have to wait 3 months between donations. I keep going back because I'm type O, universal donor, but all blood types are needed.

Posted by: sue | October 26, 2007 4:14 PM

and they do have these fires every year, not of this magnitude, but they do have the fires and Santa Ana winds together. They have been working on that disaster plan for a LONG time.

Posted by: robinwfcva | October 26, 2007 04:11 PM

2003 fires were a whole lot worse in terms of lives and homes lost. So far that is. Not all the fires are contained yet, and so the situation could still change. See http://www.firescope.org/fires.htm for a map and status of fires.

Some lessons were learned from '03, but some of the recommendations that came out of reviewing those fires still need to be implemented. But they did really well with the evacuation notifications, and that's a huge improvement.

Posted by: sue | October 26, 2007 4:23 PM

You take it as a given that he would have moved faster if they were white. You take that as a given fact. Which it is not, it is your OPINION based on your politics. I never think you should not raise a point, so i am puzzled by your squelching remark.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 03:28 PM

pATRICK, Yes, it's my opinion - based on much reading and observation over the years. We can both have informed opinions and yet disagree. Right? All of us interpret, research and consider circumstances and behaviors on a daily basis and we reach conclusions about the actions of others. I don't take any opinion or comment of someone else as a "given" or a "fact" and don't, frankly, understand the distinction you are making between taking something as a given and reaching an informed opinion based on the facts as you uncover them.

In terms of squelching and suppressing speech, it seems to me that whenever you dismiss the opinions of others with whom you disagree as "playing the race card", you are, in effect, saying they shouldn't express conclusions on topics that involve race and with which you disagree. It's a way of dismissing a comment but not addressing the substance. If we disagree on whether race was relevant to the Katrina response, isn't that a conversation worth having -- without emotion, jargon, vitriol or insult? I see value in having those conversations, even if you dismiss them perjoratively.

Posted by: MN | October 26, 2007 4:43 PM

But of course MN! That's what we argumentative people live for! ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | October 26, 2007 7:16 PM

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