Sunday, July 27, 2008

go to hell rush limbaugh

i am so sick of having to defend new orleans to outsiders. my favorite new attack is a comparison of how much better the mid west is standing up to their flooding crisis than we did in new orleans. the mid west is peopled by stalwart pioneer types that don't take government handouts, engage in looting, or sit whining for help. apparently new orleans did. well, let's look at the numbers shall we? why are huge swaths of the city still empty shells? and why are people still living in fema trailors? bush claims to have sent 116 billion to the gulf coast. about two-thirds of that money was used for short term needs like debris removal and coast guard rescue. stanley czerwinski of the government accountability office likes to point out that, "there is a difference between responding to an emergency and rebuilding post-disaster." once you subtract the short term needs from the over all budget, that leaves very little for long-term gulf coast rebuilding. the estimate is that only 35 billion has been appropriated for long term building projects. out of that number, about only 42% of that has been spent. washington set aside 16.7 billion for community development block grants( this is housing folks) but as late as march of 2007, only 1 billion had been spent and most of that was in mississippi. out of fema's public assistance program of 8.2 billion, only 3.4 was meant for non-emergency projects like repairing hospitals or schools. after the levees failed, the corps recieved 8.4 billion for storm defenses but as of july 2007, only 20% had been spent and they probably won't finish the work until 2011. the road home has been poorly managed by the state and if you are lucky to actually see any of that money, it is often far below the value of your house and often seized by the mortgage you have no money left over, a gutted house, and to add insult to injury you often get taxed on the road home money. hmm, i wonder why people are still living in fema trailors. it can't be because of the air quality in them. and this is all coming after the corps built a faulty levee system that they themselves said would crumble under water pressure and THAT was said way back in the 1980's. then the bush administration cut funding to the corps in 2005 by about 80%. interesting number, 80% because it was 80% of new orleans that flooded. my parents raised me to believe that if you break it then you fix it. that's not whining. and let's talk about the mid west and them not asking for hand outs. most of the mid west receives agricultural subsidies that averages out to be about 2000$ per household. in addition, places like hard hit linn county, iowa had about 2,400 households getting public cash assistance before the floods and that is comparable to the cash assistance taking place in new orleans pre-katrina. food stamp usage was roughly the same in the hard hit iowan counties before the flooding as it was in new orleans pre-katrina. in 2004, about 11% of new orleans' households received food stamps compared 8% of linn county and 10% of black hawk county households in 2006. yeh, new orleans is the only place that gets welfare. rush limbaugh also mentioned that the mid westerners are not whining on roof tops waiting for government aid. well, there are more evacuation routes out of the mid west than the island of new orleans and more people own cars in the mid west than owned cars in nola before the storm. as far as waiting for aid, well they haven't had to there. in new orleans relief agencies like the red cross were prohibited from entering the city by order of homeland security. hell, in the mid west, they were on the ground in some instances before the flooding. and they are asking for assistance. 45,000 in iowa, indiana, and wisconsin alone have registered for assistance. fema has already handed out 81 million in housing assistance. and there is looting going on but it is minimized by the news media because looting white people is just not as sensational as looting black people. and all of that bullshit about us shooting at rescue helicopters and mass murders and rapes was just another media sensation with little to no truth behind it. but i will say this, if i had sat on my roof for 5 fucking days in the heat with no food or water, watching my family slowly die from dehydration while people flew over head without dropping water, i might shoot. but these things were never substantiated. new orleans did not turn into iraq. ask the people who were here. there were many who crossed color lines to take care of children and the elderly, giving them the food and water first. many people took boats into neighborhoods and rescued hundreds of people. people hotwired buses and other vehicles to drive the stranded out of the city when they realized that no help was coming. and many of us gutted houses and helped repair the damage as best we could. we shared our food and water. we were there for each other emotionally so don't say that people come together in the mid west but not new orleans. i never met a stranger after the storm. people were helping each other survive and we have survived and new orleans is getting better every day. and you know what? it is not a fucking competition. people are hurting in the mid west just like they are still hurting here. so fuck you rush limbaugh. why don't you go wash that oxycontin down with some bourbon and just shut the fuck up!!

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