Monday, September 26, 2005

Hurricane Relief

There are many ways we can help with hurricane relief. Not all of us have money, but any sort of talent can be used to help the victims. They will be needing help for a **long** time. Christmas is approaching, what a great opportunity to provide some joy. I have gathered some information about several possible ways we can help from right here in our own homes.

Knitters, crocheters, quilters, sewers, woodworkers, toymakers... whatever your gift, you can google for it and find a place where it can be used. Here are some I found:

Local Church Knitting Blankets For Hurricane Victims
UPDATED: 10:34 am EDT September 5, 2005
GAP, Pa. -- A local church community has found a creative way to help comfort children affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Sandra Schindler and others at Saint John's Episcopal Church are crocheting and knitting blankets to give to the children who survived the storm.
"The first thing that came to mind was that we can help them with a little toy and shawl and blanket -- something that they can carry around that is just theirs," said Schindler.
Each packet also includes a prayer.
There are hundreds of people pitching in. Knitters from a group called the Red Thread are working on the local and national levels. The church is sending the packets to a church in Houston, which will distribute them to children at the Astrodome.
People can also help by donating yarn or small toys to Saint John's Episcopal Church, 1520 West Kings Highway, Gap, Pa., 17527.

Collecting handknit facecloths:

Help the Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina
Thank you for your interest in helping Katrina survivors. Our guild is working with the Houston Independent School District, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the Mayor's office, & the Cultural Arts Council to develop a program of crafts for the people here from New Orleans. The mission is two fold. We are going to collect stash yarn, needles, hooks, and magazines, then sort and package them for people who need knitting to sooth the soul. We also intend to provide some instruction at shelters to people who need to do something productive with their hands. Houston area residents can drop their donations off at Twisted Yarns or Nancy's Knits, and they will bring them to HCCC. We are asking that donations from out of town be sent to:
Knit at Night Guild
c/o Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
4848 Main Street
Houston, TX 77002
We thank you for your support and your donation.
Vicki Katz - President
Knit at Night Guild
Houston, Texas

Collecting afghans, blankets and quilts:

Buy Yarn and Help Support Victims of Hurricane Katrina:
The Naked Sheep will be donating 10% of every online sale during the month of September to the American Red Cross to help the victims of hurricane Katrina.

Create something and donate it for auction:

A summary of many ways to donate

Knitting for New Orleans:

The San Diego Hurricane Relief Meet-Up Group

Helping Our Neighbors In Need

There are so many lives that were changed instantly last week by Hurricane Katrina. The reality of losing everything to a natural disaster is horrifying. You can watch and read the news reports, or you can go to the Charlotte Coliseum to see first hand the people who have arrived in Charlotte trying to find a way to start over again. I went to the Coliseum this morning to see what could be done. They still need personal hygiene items, but especially socks, underwear, bras and diapers. They have plenty of clothes and many generous people volunteering time. At this point financial donations are the most helpful and can be made through a variety of organizations. If you are looking for a way to donate money, one of our suppliers KFI (Euro Yarns, Sirdar, Noro, Debbie Bliss and more) has generously agreed to match dollar for dollar all contributions made to support the following funds: Alabama Governor's Emergency Relief Fund, Mississippi Hurricane Relief Fund or Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. If you would like to make a check payable to any of these funds, and bring it to Baskets of Yarn, we will forward it on to KFI. Or you can send it directly to: KFI, 315 Bayview Ave., Amityville, NY 11701.

On a local level to support the recovery efforts for Katrina (our new neighbors) and to help our existing local neighbors who have also fallen on hard times this year Baskets of Yarn has created a fall time and talent project that is a little different than in the past. We all know that knitting and crocheting is a wonderful creative and relaxation outlet and once you learn the techniques, you have the skills for a lifetime. So we have decided that instead of making things for other people, we are going to teach others to knit and crochet! Between now and the end of December we will make learn to knit/crochet kits and send teams of volunteers to a variety of destinations (hurricane evacuees and local agencies) to teach people to knit or crochet. We will go in teams of 2-6 people to teach groups the basics. We will provide needles or hooks, a ball of yarn an d instructions for each person. You only have to know the basics of knitting or crochet to help us teach!

If you would like to help by donating items, you can bring them to either Baskets of Yarn location in Charlotte or Pineville, or mail them to us at the warehouse: 570 Griffith Road, Charlotte, NC 28217. If you would like to help by donating time to teach, contact us by email or call (704)561-0911 and we will give you more details about specific teaching events.

(11) skads of free patterns:

Collecting quilts for hurricane relief:
American Quilter's Society
PO Box 3290
Paducah, KY 42002-3290
Phone: 270-898-7903
Fax: 270-898-1173

Toymaking opportunities forhurricane relief:
Project Linus NJ seeks volunteers that are interested in donating handmade toys like dolls, plush stuffed animals, and wooden toys to fragile children through our mission. Volunteer toymakers supply their own materials.

The desire to handcraft toys for fragile children and donate them to
Project Linus NJ
79 Jackson Street
Keyport, NJ 07735
(732) 335-9033

Friday, September 09, 2005

After Katrina fiasco, time for Bush to go,1,1222575.story
After Katrina fiasco, time for Bush to go

By Gordon Adams

September 8, 2005

WASHINGTON - The disastrous federal response to Katrina exposes a record of incompetence, misjudgment and ideological blinders that should lead to serious doubts that the Bush administration should be allowed to continue in office.

When taxpayers have raised, borrowed and spent $40 billion to $50 billion a year for the past four years for homeland security but the officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency cannot find their own hands in broad daylight for four days while New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast swelter, drown and die, it is time for them to go.

When funding for water works and levees in the gulf region is repeatedly cut by an administration that seems determined to undermine the public responsibility for infrastructure in America, despite clear warnings that the infrastructure could not survive a major storm, it seems clear someone is playing politics with the public trust.

When rescue and medical squads are sitting in Manassas and elsewhere in northern Virginia and foreign assistance waits at airports because the government can't figure out how to insure the workers, how to use the assistance or which jurisdiction should be in charge, it is time for the administration to leave town.

When President Bush stays on vacation and attends social functions for two days in the face of disaster before finally understanding that people are starving, crying out and dying, it is time for him to go.

When FEMA officials cannot figure out that there are thousands stranded at the New Orleans convention center - where people died and were starving - and fussed ineffectively about the same problems in the Superdome, they should be fired, not praised, as the president praised FEMA Director Michael Brown in New Orleans last week.

When Mr. Bush states publicly that "nobody could anticipate a breach of the levee" while New Orleans journalists, Scientific American, National Geographic, academic researchers and Louisiana politicians had been doing precisely that for decades, right up through last year and even as Hurricane Katrina passed over, he should be laughed out of town as an impostor.

When repeated studies of New Orleans make it clear that tens of thousands of people would be unable to evacuate the city in case of a flood, lacking both money and transportation, but FEMA makes no effort before the storm to commandeer buses and move them to safety, it is time for someone to be given his walking papers.

When the president makes Sen. Trent Lott's house in Pascagoula, Miss., the poster child for rebuilding while hundreds of thousands are bereft of housing, jobs, electricity and security, he betrays a careless insensitivity that should banish him from office.

When the president of the United States points the finger away from the lame response of his administration to Katrina and tries to finger local officials in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., as the culprits, he betrays the unwillingness of this administration to speak truth and hold itself accountable. As in the case of the miserable execution of policy in Iraq, Mr. Bush and Karl Rove always have some excuse for failure other than their own misjudgments.

We have a president who is apparently ill-informed, lackadaisical and narrow-minded, surrounded by oil baron cronies, religious fundamentalist crazies and right-wing extremists and ideologues. He has appointed officials who give incompetence new meaning, who replace the positive role of government with expensive baloney.

They rode into office in a highly contested election, spouting a message of bipartisanship but determined to undermine the federal government in every way but defense (and, after 9/11, one presumed, homeland security). One with Grover Norquist, they were determined to shrink Washington until it was "small enough to drown in a bathtub." Katrina has stripped the veil from this mean-spirited strategy, exposing the greed, mindlessness and sheer profiteering behind it.

It is time to hold them accountable - this ugly, troglodyte crowd of Capital Beltway insiders, rich lawyers, ideologues, incompetents and their strap-hangers should be tarred, feathered and ridden gracefully and mindfully out of Washington and returned to their caves, clubs in hand.

Gordon Adams, director of security policy studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, was senior White House budget official for national security in the Clinton administration.

Copyright © 2005, The Baltimore Sun |

Monday, September 05, 2005

An Open Letter To The President From The Editors Of The New Orleans Times-Picayune

An Open Letter To The President From The Editors Of The New Orleans Times-Picayune
Dear Mr. President:

We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, "What is not working, we're going to make it right."

Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism.

Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason: It's accessible. The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718.

How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks.

Despite the city's multiple points of entry, our nation's bureaucrats spent days after last week's hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city's stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.

Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.

Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a "Today" show story Friday morning.

Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.

We're angry, Mr. President, and we'll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That's to the government's shame.

Mayor Ray Nagin did the right thing Sunday when he allowed those with no other alternative to seek shelter from the storm inside the Louisiana Superdome. We still don't know what the death toll is, but one thing is certain: Had the Superdome not been opened, the city's death toll would have been higher. The toll may even have been exponentially higher.

It was clear to us by late morning Monday that many people inside the Superdome would not be returning home. It should have been clear to our government, Mr. President. So why weren't they evacuated out of the city immediately? We learned seven years ago, when Hurricane Georges threatened, that the Dome isn't suitable as a long-term shelter. So what did state and national officials think would happen to tens of thousands of people trapped inside with no air conditioning, overflowing toilets and dwindling amounts of food, water and other essentials?

State Rep. Karen Carter was right Friday when she said the city didn't have but two urgent needs: "Buses! And gas!" 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.

There were thousands of people at the Convention Center because the riverfront is high ground. The fact that so many people had reached there on foot is proof that rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too.

We, who are from New Orleans, are no less American than those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard. We're no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued.

No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn't be reached.

Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill your promise to make our beloved communities work right once again.

When you do, we will be the first to applau

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Katrina, Five days Later

Yesterday on All Things Considered the idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA was being interviewed. The interviewer (either Neil or Robert) kept telling him that NPR reporters keep talking about the thousands of people in the Convention Center who went there when they were refused entry to the superdome who have been without food and water for 4 days then and had dead bodies shoved off to one side, a 10 yr old girl raped on Wed night and all the other horrors we have heard about.

The idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA then said that there were no people in the CC, he had not been told about it. N or R kept pounding away about how the Nat Guard (NG) had been there etc. The idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA said how they are feeding the people in the superdome and N or R kept saying what about the CC and the idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA kept going back to the superdome. N or R presses on about the CC and then the idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA says how if people want food they have to get to the "selected staging areas where food and water is being distributed". He continually dodged the questions about the CC, clearly getting more and more angry and N or R kept pressing on until finally the idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA said that now that N or R has brought it to his attention he would have the situation checked out.

And then on the news last evening what did I see by 15000 people in the CC and it would appear that everyone in NO knows there are thousands of people in the CC except the idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA .

And all through the interview I was wanting N or R to ask how are people supposed to know where the selected staging areas are in a city with no means of communication like the radio or TV? And how are they supposed to get there in an increasingly violent and desperate situation?

Also N or R made the point that what are being called looters are starving people who once they get their hands on food and water are distributing it to others. What I don't understand is how any head of FEMA, even an idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent one could be so unaware of conditions? And people who are saving lives in this way are being called looters and criminals? What are people supposed to do when they are starving, literally dying of thirst? Sit back and die instead of trying to help themselves?

N or R also presses the idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA about the 2001 report which claimed that 3 diasters waiting to happen in the USA were a terrorist attack on NYC, a major hurricane in NO and of course, the Really Big One here in CA. The idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA said that yes, FEMA had plans in place for all these and they immediately acted on the one for NO.

All I could think was that either the idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA didn't know what on earth he was talking about, was late giving the orders to implement the plan or that the plan was just plain woefully inadequate because with all the resources of this nation, I think that there is no excuse that there should be anyone still in that city who doesn't want to be there. No excuse for people to be dying due to lack of medical care. We are the richest nation on the face of the planet, or so I keep hearing and I just do not understand why NG from all over the country aren't there already and why martial law hasn't been declared and enough NG etc there to protect the people and stop the violence.

This FEMA guy kept on blaming the flood for interfering with the rescue effort. I don't see how that is a factor when everyday on the news I see pictures of hundreds of people walking around New Orleans (NO), refugees, police, reporters. If they can manage to move around NO, why can't FEMA? God bless those people who are in there already trying to rescue people even though the idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA can't imagine how to do it.

We have millions of vehicles in this country that are high enough to drive through the flood waters of NO. Why aren't all the Hummers on the various carlots around the country commandeered? Or for that matter, the privately owned ones too? What about dump trucks and front end loaders or other construction vehicles? Monster pickup trucks? The airport at NO is not flooded. Planes are landing there and so equipment can get there quickly.

Heck, here in San Diego we sent way way way more people to NYC after 9/11 then we have sent to the Gulf Coast after this much huger disaster.

Lawlessness, starvation, rape, murder, dehydration,death and the USA is stumbling around? When we have the reserves of all the military and 50 states with NG?

We can spend a lot of time faulting people for this or that contribution to the causes of the disaster and yes, those people need to pay for their sin, but for crying out loud, I fault the USA for what I can only call a very poor response. Of course, the poor response may be the fault of that idiot dingbat stupid uninformed evasive and completely incompetent head of FEMA but if I were the govenor of any state around the area, I'd have mobilized my NG and I'd have gotten whatever military bases there were to move, God damn it, and rescue those people and save those lives.