During campaign season, most of us receive emails that make us fighting mad. When I receive an email trashing Obama (or prior to that trashing Hillary...oddly I never got any trashing Edwards) I just correct the factual errors and broken logic chains and reply to all. That has significantly reduced the amount of smear emails I receive.
But the email I just got tonight had nothing to do with the campaign. It's from a long-time friend with whom I completely disagree about all things political. He calls himself an independent, but he's libertarian with regard to dismantling the government and Republican with regard to social issues. The only saving grace is that he is by all other accounts, extremely intelligent, and not likely to pass on bad information. So usually we avoid discussions of politics and discuss other things.
So I have to confess, when I received his weekend joke update, I was shocked and saddened to see this commentary at the top preceding the jokes. I don't know if he formulated this opinion on his own or if he is parroting some talking head, but I am shocked and I am saddened. Read over the fold for my reply to one man's comparison and contrast between Katrina and the Midwest flooding.
Is it just me?... As you watch the flooding in the Midwest , have you noticed that there are no farmers running around with stolen Plasma TV's, or holding stolen liquor over their heads. There's no looting, or yelling, "Where's Bush?", "Where's FEMA?", "Where's my check?", or "Why isn't the Government out here saving me and my farm?", "I wanna trailer!"
Likewise, I've noticed that there are no reports of any other country even offering to come to help, or sending aid. Shocking contrast isn't it??!!!
Indeed the contrast is shocking. It might be just you, but probably not. You asked...
During his visit on June 19th, he said "I brought a lot of federal officials with me because it's really important that as the rebuilding phase begins, there's a coordinated effort between the federal government and the state and the local governments. And Michael Chertoff is going to be handling the coordinating effort with the Governor. And the Governor will make sure that the affected communities are represented, as well. "
Full Presidential response here: Source
When floodwaters knocked out the water treatment plant in Mason City, Iowa, FEMA rolled into town and promptly set up an account with a Pepsi bottler to supply bottled water. Then FEMA officials moved into a vacant store and began handing out the stuff.
FEMA positioned supplies and personnel north of St. Louis, even though the city is south of the most severe flooding and has not yet had any problems, said Robert Powers, FEMA's deputy assistant administrator for disaster operations.
After the rain started falling in early June, FEMA arrived with 13 million sandbags to pile onto the levees, 200 generators, and 30 trucks to haul off debris. Across the upper Midwest, the agency has delivered nearly 3.6 million liters of water and 192,000 ready-to-eat meals. About 650 inspectors are working in Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin alone.
"Where's my check?"
In Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin alone, FEMA has received about 45,000 registrations for assistance from disaster victims. The agency has already handed out $81 million in housing assistance funds, said Carlos Castillo, a FEMA official. Flooded-out homeowners said FEMA has been quick to dispense checks, and leaders in inundated towns in Iowa said the agency wasted little time in assessing damage.
or "Why isn't the Government out here saving me and my farm?"
Farmer and Rancher Assistance:
Emergency Programs -
Eligible farmers can apply for Emergency Loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) with at least a 30 percent production loss, or a physical loss to livestock. Applicants must be unable to get credit from other sources and be a family sized farm.
Emergency loans may be used in combination with guaranteed loans or direct FSA loans to assist an eligible farmer in developing a viable financing package to recover from flood losses.
Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) may be made available to eligible farmers in eligible counties to repair land damage and cost-share assistance - up to 75 percent of the cost.
FSA is permitting farmers to move their livestock to conservation reserve program land without penalty and without a reduction in payments for 30 days or July 27, 2008 in 26 Iowa counties.
FSA approved the use of conservation reserve program land in Iowa to spread manure as part of the recovery effort.
(Note: This is only one section of a very long list of actions taken by the US Department of Agriculture.)
CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the State of Illinois has received a $3,500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to create approximately 200 temporary jobs to assist in cleanup and recovery efforts as a result of recent storms and flooding.
"I wanna trailer!"
FEMA recently released a housing plan intended to help states provide interim housing up to 18 months for persons whose homes need to be rebuilt or require serious repairs.
The contrast is definitely shocking.
You are correct that there's been no looting and no offers of help from other countries. Could that be in part because the government has responded more appropriately to this crisis - from the President to FEMA and other government branches including the Department of Labor and Department of Agriculture? Or maybe it's an issue of scale - the death toll from the Midwest flooding of several states is currently at 24; the death toll from Katrina, over 1,000. I wasn't able to find statistics on the number displaced by each disaster, but I expect there is a significant difference in scale there too.
Or maybe it's because the people in the Midwest are just superior to the people in New Orleans. If that's what you're implying, I disagree.
When I compiled this data to send to him, my heart was heavy and I wanted to share all this with you. All feedback is welcome - from proper tags to any other remarks. (I am a comment junkie - would rather have comments than mojo!!!) I'll be up a while with the night owls and check in again tomorrow too. Was I right to send this reply? What else should I have said?
UPDATE: Amazing response, thank you everyone. You have fed my feedback habit for a long time to come. You've also provided my first visit to the Rec list, and it sure feels good.
Several have pointed out that this is on snopes and can be googled - sorry I didn't take time to do that upfront, but my response would probably have been the same. Sadly the tone and style of the offensive email matched exactly that smug, self-righteous tone my "friend" adopts on matters political, so I DID initially think he had originated it.
Also, several people have asked me to update the reply when (if) I get one. I probably WILL get a response, but it might be a day or two. If it's timely, I'll post an update - otherwise, I will post a new diary.
For those who are asking, I did not reply to all when I sent this, although I usually do, because I honestly think he will send a retraction. I'm not holding my breath, but when he discovers the extent of FEMAs involvement, I think he will want to correct the record, and if he does, I'll let you know. I'm all for small victories in the flood of garbage information we receive every day.