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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Hurricane FEMA's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, March 30th, 2008
3:41 am
Road Home grant contractor gives some Katrina families too much, wants its money back.
Katrina victims may have to repay money
By JOHN MORENO GONZALES, Associated Press Writer (Source: Yahoo! News)
March 29, 2008

Imagine that your home was reduced to mold-covered wood framing by Hurricane Katrina. Desperate for money to rebuild, you engage in a frustrating bureaucratic process, and after months of living in a government provided-trailer that gives off formaldehyde fumes you finally win a federal grant.

Then a collector announces that you have to pay back thousands of dollars.

Thousands of Katrina victims may be in the same boat.

A private contractor under investigation for the compensation it received to run the Road Home grant program for Katrina victims says that in the rush to deliver aid to homeowners in need some people got too much. Now it wants to hire a separate company to collect millions in grant overpayments.Collapse )
Crossposted in hurricane_fema and poor_planning.

Current Mood: irked
Saturday, August 19th, 2006
1:01 am
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
Sorry to write what's essentially a free ad here, but I thought many people here might be interested in this:

Spike Lee has made a four hour documentary on the Katrina disaster called "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts". From the synopsis:
This intimate, heart-rending portrait of New Orleans in the wake of the destruction tells the heartbreaking personal stories of those who endured this harrowing ordeal and survived to tell the tale of misery, despair and triumph.

The film also looks at a community that has been through hell and back, surviving death, devastation and disease at every turn. Yet, somehow, amidst the ruins, the people of New Orleans are finding new hope and strength as the city rises from the ashes, buoyed by their own resilience and a rich cultural legacy.

"New Orleans is fighting for its life," says Lee. "These are not people who will disappear quietly - they're accustomed to hardship and slights, and they'll fight for New Orleans. This film will showcase the struggle for New Orleans by focusing on the profound loss, as well as the indomitable spirit of New Orleaneans."
For those of us who have access to HBO, they are showing the first two hours on Monday, August 21 at 9pm (ET/PT), the second two hours on Tuesday, August 22 at 9pm, and all four hours together on Tuesday, August 29 at 8pm.

For the rest of us, it looks like we'll have to wait until HBO puts out a DVD, or licenses it to other channels.

Spike Lee can be a very intense director, and this is a subject he has grown passionate about very quickly. He certainly appears to have done his homework here as well. I, for one, am very interested to see this movie.

More information can be found on the HBO Documentary Films Page for this film.
Thursday, June 15th, 2006
3:19 pm
Observe FEMA in the act reality-spinning the findings of a congressional inquiry that showed they (FEMA) had committed fraud when allegedly "distributing aid" to Katrina and Rita victims.
Sunday, June 11th, 2006
3:28 am
Incompetence? Crime? You decide
10 June 2006

As Hurricane Katrina passed across the Gulf Coast last August, the federal Interior Department offered hundreds of trucks and flat-bottomed boats, thousands of law enforcement officers and even 11 aircraft to help with the rescue effort. But much of the equipment and personnel were not used as part of the federal response, or at least not used effectively, according to an account prepared by department officials.

"Clearly these assets and skills were precisely relevant in the post-Katrina environment," said the department's assessment, prepared at the request of a Senate committee investigating the government's flawed reaction to the storm. The report focused on the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Interior Department, the document says, has a staff of 4,400 law enforcement officers, "many of whom work in harsh environments and are trained in search and rescue, emergency medical services and evacuation," and many of them were in the Gulf Coast area. Yet the report says they were not called to help by FEMA until late September.

The Interior Department was not the only government agency to offer assistance that was not used, or at least not used effectively. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, said in September that Amtrak had offered, before the storm, to carry residents out, but that its train had left nearly empty. New Mexico offered National Guard troops, but for days officials waited for formal approval to use them.
FEMA turned away thousands of rescue workers from other government agencies as Katrina victims drowned
Eric Lipton, The New York Times, January 30, 2006

Apparently, things even went beyond the 36 hour delay in the DHS ordering the FEMA to initiate its planned response to the disaster in the Gulf Region. FEMA appears to have been in no hurry to even get started for the next month or so, although it did not hesitate to impose regulations that impeded the actual rescue including directly ordering first responders not to do their job.

Helen and Harry Highwater of Unknown News comment on the Eric Lipton's article quoted above thusly:
FEMA disregarded its own hurricane disaster plans, and ignored other agencies' offers of help.

FEMA had no use for "hundreds of trucks and flat-bottomed boats, thousands of law enforcement officers and even 11 aircraft to help with the rescue effort"?

"Mistakes were made," says some schmuck at Homeland Security, FEMA's mother agency, but I'd like someone at FEMA or DHS to explain -- under oath -- how this could be a "mistake."

With a major American city in ruins and who-knows-how-many thousands of people suddenly homeless across the South -- thousands of people are still 'missing' today -- FEMA turned away thousands of trained rescue personnel ... by "mistake"?

There's incompetence, and beyond incompetence there's outright malfeasance. And this is miles beyond malfeasance.

This is mass murder.

The management at FEMA, beginning with former FEMA Chief Michael Brown, should be prosecuted.
At this point I tend to have a less radical view of this situation as I lack direct evidence of criminal intent on the part of the federal officials. However one can not safely assume that there was no criminal intent on the part of those officials and that aspect of their activities needs to be investigated.

This is of course my perspective - nothing more, nothing else. You should not take it for granted, by any means. Consider the facts, form your own. Just don't shy away from considering uncomfortable possibilities.
Wednesday, April 12th, 2006
10:37 pm


For information on early voting and absentee ballots concerning
1-800-790-2290 OR 1-504-943-0044

x-posted everywhere
liek whoa
Monday, March 20th, 2006
8:37 pm
Fema requesting money back
Fema is requesting 50,000 of 1.7 million people who recieved aid after Katrina, Rita, and Wilma to pay it back. As they had received it in "error". Haven't learned to do the fancy cut thing, so here's the link:

I have to wonder, am I going to be receiving a letter from them? And if you recall, they did it the people in Florida last July, wanting their money back and evicting people from Fema trailers....http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050703/WEATHER01/507030464/1002/NEWS01

Current Mood: irritated
Saturday, February 25th, 2006
8:46 am
it figures...
After Katrina, I remember sitting here, wondering why we had no help. No ice or water for 4 days. When Sheriff McGee basically commandeered some ice trucks from Camp Shelby, everyone cheered. And now this http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060225/NEWS01/602250303/1002

Should've known Fema would strike back for their lack of action.

Current Mood: annoyed
Thursday, February 2nd, 2006
4:34 pm
La Niña is Officially Here

As previously predicted by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, La Niña has officially arrived. La Niña is the lesser-known sister to the warm winds called El Niño:

More on La NiñaCollapse )

(Crossposted to twc_aficionados and making_a_plan)

4:02 pm
Tornados Batter New Orleans
Tornados have ripped across the New Orleans area, battering already damaged buildings, and even causing significant damage (and cutting off power) to the airport.

2 tornadoes strike New Orleans (CBC News: Canada)
New Orleans Weather Damage (KLFY-TV: Lafayette, LA)
Hurricane Aftermath: Tornadoes Slam Slidell (KTAL-TV: Shreveport, LA)

(Snagged from cieldumort on twc_aficionados)
Sunday, January 22nd, 2006
11:29 am
Landstar Express

I just recently read an article in Counterpunch:

Why Didn't the Busses Come — Bush-Linked Florida Company and the Katrina Evacuation Fiasco.

The article details how FEMA outsourced exclusive evacuation contracts via the FAA(?!?) to Landstar Express America, a freight shipping corporation who describes itself as "one of the nation's largest transportation services companies without owning a single truck". The article also implies that the Jeffrey Crowe, Landstar's Chairman, is a croney of the Bush brothers (W and Jeb).

Does anyone have any more information on these claims?

Friday, November 25th, 2005
10:41 am
Michael Brown, former head of FEMA, who recently lost even his consulting job with FEMA apparently really liked the world of consulting.

He has now set up his own consulting firm to help individuals and businesses with disaster planning and management.
"I'm doing a lot of good work with some great clients," Brown said. "My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me."
He sounds so sad and desperate for love. I could almost feel sorry for him if I didn't remember how many people he helped kill, and how many lives were destroyed by his poor decision making.

Current Mood: amused and terrified
Tuesday, November 15th, 2005
1:26 pm
(I didn't see a rule prohibiting community promotion, and I believe this new community might be of interest to the members/watchers here. If this post is unwelcome, I apologize.)

The recent events in the Gulf Coast and Florida, not to mention the possible influenza pandemic and the ongoing threats from weather and other natural disasters, in addition to the (I hope) remote possibility of man-made disasters, has taught me one clear lesson:

Local communities, families, and individuals need to be prepared to address crises on their own, without significant government help.

To that end, there is a new LJ community called making_a_plan.

The idea is that this community will be a place for sane LJers can talk about resources and ideas for disaster preparedness at the local and individual level. Lists for kits, links to resources, library ideas, phone trees, local community plans, etc., are all appropriate for this community. Arguments about guns, politics, who sucks, and who doesn't, are not appropriate. It will be a place to exchange ideas and information, to collaborate on ways to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe and healthy in the event of a disaster.

Thanks for your time, and I hope to see you there.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2005
6:00 pm
FEMA lack-of-relief and Abu Ghraib connections?
Found the following article of interest:


Titan Contracting has apparently gotten two contracts worth over $500,000 for Katrina relief.

The thing is, Titan Contracting is already in considerable legal trouble, including not only an international bribery scheme but potentially violation of war crimes laws:
Titan is a defendant in two federal lawsuits
that allege the company acted negligently in its hiring and supervision
of a translator suspected of abusing Abu Ghraib prisoners.

The firm separately paid fines totaling $28,500
in March to settle criminal and civil charges that it was involved in a
bribery scheme to benefit the president of the West African nation of

Additionally, a federal inspector general report
last December concluded that taxpayers overpaid for a $229 million
Titan military contract because the firm subcontracted "substantially
all of the work."

FEMA, of course, thinks this is all hunky-dory:

FEMA spokeswoman Nicol Andrews said Titan's Hurricane Katrina awards
"didn't raise any red flags" because the firm has not been barred from
receiving government work.
Sunday, October 23rd, 2005
12:57 am
The Yucutan is so pretty this time of year, Wilma decided to stay a while. In other words, all of the computer models appear to be drastically off for this storm.

Wilma bamboozles hurricane experts (BBC)

Even at the BBC, the talk of damage focuses on the suffering resorts. The AP even reports that while smaller convenience stores are being looted, the police are dilligently protecting the Wal-Mart from a similar fate.

There are thousands of villagers in Yucatan who don't live in resort hotels. Can we hear about what's going on somewhere without poolside bars, tiki huts and Wal-Marts?

Meanwhile, back just south of Haiti, we've officially passed the end of the alphabet, and have reached Tropical Storm Alpha. I believe this means we've beat the record number of hurricanes/tropical storms in the Atlantic since we set up the naming scale in the 30's.
Friday, October 21st, 2005
2:22 pm
Nothing new, of course, but posting it here for the record. This just came in 10/21/05 from the Washington Post concerning New Orleans and Katrina:

Read more...Collapse )
Wednesday, October 19th, 2005
9:49 am
Wilma ... I'm Home!


    -- from Weather.gov

Wilma is currently predicted to mosey through the channel in between Cuba and the Yucutan Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico, and then do a sharp right turn and cross the Florida peninsula. After that is anybody's guess, but it positions it to hit again on the Atlantic coast in the DC, New York, Boston or other such areas.

(NOAA Storm Tracker)
Friday, October 14th, 2005
4:35 pm
Zine #2. is ready: FEMA cancels free water to people with no plumbing: racism, classism, sexism

Hello community members and all everywhere..,

I would like to share with you a zine called "The Open Source Classism, Racism, and Sexism Project: Hurricane Katrina, The Blogosphere And Corporate Media... "White People Find, Black People Loot." Zine #2 (second edition with updates from all over the world) of this new not-for profit zine (independent magazine) printable from online is now ready.  This issue talks about many, many issues including the following issues: Censorship, FEMA Deliberately Sabotaging Hurricane Relief Efforts; African People's Solidarity Committee Statement on Hurricane Katrina; Campus Activism Administration's Agreement Regarding Classism and Racism; Building Progressive Infrastructure:   Taking Friendster and MySpace Down - Building a Noncommercial Non-Sexist, Non-Racist Alternative – by Aaron Kreider, founder of Campus Activism, with responses by many, many livejournal users over the last four days............

It is only 20 pages long. Please print them out and place them in your home, activist group, local co-ops, local coffee shops, collectives, libraries and other places. In this first issue I included 18 pages, so that you can create your own page 20 (add your agreements, disagreements with this publication, add a flyer for your activist project, your activist group, your distro, your band, etc.,) and then publish this publication as a 20 page booklet on the front and back of 5 sheets of 11" x 17" (or 279 x 432 mm) paper.

What is most revolutionary about this zine, is that it lets everyone in this community, place the issues that matter most to them on page 20 and circualte it along with other news that is not getting enough media attention.  That is the Open Source nature of this project.

There are a lot of privileged (progressive and conservative) people who would like to censor, ignore and sweep it all under the rug, including all the increasing ongoing injustices regarding Hurricane Katrina, but with your help we can make certain that the issue is not censored until those suffering most receive justice!  For those unaware, FEMA has recently turned away charities who want to deliver water to women and children in New Orleans with no pumbling.

Submissions are currently being accepted for issue #3. The submission process is on the zine. Thank you!

solidarity and love for all


On either of these websites http://www.opensource.dsame.com or http://www.campusactivism.org/displayresource-487.htm you will find two issues:  #1 and issue #2 of this zine in both pdf format and document format.  Special thanks to everyone who who spoke up in solidarity and kindness, your supportive and positive comments are appreciated!  The longer that Hurricane victims suffer, the more that privileged people on and off the internet want to ignore those who are suffering (and they will come up with every excuse to do it).  Thank you  :o)


Monday, October 10th, 2005
9:03 am
More problems with "faith-based initiatives" in NOLA relief efforts
The New York Times has reported on possible human rights violations in a Katrina evacuee camp (presently housed in a former "Indian School" set up to "Christianise" Cherokee people who were forcibly removed from their homes by state and federal governments in the "Trail of Tears" (which actually extended from 1817 to 1879 in a series of forced "removals", the most infamous of these being in the winter of 1838 in direct violation of a US Supreme Court order (something that would not be repeated in the sheer level of flagrant disregard for law until the administration of Bush II).)

(As an aside, this is something that hits home to me--I myself am of Cherokee descent, and had relatives who had to hide out from the "Removals". The Removals wrecked Cherokee culture sufficiently that it is only now, more than 100 years after the last Removals, that some of us are rediscovering our heritage and culture; we're having to literally re-learn the "old ways". Much has been permanently lost (even *with* Cherokees having their own written language). I fear for the Katrina refugees that much the same may end up happening with the unique cultures of New Orleans.)

According to the New York Times article, not much has changed since the "Indian School" days *or* the days of forced marches to Oklahoma:

* volunteers are more interested in federal handouts from FEMA than actual assistance of refugees and have reportedly verbally abused refugees who complain about poor conditions, no medical or psychiatric triage is available, people are not allowed to cook (even with their own facilities and even "comfort foods", and even if they have special dietary needs such as diabetics) and are being fed substandard food
* evacuees are largely being held incommunicado (with no news of the outside world filtering in (no phones/newspapers/etc.), nor any real way to communicate with the outside--no phones, not even cell, are available) to the point that some evacuees are reporting being disoriented as to day and date
* evacuees are not being afforded educational activity nor spiritual activity per their own consciences
* reportedly even garbage is not being collected and donated goods are not being distributed to evacuees
* basic security of the facilities is neglected; people are being housed in dormitories (from "Indian school" days) with no locks on doors (the original facilities had no locks on doors so that "Indian school" inmates could be checked up on to make sure they weren't following the "old ways" or speaking in Cherokee--traditionally prohibited in "mission schools")
* staff deride the evacuees, describing them as "ungrateful" even though the evacuees are being housed in poor conditions, and are unwilling to assist evacuees in such things as reuniting with relatives

Reportedly people in the area are not being allowed to use FEMA housing vouchers to rent temporary housing (due to markups of housing costs), are placing ornerous requirements (including full criminal background checks) on NOLA evacuees that effectively lock them out of the housing market, meaning they are stuck at the "Indian school" indefinitely. The evacuees in turn have been literally verbally abused by the staff of the "mission" in turn for "not looking hard enough".

The area where the "mission" is an economically depressed area where over half the population has left, and in the nearest town of any size (Ft. Smith, Arkansas) there are only two major employers (Whirlpool and Planter's Peanuts). Residents of those areas have also joined in condemning the evacuees, blaming them for "not getting out" even though they followed the specific instructions of emergency management personnel.

Needless to say, this is yet another example of the emergency mismanagement that has occured in this disaster; this also is a violation of basic principles regarding refugee relief efforts.

Combined with reports that dominionist-affiliated "charities" are explicitly targeting NOLA refugees, including children, for stealth evangelism...this doesn't exactly reassure me.
Friday, October 7th, 2005
1:20 pm
Hurricane tree debris rant
cross posted to my journalCollapse )

I sent the above letter to FEMA, the Times-Picayune, the state government and some environmental groups. Hopefully, someone will decide to use the debris for something constructive. There are tons of it lying around still and I'd hate to think it's all going to be wasted when it could be put to use rebuilding the coastline.

Current Mood: angry
10:48 am
Katrina evacuees forced into homeschooling; my concerns
(crossposted in dark_christian)

CNN reports that due to the general confusion (to the point of malign incompetence) regarding schooling of Katrina evacuees (including difficulties in admission and school systems often being unwilling to assist Katrina evacuee children), many are resorting to homeschooling programs:


I would not be nearly as worried about this development were it not for the following:

a) Heavy dominance of homeschool groups by groups with a dominionist agendaCollapse )

b) Minimal standards and poor educational quality of many homeschool programsCollapse )

c) Dominionist pressure to force kids into sectarian voucher or homeschool programsCollapse )


I should note that I am not wholescale condemning homeschooling entirely. I do realise that there are legitimate cases for homeschooling (subpar education in a public school system, for starters, or persons with learning styles that are not met in public schools).

My concern is not with homeschooling in general, but with a specific subset in the homeschool community that--in many areas, especially in the Southeast and Midwest US--has essentially hijacked most of the existing support groups for homeschooling, and is using homeschooling to promote a very specific agenda (that of converting the United States to a religious theocracy and that the US was intended as a dominionist religious theocracy where even non-dominionist Christian denominations would not be welcome).

Many of the groups that have hijacked homeschooling support forums and groups in these states (much to the consternation of people who have legitimate, secular reasons for homeschooling and may wish info on "unschooling" or open-learning homeschooling) are themselves linked to some of the same groups that are pushing things like "Operation Blessing" and "Dream Center" which are only offering help "with strings attached".

In some states, it is *very* difficult--even if you ARE familiar with homeschooling and have considered it for a while, done the research, etc.--to even *find* support groups for homeschooling that are not explicitly dominionist or Christian Reconstructionist.

In other words, my concern is far less about the fact the kids are being homeschooled (in some cases here, they really dont have a choice) but that dominionist groups are targeting folks who are essentially newbies to the whole idea of homeschooling.
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