September 9, 2005

Insurance Companies' Line: Katrina Wasn't a Hurricane

Leave it to insurance companies to waste no time finding a way to let themselves off the hook. At ConsumerWatchdog.org we are already hearing from Katrina survivors who are being told that their insurance won't cover them because "it was a flood not a hurricane" that caused the damage and they (along with about 60% of folks in New Orleans and the Gulf region) don't have flood insurance.

Saying that it wasn't Hurricane Katrina but the flood that destroyed folks' homes is like saying the murderer didn't kill anyone...the bullet did.

Would there have been a storm surge in Biloxi if there was no hurricane? Would the levees have broken if a category three rather than a four or five stormed through New Orleans? Everybody knows that HURRICANE Katrina did the damage.

There is precedent out there that says that if the predominating or initiating cause of the loss is covered by an insurance policy, then the insurer is responisble for the damage. And most storm survivors did carry hurricane insurance and they ought to be covered. Unfortunately, it already looks like these insurers are going to make policyholders battle it out in court rather than come to the table and help put people's lives back together by honoring the insurance that they've paid for.

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Tarnished Image?
Friends abroad say storm debacle could hurt America's influence.
by Trudy Rubin

A trip to Paris last weekend made me painfully aware of the global impact of Hurricane Katrina.

The tardy national response to the suffering and death in New Orleans shocked both those who admire and those who criticize the American superpower. It caused foreigners to ask whether America is indeed a power in decline. If it can't protect its own, how can it aspire to lead others?

The Bush administration, which seems to believe its own spin, may not recognize the damage done to America's image. It should be paying attention. Unless reversed, the foreign perception of American incompetence will further erode America's influence and interests abroad. more...

September 8, 2005

Women were Being Raped, Babies were Being Killed, Alligators were Eating People, But Where the Hell was the National Guard?
How We Survived the Flood
By CHARMAINE NEVILLE

This is a transcription of an interview Charmaine Neville, of New Orleans's legendary Neville family, gave to local media outlets on Monday, September 5

---snip---

I found some police officers. I told them that a lot of us women had been raped down there by guys, not from the neighborhood where we were, they were helping us to save people. But other men, and they came and they started raping women and they started killing, and I don't know who these people were. I'm not gonna tell you I know, because I don't.

But what I want people to understand is that, if we hadn't been left down there like the animals that they were treating us like, all of those things wouldn't have happened. People are trying to say that we stayed in that city because we wanted to be rioting and we wanted to do this and, we didn't have resources to get out, we had no way to leave. When they gave the evacuation order, if we could've left, we would have left.

There are still thousands and thousands of people trapped in their homes in the downtown area. When we finally did get into the 9th ward, and not just in my neighborhood, but in other neighborhoods in the 9th ward, there were a lot of people still trapped down there... old people, young people, babies, pregnant women. I mean, nobody's helping them. more...

September 7, 2005

Here's How You Can Make an Immediate Difference in Louisiana
...a message from Michael Moore

Friends, There is much to be said and done about the manmade annihilation of New Orleans, caused NOT by a hurricane but by the very specific decisions made by the Bush administration in the past four and a half years. Do not listen to anyone who says we can discuss all this later. No, we can't. Our country is in an immediate state of vulnerability. More hurricanes and other disasters are on the way, and a lazy bunch of self-satisfied lunatics are still running the show.

---snip---

I have a way, though, for each and every one of us to do something today that can affect people's lives TODAY.

For the past few days I've been working with a group that, I guarantee you, will get direct aid to the people who need it most.

---snip---

We need to ship supplies to them immediately.
---snip---

If you can't ship these items or go there in person, then go to VFPRoadTrips.org and make an immediate donation through PayPal. Camp Casey-Covington will have immediate access to this cash and can buy the items themselves from stores that are open in Louisiana (all donations to Veterans for Peace, are tax deductible). more...

September 6, 2005

Published on Monday, September 5, 2005
Bush's Roberts-for-Chief Ploy: A Black Day for America
by Doug Ireland

George Bush's announcement this morning that John Roberts is his nominee to replace Rehnquist as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is a clever move. The Senate Democrats have already thrown in the towel on confirming Roberts as an associate justice -- there have been a few grumblings, but the Democratic leadership (and its troops) have their eye on the off-term legislative elections next year, Roberts is polling extraordinarily well (the carefully constructed photo ops of the attractive Roberts and his family in the days following his first nomination played well in the country, which judges on image more than record) and the Democrats saw no political points to be made, when the country goes to the polls next year, in opposing Roberts for associate justice. There is not a single Democratic Senator who has as yet announced opposition to Roberts for that post -- let alone the dozens that would be needed for a filibuster. So much for principle.

Thus, Roberts' confirmation as Chief Justice will be fairly easy sailing -- rapid favorable action by the Senate, which is under pressure to give the Court a Chief before its fall term opens October 3, is a foregone conclusion; and the Democrats, eager to get this issue out of the way and resume beating up Bush on Katrina -- will quickly fall into line in favor of the new Chief. more...

September 5, 2005

We Have Been Abandoned By Our Own Country
You have to watch this video to understand, how little regard our government has for the welfare of its own citizens.

**********

People of the Dome
by Mitchel Cohen
September 03, 2005

Les Evenchick, an independent Green who lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans in a 3-story walkup, reports that 90 percent of the so-called looters are simply grabbing water, food, diapers and medicines, because the federal and state officials have refused to provide these basic necessities.

Les says that "it's only because of the looters that non-looters -- old people, sick people, small children -- are able to survive."

Those people who stole televisions and large non-emergency items have been SELLING THEM, Les reports (having witnessed several of these "exchanges") so that they could get enough money together to leave the area.

Think about it:
- People were told to leave, but all the bus stations had closed down the night before and the personnel sent packing.
- Many people couldn't afford tickets anyway.
- Many people are stranded, and others are refusing to leave their homes, pets, etc. They don't have cars.
You want people to stop looting? Provide the means for them to eat, and to leave the area. more...

September 4, 2005

The Perfect Storm
by Chris Floyd

The destruction of New Orleans represents a confluence of many of the most pernicious trends in American politics and culture: poverty, racism, militarism, elitist greed, environmental abuse, public corruption and the decay of democracy at every level.

---snip---

But as culpable, criminal and loathsome as the Bush Administration is, it is only the apotheosis of an overarching trend in American society that has been gathering force for decades: the destruction of the idea of a common good, a public sector whose benefits and responsibilities are shared by all, and directed by the consent of the governed. For more than 30 years, the corporate Right has waged a relentless and highly focused campaign against the common good, seeking to atomize individuals into isolated "consumer units" whose political energies - kept deliberately underinformed by the ubiquitous corporate media - can be diverted into emotionalized "hot button" issues (gay marriage, school prayer, intelligent design, flag burning, welfare queens, drugs, porn, abortion, teen sex, commie subversion, terrorist threats, etc., etc.) that never threaten Big Money's bottom line. more...

September 3, 2005

You can donate to the American Red Cross here.

**********

from buzzflash.com:

Americans would do well to heed the warnings about where you send your donations for the victims of "Katrina." Be sure your donations are going to help the victims of the hurricane! It seems pretty weird to me that the very man, Pat Robertson, who said, "God allowed September 11 to happen" and "what we need is for somebody to place a small nuke at Foggy Bottom," would be at the top of FEMA'S list of suggested charitable organizations, hiding under the name of "Operation Blessing"!

**********

World Stunned As U.S. Struggles With Katrina
By Andrew Gray

The world has watched amazed as the planet's only superpower struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with some saying the chaos has exposed flaws and deep divisions in American society. World leaders and ordinary citizens have expressed sympathy with the people of the southern United States whose lives were devastated by the hurricane and the flooding that followed.

But many have also been shocked by the images of disorder beamed around the world -- looters roaming the debris-strewn streets and thousands of people gathered in New Orleans waiting for the authorities to provide food, water and other aid.

"Anarchy in the USA" declared Britain's best-selling newspaper The Sun.

"Apocalypse Now" headlined Germany's Handelsblatt daily.

The pictures of the catastrophe -- which has killed hundreds and possibly thousands -- have evoked memories of crises in the world's poorest nations such as last year's tsunami in Asia, which left more than 230,000 people dead or missing.

But some view the response to those disasters more favourably than the lawless aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. more...

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September 9, 2005


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No War in Iraq march.

San Francisco, Ca., January 18, 2003
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Klezmatics

Klezmatics concert photos. (These are uncorrected straight out out of the camera)

On April 3, 2005, Barbara and I went to see the Klezmatics, with guest Joshua Nelson, Jewish gospel singer. To quote the concert program, "Their soul-stirring Jewish roots music recreates klezmer in arrangements and compostions that combine Jewish identity and mysticism with a contemporary zeitgeist and a postmodern aesthetic. Since their founding in New York City's East Village in 1986, the Klezmatics have celebrated the ecstatic nature of Yiddish music with works by turn wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective and danceable." The concert was phenomenal.

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