Ohio Hanging In There

We don’t have “Hang On Sloopy” as a theme song for nuthin’!

I have my electricity now, but not all Ohioans are so fortunate. Thanks to God and the hardworking guys employed by AEP we stepped back into the modern age yesterday evening. Lights, wash, running water! It’s bliss I tell you. But as I said not everyone in Ohio is back online with their power. And for them, it is more misery.

After experiencing this prolonged outage, I know that it isn’t just physical inconvenience, but psychological stress, as well, that gets to you. In the background is the knowledge that your pocketbook is taking a hit, too. But at the moment of just trying to survive with getting essential matters such as food, sanitation matters, etc…. you aren’t concerned about how to pay for it. Or maybe you feel helpless to complain. That might be more of an explanation. The kindness of strangers becomes magnified… both from an appreciated point of view and it’s manifestation. And the ugliness of humanity can get magnified, as well. Witness the burglaries of generators, etc. Hey, evil never sleeps. But then you have some neighborhoods which grow in community care and cooperation.

I will say that when you have no water and refrigeration… and the store shelves are empty in ways that are reminiscent of the photos of old Communism… you sure appreciate any gesture of generosity and consideration- it just means so much! We would have been in much worse state if not for a borrowed generator. And there are thousands of folks who don’t have a generator, and can’t buy one no matter what- Home Depots… and every other supply in the area is clean out of generators and many other emergency supply items. Not that it would save the food in the freezer now, anyway. Like one guy interviewed in the news said,” to have to throw away all that food feels like a sin”. It does feel sinful… and awful, but it is just an unavoidable situation. I threw out chicken, mayonnaise, and other such questionables, and that was after 24 hours without power. I ate a pint of ice cream as “soft serve”… I refused to waste the Haagen Daz, folks.

But there are people right now who are looking at another three maybe four days of deteriorating conditions as they wait for their power to be restored. There are still streets that have downed trees, and lines to the yard waste disposal sites. And people whose downed lines are going to have to wait if they aren’t in the street… But many people are making the best of it. This is the heartland after all, and I love to see the bravery and good will that is often resident in my state.

It sure softened my sense of compassion as I now understand better than I might have, the suffering of those on the Gulf Coast. And I appreciate our way of life, as well as our need for readiness . Readiness makes all the difference in this type of situation. There is probably a larger lesson in that statement, but I am too close to it to be able to yet say what that is. Right now, I’m just thankful for the hot showers and lights. Luxury that I won’t take for granted so much any time soon.

Ohio is hit hard

I get to be online for a short time thanks to the generous friend who lent us a generator. A bit too late for much of the refrigerator’s food…which was the first appliance we hooked up for generator power. It makes me appreciate the difficulty of those areas harder hit- like Texas. It was so hot yesterday , and then the storm hit. We had no rain, but the winds started strong and just got stronger. I watched my large spruce tree trunk rock back and forth- but all the trees held. Not all neighbors in the area were so fortunate. a quick run to the store for some ice revealed many, many large burr oaks snapped off, maples pulled out of the ground, and too many large branches too count strewn everywhere. Some houses, and some cars mashed.

As the wind kicked up I ran outside to retrieve deck chairs blowing across the yard. Inside as things got worse, I felt the house shook. Then the power went out. I tried to read while there was still daylight, and put together a plan should it be a worse case scenario of a long outage; which it what we are facing. At nightfall we pulled out all our candles. Luckily I like candles! So we had plenty to light up the kitchen and living room areas while we pulled out a spontaneous picnic of things to try to consume.

Today we went to pick up the generator, good thing our friend has power, because all stores are sold out of generators. We went “dark” on the information outlets of TV and internet. Now we find out just how widespread this is. Power might resume Wednesday or up to a week later. We’ll see. The Walmart we went to for some supplies this morning had cleared out all their frozen and fresh foods… and were cleaning up the bins. I purchased water, wipes, and some canned supplies. Me and hundreds of other people in Ohio.

Faith in the Land of the Demolished

Locusts and Wild Honey � Church Sunday 11:00 shows pictures of how one congregation is having church on the street… actually on the foundation, which is all that is left of the building, but it is ‘open-air’ church. Church Without Walls.heh.

In many ways this title could sum up church for many of us across the nation, while still having buildings and lives intact, much of what we know of our faith has been catastrophically demolished.

That is what Fundamentalism is to me: the remnants of faith after all the naysayers and add-ons are finished with what they have tried to make it; what is left of that. The word means different things to others, so it is with semantical trepidation that one uses the word, but this is how I speak of it.

Foundations… that is a good place to start, but as in these pictures, you realize you really don’t want to stay there. You want to build something of lasting value, something that withstands all the force that the storm of life can throw. Even the unforseen forces of the category that Katrina showed itself capable of.

Perhaps the physical is not capable of that, but the spiritual can be. Some people in this nation have been stripped down, literally, to what is in their spirit. That is all the storm of their lifetime left them, and they are providing- though not by choice- illustration of what the spirit of an individual and of a community is made of.

I came upon this blog by way of BASSENCO’s Blog on the Lillypad 2: Some blogs of Note.

I had seen Lilypad linked to and probably read it over earlier in my blog ventures, but find I really really enjoy reading the posts. I was working through some of those on Christian Art of War first. The ones on Fundamentalism will be slower- I need to think more about those, and may have more to dispute. Maybe… just because I come from the other direction on the spectrum.

====ok and finally====

Shout out to DEREK, who my son, his friend, just alerted me is working as a commander in the Katrina zone. I am sure you are capable as always, Derek.

I had missed seeing you at church- now I know why.

Tellin’ It Like It IS

RazorsKiss.net � How not to comment about Katrina let’s people know what it is like from the inside of the situation.

After giving a quick refresher on civics, what part of government is responsible for what, RazorKiss has to collar the “armchair commentator, nowhere close to the scene” and talk a little sense.

Sometimes you have to listen to someone who knows whereof they speak… and hint, it isn’t always the “experts”.

You know I just loved this:
” [armchair commentator]: Bush did worse- he did photo-ops that actually impeded aid!

[RK: Get over yourself.

A president visiting a disaster area occurs everytime there is a disaster. He visited after Ivan, after Hurricane George here, and after just about every other declared disaster in the history of the area.

Once again – the ignorance rears it’s head. Shut up. Everyone appreciated it here.”

The guy nails it on every point. Maybe because he lives there, maybe because he has some good old fashioned sense… maybe because …just because, but he does.
Dont’ miss what he says about “racism conspiracy theories”.

Katrina’s Numbers Tell

Katrina’s mounting numbers and anecdotal stories are starting to tell the story, which is a long way yet from it’s end.

Hurricane refugees believed to be camped out in Texas

Percentage of the city of New Orleans underwater

$10.5 Billion
Amount of disaster aid approved by Congress and President Bush

Percentage of people below the poverty line in New Orleans before the storm hit

Number of U.S. military personnel committed to provide relief to hurricane survivors

Homeland Security estimate of how many hurricane victims received help by Saturday

“Amid the tragedy, about two dozen people gathered in the French Quarter for the Decadence Parade, an annual Labor Day gay celebration. Matt Menold, 23, a street musician wearing a sombrero and a guitar slung over his back, said: “It’s New Orleans, man. We’re going to celebrate.””

Is this a day for celebration, for parties, for parades? Is this such a day?

That isn’t bravery, that is callousness, and denial of the enormity of what has hit one’s fellow man. That is Nero playing while Rome burns.

Callousness, ineptitude, sluggardliness, caviling, depravity…. these are going to shape up the picture of how things went so wrong.

But beside that, there will be the picture of the fury of a disaster which I do not believe modern America had ever seen on it’s shores. And did not believe could happen. From the devastation will rise the other stories, too, the bravery and the fortitude of the rescue and rebuilding.

The events of 911 changed us; Katrina is doing no less. We will emerge a changed people from this, my sincere hope is that it will be a better people…. but beware of the biting and devouring of political self interest, fellow citizens…. beware of the insidious rot of that.

stats and report from ROBERT TANNER, AP

===on another note====

For those who give through Vineyard Church, our pastor stated that the consensus among the national leaders, and others, was that the state of the situation was too chaotic. So they are putting money into a fund for using as wisely as possible to help the survivors. This seems good as the many stories of held-up supply trucks and scrambling to make an infrastructure.

The Baton Rouge Vineyard is becoming the staging ground. For immediate aid to the victims of Katrina, you might want to check with them, Contact Baton Rouge Vineyard

From Katrina.com:
(posted 09.02.05
(2:00 pm ET)
If you are willing to offer your personal vehicles to transport victims, please do not head to disaster locations. Please contact your local RED CROSS office. They are training and scheduling volunteers.

There is no fuel or power in the hit areas, and not enough parking spaces available. There are trucks trying to enter to distribute food, water and supplies and they can not even get in to help. Thank you for your wanting to help – but PLEASE CONTACT THE RED CROSS TO COORDINATE THE EFFORT

====From Amy Ridenour on the emergency response:
Amy Ridenour’s National Center Blog

Katrina Rescues: A Military Perspective

I’m posting a letter from Joe Roche, whose wife is doing helicopter rescue missions in hurricane-affected areas, “24/7, very tired, sometimes being shot at, facing intense heat and humidity, having spartan-to-bare sleeping conditions, with sickness and disease spreading.”


I want you to know that over the past days, our soldiers of the National Guard have quickly and readily made big sacrifices so they can get down to the Hurricane Katrina rescue mission. My wife, as you know, is with National Guard. I watched last week as they worked feverishly, being called in from their other jobs and away from their families, to get everything ready to go.

Tens of thousands of National Guard soldiers have mobilized all over the country like this……”

There is alot of talk going around, it helps to get a proper perspective – although those who give a reasoned description get drowned out in the clamor.

This report from Amy Ridenour should help to get some of the facts out.

I read an article from CNN this morning about how difficult it is for the media to sift through whats rumor and false and what is factual.
Lots of caveats are in order, and let’s not put our critical reasoning on hold. Gather facts, and there is going to be a careful look at matters after the immediacy.

How It Should Be Done

Evacuees find relief, grapple with worry at Hirsch

Evacuees find relief, grapple with worry at Hirsch
September 3, 2005

By Alexandyr Kent

On an arena floor packed with cots, inflatable beds and donated goods, many of the approximately 1,000 evacuees appear to have settled comfortably but anxiously into life at a shelter. Under the umbrella organization of the Northwest Louisiana chapter of the American Red Cross, pastors from the First Assembly of God in Shreveport and other volunteers are organizing relief efforts at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum, providing food, clothing, medical services, medication, mental health counseling services and recreation.

…Diana Sumpter, who is coordinating efforts to provide information about social services at the shelter, said they are compiling lists of missing people and lists of those seeking jobs and housing. Her biggest challenge was securing transportation for evacuees to go to Social Security offices. She also noted the shelter does not have Internet access, which is essential. She is busy searching for a local facility that could offer evacuees online access. “We need a bank of computers so they can register with FEMA.”

…Steve Beyer, a pastor from First Assembly of God, is the shelter’s facility manager. He coordinates all efforts being made there. On Friday he estimated the shelter was housing 1,000 evacuees. He agreed current needs were being met effectively, crediting the teams of police, doctors, nurses and 150 to 200 volunteers on site. “I give them an A-plus.” But Beyer said the level of need will increase. “We can always use more volunteers, obviously, especially between 10 (p.m.) and 10 o’clock in the morning.” He said they will have continued needs for specific food items, including milk. But raising more money is a bigger concern. His church has set up a relief fund, which has largely funded operations at the shelter to date, but he anticipated soon asking for financial assistance from the American Red Cross and other sources.

“Enthusiasm is running a little bit lower as far as these donations. Large organizations donate meals and all that,” he said. “It (would be) better if I could have larger organizations donate some money.”

Shreveport First Assembly of God 5720 Buncombe Road Shreveport, LA 71129 318.671.7100 Church Receptionist

Salvation Army needs donations, volunteers
September 3, 2005

Volunteers and donations are needed at a new Salvation Army collection site.

The agency will be set up at the former Sam’s Club at the intersection of the Inner Loop and Jewella Avenue. Truckloads of goods are coming in from around the country and volunteers are needed to help sort items. As well, they need to borrow equipment such as golf carts, forklifts or a flatbed trailer.

To volunteer, just go to the site.

Donations of all goods: clothing, shoes, non-perishable food, water, toys, and personal hygiene products are greatly needed.

Through Fire and Water

CNN.com – Fires burn along river; thousands wait to leave – Sep 3, 2005

Fires burn along river; thousands wait to leave
…Firefighters told CNN the mall fire started “under suspicious circumstances.”…

This is a line of investigation that will surely be pursued in the future. There was also rumor of an explosion prior to the breeching of the levee, but all that could be coincidental with the oil and gas, the downed and compromised systems, and all. Perhaps we won’t get answers on the source of some of the lawlessness, or the particular perpetrators.

Anybody else out there getting weary of the bad reports? I think Captain’s Quarters called for a moratorium on political backbiting concerning rescue efforts and blame, and small victory is busy compiling the good news.

Me? I’m slowing down a bit, I couldn’t tear myself away for the last couple days, and like Ernie the Attorney I need time to process. The whole matter is a marathon event in terms of paying attention, learning the lessons, and giving a hand. We are going to need waves of help over the year… or more.

Katrina Connections

Ernie The Attorney records this missive from a friend:

“News from St. Bernard

A friend of mine sent me this account of her boyfriend’s experience in St. Bernard Parish. I post it here for what it’s worth:

“If you’ve noticed, there has been no or very little mension of St. Bernard. That’s because it was really bad there and there was no help. They were not helping anyone get out. It was just people helping people.:…and more.

This is a blog that I’m blogrolling. Found via Blogpulse Newswire, which is taking a break until after the holiday, but has a useful rundown of blogposts.

update:at least I will once blogroll.com stops giving me fatal errors.

Stories from the inside