Friday, September 30, 2005

"When the floods came, we knew we could help wipe out their tears"

There are still good people in this world.

If you aren't familar with the history of the Hmong refugees, read this and this. The Hmong are a group of people from Laos who lived in a primarly agrarian, non-literate society. They practice an animist relgion. They fought on the American side against the communists in Laos during the Vietnam war, and when we pulled out, they were left by the wayside. The lucky ones escaped through the mountains and jungles, crossing the Mekong River into Thailand, and were gathered into refugee camps. The last of these camps/settlements were recently closed, forcing the residents to leave, though they were still not allowed to return to Laos. Starting in 1975, the US started to do the right thing and brought over thousands of Hmong that had assisted us, but many were still left behind. When the last camps were closed last year, the US again opened spots up for their resettlement here, mostly in California and Minnesota.

The Kajsiab House is an unique institution that provides desperately needed services to these people, and is (of course) constantly in danger of losing all funding. Most of the people that use its services are as poor as anybody in this country is, with even fewer options than most because of language and cultural issues, as well as mental health effects from the trauma they've lived through. I don't know how I can make clear to people who aren't familiar with this understand what it meant for these folks to come up with over $500, but trust me, it brought tears to my eyes.

(I have new pictures to post, but I can't get to it until later this weeekend at the earliest)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Why I've Been Gone

Work (what is this bullshit about only two-day weekends?).

Weird, crazy, mean extended family members. You wouldn't believe me if I told you.

Peanut sick (she's ok now).

Out-of-state wedding.

Bad Mama sick (not ok yet).

Thanks for hanging in there, if you still are. I'll be back.

Monday, September 05, 2005

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this is working very well for them"

Seventy-eight year old Elizabeth Joseph lies on
a cot in the Reliant Astrodome on Sunday.
--Photo by Steve Campbell, Houston Chronicle

With apologies to Bitch Ph.D.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Small Fantasy

So at the National Review Online, they are suggesting that the next Republican Convention be held in New Orleans in 2008, as a symbol of their "commitment to rebuilding New Orleans" (apparently they're breaking with Hastert on this).

I think that's a fine idea.

I think the convention should be held in the Superdome. Tours could be given.

"This is one of many places in the dome where a woman was raped. Over there, you can see where one of the babies that died spent his first and last week of life. And if you'll just look across the way, there, the railing above the the pressbox? That's where a man jumped to his death, after telling people he had nothing left. And now is time for the exciting part of our tour. We're ready!

[The tour guide shouts, and the lights go out] Power went out during the early stages of the hurricane, so we wanted to give you a taste. And while we can't take the roof off to let the rain pour in, hah hah, I'll use this hose to hose you all down, and we'll just let it run for a while around your feet. Here's a bucket of human waste to pass around. Now you have some idea of the smell. But wait, better hang onto that bucket! Because the best part of the tour is about to begin!

Yes, the doors are locking as we speak, and with the power shut off, the air-conditioning will stop working, and the power-assisted toilets will stop flushing. And I hope you thought to bring a case of bottled water, because there isn't going to be any for you for a while. Sorry, no food either, because we wouldn't want you getting too comfortable for this next week! You might not want to leave! Oh, don't let me forget to mention, if you didn't think to grab your medication on your way here, I'm afraid you won't be able to replace it. I'm sure your doctor prescribed that heart medication for you just for the kickbacks from the drug companies, and you'll be just fine.

I hear some grumbling in the back, something about this isn't what you signed up for. Well, no, I don't imagine so, but you know that at any time, your party leadership can come and get you. They aren't actually here now, you know. Condi Rice is on vacation, shopping for shoes right now. Nobody knows where Dick Cheney is. And your president? He's on a helicopter right now, taking an aerial tour. I know he understands how frustrated you are right now. But Trent Lott's house is bigger and better than before, so I'm sure that will bring you some comfort! If it doesn't, please note that rifles will be available on your way out, in about seven days".

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Fact Of Life

I have to turn on the word verification feature for comments because I am starting to get hit with comment spam. If you have any problems with it, please email me.

Stupid, icky people out there. Sorry.

An Aside

Can I just say that I have some really evil fucking relatives? Because with everything else going on, I really need to deal with them too.

No Funny Title

I can't link to this AP story because it is on AOL and I can't find it anywhere else yet, but:

In a stunning example of how desperate the situation has become, 25 babies who had been in a makeshift neonatal intensive care unit at New Orleans' Ochsner Clinic were airlifted Wednesday to hospitals in Houston, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Birmingham, Alabama. Many were hooked up to battery-operated breathing machines keeping them alive.

Their parents had been forced to evacuate and leave the infants behind; by late in the day, most if not all had been contacted and told where their babies were being taken, said hospital spokeswoman Katherine Voss.

"We actually encouraged them to leave. It would just be more people to evacuate if there was a problem," said Dr. Vince Adolph, a pediatric surgeon.

When Peanut was taken to the NICU after she was born, I was willing to risk my life to get up and get to her. I can't even fathom what these parents were feeling.

My good friend and boss, Dana, has all of her extended family in New Orleans. Well, had, as most of them evacuated. One family member that stayed behind to help those he knew were going to need help has been rescued (after helping others that couldn't leave be rescued), but the fate of her grandfather, seriously ill in a nursing home that did not evacuate, is still not known. All of these people have lost their homes, their jobs and businesses, everything.

Please send a donation to your local Red Cross. All the local branches donate to the effort, and these people are going to need the help. There is no insurance that covers the rebuilding of an entire major city.

I can't even start about the tragedy in Iraq--it's just too much to comprehend.