Good evening. As always, I'll start out by noting some stuff from Democracy Now!
Katrina Death Toll Rising
The death toll from Hurricane Katrina continues to climb dramatically with the mayor of New Orleans estimating that the number of dead in his city could well be in the thousands. He described dead bodies yet to be recovered floating through the water-soaked streets of New Orleans. The White House has declared a public health emergency for the entire Gulf Coast, as the US Department of Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt warned of potential outbreaks of cholera and typhoid. President Bush cut short his vacation in Crawford, Texas. Upon his return to Washington, he addressed the nation on television: "As we flew here today, I also asked the pilot to fly over the Gulf Coast region so I could see firsthand the scope and magnitude of the devastation. The vast majority of New Orleans, Louisiana is under water. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses are beyond repair. A lot of the Mississippi Gulf Coast has been completely destroyed. Mobile is flooded. We are dealing with one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's history."
We have a national disaster on our hands. Did you ever think you'd wake up to find Americans referred to as "refugees?" That's what they're calling them now.
And if Bully Boy had done his job, if the money would have been put up when it was needed, the disaster might not be as bad now.
Mississippi Death Toll Rises
Meanwhile, in neighboring Mississippi, authorities now say that at least 185 people have died. In Hancock County alone, Sheriff Eddie Jennings put the death toll at 85, with 60 people dead in Pearlington, 22 in Waveland, two in Bay St. Louis and one body that had washed up on the beach. In neighboring Harrison County, which is home to Gulfport and Biloxi, officials say that 100 bodies have been found. All of these numbers are expected to grow as search and rescue operations continue. The city of Gulfport was almost destroyed, and Biloxi was heavily damaged. Dozens of patients from a Biloxi hospital were evacuated by the U.S. Air Force on Wednesday. Patients including a ward full of women with high-risk pregnancies were transported from the hard-hit area by Air Force cargo planes to San Antonio, Texas. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour flew over his state's ravaged coastline and likened it to Hiroshima in 1945. In Alabama more than 400,000 homes and businesses are without power, while Florida reported 11 deaths.
I'm putting the above in because I think it's important to remember that people outside of New Orleands were effected as well.
The big thing in the e-mails right now is a question about is there any way to keep Elaine blogging after Rebecca comes back and I don't know.
I know she reads the e-mail C.I. forwards. And I know since she announced last week when Rebecca would be back, people have started e-mailing to say they'll miss her.
Maybe if enough members e-mailed her, she'd consider doing a blog of some kind?
I don't know. I know she's got some sort of function tonight. If I'm back from date by the time she's home, I'll give her a call and ask her if e-mails would persuade her. But I may not be back in time or she may be out later than I am.
So let's all put our thinking caps and figure out something.
This is brief entry because Nina and I are going to a play tonight so I need to be hitting the road right now.