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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?

There’s a mist on the glass congealing, T'is the hurricane’s sultry breath;
And thus does the warmth of feeling, Turn ice in the grasp of Death.

Bartholomew Dowling, (1823–1863)

Human nature is an interesting thing. As we all monitored the situation before Hurricane Katrina hit, I heard two ladies talking about their situation.

On the radio, one lady was complaining it was too expensive to get gas, a hotel room in Arkansas, etc. She was just staying home. (It is not known if she could afford to die.) But, to be fair to her, the entire Gulf Coast region was suffering from a degree of ‘hurricane fatigue’, told over and over that a big storm was coming. Rather like the boy who cried ‘Wolf’, the warnings became less potent due to their frequency.

On the other hand, after it was apparent that a storm of historic proportions would indeed hit and it was too late to have second thoughts and leave, I saw a lovely black lady interviewed by Fox News, responding with calm and dignity, saying that in that line outside the Superdome, everybody was equal in God's eyes, and they should just ask for forgiveness and put themselves in His hands. When the reporter asked her why she hadn't left, she replied that not all of her family was able to leave, that those who could had done so, but that she had chosen to stay with those who could not. 'If I'm going to die, I want to be with my family'.

The Porcupine sincerely hopes that she and all her family survive unscathed. For the heart wrenching story of someone who did not, see the story of
Evelyn Turner. Forget the looters – this woman and other like her need help.

Now, we’ve all seen the same images of daring rooftop rescues, leveled Mississippi houses, and bursting levees flooding one of the most beautiful cities in America. To a person, our first impulse is to help – even here in the Blogosphere.

A ‘Blogs For Relief’ Day was first suggested by
Hugh Hewitt on his blog, and he was rapidly seconded by Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit, one of the top traffic blogs on-line. An on-line aggregation was created by N. Z. Bear, father of the TTLB Ecosystem of Blogs (where I am proud to rank as a Marauding Marsupial – how appropriate, as that so defines the Porcupine!) His donation page can be found here. The Bear said this about his efforts, “For the record: I'm not in charge of this project. Nobody is. I'm stepping in to provide a way for bloggers to indicate their support for the effort because, well, I can. This is what I can do, and I encourage everyone to think about what they can do to support the goal we all share: to raise as much money and support for relief efforts to aid those effected by Katrina as we possibly can.”

Each of the participating Bloggers has been asked to choose a charity of choice, and the Porcupine has chosen the Salvation Army, founded by William Booth in England less than 20 years after I died, as it has perhaps the best ratio of aid provided money to low administration costs of any organized charity. Their 153 year old record is impeccable, and I hope you will donate to their relief effort. Financial donations will be needed to assist with the relief efforts. Anyone wanting to make a donation can call 1-800 SAL-ARMY, on line at www.1800salarmy.org or mail a check to The Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 270848, Tampa, FL 33688. If you wish to credit my appeal and add to the final total, you may do so by clicking here, but frankly, I am more anxious that you send the Salvation Army the money.

Also, for the month of September, any donation received on my web site via Pay Pal will also be given to the Salvation Army, and I will report the total on October 1st.

When the red tide struck here on Cape Cod, I wrote on July 15 – Charity Begins at Home – that while government will do what it can to help, it was organizations like the Interfaith Council who were providing rapid, on-the-ground relief. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve will be tapped, the Navy has sent hospital ships, the Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineers are doing stunning rescue and recovery work, and the National Guard are helping people to evacuate – but to where? It will be the role of the charities which we Bloggers ask you to support to help people in need as the emergency winds down. Everything I have read states that CASH is the best donation. The relief agencies do not have warehouse facilities, and need to be very mobile in their operations to help people where they are. The Almighty Dollar is truly one-size-fits-all, in a way that clothes or house wares might not be (after all, as George Carlin once said, what you do when you don’t HAVE a place for your stuff?).

As I post this, 725 Bloggers in 11 countries are all asking for donations – a truly worldwide phenomenon. For those who believe in karma here on our little spit of land thrust out into the ocean, please give generously. Cape Cod could be next.

Thanks to the NOAA for the spectacular satellite photograph of Katrina as she bore down upon the Gulf Coast on Aug. 28.


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