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Ike the Magnifier

Someone once said, (I forget who or I'd give them proper credit), that in a crisis a man is more of whatever he is made of. The coward and the leader each in his turn is clearly seen, and so too all promises are made sound or false as they are tested by the crucible of events. A hurricane is certainly such a crucible, and I have noted certain truths from the past week which might be of interest to the reader.

Here in the Houston-Galveston area, we saw all sorts of officials this past week. Most of them made no public statements, but simply did their jobs first to get folks ready for the storm, then to assist in the recovery. I have to put up a praise post later, to properly thank some of these largely unsung heroes (if 'hero' can be used to mean someone who saves you from a really bad situation, then we had a bunch of 'em in our area this past week). We also had a bunch of ordinary folks, who banded together as neighbors, co-workers, and just plain folks who helped each other out where and when we could. We also had some noteworthy individuals, and it is that group I want to mention here, as representative of broader types in the public eye:

Mayor Bill White - I picked on Mayor Bill a bit for some of the goofy things he said after Ike hit, but a lot of that was stress and fatigue; the good mayor was present an about eight or nine press conferences a day to discuss recovery and supply efforts for hurricane victims. He screwed up, for example, when he told folks to check online or by phone for relief locations and times, forgetting that at that time only around 10% of the region had electricity and maybe 30% had some kind of phone service. But at the same time, Mayor White was answering a lot of questions and trying to give folks a way to get more information than they were getting from the harried and noisy conferences. While Bill White is a Democrat, I see him kind of the way I see George W Bush, a guy doing his job and basically getting it done, and he does not care who gets the credit.

Judge Ed Emmit - As I wrote before, this guy is a walking waste of taxpayer money. He spend time, more than once, trying to blame other agencies for one thing or another, and basically whining about how tough he has it. I mean, a total loser with nothing to contribute to helping folks find help. Platitudes, excuses and whining. Emmit reminds me a lot of Joe Biden.

Pastor and Narcissist Joel Osteen - Back when Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast in 2005, especially New Orleans, a lot of area churches jumped into action to help folks find relief, shelter, food, and eventually places to live and jobs in Houston. Lakewood Church, however, did none of those things. Well, they say they did help folks, although I could never find any record of them helping any of the evacuees or storm victims. While other churches like the Archdiocese of Galveston, Second Baptist, and Chapelwood United Methodist stepped up and helped out countless folks without once asking for any press or credit, well, Lakewood just did the same-o, same-o, talking big but doing squat. If they were helping folks, it's sure strange I could never find any evidence of it. I mention that, because all this week I am hearing - once again - about supplies and help from churches like Windsor Village UMC, the archdiocese of Galveston again, Second Baptist again (Chapelwood wanted to help, but took wind and flood damage to the buildings, so they sent Stephen ministers and other volunteers over to Second Baptist and other UMC locations to help). But once again, nothing from Lakewood Church, where it's all about the talk and not the walk. Ohhh, Lakewood has a link for Hurricane Ike on its website all right ... but Osteen is not offering money from his church's huge bank account. No, he is actually asking folks to contribute. That itself is not so bad, but check out where the money goes ... "Joel Osteen Ministries". Yep, the very same mail and wire address for his other money. Joel feels so bad about Ike that he wants you to make him richer. Every disaster has such vultures, who prey on honest people's emotions and lie to line their own pockets. People like Osteen, no matter how eloquent and charming, are con men and hypocrites, and I do not have any intention of sugar-coating it.

Governor Rick Perry - I have to say that I have no great liking for Mister Perry, but on this occasion the man did things right. He got things moving, organized things and for the most part shut up and stayed out of the way while folks did their jobs. In this respect, I want to thank John McCain and Barack Obama for not coming into Texas and trying to turn the hurricane into a political football. Folks trying to keep their families safe and sound do not much like some politician coming in like he's doing anything for them. Sometimes the smart political move is to sit down and shut up.


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Comments (11)

DJ, thoughts and prayers an... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

DJ, thoughts and prayers and best wishes for you and your town.

I have a close close friend, my HS flame actually, who lives between Houston and Galveston, and have not heard from her since late last week. I know things are tough there.

Wish there was more some of us could do to help out.

So where the fuck was Ron P... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

So where the fuck was Ron Paul in all this? Galveston's part of his district, isn't it?

Very pleased with the res... (Below threshold)
MF:

Very pleased with the response in Texas with our local, state and also federal responses.
We see vehicles from all over to help provide the basic needs.
Neighbors helping neighbors and volunteering to help out at PODs etc when the people may not even have the basic services themselves. Many here still without electricity but getting better. Services gradually coming back.
Our prayers go to those that lost loved ones and to those that lost everything.

I hear you DJ. Many years ... (Below threshold)
Larry:

I hear you DJ. Many years ago, I was a helper for emergency services along the Gulf Coast. I have seen Mayors who wanted to get a generator sent to their house instead of where it was going. I have seen guys sweat out taking cover in an old locomotive that got pushed down the track while they waited to restore communications after a hurricane in Corpus. I have seen the good, the bad and the really, really ugly.

Disasters like the one you just road through do in fact bring the best and worst in people, especially those elected to office or appointed, some past their capability to perform. Some hang around after like the idiot mayor of New Orleans, while others get replaced like the the Governor of that state.

For sure, I have many happy memories of the good times in Galveston and Freeport, of chasing girls down the beach and fishing in the gulf. It will take years for recovery, but if I know anything about those folks, they will do it and better than ever.

Glad to hear that you are ok.

The following link was on F... (Below threshold)
maggie:

The following link was on Fox News today,
it is satellite photos of the damage of
Ike. Quite good.
http://ngs.woc.noaa.gov/ike/IKE0000.HTM

DJ first of all I want to s... (Below threshold)
Stan25:

DJ first of all I want to say that I glad that you and yours weathered Ike ok. I also know people in that area and was and still quite concerned about them.

Now the matter at hand. You forgot to mention President Bush and his admin for getting on the ball a week before Ike hit. While it is true, that no one actually knew exactly where Ike would hit on the gulf coast, they had things placed to be able to get to just in case the predictions were all wrong. Yes it is true that there were somethings were fubar. From what I have seen, the clean up is going quite well. Hopefully, vital services will be restored soon and then clean up can begin in earnest.

DJ, I am my family are slow... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

DJ, I am my family are slowly returning to life in Houston. NO power, but water and a generator. It does get stuffy, but others have it much worse. I have my home with minimal damage. It was a very strong storm. I saw a huge convoy of Reliant trucks in my area and I am getting excited. I have been going to work since Sunday but on a limited schedule.

My worst picks: Shelia Jackson Lee for being the FIRST person to give an interview and presenting herself as one who is working in tandom with FEMA. Disgusting. Nick Lampson-Making political points when it isn't time for that. I agree with Emmett and I am quite impressed with White. I too am not a fan of his.

The winniers: Neighborhoods. My neighbors are all working together and trying to keep attitudes in check.

I am very grateful that my family and I are still alive and have a home. What else do I need? ww

The Houston area is showing... (Below threshold)
Mikey60:

The Houston area is showing once again it's true nature. No one opened their arms wider to help out after Katrina and Rita, and you can see it every day here now. Even though we all got rocked pretty good, neighbors are pitching in and helping neighbors out. In my neighborhood, we all pitched in to clean the yard of debris of one of our neighbors who has a medical condition, without any words being said. That kind of heart and compassion makes you proud to live here.

Casa de Capitan suffered no... (Below threshold)

Casa de Capitan suffered no damage other than downed tree branches and a couple of fence sections blown over. I even had power back on by Monday evening, though with a generator, that wasn't a hardship at all.

I'll second WildWillie on the disdain for Queen Sheila. I lost count how many times Her Highness muscled in on TV interviews just to bloviate about what her role in the recovery was going to be.

Oh, and the complaints about the food/water/ice locations being too close together? I wonder if Congresscritter Jackson Lee demanding additional distribution points in her district had anything to do with that? There's still no PODs in West Houston, even though power is still out there for thousands...

I think you may have some o... (Below threshold)
Danny Rosenburg:

I think you may have some of your facts about Joel Osteen incorrect. ABC 13 is reporting that the city will not let them setup as a point of distribution, so they are sending volunteers and supplies to those churches and locations. Clearly, they are not getting credit for anything they are doing and that is why you can't find any evidence of it.

I'd have to agree. Unfortu... (Below threshold)
MaytenMadison:

I'd have to agree. Unfortunately, what you don't know is that Lakewood pretty much has a habit of not publicizing all that it does in times like this. As a connected member, I have received numerous text messages regarding our involvement in donating generators, gift cards to stores like Wal-Mart and Target for those in need [this was also done during Katrina]. People also evacuated to Lakewood pre-hurricane. Just because you can't find evidence that we have been working towards the relief efforts doesn't mean that we haven't been. We members, including Joel and Victoria, have been a lot of the POD sites around the city bringing, donating, and distributing supplies. We do the same at the beginning of every school year for kids who can't afford supplies, and the same types of efforts were done during Katrina. It just wasn't publicized that Lakewood gave Katrina evacuees who came in $100 gift cards. Give people the benefit of the doubt....

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, we are working with local churches and relief organizations to assist the people in our community. Our relief efforts include providing generators, water, non-perishable food items and other supplies.

In addition, our own ministry headquarters and church facility have sustained damage due to the high winds and flooding."




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