In response to the hurricane tragedy, NBC will air a live benefit special, "A Concert For Hurricane Relief," in high-definition on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC tonight at 8:00pm (ET), it was announced today by NBC Universal. The hour-long, music and celebrity driven broadcast will air live. From Rockefeller Plaza, the special will feature performances by artists with ties to the affected areas, including Tim McGraw, Harry Connick, Jr. and Wynton Marsalis, and an appearance by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Target has announced a $1.5 million donation to the American Red Cross, with $500,000 going for immediate relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, and an additional $1 million for ongoing disaster relief and preparedness.
In addition to cash contributions, Target is offering much-needed real estate in Louisiana to the Red Cross to establish a central command center supporting the most heavily impacted areas of the storm. Target is also looking into real estate availability in Alabama and Mississippi.
Target is coordinating large-scale distribution of essential products requested by the Red Cross, including such items as water, ice, energy bars and bug spray. Stores in the affected areas have been given additional funds to provide in-kind product donations and grants to local nonprofit organizations. Our teams also will provide volunteer support. [press release]
Grainger (NYSE: GWW), North America's leading distributor of facilities maintenance supplies, has pledged more than $1 million in cash and emergency supplies such as tarps, gloves, flashlights and batteries to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to help communities and businesses recover following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. The company also is encouraging its employees to contribute to the recovery efforts by providing a four-to-one match of employee gifts to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. [press release]
BP Foundation has donated $1 million to the Red Cross and will also match the contributions of BP employees to the disaster relief effort. [press release]
Chevron Corporation today announced it is making a commitment of $5 million to support recovery efforts in the communities affected by Hurricane Katrina. This includes a $3 million contribution to the American Red Cross in support of disaster relief efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi and other affected areas following further analysis of the devastation. The remaining $2 million will go to local charities and relief efforts near Chevron businesses in affected states, as determined by the Company. [press release]
These are just a few examples of good corporate citizens stepping up to the plate to aid in the Hurricane Katrina Relief activities. More are being added daily. Celebrities like Diddy and Nicholas Cage have made large financial donations.
The most important and valuable person that can give financial aid is you. Millions of us acting together, just giving a donation that we can afford, can cumulatively eclipse all the financial donations by the large donors. We can step up and help.
Just this morning, I read a comment on Interdictor's blog about the students at Deland High School, here in Central Florida, who have simply banded together and donated one dollar each to their local Red Cross chapter. This is how we all band together to make a difference.
The following retailers continue serving as Red Cross Official Cash Donation Sites where members of the public, during their everyday errands, can conveniently make a contribution to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund:
Coinstar coin-counting machines, located in 10,000 grocery stores nationwide are accepting donations for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, just as they do 365 days per year as part of a long-time partnership.
Lowe's Companies, Inc. introduced a customer donation program in all 1,125 stores nationwide, matching donations up to $1 millions
Food Lion, LLC has started a customer donation program
Winn-Dixie began a customer donation program in all stores
People who've regularly read Thunderstorms or Dark Skies blog over the many months know how political and sarcastic I can be. Although the coordination of the relief effort by government officials seems woefully bungled as evacuees are stranded and dying, and corpses are floating in flooded streets, and there continues to be looting, raping, and murdering -- you can watch any television news broadcast to see that and the inevitable finger pointing or blame spreading. I simply can not bring myself to go chasing after the stories of absolute horror being played out in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama.
That's why I didn't blog anything yesterday. I needed a psychological break. Since the weekend, I had slept very little and was suffering from some kind of vicarious anxiety for some reason. Perhaps, it is because of my experiences last year with the multiple hurricanes here in Florida. Perhaps, it is because I am a news junkie. Perhaps, it is because I knew someone in path of the killer hurricane and was genuinely worried. Perhaps, it is because I am here and not there, and feel totally frustrated to do anything to help.
The last time I felt this way was during the days after September 11th. I lived hundreds of miles from New York City, but like many Americans, I felt traumatized. Like many Americans, I was glued to the 24-hour news coverage of that national tragedy. Ironically, I was saved from the continual news reports of horror that week when I turned my television on one morning and it broke. Poof. The damn television died. Or perhaps, I had literally worn the thing out channel surfing for 72-hours straight and old paint just gave up the ghost.
So, today, I decided to do what I did when my television died during the week of September 11th. Find something I can do. When it looked fairly impossible for me to drive to New York, I sent out emails to the corporate offices of various companies, specifically suggesting how they could help.
I remember, because of my job in construction, I emailed the Stihl corporation asking if they could donate their saws, and blades, and equipment parts, and personal protective gear to the rescue and recovery crews who needed to cut the concrete and steel at the World Trade Center. It was something with which I was familiar, and I knew that a saw blade to cut concrete can cost $300 each because it has saw teeth embedded with diamond. I knew how fast air filters on the saws get clogged up, etc. Stihl responded to me, and they sent supplies, including palettes of bottled water.
Similarly, I believe we as a nation need to focus on what we can do to help, rather than focus on blaming inept bureaucrats and politicians at every level of government. There will be plenty of time for finger pointing later, like during the 2006 election cycle. Right now, people need help.
The most productive thing any of us can do is donate to the American Red Cross, or any organization working on the relief effort for hurricane Katrina. I've decided that I would focus on the Red Cross and Noah's Wish. I will keep a link to these organizations on my web pages, to remind people of the need for continued support in the coming months, and perhaps years, after the news coverage dies down.
I want to do this because I have a particular mental image in my mind. While attending my best friend's wedding in Cape Coral, FL this past year, we drove past a FEMA village of about 1000 mobile homes visible from I-75. People were still living in those temporary trailers in the aftermath of hurricane Charley.
In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, a hundred thousand people are still being evacuated to shelters in neighboring states. The majority of people who did evacuate New Orleans now have no home. They are refugees. Counting the affected people in Mississippi and Alabama, it's likely there will be one million people who are now instantly homeless, jobless, and likely feeling extremely hopeless.
So ... why? Well, I go through the TAG board periodically (or when asked) and delete entries. Mainly I delete your entries because it reloads the page periodically or when you add a new entry for chatting and when it gets too large, it takes up bandwidth loading constantly. My general rule was this: if you put an annoying little smilie emoticon on the TAG, that entry was the first to go when I cleaned house.
The second rule: if the entry was older. But the second rule bummed me out because I hate to throw away memories, so, some entries were deemed to be classics and had to be preserved (like Hygelic reading my blog in the bathroom on his cell phone).
Then the first and second rules unfortunately clashed when it came to old school phreeks who might put an ascii emoticon at the end of their sentence, like Skennedy (et al). These people were violating my first unstated rule through no fault of their own, and, because the programmers of the TAG board must have thought to themselves, "how handy-fucking-dandy would it be if we just translated every ascii emoticon to a different happy little yellow face?" So, they dropped another few hits of Exstacy, patted each other on the back and went back to coding the TAG board.
So, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing -- I've decided to archive the TAG board here for all to see -- and still be able to delete older entries (and keep the TAG.html small) with a clear conscience. I normally archive halfway through the month.
jan&Nikey » floods in western new york too ssprite » WoWWWWWWWWWWWWW thats devastaion *sighs - my prayers to all caught up in the diaster J f Z » That's cool, Ant! It looks like you still have phone and electricity and stuff, too. ssprite » just read your current entry over at BW and laughed my ass off - actually i could use loosing somer of it - thanks for the small blurb for spritey - and since i am a pet lover that did strike home Anthony » Well, I made it through the hurricane JfZ thinks aloud » <-- Acquire Buddha toys for Ebay auction. CM » thanks for the comment, j. J f Z » Of course, Kristi. But, I can watch, right? Heh. J f Z » Above a 'Girls Gone Wild' bar? Kristi/Unknown » Hey JFZ! Wanna know what part of Alaska you are living in now? lol HotRod » thanks cool bro thanks agian HotRod » Thanks Bro thats what I was thinking of doing I have been eating alot of that junk. And u are so sooo right about girls and hard working guys. I take it u have some know alot about that huh? Britt » passed through and became obsessed with your blog. thanks for that. ssprite » luvin your weedy entries lately - good to see so many familiar faces there & great reads HotRod » Ooo the blog looks great keep up the great work Kristi/Unknown » Hey snowblind, who are you? I'm unknown from the Imagica board. J f Z » Snowblind! How's it hanging in the 810? J f Z » GUESS WHAT?! I'm friggin' back, baby! Kristi/Unknown » Hello JFZ, haven't been in for awhile, just stopped by to say hi. Daveman » I like the flora & mushroom shots. Its amazing what one can find localized to shoot, in nature. Now lets get the legendary, "Snipe!" Im still looking... Daveman » Jur nature shot(s) was purty geud stuff, deud. Need more! J f Z » I was totally against injecting kids with Ritalin, but, in Bobby's case, I may have to rethink my position on that use of pharmaceuticals. Spunk is a terrible thing to waste on a cartoon. Halcyon » <----- been a while 7one » I've been gone for too long but im back now and i have a big surprise on the way!
From Alabama to Mississippi, coastal communities suffered the wrath of Hurricane Katrina's extreme winds and 20-25 foot storm surge that wiped buildings clean off their foundations and deposited debris a mile inland. The mayor of Biloxi, MS exclaimed, "This is our tsunami," after seeing what little was left of the city.
In New Orleans, the mood was bittersweet as the initial landfall of Katrina was not a direct hit, but residents soon had to climb onto their roofs as levees were comprised, pumping failed, and the city continues to flood. Coast Guard helicopter crews who normally pluck people off of sinking ships in the ocean were pulling hundreds of families from the roofs of their homes. The floodwaters were high enough in some areas that residents could step off of their roofs and right into Fish and Wildlife flatboats.
New Orleans residents and government officials have thought about this ultimate nightmare scenario over the years. Despite all the brainstorming, theorizing and simulation, the aftermath of hurricane Katrina is turning out to be a disaster beyond imagination.
According to Disaster News Network, "Post-hurricane damage in Mississippi and Louisiana is massive and unprecedented, responders said, even before they could access some of the hardest hit places on Tuesday morning."
With the first light on the day after Katrina, people were able to gawk at the extent of the damage. Huge 3-story gambling boats, moored along the MS gulf coast were lifted up and the floating casinoes were then deposited far away on top of houses and beach hotels. The Superdome, where 10,000+ people took shelter last night, had most of its roof membrane ripped off and portions of the dome were compromised.
With the rising flood waters in New Orleans today, people were panicking and some were even looting stores. With law enforcement so busy with rescue and recovery efforts, much looting had to just be ignored. People should note that a convicted looter will get twice the normal prison sentence as someone convicted of regular burgarly or theft. However, in some circumstances, looting to maintain one's life -- grabbing groceries or water to survive -- is often a mitigating circumstance in the eyes of the law.
Gangsta wanna-be thugs looting a jewelry or electronics store probably face 20+ years, if caught. Looters tempt fate with police, but more so with store owners -- should they see them and just tap two in their chest. With all of the bodies floating around the city, a dead looter won't be missed, mourned, or be looting again.
Besides the normal dusk-to-dawn curfews enacted in areas affected by hurricanes, New Orleans is now under martial law. It is also expected that officials will not only order further rescue and recover operations tommorow at first light, but also a full-blown evacuation of the city of New Orleans, including the 10,000+ people already sheltered in the Superdome. With bridges destroyed and main highways flooded, evacuating people is not an easy task.
Entergy reports that about one million customers are without electrical service. It will likely be many weeks until electrical service is restored in some areas. Communication in the hurricane affected areas is also a problem. Land lines are down and cell towers are damaged or completely destroyed. Getting word in or out to people is a problem.
If you wish to help victims of hurricane Katrina, donating online is the best way. Go directly to the Red Cross or Salvation Army. Disaster News Net also has links to other charitable organizations and how you can help. I already blogged on Brilliant Weeds about one unique non-profit organization working in the area, Noah's Wish. I'm sure they would appreciate any donations you could make, too.
People fleeing Katrina receive supplies at the Superdome
10,000 people are sheltered in the stadium
Hundreds of thousands of vehicles jammed freeways as people tried to escape the wrath of hurricane Katrina yesterday. Tens of thousands hunkered down in their homes and emergency shelters, like the Superdome in New Orleans. (above)
Hurricane Katrina made landfall at the Mississippi River delta, southeast of New Orleans this morning. The worst is still to come as I write this.
These warnings were posted for the area where our Blogdrivin' Buddy, CM, is located on the National Weather Service Telecommunications Operations Center (NWSTOC) this morning:
INLAND HURRICANE WARNING IN EFFECT
HURRICANE WARNING IN EFFECT
TORNADO WATCH 754 IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CDT TODAY
FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT
EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE KATRINA MOVING ACROSS LOWER PLAQUEMINES PARISH
DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW POSSIBLY TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. MANY WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED.
HURRICANE KATRINA CONTINUES TO APPROACH THE AREA. HURRICANE FORCE SUSTAINED WINDS ARE OVERSPREADING THE COASTAL PARISHES AT THIS TIME AND HURRICANE GUSTS ARE AS FAR NORTH AS LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN AS OF 6 AM CDT. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO ONSET FARTHER NORTH BY MID-MORNING AND PERSIST FOR 5 TO 8 HOURS. MAXIMUM WIND GUSTS AROUND 175 MPH ARE POSSIBLE IN THE WARNED AREA THIS MORNING.
DO NOT VENTURE OUTDOORS!
Good luck, CM!
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