Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Frozen chickens and community relations

Some may remember that I flew to Tennessee in July to meet up with members of my mom's group. Some of those moms live in Tennessee and Alabama, and have relatives in the hurricane-affected areas, including Mississippi.

Today two people reported that in Mississippi someone (FEMA or National Guardsmen, reports were conflicting) was passing out frozen chickens and bags of potatoes at the damaged homes of their loved ones. To homes that still do not have electricity... One set of nonplussed recipients were at a loss at what to do with three frozen chickens and a 15 pound bag of potatoes. The others at least had a grill.

Meanwhile, highly trained search and rescue and hazmat-certified firefighters (told to bring their gear and to prepare for "austere conditions") are being put through sexual-harassment training so they can be deputized as community relations teams and stand as props in the backdrop during Bush Administration photo ops. The firefighters, not thrilled about having their time and skills squandered while people still need help all through the region, have been begging to be put to work and amidst the complaining FEMA has warned them not to talk to reporters.

I am reminded of the dust-up in 2004, when the Bush re-election campaign appropriated the images of 9/11 fire fighters for their advertising, while the administration cut funding for "first responders" and for staff and equipment despite the IAFF's angry protests. Republicans at the time claimed the accusations that Bush was just using the firefighters for his photo ops were simply partisan politics in the lead-up to the election. This "using the firefighters for photo ops" thing is becoming something of a theme...


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