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Sunday, February 8, 2009

An Open Letter To Conservative Prattle-Heads / Re: Kentucky Winter Storm

While the bulk of my diaries here have been about people like Bill O'Reilly, Fox "News", and various lunatic-fringe conservative bloggers, and movies, I thought I would tie all this together and write somethng serious about not only them, but how they have used this disaster and my state as a new stick to beat people with.

I live in Madisonville, Kentucky.

The storm initially started late Monday night.

People at work were already talking about not being able to come in the next day. The weather reports from local and regional stations were as accurate as I had ever seen them.

However, when talk of "the worst winter storm in decades" was being floated, I didn't really believe it.

Tuesday morning came and started to pass. The snow and ice wasn't that bad. I went to work. Then, it got bad.

Powerlines were starting to bend, be pulled from poles, transformers started to explode.

The power went off at my house around lunchtime on Tuesday.

After grabbing some clothes, some food that I knew I could save, and as many batteries, flashlights, and candles I had, I slide across the street to my neighbors and we fired-up the Kerosene heater and started to wait it out.

When I awoke on Wednesday, everything was covered in ice and snow. You could hear tree-limbs breaking and crashing to the ground

--- I'll have resized photos up shortly ---
Since the average temperature was around freezing, or just barely above, the entire time we were without power, we made use of this as well.

With no communication with the outside world - aside from my cellphone which didn't work but a few hours a day - I was cut off.

Several churches were converted to shelters and even served free, hot food and handed out supplies.

At night, I wondered just what people in the media were saying. I wondered by bloggers and talk radio had to say about this.

When power was restored to work late Wednesday afternoon, I thought I'd take a look online to see what was going on. It was as predictable as I had imagined.

Michelle Malkin chimed-in and took a jab at Obama's "thermostat".

Will President Obama leave his 77-degree-heated Oval Office and visit the Kentucky ice storm disaster area? Over/under?

Even though she asked for people to provide info to charitable organization that were assisting, people were already coming together without Malkin's shrill platitudes.


John Hinderaker at Powerline spouted off about the response of FEMA as well as Kentucky's National Guard.

Is Barack Obama an insensitive lout who serves $100 per pound steaks to his elite guests and turns up the heat in the White House high enough to grow orchids while a million of his countrymen are without power and dozens are freezing to death? If not, why not?

Solely because that is not the story the media want to tell. Many on the web--but no one in the mainstream media--have commented on the fact that Obama has not even pretended to do anything about the massive ice storm that has disabled much of Kentucky and neighboring states. It took days for FEMA to swing into action. Why is that not a scandal? Days went by before Kentucky's governor called out the National Guard. Why did no one blame Obama for failing to call out the Guard sooner? Probably because he lacks the constitutional power to do so; but the Constitution hasn't changed since 2005.


Jeff Emanuel at RedState had a "clever" title for his piece:

Heckuva job, Nancy

Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Kat...well, you get the idea

42 people dead; communities iced in and without lifesaving power for heat and cooking; conditions worsening — and FEMA nowhere to be found.

This isn’t a lefty caricature of disaster-response under the Bush administration; it’s real-life unresponsiveness under the leadership of President Obama (whose accession was supposed to mark a “return to competence” in government).


And Dan Mclaughlin - also at RedState - had this to say.

The state of Kentucky has, for the past six days, been under a state of emergency declared by Gov. Steve Beshear last Tuesday in the aftermath of heavy winter storms that knocked out power lines and is being followed by flooding as the snow melts. * On Saturday, the state finally called up the entire Kentucky National Guard, its largest mobilization in its history, and the storms have been blamed for at least 42 deaths across the region. * As many as 700,000 people were without power at one point, including nursing homes and shelters, and hundreds of thousands remain so. Some could be without power for weeks. As of Friday, things were getting worse in some places:


Many were pleased with how The National Guard and FEMA repsonded, even the governor. But, what was more telling, what showed that Obama's call for a return to "responsibility" had been heard was the effort of te average citizens of not only my community, but others as well.

Not once did I hear people crying, "Where is FEMA?!"

Not once did I hear people shrieking, "Where is Obama?!"

So, the question stands; why are peole like Malkin, McLaughlin, Hinderaker, and other lunatic-fringe prattle-heads decrying the emergency response as "slow"?

First, and foremost, these people need a serious lesson in rural, Western Kentucky geography.

If roads are covered in ice - if fallen trees block your path - how do you think these responders are going to get there?

This isn't like Katrina, where you could use boats and helicopters. The landscape is the polar opposit. The response has to be calculated, paced, timely, and safe all at once.

Those that needed the National Guard and FEMA the most were in some of the most remote regions that you can possbly imagine for this area of the US. This isn't a metropolis like New Orleans. This is "country" country. You're likely to see large stretches of wooded areas and not realize that there are dozens of homes within those areas. It's remote, secluded, some with but one or two access roads in or out.


None of this would ever enter into the mind of these bloggers.

The stereotype of a blogger is that they are nothing more than a"keyboard commando". They talk, but rarely if ever act.

To this, I would as Malkin, Hinderaker, McLaughlin, and their jubulantly ignorant commentors what it was that they did to help those in need these past few weeks?


Some have claimed that the slow response and Obama's lack of visiting the area is due to the fact that Kentucy is a "Red" state.

This has got to be one of the most foolish and out-of-touch statements that I have read these past few days.

We all helped one another.

People came together.

Obama acted in a manner that was not only appropriate, but entirely fitting to the sitation at hand.


Do I blame FEMA for not being here the moments the snow, ice, and sleet started to fall? No.

This is a group that still has rebuilding to be done within itself. This is a organization that was given to Obama is such disarray that it still needs to better itself. You don't give someone a worn-out car and tell them it's safe to drive cross-county with..

Do I blame my governor or my National Guard? No.

They have worked to the best of their ability and beyond it.

Do I blame Obama? No.

He has acted in a responsible, calm, and reasonable fashion and I am glad he is my President.


But, what of the media?

The cries from right-wing bloggers is that there weren't any cameras, no microphones, no satellite trucks. No Chris Matthews, no Geraldo. Not even Shepard Smith.

Aside from what I have already mentioned about the ability of vehicles to move in and out of many of these areas, what good would they have done anyway?

If i had ran into Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, or even Keith Olbermann, I would have handed them some work gloves and said, "Are you ready to help out? Leave the camera here."

While reporting on an incident is vital, what good would it have been to have a member of the media here, just as likely to be trapped as anyone else?

Some bloggers / commentors whined about the lack of "Hollywood" members that weren't there. Provided that they could use a snow shovel, could bring supplies, or could opperate a bucket truck or haul or cut wood, they would have been a great help.

I think they leared their lesson from Katrina as well.


And while i'm at it, where were you Michelle?

How about you John?

Dan, I didn't see you taking food to those in need.

And where was your boy Joe "The Non-Pumbling Former Welfare Queen Tax Cheat War Tourist"?

Oh, that's right, American's don't deserve him.

No members of FreeRepublic, Little Green Footballs, or Hot Air.

Where were you guys at?


To those from other states that responded, that helped to bring Western Kentucky back to life, there are no words to accurately tell you how much you are appreciated.

My area of Kentucky survived this storm not just because of one person, one group - they survived because Americans, no matter their political affiliation, from all over, came together.

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