Saturday, September 03, 2005

US Chief Justice Rehnquist dies

US Chief Justice Rehnquist dies

We Need to Drop these All Across the Delta

The Lifestraw. Kills the bacteria that cause Typhoid, Cholera, Dysentery and Diarrhoea. One straw can clean 700L (one child's daily water req for 2 years, or an adults for 1 yr) of water or more.

What we need is a low-flying scattered drop all across New Orleans and other areas still drowning in unsafe water of about a quarter million of these things. A person starting out healthy can go without food for much longer than they can go without water. Fix the water problem in situ, immediately, which would grant more time and free up resources to solve the other problems.

The Gutted Carcass of FEMA: Today's Cracked UnFairy Tale

Once upon a time, FEMA sucked. Then, a guy who actually cared about doing the job came along and whipped it into some semblance of shape.

Then, a guy who never cared about doing any job, who failed upwards all the way to "President", gave a similarly-minded crony the directorship of FEMA. And lo, FEMA came to suck again, delaying paperwork to get airlifted supplies from agencies and orgs ready to send 'em in, just waiting for orders, because FEMA is supposed to be in charge during an "emergency". Why that is it's very purpose, if you will.

Now, FEMA stands for Fucked Everyone, Minus Apology. Or, Fucked Everyone Massively Awful.

One of the Many Reasons

Actually, it's one of the three or four that I'm not talking about Hurricane Katrina laying, let's face it, Biblical hand-of-God type waste to the Gulf Coast, a whole lot of my time is that I just can't, physically.

I was in tears Friday morning, in Boston, on my public transit -- which runs through a major Amtrak hub, and thus connects me to the rest of the country even though I don't have a car, and which, if I needed to, I could whip out the Amex card and buy a ticket on, or rent a car with, because though I am currently impoverished by choice to go to law school, I'm not actually "poor", I have credit if I need it, that magic thing that gives me credibility -- reading a free newspaper talking about these poor people, these poor-in-every-sense-people, these tragic people who are poor, who were being left to die by our own government because they couldn't afford to get themselves out, who have no food -- and I had breakfast yesterday morning -- and no water -- and I was carrying a bottle full of cold Brita-filtered water yesterday morning with me on the T -- and no medicine -- and I am healthy and strong -- these poor people who have no sanitation -- and I showered that morning, I washed and conditioned my hair -- and they are dying.

And I was in tears because that moment when a living, breathing, conscious, desiring to live human being becomes nothing more than a piece of meat that would now start rotting is one I have carried with me constantly since I learned my father was found in his apartment dead in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 13th of this year.

I make up stories. Not for a living. Not yet. But I carry that writer's imagination around with me every day, and Hurrican Katrina stops me in my tracks, on the sidewalk, in the sunlight, here in Boston, where my stomach curls into a ball and I feel like I'm going to fall down and it is stupid pride that keeps me on my feet, so others won't know that I just had a moment of shaking terror that I was there, that I was there and drowning, there and dying, viscerally there and smelling dead bodies, and surrounded by water getting more toxic by the day, and crying exhaustedly because there is nothing to do, there is nothing to do, and no one is coming for me. That I would do no different than these poor people, who trusted their government to help them in time of disaster, to rescue them, because that's what it's for, the welfare of the people, and had that trust betrayed, vilely.

There but for the grace of God, there but for the stroke of sheer, blind, uncaring luck, go you and go me. May at least one person reading this realize it, deep into the marrow: we are not any better than those dying right now. We would die too, it's just not our city that's devastated. This time.

No one is better because they have money.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Radio Appearance by Yours Truly

I will be on Jordan Rich's show just after the 1 a.m. news on WBZ 1030 AM in Boston, talking about the Writers of the Future contest and my story in this year's anthology.

(Later: it went OK. I didn't hyperventilate or faint on-air, so I survived my first time and mostly spoke in complete sentences. I think.)

The Government COULD Have Been Prepared

But the Bush Administration decided invading Iraq for "political capital" mattered more than being prepared.

Disaster in the making September, 2004:
Bush administration policy changes and budget cuts, they say, are sapping FEMA's longterm ability to cushion the blow of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornados, wildfires and other natural disasters.
Among emergency specialists, "mitigation"--the measures taken in advance to minimize the damage caused by natural disasters--is a crucial part of the strategy to save lives and cut recovery costs. But since 2001, key federal disaster mitigation programs, developed over many years, have been slashed and tossed aside. FEMA's Project Impact, a model mitigation program created by the Clinton administration, has been canceled outright. Federal funding of post-disaster mitigation efforts designed to protect people and property from the next disaster has been cut in half, and now, communities across the country must compete for pre-disaster mitigation dollars.
As a result, some state and local emergency managers say, it's become more difficult to get the equipment and funds they need to most effectively deal with disasters. In North Carolina, a state regularly damaged by hurricanes and floods, FEMA recently refused the state's request to buy backup generators for emergency support facilities. And the budget cuts have halved the funding for a mitigation program that saved an estimated $8.8 million in recovery costs in three eastern N.C. communities alone after 1999's Hurricane Floyd. In Louisiana, another state vulnerable to hurricanes, requests for flood mitigation funds were rejected by FEMA this summer.

And the result? One year later, Federal government wasn't ready for Katrina, disaster experts say August 31, 2005.

The federal government so far has bungled the job of quickly helping the multitudes of hungry, thirsty and desperate victims of Hurricane Katrina, former top federal, state and local disaster chiefs said Wednesday.
The experts, including a former Bush administration disaster response manager, told Knight Ridder that the government wasn't prepared, scrimped on storm spending and shifted its attention from dealing with natural disasters to fighting the global war on terrorism.
The disaster preparedness agency at the center of the relief effort is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which was enveloped by the new Department of Homeland Security with a new mission aimed at responding to the attacks of al-Qaida.
"What you're seeing is revealing weaknesses in the state, local and federal levels," said Eric Tolbert, who until February was FEMA's disaster response chief. "All three levels have been weakened. They've been weakened by diversion into terrorism."
In interviews on Wednesday, several men and women who've led relief efforts for dozens of killer hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes over the years chastised current disaster leaders for forgetting the simple Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.

Cause? Effect.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

FDA's Credibility Tanks

FDA Official Quits Over Plan B Pill Delay

"I have spent the last 15 years working to ensure that science informs good health-policy decisions," Wood, director of FDA's Office of Women's Health, wrote in an e-mail about her departure to agency colleagues. "I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended by the professional staff here, has been overruled."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Brit Armed Services Actively Recruiting Gays.

Fighting Under the Rainbow Flag

Read all the quotes Pam's House Blend just boggles the mind, really, the assumption that straight men are so deliriously attractive to everything else on the planet that gays won't be able to keep their hands off them.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sidra's Seattle/WOTF Report

The awards ceremony was quite a lot of fun, my folks were there.

I shook hands and talked with authors who've been rocking my world for the past 20, 25 years. Fred Pohl, Anne McCaffrey, Larry Niven, and it was Jerry Pournelle and Fred Pohl who gave me my award.

I also met Eric Kotani, and who told me a cute little story about astronaut Pete Conrad while we were at dinner on Thursday night. And, lucky me, I chatted with yummy and charming Stephen Hickman, the artist who did the illustration for a favorite cover of mine, Steve Brust's /Jhereg/ (there's just something about the rendition of lizard skin, I love it), and is an afficionado of traditional Irish music, whereas I'm fast becoming one now that I've been to the Galway Sessions.

Lots and lots of other authors -- Kevin J. Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta, Sean Williams (dead sexy from Down Under), Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Jay Lake, Robert Sawyer, and those are just the names I remember, I'm better at actual conversations rather than names. Met Greg Bear at the dinner thing on Thursday night, didn't hear him say his last name, which saved me from saying something like, "You wrote that book! That one! That I loved! Whose name I can't remember!" (and that would be The Infinity Concerto, btw).

So, it was a good gig, and now I have this huge lucite thingy on top of my bookshelf, pretending to be a bookend for my old IASFM and Analog magazines.

And now, I get to go and be an associate for the New England Journal of Criminal and Civil Confinement. Go figure.


All I can do is mimic Medley on this one...WTF?

Anti-Gay Church Protests at GI Funerals

Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq...

I'm sorry, what? What? WHAT?

Because soldiers have so much control over where they get deployed to. Yeah.