Midwest Floods

Posted by Katherine | June 18, 2008 – 5:47 pm

The devastating midwest floods point to a bunch of election issues. Global warming, for one. Whether or not these particular floods are a direct result, they’re a preview of the kind of extreme weather predicted by climate models. Then there are the rising corn prices due to flooded cropland, which bode ill for the cost of food and alternative energy. Next: they’re a reminder of Katrina and FEMA’s execrable management of that crisis. In overseeing the response to domestic disasters, FEMA coordinates, among other things, the National Guard. Which brings us to Iraq/Afghanistan and our over-extended military.

Tony is a waiter in Hannibal, MO, where he took this photo of the National Guard helping with sandbagging (thanks, Sue Salinger):

National Guard sandbags in MO
[tonyj19 / Flickr]

Alan Cosgrove — union stagehand and rock-and-roll roadie — brings up another election aspect of the floods: the photo op. He’s not impressed with Obama’s recent visit to Quincy, Illinois (hat tip again to Sue Salinger):

Obama told the press that since being in public office he has not seen “this kind of devastation.” Apparently he didn’t get to close to the Katrina devastation, he might have even seen a body float by if he had helped out there. He stopped by filled up about 15 bags and got some good pictures. He also vowed to push for state and federal aid to help victims of the floods. He did all this while wearing a nice white dress shirt that he failed to even get dirty. Some might look at this as a sign of good leadership. To me it looks like another chance to get a photo op, while exploiting other people’s tragedies.

Loudmouth New Orleans musician One Drop comments on one more aspect of Campaign 08: Web 2.0 organizing tools (a third thanks to Sue Salinger). He explains that the splash page at the top of Obama’s website includes an appeal for volunteers to help the flood victims:

This is something I’ve never come across in a campaign. […]

The link takes you first to a sub-page of Obama’s site, asking everyone to find out how they can help, and then takes you to the Red Cross website. According to this DKos diary, the Obama campaign has sent out e-mails requesting that people help by donating to the Red Cross. […]

I’m on Obama’s mailing list, and usually get several messages a day from them. I’ve not gotten this one. Based on the comments from burnedoutdem, it appears that the campaign is cross-referencing their e-mail database by address and sending specific messages to people in specific areas. That’s…bloody brilliant. Simple enough when you think of it, but a whole helluva lot more useful than, say, the general approach taken by Fuck Everybody Mercilessly Always. Or is that Fire Every Motherfucking Asshole? Anyway, you know the agency I mean, They Who Shall Not Be Effective.

Obama’s not even President, and already he’s thinking quick and smart in the middle of a major disaster, and actually doing some good. Which is a huge improvement on sending ice shipments meant for New Orleans to Maine instead, or turning away doctors who want to provide aid in the disaster zone.

Damn, I guess I’m still “bitter”, three years later…

One Drop goes on to compare this to the response on McCain’s site, where he says the splash page led you to a short sympathetic statement. One Drop couldn’t help noticing, he says, that “between the two candidates, one of them is offering condolences, and the other is coordinating and soliciting actual help.” McCain seems to have noticed, too, because his site now also includes a link to the Red Cross.


  1. One Response to “Midwest Floods”

  2. Loudmouth New Orleans Musician? Hey, I kinda like that one!

    Awfully nice of McCain to add that Red Cross linkage. I mean, it’s better than nothing at all. I think Bush is still tied up trying to figure out how to blame either Kathleen Blanco or Osama bin Laden for the Iowa flooding…

    By One Drop on Jun 19, 2008

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