Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Hot Links: Iraq, Katrina
Posted By CNN: 10:55 AM ET
I'm glad to see Katrina updates are coming back. AC 360's Coming Home was excellent last night. But I'm off to work and can't spend time reading all the links, so I hope the topics will be on the program tonight. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 11:41 AM ET
After reading the links to the stories for today, I have a few questions/ thoughts:
On Iran, now that the Democrats will soon be controlling Congress, will countries like Russia and China, who have previously not supported a resolution to at least slow down Iran's nuclear proliferation, be more inclined to support such a measure?

Will other Middle Eastern countries support some change in language to arrange for peace with Israel since it is obvious that they will need to join forces or at least reduce hostility in order to deal with the very real threat of Iran having a viable nuclear program ( however they choose to spin it)?

How were gunmen in Iraq able to pull off such a blatent operation? Yikes!
Who is responsible for the operation of FEMA? Do you think now that we are having a changing of the guard in the Congress, will things really change so people can get much needed relief?

On a more positive note, great presentation on Saturday, Anderson!
Posted By Anonymous Pamina, Pittsford, NY : 11:51 AM ET
how pathetic that we are still having problems from katrina. So very sad. It has been said many times before, but we should have taken our resourses from the Iraqi war to help New Orleans. These are two major blunderous disasters by our government. When I was in NOLA about a month ago things were coming back. Thank God. I love New Orleans. Thanks 360 for keeping us updated and keeping them honest. Please don't let us ever forget.
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 11:55 AM ET
About time we had some updates from the Gulf Coast. True the midterms, Iraq War and the nuclear threat from Iran has been in the headlines for months, but must we forget that things are still not back to "normal" in the Gulf area. Many people are still displaced and with the slow way the government has been working many will never return to their homes. However, there are a few sparks of light in the darkness. On Sunday November 12, 2006 Operation Photo Rescue was in Chalmette, LA to gather storm-damaged pictures from the public for free restoration. People who had many family photos destroyed were able to have them restored by a group of volunteers.

Many people think that since no one talks about it the troubles in the Gulf Region have all been solved, but that is far from the truth and with the Giving Season fast approaching maybe we could see an occasional story about what still needs to be done and how people are helping in small ways, such as the photos, to help restore some calm, peace and dignity to the people, who think they have been forgotten
Posted By Anonymous Marcia, Warren MI : 12:30 PM ET
OK, now, I am fairly on top of the news but since when those the Int'l community is all right with Iran having a nuclear bomb??!!???
So, either I missed something or Ahmadinejad is living on another planet!!Oups! sorry, it's only for a pacific purpose. Yeah!!

About the FEMA trailers, what a waste of money and how insulting for the victims. Can they get something right?

As for what happened in Iraq, very unsettling but a perfect example of how it is getting worst and how security is a joke there.

I like this concept of HOT LINKS.

Joanne Ranzell
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne Ranzell Laval Quebec : 1:11 PM ET
I just don't understand the whole Katrina thing. I mean I understand the trouble at the time that it happened and I understand the few weeks after but I don't understand why 14 months later things are not better. Did people just walk away in the days after and haven't returned? How can they sit in another city and whine about nothing happening. Do they expect others to clean up the mess? Will they will go back when it's all clean and nice? Even Habitat for Humanity makes the home owners pay sweat equity into the houses. The people who lived there, if they wish to return, should go and pay their sweat equity and put their lives back together. Maybe it's not all as simple as I want it to be but there it is none the less. Sometimes life isn't fair and we all have our bag of hammers, but deal with it. They shouldn't sit back and let others do what needs to be done.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 1:34 PM ET
So, FEMA purchased $5.4 million in temporary housing which was then shipped to Texarkana by Trimarro Homes without protective containers. I suppose we already know that FEMA did not follow any type of procurement procedures or provide specifications when they hastily purchased these units but what about Trimarro Homes? Don't they have some obligation to make sure the product they manufacture is durable and protected through the elements and if not, shouldn't they have at least let FEMA know that their product would not last in the elements without a protective container? FEMA may have screwed up here but Trimarro Homes may have taken advantage of the situation also. As the old saying goes...Haste makes Waste. Looks like we got our share of waste on this one!
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 2:16 PM ET
I am happy to see CNN getting back to covering the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, especially Keeping Them Honest. Although my house was spared, my best friend's house in the Lakeview section is still unlivable and her contractor is in jail for fraud. Healthcare is still a problem with no easy solution in sight. Thanks for staying focused on the problems of Katrina and not forgetting us.
Posted By Anonymous Barbara, LaPlace, LA : 3:11 PM ET
I was beginning to wonder where the 360 coverage of the Gulf Coast had gone. Thanks for bringing it back and continuing to keep your promise of not forgetting about Katrina-- you're one of the few newscasts that hasn't completely forgotten.
Posted By Anonymous Claire, Marquette, MI : 3:35 PM ET
glad 360 is going to up date us on the trailers tonight. I was wondering if they ever did anything with them besides wasting tax payers money on them, guess not. Great show last night, can,t wait to see the show tonight.Thanks 360 for keeping them honest and not letting the Katrina story die. Sandy
Posted By Anonymous Sandy Belvin Richmond,VA : 4:37 PM ET
Hi guys. I loved the whole show. I couldn't believe those young men who were working so hard to try and get back a normal life. I will never complain about my sore knee again! You have to admire the gentleman in AC's piece. He is trying to hold on to his dignity. He served our country and he is sleeping in his car. Thank you CNN for trying to help him. I hope he is fed and in an Apartment soon. If we don't help our vets, who will. I am off to a beach myself for a few days. In case I don't have time next week, I will wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving now! Thank you for all of your hard work and these stories! Take care. I'll be sure to Tivo.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago,Il : 7:31 PM ET
Dear 360 Staff:

Howdy. I'm liking the new "Hot Links" addition to the blog. Thank you for taking the time to compile links to stories that may or may not be covered in depth on the show, but about which we should be aware.

As usual, the lack of progress and the frustrations of those affected by Katrina make me livid. I hope you all will take the show to the area soon-- and use the fabulous Susan Roesgen even more for regular updates-- and talk about SPECIFICS that were promised and haven't been done and who should be held accountable. I would also love hearing about SPECIFIC innovative solutions being implemented (or ideas for whom people are trying to advocate, but having trouble getting traction because of the bureaucracy). And what SPECIFICALLY can we as individuals around the country do to help??? Basically, what ideas are feasible, replicable, and (yes, my favorite word) specific?

One really amazing speaker at a recent forum on green architecture who has some damn interesting stuff to say about NO and bold ideas about what he wants to do there: Carlton Brown of Full Spectrum NY LLC. He built the apartment complex in Harlem that worked to help the environment as well as create more positive social interactions with/between residents and the community. I imagine many of your viewers would love to hear his ideas and take on the situation, as he really incorporates so much more than simply the building structure. He truly electrified the crowd when he spoke at the forum.

Also, as an FYI to our anonymous-but-appreciated blog elves who post this info as well as to other viewers: a great place to surf for international news is www.worldpress.org.
Posted By Anonymous Norah, West Chester, PA : 7:59 PM ET
Disasters as large as Katrina and Rita do not get solved in a year and three months. Progress is being made. I can't quite figure out the priorities (the Dome versus adequate physical and mental health services, for instance). Many are still fighting to get insurance or grants (not everyone had the resources to buy adequate insurance pre-storm or rebuild on their own afterwards). It's a shame the recovery program in Louisiana is still not functioning all that well. It's a shame people still want handouts without putting any work into rebuilding on their own with assistance from others. It's a shame that FEMA allowed itself to be flamboozled by city governments and companies at our expense. People are moving back. Communities are rebuilding slowly. It just takes time and people holding those inhibiting that progress accountable. It takes the hard work that average people are doing every day. It takes people wanting to move on in spite of the obstacles. It's happening bit by bit. Keep holding those in charge to their word. Thanks for honoring the promise still.
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 8:53 PM ET
I am a photojournalist from Indianapolis covering Indiana volunteers for the past five days in in Gulfport. I am looking forward to seeing your report tonight on the FEMA fiasco. But just some insight to what I have seen and heard from homeowner victims and volunteers on my visit:

FEMA's floodplain standards are based on 1969 Hurrican Camille for insurance standards. Katrina blew the standard out of the water! Of course, Katrina is the new standard if the US has anymore Katrina-like hurricanes. Meanwhile, the gulf coast loses.

There is 90,000 square miles of affected area. Practically every home was affected. Believe me, I have seen hundreds of them this week. Progress is very slow. Individuals are living with no windows, leaky roofs, black mold, mice, rats and roaches.

Some Gulf coast homeowners are so desperate they are burning down their homes because they could not receive insurance for wind or flood damage. Ironically, their insurance agents told them they were not in a flood plain and wouldn't require flood insurance. Oh, Slumlords especially like to burn.

Domestic abuse and violence is skyrocketing in FEMA trailer parks. Take individuals traumatized and frustrated and then placed in short-term trailers...are we surprised?

FEMA does not like to bring blue tarps to homeowners with tin roofs that flew away during Katrina. If a homeowner had shingles, FEMA will act. Is it a case of lower-income homes versus higher income homes?

Gulf coast garbage goes to Kilm Landfill in Mississippi. If a homeowner had flood damage, FEMA flips the bill by hiring city agencies to haul the load to the dump. On the other hand, if a homeowner had roof damage that caused water damage, FEMA is "reluctant to have it removed."

FEMA sends out contractors to aid in maintenance of trailers for disabled. The same crew is never sent twice. Building and rebuilding ramps again and again is not uncommon.

How are FEMA trailers stabilized? What would it take, for example, mph, for a FEMA trailer to flip over?

The Social Security Administration is threatening to withhold funds for FEMA trailers if senior citizens do not fill them out correctly. Is FEMA and the government any more ready than 15 months ago?

Do you actually believe each house being repaired is using a certified construction permit? Gulf coast homeowners don't have time for more bureaucracy and higher wage inspectors.

Gulf coast residents have an "underlying sense of fatique and frustration, and even though hopeful, this underlying stress pervades people's lives," said one volunteer construction manager.

What about Katrina's carpetbaggers? Land or "slab villages" are cheap and people are desperate. Developers are buying up whole blocks then then planning 11,000 condo units. Oh, by the way, our government is giving tax incentives to spur investments after Katrina.

Just a few........Thanks for continued coverage on Katrina. Many volunteers are still needed for the long haul of repairs and construction. The early responders are gone.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D, Indianapolis : 9:43 PM ET
Iran and Iraq: Are we still assuming that there really is a government in Iraq? Personally, despite what our troops are 'doing' this has become the 'rumble in the rubble'. Let's secure the oil and get a real stick and get over the schtick.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 5:20 AM ET
Just an observation: Aren't trailers supposed to be "exposed to the weather"?
Posted By Anonymous Perry, Dallas, Texas : 9:13 AM ET
To Norah in West Chester, PA:

Your blog says you want SPECIFICS on how people throughout the country can aid Katrina residents. I admire your willingness to be proactive about doing something! I am still in Gulfport on assignment. Some suggestions:

Reality: From all over the country, churches, temples, mosques, the Amish, are sending a consistent flow of volunteers assigned the hard duty of rebuilding the Gulf coast. The volunteers may have to bring their own tools. The homeowner is usually very active with the volunteers in the recovery process of their home. Building materials are supplied. Not usually by the government, but by generous donations.

Proactive: Call local faith-based organizations (I hate that term usually) ask if there is a Katrina recovery project. If you want a direct contact with an organization immediately, go to www.callen@trinityumc.com or go to www.trinityumc.com. This organization just celebrated rebuilding its 500th home and has logged over 3200 volunteers with over 450,000 volunteer hours this past year. That is proactive.

Also, contact Habitat for Humanity at www.habitat.org/disaster/OHD.

Another idea, ask about a sponsorship for refurnishing a Katrina-damaged home or adopting a specific family in need.

So make the call. Give up some of your vacation time. Be willing to get dirty. Find the definition of humanity again. And just keep asking how you can help. Gulf coast residents need volunteers to help in short-term projects for the long-haul recovery.

It is shocking down here.

I am coming back as a volunteer in December.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 11:04 AM ET
I too am glad for the updates on the Gulf Coast. I must comment, as one on the Mississippi Gulf Coast who lost my home to Katrina and is waiting for the grant from the Mississippi Development Authority, that while there may be some who have "left and gone to other cities," in Mississippi, that is a very small percent. Most are in FEMA trailers on their slabs. In my case, FEMA did not provide a trailer for me until 6 months after the storm, until after I had rented an apartment. There are many like myself, paying both rent and our mortgages on destroyed homes, so these grants which will allow us to rebuild our homes that were outside the flood zone are the key to recovery. We are not waiting for someone else to clean up the mess, we simply are frozen in time - unable to do anything but continue to pay and wait.

We appreciate all who volunteer, and your efforts are keeping many afloat. Thank you, sincerely.
Posted By Anonymous Celene, Bay Saint Louis, MS : 10:54 PM ET
I actually asked someone if there were any homeless veterans anymore, and his response was "nah, that was all from the Vietnam era, we dont have any of that anymore".

PLEASE continue making people aware of this! Most people have no idea.
Posted By Anonymous Catherine Wolkers, Kansas City, MO : 5:33 PM ET
Have I missed it or has anyone suggested organizing something like FDR did during the Depression for the reconstruction of the Gulf coast?
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 9:20 PM ET
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