Topic A - holiday weekend edition
Some thoughts on the New Orleans Disaster:
1. There are 500 or so refugees coming to Portland soon, I am reliably informed, and many of them will be staying at the old Washington High School at SE 11th and Stark. Up to 1,000 total may be coming to Oregon. That's just 50 more than the number of politicians who will be taking credit for it. But I'm expecting an outpouring of love and support by the everyday people in these parts that will make the whole nation proud. Apparently Portland is one of 19 centers for refugee shelter and resettlement around the country.
And guess what? The grossly under-appreciated Buckman neighborhood gets another social service project. Unlike many of society's other problems with which Buckman has been saddled, this one will be a labor of love in which people from all over the region will join. Maybe they could take one of Buckman's two methadone clinics back to the suburbs with them.
And hey, the city could show its appreciation by postponing construction on the aerial tram in SoWhat untiil the Buckman swimming pool is fixed. As if.
On a more serious note, I hope our city fathers know what they are getting themselves into. Judging from this report out of Houston, there had better be armed police officers, and plenty of them, ready to keep an eye on things at the shelter around the clock.
2. The proposition that "God punished evil with Katrina" is utterly repugnant to me.
God apparently does believe, however, that the Democrats should have the U.S. Senate back.
3. Chertoff (Homeland Security) and Brown (FEMA) are so pitiful. The one guy's previous job was as commissioner of some Arabian horse league. Make up your own joke. I'm in a foul enough mood, the best I can do is that his career is now on its way to the glue factory.
You can bet that these two fine and capable attorneys will both be looking for work in the new year, if not before.
4. I'm not at all surprised at the utter lawlessness in New Orleans after the flood. I visited there once, and although it was truly a magical place, I have never, ever in my life been as intimidated as I was by the thugs walking around the French Quarter, 24/7. (And I have lived in Newark, N.J., and New Haven, Conn. -- scary places nos. 2 and 3 on my list, respectively.)
Now upwards of 100 N.O. police officers have deserted, and two have taken their own lives. Again, I am not surprised. It was a largely lawless place even before the storm hit. Life as a peace officer in that atmosphere was hard enough.
5. O.k., it's laced with profanity, but I think this blog post speaks for a lot of people right now.
UPDATE, 11:21 p.m.: The TV talking heads are predicting 800 to 1,000 refugees in Oregon. No word on exactly how many will be at Washington High, but it sounds like they might all be in Portland. And fortunately, Potter's running this one. No long vacation for that guy. He spent his weekend getting this together. I am so glad we have him.
Meanwhile, County Sheriff Bernie Giusto has intervened -- he says he can take hundreds at the otherwise-empty, brand-spankin'-new Wapato Jail. I dunno. Given the charges of racism that are flying around, I don't think housing the refugees behind bars and barbed wire is such a great idea.