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Make up your mind!

Whilst I feel sympathy and sorrow at the suffering of those states hit by the recent tornadoes, can someone ( preferably a T-Bagger,) explain to me why the State Governor of Mississippi is asking for Federal help? I thought the whole point was that we wanted States to take care of themselves and to keep the Government OUT of our business. Or is that ONLY when the Federal Government is "interfering" in ways that we don't personally approve of?

Remember my friends . . . Only Connect
Charles Shaughnessy

Additional comments by Charles Shaughnessy on
25 April, 2010 21:28
25 April, 2010 21:32


  1. Couldn't agree more! "T-Baggers" : burnished with hypocricy and duplicity.

    My prayers to those in Mississippi. RI just got hit with the storm of the century last month. Still cleaning up damage here.

  2. This is exactly what my husband and our friends were discussing after church today. What about the Federal Government is allowed or not allowed that makes people say "Oh, well we will take money for THAT!" "THAT is ok but THIS OTHER THING is not"

    It's like teenagers who expect their parents to take care of them with money when they need it but want them to stay out of their private business.

    You can't have it both ways. Is a natural disaster leaving people "without" the only time the Government should get involved? I don't think so.

    People are getting too hung up on labels like "African American" and "Socialism" instead of helping out our fellow citizens along WITH the federal government.

  3. Dear Lord in Heaven do you ever know how to pick a topic! Now you hit a raw nerve with me.

    I know that this debate over the delegation of each state taking responsibility for their own vs.taking Federal help is a point of contention for many. However, I don't think now is the right time to talk about WHO should be taking care of what as long as the help is getting to the people who need it so badly.

    Who cares right now where the help comes from, as long as it comes? Put yourself in these people's situation; would you give a flying fig who is getting food & shelter for you and your family? Or who is getting the clean water to drink, and medical aid needed if you or your family needed it? No you would not, I guarantee it. Your only concern would be that it was THERE when you needed it, period.

    Wasn't it pathetic and disgracful enough when this arguing was going on during Katrina? Didn't anybody learn anything from that at all? Everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off, while people waite up to 4 days before drinking water got to them! Jesus, they got help faster to Haiti! That says a lot about how a government handles a crisis. The help gets faster to a foreign country rather than to your own. Just get it done and worry about the logistics later.Right now everybody needs to work as a team.

    So please, at this particular time and given the devastaton these people just went through, can everybody just give the political aspect of it a rest. Everybody can start up the debate as to who's responsible for what when the crisis is over.

    I have to say I'm really upset and disappointed you even brought this topic up right now.

  4. First, I'm not a Tea Bagger--or a Tea Partier--so I'm probably not someone you want to hear from, but I'm joining in anyway (you can choose not to post my comments if you want). But I do have some thoughts on this topic, and let's just say I'm ready to smash something in order to calm down.

    Why is Governor Haley Barbour is asking for federal aid (which, incidentally, he has not yet done, but intends to do tomorrow)? By declaring a state of emergency following the tornado destruction, the state is eligible for federal aid. Judging from the damage that I have seen, the devastation is pretty bad in some of those counties in northern Mississippi. The National Guard has already been mobilized to maintain order. FEMA is ready to respond when asked. Would you have preferred that he not acknowledge the damage that occurred to his state? I would think that the survivors appreciate his relatively swift response to the crisis. International relief agencies are already sending supplies to the state; why shouldn't the federal government step in and provide assistance? Or do you think we need to return to the days of Herbert Hoover, when the federal government did not directly provide aid, but instead the burden fell onto the states themselves and private relief organizations? Should we instead go back to the Johnstown Flood of 1889 and hope that there is a modern-day Clara Barton willing to risk her life to help a community or state recover from the devastation of a natural disaster so that neither the federal nor state government needs to provide assistance, and the burden falls upon agencies like the Red Cross?

    Or do you think his response is hypocritical because Governor Rick Perry of Texas made a big production out of rejecting stimulus money for jobless claims in March 2009 and then in July 2009 asked the federal government for a $170 million loan so that the state could continue paying unemployment benefits? It's one thing to criticize a governor for a convenient "change of heart"--like occurred last year in Texas--but it's an entirely different matter when you question why a state governor cannot ask for assistance during a crisis. If, perchance, Mississippi had instead been struck by a Katrina-like hurricane (similar to Camille in 1969, which in today's dollars caused over $8 billion in damages), does this mean that the people of Mississippi should suffer because the governor is a Republican? Or do you think they should suffer because they are not ardent supporters of the president? This is not an issue about Haley Barbour requesting help only because it’s convenient; it’s a matter of what is right—and if the federal government can assist victims of the earthquakes in Haiti, why should it not help residents of the United States recover from a natural disaster on our own soil, regardless of the political ideology of the state’s governor? I’m reasonably sure that the federal government would have already responded, but by law state governors must first make the request before relief can be sent.

  5. I failed to listen to the voices in my head that have always told me not to discuss politics. Oddly enough the voices sound much like Charlie brown and Linus. I always figured I would jump back into a political arena when I found a politician that impressed me, I’ve been waiting for…well let’s say since I was ten and my first run-in with a Senator (My last was in November 2009).

    Let me preface this by saying I too feel great sympathy for those affected by the storms and wish nothing but the best for them.

    Too many people only want policy that benefits them and when it doesn’t they’ll go against it, want to be exempt from it or speak against it. Speaking out against policy and working towards changing it is the right of every American and I respect that. I wish I could say it’s only federal vs state, but sadly it’s State vs town/city as well. It’s even citizen vs town/city. However, when things go wrong they want the “higher power” to come to the rescue.

    It seems that since the tragedies of September 11, everyone wants more Federal money when disaster hits, which I find rather discouraging. Even those who are willing to nothing to help themselves are asking for more and more. I’m not saying this is true for the folks in MO.

    We had a flood here in New England a few weeks back and I can assure you President Obama would not have come to the area if he wasn’t hawking his so-call Health Care Reform. Most people here hiked up their boots, literally, and dealt with the problem without expecting the government to step in.

    Emerson: I love your teenager analogy!

    As for bringing up this topic now, best to bring it up now than when it is just an abstract thought or something that may happen. Plus, unless one of us sitting in front of our computers is in the military or Red Cross (or similar organization) there isn’t a lot we can do about except discuss it.


  6. First of all, I don't like being referred to as a "tea bagger".
    A "Tea Partier" would be better and more respectful..
    Now, about the suffering of the people due to the natural disasters. Most people find help at their local church or organizations like that. World Vision comes to mind.. They help the needy in our country and around the world. A great organization. They appear first, before the government ever gets their acts together to help anyone.
    We pay taxes and the Federal Government is there to make sure our people are safe from natural disasters or terrorism. (opps... said the word terrorism) not suppose to call it that anymore.. Oh well, what ever you call it, it means that this is their job. In the Gettysburg address it says ~
    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    That says to me that the governments job is to take care of us. Not like the welfare state we are becoming, but when we are in need, they are there to help the needy.
    The Tea Party is against the government doing more than what they were intended to do.
    Secure our country, inside and out. But keep out of our business and making our lives like we're living in the 1984 novel of where Big Brother watches and has control of everything we do. So don't confuse the two.
    We don't want the government taking away our freedoms. As they have been, little by little for years now. You seem to have a very sarcastic view of a group that is trying to ask for honesty, and integrity of our elected officials.
    Most American's are not interested in a Socialistic, Communistic, & Totalitarian way of governing this country. And we see that its heading in that direction.
    The founding fathers escaped from England's rule, so that we could live free. Men and women have fought and died for this simple idea. To live free, without a government taxing you so much that you cant breathe.
    If you don't want us to be nasty with each other, than you should be a little bit more respectful when you write your blogs and want people to comment. Sometimes I think you do it on purpose, just to rile us up, to get a reaction.. Fun for you maybe, but very irritating for us.

  7. @Linda157...yes it was pathetic and disgracful during Katrina. But we had a buffoon who was running this country then.

  8. @Lorraine: The "buffoon" you are referring to was elected president. He began sending aid to Louisiana in anticipation of Katrina's arrival as soon as the governor requested it--he did not wait until after Katrina hit. The failure of the levees was not George W. Bush's fault. Granted, FEMA could have been more proactive, but when you live in a flood plain in an area that is due for a hurricane, you should not be surprised when the waters rise--especially when your city is below sea level to begin with (and I lived in Houston for over 25 years, so I know what damage hurricanes and floods can do).

    @QUEENLEENO1: Actually, you are referring to the Preamble to the Constitution, not the Gettysburg Address. But you are correct in stating that the Constitution does permit the government to take care of its people--"provide for the common defense" is not just for military purposes, but to help out in case of natural disaster ("promote the general welfare" can be used to support health care). It wasn't until the 20th century, though, that the government stepped in and provided assistance following natural disasters--and even then, it only happened when it was clear that local relief agencies were incapable of providing adequate assistance. Also, the Founding Fathers fought for more than just a desire not to pay taxes, but certainly that was one of the big issues--after all, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, the power to tax is the power to destroy. And I agree that sometimes Charlie does this to rile us up (why else would I be looking for something to smash?).

    @Shaz: You don't necessarily have to be in the military or the Red Cross to provide assistance. Making donations to organizations like the Salvation Army (this includes clothing as well as money) will help. I doubt that we will see a telethon like "Hope for Haiti," but I'm sure that the folks in Mississippi will appreciate any help we send. And the voices in my head sound more like Charlie Brown's teacher than Charlie Brown and Linus--probaby a curse of my profession.

  9. So, Linda, the single dad trying to keep food on the table for his kids and needing government help to do so is NOT an emergency? the fifty year old who cannot afford surgery and whose job has not given her insurance is NOT an emergency? the school that has to fire teachers and add another twenty kids to an overcrowded classroom is NOT an emergency? see where your narrow view leads don't you. Of course we should all "pull together," but you're like the person who buys flowers on Valentine's day instead of seeing it as a 24/7 commitment. For many people in this country EVERYday is an emergency and we need to, the Federal Government needs to, help them every day ....with our blessing.

  10. As for the Tea-baggers or "Partiers," have any of you checked to see if your taxes have gone up or down under this President? By your knee-jerk responses, I would guess not.

  11. I guess you didn't read the part not being nasty.
    You are having knee jerk reactions. I'm thinking, yep!
    To answer the question of taxes, we did receive about 5 to 6 hundred dollars more in our Fed. tax returns.
    But that will be eaten up with the Vat tax, should it pass, the soda tax, gas taxes, cigarette taxes, cell phone taxes, tanning bed taxes, Health care benefit tax, those are all I can think of at the moment. But I'm sure they'll be more.. We have to pay off that trillion dollar debt now.
    So please before you assume that we are out there protesting, but don't have a clue, think again!!

  12. @Karen,
    Thank you for setting me straight on the Preamble to the Constitution. I said that, and my son was saying The Gettsburg address, and I went with that. But to be honest, I should have looked it up first, instead of taking his word for it. Thanks again:0)

  13. @Charlie - My head hurts. I wrote and rewrote my reponse no less than 10 times and deleted it everytime. I am at a loss. I am having a hell of a time putting the feelings of frustration and anger I have towards the hypocrisy of all of this into writing. I just don't know where to start. I do not get the logic in the right's point of view. They can throw every opinion and conspiracy theory out there to try to make me see what they're thinking, and I just cannot come close to wrapping my brain around it.

  14. @Charlie: Again, I'm not one of the Tea Baggers or Tea Partiers, but yes, my taxes have gone up under the current president. And for the first time in over a twenty years, I had to pay instead of getting a refund. But my income has increased, so of course my taxes would increase since it's a graduated income tax on the federal level (the income increase occurred because of the union contract and the annual COLA and has nothing to do with Obama--the contract was negotiated in 2007 before the economy went in the tank)--and now I'm supposedly considered "wealthy" because I make over $50,000 per year. I'll have a better idea of the economic impact once my union contract expires in 2011 after the stimulus money runs out and perhaps 1/4 of our faculty members are let go because of funding cuts imposed by my state's Democratic governor (who has planned the higher education budget with the expectation that federal support gets renewed).

    And @Queenleno1 is correct--we're not the only ones having knee jerk reactions. But it is nice to see that you're reading our comments and getting involved again, even if it sometimes frustrates us (like our comments apparently frustrate you).

  15. I'm with's hard to "only connect" and have serious discussion, when right out of the starting gate you are called a disgusting sexual slur. Not really welcoming, especially when we've asked that you not call us that. It's degrading.
    As Karen said...providing for the national defense INCLUDES natural disasters. That is an appropriate use of federal dollars. Not having health care, food, or enough teachers is not an "emergency", it is a problem that needs to be solved. There is money in the system that is being used irresponsibly that could be used for those issues. Just like at home, you have income and "out-go", and need to take a good hard look at the budget, cut out the waste, and get down to bare bones. You are comparing apples and oranges.
    I don't know what it's going to take for us to convince you that we agree that there needs to be help for the truly needy, for those who need a hand up, for people in crisis that is not of their own making. We pay taxes, knowing that there but for the grace of God go I. And the government spends the money on nonsense. I often wonder if they do it on purpose, so that there will "always" be those in need who they can control with programs and those who work who can be controlled by ever-increasing taxes. And I'm not just talkin' about Democrats here.
    Lee is right about the's smoke and mirrors. Income taxes were "lowered", knowing full well that there would be potential VAT, health care tax, fines for not having "adequate" health care insurance, and that the Bush tax cuts will expire and make up some of the difference. That's how politics's all "bread and circuses".
    As for Katrina, it was also different because of Mayor Negin, who let his citizens flounder while buses sat idle..the same citizens who were bused to the polling place on Election Day. He sure knew they didn't have transportation then, didn't he? Much of the Katrina disaster had nothing to do with Bush, it had to do with the city of NOLA and the state of LA. They are the ones who diverted funds to fix the levees multiple times, choosing to leave their most vulnerable at risk while spending the $$ elsewhere.They KNEW the levees were an accident waiting to happen, and CHOSE to house the poor there.
    All we ask is that the federal government carry out their enumerated powers with fiscal responsibility. I fear it's too late for that..the power is too enticing.

  16. Excuse me Charles but I am FAR from being narrow minded in my thinking. For 5 years I worked as a Social Worker and I saw close up the situations of individuals who were trying to survive on a daily basis. People who did not have enough money for food, no clothes or diapers for their young chilren, the elderly who had to chose having a roof over their head but going without necessary medication. I was at the front line of this so I know what's going on out there and I'm far from happy about it. It's heart breaking I and tragic. I no longer work as a Social Worker because I burned out. I worked 16 hour days 6 to 7 days a week and was frequently "on Call" for crisis intervention. So please don't make assumptions.I know just as much as you do about this.

    I was responding to the situation YOU were talking about. If I were to talk about the plight of the day to day living of the people who struggle just to get through a day, there wouldn't be enough space on your blog.

  17. Excuse me Charles but I am FAR from being narrow minded in my thinking. For 5 years I worked as a Social Worker and I saw close up the situations of individuals who were trying to survive on a daily basis. People who did not have enough money for food, no clothes or diapers for their young chilren, the elderly who had to chose having a roof over their head but going without necessary medication. I was at the front line of this so I know what's going on out there and I'm far from happy about it. It's heart breaking I and tragic. I no longer work as a Social Worker because I burned out. I worked 16 hour days 6 to 7 days a week and was frequently "on Call" for crisis intervention. So please don't make assumptions.I know just as much as you do about this.

    I was responding to the situation YOU were talking about. If I were to talk about the plight of the day to day living of the people who struggle just to get through a day, there wouldn't be enough space on your blog.

  18. As tragic as these Tornados are and the loss these people have , are not to be underated, but maybe from a spiritual sense these tornados could be seen as a "revenge " to the TEa Party movement to stop winging and spreading hatred upon many people. It seems many of these protesters come from just these regions
    I do think in cases such as these Federal aid should be given , but first priority should be that the local authorities have plans to cope with situations like this . It is well known that these regions have Tornados, but obviously these plans don´t exist.
    We all saw how useless the local Gov. was in respect of Katrina and I think help is still needed there and if it had not been for private help things would have been worse. The fact that the Levees weren´t repaired or kept in good nick in the past , shows just one "American" facette of life, and that is just to live for the present and the future will look after itself.
    As for escaping the British rule , it is just in these (Southern areas)the "escapees" had the most vicious form of controlling people - slavery for over a century and racesism still prevails in many Southern States.
    I don´t know why Americans are so paranoid about freedeom , socialism etc. from an outsider America isn´t all, that "free". If you want to enter legally as a tourist you have to fill out forms and more forms and of late the US wants to have access to foreign bank accounts.Where is the freedom?
    Unfotunately taxes are an "evil" we need ,to finance all those amenities we take for granted, like Police, Fire Dep. and even the National Guard which has been called for help.
    There will always be people winging for their cause, but I think these Tea Baggers are going over the top. I have many US friends here , some expats some here temporarely who are ashamed for their country.
    As an outsider I think the fact that there is a black President is the problem with white Americans , especially those living in the South.
    Finally I think it is great that Charlie takes up these themes and being British born he is quite capable of coping with some of the quite nasty critics.But debate as it was called in my day is the spice of life, so keep the themes coming Charlie and DOOL and "The Nanny "etc are not the only things in life and Charlie knows this.For a " converted " US Citizen , I think he is probably more patriotic than so called Americans born there. The real Americans as we all know are the Indians .

  19. @Liane: Actually, even the Native Americans were immigrants, as they crossed the Bering Land Bridge over 10,000 years ago--there are no "real" Americans in that sense. The whole idea that the tornadoes are God's response to the actions of the Tea Party movement is astounding--does that mean that Katrina was God's punishment for immorality in New Orleans? Does that mean that the earthquake in Haiti was divine retribution for voodoo culture?

    Regarding "escaping the British rule": slavery was introduced by the British empire in the 1600s and continued until 1865, when it was abolished with the 13th amendment. The Revolution/War for Independence ended in 1781, so slavery existed far longer under British rule than it did under the United States. Granted, it was not an ideal situation, but there was a degree of paranoia involved, especially after the Haitian Revolution in the 1790s that in effect was a slave revolt against French colonialism. Not all Southerners owned slaves--in fact, it was less than 10%--but the misperception occurs because these were the men who were holding public office and passionately defending their way of life (I don't agree with it, but I wasn't alive back then, either).

    And just because Charlie had to take a citizenship test doesn't mean that he is more patriotic than natural born U.S. citizens (more knowledgeable about some things--yes; more patriotic, not necessarily). Patriotism comes in different forms, and opposing the actions of the current administration--regardless of political affiliation--is one form of patriotism.

    And can't we all just use the correct term--Tea Partiers? As @JoAnn noted, "tea baggers" has some rather nasty connotations, and I also don't appreciate being called something that I'm not. I thought that we are supposed to avoid mudslinging on these blogs; I guess I misunderstood the type of "connection" that we have here.

    Off to throw something against the wall, and perhaps to smash something later. I don't think this is what I am supposed to get out of these blogs, but it does keep my blood flowing.

  20. Deidre I am with you when you say you don´t know how to react to all this turmoil. However , you are living in that country with all that "schlamuzzle" so react and protest too.
    I know you are not necesaary living on a big foot, but I have never really heard you complain about your personal situation. I´m sure all is not well in the US nor is it anywhere else.Money is squandered everywhere especially in my sense on war (Iraq etc,) THAT was the Bush administration!
    I remember in 2001 the Billboards in the US that said "no child will be uneducated under this Administration"!! I guess this money was spent on other things such as this War..
    Come on people there is so much hypocrisysm in the US isn´t it time to wake up realise that things do change and changes even if not agreed upon are necessary.

  21. Charlie,
    My thought exactally...

  22. WOW, Charlie! Have you even looked up the definition of that "name" you keep calling us? Just for the record, I am NOT a tea partier. Just because someone happens to be a conservative Republican doesn't mean that they are a "racist tea bagger". You really should get to know people before just throwing them into a category. Don't you remember what your mother used to always tell you? "Don't judge a book by it's cover!" Maybe we should start calling your a "left-winger" because according to "Urban Dictionary" that is EXACTLY what YOU are. Their definition of a "left-winger" is this....

    A Liberal who insists that their way of thinking or their political candidate (usually a democrat) would have stopped every bad thing that has ever happened to America, that everything would be fine if only a democrat would be in office to save the world. What happened last time a democrat was in office? O he just had an a affair with his secretary...that's not a bad thing is it?

    Also @Charlie..."the single dad trying to keep food on the table for his kids is NOT an emergency. You need to look up the definition of emergency as well. According to, an "emergency" is a state, especially of need for help or relief, created by some UNEXPECTED event (as in tornado's, earthquakes, etc.). However, the poverty-stricken single father is fully aware of the tragic event that is happening to him. I am in total agreeance with JoAnn in the fact that we, as individuals and government, should be helping those in these kinds of situations through specific programs. Because this is a FORESEEN and continuing problem in our country; NOT an "unseen", one-time occurance. And I believe that there are already programs in effect specifically for these situations that you are referring to (i.e. food stamps, welfare assistance, etc.) If you feel they aren't working properly to your liking or are failing, Charlie, please take that up with your government seeing how they came up with those programs and seem to think that they have a way of "stopping every bad thing that has ever happened to America".

    @Queenleeno1... thanks for reminding us all of the Preamble to the Constitution.

  23. Karen my comment on Revenge" was meant metaphorically of course, but when you really think back in history it was always a catatrophy that brought people "back" I believe nature has away of "paying back" if things get out of hand.
    Actually I thought until this blog the word Tea Baggers was just another name for the same thing.AS for slogging things at each other I think in this blog we are all a little over reactive, but in the end those that know each other know things aren´t meant as bad as they sound..
    I´m sorry if these blogs don´t "give" you what you expect , but that IS democracy and at times one has to be open to critic even if it isn´t nice.

    BTW have you ever watched a British parliament sitting ? well if not then you should . There is true debate culture! Afterwards many sit together with a pint , same on Australia!
    Incidentally I don´t think Charlie had to take on citizenship, he did it by choice
    and I think he does have a certain patriotism as I know from a source he is very involved in what is going on in his Shire and does a lot of charitable work which is not always made public.

  24. @Karen: Yes he was the elected president. But let's not forget he was the same president who sat and did nothing for well over 5 mins while America was under attack on Sept 11, 2001. Then to make matters worse did he go after the master mind behind these attacks? No! He started a war against a innocent country that we are still at war with today!
    According to Webster Dictionary a Buffoon is:
    1. 1a ludicrous figure : clown

    2. 2a gross and usually ill-educated or stupid person
    Need I say more?

  25. @Karen - please smash something for me too. Unfortunately, I don't have anything I can smash. I've started to write something here four times and I'm still too upset.

  26. We had tornadoes here last night in SC.Our governor would probably turn down federal aid because he turned down the stimulus package .Can't wait till he goes out of office he has done nothing in his term to improve the quality of life in this state and he right now along with many members of the legislature are trying to destroy the public school system.The problem is the states budgets are cut so bad they have to ask for federal aid when a disaster like this happens because whatever money they do have its not enough to help the common citizen who is hurt in this situation.Its a no-win scenario for a poor southern state.

  27. Personally, the Federal Aid during a natural disaster, I believe symbolizes the entire United States reaching out in charity and kindness to a fellow state/member of the nation. Call it what you will "federally controlled aide". Yes, absolutely it is Federally controlled. Don't you find it something to think about that the Governor must ASK for it. It is not a charity or benefit that is automatically given. The State(s) in need have a CHOICE whether to ask for it or not, if I have my facts correct. If not, please correct me.

    I am not a member of any specific belief or organization, other than a voting member of the USA, and how I vote is my private and personal business. I also didn't know it was a sexual slur until the last 2 months, and wouldn't think it was intended as such by Charles.

    Let's stop worrying over who controls the funds and start concerning ourselves over healing a wounded part of our country, so we can get back on the road to normalcy once again...until the next earthquake, hurricane, flood, tornado....Be Well!

  28. @Lorraine: And what did you expect President Bush to do? He could not exactly fly a plane himself to take down the hijackers, as the air space had been cleared. He was notified, knew that he could not do anything immediately, and continued reading to the schoolchildren--and not alarming them unnecesarily in the process. As soon as he was finished with the children, he reacted in his role as Commander in Chief. Obviously your interpretation of his response was colored by Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11," which is certainly not an impartial view of what happened that day. And yes, he did go after the mastermind behind these attacks, with the approval of Congress. Congress appropriates the funds for military ventures, and Congress can prevent presidents from reacting in a certain way (after all, only Congress has the power to declare war; the president does not have that power--he can only ask Congress to declare war, or to support military action). So you cannot legitimately lay all of the blame for the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan in Bush's lap alone. After all, we are still at war, and Bush has been out of office over 15 months.

    @Liane: I think that it is commendable that Charlie has become a U.S. citizen and that he is so active in expressing his views through this blog--and in encouraging us to participate he is definitely promoting democracy, even if we do not always agree with him (or often, or at all for that matter). My comment was not intended to slight him in the least--I wish I had the energy he has in supporting these assorted ventures. I have not had the pleasure of watching Parliament in action, but it is something I would like to see. I have watched enough C-SPAN to know that our Congress can get a bit boring at times (I'm also old enough to remember watching the Watergate hearings on television--and THAT was good drama). I also understand that your comment was metaphorical, but I have heard similar comments today. I know that the interpretation of U.S. history abroad is somewhat different from what we get here in the states, and it does help sometimes to get that foreign perspective, because we do get a bit isolationist here.

    @Gitel: I have a damaged hard drive that will be getting the brunt of my frustration. I have to destroy it anyway, so at least it's for a good cause?

  29. Okay, Bush was the elected president. Haley Barbour is the elected governor of Mississippi. Haley Barbour has openly embraced the Tea Party movement ( Therefore, why *shouldn't* we expect the people of Mississippi, who elected him, to hold him to his distaste for federal money and insist that he NOT ask for federal help, and just look to the grit and determination of Mississippians to get through this crisis?

    Answer: Because from 1981 to 2005, Mississippi was the sixth largest "recipient" state in the U.S., i.e., only four other states and DC received more federal dollars compared to what their residents paid in taxes. Haley Barbour and his constituents talk the talk, but when it comes to sponging off the federal government, tornadoes or no, they sure don't walk the walk.

  30. If I were to bet money, I'd bet that when Charlie wrote his blog, he anticipated a very heated discussion. That's why he worded it as he did. He knows the buttons to push.. Am I right, there Charlie??
    Thank you Valerie, JoAnn, and Karen:0)
    Before any of you got to punching the wall, or throwing something at your computer, remember that it raises your blood pressure and your blood sugars.. Not a good reason to do so. Just think, you could have an ice cream cone, or a yummy piece of cake for all that aggrevation..
    That's what I try to think about when I start to get upset, is it worth my sugar going up, when I could enjoy myself instead..
    Think about it!!

  31. Everyone--have we lost the original point of Charlie's blog? How can we expect the Feceral Government to become involved in some situations and not in others? And who will determine when and where that involvement occurs? Will that also depend on political affiliation and will we have this same division in our citizenry as we do over so many other things? I wonder! When i was kid ( and actually I told my kids the same thing) "You can't have it both ways" As everyone else here expressed-I too feel sympathy for those folks who are in the midst of this horrific disaster and wish for them only the best-Keep em coming Charlie--You sure do know how to stir up a hornet's nest!!

  32. @Karen, by mentioning the discussions in the British parliament I meant they really "get at each other" and substitute for any soaps, CSI´s ER etc!!and so on!Quite often it is called a circus but more entertaining!
    @Queenleeno, that is what makes a discussion so intensive when the blogger is provokative.Sometimes emotions are quite curative when one is tensed.Eating etc is not the best to get rid of stress!
    I leave the PC and listen to music when i get upset. Try it , it works.

    I just saw on TV that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is spreading and to my knowledge one or 2 states hit by the Tornado
    are now in danger because of the oil spill, so they are double affected.

    Let us hope that here help will come from the Federal Gov . as not only the livelyhood of many people who live there is endangered but also the enviroment.

    The US enviromwnr issue came up on German Television today because apparently President Obamas effort to improve the enviroment has been overturned. Even relativaly liberal republicans who at first were "with " Obama have gone radical for fear of loosing their mandates due to all these discussions and Tea Parties.

    The commentator was American and said most Americans especially in rural areas , don´t give a hoot what happens to the enviroment. All they want is their way of life , big petrol guzzling cars and their credit cards which are mostly in the red. I was truly amazed at this comment.

  33. I will defer to Karen for the history lesson on the Constitution, but there are certain things that the federal government is to do...the national defense(including natural disasters) being one of them. Barbour is right to request this aid. He refused a portion of the stimulus that had strings attached that would have meant a big tax increase when the stimulus money ran out, levied on small business owners. The strings attached to parts of the stimulus overstepped the bounds of what the fed is supposed to be doing.
    It "sounds to me" like the stimulus money had side effects that gave the federal government more tentacles into the state's affairs. I can understand why they'd be against that.
    I will reverse the question for the liberals...what is it that YOU want? Is everything supposed to be doled out through the feds, by increasing taxes on every citizen? What should be left to the states? And how do we get rid of the pork barrel nonsense that is wasting our resources? So much little time.

  34. @Liane: The Watergate hearings also substituted for any soaps (in fact, they DID substitute for soaps back in 1973 and 1974--I watched them instead of the soaps, as the networks rotated coverage of the House and Senate hearings--I was a history geek even back then). So I definitely would like to watch that sort of circus (I have seen it portrayed in movies, but seeing the real thing would be great). And, as a resident of a rural area (the cows outnumber the people in my county), the commentator was off. We ARE concerned about the environment, especially with all of the natural gas drilling in our region (and we laugh at their promises that the drilling will not affect the environment--meanwhile, everyone drinks bottled water or boils it because of how the gas industry is polluting the wells). It's mostly farmers with the gas guzzlers when they are driving their equipment; I see more hybrids than SUVs on our roads. It's another instance of broad generalizations being made that cannot be substantiated when you look at the facts.

    @nanabev: I think I addressed this issue in my initial post on this blog (dated 25 April 2010 19:34), but apparently in insufficient detail. According to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (passed by Congress in September 2005), only state governors can request that the President declare a state of emergency. The state governor must exhaust all state resources before making this request, and the state emergency plan must be implemented and executed (such as calling out the National Guard). There is also a cost-sharing measure according to the law; the state does have certain financial obligations when requesting federal assistance. The FEMA director serves as the "clearinghouse" for the requests and determines whether the request should be forwarded to the president for action, and the FEMA director notifies the governor of the President’s decision. The President cannot automatically respond without such a request, or else the 10th amendment is being violated (the one that reserves to the states powers not expressly delegated to the federal government). Once the President has declared an emergency, then federal resources can be used to supplement--not replace--state and local resources for disaster relief and recovery. The only exception is if the area where the disaster occurred is federal property (such as a tornado wiping out Yosemite National Park--since it is federal property, the President could declare an emergency for the area without a request of the Governor of California--but only if the tornado did not affect any property outside the boundaries of the national park). The request must be made within 5 days after the need for assistance is apparent but no longer than 30 days after the occurrence of the disaster. Again, state law is paramount, and only after the state has taken appropriate action and begun executing the State emergency plan can federal assistance be requested. Political party affiliation does not play a role in determining whether or not the federal government will provide assistance once it is requested, and once the request is made, the response is prompt.

    If you want to see an explanation of the specific law, here is the link: (I know we’re not supposed to include links, but in this case I think that the document answers a lot of questions about how and when the federal government can respond to disasters such as the one currently affecting Mississippi).

  35. Thank you to all who so eloquently put into words what I could not this morning! (I only had one coffee in my system so everyone one knows to steer clear until I've had at the very least one more)I too almost blew a gasket when I read Charlie's "narrow minded" comment on what I said. I was referring to "large scale emergencies" not the day to day ones that, unfortunately, far too many people have to face.

    By the way Charlie, those of us who respond to your postings are civil to each other. Even when we disagree with each other we do so politely. Several people have asked you politely several times to stop reverting to juvinile behaviour such as name calling,or making assumptions about people you DON'T KNOw personally.I enjoy the interactions of the people on your blog as I'm sure many others do as well. One thing I am sure of, none of us joined to be called names.

    For an intelligent man with your level of education, I would have thought you would have learned the fine art of DIPLOMACY, perhaps I was wrong. Look it up, it's in the dictionary.

  36. @Susan: It's possible that the devastation was not severe enough in South Carolina to warrant federal assistance. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but there has to be a certain level of destruction before the state governors will ask for federal help (and it doesn't matter if they turned down stimulus money--perhaps the governor did not like the strings that were attached). And I wouldn't be surprised if the reason why your governor hasn't improved the quality of life is because he was a bit distracted last year with personal problems.

    @George's Daughter: Yes, you're right--the state(s) in need must ask for it; it isn't automatically given. And it doesn't matter what other federal programs have previously been implemented in the state (or rejected). Requesting federal assistance for a natural disaster has no impact on previous--or future--funding requests.

    @QueenLeeno1: My sugars are fine, as is my blood pressure. They probably wouldn't be that way, though, if I had the cake or ice cream cone. And it was fun breaking the damaged hard drive tonight (it was a way to take out a lot of frustration that I experienced today, only a small part of which came from reading some of the posts on this blog).

    @Linda157: Bravo! You have expressed what many of us are feeling about the rhetoric on this blog.

    @Charlie: We would love for you to join in the conversation again...just remember that we would like for you to treat us the way you would like us to treat you.

  37. @Karen: Our country was under attack and he had no idea what was going to happen next.I expected him to calmly excuse himself and take immediate action. Did you forget that there were still two other planes still in the air that had hijackers on them? Sorry to burst your bubble but I never saw the film Fahrenheit9/11 and Osama bin Laden took responsibility for the attacking us on 9/11. Bush and his administration deliberately misled Congress into believing that Iraq was a threat to us because they had WMD's(which were never found)and started this war. So yes I can lay all the blame in Bush's lap and we're still trying to get out of this mess he started.

  38. @Liane - As far as my personal situation, I have had FAR too many bad things happen in the last 30 years, that, what I've mentioned to anybody outside of family, doesn't even scratch the surface. Everyone has their own problems, they don't want to hear mine.

    I'm a 46 year old woman with an 18 year old son that had to move in with her 79 year old mother, and then had her 26 year old daughter, son-in-law, and grandson move in here too. Give you a pretty good starting point about my financial situation?

    I can't even say "Well, I've got my health" LOL....So...other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

  39. @Lorraine: What action did you expect President Bush to take? Personally shoot down the hijacked planes? Run screaming through the school shouting "Oh, no, we're under attack!" At that point, five minutes was not going to make that much difference, given the fact that it wasn't fully clear what was going on--after all, it wasn't the first time a plane flew into a building in Manhattan (and it wouldn't be the last). Not until the second plane hit did we really begin to understand what was going on--and that was over fifteen minutes later.

    And regarding WMD's, the Bush administration was working with intelligence gathered during the Clinton administration--the same administration that did not effectively respond to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Supposedly Iraq did have WMD in the late 1990s--at least Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright (Secretary of State), William Cohen (Secretary of Defense), Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Al Gore, Sandy Berger (National Security Advisor), etc. thought so. If the Democrats thought that Saddam Hussein had weapons on mass destruction in 1998, it is not unreasonable for George W. Bush to think they still existed in 2003 when we got involved in Iraq.

  40. @Liane re: the environment~~ I'd take anything you hear in the media with a grain of salt, especially when they're trying to tell you "how the people feel" or what they care about. There is a Global Warming Agenda that permeates everything. The American PEOPLE are doing our best to recycle, take care of the environment, be fuel efficient. The industries(and by default, their buddies in the government) are a much bigger part of the pollution problem. And many of us, while we are responsible citizens, don't buy into the whole Global Warming thing(and if you don't, well then naturally we are just selfish, greedy polluters who don't care about the earth..sigh). We really aren't all driving those big honkin' gas know, like the Land Rover(sorry, I just couldn't resist that one ;o) )

  41. @Karen: First off you need to check your facts. The first plane hit the N. Tower @ 8:45am the S. Tower was hit @ 9:03am I would except the Commander in Chief to call in the Air Force.
    According to goverment intelligence Iraq supposedly had WMD but that was never proven before we declared war on them.
    Obviously no matter what I say your going to have a defense for this senseless war. I get to see first hand what this war has done to my fellow comrades everytime I go to the VA Hospital, care to come see for yourself?

  42. That is exactly what it seems. Sounds like you hit the nail on the head. The government runnings only bother them when it interferes with their own person thoughts and ideas. In agreement with Liane. I think that Charlie is indeed more patriotic than a lot of Americans. He is passionate about his views and is just agreeing with the President. (who i believe is also patriotic despite his so called socialist views)I think all presidents of my country are patriotic to a large degree. And wouldn't want it any other way. Such as Liane, i do not understand all this fear & paranoia of such a small degree of socialism. Why they do not want to help some little old lady (who they may know or be kin to) with healthcare. So she can then possibly be able to pay her bills. Because it may put them out a little. Their pre-revolutionary ideas are outdated (way more than a day late and a dollar short) as well as down right embarrasing. Plus, the public bashings of our leader and during wartime seems very unAmerican to me. If it is okay in other countrys to have healthcare for all. Then why shouldn't it be okay here. I feel that some of this is due to that we have just gotten a tad arrogant. Due to our history etc. But, history is just history and in no way aplies to today or this situation. Nor should be repeated. And yes the American Indians are the orginal or "true" Americans. We should have tried to learn a thing or two from the Indians instead of killing them off. Plus, we'd probably have alot less polution. This country was conquered by greedy intentions and is still riddled or cursed with this to an extent i guess. Personally, i think I'd liked their religion better than our national religion. We were their American taliban. I love America but i love mankind more.

  43. @skat35: As I stated earlier, there are no "true" Americans since even the Native Americans (Indians) were immigrants, although some of the indigenous population did refer to themselves as "original people" when they initially encountered the European explorers and settlers (such as the Lenni Lenape or Delaware in eastern Pennsylvania). And we did learn some things from the Native Americans--certainly the Pilgrims would not have survived the first year at Plymouth without learning how to adapt to the environment with the assistance of the remaining native populations (most of the "Indians" of the region had been decimated by disease a few years prior to the Pilgrims' arrival). Potatoes and corn, for instance, were crops native to the Americas and were later brought to Europe (so, in a sense, I guess you could blame the Indians for the potato famine if you were so inclined). The Natives died through disease (they had little resistance to European diseases) and warfare, but they also slaughtered a fair share of settlers in the process, especially during the 18th and 19th centuries. Part of the problem was a different perception of land ownership; the European concept was that land was a tangible item that could be owned, sold, traded, etc., while the Native perception was that land belonged to a higher power, and they were caretakers of the land--you could not "own" land any more than you could own the air you breathe, for instance. These different attitudes contributed to the warfare that involved the native populations during the 17th and 18th centuries, although imperial rivalries between France and England (and, to a lesser extent, Spain) for control of North America resulted in assorted native populations choosing sides--and, if you chose the wrong side, you lost your land/were displaced. So we really weren't their American Taliban, because they did put up a good fight, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, but a lack of unity severely affected their ability to stop European expansion.

    And I'm not sure that we really would have had less pollution. One sign of wealth in a Native American community was the amount of trash you had piled outside your home--in other words, whoever died with the most toys wins, in a sense. The image of the Native American as a staunch environmentalist is a figment of Hollywood's imagination perpetuated through a commercial of the early 1970s (the one with the Indian crying at the pile of refuse) and through Disney films like "Pocahontas" that had the natives singing and playing with the woodland creatures--one of the most historically inaccurate movies ever made (and it's not just because of the singing).

    By the way, which native religion do you prefer--the religion of the Lenni Lenape, Seneca, Cherokee, Kiowa, etc.? They are not all the same, just like not all Europeans follow the same religion (and the United States does not have a national religion, unless Congress has passed a law stating that there is one in the past six hours). Plus, you cannot lump all natives together; they are separate nations, just like you cannot lump Germans, French, Italians, together and simply refer to them as Europeans and think they are all alike.

  44. I have some idea of native American history. My adoptive father is 1/2 cherokee. Have been to my share of modern day powwows. I think it is a very interesting culture. Pehaps cause of my dad. Or maybe am just somewhat of a hippy. My family talked often of the trail of tears that moved the family south to Georgia. The modern day Indians or part Indian folks seem very patriotic and respectful of soldiers in Afghanistan etc. Seem to accept me as well even though i am about as white as they come. (freckels included) About their religion: i meant the way that they apreciate the seasons and mother earth for providing everything that they need. Also some of their spiritual ideas. They were a very proud, traditional, and unmaterialist people. That wasted nothing and apreciate the most important aspects of life. If they have trash on the ground at the reservation. Well, probably rebellious attitude. They are a little unhappy and displaced. Guess i was wishing that our national religion could be of a more peaceful one such as Buddism. And no, i don't think Europeans or native Americans look at all alike. Thankful for diversity. Differences make people all the more interesting to get to know and learn about. Wouldn't want us all to be clones of each other. We would be more boring. I like this blog because their are different points of view from folks from all over. Interesting to hear what they have to say from different perspectives or environments.

  45. Not meaning that we have actually have a national religion. Just refering to a majority. A guess really. Realizing of course that we are the melting pot here with freedom of religion. Not sure of the exact numbers or followings. I like the way that the modern day American Indian desendents pray at these powwow meetings. They don't use the word God. They use creator instead. But the prayer is similar to a Christian prayer with a few slight differences.

  46. Just wanted to add: that my bi-racial Indian/white father looks alot like Elvis Presley. When he was younger, he was actually mistaken a few times for Elvis. He even did his hair like him and was in the army too. Maybe he should have taken up Elvis impersonating. And capitalize a little on his looks. Later, i found out that Elvis also had Cherokee ancestory. Which was pretty freaky to find out. Back in the 1990's my ex husband tried to convince me to take a picture of him to the tabloids and say that Elvis was still alive and residing in a small US town. He felt that we could pull it off. Maybe i should have tried it!lol But dad is not the kind of guy you want to make angry. Perhaps that Indian side of him showing.

  47. (a more lengthy response was submitted on Tuesday evening but has not appeared--apparently it got lost in cyberspace)

    @Lorraine: My facts are correct. I do not dispute the times of the two attacks on the World Trade Center. Everyone who I have spoken with who was alive in July 1945 has told me that when they heard the news of the first plane hitting the North Tower, their first thought was "Oh, no, not again"--remembering the plane that had hit the Empire State Building (and yes, we were still at war in July 1945). It's not until the second plane hit the South Tower, and then the planes hit the Pentagon and landed in southwestern Pennsylvania, did we know that it wasn't just a random incident. So it's not unreasonable that the president did not immediately call out the Air Force when the first plane struck the North Tower.

    I think in this instance we are of different minds, and it's best if we just agree to disagree, because obviously I won't convince you of my opinion, and you won't convince me that your viewpoint is correct.

    Regarding the "senseless" war: While I haven't visited VA hospitals, I have had students whose National Guard units were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. One came home in a box. Several others suffered serious injuries but have returned to school. One student was deployed twice--once to Iraq, once to Afghanistan. He intends to enlist in the Army after he graduates next month, because he truly believes that he has a duty to his country and wants to go back. He has seen firsthand the positive impact that U.S. presence has had on the region. He also was one of Saddam Hussein's guards during his last days, and he heard things that he is not permitted to disclose because of national security. So while there are a lot of people like you who view this as a senseless war, we still need to support our troops who are still fighting over there--regardless of whether or not we support U.S. activity in the Middle East (by the way, I'm a pacifist--so don't think that I support the war just because I explain U.S. military activity).

  48. @Karen: Just because I see this as a senseless war, please don't assume that I don't support our troops! I'm a veteran for God sake and would NEVER turn my back on my fellow comrades. We are a rarity with only about 1% of our population joining the military, this creats a bond few will ever understand. We all took a oath when we joined, to follow orders and that's exactly what our soldier's are doing. I have the upmost respect for that.

  49. @Lorraine: Thank you for clarifying this--and for serving our country. Even though I personally oppose war, I do respect those of you who have offered to give your lives in the service of our country, whether you support the conflict or not. And I do agree that this war makes about as much sense as Vietnam did--especially since I don't think anyone has ever "won" a war against Afghanistan (certainly the Soviets didn't, and I don't think that the British did, either--but Charlie can correct me on that one). I'm not 100% convinced that the invasion of Iraq wasn't young Bush trying to finish off what his father started with the Gulf War, especially since the pursuit of Saddam Hussein appeared to be personal (unfortunately I don't have the clearance for my student to tell me what he learned while guarding him, but I strongly suspect it was either something about WMD or assassination attempts against Bush 41, based on his reaction when I asked--"I'm not authorized to answer that question"). Everything else he will openly discuss, except those two topics.

  50. @Karen: Thank you. I learned a lot from the Air Force but gained more than I ever thought possible...
    I think that by us hashing it out here that we agree more than we disagree, with the exception of me calling Bush a buffoon and my opinion on his handling of 9/11. How can any side win a war when there's casualties on both sides? This war really didn't make sense to start with. Yes, the pursuit of Saddam did appear to be personal. Time to call a truce...we're not going to see eye to eye on eveything because we are two unique women from different backgrounds.
    Think Peace

  51. @Karen Just out of curiosity, why do you feel the need to write paragraph upon paragraph of "history" lessons in your reply to other posters? Is this merely the typical way you communicate on a daily basis or do you feel that you need to provide your own personal context to bolster your rebuttal/response?

  52. @Kalleah: I realize that you posed this question to Karen but here's a hint for you. If you want to find out info on a fellow poster go to their name. If it highlights red when you run your mouse over it click it and you get their profile information. You'll get your answer to your question about Karen if you look at her profile page, just like I found out your kinda tall.

  53. @Lorraine: Thanks for providing @kelleah with directions on how to find out about the blog participants.

    @kelleah: I'm an historian--that's why my posts often (but not always) include history lessons. History does provide a context for a lot of what is happening today--after all, to paraphrase George Santayana, those who do not learn from the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them. And Charlie has indicated on a previous blog that we should look at historical precedents (see his comment at 30 March 2010 22:20 on the "Frank: tell it like it is!" blog). So until Charlie tells me to stop, that's the way most of my posts will appear to you--like a history lesson. Everyone who participates in these blogs in a sense brings their own background to the table--Lorraine as a veteran, Linda as a former social worker, Valerie as a nurse, etc., and your background greatly influences what you think and what you write when posting comments on these blogs. Most of the posters/commenters provide evidence to support their arguments, including links to articles; in my case, because of my academic training, my evidence is mostly history-oriented. Don't be afraid of the past, but embrace it--it has a lot to offer to help us understand the direction of this nation and the world (even if the lesson is what NOT to do when responding to a situation).


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