Archive for August, 2005

Shelter At BJCC Needs Items

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Local readers, take note. Hurricane refugees are taking shelter in the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. From

Storm refugees take shelter in Birmingham
We just got a report that the Red Cross has taking refugees from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to the Birmingham Jefferson Covention Complex exhibition hall.

They are in need of items such as pillows and toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and soap. There are also children and they could use games and books.

Items can be dropped of at the BJCC or at the City Action Partnership at 1801 3rd Avenue North.

How Can We Help?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

I’ve been watching hurricane coverage today, and it makes me feel so helpless to do anything. Can’t even access the Red Cross website, but that’s probably a good sign. If you’re looking for a disaster relief agency to support, and you can’t get to the Red Cross either, here’s another option:

United Methodist Committee on Relief

100% of donations goes to help the hurricane victims. And, believe me, the UMCOR people aren’t going to be proselytizing or withholding aid till people “get saved”. So open your wallets for UMCOR or the charity of your choice.

American Tsunami

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

I’m back up and running here in Birmingham, but there are still over 100,000 people without power in the metro area. There are power crews from all over the Southeast here to help out, and I’m sure lots of them are on their way to the coast.

I know you’ve seen pictures of the devastation in New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Mobile. The footage looks like something out of a disaster movie. The Alabama coast got off easy, even with all the flooding. The people of Mississippi and Louisiana weren’t so fortunate. Is it even possible to rebuild New Orleans? Please keep all the people affected by Katrina in your thoughts and prayers.

Flooding In Downtown Mobile

Gulfport Is Flattened

New Orleans Flooded

Major New Orleans Roadways Under Water

New Orleans Inundated with Polluted Water

Rooftop Rescue

Power Blogging…

Monday, August 29th, 2005

…or blogging while we still have power. The first waves of Katrina are swirling around Birmingham right now. There are tornado warnings all around us but none in our county yet. The storm is moving faster than expected, and we’ll see the rain and winds from the feeder bands through the evening.

We’re still much better off than the people on the coast. Highway 59 in Gulf Shores is underwater a mile inland from the coast. There are reports that the Grand Hotel in Point Clear (near Mobile) is under 12 feet of water. And New Orleans is dealing with severe flooding.

It’s Going To Be Bad

Sunday, August 28th, 2005

Pressure is down to 902 millibars, winds up to 184 mph. When the weather reporters are planning to evacuate, you know it’s going to be bad. Pray early and often!

Hurricane Katrina Now Category 5

Sunday, August 28th, 2005

Hurricane Katrina was just updated to a Category 5, with winds of 160 mph, and it’s heading straight for New Orleans.

The people in the path of the storm need lots of prayers right now, and they’ll need lots of assistance once the storm is past. It’s a relief here in Alabama just to worry about losing power. I can’t imagine having to deal with 15′ – 25′ storm surge.

This is named storm #11 in a hurricane season that doesn’t usually heat up till later in the year. What is going on? It couldn’t possibly be some kind of global climate change, could it? Pat Robertson would probably say it’s God’s punishment on the perverts in New Orleans and the gamblers in Biloxi.

Animals R Us

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

Tricia (my 12-year-old) and I worked at Alabama Animal Adoption today. We have been volunteering there a little over a year, loving on cats and dogs one afternoon a month in the hope that they will be adopted by loving families. Animal Adoption is not a shelter; it’s only open on weekends, and most of the animals spend their weeks with owners or foster families. They are usually much better socialized than the animals at the Humane Society and other shelters that have no choice but to warehouse the animals in their care.

Tricia is almost magical with the animals. She will sit with a scared cat or dog for as long as it takes to calm it (this is not typical of her interactions with her parents and sisters). I tell her she should be a veterinarian, but she’s not sure she could handle the blood and guts. It’s amazing to watch her.

Last year, we fostered a precious dog named Betsy. She is a beautiful mix of Irish setter and Boykin spaniel, and she had been living at a vet’s office for nine months before she came to us. She had become standoffish, and even though she was the perfect size for many of the people who came in looking for a dog, no one had shown any interest. After a month of living with us and our menagerie (three dogs and a cat at the time), she found a great home. Last month, we volunteered to foster a gorgeous kitten who is now a member of the family. She is very loving and fun to have around — except when she decides it’s playtime at 3:00 in the morning.

If you live in the Birmingham area and you’ve been looking for an animal companion, drop by Animal Adoption or check out the website. And if you have animals already, make sure they are spayed or neutered and get regular vet care. Animals can cheer us up, lower our blood pressure, and comfort us when we’re lonely or sad. They are great companions. I wouldn’t trade ours for anything, although I would like to get back all the shoes our puppy has eaten in the last year.

Thinking About What, Exactly?

Friday, August 26th, 2005

I saw a bumper sticker today that almost made me wreck my car. I’m used to the little black squares with the white Ws. Or the red, white, and blue “patriotic” Bush-Cheney stickers. But this one actually read:

Thinking Women Vote Bush

This would express my opinion much better:

You’re a Woman, and You Voted for Bush? What Were You Thinking?

Okay, I Said It, But I Didn’t Mean It

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

One of Pat Robertson’s flunkies must have pointed out that his call yesterday for the assassination of Hugo Chavez was caught on tape. Pat spent the morning denying what he said, even though it had been replayed on every news station in the country, and maybe the world. You’d think the head of a broadcasting network and TV show host would be aware of that, but Pat was apparently hoping that God would destroy the evidence and wipe our collective memory. I expect God was too busy feeling disgusted to bother, and Pat’s been forced to apologize for his inflammatory remarks. But not to worry; he says he wasn’t serious. He was just speaking out of exasperation.

Believe me, Pat, that when I say I wish you’d stop calling yourself a Christian, I too am speaking out of exasperation. And I’m also dead serious.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

Pat Robertson is now trying to back off of his statement that the US government should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Now he says he was misinterpreted. Sure. Of course he was.

“I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping,” Robertson said on his “The 700 Club” television program.

“There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted,” Robertson added.

Uh huh. Well, I guess that would be okay. We’ll just send in some operatives and KIDNAP THE PRESIDENT OF A SOVEREIGN NATION. Nothing wrong with that. It might even be cheaper than assassination.

Pat seems to have forgotten the power of videotape. Media Matters has him right here, advocating assassination, not kidnapping.

“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don’t think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United … This is in our sphere of influence, so we can’t let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”

The clip of his crazy remarks has been all over TV, and I’m sure it’s done a lot to improve our image in the international community.

Oh, I forgot. We are supposed to be God’s new chosen people, so we don’t have to care what anyone else thinks. Just ask Pat. Or Jerry (“Blow them all away in the name of the Lord”) Falwell. If these two keep calling themselves Christians, we’re going to have to come up with a new name for those who actually follow the teachings of Jesus.

Or, even better, the Christian community could stand up and speak out and take back our faith from these charlatans.

Thanks to Independent for the pointer.