Three More Heroes

Gates of Vienna tells us about them:

There were these three fun-loving college boys looking for a good time weekend. Funny thing is, they found it — and more than they had any inkling of when they set out to go get them some fun in the sun on the Gulf.

MTV tells the story: “I was just watching the news and was really becoming indignant about the way the situation was being handled. There was 20,000 people trapped in the convention center with no food and no water, living like animals,” Buder said. “So I called up my roommate Sonny and said, ‘I have a proposition for you. We’re going down to New Orleans.’ And he said, ‘I’ll be there in five minutes.’ So we grabbed one other kid from our hall and took off.”
Fourteen hours from Duke University to what was formerly the Big Easy and is now the Enormously Difficult. Fourteen hours to decide what to do when they got there and how they would be of help

You’ll want to read the rest in Dymphna’s own delightful prose. And while there, wish her a quick recovery from a recent fall off a ladder.

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Why we have judicial activism…

…according to my government text:
…activism is usually justified by liberals as necessary for the defnese of political minorities…”

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A Healthy Snack- From a 7y.o.’s POV

So the FYB, who just had his more than adequate lunch topped off with a bowl of ice-cream, is asking for a snack to fill his other hollow leg.

He is told that he may have a piece of fruit from the basket on the table. He says hopefully that apples are a healthy fruit, and there are some near the basket but not exactly in it. I say that yes, apples are healthy, and he may have an apple. Sometimes I despair of myself. I am old enough, Father William, to know better. I’ve been doing the mothering thing for nearly 23 years, but still, my mind is simply not agile enough to interpret these things properly.

He meant a caramel apple.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Why we have judicial activism…

…according to my government text:
…activism is usually justified by liberals as necessary for the defnese of political minorities…”

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Responsibility

IN the immediate aftermath of any disaster, you are in charge. You are reponsible for yourself, your family members, and all living creatures under your stewardship. You need to be in a state of readiness to respond.

STate and Local Authorities are responsible for broader coverage of the disaster area. Because they live and work in the area they are presumed to know best where help is needed most urgently, where the roads and bridges are, and what the alternate routes are in the event that main traffic arteries are impassable. One of their responsibilities is to allocate resources and triage the response. That means they are presumed to be aware that they have designated certain locations as shelters and so the people there need food, water, and security. It is not supposed to mean that, as happened in this case, the state and local officials decide that they do not actually want people staying in the evacuation centers designated for that purpose, so they deny food and water. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army are actually designated by FEMA as part of their reasponse team- and both agencies have told people that they postitioned relief supplies nearby before Katrina, but were prevented by state officials from bringing those supplies in to relieve the survivors.

One or two media organizations and untold leftist websites keep getting this wrong. The state department of homeland security refused the relief organizations entry. But many on the left are insisting that this is was an action of the Federal DHS. I do not think they are dishonest. I think they are genuinely confused and do not understand that each state has its own state DHS under the authority of the state officials- in this case, Governor Blanco.

It’s obvious that civics education in our public schools is sadly lacking as so many seem unable to understand that phrases like ‘state and local authorities’ mean *local* officials for the states and towns in which the disasters occur. State and local authorities does not mean Federal agencies.

I think it’s important to demand accountability of elected officials- and since local officials are first responders, we need to make sure we elect local officials who seem capable of being first responders rather than first whiners. We also need to be encouraging each other and anybody else who will listen to *learn* from the past. Years ago the left could have gotten on board with FEMA’s recommendation to stock up on enough supplies to last three days, but they chose to mock it, denigrate it, and display ignorance about the importance of some of the contents- I wonder how many more people would have been prepared if their political bedmates had been foresighted and thoughtful enough to say, “You know, I still hate Republicans, but stocking up on three days worth of supplies isn’t a bad idea. Let’s figure out how the working poor could do that.” Instead, they chose to say “We hate Republicans and stocking up is stupid… or too hard… or too complicated… or not your responsibility…. or too expensive…” That sort of patronization is deadly.

Nobody is to blame for the hurricane. However, local and state officials have much to answer for in their failure to follow their own plans, their decision to deny relief supplies to the Convention Center, their decision to divert funds for pork projects instead of upgrading the levees, and their decision to begin the finger pointing before their dead were even counted.

Personal responsiblity is a good thing- it can keep you from finding yourself in the same situation another time. Refusing to acknowledge individual failures that contributed toward a horrible situation is not helpful or compassionate. That kind of patronization and paternalism is what is counterproductive. It’s more likely to produce more people who passively wait for what happens rather than plan for emergencies.

Local and state officials have much to answer for, but so do individual citizens. Mayor Nagin told evacuees to bring three days worth of food and water to the evacuation centers because there would not be much available there. I am sure that some of those who came to the Convention Center without supplies just didn’t have anything to bring- and, of course, the mayor has to have known that this would happen, since the emergency shelters were designed for the relief of poorest. However, I have read of an interview with at least one person who, when asked why she didn’t follow the Mayor’s directions, replied, “Oh, I’m sure the government will have something here for us.” Note: She did not say, “My cupboards were bare.”

Do those who chose to ignore Nagin’s request him bear no responsiblity for the results of that choice? Encouraging people to rely on the government for food has crippled far too many of our people. While learning how to set up your own disaster plan, consider finding ways to educate others in your community, to help wean others from over-dependence on government.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Food Storage for Disaster Preparedness

If you’re here from the Make it From Scratch Carnival, please scroll down towards the bottom of the page for the biscuit mix recipe.

If you want more ideas about disaster preparedness, previous posts on this topic are here.

Backwoods Home Magazine is plumb full of ‘practical ideas for self-reliant living.’ See if your library carries it. They do have a website, and today’s preparedness tip is to go visit this page in particular:
Start Your Food Storage on $10.00 a Week

You’ll find terrific advice, in particular the note about first sitting down to think out exactly what sorts of disasters you are most likely to face. Those who live in earthquake country will want to design a slightly different plan than those who live in Alaska and need to prepare for blizzards and power outages in sub zero temperatures. Those who live in the country will need slightly different items than those in cities, and those with special food allergies will need a different list of foods than those without allergies as well. Individualizing the plan is one of the benefits of doing this yourself rather than lobbying the government to provide a relief kit to every man, woman, and child in the country (as I saw one leftist writer seriously suggest).

One more item for the emergency supplies kit: Instant Biscuit Mix.
With powdered milk and/or the liquid from your canned goods you can make pancakes, biscuits, doughnuts, even pizza crust.
We take biscuit mix camping and use it to make a breakfast pastry over the campfire. We mix up the mix with liquid to make a biscuit dough. We then add cinnamon and butter to it. We roll out enough for one biscuit into a long snake. Coil the snake of dough around the end of a stick, then bake your biscuit over the campfire by turning the stick of dough around and around until it is done.

Commercial Biscuit Mix isn’t very frugal, but you can make your own. It’s not very hard. The only real difficulty is that it does not keep as long as commercial mixes because it does not have the chemicals. In order to make this practical for an emergency supply, you would need to make up a batch every two weeks or so and use up the old one. That’s not going to be practical for many of us. However, homemade biscuit mix has another use in a frugal guide to disaster preparedness. If you buy commercial biscuit mix now, you can stop spending that money, make your own mix, and then use the money you save to purchase some extra canned goods for your emergency supply.

This page has a good home made biscuit mix recipe. I would only add that we use freshly ground whole wheat flour (not storebought- if you have to buy it at the store, you might as well use the white flour) and aluminum free baking powder. We also like the flavor better with the addition of some powdered milk. If you add powdered milk to the mix, then you only need to use water for the liquid in the recipes.

10 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons salt
2 cups shortening that does not require refrigeration
Makes 12.5 cups of mix

Biscuits: Place 2 cups Homemade Biscuit Mix in a bowl; make a well in center. Add 1/2 cup milk. Stir with fork just till dough follows fork around bowl. On lightly floured surface, knead dough 10 to 12 strokes. Roll or pat to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut dough with floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Bake on baking sheet in 450 degree oven 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 10.

Muffins: Combine 3 cups Homemade Biscuit Mix and 3 tablespoons sugar. Mix 1 beaten egg and 1 cup milk; add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir till moistened. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or till golden. Makes 12 muffins.

Pancakes: Place 2 cups Homemade Biscuit Mix in a bowl. Add 2 beaten eggs and 1 cup milk all at once to biscuit mix, stirring till blended but still slightly lumpy. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot, lightly greased griddle. Cook till golden brown, turning to cook other side. Makes 10.

Ellen’s Kitchen has fancier recipes if this one is too hillbilly for you.=)

Posted in cookery, frugalities | 11 Comments

But It’s All President Bush’s Fault

From the Washington Post: Nagin was telling tourists that he hoped they had a hotel room at least three floors up, because unless they were able to do the impossible and find a rental car to get out of town, they were stuck with riding the storm out in their hotel rooms, but

“In fact, while the last regularly scheduled train out of town had left a few hours earlier, Amtrak had decided to run a “dead-head” train that evening to move equipment out of the city. It was headed for high ground in Macomb, Miss., and it had room for several hundred passengers. “We offered the city the opportunity to take evacuees out of harm’s way,” said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black. “The city declined.”

So the ghost train left New Orleans at 8:30 p.m., with no passengers on board.”

Speaking of ignoring mass transit options, the Political Teen has the video footage of LA Senator Mary Landrieu’s appearance on Fox News Sunday, where she sidestepped clumsily and refused to answer Chris Wallace’s question about the buses Mayor Nagin left sitting in the parking lots instead of using them to evacuate his people. She says that it’s not his fault because he ‘can’t get his people to work on a sunny day, less alone getting them out of a city in front of a hurricane” and this is President Bush’s fault because he doesn’t believe in mass transit. Really. And Nagin couldn’t use those buses because they were under water. Which was kind of the point. Why were they under water instead of on dry ground after being used to evacuate the people who had no transportation?
She lamblasts the federal government response and then when asked why her criticism does not apply to the local and state governments (and given cause why it does), she pulls back and says she is not going to cast blame, this is no time for finger pointing, and she calls on the Federal Government to stop issuing press releases blaming state and city officials, and to work productively with her and drop the blame game, and then continues in the same breath to blame the Federal government. Nobody mentions that her brother is the Lt. Governor of Louisiana.
You really want to watch this.

Paul at Wizbang is ranting eloquently about the need for more ownership, not less, and less government intervention, not more. Paul is from New Orleans and evacuated out in advance of the storm. Language Warning. Here’s a bowdlerized excerpt:

The answer isn’t to make poor people more dependent, the answer is to make the poor people more self sufficient! (Amazing I know)

The Democrats don’t want an “ownership society.” Well, guess what? Car ownership made the difference in how some people survived!

Let’s call it like it was… 85% of the people you saw trapped in the Superdome lived in government housing and have for several generations…. Their subsistence is dependent on a getting a government check every month. These people have been taught -by Democrats- that property ownership is overrated… That big government will protect them. [bleep]

This was brought home by an interview I saw on CNN with a woman airlifted from the Dome to the airport. She was whining that there was a big truck full of water at the airport but the government did not sent enough people to pass the water out. The thought never occurred to her to gather up 2 or 3 people and go see if they could set up a table passing out water to their fellow refugees. She was just sitting in a chair waiting for someone to give her something. She didn’t see herself as someone who could change her position in life, she saw herself as a victim. If I were in her position, I’d get some help, find out who was in charge and get the supplies moving. I wouldn’t be a victim, I’d instantly become a volunteer. But I’m a horrible white republican male business owner who -you know- likes to own things.

…It wasn’t race or even so much economic status that made the difference in how people got thru the storm… it was attitude and ability.

The people who took it upon themselves to act got thru this storm (just as they get thru life) easier than the people waiting for government to help them. So what do the Democrats want? Less people “elevating individualism and private enterprise” and more people depending on government… Amazing. Simply freaking amazing.”

Naturally, his comments have generated a lot of criticism in his comment section. Several people point out that he’s overlooking the disabled poor, those who are ‘undereducated,’ those who are elderly, frail, and lack the mental capacity to make good decisions. Of course, ‘undereducation’ is something most conservatives believe would be best fixed by more local and less federal control, but I would agree that in his passionate post Paul has perhaps simplified the plight of some of the poorest. But I think those people are also best helped on a person to person basis, rather than through a federal bureaucracy. Federal intervention creates a dependency that personal connections do not. No matter what the reasons for their inaction, inability or unwillingness, it remains true that those ‘who took it upon themselves to act’ got through this disaster better than those who waited to see what was going to happen to them.

If you haven’t read these posts by Captain Ed, you need to: FEMA Response is not the issue; and more on how Louisiana failed to follow its own plan.

And finally, Jeff Goldstein has a blog I don’t think I’ve linked to because it’s almost never suitable for the young maidens of the Common Room- but this post is clean, it’s clear, it’s scathing, and it’s good reading. Do not, however, read the comments unless you do not mind foul language.

UPDATE: If you’ve not yet watched the Landrieu appearance via the Political Teen, please do so. Most of our progeny just watched it, and I was amused that the FYG, aged 9, observed, “She doesn’t answer any questions, does she?” FYG also wanted to know why she said “I’ll tell you if you’ll just let me answer this question,” when she wasn’t really answering any questions in the first place.
One of the Maidens watched and said “Beauty is deceptive, because she’s very cute, but she’s not very good.”
Everybody’s eyes opened very wide at her statement that Mayor Nagin can’t get his people to work on a sunny day, less alone get them out in front of a hurricane. Young Pip noted that while Landrieu complained about the government’s ‘insulting’ response to Louisiana’s need for aid, actually, her ‘his people won’t work on a sunny day’ remark (which she repeated three times) is truly one of the most insulting comments we have yet to see from the Katrina reporting.
And the Head Girl is incensed at Landrieu’s double standards.

UPDATE 2: Since this is a family blog, I thought I’d share this
Nursery Rhyme Medley
A tisket, a tasket
Several idiots in a basket
They wrote their own disaster plan
But-while-running-around-like-hens-with-their-heads-cut-off-they-completely-and totally-dropped-the-ball
they dropped it, they dropped it.
And the President’s horses and the president’s men actually *did* pick them up and put them together again- not that Senator Landrieu or the old media will ever notice.

—————————————–

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Responsibility

IN the immediate aftermath of any disaster, you are in charge. You are reponsible for yourself, your family members, and all living creatures under your stewardship. You need to be in a state of readiness to respond.

STate and Local Authorities are responsible for broader coverage of the disaster area. Because they live and work in the area they are presumed to know best where help is needed most urgently, where the roads and bridges are, and what the alternate routes are in the event that main traffic arteries are impassable. One of their responsibilities is to allocate resources and triage the response. That means they are presumed to be aware that they have designated certain locations as shelters and so the people there need food, water, and security. It is not supposed to mean that, as happened in this case, the state and local officials decide that they do not actually want people staying in the evacuation centers designated for that purpose, so they deny food and water. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army are actually designated by FEMA as part of their reasponse team- and both agencies have told people that they postitioned relief supplies nearby before Katrina, but were prevented by state officials from bringing those supplies in to relieve the survivors.

One or two media organizations and untold leftist websites keep getting this wrong. The state department of homeland security refused the relief organizations entry. But many on the left are insisting that this is was an action of the Federal DHS. I do not think they are dishonest. I think they are genuinely confused and do not understand that each state has its own state DHS under the authority of the state officials- in this case, Governor Blanco.

It’s obvious that civics education in our public schools is sadly lacking as so many seem unable to understand that phrases like ‘state and local authorities’ mean *local* officials for the states and towns in which the disasters occur. State and local authorities does not mean Federal agencies.

I think it’s important to demand accountability of elected officials- and since local officials are first responders, we need to make sure we elect local officials who seem capable of being first responders rather than first whiners. We also need to be encouraging each other and anybody else who will listen to *learn* from the past. Years ago the left could have gotten on board with FEMA’s recommendation to stock up on enough supplies to last three days, but they chose to mock it, denigrate it, and display ignorance about the importance of some of the contents- I wonder how many more people would have been prepared if their political bedmates had been foresighted and thoughtful enough to say, “You know, I still hate Republicans, but stocking up on three days worth of supplies isn’t a bad idea. Let’s figure out how the working poor could do that.” Instead, they chose to say “We hate Republicans and stocking up is stupid… or too hard… or too complicated… or not your responsibility…. or too expensive…” That sort of patronization is deadly.

Nobody is to blame for the hurricane. However, local and state officials have much to answer for in their failure to follow their own plans, their decision to deny relief supplies to the Convention Center, their decision to divert funds for pork projects instead of upgrading the levees, and their decision to begin the finger pointing before their dead were even counted.

Personal responsiblity is a good thing- it can keep you from finding yourself in the same situation another time. Refusing to acknowledge individual failures that contributed toward a horrible situation is not helpful or compassionate. That kind of patronization and paternalism is what is counterproductive. It’s more likely to produce more people who passively wait for what happens rather than plan for emergencies.

Local and state officials have much to answer for, but so do individual citizens. Mayor Nagin told evacuees to bring three days worth of food and water to the evacuation centers because there would not be much available there. I am sure that some of those who came to the Convention Center without supplies just didn’t have anything to bring- and, of course, the mayor has to have known that this would happen, since the emergency shelters were designed for the relief of poorest. However, I have read of an interview with at least one person who, when asked why she didn’t follow the Mayor’s directions, replied, “Oh, I’m sure the government will have something here for us.” Note: She did not say, “My cupboards were bare.”

Do those who chose to ignore Nagin’s request him bear no responsiblity for the results of that choice? Encouraging people to rely on the government for food has crippled far too many of our people. While learning how to set up your own disaster plan, consider finding ways to educate others in your community, to help wean others from over-dependence on government.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bright Children

Once, when I was babysitting a few generally very well behaved children, the oldest child & I ran into a bit of trouble. He did not like how I was managing his affairs and chose to inform me of this in an unacceptable manner. This resulted in his being sent to his bedroom (upstairs) until he could calm down and behave in a pleasant manner.

I came upstairs after a bit to check on him and found him still grumpy. “Well, when you’re ready to be pleasant you can come down,” I said and then turned to leave. He checked me, though.

“I have an idea,” he said in a cool voice.

“You do?” said I in a tentative voice.

“Yes,” he continued in that cool manner, “Why don’t you stay upstairs and I’ll go downstairs? That’s my idea.”

For some odd reason I didn’t concur with his idea. Poor dear.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Food Storage for Disaster Preparedness

If you’re here from the Make it From Scratch Carnival, please scroll down towards the bottom of the page for the biscuit mix recipe.

If you want more ideas about disaster preparedness, previous posts on this topic are here.

Backwoods Home Magazine is plumb full of ‘practical ideas for self-reliant living.’ See if your library carries it. They do have a website, and today’s preparedness tip is to go visit this page in particular:
Start Your Food Storage on $10.00 a Week

You’ll find terrific advice, in particular the note about first sitting down to think out exactly what sorts of disasters you are most likely to face. Those who live in earthquake country will want to design a slightly different plan than those who live in Alaska and need to prepare for blizzards and power outages in sub zero temperatures. Those who live in the country will need slightly different items than those in cities, and those with special food allergies will need a different list of foods than those without allergies as well. Individualizing the plan is one of the benefits of doing this yourself rather than lobbying the government to provide a relief kit to every man, woman, and child in the country (as I saw one leftist writer seriously suggest).

One more item for the emergency supplies kit: Instant Biscuit Mix.
With powdered milk and/or the liquid from your canned goods you can make pancakes, biscuits, doughnuts, even pizza crust.
We take biscuit mix camping and use it to make a breakfast pastry over the campfire. We mix up the mix with liquid to make a biscuit dough. We then add cinnamon and butter to it. We roll out enough for one biscuit into a long snake. Coil the snake of dough around the end of a stick, then bake your biscuit over the campfire by turning the stick of dough around and around until it is done.

Commercial Biscuit Mix isn’t very frugal, but you can make your own. It’s not very hard. The only real difficulty is that it does not keep as long as commercial mixes because it does not have the chemicals. In order to make this practical for an emergency supply, you would need to make up a batch every two weeks or so and use up the old one. That’s not going to be practical for many of us. However, homemade biscuit mix has another use in a frugal guide to disaster preparedness. If you buy commercial biscuit mix now, you can stop spending that money, make your own mix, and then use the money you save to purchase some extra canned goods for your emergency supply.

This page has a good home made biscuit mix recipe. I would only add that we use freshly ground whole wheat flour (not storebought- if you have to buy it at the store, you might as well use the white flour) and aluminum free baking powder. We also like the flavor better with the addition of some powdered milk. If you add powdered milk to the mix, then you only need to use water for the liquid in the recipes.

10 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons salt
2 cups shortening that does not require refrigeration
Makes 12.5 cups of mix

Biscuits: Place 2 cups Homemade Biscuit Mix in a bowl; make a well in center. Add 1/2 cup milk. Stir with fork just till dough follows fork around bowl. On lightly floured surface, knead dough 10 to 12 strokes. Roll or pat to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut dough with floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Bake on baking sheet in 450 degree oven 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 10.

Muffins: Combine 3 cups Homemade Biscuit Mix and 3 tablespoons sugar. Mix 1 beaten egg and 1 cup milk; add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir till moistened. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or till golden. Makes 12 muffins.

Pancakes: Place 2 cups Homemade Biscuit Mix in a bowl. Add 2 beaten eggs and 1 cup milk all at once to biscuit mix, stirring till blended but still slightly lumpy. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot, lightly greased griddle. Cook till golden brown, turning to cook other side. Makes 10.

Ellen’s Kitchen has fancier recipes if this one is too hillbilly for you.=)

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments