From Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films…and the folks still struggling to recover from Katrina.  You can sign the petition in support of the Gulf Coast Recovery Bill, and let them know they are not alone…

It is now almost two years after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, and people all across that region are still struggling to get back on their feet — navigating a maze of bureuacratic incompetence and outright failure.  Take a look at this video that Scout Prime shot just last weekend in NOLA’s Lower Ninth Ward, and compare to video shot two years ago. 

And then think about being one of those homeowners, as Robert Greenwald’s video above makes abundantly clear, trying to juggle a mortgage payment on a home that is uninhabitable, afford to rebuild with no insurance and/or federal FEMA money payout that is tangled up in a never-ending paper trial, and pay rent on a dinky apartment in a dank neighborhood all the while trying to keep your kids safe from an ever-rising crime rate and a despair that is sinking everyone around you. 

These are our fellow Americans.

Douglas Brinkley had an op-ed in the WaPo called Reckless Abandonment that is worth a read and then some.  In it, he says the following:

Bold action has been needed for two years now, yet all that the White House has offered is an inadequate trickle of billion-dollar Band-aids and placebo directives. Too often in the United States we forget that “inaction” can be a policy initiative. Every day the White House must decide what not to do. (emphasis mine)

The Bush White House has made inaction a government initiative of the highest order in the Gulf Coast. With Michael Chertoff leading the Administration’s charge to nothing doing.

The fishing industry and coastal recovery efforts are still struggling to regain their footing.   Local artists and writers have been putting together benefits for folks in need, and the emotional hurt that everyone in the region is still trying to deal with remains all to close to the surface with little to no counseling help available in a whole lot of communities.  There are stories of hope — but for every one I read or hear about, it comes with a contrasting one of struggle and despair.  (NPR, btw, has done some fantastic follow-up stories and profiles the last two years across the Gulf region.)

Rick Perlstein points to an outstanding video produced about the devastation in NOLA, and the failures of the Bush Administration and others to provide the help that was promised in the aftermath of the storm.  Do watch it.  It truly is worth a thousand words, as Rick says.

But for my money, to really feel the despair and the heartache that I hear in e-mails and notes from readers who live in the region still, you can’t get any better than this performance from Terance Blanchard.  (YouTube)  His music echos the difficulties that so many musicians up and down the Gulf Coast have been having getting back on their feet…just like so many of their peers from all walks of life.

The scars from this mess are still with us, both in the concrete slabs and still-abandoned houses and debris piles, and in the racial divide that was exposed in a raw few days on television screens across America.  Take a little time today to read this piece from Digby, and to peruse the Voices from the Gulf project.  These are our brothers and sisters here in America — before you settle back into the routine of your day think of this:  next disaster, this could be you. 

PS — A big happy birthday to Robert!  (Thanks to David E. for the reminder.)

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com