I hate to be mean spirited after such a relaxing weekend on the beautiful Gulf Coast but, after Ashley beckoned me to make some new additions to my Enemies of the State list, and after reading a few of the links in this post, I feel compelled.
The additions he requested will be up shortly, some of them anyway, others just aren’t enough of a threat and unworthy of the list. But I’d like to take this time to single out the slow member of Ashley’s herd and draw her away from the pack, for sport more than anything else but, also because she makes generous references to my former state of Florida and its citizens’ reaction to the 2004 hurricanes, a subject I have as much intimate knowledge of as I do Katrina.
In this post the day after the second anniversary of Katrina, Jacksonville blogger Cassy Fiano amassed such a degree of stupidity that I have taken to calling her condition ‘bitter ignorant.’ She doesn’t make the list because her opinion is so filled with fallacy that it fails to even achieve a formed or cognizant point. Her bitter ignorance is the kind of banality that, when witnessed, leaves its subject with a deep sense of sadness in realization that such a pattern of thought actually exists, much less wields it false rhetoric. It effects the entire collective conscious. We are all made worse by it the way we are when we hear some horrible news story. To read Casey Fiano’s opinion is akin to looking into an alley and seeing a shit-covered baby crying for its dead mother. To read it is anguishing but the lingering pain is that the world conjured it up somehow.
I hate to sound arrogant. I am humbled daily by the New Orleans bloggers. But before this Cassy girl, I feel like the Colossus of Rhodes.
I admit, I’m taking it a little personally. Not because her opinions and mine both exist in the world but because her approach to the subject is such a childish one. It is also painfully devoid of real experience. I unfortunately have more experience with hurricanes than I care for, in her state and mine.
She starts her drivel by using surfers as a reference by which to measure people’s preparedness to hurricanes. She does this three times in the first few paragraphs of the post. Using surfers as example to show how harmless hurricanes are is a terribly dumb manner to approach the subject. Emergency managers, retirees, home owners, meteorologists, all could have been used. Instead she chose anecdotal references to wave riders as a means of saying, “hurricanes aren’t that bad!”
She goes on by saying:
To us, hurricanes are kind of like big thunderstorms. Unless a really big, bad one comes along (like a 4 or a 5), it’s pretty boring.
Here is why this is a stupid and unfounded statement: Hurricane Frances struck Florida as a category 2 in 2004, killed 5 people in the state and caused $9 billion in damage. Later that year, Ivan came ashore at the Florida line as a category 3, causing 1$3 billion in damages (including the destruction of my parent’s home) and killed 13 Floridians (including 4 people in my parent’s neighborhood). Then Jeanne came through as a category 3 and killed 4 Floridians and caused $7 billion in damage.
Many lives were saved in these storms because of evacuations, surfers not withstanding. Had the thousands of people whose lives were spared had the same attitude as Cassy Fiano, the death toll would have been much higher. My parent’s would have been among them but, instead of barbecuing and “waiting for the exciting stuff to happen,” they got out. And by “exciting stuff” maybe you mean stuff like this.
Cassy Fiano goes to describe how disappointed she was by the impact of the hurricanes, itself an astonishing statement, but anyone who looks at the paths of Florida’s 2004 hurricanes will see none of the storms hit Jacksonville. The closest was a weakened Charley approaching from the west with virtually no storm surge. So, she has not experienced a 10-15 foot surge with 125 mph winds. Curiously she still evacuated at her parent’srequest.
Even though she boasts of how Floridians handle storms, she later admits Jacksonville hasn’t been hit by one in almost 50 years. She didn’t have to say that. I knew she had never experienced one by the way she spoke of them. People who have seen their destruction have a more respectful tone.
I could have forgiven her for ignorance about storms. She’s a kid.
Where she makes herself out to be utterly foolish is when she perpetrates the same tired and false logic that I have heard so many times yet somehow have not yet grown weary of responding to:
But did you see those people clamoring for the government to swoop in and solve everything for them? Did they whine and cry to the media about how the government wasn’t paying enough attention to their plight? No!
Now, anyone can go to FEMA’s Web site and see how much money was allocated to Florida in 2004. This proves that money was asked for and received by Florida to the tune of 5.6 billion requested by 1.1 million residents.
Also on the site are stats for every state that asked for and received money going way, way back.
And didn’t she say something about the 2004 hurricanes in Jacksonville being a non-event? Well, using this database on the Pensacola News Journal, people can search to find out how much money was allocated in 2004 by address, zip code or city. Go ahead look up Jacksonville and see how much money they received.
Or don’t. Just take it from one of Duval County’s assessors who said in this article:
In Duval County, where Jacksonville is located, 283 residents received $579,123 from FEMA money for damages inflicted by Hurricane Charley.
But those numbers don’t add up to Keith Hicks, who works for the Duval County Property Appraiser’s Office in Jacksonville. Hicks, chief of the office’s residential division, said he walked through most neighborhoods after every hurricane in 2004 and saw little damage.
“When you compare it to other parts of the state, we were relatively untouched,” Hicks said. “I can see a claim here or there, but I can’t see a major amount of claims.”
That’s from an 85 mph Category 1 storm that she herself said was nothing exciting. Even though it did little damage, 600K was spent on residents who did actually clamor for the government to swoop in and give them money in spite of just about everyone stating the area didn’t need it.
And while we have this little tool available to us, I encourage everyone to look up allocation for cities like Pensacola, Orlando and Tampa. They all received millions for infrastructure and private residences.
Excerpts from those articles include:
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Robert Carpenter said his office is getting regular reports of looting from residents of the area’s many storm-wrecked neighborhoods.
Orange County sheriff’s deputies arrested 10 people in five looting incidents, according to Lt. Danny McAvoy, a spokesman for the county Emergency Management Agency.
He said three men were arrested while trying to steal a safe from a grocery store, four men were looting a liquor store, one man tried to break into a restaurant and two men were caught stealing suits from a men’s clothing store.
There have been 72 reports of looting in Escambia County since Ivan passed, sheriff’s officials said. Deputies have arrested 15 suspects.
I think it has been shown how weak Cassy Fiano’s post was factually and logically. Now let’s take a look at where she stands politically.
People who have spoken out against New Orleans in the two years since the storm include:
Dennis Hastert, who suggested not rebuilding New Orleans, backtracked, led the Republican congress to lose both the Senate and the House in 2006 and recently announced his retirement from politics.
She also has a Duncan Hunter link on her page. He’s right ahead of Tancredo at 1%.
So, I do have to thank my lucky stars that the opinions of Cassy Fiano, Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo represent 1% of conservatives. That’s people on the same side of the political fence as them marginalizing their views to a minuscule percentile.
To Cassy Fiano and her non-researched, pitiful argument made two years and a day after Katrina’s landfall, I pray that you will be a little more careful with your facts the next time you wish to post anything on the Internet, where people will be able to read for many years how flippant you were with the truth and how uncaring you were toward the very real issues facing your fellow Americans. You can always have a change of heart and take your other post down. But this one will be up for a long time, generously peppered with your name so that all the future Googles and Yahoos will be able to find it.
Cassy, feel free to respond. My comments don’t close. Many of New Orleans best and brightest frequent this corner of the Internet and they work with a war chest of brains, balls and heart. Come around these parts talking shit, better you come heavy with truth and knowledge or don’t bother coming at all.