Sunday, February 01, 2009 (AP) “The storm that began in the Midwest has been blamed or suspected in at least 42 deaths, including nine in Arkansas, six each in Texas and Missouri, three in Virginia, two each in Oklahoma, Indiana and West Virginia and one in Ohio. Most were blamed on hypothermia, traffic accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Thumbing her nose at the proponents of global warming, last Monday Mother Nature unleashed an enormous and deadly ice storm that stretched across the southern plains to the East coast. Many of the areas do not routinely deal with significant cold or snow, but even those that do cannot forestall the damage caused by heavy icing.
As I write this, almost one week later, the AP reports 700,000 homes and businesses in Kentucky alone still remain without power. Hardest hit, the area is struggling desperately and people are still dying.
On Friday, January 30th, President Obama declared a federal emergency for Missouri and Arkansas. As of yesterday, I found myself reading blogs and comments that wondered why he hasn’t yet done the same for Kentucky.
Scary thought, that.
Ever the cynic when it comes to politics and the media, I started to dig and when I wasn’t able to find any outright pronouncements about Kentucky, I started to wonder if this was perhaps a not-so-subtle chastisement from the “Orchid Office” to non-UAW, profit-making Toyota auto plant-hosting Kentucky? (Missouri is host to only Big Three UAW plants and was a “blue state” in the election.)
I wondered about the lack of chest-thumping op-ed pieces from the media blasting President Obama for not taking the situation seriously. The lack of calling FEMA onto the carpet. Because we all know by now (or should, if we have even half a functioning brain cell) that were this George Bush or any other Republican president, keyboards would be smoking in the effort to post scathing criticisms yet the media remains strangely silent as people, Americans, continue to die.
Wanting only the truth, I continued to research and, at last, with a proper search string, found the following:
President Announces Emergency Declaration For Kentucky
Release Date: January 29, 2009
Release Number: HQ-09-012
(Read it here)
Now, getting FEMA’s physical help into Kentucky may end up being eventual cause for criticism, though living where ice is a serious reality the oft-fatal dangers of traversing hilly roads when they are covered with ice and snow cannot be ignored. At the moment, however, it is only fair to acknowledge that action that could be taken was taken when it was needed. No matter what color state you live in. (Though it should be pointed out that when GWB did the same thing before Katrina, ironically, he was later criticized for not having people in place when the storm hit.)
The weather in Kentucky right now shows temperatures across the state have lifted above freezing. This will allow clean-up and restoration efforts to finally kick into high gear. Call me in a couple of days if FEMA continues to remain a no-show.