« on the typewriter ribbon, the shadow grows | Main | a little something for the RSS readers »

twenty-six minutes


I played in another WCOOP event today, a heads-up shootout. It's a format that I really like, and where I've historically done quite well . . . but I sucked out loud, and let a guy outplay me in a pretty embarassing way.

The whole thing is posted at CardSquad, but you'll notice that this entry comes not from the Poker deparment, but the blog department, because of the following:

. . . but the truth is, I was very distracted from the moment I sat down. I've been thinking a lot about the people who are suffering down in the Gulf Coast, and all the refugees, and just before the event began, I heard that they've found e.coli in the water in NOLA. That's really not good, and I'm sure it's just the beginning. I'm not excusing my shitty play, but I'm profoundly upset about the aftermath of Katrina, and I am even more outraged at how poorly the federal government has handled it. I know this doesn't have a lot to do with the nuts-n-bolts of playing poker, but it brings up an interesting topic: if you're in a funk, you just don't play in a cash game or SNG. But if you're registered in a tournament, you've got to show up and play, right? You've got to just suck it up, do your best to focus, and play the best you can play.

It's easier said than done for me, which is annoying, because if I was supposed to work on a film or TV production today, I would have no problem setting my grief and anger aside until the end of the day (probably to resurface when I'm on the 405 at rush hour.) But today, sitting in my office playing on PokerStars, I wasn't able to do it.

It's a question that applies beyond poker, or Halo 2, or working in the yard, or whatever: when you're in a funk, and you've got something to do no matter what, how do you just set it aside and do what has to be done? It's a tough question for me to ponder, because if I had a family obligation, or a TV or film commitment, the answer would be, "I don't know. I just do." So what is it that we draw upon to "just do it?" And if we can just do it for one thing, why not others?

Comments

I like to do yoga to relax & then pray about what ever it is that is wrong.

but the thing is sometimes you can't do anything but what needs to be done. Like when I took my son to the ER (He is ok so don't worry aobut that) YOu have to drive so you have to wacth the road look both ways & keep going. You know in the back of your mind that your kid is hurt & you have to hurry but you have to focus on what you are doing.

you have to think - I'm doing this to help & God will make everything better. But then I believe in heaven & I hope that is where all of the people who drown are. Maybe when the water is down there will be some good that comes out of all of this - I guess a few good things are your games that you got people to play to help.

keep thinking good thoughts & good luck

In my experience we all do what we can, when we can. I know how you're feeling man ... I've spent most of the last week wishing I had a big pile of cash so I could: a) send more donations and b) fly out and help.

Keep the chin up, keep the team motivated, and keep on truckin'. The solution ... if any ... usually presents itself in good time.

Shame on the game Wil, but there'll be others.

MJE

Wil:

I think it's perfectly acceptable to feel the way you do; that for the moment you can't "just do". I think in part it's because the brain just can't grasp the enormity of the situation.

9/11 was like that for me, and the unfolding disaster in New Orleans is just the same, if not even worse thanks to the fucked-up response. We're all watching this unfold in horrific fashion through the disconnect that is television, and trying to put the pictures together with the experience is just more than the brain can handle.

When things of this magnitude happen overseas we don't feel it quite as much as this - but this is here; this is home. For many of us one of the main concepts of this country is that it is HOME. And HOME has been hurt.

This whole concept of "suck it up and keep moving" kind of requires that you eventually let that "sucked up" emotion (or whatever it is you've sucked up) out. You said it yourself - under the right circumstances you would just let it surface later. But how the hell do you let this out, when you're disconnected from the events? How do you let it go when you haven't yet heard the worst of it and in your gut you just KNOW that?

I think everyone will react to this somewhat differently. Although I myself am nowhere near the flood zones I have seen flooding on a massive scale, and nothing I've ever seen comes close to this. New Orleans was wiped off the map. You're just playing bad poker. I haven't slept in 3 days - I don't know how to let it out either.

But I think "just do" relies upon how important the thing you're doing is. I think it says a lot for you as a person that what's happening down in New Orleans and elsewhere is more importatnt to you than this game of Poker. I'd bet that you'll play better at the tournaments next week.

I hope that made some amount of sense - like I said, I haven't slept in a while.

-Chris

There are times and issues that are simply too overwhelming to be put aside. In the realm of worries and distractions, I think Katrina ranks pretty high on the scale, and you should cut yourself some slack. After all, it's not like you're obsessing about the color of your car or your next haircut - these are serious, troubling events and I think it's only human to be unsettled by seeing these things playing out so close to home.

Hmmm...let's take a count.

Number of refuges rescued by Wil Wheaton. Zero Number of refuges rescued by the Federal Government. 30,000 and growing.

I'd refrain from bashing our government till you have a leg to stand on.

how can u stand up for the federal government.. ther was a old woman on the news a min ago whos husband died at her feet and she was told by officials to move him away before he started to smell, sounds a bit harsh to me dont u think

Hey! Karl Rove comments on my blog! That's so cool!

Wil,

One of the big things that I have noticed (or I should say that my Zen group has noticed) is that contributions to local charities have fallen off because everyone who typically donates is moving their contributions over to Katrina relief. One thing we can and should all do is to remember the people who are hungry and homeless in our own communities and remember to donate to them as well as to the relief efforts. And may I say that you have done good by setting up the Tournament with the matching funds and I hope to see you in the $5 and $20 tourneys. I'll let you know I've spent several hours during the last week learning how to play!!

And we will not even mention how the Army Core Engineers has stated repeatedly over the past four or five years how much the levees have been in need of improvement had how studies indicated that there was a significant probability of failure in the event of a Class 3 Hurricane. Oh, that and the fact that Bush has cut the funding to the levees budget for maintenance and improvements every year since 2001 (the money to fight 'the war on terror' has to come from someplace right, just wiped out two cities and allow the terrorist to repurpose some of their funds).

And this article from The Onion, Wil,

One of the big things that I have noticed (or I should say that my Zen group has noticed) is that contributions to local charities have fallen off because everyone who typically donates is moving their contributions over to Katrina relief. One thing we can and should all do is to remember the people who are hungry and homeless in our own communities and remember to donate to them as well as to the relief efforts. And may I say that you have done good by setting up the Tournament with the matching funds and I hope to see you in the $5 and $20 tourneys. I'll let you know I've spent several hours during the last week learning how to play!!

And we will not even mention how the Army Core Engineers has stated repeatedly over the past four or five years how much the levees have been in need of improvement had how studies indicated that there was a significant probability of failure in the event of a Class 3 Hurricane. Oh, that and the fact that Bush has cut the funding to the levees budget for maintenance and improvements every year since 2001 (the money to fight 'the war on terror' has to come from someplace right, just wiped out two cities and allow the terrorist to repurpose some of their funds).

And this article from The Onion, http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28784 deserves a reread!

Chris

When it comes right down to it, Americans are going to have to help Americans in order to recover from this natural disaster. We cannot expect our government to come running to help us every time mother nature decides to fuck shit up. We have to help ourselves and each other in some way, shape or form.

It is easy enough to start pointing fingers at the government. They are the easiest target to point our middle finger at. I mean, they are masters at fingerpointing themselves, always finding someone or something to blame. Why not blame them instead of ourselves for not being prepared.

Truth is, we need to start blaming ourselves for not being prepared for natural disasters. We have the technology now to see things like HURRICANES bearing down on us ahead of time. We know there is no way to stop them, so get the fuck out of the way. Find a way to get the hell out of there. Or don't live along the coastline. Move to Kansas and dodge tornadoes instead. Or go to California a wait for the big one. Come up here to Seattle and wait for Mt Rainier to blow. But be prepared to jump in a ditch, stand in a sturdy doorway, or run.

The mentality that "it can't happen to me" is ignorant. Shit happens, and if you think it can't happen to you, then it probably will. Murphy's Law.

No where is "safe" to live, instead be prepared for the inevitable disaster.

Do I think the government could have done a better job in this particular crisis? YES. But they had no idea how large the disaster would be, and they were not prepared.

Do I think they even had a clue about how to do it in a timely fashion? NO... government is slower than shit, and we all know that first-hand.

Should we expect the government to help us during or immediately after a disaster? NO... unfortunately you must rely on yourself and the ability to help yourself. Expecting immediate help from the government is a pipe dream. You have to be able to help yourself until help arrives.

It's easy to sit here and point fingers. But we have only ourselves to blame for not being prepared. Mother Nature is a complete bitch. And there is no reasoning with her.

What happens when the West or East coast of the US gets pounded by a major tsunami? It WILL happen, we just don't know when. Do you think the US Government is prepared for a disaster of that magnitude???? That will make Katrina look like cake walk. And the reprocussions of an ocean-wide tsunami, whether it be the Atlantic or Pacific will be incomprehendable. Are we prepared for something like that???? HELL NO.

As for me, I am so heartbroken from what I see happening in the Gulf Coast states (and what I saw happen after the Tsunami last year). The inhumanity and suffering is unreal. I've cried countless times over the past week. I don't have the means to step in and help personally. I've sent what I can to the American Red Cross. That's what I can do to help.

We should be glad we have a government that is helping, even if they didn't help fast enough, at least they are doing and continue to do something. They could just start pointing fingers at us for not being prepared for the inevitable.

As for me, I'm pointing my middle finger at Hurricane Katrina. She was a major bitch.

-Kelly

Ooops, looks like I did the dreaded Ctrl-X * 2!

Wil,

I think it's a matter of "filling up your cup" when the world doesn't suck. I'm a pastor, and I call it "Pastoral Self-Care." When life is going well, I make sure to take time doing stuff I love. Then, when crappy stuff like this hurricane non-relief hits me, I am not running on empty.

It sounds like you already do "Wil Wheaton Self-Care" in terms of your lesser blogging style. But, yeah, Sunday, our message was all about hope and the goodness of human nature...and I just wasn't "there", either.

Hang in there, and keep fillin' your cup.

(And I love your books and blog. They're teh bomb.)

-April
www.xanga.com/pastorapril

I guess it's the mom-hoisting-the-car's-rear-axle -when-a-puppy-is-trapped-underneath type thing. Pressure can inspire incredible results in people. But that's more the spur of the moment type stuff. If you got a call that one of your sons broke his leg at school, you'd know where you were needed and you'd be able to drop everything to get there.

With this disaster we don't know where we're needed. It's a hurry up and wait kind of thing. We're compelled to help, yet have no role to fill. That's what fills my head with the distracting fogginess. (yeah, ok, that and Molson Canadian, cause I need help coping.)

Keep on doing what you're doing. Keep moving. And be loud about it. And vote locally. If anything is to be gained from this, it's an awareness of the importance of voting in local elections. Even down to school chancellor and seemingly small posts like that. It makes a huge difference. Your locally elected posts speak with the voice of hundreds or thousands of people; make sure they're speaking your words.

**Number of refuges rescued by Wil Wheaton. Zero Number of refuges rescued by the Federal Government. 30,000 and growing.

Number of refuges who would have needed to be rescued if George Bush hadn't diverted funds to reinforce the levees to finance the illegal invasion of Iraq: Zero

Wil, you are so right in being upset with the way this administration has handled this entire boondogle. I'm sorry it's affecting you so much, though. I doubt the people responsible for this are losing too much sleep.

I agree with Animeraider when he says that being able to put your feelings aside is centered around the things you have to do. If it's important, it's easier to do. If it's for fun, the fact that hundreds of thousands of poeple are NOT having fun makes you feel guilty in a disconnected way for trying to have some fun. I don't necessisarily think that that's a bad thing. I'd rather feel guilty than adopt the "who gives a sh*t" attitude. It shows a deeper level of compassion than the one most people have for people they know. I donated to the Red Cross what I could as well, and though I've done that, I feel bad that I just can't do more other than offer them my prayers. It happens. We can't be everywhere at once, and we can't alter the course of past events. We can only hope to (and hope the government learns this lesson too) learn from it and make sure that the mistakes we have made don't happen again. Nature is always going to toss something at us (tornado alley myself, AND I live in a mobile home). It's not because it's being pissy. It would happen whether we were here or not. It's been happing since the earth was created. The only thing we can change is how we deal with it.

But the one redeeming quality of this whole thing is to see that we, as a people, can pull together to help our own as easily as we help those who are not Americans. Now, if only we could do that when there isn't a crisis. Hopes for the future, man...hopes for the future.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY KELSQUATCH:
"Should we expect the government to help us during or immediately after a disaster? NO... unfortunately you must rely on yourself and the ability to help yourself. Expecting immediate help from the government is a pipe dream. You have to be able to help yourself until help arrives."
----------------------------------

Um...pardon me? I think the exact opposite it true. Part of living in a country is an implied contract: I will pay my taxes and uphold the laws of the land-- IN RETURN FOR PROTECTION! Otherwise what's the point?! You have to be able to help yourself? Tell that to the unemployed! Tell that to women in labor! Tell that to the man in a wheelchair on the thirteenth floor with no elevator!

If no one paid taxes I might agree with you. But when darn close to a third of a person's wages goes to government programs, you're damn right I expect those programs to rescue people in national disasters! And help pay for college, and finance low-interest housing loans, and pay teachers and cops a wage that attracts the finest rather than the degenerates with no other option.

Shit, don't get me started. I'll go nuts here. I'm hopped up on homemade pizza and too much Cafe Bustelo. Don't make me abandon my hippie ways and get raw on you people.

When you're in an audition or playing a role, you have a character and countless hours of training, workshops and exercises to supress the funk. When you're fulfilling a family obligation, you have your family there to keep the funk at bay. When you're playing on Pokerstars, you have... an empty office. If something has you down, what can you do other than dwell on it if you're in that sort of enviroment?

I would think that Karl Rove could spell the word 'refugees' properly!

Then again...

kelsquatch,

In some cases, I can agree with you, but in most I can't. Sadly, NO has a larger percentage of their population very much near or below poverty level (someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it is in the low 30%'s). Most of these people, as well as the tourists, would not have a way to get out of town. That is the main reason for the 'Mandatory Evacuation Notice' not being issued soon enough, not enough time to get those without a means of transportation out of the city.

For those who CHOSE to stay behind, well they made their choice.

Please understand that picking up and getting out of town is not a choice for everyone. Many people who live in the 'Big Cities' rely on Public Transportation, and trust me, everyone running the buses had already left town!!

My God in heaven, it just keeps getting worse. Okay, I voted for Bush because Kerry scared the every living crap out of me. In my personal opinion, anyone that wants to shut down our missle defense program with so many countries out there that absolutely HATE us (usa) is doing nothing but talking out his ass to get votes. But now, with this second term of Bush's and the fact that he seems to have forgotten about his own damn country, I'm staring to wonder which one was the lesser of two evils. Gas around here is $3.09 and this is KANSAS for God's sake. That gas was bought and paid for long before Katrina was here, so why are we paying 50 to 75 cents more for it?? Huh?? Greedy bastards.

And this damn war...I will admit that I don't pay attention to politics too much because frankly, it's over my head and I know I can't do squat about it but honestly. We are getting our men and women shot, beheaded and drug through the streets of some God forsaken country for what? NOT ONE DAMN THING.

One word. Bullshit. Lots of it.

I am unemployed Kristen, and I don't expect because when I was employed (and paid 1/3 in taxes) that the government find me a job (and find me affordable housing) now that I don't have a job. Shit happens. I'm fending for myself. I cannot rely upon the federal government for assistance. I can only rely upon myself and the help of others.

I wish we lived in a perfect world where everything worked correctly during desperate times, but it doesn't.

I agree, the government has a responsibility to protect us, but we have to empower ourselves first. We cannot expect the government to solve all our problems. We have to help each other.

And that is my point in a nutshell. We, as Americans have a responsibility to each other to help. We cannot rely upon the government, nor should we. The federal government is its own disaster area.

We put way too much faith in the competency of our government. We should know better.

I saw in the news that neighboring states, such as Florida and Alabama, that individual residents took it upon themselves to drive into the disaster area to bring what food and water they could to desperate people in need. Those individuals got the message that help was needed, and they took immediate action to help. They didn't stand idly by and wait for the federal government to get there heads out of their overly complicated buracratic asses. They took action and did something.

I too feel the government should have done something sooner, but I'm not surprised that they didn't. That's why waiting for immediate federal help to arrive is a pipe dream. You have to empower yourself to survive until help arrives, even in America. You have to prepare for the inevitable disaster. It is part of life.

All we can do now is help those in need. My thoughts are with those suffering, and I wish them a speedy recovery in their time of need.

I agree Budo, there were alot of people that could not get out because they could not afford to, nor did they have the means. I feel for those people, I really do. But they also knew the risks of living along the Gulf Coast in a city that is below sea level. This doesn't excuse the fact they couldn't leave. It only reinforces the fact that they relied upon the government for help, help that would be days away. And this harsh reality sucks donkey dick.

I understand that there were local city emergency plans to get those folks out of the city. Plans that did not work in a city 80% under water. With surrounding parishes 80-90% devasted, unable to help themselves, let alone help the good folks of New Orleans.

I felt the government should have gotten the US Navy involved immediately, park a frickin carrier down there within 24 hrs of the initial disaster, like we did in Indonesia after the tsunami. It would have been an immediate and very nearby staging point for relief efforts. The carrier has the capability to make TONS of fresh water. However, nothing like that was even thought of or implimented.

Like I said, we cannot rely upon the government for immediate help after a disaster. They are too frickin slow to impliment anything. Americans have to be empowered to help themselves and each other, as best as can be expected after a major disaster.

This is the sad reality of the world we live in.

Hopefully our goverment will make some drastic changes in the way they react to shit like this in the future.

As Kristen said, voting is important, even at the local levels. We all need to remember that. We need to elect officials that know what the hell to do in a crisis and see that it gets done.

What else can you do, a?

Kelsquatch: I think you're misunderstanding the whole deal about government. The government *is* the people. It's not a separate populace of our country. If individuals are in need, our collective response is enacted by our elected government. That's how the whole paying taxes and getting public resources works.

(And if you're unemployed through no fault of your own, as I was for the last three months, then you're entitled to unemployment insurance. You were paying into it as part of your taxes while you were employed, so you might as well make use of it if you need it! That's the deal. That's how it's supposed to work!)

People seem to forget that they ARE the government, and that the government IS the people. If you've been paying your taxes and voting conscientiously, then you can call your local officials and ask for that pothole to be fixed, or that stray dog to be impounded, or apply for welfare or medicaid, or expect to be fed and housed when officially relocated to the Superdome. This is what you're paying for, folks! This is the deal!

Which is not to suggest that individual aid is not needed or applauded. It is a beautiful expression of the loveliness of humans that people are involving themselves personally to help others. But government spending is an extention of that personal involvement. The money that pays for the National Guard and FEMA doesn't come from George Bush and his cabinet members, folks! It's *us*!

Which is why we have a right to complain now, and to voice our complaints more usefully with our votes. I paid money to secure my fellow citizens' lives and homes. I expect the people in charge of carrying out that task to do it with all possible speed and accuracy. I am radically disappointed with their performance in this case, and I will make my voice heard. That's what a Democracy is, my friend.

That's an amazing observation, wil. I think we all have our certain specialties that we can somehow get "into the zone" regardless of distractions -- but putting a finger on how we accomplish that is so difficult. I know that I can absolutely distraught but perform a great lecture for my students, but if I have some other important task for the day -- even if it's doing laundry -- I'm useless.

This really calls for more research :-)

Here is an interesting article at the WSJ by a former state legislator who represented the district that included Mount St. Helens when it erupted.

He has a very interesting take on the "lack" of federal intervention earlier in the process.

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/0,,SB112596602138332256-IVjf4NilaJ4nZupaoGGa6uBm4,00.html

Human Nature, Wil.

We place priority on some things vs. others for all manner of rational or irrational reasons. We each have our own. And we each have priorities that change as events/conditions in our lives change. So, I think it'd be damn hard to just nail down as black & white, on or off, etc., that "something" that makes us just do it. Sucks that it's like that, but "that's life". And if it wasn't, what would all our philosophers do for a living??? [smiles]

[Nice link waywired. First person account of how it goes down.]

Here's an informative article about why FEMA was MIA in the South that everyone should know about before ripping on the federal government's response.

[The ENTIRE way it was all handled, from months/years ago preparedness plans by the city and state, to afterwards by them AND the federal gov't, was disgusting & pathetic.]

short link: http://tinyurl.com/9mxvs
full address: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-fema5sep05,1,6530955.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Historically, the Federal gov't isn't the first to act, not the ultimate entity responsible for making things all better when nature works us over.

Federal aid in such matters is a much more recent mindset and occurance. From the start, the states wanted provisions to ensure that they could run their land, with the least amount of Federal control/intervention. That includes responsibility for taking care of your own when things go bad.

Can't have it both ways... "we'll keep all our money & resources and you can't have any or much, but when the shit hits the fan, you've gotta bear the biggest burden with manpower, money and responsibility/blame."

They had their budget cut drastically. And 3/4's of their funds go towards terrorism issues. A worth cause, but not for FEMA, which handles natural disasters more often than terrorists. And "that's not my job" anyway, said the FEMA. Go see the more heavily funded CIA/FBI and the rest of the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Today is the first day I ran across your site, and I thought, "hmm, just for the hell of it, why not check this out?" I probably wouldn't have read any further after seeing the poker thing (sorry, fun to play every once in a while but I'm more of a backgammon/euchre/pool player myself), but I read the bio thing and you said you're politically active and a progressive.

Now, that gets my attention, because I've really become addicted to politics in the past five years. So, poker playing aside, I'm interested to know what kind of political activities you're involved with, and what you think about the state of our country, where Bush is taking us, etc.

I will make one other comment from everything I've read here: It sounds like poker has become a substitute, and is probably not what you'll be doing a few years from now.

I know that playing games can be fun, stimulating, and there is an immediate sense of accomplishment/achievement when you win, or when your strategy has been good, etc. But in the final analysis, it's not really very meaningful.

And that's probably why you couldn't concentrate today.

Just my opinion. :-)

I'd love to hear about your politics.

That is an interesting article in the WSJ. Very eye opening read.

Seems alot of local and state officials were asleep at the wheel. They had plans to deal with this crisis, but failed to follow them.

Just an example of "government" at work, at any level.

The government should be that of the people. But when reality sets in, it is its own monster, with its own set of rules, and we have little or no control of it, except during election time.

It's a freight train out of control, with a bunch of crazed monkeys at the wheel.

Politics aside, I find that I've had similar feelings. Helplessness about a catastrophe I have a hard time comprehending -- forget trying to pitch in and help out. Working for a guy I completely disrespect, although I would go to the ends of the earth for his boss. Not being able to help my boyfriend enough to make both our lives easier. I'm not apathetic -- I certainly feel a lot. It's a little comforting to me that someone else feels similarly. Not that I wish these feelings on other people, but it's nice to have the company. Whatever you do, whether it be yoga, a hike outside, or dropping everything and flying off to help out, I hope you let us know what worked.

Hey Wil I feel the frustration too.
As for being able to suck it up for a film or movie. I think that might have something to do with knowing you will be face to face with people who are depending on you doing your best work. While playing poker online alone in your office could make it easier for your mind to wandering.
I know you used to do improv. Do you anymore? I don't know about you, but for me improv rehearsals are like therapy. You can't think or plan ahead. You just have to be in the moment.
Anyhow, hope your funk lifts soon. Jonpaul

You do know that the governor of the state has to call in the national guard? The national guard can't enter a state unless the proper request (from the governor) has been made. The only time that the guard can enter a state without a request from the governor, is if the federal guard is declaring martial law in that state. While the situation in New Orleans is tragic, I don't think it called for martial law.
Personally, I'm more bothered by the lack of public concern over the hurricane victims in Mississippi.

The National Guard has two "modes". In one they belong to (are employed by) the state and can act as what used to be called the state militia. The governor controls them and can call upon them in times of emergency (civil disturbances, natural disasters, etc.).

In their other mode they are "federalized" and belong to the Army (or Air Force for the Air National Guard). In this mode they are functionally identical (besides training and equipment issues) to active duty military forces.
==========
This aside the one question I haven't seen brought up is "what about where we live"?

While I don't agree entirely with Kelsquatch (and don't much like how he presented his arguments), he does have a point. Natural disasters happen and there's nothing we can do about preventing them. So we need to be prepared for them. We should ask ourselves;

1. What might happen where we live?
2. What would that cause to us personally (or to our communities)?
3. Are we prepared personally to deal with it?
4. Are our communities prepared?

If the answer is "no" to any of these then perhaps we should do something about it. Kick our local politicians in the tail so they don't do things like those in LA/NO have. I'm pretty sure that the evacuees don't really care who it is that hands them the bottle of water and can of stew.

And martial law doesn't mean soldiers in the street shooting people, it means that the feds/army doesn't have to ask local permission to blow their nose and can do what needs to be done. If it doesn't end or is called for spurious reasons then we need to be worried, but sometimes it can help I suspect.

I would think that massive looting, violence, thousands dead, and the promise of future disease outbreaks in an area which is essentially cut off from the rest of the country would probably warrant martial law of some kind.

And you would probably be surprised at the amount of influence the President of the United States wields in his own country.

Yeah Mississippi got hit hard, but at least the survivors aren't being shot at for trying to leave and could (in therory) have a friend or relative pick them up in a car and drive away.

As far as the people helping themselves. Most of the displaced are black and poor. I doubt they could have afforded their own army corp of engineers to reinforce the levee system.

Here's some happy fun trivia tidbits for everyone... 75% of the homes destroyed were uninsured. Most of those homes were owned or rented by black and poor folk. It takes the average person from 1 to 3 years to declare bankruptcy.

Doesn't it just give you a warm and fuzzy feeling in the back of your throat when you think about Bush's bankruptcy reforms that go into effect in the next few weeks?

Oh wait, sorry that was just bile I was feeling...

Whats more sad Wil, is how the government handled this. George Bush, due to Iraq, cut major funding to these areas... From what I've read, many of these states begged for money to strengthen dams and create plans of emergencies for years. But under our current administration, instead of receiving this money, they had their budgets slashed. For the person above saying our federal government has rescued 30,000...Is that before or after FEMA never showed??? And the city was burnt and pillaged by looters. This has been a huge disaster, and comes to show how many things have gone wrong with this country lately, when we cant even help OUR OWN PEOPLE. Luckily, ordinary citizens have filled the void where the government has lacked. Donating some money is the best way to help. I hope every can reach into their pockets and give a few dollars. Our sympathy goes out to the vicitims and they are in our thoughts.

Well, as far as the bankruptcy bill goes; you just wait. People will be too afraid to "go support our economy" by buying things for fear of one day losing their job and not being able to find a job (or, at least, a decent one) for, oh, four years or so (like I had to go through). It'll snowball. And now with the disaster from Katrina, our economy is running the risk of going down the toilet. I live in the Great White North (no, not Canada, but may as well be), and I still have to buy heating oil for the winter. Eeew.

I hope the government, despite how they may have dropped the ball in responding to Katrina, is at least preparing for future repercussions. I really think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

But I've been wrong before. Please, God, may I be wrong.

Xanadian... Unfortunately... I wouldnt expect help... Our government at this point couldnt get its duck in a row, if the plan was given to them....

Anyone able to help me on this issue. I tried posting on here, and it says my IP / Host is in the blackhole list. The mail servers are not properly configured.... The only way i am posting here now, is a proxy out of mexico. WTF??? I am so lost. Anyone experienced this?? This is my first time signing up here, so I am a new user.

I don't want to talk about Katrina right now. I started feeling physically ill listening to the news yesterday. If I start ranting I won't stop.

But it occurs to me that maybe when you are acting you are being someone else and when you are playing poker you are being yourself. That character you are being when acting doesn't have your problems and so you are able to put them away for a little bit. Maybe if you create a role for yourself when you play poker you can be less distracted.

I know I'm in the minority amongst all you "anti-Republicans." As far as I can tell, most of the true liberals and true Democrats I used to respect disappeared decades ago. Before you go laying *all* the blame on the Feds (some yes, but all? No.) Give this a read along with the WSJ article mentioned above.

http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/344065p-293598c.html

The local and state governments (led by so-called Democrats) failed miserably before (they can't say they didn't see it coming), during, and after the tragedy.

As for what the Feds can do, consider these points:
Remember that little ol' thing called "State's Rights?" The federal government has to *ask* the state governor's permission to provide direct aid. He didn't give it readily.
The "liberal" governor refused to call up the National Guard (only he can) before and during the hurricane, possibly in order to save money, and put more load and more pressure on federal agencies.
Where were the state's school buses during the days before Katrina hit?
Where were the open calls asking for places for people to go?
Where were the extra sandbags and reinforcements that could have been placed on weak levies before Katrina visited?
Remember that every volunteer that arrives will require food, water, shelter, and facilities that detract from resources needed elsewhere.

I laugh ruefully when I hear/read people say "The government's supposed to save me!! (from myself)" Anyone who counts on governments (US, Int'l, Democratic, Republican, Green, etc.) to be ready for everything, instantly, at all times, or to always do the right thing (which usually isn't obvious except to armchair politicians), is not realistic. Even with best intentions, it's just not possible. I know that sounds calloused, but consider that I give generously to disaster relief. I have emergency stocks for three days, in two small packs I can grab and go. Do you? It's really cheap and easy. (Don't forget your medicines!) Everyone has to take *some* responsibility for themselves, then find (and give!) help for the rest.

Thanks for reading, if you got this far. ;-)

My God, but it's easy to be a saint when you live in heaven. All of us who were not directly impacted by this can donate some money and bemoan the tragic loss of life and gripe about which of our leaders screwed the pooch worst.

If this whole bag of flaming manure has taught me anything, it is that we really really need to start dragging our politicians and media personalities and celebrities out to an isolated Pacific island and playing a game of Survivor where nobody gets voted off. Evar. And with no TV cameras.

All anyone can do any more is play the blame game. Anyone who steps out of line could be vilified, or even be treated like a criminal. There are no heroes any more. If there are, their stories are being drowned out by all the political babble. It's all about being blameless, or correct in a completely empty and ineffective way.

Hell, I'm doing it now, but at least my excuse is that I have no political power or popular recognition or even a lot of disposable income to throw around.

What I want to know is, how the hell are we going to fix our society so that government starts working for the people, media starts reporting the news, and celebrities shut their cake holes and get back to entertaining us?

I am even more outraged at how poorly the federal government has handled it.
Now, Will I usually don't have an opinion about some of the things you say but I've been hearing this and hearing this and it's starting to piss me off. Here is something for you to think about? How was the federal response to Hurricane Andrew, the second worst natural disaster to hit, after Katrina that is? Well, I hate to say this about the same. There was nothing to do until after it hit. And considering it hit early Monday morning and really wasn't over till tuesday and when did search and rescue operations begin by the National Guard - Friday. At most 4 days after the catastrophe and they have to fight the horrible flooding that occured. It took a week after Andrew hit for the federal government started helping people. (I know this because my Mother-in-Law was there and lives in Florida and she set me straight on that.) Think about the fact that the federal government began evacuations on Saturday but the Mayor of New Orleans didn't ask people to evacuate till Sunday?!?! Why? He must have known that the Federal government had already left and I don't believe that the local government wasn't informed. It's easy to pass blame and right now the media and the others are more busy doing that without reviewing past cases of castastrophes. It's easier to be an armchair quarterback versus actually being there.I saw on CNN that there were 3 Duke students that drove down to the New Orleans convention center and on the way they saw 4 or 5, if not more, School Buses leaving the area. They were able to rescue a few people but couldn't understand why these buses weren't trying to evacuate people from the convention center. Unfortunately, school buses are not owned by the city but by private industry but why didn't the Mayor go to these companies and say "Hey, can you help out?" - he's in control down there at the time not the Federal Government. Why did the Governor's office tell (office not the governor) tell the non-profit organization 'Angel Flight' not to help? It's his state and he's in control of it - not the Federal government.I hate the war in Iraq and I never once voted Republician or Bush. I'm not a democrat either. But we need to stop pushing blame around until all the facts are in. So I'm not trying to say no one is at fault but if you really want to blame the Federal government then blame them for one thing. For 40 years these states have been trying to get Federal money to fix these levees and create better flood control and every administration has turned them down. Even Clinton did because he'd rather waste money on a study then just give them the money that they needed. And that study wasn't completed till last year. And the Federal government stated no matter how possible it was improbable that a catergory 4 hurricane would hit the Gulf Coast. God's always been on the improbable side of things.

Hey folks. FYI, the Louisiana Governor is a woman, and her name is Kathleen Blanco. Please stop referring to her as a nameless "he".

My sincerest sympathies to all affected, be it directly or indirectly, by Katrina. Being in South Africa, Katrina, and the aftermath, may geographically be far away 'over there', however it is nonetheless a disturbing thought that the nameless guy I see on TV could've been me or someone dear to me. I don't know what I would do in the situation, and I pray to God I never have to find out.

Wil wrote:
"...when you're in a funk, and you've got something to do no matter what, how do you just set it aside and do what has to be done? It's a tough question for me to ponder, because if I had a family obligation, or a TV or film commitment, the answer would be, "I don't know. I just do." So what is it that we draw upon to "just do it?" And if we can just do it for one thing, why not others?"

Wil, you might want to explore Neuro-Linguistic Programming. NLP is the study of human subjective experience - studying how we do what we're doing well in one context (e.g. the 'set-it-aside-and-do-what-has-to-be-done' of the family obligation or film commitment), and applying it to another context (where, in the past, you used to do 'in-a-funk').

NLP has been used with great success for many years to help athletes improve their performance - and also in more therapeutic contexts such as trauma counselling, phobia resolution, or changing unresourceful habits. From an NLP perspective everything one experiences (be it anger, joy, fear, focus, whatever) is a behaviour, and more than that, a behaviour that, at some level of consciousness, one chooses to do. So, if you used to choose (whether consciously or not) to do 'in-a-funk', you can also choose to do something more resourceful for that situation, such as 'set-it-aside-and-do-what-has-to-be-done', or maybe something else.

At the end of the day it all boils down to your individual, subjective experience. NLP can be applied to anything you experience, whatever it may be. If you want to do more of it, or less of it, or something completely different, NLP can help.

--------