Today, and the next few days are going to be Hurricane Blogging, or more specifically Recovery Blogging.
Wizbang made a good plea for an end to political squabbling in the Blogosphere, and a focus on finding ways to help the victims of Katrina. I'll second that.
Here's a list of things that he thinks could help (and yes, as you'll see, he got hit hard.)
We don't know how FEMA works. Somebody read the news reports on what FEMA is doing and what it is not... Somebody read their site and distill it for those of us who don't have time for red tape.
Flood insurance? I know the feds handle it. Who do I need to talk to? What do they pay?
Every natural disaster I send the Red Cross my standard $100 donation. I have no idea how to get money from them. It is a grant or a loan?
If I don't actually cancel my phones and my bill is auto-debit do they still bill me?
If I shut off my phone will I lose my number?
Heck- Somebody make an "Evacuee survival guide" with laser precision information on how to get help without clicking 50 links or waiting on hold 2 hours. If you can save 25,000 people 5 hours of looking up the same information, think of the power in that!
Think of the simple things- Thousands of people lost their glasses. Somebody set up a website where they can coordinate donations of (known) prescription glasses from people who no longer need them. Get a freight company to donate the freight. I bet FedEx will give you an account number that will route all the glasses to some agency in New Orleans.
If you do something to help the victims, ping this post... If there is a lot of people helping out, Kevin will set up a post with the links. (I just volunteered him ;)
Think about it for a second from my chair... (I'm not whining but) I'm almost 40 years old.... Here is the sum total of all my worldly possessions: 4 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of blue jeans, a box of family pictures, 2 flashlights, a piece of trench art my grandfather brought back from WWI and my father's hammer. (Hey, it means a lot to me!) That's it. Everything else is gone. And BTW, I'm unemployed.
I tell you that not to whine but to let you see the tree thru the forest. Multiply my situation by about a million. Stop and think about that... A million people homeless and unemployed.
If you're a blogger then (by near definition) you're a self proclaimed talented person. Prove it. They'll be plenty of time for punditry and pontification next month... In the mean time there is work to be done. Figure out how to help the victims.
A very good point, and if anyone has other ideas on how to help the victims, just email them to me, or drop them into a comment.