Friday, June 02, 2006

High Water II: George Bush Don't Like Black People

It's raining again, and Peggy just called to see if we had water in the basement. We don't... yet, and after the Week of Hell we lived through in May, we're both praying that there's no return engagement coming.

Our water problems were bad, but not anywhere near as bad as we've experienced before. The first time the basement filled with water, we were still newbie homeowners, and still learning the quirks of the house. One important quirk: sump pumps need to be on their own circuit. Otherwise circuits overload and trip. Pumps stop. Water flows. That time we lost a lot of books, including some irreplaceable collector items. The basement flooded again in March 2001 while I was in Germany. I woke in the middle of the night convinced something was wrong at home, and called Peggy, who was ankle-deep in basement water at the time. We had learned the "don't store irreplaceable stuff" lesson by that time, store everything else in waterproof plastic containers as opposed to cardboard, and our biggest hassle was drying out the basement carpeting, which took three industrial-grade fans and four days of warm weather.

As I said, this time wasn't as bad as the first two. We were pretty well prepared. We moved furniture and boxes away from the areas prone to seepage and, except for one pump failure at 6 am in the morning, our biggest problem was staying ahead of the seepage; which we did fairly successfully although it took both of us working shifts to accomplish. I'd wet-vac every half-hour or so (every 15 minutes at the beginning). Peg would fix dinner for me when she got home at 6. I'd eat and go to bed for 4-5 hours of sleep. She'd wake me around midnight and I'd take over the basement. We did that for a week. We ended up with about a quarter of the rug soaked, and dried it out without needed industrial-strength fans.

But Merrimack got whacked pretty hard. We live on the north side of town. The bridge to Merrimack proper washed out two weeks ago this Sunday, and is still closed, under repair. Several people living near Horseshoe Pond, about 2 miles south of us, had houses that were severely flooded, possibly to the point where they're uninhabitable. So, it could have been much worse.

It could have been New Orleans.

Coincidentally, I was reading Douglas Brinkley's The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a book which, if I had several million dollars, I would a buy a copy for each registered voter in the United States in the certainty that George Bush would be impeached if even a small number of that group read it. The book does an excellent recounting of the events, often in the survivors' or reporters' own words, but it's Brinkley's examination of the political failures both before and after Katrina that makes "The Great Deluge" worth reading. Certainly there's enough blame to be shared at every level of government, - the sections on Ray Nagin, just re-elected as Mayor - will make your hair curl - but it's also obvious that Bush - or his Administration, since the President seemed to make every effort to remain disengaged from Katrina's aftermath until forced to - quite deliberately decided to minimize support to Louisiana and its Democratic governor, Katherine Blanco, who was unprepared and overwhelmed by Katrina.

And, of course, the people, the poor, the African-American, the elderly, none particularly a Republican demographic target, were the ones who suffered.

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