My hometown

is taking a hell of a hit, and they’re not even getting the worst of it. The Red Cross expects to spend millions helping people with emergency food and shelter; I’m sure they could use some donations right about now.

… more here.

The volunteer effort was really something to behold. We had Mennonites from the surrounding area filling bags held by local hippies who handed off to sorority girls tying off the bags who passed off into bag lines with college hipsters, Iowa City families, U Iowa football players, and international students shuttling bags into place. The fellow on the radio even said he saw inmates over from the Johnson county jail in orange jump suits volunteering. I feel that the university and the city have done a great job organizing the efforts. The university is now directing volunteers to the city. Today my wife and I went and volunteered with the city instead of the university. Currently there is a surplus of filled bags down in front of the Lindquist Center that will certainly be shuttled to where ever they’re needed tomorrow.

I haven’t really seen anyone on Kos saying this but I’ve seen people in other places online making comparisons with Katrina. I’ve seen wingnuts, for example, try to excuse FEMA’s horrible Katrina response by pointing to local efforts in Cedar Rapids and other parts of Iowa as if the local governments should be able to handle things themselves. I even saw a despicable comment (again, not here) to the effect that white people in Iowa know how to take care of themselves unlike the residents of New Orleans. Such bullshit. As devastating as the images out of Cedar Rapids are, it’s not even really close to the scale of Katrina. In Katrina an entire radius was wiped out by a hurricane. When I lived in Cedar Rapids I frequently walked from the campus of Coe College, which is on high ground and totally unaffected, down to the riverfront. All that downtown area you see flooded on tv is like a 15 minute walk from being high and dry. The magnitude is just entirely different and the ability to stage relief efforts is a lot better here. There can be absolutely no comparison.