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Reports of tragedy filtering out of Galveston and Bolivar

by: Robert Ryland

Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 03:44 PM CDT

The following is from an email sent to me by a good friend in Nacogdoches whose buddy has been over Galveston - names have been edited out to protect the folks those who relayed the report. Also relayed from this guy and others: persons going into the restricted area are apparently being patted down and cameras are being confiscated, by Army and Coast Guard personnel.

Okay...I've got some news on this front.  Take it for what it's worth, but the guy I got it from is someone I trust to raise my children... He's never once lied to me...ever.  And we're close.

He's in a pretty high-up supervisory position for a refinery down on the coast.
His refinery has some equipment and lines in and around Galveston county, and before they were to bring them back on line he and his crew had to inspect the place for damage and potential hazards.  So they were given permission....after a background check....to helicopter in and inspect, which meant coming in over Galveston.

I kid you not when I say that he told me they saw AT LEAST 1500 bodies in trees scattered about Galveston.  They also saw a lot in various ditches and marshes, esp. on the north side of East Galv. Bay, east side of Trinity Bay, and in the marshes between I-45 and Seabrook/Clear Lake/Deer Park.

It explains why they're not letting the media anywhere close to the Island except in limited sectors nd we're not hearing anything from or about the people who survived and those who stayed behind. It's like 20,000 people never
existed....where are they?  Where'd they go?  What are their names?  Nothing....

Same thing in Orange county.

Take it for what it's worth....I believe him, though his count may be wrong given the shock of the sight.  But like I said, I'd trust him to raise my kids.

I'd be more surprised if he were wrong than if he were right.

And from Rhiannon Myers  of the Galveston Daily News comes this dispatch:

GALVESTON - Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas on Monday ordered all city employees not to talk to news reporters. She did not say when that order would be lifted.

Thomas and City Manager Steve LeBlanc will be the only officials allowed to talk to reporters. City spokeswoman Mary Jo Naschke vehemently denied the city was trying to clamp down on coverage.

Reporters would be allowed on the island only if they had proper identification, Thomas said. She didn't clarify what that meant.

Reporters were also forbidden from visiting areas on the far West End, Thomas said. She did not explain why.

I'm not normally one to be alarmist and I don't want to upset people, but this has me very worried. I know some folks who stayed down there to ride it out, as does the guy who sent me the email above - he has yet to hear from one of his friends and fears the worst. His report of the damage in Nacogdoches was not pretty either, and if this storm tore apart towns that far inland it's certainly not unreasonable to think that Galveston and the Triangle have experienced unprecedented devastation.
There could be arguably sound reasons for media blackouts, and the specter of hundreds of bodies among the wreckage may be one of them.  It's not always easy in situations like this to know where to draw the line between respect for the deceased and their families, and the public's right to know about what  has happened.

Perhaps the best thing we can all do now is pitch in and help:

Donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief

or jump in locally in Austin - see Matt's post below to Donate to and Volunteer at the Capitol Area Food Bank


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Wow 1500! (0.00 / 0)
It is hard to imagine what 1500 dead bodies may seem like. It make sense why the media is being censored as you entertained. I do hope for the best but there is no point in hiding the fact that over 1000 people are dead . . . it will leak out sooner or later.

Making the World better since 1984!


this is positively Pravdaesque (0.00 / 0)
the truth will come out sooner or later.  I guess they're hoping people will be numbed by numbers, rather than shocking photographs.

How long can they keep the media out before the very fact that the media is being kept out becomes the big story?

Let's take a moment to step back... (3.67 / 3)
At this point, we have one single email making this claim.  After Katrina, there was countless emails/reports/etc about mass murders inside the Superdome... and none turned out to be true.  I'm not saying this isn't possible; I'm merely saying that right now we have no evidence beyond an email... and we all know that urban legends can spread like wildfire and this meets every criterion for an urban legend.  

Right now, inciting panic is the least constructive thing we can do.  

maybe so, but... (0.00 / 0)
from a machiavellian point of view, it may be what it takes to force the government to allow the media to look in and take pictures.

[ Parent ]
Residents Being Let In (0.00 / 0)
It looks like Galveston residents are now able to enter Galveston to survey damage.  They have to leave by 6pm each day, though.

I can't imagine there are hundreds of bodies strewn about in the trees and on the ground.  It would be all over the news by later today.

However, it does seem extremely odd that I have not seen one good explanation of where the 20,000 people who stayed on the island are.  Can anyone shed more light on this?  I've heard of 2,000 people being rescued, and so on, but that wasn't even just in Galveston.  Did the thousands who stayed just head on out after the hurricane passed?  Was that even possible?  Was the bridge open and passable?

[ Parent ]
Well, yeah - (0.00 / 0)
that's the part that I don't get. Where did all of them go? Did they underestimate the number evacuated after the storm, or did some folks manage to leave on their own afterwards?

I can easily see over 1,000 dead out of the 20K + who stayed; maybe more. Perhaps it wasn't the numbers but the sight of bodies that the authorities were worried about. Depending on resources, I suppose a military operation could have rounded up a pretty substantial # of them for reasons of health, saftey and common decency.

It's all still pretty unclear at this point. But the island was closed for almost 3 whole days after the storm.

Whole thing just seems, well - not right.  

[ Parent ]
Richard - Can we get him lawyered up so he can go public? (0.00 / 0)
His public testimony along with the pilot can go a long way towards exposing problems.   Until then, I'm worried your story will be treated like Snopes bait.  He's probably worried for his job, I would understand that.

If this story isn't disclosed, future shoreline residents may not pay heed to evacuation orders and more will be killed.

[ Parent ]
Thank you for removing from the front page (0.00 / 0)
I was getting a little worried about where this was going. I don't dispute the e-mail or comments being made about this but without any good credible evidence it was starting to turn BOR into a "National Enquirer" style blog. Stories of this many casualties would have been hard to hide this far into the recovery, regardless of the clampdown. There are too many eyes on Galveston right now, from the local press to the NYT.

Let's let the recovery continue and the restoration of Galveston back to the wonderful city it is. If there is any shred of truth to this story it will come out in the coming days. Let's not feed a false path without some true credibility.

Incorrect information (0.00 / 0)
What a bunch of crap! My fiance is a physican at UTMB and rode out the storm there.  They had very few deaths (about 9 at last count) in Galveston.  Most sane people left when told to go and many hold outs left at the last minute.  Regardless,this person is trying to get their 15 minutes of fame by creating a story that is so pointedly out of touch that it's laughable.  The press IS there, I assure you.  So is FEMA, the National Guard, Search and Rescue teams, and Disaster Relief teams.  There is no power and there is no water.  The place is not livable at present.  However, there were very few injuries or deaths.  People are uncomfortable and now many will have to find housing and new jobs because Galveston won't be the same for months and perhaps years to come.  Stop reporting this "he said, she said, names deleted to protect the liars" nonsense.  Get a grip and a life and stop painting a picture that is so far out of reality.  Houses are destroyed, businesses gone, but most of the people got out.
Rescues were even made during the eye of the storm.  Feel bad for the animals...most of the people did just fine.

[ Parent ]
OK, hold on a sec (0.00 / 0)
First - Thanks for the post and for setting the record straight. By no means did I want this to be true.

And I am no one's idea of a tin-foil hat wearer. I'm not looking for any notoriety whatsoever. All I know is that the guy who sent this is not an unstable sort of fella and has no history of sending me bogus stories or of bullshitting about something like this.

He was aghast at his friends account and was hoping it wasn't true either. But it wasn't the first report like this that I'd heard, and apparently there was indeed a media blackout for at least awhile. Again, I hope this was alarmist stuff from someone who thought they saw something that they didn't. And I'm glad to hear things aren't anywhere close to that bad there. In any case, I didn't post this in hopes of gaining any notoriety and freaking people out - that'd be kind of dumb since I'm using my real name. I don't have any journalistic integrity to protect; just felt that maybe this needed to be made public - as I said I've never gotten something like this from anyone, let alone a good friend.

Hoping for minimal suffering and a speedy recovery for the people of the Gulf Coast, just like everyone else.  

[ Parent ]
Lessons learned (0.00 / 0)
Robert I understand your concern on the situation. I would have vetted it a little more before posting it. I know you trust your friend but it was not him that wrote the e-mail. It was passed on to him so you were already separated once from the fact. I also agree you weren't trying to look for notoriety. That's just not you from what I've seen.

In a time of this sort of crisis it's important, in fact very important, to keep information as factual as possible even in the case of something like this. People are working very hard in Houston, Galveston and surrounding areas to get their communities back to order. The last thing in the world they need from us is to deal with rumors.

If you look back at the e-mail you know something of that sort of magnitude would come out quickly through the media or authorities. You just don't hide something like that in this day and age. I just finished looking at pictures from the Chronicle of the Bolivar Peninsula. Those were aerial shots. While it wasn't of the east and west ends of Galveston you know they had to have flown over those areas.

This was a lesson learned for you and others. Looking forward to more posts from you in the future.

[ Parent ]
Well... (3.00 / 1)
I don't know the "facts" any more than you or the one-shot poster above. We do know that media access was severely restricted as was airspace over parts of Galveston for a couple of days.

I was highly skeptical of the numbers in my friends email, and I sure as hell hope there aren't that many deceased. But this was not the only report from there that had indicated that the numbers were much higher than officials were telling us. Now Mayor Thomas has suspended "look and leave" and closed down access again. I'm sure logistics are a nightmare and the lack of utilities is making life there rather difficult.

There are still quite a few people unaccounted for, going by the numbers being bandied about by officials. That combined with the strange reports still has me worried. Trust me when I say that I hope to God my friends report was inaccurate, and I would very much like to see all the people who stayed in the area are alive and well.  

[ Parent ]
This post is useful in one regard... (0.00 / 0)
It's a textbook case just like out of the book "Made to Stick".  First application: How can we quickly debunk innaccuracies the opposition tosses out and recognize the techniques they're using?  Second application: How can we make our messages stickier, so people will remember ours more?

When was this ever about opposition? (0.00 / 0)
David if you want to equate this to politics then go ahead but don't do it in the public space. This is about a catastrophe and I don't care who wins. I just want people to get back to some normalcy of life.

In the case of Ike give the politics a freaking rest. Let's just work together to help our friends and family in Houston to recover.

[ Parent ]
The Diarist is not making this up (0.00 / 0)
There is a question about the missing residents of Galveston.  Matt Glazer addressed this in his diary below.


So did Vince Leibowitz over at Capitol Annex.

Wayne Dolcefino of Houston's Channel 13 ABC News brought up the question of missing residents during his interview from Crystal Beach on Monday night.  His concern is with the houses that were swept into the Gulf during Ike.  Wayne worries that residents may have been inside the homes.  

Journalists and bloggers have every right to explore this troubling possibility. People have a right to know what happened to their missing family members, friends and/or neighbors.  

Conspiracy theories (0.00 / 0)
Matt addressed the issue of media control, not the unsubstantiated report of 1,500 bodies. People have been on the island, many workers have been working on the island, reporters have been on it, flown over it, and cruised past it. Don't tie these two together unless you're looking for "grassy knolls."

If this is true it will come out.  You don't hide stuff like that.  When it does it will be dealt with. However, this morbid fascination with wanting to find bodies due to a media control issue is beyond me.  Leave it on Daily Kos. I don't believe it belongs on the primary blog of Texas if there's no substance to it.

People have much more to deal with now than that. They have lost homes and businesses on that island. They are displaced and, in some cases, dealing with limited shelter facilities. Spend some time at a shelter helping out. Donate clothes, toys, or home goods to a displaced person. Collect some money to donate to the Red Cross or other agency. But quit trying to make a story out of something that probably doesn't exist.

If you have a friend or family member that has not been accounted for you have every right to know what has happened if that is the case. But for the rest of us, we only need to know as the story evolves. What makes you think you have a right to know about someone else's family? This is a major disaster for Texas. Deal with that first. Then we'll discuss the rest later when we have our fellow Texans cared for.

BTW, journalists and bloggers are not in the same category. Journalists have a code of conduct they operate under. Bloggers seem to write their own code of conduct.

[ Parent ]
Wayne Dolcefino (0.00 / 0)
isn't a journalist? I guess his 20 Emmys don't count, either.

[ Parent ]
He never claimed he saw 1,500 bodies (0.00 / 0)
All he did was bring up the same fact that authorities in Galveston stated - some people may never be found. He just stated it in a sensational manner. I stand by my position.

[ Parent ]
So, this is just (0.00 / 0)
about the 1,500 bodies? Obviously there is misinformation going around. But to call all of the concern a "conspiracy," well, you're flat-out wrong about that.

You said:

What makes you think you have a right to know about someone else's family?

Oh, I just don't get this statement at all. Are you serious?  

[ Parent ]
I watched and listened to Wayne (0.00 / 0)
He's creating his own story. Now I see why this thing is being spun up and I see who his following is. Wow, this guy deserved the Emmys. He's pretty sensational.

[ Parent ]
Wow (0.00 / 0)
You're pretty sensational yourself! Actually, I think Wayne Dolcefino is doing his job. That's what journalists do. They ask questions and investigate. At least that's what they used to do. I guess you know more than he does.  

[ Parent ]
Don't you dare lecture me (5.00 / 1)
Who do you think you are?

People have a right to know the truth.  Period. Bloggers have a right to express their opinions when the media and press fail to do their jobs by serving as propagandists for the Republican Party or any corporate or special interest group.

Maybe if the Texas press and media had not given so many free passes to the Texas Republican Party by tacitly covering up its criminal behavior,  its gross incompetence and negligence "conspiracy theories" such at these, as you call it, would not evolve.  

Why does the Texas press and media have literal news blackouts about natural disasters like Ike? Who is putting the squeeze on the media here?  Some fat cat who does not want the truth known?  For what reason?  What are they trying to cover up?

What about non Republican candidates for political office?  How come I rarely read anything in the Houston Chronicle about Rick Noriega's candidacy?  How come I never read anything, but maybe one freaking article about Barbara Radnofsky when she ran for U.S. Senate in 2006? Radnofsky, like Noriega was largely ignored.

The media/press here has zip credibility where I am concerned.  Do a better job at serving as journalists instead of propagandists and maybe I'll change my opinion.  

A few moments ago a blogger on DK who has been tracking the Bolivar story said the 1500 bodies in trees story is a hoax.

I hope to God this is true.  Everyone does.  We're not sick and twisted b/c we want to know the truth, thank you.  Thank God for bloggers.  

[ Parent ]
People should know the truth (0.00 / 0)
There's just a time and place for that to be pursued. You seem to think it's now. I differ and would prefer the authorities focus on rescue and recovery. How is focusing on those critical priorities hiding the truth?

You seem to think all the press are bad and conspire with the authorities to hide truth from us. All but Wayne Dolcefino maybe. Put those feelings aside for a period of time, like maybe a week or two, and let's focus on how we can help.

I have friends displaced with some who are not sure of their living conditions when they return. I'm sure you may have that also. That's the last thing they really care about right now. I agree that relatives and friends of those who are lost are concerned. I think they are more concerned that their loved ones are rescued or recovered as quickly as possible. From all indications that is happening.

So I'm sorry you felt I was lecturing but honestly your bias about the media shows you have an agenda with this issue. That agenda is that the media covers up the truth and bloggers are the only thing saving us from cover ups. Not the time nor place for that right now. I hope you agree to that point. That's not to say we can't address it later.

This isn't a political campaign. This is about people's lives. Once again, there is a time and place for that type of dialogue. It's just not now.

[ Parent ]
Be sure to tell all of us (5.00 / 1)
when it's time.

Once again, there is a time and place for that type of dialogue. It's just not now.

[ Parent ]
I think you should know the answer to that question (0.00 / 0)
Common sense and sensibility would let you know that answer. Spend some time with a survivor and see if that issue is at the top of their list. Walk into a shelter and deal with a family that just lost their home and ask them if this issue is a high priority issue now.

I think you should know the answer by now.

[ Parent ]
Don't lecture me, either. (5.00 / 1)
Of course survivors of Ike are in shock about their lives right now. As I understand you, we're not supposed to question the recovery efforts or anything about the process because it's just not the right time. Is that right?

[ Parent ]
No it's not! (3.00 / 1)
No it's not because you aren't on the ground there, haven't lifted one finger, and seem to feel that blogging is your fine contribution to saving and restoring lives in Houston. So if you want to call that lecturing, YOU'RE DARN STRAIGHT IT IS!

It tears me up that you feel the need to spend time criticizing people who are spending countless hours trying to find people, take care of people and get a region back to normal.  All because Dolcefino didn't find some bodies and got cut out of the region for a day (BTW, he did make it back and didn't find anything but houses or lack thereof). Do you really believe the words coming out of your mouth? Do you have any darn perspective on what's going on?

So that last comment put me over the top. Go find your little story. Go dig up the cover up. See if that gets a family back to Houston. See if it gets the power turned on any faster. See if it feeds those who can't afford to evacuate now.

Game over on this diary entry. You're last few statements have proven to me what you think is more important. Sorry you can't take someone pointing out the truth.

[ Parent ]
More information from the Chronicle (0.00 / 0)
Regarding the missing persons in Galveston, the Bolivar Peninsula, and other coastal communities authorities are not discounting or hiding them. They simply don't know where they are.  According the Chronicle they fully admit that several could have been washed out to sea, a sad but honest truth.

The Chronicle also reports that a hotline has been established for missing persons to help expedite the search.

Galveston's office of emergency management set up a hotline for those searching for missing friends and family friends who live in unincorporated areas of the county including Bolivar Peninsula, Bacliff/San Leon, Freddieville and Algoa.

The hotline number is 1-866-898-5723.

Those calling should have their contact information available and information about the person they are searching for, including: a description of the missing; address; last time they were in contact with them; and their plans the person had for the storm.

Every effort seems to be put forward in finding, rescuing or recovering persons. No one is hiding anything. They are just working with limited or non-existent information. Let's give our fellow Texans some support in helping deal with this tragic disaster.

[ Parent ]
How do you know that (3.00 / 1)
"No one is hiding anything."  

Or rather, what "proof" do you have that "no one is hiding anything"?

And how does questioning all of this not supporting "our fellow Texans"?

How does that work? I think it would be terrible if people have been lost and no one pushed our government to find out what happened to them.

[ Parent ]
What proof that someone is hiding something? (4.00 / 2)
All we've had have been third hand e-mails that people claim to have seen things. There have been press, first responders, residents and a heck of a lot of other people all over that area. I think that lends more credence to the matter than a few third hand e-mails. Any disagreement there?

People, get a life! If you think claims of conspiracy really benefit this situation more than providing support for those without homes or jobs then go ahead. Personally I'm trying to do what I can for my displaced friends and other Texans.

This is NOT productive dialogue. The rest of Texas is trying to help bring Houston, Galveston and the rest of that part of the state back. Join us for a change. This is starting to sound like idle gossip. Reporters substantiate their stories with facts.

Do you really think this type of conversation has the appearance of appreciation for the first responders? So think about that when you think of support for our fellow Texans.

BTW, in case you might have forgotten in this dialogue (from the San Antonio Express-News) here's how to help (page to lower part of article).

[ Parent ]
Getting at the truth (3.00 / 1)
doesn't mean you don't "support the first responders."

Sadly, this sounds way too familiar.

[ Parent ]
Never productive (5.00 / 1)
Once again you prove that dialogue with you is never productive.

I went back through the e-mails, pictures, claims and everything else. I combed the Chronicle website and other sites. I dug a little to make sure I haven't missed something. There is no evidence. I feel like I'm talking to people who still believe in the grassy knoll. What good does it do us now to deal with this issue?

The authorities in Galveston fully admit that people could have washed out to sea during the storm. They have tried to provide ways for people to contact them to help in the search. One gentleman who evacuated to San Antonio stated in an interview that he has family but he lost touch with them 20 years ago. There are probably others who may be in the same situation. Every effort is being done to locate people. If they washed out to sea there's not much that can be done unless they wash on shore (graphic but true).

However, that's the least of the issues right now. Authorities are trying to get people off an island that is less than Third World in conditions. They are trying to restore power and other services. They are trying to clear debris and continue to search for survivors. They are trying to rebuild for those who survived.

Yet you seem to think a high priority is some unsubstantiated claims of bodies. You might think about the priorities here. It's absurb to even think this is a critical issue now. Sadly, your priorities seem to be skewed.

[ Parent ]
I think they should hire you. (0.00 / 0)
Good job.

[ Parent ]
Seriously? C'mon. You were asking RBear to prove a negative. (n/t) (0.00 / 0)

"I wonder now what Ernest Hemingway's dictionary looked like, since he got along so well with dinky words that everybody can spell and truly understand." -- Kurt Vonnegut

[ Parent ]
yes (0.00 / 0)
Elsbeth, I've always appreciated your's and Libby's comments, but I have to differ with y'all right now.  You're pushing him to prove that there aren't bodies hanging from trees, when he's saying there are more important things to focus on.

Consider me one of the biggest critics of Republican governance and corporate greed.  Nonetheless, this was a terrible storm that had terrible consequences. Yes, there are things our government and businesses failed at, but this isn't one of them.  

RBeat can't prove there aren't 1500 bodies in trees just as you can't prove there are.  But, there are more constructive things to be doing.  I spent the evening with the Capital Area Food Bank volunteering.  Let's go help our family, friends and neighbors get back to normal before we leap to conspiracy theories.

[ Parent ]
Excuse me (5.00 / 1)
but my issue is not the 1500 bodies in the trees which is too horrific a thought to even contemplate, but the media blackout and a potential coverup.  When Katrina happened CNN and other crews were there 24/7.  People around the world saw how the poor in New Orleans were left to drown.  People saw how the levies could not hold during a category 5 hurricane.  In fact when I was in N.O. this summer my family and I took a Katrina tour. Parts of the 9th Ward still looks like a war zone.  

Members of the Daily Kos community have complained that there is little coverage on Ike and the conditions in the Galveston area.

Some of us have become a tad more cynical given 8 years of Bush, the Texas Republicans and a complacent or complicit media here.  What are the authorities trying to hide?  

And why are they hiding it?  Because it is an election year?

As I commented above, thank God for bloggers.  They will do the job certain journalists refuse or are not allowed to do because of gatekeepers.  We are our own gate keepers in the blogosphere.  That is why were are having this very discussion.    

[ Parent ]
Just curious (0.00 / 0)
So how can a blogger really get the information out if they aren't in the actual area of conflict? What amazing surveillance techniques do they have that the rest of us don't seem to have access to?

[ Parent ]
I suppose one (5.00 / 1)
could always do a google search to find out. Photos were contained within the comment section of the diary I had referred to earlier posted on Daily Kos about Ike.

Sometimes those who tend to lecture or preach to others can  hear only their own voices.  

[ Parent ]
Why (0.00 / 0)
does it say that your Web site is "down for a major overhaul"?

[ Parent ]
Oh, and (0.00 / 0)
I'm just curious about your Web site being down for a major overhaul.

[ Parent ]
Since it was directed at me (0.00 / 0)
Okay since you directed that comment at me I'll answer. To start with I'm unclear why that even matters to you unless you think there's a story there that needs to be unearthed. You seem to want to pry into a LOT of things, this being one.

Now to the answer. I started developing it a while back and was working on a redesign. I never got the chance to complete it because of work with various non-profits in San Antonio and with the workload increase with my job. I did find time to wander back into the political space this year and have enjoyed up ... up until this point.

Most of the diaries and comments on this site have been engaging and fun for discussion. I've enjoyed reading KT, Matt, David, and Philip on several occassions. Robert Ryland always seems to keep me thinking (man, his diaries can be provoking in thought). Mack always seems to have those little zingers in his comments and his signatures leave me laughing all the time. The list goes on regarding the people I've bantered with in here with a couple of exceptions.

For some reason you always seem to take issue with things, especially my comments. You have accused me of pandering, lecturing and a host of other things.  I've always tried to stay away from return comments with you as it just doesn't seem productive. We've had our differences on the ratings but that's all good. This particular diary is where we have had a major clash, along with Libby.

I've just spent the day working with one friend in Houston who still doesn't have power but is fortunate in that his condo is intact. He rode the storm out and it was a rough experience. I spent the rest of the day helping a friend load furniture to take back to Houston for a co-worker who lost a lot through flooding.

I realize you have a position on the issue of FEMA, state and local response to the disaster and feel the way to deal with it is in the blogosphere. So be it. Personally at this time I feel that is very unproductive. This is just words on the ether. Real work occurs on the ground.

For full disclosure I also work for a large insurance carrier that has set up CAT sites in Houston to help our members in this time of crisis. Our employees are volunteering in the various shelters around San Antonio trying to help those displaced. That's work on the ground.

I know you're going to take issue with the "I" aspect of this comment but I'm just trying to say we need to get out of the blogosphere and do some ground work for a change on this disaster. It's real and has affected many of our family, friends and fellow Texans.

I know this is a long comment and I have a little more to say. You made this personal with an off topic comment directed at me. Nothing slanderous but I don't know what you meant by the comment. So, to keep future dialogues in the space productive and fruitful I don't plan to ever enter into comment thread with you again. It just creates noise in BOR (I'm sure a TON of people are thankful for that).

Before you think this is shallow, I mean every word I say in this final part. You and Libby have good insight on topics. You keep pushing issues in the political space and have background that helps bring perspective to some topics. However, your delivery seems to always be sarcastic, short, or argumentive. This diary was a great example of that. I agree that my tone was not productive also in this but I think we may have both fed on each other and it all went downhill from there.

My decision is probably going to pain me but the past history has shown we cannot dialogue together productively. I don't know why that's the case. I probably need to go back and read some of my comments to find the root but that will be another day.

So long answer to a short question - it's down because I don't have time to update it. Sorry to disappoint you.

[ Parent ]
And from your link (0.00 / 0)
"We don't know what's out there in the wilds," said Galveston County Medical Examiner Stephen Pustilniks. "Searchers weren't looking for bodies; they were looking for survivors."

As the hurricane closed in, authorities estimated 90,000 people ignored evacuation orders along the Gulf Coast. Post-storm rescuers in Galveston and the peninsula removed about 3,500 people, but another 6,000 refused to leave. [emphasis added.]

[ Parent ]
Not saying there won't be more bodies (0.00 / 0)
I've never said there won't be more bodies. What I have said is that I don't see people hiding the fact or disregarding the issue. They just have bigger issues to deal with and are working hard to close the gap.

As stated if it's true it will come out and be dealt with. I just don't support dragging people through the mud about a low priority issue or making claims that someone is purposely hiding something.

This is not the time to push this issue. This is the time to provide for those who survived. There is a difference.

[ Parent ]
I see it differently (0.00 / 0)
than you do. A "low priority issue"???  

[ Parent ]
Priority above other issues? (0.00 / 0)
So you place it above taking care of survivors, searching for survivors, evacuating those who remain, or restoring services to the island. Because that's what's going on in Galveston, the Bolivar Peninsula and other areas with very limited resources.

Should we take a first responder and have them go out to sea to try to find bodies? They are already scouring the island for anything they can and notifying next of kin (my response to your sarcastic comment - yes, I believe the next of kin have a right to know before you). So that's not the issue here. What else can they do? What are they not doing that you think is more important?

I have finally reached a conclusion that both you and Libby care more about the Dolcefino story than the rest of what's going on in the region. In time I will also care if it shows that people were trying to cover up the issue. I just want to give them the benefit of the doubt right now. They are working some pretty long hours and dealing with a lot of issues.

[ Parent ]
This is not about (0.00 / 0)
the first responders. Surely, you know that.

[ Parent ]
You want RBear to prove a negative? (n/t) (0.00 / 0)

"I wonder now what Ernest Hemingway's dictionary looked like, since he got along so well with dinky words that everybody can spell and truly understand." -- Kurt Vonnegut

[ Parent ]
I don't want (0.00 / 0)
him to do anything. He only lectures. And he's always right.

[ Parent ]
Okay, I'm wrong (0.00 / 0)
Yes there's a cover up. Yes they aren't doing enough. Yes there's some secret morgue with hundreds of bodies they don't want us to see. Yes they aren't using their resources properly.

Sorry you were more focused on me than Houston. I only want people to understand that there's more to do in Houston and area than go find bodies. I want people to give some responders credit for a while when they are working hard. Sorry that I care about what they're doing and want to give them some credibility right now.

Every comment was focused on trying to provide enough answers based on what I saw to cut them some slack right now. I wasn't trying to be right. I was only trying to make sense of what they're doing right now. I'm not there and I don't want to second guess them in this time of crisis. That's not in my blood. If I were there and saw things differently that would be a different story but it would first hand and never second or third.

[ Parent ]
bodies on bolivar (3.00 / 1)
i got a email from my mother from a friend of hers that has a patient that lives in bolivar. she has sheriffs living in her house right now. by what i have read before, the accounts of bodies is true. thats why they wont let the media in there. im not sure about galveston island but on bolivar pennisula seems to be true. i hope it isnt true i have attached a link to a page with updated pictures of bolivar island. funny thing is they only show certian parts of it. some places are shown. http://www.jakeabby.com/cb/

Update on Galveston (5.00 / 1)
from a blogger over at Daily Kos:


Sorry but... (5.00 / 1)
I don't understand something from the email in this post.

He's in a pretty high-up supervisory position for a refinery down on the coast.

By down on the coast, I assume you're talking about Texas City. I'm not aware of any refineries in Galveston.

His refinery has some equipment and lines in and around Galveston county, and before they were to bring them back on line he and his crew had to inspect the place for damage and potential hazards.  So they were given permission....after a background check....to helicopter in and inspect, which meant coming in over Galveston.

Sorry but I don't understand why the helicopter flew over Galveston, if they were flying into Texas City. Where was the helicopter flying in from? Texas City is home to many of the countries refineries and is before Galveston. I assume like most refineries on the coast, they sent your friend (if he has a good supervisory position at one of the refineries) out of town at their expense. My father was evacuated by his refinery and flown to Dallas to escape the storm. Much like the account in the email, my father was also flown in to Texas City via helicopter to asses damage at his unit with the intent of bringing it back up. He flew in from Dallas to Houston, then to Texas City via Helicopter. No accounts of dead bodies in marshes along I-45 nor were there any close to Seabrook or Clear Lake. Not saying the guy didn't see what he thinks he saw, but sounds like my father flew a similar path and he didn't see 1 dead body, much less 1500.

I would like to know tho...why did the helicopter fly over Galveston to asses damage in Texas City?

FWIW (0.00 / 0)
I had company come up from League City the weekend Ike hit. She still had family that stayed (Deer Park, Baytown, and League City). Her brother in law is an officer in Deer Park. She told me that he said the media wasn't allowed onto the Island "because of the bodies".

We'll have to wait and see what comes out.

New reports of an Ike media brownout here (0.00 / 0)

That's right, this is now the brownout diary because last night, MSNBC had a top story article on their website about FEMA abuses. This is partially due to our keeping this information out there. Good work, everyone!

The other news networks are still not giving this any time. News and updates below when they come.

DO NOT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS! Spread information, it could save lives!

Energy spent in other places also (0.00 / 0)
I know you feel strongly about what you have to do with regards to this. We've had our fruitless dialogue (if you can call it that) on that issue. I hope you're spending as much time working with your local food bank or shelter as you are spending with this.

It amazes me that in the Daily Kos entry they don't list any relief agencies or ways to help. They spend all their time on the news coverage. I would end every diary with a list of a few of the relief agencies that will benefit the residents of the SE Texas area.  I've done it in a few of my comments.

Robert did a great job at the beginning of this diary in listing ways to help. Let's all pitch in where we can and help in the recovery.

[ Parent ]
Apologies (0.00 / 0)
I did find the relief information listed among the news clutter. BTW, you can donate online and get the money there much faster at the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

[ Parent ]
No News (3.00 / 1)
I happened across this website while searching for information on survivors and if there was a death toll on or around Galveston. Now, I read all of the blogs up until this point and there is something that has been brought up but not together.

It seems some are concerend aboud finding bodies, or maybe not finding them, but getting the truth that there ARE bodies. This is a priority if you ask me. That's just my opinion. People do have a right to know if their friends and family are ok. Just because people want to know about
those who have not lived through this doesn't mean they don't care about the survivors.

Likewise, the survivors need to be taken care of. This is being done. There are shelters, help centers, and if you want to rely on FEMA, they are there too. It was asked if the people in shelters cared whether or not about people along the coast, I can tell you, they ARE concerned for those victims as well. It seemed to be painted that these people are concerned about themselves and not other victims. This I can tell you is not true. You diminish human compashion if you assume that victims don't care about other victims.

There is a lid on whether or not if there is a large death toll or not. I personally would like to know if there is. As sad as it may seem, it could be high. But why is this information being restricted to the public. Why is there no coverage like there was with Katrina? It's just a question, if answered would not slow the prodution of the "Governtment". Just answer the question.

There are two types of victims, alive and dead. I am concerned for the living and those who have family that didn't make it. Those of the dead have a right to know if people didn't fair well.

[ Parent ]
Thank you. (5.00 / 1)
Just because people want to know about those who have not lived through this doesn't mean they don't care about the survivors.

I appreciate your thoughts on this. I am very concerned about all the victims of Ike. And even though "blogs" do have limitations, it is an incredible way to gain information when not enough is forthcoming. Those who doubt that seem to do so simply to elevate their own biases about media.

And one of your other comments:

Likewise, the survivors need to be taken care of. This is being done. There are shelters, help centers, and if you want to rely on FEMA, they are there too.

My co-worker visited around 1,000 Ike evacuees here in Dallas yesterday and I can tell you that they are not receiving all the help from FEMA that Katrina and Rita victims received. So, there is a lot going on with all of this...and I think we should all have due diligence.

If our government can bail out businesses, we should at least be able to provide food and water vouchers to the Ike evacuees. And sadly, from what I understand first hand, this isn't happening with the evacuees in Dallas.

Thank you for your comments.

[ Parent ]
FEMA (3.00 / 1)
I understand completely about how FEMA has opperated so far. They were slow to act here in New Orleans, and from your comments, seem to be slow there too. It amazes me how prepared the media said FEMA was for this, and that it's this slow at people getting help. It doesn't surprise me in the least though.

FEMA has too much red tape to get help quickly. From experience I totally understand that. It's just terrible how this has played out.

My best wishes to all of your fiends and family.

[ Parent ]
I'm just an observer (5.00 / 1)
But our fellow Texans/Americans deserve better than this.  

[ Parent ]
FEMA Not Paying for Food (3.00 / 1)
Only hotels as long as they can find one with rooms.

More than 3,600 people stayed in 30 shelters in 12 North Texas counties on Monday night, according to the Dallas-area chapter of the American Red Cross.


Kenny Shaw, director of Dallas' Office of Emergency Management, said he had heard reports of people showing up at hotels without authorization.

He expressed concerns that the FEMA program will not pay for evacuees' food, transportation or incidental expenses.

"If they don't have money for food or anything else, that leaves them out," he said.

If I'm an evacuee who had been living paycheck-to-paycheck, I don't see how this is supposed to work.

[ Parent ]
There is no doubt in anyone's mind (5.00 / 2)
that the volunteers and emergency workers deeply care about Ike's victims.  In Houston neighbors are helping neighbors in  so many different ways. Today I drove down a neighborhood street filled with extension cords, taped down with duct tape.  The homes that had power shared with those across the street who did not. The same is true for many folks with generators.  Others with power invite friends, neighbors and colleagues into their homes to shower, do laundry, cook, stay over, whatever. And some lucky enough to have vehicles with a full tank of gas will hand over car keys to others who have run out.

Blood drives are taking place at various workplaces throughout the city.  One bank that I know of has asked its employees who can come to work to assist in putting together packets of essentials to distribute.  In an effort to ease the burden placed on hospitals in Houston's Medical Center, temporary medical clinics have been set up to treat patients who are not critically ill.    

But certain elected and appointed officials as well as various opportunists have other fish to fry. The future and well-being of the storm's victims may not be a top priority for them.

[ Parent ]
We agree and thanks for the info (0.00 / 0)
You know what Libby. That was great information to share. Thanks for providing it and giving us more information on what is going on. I would hope the officials can get their acts together on this. Mayor White appears to be working hard to bring it together (personal opinion).

It shows that even the best plans for a major disaster don't always yield the best results. We can't spend time chastising them now because then someone may not get the critical needs. We can come back to them later and hold them accountable for their actions.

It's a tough balancing act but in this time of crisis we have to think on our feet which is what appears to be happening with Houstonians. Great group of people over in that town.

[ Parent ]
HERE'S A QUESTION... (5.00 / 1)
I'm sure I'll be slammed for bringing it up, BUT... How is it possible that when a mandatory evacuation is issued, and people simply ignore it, that REALITY doesn't seem to be an issue for anyone on this discussion board?  After Katrina, who does that???  Oh wait, that must be the fault of FEMA!  Yeah, that's it.  They probably even forced the people to stay in their homes and disregard the MANDITORY EVACUATION so the government could then spend untold amounts of money and risk the lives of rescue workers looking for those who blatantly ignored the evacuation.  I bet George Bush is in on this too.  He probably gave the order to not disclose the body count.

Now, to debunk the 1,500 bodies seen hanging in trees... all you tree huggers should already know that there really aren't a lot of TREES in that area to begin with!  HELLO, it's the freaking beach!  This story makes it sound like this happened in the Redwood Forest, for Pete's sake!  

When all else fails, try using some common sense!!!


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