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Republicans are going to screw the blue northeast states over Irene

National Guard vehicle surrounded by Irene flood waters, Somerville, NJ, 08-28-11

Update: Corrected.  I had Ohio on the brain this morning for some inexplicable reason.  My bad.

So, we have devastating floods here in the Northeast and it’s particularly bad in NJ, NY and VT.  Only a few miles from my house, there are towns under water even after the flood control measures that were instituted after Hurricane Floyd in 1999.  I can’t imagine how much worse it could be.  Even my own house was flooded when the power went off and my basement sump pump couldn’t keep the water at bay.  The townhouses on my side of the street that never had floods before in the 26 years since these houses were built, now have wet basements, warped drywall, damaged furniture and the possibility of black mold that will lower our property values if something isn’t done about it as quickly as possible.

I’m lucky because my insurance policy covers this kind of damage but I also have a large deductible and now that I don’t have a job, I can ill afford to shell it out.  In this Lesser Depression, there are hundreds of thousands of families like mine in central NJ who are stretched to the limits financially when just a year ago we were paying some of the highest taxes in the nation and filling the coffers of other states, like Virginia.  Now, here come Republicans like Eric Cantor and Ron Paul who are stirring up resentment of the “heartland” voters who don’t want to pony up when it’s their turn to lend a helping hand.  From the NYTimes story Federal Austerity Changes Disaster Relief we get this little “mine, mine, mine!” moment from Cantor and Ron Paul:

Holding fast to their push for lower federal spending, top Congressional Republicans have argued that any federal aid in the aftermath of the double whammy of an earthquake followed by a hurricane should be offset, if possible, by spending less on other programs.

“Clearly when disasters and emergencies happen, people expect their government to treat them as national priorities and respond properly,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Representative Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican and majority leader who has advocated offsetting emergency aid. “People also expect their government to spend their dollars wisely, and to make efforts to prioritize and save when possible.”

Representative Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination, has gone beyond that view to argue that the federal government’s role in disaster preparation and relief should be cut substantially. Mr. Paul said he saw little value in the Federal Emergency Management Agency, saying the federal approach has given birth to an intrusive bureaucracy and supplants what should be an area for private insurance.

“The bleeding heart will say, well, we have to take care of them,” Mr. Paul said on “Fox News Sunday,” calling FEMA “a gross distortion of insurance” and saying that workers for the agency “hinder the local people, and they hinder volunteers from going in.”

Let’s not let Obama off the hook here.  He went after the caucus states to “win” the nomination in 2008 but if he wants a second term, he would be very stupid to ignore our plight.  Actually, given his knack for capitulating to Republicans, we’re probably screwed.  Thank you DNC.

Lest anyone forget what it is we Northeast states contribute to the federal coffers, here’s a handy map from 2005 that in all likelihood, probably hasn’t changed significantly in 6 years.  See that little navy blue state hugging the Atlantic?  That is New Jersey.  For every tax dollar we send to Washington, we get 61 cents back.

 Eric Cantor’s state of Virginia benefits from New Jersey’s largess so I suggest that the first place we look to make cuts would be Ohio.  Let’s shave some funds off of your educational budget next year.  Or maybe we can cut back on your agricultural subsidies.  I can almost see the Virginia rural farmers, mean little faces screwed up with rage, angered beyond all reason that they have to fork over even one penny to keep some hapless, unemployed schlub in Somerville from losing everything he has.  Texas almost breaks even so it really should be more sympathetic but when have we ever expected Texans to act like their part of the Union?  Let that be a lesson to us bleeding hearts to be a lot more particular about the states we send our money to in the future.

We should set up a review panel to decide which of them is deserving.  I have a soft spot for Vermont.  It has never hurt anyone.  But do we really have to keep bailing out Alabama year after year?  Why don’t they just pay people in that state more money and impose a more progressive income tax?  And all those red states in the middle of the country.  There’s hardly anybody there.  (hmmm, didja notice how many of those states caucused for Obama in 2008?  And look at all the blue states that the DNC shafted. Yes, let’s just ignore all of the people in the most densely populated states.)  Shouldn’t there be a threshold level population before we give them our hard earned cash?  Maybe we can make them all take random drug tests or get tested for SDIs.  Yes!  That’s the ticket.  Let’s make all of those judgmental Tea Party voters pee in a vial periodically before we give their states money.  Oh, we know they aren’t really druggies (or DO we?).  We just think it’s only right that they undergo ritual humiliation and put in a couple hours at a crisis intervention session if they want our charity.  It will make us feel good about our superior, upstanding, moral lives.

Don’t piss us off or we’ll send Snookie after you.


Cleanup day

Hi guys, I have to clean up today. A lot of my stuff in the basement is ruined. It remains to be seen whether any of the furniture down there can be saved. There’s also a question of whether the DVR and media stuff were high enough above the water line. The nintendo accessories took a hit. And all of the three full boxes of American Girl clothing, furniture, and dolls that I lovingly packed into plastic bins not two weeks ago, toppled over into the silty water. My eldest daughter’s childhood memorabilia is probably beyond salvaging.

And then there are the walls. The fire department removes only enough water to keep your electrical connections dry. The rest just stands there until the water gets reabsorbed by the earth. All of this happened before I even knew the basement was flooded so there wasn’t anything I could do about it anyway. The basements on our side of the street have never flooded before so my neighbors and I thought we were safe.

We still have no power. The generators are droning away in the driveways of those few individuals who were lucky enough to have one or could borrow one. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. But today, I have to air out the basement ASAP or mold will take hold. And without electricity, I can’t use a wet/dry vac or a fan or dehumidfier. My freezer is thawing out, though the beer was still cold enough last night. I’m headed out for coffee before I have to haul the contents of my basement out to the street.
Later…

Hurricane Irene poised to take out Northeastern liberal elite bloggers

That’ll learn them dirty f%^&ing hippies.  Whoo-hoo!  We really should get together and throw a hurricane party.  My house is just above the label that says “2pm Sunday”.

So much to do. Appetizers, beer, rum. Mostly get fresh water.  Natasha Chart tweeted a handy disaster preparedness list for those of us on the hit list.  Here’s a tip I learned when I rode out Hurricane Charlie in Naples, Florida about 5 years ago: fill your bathtubs up with water.  When the water stops flowing, you’ll want to use that water to flush your toilets.

When Floyd passed through here about 13 years ago, our water treatment plant was flooded and out for 2 weeks.  Yep, do you know how hard it is to keep a 2 year old clean for two weeks without showers and baths?  The mayor had a fireside chat every evening for 2 weeks to assure us that the water would be flowing any day now while his hair got greasier and greasier.  Ah, those were the days.  Such fun.  Speaking of fun, I really must clear that gutter above my deck while I have time…

The inaptly named Bound Brook, NJ after Hurricane Floyd, about 5 miles from yours truly

But it’s not just the NJ bloggers, and that would include Krugthulu who lives about 10 miles from me, it also includes Atrios and Susie Madrak.

Speaking of Susie, in case you haven’t heard, she’s in the hospital under observation for a possible heart attack.  As you may know, Susie’s been unemployed for awhile.  Health insurance is expensive.  By the way, did you know that the COBRA subsidy will end next week?  The subsidy helped pay 65% of the cost of COBRA for newly unemployed people, like me.  I’m not on COBRA yet but I can now look forward to paying the whole thing myself on my meager unemployment check starting next month when my severance benefits end.  Isn’t that special?  Stranded in NJ with a mortgage, no job and no COBRA subsidy.  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to live on and I’m probably not going to fetch top dollar on the flesh market on Craigslist anymore.  You’d think Obama would have made sure that this subsidy lasted until 2012 but you would think wrong.  It’s enough to drive a girl to socialism, I tells ya.

Anyway, if you have some spare change, now would be a good time visit Susie’s page and  make a donation to her tip jar.

Get well, Susie!  We need you back on Virtually Speaking Susie.