Hurricane Gustaf merely glanced off The iHandbill offices. We were fortunate. Much more so than three years ago when Katrina ripped a roof off and left us with no electricity, which meant no air conditioning for two weeks in the suffocating September heat and humidity. Photos and TV of hurricane Katrina in 2005 and for its aftermath, was beamed into every home on TV and onto newspaper pages around the whole world. “Heckuva job Brownie!” became one of many albatrosses to flock around young cocky George W. Bush’s neck, hanging there not too far from “Mission Accomplished.”
Emergency agencies on state and local levels were finally given massive IV’s of restorative manna from The Department of Homeland Security. Federal, state and local bureaucracies expanded exponentially and the mere utterance of “state of emergency” or “disaster area” now automatically sets off the huge Federal slot machine “fund” jackpot.
Now we are bracing for two more potential hurricanes coming into the Gulf of Mexico. I am personally also bracing for the jarring pre-recorded auto-dial mass hurricane warning telephone calls to coastal Mississippi Counties, paid for by the new hurricane jackpot funds. Answering the phone, I heard a voice like GOD having a bad day, “Thissis Haleeee Barbour and I stronglee advize thet yew . . .” First one I got a year or so ago woke me from a sound nap about 3:30 in the afternoon. I thought Gomer Pyle was calling from some distant place and hung up. But the calls continued and sure nuff, not a weather or emergency expert’s voice but THE GOVERNOR hisseff had recorded the voice of doom warnings. Poor Haley does the good old boy routine to the hilt here at home with a syrupy, haughty drawl that only someone from Hot Coffee, Mississippi could love. He tones it down in the Beltway lobbyist offices I am told. He really does sound like the Gomer Pyle character. Got lots of these calls this year for everything that had winds over 40MPH regardless of where they were. Tropical Storm Pam generated three days of the nap-time calls from Haley before drenching Florida. Tried to get off the call list, since I have the Weather Channel and great computer links to great weather sites, but I was told by the call center that the governor, “ . . . wuz jist tryin to save yur liife!” Well bless his little pea-picking political heart. At least I speak Mississippi, along with a couple of other foreign languages just in case one of the calls might be remotely helpful.
Photo Rogelio V. Solis / AP