Give to the American Red Cross

Hurricane Katrina has weakened slightly, but is still tracking straight for New Orleans, and is expected to hit landfall as a borderline Category 4/5 storm. I hope that when I awake in the morning, the news is not nearly as bad as it could be. In the meanwhile, if you want to help, probably the best you can do is give to the American Red Cross.

UPDATE: New Orleans dodges a bullet… sort of

I know it may sound odd considering the pictures of destruction coming from the Big Easy, but the city was spared the catastrophe of a “perfect storm.” Katrina weakened to a Category 4 hurricane before landfall, and most significantly, just skirted New Orleans to the East, with the most severe winds just E/NE of the eye wall.

The storm surge, once projected to be as high as 28 feet in spots, has reportedly maxed out at 15 to 17 feet. At least one levee was breached, causing six to eight feet of water in some parts of the city, but far from the devastating flooding that could have occurred. Gusts of up to 150 mph ripped a chunk off the roof of the Superdome, the “shelter of last resort” for about 10,000 residents, but it remains structurally sound.

Katrina continues to weaken as it moves over land, and has now been downgraded to a Cat 3 storm, but it is still quite powerful, and extremely large, so its danger has far from passed. There are now reports of storm-spawned tornadoes throughout the area. No reports yet of deaths or injuries, but they are sure to come, and the storm will certainly have caused hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars worth damage… a financial cost that will touch us all, as the price of crude oil has now surged over $70 a barrel.

The American Red Cross is the private group best equipped to deal with this crisis, and they are asking for cash donations. So if you want to help out, I urge you to click on the link above.


  1. 1

    Richard Pope spews:

    Looks like the center of Katrina will hit at least 25 miles east of New Orleans. This could make all the difference in the world when it comes to storm surge flooding. A little weakening would also be a blessing.

    I will be cautiously optimistic, and predict that the city will not have wholesale flooding. The water will stay slightly below the main levees protecting the city. There will still be widespread catastrophic damage, but the city won’t be completely destroyed.

  2. 3

    Chuck spews:

    Actually, your money would be better spent giving to a church of your choice , where the red cross actually puts about 76% of your monies to good use many of your religous organisations put in more like 89-90%. The red cross actually SELLS sandwiches and coffee to military guys in the field (Thailand 1969) that is why my dad wont contribute to them. Red cross has had too many problems through the years, and like many government agencies is fat ineficient and bloated and needs to be restructured. For more agencies to put the money where the rubber hits the road, here is a link that might help .

  3. 4

    Ivan spews:

    Chuck @ 3:

    It would be news to the Red Cross that they are a government agency. But whatever you do, don’t let the facts interfere with your loathing for our government.

  4. 6

    wes in wa spews:

    1. Do give money.
    2. Don’t send stuff. (During the Snoqualmie valley floods a bunch of years ago, what we did NOT need was a few trailer-loads of used clothes, and what the relief agencies didn’t need was to give staff time and funding to try to figure out what to do with all those used clothes.)

    This is one of those situations where giving to multiple organizations (or the relief org. of your choice) makes sense. There’s stuff that falls through the cracks of any organization that’s picked up by others.

    Some relief organizations’ administrative overhead is paid out of disaster relief donations (Red Cross?). Nothing wrong with that. Others (my church’s relief organization is an example) cover that overhead from other sources, so that 100% of donations for relief go to relief.

    Another consideration is whether to designate gifts (for the hurricane, or just to the relief organization). When I trust the judgment of the relief organization, I prefer to leave the gift undesignated, as sometimes a disaster doesn’t need all the gifts that are given — or one catastrophe is getting a lot more media than another equally critical one.

  5. 7

    JCH spews:

    Typical lib charity, with dozens of senior execs of this “non profit” making high six figure incomes plus cars and benefits. Very sad to say your donations to the Red Cross are wasted by the “non profit libs”.

  6. 8

    Goldy spews:

    I’ll reiterate and clarify… when it comes to major disasters within the US, no organization is better equiped to provide immediate and substantial relief than the Red Cross. The have the material and human infrastructure to deliver and distribute large quantities of supplies quickly, and more importantly they have a wealth of experience working closely with FEMA, the military, and state and local agencies. This is what the Red Cross does best.

    Chuck, you are free to urge people to give to local church groups if you want, and people should certainly give where they feel most comfortable, but really, now is not the time to dis the Red Cross. If I’m willing to plug an organization once headed by Libby Dole, I think you can hold off on your paranoid, misinformed attacks for a couple days.

  7. 9

    prr spews:

    Personally, what I am interested to hear is what type of support others countries are going to be offerring the US, if any….

  8. 10

    bartelby spews:

    Re: 3 & 8: Leave it to the wingnuts to try to politicize and exploit what one would think would be a matter of basic human kindness and empathy. But then again, those who wrap themselves in the mantel of “the culture of life” (e.g. Pat Robertson) are never above a few cheap shots if they think there’s some possible gain.

  9. 11

    prr spews:


    How is this expoliting anything?

    In the matter of natural disasters, the US people consistently come to the aid of any nation, regardless of politics.

    My point is that this will be an interesting experiment too see how others react under the same circumstances.

  10. 13

    JCH spews:

    #8…….Goldy………Too much high priced overhead at the Red Cross. Kind of like the Boys and Girls Club in Harlem that “loaned” Air America 800 grand. BTW, what are the muslim countries in the Indian Ocean contributing? You know, the ones that received millions of American aid during their big flood??

  11. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Cheesy Chuckie @ 3

    Doesn’t surprise me that Chuckie has held a grudge for 36 years over having to pay for a sandwich. Republicans want free stuff! The way to piss off a Republican is ask them pay for a highway, public school, or … sandwich.

    F R E E L O A D E R S

  12. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    re 5

    Latest I hear is that Venezuela wants to extradite Robertson to stand trial for threatening their president. I’m 100% in favor of Pastor Pat doing time in a Caracas hoosegow! I hope they feed him rat meat.

  13. 18

    Chuck spews:

    Goldy, I am not dising anyone, more like putting the money where the rubber meets the road, I wasnt referring to LOCAL churches, there are many national orgs that do much better than a paltry 76% or so, but if the red cross is your thing so be it.

  14. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Cheesy Chuckie @ 19

    My comments about free sandwiches are meant to apply generically (and apparently genetically as well) to you and your ilk.

  15. 21

    Baynative spews:

    A greater percentage of donations made to the Salvation Army go to actual relief or assistance.

  16. 22

    Mark The Redneck spews:

    Has anyone heard how much money has been sent by france or spain or germany?

  17. 23

    JCH spews:

    Our hearts automatically go out to the people of LA,AL,MS, and FL., who are being battered by a series of hurricanes in rapid succession. But we have brains as well as hearts — and the time is long overdue to start using them.

    Hurricanes come through Florida every year about this time. And, every year, politicians get to parade their compassion by showering the taxpayers’ money on the places that have been struck.

    What would happen if they didn’t?

    First of all, not as many people would build homes in the path of a well-known disaster that comes around like clockwork virtually every year. Those who did would buy insurance that covers the costs of the risks they choose to take.

    That insurance would not be cheap — which would provide yet another reason for people to locate out of harm’s way. The net result would be fewer lives lost and less property damage. Is it not more compassionate to seek this result, even if it would deprive politicians of television time?

    In ABC reporter John Stossel’s witty and insightful book “Give Me A Break,” he discusses how he built a beach house with only “a hundred feet of sand” between him and the ocean. It gave him a great view — and a great chance of disaster.

    His father warned him of the danger but an architect pointed out that the government would pick up the tab if anything happened to his house. A few years later, storm-driven ocean waves came in and flooded the ground floor of Stossel’s home. The government paid to have it restored.

    Still later, the waves came in again, and this time took out the whole house. The government paid again. Fortunately for the taxpayers, Stossel then decided that enough was enough.

    In politics, throwing the taxpayers’ money at disasters is supposed to show your compassion. But robbing Peter to pay Paul is not compassion. It is politics.

    The crucial fact is that a society does not have one dime more money to devote to the resources available to help victims of natural disasters by sending that money through government agencies. All that it does is change the incentives in such a way as to subsidize risky behavior.

    The same money can just as well come through insurance companies. Even if most insurance companies are unwilling to insure people living in particularly vulnerable areas, or living in homes that are inadequate to withstand hurricane-force winds, there are always insurers who specialize in high risks — and who charge correspondingly higher premiums.

    Lloyds of London, for example, has already been moving into the market for insurance for homes costing half a million dollars or more and located along coastal waters, whether in Florida or the Hamptons or elsewhere. If rich people want to put their mansions at risk, there is no reason why they shouldn’t pay the costs, instead of forcing the taxpayers to pay those costs.

    What about “the poor”? As in so many other cases, the poor are the human shields behind which big-government advocates advance. If you are seriously concerned about the poor themselves, you can always subsidize them and avoid subsidizing others by having means tests.

    Means tests are anathema to the political left because that puts an end to their game of hiding behind the poor. Compassion is a laudable feeling but it can also be a political racket.

    As with so many government programs that people have come to rely on, phasing out state and federal disaster relief programs would not be easy. In an election year, it is impossible.

    Fortunately, there are years in between elections, in which it is at least theoretically possible to talk sense. Whether the risks are hurricanes, earthquakes, floods or forest fires, people who have gotten themselves out on a limb by taking risks in the expectation that the government will bail them out can be gradually weaned away from that expectation by phasing out disaster relief.

    The alternative is to keep on forcing taxpayers to be patsies forever, while politicians bask in the glow of the compassion racket by throwing the taxpayers’ money hither and yon, while the media applaud the courage of those who rebuild in the path of known disasters.

  18. 24

    Richard Pope spews:

    Chuck @ 3 & 18

    That 76% figure was for a Minnesota chapter of the Red Cross. Do you have any figures for the national organization?

  19. 25

    JCH spews:

    How much [salary, direct and indirect benefits] does the top ten execs make at the Red Cross? Goldy, how do you condone these “non profit” execs dragging down high six figure salaries and then pimp donations for them? [Let’s pretend, Goldy, RR, and you other libs that the Red Cross was “for profit”. You would be bitching and having a hissie. Dumb shits.]

  20. 26

    Chuck spews:

    Richard Pope@23
    No actually I dont, but I know the performance all around for the Red Cross hasnt been historicly good, and I am really sorry for that. I just figgured that the national would be close because the national money dribbles thru the local hands, everyone grabs their “administrative” cost. I do know that the Salvation Army has consistently performed better than the Red Cross on the whole and there are many other charitable NATIONAL orgs that do as well. People can play the “everyone has costs” but when the rubber meets the road the American Red Cross just has little traction anymore. By the way, Ivan the union hack, I know the Red Cross isnt part of the government, but as my post said the Red Cross has become fat and bloated LIKE many government agencies.

  21. 27

    Richard Pope spews:

    How much did the American Red Cross pay Elizabeth Dole in annual salary? Just curious. Was it a reasonable figure, or a super-inflated figure.

    Salvation Army is actually a religious denomination. They do an amazing amount of good to provide material assistance to those in need. You would never think they were actually a regular kind of church, but they are.

    I don’t think the Red Cross has excessive overhead. But the Salvation Army probably has a lot less overhead on its charitable donations. Their religious (i.e. church) activities are already funded by the members’ contributions, so if you give them money for charity, almost all of it will get there.

  22. 28

    Chuck spews:

    Richard Pope@25
    But I prefer for the mone to go as I said where the rubber meets the road. If the Salvation Army has a lower “administrative” cost (it does) then more of your money is going to go to help people. I dont care to pay “administrators”. As i understand it Elizabeth Dole volunteered her first year at the Red Cross, accepting no salary. During her tenure.

  23. 29

    Mark The Redneck spews:

    Sure is interesting that whenever there’s a disaster anywhere in the world, The People of Murka give lots of money to help. Not just Murkin Gummint, but Murkin People.

    But when we have a disaster, the rest of the world just sits there and watches like the dumfuckingasses that they are. Especially the french.

  24. 30

    wes in wa spews:

    Oh those wacky cheapskate Europeans, and after all the US gave for flood relief in central Europe …

    What floods? Oh yeah, we weren’t paying attention, were we? Busy keeping up with The Latest Breaking News From Aruba, I guess.

  25. 31

    The Notorius P.I.E. spews:

    Just for once, lets give the bomb throwing a break.

    A natural disaster is a tragedy. The loss of life is a tragedy. I agree with Goldy that giving money to the red cross is a great idea. I agree with Chuck that giving money to your church or non-profit of your choice is a good idea. Giving money to both is a better idea.

    A time existed in this country when a liberal was someone who was generous with “THEIR” money and a conservative was someone who felt the “COMMUNITY” was responsible to help those in need, not the government.

    Why don’t we try that again for a little while. See if it takes.

  26. 32

    Richard Pope spews:

    My initial prediction in # 1 was almost correct. Unfortunately, one of the levees on Lake Ponchartrain on the north side of New Orleans collapsed yesterday morning as Katrina was passing by. Probably about a 200 to 600 foot breach. Basically, this filled up the city over the next 24 hours or so as the water poured through.

    Total disaster. The water level in New Orleans is probably a couple of feet above sea level right now. Average elevation is five feet below sea level, but it varies from about 15 feet above to 20 feet below. So not everything is flooded — maybe 20% is still above water. Other portions have just a few feet and some portions over 20 feet.

    It will be a very long time before they get all that water out. Natural drainage will let it go down a few feet when the surrounding lake goes back down to sea level. The remaining water — probably over 100 billion gallons — will have to be pumped out. Not an easy thing to do when the pumping stations don’t work and most of them are under lots of water now.

    A direct hit by a more powerful version of Katrina would have been far worse. The city could have received wholesale flooding by a 25 foot surge overwhelming the 16 foot levees. This would have filled the city much faster and much deeper, killing many thousands of people who had stayed behind.

    As it is, there are probably a lot of dead people in New Orleans. It is simply not a priority to recover or even count bodies right now. They are still focusing on rescuing the living — people on their roofs or trapped in their attics.

  27. 33

    joe spews:

    there would be more help if our troops were at home instead of killing civilians overseas. bush promised releif for oil companies before getting starving people out of the superdome.there r people stealing food from grocery store dumpsters and being chased away. i wish they would just kick the doors in on those rich bastards so children could eat. p.s. move your ass bush

  28. 34

    christine spews:

    You will find that the LDS church is even more organized and more efficient than the red cross. Most of the workers are volunteers allowing for the overhead to be under 2%. There is no fund raising costs because it is all donated from their membership. If you ever get a chance to go to SLC make sure you take the tours they have of their humanatarian buildings etc. They were the first group to enter the area this year.

    basically what they do is they have a check off list that is used for different types of disasters. When they know a disaster will hit they call Red cross, catholic relief fund etc. many of the big organizations. They ask what they are providing and check it off of their list. Then they fill in the holes. For example, during the hurricane in homestead years ago they provided the much needed chain saws and plywood that no one else had the means to do. They were given to anyone that was in need in the community. Each church house had sent to their parking lots approx 2-3 trucks full of goods to be handed out to those in that immediate community. My brother was an eye witness of it as he lived in homestead at the time. He talked to the driver and the driver had packed the truck days before, spent several days on the road, then slept in his truck for 8 hours while waiting behind the line. the minute they opened up the barrier he was already there and ready to go.

    Though I know the red cross does some good (they flew my kids from Germany to the states during a family crises) I really prefer the bulk of my money to go directly to the people and there aren’t too many agencies with an overhead of below 2%.