Just to get this out of the way, before I go on to anything else:

What I feel about New Orleans, and the tarnish that elements of their population put on the entire southeastern United States, can be summed up by the comments of a member of my Church – my Sunday School teacher, actually.

“I’m actually glad Katrina hit us, too – otherwise, all of the gangbangers shooting at helicopters would be down here.”

I agree, most wholeheartedly. I would rather have the massive devastation Katrina wreaked on us, than the types of people I saw in New Orleans on the news, my one day out of the area.

It’s utterly, completely ridiculous. It’s insane. It’s also intolerable.

Second, I was completely apalled by the national media’s feeding frenzy on politics, while people were dealing with the aftermath of the largest national emergency this country has ever seen. It made me ill. It made me physically, utterly, ill.

CNN did it. ABC did it. Even Fox did it. Everything was sensationalized to score political points. Everything was reported in the worst possible light. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was painted in the light in which it actually appeared. It was painted as if to make completely sure that everyone knew that people were, indeed, depraved, and that nothing whatsoever was being done to help.

You know what? The national media has now completely, absolutely lost any vestige of respect I will ever have for their so-called “objectivity”. They are a pack of hyenas, looking for ratings, and for the most tear-jerking, heart-rending stories, so that they can keep viewers.

Screw you all.

Ahem. The local media, however – Kicker 108, the local country station, has done an absolutely MAGNIFICENT job in keeping people informed, connecting loved ones, getting the news out, and in telling us EXACTLY what we need to know. NPR has done a decent job, but they have the same problem that the national media has – they sensationalize.

The local radio stations have been absolutely awesome in the midst of disaster, and they are a real godsend.

Thank you.

Thank you to the National Guard, who has performed with excellence, with aplomb, and with a smile. Thank you to Mississippi power, who has been absolutely brilliant in restoring power to so much of the community. Thank you, especially, to the scores, hundreds, and thousands of outside power, utility, and tree workers who have done a fabulous job assisting. My hat is off to you all.

Bell South – AWESOME job in getting phone service back so fast. The cell companies have been awesome, too. Cable One, I’ve seen you all over. Great job. Red Cross, Salvation Army, local churches… the list goes on. They’ve all been fantastic. The local FEMA representatives have been great at keeping us informed, and the management of the disaster relief down here has been nothing short of spectacular.

It’s been truly awe-inspiring, watching something so devastated come back to life under the careful, skillful hands of a massive influx of technicians, managers, volunteers, and just plain hard workers.

It’s been a real blessing to watch, and a real blessing to be blessed.

The national media… they’re a pack of vultures.

Haley Barbour, the local mayors, their staffs… they’ve all been working around the clock to put us all back on our feet. President Bush’s compliments were certainly apt, when they were offered to Haley Barbour. He has really done an excellent job.

I’ve seen 98% smiles, here in Southern Mississippi – 2% frowns, 2% bad moods, 2% bad tempers, and 2% despair. 98% of the time, someone has a friendly wave, a cheerful greeting, and a smile to send you on your way.

THAT is what is REALLY happening here. Anyone else who tells you differently is out of their ever-loving mind. I’m here. I’m down on the coast as much as I can get down there, and where I am JUST got power back TODAY. So don’t even think about telling me I’m not in the middle of it. I have been. The media is scavenging horror stories – which, in most cases, are probably true. The other 98% of us – the people who can smile, laugh, wave, and still keep our temper…

We still love each other, and we prove it every day. Several people in our church lost EVERYTHING. They are loved, are being loved, and will be loved – and will be loved right back on their feet. I watched a friend break down while we talked to him, about losing his house – after his cry, he had nothing but a smile and a hug for us. He’ll be ok. We’ll make sure he is. That’s how Mississippi is doing.

We aren’t shooting at rescue copters, I’ll tell you that. We offer them whatever we have to give them – and it’s usually turned down with a smile, and a friendly wave. They’re being taken care of too.

That’s how WE do things down here.