United we fall

Online forum SomethingAwful managed to raise $27,695 to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Then suddenly, PayPal locked the account. When someone finally managed to contact PayPal, they were informed that PayPal has an exclusive contract with United Way—and that United Way’s contract would not allow PayPal funds to be transferred to the Red Cross. Yup: United Way and PayPal would rather block $27k in relief funds, than allow the money to go to the Red Cross.

The good side of Texas

According to The Guardian, Texas has taken in more than 230,000 refugees from New Orleans. That’s more than every other state added together; Austin alone is planning to take in more refugees than Colorado. (It’s a shame the Coliseum is half demolished.) The Red Cross say they already have more volunteers in Austin than they can use, though the Capitol Area Food Bank is still looking for assistance.

Katrina and the waves

So it’s a total disaster in New Orleans. Three levees are breached, one of them has a hole over 150 meters across. 80% of the city is under water up to 6 meters deep. The entire city is without electrical power or water supply. It’s estimated that it will be 9–12 weeks before they can even get rid of the water, much less get the city habitable. Interstate 10 is broken chunks of floating concrete; there’s no route into the city for trucks and other major vehicles.


Some numbers: Amount of money raised by Red Cross for NYC terrorism victims: $530m Amount disbursed to terrorism victims: $40m Amount spent on “long term goals and administrative costs”: $225m [Source: Toronto Star] Percentage of Pakistanis who say they sympathize with the Taliban: 83% Percentage who sympathize with the USA: 3% Percentage of Pakistanis who see Osama bin Laden as a “holy warrior”: 82% Percentage who believe he is responsible for the 9/11 attacks: 12% [Source: Newsweek, via The Week]