Sunday, January 07, 2007

Geography lesson

Right after the Blizzard of '06, I got an email forwarded from my mother that went like this:
Up here, in the Northern Plains, we just recovered from a Historic event--- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" --- with a historic blizzard of up to 44" inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10's of thousands.

George Bush did not come.

FEMA did nothing.

No one howled for the government.

No one blamed the government.

No one even uttered an expletive on TV.

Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit.

Our Mayor did not blame Bush or anyone else.

Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either.

CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC did not visit - or report on this category 5 snowstorm. Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.

No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House.

No one looted.

Nobody - I mean Nobody demanded the government do something.

Nobody expected the government to do anything, either.

No Larry King, No Bill O'Rielly, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No Geraldo Rivera.

No Shaun Penn, No Bar bara Striesand, No Hollywood types to be found.

Nope, we just melted the snow for water.

Sent out caravans of SUV's to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars.

The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny.

Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snowbound families. Families took in the stranded people - total strangers.

We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns.

We put on extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die".

We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for 'sittin at home' checks.

Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.

In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 48 degrees North Latitude, 90% of the world's social problems evaporate.

It does seem that way, at least to me.

I hope this gets passed on.

I looked at it and thought "that looks familiar." A few minutes Googling revealed that it was actually written about a blizzard in North Dakota, right after Katrina. I'm almost positive I got it by email then, although I haven't tried searching my email for it; in any case, it's in itself a bit of an exaggeration, since North Dakota (and Colorado) called out the National Guard, and ND also solicited and got a disaster declaration from the Federal Government. (The link it to a Snopes article; you can find details there.) On the other hand, while it's an exaggeration, it's got a touch of sense to it; there was no sign of the paralyzed dependency that we saw in New Orleans. We bitched about the snow, but we didn't ask where FEMA was to help people stranded in the snow.

But I've got to admit I'm finging it a little annoying now. First, my New York hearththrob Pamela at Atlas Shrugs did it. I posted a correction, and she quickly updated her site.

Then Don Luskin picked it up; I emailed him a correction, and he wrote back saying "ain't the internet wonderful?" or some such, but never noted it on his site. Then Maggie's Farm has picked it up, and gotten a fair comment thread about it. Then Ed Driscoll picked it up.


It's kind of interesting to watch it go past. It's very interesting when you think about the "plastic turkey" and similar stories --- it's a demonstration of how a good story, a "meme" propagates.

Like a lot of those stories, too, it carries along its own falsification. This story doesn't make sense on the face of it.

See, Colorado is entirely south of the 41st parallel: that's Colorado's northern border.

Seneca (39.92°N, 105.13°W.)


Anonymous said...

The Dakotas actually get a fair number of disaster declarations, often due to severe winter storms and flooding.

North Dakota.

South Dakota.

Unknown said...

Facts shmacts..

Hey, when Oklahoma gets hit a by a twister no one ever comes. Not even when it is a record breaking three in one twister so big it sucks all the water out of farm ponds.

Rick Ballard said...

Even in North Dakota, once you get above of 48°N, it's very doubtful that you would see FEMA. Unless the Canadians asked nicely.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes you would, he said pedantically - all the way to the 49th Parallel. Which was a great WW2 movie, by the way...

Rick Ballard said...

Hmph. Picayune pedantry strikes again. Polk should have held his ground so that I could have avoided the error. Plus we'd have those nice tar sands and everyone could drive Hummers at 90MPH for the forseeable future.

Anonymous said...

If they just brought back the Red Ensign, I'd be happy. With the original green maple leaves thank you, Truepeers.

Bird Dog said...

Fake but accurate?

Yes, we fall for these things sometimes. But we don't get paid to do this as a full-time job!