FanDuel - WFBC

September 30, 2009

Pushing an Agenda on SportsFilter: "I don't like to come to SPORTSFILTER, to defend my religious or political views. It's not fun. We share a common thread here and it's sports." Longtime member Tselson has a beef with the high school baptism link.

posted by rcade to editorial policy at 09:18 AM - 50 comments

I responded here to keep from derailing the discussion.

Just giving you what you wanted. Someone to speak out so that you can push your agenda. Seriously, why else would you have posted this?

I posted the story because it was interesting. I was 50/50 on putting it up here, but you're the first person who said it was inappropriate. If you think SportsFilter is liberal because I push an agenda you give me too much credit. This site sprang from the liberal-leaning MetaFilter.

I don't post to grind an axe. I post stories all the time where the main tilt of the piece is one I disagree with, such as the items on the Yankees-shirt kid, the NFL in Jacksonville and Cowboys Stadium architecture. I've posted two Brett Favre items praising him for career longevity and that miraculous TD pass, but it's no secret I think he's a dope.

posted by rcade at 09:19 AM on September 30

Further, it would be a shame to lose intelligent sports fans who feel like their conservative or religious views are being marginalized or belittled here. I wouldn't want that to happen.

However, a provocative story like that one's going to make some people mad. It's just the nature of the story. I'm sure we've made some folks mad with the way every story on Native American mascots tilts so heavily against them. (I found the discussion disheartening because so many people think the coach's actions are OK.)

Although I'm politically liberal, I don't need or want to push an agenda here, and if people think I've done that I want to hear from them. My agenda is for this to remain one of the only online sports communities where idiots don't rule the day.

posted by rcade at 09:29 AM on September 30

It seems like an absolutely huge overreaction. The commenter admits to not reading all the comments and not liking the post from the start. It's skimming for confirmation of something you already think you know. It's being a bad community member by not caring enough about the opinions of the members to want to know what they have to say.

To date, I've battled with rcade over a ton of issues here but he's fair and rarely (if ever) do I feel he's pushing anything with his posts. It's an interesting post bound to spark a discussion; perfect for SpoFi. Any editorializing of the post is done in the spirit of summing up the original article, which has an outrage slant to it.

posted by dfleming at 10:05 AM on September 30

Plus the whole "If you want to weed me out, just fucking pull the plug on my ass" martyrdom thing really gets my goat. Nobody even remotely suggested that.

posted by dfleming at 10:07 AM on September 30

I'm sure just about everyone here has been in the minority on the side that he/she believed was right. It is always frustrating. Still, it says nothing bad about the community that this happens. In fact, it speaks to the diversity of views here. When this happens, you can do as I do and just assume everyone else is a moron or you can embrace martyrdom. Whatever works.

posted by bperk at 10:14 AM on September 30

I don't know about others, but the bewitching and fascinating thing about sport for me is how it relates to and intertwines with so-called "real life". To discuss it in a bubble would be utterly meaningless and, I expect, incredibly dull. I don't come here to find out what happened, I come here to find out how it looked from your seat.

posted by JJ at 10:29 AM on September 30

If I had godlike powers, I'd make it so that whenever people who are in a privileged majority (a majority that behaves quite oppressively towards the minority at times) tried to pretend that they are instead in a small and persecuted minority, their heads would immediately turn bright blue.

But if I had godlike powers, there wouldn't be any religious controversies, because you'd all be worshiping me (and you'd all by god be wearing Yankee hats while you did it).

(edit: oh, and my take on it? Absolutely no "moderator pushing an agenda" crap, and I will furthermore personally donate two dozen amazing cupcakes to the bake sale to raise funds to ban the use of the phrase "pushing an agenda")

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:06 PM on September 30

My first suggestion would be just to avoid the particular FPP that annoys you. If you don't like reading about the intersection of religion and sports, avoid that thread. There are plenty of other threads for you to read and comment on.

As far as the argument on the merits, one of the founding principles of this country is the separation of church and state. I would think that a conservative would respect that.

The state, in this case, is represented by the football coach, and I would assume that many of us would know the power and influence a coach would have over his student athletes, who are still teenagers.

Even if the coach merely suggested it the trip rather than ordered it, it's still inappropriate.

If you want to disagree or argue the merits, let's have at it. But if it is too upsetting for you to do so, then see my first suggestion.

And by the way, I'm the one that brought up the ACLU in the thread. I'm a card carrying member of the ACLU and proud of it, even when they defend despicable people like the Nazis in Skokie.

posted by cjets at 12:50 PM on September 30

You know, I just read the thread, and don't think it is reasonable to support the coach in that case at all, regardless. It is the school jumping into religion, which is a no no, it is also the school jumping into the parent-child relationship, which you would think would be a bigger no-no if you were inclined to be a conservative. But then I thought tselson made a funny and to the point post and if he would stick around then maybe we would all learn something because, you know, it is awfully easy to lump together all religious conservatives into a monolithic block of devolutionary ignorance - easy, yet inaccurate and good to have all sides heard. So keep it civil, but keep it real, would be my suggestion.

And as to the question, that was a fine post and amen to this being a place where sports can be discussed intelligently and a JJ says, from the POV of anyone's seat.

posted by rumple at 01:20 PM on September 30

Oh yeah. My very own intervention. These normally go well.

Plus the whole "If you want to weed me out, just fucking pull the plug on my ass" martyrdom thing really gets my goat.

Further, it would be a shame to lose intelligent sports fans who feel like their conservative or religious views are being marginalized or belittled here. I wouldn't want that to happen.

It has already happened. My knee jerk reaction was based on watching past members leave, more than likely because they became disenchanted at being belittled for their conservative views and therefore in my opinion, ended up getting weeded out. Whatever, I was admittedly upset.

If I had godlike powers, I'd make it so that whenever people who are in a privileged majority (a majority that behaves quite oppressively towards the minority at times) tried to pretend that they are instead in a small and persecuted minority, their heads would immediately turn bright blue.

There is no way to respond to comments like this or defend my point of view, once I am labeled as a whiny majority (person) who is crying about being persecuted. Because that statement will just be rephrased and regurgitated on me until I quit the discussion.

Rcade, I'm sorry I went a little berserk. You called this coach "rot," and referred to me as glib for not agreeing with your take on the story. I honestly questioned the motive. There was only one direction this post was going and that was political and religious. You knew that when you posted it.

The commenter admits to not reading all the comments and not liking the post from the start. It's skimming for confirmation of something you already think you know. It's being a bad community member by not caring enough about the opinions of the members to want to know what they have to say.

It was late. It was more of a disclaimer. There were around sixty new posts. I was responding to posts that I did read and believe I cited them. I simply was admitting that in the unlikely case that I repeated what someone else already said.

My first suggestion would be just to avoid the particular FPP that annoys you. If you don't like reading about the intersection of religion and sports, avoid that thread.

I read everything here. I pass on commenting more than you would know. Frustration builds. I'm sorry.

posted by tselson at 02:04 PM on September 30

My knee jerk reaction was based on watching past members leave, more than likely because they became disenchanted at being belittled for their conservative views and therefore in my opinion, ended up getting weeded out.

From the opposite side of the aisle, my perception is there are plenty of members who have left for the exact opposite reason (tired of trying to rationally engage the anti-punctuation & logic brigade).

posted by yerfatma at 02:14 PM on September 30

On preview, it took me a long time to post that! So:

it is awfully easy to lump together all religious conservatives into a monolithic block of devolutionary ignorance - easy, yet inaccurate and good to have all sides heard. So keep it civil, but keep it real, would be my suggestion.

Yeah, that's a point well taken on my side, as well. (changing religious conservatives to you know, something else:)

On preview: Crap, I was trying to address all comments before I had to go.

Fatty, I'll just say I can agree with that as well.

posted by tselson at 02:17 PM on September 30

There was only one direction this post was going and that was political and religious. You knew that when you posted it.

True, but I don't think that should be an automatic disqualifier from a topic being posted here. Thanks for the apology, but I don't think one was needed. You raised a worthwhile point.

posted by rcade at 02:28 PM on September 30

In response to Yerfatma's comment about the "anti-punctuation and logic brigade," there are times I think about implementing a "too stupid to post here" hammer. It's just hard to imagine that won't go terribly wrong and result in a site with just 10 super-intelligent members who all talk like Sheldon on Big Bang and then plot world domination.

posted by rcade at 02:33 PM on September 30

It's just hard to imagine that won't go terribly wrong and result in a site with just 10 super-intelligent members who all talk like Sheldon on Big Bang and then plot world domination.

*registers sportsfiltercabal.org*

posted by dfleming at 02:38 PM on September 30

Sheldon would never bother with World Domination. After doing a cost/benefit analysis, it turns out it really isn't worth the bother.

posted by apoch at 03:05 PM on September 30

It's just hard to imagine that won't go terribly wrong

Yeah, I know. And it'd just result in an echo chamber anyway. Can't stop me wishing though.

posted by yerfatma at 03:24 PM on September 30

a site with just 10 super-intelligent members

Who are the other (4,5,6,7,8,) nine members that will be on the site with me?

(tee-hee-rcade said "members")

posted by THX-1138 at 03:51 PM on September 30

I've also gotten the impression that SportsFilter tends to be a bit liberal leaning. However, I tend to avoid the topics such as the one in question where the main issue goes way beyond sports.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:01 PM on September 30

tselson:

There is no way to respond to comments like this or defend my point of view, once I am labeled as a whiny majority (person) who is crying about being persecuted. Because that statement will just be rephrased and regurgitated on me until I quit the discussion.

I'll tender my apology now, because in context, that clearly seemed directed at you, and it really wasn't -- it was a reaction to the thread and certain entries in it, primarily from others rather than from you. However...since I have acknowledged that the label may be unfair, I wonder if I can ask you, in a similar spirit, to try and hear the flip side. When church/state issues come up, and someone suggests that a strict separation of church and state is a good thing, it is very common for Christian conservatives (and not-so-conservatives) to pooh-pooh these concerns, to have a "aaah what's the big deal" reaction, or "but we're sharing a good thing" reaction, or a "oh you're just being PEE CEE!!!" reaction, or a "Next thing you secular humanists are going to prevent us from even using the word 'Christmas'" reaction. I am not a Christian. Living in the United States, I am a member of a religious minority, so I get first-hand experience in what it's like to really honest-and-for-true have your beliefs marginalized, mocked and outright persecuted. I know damn well what would happen if I tried to proselytize my religion in a high school, and it wouldn't be pretty.

Knowing all that, and living with all that, I will freely admit that it frosts my behind when Christians play the persecuted card. Yeah, I said it. To my mind, it's a "he jests at scars that never felt a wound" situation. I'm not calling you a whiner, and I'm trying really hard to not create a hierarchy of wrongs either...but I hate it when these conversations never seem to inspire some thought in the majority like, "Wow, if I feel like this now, how much more often does a Muslim/Jew/Wiccan/Buddhist feel like this -- and what part am I playing in that?"

BTW, I have no problem with Christians. My sister, whom I love deeply, is a nun, and I have the utmost respect for her beliefs and her devotion to them. I am also a deep admirer of many Christians whose faith leads them to work for good in the world (particularly the Mennonites). I'm just not a Christian myself.

Thanks for listening, and again, my apologies that my earlier comment was hurtful.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:27 PM on September 30

I suppose I should say something, since I contributed to the how the original thread went awry. Let me say at the beginning that I have no problems with people professing a personal religious belief. But I don't think it makes you a better human being, and I don't think you should have the arrogance to foist it on others.

My first foray into the thread was to make a joke about Baptists, sex and dancing, hoping that we could all have a laugh at the coach's expense. "Hey, check out this ignorant/stupid dude!". That was the wrong tack, obviously. I then noticed a disturbing number of posters who agreed that "He's actually done nothing wrong, kids should be exposed to the gospel, etc". That pushed a few buttons and brought out my pop-sociological analysis of small town USA. Apologies if that took the thread off the rails.

The point I was trying to make is that there is something different, or exceptional about America. This is a society that allows the coach to think it was a good thing to take the kids to be baptised in the first place, and then think that he could get away with it. Couple this with the lack of any objection from most of the players, their families, or the school system. This is a totally alien concept for the society I live in, and I thought it was worth asking why.

My work takes me to many places where religious fundamentalism abides. The deliberate isolation from the rest of the world, the paranoia generated by pretending to be an oppressed minority, as lbb points out, and the belief in the righteousness of your cause are disturbingly similar between a pesantren in the hills of Java and parts of middle America. In all honesty, however I have to disagree with lbb, in that depite the presence of a small number of faith-based aid groups*, in all the countries I've worked, I have never seen religion do any good for anybody.

One of the features of closed societies or cults is that when you take away critical thinking, people are prepared to believe anything. Unfortunately, that's not the road to heaven, that's the road to Waco.

*Interestingly, amongst all the aid workers I've met, I'd say around 90 per cent are atheists or agnostics. Religious belief is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for leading a moral life, obviously.

posted by owlhouse at 08:27 PM on September 30

Thanks for listening, and again, my apologies that my earlier comment was hurtful.

Thank you. I can only reiterate that just because I'm considered to be a part of a religious majority, there is never a feeling of "if anyone questions my beliefs or mocks them outright, I will feel no pain because I'm in a majority."

And when it does happen, it can be honest and true mockery, majority or not. I'm alone at the keyboard. I can be wounded and scarred. I don't need to be poked in the eye to understand that it could be hurtful to poke someone else in the eye. I'm just a person, I am not a thing called majority.

Thank you, as well, llb. I appreciate your post. I really thought you would simply grind me into pebbles. So I guess I'll sum it up. I feel probably just like you do when that happens. And I'll admit that it happens to non Christians, in America, more than to Christians.

Fair enough?

posted by tselson at 10:40 PM on September 30

Good thread and eventually a civil discussion. Another victory for SpoFi!

I find it interesting to watch the cultural war in the West fought in these little battles online. I have a couple hardcore Presbyterians in my circle and they have never let me feel less loved despite my heathen status as a non-believer.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:04 PM on September 30

Okay for the second time I've stumbled across refresh or something that wipes out my draft. Maybe that's a good thing.

I felt responsible to respond in kind to any post here. I'll continue to do so but I don't like the arrogant, look they are listening to me feeling.

I like sports. I like a free steak dinner and maybe a speaker, just like the kid in Kentucky. I don't expect to have to pay for my steak dinner with my soul or watch people handle snakes (it was Baptist, not Catholic so wipe out the dirty thoughts) or speak in tongues or be made to take the body of Christ as dessert, when I come here for sports. So I get the beef with coach. Is it similar at all? Or am I rambling?

Owlhouse, with apologies to the people of rural Romania, I don't think too many people take that as a compliment.

In America we honestly have it hard when it comes to international travel. We are lucky to get a few long weekends, a week of vacation and maybe a day or two around the holidays. We don't get a mandatory two week holiday and four or five other weeks, like my dear friend in London does.

It makes overseas travel very expensive and unreasonable. I was only able to go because my father in law had transferred overseas. He's retired, I'll probably never be able to go again. Now, my dad and his brother have absolutely no interest in overseas travel. There is too much to see in this country, they say.

There is a lifetimes worth of things to see in America, but it's all American. I get what you are saying as far as Americans and their poor ratio of passport ownership goes, but it's unfair to assume it's simply due to ignorant bliss.

As far as religion never doing any good for anybody, how about a homeless guy walking into our church, and us loading him up with a pair of shoes and clothes. A little thing but good, no?

So just for you owlhouse,

Mickey and Minnie Mouse were in divorce court. The judge says, "Mr. Mouse, you have filed for divorce on the grounds that your wife is crazy, correct?"

"Crazy?" shouts Mickey. "Crazy? I didn't say she was crazy! I said she was fuckin' Goofy!!!!"

posted by tselson at 11:40 PM on September 30

No problem, tselson. SpoFi isn't the place to reconcile our differences vis a vis faith, and nor should it be.

I realise many people in the US don't want to travel. But you guys are the most affluent, and one of the most educated societies on the planet. I just find it hard to resolve that fact with what comes out of your country sometimes. The strength of religion, and how it affects politics, sports and artistic life really is a cultural phenomenon peculiar to your shores.

I also meet some wonderful Americans overseas - I worked closely with the Peace Corps in East Timor and in Tonga, and still keep in touch with them in places like Rwanda, Liberia and elsewhere. They do your country proud.

Good joke, too. Regarding the homeless man - I agree that it is a good thing for the church to do - and maybe all churches should emphasise charity a bit more - but the point I was making is that you don't need religion in order to help out a fellow human being.

posted by owlhouse at 11:51 PM on September 30

but the point I was making is that you don't need religion in order to help out a fellow human being.

Of course not. I believe there's a story about a Samaritan that proves that has been the case for a very long time;) Hopefully for a long time to come, as well.

I felt obligated to post this as well. Minus the "happy to have been a help to you" quote which doesn't apply, but for some reason this book was in my garage and it felt right.

"Being master of one's mood is the privilege of the larger animals. Now, I shall withdraw, monsieur, happy to have been of help to you. Thank you; I'd accept if I were sure of not being a nuisance. You are too kind. Then I shall bring my glass over beside yours."

So, I will master my moods and I bring my glass over beside yours and we'll talk. Sports;)

Anyone name that book?

posted by tselson at 12:17 AM on October 01

Sounds like former international goalkeeper Albert Camus. It's too mature to be The Outsider and it's a monologue, or a one sided conversation, so without scanning my bookshelf copy - is it from The Fall?

posted by owlhouse at 01:11 AM on October 01

Sounds a bit grand for Mark E. Smith.

Since we're quoting, Dylan Moran has my take on religion covered:

"I respect all the major religions - and the minor ones too - but I do think that if you believe in any of it you're a moron. The thing is, to me, it really is just people talking to their imaginary friend. I don't mind that, whatever gets you off, but some of them are world leaders."

posted by JJ at 05:50 AM on October 01

It's Camus and it's The Fall. Literary competition on SpoFi? That's technically a sport, right?

posted by dfleming at 07:24 AM on October 01

I have never seen religion do any good for anybody.

That seems terribly parochial. Regardless of priest sex scandals, I will always self-identify as Catholic (though terribly lapsed and someone they might not want tagging along) because of the true believers who sacrifice so much in poor places around the country and world. There are good people and bad people and to paint with such a broad brush never works.

posted by yerfatma at 08:50 AM on October 01

because of the true believers who sacrifice so much in poor places around the country and world

My point is that having a religious belief is not a necessary condition for doing good. Neither is it a sufficient condition, as your priest sex scandals will attest.

If this is indeed the case, then it is logical to ask just what is the purpose of religion? A means of social control? Some individual psychological benefit? Even then, you don't need religion.

We've had Camus, now I'll throw some Dostoevsky at you: Why do people want to be good in the first place? How much of it is because they want others to think they are a good person? And if so, isn't this rather selfish and therefore diminishes the whole reason for being good?

posted by owlhouse at 09:18 AM on October 01

owlhouse:

I realise many people in the US don't want to travel. But you guys are the most affluent, and one of the most educated societies on the planet.

But that's looking at averages, and averages are misleading. Working in a ski resort, I got to meet a lot of gap year kids who found personal economics in the US very perplexing: is the US a cheap place to live, or an expensive place to live? The answer, I believe, is that we have many cheap luxuries and several expensive necessities. For example, apparel and consumer electronics are quite cheap here compared to Europe -- I used to work for a company that had a substantial European presence, and when our European coworkers were in town on business, it was considered the friendly thing to take them shopping, and they would go completely crazy. But healthcare is very expensive compared to the rest of the developed world, as is higher education. Gasoline is cheap compared to most other industrialized countries, but home heating oil has seen steep rises in price in the last decade, and in the northern US you need heat to stay alive. Food is still fairly inexpensive, but nutritious food is becoming more expensive, and we've also seen sharp price spikes across the board due to the effect that petroleum prices have on petroleum-driven factory agriculture.

On top of that, we also have a widening rich-and-poor gap, largely a result of years of policies that lifted restrictions on the rich making more money (by removing or pulling the teeth of industry regulations, for example) and that undercut programs designed to improve the upward mobility of lower socioeconomic classes. It's not just the current recession; it was going on long before that. The average American cannot afford to travel abroad, period: they lack the funds and they lack the time. It's not like someone in the UK hopping over to France or vice versa.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:49 AM on October 01

My point is that having a religious belief is not a necessary condition for doing good. Neither is it a sufficient condition, as your priest sex scandals will attest.

Nope. It's not a reason for wholesale dismissal of people either. To be honest, I agree with about 98% of what you're saying, I'm just uncomfortable with the width of your brush. As it were.

posted by yerfatma at 10:59 AM on October 01

If I'd a penny for every time a girl has said that to me.

posted by JJ at 11:17 AM on October 01

I'd still be skint.

posted by JJ at 11:17 AM on October 01

...now that's truth in advertising!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:28 AM on October 01

I'm just uncomfortable with the width of your brush. As it were.

Sorry about coming across a bit grumpy - I'm caught up with relief efforts for the Samoa tsunami and now the Padang earthquake, both places where I've worked and have friends. I tend to get very negative about the idea of a benevolent God at times like this.

posted by owlhouse at 04:46 PM on October 01

Yep - I agree. If God is in charge and has a plan, then he seems to have settled for very little.

Most of my problem with evangelicalism is that it purports to be universal, but is so obvioulsy American in it's makeup. The primacy of the individual, the spectacle and focus on wealth and attaining wealth/personal reward, the notions about Israel, etc. It just sounds to me like a bunch of people claiming a world view, but having such a narrow focus to begin with. It's more about culture than any kind of trancendental truth.

And I know that America gets an unfair shake, there are crazy religious everywhere, but at least those morons in Afghanistan and Pakistan have an excuse - they can't bloody read and many live in poverty.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:22 PM on October 01

Americans also travel less because the country is larger than Europe if you include Alaska and most of it is much easier to get to than Europe. Also until recently Americans didn't need a passport to go to Mexico, Canada and much of the Caribbean so plenty traveled out of the country without getting that paperwork.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:14 PM on October 01

To quote a bumper stick I saw once...

I don't have a problem with God, it's his fan club I can't stand...

posted by MeatSaber at 07:39 PM on October 01

I'm caught up with relief efforts for the Samoa tsunami and now the Padang earthquake

Forget I said anything. Thanks.

posted by yerfatma at 07:45 PM on October 01

Two posts gives you the right to a dismissive sneer. Four a snarky comment, and eight a blistering denunciation. Reach 10 and you can suggest my mother was undiscriminating in her choice of anonymous sex partners.

posted by rcade at 12:19 PM on September 16

By my calculations, I owe you 6 posts. ( I don't think I could do a blistering denunciation without pulling something) And I would never say that about your mom but then again, I wasn't anonymous.

Sorry about coming across a bit grumpy - I'm caught up with relief efforts for the Samoa tsunami and now the Padang earthquake, both places where I've worked and have friends.

Hope your friends are okay, owlhouse.

posted by tselson at 11:11 PM on October 01

Why do people want to be good in the first place? How much of it is because they want others to think they are a good person? And if so, isn't this rather selfish and therefore diminishes the whole reason for being good?

The Grand Inquisitor in Crime and Punishment?

posted by tahoemoj at 01:01 AM on October 02

I thought it was the Underground Man. Old Fyodor has several moral ambiguities happening at once, so he's often hard to follow.

Forget I said anything. Thanks.

No worries - you can say what you like anytime, yerfatma. Working in aid doesn't give me any more right to get away with insulting anyone's religious beliefs. In fact, my American Samoan friends are finding refuge and comfort in their faith as we speak. It's part of their culture, and I respect that, even if I don't agree with it, and they've respected me by not trying to push their beliefs or rules on a palagi outsider.

@tselson - several of my colleagues have lost relatives (the Samoan islands are very small, and extended families are huge, so everyone knows everyone else).

posted by owlhouse at 05:49 AM on October 02

I thought it was the Underground Man.

Haven't read that one.

*stalks off cursing his modernist (not existentialist) lit background

posted by tahoemoj at 03:57 PM on October 02

@tselson - several of my colleagues have lost relatives (the Samoan islands are very small, and extended families are huge, so everyone knows everyone else).

I am truly sorry. Do relief efforts seem to be on point with this tragedy?

If not, is there an organization that needs help?

/passing on a joke regarding my self imposed ban on the front page being over, and my deciding to check out the Olympic thread first.

posted by tselson at 12:15 AM on October 03

God good.

Religion bad.

Sportsfilter fantastic.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:03 PM on October 03

Do relief efforts seem to be on point with this tragedy?

If not, is there an organization that needs help?

The Samoas seem to be coping well, with US support arriving in Pago Pago and Aust/NZ/French support in independent Samoa. There's a long standing disaster management plan in place. From what I hear, the immediate emergency is over, there are enough medical teams, and clearing/reconstruction will start soon. The situation in Sumatra is less clear, although help is streaming in.

In emergencies, the best immediate support is cash donations for organisations like the Red Cross.

I'm feeling a bit useless at the moment - just putting people in touch, sending documents and passing on messages mostly. I have a previously scheduled mission to Burma starting on Wednesday, so won't be involved in the immediate response. I work on another disaster response project in Indonesia, so we will probably get diverted to Padang later in the reconstruction phase.

posted by owlhouse at 05:35 PM on October 03

I'm feeling a bit useless at the moment - just putting people in touch, sending documents and passing on messages mostly. .

Hey, in tough times even if it's all you can do, it's normally a bigger help than you might think. You know that already, I am sure many people are thankful for what you are doing. Thanks, owlhouse.

I was able to give a little in about 3 minutes. Here.

posted by tselson at 10:17 PM on October 03

I realise many people in the US don't want to travel. But you guys are the most affluent, and one of the most educated societies on the planet.

The problem is that many of those in the US that don't travel are not affluent and not educated.

I was in ireland not to long ago as far west as you could travel. Our plane was leaving from Dublin, all the way across the country in the afternoon. We left in the morning and made it easily (4 hours I believe).

I can drive from the gulf coast to visit my brother in virginia and it takes 13-15 hours. And I still haven't left the U.S. South. In that amount of time I could have driven across Ireland several times.

posted by justgary at 03:43 PM on October 08

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