I first came upon Julia and Robbie when we were being told to put plastic over the windows and duct tape our doors if the anthrax was blowin’ in the wind.
Julia and Robbie first startled me. Then they made me happy. I read them several times over, delighted with FEMA. A bar had been raised, I’m not even sure what bar it was, but, as dizzying heights of absurdity make me giggly and ticklish it was jack-pot adrenaline time. “Here,” I wanted to call to Julia and Robbie, “toss me the ball, I’m open, I’ll run with it!”
Julia and Robbie are FEMA’s Disaster Twins. Yes. A children’s front and center 9/11 government offering during the duct tape hardware store runs, it seems to me they’ve been downgraded a bit on the FEMA website (I could be wrong on that) but they are as enjoyable as ever and still selling 9/11.
The Disaster twins are supposedly like normal kids except for the distressing fact that “whenever Robbie and Julia go out, natural disasters seem to follow.” With that kind of luck they always have to be prepared. Their terminally morose expressions aren’t doing anything to help them, attracting bad like EMF-enriched high voltage power towers attract cows, so they need every bit of advice they can get.
The stories are simple, light on plot and place no stock in suspense.
In “Tornado Afternoon” , the twins’ vacation is interrupted by a twister which forces the ever sorrowful-eyed Julia and Robbie to take refuge in a basement. In the Winter Blizzard story a snowstorm affords the twins some vacation time which might be enjoyable if not for
fielding over (Later noted: fielding? possibly fretting) frostbite and carbon monoxide poisoning and their father being feared lost. Julia and Robbie’s vacation is ruined by the Acorn River flooding in “The River Rising.” With “Hurricane Season” the twins strategically head for Florida for the family vacation. When Hurricane Eleanor threatens then veers off in another direction (maybe Texas), their mother smiles and congratulates the twins on “For once” not bringing disaster with them.
Gee, thanks mom!!!!!
Next, Julia and Robbie ride a roller coaster earthquake during their California summer vacation in “Taking a Shaky Vacation”.
But the primo story is “A Special Day”, wherein Julia and Robbie, not on vacation, are finally at school, and are contemplating September 11th 2001 “when terrorism struck the US.” The special part of the day is it will be entirely occupied with teaching Julia and Robbie and peers how they can protect themselves.
When Julie Andrews says “Let’s start at the very beginning” you know it’s going to be a very good place to start. When Julia and Robbie’s teacher, Mrs. Fletcher, says, “Let’s begin at the beginning,” you don’t get a do-re-mi follow-up and a tourist romp. The Intelligent Design kids don’t have to worry about grabbing for the earplugs as you’re not getting evolution either.
“Let’s begin at the beginning,” Mrs. Fletcher went on. “Let’s talk about terrorism.”
See? Like I said. Mrs. Fletcher explains that the use of any force or violence against people or property is terrorism and its intention is to create fear.
“Terrorists are criminals,” Mrs. Fletcher said. “And when they’re caught they are put on trial.”
(My brain kicks like a mule.)
Source: People The Law Forgot – Part 2
Asked why there hadn’t been any tribunals for the Afghan captives, Major John Smith, a military attorney in the Pentagon department organizing the forthcoming trials of Guantanamo detainees, says it is because the president decided there was no need.
‘The president’s decision was that there was no doubt these individuals did not qualify for PoW status and a tribunal wasn’t required,’ he says…
The strangeness of the US position is that although it does not consider the Guantanamo captives prisoners of war in the formal, Geneva Convention sense, it considers them prisoners of war in one very specific sense – that they can be held until the war is over. It calls them ‘enemy combatants’, a term not recognized in international law. To the question ‘What war?’, the Bush administration responds: ‘The war on terror.’
The administration has argued suspected terrorists are not prisoners of war and so are not protected under the treaty’s terms.
The Pentagon has said it has categorized 540 detainees as enemy combatants by holding one-time hearings, called a Combatant Status Review Tribunal. Unless an annual review, referred to as an Administrative Review Board, shows they should be released, they can be held for the duration of the open-ended war.
The Geneva Conventions, however, provide basic legal guarantees such as the right to present evidence or call witnesses, even if those involved do not meet the treaty’s definition of a prisoner of war, says the International Committee of the Red Cross, which works to protect those affected by armed conflicts.
The problem, said Neil Koslowe, who also represents the Kuwaiti prisoners, is that none of the 540 detainees got a fair trial and still haven’t been charged. They could be kept at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely based on a hearing he called a “sham.”
Koslowe said that during the CSRT hearings, the men were not told of charges made against them, and were not allowed to have a lawyer or witnesses, or present evidence on their own behalf.
Thus do Julia and Robbie learn about the Cold War. Keep canned goods, battery-powered flashlights and radio, bottled water and yes, oh, yes (the blood thrills) duct tape and plastic sheeting! In answer to anthrax and “a nuclear situation” Mrs. Fletcher pulls out shiny gray duct tape and plastic and she and the kids tape up all the doors and windows. Ensuring the room is completely sealed off, Julia gets to cut off the fan. Then the kids all eat homemade chocolate chip cookies.
That’s just before lunch! Later, while digesting their meal, they learn about explosions, how to take refuge under your desk from things falling on you, and how the primary colors work when applied to the “Homeland Security Advisory System”. The Disaster Twins learn that when the color is yellow they must be on the alert for suspicious activity.
S’right. Here’s what concerns me. Julia and Robbie have a dog. The home page of their site gives the dog’s name as Skipper. Skipper appears in “The River Rises”, but in “Winter Blizzard”, an earlier story, the dog’s name is…Sparky.
What happened to Sparky is what I want to know. Apparently there’s a missing disaster episode in which Sparky bought the farm. I’m determined to locate that lost episode.