Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I've always said that if I didn't live in NY, I'd live in New Orleans. These past 5 years have not been kind to either city, but I think it's pretty clear that N'awlins just won the screwed-over sweepstakes.

And, of course, the politics here are appalling. Everyone from Bush "no one expected the levees to break" to "on Tuesday, all the headlines said we'd dodged a bullet" Chertoff is lying and passing the buck. I knew that civilization could be so fragile, but I never thought in America that we would allow it to fall away so quickly and so utterly.

At the end of the day, no one was prepared for this catastrophe. Everyone should take a share of blame commesurate with their ability to affect the outcome. The poor and car-less of New Orleans who were told to evacuate at 11AM on Sunday after the buses and trains had stopped running, have little reason to apologize for failing to load up their life's possessions on their backs and literally running through the path of an oncoming hurricane in a mad dash for the Texas border.

The mayor of New Orleans can be faulted for failing to do see Katrina's path more clearly and for failing to forcibly evacuate a city of 500,000 with his small band of 1,500 police.

The Governor can be cursed for failing to keep the peace with her half-staffed National Guard, and for her ludicrous crying jags and calls for prayer.

But the full measure of outrage should be reserved for those who had the most power to affect this storm's ultimate outcome--the incompetent federal government, and the Republicans who control all its branches.

From a stripped and weakened FEMA; to incompetent political appointees more focused on PR and spin than on rescue work; to budget cuts that stopped levee work for the first time in 37 years; to a president on vacation who ate cake and played guitar as New Orleans flooded; to a secretary of state who went shoe shopping; to a Secretary of Defense who went to a baseball game...there is much to answer for here.

For those of you believing in God, pray for the people of New Orleans, but pray also for the souls of those who failed them. Because this callous failure cannot go unpunished.

UPDATE: Welcome to all of youse visiting from Crooked Timber. Please look around (4 of my faves are here, here, here, and here).

And um, the site hasn't been updated since 9/05 because I was...in a coma. Yep, a delayed-onset coma brought on by eating too much paste in gradeschool. But fear not, I've cleared the coma-crud out of my eyes and will be updating regularly!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be prepared for the next hurricane track or find another one that's similar. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared"!

9:31 AM


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