Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thoughts on the disaster:

1. What the natural world is capable of is astounding. Good thing it isn't like this all the time.

2. The European press and assorted American idiots are blaming the disaster on global warming. Wrong. Global warming, according to the theory, will change the climate in the long term rather than the weather in the short term. Also, first, lots of responsible scientists don't believe that global warming even exists, and second, a lot more say that even if it does exist, it's a natural phenomenon that isn't caused by human behavior and that humans can't do very much about.

3. The same people are also saying that there would have been a better response to the disaster if not for the Iraq war. Wrong. Only about 12 percent of the American military is stationed in Iraq.

4. There has been a terrible failure of the American civil defense system, and the guilty parties are the local governments in and around New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. They had NO PLAN, and they are the government bodies in charge.

5. The FEMA is also responsible, as they should have made sure that those jokers down there had a plan.

6. The disaster isn't the fault of the levee system, as the river levees held and the lake levees, which were the ones that failed, were only built to handle a Category Three hurricane. This was a cost-benefit decision. We have to make those sometime, somewhere, and I'm not going to blame the people who made that one. The lake levees, which had recently been inspected, were in good condition before the hurricane hit.

7. The federal government screwed up as soon as they didn't take control within six or so hours of the levee break. Agreed, I'm blasting them for a sin of omission. Well? Look at the consequences. I knew hell had broken loose as soon as the announcer on KBON radio (Paul Marx) said the levee had broken, and he sure as shit did, too, because you should have heard his voice. Somebody among the top guys in the Administration should have figured this out, too.

8. I bet next time an evacuation is ordered people will actually obey it. I've seen too many photos of smashed-up cars that people could have used to get out. Blaming the victim? No, not those who were too poor or too weak or too sick to get out. But the rest of the victims made a terribly bad decision. This doesn't mean we should not rescue them or that their deaths are not tragic. But not evacuating when you can is like parking your car downtown with the door unlocked. If it gets stolen, well, some of it is your fault for not taking basic minimum precautions.

9. The reason most of the victims are black is that most residents of New Orleans, something like 60%, are black. Most black residents are poorer than most white residents, and are more likely to live in mostly-black neighborhoods, which tend to be lower-lying than wealthier mostly-white neighborhoods. You also have to figure that there were at least 10,000 people who really were so poor they didn't have a way to get out of town and that 99% of them were black. This does not say good things about American society. You judge a country by how it treats its weakest and we failed this time. We don't always fail. Most of the time we succeed. But this time we failed.

10. Fortunately, we don't always fail at everything. This is never going to happen in the United States again, because we have more than learned our lesson.

11. I demand that EVERY state and EVERY county write up an emergency evacuation plan within thirty days, because I'm a lot more worried about enemy-made disasters than I am about natural disasters, at least outside fault zones and hurricane country. If this had been a nuclear, chemical, or biological bomb, which just might go off in Leawood, Kansas--why not? It's just as likely as anywhere else--would Kansas City have been prepared? At the very least, would there have been a plan? This needs to be a top priority. Those places that already have evacuation plans, congratulations on your sense of responsibility, and publicize them right now.

12. Things would probably have gone a lot better without so many damn guns all over the place.

13. I've thought about it and I don't believe we ought to rebuild New Orleans where it is, just as I wouldn't rebuild San Francisco where it is after the earthquake hits it, and as I wouldn't rebuild a city that got nuked no matter where it was. The site is just too dangerous. Move any buildings worth saving and dynamite the rest of it. And while we're at it, let's allow the Mississippi to assume its natural course, which is down the Atchafalaya. Since we're going to need some big-scale social engineering in Louisiana anyway, let's do it all now.

14. President Bush has not been impressive. Not that I think President Kerry would have been.

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