Saturday, September 03, 2005

Gulf Coast Blues

It happened, now we have to live with it. And no one goes home the big easy way.

Katrina has struck the Gulf Coast, and nothing will be the same again. Along with the tragedy and loss -- of life, livelihood, property, and prestige -- comes a sense of despair that any of us will ever be truly safe again. If a city the size of New Orleans or bigger were attacked by WMD, would the response of the government be any more effective? Would the loss of civility and social order be any less complete? Would our leaders be any less impotent, any less sluggish in their response? Or are the minority leaders correct in their claim that this disaster would have been treated more responsibly if the victims were not as poor or as black? Are the local leaders correct in their claim that one of the reasons the response was so slow was that too many of the Guardsmen sent to Iraq were from the poorer regions of the South? Was FEMA, a once lean and mean second response machine, hampered by the bureaucracy that was laid upon it when it was subsumed into the Department of Homeland Security?

Our favorite contractor, Haliburton (Houston Chronicle), has been chosen to help with the cleanup. Let's hope they don't charge the taxpayers their going rates. After hearing one National Guardsman, who had served in Iraq before being sent to New Orleans, say that conditions were worse (in New Orleans) than in Baghdad, I suppose we can count on Haliburton to raise the quality of life there to a minimum of third world level by the end of the year. Or not. At least they weren't hired to fix the levees. I wonder if the still-remaining 2000 people at the SuperDome as of this morning will be evacuated to safety before the first reconstruction teams arrive at Trent Lott's house.

The first estimate of cost for Katrina's damage is $100 billion. From experience with first estimates by this administration, that would mean it will eventually cost about five times as much. Will anyone in Washington suggest taking back some of the tax cuts (other than those given to the middle class) to help pay for it all? I doubt it.

If any good comes of this tragedy and the debacle that has followed so far, it will be the newly regained skepticism and hard-hitting reportage of the media minions ( Rebellion of the Talking Heads ) who could not and would not gloss over the details of this mega-disaster in the South.

Wouldn't it be ironic if the turning point from Right Wing conservatism and me-first greed in this country were the result of an act of God? Will this be the wakeup call that finally galvanizes the middle and the poor to stand up to the will of the ruling class in this American aristocracy?

Stay tuned....

Friday, September 02, 2005 - The big disconnect on New Orleans - Sep 2, 2005 - The big disconnect on New Orleans - Sep 2, 2005

The official version; then there's the in-the-trenches version

Friday, September 2, 2005; Posted: 4:10 p.m. EDT (20:10 GMT)

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Diverging views of a crumbling New Orleans emerged Thursday. The sanitized view came from federal officials at news conferences and television appearances. But the official line was contradicted by grittier, more desperate views from the shelters and the streets.

These conflicting views came within hours, sometimes minutes of each of each other, as reflected in CNN's transcripts. The speakers include Michael Brown, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, evacuee Raymond Cooper, CNN correspondents and others....

I find the article itself fascinating. It's almost too surreal to absorb all at once. Lately I feel like I'm living in a George Orwell novel, and that's not the place I'd like to be. I wonder if the same level of response would have been given if the city involved were, say, Washington, D.C.? Newport, R.I.? New York, N.Y.?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Big Queasy

The Big Queasy

It seems like every time I look at the news about Katrina’s damage, it gets worse.

I noticed that CNN and some of the networks are reporting on some of the problems associated with trying to call in the National Guard while many of the guards themselves, and apparently most of their equipment, are in Iraq. The amphibious vehicles that gave the Marines so many problems in the desert environment of the Persian Gulf sure would have come in handy in the Gulf of Mexico.

The media are also reporting that Katrina, and several storms before her, are examples of the kind of weather “events” that will happen with ever-increasing frequency and force as global warming continues. Does this mean we should not spend a great deal of time and money rebuilding New Orleans, a city built about 20 feet below sea level? Oceans are rising, so that “altitude” keeps getting lower and lower over time. Shouldn’t we be encouraging people NOT to be living in precarious environments? How do these people get home-owners’ insurance, let alone the loans to buy those homes? Doesn’t seem like a good investment to me, especially now that whatever charm and ambience the old New Orleans had is now gone.

My heart goes out to the people who have lost their homes, lives, and loved ones. Obviously, our homeland is anything but secure. If what happened in New Orleans had been a chemical or biological attack, would the government’s response have been any swifter? Any more competent? I really doubt it. Will our leaders consider, now that there truly is an emergency (as opposed to a fabrication) requiring huge amounts of every resource (e.g.: money), rolling back the tax cuts that put so much in their pockets and took so much from government programs (like flood relief and prevention for the Mississippi delta region)? I doubt it.

No wonder the people along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico are getting angrier and more desperate as the hours and days tick by!

from This Modern World

This Modern World

Donate to the Red Cross here.

September 01, 2005

Tom Tomorrow:
Give 'em hell, Jack

An obviously angry Jack Cafferty on CNN:
I'm 62, I remember the riots in Watts, I remember the earthquake in San Francisco, I remember a lot of things--I have never, ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans. Where the hell is the water for these people? Why can't sandwiches be dropped to those people in that Superdome down there? This is Thursday! This is Thursday! This storm happened five days ago. It's a disgrace, and don't think the world isn't watching. This is the government the taxpayers are paying for and it's fallen right flat on its face, in the way its handled this thing.
CNN is also reporting that Charity Hospital in New Orleans has no security, no Guardsmen, no military or police at all.

But don't worry--we've got all the troops we need to handle things.

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick.

People are dying, right now, as a result of the Bush administration's utter fucking incompetence.

Tom Tomorrow:

The mayor of the city of New Orleans ordered an evacuation on Sunday. For 24 hours, the cable newsies talked of the possibility of a catastrophic storm surge leaving the city under twenty feet of water. Whether or not anyone could have anticipated the breach of the levees, plenty of people were aware that they might be overwhelmed, and that New Orleans could soon face major devastation and flooding as a result.It's not like we didn't know that this might happen.

So why weren't more emergency personnel and equipment in place and ready to go?

Why did it take the president two days to get back to DC? Why wasn't he in the White House on Sunday night, overseeing emergency preparations?

And what the fuck is Condi Rice doing attending Broadway shows and shopping for expensive shoes at a time like this?

Sorry--does it "politicize" the issue to wonder whether we are quite literally being led by sociopaths and insane people?

Oh, by the way--as August points out--the Department of Homeland Security wants you to know that September is National Preparedness Month.

Tom Tomorrow:
Gets better by the minute

From americablog:CNN just announced that New Orleans has now become so dangerous that FEMA is calling off its search and rescue operations in the city.
Jesus Christ.

Glad Bush decided TODAY to send those extra troops on the aircraft carrier that should arrive, oh, when?

* * *

Just a reminder--this is what George Bush did on Tuesday, well after it was clear that New Orleans was getting wiped off the map:

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Doggy Dilemma

Time to try out the new Word plugin. If this works, I’m in love with Blogger even more than before.
Our dog, Cosmo, has been reacting badly to the medication we’ve been giving him to help with his neck problem. Pregnezone is not a friendly med. Today, he couldn’t wait for us to get home to let him out. Instead, he had to mess his crate and soil his bedding. It’s not his fault, of course. The poor little guy probably tried like hell to hold it in. Janet got home first and found him cowering in his crate. By the time I got home, he was glad to see me, but I could tell something was wrong. He seemed rumpled and shy. When I heard what had happened, I said that was it, enough! No more pregnezone. We’re waiting for our veterinarian to call back. We know that his malady is most likely going to be treated by a chiropractor. If that’s the case, then that’s what we’ll do for him. We want our dog back!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tonight, I go to one of the local medical centers for a "sleep study." Other people will study me while I sleep to see if anything can be done to improve my sleeping. This means I have to go to sleep with numerous sensors attached to my head and body, including my face. I'm assuming this also means I can't just turn over or get up to go to the bathroom willy-nilly. Such fun!

The reason I'm going to this is that I've complained long and loud to my primary care physician about being sleepy all the time. I've been assuming it's a "change of life" thing, the male equivalent of menopause. My doctor thinks it's poor sleep patterns or sleep apnea. We could both be right, but to go any further with the doctor, I have to go through this study.

What are the odds I'll be even more sleepy tomorrow?

As for Cosmo, he has something wrong with his neck. That's why he was limping. The vet put him on pregnozone, but this has some very undesirable side effects. Luckily, he says we can cut back on this and watch for signs of any recurrence. It looks like Cosmo is destined to see a chiropractor.


Blog Archive