I love posting late on Fridays or on weekends because, whatever is going on, there’s no pressure to get it out there because few people are reading. There’s no fire under my butt, either real or perceived.
Just about the biggest thing going right now is the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, of course...still. Katrina did her spinning and the rest of the country seems intent on outdoing her--except for the victims and the heroes, that is.
It's not as if any disaster will produce pristine and perfect reactions from those affected--that's why we call them disasters. However, the facts coming out of the (mis)management of this disaster are too fascinating, appalling, laughable, disgusting and frightening to ignore.
• How New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin failed to follow his city’s own Emergency Preparedness Plan when it came to evacuating members of his constituency who were poorer and less able-bodied.
• How the Louisiana government blocked the Red Cross from bringing food and water to the Superdome and to the New Orleans Convention Center while a local law enforcement agency blocked the lone passable egress from New Orleans. (Who was it again that was trying to commit black “genocide?” And, yes, this does give the looting of food and water some perspective, though there was never anything wrong with lifting that stuff.)
• How Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco did not know what her responsibilities were as chief executive of her state (see above also).
• How FEMA director Michael Brown botched his job, leading to his removal from the frontlines of hurricane relief—but not (yet) to his resignation. (He was replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen.)
• How Mr. Brown may be a political appointee and may have padded his resume.
• How President Bush was slow to act in coming off of vacation, even though he declared a state of emergency in
all three affected states disaster areas Louisiana on Friday August 26th, three days before Katrina made landfall.
But the big questions remain:
• How can all levels of government do better when the next disaster—natural or manmade—comes along? Specifically, how can FEMA do better? (And not many people—those with a clue or otherwise--are offering improvement suggestions.)
• How can each one of us learn to take better care of ourselves and of vulnerable family members during disasters and rely less on government?
• Are Mississippi and Alabama getting the short end of the stick when it comes to disaster relief? Or do the two states have better crisis leadership than does Louisiana?
• What types of diseases may stem from the flooding of New Orleans?
• What will be the consequences of pumping a city's worth of contaminated water back into Lake Pontchartrain?
• Can New Orleans be rebuilt?
• Should it be rebuilt?
When accusations are no longer being slung back and forth and the big and little folk get around to answering these and other more serious question, you’ll know that everyone has…um…moved on to the next big thing and that the real thinking has begun.
BTW, leftists will scream a lot, but relax: they don’t really want to impeach President Bush. Why not? Two words: President Cheney.
(Thanks to Jeff Goldstein; you need to read everything he’s written since the 29th of August.)
KATRINA RELIEF: Help Identify People Missing as a Result of Hurricane Katrina; adults and children.