DESTRUCTION OF AN AMERICAN CITY

I don’t think many of you grasp what’s going on in New Orleans right now. To give you an idea, here is something that was written in Time magazine “pre-Katrina”:

If a flood of Biblical proportions were to lay waste to New Orleans, Joe Suhayda has a good idea how it would happen. A Category 5 hurricane would come barreling out of the Gulf of Mexico. It would cause Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans, to overflow, pouring down millions of gallons of water on the city. Then things would really get ugly. Evacuation routes would be blocked. Buildings would collapse. Chemicals and hazardous waste would dissolve, turning the floodwaters into a lethal soup. In the end, what was left of the city might not be worth saving. “There’s concern it would essentially destroy New Orleans,” says Suhayda.

It’s a good thing that we have a President that is on top of the disaster efforts. Here’s what he did while New Orleans was getting utterly destroyed. I mean, if he can run a war from his ranch, what’s playing the guitar while a million people lose their homes? I know there is nothing he can do to prevent the ongoing destruction, but he could at least wipe that stupid smirk off his face and pretend he cares.

POSTSCRIPT:

Is anyone watching CNN? There are people dying in the Superdome right now (mostly poor, black people), a place the government told everyone to gather for food, shelter, and water. You think other black people in major cities are not watching? If I was disenfranchised and saw the outrageous way my people were being treated, I would get pretty angry.

Today I paid $3.15 a gallon for gas. I wonder how all this will turn out. In the meantime I should maybe go celebrate with a drink at one of the many benefit hurricane relief parties.

The Storm After the Storm

Hurricanes come in two waves. First comes the rainstorm, and then comes what the historian John Barry calls the “human storm” – the recriminations, the political conflict and the battle over compensation. Floods wash away the surface of society, the settled way things have been done. They expose the underlying power structures, the injustices, the patterns of corruption and the unacknowledged inequalities. When you look back over the meteorological turbulence in this nation’s history, it’s striking how often political turbulence followed.

The political disturbances are still to come.

i.e. riots

Here’s something I’m sending to my Congressional representatives, which I’m sure some intern will promptly trash:

Four years after 9/11, when billions of dollars were spent on homeland security preparing us for terrorist attacks, I am currently watching New Orleans residents suffering on my television set three days after the hurricane passed, with no relief in sight. It seems that news crews have no trouble getting into these areas, but it is hard to see any sort of strong government presence. Where is the food and water drop-offs? Why isn’t there more coordination between state and federal agencies? I can’t help but think that if the evacuees were rich and white, they’d be helped by now. The government has failed these people, and I hope those in charge are held accountable for this gross incompetency.

70 thoughts on “DESTRUCTION OF AN AMERICAN CITY

  1. Castor Oil

    There’s also a thing called “the National Guard” a disporportionate amount of which is literally pounding sand and getting shot at halfway across the world instead of being available with trucks and helicopters and doctors and soldiers to assemble the massive rapid response recovery effort that this situation calls for.

  2. natty_g

    Comparing this to 9/11 is apples to oranges. Pseudo-military attack vs. natural disaster.

    However, I will be curious to see whether the left-wing politicizes this the way they criticized the Republicans for politicizing 9/11. My guess is yet.

  3. Phil

    It’s unfortunate they can’t all be here, but you can’t predict hurricanes, and frankly, this type of disaster has been a matter of time for New Orleans since they’ve laid the first bricks.

  4. RCR

    I regret saying anything, as I really don’t want to further this discourse, suffice it to day that it is EVERYONE’S fault that we sat idly by pretending like this would never happen to New Orleans.

    And I think it is just a tad too early to be having “happy” hour fundraisers. For christ’s sake, these people are in the midst of a crisis. Yes, give money, give lots of money, but I can’t imagine hobnobbing with socialites with the thought of these people presently fighting for their lives. There is a notion called tact, and a happy hour fundraiser right now is severly lacking it.

  5. Anonymous

    Call it politicizing by the liberal left if you like — most people would call it cause-and-effect:

    “No one can say they didn’t see it coming”

    In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.

    By Sidney Blumenthal

    Biblical in its uncontrolled rage and scope, Hurricane Katrina has left millions of Americans to scavenge for food and shelter and hundreds to thousands reportedly dead. With its main levee broken, the evacuated city of New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico. But the damage wrought by the hurricane may not entirely be the result of an act of nature.

    A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans’ levees, but it was too late.
    Click here

    The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a series on the federal funding problem, and whose presses are now underwater, reported online: “No one can say they didn’t see it coming … Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation.”

    For more: http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2005/08/31/disaster_preparation/

  6. inSOMnia

    CAST OIL You need to go to college and get an education. Thanks for your pizza offer I rather just you dontate that money to the Red Cross or toward an Education. OH and your wife is a total freak. Its pretty safe to say that half of DC loves hitting it to.

  7. Anonymous

    “My people?” Last time I checked we were all one people…Americans. Lets stop being devisive and work together. Right and left. Black and white.

  8. new p

    this blog is obscene. no transition from ass pictures to this topic. but i am becoming a phil follower if nothing else.

  9. tommy

    Screw issues with funding and I already know Bush sucks Shit!

    FEMA sat on it’s ass 365 days a year for the last several years. When emergency response is needed there is snails pace motion. These guys are paid to plan for every contengency and you’re telling me the exent of devastation currently experince in LA was beyond FEMA’s ability to predict and plan an immediate response…BULLSHIT!

  10. Windy

    Yes the event last night at early count around 1030 PM raised well over $4,000 – but with doantion buckets and other donations was expected to reach 7 or 8 Grand.

    I realize it seems weird to go to a “happy” hour but at least it accomplished something, people did something instead of just discussing, complaing, etc.

    I did not make it either Senator, as I did not leave work until well after 8 but I did go online an contribute.

    I encourage everyone to contribute at http://www.redcross.org – the money goes straight to the relief effort.

  11. LMR

    The event last night raised over $6,000. Thank you, to everyone that could make the event (and/or) helped promote it.
    I hope to see other fundraising events and efforts spring up around the DC metro area in the next couple weeks.

    I understand the irony of having a ?Happy Hour? when there is devastation, destruction, and extreme tragedy. Yes, upon retrospect the phrase ?happy hour? was not the best phrasing.

    The concept behind the event I agree with it.
    That?s why I was one of the hosts, and tried to promote it the best I could.It?s a fundraiser to help a disaster. That?s all that matters.

    Who cares what you call it? For lack of better words, the bar hrs. before 9 p.m. are commonly referred to as the ?happy hour?.
    The victims of Hurricane Katrina need money ? bottom line.

    People are still going to go out & drink, regardless of what?s going on in the world.
    At least, we can try to corral them to a venue where their money will be filtered to people in need.

    If you throw events, if you?re good at bringing people together… Then you should bring them together for this cause. That?s your duty.
    Not everyone has tons of money to donate, but they can donate what they can.

    I have a close girlfriend who went to Tulane. She brought other members of her alumni with her to last night?s event. They all have tons of family & friends in Louisiana. They weren?t bitching about how throwing a ?Happy Hour? was gauche. Instead, they were commending us for putting together a fundraising event so quickly. That?s all I needed to hear.

    Some people are great at blogging, some are good at promoting, some people are good at making money, some people are good at the non-profit grunt work, and some people get really hands on & join Red Cross/Peace Corps/etc. Everyone needs to try to use their talents to help raise awareness and money for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

    For example. ..DC Bachelor is posting links and commentary of the situation. He is trying to open up people?s eyes to the tragedy around them. I applaud him. That?s doing something, that?s making a difference.

    Then there are people who just want to criticize superficiality. You?re just as bad as the superficial, if not moreso.
    Because?at least those supposedly ?superficial? socialites are putting their money towards a good cause. If you don?t want to show up to these events, because you think it?s tacky – don?t. That?s fine; contribute the way you want to.
    Now, if you don?t have money to donate, then at least call up the Red Cross and try to find a volunteer opportunity to help man the call centers.

    If all you can contribute is a critique to write up some cheeky piece about ?doing nothing?. Unfortunately, some people will believe that you are serious.

    http://www.seenster.com/movabletype/archives/2005/09/oh_you_silly_ge.html

    And ?you can harp on about the stupidity of the nation for believing something you write-up as a satire. You can marinate in your glorified intellectual pretension and pretend that you are so much better than everyone else. Maybe, you have even donated? Maybe not? I don?t know?
    I just hope that this is a poor-taste joke used to stir up debate.

    Yes, it is kind of ridiculous that marketing gimmicks of plastic bracelets are created. Yes, having ?happy hours? for tragedies is kind of questionable. Until, you recognize why they are created. I ask for you to look past the ?gimmicks & marketing”…and to look at what these people are trying to do. They are trying to find alternate ways to bring awareness & raise money for people in need. You have to try to reach people any way you can.

    People become so desensitized to the constant media barrage of tragedy, corruption, and disaster that they become almost immune to it. They?d rather close their eyes, put their hands over their ears, and go about their pretty little lives. You have to try to reach all people, any way you can?no matter how ridiculous.

    Many people would prefer to ignore tragedy then to address how they can help. If wearing a plastic bracelet, or going to a ?happy hour? will remind them to give, and hopefully remind them to give again & again, then wear those plastic bracelets!! Maybe, going to an event will inspire them to get creative and contribute some other way. If these things can make even a small difference ? then Thank God, for silly plastic bracelets and happy hours.

    I believe that if you are blessed with intelligence then use it for something constructive to help others. If you only want to vent & critique, then you?re just further contributing to low morale & apathy. Low morale and apathy are huge problems this country faces. These are things you should try to write about, instead of critiquing gimmicky fundraisers that are contributing to disaster relief.

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