Tuesday, September 13, 2005[posted by jaed at 1:21 AM]
Not so much bitter as sour
I wonder, now that it looks as though the death toll from Katrina may be smaller than was feared at first, how long it will be before we start hearing mutters to the effect that those greedy Americans exaggerated the scope of the disaster in order to cop aid and/or sympathy from the world?
(Five years ago, such a thing would never have occurred to me, and I would have been shocked if it had happened. But I've heard similar things about the "exaggerated" death toll of the 9/11 attacks. Buildings holding 20,000 people were plowed into by airliners, subsequently collapsed, it turned out that by some godly miracle [not to mention the NY fire department] most of them had managed to get out first, and that was our fault too, somehow. I am diminished by the loss of my capacity to be shocked at such things, but there it is.)
Monday, September 05, 2005[posted by jaed at 7:55 PM]
The mayor of New Orleans is an ass:
I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. We ain't talking about -- you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here.
I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."
That's -- they're thinking small, man. And this is a major, major, major deal. And I can't emphasize it enough, man. This is crazy.
Wel, man. Do you realize that getting every Greyhound bus in the country means getting them from all over the country, man? Do you have any idea how long it will take every Greyhound bus to drive to New Orleans, man? You do realize it would take a week and a half for them all to get there, don't you, man?
Now, you've got the school buses, man. All you need is drivers, and the federal government is offering you drivers to get those people out of there. And you turned them down. Maaaaannnnn. Because you wanted Greyhound buses instead. School buses aren't good enough, man.
Fight the power, man.
You utter ass.
[posted by jaed at 12:44 AM]
Those who had the money to flee Hurricane Ivan ran into hours-long traffic jams. Those too poor to leave the city had to find their own shelter - a policy that was eventually reversed, but only a few hours before the deadly storm struck land.Check the date of the article: September 19, 2004.
New Orleans dodged the knockout punch many feared from the hurricane, but the storm exposed what some say are significant flaws in the Big Easy's civil disaster plans.[...] Residents with cars took to the highways. Others wondered what to do.
'They say evacuate, but they don't say how I'm supposed to do that,' Latonya Hill, 57, said at the time. 'If I can't walk it or get there on the bus, I don't go. I don't got a car. My daughter don't either.'
'We did the compassionate thing by opening the shelter,' Nagin said. 'We wanted to make sure we didn't have a repeat performance of what happened before. We didn't want to see people cooped up in the Superdome for days.'Some people, yes. Those who couldn't leave, well, too bad for them... akthough the mayor will "compassionately" let them into the Superdome. Evacuate them? Moi?
When another dangerous hurricane, Georges, appeared headed for the city in 1998, the Superdome was opened as a shelter and an estimated 14,000 people poured in. But there were problems, including theft and vandalism.
'We were able to get people out,' state Commissioner of Administration Jerry Luke LeBlanc said. 'It was successful. There was frustration, yes. But we got people out of harm's way.'
It's starting to look like a mystery to me, not how this could have happened, but why it took so long. The city government of New Orleans can't say it didn't know there was a need to evacuate people in case of a hurricane. And it can't say it wasn't warned.
Thursday, September 01, 2005[posted by jaed at 4:34 AM]
A modest proposal
After reading about some of what's going on in New Orleans - in particular, about the general disorder, refugees and volunteers arriving at the Astrodome and being turned away by guards who appear to know nothing, people being ordered to leave the city but with no provision for transportation or suggestions as to how to leave, and in general, the growing awareness of a complete clusterfuck in progress - after reading about all this, I recalled a suggestion that was made a couple of months after 9/11: place Rudy Giuliani in the White House lobby in a large, transparent casing, with a sign:
In case of emergency, break glassPerhaps it's time to break that glass. Someone had better get down there who's capable of effective leadership, and neither the mayor of New Orleans nor the governor of Louisiana nor whoever's in charge at FEMA seems to be that person.