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No bullshit

Credit where credit is due

Still hesitant to engage much in the way of Hurricane Katrina commentary, but noting a couple of items:
  • First, a great use of Google maps and "Wiki"-style community contribution. Wicked smaht; I hope it helps many people.
  • Second, those wanting to make a hero out of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (especially while criticizing the response of other authorities) have some serious questions to answer first (via Nagin's Wikipedia entry):
    Nagin's performance in the Hurricane Katrina crisis has been criticized as well and Nagin has been accused of deflection. As mayor he was responsible for establishing evacuation centers and keeping local order. Yet apparantly there were no meals ready to eat (MRE's) stored at his designated evacuation center—the Superdome. There was no water purification equipment on site, no chemical toilets, anti-biotics or anti-diarrheals stored for a crisis. The mayor had not designated any medical staff to work the evacuation center. The city had not established a secure sick bay within the Superdome. The city had not sent police or other vehicles through the poorest neighborhoods with evacuation announcements prior to the storm. There were no functioning backup emergency communications police or fire-rescue radios available. Additionally, the city stored the school buses on low ground where they were flooded and then not available for evacuation.
    Dude. Duh. There's just no way to throw stones at FEMA, et al. without completely wrecking Nagin's glass house (something not well understood by self-absorbed grandstanders like Kanye West). While others take heat while also managing multiple priorities on state, regional, national, and global levels, Nagin had a single area of responsibility—New Orleans, the city that elected him—and biffed it in ways that contributed immediately and directly to the suffering residents continue to face. When the time comes to debrief and assign blame (not yet, Kanye—simma da na!), he would do well to prepare for a steaming helping.

Comments

Thanks. There's going to be plenty of blame all round, but what were mayoral/city council debates like before this? Were they screaming about the lack of hurricane preparedness before this? It's the mayor's job to look out for his people too, not just to attack the federal government. FEMA is an easy target, and I've heard a few insensitive or dumb things come out of their mouths, but most criticisms have been panic and prejudice. There are a lot of places, like here in LA, that are unprepared for inevitable disaster.
It seems we always have and will have a dubious relationship with government (see ancient Israel's desire for a king as a prime example). Here, we resist federal control (often with good reason), but when local goverment fails in its basic responsibilities, there's an outcry of "where were the Feds?" The answer, largely, is that they were being the federal government—that means expecting state and local governments to cover their responsibilities and mobilizing when called upon by those governments (which should have been days beforehand).

Bush, of course, will be criticized either way: if he takes control of an out-of-control city preemptively, he's a fascist; if he waits until they fail, he's a bastard who hates African Americans and the poor.

We see things through our usual lenses. Those already in a Bush-critical mode will just heap everything onto him—it's easier that way and turns difficult questions of "why?" into righteous indignation (which is much more comfortable). My lens tends to be heavily weighted toward personal responsibility, so Nagin pops up in my field of vision pretty quickly. It's challenging for all of us to suspend drawing conclusions and respond to the situation as it is.

Seattle has some serious holes in its preparedness, too.
What are you preparing for in Seattle? I know you had a small earthquake back in 2001 was it? I can't remember hearing about floods. Tsunamis?

Just looking around LJ I've read some incredibly paranoid conspiracy theories. I'm pretty sure Karl Rove caused the hurricane now, and of course, he hates the poor, especially if they aren't white. I hope we calm down and get on with our business. Outsiders should withold judgment. The time will come. The 2006 elections will be intesting.
Earthquakes and their impacts (including tsunami and flooding) are the biggie. 2001 was when we just started getting serious because we became acutely aware of how unprepared we were. That's the biggest hurdle—since it's not a part of regular life, when it happens (and there's not a seismologist on the planet who isn't sure it will), we could have major problems.

And if Rainier blows, we're screwed.
And I heard it was Bush's evil weather powers that were the culprit.

(Sometimes I wonder how many people are woprking out their authority/father issues on the man, or if anyone isn't.)
i lived near portland when mt st helens blew. ash for a hundred miles at least.

i wish people would make up their minds about whether the president is stupid or evil. if he's both, what does that make his political enemies?
if he's both, what does that make his political enemies?

Oppressed but valiant crusaders crushed under the yoke of some damn fool thing called "the will of the majority."

(I'm no supporter of All Things Bush, but the uninformed whining of some of his more frothy-mouthed opponents in recent days isn't opposition I can respect or even entertain without feeling my IQ drop.)
(Sometimes I wonder how many people are woprking out their authority/father issues on the man, or if anyone isn't.)

Hmmm... never considered it that way...
"Bush, of course, will be criticized either way: if he takes control of an out-of-control city preemptively, he's a fascist; if he waits until they fail, he's a bastard who hates African Americans and the poor."

Yeah, it sucks to be in that lose-lose situation. Though if it saved lives, I wouldn't have critised him myself.