This Week's Issue: Hurricane Katrina
You and I don't know each other very well yet, but in the hopes of starting off this relationship with an element of trust, I'm going to reveal one of my darkest secrets.
I am a Weather Channel junkie.
There, I said it. And now that it's out in the open, you'll understand why I spent all day Sunday glued to the television, taking in every bit of Hurricane Katrina coverage and growing increasingly concerned that this was more than just the typical over-hyped storm.
On Monday evening, I started to think I had been unduly swayed by all the breathless reporting and dire warnings. Parts of New Orleans were under several feet of water, but it hardly seemed to have become the new Atlantis and relieved evacuees thought they would soon be able to return home. Less than 24 hours later, water was pouring into New Orleans from neighboring Lake Pontchartrain -- the result of at least two breached levees.
As the water levels rise, the debate intensifies over how the storm will affect our already sky-high gas prices, what government can do to prevent such extensive damage from future hurricanes, whether the National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers are equipped to handle the emergency and what global warming has to do with all of this, if anything.
Several newspapers had editorials about the hurricane in their Tuesday editions, meaning they were written on Monday, while the storm was still busy devastating parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. With so much still unknown, a lot of what they had to say was just speculation, which might help explain why certain editorial pages -- the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times among them -- didn't offer their assessments right away. Unless the writer is right in the thick of things -- like at the New Orleans Times Picayune -- it seems to me it's reasonable to avoid spouting off until the effects of the storm are better understood.
One Tuesday editorial that was substantive as well as timely was the New York Times lead editorial, rightly chastising the House of Representatives for cutting $70 million earmarked for New Orleans out of the Army Corps of Engineers' budget -- money that could be used to rebuild the infrastructure protecting the low-lying city. (Salon.com's Tim Grieve points out that $70 million could also be used to pay for the War in Iraq ... a whole nine and a half hours of it.) The Times urges the Senate to restore the funding, and suggests the Bush administration dedicate more resources to restoring the barrier islands and marshlands that once protected the city from big storm surges. Writing in the Style section of the Washington Post, Ken Ringle explains in chilling detail how these crucial barriers have been decimated over the years.
Post columnist Eugene Robinson, figuring that New Orleans is unlikely to relocate, focuses on the need to improve the levees and pumps in place to keep the city dry. He also posits that it might be wise to avoid building homes and businesses on fault lines, mountainsides, or in the shadow of volcanoes. Robinson and Eric Holdeman, an emergency management official whose op-ed appears on the same page, both raise concerns about the focus on funding terrorism preparedness at the expense of natural disaster mitigation, a subject I'll get into more deeply in a later post.
I'll continue to explore Katrina-related issues in the coming days, some of them (hopefully) raised by you. So, if any questions come to mind, don't hesitate to comment.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: D. Daniel | August 31, 2005 08:45 AM
Posted by: Scott | August 31, 2005 09:36 AM
Posted by: dwight petersen | August 31, 2005 10:03 AM
Posted by: Emily Messner | August 31, 2005 10:05 AM
Posted by: Sarah | August 31, 2005 10:21 AM
Posted by: James Siebert | August 31, 2005 10:45 AM
Posted by: Paulette | August 31, 2005 10:46 AM
Posted by: carlo buscemi | August 31, 2005 10:47 AM
Posted by: Robert Graham | August 31, 2005 10:56 AM
Posted by: Paul Gowder | August 31, 2005 11:03 AM
Posted by: Brent Zenobia | August 31, 2005 11:06 AM
Posted by: Nancy Mannikko | August 31, 2005 11:19 AM
Posted by: Nancy Mannikko | August 31, 2005 11:19 AM
Posted by: Peyton in Virginia | August 31, 2005 12:12 PM
Posted by: Chevy Chase, Md. | August 31, 2005 12:22 PM
Posted by: ws | August 31, 2005 01:06 PM
Posted by: SWB in PA | August 31, 2005 01:08 PM
Posted by: Towson, MD | August 31, 2005 01:11 PM
Posted by: Pensacola | August 31, 2005 01:13 PM
Posted by: Beau Finley | August 31, 2005 01:54 PM
Posted by: Ontario, Canada | August 31, 2005 02:03 PM
Posted by: Tulanian | August 31, 2005 03:01 PM
Posted by: JR Michigan | August 31, 2005 03:46 PM
Posted by: Mateo SF | August 31, 2005 07:05 PM
Posted by: Dan Fout | August 31, 2005 08:37 PM
Posted by: Anthony Damiani | August 31, 2005 10:06 PM
Posted by: Gene | August 31, 2005 11:13 PM
Posted by: Sad For America | September 1, 2005 04:35 AM
Posted by: Sad For America | September 1, 2005 04:52 AM
Posted by: John Morrison | September 1, 2005 09:13 AM
Posted by: Peyton in Virginia | September 1, 2005 03:34 PM
Posted by: Patty Tyson | September 1, 2005 03:58 PM
Posted by: Lora Meisner | September 1, 2005 04:08 PM
Posted by: rosemarie | September 1, 2005 05:34 PM
Posted by: Chris | September 1, 2005 07:03 PM
Posted by: Kevin | September 1, 2005 09:39 PM
Posted by: Steve | September 2, 2005 07:51 AM
Posted by: Sharon | September 2, 2005 09:37 AM
Posted by: Danielle | September 2, 2005 03:51 PM
Posted by: ao | September 2, 2005 04:17 PM
Posted by: Sonny | September 2, 2005 04:43 PM
Posted by: Dan Fresas - Monee,Ill | September 3, 2005 12:51 AM
Posted by: A. Citizen, Shelocta, PA | September 3, 2005 02:03 AM
Posted by: SandyK | September 3, 2005 06:16 AM
Posted by: SandyK | September 3, 2005 06:42 AM
Posted by: Layne | September 3, 2005 02:59 PM
Posted by: Layne | September 3, 2005 03:04 PM
Posted by: Willy | September 3, 2005 03:43 PM
Posted by: DM | September 3, 2005 06:52 PM
Posted by: Willy | September 3, 2005 09:55 PM
Posted by: Regina | September 4, 2005 06:48 PM
Posted by: Liz | September 5, 2005 09:14 AM
Posted by: Pensacola | September 5, 2005 05:35 PM
Posted by: gbchriste | September 6, 2005 04:56 PM
Posted by: Scott | September 6, 2005 06:27 PM
Posted by: Kevin | September 6, 2005 09:59 PM
Posted by: KATH | September 7, 2005 01:46 AM
Posted by: Frank | September 7, 2005 11:37 AM
Posted by: Leacroft | September 7, 2005 02:45 PM
Posted by: Ed Cervantes | September 7, 2005 03:13 PM
Posted by: Diane | September 7, 2005 03:59 PM
Posted by: XOXOXOXOXOX | September 7, 2005 10:56 PM
Posted by: Crying for My Nation | September 8, 2005 05:47 AM
Posted by: | September 8, 2005 06:53 AM
Posted by: Max Rugemer | September 8, 2005 07:08 AM
Posted by: David | September 8, 2005 08:32 PM
Posted by: kristin | September 8, 2005 09:22 PM