Dealing With Disaster: When Optimism Makes Things Worse

When President Bush said he didn't think the New Orleans levees would give way last week, White House Briefing columnist Dan Froomkin promptly pointed to several reasons why the president should have known better.

Bush's belief wasn't exactly surpising -- after all, this administration is nothing if not optimistic. (Remember the whole "Mission Accomplished" thing a couple years back?)

[Update: Looks like the sunny outlook runs in the family.]

But while I totally dig optimism, when it comes to disasters, governments must plan for the worst. Assuming the best can endanger people, a point made in a Saturday Toronto Globe and Mail editorial.

"Government needs to prepare for the worst. When the worst comes, as Hurricane Katrina has shown, it may be even more catastrophic than imagined." (The Globe and Mail requires a paid subscription to view their editorials. WHY do newspapers do that?!? Argh!)

An editorial in the Mobile Register grapples with this new reality. "Truth is, years of near-misses inspired a certain complacency. ...And how many times have residents of New Orleans evacuated, only to have the storm of the moment go the other way?"

The question leaders at all levels across the country should be discussing is how we can best respond to large-scale disasters once the proverbial (or actual) levee has been breached. And if they aren't, you may assume correctly that politics is getting in the way and they are taking a page from....

The Debate Handbook On Politics

Lesson #34: When you do something wrong and the result is really awful, treat it with a heavy dose of "now is not the time for playing politics!" Invoking the "blame game" works, too. (Repeat as needed until symptoms reporters go away.)

Lesson #34a: When your opponent does something wrong, even if no damage actually results from the mistake, milk it for all it's worth.

Citizen Footnote: When you hear a politician say "now is not the time for playing politics" or accuses someone of "playing the blame game," go find out what that politician did wrong.

By Emily Messner |  September 6, 2005; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Beltway Perspectives
Previous: Hurricane Katrina's Aftermath: Not the President's Finest Hour | Next: Facts and Rumors: Federal Power in a State of Emergency

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Emily wrote:

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"The question leaders at all levels across the country should be discussing is how we can best respond to large-scale disasters once the proverbial (or actual) levee has been breached."
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Unfortunately, it takes many deaths for folks to learn (and 10 years later how quickly folks will forget; rebuild on the same flood plains; and go through the same misery again). Even if a blue ribbon panel is put together (like the 9/11 commission) what is learned on the street? Nothing. Already folks are saying they'll return and rebuild, like nothing ever happened. If the city asks folks to give up certain areas for flood zones, you can bet in 3 to 6 months they'll fight it, as the memories of Katrina fade. You can also bet those hotels and casinos will be rebuild right on the edge of the abyss as well.

Let's look at reality: Louisanna's governor can turn into a welterweight boxer all she wants, but rebuilding New Orleans as before is asking the ENTIRE country to AGAIN pick up the tab. Not only in housing the displaced (who would feel in 10 years they can weather another Category 5 storm), but the skyrocketing insurance premiums for those even further inland. How much does everyone have to pick up the tabs so others can do what they want without the consequences? Does cultural icons/deaths give any city/population a free ticket to rebuild on the graves of those who went before them, too? Is the new World Trade center going to be built on the graves of those who died??

To really look at disaster prepareness is something few want to do (what's important is the relief part, because so many depend on rebuilding funds -- can you tell how folks are counting the jobs it'll bring, and which businesses will profit from it?). So expect any recommendations to get a blind eye and ear (to rebuild is our destiny -- which is often pound foolish). All politicos are interested in is money in the coffers, their CVs, and re-election bids. The citizens will just have to endure billions spent on everything else but where it's needed -- and they'll die by the thousands yet again (as the politicos have no leadership to say: this area is off-limits to construction, enough have died already).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 10:27 AM

To make a remark "The President hates black people" is STUPID to say the least. How fast does anyone think aid can be distributed en mass. An entire state was nearly destroy in maybe
1 day from a hurricane & flooding.
You also can't blame the President for the death of people because many of them were probably in poor health and malnourished from before the start
if the storms effects.
Lastly, why would other Americans respect the minority of people who choose to find guns, steal, kill the "own kind" and rape women. These people are ANIMALS and don't deserve respect. In a time of disaster from a natural cause, NO ONE has the right to go out and kill other human beings. How can all other races and people respect a race that shoot, rape and kill their own kind.
This is rampent is other cities and for no good reason! Gangs shooting other members of gangs,
robbing and looting when they make a reason for it. Every person in Louisiana who picked up a gun and shot someone deserves no better than that. Jessie Jackson also insites the negro population for no good reason.

Posted by: Christine B | September 6, 2005 11:39 AM

Our troops dying in Iraq everyday, this New Orleans debacle, and gas prices above three dollars a gallon. This is the Legacy of the Bush presidency. Why are Americans so enamoured he and his father when both presidencies ran the country into the ground? Ask yourself, is your quality of life better than it was five years ago? If it isn't, you might want to think about defending the President so much, because as he proved last week, he doesn't really care that much about defending you.

Posted by: Jim Murphy | September 6, 2005 12:22 PM

This is the government and the response that we Americans have, sadly, asked for.

A disaster of this magnitude requires an immediate response from a strong and organized government. It is simply not possible to deliver that response when our govt has been delilberately weakened by low-tax, small-govt ideologues.

I think we're still capable of proper action, but not when the people we have put in charge do not believe that is their role. And that's sadly the case today.

comments like Christine's above show what many people really do feel, even in light of the outpouring of support for the victims: we have become a divided and selfish nation, with a leader that exploits those divisions for political power. If we don't care to protect each other from disasters (or attacks), then it will be a sad road ahead for all of us.

Posted by: ron | September 6, 2005 01:14 PM

All right, Christine B! Get that racism right out in the open for all to see. The right's spurious claim (and battle cry), "Racism's over, get over it!" has been exposed as a racist lie for all the world to see.

Posted by: Sean Morgan | September 6, 2005 01:20 PM

Christine,

We elect a president for times exactly like this -- for his (and I hope her) leadership in times of progress and crisis. He or she must be capable to cut red-tape; to make this New Rome better (top, down from XYZ reforms to stimulate innovations/economies/trade/education, etc.); and can envision a future that isn't full of political pay/handouts.

Bush failed on all of the above, because despite mobilizing disaster funds/aide, he didn't oversee that the relief got from point A to B. A general who has a mission to accomplish will rely on his subordinates to be the "worker bees", but he'll also stay in touch to ensure to open any bottlenecks, as that's why he wears the stars (command has it's perks and responsibilities).

Command is a thankless and often lonely job. Few have the qualities to be a great leader, most will fail sometime. Bush will have to face the music for this failure, as he relied on loyality too much, and seems too naive to know, that in politics, everyone is padding their performance. In order to ensure that everything is working on schedule and as planned, Bush has to be right in there eyeballing the situation (not afterwards) -- not relying on intel from folks more interested in their turfs, than actually getting the goods to it's destination.

That's basic command 101 -- you delegate missions, but you don't leave the ship thinking everyone can do your work for you. In the military, that's criminal conduct.

And as for Bush not caring about Black people, after a year of reading the filth about race relations among such like minded conservatives (who still have no problem using the "N" word, even publicly -- making excuses that it was in "fun" or folks are just so PC), it's very hard to believe Bush doesn't have the same mindset. Afterall, it's these same voters who claim he's their moral leader, and making excuses for his gaffs.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 01:24 PM

I'm fed up with this blame-game. Let's take a look at the facts and see how the cards fall. If you don't think politics has anything to do with how reporters and "news" intities cover the "news" then how do you explain the following:

FACT: The state of Louisiana, the city of New Orleans and all the surrounding parishes have emergency plans for virtually every conceivable event, to include hurricanes AND broken levees.

FACT: NO ONE has asked the Mayor of New Orleans (a Democrat) or the Governor of Louisiana (also a Democrat) why they didn't follow their own emergency procedures.

FACT: The entire United States KNEW that New Orleans and the coast of Mississippi and Alabama were going to get hammered by Katrina, a category 5 hurricane AT LEAST three days before it made landfall.

FACT: In NO PREVIOUS natural disaster in the United States has the United States Department of Defense been asked to, and had to, intervene to re-establish the safety and security of an American city (National Guard regularly assists in RELIEF efforts but NOT to regain control).

How could something like this happen?

QUESTION 1: On the Thursday before Katrina hit (and everyone KNEW she was going to hit, and hit hard at that), why wasn't all public transportation converted to moving people OUT of New Orleans and surrounding parishes?

ANSWER 1: SO MUCH money is generated by the tourist dollar that NO ONE had the guts to shut the city and surrounding areas down far enough in advance to put those previously approved disaster plans into effect.

QUESTION 2: What were New Orleans and Louisiana State Emergency Management doing during the week preceeding Katrinas arrival?

ANSWER 2: See Answer #1

Question 3: On Friday, when Katrina was a certified terror as a category 5 hurricane and there was NO doubt that the eye was going to pass within miles, one way or the other, of New Orleans, why was there no clamor from the populace about evacuation plans for the sick, elderly or those who had no transportation.

ANSWER 3: See Answer #1

QUESTION 4: On Saturday, the National Weather Service had been warning for days that the water surge from the gulf was going to exceed 25 - 30 feet in New Orleans... Why weren't the good people of New Orleans demanding that their Mayor and Governor take charge and actually follow their own emergency action plans, thereby ensuring some form of transportation and/or evacuation for those who had none available and that EVERYONE was being evacuated IMMEDIATELY.

ANSWER 4: See Answer #1

QUESTION 5: When Shepard Smith of FOX News was in the French Quarter on Bourbon St., on Sunday night, JUST BEORE Katrina hit, why were there still business' open and people wandering around the street?

ANSWER 5: See Answer #1.

QUESTION 6: On Monday morning, after the hurricane had gone through New Orleans and the levees failed, what were the Mayor of New Orleans, the Governor of Louisiana and their Emergency Management staff doing?

ANSWER 6: Blaming President Bush and his entire cabinet because THEY (the Mayor, the Governor and their Emergency Management staff) had failed to do their jobs.

In this instance, I guess the facts speak for themselves..... IF they (the Mayor of New Orleans and Governor of Louisiana) have the guts to answer these questions maybe we can stop worrying about who screwed up what and start fixing the problem, once and for all.

Posted by: Jack L. | September 6, 2005 01:31 PM

Jack L,
The state of La requested assistance on the saturday before the storm hit, here's the letter:
http://www.newschannel6.tv/news/default.asp?mode=shownews&id=8601

And the white house authorized fema and the dhs to coordinate ALL relief efforts on that same day:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/20050827-1.html

You should rethink #6. they were pleading for the army to be allowed in to help on Monday. the president (and only the president) had the authority, but he was too busy talking about medicare and playing guitar for the cameras.

It hurts to be let down by people you trust, I know. But accept it. Bush let us down. People gave him the benefit of the doubt after 9/11 when we needed to rally against an external enemy, but it would be foolish to let him off the hook today.

Posted by: Ron | September 6, 2005 01:51 PM

Unfortunately, some people will read comments like Christine B's (above) and say "Exactly!" (Apparently they think the destitute of New Orleans desirve what they got.) I read her comments, and similar garbage, and think the authors need the help of mental health experts. Or are they just stupid?

Would Christine judge "whites" (herself, no doubt) by the actions the the "BTK" murderer or the likes of Tim McVeigh? (And this assumes all of the perpetrators of the crimes in New Orleans were black -- an assertion wholey unproven to the best of my knowledge.)

As for the substance of Ms. Messner's article (Optimism and the Administration of George W. Bush) one need not look too hard for many examples: "Mission Accomplished" is a great one. No plan for "winning the peace" in Iraq is another. Cutting education funding while "implementing" No Child Left Behind, decreasing standards for polution as part of the "Clear Skies" initiative are others. All of these point to an administration that hopes for the best and then makes their plans, policies, and budgets based on best-case scenarios. (Did I mention the deficit, caused in large part by hoping that the stock-market-tech-stock-bubble-inflated-revenue-stream would last forever?)

Secretary Chertoff and FEMA Director Brown, following the Administration's lead, couldn't imagine "two disasters" (hurricane and levee breach) coming together. ?? Even the most wishful thinking thinking (but reasonably educated) individual should have been able to _imagine_ it! (Particularly if you are drawing a salary from the people of the Untied State to _plan_ for disasters...) The fact that they were briefed on potentail problems with the levees 32 hours _before_ the disaster adds lying to their list of failures both before and after the disaster...

This disaster isn't "good news" for Democrats or "bad news" for Republicans...this disaster is a national disgrace. The Administrators, Secretary, and President who oversaw this mess should have the honesty to admit their failure, and the courage to make it right. If you can't do the job (Mr. Brown), resign. If you don't understand the problem (Secretary Chertoff), do your homework or step aside. And if you honestly think making a speech in California is more important that making sure the right things were being done in New Orleans, perhaps it is time to see if Vice President Cheney is up to the task...

I'm optimistic by nature...but.

Posted by: Bob (in Denver) | September 6, 2005 01:59 PM

Jack,

What a mouthful. :) Let's deduct this some....

1. So now reporters and the "news" are reporting false news? So if they are, they are to be mistrusted about the "truth" outright? Even though the images alone tell the tale no commentary could?

2. Louisana and New Orleans did in fact have a disaster plan. But like every disaster plan a full scale test can't be staged (it's all figures and statistics in those drills). The real results won't be known until the disaster strikes (many unforseen factors comes into play -- like no one suspected 1/3 of the police force to not report to duty, meaning the remaining force was reduced, so basic law enforcement [let alone rescue efficiency] was reduced).

3. Yes folks have asked the Louisiana governor and New Orleans mayor about their own failures -- it's reported all over (how about tuning into the news, not just the New Republic or Drudge?). Nagin is also "man" enough to accept responsibility, but also smart enough to not be the fall guy for everyone up the food chain.

4. Yeah, and the entire nation didn't appear to know -- if you don't have a car, or cash to buy a bus or plane ticket out, or have pets, how will they evacuate? Some heartless folks would just claim, ditch your pets and let them die, but some folks (especially the elderly who have no one), those pets are like kids. That this country with all their studies and behavior analysis couldn't think that companion animals are becoming more like children to people in their disaster plan, is incredible. Do any of them take their pets to a vet and fill out the forms about how they treat their pets??!! The whole disaster prepareness system needs to be revamped to factor in these variables -- of those who won't leave because it's all they have; it's where they're ancestors are buried and they're not leaving them; and the thousands with companion animals who won't leave them behind (why don't they organize with the SPCA to make sure those animals aren't littering the flood waters encouraging disease, either!!). >:(

5. You tend to forget, that no metro city in living memory, was so totally wiped out in such a way, with so many people still in the area, either. We're talking at least a hundred thousand folks (an entire medium sized city) remained. These folks are the ones with the most needs (the ill/disabled/poor) who couldn't just bug out even with a 2 week notice. If the storm hit on September 5th (Social Security pay day is on the 3rd), maybe most would've had the means to get out. Otherwise, they remained, and if you lost everything and the world was looking like it was coming to end, you wouldn't be so civil as well (this was warned in civil defense long ago, why shelters had to be defended tooth and nail, because raiders will try to steal your food/water/shelter). No one should be surprised, it's well known if you even bothered to watch TV 10 years ago.

6. Why wasn't those folks evacuated? No one thought about the economics and socio-economic problems. They just believed everyone will hitch a ride somewhere. BTW, if you're so much tired about the "blame game" -- why are you blaming the city/state government (because they're Democrats)??

7. So you're suggesting every city along the coast needs to shut down everytime a hurricane arrives (how many cities are in the Gulf, in Florida and along the Altantic coast, again?). That's impossible.

8. They probably were following a DHS/FEMA disaster plan (like the DHS/FEMA will head relief as soon as the governor okays it).

9. Because no one factored it in. If you're tired of blaming, you may wish to find a better target than complete ignorance.

10. Can't evacuate everyone in an orderly fashion in just 5 days of a city that size. You count on most to leave on their own. The "system" isn't designed to drag men/women/children out of homes (that's a horror image in itself, which could make the nation another Timothy McVeigh). Even though it's for their own good, this country allows folks to make their mistakes with their lives. Are you suggesting what Castro does to remedy hurricane deaths, instead??

11. Because Shep was reporting that the storm missed New Orleans and it was dry. I got so frustrated with Fox New's "positive spin" on the disaster, I switch (in a long time at that) to CNN for coverage -- as I KNEW it wasn't so peachy. I lived 200 miles away when Hurricane Hugo hit, and saw trees in my front yard bend like rubber bands from 80 miles gusts to know the damage HAD to be more severe than what was being reported. That anyone was shocked of the damage, shows how much folks want to believe these storms aren't anything but wind and rain. >:(

12. Ask them. Nagin gave a description of what happened (and he had some choice words at that!).

13. The facts are easily disputed, as it's just another way to shift blame. Leaders know where the buck stops, and those who don't accept responsibility (Nagin's big enough to accept responsibility, which is more than Bush and the rest of the DHS/FEMA bigwigs are willing to accept).

SandyK
FIRED UP!!

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 02:19 PM

Posted by: Linette | September 6, 2005 02:27 PM

I am sooooo disappointed in the American public once again.....how in the world do those who do, place blame on our President!??? Are you joking....you know STATE's are always wanting their OWN freedom and laws, rules, etc.. so Mr. Nagin you had your RULES, Your So-called Hurricane PLAN......it was not a good plan at all!

Why didn't you send the full-tanked school buses in to those poverty-leveled neighborhoods, when you announced the MANDATORY EVACUATION?? Why didn't you Mr. Nagin?? You knew who your constituency was, correct? You knew what type of population you were dealing with ..impoverished & elderly.... Yet you did nothing, but order the EVACUATION....without supplying the NECESSARY VEHICLES to EVACUATE YOUR CONSTITUENCY!!!!!

I saw the photos of school bus, after school bus, after school bus lined up full tanks of gas sitting in feet of water.....you should have used them to evacuate your VOTERS Mr. Nagin! Shame on you....as you spew forth lies and deceit blaming the President....you started ANARCHY trying to make it a Black & WHITE/Racisim issue.....just remember Mr. Nagin it was on YOUR WATCH, with your INEPTNESS and with your LAME plan that New Orleans went to HELL!

And why Mr. Nagin did you tell Foreigners who were staying at a hotel across the street from your residence (who were ok by the way), why did you have them go to the FRONT of the LINE, when the Nat'l Guard came to rescue those who'd been desperate in New Orleans for 5 days!! Why did you have them go to the FORNT OF THE LINE, AHEAD of all those DESPERATE NEW ORLEANERS??????

Suck up the blame Mr. Nagin and give President Bush the APOLOGY you OWE him and our Nation!

You know Florida was hit by 6 hurricanes including Katrina...guess what? They pulled together, didn't place blame and are coming out of it stronger...9-11 I never saw such bravery, courage and resolve...that was the best our nation had to offer....Katrina brings to light the WORST our nation has to offer!

Carol in Delaware

Posted by: Carol | September 6, 2005 03:25 PM

Carol,

1. How long did it take the military and other agents to evacuate the city? Notice they're still trying to evacuate those still in the city and it's 4 days later? New Orleans had only a 3 day warning (that is, a sure sign Katrina would hit the region, not the experimental NOAA projections). They couldn't have evacuated the entire city -- with their means -- in that time.

2. Evacuate 100,000+ residents where, without federal help (and pocketbook)?

3. Who's governor of Florida, again (and has how many military bases with troops in country)?

Nope, not too simple to dismiss Bush's failure to keep tabs on the crisis.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 03:56 PM

Yikes! What a ridiculous article posted above by Linette. I would hope that if this blog does does devolve into simple partisan bickering, we could at least do better than linking such puerile, repetitive, badly written crap. It reminds me Parker and Stone's rendering of Whoopie Goldberg's stand-up... "I hate Republicans...Republicans are so stupid...I hate Republicans."

Jack and Sandy's debate is much more useful. I think you both make valid arguments, but as I've stated elsewhere, I do think that the state and local governments could and should have done more, and that their quickly placed blame on the federal government is either disingenuous, to protect themselves, or else displays an offensive sense of entitlement. State and local officials have the principal responsibility for the well-being of their constituents.

As for Christine B's comments, well, they are just sad to read, and not because they illustrate the ignorance of one person, but because I'm sure the feelings are shared widely. I fear that those people who don't have much exposure to lower-income blacks, even those who were not previously particularly racist, are likely to develope an increasingly negative attitude from the events of the last week. For me personally, I agree with Bob that it is unspeakably ridiculous to decide that, in Christine's language, negros are animals, based on the behavior of the few criminals. However, I do feel somewhat disappointed in the general mood of the crowd as exhibited by the television news, where the sentiment was not a positive rallying that they would get through it, but rather anger that the government was not there to help them. It gives me the feeling that our society, perhaps through social welfore programs, has given the underpriviledged a sense entitlement to aid and a lack of a strong enough sense of personal, or in this case, collective, responsibility. That's not to say that any of those stranded could have done much of anything to help themselves--I don't believe they could have. I just think that the fact that the first reaction was blame and demands for help as opposed to a grudging acceptance of their situation and a resolve to help each other survive illustrates a more fundamental problem. Compare the reaction to those directly affected in New Orleans to those directly affected in the New York 9/11 attacks. While the scope of the disaster in New Orleans is clearly much greater, I think the events are both so traumatic to the direct victims to be comparable. In New York, where the victims that day were generally all in the area because their employment required them to be, you had a very different reaction to the reaction in New Orleans, where the most affected victims were there because they couldn't leave. I don't ascribe the differences to any innate racial differences in the groups of victims, but rather to the fact that as a society we have not done an adequate job of helping our poorer citizens develop the attitudes that allow them to deal succesfully with extraordinary challenges.

Posted by: Sonny | September 6, 2005 03:56 PM

Sandy, I appreciate the dialogue and offer the following:

1. They should report it, not make it.
2. True, But.... Did they even try to follow "the plan"? If you know anything about check lists, you go down the list, if you can't do it you skip it and keep going. Might have made a difference. But second guessing is just as bad as the "blame game".
3. Point taken.
4. I can guarantee you that if it wasn't in "the book", it is now!
5. "civil defense", what happened to the days when we actually practiced "civil defense"? Maybe we should go back to being pro-active rather than re-active?
6. No, because they are the first level of response/action. More gets done at that level than any other. As we have all seen, if there isn't a clear plan of action that is carried out in a methodical manner, many will pay the ultimate price for that lack of forethought. Without an actionable plan there IS no plan.
7. You only think it's impossible the first time you don't leave. I've been through 3 hurricanes and left for every one of them. The only remorse I felt from leaving was wondering whether we'd have anything to come back to. Fortunately, we did, I've had friends who didn't.
8. True, but those are generally a template that are customized by the municipalities to meet their anticipated emergencies. Many do local and large scale, multi-jurisdictional "what if" scenarios. ALL based on a plan of some sort.
9. A teacher once told me that "ignorance is bliss, but it's still no excuse."
10. I agree with your assessment, however, IF no ones gives you an OPPORTUNITY to leave, especially if they have the means to make it happen, they should be held accountable. I'm ignoring the Castro comment.
11. ANYONE that has been through a hurricane knows where the strongest winds are. As far as winds went, New Orleans got some good blows, but the Gulf coast East of New Orleans took the brunt of the hurricane. If it hadn't been for the levee's breaking, New Orleans would be in business today. Again, my point was, what was ANYONE doing on the streets of New Orleans while a category 4 (at that time) hurricane was bearing down on them?
12. Yes he did. It's amazing how our command of the English language falls apart under pressure. I was initially upset with his choice of words but then I thought, There but by the Grace of God......
13. There IS enough blame to go around. I just hope that after everything cools down it can be looked at from a non-political vantage point and some positive changes made to prevent a tragedy of this order from happening again.

Stay fired up Sandy.

Posted by: Jack L. | September 6, 2005 04:40 PM

Jack,

Thanks for not being a "hit and run" poster. ;) Dialogue is essential.

1. If the reporters just stood there with camera in hand, the outrage of the public would be fierce if they did nothing (remember the flak reporters get if they just shot video of a crime in progress, and did nothing to stop it?). Sometimes a reporter has to do more than just shoot and point a mike at someone.

2. What plan? The general public isn't aware what plan they were following, and if it was an ad hoc one, and/or one changed mid-stream by the governor. I think folks think a mayor has magical powers to rally even NG troops into the city -- s/he is at the mercy of the governor, all s/he can do is request assistance (which Nagin was screaming and cussing for). The only fault I can have for Nagin during the storm and it's aftermath is that he wasn't warming up to the camera more to at least offer comfort and news to the stranded (but then again, folks would complain he was politicking more than doing his job if he did -- damn if you do, damn if you don't situation).

3. There's plenty of tidbits by Nagin, who didn't fall for the gladhanding. Because in the end he's going to be made the fall guy for the troubles, as the governor may sacrifice him (which is the ugly side of politics -- something not taught in school in civics class).

4. As much as I care about human life, I also care about animals (I'm no PETA type, but a cat rescuer), that all those animals are going to be left to die is also a sad chapter. That photo of the guy blaming himself for not evacuating and essentially condemning his dogs now, is heart breaking. This need not exist, as all us rescuers and animal humane officials would help, we'll make room to shelter them until their owners return for them -- not end up dead.

5. That would be very good if we did. CD was essential during the Cold War, and can be revisited during this Terrorism war. CD managed the shelters, stocking them with food/water/COMMUNICATION equipment. It was mostly volunteers as well.

6. If this was a couple of thousand being evacuate, that is possible. But we're talking of evacuating over 100,000 folks, some even adamate of not leaving. The city government only has so many cops, so many EMS workers to do the job (and it'll take at least a day to rally more troopers across the state to help). The city's scale, that many people would've taxed the city's first response team. Let me give you example of a minor disaster locally and what it took. A fire broke out on the interstate (roughly a 3 mile stretch). Our fire department responded to it, but needed more help. For just that one brush fire along the road, it took over 22 fire departments from as far as 100 miles away to put it out. That was a minor event compared to this. Now compare that to knocking down doors and forcing everyone out of their homes (with guns probably too). Nothing angers/frightens the Black community more than armed cops breaking down their doorway, and forcing grandma at gunpoint to leave her own home. That would've caused more misery. There's just some things that isn't done on a mass scale, in the South, and in a largely Black community.

7. Whole cities can't shut down everytime a hurricane is in the region. That's like saying, in the South, to close the city down if it gets over 100F. The evacuation orders are made for those to leave only when there's a good chance (a high probability on NOAA's projections) it'll hit a region -- but not the entire coast. It's not without problems. The first major storm evacuation (in GA), was rife with problems even when all lanes were opened to outbound traffic. What they didn't factor in is, to get anywhere else, you had to travel off the interstate. It meant those little 2 lane highways were choked (took relatives 6hrs to drive just 125 miles!).

8. That plan is often localized. But if the governor changes it, it can go wrong. I don't know what happened, but it's stated that N.O. did have disaster drills -- but I don't think they had them at scale, nor concerning a levee breech.

9. Ignorance is rampant. It's the excuse too many use as a crutch. Some things are unpredictable, but the levee breech has long been studied -- and NOAA was giving some very accurate dire warnings before Katrina made landfall. So the data/stats were there for DHS/FEMA to digest.

10. Taking school buses where? Just drive them to the area that's also affected? Do you think the TX governor would allow them to transverse into their state on a mere possibility of damage (Katrina did vere to the NE, mostly sparing the city proper)? BTW, Castro controls the death rates in his country by forcing residents to flee (the military doesn't take "no" for an answer). The US is very weary of forcing citizens to relocate against their will, as too many have a love/hate relationship with the "government" (and in a Black community it can cause some deep anger).

11. It's like someone would be bewildered of living under the shadow of 2 major nuclear plants. Folks have roots to communities and accept their dangers. In order to live there you have to roll the dice -- you know your time can come anytime, or cancer or a fluke can also kill you. It's like asking why anyone would live in Nome, Alaska when it's -50F and you can die of exposure in minutes. You live there because it's H-O-M-E.

12. Nagin was trying to break through the red tape. He couldn't do much more but plea -- and it's a national disgrace that ANY mayor had to plea for help from ANYONE.

13. The problem is it won't be looked at non-politically. Too many opportunists will seek a seat on that commission to shine in front of cameras (and stuff their pockets, or offer their communities some pork).

I'll add something else, since I read the live chat on the Hurricane. This is something I will fault the local officials with -- the communication problems. In my locale it's not that uncommon to encounter a cop car with 3 antennas on it. The cop will have one for the cellphone; VHF radio; and even a CB. Some have 5 on their cars, and they have a mobile HAM radio. My dad was a HAM operator (extra class who can send/recieve over 90 wpm) and a member of the REACT club (which was to aid in CD). My question is HAM operators exist in the region (NOAA sent out notices for them to keep in contact with the weather service) so what happen to them?? They're suppose to operate in the "communication black out" conditions. With their radios now as portable as CBs (like the Galaxy model CBer's illegal alter to talk on military frequencies -- i.e., "mud channels"), I find it astonishing that the police didn't make contact to them to ferry important messages (as HAM operators are legally required to do).

It'll be interesting to learn what caused the errors, because communities throughout this country need to learn from it.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 05:49 PM


Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

The answer to this question can be found on the Red Cross web site and I've provided the link below.

"The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city."

http://www.redcross.org/faq/0,1096,0_682_4524,00.html

Posted by: Chris C. | September 6, 2005 06:20 PM

To make a remark "The President hates black people" is STUPID to say the least. How fast does anyone think aid can be distributed en mass. An entire state was nearly destroy in maybe
1 day from a hurricane & flooding.
You also can't blame the President for the death of people because many of them were probably in poor health and malnourished from before the start
if the storms effects.
Lastly, why would other Americans respect the minority of people who choose to find guns, steal, kill the "own kind" and rape women. These people are ANIMALS and don't deserve respect. In a time of disaster from a natural cause, NO ONE has the right to go out and kill other human beings. How can all other races and people respect a race that shoot, rape and kill their own kind.
This is rampent is other cities and for no good reason! Gangs shooting other members of gangs,
robbing and looting when they make a reason for it. Every person in Louisiana who picked up a gun and shot someone deserves no better than that. Jessie Jackson also insites the negro population for no good reason.

I am pasting Christine B's comments again in hopes that she will re-read them and realize how STUPID she sounds. Not only are there rampant spelling and grammatical errors in her posting, but her comments are nonsensical and laughable.

Certainly, as others here have mentioned, she is but one voice sounding off for what are sadly probably millions -- all those millions who voted our Young Bush into office :-(. It is these people and their comments which make me completely and utterly embarassed to be American, because the international community sees and hears these people thinking that they are a good representation of Americans as a whole.

I wonder...how do these people live with themselves? I would like to offer Christine B a big mop so she can wipe up her conscience.

Posted by: Melissa | September 6, 2005 07:10 PM

Jim Murphy writes that the legacy of President Bush is troops dying in iraq, the NO diaster, and high gas prices. I'll try to be brief, but debate takes more than a slogan.

"Troops dying in Iraq". Yes, unfortunately they are. But thankfully there are men and women in this country who enlist in our volunteer armed services to protect and defend our country, and to defeat the spread of terrorism that has gone unchecked by both parties dating back to the 1980s. Beirut, Somalia, World Trade Center I, CIA shootings, USS Cole, the millenium bomber, 911...this didn't start with Bush & Iraq, although the fanatical left would like to pretend it did. But it was time we did something about it. Thankfully we have a President who doesn't shy away from his Constitutional duties to protect and defend this country. This isn't a president who abandons a mission after the first helicopter gets shot down! Imagine if previous generations would have had the same (lack of) spine and 24 hour mentality that liberals do now. We would have demanded that the troops come home after the first few hours at Normandy!!! We would have retreated from every battle we ever faced. We would be, well, France. We would have lost WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam - oh yeah, we had that same mentality in Vietnam. That was good for the country, huh?

New Orleans - How is it that the politicians closest to the problem have the least amount of blame in this situation? I digress. Think about the last time you moved. Now imagine you were trying to move 1.5 million people at the same time, many who don't want to go, many who are too sick or old to go. Throw in the 15 feet of water, lack of power, criminals shooting at you, a mayor more interested in covering his own mistakes than in implementing the evacuation proceedures...Oh sure, I have no idea why the entire city hasn't been evacuated and rebuilt already. what's the hold up? Oh yeah, this is intersting. the new orleans' own evacuation plan, the one they came up with after the last hurricane, said it would take 10 days to get everybody out. yet, everyone was upset when 72 hours went by and people were still trapped in NO. Maybe the process could have been sped up if NO officials would have used the city buses to evacuate the citizens, as their evacuation planned called for. Instead, it's all Bush's fault.

High gas prices are a natural market reaction to the tremendous economic growth seen in the USA, China, India, and elsewhere (that is, of course, excluding the dismal economic performances of Old Europe). It's a testament to the strength of this economy that despite a major city being shut down, shyrocketing gas prices because of it, that we are talking about GDP in Q3 of 2.5%.

Posted by: MDP | September 6, 2005 07:11 PM

Made me sad seeing only half the N.O. highways (outbound lanes only - not inbound) being used by residents trying to flee hurricane Katrina - outbound lanes were at a standstill while inbound lanes were empty (no effort to re-route evacuation traffic onto inbound lanes).

It is in-excusable that people were only given half the available resources simply because of poor government coordination.

I am sure long evacuation times contribute to people staying home and taking their chances with the hurricane as well as making mass transit in-effective:

if people were unable to board public buses because the buses were stuck in evacuation traffic then this is really a criminal issue.

Posted by: Mike S. | September 6, 2005 07:21 PM

Even responding to KW's comments give more dignity to them than they deserve. He's an entertainer, he entertains. When I'm ready for entertainment, I'll listen to what he has to say. Of course, I could opt for other means of entertainment instead...a funny clown or magic show, or maybe even stupid pet tricks. they're all the same. it's entertainment.

But that doesn't diminish the fact that many poor blacks (and those that make a living by exploiting and using poor blacks - e.g. Jesse Jackson) feel that way. First, shame on the racist likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Before you start telling me how racist the white south is, take a look at the racist leaders of the liberal left in this country. they sustain their expensive lifestyles by driving racial wedges though our society.

Second, I keep hearing from the racists (mentioned above) how race is involved in everything in America. Well, when YOU make race the #1 issue in everything around you, don't be surprised that race IS involved in everything.

You have a President that designated an emergency in the area 3 days before the hurricane hit, the first time that's ever been done. He requested $10 billion to be spent in the area over the next 20 days, and is about to request another $40 or so billion. (All this for the same people that Bush supposedly hates.) You have federal, state, and local law enforcement, military, Guard, etc (black and white) risking their lives to protect and comfort Americans of all races in the south. How about we honor the outpouring of support and sympathy in America instead of calling us all racists while we're trying to help you.

A lot of people in this country need to stop dwelling on race and instead start improving the conditions of their lives. This is a great country with unlimited opportunities. Take advantage of them. It's sad that whenever a person of color succeeds in this country, the black liberals say that that person has "sold out". How does that help you succeed? Those that succeed in life are the ones that elevate themselves, those that fail are the ones that complain about those that succeed.

And finally - where is the whole "the south will rise again" mentality? I grew up listening to "A Country Boy Can Survive"...but I guess now Hank will just have to start singing "A country boy can survive, as soon as the federal government comes to take care of me". It just doesn't have the same ring to it!

Posted by: MDP | September 6, 2005 07:52 PM

What's this Stormfront released it's goons on this board?

On one hand complaining that there's no "race issue", but reserves an entire post on what? The "race issue".

:rolleyes:

BTW, O'Reilly is on the shift the blame game (Bush can't get his fingers dirty himself, so his minions are in full blown damage control mode). Now just heaping all the blame on the governor and Nagin. Nagin is the only one of all of them accepting any responsibility -- which gives him the karma points that no other official is getting.

Whatever happened to personal responsibilty for one's actions? Do these federal political hacks think they're immuned to it? Well, this time there's no free pass, as a quarter of a million are displaced and no telling how many are DEAD.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 08:16 PM

Can someone at the Washington Post reveal the name of the "senior Bush official" who incorrectly claimed that Governor Blanco had not declared a disaster until August 31 (when she actually did on August 26)?

The Washington Post bears no journalistic obligation to provide anonymity to the source of disinformation.

SandyK, you have the wrong source, "Louisanna's governor can turn into a welterweight boxer all she wants" refers to a statement by Senator Landrieu, not Governor Blanco.

A centrist Democrat, Landrieu claims to have voted with Bush 70% of the time, including support for the 2001 Bush tax cuts, partial-birth abortion ban, gun rights, and was one of the "gang of 14 centrists" avoiding the senate fillibuster concerning federal judges.

That a centrist like Senator Ladrieu is ready to punch out the president should give everyone the clear understanding that she was fed up with the doublespeak.

I spoke with a neighbor in the ready reserve fleet whose frustrations increased throughout last week while FEMA and the DoD dithered over preparing and sending supply ships. The ships are owned by DoT, contracted to DoD and paid with funds from FEMA.

Posted by: Silicon Valley Guy | September 6, 2005 08:21 PM

Can someone at the Washington Post reveal the name of the "senior Bush official" who incorrectly claimed that Governor Blanco had not declared a disaster until August 31 (when she actually did on August 26)?

The Washington Post bears no journalistic obligation to provide anonymity to the source of disinformation.

SandyK, you have the wrong source, "Louisanna's governor can turn into a welterweight boxer all she wants" refers to a statement by Senator Landrieu, not Governor Blanco.

A centrist Democrat, Landrieu claims to have voted with Bush 70% of the time, including support for the 2001 Bush tax cuts, partial-birth abortion ban, gun rights, and was one of the "gang of 14 centrists" avoiding the senate fillibuster concerning federal judges.

That a centrist like Senator Ladrieu is ready to punch out the president should give everyone the clear understanding that she was fed up with the doublespeak.

I spoke with a neighbor in the ready reserve fleet whose frustrations increased throughout last week while FEMA and the DoD dithered over preparing and sending supply ships. The ships are owned by DoT, contracted to DoD and paid with funds from FEMA. There's nothing state and local folks can do to speed them on their way.

Posted by: Silicon Valley Guy | September 6, 2005 08:37 PM

I'm so exhausted of all of this finger-pointing. At this point, analyzing who's to blame is fruitless because the catastrophe happened and there's nothing we can do to erase that now. Why can't journalists, broadcasters, all of us stop killing time trying to figure who f*cked up and spend the time more productively...make a quilt or something, but quit the blame game...it's such a childish waste of time now. It happened; it's done...let's move FORWARD.

Posted by: XOXOXO | September 6, 2005 08:40 PM

I hope all of you Democrats out there were paying attention when Sonny said: "What a ridiculous article posted above by Linette. I would hope that if this blog does does devolve into simple partisan bickering, we could at least do better than linking such puerile, repetitive, badly written crap. It reminds me Parker and Stone's rendering of Whoopie Goldberg's stand-up... "I hate Republicans...Republicans are so stupid...I hate Republicans."

Sonny's bitter and baseless denunciation should give you a clue as to the effectiveness of the article I linked to.

http://www.taxwisdom.org/republican_nemesis.htm

The Republican Nemesis has received the highest praise from many Democrats/Progressives because it accurately exposes the strategy that the Republicans have used so effectively against us. If you are a Democrat, James Kroeger's article is absolutely a MUST READ.

Posted by: Linette | September 6, 2005 08:42 PM

They wouldn't reveal "Deep Throat", and I doubt they'll reveal this anonymous source, either.

I stand corrected on the boxing remark -- I do have beef with the governor, since she spent so much time putting a positive spin on the disaster. Don't care what party she belongs too, Nagin was BEGGING for help, and nothing arrived (meanwhile reporters came in and out of the city, but a truck with at least water didn't came in <-- now fact check that statement).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 08:45 PM

Sonny's Sept. 6, 2005, 3:56:30 PM posting, while being remarkable in a number of ways falls woefully short of providing a crucial argument. Let me expand. Sonny agrees that the victims are not be blamed for the disaster that struck them nor is political responsibility to be evaded by those in charge of the commonwealth at all levels. However, he seems to take issue with those who are angry with the government for not being there to help them. He pits "entitlement" with a strong sense of "personal (and collective responsibility." He concludes the posting by saying, "...as a society we have not done an adequate job of helping our poorer citizens develop the attitudes that allow them to deal successfully with extraordinary challenges." Obviously, these noble sentiments smack of a sense of condescendence, but that is a relatively minor matter for the purposes of this my posting. What I find outright offensive in Sonny's posting is the ease with which he attempts at a comparison between the New Orleans disaster and the 9/11 terror attack. As I understand, the only point of similarity between these two events is that they both are "disasters" and "tragedies" of unspeakable magnitude. There the similarity of comparison stops. From then on it is only about dissimilarities. Let me list just a few. The first and obvious difference is that NO (short for New Orleans) was a natural disaster while NY (short for 9/11 - particularly the destruction of the World Trade Center) was a deliberate act of atrocity committed by an "enemy." The direct result of NY was the death of thousands of people but NY threw up "refugees" in the thousands who did not have a place to go to nor get the basic necessities of life like drinking water, food and toilet facilities. Do you ask these "refugees" to show a "strong sense of personal responsibility" rather than demand that they be provided food, drink, clothes, shelter and toilet facilities? How can a "refugee" in the Superdome or Convention Center of New Orleans provide water and food to his neighbor "refugee?" Are we kidding? Of course, they are "entitled" to this and more. Please, don't blame the victim!

Posted by: Paul V. | September 6, 2005 08:51 PM

Paul,

Sonny does make a valid point about self-reliance. This country has a wild and independent streak, a new frontier mentality that's willing to take risks. Few would like to be considered "momma boys", or be a 30 year-old still living under our parent's roof, either.

To be dependent on any agency for the essentials robs us of our heritage. With every handout there's a price to one's self-pride, and the pride our forefathers had. It robs one of their worth, and later they expect it as an "entitlement" instead. As soon as you get your "entitlement" it takes a literal act of congress to get away from it.

Fostering dependence on any entity shouldn't be condoned. Everyone, including the most vulnerable should have more pride in themselves, their families and communities to not drink that poison.

Those who suffered in New Orleans need a handup, not a handout. There is no pride, no justice, no equality living in government sanctioned poverty.

SandyK
Who's disabled and knows all about the trappings of "entitlements" and it's personal costs

Posted by: SandyK | September 6, 2005 09:08 PM

Optimism? How's THIS for optimism?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20050906/cm_thenation/120080

Gotta love Barbara Bush - her connection to reality and her empathetic (with the emphasis on the "pathetic") abilities, sadly, are obviously genetic and particularly virulent.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 12:07 AM

This blog is stupid. Just look at Emily's post. did she write sitting on the toilet? And to the "wise" readers/contributors ask yourself a question - why did the proce of oil fall yesterday after days of bad news and the knowledge that the oil infrastructure in the Gulf took such a hit? I propose the following - the Bush idiots have been stockpiling oil in the last few months driving up the price but they quickly realized that party was over and started to release it to the market.

Posted by: Stupid | September 7, 2005 12:29 AM

Christine B,

Not only are you racist, but from your limited knowledge you manage to write some of the ugliest trash that I have ever read. Needless to say, I imagine that your writings not only reflect your soul but your outer image as well... You're so ugly, when you were born they put tinted windows on your incubator. You're so ugly, you make blind kids cry. You're so ugly, when you went to the zoo they refused to let you out. You're so ugly, you mother had to get drunk before she breast fed you. You're so ugly, you have to Trick or Treat by phone.

Anyway, seriously, to accuse the entire African-American people of being different than you is actually quite a compliment. In fact, I am ashamed that my poor brethren suffering in 95 degree heat, without food and water, sitting in a sewage, corpse ridden and chemically contaminated dump were left abandoned by their government for days. I am proud that the vast majority of them managed to stay strong, help each other out, pull each other through in a time of need, stay spiritual, loving and caring despite their circumstances and having lost everything. Yet, it also saddens me that a small minority, most likely addicted to drugs for innumerable reasons, lost their heads and broke into nursing homes and other places doing anything for a fix. Yet, it also saddens me that so many unsubstantiated and false rumors about rapes and killings were reported by the media unaware of reporting these limited and often untrue incidents gives fuel to racists like you.

Thus, in response to your racism, I will discuss some facts that you may wish to forget. It is white people that have caused the most death and destruction on the planet. White people have created the two largest and most devastating wars in the history of mankind. White people enslaved millions of people based on the color of their skin, let hundreds of millions die on slave ships and continues to view the decendants of those people with great disdain. White people committed genocide on the indigenous peoples of this land. White people have caused environmental and economic destruction throughout the third world. White people have raped and looted the world of its natural resources. White people lied to invade Iraq and loot it for oil. White people dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese. White people have distorted and destroyed history to recreate it in their image. To quote you, "How can all other races and people respect a race that shoot, rape and kill their own kind."

By the way, all people are descendants of Africa. Man first left Africa 65,000 years ago. Yet, you pretend that history didn't start until white people pulled Africans out of Africa. Please feel free to debate me anytime, for I am sure that my African-American intelligence far surpasses your filth...

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 7, 2005 01:21 AM

Right on, New Orleans Blues! What you said!

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 02:20 AM

We read in our newspapers this morning that, when some English girls who found themselves stranded on a hotel roof, waved for help, the local police/authorities gestured to them to raise their tops, when they refused, the rescuers drove away in their boats laughing?
Raping, Killing, Shooting at rescuers? Do I still want to visit the US, I dont think so.

Posted by: Iain from England UK | September 7, 2005 03:47 AM

New Orleans Blues wrote:

===========================================
"White people dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese."
===========================================

And that is as racist as what Christine B wrote.

Do you know anything about WWII and the effects on Japanese citizens? My mom was a teenager when WWII ended, and she saw and experienced first hand the effects of Tojo's government. It had to end. The government came in and stole, not only the crops, any boat of any sea worthy side. It reduced the population that could grow food in hoarding to save themselves (which was a death sentence if the government found out). It was so bad before V-J day, that bodies of men, women and children littered the roadways as they literally dropped dead of starvation (being too poor to trade anything for food).

The use of atomic weapons have horrific images, but watching your city reduced to a mortuary isn't as pleasant, either. Think New Orleans all over a country -- FOR YEARS.

Japanese are very home proud. They would've fought to the death on the mainland (as no invader ever stepped foot on their soil), with untold more dying than what would've died in the blasts from Nagasaki and Hiroshima. There was little choice but to end the war quickly with less loss of life.

As for myself, I could've turned out like you with the same sentiments about Blacks after all the racism they practiced on Asians (yeah, I lived through the race riots of the 70's. Think racism is bad now? How would you like to be hounded and preyed upon for being Asian by Blacks who's mouths and fists were just as ugly as racist Whites?). But I don't hold race out as an excuse to justify some ugly views because I'm some "victim". That's how the cycle of victimhood just continues, and you become the slaves of those who feed on race division.

Tell me, would you be offended if someone said, "Blacks loot and rape even victims of floods"? If that offends you, why do you commit the same offense by claiming Whites do XYZ? Because you feel "entitled", that you're "owed" special favors due to the color of your skin? Racism breeds in that type of environment, when folks see only their skin color first -- not the community as a whole.

It's the 21st century now, and folks need to see folks as humans not by the color of their skin. Not become racists themselves because they feel they're entitled to everything because of their race.

We have only one planet to share.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 08:19 AM

Seems like a good time for people to look themselves in the mirror:

Main Entry: big·ot
Pronunciation: 'bi-g&t
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French, hypocrite, bigot
: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices
- big·ot·ed /-g&-t&d/ adjective
- big·ot·ed·ly adverb

Posted by: Mike S. | September 7, 2005 10:12 AM

Kim, Thanks for that link to that article. Truly, The Bush Family is oblivious to the "Real World," but what can we do about it? When people are wealthy, they tend to forget (or rather, they tend to make themselves forget) that there are people outside of their world who don't have the fortunes that they do. It's a "I deserve this; I'm not going to feel guilty for having all this" mentality. They surround themselves with all this glorious material stuff and all these gorgeous people so that they don't have to be constantly reminded that they actually live in a very ugly world. I feel sorry for these types of people, I truly do, because when all is said and done, all this "stuff" they surround themselves with is just that..."stuff" - no substance.

SandyK, where did New Orleans Blues say that he was entitled to something because of his race? Sounds like you're pre-judging...maybe you are also a racist? You post a lot here...maybe you should proofread before you go spouting about.

Iain from UK - It's too bad that you so easily believe everything you see and hear transmitted in your direction. You're probably better off staying in the UK anyway. I wouldn't want to bump into the likes of you here...I personally cannot tolerate small-minded people.

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXO | September 7, 2005 10:42 AM

When a person is so race proud to make generalism not based on fact, yes, that IS a form of racism in itself. It breeds the same entitlements of any group that thinks "I'm special".

To conclude that Homo sapiens only evolved in Africa (which is a theory not a fact, since it seems different groups evolved in intervals at different geographical regions. One decade it'll be the Asian continent human life began; the next Africa; or the Pacific islands as a new excavation unlocks some prehistoric find), is no different than claiming Aryans are the "master race" because they descendents of some Indo-European tribe.

You can bet NOB seeks some consideration due to race, because of being so race proud (first they educate the masses of the specialness of their race; then they think of ways to discriminate others to remain "superior" -- it can goto the extremes as claiming Jesus Christ was Black [or Aryan; or whatever]; to claiming a certain culture is superior to others based on XYZ) . It's no different than the KKK members or Neo-Nazis who teach and claim the same.

We're all human beings, which trumps any race, and none is more special. No race is more superior, even on the anthropological, let alone physiological level.

BTW, also learn the definition of racism as well, and reread the NOB race gloating again...

From Merriam-Webster
====================

Main Entry: rac·ism
Pronunciation: 'rA-"si-z&m also -"shi-
Function: noun
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination
- rac·ist /-sist also -shist/ noun or adjective

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 11:27 AM

Right now there are still people in rural LA and MS struggling to stay alive without much help. The focus should remain on them. But...when the truth comes out about the preparations the President was making at the federal level and the attempts he was making to Gov Blanco and Mayor Nagin to get the show on the road, all you knee jerk Bush-blamers in the national press are going to be eating your words like Kobeyashi stuffing hot dogs down his throat. I hope you have the stones to apologize when the time is right.

Posted by: Willy | September 7, 2005 12:38 PM

Sandy K,

Hajimemashite dozo yoroshiku. Unfortunately Sandy, I lived in Japan and studied Bushido. Yes, the Japanese committed some horrendous acts during WWII, and the Americans did stop them. That is a good thing. Yet, it is also good that WWII helped bring an end to Western colonization of Asia by bankrupting the European powers. Yet, I digress.

Republicans always try to spin the subject. They change the subject by bringing in some absurd counter-argument that is off-point, then the debate switches to the absurd counter-argument, such as all blacks want entitlements. Yet, this woman Sandy understands not the black people of this country. We don't want entitlements.

Listen, I went to Harvard Law School, have worked at the best law firms in America and Japan, and I need nothing from Sandy or my government. I also made it out of New Orleans alive because I have many platinum credit cards, two cars with two full tanks of gas, and I managed to save my mother and my grandmother's lives. One of my grandmothers and many of my aunts and uncles lost her home, her neighborhood, her friends, her way of life, the morgues where all of our relatives are buried, family photo albums and heirlooms and so much more. We have been in New Orleans since the time of slavery. We had relatives fight in the civil war. We have never felt entitled to anything. Not one person in my family gets any government assistance other than social security payments as a result of old age.

We have given quite a bit back to this country. We have members of my family who lead large foundations, we have an elementary school named after us, we have a park named after us. We want nothing from you. We can make it without you, and so can the rest of us. Please don't come to this country and make assumptions about its inhabitants.

Everything that I have said is factual, your ugly assumptions shows lack of character and class. Please stay on point and discuss the wonderful people of New Orleans, what the people of this country deserve from their government, how their government responded in a time of need and how the situation can improve....

Certainly, Condi shouldn't be shopping for Ferragamo shoes when people are on their roofs dying, Bush shouldn't be giving a speech on the "amazing similarities" between WWI and the Iraq War and Cheney shouldn't be in Wyoming thinking about how wonderful the devastation will be for Halliburton's profits... Again, I digress...

Sandy, don't sell yourself or your people short, I am no racist, just a realist, and I have done quite well for myself living in the real world. Tell bush and his cronies to try reality for once, this country would benefit tremendously.

Posted by: Aaron (a.k.a. New Orleans Blues) | September 7, 2005 12:48 PM

SandyK, Thank you for attempting to enlighten me; however, I simply do not see NOB's comments in the same light that you do. While I realize that a lot of the things NOB writes are inaccurate (the "all people are descendants of Africa," for one example), I can still understand where he is coming from. He is full of resentment because (most likely) all of his life he has had to deal with the fact that people see his color before they see who he truly is. It is just a fact (a sad, sad fact) of life in this world in which we live. You have to admit it - I'm sure there are times when you think, "I'm lucky I'm not black." I admit it, I do. I know I wouldn't have had the life I've had if I was born to African-American parents. It's a harsh reality. The best we can do is to try to be understanding.

Certainly, no race is superior to any other and we are all humans. Ideally, everyone would REALLY, HONESTLY, and GENUINELY believe in this statement, but it is not the case because in this society some just have better lives than others. Again, another harsh reality...and it isn't fair, but I just think you've got to make the best out of what you've been given in this life. I really believe luck and timing are big factors in how our lives play out for us. I wish it wasn't this way, because I would LOVE to have had my life (so far) played out in a different way...but that's just how it has to be. So, I just have fun with it.

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXOXO | September 7, 2005 01:25 PM

XOXOXOXOXOXO,

Please see my post immediately above. I show no resentment. Mabye you didn't realize that I am NOB because you don't know that a.k.a. means also known as. Further, I am proud of my skin color and who I am, make no mistake about it. I have no regrets. I am proud of my ancestors and who and what they are. I am proud to be African-American, with dignity and grace. I am not ashamed of the atrocities that were committed against them and others, but I would be ashamed if it were my ancestors that committed those atrocities...

Let us keep debating this absurdity while more atrocitites take place in New Orleans, Iraq, to the global population because of our collective American destruction of the enviornment causing global warming, etc... Then, I will be ashamed of who I am and what my ancestors did to harm this world...

Sincerely,
Aaron, also known as New Orleans Blues

Posted by: Aaron (a.k.a. New Orleans Blues) | September 7, 2005 01:33 PM

If you studied Bushido: remember the evil of too much self-pride. A warrior can't be so "full of it", as he no longer will obey.

"My people"? What people are those, Aaron? Is it on my mom's side that were Samurai? Or my dad's side who were Vikings? I guess since you claim "Whitie" is soooo evil, I'm 100% Japanese, huh?

Now ask yourself, which ethnic group you truly belong too. Think you're all but one race? Honey, you're not. Everyone of us are mixed, and none of us are "pure" stock. This generation you're whatever; your kids kids will be another. Emmigration/immigration does that.

Furthermore, you have zero clue of what I know of multiple ethnic groups -- and not from some Havard cultural anthropological class, either (although my speciality is Forensic Anthropology -- yes, the biological/anatomical side). Aaron, you erred seriously on the origins of Mankind -- but thanks for making it clear which school you prescribe too. ;)

BTW, status and money doesn't help when water is 20ft overhead and you're stuck in it. We're all in the same fishbowl together, rich/poor/black/white.

Want some chopsticks?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 01:39 PM

Sandy K,

I agree. Your post is correct. I am no anthropolgist, and maybe I made a mistake on the origins of mankind. Otherwise, I love all people. My best friends are white, black, asian, latino, etc. In fact, since the disaster, only white friends have called to check on me.

I am actually creole, meaning that I am African, French, Italian, Spanish and Native American... My girlfriend is Indian, and I think Asian women are beautiful as they are often more fit and healthier than their American counterparts. So, maybe my kids will even be part Asian... Cablasian or whatever Tiger Woods is...

Peace and love,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 7, 2005 01:46 PM

Aaron,

I'm glad to see this latest post from you to SandyK. Your comments previously (to the both of us) were pretty heated, and your attempt to insult my intelligence with that "a.k.a" remark was just juvenile.

At least you've calmed down now.

Geezums, what kind of law do you practice that makes you so bi-polar?

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXOXOXO | September 7, 2005 02:14 PM

For both of you (now don't cut off and run so quickly) ;)

Here's some facts (go fact check them). Race changes. Culture changes. What we claim to be today of our ancestory and way of life, will change before we die. The beauty of Homo sapiens as a species is we adapt to our environment.

It's wonderful to be proud of your origins, to find some connection to one's ancestory. The point I was trying to make is that the extreme love of one's race/culture sets up the same problems as ignorance that breeds racism. There's little wiggle room to acknowledge the problems, and the even the anthropological record -- for it would come as an attack, and battle lines are drawn. The dangers of All or Nothing thinking here is, it won't allow groups to learn from the past, prolonging the problems and sets them up as victims.

Race relations today is of divided camps. Perhaps it's evolution (one must learn to crawl before walking) that we rediscover our past, to have our connections, to no longer feel like societal lepers for being different. But in time all groups have to realize that we're are more related than we're different. The only main differences are on the biological side, but that in itself will better the species, especially as we racially intergrate in time (environmental adaptions make a stronger gene pool, for example). As we do intergrate on a larger "racial" scale, we'll probably evolve into another species (which we're slowing evolving now -- like with bone mass, which is getting lighter).

So folks, it is hard to find common ground sometimes with different races and cultures, but we're more common than we're different. What is different is fluid (like cultural mores), which will change in time.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 02:46 PM

bonjour, pourquoi ne parlez-vous pas de l'aide que le gouvernement a refusé et notament celle de la France qui est accepté au "compte goutte". S'agit il d'une suite relative à l'affaire d'Irakienne.
C'est un peu dommage surtout que ceux qui refusent l'aide se sont ceux qui ne souffre pas et ont les pieds bien au sec dans leurs bureaux.
Merci de répondre

Posted by: albert | September 7, 2005 02:56 PM

Bonjour Albert ... il peut être plus facile d'obtenir une réponse si vous écrivez en anglais.

La plupart des personnes ici ne lisent pas le français, et je préfère écrire ma réponse en anglais. C'est plus facile.

Merci Bien,
XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXOXOXO | September 7, 2005 03:13 PM

Albert

Maybe we Americans are too proud to accept help from our concerned neighbors, I don't know... Maybe it is a political response to "old Europe's" refusal to go along with the American invasion of Iraq. As Sandy said, "remember the evil of too much self-pride." "Pride cometh before fall."

"Geezums, what kind of law do you practice that makes you so bi-polar?" A good lawyer should be able to argue both sides of an issue, well... I am only practicing...

Peace and love,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 7, 2005 03:44 PM

Wow, I never expected The Washington Post to allow such acrimonious, inflammatory and inaccurate material to appear in its blogs. I realize that they aren't a product of the newspaper's own staff, but they reflect on it nonetheless. I've been following the "SciGuy" blog in the Houston Chronicle for the last few days. Eric (the moderator) posts several interesting scientific and social observations about the hurricane and its aftermath each day, and readers comment. The difference is that hateful and defamatory comments are either edited out or not allowed to appear. But given the highly polarized nature of Washington along racial and political fault lines, maybe the Post's editors are just inured to that kind of dialog. (And by the way, I do live in the DC area, and I'm not a Republican.)

Posted by: Scott | September 7, 2005 03:48 PM

Scott, Maybe you should stick to SciGuy, then. But why not do us all a favor and correct the inaccurate statements made here? Certainly, none of us here can claim to know EVERYTHING about everything. So, enlighten us. It will do us all some good.

Aaron, Of course a good lawyer should know how to argue both sides of an issue well, but that doesn't answer the question I posed - "What kind of law do you practice that makes you bi-polar?" One minute you are raging and the next you are almost zen-like. If you behave this way where you practice whatever law it is that you practice, I wouldn't exactly call you professional. (Is that what you meant by inflammatory, Scott? :-) )

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXOXOXO | September 7, 2005 04:10 PM

To all,

I was definitely outraged to read the following, and hurt:

"To make a remark "The President hates black people" is STUPID to say the least. How fast does anyone think aid can be distributed en mass. An entire state was nearly destroy in maybe
1 day from a hurricane & flooding.
You also can't blame the President for the death of people because many of them were probably in poor health and malnourished from before the start
if the storms effects.
Lastly, why would other Americans respect the minority of people who choose to find guns, steal, kill the "own kind" and rape women. These people are ANIMALS and don't deserve respect. In a time of disaster from a natural cause, NO ONE has the right to go out and kill other human beings. How can all other races and people respect a race that shoot, rape and kill their own kind.
This is rampent is other cities and for no good reason! Gangs shooting other members of gangs,
robbing and looting when they make a reason for it. Every person in Louisiana who picked up a gun and shot someone deserves no better than that. Jessie Jackson also insites the negro population for no good reason."

Excuse me for my response tending to show that all peoples are capable of committing bad acts. I am not bipolar, only sensitive. Is their something wrong with that. Nor is anything I said untrue... Perhaps white people should study the history of civilizations a little more thoroughly before lashing out at me for only pointing out the obvious...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 7, 2005 04:19 PM

Best Spock like imitation: "Interesting..."

Guess if folks act like adults and stick to the subject, WP will accept it (this blog is indeed entitled "The Debate").

If a few opinionated but civil enough folks could camp out here, this blog style format can be very promising -- at least better than the Delphi forums format (that attracts the worse flames).

Just wish they had more blogs to post on -- like the editorials. Have some very good copy of late.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 04:25 PM

To "XOXOXOXO..."

You said, "But why not do us all a favor and correct the inaccurate statements made here? Certainly, none of us here can claim to know EVERYTHING about everything. So, enlighten us. It will do us all some good."

In this blog, and in all of the media, we're hearing many outrageous claims made in the heat of the moment that may or may not be true ("FEMA blocked three Wal-Mart trucks loaded with water from entering the city", etc.), and it won't be sorted out for many years, if ever. Scientists and historians are still arguing over whether the then-"Weather Bureau" gave adequate warning to Galveston about the 1900 hurricane that killed at least 6000 people there 105 years ago (for that matter, they're still arguing about the actual death toll.) It wasn't until about 10 years after Hurricane Andrew hit that the National Hurricane Center raised it from a Category 4 to a Category 5 storm in the record books. My point? It will be quite some time before the definitive story of Katrina can be told, and no doubt some points will never be agreed upon. This disaster has raised almost unprecedented issues of race, class, politics, money, and power in comparision to most other disasters. Everyone feels strongly about some aspect of it.

Yes, what I mean by being "inflammatory" is accusing someone of having a mental illness just because you don't like his writing style. I also mean ranting about racism just because the government couldn't get its act together, which also happened after Hurricane Andrew, whose victims were largely white or Latino. If New Orleans is something like 70% black, it goes without saying that a large number of Katrina's victims are going to be black, just by the numbers. My hometown in Texas was hit by a large, devastating F4 tornado in 1979 with only 30 minutes warning. Nearly 100% of the residents were white, and nearly 100% of the victims were white. And yes, it took FEMA several days to do us any good, and about two years for the city to rebuild, despite the absence of any flooding to deal with. Being white didn't confer any special advantages on us back then, as far as I could see. The same thing happened in lily-white South Oklahoma City in May 1999. It always takes the Feds several days to really marshal their responses (unless you live in a state where the President's brother is the governor.)

Posted by: Scott | September 7, 2005 06:14 PM

Scott,

I agree with your post almost entirely. Yet, please note that race does become a factor in this instance. For example, the city of New Orleans was originally and always divided to give the white population the higher ground and the poorer and minority population the lower ground. Many of the poorer residents living in such hazardous conditions had no cars, nor social or economic mobility. To suggest that they were not in a perilous situation based on economics and race refuses to look at the broader picture.

Further, during Bush's tenure, the spending to reinforce the levees has been substantially cut, while some domestic projects in rural Republican, predominantly white areas have been grossly overfunded. Take, for instance, the highway bill. According to the Washington Post:

[Taxpayers for Common Sense] found that [Don Young (R-Alaska)] helped to secure $231 million for a bridge in Anchorage to be named Don Young's Way; $223 million for a bridge to Ketchikan; and $15 million for a Juneau access road, dubbed the Black Ice Highway by group analyst Erich Zimmermann because "that's all you'll see in the winter if this project is built."

Nevertheless, I believe that suggesting that race is the primary cause of what went wrong is also narrow minded. The reality is politics, race, class and an overstretched government all contributed.

Further, we all contributed to the disaster. Due to the petroleum industry, the wetlands in southern Louisiana have been destroyed (please see National Geographic, October, 2004, which predicts the tragedy in New Orleans almost precisely). We are so dependent on fossil fuels that we have caused tremendous global warming, causing rising sea levels and temperatures. The combined effect is that the wetlands, New Orleans natural protector were destroyed, the levess were in shoddy condition, and the hurricane season was bigger and more devistating due to higher surface water temperatures.

If we don't change our ways, certainly we will reap what we sow. Please note that Bombay suffered a flood due to global warming, Malaysia suffered fires. We should not externalize our excesses. We can all take some responsibility for change. Let's stop talking race and start talking brotherly and sisterly love.

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 7, 2005 06:38 PM

Thanks Scott and Aaron...I'm learning here...now, I'm just curious: the statement made by Aaron about the higher ground and lower ground separation...where did you get this information? I'd like to read more into this...

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXOXO | September 7, 2005 07:00 PM

Sanky and Aaron,

I know this sort of off-point, and going back a bit, but I'm not sure what Sandy is referring to when saying that Aaron is wrong about human origins. And Aaron, you shouldn't back down so easily. Nearly all reputable scienctists, including archeaoligists, anthropoligists, and most recently, geneticists, now agree that all people do in fact have their origins in Africa. As recently as the late 1980s there was legitimate debate as to whether pre-human primates first left Africa and then developed separately into humans in different parts of the world, or if primates developed into humans first and then spread out from Africa. By now, the latter theory seems to clearly be the correct one. Recently even the Chinese government scientists, the last legitimate hold-outs have accepted the overwhelming genetic evidence of man's African origins.

Of course, none of that matters for the debate over the goings on in NO, or for much else for that matter, but I thought I would put in my two cents since the point came up and seems to have been settled incorrectly.

Posted by: Sonny | September 7, 2005 07:05 PM

Sorry about the typo Sandy, no disrepect intended.

Posted by: Sonny | September 7, 2005 07:06 PM

Aaron,

The wetlands were more destroyed by development, than oil. When man moves into an area all the creature comforts he must have comes with him -- if it means draining wetlands; building levees; locks; dams, and other human interventions, he'll do it.

===========================================

XOX,

It's well known that low lying areas near water is where Blacks usually had lived. Rich folks lived in the higher areas. In my city it was done to avoid Yellow Fever, while the Freemen lived right on the banks of the river.

Hmmmm....is it no wonder why there's so many Blacks in Washington, considering it was built on a swamp?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 07:13 PM

Sonny,

1980's is long ago. In the 1970's scientists were claiming another Ice Age was coming. It's 2005 now, how many scientists are claiming a glacier is going to form in your backyard. ;)

There's two main camps debating the origins. One claiming it originated in Africa; while the other in Asia (along the banks of the Yellow River). It's argued because almost every decade each area finds fossils that are older. You'll find a jawbone in Java that's older than any humanoid fossils in Africa (which throws a wrench into the "out of Africa" theory); to another decade a femur is found in Africa that is dated even earlier (casting doubt of the Yellow River being Mankind's birthplace).

So, Sonny, no they don't all agree.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 07:26 PM

When will Americans hold CEO George W. Bush responsible?

Posted by: Impeach the President | September 7, 2005 07:52 PM

Sonny and SandyK -

Here's what I found on the Museum of Natural History website about the origin of Homo sapiens:

The origin of modern Homo sapiens is not yet resolved. Two extreme scenarios have been proposed. According to the first, the distribution of anatomical traits in modern human populations in different regions was inherited from local populations of Homo erectus and intermediate "archaic" forms. This "Multiregional Hypothesis" states that all modern humans evolved in parallel from earlier populations in Africa, Europe and Asia, with some genetic intermixing among these regions. Support for this comes from the similarity of certain minor anatomical structures in modern human populations and preceding populations of Homo erectus in the same regions.

A different model proposes that a small, relatively isolated population of early humans evolved into modern Homo sapiens, and that this population succeeded in spreading across Africa, Europe, and Asia -- displacing and eventually replacing all other early human populations as they spread. In this scenario the variation among modern populations is a recent phenomenon. Part of the evidence to support this theory comes from molecular biology, especially studies of the diversity and mutation rate of nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA in living human cells.From these studies an approximate time of divergence from the common ancestor of all modern human populations can be calculated. This research has typically yielded dates around 200,000 years ago, too young for the "Multiregional Hypothesis." Molecular methods have also tended to point to an African origin for all modern humans, implying that the ancestral population of all living people migrated from Africa to other parts of the world -- thus the name of this interpretation: the "Out of Africa Hypothesis."

Whichever model (if either) is correct, the oldest fossil evidence for anatomically modern humans is about 130,000 years old in Africa, and there is evidence for modern humans in the Near East sometime before 90,000 years ago.

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXO | September 7, 2005 08:01 PM

Hopefully now Americans can recognize the soci-economic circumstances that contributed to this disaster.

No car = no evacuation no money = no rent-a-car

Posted by: Rafael | September 7, 2005 08:09 PM

How about "no public transport"?

Oh yeah - public transport is evil cos it doesn't encourage enough petrol use.


Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 08:20 PM

The WHOLE world now knows america and the american south in the RAW. the racism in this country is systemic to the core.

This is from democracynow.org.


----------------------------

Start video about 8 mins...
and 27mins.

(watch video)

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/09/07/1415225

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

And the next day, as well, in that same area where people launch off to look for survivors, I was speaking with some Jefferson parish residents, just some local guys, and they also had some comments. We were talking. My colleague John Hamilton was next to me with a camera, and we are going to play this in just a moment. He kept recording. He was talking -- what you are going to hear now is them talking about the black community in New Orleans. So, let's take a listen.

JEFFERSON PARISH RESIDENT 1: I wonder how many will come back.

JEFFERSON PARISH RESIDENT 2: Well, that's why when they shipped them to Texas, man --

JEFFERSON PARISH RESIDENT 1: They'll be in New York next year.

JEFFERSON PARISH RESIDENT 2: But I tell you what, you guys keep track of this, the governor of Texas right now is getting all of this great publicity.

JEFFERSON PARISH RESIDENT 3: He getting federal money, that's why

JEFFERSON PARISH RESIDENT 2: Six months from now, they're going to vote him out of office. The disaster that he's brought to Texas is incredible.

JEFFERSON PARISH RESIDENT 3: Yeah, they're walking out with these little white jars, glass jars, so their crack cocaine won't get wet.

JEFFERSON PARISH RESIDENT 2: It's unbelievable. Every single person is the same -- sociology kind of person -- Well, I tell you what, that's the only good thing. And the best thing before all of this started, my wife and I always used to say this: Declare Marshall law here and the federal government needs to invade this place. And they really do. So they finally did. We have schools that don't exist. The feds are now going to come in and rebuild this whole place. It's going to be much better after than it is now. But you all have no idea what -- you know, what kind of city this is. I mean, it's a fun place. Don't get me wrong. As long as you have enough money to live up here. See ya.

Posted by: palu | September 7, 2005 08:26 PM

Kim,

Public transportation costs a heck of a lot of money. If the federal government doesn't fund it, most cities wouldn't have any. Think $1.00 fares pays for the cost of operating rail/buses? Hardly.

My city (about the 100th largest metro area in the country) doesn't have any public transportation on Sunday, and only 2 routes that operate upto 10pm. It doesn't even cover 1/2 the county, either.

Those living in more rural areas, don't have any public transportation.

Unless FEMA or the NG bugs folks out, 10 to 20% of the cities in the South can't get their residents out.

Just waiting for a disaster to happen in Charleston and Savannah..........

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 08:36 PM

Ah, no socialism exists there, obviously. People/government spend money on what people want, not what they need.
(hint: that's what TAXES are for.)

They should try getting PT, it's cheaper than buying a car, that's for sure.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 09:05 PM

XOXO--Thanks for the summary. That is exactly in keeping with what I had said earlier, i.e., the recent biological/genetic research supports the "Out of Africa" theory.

Sandy--The weather issues are a completely different question, and possibly not even in conflict with each other. My impression is that the scientists still think we may be at the beginning of a long-term cooling at the same time that man-made global warming is progressing. Your point that science is always changing its mind is valid; look at ideas about nutrition for example. However, it is not generally believed by any mainstream scientists that man has an asian origin. Both Java Man and Peking Man are older than Homo Sapians, African or otherwise, and thus cannot prove that modern man emerged outside of Africa. DNA testing indicates that the very old asian skeletons were of types of homo erectus decended from primates that left Africa much earlier, but that did not develop into humans. They are evolutionary dead-ends, just like the much more recent Neanderthals, which simply died out in the face of competition from our more competent ancestors, the cro-magnon.

Posted by: Sonny | September 7, 2005 09:12 PM

I should have prefaced my comment above with something like "people who live in a society have a certain level of responsibility to that society. that's what taxes are for and what social services are for. Social services are good for taking care of people who are down on their luck. it stops them from breaking into your house every other night for money and/or food".

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 09:14 PM

Relating to Palu's comments, I have been speaking to people who believe as the Jefferson Parish Residents mentioned in Palu's comments do, that they are going to rebuild the city, but none of the folks that lived there before will be able to afford to live there again. This is exactly one of the reasons why the city will never be the same again, and it is such a shame. It will become a lily-white city with no diversity whatsoever...how fun will it be to have a Mardi Gras in a place like that? It'll be so dull and boring...just like parts of the DC area, where all I see are white people. I swear, I will be eventually leaving this country and moving to live on some remote island in a hut because I'm just so sick of all this class separation.

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXOXOXO | September 7, 2005 09:15 PM

Sonny,

You'll have to do some more online digging, unless you can dig up some anthropology textbooks. You'll find the 2 main theories are still wide open (and be careful about DNA analysis -- it's not as accurate as some might claim. There's some rather strange things about DNA even in modern man -- like folks can literally be exonerated of a crime, even though they could've committed it, by their own DNA).

The anthropological record has too many "holes" in it -- no direct linkage. Ask yourself why (sad thing is the "missing links" might be right before our eyes).

BTW, here's a question (one that's a bone of contention). How do you think they classify the humanoid species? I give you one clue: it ain't by DNA. ;)

SandyK

P.S. -- We're r-e-a-l-l-y going off-topic here!!

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 09:27 PM

Kim,

Social services doesn't stop people from breaking into houses and committing crimes. The poorest neighborhoods with those getting the most social services are the most crime ridden.

It takes more than money to fix social problems. It takes community and even cultural action. Money is a "latch key" approach that leaves "latch key" human tragedies.

Since you used "petrol" I take it you're from Europe (probably the UK). Just look at the crime/social problems of the rowhouse neighborhoods to see what money can't fix.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 09:37 PM

Australia.

And my theory is: if anyone wakes up and decides to make drugs legal, the drugs prices would fall so incredibly far, that no one would have to steal to buy them and most people would give up selling them anyway, because there would be almost no market in it anymore. At least, no market anywhere near as lucrative as it is now.
Keeping drugs illegal ensures that they are good business, so why would people stop producing them?

Let the government produce drugs in legal, clean amounts, charge a bit of tax on them and use the tax money for hospital funding.
Sory of like we do in Australia - cigarrettes are produced by cigarette companies, but are $10 per packet - the huge amounts of tax go the hospitals because smokers get sick more than just about anyone else.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 10:20 PM

"Sory" was meant to be "sort".

Sorry. ;)

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 7, 2005 10:21 PM

Sandy,

It's not about entitlements. Under Clinton, the poverty rate declined and good jobs were more prevalent. People want good jobs that pay health benefits, provide a living wage, etc. People want good neighborhoods and schools. People want to be an important part of society, respected and cared for. Given the conditions in which the impoverished are born, actuarial science shows that a substantial number will never achieve these goals. Now, we can blame the victims or look for a solution.

In Japan, the poverty rate is minimal, while the government taxes the rich handsomely. However, Japan is more of a community based society. People actually feel that they are a part of society, cared for by their government. People feel like they have a specific role and take pride in that role. People are less concerned with individual achievement. People are hesitent to self-aggrandize. It is shameful to talk about money and power. People are less concerned about owning the biggest cars and homes, but are satisfied with secure jobs for life, national health insurance and a great educational system. The government infrastructure is beautiful. Crime is low.

In America, we are individuals. Fend for yourself, screw your neighbor. The more money, the better. Ignor the impoverished. Lock the criminals up and throw away the key. Is it any wonder why the marginalized feel so disenfranchised?

The poverty rate has increased to 12.7% under Bush's sytem of tax cutting for the rich, pass the burden onto the working classes, no government accountability, war profiteering and incompetent governance. 1.1 million more people are impoverished since Bush took office. As Paul Krugaman of The New York Times writes:

"American families don't care about G.D.P. They care about whether jobs are available, how much those jobs pay and how that pay compares with the cost of living. And recent G.D.P. growth has failed to produce exceptional gains in employment, while wages for most workers haven't kept up with inflation.
It's also true that the unemployment rate looks fairly low by historical standards. But other measures of the job situation, like the average of weekly hours worked (which remains low), and the average duration of unemployment (which remains high), suggest that the demand for labor is still weak compared with the supply.

...

Employers certainly aren't having trouble finding workers. When Wal-Mart announced that it was hiring at a new store in Northern California, where the unemployment rate is close to the national average, about 11,000 people showed up to apply for 400 jobs."

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 7, 2005 10:23 PM

Kim,

Drugs are a menance to society. It robs hope, it fosters societal decay. It's illegal for more than political reasons -- anyone who spends a day in a drug addiction clinic can tell the misery so many lives have become because of it's abuse.

What happens with drug abuse is that it's often used as medication (that's right, it's called "self-medication"). Poor folks have many social/familial problems at home and in their communities, that to escape seems to be the only freedom from the pain. You can consider it a worse form of alcohol.

It's should never be legalized, because unlike just binge eating, it's addiction effects are life long (like alcoholism).

Tax money on cigs here rarely goes to prevention. States gobble up that money for other projects (money never sits in state coffers for long -- it will be spent, and on things it never was designed for). I hope folks understand the real reason State attorney generals are suing the tobacco companies, it's not about helping the addicted, it's to help pay for other projects.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 10:35 PM

NOB,

Yes, it's about entitlements. Everyone wants a free lunch. It's human nature. Man itself is a lazy beast, if he can get off not doing anything he would (and it's evolutionary -- to conserve energy). It's why societies have rules about what we do with out time, otherwise we'll be 400lb couch potatoes tuned into the TV.

Japan has it's social flaws as well (especially it's outcast system, which is hell on Earth and is very effective in maintaining order. You would not want to be ousted out of the community, as you're viewed as good as dead. This is why there's a low crime rate, and why communities are clean and suppose to be efficiently run, on time and very organized. Bring shame onto the family or community the family will severely punish the offender, because if they don't, the community would and the family would lose stature [i.e., "face"]). Let me give you an example. My mom's dad had a large farm (he was also a fisherman). In order to plant and harvest rice (which is back breaking work before machines came along) it took a whole village to do the job (20 to 40 families all pitched in, from the 6 year-old to the 90 year-old). In return, mom's family would goto the other farms to share the work to help them. The village/community could not afford to accept individual wants/needs, because the whole community could starve and die, as the essential work (food/protection) would go undone. To this day, even in modern Tokyo that mentality still exists.

The US does not have that cultural outlook, it stresses independence instead. The result is that families are distant, communities tolerate crime/ill behavior as it's "free will". The Japanese model of behavior (which is brutally strict) will not be accepted here, as the individual trumps the needs of even the community.

The problem with tooooo much independence is, that there's no oversight in the communities (pressuring social norms). A thug that kills his neighbor could even be excused in some neighborhoods, because he's a friend of friend or some celeb. If he goes to jail and returns he can even blend right back into the community (often to repeat the same crime, as his only punishment is "doing time" and doing without freedom. In contrast, in Japan, you're marked for life as a thug and your family had lost face (which can lead to a the relative being banished -- once banished you can find employment is lacking, as well as other social outlets -- being an outcast in Japan is utterly brutal, and they often live on the streets and viewed as dead meat).

Another reason poverty is high is that the community doesn't INSIST on bettering their situation. In Japan mothers are expected to take serious attention to their kid's education (not just making sure they do their homework, dedicate their lives practically to ensure their kid not only does the homework, studies, takes extra tutition courses, and even cater to their scholar [making special food and snacks]), the goal is ensuring they can finish school and get into the best college possible -- as their future depends on WHAT college they attend. All that committment means kids aren't doing drugs, out all night causing problems, unsupervised for long periods. They learn by doing what their society expects of them - hard work, obiedence, and strong commitment to their communities (wash, rinse, repeat for generations).

Until the CULTURE of a community changes, it's doomed to repeat problems for generations. Want a good community? You have to teach the kids respect for others and themselves, as well as the consequences of their actions (not excuse bad behavior) -- then stick to the decision. As soon as Johnny can do anything he pleases and be excused, a generation is lost to societal decay and mores.

Any community can uplift themselves that way. It sure beats excuses and dismal stats, and mourning the decay.

It literally does take a whole village to raise one child.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 7, 2005 11:17 PM

Aaron and SandyZ--I'm aware of the racial divisions and property value issues that placed poor blacks and other minority residents in the most flood-prone areas of New Orleans, and whites on the higher ground. So black people are automatically more exposed to danger to begin with, and their poverty guarantees that they would have difficulty evacuating on their own, in spite of the National Hurricane Center's superb 60-hour advance warning that nearly pinpointed Katrina's exact landfall (which makes it all the more criminal that the helpless weren't assisted with evacuation). I guess what I'm saying is that I would like to believe that the delayed rescue response AFTER the storm wasn't motivated by racism. The Republicans have been trying to win more votes in the black community for years. Their response to the black victims of Katrina could hardly have done more harm to that effort than if they had reinstated Jim Crow laws.

SandyZ--you asked if there is any relationship between the swampy nature of early Washington, DC and the large number of blacks living in the city. Washington is my current home and I do know something about this. The swampy areas, which were not completely drained until sometime in the early-to-mid 1800s, were along the western end of what is now the National Mall, where the Lincoln Memorial stands, and continuing on to the east, nearly to the steps of the White House. In the early days, well before DC was even established, the leading cities in the area were Georgetown and Alexandria. Each city stood above the swamplands and had significant numbers of black residents. Up until the 1920s or so, Georgetown still did, but now it's little more than a Disney version of "Ye Olde Quainte Upscale Shopping District for Tourists and Ridiculously Overpriced Row Houses for Rich White People"(much like "Old Town Alexandria".) Alexandria still has a substantial black population, in part because of the presence of large institutional public housing complexes that were built on undesirable land there during the 1940s and 1950s or so, where black families needing public assistance are warehoused. Middle-class and wealthy blacks tend to live in suburban Prince Georges County, Maryland, east of the District, supposedly the most affluent black majority county in America. Many lower-income blacks live in the Southeast and Northeast quadrants of the District itself, which I don't believe were ever swampy.

The funny thing about Alexandria is that everytime the Potomac floods, which is a regular occurance, it's the luxury shops and restaurants of Old Town Alexandria that find themselves under water, while the public housing projects stay high and dry--just the opposite of New Orleans. The merchants apparently like having the views of the river and just count on Federal flood insurance to keep bailing them out. (There's a certain justice in the fact that those who are most able to pay for repairs and rebuilding are the ones who are the most exposed to danger, by choice.)

So anyway, I don't believe there's any relationship between the early swamps of the District and the current large black population. Few people, if any, ever lived in the swampy areas, and they've been completely reclaimed now and used for monuments and the Smithsonian museums.

Posted by: Scott | September 7, 2005 11:40 PM

Sorry to post again so soon, but I just heard something really interesting on CNN. They were interviewing Tony Perkins, head of the very conservative Family Research Council, about his opinions of Bush, FEMA, and the Red Cross. Perkins could hardly have been more critical of the Bush administration than if he were a liberal Democrat. He was particularly livid that FEMA and the Red Cross are refusing to share refugee supplies that they are giving to people in the "official" shelters with people who are being sheltered in churches and by other private organizations. He said that they've had FEMA hijack supplies that were going to church shelters and requisition them for their own use. Does FEMA have this kind of authority? Is this a part of the USA Patriot Act or something?

Apparently the Red Cross is behaving in much the same way, without the hijackings. There have been cases where entire busloads of elderly special needs patients have been dropped off at church shelters with no instructions as to how to handle their medical needs, nor offers of supplies or staffing.

When the man who is probably the single most powerful mouthpiece for the Religious Right, Bush's most loyal base, talks this way, you know Bush is in trouble.

Posted by: Scott again | September 8, 2005 12:02 AM

Sandy,

"It literally does take a whole village to raise one child." Wow, you fell right into my trap. Thank you so much for allowing me to pontificate.

First, Japan is miserably behind the times in women's rights. Women still have a hard time getting jobs in that society, other than clerical work. If a woman isn't married by 25, she's stail birthday cake. When a woman gets married, she must quit her job. Brilliant women are stuck making tea, grabbing lunch and looking damn cute in high heels and short skirts, women graduating from Todai (University of Tokyo, the Harvard of Japan). No wonder they have so much time to spend taking care of their kids. Yet, Japan won't have any people by 3500 a.d. at the rate the population is declining, because married couples don't even want kids. Hell, they don't even want to sleep together. The men are busy at work until 10 p.m., often going out to dinner and for drinks with their co-workers. If you turn your boss down (even if you are an alcoholic), you could lose your status in the company. The life of a salaryman is nothing but long days at the office, and no time at home or with the family.

In America, especially in the poor communities, no one is available at home to take care of the kids. Mothers often have to take two jobs just to support their households. Fathers often are not there.

I got an idea... Why don't we all volunteer our time to go into these communities and provide assistance? Let's see how easy it is to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps (we are all one country, one people)... Any takers... any... Sacrifice a weekend a month going into these neighborhoods and seeing what a wonderful difference you can make. For one person is a start.

Peace and love,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 12:03 AM

You're right, Aaron, life in Japan is weird. they have no jury system - 99% of anyone charged with a crime is found guilty. People sit on death row for 30 years (never being told when they are to be killed, they just wait for the footsteps to stop at their door each morning), then discover they were set up.

Homeless people in Japan are homeless because they have the wrong family names. If their familiy names are on a secret list, they can never get a job because businesses have the list and won't hire them. Why the list? the names on the list are those of people HUNDREDS of years ago who were in the lower castes of society - a caste system that the business world tries its best to propogate. Quietly.

I work in an English language school and my father is a member of Rotary (he organises exchange students) - students are occasionally sent here from Japan because they have some sort of mental problem. Easier to send them away to another country than keep them at home and deal with them honestly.

the Japanese students love it here - lots of space and more freedom and it's very easy to relax. AND they can see the stars in the sky because there's not so much visual pollution. :}

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 12:27 AM

Kim,

I like how people like Sandy judge poor people, especially poor black people. If she tried to live in the skin of a poor black person for one day, she'd commit suicide... She's soft...

Peace and love,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 01:01 AM

Be gentle - the physical handicap she has mentioned a couple of times may have caused her to toughen up a bit too much. That, and the apparently prevailing attitude of "Do it yourself, rely on no-one, get it right or you're a complete loser."

I'm probably quite soft, too, which is why I firmly believe we need to look after each other, personally and through groups (government and non-government).
I know _I_ would have trouble surviving some situations, and I would hope that people would come to help me. In that light, I believe it is my responsibility to help others. I give money to Oxfam, to environmental groups, I sing in choirs that raised thousands for the Tsunami Appeal (Red Cross mainly, as they are not a religious group), I am raising goods and funds for an orphanage in Mongolia (www.lotuschild.com), etc. I give when I can and try to help when I can. Charity begins at home, so I make sure my friends have a roof over their head when they need one, food in their stomach and hugs and ears when times are bad.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 01:28 AM

oops. That website address was meant to be www.lotuschild.org.

Sorry!

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 01:29 AM

Kim,

Unfortunately, physical handicap or not, charity or not, it ain't always easy to deal with life when your poor and black... And just because you tell your kids to do something, or you try to accomplish something, or you work your butt off, don't mean your going to have your way...

You have little or no control over life's circumstances... Oh yeah, try to tell your kid to study and learn something in a class that hasn't had a permanent teacher in five years, has old books, shoddy resources, etc... The only thing you have is a prayer, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference..." About the only way you really have any control is control over your ability to accept your pain... Either use drugs and make matters worse, or deal with life on life's terms which ain't always easy when you can't find a job, the bills are adding up and there is no assistance anywhere... When you do seek help, people accuse you of being lazy and wanting entitlements... I guess its your fault that your were born in the ghetto... Yet, I imagine these people are proud, especially the one's who survive at all costs, for their strength is insurmountable...

Just reality,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 01:39 AM

Oh, no argument from me there.
I completely agree with you.

Life is tough, but it's made tougher when society tells you and your life and your circumstances are all unacceptable.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 01:55 AM

Sandy said:

"Yes, it's about entitlements. Everyone wants a free lunch. It's human nature. Man itself is a lazy beast, if he can get off not doing anything he would (and it's evolutionary -- to conserve energy). It's why societies have rules about what we do with out time, otherwise we'll be 400lb couch potatoes tuned into the TV."

Personally, I hate television... I like to run marathons, go hiking, read books, play guitar, cook, play chess, debate, make large money deals and meditate... I guess I must be the missing link... Ask the women in Japan whether they would rather sit at home depressed or have a meaningful occupation...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 02:05 AM

Sandy said,

"It sure beats excuses and dismal stats, and mourning the decay.

I guess since it's already been a whole week now, poor displaced black people from New Orleans should stop "mourning the decay" and get over their suffering already. Hey, why do I care that my relatives lost their homes, their jobs, their way of life, their neighborhoods, their friends, their memories, their morgues, their lives... It's already been a whole week.

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 02:22 AM

Hey,

It's almost 9-11, maybe we can begin to mourn a real tragedy again..

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 02:24 AM

I finally get warmed up and everyone goes to bed.

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 02:25 AM

The animal rescuers are obstructed at every turn by the authorities which is cruelly compounded by the media's blithe uncaring relentless broadcasts of animals being totally ignored, with impunity, as they cruise by in their boats, pointing out the dogs dying in the trees, on the tops of cars and on the roofs, clinging so desperately at life-- without a prayer of rescue because there are not enough rescue boats and the media and authorities will not lift a finger to help in any way shape or form. The hundreds upon hundreds of dogs, cats, horses and other pets who have already died and those dying slowly, in agony, terror, pain and confusion revealed to the world the current low depths of American indifference, out right self-absorption and nonchalance towards animals. The television images have been constant, relentless - coupled with the blatant callousness and arrogance of the broadcast anchors (O'Reilly, Aaron Brown, Anderson Cooper and their ilk - especially all the coverage showing rescue boats blithely cruising by animals on roofs and clinging to trees, without stopping or caring to try to help these innocents) - these images have implanted and reinforced the world view that animals do not matter, their lives have little significance or import, and most blatantly, any suffering or death is immaterial. Animals are now reduced to less than garbage. We must alter our perception - saving humans and animals - it is not mutually exclusive; we cannot let this continue. The deaths and suffering of Katrina's animal victims cannot be allowed to continue unabated, with meek and passive acceptance.

The animals deserve more from us; if we do not fight and counter with better strategies, tactics, refocus, the victories already achieved in animal care and protection will be phyrric at best. We have the resources, and means in this country to do both. The 1993 floods were horrific beyond belief; many of us thought it couldn't get worse. During that crisis the media showed the animal rescues that were underway almost immediately. These rescues were deemed worthy of attention and were applauded. It is now so much worse; animal rescues are considered trivial, childish, unimportant, a waste of time & resources; the deterioration in attitude/world view is profound.

This is a battle that must be engaged now, without fail. Our civilization's morality is on the line

Posted by: Deborah | September 8, 2005 02:33 AM

Tens of thousands of people die or are injured in road accidents in the US every year.

Which is the "real tragedy"?

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 02:38 AM

Deborah,

Right on... I agree completely. In fact, I rushed back to my grandmother's house in St. James Parish (just outside of New Orleans, where I am now) to take care of her three cats, her dog, and her three birds. Not that I am a big fan of having birds, I kind of think it is cruel, but I love them anyway. I really love her cats. One of her cats was really skittish and would lash out and bite or scratch other cats or humans, but I showed her so much unconditional love that now she curls up next to me at night while I rub her belly... I love animals, I don't even want to think about the poor pets that have absolutely no control over their circumstances... You really reminded me of how sad this is...

Peace and love,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 02:46 AM

You are right Deborah - a society can be judged by the way it treats its animals.
I'm sorry - I didn't know about all this animal cruelty - we haven't seen it on TV here in Australia.

How sad - I shall go home and give doubly long cuddles to my cats tonight.

I remember an American Animals group raising funds to care for the animals injured and starving after the Tsunami - maybe they can help? Wish I could remember who they were.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 03:04 AM

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 03:08 AM

"I finally get warmed up and everyone goes to bed.

Peace,
Aaron"


I bet that's the story of your life. ;)

Kim...

Posted by: | September 8, 2005 03:10 AM

Eeep! Sorry Aaron - that post I just sent had "Warning - Aussie humour ahead" written in it, but I was stupid and put it in triangular brackets, so it didn't show up!

I hope you had a laugh and don't hate me.
(*wibble*)

Kim...

Posted by: kim | September 8, 2005 03:12 AM

Kim,

I'm kind of sick... I took it as a compliment, kind of like staying power, stamina, longevity, having satisfied those around me, unstoppable and the beat goes on...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 03:47 AM

I just thought you'd like to know how other countries are seeing the US government's rescue efforts.
http://www.theage.com.au/cartoons/index.html
The Times-Picayune editorial is also published in full in today's Age.

Posted by: | September 8, 2005 04:20 AM

Ah, good old Leunig. One of Australia's favourite cartoonists. And rarely off the mark.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 04:39 AM

And that's not just how we see the rescue efforts - it's how we view US military decisions generally. Sadly - our Prime Minister can't see it, so Australians appear to be supporting you in places like Iraq.

As far as many of us are concerned - your military have barely put a foot right since about 1953...

We support our people over there in Iraq(they're just doing their job), but the reasons they are there are spurious at best, criminal at worst.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 04:45 AM

Aaron/NOB wrote:

===========================================
"If a woman isn't married by 25, she's stail birthday cake."
===========================================

If you set a trap, Aaron/NOB, it was sprung long ago. ;) Why? The above data is like 20 years old (when was the last time you were in Japan?).

More and more women are now putting marriage on hold in Japan. It's reflected in the birth rates (which is one of the lowest in the industrialized world -- so much so Japan has got to think of a way to increase their birth rate, or do the unthinkable -- open the doors for immigration). My mom's mom had like 7 kids, today if a family has 2 they're above average.

Women's rights in Japan could not change overnight. That would cause a cultural change so rapid it'll cause more harm than good (a society that's forced to change overnight causes bitter reprisals -- seen in this country after the 14th amendment was used in creative ways to ensure human rights, to the Civil Right act of 1964). Even when women's rights occur to the liking to the West, it'll still remain different (as the East will always be different than the West).

BTW, Aaron cross-talk is considered rude. Didn't you learn that while in Japan?

:-)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 09:16 AM

Kim wrote:

===========================================
'Be gentle - the physical handicap she has mentioned a couple of times may have caused her to toughen up a bit too much. That, and the apparently prevailing attitude of "Do it yourself, rely on no-one, get it right or you're a complete loser."'
===========================================

Evilest grin. >:-> By the way, Kim, did I mention my "handicap" anywhere? (Freudian slip, huh?). ;)

Or try this on for size: an able-bodied man who has to fight a disabled women shows how soft's manhood Aaron to be. And it can be spun into a Dem "talking point" of a rich Harvard "coconut" who is out of touch with his own people (a Condi Rice type), and it shows when he has to "beat up" a poor disabled Asian women to show his manhood (or racial superiority), let alone stature.

Aaron you did interject class/wealth/race/status into the mix, and it can come back and bite (as all of the Black folks you claim to be connected with by race alone, don't have 3 out of 4. Which removes you more in trying to understand their plight -- since if you're a Harvard grad, lawyer type, you're not living in a 9th ward community understanding the reality there -- as whatever memories of your hardship fades with time supping with "whitey").

Sharpening the stakes for the bear trap.....

;-)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 09:30 AM

Kim wrote:

===========================================
"You are right Deborah - a society can be judged by the way it treats its animals.
I'm sorry - I didn't know about all this animal cruelty - we haven't seen it on TV here in Australia."
===========================================

Didn't know about it???????????????

:faints in disbelief:

Animal cruelty is known in every community around the world, be it a bushman, to a metro European who's flat is as tiny as a US bathroom.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 09:38 AM

Wake Up Call, NYC A Time Waiting to Explode!

Well it finally happened, the wake up call came and the decision-makers and disaster community was left with their pants and skirts hanging around their ankles.

The first (natural) catastrophic disaster to hit the USA in recent history, and we were not prepared; both the preparedness and recovery periods have (and still) failed.

Why, great question! However, the real problems didn't start this year, last year or even 100 years ago; it started with the political decision-makers, their disaster management advisers and the people are paying with their lives.

The difference between 9-11 and Katrina is simply, during 9-11, the people were there to make the difference during the recovery phase, after Katrina hit the people, all the people became survivors.

The NYC political machine still does not realize that NYC is a time bomb waiting to explode. The Mayor makes conscious decisions not to fix the disaster management system within the city relying on a past Mayors political decision to throw his full support behind the NYPD over his other agencies.

Ex-Mayor Giuliani lucky, smart or just in the right place at the right time; you decide. Mayor Bloomberg like Giuliani lacks the needed leadership to fix the real problems simply because of the type of people they have chosen to fill critical positions throughout their administrations.

Two simple off the street bought hand grenades can completely bring to a halt the complete transportation system of one of the greatest cities in the world. Why, simple there is no cooperation or teamwork between any of the major city agencies. Just look at Bloomberg's record of accomplishment then try to connect the dots and you'll find huge gaps.

Priorities, leadership, team building all the essential of leadership are missing. Instead of creating a Joint Operation Center he spends a small fortune on a NYPD Crime Center; instead of making the Office of Emergency Management the lead for all disaster management (and hold them responsible), he allows all the cities agencies to battle it out on a public platform. Instead of forcing the NYPD, FDNY, MTA, OEM and other city agencies to provide real justification for allocated disaster monies he allows them to operate independently under separate agenda's. Shall we discuss how much wasted money the MTA has spent on failed communications systems or systems that should have been emplaced 20 years ago; we won't mention the almost 150 switch rooms that at any time can cripple the NYC transportation system or worst kill and injure NYC citizens.

I give credit to the FDNY who stood up and admitted the city has done little to properly train or provide the proper equipment, they're right but what has the mayor done to correct this situation?

When countries like Kosovo conduct over a 100-multi level disaster management exercises a year, and NYC is lucky to do five we have a major problem!

Leadership begins with our political leaders, if they can't do the job right what do we do? Maybe now with major elections approaching we can make a small difference.

I have just touched the tip of the iceberg, now it's up to you to take pick up the pen and force our decision-makers to do their job and do it right!

Distribution: Anyone who is willing to make the difference

Posted by: Domenic Angelo | September 8, 2005 10:02 AM

Part of the problem is Katrina itself. It came and is gone now. Blaming it in itself isn't enough -- it's like blaming a ghost, not much satisfaction in it. Mankind needs to sink their teeth into something, and it's own kind is the best we can do now.

During 9/11 we had targets to literally hit. The disaster was self-contained and the "emergency" was over within hours. It's a week later, and rescuers are still trying to rescue and get folks out of that putrid cesspool now. The scale of this disaster is too much to fathom, folks are in shock and denial of the scope of this disaster. It's easier to flip the channels, to be uncomfortable to watch real reality TV.

It doesn't help that the national focus will shift to "other business" (because politics is more important -- sigh, we'll never learn), and when it does, the Bush Administration/Lousianna officals will also go back to business as usual (no more spotlight -- Rove is just waiting for the Supreme Court fight instead). In contrast, 9/11 there was wall-to-wall coverage for weeks, and no commercials for at least 48hrs. Shows what the media considers newsworthy, let alone important as well -- those poor don't vote, and would least likely watch their news to help their ratings.

:-(

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 11:39 AM

From Katrina, it proved that Bush is incapable president again. From 9.11, we had seen him sat in that classroom didn't realize America had been attacted at that moment. People easily forgave him because we had been attacted by foreign terrorism, we all united together to face terrorism. But it is nature disaster this time, this administration still did same thing-slow reaction, people couldn't forgive it this time, because anything we did, that would be our own fault, nobody you can blame to, but this administration. This is Bush administration disaster totally, it exposed at this critical moment. The disaster told us that we had spent so much money on our security, after 9.11 we still haven't ready yet for any kind of attcks and this has been forcasted first, for god sake, we are still not ready, this only tells me what govement we elected!!!

Posted by: Yanni | September 8, 2005 02:23 PM

Yanni,

You forget that the people of this nation didn't elect Bush. He was selected by Rehnquist's Supreme Court. Paul Krugman, The New York Times, wrote an article a couple of weeks ago showing that if a fair and balanced election had been carried out in 2000, Gore would have won. If all the votes had been recounted, Gore would have won. Also, Gore would have won if the Republicans didn't illegally and intentionally strike eligible black voters in Florida from voting. Also, Gore would have won if the ballot wasn't so confusing, whereby a large percentage of Florida's Jewish population voted for Buchanan, clearly against their collective interest.

The 2004 election was different. Bush had all the government propaganda, lies and the media spin machine behind him. Coupled with that was the fact that electronic voting machines (which later proved to provide faulty results) controlled by his cronies counted many of the votes in crucial battleground states. Is it any wonder why exit polls and the actually results differed? Thus, Bush managed to remain the president, despite the better judgment of the American people.

The scary thing to consider is that this administration has done so many shaddy things through its tenure that it must survive at all costs. When they are backed against the wall, they will come out fighting for their lives, even if they have to take this country down with them. Notice how Karl Rove attacked Wilson, O'neill, Clarke and so many more.

Essentially, the propaganda machine will be in high gear, our individual rights will be assaulted at every turn and our right to choose our leaders will be consistently denied. Welcome to the New World Order.

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 02:50 PM

I believe the subject is optimism leading to disaster. On that note, here's my version of the blame game: We're all to blame.
In 2000, a presidential election was decided by lawyers, politicians, and the courts, not the people.
In 2001, a major terrorist attack on our soil was not prevented.
In 2003, a war of choice was entered on false pretenses, and continues to this day with no clear sign of victory.
In 2005, a major natural disaster was worsened by gross incompetence on all governmental levels.
Ours is a representative government; If the government fails, it is a failure of the American people who instated that government through their votes. We failed to demand a more democratic outcome to the election of 2000. We failed to demand accountability of national security failures in 2001. We failed to question the facts leading to the Iraq War in 2003. Will we fail again in the aftermath of Katrina? Definitely.
The way the American people view the political class of this country is far too optimistic, as one can see in the many posts in this blog. To all those defending President Bush, do you really think that POLITICIAN wouldn't sell each in every one of you down the river if it would protect his political hide or gain him a little more power? Do you really buy so gullibly into the public face these politicians wear? Politicians get into their line of work for power and prestige, not for the public good... that's why responding to Katrina was treated as a nuisance by our government, a disruption of their carefully choreographed, pre-planned agenda for this current presidential term.
I know I'm being quite, quite cynical here, but it sure beats being overly optimistic and naive. If we have an inept, callous, selfish government, it is because we have an inept, callous, selfish electorate. The dark times we are about to encounter post-Katrina are exactly what we deserve for being such a complacent, ignorant lot that has let our country come to this. We simply are not the great nation we believe ourselves to be. In many ways, we have failed our founding fathers, and have become just another empire among the many in history. And, like any other empire, we have risen, and we will fall; If you can't tell already, the decline of our civilization has set in.
So, please, take off the rose-colored glasses and stop waving the flag. Deal with the disastrous state of our nation; Optimism will only make things worse. Doom and gloom may not be pretty, but it is our current reality.
As for the racist comments about 'insiting negros', it's not the black race that shoots, kills, and rapes it's own kind: It's the human race.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 8, 2005 03:18 PM

Aaron/NOB,

Gore probably wouldn't have won. He had too many public image problems, and on the street he looked so out of touch (unlike Clinton). You expect Gore to be Liberal Arts prof, not a president -- too rigid, and so condescending.

BTW, the NYT has went overboard this time in their venom. I'm not even an idealogue, but I'm turned off on their bitterness (it reeks as worse than the putrid mud in New Orleans).

WP is showing more class, and more readible (even though the reporting slant is liberal -- the Delphi forums reek of it), even to non fire-eating partisans.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 03:37 PM

Sandy,

GORE WON!!! FACT!!!

ErinnF,

People like Sandy must be the constituents you are referring to. They respond to a valid argument about actual/factual results with some non-sensical argument about how he probably wouldn't have "really" actually/factually won because he wasn't charismatic. As if this argument makes sense to even the most illogical person. Not to mention the fact that to some charisma is more important than facts, logic and competence.

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 05:06 PM

Aaron/NOB,

What "fact"? Both sides argue the numbers. Chalk it up as a "Big Bang" vs. "Creationism" debate -- no winners.

Actually, the sentiment is what folks have said "on the street" about Gore. Someone said during that time, "Just wind him up" (referring to his wooden demeanor). I remember it, because the whole bus laughed over it.

How about stop trying to spin an election long gone (will you cry over it 50 years from now too??), and get your Dems to actually win one (like with a 60/40 vote, not the evenly divided 50/50 hanging and pregnant chad one).

:-)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 05:16 PM

Sandy,

I will never forget. It is my patriotic duty to remember the crimes committed by my government so that they are never repeated.

When you refuse science and logic, of course there are no winners. Any one can make an argument to muddy a debate. You know what maybe God the Father and the Holy Spirit (the Son wasn't born yet), Sidartha Gotama, Brahma and a few other Gods got together and had a major dance, and the races just popped up all over the world instantaneously... Yeah...

However, please read the following link for a summary of my argument, debate it as you will... Seems clear that everything and the president-elects brother were used to steer the results against the will of the people and toward the oil oligarchy.

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 05:34 PM

As promised, attached please find the following link:

http://www.pkarchive.org/column/081905.html

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 05:38 PM

When logic and science and fact are no longer the criteria used for determining the validity of an argument, the debate loses any meaning, and thus becomes futile. Maybe I should spend my time somewhere that I can have an intellectual conversation...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 05:39 PM

Sandy & Aaron,

If I may interject on your Bush v Gore debate, I believe the actual facts of the matter (according to a study the press did after 2000), Gore would have lost if the recount had only been in the counties he designated in his court appeal, and Gore would have won if ALL the counties had been recounted in Florida. Look it up and you'll discover that, in a way, you are both right and you are both wrong... no winners, as Sandy aptly said. To me, all that matters is that somebody was put into the office of the presidency without being properly and democratically put there. Bush gets credit for evening up the race close enough for him to make his power grab via the courts, but, Sandy, you can hardly chock that off as a win. And please don't lose sight of the fact that Bush would have suppressed your vote too if that's what it took to get him into power. Same goes for Gore. Argue as passionately as you like for Gore or Bush; They wouldn't do the same for you... rich politicians of privilege don't really care about the American people.
While we're on the subject, tho, anybody notice that Rehnquist perished during a national crisis caused in part by the very administration he helped establish? Perhaps he understood causality and culpability well enough to realize his decision in Bush v Gore set the stage for the loss of life in New Orleans due to gross incompetence by the Bush administration. Maybe guilt sapped him of the will to live. It's not as farfetched as it seems... he was troubled by the Bush v Gore decision like any other American citizen, probably more so since he was personally involved. While some like Sandy want to sweep that fiasco of an election under the rug, the rest of us will be troubled by it for some time, especially those who have lost loved ones to 9/11, Iraq, and the gross incompetence of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 8, 2005 06:14 PM

ErinnF,

Thanks so much for your aside regarding Rehnquist... Wouldn't it be nice if some of these self-righteous politicians, political hacks and appointees actually have a conscience and take personal responsibility for their actions...

Wow government accountability, what a concept...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 07:10 PM

Errin (I hope it's not you again Aaron with 100 sockpuppet nicks),

In the numbers game, no one wins. It's like polls: one week it's 60/40; the next 40/60. Which is the correct one? The Left partisan will claim the one that favors their view; the Right partisan their view.

If Bush really wanted to "steal" the election, he'd do what had happened in Egypt -- so there would be no need to recount ballots.

Dems can't accept that the election was so close that every vote really counted. Repubs probably will do the same song-and-dance if their candidate lost in Blue state territory. I just wish they'd grow up and stop crying for 5 years now!

But either way, the conduct of both sides have firmly entrenched the moderates and independents (like myself) to treat party members like tainted meat -- they'll lie, steal and cheat to win, and we watched the aftermath of crybabies for WEEKS!!

Aaron: intellectual debate is a 2 way street. It's not cross-talk, and it's not dogmatic spin. Intellectual debates is producing material, defending it, and shaking hands afterwards. It's not finding 4 different ways to misspell a nick; or claiming things a person never said. That's ad hominen (and very boring, alt.flame would be more entertaining).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 07:17 PM

Well it seems to me we now have a president who not only has presided over the greatest foriegn policy debacle in the history of the United States (no WMDs) but has now presided over the greatest domestic policy blunder as well. Please dear God, don't let him go for the trifecta.

Posted by: AndrewL | September 8, 2005 07:35 PM

"Intellectual debates is producing material, defending it, and shaking hands afterwards. "

I have produced the material, which is all pretty solid evidence. I have presented evidence about how this administration's mandate to govern is disputable at best, but most likely a result of outright corruption. I have produced material evidencing that this government has neglected its people, causing the poverty rate to increase and the national infrastructure to fall apart. I have presented a sound argument that this will continue if not stopped.

I have defended this argument...

However, I will not shake hands with the other side. That would be shameful... I would rather see the people who defend this administration and their gorss incompetence suffer for their indifference... I have nothing but contempt for Bush's minions...

Aaron

P.S. What are you talking about 100 sockpuppet nicks? Have you lost your mind?

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 07:40 PM

Sandy,

I notice that you know a little Latin... Well, this is my response to you...

Cogito ergo sum... Veni, vedi, vici...

I'm not even warmed up yet...

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 08:09 PM

Sandy - I'm in Australia. Just precisely _why_ would our news reports be focussing on animals?

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 08:22 PM

Veni, vedi, velcro...

I came, I saw, I stuck around...

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 08:26 PM

Emily said:

The Globe and Mail requires a paid subscription to view their editorials. WHY do newspapers do that?!? Argh!

I just discovered a way to get around this. Just type the headline of the article into Google and hit Enter. I did that and the Globe and Mail editorial came up, in its entirety, as the first hit.

Posted by: Kathy | September 8, 2005 08:40 PM

Aaron,

If hatred and pigheadness is that strong to not shake hands, intellectual debate is nil. Why? Because you're unwilling to change your viewpoint, you're locked in, and extreme. Intellectualism is about sharing and growing, it's not about propaganda.

There are very few truths in the world, Aaron. Even less absolutes, as things change -- especially when new data comes along. Have to be flexible, not entrenched into believing only one set of "facts". That's not being intellectual, that's being biased.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 09:46 PM

Kim,

Are you saying Australians aren't humane?? That they don't even care about their sheep, and herders??

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 09:50 PM

Aaron/NOB,

When a person uses one sockpuppet (a different nick), the chances he'll use more is high. And most boards restrict sockpuppetry, since that's how trolls muck up a board (or blog).

Interesting that WP is using Typepad. Smart. Just hope Typepad is smart enough to dodge OCR bots -- a pending bane for administrators.

Also wish they'd fix "The Debate's" front page. It doesn't even confirm to W3C standards -- which is why it's acting flaky, it's burping the center div, causing it to push down -- a royal pain with xhtml pages with absolute positioning.

Sigh....

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 10:03 PM

Sandy,

My relatives have died because of this tragedy, and you spew filth and ignorance and protect and work the "Fox" propaganda line... This is personal... Yeah, and I'm hot and I will fight... Trust me...

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 10:04 PM

This is a timeline of the response of our myopic federal government to Hurricane Katrina:

http://www.bushwatch.net/disaster.htm

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 10:05 PM

Sandy,

Don't lecture me about absolutes and truths... Maybe read a book or study or gain some understanding of the issues... Then, we can have a real debate... Stop begging for mercy...

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 10:10 PM

It's getting hot in here (Aaron and SandyK)...I'm going to say my piece for now and get outta here so you two can throw down...

All I have to say is that this country is going down the tubes and it has been ever since Bush got into office. What kind of America are we that we allowed such a man take the highest position in our "superpower" nation? He proves how dim he is over and over and over again in his speeches; furthermore, he screws up BIG-TIME all too often. Seriously, think about it: if you were the CEO of a major corporation, would you hire Bush? I don't think I would even trust him enough to handle the mail in the mailroom, or even be the janitor scrubbing the executive urinals. What I'm trying to say here is that we (the American people) are ultimately in control of who we allow into office and look what we 'hired.' So, ErrinF is right. We are to blame for this. What an embarassment.

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXOX | September 8, 2005 10:16 PM

My government left the poor, the minorities, the homeless, the elderly, the helpless to die while it went to baseball games, talked about crap and utterly showed indifference...

I'm not even started... Wait... Wait 'till I get out there and really get started...

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 10:19 PM

I need to meditate... Be zen-like...

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 10:20 PM

Aaron/NOB,

How about taking a chill pill?

Think about this: even Cindy Sheehan mourned before protesting.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 10:21 PM

"It's just like when you've got some coffee that's too black, which means it's too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won't even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep." Malcolm X

It's time to wake up!!!

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 10:27 PM

XOX,

Hot, as Hot Atlanta. ;) Not getting dragged into the deconstruction.

Over 50% of the nation elected Bush, and they keep his Company in office, in congress and the senate. Apparently they think this country is doing fine.

I personally believe this is just the flow and ebb of politics. We had 3 decades of wanton progression, and now going through 3 decades of conservatism checks. No political idealogy remains in office forever.

So take stock that there's a silver lining that this to will pass. People get tired of wearing the same shoes, and will go out and get another pair in time.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 10:31 PM

Welcome to the '60s... We have a war of agression that we can't win... We have a poor, disenfranchised minority population with media images of their government watching them die... And our civil liberties are being taken from us... Can anyone say- volatile!!!

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 10:35 PM

For the record, I am my own person, and not a name being assumed by somebody else (btw, that 'somebody else' keeps mispelling my name, so that's a clue right there that we aren't the same person; I don't mind the misspelling, tho).
I am not a Democrat nor a Republican; That's a two-headed snake with the same body. Those that buy into the Dems and the GOP being enemies need to re-assess the situation. It's more of a one-party system with a lot of infighting than a two-party system. Both parties have been in existence for so long that I'm quite sure the amount of corruption is unimaginable and thoroughly imbedded at this stage in American history. Perhaps that is why accountability is suppressed so strongly.
Now for Sandy's comments: I don't know what you are talking about with the 'numbers game'. The research done in Florida concerning the recount was not a public opinion poll; It was an objective study done a year afterward. It's findings seemed neutral enough to me: Gore could have won, but he didn't because he choose the wrong counties to challenge in his court case... the entire state would have had to be recounted for him to win.
As for Bush not stealing the election, that is up for debate, but your point about Egypt is totally meaningless. Bush could not pull off what an Egyptian dictator could; The Bush campaign could pull off what it did in 2000, especially with his BROTHER overlooking the very state it took to get him the presidency (And, not to shock you too much, but Texans are known for being skilled in dirty politics, pardon the generalization). Even then, my charge has never been that Bush stole the election; My contention has been that he was appointed rather than elected. Our constitutional system was designed for people to be elected into office, not appointed. That he had to be appointed rather than elected shows that he is not true presidential material; The last 5 years of darkness and decline support this premise.
If you truly are an independent voter, than why are you defending the status quo? Why are you not bothered by the results of the 2000 election? Why are you making arguments along partisan lines rather than outside them? You knock Democrats and the New York Times, and defend a Republican president. Maybe you are indeed independent, but you have done a poor job showing that within this current debate.
Lastly (and this goes beyond Sandy), there's been some mention of Latin... I don't know much Latin, but I know an Italian word that more Americans need to be familiar with: Machiavelli. Give him a read then give a second look at our current state of the union.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 8, 2005 10:36 PM

Couple notes to a couple posters out there.

XOXOXOXOX, thank you very much for accepting responsibility for our current problems here in America. Obviously, the politicians will always shirk responsibility; It's up to the voters to start accepting responsibility, since they are the ones who put those politicians in their place of power. Maybe there is hope for this country if more people like you are willing to accept accountability for our dysfunctional and corrupt political system.
Aaron/NOB, I am sorry for the loss of your relatives. My condolences go to you and your family. It is a shame that you have to deal with such an ignorant apologist as this Sandy person during this tough time for you. I wouldn't be so callous as to say 'take a chill pill', but I would say not to waste your energy on the likes of such a sophist as her/him, whose spoonfed doublespeak is anything but independent. By all means, though, speak your mind and share your thoughts.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 8, 2005 10:55 PM

Not objective enough, since no one will be satisfied with it. It's tainted meat; it's radioactive material; it's a white elephant in a living room; it's trying to claim we're decendent from apes or Adam's rib.

We all defend the status quo. That we have some order in our lives (compared to making the Chaos theory a living fact), shows we don't throw everything to the 4 winds and forego common sense.

I'm not bothered by it because the past can't be changed -- none of us has a time machine to change the outcome, either. Folks can spend their lives crying over the incident, use it as a crutch, or they can get on with their lives -- It's mentally unhealthy to dwell on what can NEVER be changed. Can't void the presidency, can't oust Bush on what's settled. It's like saying Roe vs. Wade isn't settled, and that the conservatives can cry and demand changing it as well. Want that? Or want to be hypocritical, that only XYZ can cry and moan about the past and seek "justice"?

I knock either partisan because either tends to be pigheaded and make non factual statements -- or distort them. They want their side to win at any cost, to the point of distorting reality. It's all black-and-white thinking (which is also psychologically unhealthy), if you're not 100% on "our side" you're the boogeyman. People get tired of it, the lies, the hurry up and squat BS.

As for Latin, I think Aaron or Kim flipped royally, I haven't mentioned anything about it or used it.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 10:58 PM

ErrinF, I'm actually with you on a lot of the points you have recently made here.

I don't want to be cynical, but I feel like I have no choice in the matter anymore. Look at the state of the nation where I live and work...and pay taxes out of my already pauper-esque paycheck. I hate sounding this way - all jaded and "elderly." I'm only 30 years old and here I am (as I've posted elsewhere) swearing to move to a remote island to live in a hut because I'm so exhausted of this place. I've experienced the hut living experience in Madagascar with the Peace Corps and seriously, I would rather be there now. The only issues that exhausted me there were fetching water to bathe and having to deal with the constant scurrying and scratching of the rats that lived above my mosquito netted mattress.

Anyway, SandyK says there is a silver lining in all of this, but I just don't see it. Look at the up and comers...who do they look up to these days? 50 Cent, Eminem, reality show nobodys who become somebodys with a little flash of skin...it's just sickening. Who knows what will happen...maybe we'll see Jay-Z or Diddy running this country...I wouldn't be surprised. I just can't be a part of it...

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXOXO | September 8, 2005 11:20 PM

ad hominem

For those "independent" minded people, I mean those people who refuse to take a stand against injustice, maybe Dante's Vestibule will be a proper reprisal:

The poets make their way to the vestibule of hell. They must pass through a gateway with the following message carved into the stone: Abandon all hope ye who enter here. This place is like an anteroom or a foyer -- it is not part of Hell-proper so to speak. Here Dante -- and we, the readers -- see the plan of symbolic retribution that will make up the rest of the story. Dante is horrified at the sight before him. He is viewing the punishment of the uncommitted. Dante sees the souls of those who, in life, took no stand, kept no promises, honored no loyalties. Their punishment is to forever chase after an ever-moving flag, all the while surrounded by horrible fetid air full of stinging bees and wasps. As the insects bite the sinners, maggots emerge to suck the pus that oozes from their sores. Dante now crosses the river Acheron to visit the First Circle of the Inferno.

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 11:28 PM

XOXOXOXOXOXO,

Are you kidding, an uneducated population, listening to rap music and watching reality tv, that's exactly what Bush and his administraton want. A disenfranchised, out of touch, thoughtless population of menial laborers, who don't vote...

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 8, 2005 11:40 PM

Kim,

Are you saying Australians aren't humane?? That they don't even care about their sheep, and herders??

SandyK
------------------

Sandy - are there some drugs you should start taking again? In what even vaguely conceivable universe do Australian farm animals have to do with people's pets in New Orleans?????

I simply said that the news broadcasters have not sent Australia any news about New Orleans pets, as far as I am aware.

Sheesh. I take back what I said before about you and I being similar - you're unwell.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 8, 2005 11:46 PM

==========================================
Sandy - I'm in Australia. Just precisely _why_ would our news reports be focussing on animals?

Kim..
===========================================

How about stop worrying about the health of your "boogeyman", and reread your own words? You have to be more explicit, Kim, as we're not schizophrenics (forget Bipolar or Unipolar!).

BTW, ad hominen is the tactic of those who lost the argument. What next, grammar flames?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 8, 2005 11:59 PM

Sandy,

I don't think their is a debate about who won this argument... I have yet to read one person who has taken your view seriously... Nor one person that has seriously challenged mine... Please forgive me if I'm wrong...

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 12:08 AM

Aaron/NOB,

Are you really a law student? Are you familiar with Democratic sites online? The really hardcore ones?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 12:09 AM

I'm not really a law student... Nor did I ever say I was...

Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 12:12 AM

What does "really" mean, are you an amateur sleuth? ;)

And can you answer the other questions?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 12:15 AM

I think I am finally exhausted... God, grant me the serenity to accept that I will never change the inherently thoughtless views of people like Sandy... They were raised to believe that poor people and minorities don't deserve their proper consideration... They were raised to believe that they are better humans because of their background and successes... They will sadly influence future generations to be equally unforgiving, narrow minded and unhelpful...

God grant me the courage to change the things I can. Please let me have at least helped someone by spending time here, trying to make a change, trying to be thoughtful and caring, try to find a way to influence peole to get out and vote for regime change, for a bright future for America and the world.... Please let me know the difference between what I must accept from here forward and coping with this tragedy and what I can change about the way we view our fellow citizens and animals and forests and streams, etc. (for we are all living creatures, deserving of love and concern).

Peace and love,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 12:19 AM

The Serenity prayer is a nice touch, Aaron.

But if you don't want a little sleuth assignment that might be rewarding (and open your eyes to not judge a book by it's cover) -- then I'll leave you to your devices.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 12:29 AM

How about stop worrying about the health of your "boogeyman", and reread your own words? You have to be more explicit, Kim, as we're not schizophrenics (forget Bipolar or Unipolar!).

BTW, ad hominen is the tactic of those who lost the argument. What next, grammar flames?

SandyK
-------------

?????????????????????????????

And secondly: Sandy - learn to read - Aaron sent the ad hominem post.

You read too fast, you judge too fast, you are wrong too fast.

I will try not to answer your posts anymore - when having an argument with an idiot no one who is watching can tell which person the idiot is, so I'll bow out now and you can continue to shine on your own like a special little bent beacon.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 9, 2005 12:31 AM

Actually, Kim Aaron didn't, thus I reposted your post for you to see, and to tell you the little quips (like currently "idiot" and the 3 finger salute afterwards) are ad hominem.

The only thing I'm shining is with a mirror, Kim.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 12:41 AM

OK, enough with SandyK. It's bad enough that he/she responded to Aaron's grief over loss of his relatives to the Katrina debacle by saying 'take a chill pill' and invoking the personal tragedy of Cindy Sheehan. Such a comment was disrespectful to Aaron, his family, his relatives that passed away, and was equally disrespectful of Cindy Sheehan, the Sheehan family, and the son that lost his life in Iraq. Such insensitivity denotes a person unworthy of equal debate status, a person who could care less about the people she argues with here.
What makes it worse is that Sandy's comments all amount to the same thing: everything is null and void because of (insert whatever lame, dismissive point he/she can make). This ranges from initially trying to deny that I am even a real person (apparently, I'm a nick or a sockpuppet, or whatever the hell he/she said) to saying he/she never used any Latin even though we can all see that Sandy ended one of his/her comments here with 'ad hominem'. Just about every argument made by Sandy is dismissive of practically everything, and actual points we make in our posts are ignored as he/she derives meaning out of our statements that we never even said.
'We all defend the status quo' is a Sandy quote. Really? I have done nothing but attack the status quo here. I challenge it while you make excuses for it. You make excuses for a lot of things.
Another Sandy quote: "There are very few truths... even less absolutes". That sums up the mindset of a person who seeks to sap the validity of any real argument made here. There hasn't been a single constructive comment out of him/her; Instead, everything is dismissive, everything is invalidated by arguments that make no sense whatsoever, such as "Bush didn't steal the 2000 election 'cause if he did, he would have done it like they did in Egypt". What???
Enough already. I came here for real debate and interaction, not to deal with some denial queen who takes their cues from FOXnews, the center for sophistry these days. I'm hereby ignoring any of the nonsensical, negative disruption that is SandyK, and suggest we all do the same before he/she wastes any more of our time and energy deriding our attempts at constructive debate/discussion.
And that's the last time I'll ever refer to Sandy or any of his/her pathetic commentaries.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 9, 2005 02:40 AM

Errin (or whoever),

Do you have plans to be the next Louisana governor?

I guess not because even Blanco has more decency to not forget the aftermath of over 100,000 human beings who are displaced, hurt or dead.

What's your excuse to waste an entire post on anything else?

Now, dear to prove you and Aaron terribly wrong on your assumptions (and the ills of judging books by their cover), tell me do either of you know of this site, let alone are a long standing member?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/

While any three of you were practicing choir, I was here...

http://www.hannity.com/forums/

And managed to stay there for almost 2 years until I had enough of the partisan BS from both sides. In the process I managed to make allies and friends of folks on both sides of the aisle, including one of the founders of DU -- you're not going to find a more Democrat partisan as him (moveon.org is tame). It's because I'm not a partisan, and I'm fair (I backed not only him up but other partisans who weren't trolls when they were right, and defended them over the Darth/es and other nitpickers who were often just flat out nasty, let alone even more extreme).

So, you can put your partisan BS peanut gallery crosstalk sideshow to the rest, unless you're just a flaming troll with nothing better to do, and wish to disgrace your own partisan activists -- let alone the New Orleans victims you claim to "care" about, by wasting bandwidth and time ponticating about who's who and terribly wrong about it.

SandyK aka ChrisXP

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 04:21 AM

OK enough of pointing the fingers on one particular institution. The truth is this is EVERYBODY'S fault: local, state, FEMA, government, congress and even the citizens themselves. The responsibility of the people's safety and well-being does not belong to just one institution.

The mayor and the governor should have provided a way for the people who have no means of leaving the city to evacuate and provide temporary housing for them as well.

FEMA should have responded quicker than they did and they needed a person who is more qualified than Michael Brown to run the organization.

The Bush Administration should have also responded quicker than they did. Bush seemed more clueless than ever ("Brownie, you did a heck of a job").

The Congress for skimming on the money needed to rebuild the levees, even though they are willing to spend over $200 million dollars for a useless highway in Alaska. Plus the disappearing Louisiana coastlines needs to be addressed.

Some other institutions are also to blame such as AMTRAK, who closes services to New Orleans 72 hours before the hurricane hit.

There's no need to do the blame game because everyone's at fault, this is not problem that can be blamed on just one institution. Either way you look at it, protecting the people is EVERBODY'S responsibility, not just one institution. Unfortunately every aspect of our government (with the exception of the Coast Guard, they did a good job of rescuing the people) failed to do just that.

Posted by: silhouette | September 9, 2005 05:37 AM

Oh and in case anyoone's interested - Australia finally saw some people in NO rescuing animals on the news tonight.

Happy?

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 9, 2005 07:18 AM

Although animal rescues are on the Australian news, the main message here (and everywhere else in the world) is the way dead bodies lie unburied, the trauma of the victims and the politicians trying to twist and slime their way out of accepting any responsibility for the stuff-up. Someone said something earlier about "no silver lining". There is, but it's pretty grim.
In recent times the US administration has been in a fool's paradise, acting as though being top of the heap is a permanent and natural condition. The term "manifest destiny" comes to mind. Of course most intelligent people realised that the world is more complex than that, and empires that quickly rise can also quickly fall. Students of ancient history don't forget the consequences of acts of military folly: Athens' expedition to Syracuse comes to mind. Not a bad parallel with Iraq.
So what's the silver lining? This terrible time might cause some introspection, a chance for the nation to collectively examine its navel and consider a re-alignment of values that have atrophied since 1776. Maybe even come to a recognition that in order to survive people need to be able to rely on each other. It could be time to revisit some of the beloved myths of rugged individuality fighting off the enemy. Sometimes the enemy is something that can't be shot. Try to discover some new myths of mutual help, and throw in a big dash of generosity on the way. Don't assume everyone who looks different is bad. The worst images that are flashing across our television screens are men with guns while people were starving -- and the dead bodies of old people in wheel chairs. TV crews from around the world were filming the streets of NO (without fear and rescuing people) while the authorities were bleating that they couldn't go in because it was too dangerous.
Like Kim I'm an Australian but some years ago I lived in the US. My children went to the local school where most of the kids were black. What spooked them (and me) was the fact that the school was surrounded by police cars in the afternoon and there were loud hailers calling out for the children to go straight home. Honestly, if I'd been an angry adolescent it would have been enough to make me personally hostile to all authority. Yet we three walked the streets at night without any fear.
So there was a spooky reminder of that authoritatian mindset when the footage was shown of simultanous armed patrols and starvation, with patrols walking around bodies that had lain dead in the street for 5 days (that was a BBC television report). In marked contrast, when the tsunami came in January, Aceh suspended a civil war, the insurgency was put to one side in Sri Lanka, and people helped each other.

Posted by: Jo | September 9, 2005 09:30 AM

Jo,

Thanks for your perspective.

Americans don't all know how to work together and watch out for one another. Some do, yes, but most are just plain selfish and could care less about others. It's the American way of 'independent' thinking - "Do-It-Yourself" : make a life for YOURSELF; fend for YOURSELF - that has made these selfish ones the way they are.

I wonder why we are called "United" States when it's so obvious that we aren't...

BTW, Aaron,

I don't think you understood what I said when you offered this comment to me:

Are you kidding, an uneducated population, listening to rap music and watching reality tv, that's exactly what Bush and his administraton want. A disenfranchised, out of touch, thoughtless population of menial laborers, who don't vote...

My comments were in reference to the future of this country. I believe, like you do here, that Bush and his administration love an uneducated, thoughtless population...and that's what they've got right now, and as I mentioned in my comments, "I don't want to be a part of it." I didn't vote for Bush and I don't wanna be around for the next round - Jeb is probably next...God Save America!!!

Posted by: XOXOXOXOXO | September 9, 2005 11:03 AM

Jo,

That the animals are an afterthought, the bodies aren't even alive, so don't expect them to be hurriedly picked up -- they're trash and there's no rush to pick up trash when New Orleans is already knee deep in it. That's the mentality of the aftermath -- if you're used to all of the dead bodies lying in Iraq after a truck bomb, they're just trash bags to be picked up.

Whoever thought up the disaster plan is so cold to have forgotten about being humane. For even Neandertals took care of things they loved, and at least tried to bury their dead with some dignity.

It seems they wanted a path lab (both of anatomical specimens, and a disease vector) and got it. Complete with vets and a fancy mobile MORGUE -- will they be holding in situ instruction for CE's as well????

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 12:13 PM

XOXOXOXOX is right on how divided we are as a people. The political class in our country has divided and conquered us using various forms of media and sophistry. Conservatives are told to hate liberals, liberals are told to hate conservatives, and anyone who is neither conservative nor liberal is told that their views don't matter.
And yet, the politicians will band together even though they profess to be enemies. Remember the savings and loan scandal years back? It's now a wellknown fact that both of the major parties agreed to delay the controversy until after elections in 1988. Who knows what other shenanigans have gone on throughout the years with both parties banding together to mislead the people.
And yet, the American people buy into all the division and derisiveness out there. Maybe it's human nature to be divisive; Maybe we Americans just do what the TV and powers-that-be tells us to do. One thing I do know is this... united we stand, divided we fall. And, if you can't tell by how dark and miserable our world has been in the last 5 years or so, we are freefalling rapidly into extinction. It's practically inevitable at this point.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 9, 2005 01:19 PM

XOXOXOXOX is right on how divided we are as a people. The political class in our country has divided and conquered us using various forms of media and sophistry. Conservatives are told to hate liberals, liberals are told to hate conservatives, and anyone who is neither conservative nor liberal is told that their views don't matter.
And yet, the politicians will band together even though they profess to be enemies. Remember the savings and loan scandal years back? It's now a wellknown fact that both of the major parties agreed to delay the controversy until after elections in 1988. Who knows what other shenanigans have gone on throughout the years with both parties banding together to mislead the people.
And yet, the American people buy into all the division and derisiveness out there. Maybe it's human nature to be divisive; Maybe we Americans just do what the TV and powers-that-be tells us to do. One thing I do know is this... united we stand, divided we fall. And, if you can't tell by how dark and miserable our world has been in the last 5 years or so, we are freefalling rapidly into extinction. It's practically inevitable at this point.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 9, 2005 01:20 PM

XOXOXOXOX is right on how divided we are as a people. The political class in our country has divided and conquered us using various forms of media and sophistry. Conservatives are told to hate liberals, liberals are told to hate conservatives, and anyone who is neither conservative nor liberal is told that their views don't matter.
And yet, the politicians will band together even though they profess to be enemies. Remember the savings and loan scandal years back? It's now a wellknown fact that both of the major parties agreed to delay the controversy until after elections in 1988. Who knows what other shenanigans have gone on throughout the years with both parties banding together to mislead the people.
And yet, the American people buy into all the division and derisiveness out there. Maybe it's human nature to be divisive; Maybe we Americans just do what the TV and powers-that-be tells us to do. One thing I do know is this... united we stand, divided we fall. And, if you can't tell by how dark and miserable our world has been in the last 5 years or so, we are freefalling rapidly into extinction. It's practically inevitable at this point.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 9, 2005 01:21 PM

Sorry for the double post... not that I was responsible, as the website kind of freaked out when I submitted it the first time; Not sure how it ended up posting it twice.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 9, 2005 01:49 PM

"OK enough of pointing the fingers on one particular institution. The truth is this is EVERYBODY'S fault: local, state, FEMA, government, congress and even the citizens themselves." silhouette

I agree entirely, but I think that the Bush administration hopes to push this down the chain of command as far as possible. Their strategy of passing all the blame onto the state and local governments didn't work, so now FEMA and Michael Brown will take the fall. Now, if only the people can capitalize on this moment to show how this administration is only loyal until their butt is on the line, then they will sell you down the river to save their hide. By the way, what was Michael Brown doing as head of FEMA. He didn't even do a good job with Arabian horses. I guess this is the result of giving key positions to cronies.

"The political class in our country has divided and conquered us using various forms of media and sophistry... And yet, the politicians will band together even though they profess to be enemies." ErinnF

I agree, and I apologize if I have played partisan politics. Yet, I have an ominous feeling about this administration, and must place my energy toward regime change... Though, the liberal politicians have shown that they are equally willing to ignore the plight of the people and spread the pork to their cronies. The liberal people of this country, however, actually do care about the people of this country and the rest of the world...

Peace and love,
Aaron

Posted by: | September 9, 2005 03:08 PM

Aaron, I understand where you are coming from, but I would urge 'buyer beware' when playing partisan politics. Bush didn't get into office alone... he had a little help from Al Gore and John Kerry (not to mention Ralph Nader, whose only purpose seems to be to de-legitamize REAL thrid party potential). As long as you perpetuate the Democrats, you perpetuate the Republicans. The two-party system deflects any legitimate competition from without it, instead allowing those who are subservient to it rise to positions of power within it, those whose greatest strength is that very subservience. Year after year, the American electorate robs itself of the best possible representation by refusing to go outside the two major parties. If I were hiring somebody to work with me, I wouldn't interview only two people, and yet, that is how the American voters treat elections (that's how they're told to treat elections). Thanks to the Constitution, power belongs to the people, but we have abdicated that power to the Republicans and the Democrats.
The obvious solution is a third party, one that might not take over, but could be put in position to counter/balance the shared power of the Republican-Democrat party. And no excuses that this couldn't be done... anything is possible come election time, especially if we stop allowing we the people to be divided and conquered by our political masters. To allow the Republican-Democrat stranglehold to continue is to allow corruption to grow and grow to the point our entire country collapses due to being estranged from it's original purpose.
So, please, reconsider buying into the two-party stranglehold on power. Liberal or conservative, they are not progressive, and progress is what we need if we are to ever re-establish life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in it's truest form. True change is going to come from without the current system, not from within. Then again, it may never come, and we are doomed to failure like any other empire throughout history.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 9, 2005 03:42 PM

I believe that Ralph Nader cares. He stands on principle. Despite the fact that he helped the Republicans maintain power, he truly believes that the people should have a third choice. It is not his fault that the end result of voting for Nader is a vote for the Republicans... He did to the democrats what Ross Perot did to the Republicans.

We do have many parties in this country. However, the way that our constitution is set up, it encourages the two party system. Essentially, they have a monopoly on the highest political positions. We need the equivalent of anti-monopoly laws to break up the political parties.

Yet, maybe we need a different syle of government. Maybe a proportional representation system. Try to get these political parties to amend the constitution to take away their power. It will never happen. The following is from Wikipedia.org:

Proportional representation (PR) is any election system which ensures a proportionally representative result of a democratic election, x% of votes should be represented by x% in the democratic institutions, parliament or congress.

In practice, this is often only possible in various multi-winner electoral systems which try to ensure that the proportional support gained by different groups is accurately reflected in the election result. Proportional representation is also used to describe this (intended) effect.

In practice this usually involves ensuring that political parties in parliament or legislative assemblies receive a number of seats (approximately) proportional to the percentage of vote they received. This is known as party-list proportional representation. Another kind of electoral system that strives to achieve proportional representation, but which does not rely on the existence of political parties is the single transferable vote (STV). Some electoral systems, such as the single non-transferable vote and cumulative voting are sometimes categorized as "semi-proportional".

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 03:55 PM

What third party potential? The only third party with legs would probably be the Religious Right -- who overstayed their welcome in the Republican party.

All the other wannabe so-called parties are either on the fringes, or need to be outlawed for THEIR safety!

Libertarians could've been a legit 3rd party, but since Libertarism is so broad and encompasses both the anarchists to paleoness, it looks like a freak show, and the public views them as such (and probably why they largely exist in the West, and bunker type areas of the nation -- like the deserts of Arizona with the milita movement).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 03:57 PM

I'm listening to gangsta rap, doing pushups, situps and warming up... Any takers...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 05:43 PM

Could you imagine me against little manchild Bill O'Reilly, that fat lazy, drug addicted loser Limbaugh and the rest of 'em in a fair and balanced forum... I would slap 'em around like slabs of juicy, bloody dead meat...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 05:53 PM

"I love him who casts golden words before his deeds and always does even more than he promises: for he wants to go under." Nietsche

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 05:59 PM

"Chop 'em up and put 'em inside the mattress like drug money..." Jay-Z

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 06:23 PM

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." Declaration of Independence

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 06:28 PM

Where in the Constitution does it say 'two-party system'? Nowhere. Even if it is inclined to a two-party system, who says it has to be these two parties we currently have? The two parties in power, that's who.
Ever notice how many popular myths are out there to sustain the two-party system? It's cause those who are in power want to stay in power, and they have been in power for 100+ years.
And what has it lead to? An election that was taken out of the hands of the people in 2000. A terrorist threat unlike any other that may very well be the barbarian that breaks down the gate of our civilization (we created Al Queda by supporting brutal regimes in the Middle East; It was Bin Laden's masterstroke to take his fight to the US instead of those more oppressive regimes). Corruption and cronyism that is now inherent to the system and more widespread than we are allowed to see (what with this dream image we have created of ourselves that is far from reality). Every election being a choice between lesser evils, and an electorate that bemoans that fact but does nothing about it.
While I find your proposal of proportional government valid and interesting, it is somewhat superfluous, in my opinion. Everything we need to set things right is already there in the Constitution; We've got to start using our voting power rather than letting it remain in the psychological and political shackles it is currently in . Otherwise, our course of decline is set.
As for Ralph Nader, actions speak louder than words. Somebody whose been in the Beltway so long can't be expected to really change things. Because he choose to run late last time, the entire Progressive movement in 2004 was sent on a wild goose chase struggling to get him on the ballot in time. If he really meant to help the third party movement, he would have declared much, much earlier and ran a smoother campaign that didn't have to spend so much time struggling just to get him onto the ballot. Even the results of 2000 were used to illegitimize third party relevence in 2004, another blow to the Progressive movement thanks to Ralph Nader (it will be brought up in 2008 as well to deride any outside challenges to Republican-Democrat authority). That's nice of you to assume that Nader has the best of intentions (maybe he does, maybe he doesn't), but what good are those intentions if all they've served to do is to be counterproductive to the very movement he claims he's trying to move forward? Third party relevence has moved backwards thanks to him, not forward. While we've all been spoonfed that in 2000 a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush, I prefer the much more realistic (not propogandist) idea that a vote for Gore was a vote for Bush. The results of 2004 back up this view: Nader was negligible, and it was Kerry who practically handed the presidency to Bush. But that view gets buried while the other gets perpetuated.
To be honest, the deeper I get in discussion with people here, the more I encounter the same thing: Authority is not questioned while conventional wisdom is wholly accepted. For a country that claims to be about free speech, any valid discussion is dominated by the powers-that-be and their bottlenecking of the media and television with their self-perpetuating agendas. Why is the term 'the blame game' part of the national dialogue now? 'Cause Karl Rove decided it would be last weekend, and our top-down society took care of the rest. We've given up independent thought for TV dependent thought, blinded to the puppetry that entails such a mindset.
I suppose I could be dubbed a radical, but I would much rather be a free thinker than a reactionary lemming like so many Americans seem to be, liberal or conservative. And, while I'd love this country to get it's head out of it's collective ass and turn things around, I have no false pretenses that we will do such. The American Constituion is one of the greatest documents/concepts ever devised; Too bad modern day Americans aren't worthy of it.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 9, 2005 06:31 PM

As a small example of a much larger problem within the design of the Constitution... It is possible that the majority of people in this country can vote for the losing candidate, i.e... 2000, where Gore got more of the popular vote but Bush got more of the electoral vote... Againk, only one small example in a number of flaws...

Is it any wonder why Barrack Obama is the first African-American senator since Reconstruction... Oh man.. A document that didn't even count African-Americans as full citizens, yeah... That doesn't even recognize human rights... Even the Organization of African Unity recognizes Human Rights... Yet, this is a modern day concept...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 06:38 PM

This is easy... Give me a tv show...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 06:41 PM

Ten Point Plan

WE WANT FREEDOM. WE WANT POWER TO DETERMINE THE DESTINY OF OUR COMMUNITIES.

WE WANT FULL EMPLOYMENT FOR OUR PEOPLE.

WE WANT AN END TO THE ROBBERY BY THE CAPITALISTS OF OUR COMMUNITIES.

WE WANT DECENT HOUSING, FIT FOR THE SHELTER OF HUMAN BEINGS.

WE WANT DECENT EDUCATION FOR OUR PEOPLE THAT EXPOSES THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS DECADENT AMERICAN SOCIETY. WE WANT EDUCATION THAT TEACHES US OUR TRUE HISTORY AND OUR ROLE IN THE PRESENT-DAY SOCIETY.

WE WANT COMPLETELY FREE HEALTH CARE FOR All PEOPLE.

WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER OF All OPPRESSED PEOPLE INSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO ALL WARS OF AGGRESSION.

WE WANT FREEDOM FOR ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE NOW HELD IN U. S. FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY, CITY AND MILITARY PRISONS AND JAILS. WE WANT TRIALS BY A JURY OF PEERS FOR All PERSONS CHARGED WITH SO-CALLED CRIMES UNDER THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY.

WE WANT LAND, BREAD, HOUSING, EDUCATION, CLOTHING, JUSTICE, PEACE AND PEOPLE'S COMMUNITY CONTROL OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY.

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 06:47 PM

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee... I'm young, I'm beautiful and can't possibly be beat" Muhammed Ali

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 07:01 PM

Not only do I tear it down, but I propose something better... I'm smooth like that...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 07:18 PM

Yo, Aaron,

Think it might be better to at least find the best forum to crash at (try Hannity's -- good pickin's there)? Getting angry here is a waste of resources, and it doesn't give you the audience to sink those teeth into.

Anger isn't the solution, Aaron. Anger is only a step 2 of the grieving process.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | September 9, 2005 08:53 PM

ErinnF,

I just reread your post earlier. It is very insightful and well written... I wish that I had read it more thoroughly the first time... I just got down with my run, so I am a little less feisty... Thanks for enlightening me with your thoughts... Yet, I still think the U.S. Constitution could be improved a bit...

Peace and love,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 9, 2005 08:58 PM

Aaron, thank you for all your input. I actually think that maybe you should indeed go with the Democrats to counter Bush if that's what you feel you should do... make that devil's bargain, and see where it gets you. I hope it gets you the results you want.
As for our Constitution NOT promoting 'pure' democracy, I am fine with that. The Electoral College is meant to balance out state rights within a federal system, which is why we elect our President the way we do rather than by a nationwide head count. Can't say the Constitution is perfect (especially with that 3/5ths clause it originally had for slaves), but it was well thought out and quite an accomplishment for human history.
I've pretty much made my points about optimism and the American electorate, so I am moving on to other forums within The Debate here, as I've espoused just about all the constructive cynicism I can on the matter.

Posted by: ErrinF | September 9, 2005 09:17 PM

To Impeach The President: When will non-Americans realize why it's called the "United STATES of America"?

This thread seems to have degraded into a rehash of side issues.

The results of the disaster were far beyond anything expected (obviously) and at the same time pretty much exactly what the federal, state and local governments have been warned about for years. Just from watching the Weather Channel each hurricane season I knew what would happen if a Cat 4 or above storm hit NO.

Bush's method has been to distract the public from his pro-busines borrow-and-spend agenda. The middle class will be more burdened by debt than before. Education funds that could have made NCLB a success were withdrawn. We lost our chance for a foothold in central Asia by diluting our with a needles Iraq invasion. The country is divided (which is very convenient for the party in power) and the White House has gutted the FEMA Bill Clinton strove to build. So there is plenty of White House responsibility.

Many valid points have been raised. The inbound freeways weren't opened for outbound traffic. City vehicles weren't made available to evacuate residents. The city's designated hurricane shelters were not stocked with food, cots, blankets, emergency power, drinking water and grey water for toilets and bathing. Of course, NO is a relatively poor city and governments are constantly juggling this or that and struggling with taxes as well so it's easy to see why the Superdome was understocked.

The State failed to move National Guard troops and supplies at least to Baton Rouge and in an arc some distance from the city, poised for action when the storm passed. State Patrolmen could have been used to control highway access for those evacuating.

At the very top, the Mayor, Governor and President, the right steps seem to have been taken in a timely fashion but the magnitude of the disaster overwhelmed all resources.

It's easy to sit back and armchair quarterback. Wouldn't be so easy to explain if NO had actually got evacuated, if the various government levels had expended hundreds of milions of dollars for a storm that "might" have gone elsewhere. Lord knows "wolf" has happened often enough.

There were failures and if nothing else, the situation has shown how woefully inadequate the disaster skills of Bush's political appointees was.

But the single most responsible party is the voters. They say NO to taxes and YES to all sorts of other stuff. Whether it's "Let's kill ragheads!" or "Let's bomb abortion clinics!" (I've never understood how one can claim Sanctity of Life as a reason against abortion *and* support the DP), the voters, like children want this toy, that frippery or some other unecessary pretty thing. Had the White House forged ahead with a $200B program for rebuilding the delta and another for raising NO to sea level, the opposition would be fighting tooth and nail to stop it and the voters would be screaming about their wallets and how taxes were cutting into their beach house funds.

WE caused Katrina to be such a disaster in the Gulf. WE allow people to build in hurricane zones and allow coastal environments to degrade thus making storms even worse. WE do these things, not some neverending bureaucracy.

Posted by: Governor Swill | September 10, 2005 12:00 AM

"WE caused Katrina to be such a disaster in the Gulf. WE allow people to build in hurricane zones and allow coastal environments to degrade thus making storms even worse. WE do these things, not some neverending bureaucracy." Governor Swill

I like what you have to say, but I have only one problem with your argument. I don't know if you can blame the people of New Orleans for living there.

First, the people have lived their for generations about gernerations. That means that their entire lives, schools, communities, friendships, understandings, culture, food, socializing, etc. were based in that city, which was very unique in and of itself.

Second, the people who could afford to move to higher ground usually moved to higer ground. Thus, Jefferson Parish, which supported former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in his bid to become Governor of Louisiana, is predominantly white. It is just outside of New Orleans. Many jobs, entertainment (such as movie theaters and book stores) and other luxuries of a middle and upper class population moved out of New Orleans with them. The Garden District in Orleans Parish was also predominantly white and affluent, where Tulane and Loyola University are located...

Fianlly, large parts of New Orleans were left to the poorer classes. Few jobs were available in the city. It was hard to find a movie theater. I remember, once, I drove all over the city looking for a book store... Many buildings were boarded up. The projects were worse than any projects that I have seen, and I lived in Brooklyn for many years... Many of them should have been condemned buildings... Rodent infested and falling down. Many of these people had no social or economic mobility... To suggest that they somehow are responsible for their plight ignores the full scope of the situation and shows some naivety about the demographics of Louisiana...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 10, 2005 01:18 AM

Next, when you consider that the low lying and decrepit parts of New Olreans were intentionally left to the poor and minorities, is it any wonder why the levess were left underfunded during Bush's tenure. Bush allowed the levees to deteriorate while he was in office, despite repeated warnings of the high risk that the citizens of New Orleans faced if a hurricane should come their way.

However, Bush had no trouble spending money on his cronies pet projects... Please review the highway and energy bills recently passed and signed into legislation... Bush is a spend and don't tax Republican... Just look at our national deficit... He didn't fund the levees because of its constituents... They don't vote for him anyway...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 10, 2005 01:27 AM

Maybe people lving in California, you know San Diego, San Francisoco, Los Angeles, should all get up and move. Anyone living in Florida should also move, including Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa Bay, should also get up and move... Maybe all the people living in Thailand should move too, there might be another Tsunamil... Maybe the people in Japan should move, God knows I experienced earthquakes all of the time when I was living there...

Or maybe governments should upkeep the barriers against natural disasters... For instance, promote healthy fuel standard to reduce global warming and our dependence on fossil fuels, fund levees, rebuild wetlands, organize a national disaster response that acutally takes into consideration that much of the local infrastructure and defenses may be destroyed...

Am I really making arguments that aren't obvious, or, more likely, is it really impossible to defend this administration's response?

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 10, 2005 01:45 AM

ErinnF,

This is my first time visiting this debate blog part of the Washington Post website... I had no idea that other debates were going on... I now realize the topic... You are completely correct... I think I have exhausted this debate as well... Thanks...

Peace,
Aaron

Posted by: New Orleans Blues | September 10, 2005 02:03 AM

This business of optimism seems to be number 1 on the conservative republican hit parade of talking point nonsense.

Isn't it a bit fanciful for republicans to be demanding a sunny, optimistic outlook from the rest of us when for the twp terms of Bill Clinton's administration, they were fairly sopping in dire pessimism even when Clinton did things that they now support when Bush does them--like lobbing missiles into terrorist sanctuaries.

Trust me. The very minute a democrat finishes taking the oath, republican optimism will vanish as quickly as flatulence in the wind.

Posted by: jaxas | September 10, 2005 10:21 AM

Sigh.....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/09/AR2005090901821.html

Here goes that rally to "get the youth vote", and sorry, the youth don't vote.

The difference between the 60's and the 00's is, that in the 60's any man could be called up and sent off to Vietnam. They rallied because it affected them personally -- they didn't want to die, let alone sit out in a jungle without dope and some Jimi Hendrix. With nothing really personally affecting the youth, they're "tuned out" of the political process (nevermind are more cynical of the political process -- since the last national movement died with the New Frontier).

Dems are pleading, ranting, and hoping to cash in on the ideology of the youth. But they're not understanding that the youth today aren't anything like us, or our parents. Like in Rome, they're spoiled by creature comforts and demand more of them (which parents give readily, and compound their credit debt to do so). Until they finally are living under their own roof -- and away from their parent(s) credit cards -- life for the youth is not much more than trying to find a chick or maaaaaan; cramming for a test; watching the latest TV series; mess with their iPod; use their neat camera cellphone; and hanging out at the mall.

Now what revolution can the Democrats offer this new generation, when they have everything but a home of their own and a 6 figured salary?

[Nothing].

The kids will have fun ranting before a major election (they're friends are doing it, so why not?), but when it comes to walking into the voter's booth come election day, they're nowhere to be found.

The hope of the Democrat party (for now), is to attract that 30/40 year-old base. The ones who have life experience; who's been knocked around due to injustice; pays rent/mortagage; have kids; have bills; and starting and maturing in their careers -- yet haven't moved to the conservative side YET.

Appeal to the kids, but don't spend to much time on expecting them to do more than fill out an online petitition, and complain online, "BUSH MUST GO!"

They're connected to their own material world us 30/40ish folks gave up in the 90s -- this iPod revolution -- and the next hip song that they swiped on a P2P network; burned into their own personal music CD; carried to a 70's revival meet, to smoke dope and listen to Jimi Hendrix's rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" trying to act like they were revolutionaries).

Social psychologists and cultural anthropologists beware!

SandyK
P.S -- They're not going to move the anger about Katrina any which way. That anger is with PROPERTY owners. The young adults didn't lose 20 years of hard work.

Posted by: SandyK | September 10, 2005 02:07 PM

Thanks for your comments Aaron. My intent was directed more at the explosion of people who have recently moved to storm threatened areas where private insurers won't write flood protection at all (Clue!). Instead, the federal goverment underwrites it. As losses continue to climb, tax dollars will get involved in replacing the homes of people who chose to live in a dangerous area. I don't particularly care to underwrite somebody else's beach house.

That said, coastal cities have value, but historically, they're usually built some degree inland or at least at the back or sides of a sheltered harbor.

Race has been played as a component of this disaster. Being white, I don't think it's race or not merely so. Poor people always get shafted. Non voters likewise get screwed at every turn. The fact that more blacks than whites (as %) are poor does have it's basis in race relations over the past few centuries. That said, I think this tremendous loss of life and extensive search and rescue was caused by the simple facts that the impoverished of any color not only lacked the resources for getting away, they also tend to vote in much smaller numbers than more affluent citizens and therefore have less clout.

Had NO been a city of mostly affluent and wealthy persons of any color(s), there would have been less loss of life, faster and more efficient response at all levels and the rebuilding of the city wouldn't be debated, it would just be done.

Posted by: | September 10, 2005 11:01 PM

Is it true that the ferocity of Katrina could, in part, have been caused by global warming?

Although I guess Americans will never know, 'cos they threaten their scientists and force them to shut up and present no facts at all.

Like Creationism - a complete lack of facts that should never, EVER be presented as science. Oh of course - GOD created Katrina, didn't he?

Don't sign the Kyoto treaty guys - then God has a better chance of cleaning up your cities. And maybe sending you all bankrupt so the rest of the world can be left in peace.

Kim...

Posted by: Kim | September 11, 2005 08:57 PM

TWO QUESTIONS FOR JUDGE ROBERTS:

1 - SCENARIO: YOU ARE THE FATHER OF A 21 YEAR OLD SINGLE DAUGHTER. SHE IS RAPED, AND BECOMES PREGNANT. SHE CHOOSES TO ABORT THE PREGNANCY: WOULD YOU RESPECT HER DECISION TO EXERCISE HER CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO PRIVACY (DECIDING TO TAKE AN ACTION ON HER PERSON WITHOUT SUBJECTION TO FEDERAL LEGAL CRIMINAL VIOLATION)?

2 - SCENARIO: SAME AGE AS ABOVE, EXCEPT THAT YOUR DAUGHTER, MARRIED OR SINGLE, BECOMES PREGNANT. DURING HER PREGANCY, SHE IS INFORMED BY HER PHYSICIAN THAT A VERY STRONG OUTCOME EXISTS THAT IF SHE WERE TO CONTINUE HER PREGNANCY TO TERM, SHE WOULD PUT HER OWN LIFE AT RISK. SHE SEEKS SECOND AND THIRD MEDICAL OPINIONS THAT CONCUR WITH HER PHYSICIAN. SHE CHOOSES TO ABORT THE PREGNANCY TO SAVE HER LIFE, AND HER HUSBAND/PARTNER AGREES WITH HER WISHES: WOULD YOU RESPECT HER DECISION TO EXERCISE HER RIGHT TO PRIVACY (DECIDING TO TAKE AN ACTION ON HER PERSON VIOLATION?

Posted by: Greg | September 13, 2005 01:23 PM

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