Monday, June 16, 2008

Katrina, The Facts

I wasn't going to post again today, but I'm angry and need to vent or otherwise I'll go home beat a pillow with a tennis racket.

There have only been a handful of times in my life that I've been truly offended. Call me happy-go-lucky. However, every so often I'm reminded of the last time I nearly, and truly, snapped. I was at a bar for happy hour the weekend after Hurricane Katrina struck, and some idiot wanna be intellectual suggested that those stranded on roofs deserved it for not evacuating when they are told. So I may or may not have had double digits beers threatened to smash my beer in his face...and unlike Walter Sobchak, I'm a passivist.

So I'm reading a football message board which is, of course, full of intellectual heavyweights those undeterred by the wisdom, "better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to speak allowed and remove all doubt internet anonymity and I come across a post updating the disasterous floods in the midwest, and the impending threat to the University of Iowa's campus. Some fool had to "remove all doubt," by steering the subject to some personal agenda by threateningly suggesting, "they better not get all uppity and blame the government like they did after Katrina," [paraphrased].

While I'm not sure who "they" are, or why "they" moved from NOLA to Iowa City (unlucky), I thought I would just lay out the facts that are indisputable without getting into the he said/she said blame game of left vs. right:

1. The United States federal government rejected hundreds of millions in aid from various countries. We knew this immediately afterward, but apparently it wasn't a big enough story until the WaPo "uncovered" the story a year ago.
Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors.

The current administration sure likes to "go it alone."

2. Recently reported, $85 million in supplies was just given away after sitting in warehouses for years afterwards, still unpacked but ready to head to NOLA. It just never made it.

3. The levees around New Orleans had never been upgraded since the 60's. I might as well have been out there holding back flood waters with a supersoaker. See what other "first-world" countries were able to construct.

4. Our rail system, as Kunstler puts it would shame Bulgaria, and was unfit to evacuate the tens of thousands who were without means to get stuck in traffic flee on the few highways out of NOLA. A functioning rail system could have evacuated thousands every five minutes, whereas the highways inched along at a few miles per hour. There were buses, but some were unwilling to part with their pets (if it were me, well let's just say my mutt better get over her fear of water).