In the world in which we live, it’s actually pretty easy to forget that nature trumps technology. For all our computers, machines, and other man-made paraphernalia, we still can’t control Mother Nature to any great extent. (Which, of course, is one of the things that makes me a hard-core skeptic over the man-made global warming thing – but that’s a topic for another time.)
I’m originally from (North) Louisiana, and while I’ve never lived through a hurricane up close and personal, I have lived in Baton Rouge, and spent a lot of happy hours in New Orleans. So the idea that The Big Easy is getting pounded once again hits home in a big way.
As tragic as this is, before the mainstream media’s Greek chorus somehow finds a way to blame THIS on on the GOP/Bush, it might be useful to observe a few pertinent facts about New Orleans and why it is to hurricanes what mobile homes are to tornadoes:
- New Orleans is below-sea level. The only thing that keeps it dry are huge levees and lots of pumps. From an engineering standpoint, New Orleans is a disaster waiting to happen.
- Louisiana (in general) and New Orleans (specifically) are rife with political corruption, kickbacks and under-the-table, back-room deals on virtually every public works program. When the levees failed, you can thank the politicians dating back to well before the Huey P. Long era for their propensity to put themselves (and their pockets they were busy lining with taxpayer’s money) ahead of the safety of the populace. Mistakes were made – but they were made well before George Bush came into office. Oh, and the Bush Administration had NOTHING to do with the levees – but got all the blame.
- By law, the Governor of a state must ASK the President for assistance before he can send in troops and aid. Then-Louisiana Governor Katherine Blanco refused to allow Bush to send help for three days. Yet Bush got the blame. Nice.
- Mayor Ray “Chocolate Town” Nagin is an idiot. And the fine folks of New Orleans re-elected him AFTER Katrina. (Guys…you get the politicians and government you vote for…and deserve.)
- Bush’s biggest mistake was nominating that moron as head of FEMA. (You remember…the guy who was more concerned about how he looked on camera than he did with doing a good job.) In one fell swoop, FEMA undid decades of stellar work, turning the agency from a respected branch of the government into a late-night comic joke. It will take years to repair the damage to that reputation. But they seem to be making great strides in that regard.
- I can’t decide if the reporters that choose to hang back and report from the most dangerous places in the storm are brave – or just glory-seeking idiots. Hope they get hazard-duty pay. One o’ these days, somebody’s gonna get hurt. (On the other hand, the jury is emphatically NOT out on Geraldo Rivera. He IS a glory-seeking idiot.)
- Sending Federal aid to New Orleans and expecting positive results is a lot like giving your wallet to a grifter fresh out of prison, and expecting to get it back, unharmed. The only way to help the people of New Orleans is to allow/incentivize private industry to rebuild, and to put a combination of Federal watchdog agency AND the press on the case for oversight. That MIGHT work. Giving the money to the Louisiana government won’t. (Although, Gov. Bobby Jindal is an ethical guy – he’s only one guy, and he has to fight over 100 years of institutionalized corruption in LA government.)
- I feel sorry for the GOP. The timing of their convention is unfortunate. Their response is appropriate. The Left’s response to the GOP problem is (as usual) childish and inappropriate. Michael (“Pizza the Hut”) Moore said something to the effect that having a hurricane effectively cancel the GOP convention proves there is a God. Nice.
- One of the reports about the oil rigs in the Gulf stated that, over the last three years, the oil industry has spent BILLIONS to upgrade/strengthen/modernize/reinforce all their production/drilling rigs, to avoid the kinds of damage they experienced during Katrina & Rita, three years ago. But when pundits get on their high horses about “the obscene profits made by Big Oil” they leave out the parts about them spending a huge portion of those ‘obscene profits’ on protecting and upgrading their oil rigs, so they won’t be at-risk in a hurricane. From what I hear, nobody talks about profit margins. I don’t care how much (or how little) you make – if you’re profit margins are around 5%, you’re not making obscene profits. Period.
- It looks to me like this will be one of the government’s finest hours – on both the state and federal levels. The good news is that they’ve learned their lessons from Katrina, and seem to have made changes that have made the government’s response work like a well-oiled machine. (I predict you won’t hear a lot about that on CBS/NBC/ABC/et cetera. Two reasons: good news is not nearly as newsworthy as bad, and they cannot bring themselves to say anything good about the Bush Administration.)
So let’s all pray for the people of the Gulf Coast – especially those in coastal Mississippi and the Louisiana Gulf coast. While it looks like things are not as bad as they might be, they’re not outta the woods yet. They need our prayers.