First off, let me apologize for the lack of links and other HTML goodies. Apparently, even if you put in the HTML code, Blogger doesn't recognize it on posts done by email. So my posts will be without hypertext links for the foreseeable future.
Now, on to the Heartlessness...
The chorus of blame attacking the federal government in general, and President Bush specifically, is flat out stupid and ignorant. First of all, as I pointed out yesterday, preparing for and responding to a natural disaster are properly the purview of the state and local governments. So why haven't I heard any criticism of the government of the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana?
Now, I understand that, given how rapidly Katrina increased in power, it was simply a logistical impossibility to completely evacuate New Orleans before it hit. The transportation assets required to move the up to 100,000 people who lacked the means to leave the city on their own can't just be conjured out of thin air. If you estimate that one bus can carry 50 people, it would have required at least 2,000 bus trips to clear the city. Just a SWAG, but that means, in hindsight, they should have started the evacuation process-meaning moving busses to the city-back when Katrina was a Category 1 storm moving across Florida. And at that time, nobody predicted that Katrina would be stronger that a Category 3. Even if there had been perfect forecasting, did a plan even exist to get everyone out of New Orleans? Did the city and state governments have a contingency plan to secure the necessary transportation assets, and to assemble all the people who would need to be moved at co
llection points so they could be moved? The city, or at least the New Orleans school district owns some busses-I've seen TV shots of them up to their roofs in water. Why weren't they used to at least start moving people once Mayor Nagin ordered the city evacuated? And why isn't anyone asking Mayor Nagin these questions?
Next, the city obviously had plans to use buildings like the Superdome and the convention center as shelters. All well and good. But just as obviously, they had no plans as to what to do with the people taking shelter there if they couldn't return to their homes after the storm passed. Why didn't anyone think of the fact that the toilets wouldn't work if the city water system shut down, and that thousands of people generate a lot of urine and feces that has to go somewhere? Why didn't they have a plan to get these people out of the city if a storm made the city uninhabitable. The state government should have been assembling every school bus they could get their hands on in the northeast part of the state before the storm hit. Quite obviously, they weren't. And yet nobody is blaming Governor Blanco for this failure.
And for all the people who had the means and opportunity to leave the area, but chose not to and are now demanding help: shut the fuck up. You made your choice, now you've got to live with the consequences.
Finally, another question that isn't being asked enough: did federal government programs, such as government-provided flood insurance and subsidized disaster relief loans, contribute to the scope of the disaster? (Note: IMO, such programs are well outside the limited powers defined in the Constitution as being granted to Congress, and therefore have no business existing.) From the Fort Wayne (Indiana) News-Sentinel:
"How far should the federal government go in helping out people who are not insured but who suffer losses in natural disasters? Do the soft-hearted disaster-relief inclinations of politicians encourage people to live and invest in disaster-prone areas? Would the insurance market do a better job than the feds of making people size up the risks they face? ... Finding the right answers is the key to preventing future disasters from being even worse."
Anyone who lives in areas prone to hurricanes, or tornados, or floods, or earthquakes, or whatever, knows that they are at risk of being hit by a disaster. They should take the potential costs, and the cost of insuring themselves, into account when deciding where they want to live. If they choose to live there anyway, the government should not take money from their fellow citizens (taxes) to help sheild people from the consequences of their decisions. If you want to live in hurricane country, you should have to bear the cost of insuring your home, business, etc. Insurance companies will insure just about anything, if you pay them enough. When the federal government provides low cost insurance, it it basically taking money from you and me and giving it to people who are making an unwise decision-a decision they might not make if you and I weren't subsidizing the cost.