Saturday, September 03, 2005

this was predicted... years ago

Before I vent a little steam, let me suggest an idea my girlfriend came up with to help the stranded people in N.O: Have the various cruise ship lines send their ships to the city to provide floating housing. It'd be a lot more comfortable than the Astrodome or any other refugee camp, and would also serve as a form of transportation for maybe 1,000 people per ship (far more than any bus!). Maybe they could then arrange to take the groups to various cities nationwide so that the cost of helping them doesn't all fall on one region.

I understand the Navy is sending a carrier there, and that would provide space for many more people than a cruise ship, but the Navy's noted for pretty spartan accomodations. Given how much these people have already suffered and the poverty many of them have been facing for years, it's long since time they got treated well for once.

OK, now for the rant:

Anyone who's awake is sad at the suffering in New Orleans and/or mad at the fact that this could have been prevented. Obviously, Katrina herself couldn't have been, but the fact that N.O. flooded could have.

The following comes from National Geographic, Oct. 2004 (yes, 2004):

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

When did this calamity happen? It hasn't—yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great.

"The killer for Louisiana is a Category Three storm at 72 hours before landfall that becomes a Category Four at 48 hours and a Category Five at 24 hours—coming from the worst direction," says Joe Suhayda, a retired coastal engineer at Louisiana State University who has spent 30 years studying the coast. Suhayda is sitting in a lakefront restaurant on an actual August afternoon sipping lemonade and talking about the chinks in the city's hurricane armor. "I don't think people realize how precarious we are,"
(Hurricane expert Joe) Suhayda says, watching sailboats glide by. "Our technology is great when it works. But when it fails, it's going to make things much worse."

Suhayda also comments in some depth in this PBS transcript from 2002.

Also, they had a "dry run" of this last year, with Hurricane Ivan, and apparently learned nothing...

Of course, Bush doesn't bother to read, especially anything that might have some semblance of science behind it. Instead, he told the world Tuesday he'd magnanimously cut his vacation short on FRIDAY, and when he did go to N.O., he flew OVER the city, but didn't bother to land in it. Any REAL leader would've gotten off his ass immediately and taken the next possible flight there. (Same's true of Dick(head) Cheney -- he apparently doesn't feel the loss of an American city by "merely" natural catastrophe is enough to even tell the country where he IS for six days. SO, wait... If BOTH Bush and Cheney are vacationing at the same time... who is running the show?!?

Oh, BTW, he apparently believes he can shut down food deliveries at will, :

Bush visit halts food delivery
By Michelle Krupa
Staff writer


Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.

The provisions, secured by U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, and state Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom, baked in the afternoon sun as Bush surveyed damage across southeast Louisiana five days after Katrina made landfall as a Category 4 storm, said Melancon’s chief of staff, Casey O’Shea.

“We had arrangements to airlift food by helicopter to these folks, and now the food is sitting in trucks because they won’t let helicopters fly,” O’Shea said Friday afternoon.

The food was expected to be in the hands of storm survivors after the president left the devastated region Friday night, he said.

The more this goes on, the more convinced I am that Bush and others who took funds from the Army Corps of Engineers' plans to strengthen the levees should be prosecuted for the deaths the flooding and chaos have caused -- many counts of negligent homicide, at least. Politically speaking, Bush is a kind of father figure, and his treatment of the American people can be considered neglect, at best. Any real father who was warned that his children were in a situation that would harm them but did nothing about it would be prosecuted, and so should Bush & Cheney.

Oh, and if THAT's not enough to be pissed about, the Houston Chronicle reported that Halliburton is making money off the disaster by cleaing up the region's Navy facilities.


OK. Enough venting for now.

If you haven't already visited them, here are a couple of good sites on the unfolding crisis in The Big (Un)easy:

The Tattered Coat
The Interdictor
Broken Windows
Larry King interview re: Red Cross not being allowed into N.O.

And a list of major places to donate here. but if you go here, PLEASE ignore "Operation Blessing." That's terrorist preacher Pat Robertson's outfit, and if that's not enough reason to avoid it, see this.

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