Tuesday, October 30, 2007

California-Louisiana Contrasts: More "Hot Air" from the Right

On the appropriately named conservative blog Hot Air, they are doing an excellent job following the Bush administration's lead of blowing smoke up our asses in times of crisis. However, they get much props for admitting the Right's long-known (but only recently to them, I think) technique of responding to obvious fact with "hot air" (Blog Founder: "We fight hot air with Hot Air." [Notice how their brilliant use of capitalization establishes once and for all that their Hot Air supersedes all other hot air. Plus, I'm pretty sure God said so in the Bible somewheres.)

Unfortunately, I don't think Californians need more hot air right now, and I know that those of us sweating to rebuild the Gulf Coast without much help from conservatives at the federal level don't need more of it.

It makes me ill to even give attention to their efforts to -- yet again -- politicize the destruction and death of fellow human beings. Nevertheless, I feel it my patriotic duty to point out -- yet again -- that the feds fucked up. Funny how the party of personal responsibility can't seem to own up to its own responsibilities. Louisiana's state and local officials could have supplied every survivor with handheld electric fans, frozen daiquiris and daily meals from Antoine's whilst they, our fellow Americans, waited for Lords Bush and Chertoff to decide whether the levees had been breached or merely overtopped before sending help (FYI: It makes no fucking difference!!!). REGARDLESS OF THE (IN)COMPETENCY OF BLANCO, NAGIN, JUNIOR RODRIGUEZ, WALTER MAESTRI, and even AARON "WOLFMAN" BROUSSARD, the simple fact remains that THE FEDS DROPPED THE BALL, THEN DRAGGED THEIR FEET PICKING IT UP WHEN IT CAME TO FULFILLING THE ROLE THEY HAD SET FORTH FOR THEMSELVES in the aftermath of Katrina... (that bitch, I might add).

It so happens that I am finishing a disturbingly eye-opening book called Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security (by Christopher Cooper & Robert Block)*, which highlights that Louisiana officials "excelled" in the areas of the FEMA-coordinated emergency plan that had been completed pre-Katrina. My friends at Hot Breath or whatever marvel at the wonder of a state enormously larger than Louisiana evacuating 250,000 people...over the course of a few days. Contrary to popular misbelief, you don't always get DAYS of warning that a hurricane will strike. About 1.2 million people left Greater New Orleans in less than 40 hours (less than 2 days in non-fuzzy math terms), without a fraction of the problems Texas had with evacuations only weeks later before Rita struck, AND there are really only 3 or 4 routes off this island commonly known as New Orleans.
*recently purchased copy at local Barnes&Noble for $5.98*

It took FEMA 5 days to get a communications truck to N.O. from Baton Rouge when the roads were clear heading into New Orleans, and 2 days to transport ice that was sitting only 40 miles away to Biloxi. The governors of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama literally picked up the feds' slack and orchestrated their own disaster plans, not because us po' Suh-thunahs cain't do fo' us-selves, but because the feds said for years had told them "Oh, don't worry about that. FEMA will do that," etc., etc.

There are tons more reasons you can't compare Katrina with the CA wildfires, as nicely laid out in Sunday's T-P feature, par exemple:

Katrina's scale of devastation and its impact on humanity, however, was far greater. The number of homes destroyed or still threatened in California is about 10 percent of the roughly 200,000 left uninhabitable by Katrina and the often overlooked Hurricane Rita, which struck three weeks later.

In New Orleans alone, 140 of 180 square miles flooded, -- rendering uninhabitable a residential zone seven times the size of Manhattan. Across the region, its winds and rains wreaked havoc to a 90,000-square-mile swath of the Gulf Coast, an area twice the size of the entire state of New York.

Katrina forced the evacuation of 1.2 million people -- 500,000 remained displaced after four months. Almost 2,000 people died in Katrina.

The death toll from the fires stood at seven as of Saturday.

But hey, facts schmacts -- the folks at Hot Ass Breath got some GREAT talking points out there, and what's more important and American than that?

No comments: