New Orleans

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Lucus Eques
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New Orleans

Post by Lucus Eques » Fri Sep 02, 2005 3:10 pm

I noticed that there hasn't been a topic started on the subject of New Orleans' destruction by a hurricane, and the devistation of the American south. How are our resident Textkittens who live in the area? I hope all are safe.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4207202.stm
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Post by William » Fri Sep 02, 2005 3:24 pm

Ditto, Lucus.

I can't stop thinking about the people who are trapped in the terrible conditions there. The reports get worse by the hour.

WB

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Re: New Orleans

Post by mariek » Fri Sep 02, 2005 4:35 pm

It is very sad indeed, all that devastation, all those people, it makes me weep. Even my 5 month old (who usuall can't sit still) will sit still while we watch the news, it must be very sobering for her too cuz she sits still with a blank expression. She must pick up on my mood or something. It seems like relief efforts can't get there fast enough. And I can never understand why some people have to make a bad situation worse by looting, etc.

If you're already an Amazon shopper and want to make a donation to the Re Cross, you can do so from the Amazon site. They have set up a convenient link for you to make your donation (just like how they did for the SE Asian tsunami).

If you want to make a donation to any organization, I would suggest checking their websit to see if they accept online donations; I think they get the money faster that way (compared to sending a check).

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Post by annis » Fri Sep 02, 2005 4:38 pm

We textkittens have some idea what can be lost to time. The stories coming out of N.O. are another reminder that civilization is a fine and fragile thread.

Most of us here have used Amazon to increase our libraries. They make it simplicity itself to donate to the Red Cross. No new books this month.
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Post by PeterD » Fri Sep 02, 2005 5:19 pm

HUEY LONG
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Post by Yhevhe » Sat Sep 03, 2005 12:17 am

My cousin went with her husband and baby to an uncle's house in Texas... but as far as I know she lost her house with everything...

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Hurricanes

Post by nostos » Sat Sep 03, 2005 12:34 am

This isn't a case of the media blowing the destruction of a hurricane out of proportion; 230,000 km, mei di, and made worse by the looters (it's hard to believe that anyone can put morality aside so drastically).

Such destruction is impossible for me to even conceive. It seems shades of the earth saying enough of you already. But enough of my loquacity when all that can be said by me is englobed in silence.

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Sat Sep 03, 2005 12:38 am

Yhevhe wrote:My cousin went with her husband and baby to an uncle's house in Texas... but as far as I know she lost her house with everything...
I'm glad that they at least got out of the city in good shape and have somebody to care for them.

If I didn't have any food, I would be looting those shops. The police officers understand that the looting is how people are getting what they need and mostly keep the looting under control, not stopping it. At least the food looting. There have been lootings of gun shops too...

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Post by nostos » Sat Sep 03, 2005 12:48 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote: If I didn't have any food, I would be looting those shops. The police officers understand that the looting is how people are getting what they need and mostly keep the looting under control, not stopping it. At least the food looting.
I hadn't thought of that, thanks to my comfortable existence and my not paying much attention to the happenings in the world around me. The latter I'm not proud of. I would be too, of course I would. More power to those who need it.

And yes, I'm glad their cousin got out and I implicitly hope for the best for all people in the situation; I feel for them, I shouldn't say more because I don't have any idea what it's like to be there.

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Post by Bert » Sat Sep 03, 2005 1:47 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:

If I didn't have any food, I would be looting those shops. The police officers understand that the looting is how people are getting what they need and mostly keep the looting under control, not stopping it. At least the food looting. There have been lootings of gun shops too...
I have not heard of complaints or looting for food. That can almost be equated with foraging. Besides that, food would spoil if it did not get eaten. The plundering of stores and homes is of a completely different nature.
nostos said that it is hard to believe that anyone can put morality aside so drastically. I don't know if those people have morality to put aside.

I was surpriced to hear that New Orleans is below sea level.
Lots of the Netherland is but I did not know that other countries had land
below sea level as well.
The Netherlands is protected by dunes and dikes but I heard that N.O. is protected by levies. Is there any difference between a dike and a levy?
Are there any estimates how long it is going to take to repair the levies and pump the water out? I assume that it would require pumping or is sea level at low tide lower that land so that a lot of the water will flow out.

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Post by annis » Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:02 am

Bert wrote:The plundering of stores and homes is of a completely different nature.
nostos said that it is hard to believe that anyone can put morality aside so drastically. I don't know if those people have morality to put aside.
This morning on the news I heard the mayor talking about this. He suspected that drug addicts now several days without a hit are responsible for the most violent looting and robbing. It would explain the attempts on hospitals and hospital supply vehicles.
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Post by annis » Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:06 am

Bert wrote:Are there any estimates how long it is going to take to repair the levies and pump the water out?
Last I heard at least a month, but most likely longer, though I'm not sure anyone has enough information for a good estimate now.

This will probably kill many of the city's trees, another reconstruction danger.

Edit: Oy. Army Corps of Engineers is now saying probably three months to drain all of N.O.
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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Sat Sep 03, 2005 3:53 am

Bert wrote:I was surpriced to hear that New Orleans is below sea level.
Lots of the Netherland is but I did not know that other countries had land
below sea level as well.
There are a number of regions in California which are below sea level, though thankfully most of them are inland. However even the inland areas need to be careful of flooding from local rivers, or occasionally, rain.

There are areas next to the Mississippi which get flooded every five years. People always criticize the government for giving money to rebuild in those areas so they can get flooded again five years later.

The most infamous area below sea level is Death Valley, which is not only has the lowest elevation of any part of the United States, but also has some of the highest temperatures. It is basically a salt water lake where all the water dried up. Since most of the inhabitants are shriveled up dead bodies, flooding in Death Valley is an improvement, not a disaster.
I have not heard of complaints or looting for food. That can almost be equated with foraging. Besides that, food would spoil if it did not get eaten. The plundering of stores and homes is of a completely different nature.
I have heard of looting for food. Many stores have food; therefore looters go there to loot for food (many owners evacuated, and others are willing to let the looters in because of the gravity of the situation). Considering the desparation of people there, I don't even blame them for looting evacuated houses for food. There are people in the Superdome who went three or four days without eating or drinking; food is a problem.

That does not mean I accept all forms of looting. Looting for jewelry, besides being stupid under the circumstances, is wrong because it is pure greed. I shuddered when I heard about the gun shop lootings. Granted, with all the violence going on there, I might want a gun to defend myself, but the gun-looters are for the most part trying to escalate the violence and steal from other desperate people, not mere self-defence.

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Post by chad » Sat Sep 03, 2005 4:37 am

hi, if it's the case that people are stealing to get food and addiction drugs &c then we are unjustly getting fed a very different story here through the world media. unlike the tsunami aftermath where people rallied we're being told of rape pillage murder and people preying on each other, shooting at aid helicopters, military shoot to kill citizens &c. it's too much to take in, you just watch it in disbelief how quickly things can fall apart.

edit: i should add that this is just what we're being told, i personally have no idea what's going on, i just feel sorry for the people who look so sad on tv and for those who've lost so much.

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Sat Sep 03, 2005 5:05 am

chad wrote: edit: i should add that this is just what we're being told, i personally have no idea what's going on, i just feel sorry for the people who look so sad on tv and for those who've lost so much.
I too am relying on what I get from the media. The people I know who survived Katrina (with minimal loss too) are in Florida, not the Gulf Coast.

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Post by mariek » Sat Sep 03, 2005 6:32 am

Here are two websites I recently discovered, they allow you to look up your favorite charity organizations and see how they are rated. It's very interesting to see how much money goes to aid, administration, & fund raising.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/
http://www.networkforgood.org/Default.aspx


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Post by Carola » Sun Sep 04, 2005 1:59 am

I find it very difficult to understand why people in wheelchairs etc were left in New Orleans and not evacuated out before the hurricane hit? What went wrong here? And why wasn't food and water left in the shelters? I hope we all learn from this disaster and make much better plans for the future, it would be tragic if all those people suffered and died in vain, only to have it all happen again a few years later. It isn't just in the USA, we have seen two dreadful disasters with the Asian Tsunami and now the hurricane. Perhaps we should vote for politicians who make long term plans for humanity rather than "media faces". And that's going to happen isn't it? Yeah - right. In my dreams.

When one of our cities, Darwin, was wiped out by a cyclone it took years to rebuild. It was much smaller than New Orleans. However, all the new buldings are much more cyclone-proof and I think it made people more aware of how to handle these disasters. But the human and emotional cost is something we probably never learn to handle.

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Sep 04, 2005 5:47 am

Disaster preparation is something which cannot be done by the government alone. Having the right politicians won't do squat if people do not cooperate, though I do think the goverment should take the greater share of blame in New Orleans. California has some of the strictest building codes in the nation, but it is up to the citizens to prepare supplies to last a few days lest an earthquake happen. It is not merely the politicians, but human nature, which is at fault.

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Post by Carola » Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:52 pm

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:Disaster preparation is something which cannot be done by the government alone. Having the right politicians won't do squat if people do not cooperate, though I do think the goverment should take the greater share of blame in New Orleans. California has some of the strictest building codes in the nation, but it is up to the citizens to prepare supplies to last a few days lest an earthquake happen. It is not merely the politicians, but human nature, which is at fault.
I agree, but a person in a wheelchair suffering from dementia should not be left to fend for themselves in any civilised society. I saw on BBC World that a whole nursing home full of such people was left for a week with no help - one of the carers was in tears and help only seemed to arrive when one of the BBC reporter started broadcasting the situation. By this time they had lost quite a few patients - they couldn't even keep the bodies properly stored. Maybe we are only seeing the bad news, but it still seems that despite the storm being predicted very accurately there wasn't much done to help the poor and sick in advance.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:01 am

Just to clarify the nature of the looting: the "looters" officially are those of a less than savory disposition who are stealing merchandise and luxury items from stores and people's homes, to sell, presumably — truly, those are real thieves. But those who are taking food and water and whatever else they need to survive are not considered looters, or even criminals.
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Post by edonnelly » Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:13 am

Carola wrote:but it still seems that despite the storm being predicted very accurately there wasn't much done to help the poor and sick in advance.
One of the reports I saw said that New Orleans has an evacuation plan on the books that includes using public transportation to evacuate those who cannot evacuate by themselves for whatever reason. Did anyone else hear about this? If it is true, there will be a lot people asking why it wasn't implemented when the mandatory evacuation had been ordered.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:37 am

It was implemented. The people who stayed largely chose to stay.
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Post by annis » Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:47 pm

Lucus Eques wrote:The people who stayed largely chose to stay.
Where in the world did you hear that?
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Post by mingshey » Mon Sep 05, 2005 1:11 pm

annis wrote:
Lucus Eques wrote:The people who stayed largely chose to stay.
Where in the world did you hear that?
I heard people saying that too. One of the reason was said to be that they were so poor and uneducated that they knew they had few chance to make living wherever else they had gone. It might sound to be a rumor coined to ignite the criticism about the social class difference. But it sounded feasible so far. At least such things as poor people finding their abidings in a naturally insecure places where the real estate is cheaper and getting caught in a natural disaster often happens. Not that it is plausible, but it is the dark face of our human society. So, if they chose to stay it doesn't mean they deserve their tragedy, it only means they are caught between nature and poverty. They have to be saved from both.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:17 pm

Where in the world did you hear that?
Despite the survivors' own testimony, it follows logically: every single person was ordered, ordered out of the city due to the pending natural disaster. All manner of transportation was afforded to every citizen; the city has been planning this for a while. Those who stayed, chose to stay.

I can understand why some or any would choose to stay; the storm warnings might have been trumped up, they could imagine, or they simply thought themselves to have no place else to go, and that it would waste time — and money, if they feared losing important revenue for survival.

The ultimate point is that the storm was many, many times more powerful and destructive than anyone had imagined, including those who stayed.
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Post by annis » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:36 pm

Lucus Eques wrote:Despite the survivors' own testimony, it follows logically: every single person was ordered, ordered out of the city due to the pending natural disaster.
It remains unclear to me how it is meaningful to say "I choose not to X" when I haven't the means to do X in the first place.
All manner of transportation was afforded to every citizen; the city has been planning this for a while. Those who stayed, chose to stay.
This is the question. Like the fog of war, we have a fog of catastrophe: poor information, conflicting reports from all directions, filtered through individual confirmation biases. Hurricane season lasts until November, and our current year is expected to be quite active. It seems prudent to get as much accurate information out of the disaster zone as quickly as possible.

So let me concede for the moment that people in N.O. chose to stay. What follows from that?
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Post by Democritus » Mon Sep 05, 2005 5:00 pm

A city of that size can't be evacuated quickly without leaving behind stragglers. Some people chose to stay, but others could not leave because they had no cars and no other means of transportation, or they are elderly or institutionalized. There are some people who cannot just pick up and move to a motel on short notice. Then there are police and emergency officials on duty, and some caretakers who stayed behind to tend others. It's fair to assume that at least a few thousand people did not know about the mandatory evacuation. Not everyone is listening to the media all the time. Some of the people left behind were tourists in hotels.

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Post by PeterD » Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:51 pm

Burning questions:
  • Who cut the Army Corps of Engineers budget?

    Where did the money go?

    Why is FEMA financing the Department of Homeland Security?
I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
-- George W. Bush during an interview with Diane Sawyer on GMA

"Screw this! They're lying! The President's lying! The rich fat cats that are drowning you will do it again and again. They lead you into imperial wars for profit, they take away your schools and your hope and when you complain, they blame Blacks and Jews and immigrants. Then they push kids under. I say, kick'm in the ass and take your rightful share."
-- Huey Long, 1927
Governor of Louisiana, 1928 to 1932
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis

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Post by Bert » Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:13 pm

Does the way you listed those quotes (definitely not chronological) mean you think that GWB did anticipate the failing of the levees but just kept it quiet?

I do not take your comments near as serious as I used to because (like Moore) you seem to look for every possible motive, regardless how you have to stretch it, to bash the President.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Mon Sep 05, 2005 9:33 pm

annis wrote:So let me concede for the moment that people in N.O. chose to stay. What follows from that?
We rescue them.
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Post by PeterD » Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:23 pm

Bert wrote:Does the way you listed those quotes (definitely not chronological) mean you think that GWB did anticipate the failing of the levees but just kept it quiet?
It is on record that both the Army Corps of Engineers and Louisiana government officials were repeatedly denied funding to repair/strengthen the levees -- even FEMA warned that New Orleans was in imminent danger from massive flooding.

So... to answer your question, I do not believe GWB anticipated the failing of the levees, but I vehemently believe that he either did not care or was indifferent. In any case, his actions were criminal.
I do not take your comments near as serious as I used to because (like Moore) you seem to look for every possible motive, regardless how you have to stretch it, to bash the President.
You are entitled to take my comments as you please. I say what I say about GWB because he is a horrible, stupid man causing much destruction and death all in the name of the mighty dollar. AND as a Greek Orthodox Christian, I find it appalling and embarrassing that GWB calls himself a Christian.

btw, can you please give me an example where I "streched" it simply to bash the American President? If anything I've been holding back, amazingly enough.

What else can I say, but...

"Waist deep in the Big Muddy, and the fool said to push on."
--Anti-Vietnam war song (as quoted by Gary Hart in a WP piece)

Peter

p.s. Bert, if you get a chance, try reading about the life and times of Huey Long. Like Helen Keller, he was truly a great American!
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis

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Post by psilord » Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:06 pm

I'm sure much of the future of this discussion has already played out in the many boards and mailing lists of many places across the internet. So, instead of wasting that time, maybe something else should be done in the short term, like helping people via donations or physical manpower.

There will be a reckoning, I believe. It is in the air. Maybe that is what should be talked about. Which and how many government officials are you going to write about the poor job that was done? Maybe you could join a recall movement. I dare say that simple human action scales all the way up from writing a letter to a congressman--to revolution.

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Post by PeterD » Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:42 pm

psilord wrote:I'm sure much of the future of this discussion has already played out in the many boards and mailing lists of many places across the internet. So, instead of wasting that time, maybe something else should be done in the short term, like helping people via donations or physical manpower.
Fair enough, psilord. But with due respect, why should people make donations to the richest country in the history of human civilization? Would it not be better to appropriate a nice chunk of that bloated military budget? (Did you know that the U.S. military budget is at least 4 times the combined military budgets of China and Russia?) Also, how about revoking the massive tax cuts for the rich? There would not only be enough to rebuild the areas devasted by the hurricane, but plenty left over for your schools, the poor and homeless, social security, veterans, etc. Indeed, the vast majority of Americans would benefit. It's not just the Christian thing to do -- it's the human thing to do!

Peter
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis

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Post by mingshey » Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:52 pm

PeterD wrote: Fair enough, psilord. But with due respect, why should people make donations to the richest country in the history of human civilization?
Peter
I have the same general idea. But in an emergency the poorest people could give the first aid for the wounded rich, or the rich people's poor neighbor at the least.

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Post by Democritus » Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:37 am

Other nations are already offering help: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050903/ap_ ... a_europe_4
With offers from around the globe pouring in, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice decided "no offer that can help alleviate the suffering of the people in the afflicted area will be refused," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday.

Spurred by images of people huddled on curbs begging for clean water and chaotic rescue efforts from rooftops, Europe also offered brainpower — specialists in coordinating disaster relief, experts in rebuilding devastated communities and rescue workers familiar with risky maneuvers.

... Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia said three planes were ready to leave with rescue teams, equipment and aid, including water purification equipment and medicine. ... Italy offered two military transport planes loaded with pumps, generators, amphibious crafts and tents. Germany pledged medical supplies. France dispatched rescue workers to determine what it could offer. NATO pledged its help, too.

In the Balkans, where the U.S. military has been deployed to keep the peace following a decade of conflict, offers were steeped in gratitude. A Bosnian television station offered to raise money. In Kosovo, a civil emergency unit made up of former ethnic Albanian rebels offered to send a team to help rebuild.

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Post by Bert » Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:23 am

PeterD wrote: btw, can you please give me an example where I "streched" it simply to bash the American President? If anything I've been holding back, amazingly enough.
Well Peter, I don't want to go through the post of the past to find examples so I'll use your post here.
You listed 2 quotes in such a way that it appears as if the 2nd one is a reply to the first.
You were not lying but you arranged the truth in a misleading way.
That reminds me of a similar sort of thing I saw only a few days ago.
" It says in the Bible; Judas went and hanged himself. You go and do likewise."


PeterD wrote: p.s. Bert, if you get a chance, try reading about the life and times of Huey Long. Like Helen Keller, he was truly a great American!
Thanks. I had never heard of him. I will look out for it.

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Post by Paul » Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:58 am

Hi Peter,

Long before Bill Clinton the levees around New Orleans were built to withstand category 3 hurricanes. This fact has been known for decades. No administration, Republican or Democrat, has wanted to pony up the estimated $20 billion required to make the levees stronger.

Levees settle and sink. The ongoing, and lately under-funded, Army Corps of Engineers project was chiefly to raise the levees back to their original level. That is, had the project been fully funded - and finished before the hurricane - the levees would again be back to their original category 3 hurricane tolerances.

In the NY Times piece about levee funding it is noted that the breach in the 17th Street canal was newly reinforced "with a vertical concrete wall several feet thick" (start with the paragraph that begins "Shea Penland").

So for what exactly, Peter, is Bush to blame?

Is he to blame for those who refused to leave and later found themselves in dire straits?

Is he to blame for those who wanted to leave but couldn't because of utter incompetence at the local and state level? To wit:

a. 3 of 4 pumps weren't working. This is the mayor's responsibility.
b. The city didn't make their buses available until it was too late.
c. Governor Blank-O didn't immediately ask for Federal help.
d. The city/state evacuation plan - available online - didn't even allow for the possibility of a levee break!

But, says Peter, don't bother me with the fact's, my mind's made up - it's all the fault of George W. Bush!

Here's some 'fun'. Let's contrast something I said (in The Academy) about Peter's thinking with his own words from this thread:
paul wrote:
Peter I know you to be a generous and compassionate guy. You are quick to recognize and identify with the plight of "the victim". But do I detect in this compassion for the victim a tendency to identify and vilify the seeming "cause" of the victim's suffering? You are quick to move from the plight of the victim to the responsible villain. Your array of villains seems to include capitalists, Republicans, the rich, conservatives, etc. I worry that the plight of the victim is a pretext that provides you access to a darker, more subterranean, revolutionary drive, namely revenge against "those responsible". Please say it ain't so.
And in this very thread:
PeterD wrote:I say what I say about GWB because he is a horrible, stupid man causing much destruction and death all in the name of the mighty dollar.
The bloated bodies of loved ones are still floating, unrecovered; but you've quickly moved from their suffering and the the plight of their families to the 'responsible villain'.

Q.E.D.

Cordially,

Paul

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Post by psilord » Tue Sep 06, 2005 2:37 am

PeterD wrote:Fair enough, psilord. But with due respect, why should people make donations to the richest country in the history of human civilization? Would it not be better to appropriate a nice chunk of that bloated military budget?
Well, I--personally--don't have enough information to determine if the expenditures for our military are justified. Even though I see hundreds of billions of dollars going to the military complex and while a few billion out of it would improve our school system greatly, I can't make a judgement call on whether or not it is reasonable for that few billion to be appropriated. It might *seem* so, but the reality could be very different.

It is kind of sad really, but that is the real problem. Information about how our government is run is not disseminated properly to the people. There are all sorts of places where spending is vast and legitimate, but we can't seperate them from the abuses.

Of course, whether or not that information SHOULD be disseminated is another story. In some senses it is, but how often does the general populace read every 1800 page bill that comes up for vote? Not very often, I must say. It is available to be read though...

This is because the "people" have placed their trust in our government to manage things for us so we don't have to. The problem is, that, individually, we can't tell if they are doing a good job or not since we don't have enough information. The people at the "top" use this fact to pull the rug over our eyes.

This is where the internet comes in. It allows MANY individual humans a one-to-many two-way communiation medium. This has never happened ever in human history. It allows the many to perceive information that would otherwise have been hidden since many more people can see the patterns than just one.

For example, over at fark.com, some people got pissed off about intelligent design requiring to be taught in school "because all viewpoints must be heard" in Kansas. So, those people in that community literally invented a new religion, with tenants, scripture, etc, etc, etc, and hundreds or more people wrote into the Kansas school board to have it be taught too.

Now, while that is funny, it is also interesting. In the span of a few weeks, tens of thousands of people self-organized to perform this action, which got press and made the ID people look like idiots in that they had to declare that ID was only valid if it was the Christian God, which of course defeated their whole argument of the separation of Church and State and that it was a "general viewpoint".

So, in this manner will the reckoning happen in this country. Something will happen that the masses will perceive as being very bad, and change _most likely_ will effect due to social pressure.

The main method of this perception of information should simply be a site which relates facts about the health of the country as perceived by the people themselves. However, the interpretation of this data should NOT be done by said site, otherwise it simply becomes "partisan hackery". It simply would say, "this person did this, this company gave this many dollars, this law was passed, etc, etc, etc". Once we have a large repository of said knowledge, we (as a whole) can determine if the country is doing well or not and make better decisions while voting.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:49 am

Just to inform a bit on the United States' education system: the States run the public schools, not the Federal Government. All the Federal Government can do is offer grants when they are requested — but the Federal Government requires that the States' schools first meet necessary standards. It is not simply that dumping billions of dollars into the public schools at random will cause them to suddenly improve, any more than giving a million bucks to a petty thief will all at once make him a model citizen.

Moreover, the budget decisions in this country are not arbitrarily decreed by a tyrant; we have an entire Congress of our representatives whom we have elected democratically to represent our interests. If you, or any majority of us believe spending should be reallocated, then so be it! let us vote on it in the next election, and place in Congress the representatives who represent us best, if they do not do so now.
L. Amadeus Ranierius

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Post by Democritus » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:20 am

I woudn't be wasting my time being an apologist for Bush, at this point. There's plenty of blame to go around, but Bush and his cronies deserve a lot of it. To quote David Brooks, the well known conservative columnist:
David Brooks wrote:The first rule of the social fabric - that in times of crisis you protect the vulnerable - was trampled. Leaving the poor in New Orleans was the moral equivalent of leaving the injured on the battlefield.
Read this article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4214516.stm) from the BBC, which matches my own impressions. I was amazed to find morning news reporters on U.S. TV actually challenging government officials with hard questions. I haven't seen that in a long, long time.
Giant corporations own the networks, and Washington politicians rely on them and their executives to fund their re-election campaigns across the 50 states. It is a perfect recipe for a timid and self-censoring journalistic culture that is no match for the masterfully aggressive spin-surgeons of the Bush administration.

But last week the complacency stopped, and the moral indignation against inadequate government began to flow, from slick anchors who spend most of their time glued to desks in New York and Washington.

The most spectacular example came last Friday night on Fox News, the cable network that has become the darling of the Republican heartland. This highly successful Murdoch-owned station sets itself up in opposition to the "mainstream liberal media elite". But with the sick and the dying forced to sit in their own excrement behind him in New Orleans, its early-evening anchor Shepard Smith declared civil war against the studio-driven notion that the biggest problem was still stopping the looters.

On other networks like NBC, CNN and ABC it was the authority figures, who are so used to an easy ride at press conferences, that felt the full force of reporters finally determined to ditch the deference.

As the heads of the Homeland Security department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) appeared for network interviews, their defensive remarks about where aid was arriving to, and when, were exposed immediately as either downright lies or breath-taking ignorance.

And you did not need a degree in journalism to know it either. Just watching TV for the previous few hours would have sufficed.

When the back-slapping president told the Fema boss on Friday morning that he was doing "a heck of a job" and spent most of his first live news conference in the stricken area praising all the politicians and chiefs who had failed so clearly, it beggared belief.

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