David Roberts

David Roberts

Energy, politics, and more

David Roberts is a staff writer for Grist. You can follow his Twitter feed at twitter.com/drgrist.

Pope on Katrina

Sierra Club exec. director Carl Pope writes an alternate history of the last two weeks -- what could have been. But it wasn't:Incompetence? Oh yes. But this was not garden-variety incompetence -- good intentions gone awry. This was the toxic harvest of a strategically and intentionally planted seed -- a set of reactionary beliefs to which our nation's leaders have become addicted. Namely: Prudence is for wimps, protecting our communities is morally corrosive, after-the-fact spin can substitute for planning, and the poor and powerless deserve whatever the fates -- or our bureaucracies -- hand to them. It has turned out that when you try, as conservative-activist Grover Norquist said, "to reduce government to the size that you can drown it in a bathtub," it is not just government that drowns. It is the people.

Katrina links II

More than you wanted to know about the hurricane aftermath

I suppose I should probably blog about something else at some point, but I can't stop reading about the aftermath of Katrina. It's making me sick to my stomach -- the incompetence, the callousness, the racism. It's a national humiliation, the fallout of which will be with us for decades. Unlike the response to 9/11, about which we are so eager to gush -- oh, the heroism! the unity! -- here we want viscerally to turn away because our own pathologies have been revealed, and those pathologies don't sit well with the American triumphalism currently in vogue. As you can see, I have nothing but bile and sorrow to add to the conversation. So here are some more reading and listening materials, if you can stand it (sorry, I've lost track of where I found many of them, so the attribution is spotty):

Bush administration finally mobilizing

From tomorrow's NYT:Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan. The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett.

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