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.
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):
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.
Six days after the hurricane hit, there are thousands in New Orleans still stranded, their lives in imminent danger from thirst, hunger, and unmedicated illness. I find it inconceivable.
Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist is dead.
No business like Liz business No matter how wholesome Elizabeth Hurley’s organic baby food turns out to be, it can’t make up for the cruelty of denying her child the opportunity to breast-feed. What? Why are you looking at us like that? Is that organic spandex? Research indicates that exercising makes you smarter and that exposure to nature makes you happier. Conclusion? Drag your dumpy, depressed, dimwitted ass off the couch and get to a green gym, where you can get fit while improving the environment. Incredibly Tiny: The new Way Too Big A new “subtractive design” movement is under …
It just occured to me, with all the all the blogging I've been doing about Katrina, I haven't done the obvious yet: Please give what you can to the hurricane relief efforts. People are hurting, and every little bit helps.
Looks like Katrina may have caused an oil spill after all.
The America-hating commies at, uh, BusinessWeek have a must-read article on Katrina and the implications for U.S. policy. The major lesson policymakers should draw from the catastrophe is just how vulnerable the U.S. is becoming to natural disasters and energy disruptions. In fact, some experts say, Americans have been mistakenly lulled into thinking terrorism is the most pressing threat -- and they argue that the relentless focus on staving off suicide bombers has left crucial gaps elsewhere. Here are their policy recommendations: Restore natural buffer zones Limit development in the most vulnerable areas Get serious about climate change Make a Presidential appeal Increase energy diversity Boost energy efficiency Read the whole thing. (via David Corn)