Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Not to Freak You Out

But ignore my previous suggestion. Now I command ye, get to the Oil Drum and also MyDD's summary of a think tank's reminder of just how much US infrastructure plows through an area which is not only no longer functioning, will not be functioning in increments of 6 months to years. Never mind the missing oil rigs. Not damaged. Missing.

Not scare tactics. But we need to understand even past the massive tragedy of what's occurred, what the ramifications are going to be for the rest of the country both economically and socially. So we can handle it as it comes, and also plan ways to avoid such problems in the future.

As I'm having tattooed on my forearm: "Hope is not a plan."


Anonymous said...

It's not just the U.S. The whole world will be drastically affected if barge traffic doesn't start moving through there soon. It's just about time for harvest and I don't think I need to tell anyone just how much agriculture we export to the world through that port.

Sizemore said...

Missing an oil rig?

From the outside looking in we find it difficult to comprehend that so many poor people were just left behind to die... damn.

Unknown said...

I don't think anyone had any idea how this would go -- but I agree. If we had somebody on the ball on Sat/Sun, then some of the casualties could have been avoided. Not all, though -- you have to imagine the sheer magnitude of moving 500,000 people in 72 hours.

matthew christman said...

Still, leaving the evacuation to people getting in their cars and driving out of the city, when the city is one of the poorest in the U.S., where 100,000 or so of the people don't HAVE cars, seems like an seedily Randian way to go about an evacuation.

Alex Epstein said...

I imagine each of those supertankers could have hauled a thousand people out of there.

The Army could have loaded C-47's and flown people to Fort Polk.

US airlines were actually cancelling flights out of New Orleans over the weekend because no one was flying in and they didn't want to get stuck flying empty routes.

Curt Purcell said...

I don't think anyone had any idea how this would go

Hmm, well, that may not be entirely accurate. I think Bush absolutely should be slammed not only for his contribution to the factors that allowed this to become such a catastrophe in the first place, but for his slow and indifferent response. That's not "politicizing the disaster." That's placing responsibility where it lies in reality--as opposed to the religious wingnuts who are already attributing Katrina to God's wrath against gays and abortion.

Anonymous said...

""... and also plan ways to avoid such problems in the future.""

New Orleans is sinking. That has been a fact for many many years. As a society we tend to ignore these types of problems until they become unaviodable.

Building on flood plains has been a known bad idea for 4000+ years. Global warming, localized population/food pressures, environmental pollution do not happen overnight yet we are content to move incrementally towards the inevitable collapse.

Is it something to do with the human mindset?

Hurricane after hurricane we hear about people who decided to stay behind. People who will rebuild in exactly the same spot. People who live below sea level. People who depend on very extended supply chains.

It is a nice life when it all works but at some point it will fail. That is a fundamental law, shown time and again by history. Why are we always so suprised when it fails? Why are we not a little more prepared? Or at least a little less in denial of the inevitable?

The failure to evacuate.
1. poor past enforcement
2. poor provision for those without own transportation

==> acting like individuals rather than a society

Now the compasion of a society is awakened. But a little more acting like a society ahead of time would have done a lot more prevention.

Unknown said...

all excellent points. My statemnet that "I don;t think anyone had any idea how this would go" was meant more as "no one worked up enough actual panic to overcome organizational lethargy." Which, again, is why there should have been better planning in place.

I must say,though, that I think the supertanker idea which is floating around is a bit fanciful. I don't think moving evacuaees to the docks and try to load them on to ships, which then must had back out to sea, in the path of a hurricane. But "Get your asses out of Dodge on your own" was just unforgivable.

Sizemore said...

Again on the outside looking in, but this is how the UK news is covering it:

The news out of New Orleans is getting harder to believe every hour. The world's only superpower seems to have lost control of the situation. Thousands of people are still stranded without food, water or medicine. Tens of thousands more homeless.

Lawlessness is spreading around the city with police and national guard trying to control things but ambulances and rescue helicopters have been shot at by armed thugs. Those stranded at centres like the sports stadium are in appalling conditions with grim sanitation and supplies. There are attempts to get a few thousand people a day out of the city as the Mayor has ordered the forced evacuation of everyone, but it is pitifully slow and the people have little or nothing to go to. As for the bodies - there is still no reliable estimate of those dead. But now the Mayor and a senator have put it in the thousands.

People are starting to ask whether or not the warning and evacuation was mishandled. If people are being forced to leave now then why not at the weekend before Katrina struck? And there are increasing voices emerging about the warnings that were ignored.

Federal funds were denied to strengthen the levees. Was America so obsessed with fighting terror that it forgot what homeland security really means? And does the demographic breakdown of those worst hit - predominantly poor and black have anything to do with how little was done to help them? Tonight we have teams on the ground and in the air.

Jon Snow is on his way to anchor our ongoing coverage from there from tomorrow. We'll be talking to the journalist who wrote a piece predicting this exact outcome three months ago. And back here in London we are talking to scientists around the world about whether and how New Orleans can recover.

We'll also be looking at the effect on petrol supply and prices. Plus Nick Glass will be doing the obituary to New Orleans. It is worth noting that George Bush's new chief of Homeland Security was out launching September as National Preparedness Month. You couldn't make it up.

That's from our Channel Four - excellent coverage, but not available online unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

I hope everyone is studying what's going on in New Orleans.

For I come with a Big Reminder: THIS IS ALL HAPPENING POST-9/11.

We Are Supposed To Be Prepared.

What if that was a different city and an Al Qaeda dirty bomb?

Do you think things would be different?

I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

People starving trapped like animals in our great country are now killing each other and attacking incoming aid. I'll be the first to trash those conspiracy folks. However things in general really seem to be going down the drain lately. Ok maybe the economy is doing well but why are we so hardcore with our stance on Iran? Bush is posturing to go in there and will probably hit Syria as well. "Oh yes we'll maintain our resolve and get our troops right out Iraq....Ahhh and move'em into Iran! Don't mess with Texas!" All of the sudden we've got China and Russia building an military alliance. Africa is worse off than its ever been. Is this all coincidence? And Ahhh yes the icing on the cake.....the world's only superpower can't even save its own within a decent time frame. What a joke. What a sad sad joke things have become. I pray that the cream will rise to the top and fix things. I just hope its not sour.

Anonymous said...

TV news cited an interesting thing:

Katrina disaster area = 90,000 sq miles

State of Idaho = 80,000 sq miles


I'm beginning to wonder now if Bush's response would have been "better" if the levees had been breached by terrorist bombs. Since he touts his "Christianity," I can't help wondering if his current impotency is because he thinks all this destruction has been "God's Will."

Sizemore said...

90,000 sq miles is also about the same size of the entire UK...

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