Carol Platt Liebau: Something about Septembers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Something about Septembers.

The second anniversary of the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina is upon us, and it is commemorated about the leftosphere in the same manner that 9/11 is commemorated around the rightosphere. Indeed, it is now their touchstone catastrophe, as much as the slaughter four years prior somehow became ours. One's outlook toward Katrina and its aftermath is telling: if you think it's an example of a failed community under duress, it's one thing; if you think the failures of government demand more government, it's another. The latter is, of course, entirely absurd -- and the equivalencies drawn between Katrina and 9/11 are obscene. The sad reality is that New Orleans, rather than the Bush Administration or FEMA -- though both were shown utterly incompetent -- ultimately did itself in. If, as H.L. Mencken said, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard," then the leadership of Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco delivered in full. Casual observers elsewhere knew what Katrina's approach portended: but the local worthies either did not, or did nothing. Upon them rests the obloquy of history, if not of the electorate. When we look to the disaster of Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans, we extend our sympathies and our helping hands to all afflicted by it -- even as we acknowledge that the stricken city should never be rebuilt.


Blogger Earth to Carol said...

I was watching Tallberg Forum on Global Warming last night on C-Span. An English scientist stated that she thought scientists should not tell the public what they know because it might cause panic, depression, and a resistance to do anything constructive. But she did think scientists should freely discuss their knowledge with politicians and leaders. The other three scientist didn't exactly agree with her theories.

The point I'm trying to make is that there is no freedom, self rule, and people can't make wise decisions when they are uninformed.

Did the people know the levees where inadequate? Did they agree with Bush not to fund the Corps of Engineers to work on the levees? Did they agree with policies that lead to the destruction of the wetlands and did they know the possible consequences of destroying the wetland? As for the politicians, clearly they were gambling and lost but remain in power.

People get what they deserve is a bit inadequate. We should really be asking how do we change the system to address the real needs of the nation and it's people.

Perhaps it is time to say, although our founders did a great job, our system of government has failed (there are so many signs). The system of government needs to be updated to address the present and near term future world that we live in.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Joshua Trevino said...

I wrote this post, not Carol, so any disappointment you feel should be directed toward me.

That said, if you really think we're living under the system envisaged by the Founders, think again. The only "update" our government needs is a return to its original form and intent.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

the equivalencies drawn between Katrina and 9/11 are obscene.

Who is drawing equivalencies between Katrina and 9/11? I have seen no such equivalencies. I have seen comparisons and analogies, but no equivalencies. And the comparisons have some validity: both were disasters that resulted in loss of life. There are many differences, too.

I agree that there's plenty of blame to spread around for Katrina, and I certainly will not defend any of the politicians here. But may I suggest that your assigning all the blame to Democrats and none of the blame to Republicans might be a wee bit partisan?

12:55 PM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...


Ignore my user name, it is just that and not a salutation.

Perhaps that we do not have a government as defined by the founders, is a sign in itself, that it doesn't work.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Joshua Trevino said...

In the Founders' defense, they had to count on us to hold up our end of the bargain.

Re: "Who is drawing equivalencies between Katrina and 9/11? I have seen no such equivalencies."

And you won't here. Carol wouldn't allow such nonsense. Perhaps some excursions into the leftosphere might do you good.

5:12 PM  
Blogger The Flomblog said...

Perhaps if we returned our government to what it was before FDR re-designed it?

As I understand it, the constitution is aimed at keeping the federal government out of our lives?

Just thinking out loud.

Joshua - welcome

6:36 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Perhaps some excursions into the leftosphere might do you good.

Am I to conclude, then, Mr. Trevino, that you have no evidence of the equivalencies you claim to exist?

10:08 PM  
Blogger Joshua Trevino said...

I have concluded that you are lazy.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Greg said...


8:33 PM  
Blogger Dr.D said...

I recently received an e-mail article written by a black preacher from New Orleans that began with two questions: (1) What do you do if you live in a city ten feet below sea level and you know that a major hurricane is coming? and (2) What do you do if you live in a city ten feet below sea level and you know that a major hurricane is coming and you are a black man? He went on to say that the answers to those two questions were not the same. He then described in very plain language how the black people of New Orleans had simply sat on their rear ends and waited for some one else to do something about their problems; they did nothing to solve their problems themselves. This obviously is not true by the time that the water was rising around them, but they did not take the necessary steps to evacuate. They did not make use of the large fleet of school buses that were allowed to simply set there and flood which could have carried hundreds to safety if they had been used. They sat.

It makes no sense to rebuild a city that sits well below sea level. The US is not Holland; we have made no national commitment to reclaim land from the sea, and we most certainly should not try to reclaim that particularly land from the sea and the river. It is an unfortunate accident of history that this city grew to the size it was, but that is an accident. We don't need to repeat that accident, but we will if we rebuild.

There has been much criticism of the Corp of Engineers and the inadequate levees, etc. Several things need to be remembered here. The Corp is a part of the US Army, and it is therefore very definitely subject to political pressure. This always supersedes and takes precedence over proper engineering judgment. The Corp only has the money allocated by Congress to work with, and it is subject to political pressure as to what contractors it will use to do the work. There were strong commercial interests that wanted the coastal wet lands ravaged by channels crisscrossing them and there were commercial interests that applied pressure to all manner of other engineering decisions as well. Is it really any wonder that the Corp does not do a very good job when it is subject to this sort of pressure in one of the most corrupt states in the US? Army engineers are not too bad if left alone to do engineering, but they cannot stand up the Congress very well - no branch of the armed services does this very well.

We are currently observing the second anniversary of Katrina. Two years after any other hurricane, it would be history and people would have moved on. But not in New Orleans. They moan about how the nation has failed them. The nation has not failed them. Their own elected leadership has failed them. It is this leadership that has failed to get the aid money distributed to the people who need it; the money has been provided. Enough of this "The country has to do more." No, the people of New Orleans and Louisiana have to do more, probably by holding their elected officials accountable.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

New Orleans might well provide us with an object lesson that will be useful in the future. With the likelihood of rising ocean levels, we will be forced to ask hard questions about insuring and protecting all sorts of coastal installations. Miami, for example, is also ill-placed and will probably raise costly problems in the future. Indeed, the installed base of facilities at threat from rising sea levels has a net value of trillions of dollars. Over the next fifty years we'll have to make some hard choices about how much money we're willing to spend to protect these investments.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

According to a recent article at by Walter Williams, the ACE were poised to construct a Netherlands-type dyke system but were thwarted by environmentalists looking to protect some wetlands or other. I've also heard that there's been money sent to shore up those levies for decades, but the funds get mismanaged or worse by the locals.

10:26 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home