A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

like, gag me with a spoon

So, yesterday was the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. According to the news, George W. visited New Orleans to commemorate the date. According to msnbc.com, he said much progress has been made, and "we're still paying attention."


Now, I am all for people taking care of themselves, and preparing for foreseeable events. New Orleans is on the Gulf Coast, and hurricanes are pretty foreseeable. Maybe lots of people that didn't have insurance should have. Maybe lots of people that lived below sea level shouldn't have. But I would venture a guess that flood insurance in New Orleans wasn't cheap, even before Katrina. And I would also guess that some of those places below sea level were the places where people with fewer resources could afford to live. And if you are having trouble making sure you have food on your plate, and dealing with what you need here and now, insurance for something that may happen someday probably isn't highest on your list of priorities.

And let's face it, hurricanes happen pretty often on the Gulf Coast, but not biggies like Katrina. And the levies failing probably weren't in most people's plans either. And Katrina was a big enough storm, and caused enough damage that 1600 people died. According to this chart,


Katrina was approximately the third deadliest hurricane to hit the US, ever. And prior to Katrina, there had only been 3 category 5 storms to hit our coasts. So, I think it is fair to say, that while people living on the Gulf Coast expected hurricanes, they did not expect, and were not prepared for, Katrina.

From what I have been able to glean from the news, New Orleans has had some fixing done. The levies have been patched, although the Corps of Engineers recommends replacing them. The ports are back in operation, because we have to be able to receive all the cheap crap we get from China, and all the cheap automobiles we get from Japan, and all the oil we get from the middle east. The touristy parts of town have been put back in operation. My mother was recently in New Orleans, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so the touristy part must be doing well. But what about all the flooded neighborhoods? What about all the people still living in FEMA trailers that are off-gassing toxic fumes? I really don't think the government, or anyone else, is still paying attention.

I think, for the most part, that Americans have pretty short attention spans. For as long as the news is new (duh, that's why its called news, not olds), we pay attention, we talk about it, we feel horrified. Then we shrug our shoulders, say "Oh, sucks to be them" and move on to the next bit of news.

So, basically, George W. lied. And its news. Well, at least it was yesterday. After all, as far as George W. lying, been there, done that.

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