Friday, September 02, 2005

Nero fiddled while Rome burned

Nero fiddled while Rome burned
Originally uploaded by asmythie.

I've got to stop reading/watching the news. Last night while we were watching people in NO die before our eyes on CNN or MSNBC or whatever, Mr. Pants said "Why are we watching this?" and I said "Because I keep hoping that any minute the trucks and buses will come in with supplies or to take all these people out of there." I've seen too many Hollywood movies, I guess.

I'm alternating between outrage and depression about the realization that the "plan" for the hurricane that would inevitably hit New Orleans apparently was to just write off the at least 100,000 people who would not be able to evacuate. OK, maybe that wasn't the "plan," but the plan was that, well, they hadn't really figured out that part of the plan, apparently.

Anyway, I don't have the energy to rant further right now, so I'll just say that I think Slate has some of the most insightful coverage I've seen.

(And by the way, thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts and works about Kitty. I'm feeling a little better, but I still get a bit misty now and then.)


B. W. Ventril said...

The Slate piece by Jack Shafer is really good. This shit is unfuckingbelievable. And by that I don't just mean the situation in New Orleans itself, but the absurd non-response. Did you know that you can just drive to the corpse-ringed convention centre? It's not actually surrounded by flood water at this point. Why hasn't the military been requisitioning buses throughout the South and sending a convoy of several hundred there to get people out?

Lisa B. said...

What exactly have they been doing ... oh yeah, "shoot to kill" order. I'm really steamed that so many people are latching on to looting and reports of shots being fired to justify, or at the very least explain, why people are being left to rot.

But my big question is that even though authorities knew that at leats 100,000 people would not be able to leave the city on their own, whay was there no plan to help them get out before the storm? And the mayor himself knew the levee system was very likely to fail--he said so on Sunday. Why is everyone acting like it was such a fucking surprise?

I just can't help feeling that this is an enormous, grievous crime ...

B. W. Ventril said...

The words "criminal negligence" come to mind. And the degree to which it just didn't occur to people in power that 100,000 people might not have been able to get out beggars belief. As if the elites in this country are incapable of even being aware of the existence of poverty, or that much of the population is living pay check to pay check (with the storm arriving just before pay day). This all shows an unbelievable level of denial about the nature of American society. How the fuck can people not even have a modicum of awareness about the nature of their own society?