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Preview: Comments on The Conversation: A perfect storm

Comments on The Conversation: A perfect storm

Updated: 2017-01-30T16:36:00.994-05:00


I meant "no apparent plan" to win it.


I meant "no apparent plan" to win it.

First, let me say that I hope everything turns out...


First, let me say that I hope everything turns out for the best with your family.

I don't have time to respond adequately. And frankly I don't dispute most of what you say. I think people do need to be asking hard questions of state and local officials about why there wasn't a concerted effort to evacuate the city. NO's history of well-documented corruption aside, the larger national question is whether other American cities, post-9/11, have evacuation plans, and why NO didn't have one or didn't put it into effect. Shouldn't the feds be pushing cities to do this, and if possible providing some money for it too?

The big problem with Bush is that his response to this tragedy--which neither the war in Iraq nor his poor environmental record caused, admittedly--seems typical of the manner in which his administration has tackled many problems: half-assed. I don't expect him to be Clinton, able to turn on the tears at a moment's notice, but a little empathy might be nice. I used to think this whole vacation thing was overblown, but why did he take his nice sweet time sauntering back across the country? It's all too reminescent of his failure, albeit for security reasons, to return to Washington immediately after Sept. 11. Americans need to feel that their president has their back, and despite all his swagger and tough talk, I don't feel that way with him anymore.

Let's consider the impact this is having on our oil supply. Now this country was addicted to cheap oil long before Bush was elected--before he was born--but his administration's insistence on telling Americans that they can continue on with their same gas-guzzling lifestyle, as if the war on terror might never effect our ability to import oil from the Middle East, or as if the Saudis might never reach the day when they can no longer tap their oil resorvoirs, is downright irresponsible and has left the nation ill-prepared to deal with a crisis when it comes. The president's plea last night for Americans to only use the gas they need was downright laughable.

It is unfair, perhaps, to use the hurricane as a cudgel to attack the president for Iraq. But it is a reminder that this president led us into an unnecessary war with no apparent way to win it, and he's refused to acknowledge the consequences.

I've come to rue the day Krugman was summoned to a...


I've come to rue the day Krugman was summoned to afflict my party with his meaningless nostrums.At the risk of "outing myself," as JP would put it, let's just say that I might be one of the only people in this Yankee city with very long familial and personal ties to the Crescent City.I lived there for a good many years, and I'm currently missing family include my aunt, several cousins and some other sorts of relations that likely wouldn't pass scrutiny north of Dixie.I also regret the likely weeks of funerals I'm going to attend to honor the friends, colleagues, classmates and lovers most likely dead or dying because they had the misfortune of becoming doctors, nurses, maritime lawyers, journalists and cops. Or, in sum, the people who stuck around to be sunk, shot or burned.Despite these heavy times personally, I can't fathom the stupidity of men like Krugman. The problems with NO go back a very long time, to the very founding of the ville on a strip of swamp no higher than 5 feet about sea level.The levee system always was expected to be inadequate during a very large storm. Certainly Katrina was one of those feared megastorms, the leviathans of cloud and lightning none of us wanted to imageine much less confront rationally through good government practices and public works contracts.My old digs in Uptown flooded during a sprinkle. My neighbors told me yesterday after they got out that their roofs are washed in lake water. My childhood Garden District abode is gone the way of the Saints.Down the drain. Eventually.For those who read the great environmental reporting in the Times-Picayune, a key series in 2002 popularized what many of us already knew -- the city wasn't built for, nor prepared for, a major tropical storm. We would, eventually, wash out to sea.This was true during the Clinton administration (when I voted for Nader, realizing that Bill already had LA locked up) just as surely as it was when Jefferson Davis briefly called the shots.What's often unremarked today is that the T-P found blame equally with every administration, not just the Bushies.NO is a messy, corrupt and violent place, but the people are invariably polite and a sense of fairness pervades street decorum. That's why talk about Air Force personnel playing basketball in Biloxi is so stupid.What were the specialities of these men and women? If they're jet fighter pilots, what sort of training or special skills do they have to bring to bear in a hurricane? What will an air traffic controller do without air traffic to control? Or mechanics? Is repairing a jet engine all that similar to fixing a levee the next state over?It's asinine to attack these people and their commanders. They might be do more harm than good in the devastation if they're not the right people for the job.NO and Mississippi need infantry, engineers, water filtration experts and other military tradesmen. They don't need a bunch of clerks, radiomen or jet jockies.Second, the "National Guard" is just that. The federal taxpayer doles out for the training, the equipment and the bases. Nearly every penny of a depot's budget is paid by the feds. If the feds say you go to Iraq, you go. There is no special writ that keeps troops behind. Their first role is national defense, not driving trucks during a disaster. They're not the personal playthings of governors, but part of the national architecture of defense. They're trained to fight first, save later.If you argue that they never should have been sent to Iraq, fair enough. But would this be true of every National Guard unit? Should the Pentagon excuse states in the hurricane belt from going to war? OK, the U.S. now loses every reserve unit from Texas to the Carolinas for the duration of the war because, once every decade or so, somebody gets a big rain.When the soldiers in PA do two rotations in the 'Raq instead of one because Texas won't go fight, the moonbats will howl Bush is doing it to keep his home staters safe.Tornado season is soon approaching for the Plains an[...]