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Disappointment with our public officials

By September 2, 2005Uncategorized

Today, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin vented and cursed the glacial response of federal officials to the mounting crisis in New Orleans.  A good friend of mine sent me an email, part of which is reproduced below:

"The constant pictures on tv are making my blood boil.  How is it that we can stage 100,000 troops across the globe ready to pounce on a moment’s notice to take over an entire country, yet we couldn’tfigure out how to put the resources in place to respond to an obvious disaster in the waiting in our own backyard?

Congress had no trouble cancelling vacations to come back to pass special unconstitutional) legislation to "save" the "life" of a brain-dead woman (Teri Schiavo), but only a few Congressmen could be bothered to appear in Congress to vote for the appropriations bill to start funneling some money to the Gulf states?  (It was done by voice vote.)  Every last one of the those stinking politicians should be rattling the cages of their sleeping public servants and figuring out what they can do to help immediately.  I am no fan of Texas (and my wife is from Houston), but I honestly have been impressed with the Texas response.  But where’s everyone else?  Lots of individual institutions are kicking in to help, but there surely are more resources that can be brought to bear.  I keep seeing fires breaking out on tv, and I can’t figure out why there aren’t airplanes and helicopters coming in to address these issues.  (I’ve surely seen forest fires fought from the air.)  I think the link to the Air Crane site (Marty Schwimmer’s blog) is case in point. 

This isn’t rocket science."

I don’t know what to say.  I guess I’m too stunned.  Maybe I’ll get angry soon, but right now I’m just trying to reorient my frame of mind.  I keep looking around for the ‘reboot’ button.

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  • Linda says:

    I live close to the gulf coast area and, from what I could learn on the news, it was a couple of days before they had a clue about how many actually had stayed in New Orleans. What I am really questioning is, why didn’t the state of Louisiana provide transportation for the poor and sick to evacuate? All we were told was to get out. We had several days before this storm actually hit to prepare for it. You could view on the TV how huge it was for days before it hit land. Hundreds of school buses were available in the state to help evacuate the area. It seems that it was an “everyone for himself” situation before the storm. Now the fingerpointing starts. Hopefully, this will remain a humanity issue and not become a democratic republican issue. Where was the help before Monday’s storm?

  • debra says:

    I can’t stop crying over the horror of what has happened. Some imagesthat are seared in my heart: A man marking a door; 1 dead, 3 victims,the endless number of mothers and children and the aged crying out to therichest country in the world for help, their country….and not getting it. PresidentBush accepting a guitar while people are in the hell of the Superdome.What was he thinking? And this, memories of how quickly we rush to therescue of those in need when they are not our own and are in faraway places. It makes us feel noble and virtuous. Do the images of poorBlack people suffering through hell on make us feel noble and virtuous?Do they inspire compassion and a desire to end their suffering? Or dothe images of children sleeping next to dead bodies in AMERICAmake us feel guilty and ashamed? The politican should be ashamed of how little and how slowly they did anything. We can rush to war but not to render aide and service to our own? Give me a break.

  • Ed Kanne, PhD. says:

    Shame on Bush for his “failure to respond in a timely manner.”

  • Leo says:

    The first paragraph from this article in today’s NY Times explains why this whole situation was doomed from the start:

    There was no local disaster infrastructure that could handle a flood (esp. generating capacity). Therefore, no first responder communication (had they ever heard of satellite phones that the media use? Generators three plus stories up?). This communication was needed to tell the state and feds what was going on.

    The state and the feds deserve their share of blame, and they are getting it. But the mayor is on the attack at least partly to shift focus as the leader of a city surrounded by levees that lies below sea level.

    And these buses certainly could have been used Sunday:

    Blame can wait until the rescue/recovery is over.

    Keep the faith Ernie! The whole nation is focused on the response.

  • Hann Zomerdijk says:

    I’m lucky! I used to live in Lakeview, about 10 blocks from the wall collapse at the 17th St. Canal. Our home is completely flooded. My daughter Cindy and I made it to Baton Rouge in 6 hours, to stay at my wife’s sister and brother in law. My wife Denise and her sister Jeanne both work for JetBlue and are staying in their N.Y. apartment, out of harm’s way. My youngest daughter Nancy is in Austin, TX, and my son Paul lives in Paris.I’m now working from Gordon Arata’s Baton Rouge office. Thank God I have a roof over my head and a job to go to.Tonight I spent hours looking at MSN videos of the disaster. Many of the vids and blogs are pointing accusing fingers at the various federal, state and local officials, especially concerning the issue of responsibility for the levee breaks.This whole scenario is eerily reminiscent of a childhood experience I had living in the Netherlands. On Jan. 31, 1953 we experienced a “North Wester.” A powerful storm with steady winds between 98 and 107 miles per hour. Unfortunately, it was combined with “jump-tide,” causing the levees along the North Sea to break. It cost more then 1800 people their lives, and tens of thousands of cattle and farm animals perished. It took many years to desalinate the soil before cattle could graze again. I fear that the toll in human life along the Gulf Coast will exceed that number. As a result, Holland embarked on a project named the Delta Works. They vowed such a catastrophe would not happen again. And it has not in the 52 years since. Holland has been reclaiming land since the 14th century, so they should know a little about building levees and flood barriers. Here is an excellent website with 20 videos on various parts of that project. Maybe it’s time for the politicians and the Corps of Engineers to take a look at this: things I learned in elementary school were that you cannot lower the groundwater level more then 1.5 or 2 feet below the surface, because it dries and shrinks the soil, and levees cannot be built by just elevating a dam. A levee needs a solid, reinforced bed of rocks and sand to prevent saturated subterraneous soil to shift, which is what reportedly happened at the 17th Street canal, causing the wall to collapse. Pile driving a steel chain wall into the levee around Lakeview has caused substantial subsidence of the soil, causing homes and streets to crack.

  • April says:

    I just can’t believe they sent the National-Guard troops in yesterday, 09-01 only withthemselves and guns,no food, no water,no supplies what-so-ever. They were moreconcerned with looting, than they were withthe lives of these people, Babies, elderly,young children, mothers, fathers, all ofwhich were crying out to AMERICA for savior..

    I am so disgusted with the way things werehandled, how people were just forgotten aboutas though they never even had a place inthis world to begin with..No one deserves this treatment, No Person,No animal, Property is being looked aftercloser than these people are down there inLauisiana. They are more concerned withwhat is being taken, “It’s not like it willbe profitable after it has been exposed tosuch uninhabitable conditions.

    Our President, The leader of our country…All he had to say was that he took an earlyleave from his vacation, and he will getaround to make sure everything is okay..Well it’s not okay to wait until hundredsof people have died, most at the feet oftheir loved ones, most babies, elderly,from something that is so simple to supplyto them, “WATER and FOOD”. Where are we inthis world where it’s okay to be”A DAY LATE & A DOLLAR SHORT” of savingHundreds, or thousands of innocent people.

    They claim the people should have gotten outwhen they had the chance.They should haveponied up the monies that were needed torehabilitate the Levy, but what did they do?they low balled it, as if you are supposedto raise the rest of the funds yourself..

    I just want to say that I am deeply hurt,and I am very upset, not because of theHurricane, but because these people aremade to, no they are even allowed to livein such conditions that you don’t evensee in THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES>>….

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