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Old 09-03-2005, 07:53 AM   #221
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An evacuee from New Orleans put it best for me. It was in response to the looting of tvs, lack of patience, the government bashing.
I'll paraphrase--People are always looking for the opportunity to act out how they already feel. It just comes out more under stress. She called the situation a test.
On tv the politics of Katrina has sunk to just plain ol gov bashing....
As to the poor and down and out population we need to create less dependence on government. Empowering people to do for themselves will help them be able to do for themselves. Let's not advocate more dependance on big brother in the form of more programs. Or at least let's not be surprised when we become slaves to it.
With that said however NOW is the time to help our brothers and sisters in need.
This is a test, this is only a test......
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Old 09-03-2005, 09:04 AM   #222
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Originally posted by BorderGirl
As to the poor and down and out population we need to create less dependence on government. Empowering people to do for themselves will help them be able to do for themselves. Let's not advocate more dependance on big brother in the form of more programs. Or at least let's not be surprised when we become slaves to it.
I agree with you here, actually. But you can't just create a welfare state and pull the plug suddenly. Then you get exactly what you get in New Orleans.

But at the same time, we have an economy that thrives on literally keeping a section of the country in poverty. Who would Wal-Mart hire, if all the poor people suddenly had an education? Mexican immigrants, probably. And we'd be back to square one: we'll always have poor people on welfare, because that's exactly what we want. Hell, supply-side economists always talk about wanting to repeal the minimum wage, so they could pay people even less. So what do you think they encourage?

So we have a choice here:

1) Educate everyone so that the supply bloats so much that educated people are on unemployment rolls.

2) Ensure that even Wal-Mart employees are paid fairly and can live a decent life.

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Old 09-03-2005, 09:10 AM   #223
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
I've skimmed through the various Katrina threads and listened to plenty of political rhetoric over the last few days.

It is simply disgusting. I have a half-sister who lost her home in Slidell, LA. She and her family are refugees in the area, poor as dirt and have a far more positive attitude than the jaded observers casting political criticisms.

People who bitch and moan when their internet connection goes down for an hour act as if the Federal Government should be able to clean up the affected areas by dinner.

I hope more energy will be spent (by people in the US and around the world) in helping those who suffer instead of fiddling as political pundits.


on Wednesday, i would have agreed with you.

my anger with the politicians as a whole and the Bush administration in particular did not come into focus until Friday.

i'm also a little mad at people who equate criticism -- pointed, direct, very warranted and fair criticism at many different people, but always at those who are in charge because the buck must stop somewhere -- with sitting around and doing nothing and being "negative" and "partisian." firstly, to label any criticism as "partisan" is a more partisan act, and as well everyone should know, criticism is an act of love, if you didn't care you wouldn't criticize.

what freaks me, and most of us who are steaming mad at the Bush administration, is not the breaking of the levees. it's not the fact that there was even a hurricane.

it is the fact that the last 4 years have been all about preparation for another disaster in the homeland. this was why FEMA was gutted -- to fund Homeland Security. and now we see the fruits of their efforts, the fruits of what the last 4 years and the 2004 election has been about : WE ARE NOT SAFER.

what if Al-Qaeda had destroyed the levees? would the response have been any better?

what should give everyone night sweats is the fact that, NO, it would have been no better. we are unprepared, greviously unprepared to deal with calamity -- what if this had been the Hoover Dam? an airplane into a nuclear power plant? any and myriad other disasters that could just as easily been perpetrated by a bunch of hard-up, 21 year old religious fanatics.

for you, or anyone, to label this anger as nothing more than politics is missing the point entirely.

i want to save more lives. i want a better government.

i do think, however, we might have just gotten our press corps back.
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Old 09-03-2005, 09:37 AM   #224
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/site/premium/access-registered.intercept


found this letter on a blog in response to this exact article:


"I've worked closely with Corps personnel for 6 years in various scientific and regulatory capacities on wetlands issues. While the Corps is often maligned by environmentalists, I will be the first to defend the professionalism, commitment and skill of their regulatory field staff.
The Corps, however, is Army - the institutional culture is one of top-down control and damn-the-torpedoes, and a deeply-ingrained instinct against criticising the chain of command. In an email yesterday that eventually ended up on Wonkette, I predicted that they would be good soldiers and insulate Bush against charges that the levees weren't finished, and indeed I woke up to Al Naomi saying just that on NPR. And General Strock from HQ had to be brought in to do the real damage control: "I don't see that the level of funding was really a contributing factor in this case," said Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, chief of engineers for the corps. "Had this project been fully complete, it is my opinion that based on the intensity of this storm that the flooding of the business district and the French Quarter would have still taken place." (from Chi Trib).
But there are really TWO questions that must be answered:

1) Was the levee complete and at design spec?

2) Would a design-spec levee have withstood Katrina?

1) The truth is that short of a whistleblower, we may never know the condition of that levee on 8/29. My source on its inadequate condition isn't solid enough. But I know the following things:

a) You don't finish levees and walk away. They need regular maintenance - even when you haven't built them on dewatered organic soils that settle every year.

b) A District that had just taken a one-year budget cut of $71 million will have had to make some very hard choices about whether maintenance on this particular levee fell (in Corps parlance) "above the line - priority" or "below the line - optional". Their SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) guidance might tell us, but somebody needs to get a FOIA cookin' on this right now.

c) The question of levee adequacy breaks down at least into "was it at spec height?" [yes!] and "was it structurally sound to spec?" [oops!]. Because of the nature of the levee failure (not overtopped, but burst), watch for Corp HQ to focus on the first question (which pins the deaths on nature), and ignore the second (which might pin the deaths on budget decisions).

2) Over the coming days, the Corps' message will be this: "Katrina was greater than the design storm for this levee." This is at least an open question - purportedly the levees were designed to withstand a direct hit from a Category 3 hurricane. Katrina was a Category 4 at landfall, presenting her weak side to the levees at a distance of some 40-50 miles. The question appears debatable on its technical merits, and Strock's facile answer is far too politically expedient a conclusion to take at face value from Corps HQ. I have seen them fall on their sword for Presidents before, and the need has never been greater.

To sum up: Gen. Strock is asking us to accept that the Army Corps could maintain the structural integrity of every last mile of levee built on subsiding soils in a District that had taken a $71 million budget cut in one year. AND that they would admit it if they hadn't, when the reputation of the President is at stake. All my experience rejects both propositions."

http://www.andrewsullivan.com/
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Old 09-03-2005, 09:37 AM   #225
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Originally posted by DaveC


But to abandon thousands upon thousands of people to their deaths like this...this is just fucking inexcusable. It's sickening. It's morally repugnant.
I would make a distinction (a significant one) between failing to make effective decisions, and abandoning thousands upon thousands of people to their deaths.

but regardless, this is a freaking horror.
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Old 09-03-2005, 09:45 AM   #226
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Originally posted by melon


So we have a choice here:

1) Educate everyone so that the supply bloats so much that educated people are on unemployment rolls.
Melon
US citizens (as well as non-US citizens here) have access to education thru our public schools. Therefore it is a choice to be or not to be "educated" in some profession.
Is it harder for some people because of their household situation to seek this? absolutely. Nevertheless it is available to all.
While there is no shame in working at Walmart or digging a ditch, life is harder for sure.
It's just ironic to me that those who feel/are down and out continue to vote for the voices of those who reinforce this condition to them constantly. It's like they are comfortable identifying with this message.
"Welfare" should be there for those who really need it, temporarily, but not as a lifestyle. It just keeps you and your family down.
But I guess an education is needed to see that.
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Old 09-03-2005, 09:45 AM   #227
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Originally posted by BonosSaint
T
I'm not an engineer; I'm not a politician; I'm not a social scientist;
I'm not a relief worker. I do not know all of the complexities of solving these problems. But I watch my leaders and their underlings and the one thing I do know is THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE BEMPH THEY ARE DOING!
Great post. I tend to agree.

I often wonder if there are some things (like poverty and 150-mile-wide storms) that humans (not just our leaders and their underlings) simply aren't capable of handling.

Maybe I just don't have enough faith in human-kind.
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Old 09-03-2005, 09:51 AM   #228
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Maybe I just don't have enough faith in human-kind.
I do. But that's sure been tested this past week after hearing about the rapes and the murders, and the way some politicians seem to be handling this...

And that bothers me. I don't like having my faith in humanity being tested like this.

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Old 09-03-2005, 09:55 AM   #229
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Originally posted by BorderGirl

US citizens (as well as non-US citizens here) have access to education thru our public schools. Therefore it is a choice to be or not to be "educated" in some profession.
Would you really think a high school education is sufficient? Because our "public" universities, as you very well know, are not free and are increasingly becoming as expensive as private universities. In fact, in many instances, it's cheaper to go to a private school, thanks to endowment funds. But "cheaper" is relative; it's probably the difference between $50,000 in student loans and $30,000.

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Old 09-03-2005, 11:42 AM   #230
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Originally posted by melon
Would you really think a high school education is sufficient? Because our "public" universities, as you very well know, are not free and are increasingly becoming as expensive as private universities. In fact, in many instances, it's cheaper to go to a private school, thanks to endowment funds. But "cheaper" is relative; it's probably the difference between $50,000 in student loans and $30,000.

Melon
Heh, tell me about it. Thankfully, I don't have to pay tuition to go to the local college, as I'm a resident, but my family's sure been doling out a lot of money for other school-related things lately... Obviously I, along with my parents, will do whatever we can to get me through college so I can go on to do whatever I want to do for a living, but...yeah, it's not cheap.

And yet I still think I'm getting off considerably lucky compared to the amount of money I've heard some kids at other types of colleges are shelling out for things.

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Old 09-03-2005, 12:48 PM   #231
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Originally posted by Irvine511

it is the fact that the last 4 years have been all about preparation for another disaster in the homeland. this was why FEMA was gutted -- to fund Homeland Security. and now we see the fruits of their efforts, the fruits of what the last 4 years and the 2004 election has been about : WE ARE NOT SAFER.
Not even that, but FEMA is now PART of Homeland Security. And the guy Bush called "Brownie" -- Mike Brown -- was fired his last position working for the International Arabian Horse Association for mismanagement of funds. If you can't take care of a bunch of horse lovers, why the hell should you be running FEMA?

Dread also mentioned the school buses under water and it makes me mad to see they weren't used either but 1) where do you take those people? FEMA obviously sucks and would have had to make interstate decisions for evacuees. They should have had something like the Astrodome lined up BEFORE the hurricane hit knowing there was a mandatory evacuation and not after and 2) the federal government has the money to pay for an evacuation of that magnitude, a city like NO does not. If a majority of your population is poor, how can you pay for things like evacuations? It's a problem in many cities with a huge poor population. You want to have better schools and tear down abandoned buildings but your people are so poor you can't generate the tax revenue to do so.

But more important, why wasn't there any help afterward for so long? How is it that Geraldo Rivera can do a live report from the convention center with a satellite truck but you can't get a bus down there to evacuate those people?

I just keep going back to 9/11....we were lucky in NYC because the only damage done was to one section of town. Rudy Guiliani was a good and bad mayor for the city, he was no angel. But when push came to shove, he said "This is my city and I will do whatever I can to help it." There is a reason Time magazine named him, and not Bush, as Person of the Year. I don't know who that person should be this situation, the mayor of New Orleans, the governors of the states, Bush...I don't know who but the big problem is no one has come forward. And it makes you wonder how much of NYC's recovery was because of Bush and how much of it was because of Rudy.

[That being said, NYC has turned into a quagmire as well. Four years later and it's still an empty hole...don't get me started on that one.]
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Old 09-03-2005, 12:57 PM   #232
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Originally posted by sharky


Not even that, but FEMA is now PART of Homeland Security. And the guy Bush called "Brownie" -- Mike Brown -- was fired his last position working for the International Arabian Horse Association for mismanagement of funds. If you can't take care of a bunch of horse lovers, why the hell should you be running FEMA?

Great
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Old 09-03-2005, 01:59 PM   #233
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From http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/04/op...gewanted=print

Quote:
The New York Times
September 4, 2005
The Bursting Point
By DAVID BROOKS

As Ross Douthat observed on his blog, The American Scene, Katrina was the anti-9/11.

On Sept. 11, Rudy Giuliani took control. The government response was quick and decisive. The rich and poor suffered alike. Americans had been hit, but felt united and strong. Public confidence in institutions surged.

Last week in New Orleans, by contrast, nobody took control. Authority was diffuse and action was ineffective. The rich escaped while the poor were abandoned. Leaders spun while looters rampaged. Partisans squabbled while the nation was ashamed.

The first rule of the social fabric - that in times of crisis you protect the vulnerable - was trampled. Leaving the poor in New Orleans was the moral equivalent of leaving the injured on the battlefield. No wonder confidence in civic institutions is plummeting.

And the key fact to understanding why this is such a huge cultural moment is this: Last week's national humiliation comes at the end of a string of confidence-shaking institutional failures that have cumulatively changed the nation's psyche.

Over the past few years, we have seen intelligence failures in the inability to prevent Sept. 11 and find W.M.D.'s in Iraq. We have seen incompetent postwar planning. We have seen the collapse of Enron and corruption scandals on Wall Street. We have seen scandals at our leading magazines and newspapers, steroids in baseball, the horror of Abu Ghraib.

Public confidence has been shaken too by the steady rain of suicide bombings, the grisly horror of Beslan and the world's inability to do anything about rising oil prices.

Each institutional failure and sign of helplessness is another blow to national morale. The sour mood builds on itself, the outraged and defensive reaction to one event serving as the emotional groundwork for the next.

The scrapbook of history accords but a few pages to each decade, and it is already clear that the pages devoted to this one will be grisly. There will be pictures of bodies falling from the twin towers, beheaded kidnapping victims in Iraq and corpses still floating in the waterways of New Orleans five days after the disaster that caused them.

It's already clear this will be known as the grueling decade, the Hobbesian decade. Americans have had to acknowledge dark realities that it is not in our nature to readily acknowledge: the thin veneer of civilization, the elemental violence in human nature, the lurking ferocity of the environment, the limitations on what we can plan and know, the cumbersome reactions of bureaucracies, the uncertain progress good makes over evil.

As a result, it is beginning to feel a bit like the 1970's, another decade in which people lost faith in their institutions and lost a sense of confidence about the future.

"Rats on the West Side, bedbugs uptown/What a mess! This town's in tatters/I've been shattered," Mick Jagger sang in 1978.

Midge Decter woke up the morning after the night of looting during the New York blackout of 1977 feeling as if she had "been given a sudden glimpse into the foundations of one's house and seen, with horror, that it was utterly infested and rotting away."

Americans in 2005 are not quite in that bad a shape, since the fundamental realities of everyday life are good. The economy and the moral culture are strong. But there is a loss of confidence in institutions. In case after case there has been a failure of administration, of sheer competence. Hence, polls show a widespread feeling the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Katrina means that the political culture, already sour and bloody-minded in many quarters, will shift. There will be a reaction. There will be more impatience for something new. There is going to be some sort of big bang as people respond to the cumulative blows of bad events and try to fundamentally change the way things are.

Reaganite conservatism was the response to the pessimism and feebleness of the 1970's. Maybe this time there will be a progressive resurgence. Maybe we are entering an age of hardheaded law and order. (Rudy Giuliani, an unlikely G.O.P. nominee a few months ago, could now win in a walk.) Maybe there will be call for McCainist patriotism and nonpartisan independence. All we can be sure of is that the political culture is about to undergo some big change.

We're not really at a tipping point as much as a bursting point. People are mad as hell, unwilling to take it anymore.

E-mail: dabrooks@nytimes.com
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Old 09-03-2005, 03:59 PM   #234
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Speaking as a participant in the Hurricane Katrina destruction, altbeit a minor one as Birmingham was not reallly hard hit at all compared to places closer to the Gulf, I can say that I'm really pissed off at the reports I'm reading at the Gulf relief effort. It's just not fair to these people. I'm reading stories of destruction, deaths, just horror story after horror story. You know, it's hard to believe that this stuff happened within a six to eight hour drive of me.
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Old 09-03-2005, 05:14 PM   #235
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Originally posted by sharky

But more important, why wasn't there any help afterward for so long? How is it that Geraldo Rivera can do a live report from the convention center with a satellite truck but you can't get a bus down there to evacuate those people?
I'll take a shot at this one.

You can get a satellite truck in there, and you could probably find a bus or two ready to go that could get in there. And if you go in with one or two buses, people will kill (I'm speaking literally here) to get on that bus. So, unfortunately, you've got to wait until you have a hundred of them. My guess is it takes longer to get 100 buses in there than a satellite truck.
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Old 09-03-2005, 05:49 PM   #236
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What's all this crap about 'dependence' on big brother? Oh sure some of the people may well be on welfare, but whether it's that or just that they only have a low paying job, what difference does it make? If you can't afford a car, there is no way you'd escape in time. So is that some sort of excuse to not help them, what the fuck is government for if not that?
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Old 09-03-2005, 06:37 PM   #237
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But more important, why wasn't there any help afterward for so long? How is it that Geraldo Rivera can do a live report from the convention center with a satellite truck but you can't get a bus down there to evacuate those people?
There were people arriving in Houston from the Superdome within 48 hours of the passing of the storm. That is after a major place of refuge was deemed no-longer suitable.



I guess now that most of us have broadband, we turn our nose at dial-up response times to anything.
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Old 09-03-2005, 08:24 PM   #238
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Originally posted by melon


Would you really think a high school education is sufficient? Because our "public" universities, as you very well know, are not free and are increasingly becoming as expensive as private universities. In fact, in many instances, it's cheaper to go to a private school, thanks to endowment funds. But "cheaper" is relative; it's probably the difference between $50,000 in student loans and $30,000.

Melon
There is no such thing as free. Somebody pays. If it's ''free' then that would be the government, which is you and me and anyone else who pays taxes right?
If lower eduation is a privilege, which it is, than higher eduation would be a double-privilege.
With college you pay for the service. You go to the movies, it cost money, you go to a U2 concert, it costs lots of money.
But you go to college and it's supposed to be 'free'???
Where does the responsiblity end really?
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Old 09-03-2005, 08:36 PM   #239
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But you go to college and it's supposed to be 'free'???
Where does the responsiblity end really?
But, you see, you can't have your cake and eat it too. So we either have to invest in ending poverty or just accept that it's there and move on.

What will it be?

Just to note, I knew someone who went to a private university and could work all summer at a normal job and make enough money to pay for it all year--back in the 1970s. Clearly, since the 1980s, that is definitely no longer remotely possible. We should almost ask ourselves where does the responsibility of reasonably priced education end? When do we tell our government and our schools that enough is enough when it comes to tuition hikes? "Responsibility" is a two-way street, and the burden should not always be on the individual. Our government works for us, and not the other way around.

(In other notes, "taxation," or the lack thereof, certainly hasn't stopped our current government from spending us to death. How those hundreds of billions of dollars that we've spent in Iraq could have really come to use in rebuilding American infrastructure [including New Orleans' antiquated levees, for instance] or investing in reforming our educational system.)

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Old 09-03-2005, 08:41 PM   #240
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Originally posted by BorderGirl

But you go to college and it's supposed to be 'free'???
Where does the responsiblity end really?
It is in many parts of the world.

And some of the finest institutions in the world, like Oxford and Cambridge have tuition rates for home students which are neglible compared to the shittiest US schools.

If you want to subsidize education, you can. Where there is a will there is a way.
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