Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Unbelievable

My favorite city is filling up. Unfortunately, it's with water. I was on the edge of my seat Monday morning when I found out the hurricane would hit New Orleans. I have family in Louisiana, but they are to the West of New Orleans. I was extremely happy when I heard the storm had shifted course and would be going more east. It would keep my relatives out of the worst of it. (Not that I would with that on anyone's relatives...)

Monday afternoon, I was again happy to hear that although New Orleans had sustained some damage downtown and the 9th Ward, the French Quarter and Garden District were spared the worst of it. I mean, I know I have my selfish reasons - I was supposed to have a conference just outside the French Quarter the week of 9/12. I was looking forward to the travel, but it was more than that. I'd been to New Orleans for five Mardi Gras plus other assorted trips, and I have a lot of memories in that city. I've wandered around the garden district looking at the stately old homes and stood on the steps of the Saint Louis Cathedral (oldest church in LA) watching the artisans around the park. Heck, the background on my computer is a I took picture of Bourbon Street from the balcony of the Cat's Meow on Mardi Gras in 2002. It's a pleasant reminder of some of the great times I've had in that city.

Now, most of the city is under several feet of water. With the 2 breaches in the levees, water has been pouring through the streets with nothing to stop it. The pumps to remove the water are either clogged with debris or don't have electricity to power them. Attempts to fix the levees have been mostly unsuccessful because of the rushing water. It's been estimated that it will take a month to get rid of all of the water. Where does that leave the residents? Evacuated, for now.

Where does this leave my "home away from home"? Damages have been estimated in excess of $25 billion. What will happen to those historic homes and buildings that have been there for over 100 years? Will they tear them down and start over? I'm sure it will be much more expensive to try to preserve the original structures and repair them. Can you replace history though? What about the standard of living for those people who were evacuated? Many have nowhere to go to. If they come back to the city, who can tell how safe it will be since the water is carrying sewer and septic debris, along with chemical spills and decaying bodies - both recent and from the above-ground cemetary graves.

I try to stay out of political discussions, since I feel that everyone should have their own views and I won't impose mine unless asked. I still have to vent about what I can only imagine will happen in the upcoming weeks. When there are other major natural disasters in the world, everyone expects the U.S. to come to their aid - and we do. Now that we have been rocked by the effects of a hurricane, how many foreign countries do you think will help us? No - that's not exactly what I mean either. (this is exactly why I stay out of these types of discussions) We definitely have friendly countries that help out. It just seems that we always have to come to the rescue of any other country having problems, but the response that we get never seems to be quite as hearty as the one we are expected to give to those countries.

Something else that disturbs me - while Bush feels the need to spend billions of dollars to invade other countries to keep us "safe", the places he's taking the money from could have been used to help prevent much of this disaster! This article from June shows that Bush's administration cut the Army Corps of Engineers' budget by $71 million. Without this money, they've had to shelve several major projects, including one that would have helped the city withstand a category 5 hurricane. I am not against our soldiers by any means. I stand behind them 100%, but I just hate that they had to go to war in the first place. It makes my heart ache to know that his budget cuts that were made to make room for war ended up costing more in lives, livelihoods and history than anyone could ever imagine.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Todd said...

I try to stay out of political discussions, since I feel that everyone should have their own views and I won't impose mine unless asked. I still have to vent about what I can only imagine will happen in the upcoming weeks. When there are other major natural disasters in the world, everyone expects the U.S. to come to their aid - and we do. Now that we have been rocked by the effects of a hurricane, how many foreign countries do you think will help us?

I disagrre with this. Canada always helps out. The last big hurricane in FLA I read that it was mainly Canadian linemen putting the power lines back up.

But, that's besides the point. What are Somalia, Ethiopia, the tsunami nations, etc supposed to do for us?

Imaging you were a college student with no insurance and had to have emergency surgery. No say you had a very wealthy aunt who offered to pay most of your unexpected bills. You'd take it right? No suppose you are that same college student and your very wealthy aunt needed surgery. Are you telling me you'd offer to give that aunt $50 to pay for her expenses? It'd be an insult.

We have the resources to take care of ourselves.

Besides a quick google search shows that Venezuela and Saudi Arabia have already offered to help if we need it.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Bill Rini said...

This article from June shows that Bush's administration cut the Army Corps of Engineers' budget by $71 million. Without this money, they've had to shelve several major projects, including one that would have helped the city withstand a category 5 hurricane.

Just to be fair, funding was cut for a study on ways to protect the region from a cat 5. That study would have likely taken years and then they would have to seek funding approval for the recommendations from the study, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Also the funding cuts are for fiscal year 2006 which means that all-in-all, very little would be different right now regardless of funding cuts.

I'm not defending Bush or anybody else here but no matter what the issue one can always point to something and say, "if only we had the money that was spent on X . . ." If we quit sending shuttles into space we could upgrade these freeways that would prevent 10,000 accidents a year. If we quit wasting our money on improving freeways we could hire more police and prevent 5,000 murders a year. If we quit wasting our money on law enforcement and put it into education we wouldn't have as many criminals. Etc, etc, etc. Unfortunately, that's the nature of politics and public policy.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

As much as I hate paying for highway tolls (california doesn't have them) on the E. Coast...I think those are a great idea. Highways can take care of themselves and more money spent on CHP or Five-O...yada!yada!

I think the war is FUKC'ed up...we are going after more oil...period. The big oil wigs in Texas are making hand over foot...YES! I tell my buddies over there serving that they are doing a good job so 16 year old kids can drive big SUV's to impress their friends. Nuff said.

In closing, I will keep the south in my positive thoughts.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

sorry...rought morning and just seeing those pictures makes my stomach twist and turn and ruins my day.

6:34 AM  
Blogger StB said...

Your budget cut in question is for NEXT year.

I hope the freeroll at the Boathouse never gets too serious. That is what happened at Badger Poker and the game went down hill fast.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the Republicans basically eliminated the Office of Technology Assessment a handful of years resulting in a reduction in the number of people studying how to manages floods, the benefits of wetland protection, etc.

It fits well with the current administrations practice of basing policy not on data, facts, and logical thinking, but instead basing it on corporate america's wants.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Can't imagine what everyone would be typing if Kerry were in office. I know his first priority was the New Orleans flood dilemma.

4:44 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home