Wednesday, August 29, 2007

looking back, in surprise (somehow)

In an editorial in this AM's C-J, entitled "looking back, in anger", the writer seems to relish the opportunity to bash President Bush with the Katrina club (and a few other shots thrown in for effect). Anger is a fine response, but there should be little that surprises us about the government's culpability in the events themselves or the government response.

Of course, Hurricane Katrina was not as much of a tragedy as the "Flood of New Orleans" (how we ought to label it). Katrina was a severe hurricane, but the Flood was a function of poor government planning and policy. Here's what I wrote about the debacle a month after it occurred.

A few thoughts on excerpts from the C-J editorial:

The flim-flammery that re-directed millions in aid for Katrina's victims into the pockets of profiteers was possible because of weak leadership and oversight by FEMA and by state and local political leaders.

Actually, "flim-flammery" (I'm not sure I've used that word before!) is par for the course (or perhaps a bogey) when we're dealing with the government. And it's certainly par for government's various disaster relief arms. The editorialist seems to think that another Presidential administration would have been more effective. That's not a bet I'd want to make...

Still, there's some good news. Some homes, schools and businesses are being rebuilt, and many of the region's famous eateries and tourist attractions are relatively has come from other countries, from celebrities and from ordinary Americans who two years later are still pitching in to help pull New Orleans and several Mississippi Gulf Coast cities out of what might have been muddy oblivion.

Yep, there's that crazy private sector, getting after it again. If you want something like this done, get the government to spend a lot of our money and then depend on volunteers and the private sector to accomplish a lot more with a lot less.


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