Many, many New Orleans residents barely had the resources to survive day to day living. When government checks come on the first week of the month, and even those with jobs may not have access to savings or even a bank account, cashing their checks at check cashing places, the ability to leave in a hurry is nearly impossible.Reed Hundt:
And when people talk about looting, there is a situation where there is no order, no supply, no water and no light. Also, people are being told to not walk around barefoot to avoid skin infections. Jungle rot and trench foot are all too common in damp situations. That means people can't walk.
The problem is that the government is treating this like a US domestic crisis where people can drive to relief centers and that ain't it.
First, you have a lot of poor people who have NO resources. None. So a late check can be a problem. Katrina? They're in survival mode, but then most of their lives have been desperate anyway. They can adapt to desperate. It's the middle class who are going to get a reality check. Their savings are going to crash, their credit cards are maxed out, and they are going to be just as stranded as the poor, one-third of the city. Only the rich can live away from home for extended periods. People are already outside the Astrodome, looking for shelter, but being refused because they didn't come from the Superdome. All the middle class people who sneered at the poor and supported Bush are going to be just like those poor people are, just as reliant as they are for a government handout.
Someone suggested that if there was another 9/11, people would rally around Bush.
Here it is and people are pissed.
When Andy Sullivan knocks Kos for saying this is worse than 9/11, he's wrong and Kos is right, because I lived through 9/11 without so much as a lost glass of water. This is a lot closer to an attack than any natural disaster we've seen. An entire city has turned into a movie set, and I mean Escape from New York. The people fleeing New Orelans are refugees, soemthing we haven't seen since the Civil War. The Astrodome is a temporary solution, and refugee camps will have to be built. There are sharks and alligators swimming in the streets, nobody will be going home for a long time.
There is still an inability to realize the scale of this. They are talking about trucking in supplies. Why not do what they did in Afghanistan and just drop food and water from C-130's? They need to act like this is a humanitarian crisis, and not just a national disaster.
The President apparently said, I caught it fleetingly, that "this recovery will take years." If he did say that, I'd humbly differ. I think that the goal should be to do all that is necessary to put individuals, families, communities, businesses, communications networks, and the spirit of America back together very very quickly. Years are not acceptable for the afflicted or for their fellow citizens. The money should be spent, the resources assembled, the effort made on a massive scale, and if what that presupposes is a new tax or a change in priorities, then those decisions should be taken. Years is not an acceptable time frame. The United States is rich enough, big enough, and compassionate enough to do much better than that. Not everything can be fixed; not every loss can be made whole; too many tragedies must be suffered; but our national commitment to repair, remedy, and renew can be made and acted on with great dispatch, if our leaders make it so.Word.
MORE: Holy cow.
Even then, there may be nothing normal about New Orleans, because the floodwater, spiked with tons of contaminants ranging from heavy metals and hydrocarbons to industrial waste, human feces and the decayed remains of humans and animals, will linger nearby in the Gulf of Mexico for a decade.Read the whole thing. It's terribly sobering.
"This is the worst case," Hugh B. Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, said of the toxic stew that contaminates New Orleans. "There is not enough money in the gross national product of the United States to dispose of the amount of hazardous material in the area."