Strategies for a discontinuous future.

Friday, September 02, 2005

RIP Nawlins

My heart goes out to all the folks affected by Katrina, but especially to folks in New Orleans. I'll take a lot of flak for saying this, but it's the first city in the world that's essentially been lost to global warming.

Sure, there are tons of other factors at play - bad planning, stupid resource allocation. It was a disaster waiting to happen. But let's try and separate proximate from ultimate causes. The proximate cause is a discontinuous jump in temperature off the Gulf Coast, whose proximate cause is (pretty obviously) global warming.

And, yeah, I have to say it, while the sheer flatulent drooling mindless vapidity of our Dear Leader never ceases to amaze me, I am beginning to be amazed by Americans themselves. This is really the first time that I've seen the Third World happening in America. What does this mean? It means the people versus the government:

"...Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses.

They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.

Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

The buses never stop.

Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city.

There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.

He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."

He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.

Link - bolding's mine. Most Americans don't yet, IMHO, really seem to fathom what a fundamental breakdown in, well, the basic f*cking functions of our government this is.

Let me also take a moment to dispel the especially toxic myth that the poor are 'always' disproportionately affected by natural disaster. This is stupid, illogical, and untrue. Let's think about the Tsunami in Sri Lanka: sure, poor fishermen got wiped out, but the opportunity cost of reconstruction of resort hotels lining the beaches was likely much higher.

-- umair // 4:51 PM //


You know it's sort of ironic. The conditions in the South East US are the same as the conditions this ridiculous war inflicted on the Iraqi people...basic infrastructure loss, no civil order, no police or fire, bands of maniacs running around with nothing better to do than loot or shoot at people.

It's also reminds you that it doesn't matter if you're a first world country or a third country...when shit goes bad, people start to behave differently. Food for thought before the US invades another country.
// Anonymous // 6:54 PM

1991 LA Riots saw worse lawlessness. At the same time, this is among the worst US natural disasters. So have some perspective, man. BTW, things are already much better this afternoon than as you described earlier.

BTW, sorry, your climate science it BS.
// Anonymous // 12:01 AM

This is a major event for the US. 911 was externally humiliating but it made the country stronger internally. This is an internal failure and a major humiliation and the only scapegoat is the system itself.

Everybody is angry and shocked and they realize that government is the problem, and its failed completely; both to prevent and to respond. Four years after 911 -- no homeland security. The country is now terrified.
// felix // 3:49 PM
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