I haven't posted anything about the disaster facing the people of New Orleans and elsewhere in the south, because quite frankly, there is little I can add to what has already been said. However, I would note the following:

First and Foremost: If you're of a mind to do something, perhaps the best thing to do right now is visit the Red Cross, where you can make a donation.

Second: I suppose it was only a matter of time until the president was blamed for this (if not for the hurricane, then at least the effects of same) in some way or another. So far as I can see, the only thing that may be left at his doorstep is his alleged cutting of funding for upkeep of the levies. However, right now, I don't have the information at hand to say (a) if the accusations are true, and (b) whether it would have made a difference if funding had been kept the same, or even increased.

The issue of whether government support and relief was delivered / is being delivered fast enough is also a legit issue. I think this is something that should definitely be examined, especially once the crisis has passed.

However, the accusation that GWB waited too long to express condolences, or that he's somehow otherwise deficient in that regard, doesn't wash with me. We had 8 years of "I feel your pain" from the last man in the Oval Office, which perhaps has us expecting that Pres. Clinton's way to respond to tragedy is the only way. That just doesn't cut it with me. People - even presidents - respond to things in different ways. That doesn't mean Bush, Clinton, or whomever happens to be in charge "doesn't care"; it means that they express themselves differently.

We should stop trying to play a parlour game of psychoanalysing every twitch and tic from the person in charge, and focus on what has actually happened and what needs to be done. If it is found after a proper investigation that one or more levels of government - city, county, state, federal or all of the above - dropped the ball in anticipating or responding to Katrina, then the person(s) in charge should be held accountable.

For the immediate future, I would hope that "the government" (and all levels thereof) will focus on relief, evacuation, and restoring some semblance of law & order. In due course, the same level of effort should go into figuring out what didn't work and why, and how the scenes we see on the news today can be avoided in the future when - God forbid, but you know it is "when", not "if" - the next hurricane hits.

More later.


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At 10:19 p.m., Blogger X said...

Hickman, you got blog spammers here!!

Anyhow, I just read the column by Paul Krugman - pointing fingers at Bush about the relief effort, and the way that Bush slashed FEMA's budget in the past few years.

Personally, I do have a lot of respect for Krugman. He is a very bright economist and knows a lot about what he is talking about. However, this is the time to focus on relief, not putting blames on the leadership.


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