Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: In a Funk

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

In a Funk

I got back from my weekend in Acadia National Park in Maine where people were scarce and Nature was pretty. However, on Saturday while touring the reception hall for the future wedding, the Asticou Inn had some papers out for viewing.

On the front page of the New York Times was one of those pictures that basically takes the wind out of your sails even in a beautiful place like Maine.

The tragedy in New Orleans has left me in such a state that I don't know what to do. I fear that my faith in government and politics in general is fading proportionately with every floating body. It would be nice to just simply state that the lacsidaisical response was due simply to the incompetents the president and republicans have put in charge. However, the Democrats in charge haven't done much better.

The right will blame the local governments to take the heat off the feds. The left will defend the local governments to some extent while placing most of the blame on the President's shoulders. All the while, every level of government failed in some way. And yes, the federal government bears the burden for the bodies yet to be discovered after the storm.

The main thing that I think local and the state government should have done was provide more public transport for those who could not leave the city, and more information for everyone who was obviously going to get stuck. A rumor mill is no way to get vital information to people. As Brian Williams put it, a single engine plane with a banner would have worked much better. If it works for the Jersey Shore I am sure would have worked for the Big Easy.

That is about all the local governments did wrong. However, there is a difference between this situation and 9/11 where Rudy G rose to the top of list of guys who could lead in crisis situations. That difference is that an entire city was leveled by water from whatever the source. In New York, it was just a small section of the city, albeit an important section. But a whole city?! Not even Rudy G and wacky Pataki would have been able to do much better than Nizen or Blanco.

But these points are mute in terms of what culpability falls on the shoulder's of the Federal Government. The facts are the states of emergency were called way in advance of the storm. The levees were known to be breechable by such a storm. Chief Chertoff and his sidekick Brown Horse were briefed to these scenarios before Katrina made landfall. (All this can be found here and many other timelines of the disaster).

The point is mute not simply because of all the warnings and declarations of emergencies. It is mute because the Federal Government's purpose is to enter a crisis when the local governments become overwhelmed or are unable to deal with a situtation. The federal response to Katrina in our very own Gulf Coast took almost as long as the federal response to the Tsunami which happened half-way around the world.

So at this juncture where government has failed us time and time again. I am troubled. Who knows what the comming political storm will leave. I hope for all of us, that at the very least, change, in a major massive way will occur.