Like so many people, my mind is reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I have several thoughts bubbling. In no particular order:
The US Government does not now have, and arguably never has had, helping people in need as its primary focus. As if there were any doubt (not in my head), the response to this disaster should make that point clear. Helping people is just simply not it’s job. After all this talk about “protecting the homeland” and all the government machinations of the past 4 years, the attempt to bring help is slow, muddled, delayed, confused when people actually need it.
Simplified categorization of people has got to go. In this case, I’m referring specifically to Bush’s zero tolerance for looters policy. Of course, the BuShites have historically had trouble categorizing people, as “looters,” “terrorists,” “enemy combatants,” “detainees,” etc etc. But in the wake of such a horrid tragedy, to include people taking food to feed their families in such a draconian plan, is just silly and uncompassionate. But it’s even more evidence that the government is in place to protect corporate interests more than anything.
Racism is at work in the aftermath of Katrina. Look at the pictures coming out of New Orleans. Most of the photos I’ve seen are black “refugees”; there are very few white refugees in most of the photos I’ve seen. Of course, it’s not so much a racial divide as it is an economic one; though that particular issue is clouded because black people tend to be poorer than white people. But for a distressingly vivid illustration of how racism is working, I direct you to how the AP describes white people “finding” things and black people “looting” things.
This gas price spike is just the beginning. Oil prices are just going to keep rising until there is no more oil. Deal with it. Accept it. You can’t deny it’s true. We are past the point of peak oil; it’s all downhill from here. The only question is how badly society crashes and burns until we work out new means of transporting goods and people that don’t involve dead dinosaurs.
Links and multimedia potpourri. There is a good collection of photographs on the NOLA site. Wikipedia (what an amazing resource that is…I can’t imagine what it will look like in a decade) already has a Katrina page. This is the most interesting blog from New Orleans that I’ve seen; run by a guy who has an ISP at the top of a New Orleans high rise. Though he doesn’t appear to be directly involved, there are some exquisite rants from Bob Harris.