Patrick includes a link to a rant from Tenn.-based Cherie Priest, who dissects the class-based cluelessness of much of the reporting on the destruction of New Orleans:
Look at the reporters who are "incensed" by the rampant looting. Look at the smugness from those distant from the situation who chastise the dumb southerners for not evacuating when they had the chance. It blows their minds how many idiots stayed to wait it out. It makes them shake their heads and make "tsk-tsk" noises into their shiny microphones.
Well, fuck the lot of them.
New Orleans and Biloxi are not rich cities. They are poor southern cities disproportionately filled with poor southern people — people who may not have reliable transportation, people who live hand-to-mouth, people who have nowhere else to go, even if they had the means to get there.
And the evacuation was little more than a vague order to get the hell out — under your own power and at your own expense. If you have, at your immediate disposal, reliable transportation, money for gas, and either distant family OR money for shelter, then this isn't a big deal. Of course you leave. You pack up everything you can and you head for higher ground. But it is somewhat less easy to do if you are lacking any one of these things, AND you have been informed that what little earthly lot you may claim is about to be destroyed. Do you hang on and try to save what you can? Do you let it go and return to less than nothing?
What the hell do you do?
… If every single person in New Orleans had a spare $300 and a car, most of them could have run. Now turn on the TV again and look at how many stayed.
If I ran the zoo, I would hire Ms. Priest to edit our paper's Health section, and maybe also the Business section, just on the basis of those few paragraphs.
Echidne of the Snakes points out that — despite President Bush's claim that ""I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" — this calamity was predictable, foreseeable and avoidable.
After 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle. The [Army Corps of Engineers] never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security — coming at the same time as federal tax cuts — was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars. …
In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.
On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. …"
Digby lists the ways this latest disaster creates a sense of deja vu as the predictable results of "free-market magical thinking":
This event … encompasses every fuck-up they've perpetrated since they took over the entire national governament — failure to plan, embracing only the best-case scenario, lagging response, ignoring the experts, slashing funds and endless, endless happy talk that we can SEE WITH OUR OWN EYES is bullshit. (They are already saying that nobody is reporting all the "good news.")
The fact that most of these refugees (a word that I can hardly believe I'm typing) are black and poor residents who were unable to leave and were therefore, left to die, is emblematic also.
No, this is all about politics. It is about a GOP era of massive tax breaks for very rich Americans, billion dollar a week elective wars that we are losing while more and more people fall into poverty and the infrastructure of this country crumbles around our ears.
Here's the link for Liberal Blogs for Hurricane Relief.
Do what you can. Give, pray, demand accountability. Repeat as needed.