Wednesday. Ah yes, Wednesday, the middle of the week. Nothing to say, this Wednesday, sitting here.
Did you ever get www.HereInOakland.com up?
Thursday. Thursdays are better. Fridays are better still, but one shouldn't get ahead of one's self.
I understand now why whomever I was listening to last night on Air America Radio (the liberal radio network with the constant stream of crappy radio ads that make you pay - pay - pay for the privilege of listening) was so unhappy with the current administration and how it's handled the hurricane. Evidently, after 9/11, they chopped the FEMA budget to pieces and cut 80% out of the Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans levee maintenance project, which means - what else? - Bush is responsible for all the death and damage. I'd heard that FEMA had begun major disaster planning for New Orleans two years ago, but because of the budget cuts, they'd been unable to complete it.
I am always happy to hear any anti-Bush/anti-Neocon banter (quite honestly the nastier, the better: I'm becoming a down right grump on the subject), but I'm not sure how much could or would have been done, money or budget aside. Iraq, a bad war that's sucking up money like a black hole in the national wallet, has had, is having and will have bad consequences, but my guess is this hurricane thing was inevitable.
I remember reading about the problem (and, I seem to recall, listening to a piece about it on public radio) some time back, it was the story of the moment: how the development and therefor destruction of the wetlands surrounding the area, necessary to adequately manage the run off, was accelerating; how deteriorating levees not designed to handle a really big storm, were falling apart; how New Orleans was in great danger and needed to prepare, but wasn't; all of this influencing my thoughts when I first heard about Katrina forming off the coast. Was this the one they were talking about?
Bush at a press conference today said no one had predicted the failure of the levees. He obviously doesn't read Scientific American or listen to public radio. Now, looking at the pictures, seeing diagrams of the levees, I understand what they were talking about. Looking up from a New Orleans street and seeing the superstructure of a ship sail by, floating on water contained by a wall, well shit. I wouldn't have been able to sleep.
Still, again, I'm not sure there was any way to avoid this from happening. I have every confidence in our general genius at dropping the ball, our inability to plan or make preparations (if it costs money). What do I have put aside here in the apartment in case of an earthquake? We've had earthquakes that have caused damage, nothing like the one in 1906, but enough to let us know we really do have to pony up and retro-fit the buildings, which, rumor has it, we've pretty much done. (It will undoubtedly turn out the owners of my building have bribed the local inspectors and my apartment will slide down the hill. You never know until you know.)
New Orleans evidently hasn't had any scary practice runs, nothing serious enough to do more than make them talk about doing something, everyone counting on being on vacation in Chicago when it happens so there's no reason to prepare. Not unlike moi, sitting here without food in the closet or an escape kit in the car, sitting here without the camera batteries charged. Foolish behavior, on a warm evening, here in Oakland.