Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tropical Depression

I'm inundated with bad news and can't do anything about it except shut off the outside world and pretend it isn't happening. Talk about depression. New Orleans is all about bad. The city wasn't ready, the people weren't ready, FEMA wasn't ready, nothing was ready, nothing was right, and it's all a depressing disaster.

Now, it's the blame game. Our (soon to be) first Female President wants it all changed and "corrected." Egad, I suppose it will be as "corrected" as her vision of how to fix the health care system was. Everyone else is jumping in too, so it's not fair to stop with the former First Lady. Heads are rolling from top to bottom to get out from under the axe. Probably the sacrifical goat will be the FEMA director, whether or not he did or didn't (fill in a blank or hundred blanks here).

Now, as of this moment of writing, there's Ophelia about 100 miles away from this keyboard. Nothing bad at present, just rain and breezy. Of course we can now predict weather activity with considerable accuracy. The "computer models" are all in agreement or should I say disagreement. In fact, the computer models are all over the map with one sending Ophelia southwest, two of them sending Ophelia generally northwest, and one sending Ophelia north east, 180 degrees away from the first mentioned and 90 degrees away from the other two.

But wait! Don't buy yet! There's more!

Just about everyone in the United States watched Katrina grow in the Gulf of Mexico. I, too, watched and said, "That's perfect storm condition." Then, when Katrina turned into the perfect storm it was clear where it was going. The strike zone might have varied within a few miles and the intensity (if they were lucky---and they were) might drop some, but, for a full 24 hours even I could see the disaster on the way. I'm sure that was the case for virtually everyone in America or anywhere the weather system was available and shown for all to see. Where were the needed agencies at this time of obvious impending disaster? They make the big bucks, let them perform.

We saw with the Great Tsunami that education of the public would have saved many lives. Did we not learn from that? Obviously not. Was there any "real" preparation? Obviously not. The list goes on. You're welcome to add to it.

How smug we in America were with our attitude toward the "backward" countries that allowed a Tsunami to kill hundreds of thousands. WE are above that sort of thing. Oh yeah, sure. Was the lesson long in coming? Less than a year and we are on the list of stupid, backward, third world, disaster areas. How smug do we Americans feel now?

Earlier I thought it would take 30 or 40 billion to repair the mess. Now, it looks like even 100 billion won't do it and we are dealing with a trillian dollar disaster. Perhaps even more when the total economic stress to the system is resolved. Then there is the loss of life, lives in disarray, people who owned much now owning less, people who owned some now with little and people who owned little now with nothing. The disarry has spread from the Katrina strike area outward like ripples in water.

Much as when a rock is dropped in a pool of water, some water immediately splashes all about, even far away. Then, the ripples begin to spread. Such is the case with the Katrina disaster. The immediate splash sent gas prices soaring. The area under the rock has been squashed and made unliveable. Just outside the strike zone, there is damage and repair underway. Further out, the ripples have brought refugees, shortages, and there will be crime reported soon. What else can some of these refugees do? As the looters said, "You gotta stay alive." Well, at least the ones who took food and clothing, not the ones taking out the gocart and other expensive but usless "stuff" that didn't support life.

Now, the vision of the rock drop continues with the water rushing back to the drop zone. We had that immediately with the drowning of New Orleans, the ultimate removal of the refugees, and now the final removal of even the holdouts. An astounding vision of destruction and "tropical depression."

Is there a fix? Certainly. If the people of the United States can afford to spend a few hundred billion here and there (Iraq, Katrina, foreign aid, you name it), then we can afford to stop that sort of idiocy and spend the trillion dollars taking care of OUR citizens, OUR cities, OUR welfare. If a city or area is at risk to a "natural" disaster, flood, wind, earthquake, snow, ice, whatever, then spend the money up front to make it actually ready.

If you lived in Florida last year and you lost your home, roof, or other portion of your house, FEMA "gave" you money to fix it. Why not GIVE that money for needed upgrade so there wouldn't be a lose of home and security? As it was, FEMA handed out money to individuals with little or no control. Where that money went and if it went to home repair is unknown. Get the people, train them, hire the workers and supervise the upgrade so there won't be a need for FEMA to throw money off the back end of a "natural" disaster. Doesn't "preparedness" actually mean something in FEMA?

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