Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Monday, September 12, 2005

Andrew Sullivan Grasps At Straws

A recent snark:

In Houston, local officials complained that FEMA's computer system kept crashing. In Ocean Springs, Miss., officials started turning people away from a FEMA disaster recovery center three hours before closing time, saying they were overwhelmed. "There is so much chaos and dysfunction going on with the federal government that Dallas can't wait any longer for federal help," said Mayor Laura Miller of Dallas.

Just another Blue State Bush-hater, right?

Memo to Sullivan: Texas may be a red state, but Laura Miller is a blue-city liberal Democrat. One of the few things that identifies her with Red America is her opposition to taxpayer-funded sports arenas.

Let's stop using the words "hater" and "opponent" interchangeably, shall we? If I hated everyone who opposed me on some issue, I'd hate everybody.

Hey Sully, it's not so unusual for conservatives to criticize FEMA. (Ever heard of Michelle Malkin?) But most aren't letting Bush Derangement Syndrome get in the way of recognizing that FEMA is associated with very little of what went wrong in New Orleans. FEMA isn't responsible for everyone in hurricane-prone areas to have an emergency stash of nonperishable food on hand - individuals are. [See update below for further elaboration.] FEMA isn't responsible for building flood control infrastructure - city and state governments are, and if they can't afford it they can turn to Congress and hope that the environmentalist lobby doesn't stand in the way. FEMA isn't responsible for evacuating people who can't evacuate themselves - state and city governments are. FEMA didn't block the Red Cross and Salvation Army from delivering food and supplies to hurricane survivors in the Superdome. And none of this crap is happening in Mississippi, which took the brunt of the storm.

FEMA's crime is following its standard operating procedure for showing up to disaster areas late. Bush and Congress are to blame for not streamlining the agency so it can operate efficiently. Come to think of it, the entire Department of Homeland Security could probably use major restructuring.

Update: Anyone who follows the news of past hurricane strikes against the US should have enough common sense to figure out that having a week's supply of nonperishable food during hurricane season is a real good idea. But a lot of smart people won't think of everything that needs to be done. I lived the first 26 years of my life in Gulf Coast cities. Local governments in hurricane-prone areas have always educated the public on preparedness, to make sure that nobody forgets to take all the necessary precautions. See this page on the City of Corpus Christi's website for an example of this sort of information. Pay special attention to the hurricane survival kit page.

Update: I'd like to see a poll that would gauge how opinions on the Katrina blame vary between those who have actually lived in hurricane-prone states localities and those who haven't.

Update: Oops, "hurricane-prone states" would include places like El Paso and Shreveport that don't get hit by hurricanes. (Tropical storm remnants, maybe - not the same thing.) Previous update is updated.

Update: Back to Sully's remark...Dallas is arguably the most liberal city in Texas, and 32nd most liberal nationwide.

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