Oh shit, part deux.
It's weird how it took 24 hours for the news to actually get out about how badly Louisiana and Mississippi were fux0r3d by Hurricane Katrina. When the Northridge Earthquake happened, it seemed like everyone knew how bad we got hit almost instantaneously.
An unlikely hero of this situation might be Presidente Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Apparently the Citgo refinery -- check out the proximity to the projected path of the hurricane on this map -- was spared major damage and can start up again soon, and Chavez has promised tankers full of oil and food aid to the people of the stricken area. Imagine what kind of predicament G. W. Bush will be in if he refuses such a gift! Bravo, Senor Presidente. Way to show some class in the face of official US scorn for Venezuela and the terrorist threats of Bush family pal Rev. Pat "Radical Cleric" Robertson.
Basically all the "bowl of gumbo" predictions about what would happen to NOLA if hit by a huge hurricane have come to pass. The city might not have been hit head-on by the eyewall, but it might as well have been. The vaunted pumping system that was supposed to be able to pump out water from NO city streets has failed, and so have the levees. KTLA's Kurt Knutsson was caught in NO after doing a "Cyberguy" assignment, and he had a scary tale to tell this morning on the Morning News about how people were literally going nuts stuck in a ruined hotel. Food was being rationed, tempers were flaring, and you could look out the window and see looting.
The Louisiana Governor is now flailing around trying to make arrangements to evacuate the shelters that had been hastily set up in the path of Katrina. There had been projections for days about the path of the hurricane and its strength. Why nobody thought of getting people evacuated in advance of this storm is yet another one of the many SNAFUs that have led to what's shaping up to be the biggest natural disaster in US history. A great deal of blame for the severity of the problem can be laid at G. W. Bush's feet. The gutting of FEMA, shipping half of the Louisiana National Guard to Iraq along with their water rescue gear, the cutting of funds to the Army Corps of Engineers' Louisiana district...sure, you can't blame the weather on him but he should be held accountable for the response after the fact.
However, this is no time for schadenfreude. Unfortunately a minority of my fellow Liberals are actually rubbing their hands in delight over the fact that this is a disaster which happened in some very, very Red States, and that no doubt the response won't reflect well on the G. W. Bush administration. Wrong tack to take, folks. It's right to point out Dubya's failings during this time of national crisis, but it's wrong to take delight in the suffering. Please, stop this. You're making us all look bad. Traditionally when there has been a national emergency, it has been Democrats who have been most generous in helping people through the bad times. The people we want to convince to "come home" to Blue America will not take kindly to the gloating, much as we hated the gloating of Wingers after 2004.
Oh yeah: for those who are going to the Sherman Oaks, CA, US vigil on Wednesday Night, 7:30pm to 8:30pm, someone bring an American Flag, wave it proudly and be respectful of it. I am sure it will turn into a vigil not only for Casey Sheehan and his mom Cindy, but also for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. It is important to show the flag at these events because we need to drive home the fact that we ultimately believe in America, it's our country too, it's our flag too, and that we are just as patriotic, if not moreso, than the "Move America Forward" assholes. I can't make it to that event because Woodbury University rescheduled one of my classes for Wednesday nights. I hope some people show up, though. In some respects it's more important now than it was a couple of weeks ago.
Update 10:26pm: Shirley Laska at University of Colorado at Boulder saw this coming back in November of 2004. We probably couldn't have done much to shore up NOLA and environs if this warning had been heeded when it was published, and Ivan only had happened two months prior. But people have been talking about what would happen if a big hurricane of Camille-like proportions hit NOLA since Camille hit in '69. Much could have been done if concerted effort had started then.