Monday, September 05, 2005

What a Week

Just Inside the Beltway has been on recess for much of the past 4 weeks. Now we return to a country that is doing what it can to help those affected by huricane Katrina. The coverage of the storm and its aftermath has been fascinating to watch. In Monday's Washington Post, media critic Howard Kurtz had a very interesting column that is worth the read. [WP Story].

Nothing written here will be new or groundbreaking as it relates to Katrina. But now that we are one week removed from Katrina's landfall, there are several questions that must be addressed. Most of them begin with the word 'why'.
  • WHY are political leaders (local, state, and federal) insisting that the flooding in New Orleans was not anticipated. The city is below sea-level for goodness sake. And let's not forget the 5-part series in the Times-Picayune in 2001 entitled "The Big One". (Just for fun, here's the opening line of that series: 'A major hurricane could decimate the region, but flooding from even a moderate storm could kill thousands. It's just a matter of time.')
  • WHY did it take four days to get water to the thousands who needed it? Don't tell me that our government can't navigate through 5-10 feet of water. There is no excuse for the fact that basic necessities took so long to reach the people of New Orleans.
  • WHY were there no provisions for food, water, and security in the Superdome?
  • WHY is the country is still afraid to address that fact that a vast majority of those stranded in New Orleans were black?
  • WHY did Kanye West have to do that? Hey Kanye, there's a time and a place and last Friday night's benefit concert was neither.
  • WHY were dozens and dozens of New Orleans city and school busses left in a parking lot when they could have been used to evacute people out of the city?
  • WHY did Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff tell "Meet the Press's" Tim Russert that one reason for the delay in getting federal aid to Katrina victims was that "everyone" thought the crisis had passed when the storm left: "I remember on Tuesday morning picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, 'New Orleans Dodged The Bullet.'" Mr. Chertoff, ignorance is not an excuse. Besides, we've looked around and there were no newspapers saying anything close to that. Wonkette has some sample front pages from last Tuesday. Take a look at a few Just Inside the Beltway found. Notice the one with the huge headline that reads, "Catastrophic".
  • WHY is it that the people of the United States never disappoint when it comes to helping out a neighbor? Perhaps it's our spirit. We may be divided into red and blue states; liberal and conservative; religious and secular; white, black, hispanic, etc. But time and time again, people break down all the artificial barriers that separate us and simply treat each other as a neighbor. It's the Golden Rule and it's nice to know we can count on it when we need it.

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