Archive for the ‘Hurricanes’ Category
Slate, an online magazine, has a fascinating article called “An Imperfect Storm: How race shaped Bush’s response to Katrina,” which asserts that, while the government’s response was not overtly racist, the plight of black people in LA, MS, and AL was not taken seriously by Bush because those states are reliably Republican and black people in general don’t vote for him anyway.
Because they don’t see blacks as a current or potential constituency, Bush and his fellow Republicans do not respond out of the instinct of self-interest when dealing with their concerns. Helping low-income blacks is a matter of charity to them, not necessity. The condescension in their attitude intensifies when it comes to New Orleans, which is 67 percent black and largely irrelevant to GOP political ambitions. Cities with large African-American population that happen to be in important swing states may command some of Karl Rove’s respect as election time approaches. But Louisiana is small (9 electoral votes) and not much of a swinger these days. In 2004, Bush carried it by a 57-42 margin. If Bush and Rove didn’t experience the spontaneous political reflex to help New Orleans, it may be because they don’t think of New Orleans as a place that helps them.
It’s an interesting idea that seems to have a lot of merit. Florida got a lot of attention last year after its hurricanes. Some say that’s because the governor of Florida is the president’s brother. It’s possible. It’s also possible, and very plausible, that it’s because Florida has 25 electoral votes and is essentially a toss-up. Comments?
Someone on a mailing list I’m on posted a link to this article at National Geographic about New Orleans and how vulnerable it is to catastrophic hurricane damage:
Experts are quoted (knock on wood) in our local paper as saying that it’s not likely that our area will be hit with a catastrophic hurricane, because the water is not warm enough to generate a Category 4 or 5 storm. I hope they’re right.
… what people are thinking. With Hurricane Katrina bearing down, a family goes boating off of Florida’s Gulf Coast, and now – surprise – they’re missing. If I don’t sound sympathetic, it’s because many people in my family have been sailors for at least 30 years. My Uncle George sailed around the world; my mom and her husband, and my Aunt Betty and Uncle Ray sail (each couple in their own boat, of course) up and down the Intracoastal Waterway from Virginia to Florida almost every year; they generally wait till hurricane season is over to go, but during the summer they’re constantly sailing the Chesapeake Bay.
Someone asked my mom once what they do when a hurricane is coming. “We get out of the way,” she said. They certainly don’t go sailing for pleasure in its path!
I do hope they’re all okay. But people really need to understand that boats are *dangerous* and you need to learn about good seamanship as well as about how the boat works.
And now we have Irene.
Living here in the southeastern corner of Virginia, we’re always keeping an eye out for hurricanes, especially after Isabel came through a couple of years ago. Dan, a former meteorologist in the Navy, was pretty shocked at the damage that barely-a-category-1 hurricane inflicted here, so if another comes by, we’re outta here.
Honestly, though, it’s hard to know where to go. My Aunt Ann in South Hill, about two hours due west of here, had it worse than we did, and my friend Jeanne (who recently moved to Colorado – hi, Jeanne!) headed for Charlottesville, but couldn’t even make it. We were fine, but lots of our neighbors had trees on their houses :-O
I still think I prefer hurricanes to tornadoes or earthquakes, though. At least we get some warning.