World Gone Wrong

"Strange things have happened, like never before.."
-- World Gone Wrong, trad., arr by Bob Dylan


A roundup of stories and commentary on the Delta disaster:

Smoking guns don't come much smokier than this:
Budget Cuts Delayed New Orleans Flood Control Work (Reuters)

White Folk Gone Wild!
Aussies Loot to Survive (Sydney Morning Herald)
Really, they're just animals, these people. What would Jonah Goldberg and Michelle Malkin and Peggy Noonan say? These thugs should be shot on sight.
(Excerpt): Trapped Australian tourists describe hurricane-raved New Orleans as a war zone, with them and everyone else driven to looting just to survive. They told Channel Seven News the streets were lawless with dead bodies everywhere. Mr Jones said survivors were terrified of the violence."It's a battle zone. There's shooting, dead bodies in the street," he said, adding that he and his wife were forced to steal to survive."We're looters like everyone else," he said…

Left Behind I
Local Officials Criticize Federal Government Over Response (NYT)
(Excerpt) Meanwhile, the situation in New Orleans continued to deteriorate. Angry crowds chanted cries for help, and some among them rushed chaotically at helicopters bringing in food. Although Mr. Nagin speculated that thousands might have died, officials said they still did not have a clear idea of the precise toll.

"We're just a bunch of rats," said Earle Young, 31, a cook who stood waiting in a throng of perhaps 10,000 outside the Superdome, waiting in the blazing sun for buses to take them away from the city. "That's how they've been treating us."

Chaos and gunfire hampered efforts to evacuate the Superdome, and, Superintendent P. Edward Compass III of the New Orleans Police Department said, armed thugs have taken control of the secondary makeshift shelter at the convention center. Superintendent Compass said that the thugs repelled eight squads of 11 officers each he had sent to secure the place and that rapes and assaults were occurring unimpeded in the neighboring streets as criminals "preyed upon" passers-by, including stranded tourists. Mr. Compass said the federal government had taken too long to send in the thousands of troops - as well as the supplies, fuel, vehicles, water and food - needed to stabilize his now "very, very tenuous" city.

Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans, concurred and he was particularly pungent in his criticism. Asserting that the whole recovery operation had been "carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days," he said "the rest of the goddamn nation can't get us any resources for security."


.Steve Gilliard on fire:
The Price of Failure (The News Blog)

The New York Times finally starts to get it:
From Margins of Society to Center of the Tragedy

Ted Koppel finally starts to get it:
Ted Koppel Rips FEMA's Michael Brown on Nightline (Americablog)

A very interesting question:
Will the New New Orleans Be Black? (BC)
(Excerpt) From the early days of the flood, it was clear that much of the city’s housing stock would be irredeemably damaged. The insurance industry may get a windfall of federal relief, but the minority of New Orleans home owners will get very little – even if they are insured. The renting majority may get nothing...We all know that the prevailing model for urban development is to get rid of poor people. The disaster provides an opportunity to deploy this model in New Orleans on a citywide scale, under the guise of rebuilding the city and its infrastructure..."

Left Behind II
Unrest Intensifies at Superdome Shelter (AP)

Left Behind III
Amid Stench of Death, Poor Bear the Brunt (Guardian)

Deregulation and Disaster, or Welcome to Easter Island, the Land That Devoured Itself. Jason Leopold is on the case:
Global Warming and Widespread Blackouts Are Just as Dangerous as Terrorism (DV)

Didn't see it coming, says Bush? Maybe he should've read National Georgraphic -- in October 2004:
Gone With the Water (NG)

My City Was Gone
Jericho (Limited Inc)
LI, a former resident, remembers. (Excerpt) If I were [still] living in NOLA…I’d be in the Civic Center or the Superdome. Evacuation at a moment’s notice is not in my economic cards – I have no car, I have no cell phone, and I have no desire to leave my possessions (a computer, a tv, a stereo) to the winds, or to a passing looter. Although I very much understand taking bacon and beer (which, by the way, is a good thing to drink when the water becomes polluted – that is, after all, why beer was invented), I very much don’t understand evacuating New Orleans without any regard for the stuff left in the stores, especially the weapons. I don’t understand not impounding that stuff the first day. This is New Orleans, after all, where every native has a funny story about some naïf tourist venturing out to some area which is not to be visited without an armed escort. We toyed with these stories, when I was there, because there was a certain resentment of tourists, who were in search of easy vices but hadn’t earned the right to them – didn’t even understand that vices come in bundles, and some of them you might not like at one in the morning. New Orleans isn’t just like a banana republic, it is one. There is no real police force in New Orleans. There is a praetorian guard that protects the garden district, and Jefferson Parish middle class folk, and enforces the rule of the jungle on the Ninth ward. Over the decades, both sides of this equation were educated to believe in a very direct view of the regulation of social relations. When I hear calls to shoot to kill the looters, that is the Garden District expressing what it has always thought.