Friday, September 02, 2005


New Orleans Disaster & the Ivory-billed Woodpecker

As sideways response to the New Orleans catastrophe, our office here in the UK is going to be donating our swear-box money to the Big Woods in Arkansas from now on. This is where the ivory-billed woodpecker, long thought extinct, was recently sighted. If the habitat of the woodpecker had not been destroyed, the flood would not have been so bad. (Four miles of swamp for each foot of flood, according to Scientific American, which predicted all this in 2001; via Josh Marshall, who makes an excellent point about 'forseeability' - FEMA blames the victims for not getting out, whilst claiming events were not forseeable).

Treating the environment with respect protects people too.

Kevin Drum has an excellent compendium of the outrageous incompetence and denial that has followed the disaster. More importantly, he has a chronology of the events leading up to it.

People will perhaps be dubious about 'blaming Bush' as New Orleans enters the Time of the Wolf. After all, this is a natural disaster. We hear commentators claim that criticism of his priorities before the disater and conduct since is partisan opportunism of the worst kind. 'Trent', a commenter on John Cole's Balloon Juice, gave the most splended response:

"This is the Republican accountability moment and they have failed.
They own the government. They call the shots. They set the agenda and push forth their vision. Their only mandate in the past 4 years was to prepare for this moment. They have proven that they have neither the competence nor the will nor the integrity to protect the American people"

and stitch THIS:

"Guys, this is more than partisan bickering. This is the Left's worst fear. Democrats have always been terrified of the damage that Bush was doing to this country. And now the consequences of his incompetence, arrogance and cronyism have hit us full force."

Read those 'bush-bashing' books again - Al Franken and Molly Iwins. They were desperate to emphasize the possible effects of Bush's deregulation and deference to industry in environmental and consumer protection. You can argue this was all hooey, but not that current criticism is opportunism. "The left's worst fear" indeed.

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