Monday, May 31, 2010

Did Jonathan Swift face this kind of idiocy? (Not that I am comparing myself to him)

This morning I did a Memorial Day post wondering whether the environmentalists caused the BP spill.  Of course they did not.  But some reader in the blogosphere, evidently off his meds for a while, came unglued.    I do not normally publish anonymous comments.  I find them chicken hearted.   If you have an opinion - then use a name.  I also usually don't bother to publish illiterate comments with lots of misspellings and lousy grammar.  Finally, I do not often publish profanity.  Most people can understand that profanity in public comment is the stuff of small minds.

But for those who did not get the joke - let me explain.  I was making a joke.  Of course the environmentalists did not cause the spill.  BP did.  But part of the reason they were out so far in the Gulf was because of environmental regulations.    For my anonymous commentator let me offer another comment.  Katrina was a natural disaster, at the start.  But as a result of the incompetence of FEMA officials and equally appalling incompetence by the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana a natural disaster of large proportions became an immense disaster for the residents of New Orleans.  One need only look at the effects of Katrina on the neighboring state of Mississippi - where the Governor had some competence - to understand that even in a natural disaster the government role can be handled to reduce human suffering rather than to expand it.

One final comment.  From my perspective, the Obama Administration has shown about as much competence in handling this problem as the Bush Administration did with Katrina.  They have been slow footed.  At the same time they've tried to assume expertise and competencies they simply don't have.  As I noted earlier in the week, the President's rather expansive statement was a bit of a reach - but if he gets back from his current stance and begins to bring some sanity in drilling policy (which would probably expand offshore drilling in the future) than he might well learn something from this (man-made) disaster. It seems unlikely that Anonymous will ever learn anything from this disaster.


Bill said...

The disaster in New Orleans was not a natural disaster. The city survived the hurricane fairly well. The devastation came because the levees failed, and they failed for two reasons: they were not built to the standard required, and because of the degradation of the coastal wetlands which had been a natural buffer to storm surges. See for more information about that. There's plenty of blame to go around at local, state and federal levels. Nothing excuses the incompetence of FEMA, Blanco and Nagin, but the first rule of crisis management is to avoid the crisis. That could have been done, but wasn't. FEMA didn't build the levees and neither did Orleans Parish. The Army Corps of Engineers did.

You are correct that the actual natural disaster hit Mississippi harder - entire towns were simply blown away. They were hit harder by the hurricane but they were not let down by infrastructure that, according to the design standards, should have protected them. It's not really a fair comparison.

Dr. Tax in Sacramento said...

Thanks. My point was a bit simpler. The people in Mississippi did not have to live with Blanco and Nagin and relied a lot less on FEMA.