My first thoughts are of course with the people in need there in the affected areas.
I've been sending them all the positive energy I can, and I just sent the Red Cross the last $23.00 from my checking account.
As far as the local and federal efforts, I know that a lot of people are working selflessly to help and they deserve our respect and support.
That said, I have many questions regarding the contingency plans that were/weren't in place before this disaster struck and the DEADLY delay in reacting to the situation by local AND FEDERAL agencies.
The first being the President's continuing his vacation past the beginning of the the hurricane making landfall. The press spokesman and many of the MSM press (ba-a-a-a-a) made a big deal about the fact that the President "cut his vacation short" to deal with this tragedy. Wow, two days out of a FIVE WEEK VACATION. Now THAT"S dedication for you. How could he be playing golf while people were DYING? I guess that maybe he's used to it now with the WAR and all.
Now as far as contingency plans, this area IS hurricane country. WHY are the police having trouble communicating? They say the backup batteries are failing. Where are these batteries located? At ground level? Shouldn't they be located places like on top of tall buldings? If so, they could be replaced relatively easily. Are they talking about "handheld" radios batteries? Those should be able to be recharged in their patrol cars.
On a side note, I was disgusted to read the first hand report of some police and firefighters JOINING IN THE LOOTING!
Some of the news reminds me of the first days in Iraq after the fall of Baghdad.
The looting, and the delay of the troops to do anything about it until nearly everything was already gone, and no plans beforehand to protect assets like museums, banks, and LITTLE things like weapons depots, including a warehouse full of TONS of high explosives that our military didn't secure!!!
Now that the gun shops have been fully looted (including WAL-Mart, [view pictures]), (NOW??) they say they're starting to bring in National Guard troops to control the looting? There's barely anything left to steal, and they're just now bringing in help...
And surprise, surprise, surprise, as GOMER would say, they've had to stop the helicopter airlifts from the Superdome.....because they're getting SHOT AT!
Go-o-ly sarge, maybe we should have thought of that BEFOREHAND!
Now everyone's seen (and probably joked about) a group of city workers standing around scratching their heads while one guy works, and heard the familiar phrase "too many chiefs, and not enough indians (absolutely no offense to indians meant).
Something similar seems to be happening around the New Orleans area (and inside the beltway).
How much time has to go by/has already gone by before anything is done about the levee breaks flooding the city?
I'll say it again, THIS IS HURRICANE COUNTRY! Why weren't things like sandbags (pre-filled) warehoused in strategic areas?
Was it because this administration/Congress CUT FEDERAL FUNDING ($71.2 million) for things like that?
Our first responders always do a heroic job regardless of the problems created with poor planning, but WHEN are we going to start doing the right thing BEFOREHAND?
WHEN are we going to start putting PEOPLE before the "bottom line"?
I know it's easy to criticize "after the fact", but PLANNING FOR, AND RESPONDING TO DISASTERS is what certain people are paid to do! And when they screw-up PEOPLE can and do DIE....
One final thought, turning people away from the Houston Astrodome who are (in many cases) spending their last dollars staying in motels is heartless, not to mention foolish and unecessary. And speaking of heartless, the business owners who are "gouging" should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and shunned by their communities! At the risk of sounding like Zell Miller ("I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel."), maybe we should bring back the public pillary for a while. I know who I'd vote for to be first in line, how about you?