Katrina: Side Effects

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Sure, the problems of the people of the affected area are serious, and the whole deal is a tragedy. But the whole nation is affected beyond such things as higher gasoline prices at the pump.

    The ports on the Mississippi below New Orleans handle a large percentage of our imported oil, yeah; plusthe oil from the offshore rigs. But they also handle a heckuva lot of our exports, including the majority of our grains.

    The Mississippi is the jugular vein of the middle U.S. Petroleum products upstream, coal and foodstuffs downstream; all by barge.

    We're lucky, this time. The main channel of the lower Miss didn't get changed via a bunch of sediment deposition. Port facilities are relatively undamaged.

    IOW, so far, so good.

    BUT: Where will the work force live? The houses and personal effects are gone. SFAIK, the overall workforce is somewhere near 100,000, plus their families. Some commuted from the immediate New Orleans area. Others lived along the river.

    So, yeah, there's an immediate crisis in New Orleans, itself. The more important long-term problem for the nation as a whole is the housing and infrastructure for the workforce of the ports of the lower Mississippi.

    'Rat
     
  2. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I think one problem will be with business inventory. In the last twenty years of so, businesses have learned to run very lean. In business school we learned that the average item stays on a Walmart shelf for less than 24 hours. That means that shocks to the system like this cause shortages everywhere. Oil is the most visible, but there will probably be shortages in many other areas too.
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #3
    ah yes, the Just In Time model. i've always thought that we're going to get screwed by that at some point. interrupt enough of the supply chain...
     
  4. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #4
    Good lord, I can't even keep track of all the Katrina threads in the Poli forum alone!

    Yes it's going to be felt nationally. We can provide temporary housing over the next few weeks and months for the most necessary functions, so I don't see a major long-term national problem beyond high gas prices.

    The more immediate problem is where do you put the entire population of New Orleans for the next year or so while New Orleans is rendered livable again? How do you get those people jobs and their kids into schools and all the other things most of us take for granted? In some ways this will dwarf the scale of 9/11. Hopefully not in numbers killed, but 9/11 generally took out offices where people work, not their homes. And the people primarily affected were not the elderly and the poor and the infirm.
     
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #5
    The estimate I've read is that Katrina will shave a half percent off of GDP growth this year, maybe more. A recession? Nobody is forecasting one, yet. But I have to wonder. The economy was already being stressed by skyrocketing oil prices, and with gasoline bolting through $3.00 with no top end in sight, and wage growth already stagnant, I think people are going to become increasingly gloomy in their outlooks over the coming months. I'll be keeping an eye on the consumer confidence numbers and the real estate market.
     
  6. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    I keep running across bits and pieces about the whole area and its importance.

    At the Lew Rockwell site, his article this morning cited a National Geographic article about New Orleans and the potential for disaster (NG site was overloaded). The levee heights are unchanged from 1965. Extended, but not raised. For those of the Blame Game claque, think "LBJ". If the planning time is taken into account, blame JFK. :D (My point is that the usual blame game is a childish example of mental masturbation.)

    From other news, forty million tons of grain for export are in "limbo", with the owners not knowing whether to just hold the barges or transfer grain to elevators.

    The main gasoline pipelines which supply the northeast and the Atlantic coast are operating at about 45% of capacity, so there will be temporary shortages and price increases there such as are being seen in northern Georgia.

    I guess the larger question for me stems from looking back 100 years to Galveston. After the 1900 storm, they literally jacked up the city and filled under the buildings with dredged material. It seems to me that razing the destroyed houses and filling the bowl to above sea level before rebuilding would be the very-long-term least-cost method.

    The area of New Orleans is the most important single place in the country, insofar as the economy of the entire nation. It must be rejuvenated.

    'Rat

    'Rat
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #7
    'Rat, you are deliberately misconstruing the reasons many of us are upset about this. We're not blaming anyone for the breach of the levee. Got that? I'll repeat it if necessary... since it's just masturbation to you. I'm not blaming anyone for the levee breach!

    What I am complaining about is the utter lack of recognition of the scope of this tragedy, and the inability of anyone to do anything about it. We've had almost 4 years now to prepare for a major national disaster, and this is the response? And then to have the president add insult to injury by saying something as stupid as 'no one foresaw the breach on the levees'? Come on, that's about as baldfaced as lies get.

    What I am complaining about is our national priorities. The lack of National Guard troops contributed to the lawlessness in New Orleans, no doubt about it. Why were there so few Guard troops available on short notice? Because our nation's priority was elsewhere. And guess who has to answer for that one? It's not LBJ that's for sure. Spin all you want, but the buck stops at the chief executive's desk. Doesn't it?

    Also as I've mentioned in one of the countless other threads about Katrina, perception is often more important than reality. Whether Bush is actually getting things done is not as important as how people perceive whether or not he cares if things are getting done. Perception of his dad's reaction to another hurricane is partly to blame for Bush I losing his reelection bid. I think even you would agree that Bush's reaction to this has been tepid at best. Particularly when you compare it to the urgency with which the government was able to get things done when it was one brain-dead woman who's life was at stake. Where's the fire in the belly he had after 9/11? This is turning out to be a tragedy on par with that one, yet the responses are diametrically opposite.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    What he said.

    The problem for Bush in this case is there's nobody to attack or invade. I know that will sound crude to some people, but Bush's "success" in response to 9-11 was based as much as anything else on whipping up a national fervor grounded in fearfulness. A great many people were prepared to overlook the deceptions utilized in selling the war in Iraq, and the poor planning of its execution and aftermath, because Bush was able to return again and again to the fear theme. Now that the deep well of national anxiety created after 9-11 is starting to run dry, a good many Americans are having second thoughts about Iraq.

    Now Bush is faced with a much more difficult challenge -- a national calamity without an enemy he can name. Consequently the quality of his leadership in this crisis will be judged by entirely different criteria. The first criteria will be the quickness of his government's response. This test he has already failed, IMO. The second is the ability to show genuine empathy for people in need. People will decide for themselves, based on what they see in his demeanor and actions, whether this personal quality has come through. So far, I believe it has not.
     
  9. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #9
    what he said.

    i have to wonder if bush is putting more effort into relief or covering his ass. the spin seems further along than the actual relief.
     
  10. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    I noticed a good bit of the Blame Game in the other threads...

    I have no objection to somebody's looking for ideas on how to change the emergency response system...

    FEMA is a coordinating and check-writing agency. That's it.

    Governors call out the NG. The Prez calls up Reserves or calls for active-duty military. He can federalize the Guard for interstate duty.

    To call the guard, ya gotta call them. Hard to do when the phones are out. When the electricity is out. When the Guard-folks' homes are destroyed.

    Then you have to get them there. But, first, somebody has to do all that wondrous "coordinating" to decide who goes where and the various rules under which they operate.

    How long did it take for the California NG to respond to the Rodney King riots? I don't remember, but I'd bet they had no transportation problems.

    Choppers? Well, yeah, after more talking back and forth as to which unit's choppers get sent where to pick up whom--and where to take them.

    I-10 was blocked by trees, debris and water. I-59, same. The smaller roads and highways were even worse.

    So little by little the chainsaw guys do their deal and the front-end loader guys push stuff off roads--after they're found and after they deal with some of their own problems, if they haven't evacuated to West Bug Tussle.

    And the main roads have been pretty much opened and the effort is getting well underway. Houston has set up a heckuva good deal in the Astrodome. Dallas is setting up a refugee center, along with folks in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

    Still, 100,000 people did not evacuate, in spite of "mandatory" and free buses. They're still coming toward the Superdome. Buses are hauling them out and trucks are bringing in food and water.

    Who ever figured on dealing with this magnitude of disaster? It's 85 miles from Baton Rouge to Slidell. From there, it's right at 100 miles to Mobile. Hurricane force winds reached as far north as upper Mississippi, along with the western side of Alabama; say, 100 miles inland. How does anybody prepare for "relief" in an area of this size? Or, rather, prepare in a manner that has all manner of expensive equipment, unused, on standby for some unknown amount of time, in order to save maybe two days in getting to work? How? And, where?

    The next one might come right back to New Orleans or go to Houston or to the Carolinas. It's the luck of the draw, and no plan will ever lead to a heckuva lot better effort than what's going on.

    I've had the TV going, although not watching each and every "bit". One thing for sure: There are a lot of clueless folks all over the place. Dumb questions and comments from Blitzer and O'Riley. In general, kudos to the on-the-ground reporters. Somebody oughta take a cluebat to the Mayor of New Orleans and to the Governor of Louisiana. Louisiana's Tauzin and Breaux showed they're knowledgeable, along with the USCE folks. Louisiana's lady senator is about equal to Bush in innately understanding the physical problems--as in, "Not really." Hailey Barbour (spelling?) and Sonny Perdue get at least C+ to B-, at worst; they've come across as pretty sharp.

    "Restore order"? Do like Daley did in Chicago: "Looters will be shot. If they survive, they will be shot again." Funniest thing: No more looting.

    'Rat
     
  11. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #11
    Coming soon:

    War on Nature.
     
  12. ~loserman~ macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Aren't the terrorist responsible for Katrina?, with there secret hurricane machine?
     
  13. cooknwitha macrumors 6502a

    cooknwitha

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    #13
    Iran has it. A Weapon of Wind Production.
     
  14. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #14
    Where have you been? (double meaning on that, I guess... where have you been?) "Clear Skies", "Clean Water Act", etc. (double meaning there too... or just bad irony, like the "Patriot Act"). Maybe MacNoobie was right. Maybe this is the vengeance of an angry God. :eek:
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #15
    Seen much coordination going on in the first 72 hours? Neither did I.

    And who's supposed to do that coordinating? And shouldn't it be planned for so that it can be expidited in an emergency?
    Link
    Emphasis mine.

    Dammit 'Rat, you know as well as I do that that is the kind of decision planning agencies are supposed to make BEFORE the disaster hits. If no one did the planning, I can hook them up with an old professor who specializes in this kind of thing. Everyone knows that you need to have an inter-agency coordination plan.

    Kudos to the areas that are helping out. My experience in the '89 earthquake was that people are generally wonderful during a disaster where their personal safety isn't threatened. As for the front-loader guys, aren't those supposed to be Army Corp and NG folks? You don't expect Joe 'Cat Driver' Six-Pack to be the guy handling recovery efforts do you?

    Yeah, free busses AFTER the fact. And are you, Mr. Government-Can't-Tell-Me-What-To-Do, going to argue that the government should be able to force you out of your house at gunpoint? Please.

    Rat sez 'Who ever figured on dealing with this magnitude of disaster?' Oh really, no one ever mentioned that the levees surrounding New Orleans might be breached during a storm?... Come on 'Rat, shoot straight here. That's either an outright lie, or you're attempting some kind of twisted spin here. There have been tons of studies and reports and news storied that have predicted the failure of the levees and the resulting consequences for New Orleans. The only people suggesting that no one ever suspected such a thing could happen are the same ones saying that no one could have ever suspected terrorists would use an airplane like a missile.

    What??? No plan will ever lead to an improved effort? Then why plan for anything? Why plan for terrorist strikes? Why plan for earthquakes? I'm sorry, but you are plainly wrong here. Even excusing the massive incompetence that has plagued this rescue operation, you sit down and you learn from this so that next time it's not so bad. Elementary planning. Hopefully the next one won't go to New Orleans, and wherever it does go will be better prepared because of what New Orleans has suffered.

    I'd rather see the cluebat used on Bush and the head of FEMA.
    :mad:
     
  16. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #16
    I am interested in the mid-to-long term effects of this disaster.

    Aside from the obvious gas price spikes (more on that later), there is also the exceptionally high cost of all building supplies as all wood, cement etc makes it's way down to the Gulf coast for rebuilding.

    To do with gas, obviously almost all goods will go up in price, as the shipping companies will be paying through the teeth to transport them.

    I have heard that at least 10 airports will have to either close or drastically cut flights due to lack of jet fuel.

    I have to wonder how this will play out in the media. Before this tradgedy, the economy was hardly perfect, and certainly fragile. Will this expose that fragility and hold those responsible accountable, or will it be used as an excuse for the results of an unsound economic policy?

    I wonder if now is not the time for a New Deal Public works program to both rebuild the ravaged areas and put to work many of the displaced citenzenry from that area. I personally think it would succeed on many levels - encouraging community involvement, providing quick progress on repairs, and aiding regional and national unity.
     
  17. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #17
    Yes, this was actually on TV years and years ago. A terrorist organization did indeed invent a hurricane machine.

    Consequently, I expect Bush to declare war on KAOS.
     
  18. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #18
    One more thing. I think this, as relatively minor as it is, qualifies as a "side effect" of Katrina.

    Last week I had to stop in and see my doctor. I'm on Zocor, the anti-cholesterol medication, and periodically my doctor has to draw some blood to check on my liver. I suppose the test has not yet been designed that will check my onions.

    I've been going to this doctor for about two years now, and have never had any cause to complain...until now.

    Anyway, I'm waiting in the doctor's office, and she comes in for a chit-chat, to see if I have any new medical complaints. I don't, so she decides to small-talk. "How about what's going on down there in New Orleans?"

    "Yeah," I say, "it's terrible. It's starting to look like this could be the biggest disaster in U.S. history."

    She scoffs. "No. What about the San Francisco earthquake? And 9/11?"

    Those were horrible, I agree, but I offer that neither of those wiped out almost an entire major American city.

    She doesn't answer, but continues, "And all that looting!"

    "Yeah, it's bad down there."

    "That's what happens," my doctor tells me, "when you raise people to believe that morality is optional."

    Inside my head, I kinda do one of those whiparounds. Huhhh???? I was so stunned I wanted to say something...but what do you say to that?

    Perhaps she's talking about those people who were stealing TVs and such. Well, that's definitely wrong, but in the midst of all the other human tragedy going on down there, it's hardly first on my list of concerns. In fact, I get something of a chuckle thinking about those morons carrying around color TVs with no place to plug them in.

    Perhaps she's talking about the folks who are breaking into the pharmacies. Well, that's terrible but understandable in a bizarre way. New Orleans has a big problem with drug addicts. Suddenly deprived of their habit, they are looking desperately anywhere for a fix. But again, I'd be more inclined to worry about how dangerous these people might become.

    But maybe she's also talking about the people breaking into stores stealing food and medicine. Personally, I don't have a problem with somebody who spent two days on a rooftop looting a box of saltines from a 7-11. They're starving, what are they supposed to do? I especially don't have a problem with people who've lost their meds rummaging around a pharmacy to try to find some of what they need to stay healthy and alive.

    But my doctor continues to bemoan the behavior in the Big Easy. "People just naturally act like animals. It doesn't help when you don't teach them the difference between right and wrong."

    And at that point, my tolerance went out for a smoke.

    I'm not a confrontational individual, so I didn't say anything to that. Most of the time, the other person takes that silence as an obvious indication that I am not in agreement with what they're saying. (Although there always are one or two cement-headed persons who don't pick up on the subtle signal.)

    So we steer back to my blood work and bid each other a quick goodbye. And as I'm leaving the office, I'm reminded of a comment Andy Rooney made a number of years ago. The venerable curmudgeon from 60 Minutes said that when you go to see your doctor, you always discuss innocuous stuff like golf...because if you talk about politics, you always end up wondering how your doctor gets through the entire day without killing anybody.

    By the time I got to my car I'd resolved to find a new doctor.

    Know anybody good?
     
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #19
    Albert Schweitzer might be taking patients.

    I'd find a new doctor unless you're otherwise really pleased with the one you've got. It looks like she might have some compassion issues, and personally, I think compassion is criterion number one for any family doctor, even ahead of medical knowledge and technical skills. (If you don't have the one, the other two aren't of much use.) I'd also be tempted to let your doctor know why you went elsewhere. It's awfully presumptuous of her to even bring this up, let alone to assume that you agreed with her views.
     
  20. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #20
    Would you believe?

    That some people might say...

    That Maxwell Smart would be more effective and less costly to the US than George Bush.
     
  21. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #21
    I am finishing out 700 sq ft of basement with an office and home theater. Knowing that rebuilding that much of the US will cause a large sucking sound for lumber, and drywall, I am buying mine tomorrow.
     
  22. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #22
    That pretty much sums up with I've been thinking since the incident. I am tempted to write her to let her know why I'm switching doctors.

    Well, unlike Dubya, Max managed to bumble his way to success...

    Guess this isn't one of those times when life imitates art.
     
  23. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #23
    That's what happens when you raise people to believe that bigotry is acceptable.
     

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