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Wednesday, September 07, 2005


According to a CNN/USA Today and Gallup poll almost two thirds of Americans are nitwits. That's how many think that the response to the disaster in New Orleans and environs is satisfactory. Just less, 56%, think that the situation is 'beyond repair'. Huh? Much worse has happened to cities all over the world since the dawn of time. Did the citzens of Rome pack it up after Alaric sacked it? How about Chicago? That thing with the cow and the flames, remember? San Francisco has been levelled, it's still around. From the same poll 63% think they should rebuild. Hey, didn't 56% of you just say that was impossible? And 66% think that everybody should evacuate. Who's going to rebuild?

Why are so many Americans so stupid?

(I hope the bold type helps)

I'm sure this post was classic Jackson incitement, but I’ll respond here…

I just read a very interesting article during my morning visit to the library (i.e. the bathroom) in this weeks issue of Newsweek addressing this very subject. Nobody’s being stupid here Jackson, they’re asking reasonable questions, many of which are worthy ones to address. The article points to the other cities you mention. The distinction the author (Jonathan Alter if I recall correctly) makes between those cities and New Orleans was that the former cities were experiencing growth and prosperity when natural disaster interrupted the lives of their dwellers. Investors and business owners lined up to borrow money right away to rebuild and quickly restore all the opportunity that existed prior. New Orleans, by even the most optimistic estimations could not be described as a city on any kind of upswing. On a grand scale, NO was a city that was on a steady decline to the level of Detroit. Jobs have been drying up for years from dying industries (offshore oil drilling mostly). The city/state governments have been ineffective and more corrupt, and for longer, than any other in the country (the level of LA government corruption would make anything that NYC has ever had look like dime store thievery). I’m sure there are those better in the know than I who would offer a differing opinion, but having spent a lot of time down there, I can validate this POV of NO prior to the disaster to a certain degree myself.

Now the reality of the situation… NO will be complete evacuated by the end of this week or early next. According to my people who are down there right now, it is even worse than what the news is showing us. The city being old to begin with and the fact that infrastructure was crumbling already is making everything ten times more difficult. It will take MANY MONTHS, or more than a year to restore basic services. The people of NO are now scattering to other cities within our great country. Think about what you would do if you were in their shoes for a second. If you were a displaced NO resident, living on the bubble prior, just lost everything, and were moved to another city, what would you do? Would you wait out a year or more to return to a situation that was bleak to begin with and would probably be worse than what existed prior to the devastation? Or, would it be more likely that you’d get on with your life wherever you landed? I could be wrong, but my money would be on many folks taking advantage of this horrible situation to climb out of the rut they were in and start a new life, thus declining to return to NO. I really think that is what’s going to happen on a large scale.

I also think that nature will reclaim parts of the city that were on borrowed time anyway.

What to do then? NO will always be a city obviously, but what may actually happen, right or wrong, is a very rare socioeconomic correction on a grand scale brought on by one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history.

I was just thinking about this on the way into work this morning… My company is expending a tremendous amount of money/effort to restore our network to pre storm levels as quickly as possible and is making huge progress by the hour. But the question I have is: Shouldn’t we be scaling our network to meet the needs of who will actually be using it once it’s restored? More specifically, if there won’t be thousands of people yapping on their cell phones on Bourbon Street nightly for a long time (and it will be a long time), what’s the point of restoring service for millions when only a fraction of that will be using the network for the next 12 months?

My thoughts…
I'm not usually one to invoke Cokie Roberts, but I saw her on Letterman the night before last, and she had a lot to say about the situation. Seems she is from the area, has a lot of family down there, and was talking about how her grandparents were washed away and rebuilt, their parents were washed away and rebuilt, their parents were washed away and rebuilt...

Clearly there will be a major adjustment on all levels, but people have a way of holding on. Just look at the houses teetering on the brink of the San Andreas fault.
Look at Venice, it's been sinking for eons, but they keep at it. That's all I'm saying. I always thought that Americans weren't so quick to throw in the towel, but since we invented disposable evrything else, why not disposable cities, and people.

NO has and always will have a lure, an attraction to certain types who want to live there, as shitty as it's economy may have been. Think of all the upscale residents - Anne Rice, Lenny Kravitz, Trent Reznor - they lived there because of the vibe, and you can't wash that away. New Orleans will rebuild, and may just become a thriving city. That's where the profit motive is, in rebuilding. Too bad GW's buddies can't make money actually saving lives, that would be too much to ask. No, it's best for GW to let all the poor people eat each other first, then go in, rebuild and sell to the rich white folk.

Plenty of people are stupid, but I guess you don't want to hear it.
Oh, and when Rome was sacked by the Visigoths, it most certainly had a depressed economy, it had been on the decline longer than New Orleans by say three hundred years. Things were so bad, the citizens let the barbarians in, hoping that it would end the innefectual leadership of a series of lame Emporers. The barbarians were bent on burning and looting however, and didn't bother trying to install new leadership. In the end The Pope stepped up, and we all know what happened after that.
Ah, and I thought you wanted have a reasonable conversation about this subject and what you really wanted to do was hammer GW, the GOP, FEMA, etc... Hammer away. You're not offending me. I have a hard time believing that you actually believe half the things you say.

The opin I offered was not in any defense of actions that have or have not been taken, but rather details of what some smart people, in my opinion (I have no idea what their party affiliation is) have said. You on the other hand, want to do nothing but polarize the subject both politically and racially, piss people off, and blame anybody and everybody. There are better blogs to read for that discussion my friend.

Actually, I agree with what both of you and Chrispy have said. I only differ in the fact that I think many of the very poor and those who were on the bubble, black and white, will choose to stay where there is work to be paid for, food to eat, and a decent place to live. The longer they stay where they find these better conditions, the more likely they will choose not to move back. Some will return for reasons you state, but many will not. In the long term, this is not a bad thing. If natural resources, economies of scale, and all other support systems are disproportionate to the population and cannot support the masses only two things will happen without question: people will die, or they’ll move on. The article I read, which I happen to agree with, contends that they will move on/stay where they land, the hurricane simply being a catastrophic and horrific fast forward button on the nature of the whole pre-disaster situation. In no way am suggesting that the disaster was a good thing, but like a hurricane, human nature, survival instincts, and nature in general there are forces that control only themselves. You only need to see the remnants of the countless single industry ghost towns that litter the south down here for proof. Its just part of the evolution of things. If Detroit doesn’t some how discover a new industry to support its population in the very near term, it’s high on my list to become the next non-disaster related ghost town in this country.

Thinking about this possibility isn’t “throwing in the towel” by any means. It’s making the best of a shitty situation and bettering ones quality of life. It’s also NOT being stupid (I have no idea why you think people who decide not to go back are being stupid).

It’s foolish to believe that there is a decision(s) that will be made as to whether New Orleans will be rebuilt or not. Of course, it will be rebuilt. Unlike Detroit, NO has much more going for it for all the reasons both you and Chris have stated. It will just be a smaller city than it once was. Ultimately, what get’s rebuilt will be based on those who decide to return and those individuals only.

Nothing like this has ever happened to a U.S. city in recent times (from what my folks in the area are telling me, the 10K death toll estimates are short). I grieve for the losses of so many and I sincerely hope the survivors find peace in their lifetimes no matter where they end up living.

I only ask that they don’t rebuild New Orleans for the sole purpose of Trent Reznor having a place to live and be cool.
Venice is an interesting phenomenon.

Throughout the city's history, its buildings have been periodically rebuilt - raised - to keep up with the rising waters. There are literally levels of city beneath the current one.

Now, however, a certain preciousness has descended on Venice and the tendency is not to tear down and rebuild as had always been done. The buildings are being looked at as priceless artifacts that must be saved, not as necessarily disposable items that have always been modified when necessary. And it's creating some serious issues.

Man vs. Nature is one of the oldest stories in the book. Inevitable, of course, nature wins. But don't tell that to man.
George Bush doesn't like black people.
I don't like white people!
Hey New Orleans (NO),

I really enjoyed visiting you, The way I stumbled on your streets (the same cobble stone streets that Hemingway stumbled upon). I even liked your "lucky Dogs" (after 12 hours of drinking, anything tastes good).

From Hurricanes at Pat O's to scoring a "Jazz Cigarette" from the Transvestite I met in front of the A&P - you are a great city. You always look really exhausted in the morning, but that's what the Cafe DuMond is all about...

I hope they rebuild you.


Hey Jackson,

I agree with you about so many americans being stupid... I think they all paid money to see "the pacifier". Another good indicator of stupid people is the billboard top 20.



you are a good writer, I'm excited to see what you have ready for HUEZINE. Just promise me you won't be so grammarically correct.



Rock on! Thumper appreciates the kind words regarding the 2112 story.


Not too cool how you made Mike Myers (canadian, and fellow hockey enthusiast) look so stupid. you should have at least let him know you weren't going to stay with the script. I was hoping he was going to hip check your ass, by the look on his face i'm sure he was thinking it.
Bush doesn't hate black people, but he does hate you. Bush hates poor people, of any color.


All (sans Kanye West),

once NO rebuilds, we will have the HUEZINE christmas party there.

The first round is on me...
Ah, Lucky Dogs...

I'm sure there is statistical data available somewhere to support the following statement: "More Lucky Dogs(TM) have been vomited up than any other brand of commercially available hot dog."
doesn't sound very lucky to me, but I believe the stat.

After about too many drinks, lucky dogs really hit the spot, then end up back on the same street you purchased it.
Why can’t liberal Dems understand that good always win in the end? No matter how bad the situation get, good and morality always prevail because of the will and strength of the heart. Morality is found in the heart of good men, immorality is found in the head of sick men. NO CONTEST !
To be clear, I didn't say anything about FEMA, the GOP, or black people. What I did do is invoke the initilas GW. I'm sorry if I think he was napping again. So what. The rest of what Tony says is reasonable and I agree with. I think he speed reads my blog for 'hot' words, or initials. The stupid people, if you had read the whole blog, are the ones who were polled and said it was 'beyond repair'. That was the main point, like somehow it can't be done. Work with me here.
Okay, now I just Read 'far right wing's comment, and I think my argument has been supported.
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