Jason Chervokas on why they didn't leave:
Sure, many of the folks left behind chose not to evacuate despite a mandatory order from the mayor. But many more merely had no means of leaving. For anyone who never worked a minimum wage job, who never had bank account balances routinely fall into the single digits between paychecks, its hard to image the kind of bare-subsistence, hand-to-mouth life lived by millions of Americans. But I heard one woman on TV, successfully evacuated to a hotel in Houston, saying it was going to be the last night she was going to be able to say there because her cash was gone and she only had $8 in savings. People living in poverty in America live in a different nation from the upper class and the new super rich class.
Nancy Nall, blogging at the Detroit News, on Distancing:
It's natural, when bad things happen to other people, to search for a reason. Everyone does it; it makes us feel safer. Of course it's terrible that woman was raped, but she shouldn't have been walking home after dark, especially not in that neighborhood. No wonder the Turners' son is on drugs -- his mother stuck him in daycare when he was six weeks old. Joe's heart attack shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone who's seen him put away a pepperoni pizza.
Needless to say, we would never walk home after dark through that neighborhood, put a newborn in daycare or eat pork sausage so heedlessly. So of course these things will not happen to us.
I've always thought of this phenomenon as "distancing," the way a herd skitters away when the lions take a straggler. I'm waiting for the distancing from the events in New Orleans to assert itself.
Tom Watson on how Conservativism fails:
...it's not just laziness and incompetence and lack of interest. I'll tell you what it is: philosophical doctrine.
Failed, discredited, immoral, racist, un-Godly conservative doctrine.
For this crew, government is bad in its essence, whilst power remains good; that's a strange, warped view to govern under, but it's what we now have at the helm of the United States. This government did not act because under its philosophy government should not act. Government does best when it stays out of the way, and lets folks just be folks. Caveat: except in oil-rich foreign lands. Then, government action is an investment in resource exploitation, er, democracy and freedom.
No, this government sat back on its heels, was horribly incapable of acting, because action was anathema to its soul. Heck, better to roll back the estate tax - or do away with bankruptcy protection for the middle class and working poor. Poverty has risen for five consecutive years for the first time in U.S. history: that's a good thing, the markets are at work, things will even out. The business of America is business, said another failed Republican, in pre-Depression mode. Nice little saying.
No, true hard-core conservatives do not believe in a social compact, a common effort, knitting all classes together. They believe in winner take all...
And Chervokas again, this time on the President's anger:
Now the President says he's angry. That federal efforts are unacceptable. He IS federal efforts, and so is the Republican party. He's angry at who? Certainly not at himself. When has he ever said, "I'm disappointed in myself, in my leadership. I didn't do enough. FEMA is my agency." I'm sure we're not going to hear those words. Karl Rove would never clear them. Incompetence, diminished expectations, covering your ass, these are the hallmarks of George Bush's America.