Not even a month after Katrina screwed with the Gulf Coast, along comes Hurricane Rita
And guess what!
The federal response is as shit as it was with Katrina. Don't take my word for it. Take the Houston Chronicle's Hurricane Blog
People are being left behind (again). Just for shits and giggles, anyone wanna guess who before they click on the link? If you guessed: "People in the same social class as those that got stuck dying in NOLA," you would be oh-so-right. Welcome to the "yer on yer own society" (aka, "The Ownership Society") where the people with the dosh own your ass and your ass is grass if you require anything resembling help from the government.
There's a word used to describe people who don't learn from their mistakes. Considering that Katrina happened less than three weeks ago, we need to find an extra special word for our lovely federal government. It's beginning to look like they're going to fuck this up almost as badly as they did in Mississippi and Louisianna. Wonder who'll the Bush administration blame this time? They don't have Brownie to kick in the nuts any more and the Texas governor is a Repug.
Raise your hands if you're starting to think that deadly hurricanes pounding the southeastern U.S. may well become a regular feature in our very near future. This is sounding like the start of the global warming scenario that we've been warned about for years. And don't tell me that global warming is a "myth." It's actually scientific consensus, unless you're a scientist bought and paid for U.S. industries with an interest in sticking their fingers in their ears and going "la-la-la-la."
Global warming is scientific fact (the link doesn't exactly go to a nutjob environmentalist site, in case you're wondering). Evolution is a scientific fact. Smoking causes all sorts of health problems is a scientific fact.
Creationism, Inteligent Design, Revelations, and The Rapture? They're a myth.
I feel the urge to point this out so that we can be clear on the difference between science and myth. Anything that requires an ounce of faith to make it work? Myth, myth, myth. Anything that can be proven by they scientfic method? Fact, fact, fact.
I guess you can say I'm sick to death of a "faith-based government" that believes Armageddon is coming any day now, because it seems to me that faith-based anything ain't no way to run a railroad. It does, however, seem to be a damn fine way to get people killed at home and abroad. The breathtaking inability to face facts on any level would be hilarious if:
1) It was someone else's country
2) The results weren't so tragic
This all leaves me wanting to say to every single person who believes in the myth of Revelations and decide that governmental policy should reflect some kind of twisted version of, "eat, drink, and be merry today because we may be raptured tomorrow:" Dude, please rapture your ass already so you can stop screwing up the world for the rest of us. Kthnksbi.
Sorry. I know this is not supposed to be a ranty post. This is supposed to be a helpful post. But I'm soul sick at this point. I'm soul sick in advance of the political screeching to come and the false expressions of piety that will be no doubt paraded before me in the coming weeks. Maybe it's my inner Catholic girl screaming to get out, but I feel it needs to be said:
Faith means shit. It's all about the works, asshole. So shove the public praying and pick up a goddamn shovel and do something. And no, awarding no-bid contracts to buddies like Haliburton does not count as "doing something."
If you need an illustration of what I'm talking about, please read the opening lines of this entry again. Thank you.
But I digress because of my anticipatory anger.
Right now, let's focus on the problem we've got: evacuating the fourth largest city in the U.S.
And it is a problem to behold. We have already reached the nightmare scenario of Texans being forced to turn back to their homes because every road out of town is clogged. Some people trying to leave Houston today have concluded that it's too late to leave and are fearful of being on the road out of town when Rita makes landfall Saturday in the early morning hours. That's how bad the bad is.
Ladies and gentleman: it looks like Boston during rush-hour traffic.
All I can say is: thank god I live in the Northeast. What few hurricanes make it up here generally drop down in strength and speed before it landfalls on us. I'll take nasty-ass, midwinter, back-to-back nor'easters any day of the week over this kind of horror show.
I'm already getting a headache anticipating the finger-pointing over this one. I know it's useless to hope that no one dies as a result of Rita or federal incompetence, but I hope for it just the same.
I don't think after witnessing the destruction wrought by Katrina on the Gulf Coast, it would be out of line to say that the Houston/Galvaston axis is pretty much fucked barring a last minute dodge and weave from Rita. Granted, Houston's on higher ground, and not in a "soup bowl" like NOLA. However, there are sections of the city that are prone to flooding even in what would pass for normal rain in my wet-wet-wet part of the country. Let's not forget that Houston is one of the largest cities in the U.S. and the second largest economic zone on the Gulf Coast.
Oh, and if anyone wants to check out what a tropical storm did to Houston back to 2001, the Wikipedia entry on Tropical Storm Allison has the skinny.
It's at this point that I feel like I need to point out the obvious. We couldn't afford Katrina taking out what is, essentially the eastern portion of the Gulf Coast and the oil refineries. If Rita takes out the western Gulf Coast and its oil refineries...well, let's just say we could be looking at gas at $5 a gallon.
Have I mentioned lately that I adore my 2000 Saturn SL? Have I mentioned that I went three weeks on 11 gallons of gas doing my normal driving routine? Of course, I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that it cost $30.00 to fill my tank on Monday. I'm pretty sure my head will explose when it costs $50.
I think that now is the time to start considering alternative energy. Because when Rita blows through Texas and puts a double-plus-bad hurt on our ability to refine oil, we're all going to learn that we are all oil junkies in desperate need of a 12-step program to wean us off the stuff.
I can only offer this at this point:
To Everyone on my FList in and around Houston and Galveston: Please be safe. Take care of yourselves. Do whatever you can to get out of the area. Barring that, do whatever you can so that you're protected both during and after Hurricane Rita. As Katrina taught us: the aftermath can be more deadly than the during.
Please be careful one and all. I will cross my fingers and toes for you and hope that the feds defy my dim expectations and actually do something useful to help you in the before, the during, and the after.