Thursday, September 08, 2005

Big Muddy

According to Looka, the legendary Commander's Palace restaurant has been destroyed. Or it hasn't.

According to China Meiville, Six contractors were shot on a bridge in New Orleans. Or they weren't shot. Or they weren't contractors.

According to the Boing Boing, either the evacuated citizens in the Astrodome are doing well. Or they aren't doing very well at all.

FEMA is either doing a heckuva job or creating a helluva ballsup.

A murk is descending on the American South, a thick miasma of claims and counterclaims. Personal horror stories and political spin are colliding like warm air masses, creating thunderheads of indignation and frustration. A new storm is coming.

FEMA lies at the heart of the storm. There are a whole bunch of stories of volunteers and aid being turned away and resources being ignored. Foreign aid sits on the tarmacs of their home countries. We're even sending people to the wrong cities. FEMA's brass waited until after the storm hit to propose sending help, knowing it would take an addition couple days before to get the show on the road.

We haven't seen so much upper-echelon bungling since M*A*S*H went off the air.

Make your rep worse? Sure. How about leaning on Reuters to censor its reporting on the storm's deathtoll. How about trying to turn a bunch of firemen into public relations operatives, and then get snippy with them when they would rather be fighting fires. And check the last paragraph for the wincing punchline.

I don't think that we understand how huge all this is. This is bigger than just getting people out of the Superdome. We have a huge populace that drove out of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and are living in motels and with relatives and in government camps, if they're lucky. While a lot of the media attention is on New Orleans, places like Biloxi are getting kicked in the shorts by mismanagement.

Yet through it all, one voice of truth and reason shines through. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Onion.

More later (local politics for sure).