Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Monday, September 05, 2005
Sorry for being out of commission for so long. My excuses: I was on vacation in Canada; my grandmother died; and my son had his third birthday. That's in chronological order, not order of importance.

In any event, you haven't missed much. I have nothing very original to say about the horror on the Gulf Coast and in the once and hopefully future city of New Orleans. It looks like Bush has wrecked FEMA (by merging it into DHS and by appointing a moronic buddy of his to run the agency), like the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana are both utterly incompetant, and like if you have an atrocious crime problem (and nonexistent police force) as New Orleans has had for decades, you are going to have anarchy once a disaster happens. I also suspect everyone's guard came down a bit when it was clear Katrina wasn't going to hit New Orleans directly, so nobody thought about the odds the levees would break anyway. It didn't help either that the GOP's spending priorities tend toward building bridges to nowhere in Alaska rather than protecting New Orleans from flooding, nor that the dominant Federal role in flood control means that nobody buys flood insurance (and hence that localities have little incentive to spend on their own flood control efforts). Does that cover the list? Nothing original there, I think. I've given some money to relief efforts through Jewish organizations (the organizations give freely to non-Jewish recipients, just as Catholic charities do), and I'll be giving more once my firm sorts out its matching program over the next week or so. I think Noam Scheiber is right in his criticism of Ross Douthat: this is precisely the sort of crisis that vindicates a neo-liberal (in the American sense) or "reform conservative" vision of a lean but aggressive and competant government, the kind of thing TNR has always stood for. But I don't have any special insight to bring to bear on the disaster.